Suzanne Pullen led a visualization exercise during the memorial service at the end of the Stillbirth Summit 2014. She asked us to close our eyes, focus on our breathing, and then imagine a place we love, where we feel safe, and to go to that place in our minds. She encouraged us to look around and to notice what we see there. I found myself on Star Island in the Isles of Shoals, a retreat center that is important to my family. I saw myself getting off the boat on a gorgeous summer day, walking down the pier, heading towards the lawn. As I reached the lawn, I saw a little girl. It must be Chiara, but she was older than her 22 months. She could walk, she could talk. She was wearing a white dress, and she was barefoot. She grabbed my hand and pulled me towards the gentle green slope. “Mommy, mommy, come see, come see,” she laughed and ran ahead. I followed, my heart swelling with pride and love seeing this vision of my daughter. I chased up the hill after her. The hill was backlit by the sun. She got there before me, and kept saying, “Come see, Mommy, come see,” As I got closer, I could see her standing there with other people. My Dad, 12 years gone, was there, waving. My Nana, now gone 9 years, was there, too, she was also smiling, waving. Chiara was bouncing up and down, saying, “I’m OK Mommy, I’m OK”. She was waving to me, smiling, laughing. It became clear that I could not reach her. I told her so, told her I had to go, told her I loved her so much and that I’d come visit again and someday I’d come back to be with her for good. I couldn’t reach her, but I imagined holding her close, kissing her face all over, squeezing her tight. I could feel her in my arms, sense her skin under my lips. I told her over and over again how much I loved her. I tuned and walk down the green slope, toward the boat waiting to take me back. She continued to wave, and I could hear her voice telling me, “I’m OK, Mommy, I’m OK!”. She was flanked by my Dad and Nana, who were still waving. There were others standing in the light that I could not see, but I had the overwhelming sense that they were all OK, there was a profound feeling of love, and also an understanding that I could not remain with them, but that they would wait for me.
I have never had this kind of experience before, although I have tried to make myself open to them. I have tried to fall asleep with the intention of dreaming of my baby girl, tried to will this kind of interaction, but I have never received this gift before. I do not know what to make of it. I don’t know if what I saw was a beautiful movie created by my mind, or if I somehow did get a glimpse of my daughter, my Dad, my Nana. I don’t think I will ever be certain, but I am so incredibly grateful for this experience. I will relive it over and over, and I hope to be transported back there someday.