My son Micah died on December 11, 2012 from complications of necrotizing enterocolitis. That day took my breath away. Suddenly, I didn’t know how to live or go on without Micah. While my heart felt shattered, the world kept turning. I had no choice but to keep living. The choice was then how to channel the weight of this devastating loss that had the potential to crush me. Since Micah died, my feelings of regret, guilt and anger have been overshadowed by my need to celebrate his smile. Micah’s smile was bright, bold, and shined through his most difficult days.
As I approached the first anniversary of Micah’s passing in 2013, I felt compelled to create a way for everyone who loved Micah to celebrate, remember, and give in his honor. I was looking back at photos of Micah, remembering how I wrapped him in rainbow baby carriers. That’s when I knew we would celebrate Rainbows to Remember Micah every December 11th.
I created Rainbows to Remember Micah as a way to transform a day wrought with heartache, sorrow, and gloom. Rather than dreading the anniversary of Micah’s death and isolating our family to grieve alone, we have built a tradition that nurtures our family’s ability to cope.
On Rainbows to Remember Micah we dress in our brightest, most joyful apparel, make rainbows (out of anything!), and then we find ways to give in honor of Micah. The Micah Rainbows that have been created are stunning. The woven wraps, paintings, class projects, and outpouring of rainbow pictures bring us peace and joy every December 11th.
Rainbows to Remember Micah is also a day for our family to give in ways that remind us of Micah. In his lifetime, Micah received 211 units of blood. So, on Rainbows to Remember Micah we donate blood.
The risks of neonatal necrotizing enterocolitis are lowered when fragile and premature infants receive human milk. So, while I was nursing, I donated my breastmilk to nonprofit milk banks on Rainbows to Remember Micah.
Micah was often so critically ill in the intensive care unit, that we could not pick him up or hold him. To bond with Micah, we read storybooks, sang and played guitar. So, on Rainbows to Remember Micah we donate new children’s books to families in the neonatal intensive care unit at the UC Davis Children’s Hospital.
Every year on December 11th, we make rainbows, give back to others, and set aside time to look through videos and photos of Micah together as a family. We laugh, cry and celebrate the boy who should be in the backyard playing with his dogs and brothers.
Rainbows to Remember Micah doesn’t take away the pain of that dreadful day, but it certainly provides a way for us to transform that pain into something positive and meaningful. The comfort we receive from our community who join us in celebrating Rainbows to Remember Micah is palpable. We’re reminded that we’re not alone in our love and grief for Micah. Our family and friends are with us on this journey. Micah’s life brings us together and inspires us to smile, even on our hardest days. We hope you’ll join us: www.Facebook.com/MicahBabySmiles