Stacey Skrysak, a television journalist and writer, has always been candid about what it's like to lose children. As a parent who had two out of three triplets pass away in a short time, she wants her 6-year-old daughter Peyton to keep her siblings' memory alive. Recently, Stacey was blown away when Peyton requested to do a photo session that included her late brother and sister. And after reaching out to photographer Teran Elaine, she was able to make her daughter's dream a reality.
"In the chaos of getting ready for family pictures, my 6-year-old daughter stopped me in my tracks. 'Mommy, I want to get a picture with Parker and Abby,'" said Stacey. "Those two names caught me off guard. For six years, our family has been a party of three on the surface - me, my husband and our daughter. And this year our family picture would add one more, our rainbow baby."
While Stacey is aware that her family looks picture-perfect from an outsider's perspective, she and her husband have battled some truly dark times together. "What people may not know is that my daughter is a triplet," she explained. "Her brother and sister passed away within two months of birth. In the early days, all three of our children were present in everything we did. Our friends and family made sure that Parker and Abby would never be forgotten."
"Some days I don't feel like explaining or getting that all too familiar look of sadness and pity when they learn that two of my children died."
She continued, explaining that life has moved quickly, and people don't bring up Parker and Abby as much. "As the years pass by, their names are spoken less frequently. New friends may not know our bittersweet journey and sometimes I find myself omitting their names when a stranger asks about my children," she wrote. "Some days I don't feel like explaining or getting that all too familiar look of sadness and pity when they learn that two of my children died. Even though child loss is still a somewhat taboo topic in our society, we never forget our children. I think of Parker and Abby every single day. And it turns out, my daughter does, too."
Stacey reassured her daughter that her late siblings would, of course, be included in the picture. In fact, they had already taken a photo three years prior using shadows to represent Abby and Parker (see below). It hangs in their family room to this day. As soon as Stacey's family reached the destination for their family photo shoot, Peyton asked Teran if if the photo would actually be doable.
"As we got out of the car, my daughter ran up to our photographer, who just so happens to be a triplet mom herself. Peyton excitedly asked, 'Can I get a picture with Parker and Abby?!?'" explained Stacey. "I looked at my friend and smiled as tears instantly formed in my eyes. As a parent of child loss, we face a difficult balance trying to celebrate our survivor, while grieving and remembering the children we lost. As I watched our daughter giggle and laugh in front of the camera, life felt complete. My daughter is a proud sister of two siblings in heaven, and I couldn't be any prouder to be their mom."