grief · grieving loss of child · memories · remembering · stillbirth · stillborn · tribute

Perfect Timing

As some of you know tomorrow is the day that John and I were estimated to meet our little Hudson. Unfortunatly that is not the case and instead we will be visiting his grave. All during this week I have been thinking about this day – especially when a girl that was due the day before me had her baby. The week flew by better than I could have imagined. John and I received cards, e-mails, messages – all remembering the hard day we were going to be facing. I am still amazed at the wonderful friends and family he and I have in our lives. Below I am attaching a letter written by a very good friend of mine. She is a VERY talented artist that sent us one of her creations. It came in the mail yesterday – can you say perfect timing? I wanted to share this piece of art with you and I had to include the letter to show you even more of the beauty that lays inside. Enjoy!

Artist Statement

When I began this piece, I thought it was a tribute to myself… to my act of being a mother. I wanted to portray my feelings of giving everything I had to a child that was oblivious of my love. The planning, nurturing, worrying and delivery of this child was no easy task. The figure is naked, empty and uncomfortable. She has no identity. She is just the vessel that was used to bring this life into existence.This wood sculpture was made out of 1“ x 12” white pine. That is just about the most regular piece of wood to buy. But as I glued the pieces together, and cut away the unneeded excess, I realized the personality that was in the wood. It was special. No matter what I did to it, I couldn’t change the predestined purpose that the wood was created for. When I stopped fighting and gave in to the direction that the wood wanted to go, it began to develop as a piece of art that had meaning and purpose. Instead of me conforming the material, its destiny was revealed to me. As I cut into the wood, I envisioned the hidden content, as if the form was hidden and it was my job to find it. I kept seeing it like a jawbreaker. You know how when you suck on a jawbreaker, it changes colors? Usually I can’t wait to see it so I bite it in half to see the rings. That is how I saw the wood. But now, I took great care to keep the underlying form intact. Michelangelo once said, “ I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.”I came to love working on it. I looked forward to the freezing cold mornings when I would go outside to carve and sand. I didn’t mind breathing in the dust that would make me sneeze all day. I even justified the blisters that developed on my fingers. I cared for it and nurtured it just as if it were a child. That is when I understood that the sculpture represented the love that a mother has for the baby that she gives birth to. Even though pregnancy is hard with the sleepless nights, stretch marks, weight gain and everything else, it is trivial when a mother holds her child for the first time.I didn’t understand why I was drawn to this subject. Through my struggles as an artist I have learned to let God be my inspiration. I didn’t really want to make a sculpture that had a theme of the pain that love brings to all mothers. I just knew that I was supposed to. In the middle of it’s creation, I learned that a friend of mine had just received the worst news that I could imagine. Her unborn son’s heart had stopped beating. She was about to endure the pain that was represented in this sculpture. She was giving everything she had to a child that couldn’t, for now, understand the enormity of her love. All I could think of was of the pain that she must be in. My heart hurt for her. My soul hurt for her.I looked at the sculpture and saw her. At that moment I understood this inspiration. God had a plan. Weeks earlier, He knew that my friend was going to feel the deepest pain that is imaginable to a mother. He knew that, as a mother, I could relate. As I looked at the hole in my figure’s center, I understood that it represented the place that once nurtured and loved this baby. It is now an empty cavity that is not only absent of a child but of the heart that she so willingly gave it. The figure doesn’t recognize her own nudeness because her concentration is on the child that is swaddled in her warm and caring arms. She is oblivious to all that is around her as she looks at the miracle that lies in her arms. Then, I saw where a crack had formed down the center of her face and into the face of her baby. It almost represents the division that they were enduring.In a way, I believe that during this painful time, God has swaddled and loved my friend like this baby. I know that He cries and hurts deeply as He holds His sweet daughter in his arms. If our love is just a small measure of what God’s love is, I think that my friend’s baby is being well taken care of. I know that God is swaddling and nurturing this very sweet baby until his mommy is there is do it for Him. –Michelle Thaxton

In Memory of Hudson Greer Henninger, born January 16, 2009

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