In the Making of Grief Rituals.

Another day, another spin-off Capture Your Grief.

Day nineteen is all about Grief Rituals on big days and how they help. Since I’m just now starting to get to the anniversary dates of certain doctors appointments and finding out Jensen was boy, I’m still learning about the rituals I want to create. I’m thinking about maybe coming back to this after his first birthday and talking about what helped with the first year. For now, I’m still learning what I need to cope and heal with these rituals. Life after loss is a huge learning process, as I’ve said countless of times. Which is why I’m in the making of grief rituals.

Some of the big days, right now, that I have to ‘focus’ on are his monthday, Tuesdays, and some of the anniversaries I have hit. My birthday was a really huge trigger day for me since last year we found out he was in my belly. There were also a few dates in September that triggered me, like the day I first saw him, the fourteenth or one of my first appointments was the ninth. Those days were rough, but I can imagine from next month out I’ll be really focusing on grief rituals and what helps me get through the days.

There’s also days that I never knew would become apart of my rituals like remembrance walks, support groups, and ceremonies for all babies gone too soon. Two weekends ago we participated in our very first remembrance walk, which I blogged about here. It really helped being surrounded with other families going through loss for me, but also my family. They were able to see and know this pain is real for many others. Last night we were so fortunate to be apart of another local walk and that’s what I want to talk about today, our new rituals in the making.

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Toland-Herzig Funeral Home, in Dover, Ohio, had its nineteenth annual Walk to Remember for child loss of any age.  I was able to be involved in this walk by other loss moms letting me know they put it on. It begins with someone in the loss community telling their story and how they help others during this tragedy. Being able to get up in a room full of people, not to mention being – for the other two rooms to hear, is so courageous. I know how hard it is to talk about losing Jensen to small groups of people, but then adding public speaking on top of it… I’d probably have a heart attack.

We then were prayed over and headed outside for the candlelit walk. There was the huge circle in the parking lot and then everyone helped light each other’s candles. It was beautiful and symbolic for me. Being able to help someone with their candle and passing light and love to the other person is up lifting. It’s sad to see how many people are in the circle effected by the loss of a child in some way or another, but how beautiful is it to be so supported.

Not to mention, my flame danced the whole way just as they do in my home. Jensen’s way of letting me know he’s close.

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When we got to Warther’s Museum, we were led to this beautifully lit gazebo. Unfortunately every picture I got of it was so blurry, so I can’t share how breathtaking it looked. Music was being played and we all huddled around, listening and remembering. I’m sure it only lasted moments, but besides the music playing, it was quiet. Not the quiet that I cannot stand when I’m home, but one that settles the soul.

There was another gentleman that shared his experience in hospice and read a poem. Then we were all asked to come to the microphone, share our name, number of walks, and who we were walking to remember. It’s different to actually hear family members share their experiences with the walk and about their loved ones. You can hear the emotions in their voice and their strength as they say their names so proudly. They said, this part of the night was the easiest and hardest… and it was. It’s a big mix of it. Easy as in listening and supporting the person as they share their deepest grief. Hard as in building up the courage to speak in front of everyone and letting that acceptance of your child’s death hit again.

Not that it ever goes away.

I was nervous, but happy to share a small part of our story. There is so much strength in just sharing him with the world and not feel judged. To say Jensen’s name makes me beam with pride. I hate death, but love my son more than anything else in this universe. That’s what makes a parent’s grief so complex.

After everyone who wanted to share finished, we started our journey back. Jensen’s candle extinguished in the moments after saying his name. Just as if he was telling me thank you and I love you. Many times I write to Jensen that I hope he is swaddled in love and warmth in heaven and last night, I felt that same way. With the circle of support, walking with the light of his love in front of me, and saying his name for the world to hear, I knew as we got in the car to leave, this would become one of my grief rituals.

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