During the car ride home after Jensen had been born, I felt completely alone. My mom and dad had no idea what I was going through or even what to say. Not only did I know anyone who went through a stillbirth, but feeling the emptiness that Jensen had filled just the day before hurt so much. I know Mom and Dad were talking on the car ride home, I sat there not hearing a word they were saying and completely silent. My thoughts were so jumbled. It would feel so real when I got home without Jensen. Where would I go from that point? Is this whole experience even normal? Am I normal? Am I alone in all of this? These thoughts came and went constantly for the first few weeks.
After Jensen’s obituary, that I still have not allowed myself to read, was in the newspaper, I got one of the most important messages in my life. A girl, I knew back from high school, reached out and opened up about her experience with loss. She introduced me to a local loss group and told me I wasn’t alone. I saw that there were so many people in my small area that are on this journey with me. It was my first experience with this community and I can never thank her enough for the introduction.
Honestly, at first I felt so naive to think that I was the only person to go through this loss, then the pain of knowing so many others have kept me up all night. Well I wasn’t sleeping at all, but that first night I kept thinking, “How can this world hold so much pain?” I held on to that question through Jensen’s funeral and till about his first month in heaven. I didn’t even have the strength to look and see everyone’s story after that first experience of feeling everything so deeply. It wasn’t until Anthony went back to work and my first therapy session, that I actually saw the importance of the loss community.
I reached out and told Jensen and I’s story. There were so many amazing people who commented and messaged me back to provide their love and support. It ranged from the local group to literally world-wide. I’ve went to lunch and coffee with these wonderful souls that cried, laughed, and told me that everything I was going through was okay. Each time I met with these women, I actually felt lighter in the oddest way. Just being able to talk and listen helps me heal. It hurts that all these beautiful people that have helped me so much are going through this pain and are making a difference to this community.
Last week, I was able to meet with some of the women from Sweet Pea Angels to create comfort baskets for our local hospital. This group is the first group I was ever introduced to and has been such a tremendous help. They have supported me and have answered so many questions I have asked. The founder of the group, Marcia, has created such an amazing service to help little angels. She created Sweet Pea’s Angel Gowns, which provides families angel gowns or wraps made from wedding dresses in our community. They are each so beautiful and lovely. Marcia is able to help so many families out with the gowns and wraps, the group, and creating the comfort baskets. Truly a wonderful person, friend, and mom.
The comfort baskets included books, information phamplets, a Luminous Light print, an knitted angel, tissues, key chain, a infant loss awareness pin, a necklace, bath salts, lotion, Sweet Pea Angels wrist band, and soap.
This was the first experience I was able to help make something for a mom who just lost her angel, to carry out of the hospital. I know I’ve talked about being wheeled out of the hospital and how horrible it is to leave without anything in your arms. But the comfort baskets are the first opportunity a loss mom has to interact with the loss community. Which is super important because at that time of vulnerability and the sensation of being alone, there’s a basket to let them know they’re not. Yes, the items in the basket will bring the mom and dad comfort on their hardest day, but it’s so more than that. It’s warm hug and welcome from the loss community letting them know we’re here for you when you’re ready.
Not only was it an opportunity to help newly bereaved moms, it helped me connect more to the moms that welcomed me with open arms. In my life experiences, I’ve never been a part of a group that can laugh, cry, and feel all these emotions so freely and deeply like bereaved parents. There’s absolutely no filter or explaining what you just said. In this new world of nothing making sense, I could be in the moment and feel this huge sensation of love. It’s really a breathtaking experience. Plus, we made adorable baskets and kicked butt doing it. I’m honestly looking forward to making more baskets next year with them. Hopefully there will be many more group meetings in the future.
This is just one group experience. I have been to different support groups that I’ve felt the same responses. Actually, I’m going to a new one this coming week that I’ve been looking forward to going. It’s a space where I feel normal and not alone. Let me tell you, some days just knowing I’ve had those experiences is a life saver. I can’t say enough about the online community that every bereaved parent has access to too. Through the online community, I’ve been able to meet friends I never would have known. This experience allows such a deep connection with another person.
My experience with the loss community is so important to my grief and healing. I’m in no ways completely ‘healed’ and may never be. The community allows me to see all the different stages of grief, experience, and sometimes light in all of this darkness. It still keeps me up at night knowing there’s this much pain in our world, but thankful that there are people here wanting to help. This community lets you know all of these unnatural thoughts and feelings are normal to have. It brings about wonderful friendships. Most importantly, each person is there to let you know, you’re not alone.