Abigail Louise Towne left tiny footprints on many hearts
Who is Abigail Louise Towne? A beautiful baby girl, with a thick head of black hair. She came into this world at 32 weeks gestation, pink and lovely. Two hours later cradled in her mother’s arms, she slipped back away as quickly as she arrived leaving a wake of tiny premature footprints on the hearts of anyone who has heard her story.
I met Amanda during my first year of attending a very small church school in the sleepy bedroom town of West Greenwich, Rhode Island. There are life events that are so profound, they completely change the course of your life. Amanda becoming my friend was one of those moments for me. Amanda is smart; brilliant, if you will. She cruised through the high school curriculum, met every goal, achieved grades of perfection. Her faith in God was grounded, strong. As a teenager, she already boasted a confidence that most women don’t reach until their 30s.
Amanda took the quiet, conflicted girl who showed up in the tenth grade under her wing. Amanda never judged my lack of faith in God. She never berated me with hellfire, brimstone or damnation. She loved me in the most simple pure way one woman can love another, like a sister.
There is a certain optimism that emanates from Amanda. Over the years, through our 20s into our 30s, and now even, as we head into our 40s, her voice has always steadied the boat when the ocean of life becomes tumultuous. Amanda is my absolute confidante. I can tell her anything without fear of judgement. She has taken my hand and walked me through some of the darkest periods of my life.
When I became pregnant at 19, Amanda came to Connecticut with her then fiance Steve, and sang at my simple back yard wedding. I forgot to mention — her voice is like an angel’s. We then lost touch for a period of two years or so in the process of my becoming a mother, her becoming a wife. We both transitioned from the tail end of being teens into women in our early 20s.
I’ll never ever forget the phone call that reconnected us.
That same optimism was there, that same warm voice full of enthusiasm peppered with just enough wit and sarcasm. We caught up on what was going on in our lives, we laughed, we joked and carried on for a bit like it had been minutes since we last spoke rather than a couple years.
“I lost a baby, Kathy.”
My mind felt like it was going a hundred miles an hour a minute trying to process her words.
Lost-a-baby. Lost-a-baby. Lost-a-baby.
These were not words that should be connected with Amanda. If there was anyone on earth that should be spared the heartache of losing a little one, it should be the girl who stood strong in her faith in God. The young woman whose life was an example of Christlike behavior through the simplicity of her unwavering ability to love others. I was overcome with such an overwhelming feeling of injustice. How could a God who taught us to be all-loving do this to a girl who was not only on his team, but could pretty much manage it? Were there a stairway to heaven, I would have marched right up it that day and given God a good hard right hook in his nose. That’s right, I wanted to punch God in the nose!
Abigail’s intestines had herniated up into her lungs which is referred to as Congential Diaphragmatic Hernia. This condition occurred early in her fetal development. The range of outcomes for a newborn with Congential Diaphragmatic Hernia ranges from not needing any additional medical intervention to the impossibility of survival. This condition happens in approximately 1 in every 2,500 pregnancies. It was discovered Abigail had this condition during a routine ultrasound. Amanda and Steve were given a 50/50 chance of Abigail’s survival. Abigail’s birth quickly revealed there was nothing that could be done to heal her tiny body.
October 29, 1995 Abigail Louise Towne made my amazing friend Amanda a mother. She also made her mother a testimony. A testimony that with faith you can survive a heart that is broken into a million pieces. You can choose to take the dark spots in your life and shine a light so bright upon them that they pull others out of the depths of their darkness. Abigail Louise Towne made her mother a beacon for hope, for healing. The brief time that this beautiful baby girl spent on this Earth created a domino effect of healing for others created by her mother sharing her story. I always deemed it so unfair, a grave injustice to my friend, a fault in God himself for allowing this loss in her life. As the years pass with Abigail living on through Amanda, the reality hit me. Amanda has touched hundreds of mothers suffering the loss of a child. She has influenced the healing of others and rendered herself that beautiful. God sent the friend that she is to me to so many through the brief life of her daughter.
Amanda shares the life of her little girl on her blog.
Happy Birthday Abigail Louise Towne. Thank you for your light, sweet baby girl.