This Father’s Day, I grieve the loss of one daughter but celebrate the birth of another
Opinion: This year on Father’s Day, I exist in an abundance of love because of what grief came to teach me
This Father’s Day feels vastly different from the previous. Yet, the two are intimately interconnected, as one informs the other. I can recall the many complex layers of grief I was experiencing in June of last year and all the feelings I had to explore before I could even articulate that grief is love.
Now, this year on Father’s Day, I exist in an abundance of love because of what grief came to teach me. And also, because we’ve been blessed with another beautiful #BabyBaileyGirl.
Eighteen months after we experienced the double transition of our firstborn daughter, Kamaiu Sol, my wife gave birth to our second daughter, Kamali Sade Sol Bailey. Kamaiu and Kamali have shaped my life in such a unique way, insofar as I have one daughter I can only hold with my heart, and the other requires my head, hand, and heart.
Together they are expanding my capacity to love in so many beautiful ways. We still light Kamaiu’s candle at every dinner and we still are in therapy. The only difference today is, now we also have a baby monitor at the table or Kamali is in one of her parent’s arms. Obviously, newborn life comes with its own set of challenges and blessings, but for us, the joy certainly exceeds the challenges.
Even for a poet and songwriter, it’s hard to capture in words what the duality feels like to wake up in deep grief for months at a time, longing for a child you can no longer hold, to now, waking up to a smiling Baby Bailey Girl every morning. And when I say every morning, I mean every!
No matter the level of fatigue or restlessness I am experiencing, it is my deepest honor and joy to be present for Kamali and her mother. The amount of photos and videos my wife and I send back and forth to one another of Kamali is absolutely hilarious, but as you could imagine, we just can’t get enough.
Though we understand as parents that each child is different, we are grateful for the ways Kamali reminds us of Kamaiu. We are grateful that we have shared Kamaiu’s story as fearlessly as we have because it has created a rich bank of experiences and moments for us to share with Kamali as she grows, so she can know how her big sister has shaped her family’s practice of love.
Thank you to every single heart and home that made room for us in your prayers, actions, and kind words. Thank you to every individual and media outlet that made room to honor Kamaiu and her parents. And thank you to our team of creatives and storytellers for helping us to tell our story for ourselves, but not by ourselves. We could not do it alone.
Massive love and a special thank you to all the people who have celebrated the birth of Kamali with us. Childbirth after infant loss is a very unique path and I am grateful to have such a loving village on this journey. In honor of our Kamaiu Sol and all the Angel Parents who may be looking for reference, Felicia and I recently just completed The Kamaiu Sol Project, which includes a brand new album titled Prayers of an Angel Father and a brand new SOL Affirmations Toolkit for mothers who are investigating griefs process.
It is my prayer that these projects help us all to love more abundantly, especially the parents who have experienced child loss. God’s blessing of peace, that surpasses all understanding, to us all.
Kamaiu and Kamali’s Daddy.
Karega Bailey is an angel parent, a social-emotional healing practitioner, and an award-winning educator and recording artist. He is a nationally renowned Peace Advocate and the Founding Dean of Culture of Roses in Concrete Community School in Oakland, CA. He is the author of SOL Affirmations and a lead facilitator for BE-Imaginative, a transformative safe space led by a collective of artists and activists dedicated to disrupting gun violence and healing Black and Brown communities through innovative multi-dimensional storytelling. You can learn more about Karega Bailey and his work with grief work at www.SOLandLove.com.
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