My name is Kathi Murtagh, I stumbled across the Spring for SIDS website several years ago and signed up to participate. Our team SoulBabies has raised between $1200 – $1500 each year for the past few years. I am a “Subsequent Parent”, and I cannot express in words the heartache these losses have caused over the years.
On Oct. 2, 1985 I gave birth to my son Christopher, he passed on Dec 30, 1985. I really had never heard about SIDS, or as they called it “crib death”, and was angry that no one could tell me what caused this mysterious thing that took my son from his father and me. We were very young at the time and all the stages of grief affected us in different ways. Two years later, I learned I was pregnant again. After an extremely difficult pregnancy, I gave birth to our daughter Heather on Dec. 17, 1987. I called her my miracle child because of the difficulties of my pregnancy and having lost our son, she was a miracle to me. Unfortunately, that was short lived. My baby girl was gone. She passed away on Jan 18, 1988. Again, we had to lay a child to rest. No reason other than SIDS was given. How could this have happened again? Many, many years had gone by, yet I still hadn’t really dealt with the loss of not one, but two children. This wasn’t something that I would just talk about. Only those who were close to me knew of my losses. No matter how hard I tried, I could not allow myself to believe there was nothing I could have done to save them both. The typical denial, non-acceptance and guilt were at times unbearable. So many questions, yet no answer, was always weighing on my mind.
When I spoke with my Grandmother the first year I signed on to SFS, I told her I needed a team name. She suggested SoulBabies. She said my babies’ souls are in heaven now. I loved the name, not just because it made sense but because my Grandma, a woman I have always admired, chose it.
Today, all these years later, I still get the case of wondering what Christopher and Heather would be like now. What would they be doing. Would they be like their older sister? Would they have their own families? Participating in Spring for SIDS has helped me tremendously. I know I can talk about my SoulBabies now. I know they are above watching over our families. I know they know how much they were and are loved and missed every day.
We have two very special SoulBabies guarding us. I am so grateful I found the SFS site that day, and grateful that I have the ability to help contribute to the research for the baffling, mysterious syndrome that’s claims the lives of all our SoulBabies.
I did not join this cause for just my own children, but in honor of all those lost to SIDS. I pray that answers are found in my lifetime, and we can all know more about the cause and hopefully a preventive measure to ensure no more parents, siblings, families or friends have to endure something so devastating. No one truly understands the loss of a child, unless they experience it themselves. No one understands what a surviving sibling goes through. That is not a burden I want other parents to endure.
I hope that next year there is a way to memorialize not just one child on our page, but for us Subsequent Parents, a way to honor our other children as well. For not once, but twice, we endured heartaches that forever change our lives.
Thank you everyone at The American SIDS Institute, Spring for SIDS and all the teams and their members for their dedication to this research. May we all have peace of mind and success and one day find the answers we so desperately seek. I look forward to participating every year in SFS
Thank you for reading my story and teaching me that we are truly not alone in our quest for answers.
God Bless you all!
Team Captain, SoulBabies