Rachel Ross Bain
June 14, 1965 - September 11, 1965
Virginia, United States
"All that we love deeply becomes a part of us."
My Aunt Rachel has always been very special to me, but even more so since having and losing my baby girl, Lily Katherine. Rachel was the youngest of seven children and sadly only lived for three months. She died on an operating table at UVA as her doctor attempted to save her tiny, deformed heart. Obviously, I never knew her personally and only know her through photos and stories from my grandmother and mom. My mom is the eldest of the seven, so she probably remembers the most. I have read in her journal from the summer she turned 9 all about her sweet little sister Rachel, who came and went all in a blink of an eye. Yet, it changed their family forever. And Rachel's life is still changing lives.
As I write these words, tears are coming to my eyes as I think of a life that was, yet wasn't. She was perfectly real and the irreplaceable seventh child of Nancy Virginia and James Kirk (my grandparents). Even back in those days when babyloss was much more of a private topic than it is today, my grandmother never stayed silent. When her relatives would talk of her ""six"" children, she would quickly correct them, saying she had SEVEN children. The little princess she never knew past nine months in the womb and three months out. Yet, she will forever remain loved and missed...by those who met her and those who didn't.
My grandmother still grieves her loss and continues to go to Compassionate Friends meetings to this day, all these years later. I think now it's more to support the newly bereaved. But, she still goes to the meetings and shares her story, Rachel's story. She still goes to the yearly candlelight service and lights a candle for Rachel...and now for her great-granddaughter, Lily. How can one family lose two babies in such a short amount of time? What's so interesting is that I went with my grandmother to those meetings long before I lost my child, when I was a mere 14 or 15. I wasn't afraid of that type of loss, though others ran from it. I see now how God was preparing me for the future only He could see. Now my grandmother and I have a bond that nobody else in the family has...not only are we bonded by blood, by being grandmother and granddaughter. But, we are also marked as women who had to give their babies back to the very One who blessed us with them in the first place. It was so comforting to have "Bumma" at Lily's service and burial and there for the whole journey in general. I knew she understood me and what I was going through in a way others couldn't.
All these years later, I am missing my Aunt Rachel. Yes, I always have and always will consider her and call her my aunt. I am wondering who she might've been. Would we have been close? How many more cousins might I have loved? Would there maybe be a girl cousin my age? I miss this beloved member of our family that I never got to meet, never got to know. Yet, I miss her and love her nonetheless. I miss all that her life could have held. All that her life would have brought to our lives.
I remember her. I honor her. I love her. I miss her. I miss not knowing the love she would have given, in her own unique ""aunt-way."" As I think of all my other aunts, I wonder how she might've differed from them. I am rejoicing that my aunt and my daughter are safe in the arms of Jesus and will be with Him forever. Safe and sound. Rachel means ""little lamb,"" and she will forever be Jesus' sweet little pure lamb, just like my pure Lily. One day, I will meet Rachel and tell her how her life affected mine, though the beginning of my life began decades after the ending of hers. It makes me smile to know that Lily's ""spot"" (where she's buried) is right next to her Aunt Rachel's. Two little girls that bring this family so much joy. They could have brought me more cousins and grandbabies of my own one day. Even though they are gone, they live in our hearts forever. Lily got to know Rachel before me and Rachel got to know Lily before me, but that's okay. :-) I am glad they have each other. What a sweet picture to think of Rachel Ross welcoming Lily Katherine HOME.
Dear Aunt Rachel, I deeply love you and you are deeply a part of my life. You are etched into the fabric of this family and we all talk about you and think about you! I miss you. Whenever I go to visit Lily at the cemetery, I visit you and think of you too! I just want you to know you are never forgotten and I am so excited to know I will get to meet you one sweet day. I don't know if you will be a baby or older than me or what...but it will be perfect and beautiful and just right.
Love forever and for always, your niece, Hannah Rosey
(read more about both Rachel Ross and Lily Katherine at www.roseandherlily.com)