Remembering Mia

When my daughter was in middle school, her dance teachers carried far more weight with her than I — a mere mom — did. Jelina Gonzalez was one of those teachers for my daughter. Now that my own daughter teaches dance and fulfills that role for a new generation of middle schoolers, I see the legacy that evolved from how Jelina and others taught her, not just to dance, but to become a young woman.

Jelina and I have stayed in touch, even though she moved hundreds of miles away. She began teaching (her experience of teaching was an integral part of a Toastmasters speech I gave about the power of a pencil). She got married. She shared her excitement as she became pregnant and planned to be Mia Sofia’s mom, with Erik to be Mia Sofia’s dad.

Mia Sofia died in utero at eight months’ gestation on March 21.

Jelina and Erik are working to raise money for Cuddle Cots so other families in similar situations can spend more time with their babies.  

As you can see in this video, Mia Sofia is loved beyond measure. (Note: The video’s privacy settings may or may not allow you to see it.)

Why a Cuddle Cot

To honor Mia Sofia, Jelina and Erik are raising money for Cuddle Cots. A Cuddle Cot is a specially-designed cooling system that prolongs the time a family can spend with their infant. Learn more about how Cuddle Cots work by visiting this link.

Comments in italics from Erik and Jelina:

Losing a little one is tough. Bereaved families are given the opportunity to spend some time with their baby after they’re born before being transported to the morgue. Unfortunately, this time is fleeting and doesn’t allow the parents to properly bond with their little angel. That time meant everything to our family.

A CuddleCot gives the family time to bond and grieve by keeping the baby cool. We wish we had one during our time of need, but we feel that we can honor our baby girl by donating one to Wellington Regional and help other families.

If you’d like to make a donation, please send your gift via Venmo to
@MiaSofia2019. (Here’s a link, but I think you have to be on the app for it to work.) Erik and Jelina ask that you include your name and email so they can keep you updated.

One image in my head throughout this period has been the sign Erik and Jelina had prepared for Mia’s room.

In that spirit, suggestions for three ways to help this family that is so dear to us.

M … for memories. Erik and Jelina will always have memories, and they created as many as they could in the time they had with Mia. They are trying to get Cuddle Cots for the hospital where Mia was born so other families faced with the death of their infant will have time for more memories.

I … for inform. Inform people about Cuddle Cots and — beyond telling them about a particular product — help them understand why families need this time with their babies.

A … for act. When there is a loss like this, everyone wants to do something to make a difference. In this situation you can act by donating or by simply providing support if a family you know finds themselves in this situation.

Comfort Zone Camps: Transforming Grief Into Growth

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When my sister-in-law died suddenly of an undiagnosed cardiac arrhythmia in 1993, an entire family was thrown into a cyclonic maelstrom of grief, disbelief, and shock. As the adults coped the best they could, there was also the issue of three children ages 6 months to six years who had just lost their mother. As much pain as the adults were in, these three children faced a journey that we grownups could not pretend to comprehend, no matter how hard we tried.

I asked my niece, Jordan, who was three at the time of Ann’s death, to write about her experience:

“The grieving of a child who lost a loved one is very different than the grieving of an adult. Some times it’s very hard for an adult to understand that a child won’t necessarily get “better with time”. When I lost my own mother, it was important for my siblings and I to have caring people in our lives that would just simply, be there. With the help of a loving support system, I have been able to grow into a strong individual, because of those who took their time to focus on my needs at my most vulnerable.”

I am happy to use my blog space tonight to highlight “Comfort Zone Camp.” Comfort Zone Camp is a free bereavement camp for children ages 7-17, held year-round across the country.  Comfort Zone Camps include confidence building programs and age-based support groups that break the emotional isolation grief often brings. This article describes the camp in Sandwich, MA. This brief video gives you a glimpse into Comfort Zone Camps:

The Comfort Zone Camp would appreciate shares of the above video during the next few days as they prepare to participate in “The Amazing Raise,” an online giving challenge that begins at 6 a.m. on Wednesday, September 18 and continues through 6 p.m. on September 19. If you would like to make a donation during the Amazing Raise, visit this link for more information. If you would like additional general information (or you have a child interested in participating), visit the Comfort Zone Camp website at www.comfortzonecamp.org).

Photo Credit: Cape Cod Times

Campers make paper bag lanterns commemorating loved ones
Photo Credit: Cape Cod Times