Monday, August 15, 2011

The Brown Star Story

Not long ago, astronauts found in the heavens gaseous celestial bodies - clouds of cosmic dust - which they think have finally answered the mystery of what exists between the small things in the universe, like planets, and the bigger things, like the sun. They call the cosmic dust "brown dwarfs" or "prestars," because although brown dwarfs have all the same elements to become a star, for some reason they never did.

All stars go on to live full lives, from their hot, bright white dwarf stage to their aged, cooler and dimmer red giant stage. But "brown stars" only go so far. Instead of being born to live a normal star's life, they remain cool and dim, hiding in the heavens, sprinkled in clusters among the other stars, one hundred fifty light years from earth.

But like our babies, their roles in the universe are very important. In fact, scientists believe they serve as a link between the small things and the big things, holding the universe together; a mid-point between the beginning and ending of our universal story.

As we grieve our babies who died before reaching the stardom of their earthly lives, perhaps we can find comfort in the possibility that they are designated for this very special, universal role. Energized by our lives, they are guardians of our memories of what was and our dreams of what someday may be.

As we look to the heavens, seeking answers, we send messages of love to our "brown star" babies.

                                                                                                                    --Kim Steffgan

(from "When Hello Means Goodbye: A Guide for Parents Whose Child Dies Before Birth, At Birth or Shortly After Birth", by Pat Schwiebert, RN and Paul Kirk, MD)

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