I was able to view the movie by Sean Hanish “Return to Zero” last night. I have to admit, while I fully support the idea behind the movie of breaking the silence of stillbirth in a world where we avoid this topic like the plaque, I was afraid of viewing painful details that may trigger me into a tail spin of sadness. Grief pricks me with reminders of Hannah’s physical absence but I’m learning to apply the balm of hope to sooth its sting. Hope in the knowing that Hannah’s love isn’t bound to a body – and not limited to space or time. Her love is alive – here in the now. And I have Hope in the knowing that I will one day see her in heaven.
I’m here to tell you, the bereaved community, to not be afraid to view this movie. It’s beautifully written – with each line intentional in its meaning and actions that are authentic in its portrayal. I see myself in Maggie. Being admitted and walking the long empty corridor at the hospital to give birth silently, entering the hospital room, seeing the symbol on the door advising caregivers of a grim prognosis, and the long wait of labor with a husband that never left her side, and crazy lose emotions during birth – pushing, and yelling with excitement to see a sweet face, the shock of her stillness in the envelope of perfect beauty. The family and friends comments that are ill-timed, insensitive or worse – no comment at all, that are deeply rooted in avoidance on the topic of mortality or sugar coated with this being God’s perfect plan. I could relate with Maggie on how she wrestled in the dark – as death tries to define Arthur’s existence. Then… to be blessed with new life, a new pregnancy. Afraid of everything when nothing is for sure. Lastly, the initial numbness and fear of attachment when you hold your second child, beautifully alive, in the same arms that were once empty.
For me, I found a new realization after watching this movie…. of how my husband, Todd, never left my side during the storm. He weathered it all with me, with a new-found hope held in one hand, while the other hand never let go of mine.
Thank you to all the cast and crew that gave of your time and talent selflessly to tell this story. Thank you, Sean and Kiley for making yourselves vulnerable to tell Norbert’s story, and allowing the intention of the movie to be the real star. I can’t help to think that Norbert was behind the details. It’s my hope that your written words will be the pin that burst the bubble that surround those that feel isolated in their grief and it creates action to provide better healthcare/education to the pregnant and regulate better bereavement procedures in hospitals and support in our churches.
I recently read a quote from our beloved, Maya Angelou – “Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.”~
Love was in the details of this movie. Our babies love is alive. Viable. Behold Hope.
(Hannah Mary Charest 11/8/2001)