Deborah McGlawn had no idea that the baby girl she gave birth to in 1991 would truly be her little angel. Deborah’s daughter, D’Anika LaShay, passed away from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). African Americans had over twice the mortality rate from SIDS in 2014. “There is nothing in life that can prepare you to birth and bury a child,” shared McGlawn, a resident of Atlanta.
Twenty-six years later, McGlawn reflects on her search for healing and peace, a journey that divinely ordered her steps to GirlTrek. Below is her story of #BlackGirlHealing.
November 11, 1991 to February 9, 1992 was our angel season. It was the time chosen by God for what later became our spiritual evolution. This was the birth and death of our daughter D’Anika LaShay. The doctors called it SIDS, we called it purposed, ordained, part of HIS plan. Now, it took some time for us to grasp this reality and call it anything other than wrong. We couldn’t see past the hurt. We couldn’t stop screaming why, and passively blaming one another to stop and acknowledge the plan. There is nothing in life that can prepare you to birth and bury a child. Despite what you think, and regardless to what you’ve heard, there is no manual to heal such hurt. There is no 10-step program, and no magical words to bring understanding to the parents of an angel.
Throughout the years, my best friend and husband Richie and I found ourselves, both collectively and individually, seeking wisdom and guidance while raising our daughter D’Andrea, who was three at the time of her sister’s passing, and our son, Richie, who was born in 1993. We read, prayed, and we cried, which was a constant series that stayed on repeat or rewind. Spiritually we found peace, yet emotionally, we escaped into pockets of our own comforts, which grew into 25 years of denial and avoidance.
In Search of Healing
A few years ago, I began running, broke my ankle, and needed something physical to stay ahead of fibromyalgia, so to Google I went. A search for healthy alternatives to running led me to GirlTrek and I was immediately enamored with the movement and was elated to find something that all of my friends could do with me.
Discovering GirlTrek helped me to evolve into Dynamic Deb, that’s my GirlTrek Super Shero name, by the way! I unfolded layers of self I forgot were there, and some, I truly never knew existed. I found passion and surprisingly, yes, surprisingly, I found a true sisterhood engulfed in certified #BlackGirlHealing.
Following the Signs
Last year, as I approached what would have been Nika’s 25th birthday, I began seeing the number 444 ovet and over and over again. I had researched numerology years ago, and knew enough to know that these numbers had significant meaning; however, I didn’t immediately stop to figure out what that meaning was. I was too busy being busy with my day to day. Days would pass and I would continue to see 4:44, or 444 on license plates, random signs, in print, and many inconspicuous places.
After being hammered over the head with the numbers, I paused and researched its meaning. There are different interpretations of the meaning of 444; however, the one that I received simply states 444 is a sign that angels are with me, helping and watching over me. My angel is with me and is assuring me in those moments that she never left.
By now, it’s 11/11/16, and I was moving about my morning, oblivious to the date. I got in my 4 am treadmill 5K, and at 4:44 was slightly slapped across the head again. Off the treadmill I go with a heart racing epiphany to pull out Nika’s baby book. My world instantly stopped, and I was filled with emotion, yet refused to be shook. On 11/11/16, for the first time in 25 years, I realized I had given birth to our baby girl on 11/11/91 at 4:44.
For weeks, my angel girl was…. Read more on BDO