I remember Caitlin

Peter Wehner:

First it was Alan Colmes; now it is Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post, who went on MSNBC to mock Rick Santorum​ for how he and his wife Karen dealt with the death of their son Gabriel. (A severe prenatal development led to his very early delivery, and Gabriel died two hours after his birth.)

“He’s not a little weird, it’s that he’s really weird,” Robinson said of Santorum. “And some of his positions he’s taken are just so weird, um, that I think that some Republicans are gonna be off-put. Um, not everybody is going to, going to be down, for example, with the story of how he and his wife handled the, the, the stillborn ah, ah, child, ah, um, whose body they took home to, to kind of sleep with it, introduce to the rest of the family. It’s a very weird story.”

On these comments I have three observations to make, the first of which is that spending time with a stillborn child (or one who died shortly after birth, as in the Santorum case) is commonly recommended. The matter of taking the child home for a few hours is less common, but they did it so that their other children could also spend a little time with the deceased child, and that is definitely recommended. For example, here’s the official page of the American Pregnancy Association (an association of health-care providers that treat pregnant women) about stillbirth. It recommends that parents spend time with the child, as the Santorums did, and the APA writes:

With the loss of your baby, your family members will also grieve. Your baby is someone’s granddaughter, brother, cousin, nephew or sister. It is important for your family members to spend time with the baby. This will help them come to terms with their loss. If you have other children, it is very important to be honest with them about what has happened by using simple and honest explanations. It is your decision whether you would like the children to see the baby. Ask for a Child Life Specialist at the hospital; these are trained professionals who can help you prepare your children for the heartbreaking news, and prepare them to see the baby if you wish.

This is basically what the Santorum family did. They also had a funeral, which is often done in these kinds of situations. It seems to be enormously helpful to people in a moment of terrible pain. So Robinson, like Colmes, was speaking out of a seemingly bottomless well of ignorance.

As we go through life we encounter death. We come to terms with it. When my dad died it wasn’t unexpected – he was in his seventies and had been having health problems for several years. We knew it was coming, we just didn’t know when.

But no parent expects to bury their child. They are supposed to outlive us.

Twenty-two years ago my second wife gave birth to our daughter Caitlin. She was premature and only lived for four days.

There is no way to describe the emotional devastation caused by the death of a baby. We went from looking forward to a new child to the joy of her birth to the shock of her death. It was too much to deal with and too much to ignore.

I sat in the hospital and held my baby girl in my arms as she died. Then my wife held her for a while. Then I held her for a while longer. My three kids and my stepson where there with us too. Finally we were ready to let her go.

We had a funeral for Caitlin. She was so small she was dressed in doll clothes. I still have pictures. I have a whole box of stuff, but even though I never open it I don’t throw it away. That’s all I have left of her.

Caitlin’s death was the icing on the cake of a bad marriage. Her mother and I separated a month after she died. I haven’t seen my ex-wife in years. But sometimes I go by the cemetery and I see fresh flowers on Caitlin’s grave, so I know she hasn’t forgotten either.

It’s been long time and it’s not something I usually talk about. What’s the point? When someone asks “How many kids do you have?” I think “four” but my mouth says “three.” It’s easier than explaining.

It wasn’t that long ago that people died at home all the time. Sometimes they died elsewhere and were brought home. The family would clean and dress the body for burial, then they would sit there with it until it was time for the funeral. In many places they still do it that way.

But even here in this country it is not uncommon for people keep the ashes of their loved ones on display. We all grieve in different ways and at different speeds. Some of us do it privately and some do it publicly.

I don’t care for Rick Santorum and I won’t vote for him. But if what he and his wife did helped their family get through the grieving process then it ain’t nobody else’s business.

What I find sick and offensive are the mocking words of Alan Colmes and Eugene Robinson and their ilk. Have they no decency? The Santorums are two human beings who lost their baby. Have some respect.

Fucking ghouls.

This entry was posted in 2012 Elections, 2012 GOP Primary, Media Zombies, Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

75 Responses to I remember Caitlin

  1. 1539days says:

    I have relatives down south who bury relatives on their property, much like every family did a century ago. At one time, it’s what you did. You were born at home, you died at home, and you were buried near your home.

    Alan Colmes is a first-rate bastard. As far as I can tell, he also has no children. Three years ago, he made some stupid remarks about Sarah Palin and her worthiness of a mother in the case of her last child, Trig.

    As for Eugene Robinson, calling Santorum weird is a dangerous gauntlet to lay down. There is an unending font of weirdness emanating from the Obama administration day and night.

  2. indigogrrl says:

    thank you for sharing something that painful and personal

  3. Jadzia says:

    myiq, i am so, so sorry. i want to drop a link here to the Erika Whitmore Godwin foundation, for anybody who has gone through the death of a child, or wants to support somebody who has: http://www.griefhaven.org. They’re good people.

  4. guest says:

    Agree with you with one caveat — politicians are known to lie and too quick to use a sob story to their advantage — well, that is the pattern anyway. I have not seen Santorum’s video or what they said and I don’t care. I don’t care about Holmes or that other guy Robinson.

    How did it all start? Who started talking about it first?

    • Three Wickets says:

      The video is at the top of this post…the post you are commenting on.

      • guest says:

        I know, but don’t care to see it. Or rather I don’t trust Santorum. But I would not go around talking trash like Colmes or that other guy. I would just ignore it. Anyway, who started talking about this first and in what context?

  5. guest says:

    But no parent expects to bury their child. They are supposed to outlive us.

    This reminds me of my own dad. At some point in my high school years, I thought I should join my dad on his walks. He was a good story teller, philosopher and all that but we all used to roll our eyes a lot in those days, :). Anyway, on one walk he would not let me walk on the traffic side and when asked why he said exactly that — that no parent wants to see their child die.

    • Three Wickets says:

      Have you ever lost a child, or even been a parent. I’m guessing no on both counts. Your insensitivity is startling.

      • guest says:

        I don’t think I am at all insensitive. That story (and many others) about my dad has kept me going all this time (and sharing that with this post was a way of saying thanks to myiq2xu for writing this post which triggered those good memories for me this morning).

        The point I am making with my comments (what you think are insensitive) is a different one which is that it is difficult to feel sentimental about a politician’s story.

      • guest says:

        Since you made this all so personal, let me ask you this: when was the last time you took a walk with your children and told them how much they mean to you and how protective you feel of them? If you have not done so, Ms. Sensitive, tell them before you die or they die. The discord you feel with my comment shows that you don’t realize how (as a child) I cherish what my dad did on that walk.

        Anyway, I will stop here.

        • catarina says:

          “Anyway, I will stop here.”

          too bad you couldn’t have stopped sooner.

        • guest says:

          Yeah I wish I never came here — now I am feeling really sad about sharing that very precious story about my dad here..

          Myiq2xu, could you please delete all my comments? I hope you do.

  6. K.T. says:

    I read your blog several times a day. This is one of your best posts ever. I’m sorry for your loss and have experienced the same pain.

    I use to believe that Republicans were heartless and that Democrats were caring. I thought that after Obama was out of office I could return to voting for a Democrat. The Colmes & Robinson stuff has finally convinced me to become an Independent.

  7. votermom says:

    I am so sorry for your loss, myiq.
    I always feel that family ghosts stay with us until we join them.

    It wasn’t that long ago that people died at home all the time. Sometimes they died elsewhere and were brought home. The family would clean and dress the body for burial, then they would sit there with it until it was time for the funeral. In many places they still do it that way.

    When my older brother died his faith is one that says no embalming bury within a day and we couldn’t afford professional funeral services. So his church members, who were poor themselves, volunteered to wash & shroud him while I stayed with him, and they donated the gravesite. Even though I don’t subscribe to their faith, I will never forget their kindness.

    I’m going to empty a whole giant tissue box on this thread, I think.

  8. I suspect these were the tip of the iceberg of a planned set of talking points to paint Santorum as weird. Planned and developed by the Obama campaign. Today on Morning Joe, Eugene Robinson was given a chance by Joe to apologize and explain, he kept digging and mad it much worse. He just pushed and pushed on the weird theme. It’s a talking point and the Obama campaign isn’t letting go.

    I expect this to be the lowest, dirtiest, most divisive political campaign of my lifetime. I guess because the Obama campaign has nothing else going for them.

    I’m very sorry for your loss myiq. That’s heartbreaking and sad. And the cold, unfeeling nature of this particular attack is beyond ugly. I’ve never seen such hateful ugliness as I’ve seen from the left in the last few years.

    • I have to say, I didn’t think my feelings towards Obama, is campaign, and his followers could get much worse. They continue to surprise me.

    • K.T. says:

      Bull, I think you might be right about this campaign. I didn’t think anything could be worse than the Obama team calling the Clintons racists. But he is really against the ropes, now. Nobody believes in “hope and change”, anymore. He’s a cornered animal, this time.

      It will get ugly.

    • jjmtacoma says:

      I can’t figure out why they would use this talking point, aren’t women one of the groups obama is hoping will vote for him? He clearly has no idea how many families have lost babies through miscarriage or preterm birth.

  9. votermom says:

    OT tweeting on His Imperial Travesty:

  10. DandyTiger says:

    Thanks for sharing, and sorry for your loss and that immeasurable pain.

    This is truly a new low. I’m not sure there is anything the Obama campaign wouldn’t do to win at this point. I think if they needed to start a civil war, they would.

    I really haven’t liked Santorum’s politics and couldn’t have imagined ever voting for him, even as a protest vote. Funny, now I can.

  11. DeniseVB says:

    So sorry for your loss myiq {hug}. Sharing your personal loss makes us all stronger.

  12. Jeffhas says:

    Well – this has been the most illuminating few years -ever- for me. Taking 25+ years of blind faith tribalism and throwing it our the window to see with ‘mine own eyes’.

    ‘Guest’ asked who started this particular food fight – and even though this story has been aruond for years – it was Colmes who brought it up recently, under the ‘weird’ title. It has to be a ‘Talking Point’ from ‘someone’ when you look at the Colmes message followed by Robinson. What a creepy, depth my former party has sunk to. The only thing weird about this whole subject is that the Party of Tolerance can’t imagine everyone grieving in their own way. Death is the most solemn event to take place – the grieving process a profoundly personal process – and the Dem party has a zero tolerance for how these things should be handled?

    Shame on them.

  13. HELENK says:

    I am sorry for your loss and having lost 3 children before birth I hope I can understand your pain. There are certain times in life that bring the pain forward, but it is always there in the background.

    I just returned to California after going back east for the funeral of my son-in-law. Seeing the pain of my daughter and two grand daughters at his death makes me more aware of the pain of others.

    It is a damn shame that political spokesmen have lost the sense of decency that would prevent comments like these two made

    • votermom says:

      I am so sorry for your loss.

    • Karma says:

      Truly, I am sorry for your loss and that of your daughter and grand daughters. And that you couldn’t be closer to them now. I know seeing my Grandfather helped me this holiday season, when my father passed unexpectedly too.

      {{{Hugs to you and yours}}}

      • HELENK says:

        I stayed for the holidays because I knew that the first holiday after a death is one of the worst. I am thinking of moving back east but when I left it was 24 degrees and when I got back to California it was in the 80s.
        I am so proud of how my daughter and grand daughters are coping with their loss. My son-in-law taught them not to be afraid and they know they are loved very much

    • DeniseVB says:

      {{{HelenK}}} Have missed you too.

  14. jjmtacoma says:

    Myiq – I’ve never lost a child but my husband died when I was 25 years old leaving me a single mom with a toddler.

    I am so sorry about your baby. Losing a child seems like the hardest thing to live with.

  15. foxyladi14 says:

    So sorry for your loss myiq {hugs}

  16. votermom says:

    This is pretty funny. I have netflix streaming on and am playing “Sarah Palin: The Undefeated” and when the movie gets to a clip of Obama the tv truns itself off. (Not kidding). LOL.

    Just before that they have a clip of Sarah at her resignation speech and she says this:

    “You can choose to engage in things that tear down or that build up.”

    And that’s where Dems are now – they’ve turned into the party of destruction – personal destruction, professional destruction, economic destruction – you name it. They’ve made that choice.

  17. yttik says:

    I’m sorry for your loss, myiq. A friend of mine passed away a few years ago and she talked about wanting to go and finally meet the baby she had lost more than 60 years ago. I hope they are together now, but I know she passed away peacefully with that thought in her mind.

    It really is not appropriate to mock somebody’s grief for political purposes. I also hate this trend from my former party that seems to obsess over the need to create political martyrs or villains, with no thought or concern about the people involved. Private Manning, Jackadrien, Plumber Joe, Santorum and his wife’s grief. These are human beings, not political toys.

  18. Karma says:

    My husband has a sister who passed and his mother is the same. Quietly thinks five kids but only says four. Only a few people know and often it seems that events or conversations give us an opportunity to spend that quiet time with her. But when someone knowingly goes after that memory, like you said, fucking ghouls.

    Truly, I am sorry for your loss and how seeing this unfold must hit you harder.

  19. timothy says:

    I was in the car with my 67 year old father today and we were talking about Santorem. My dad was studying to become a deacon before we were blasted into abject poverty. So he is very very Catholic. I relayed the Colmes story and he shared with me for the first time about his daughter/my sister who was born a year before me and the doctor’s told him she only had hours to live. I knew she had died but I never knew my dad held her during that entire time or that my mother was hospitalized for two weeks and didn’t even get to attend her babies funeral. then they had me a year later. Kid born with two holes in his heart and all kinds of fucked up congenital bullshit. Valves leaking , aortas misplaced oversized blah blah blah. I wish i had known what they went through. i could never hate them but I wanted them to disappear to be gone from my life. I came out when aids was such a mystery and I look back and understand their fear. Took me along time to realize how much I love my parents and to be thankful. Still annoy the hell out of me but just solid peeps.

    • votermom says:

      timothy, I’m so glad you & your parents are passed that rough time. You sound like such a loving, compassionate person.

      • timothy says:

        I have parents that will pass with a shove, a push and a good swift kick in the ass.
        had two open heart surgeries in the 70’s. Always supposed to be dead.just didn’t happen and then along came puberty and I was gay. On some level even when they called me some pretty nasty names as a kid I knew they wanted to protect me and with AIDS just rearing it’s ugly head they didn’t know how. I lived in Philly, London and NYC during the time when AIDS was a death sentence but I never lost sight of my core. I don’t judge people who do all kinds of crazy multiple partners activities. I cannot know their history. I just know that even when I was estranged from my family and we could not speak I knew I was on some level loved and even if I disliked myself I couldn’t do something like a bath house with multiple partners because I by being loved however flawed that love was still had an obligation.
        Today I think my parents are rock stars. My mom 15 year old prego high school drop out who gave birth to 6 kids somehow managed to earn 6 figures as a psych nurse. My Dad who never complained or asked anyone for help got an associates somewhere along the way and made bank by being an honest realtor.
        OWS annoys me so much because I remember in high school using a bar of soap to wash my jeans and then an iron to dry them. We had no time for pity. Did what we had to do. We were poor poor poor but we went to school everyday in clean clothes.

  20. Lola-at-Large says:

    This has been a very special thread. See what can happen when we consider the humanity of our fellow Americans, instead of their partisan affiliation? Thank you for sharing your story, myiq, and my condolences on your family’s loss. Losing a child is probably one of the most haunting pains one can experience in life.

  21. soupcity says:

    It took me a a while to comment on this thread because it is so much to contemplate and all of the personal stories have touched me so much. Myiq, thank you for this one. There are no words to express how sorry I am for what you had to go through. I lost a baby at 14 weeks about 13 years ago, and still feel that knife in my heart each time I think of her (or him didn’t want to know). For anyone to even comment in such a cold, mocking manner on how one grieves for a child is beyond the pale. One of my best friends knew her baby would never live outside the womb, the baby wasn’t fully developed but she took time, she took photos and had to do full on induced labor to deliver that precious one. And was she as beautiful as a baby could be. I can’t imagine having to do that.

    To all of you who commented with your personal stories, thank you and you all have my admiration and condolences.

  22. Erica says:

    This is one of the best posts ever. Look at what’s happened. MyIQ shares his personal story and relates it to the ever-more-despicable party mouths mocking what should be revered as a deeply personal experience, and then every one starts opening up and sharing. I guess my point, beyond gratitute for this blog and its people, and my utter disgust at what my party continues to reveal about itself, is that when people like Colmes and Robinson smack talk like that, they are unwittingly turning off so many people, because if one hasn’t the same loss, there’s been one close enough to hurt.

    Their strategy, and I believe it comes direct from the WH, is a strategy of desperate losers, and I hope they pay for it many times over.

  23. HELENK says:

    because sometimes we just need to see beauty

  24. Melissa says:

    Myiq, I’m so sorry for your loss and I join the chorus of people who are glad you could share the story. I certainly wouldn’t blame you if you couldn’t.

    In regard to Santorum, from what I understand, this happened in 1996 or thereabout and it was a family thing until his wife wrote about it a few years back in a book. I don’t think it got too much attention at the time, and I live in PA, so I would think I would have heard about it in the run up to the 2006 elections.

    I’m not particularly a Santorum fan either, but I actually see him as being an unusually sincere politician. He believes what he believes and he’s not changing to please anyone. There’s something to be said for that.

    • 1539days says:

      I think the sincerity is what bothers those people. What they don’t want is a bunch of Republicans who are pro-choice and pro gay marriage because it would cut into their narrative of Republicans being evil. A conservative GOP actually keeps these professional pundits in business. What they really want are insincere politicians who oppose gay marriage and are secretly gay. Well, except for the Democrats. They get to stay in the closet.

  25. Betty says:

    It was too much to deal with and too much to ignore.

    I copied that from your post and now can’t think of a thing I was going to say. Haunting description of heart break.

  26. WMCB says:

    Thanks for sharing, myiq. I just can’t imagine losing a child (no matter if they lived for hours or years), and am utterly gobsmacked that people can be so vicious as to mock and jeer at a father for how he and his wife and family chose to grieve.

    Fucking pigs.

  27. I grows harder and harder to admit that I ever identified with these people. The Colmes ilk.

    WTF is wrong them them?

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