Dear Charlotte

It is tradition in our family for me to knit a blanket for every baby born into it. I’ve made a bunch of them now – starting with blankets for my own daughters, and then Hank. I’ve showered them on nieces and nephews, and a grand-niece and a grandson, and every one I have knit has been an epic. A blanket made just for them, never to be repeated again – with motifs and meaning that is unique to that one person on earth, as special as they are. I knit them for months as the awaited babe bakes away, and every stitch I knit in them is another little wish. Be happy, be healthy, be your own self. Be brave, be funny, be fierce, be all you, be mine.

When I give the blanket to them, there’s always a glorious photoshoot of the recipient nestled in all that love, and… I write them a letter. A missive explaining why I knit them what I did, what the motifs in their blankets mean, and what I hope for them, what I hope the future holds for them, and I tell them how very, very welcome and loved they are, and how happy we all are that they’re here. You’ll find some of those letters here on the blog. Dear Elliot, Dear Maeve, Dear Frankie, Dear Luis…

I love this tradition. In a family that values handmade things as part of our culture, the blankets feel like treasures to me, and they’ve always been treated that way by the parents of the babes, and by the children themselves, when they get big enough. They all call them “my blanket” and I have never doubted that they are the closest thing I can knit to an amulet of protection – my love between them and the world. Wrap yourself up in that, kiddo. You’ll always have me.

Of course, I knit Charlotte a blanket, and it was blocked and folded and waiting for her when she arrived, and there aren’t words to tell you how much I looked forward to wrapping her in it – the lace around her little face, her fingers curled like little blossoms against the wool and silk. We took Elliot’s blanket pictures when he was a week old and Meg and I had agreed that’s when we would take Charlotte’s. Those first few days are just too hard to scramble fancy photoshoots in matching clothes into the mix. We’d wait, we said. The blanket stayed folded, there was no need to rush.

Yesterday, Charlotte would have been four months old. Meg has been asking for almost all those months for Charlotte’s blanket to be photographed and for me to write about it, the way I did for Elliot, and I have been stalling, or maybe it’s unfair to say stalling and it’s really been more like… trying, because of all the items left behind in the wake of that babe’s life, it is the blanket that hurts me the most.

Meg and I speak often of the inner conflict we feel around remembrances of Charlotte. I know it is different for everyone -but for me and Meg, some things have begun to bring us comfort. The pictures and videos of her, or remembering the delicious anticipation of her birth, recalling the joy I felt holding her in my arms, these are things about my little granddaughter I don’t want to forget, and while it makes me sad to see or think of those things, they are balanced with a sweetness and happiness that makes it worth the agony. Other things have remained intolerable. My Ravelry queue, still full of everything I was going to make her is still exquisitely painful to me and I haven’t been able to open it – not after I opened it once without thinking and was confronted with it all. Similarly the tiny clothes I made for her that she never wore are unbearable. It’s funny, but I don’t feel that way about the wee things that we did dress her in. They don’t make me as sad at all, but the unused ones just break my heart.

For me, that is the difference. Remembrances of Charlotte don’t make me sad, but the things we didn’t use are gigantic reminders of the colossal rip off that is infant loss. So it is for Megan I think – we’re on mostly the same page with all of her pictures and belongings, with one difference. Charlotte’s blanket. Meg feels connected to it, often holding it and finding comfort in something that was so fiercely and individually Charlotte’s – a symbol of how desperately loved and wanted she was. Me? I’m the jerk who can’t quite look at it long enough to write the post my daughter wants.

Today – it’s been four months since Charlotte’s perfect day. The day in between the day she was born and the day she died – the day that we all just snuggled in and looked at her and passed her arm to arm and smelled her head and showed Elliot how he could tell that she loved him already, because she was holding his finger in her wee fist, and we let the feeling of tremendous luck and gratitude wash over us. Charlotte was safely arrived, healthy and beautiful, and carrying my mum’s name. It felt like a healing of a kind – one out, one in, the family seeking level like water. Meg and I whispered over her tiny body, marvelling at how she was a girl. It feels a little sexist, doesn’t it? To say we were happy she was a girl? Our family is an undeniable matriarchy – I think it started when my grandfather ceded all familial power by heading off to war, and my Grammy took charge and it’s been down to the women since. There is something special about being a woman in our family – to paraphrase Gloria Steinem, most of us became the men we wanted to marry, and we have a long history of wonderful mothers and powerhouse aunties and sisters and some (okay several) men who have opted out of doing anything amazing with their roles, and it’s left the whole family valuing women more than is strictly reasonable. I love Elliot more than I can possibly tell you and I don’t think having a girl is better than having a boy, but I had only daughters myself, and there was something about Meg having a daughter that lit us both up with a connection. Charlotte would be…. like us. A mother maybe, an auntie, a sister.

This is what I was thinking about while I knit her blanket. That she would join a long line of incredible women that Meg and I would tell her about as she grew. She would have me and Erin of course, but… we are the matriarchs now- it would be only stories that she’d hear about my remarkable Mum and spectacular Grammy that would inspire her. I resolved to start telling that story with her blanket – the story of the women she came from.

The centre of Charlotte’s blanket has little trees of life (I know, obvious – sorry. I get a little romantic about babies) and a border of diamonds because they have four sides – and Charlotte was the person who took Meg, Alex and Elliot from a trio- to a quartet. Meg and Alex will forever now have two children. The four little nupps in the centre of each diamond are for each of them.

Around that centre is ring lace. This is the only element that has appeared on most blankets that I knit – it’s a signature move, and is meant to symbolize the family that surrounds the child, whole and intact, as protectors and help.

Outside that, my favourite. It’s an old victorian lace pattern that’s roses on a trellis – it’s a theme of four again, but this time, it’s for my mum. Anyone who knew her couldn’t help but associate her with her garden, and her love of roses. Roses are like my mum too – and I imagined explaining to Charlotte that my mum was like a rosebush. Not like a rose, you understand, but like the bush. Beautiful soft blooms – and strong canes and thorns. Bonnie (the elder) was soft hearted, but it came with a wicked fierceness that I wished for my Charlotte Bonnie (the younger). There are four roses on each trellis, the same number of children my mum had. Me, James, Ian and Erin.

Beyond that – it’s my own Grammy. Kay McPhee, mercy she was a wild woman and she died when I was a teenager and I still sometimes think about her fingers in my hair as a I go to sleep. She was larger than life, and more beautiful than I can say, and if anyone ever tells me I am anything like her I feel so proud. She was like a willow. Strong, but flexible. Remind me to tell you all about the time she had me fake an illness so she didn’t have to go to a business dinner with my Grampa. Genius. (We got caught.) This panel of Lilly of the Valley is her favourite flower, and it grew all the way along the side of her house, and when I was a little girl she used to encourage me to lie on my tummy in the grass and stick my nose right in it. I recommend the practice. Lily of the Valley also appears on Elliot’s blanket – so a little nod to sibling solidarity there.

The border is the only bit left to tell my Meg about, and it’s the only thing that’s exactly the same as Elliot’s blanket – well, that’s not true. I used the same yarn too so that they’re in the same family – just like Elliot and Charlotte. It is Print ‘o the wave, and meant to signify the same thing it did for her brother. The water we all love to be in and near, the water she was born from, and into, and the wave of love that carried her here to us. It is the part that is Megan – the strong woman that Charlotte came from. There is much that I could say here about the strength I see in my daughter right now. I always knew it was there – but she’s shown more grace though the last four months than I could ever have hoped for. I am grateful that Charlotte had such a good, strong mum. I grieve that she didn’t get more.

I have not found a way to write to Charlotte. Maybe that is for her mother to do, or maybe I am just too much of a realist to write to someone that I know will never read it, and besides, I wrestle with some demons yet. When I wrote to Elliot, I wrote about how content I was as a grandmother- how the fear and terrible worry of being a mum gives way to experience, and that in that there is so much joy. I worried about what might happen to my girls, I wrote- but after they grew up, largely without incident, I thought there was nothing to fear, I could enjoy my grandchildren with a joyful unafraid love that leapt like little fish in the sunshine and made my heart feel like it was made of sparkles. How many times did I reassure Meg, how many times have I told her not to worry, not to be afraid? I was so wrong.

I think it is natural when someone dies, when there is a tragedy like this, that you search for the meaning, purpose and value of it. I think that too because Charlotte was so little, and because forty-eight hours is a pretty short lifespan, that the urge to look for the gift or transformation that her life offered is powerful, and there is an attempt to give weight and motive to a life that couldn’t generate it with time, and I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out what that is.
I do not believe that Charlotte was here so briefly for a reason. I don’t think (and cannot tolerate) any idea that Megan and Alex have had to suffer like this as part of a grand design. They are good parents and made no mistakes and so I can only think it was an accident of nature that took her – like a terrible flood or a disaster that no-one could see coming, and no-one could stop, and I don’t feel like we are supposed to figure it out, but I can see that it’s going to change all of us.

Megan wrote the other day that she feels that this has taken her innocence, and this – this is Charlotte’s legacy, in a very good way. I have spent my entire adult life trying to learn how to be brave, and in particular how to raise brave daughters – and I do not think that was a waste of time at all, but this whole thing, not getting a chance to write Charlotte a letter, to wrap her in her blanket, it has reminded me that maybe when it comes to love, it is perhaps a good thing to be a little bit afraid.

I know now that anyone I love, any person, any moment can be struck by lightning, and since Charlotte came and went, I have tried to love the people I do a little more fiercely. I say I love you more often. I try to bite my tongue a little harder, to pay more compliments, to show more patience, to say yes a little more often, and I see Megan do the same. Can someone who lived only forty-eight hours change this many people? I think, as I look at my tiny granddaughters big blanket amongst the bleeding hearts, that oh, my Dear Charlotte, maybe so.

I’m so glad you were here. I miss you.

239 thoughts on “Dear Charlotte

  1. Making the decision to have a child – it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.

    I believe you’ve said this quote before and I think you and Megan need it again. I am so sorry for your lose but very happy that you got to feel Charlotte’s heart beat with yours and Megan’s blood.

    • I too have often said that having a child is having your heart wander the world unprotected– protected only by our love for them. God bless you for sharing your love for Charlotte and your caring for us as your friends! My eyes are filled with tears and my heart aches with yours for her short time with you. I love you and Charlotte’s family.

  2. So beautiful, heart wrenching, loving, raw, real. Thank you for your openness about loss and trusting us with your grief. The blanket’s story will always be with your beloved granddaughter, a gift for the ages

  3. “when it comes to love, it is perhaps a good thing to be a little bit afraid.” I”m so sorry — love and our loved ones are precious. The loving is worth it, but so, so risky.

    Thank you for writing this. Love to you, and all your family, especially Megan, Alex, and Elliott.

    • Thanks for putting into perfect words what I was thinking. So much grief in the world currently, it’s important to carve out some space and time for individual and family grief. Not easy but necessary.

  4. I lost my first born 23 years ago. I still grieve for him. But that feeling of fiercely loving what you do have here on earth that you expressed so eloquently, is so true. Thank you. Hugs.

  5. Beautifully written from your heart…a love letter from all of the remarkable women in Charlotte’s lineage that came through you to Charlotte. So lovely.

  6. I knew it would be scary to read but I am so glad I did, thank you for sharing…that was beautiful and reminds us all to not take one day for granted.

  7. Dear Steph….I have followed your blog for years and years…and have never commented for whatever reason…but this makes me weep actually. We all did and are still weeping and grieving with you for Charlotte…there are no other words. Thank you for being so utterly brave to write these words from your ripped open heart…know that we all keep you all in our hearts thoughts and prayers.

  8. I am sending so much care for your beautiful family’s loss, and adding to the river of tears for a life way too short.

  9. Such a terribly hard post to write. Such a gift for your daughter. Much love ❤️ continues to come your & your family’s way.

  10. Yes, the things that never will be hurt the most but the moments had heal those wounds day by day. I lost my grown yet young son a year and a half ago. I find comfort knowing he had a very big life but in a very short period of time. Charlotte too had much the same for those who are loved so dearly and fiercely have the biggest lives. Peace and comfort to all.

  11. That such a little person – who graced the world for such a little while – is loved so deeply, appreciated so fully, and mourned so exquisitely is beautifully heartbreaking.

    Sending all of you love and light.

  12. Thank you for writing so eloquently. It is raw. It will remain raw for a long time… I know everyone’s story is different, but I also lost a son, only I didn’t even have 48 hours with him. I don’t have “his blanket” with me anyomre, because I chose to have him wrapped in the blanket I made when he was buried. A silly idea that he would be surrounded by love forever. But I totally understand why this blanket you made for Charlotte is now the most precious thing for Meg. x

    • I also lost a stillborn daughter; I learned to knit so I could make her a blanket while I was pregnant. We wrapped her in that blanket while we held her, and chose to cut off a small square of the blanket so that she could be buried in it yet still keep a piece of what had surrounded her. My mother sewed a cloth border to keep it from unraveling.

      Thank you for writing this – brought back memories that, with the passage of time, are important to revisit.

  13. I have been thinking of you and Meg and your darling Charlotte often over the last four months. I am a fellow Megan who also lost a daughter, although my Julia did not make it to term. Whenever I think of her or miss her or grieve her I send up a loving thought for you and your girls too.

    This was a beautiful post, full of love. And I thank you for sharing it, and her, with us. Xo

  14. Thank you for sharing such eloquent and beautiful words. Keeping you, Megan, Alex, Elliot and your family in my thoughts. Sending all of you light and love.

  15. Thank you for sharing your love and tears. I’ve been wondering how you and your Daughter were coping with this immense loss. Prayers for such a strong female family.

  16. Thank you for sharing this beautiful writing. I am a Grammy to a baby in heaven as well and think of Megan and your family often sending you all much love and strength.

  17. It’s an amazing thing how you start to love a baby even before it is born.

    I’m so sorry for the loss to you and your family. It’s a beautiful post and a beautiful blanket for a beautiful girl. She will always be loved.

    Hugs to you and your family. ❤️❤️❤️

  18. When you first learned that Meg was pregnant with Elliot, you surprised your family by crying because having a child would make her so vulnerable to grief. Charlotte’s death proves that you were terribly right…and yet, doesn’t Elliot’s life prove that the risk was worth it? On a more practical point, I don’t know how we could do this but could you let one of us from outside your family go into your Ravelry queue and put the baby patterns into a separate folder so you wouldn’t have to see them until you want them again? I have no doubt that any and all or us would be happy to do this for you.

    • I was going to suggest this. Steph, perhaps Ken or a friend could put all the baby patterns in your queue into a separate folder or file that you could still find if you wanted it, but would not ambush you every time you went on Ravelry.

      I also want to say that I think I understand why the unworn clothes and the unknit patterns are so painful as opposed to the clothes she did wear. The clothes she wore are memories of her, full of sadness and grief, yes, but also filled with love and joy, as you so beautifully expressed. The unworn clothes and unknit patterns are reminders of the promise of a precious little one who will never wear them, will never grow up, will never have the chance to fulfill all the wondrous potential a newborn holds. No wonder all the unused things you knit and didn’t knit for her are so painful!

      I am holding you, her Mum, and your whole family close.

  19. When you say that the unused things are so painful reminds me of the six words short story by Hemingway. It is painful. I can’t even imagine the pain your family felt and is feeling. You are brave.

  20. What a beautiful, exquisite, precious love letter to and for baby Charlotte. I, too, think of you, Meg, and all of your family often and pray for strength, courage and peace for all of you. I’m praying God will hold all of you very close.

  21. Perhaps she will come again. It seems you have written to little Charlotte now. Unimaginable pain, but what remarkable parents to shepherd their son through these times. I wish peace for your family, the comfort of happy times to come and memories of the spark of life and love that was/is this much loved baby.

  22. Love and light and peace to all the strong women in your remarkable family. Thank you for this beautiful and brave post.

  23. Perhaps this is the letter you were meant to write to Charlotte. It does tell her the meaning behind the patterns, how strong, brave and loving the lineage of women she rose from really are, and so much more.

    We all hold you, Megan and the rest of the family in our thoughts, prayers and hearts as you go through this and hope the grief eases for all of you.

  24. Not much to add. Only that love is the only thing that makes us human. I lost my innocence in different circumstances, but I understand exactly what Meg means. The love you have all for each other will heal everything, even though Charlotte will not be forgotten. ❤️

  25. Thank you. Grief is such a brutal thing. You carry the spirit of your mother and grandmother strongly; it shows in every word you write. My heart goes out to you all, to Meg, to Alex, your entire clan.

  26. Thank you for sharing. I believe this is a post that others who have lost their dear ones can read and take comfort from and that is a good thing and a wonderful tribute.

  27. Thank you for sharing all this with us, though I’m sure it was incredibly hard. Losing a child has to be the worst pain imaginable. We should all take the time now to tell our loved ones how we feel, to not take any moment for granted.

  28. Love and loss and the circle of a family’s painful strength. Your story is shared by so many, including my sister. As part of the blog, your extended faceless family, we send you love and support and heartfelt hugs. We thank you for sharing your grief. We’re right beside you on your journey, Stephanie, and we hope our collective care brings you a little bit of comfort. Love to all of you.

  29. Thank you. I am always amazed (and I shouldn’t be) by your eloquence and grace with words. That could not have been an easy post yet you did it and you reminded us of everything that is important. Blessings to you and Meg and the entire rest of your family.

  30. I thought so many things as I read your beautifully written essay, my eyes leaking and leaking tears. But there is in the end really nothing I can say, except, “yes”. Love, love, love. Thank you.

  31. My heart broke for you when I read about Charlotte’s passing, it’s still broken as I read this today. You have always inspired us, even through tragedy, with grace and hope!

  32. The love for your family and those strong women created a beautiful blanket. Your words in your letter to Charlotte resonate love. Your granddaughter is changing lives and letting her love still be felt amongst you all, another strong woman in the family.

  33. Thank you for sharing this. I too have been thinking of you, your daughter and your family during these last months.
    I think this IS your letter to Charlotte.

  34. I’m sure that was hard to share. Please know that as we watched you knit each of these blankets, you knitted OUR love and good thoughts for those babes, too… Our hearts are all bleeding for your family….

  35. Such beautiful expression of the heart wrenching of grief. So much love for you and yours. Your willingness to be vulnerable and open is a gift. I hold my dears ones closer as a result.

  36. You poured your heart out to the blog and the blog is here to support you and your loved ones. This was a beautiful tribute to your granddaughter, her blanket, and your family. Hugs to all of you.❤️

  37. What a beautiful post!

    And yet – you (unintentionally) shame all of us who wish we could write like this (though not on the same subject!), and at the same time you write for us all.

  38. Oh this is so beautiful. And yes sad, because her life was brief but meaningful I think. Isn’t this an eloquent and loving letter to Charlotte Bonnie. My love to you all.

  39. I didn’t read any of the previous comments (actually couldn’t because of the tears pouring down my face), but this is your letter for Charlotte.

  40. Some things, like this letter to Charlotte, happen in their own time. They can’t be hurried. They can’t be rushed. That’s why they are treasured so much.

  41. Can someone who lived only 48 hours change so many lives? Yes, oh yes.
    I was so excited for you and your family when you introduced us to your sweet Charlotte Bonnie. I showed my family your beautiful girl and we all looked and ahhed over those cheeks.
    When, in just hours, she was no longer here, we mourned with you. We hugged our babies a bit tighter.
    Charlotte taught us to treasure every day with our loved ones. She taught us that love and grief are two sides of the same coin. She embodied innocence. She was perfect.
    (The blanket is beautiful)

  42. Forty-eight hours (plus nine months) is absolutely enough time to change peoples’ lives.

    And three hours is, too.

  43. What a poignant “missive” of love, and of fierce women.

    I shared this with my big sis (a fellow knitter) who lost her first child in March 1983 when he was a day old.

    Thank you for sharing your heart.

  44. I know I’ll read this again and again. Thank you so much for sharing this with us. You don’t know me but you are an important character in my life. And I mourned the loss of this little girl. I think of you, your daughter, your family often and for what it’s worth, I send you my love.

  45. “maybe when it comes to love, it is perhaps a good thing to be a little bit afraid.”

    My brother died suddenly in March, and this send and the following paragraph are the exact lessons that I have taken from losing him.

    Thank you for sharing <3 Your words are always so wonderful.

  46. Stephanie, I was struck by this sentence you wrote (and I haven’t read all of the 86 comments before this one, so I don’t know if anyone else has commented on this). “I am grateful that Charlotte had such a good, strong mum. I grieve that she didn’t get more.”

    Charlotte got 100% — ALL — of Meg’s mothering while she was here. It’s like gas molecules, which disperse to fill all of the available space. I understand that it was only for a short period of time, but while she was here she got ALL of it. She fully experienced Meg as a mother; she took in ALL that Meg had to offer, which was a lot. In fact, it was everything.

    Charlotte got excellent mothering — and grandmothering — while she was here, and that’s what counts.

  47. After my sister died tragically (suicide), I stopped saying good-bye to people I love. I say, “Take care,” because I can’t bear the idea of of another tragic loss.

    • My dad has never once said goodbye to me. I’m not sure what started it, but he feels it is too final. He says “see you later” or “take care”. His mum does when he was 10, and I do wonder if that’s why.

  48. Stephanie, your letter to Charlotte and your beautiful symbolic blanket knit just for her ad wonderfully special. Sending you hugs and caring, for you to share with Meg and Alex and little Elliot. Charlotte’s life has opened my eyes to the wonder of life and love. Thank you baby girl.

  49. Beautiful, tragic and poignant. I grieve with your family. I honestly wondered what you would or could say about the beloved blanket. I’m going to wipe my tears now and love a little harder and forgive a little more.

  50. Such wise and beautiful words. Thank you. It can’t have been easy.
    Our hearts are with you–all over the world.
    Maggie

  51. I used to read your blog all the time, then I just petered out from reading blogs at all, then a few months ago I peeked at the ravelry group and learned about this devastating loss. I just checked in again today, and here is this beautiful, vulnerable, truthful piece. You have shared so much of your life and your family with us over the years. I wish there were words to give back to you to make it all better. My heart goes out to you all.

  52. Thank you for sharing that with us. I am so sorry for your loss. We lost a baby in our family after one day. That was almost 40 years ago now but I still remember her so well.

  53. That was beautiful. Thank you for sharing. I can attest that Charlotte Bonnie left her mark on me, a person hundreds of miles away who never even met her. What an impressive little girl!!

    Your words remind me of a poem I think of when I feel fear creeping in:

    ‘Tis a fearful thing
    to love what death can touch.
    A fearful thing
    to love, to hope, to dream, to be –
    to be,
    And oh, to lose.
    A thing for fools, this,
    And a holy thing,
    a holy thing
    to love.

    Source: http://www.yourdailypoem.com/listpoem.jsp?poem_id=3265

    • I feel the same way. I have never met this family, but cared that her Grammie was expectantly knitting her love into projects for her granddaughter. When she arrived, I shared her pic with my wife because she was so beautiful and sweet, dressed in her hand knitted items. It touched my heart. To hear of her loss, was such a blow, even to a stranger. This child inspired so much love. Holding her family close to my heart.

  54. Thank you for sharing with all of us. Thanks to you and to Meg for sharing Charlotte and her blanket and your grief. Charlotte’s life absolutely touched mine. I was so excited for her coming and heartbroken at her loss. Every time I think of her, I give my own girls (who are 1 and 3) an extra hug and say a prayer for love and healing in your family. Charlotte left her mark on all of us, I think, so thank you again for sharing her with us.

    Sending you love and peace.

  55. Thank you so much for this, and never be afraid of celebrating our daughters. I had a child after several miscarriages, and it was so late I knew she would be my only child, and I thank God she was a girl. She is the delight of my life.

  56. Sending so, so much love to you all. Brave and loving souls, all, though you were given no choice in this particular bravery.

  57. I have wondered about the blanket because they are such a personal gift ..
    I’m glad that Megan finds comfort / connection with the blanket . They are designed for comfort,warmth and security. The blanket will fade with time just like memories but never leave her,just the same as the fact she had a beautiful daughter will never change..

  58. I don’t have the words to express adequately how sorry I am for the heartbreak at the loss of Charlotte. Like others who eagerly await your every post, I was happy to meet Charlotte and then devastated for you just days later. I love how you write about the fierceness and bravery of the women in your family. I also wish that strength had not had to meet that terrible burden. My prayers continue to be with you and Meg and everyone. I’m humbled that you allow us into your life so freely.

  59. This is a wonderful tribute to your darling granddaughter and the legacy of strong women to whom belongs. My grandson is napping nearby as I read this, and my love for him is always tinged with a bit of fear lying just under the surface of the fierce love I feel for him. Sending you and all those who love Charlotte Bonnie much love.

  60. I think you have written your heartfelt letter to Charlotte here. Thank you for sharing it, and sharing the beautiful blanket you made for her.

  61. See, sometimes procrastination is not a bad thing. You could not have written that four months ago. And the bleeding hearts would not have been there for you. I wish you were my mom.

  62. I have no words to write as I wipe the tears from my eyes. I can only offer you my hugs and my prayers for comfort. For you and your whole family.

  63. We say, when someone passes, that their ‘memory should be a blessing.” You have turned the memory of her short life into something powerful.

    As someone who suffered multiple miscarriages, I also get it …. the why; the way it changes everything, every subsequent pregnancy. Your sense of normal is gone, replaced by a nagging worry and doubt. It changes you,

    Thank you for sharing.

  64. This is so beautiful, the blanket, the beautiful words. It riveted me, and has me just letting the tears flow. Sending blessings to your family and reminding myself to share more grace. Thank you.

  65. Thank you.

    Thank you so much to you, and Meg, and Alex, and Elliot, for sharing your beloved Charlotte Bonnie and her blanket with us, you Blog. I was waiting for this post and how much it would make us feel and grieve with you, and the outpouring of love we try our hardest to give you all. I wept the day you told us, and I weep again now for the strong healing circle of your family and your girl.

    You’ve done so much as a mother and a Grammy. Be as well as you can, and may the blanket continue to give Meg strength and comfort.

  66. Thank you for sharing Charlotte’s blanket and meaning with us. I feel, at the end of your story, as if I am in a holy space. A special space set aside for your precious granddaughter and her joyful life of 48 hours. God bless you all in the coming years.

  67. I have thanked you before for being a woman of substance, and for helping me step up and become more through your wonderful words. And I thank you again. I am so sorry this happened to your family. It both hurts and amazes me to watch you bear the unbearable with such grace and eloquence. I wish I could give you some of the solace that your words have given me over the years.

  68. such a beautiful post. Charlotte’s blanket is beautiful. you all are a strong family and will always cherish the short time you had with Charlotte

  69. i add my thanks and inadequate words to the many who have responded to your loving and eloquent letter to Charlotte and Meg. I send healing thoughts to you and your family so many days and will continue to do so.

  70. Thank you for this post. It is brave and beautiful and eloquent. My daughter, Schuyler, died 40 minutes after birth eleven years ago as of yesterday. I am also amazed that such a short life has had such an impact on so many people. I never met her myself. I had to have a c-section and they were still stitching me up when the head of the NICU team told me they couldn’t save her. And yet, she has taught me so much. Because of her, I am more compassionate, more open with my feelings, quicker to laugh, braver, and stronger. I’ve learned what matters and what doesn’t and I’m ready to fight for what does and let go of what doesn’t. I don’t believe she was taken from me for a “reason.” What possible reason could there be for something so cruel? I do believe that I would rather have had her and lost her than to never have had her at all.
    I am sending you and your family so much love and light as you continue your path of grief.

  71. As usual, thank you for sharing your words with the blog.
    Thinking of you and your family.
    Definitely a post I will save.
    Keep well

  72. What a beautiful and heart wrenching letter. The bravest thing of all is to process grief and loss and to allow it, as you say in your letter, to compel you to love all the more fiercely. Thank you for sharing these beautiful words.

  73. A new life inspires those expecting him/her. Before they arrive, there are dreams, hopes and expectations.

    When a new life leaves us so quickly, it is not just a human death but also the death of all those hopes, dreams and aspirations.

    I sympathize with you in expressing the meaning knit into the blanket. It is hard to put that last period in place. Hugs.

  74. Your beautiful words touch the part of us that is eternal. You describe love so strongly that we feel wrapped in it as well. Thank you for being such a strong, honest, powerful woman.

  75. Stephanie, thank you for sharing this letter with us. I am so sorry you, Megan, Alex, and all your family have suffered this terrible loss. Maybe Charlotte’s blanket can envelop you and bring you the same strength and comfort it would have delivered to Charlotte. Maybe it can calm the storm inside you a little with her memory. The message is still in the shawl. Much love and strength to you all.

  76. My sister in law and brother lost their baby this morning, and even though he hadn’t been born yet, this post is what I needed to read right now. It’s such a beautiful and clear message of the love and grief that comes from losing a baby. I felt very alone today, because I’m in a place where COVID prevents me from seeing them, and this is helping me feel much less alone.

    • I am so very sorry for your family’s loss. Please know that you are all in my thoughts and prayers in this very difficult time.

  77. As I look into my ninth months old child’s eyes as I feed him. My heart melts a little more. My heart goes out to you in these beautiful remembrances of 48 hours lived and the lives changed forever. Charlotte will always be cherished!

  78. I have also followed your blog for many years. We silently cheered Meg on from afar through her pregnancy. The anticipation. The excitement. And I clearly remember my sharp intake of breath when I read of her sudden passing. And thinking No No No. The loss of your wee innocent.
    This description of the journey of your blanket is wonderful. So much love. She is with us all. Thank you for such a personal sharing of your life.

  79. This had to be beyond painful to write. Your children and grandchildren have a pretty brave and fierce mother and grandmother themselves.

  80. The bond between grandparent and grandchild is different from all others. I grieve for a grandfather I never knew, who died when my mother was a child. His widow, my grandmother, was the emotional anchor of my childhood.

  81. Your Charlotte, through your words, is helping me “…to love the people I do a little more fiercely…say I love you more often, to bite my tongue a little harder, to pay more compliments, to show more patience, to say yes a little more often.” Thank you to both of you.

  82. This is so beautiful. And absolutely true. Thank you for sharing this. It is comforting as I cope with a lightning strike in my own family.

  83. This is so beautiful and touching,I’m so sorry for the loss of your sweet Charlotte.The blanket is gorgeous.❤️

  84. “How many times did I reassure Meg, how many times have I told her not to worry, not to be afraid? I was so wrong.”

    Actually, you were only wrong about being wrong. Meg would not be withstanding this experience with Strength and Grace without your fierce and tender love toward her throughout her lifetime and the birth of her Daughter.

    That encompassing Love of “Be happy, be healthy, be your own self. Be brave, be funny, be fierce, be all you, be mine” is the foundation of Grace and Strength that transcends all the sorrows of life, so we can meet them and move beyond without fear.

    Much Love to you and yours during this tender time.

  85. Stephanie, your words are beautiful, without knowing it you wrote your letter. You’ve given strength, compassion and love to Megan, Alex and Elliot, but also to us who read your blog. I’m so very sorry for you all. Does time heal? I don’t know, I’m still grieving for my granddaughter eight years later, she was stillborn but I got to hold her in my arms and will never forget her. Your family are so very close and together you will start to mend even if the hole will always be in your heart.
    Charlotte’s blanket is beautiful and Meg will forever treasure it. So full of family meanings.
    Peace and love to you all. You are all in my prayers.

  86. I don’t even begin to know how you feel. I wish there was a way to give you and your family comfort. I hope all the best for you all. Much love and thoughts of gentle kind virtual hugs on their way to you.

  87. Charlotte got what she needed from this life, her brief and glorious time on earth. It sucks to be the mortals left behind.
    you don’t need to know anything about me other than I too have lost a child, my heart is sending you love.

  88. oh that last paragraph…you are so right about anyone you love can go suddenly at any time. I found out twice and would not wish the experience on anyone. You (and I in time) have found peace with this, but there is always a hole in the heart that loved them so dearly. I wish you, Meg, and your family peace and love and sweet memories of Charlotte. It seems like you are on your way. Much love.

  89. thank you for sharing – Charlotte, her beautiful photos, her stunning blanket, her beautiful family – but mostly the love…..sharing the love – it certainly helps. Hugs to you all – always.

  90. I wept while reading this to my husband. Perhaps knowing how many people grieve with your family might, in some incremental way, make a day, or even an hour a bit easier. Blessed be.

  91. We suffered the same kind of loss but did not get the perfect day. Our Evelyn Kifferly stopped breathing as she was being born. “Stillbirth” is not a word I can get used to.
    I made her a blanket with turtles on it crawling from the sand to the sea. My daughter likes turtles and wrapped herself in that blanket when she needed comfort. I am crying as I write this. Sad tears.
    It was 4 years in June and we take the day to remember the small life that left such a big hole. Our grandson is now 2 1/2 and the light of my life. We all make sure he knows about his older sister who will be forever watching over him.

    Hugs for you and Meg and all the rest of your family.

  92. I read through your beautiful post without crying. . .until the last photo. The bleeding heart with your hand on Charlotte’s lovely blanket totally did me in. Thank you for sharing.

  93. Thank you, Stephanie, for a dazzling essay. This is not the first post of yours I’ve bookmarked in my “reads2keep” folder. You have a wonderful gift for knitting together human experiences. Sending you and Meg and Alex and Elliot and the rest of the family lots of love.

  94. I can remember and feel the incredible joy I experienced when seeing Charlotte’s arrival on Instagram. I’m still hanging onto the joyful pleasure of her being here. My heart aches for your family, dear, know that your sharing has a powerful, emotional impact and love is meant to be shared (even when it hurts). This is a beautiful tribute to Charlotte and the strong women in your family.

  95. And for the 3rd or 4th time you’ve brought me to tears. What a beautiful tribute to a life cut far too short. I hope Meg continues to glean comfort from her dear daughters blanket, and perhaps it can be a legacy to another family member far down the line.

  96. Again I weep. Again I am moved to write, call and say aloud those words that are important to say to people who I love.

  97. I think you just wrote your letter to Charlotte, and posted it here. I think her greatest gift to you, to all of you, has that she has taught you to remember to savor each moment – each hour – and acknowledge those that brought you love – to acknowledge them more frequently.

  98. You are such a beautiful person. Thank you for sharing your family’s story with us. You make the world better by being in it, and by showing us all how to live with grace.

  99. What a precious gift for all of you. Thank you for sharing this with us. I lost a niece at 5 months to a heart condition. 48 hr – 5 months is all too short. I also learned to say I love you more often, to hug the people I love. I learned to smile and say hello to strangers, for I may be the only one to have smiled at them that day. It has been 18yrs for me Anneke would have graduated this year from high school. But i can wonder with love and peace as to what she would be like now. I hope for healing of the heart and soul for Meg and Alex, and all of you. Love

  100. There are no words; sending heartfelt wishes for peace, and strength, and the healing powers of prayer to Meg (and Alex) and you (and yours) through the tears.
    (touch the cloud – how appropriate).
    Bonnie

  101. Oh, Stephanie. The gift of Charlotte, her blanket, and your writing about it will stay with me for a very long time. I’m a puddle over here. Thank you for sharing.

    • Oh my goodness, yes. Well said Judy. I am an absolute mess here after reading this. My heart is broken and yet full at the same time….

  102. Thank you, Stephanie. It’s hard to express the impact your words have had on me over the years. You’ve taught me knitting, yes. But you’ve also modeled how to live, and how to love, and how to grieve.

    Thank you for sharing these so-personal and so-difficult moments with us.

  103. Charlotte’s passing has had its affect on me, far more than a stranger’s should. I recall when you first announced it on here, it was like a punch in the gut, and I couldn’t even imagine the devastation that you and your family were going through, if I was that affected by it. Your words today have given me that punch once again- I was in a puddle as I tried to read your beautiful words. I don’t want to sound like I am taking away from any of your grief, as a complete stranger. Maybe I just want you to know that your grief is shared by thousands of us, so that we can help lift you when you are down. Please know that Charlotte, as small and young as she was, does have that power to change the world- I will be endeavouring to be even more giving of love and compliments than I already am- so that I just may give a fraction of the love that she brought. Hugs to you!
    P.S- I don’t even know if that made sense, as I am not a writer, but it was from the absolute depths of my heart…

  104. What a beautiful sentiment for Charlotte. My heart was both broken and warmed while reading your words about your precious baby girl Meg and her precious little girl, Charlotte. Thank you for your strength in sharing.

  105. First, your daughter is a most extraordinary young woman. The third generation of such, at least, in your family, it seems.
    Fifty years ago, my first daughter came into the world perfect and right on time and stillborn. Returning home to the beautiful layette made by my grandmother was a separate heartbreaking moment I have never forgotten. Although it was meant for one child who would never wear it, it gave me pleasure to wrap the two sisters who came after her in the blanket, the booties, the sweater. We all find our way to whatever peace we can handle. All these years later, she is still with me.
    I send you all my sincerest wishes for peace. You are a remarkable family. xo

  106. I’ve never experienced a loss of this magnitude and my words are hardly adequate right now, but thank you, to both you and Meg, for sharing this. The love & strength of your family has been present in so many of your posts, but never more than in this beautiful letter.

  107. I’ve thought about writing this reply since the day you posted this. I really wanted to make sure I got the words right. I found your blog back in 2006 during a rough patch in my life. I didn’t even know what a blog was at the time. Over the years I’ve read it end to end and have often simply picked a year and a month from the archive to reread–much like picking up an old favorite book. Every year on the blog’s birthday, you mention how much it has changed you. It has changed me too. Here’s the thing–I don’t know you. We met briefly at VKL in NYC this year (I gave you a vegan brownie) and I was drunk on yarn fumes. What I wish I could have told you in person was this blog has opened up my ability to care about total strangers. Truly and deeply care. Not in a weird, stalkerish way, but in a way that has taught me real empathy. It has also made me realize that empathy is not just for the bad times but for the good as well. I’ve been happy for you, and sad for you, and mad for you even though you and your family and friends are total strangers. Maybe that too is part of Charlotte’s legacy. That we all have the ability to truly care about people who we don’t know. And maybe that will change the world.

  108. Such incredible, beautiful words. Little Charlotte will never be forgotten. Many, including me, have faith that she is indeed able to read your words and feel the love you have for her.
    There are not adequate words to describe Charlotte’s blanket. It is too beautiful for this world. But thank goodness it’s here as a testament to Charlotte’s life and the love she brought to your precious family.

  109. Thank you, Stephanie, for writing about this in such a moving and meaningful way through your pain and loss. I became a new grandmother 3 weeks ago, and the loss of Charlotte Bonnie was never far from my mind during my son and daughter-in-law’s pregnancy. I am so sorry for your loss and for Meg’s loss and I am glad you have each other – what a strong family yours is.

  110. A beautiful blanket, a beautiful granddaughter, a beautiful story. I think many people are so afraid of grief – repelled by it, alone in it – but you are so open about it; your acceptance? Co-existence? it is so comforting. Many prayers for you and yours.

  111. Thank you so much for sharing all this. I had a thought that someone should photoshop the blanket into some photos of Charlotte. She will continue to be a part of all your lives. In my family history searches I have found how many children my great grandmothers lost… so much heartbreak, but now when someone loses a child it’s so unfathomable. You are a blessing to so many, your family and the rest of us. You are very loved.

  112. The words from Megan about feeling as though this loss feels like the loss of her innocence feel exactly right. I haven’t lost a baby, but one of my best friends did, and I almost lost my mom twice (the first time I was only 14) before she left us, very suddenly like your mom. **some more words, IDK** I’m rambling, so, I’ll stop there.

    I am glad to see you show us Charlotte’s blanket and tell us it’s story, and I’m glad it’s been a comfort for Megan. It’s beautiful, and anything that feels comforting to Megan sounds amazing.

  113. I cry every time I think of this. Every time. It just gets me.
    I am so sorry for your loss. I hope you can find healing. I’m keeping all of you in my thoughts.
    Lots of love from beyond the pond

  114. Thank you for sharing your grief. I am so sorry for your loss and Megs, your your family’s loss, as only another mom who has lost a baby daughter can be. My daughter Annabelle would have been three in April. She passed away from a cord accident at 30 weeks.

    Sharing Charlotte with me has made me feel less alone. So thank you.

  115. Beautiful tribute to Charlotte who I never got to meet but knowing the many women in your family including her dear great grandmother Bonnie, I have no doubt she will be remembered for years to come as she made a quick entrance in the world To make a lasting sweet memory. Charlotte’s blanket will now comfort Megan to know her little girl was here for a reason and she was loved.

  116. Through tears, this e.e. cummings poem came to mind.

    carry your heart with me(i carry it in
    my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
    i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
    by only me is your doing,my darling)
    i fear
    no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
    no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
    and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
    and whatever a sun will always sing is you

    here is the deepest secret nobody knows
    (here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
    and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
    higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
    and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

    i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

  117. I can’t say that I can relate, having neither children nor grandchildren. But I can wish you peace and healing and love.

  118. It took me over a week to read this. I knew it was going to be heartfelt and I had to ease into it. Having lost my mom December 26, 2019, your loss hit me hard. Grief is a weird emotion. It strikes at crazy and often inopportune times. May you and your family find comfort in knowing that you loved Charlotte well for her short time here. May you find peace with your loss.

  119. I don’t have the words for this, accountancy not being known for its emotional language. However I can borrow from those who knew how to use their words and I’ll give you some that have seen me through the great big knot in my own skein of existence.
    “As you know so well, the passage of time never really heals the tragic memory of such a great loss, but we carry on, because we have to, because our loved ones would want us to, and because there is still light to guide us in the world from the love they gave
    us.” We carry on
    (Senator Edward Kennedy)

  120. When I finally looked at the flowers in the background of the picture were bleeding hearts, oh, I cried.
    You have such a beautiful style of writing, and that makes reading this so visceral for the reader.
    My heart is with your family. I’m so sorry for your loss. I am in such admiration of your love and devotion.

  121. When my first, my Fiona, was born and died the same day she also had a blanket waiting for her that she never got to use. That was the same blanket her younger sister used for her newborn pictures in the hospital. It made me feel good that Honor was able to have something handed down to her from her older sister.

  122. It took me three tries and several days just to get through this letter to Charlotte. My mother and grandmother’s heart breaks for you all. Blessings and peace be upon you.

  123. Thank you for sharing. I’ve thought of your family so often these past months. We will never understand why some lives are only on this earth for such a short time. I hope all the love for Charlotte brings you comfort. She has touched many. I send you love and comforting wishes.

  124. Thank you for that beautiful and difficult post, Steph. It’s an honour that you trust us with your grief and love and processing.

  125. Heartbreaking. My 4th baby was born on March 13 of this year so he and Charlotte were not far apart. I look at his sweet little face and try to imagine what it would be like if he had passed away after only a few days. Incomprehensible unless you’ve experienced it. I’m so very sorry for your loss.

  126. Thank you for sharing Charlotte’s blanket and the stories and people knit into it. Thank you for sharing your most painful and tragic loss. Thank you for sharing your most personal thoughts surrounding your love for family and the loss that you have all experienced. Thank you for sharing and allowing us to grieve along side you for your precious Charlotte whom we all expected to see grow up here. You and your family are in my heart and thoughts as you move forward holding Charlotte’s memories and blanket close every step of the way.

  127. Although we have never met, through your blog, I feel that we would be instant friends if ever we were to meet. Please know that during these short few months since your family had Charlotte for those short few days–I have thought of you and your family often. When I do think of you all, my heart aches for you, and I am quite often brought to many tears though your blog posts and thinking about what your days are like now. Please know that even though you don’t know me, don’t know many of us on this blog–WE ARE OUT HERE FOR YOU:) We pray for you, we cry for you, and we send all of our thoughts, wishes and prayers to you. Nothing will ever take away the wonderful space in your hearts that is Dear Charlotte Bonnie–allow us to help by loving her and loving you!

  128. Now that I have wiped away the tears and can see again I just want to say that I hesitated to read this post because I knew it would be heartbreaking. It was, but it was heartbreakingly beautiful. The tremendous amount of thought and love you poured into that unbelievably gorgeous blanket is amazing, as is the fierce love and protection you have given to your family. There will always be a hole in your hearts that is Charlotte Bonnie, but she changed people despite her short time on this earth. Much love and comfort to you and your family as you continue to grieve for that beautiful little girl.

  129. Stephanie,
    Thank you for sharing your experience with us out here! Losing a child or grandchild is just unbearable. I am a member of that club too. The loss is felt daily no matter how many years go by but the sweetness of every moment is stronger. Love never dies!!
    Tess

  130. My heart breaks for your family’s loss, Steph. Rain falls on the just & the unjust. There is no reason. I am so glad you all have each other to get through this. Your message of welcome, hope and love for little Charlotte is a treasure.

  131. Stephanie, as I write this I am in tears – tears for your family’s loss and tears I have not been able to shed since my youngest son died 2 months ago. Something about the sadness your words so eloquently conveyed in this post just broke past the huge well of anger I have about the sheer stupid waste of David’s death and the manner of it. I am now a tearful, snotty mess with a bin full of used tissues (my counselor will probably be pleased with this episode).
    Thank you for sharing a small piece of your and your daughter’s loss with us; you didn’t have to – it could have been a private journal entry. Charlotte’s blanket is beautiful and I’m sure that Megan will cherish it as a tangible link to her daughter.
    I’m looking at a photo that my David took that I wish I could share. It is picture of a scar on a tree where a branch had been removed. The scar happens to have the shape of a heart and there’s a crack running right through the middle of the scar. It is striking. David had no idea when he took the photo that it would become an image that epitomizes the way his family feels after his death – he just saw something beautiful and unique that he wanted to capture.
    My heart goes out to you, Megan and your family.

  132. After my sister died (nearly 30 years ago) I realised that while random acts of kindness are a beautiful thing … there are also random acts of tragedy. Untimely death is so often simply that: a random act of tragedy. 48 hours or 24 years 11 months and one week. It is too early to die.

    I fail to make meaning of it; I also do not think she died that we might be better people or for any reason (beyond simple, well-meant yet catastrophic, human error) but agree the only way through (or do I mean beyond) is to be that bit kinder, love that bit more.

  133. As I’ve been catching up, I’ve seen this post waiting to be read and I have hesitated to read it. It is beautifully written as always, and I agree with another reader that maybe this is your letter to Charlotte.

    I cannot in any way identify with your loss, but the blanket resonates strongly with me. When my Dad was dying over a decade ago, I was sitting in the hospital, In the summer, keeping him company, knitting a blanket I’d wanted to knit for years, and had been since the beginning of that year. That Christmas, after he had died, I decided I needed to, for whatever reason, to wash it. It was knit from superwash wool, and I was mostly careful. However, it shrank, to about a third of its original size. Distance perspective shows me that, as it was intarsia, it shrank absolutely perfectly into a little carpet. That would have been fine had that been my intent, but the moment I saw it had shrunk I completely lost my mind. When I next saw my therapist after the holidays, she diagnosed and treated me for PTSD, which is the best thing that ever happened to me. And her comment when I told her the story, was that “sometimes a blanket isn’t just a blanket”. It wasn’t. It inadvertently became a record of the last days with my Father. So with that, I resonate very strongly with you and I wish you and your whole family the best of healing in these strange times.

  134. Life can be hard. And beautiful. Thank you for opening up your heart and letting us see the hard and the beautiful! I am in awe of your wonderful matriarchal family!

  135. Thank you. I have been thinking of Charlotte ever since before she was born. I rejoiced with you when she arrived, and then I stopped reading for a while, so I didn’t know what happened until some time after the fact. You have written some posts that must have been difficult, and this must have been one of the hardest. Thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you!

  136. It’s taken me a month with the tab open to read this – thank you for making Charlottes blanket, for telling us about it and allowing us in on your pain and love. Sending love.

  137. You’re an amazing writer. Your emotions come through in your words and move me to laughter and tears, which I think is what every writer hopes to achieve.

    Knitting may be your skill and expertise, but your writing is truly your superpower.

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