Painting by Cynthia Yatchman


The nurse asked if I wanted to see you.
I said yes. 
She wheeled you next to my hospital bed.
Sherry and Wendy, 
swaddled in striped, pastel blankets,
born Oct. 3, 1984.
Your eyes were closed.
You were motionless. 
Your lips were blue. 
Do you want to hold them?
I said no.
I just couldn’t do it. 
Do you want a picture?
I said yes. 
She pointed, clicked,
waved the picture to dry,
then handed it to me.
What an awful picture.
One I’ll never forget.
She asked about a memorial service.
I said no. 
My parents never took me to church,
and I was mad at God.
Then she wheeled you away.
Forgive me
for allowing you 
to be 
cut open 
and burned.
I eventually threw out 
your lifeless Polaroid
and your little 
plastic armbands 
with Sherry 
and Wendy 
written on them.
But I kept your boxed ashes –
move after move,
house after house. 
I kept your ashes 
in my closets 
for so many years
because I would have 
nothing left of you
if I let you go.
Four years ago,
I finally 
released your ashes
in a pond near me,
a pond where my son 
and grandsons 
now fish.



Laurey Williams rekindled her love of writing after retiring from a thirty-year career in financial management at NASA. Inspired by Melissa Greene's Memoir Writing Workshop (founder, Write From the Heart) and with guidance and mentoring support from Linda Lowen (founder, Always Wanted to Write), Laurey is currently working on her memoir. She lives in Lancaster, PA.

10 Comments on “Twins

  1. My daughter lost her first child as a stillborn a month before Georgia Mae was due and days after her baby shower. The thank you notes were written and stamped, though not mailed; that speaks to my Robin’s organizational mind. She had no more children but instead is devoting her life to her work (she is an attorney) her dogs, and running. I’m so proud of her handling of this life tragedy; she donated her milk to a milk bank, cut her long curly blond hair and donated it to locks of love and ran a donation marathon to give to March of Dimes. The hospital took beautiful pictures of Georgia Mae and we cherish them. We grandparents lovingly held her and cherish those memories. Thank you for letting me share these moments.

    1. Laurey…when I read your poem I was moved to tears and shared my experience without acknowledging yours…forgive my selfishness. Grief is one of those emotions that crop up when least expected…as I’m sure you know. Warmly, Vickie

      1. Vickie, You are not selfish. You were reacting to what you read. Thank you for sharing your own experience with me. It makes me feel less alone.

    2. Vickie, I am sorry Robin lost her one and only child. She sounds like an incredible woman, having donated her milk and hair and running a marathon for March of Dimes. She is a testimony to her resilience and strength. No doubt she inherited that! I am sorry for your
      loss as well. Losing a child is difficult – no, beyond difficult. I like the saying, “you don’t get over it; you get through it.” You’re lucky you have pictures; I wish I’d kept mine. All I have is a memory, painful as it is. I appreciate your comments. Bless you.

  2. Laurey, I am touched by your moving writing in which you shared your heart’s loss so eloquently and beautifully. i am touched and moved to think of my own experience over 50 years ago. I lost a baby girl to stillbirth. and although I have put the memory and the emptiness in a place in my heart that has been “locked with a silver key”. Reading “twins” brought me the feeling that I am not alone. You understand. It is touching to have this reaffirmation. Thankyou for your writing and sharing “twins”

    1. Mary, Thank you for your kind words. We, sadly, share a painful experience, one no one deserves or wants. I am glad my poem touched you and made you feel less alone. It helps to know that my poem has meaning for you and others. Bless you.

  3. Laurey,
    “Twins” touched me deeply and personally. I almost couldn’t finish reading your piece but I’m glad I did. You put to paper what I have never been able to and I’m grateful for that.
    Thank you for your courage in sharing your experience so eloquently and succinctly.

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