Guest Blog – Deb Monauni

To kick off our series of blogs by people witnessing infant loss as well as experiencing infant loss, we have selected Deb to share about her experience with Infant loss. To honor October as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, The Finley Project is sharing Guest Blogs.


I was the youngest child in my family, with a brother 8 years older and a sister 11 years older I was the youngest of 3 children.

However in my home, I was always aware of the fact that I was the youngest of 4 children. Life was sometimes confusing to a living child of a mother who lost her first child, an infant child.

I know he was born, lived a short while and is buried in Seattle, Washington. I also know that my mom missed Robert every day. I know that my parents were married in their early twenties, they met in Dallas Texas, and married within 30 days of knowing each other.

They traveled the country and then they settled in Seattle when my mother became pregnant. I know her pregnancy was normal, I know they were excited, I know they had a little boy and named him Robert, after my father, his father.

Robert only lived a few days, I never understood my mother’s pain until I had my first child. My parents moved on, each of them dealing with their loss in a different way. They did not try to have another child for six years.

My sister Jan was born in 1952, my brother Terry in 1955, my parents had the perfect family and were well into their 30’s, I came along unexpected in 1963 when my parents were in their 40’s. But I always aware that it wasn’t just us, my mother made sure of that.

July 17th 1974, my brother Terry was tragically killed, he was 18, I was 10, my sister Jan was 22 and pregnant with my nephew. We all lost a part of our hearts and lives that day. However for my mother it was the most tragic day of her life. She had lost two children in her life time, and you are not supposed to outlive any of your children.

My mother what I can only imagine now as a mom, and look back on the situation as a 10 year old child as the worst hell any mother has to go through. The only support she had was her family, a grieving family.

Every year for 27 years, July 17th became a day of mourning, such a sad day. A day to console my mom, a day to remember my brother Terry. A day to relive the pain.

On July 17th 2002, my granddaughter Leilah was born. My first grandchild, my mother’s first great grandchild, Leilah’s birthday.

Leilah is aware that she was born on a special day, a day she was meant to be born, to change a sad day into a happy day.

Shannon CalderonComment