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Twenty-Five Years Later

in loving memory of Jennifer Marie Newton
November 4, 1970 - January 15, 1971

by Kathleen and John Newton

reprinted with permission

I have been reading the First Person writings for the first time, and Clay and Kellie Grey's First Anniversary reminiscence about their Andrew reminded me that after over twenty-five years, I find the pain of grief can still be intense. Oh, yes, the raw, open wound has healed, but there is no doubt, the scar remains.

Jennifer was with us but a brief eleven weeks, but as any parent who has lost a child from any reason knows, that child never, ever, leaves your heart or your memory. The searing pain does, however, gradually fade and, in time, life indeed does go on.

For us, eighteen months following Jennifer's death we were blessed with another daughter, joining her older sister five and one half years her senior. Since then we have had many years of joy with our girls as we've traveled life's sometimes bumpy road. But we often think at a special occasion, "what would Jennifer have been like now . . . ". Over the years we silently marked when she would have begun kindergarten, right through to when she would have graduated from college, and perhaps married.

Our daughter who was born after her death once asked "would you have had me if Jennifer had lived?". A question undoubtedly asked by many siblings which requires a sensitive and thoughtful response. Now a college graduate and married woman herself, she comfortably discusses the sister she never knew, yet somehow does.

For those more recently experiencing this indescribable horror, know that in time life does go on. You will again see the beauty of life, and you will find joy. Allow yourself time to grieve, . . . allow yourself the time to heal, then allow yourself to live again.

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