A Rainbow Baby is the term used for a baby born after a stillbirth, miscarriage, or death of an infant; the rainbow after a storm. It’s a beautiful thought that there can be happiness after such a loss, but I was surprised to find that there wasn’t a term I could find to describe the first baby, the one lost, the sweet rain that made the rainbow.

When I was a teenager I learned about the existence of an aunt and an uncle who I never knew, who died as infants. I was shocked and it changed my life, in a way. It made me think. What would my life have been like with this aunt and this uncle in it? What kind of people would they have been? What would their lives have been like? Would they have had children who would have been my cousins? How would their existence into adulthood have shaped the family dynamic?

An individual daylily flower is beautiful and special, but it only blooms for one day. I think it’s a fitting name for those whose lives were short, but were beautiful and unforgettable.

The Daylily Babies of my family are as follows:

Rebecca Lynne Brown – 7/27/1952 – 8/3/1952. My dad’s first sibling; she was born in between him and his only surviving sibling, my aunt. Rebecca was the first Daylily Baby that I learned about. My dad and my aunt, 10 years his junior, were the best of friends. Despite the age gap (and maybe because of the age gap), they adored each other. I sometimes wonder what it would have been like to have a second aunt on that side. Would my dad and aunt have been as close? Would he have been closer to Rebecca? Would he have been the odd one out? Or would it have been 3 of them giggling in a corner at family functions instead of 2? So many questions that will never have answers.

Gregory DiBagno –  4/25/1959 – 4/25/1959. My mom’s younger half-brother. He was and would have been my mom’s only brother, my grandfather’s only son. After my grandparents divorced, my grandfather Tony married Audrey Lee Jones and had my two aunts. Gregory was the youngest, born a year after my second aunt. He was born too early, at 22 weeks. Sometimes I wonder what my grandfather would have been like with a son. He loved his daughters, at family functions you could always find him with his arms around the shoulders of one of them, but he enjoyed male camaraderie. He had lots of male friends. Maybe because of this loss, he reveled in his nephews (and, later, his grandsons), went to all of their sports games, was involved in their lives. I never had a biological uncle and sometimes I wonder what that would have been like…

Teresa DiBagno – 1921-1921? This is a family rumor, that I have never found any documentation for, but if it’s true I wonder what it would have done to the family dynamic. My mom’s cousins, at a family function once, mentioned another sibling of my grandfather Tony. They thought this child died in infancy and that her name was Teresa, born in America after Tony’s parents immigrated here from Italy in 1920. It’s assumed, if true, she was born sometime between Agnes and Geno, probably about 1921. I would love to find some documentation of this, but so far it remains a family rumor…

Angela Mihalovich –  1901/1902 – 1901/1902? My grandma Ruth Mihalovich was the youngest of 10 kids born to Marko and Mildred Mihalovich…or we thought it was 10. When I looked at her sister Anna’s delayed birth certificate (issued in 1943; Anna was born in 1906) it said this:

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Part A looked correct. Anna was, as far as I knew, the third child born to Marko and Mildred…but what about part B? Who was this chid born alive, but dead by the time Anna was born?? I had never heard of such a child. So I asked my mom’s cousins. One of them had heard of a baby that she thought was named Angela who died at sea when the family immigrated to America in either 1901 or 1902. What an awful thing, if true, not only to lose a child, but to do so at sea where conditions are already stressful and frightening.

What would life have been like without the people gone too soon? It’s a thought that crosses my mind often. A daylily flower blooms for one day, but what a glorious, brilliant bloom.

 

 

 

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