Honoring Weston: Life After Stillbirth


Weston (2)Like all new grandmothers-to-be, Suzanne eagerly awaited the arrival of her first grandchild. Her daughter was having a boy. She’d read the pregnancy books, and everyone anxiously prepared for “Weston Elijah” to arrive. What no one could have prepared for is that Weston’s tiny heart would stop beating at seven months in utero.

One in 160 pregnancies end in stillbirth in the United States. When a baby dies in utero at 20 weeks or later, it’s called stillbirth. Pregnancies lost before 20 weeks are called miscarriages. Regardless of the gestation, the news is heartbreaking, and the grief potentially overwhelming.

Suzanne’s daughter delivered Weston stillborn. When Suzanne arrived to the hospital room, he was laying in a “cuddle cot,” one of only two in the country at that time. It features a special cooling pad that allows family to spend the day with their newborn before saying goodbye. Suzanne recalls Weston being perfect and she couldn’t take her eyes off of him.

The days to follow were long, dark, and sad. Suzanne sequestered herself at home, away from crying babies and smiling expectant mothers. Suzanne felt helpless, and deeply sad for her daughter. Her daughter had never read the chapter on stillbirth in her pregnancy book, thinking it could never happen to her. Sadly, stillbirths touch many families, through no fault of their own.

Soon Suzanne joined a support group of women who’d lost grandchildren. Together they celebrate recently born grandchildren, and talk about their angel grandchildren as only these women understand.

A natural born artist and musician, Suzanne feared forgetting her grandson. She began to keep journals of letters to Weston, but never goes back to re-read them. She also honors him in a creative and inspiring way.

Suzanne began to find rocks on her property and inscribing Weston’s name and birthday on them. She then carries them to the top of mountains to get as close as she can to him. To date she has left three rocks in the Adirondack mountains, with Mount Mercy being the highest summit. Weston teaches her to love purely and unconditionally, even after death. And inspires his grandmother to hold his spirit close.


Suzanne has a new granddaughter and is exceptionally proud of her! She is healthy and beautiful. She hopes that when her granddaughter is older, she too can climb the mountains and see if Weston’s rocks are still there.

Another of Weston's rocks.

She envisions her grandson at Heaven’s gate. “I will know him, and I will see him with his eyes open. What a joy that will be.”


Today my youngest daughter, who is less than three months older than Weston, found a special rock for him. I inscribed it, as his grandmother does, and left it at the ocean. We selected a special place on Rye Beach, where I sometimes go to watch the sunrise. I will forever think of him when I do this. It will be my way of honoring a special child I never knew.

Weston's rock at Rye Beach, NH
Weston’s rock at Rye Beach, NH