Dallas and Sarah Bertola enjoyed nearly five perfect months with their first baby, Alice. Alice was healthy and thriving, until one day she passed away unexpectedly in her sleep. Sarah went to check on Alice in the morning and discovered the she had passed. After this sudden and devastating loss, Dallas and Sarah have worked hard to create joy in their lives, and had another daughter, Rosie.
Natalie and her husband, Kevin, lost their first daughter, Margot to Trisomy 18 when she was just a week old. Natalie will always remember her doctor whispering in her ear that Margot was "incompatible with life" and then at her 6 week checkup asking her where he baby was. Natalie has had two healthy children since Margot and works as a wedding and family photographer.
Why the name Marigold Moms? We thought a lot about what to call our group. We wanted something that didn't seem too "sad", but honored the difficulty of what we're all facing. And then, we thought about the symbolism of flowers.
Bringing flowers to our babies is one thing we still get to do as their mothers. Receiving flowers from friends and family after their passing was extremely comforting.
At Alice's graveside service, we were putting flowers, one by one, on her tiny casket. As Sarah watched each of our loved ones give Alice a flower as a token of their love for her, she distinctly felt that Alice wanted to share a flower with her cousin Margot. She picked up one of Alice's flowers, walked the 6 feet or so to Margot's grave, and put a flower in her vase. Natalie, who understood the pain Sarah felt at the grave of her only daughter, held Sarah as we cried together. It was comforting to know that, wherever Alice was, Margot was with her. That moment and that flower, given from Sarah to Natalie and from Alice to Margot, has come to represent our shared grief.
Our girls were different, our losses are different, our exact experiences were different, but the struggle our hearts are going through is the same. And that struggle is something no one who has not experienced it can fully understand.
We chose Marigolds because they represent both remembering and celebrating the dead, and the beauty and warmth of the rising sun. To us, they mean the difficulty of loss and the hope of resilience. As a part of the Marigold Moms community, you can feel safe in both aspects of mourning- grieving and honoring your child, feeling the pain of the loss you've suffered, as well as finding hope and healing through connection.