A Space Reimagined. 

There were only two places Jensen’s body was housed after he was born. One was the funeral home and the other is the wing of the hospital pictured above. Every time I drive past the funeral home, my stomach flip flops. I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to go back in there without the waves of memory hitting me in the face. That’s how I thought my visits to this hospital would turn out too. 

When I was bleeding at ten weeks pregnant this summer, we went to this ER. I was terrified to get bad news and couldn’t believe it when I did. Then a few days later, I had my D&C. I had left without my babies in this hospital, twice. 

I have yet to return to the labor and delivery wing. There are so many memories from the day Jensen was born there that I’ve revisited over and over. They’re hard. I’m terrified to go back and see those same sights or maybe to see a happy experience knowing mine was everything but. After my D&C, I promised myself I wouldn’t come back here unless it was an emergency or if I was ever lucky enough to have another child. 

It’s only been four months since my surgery and on this Tuesday, I got a call that was completely unexpected. 

My mom had to get emergency surgery today. 

Her room’s window faces the labor and delivery wing. I’ve faced it head on and know exactly what room I had Jensen in. Facing that place felt like the scariest thing I could handle today, but it wasn’t. When I had Jensen, although I felt completely hopeless, I was in control of my breathing and physical pain. I’ve never thought of how it would feel to be my mom or dad watching me go through labor knowing Jensen was already gone. Today I know how it feels to be helpless when someone is in pain. 

This hospital was a space reimagined in these moments. The wing that holds my nightmares is just a part of the hospital today. I’ve stared at it and waited for those memories, but the intense feeling of wanting to help my mom not feel pain overrides my fear. Plus, I know Jensen knows his way back here. I feel him and people have mentioned his footprint on me. That’s my sign that she’s going to be alright. 

A place where I have so fear for has shifted in helping heal my mother and I hope it’s much sooner than later. 

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Clear + Let Go. 

I didn’t deserve him. My body failed him. I am alone. Love didn’t save him. I’m not enough.

These thoughts have crossed my mind more than a few times during the last eighteen months. They lead to self-doubt about my motherhood and grief journey. I wonder what Jensen would tell me if he knew I had these thoughts. What would I tell my mother if she had said these things to me?

When I saw today’s Capture Your Grief prompt, I wondered what I needed to let go? My space, my home, is pretty much where I need it to be. I don’t feel cluttered here. Yet, sometimes I feel trapped. I remembered this weekend and feeling anxious on the day of the walk. There were times Saturday where I felt all of those statements. That’s when I knew my mind needed to let go of the negative and clear space for the positive.

Today I held a little cleansing fire, on my dining room table. It’s raining out so it really wouldn’t have worked out there. I took the risk. On a piece of paper, I wrote down every negative thought that came to mind about me, my motherhood, and this grief journey. It was a longer list than I wanted.

I read them all, out loud. Each word stung and my tears felt cold on my cheek. It felt like I needed to feel what I thought they meant; yet they felt strange as I heard them. I crumbled the paper up as forcefully as I could then put it in my makeshift fire pit. Then I lit my match, watched the fire take over the words, and the smoke cleared them out. As I watched the paper burn, I felt those words leave my head. I was able to clear and let go.

I did deserve him. My body didn’t fail, it grew a perfect little boy for thirty-eight weeks. I’m never alone. Love keeps his memory alive. I am more than enough. 


Although I wouldn’t suggest doing a fire cleanse on your dining room table, the fire is such a healing element. Every few months I have a fire in my backyard and burn letters to Jensen so the smoke delivers it to him. I would suggest anyone to try doing this, it has felt like a weight has been lifted since I did this morning.

Tribe Circle. 

Technically today’s Capture Your Grief prompt is ‘Sunday Tribe Circle,’ but my Sunday has revolved around self reflection, healing, and resting. This is because yesterday was all about my tribe circle at one of the annual Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness walks I go to. 

If you’ve never been to an awareness walk like this, it’s full of conflicting emotions. You’re surrounded by a ton of people who have had similar experiences to you. The room is full with bereaved parents and their support people. In this journey, it’s hard to feel like you belong anywhere or that you’re the only person who’s walking this path. At events and walks like these, you realize you’re not alone at all. On the other hand, it’s devastating. When I arrived yesterday, the line to just get registered was SO long that they had to have two separate ones. It dawns on me that each person has felt this immense loss. All that pain. Yet, somehow they’re able to keep living and moving forward with their child always in their hearts. 

To mark our second year of walking for Jensen, I made another pin. Last year’s was the ‘J’ button with all his colors. This year’s was my meaningful mantra, greatness starts here. (Both pictured above.) It’s a way I can share a little about Jensen with someone just looking at me and the pins. I think it’s also nice for people to see where I am in my grief journey and maybe it will help them out. 


Through my journey, my tribe circle has gotten larger. The group walking for Jensen this year all dawned his mantra ans have helped me heal with each step of my journey. Not only do I have the support of my family and friends, my tribe circle continues online through Facebook and Instagram. Most of these women and men, I would never have met if our children didn’t die. We were complete strangers, but have learned to lean on each other because we all understand. Awhile I go, I posted a graphic that said, ‘find your tribe, love them hard.’ Sometimes I don’t know where I’d be without my support system. It makes me think of all the mothers in the past who were silenced and didn’t know who to turn to. Projects like Capture Your Grief and so many others help the bereaved across the world not be silenced like those before us. 

During the walk yesterday, I was hot and wanted to complain about it feeling like it was constantly uphill. Then I saw all the children walking for their brothers, sisters, cousins, aunt, and uncles and I realized I’m walking for Jensen and the steps he’ll never take. We’re so lucky to be living, even when life and losing our children feels like anything but luck. So, I carried on with Jensen forever being held in my heart. 

When we arrived back to our starting place, we were prompted to take balloons to release to the heavens. I love balloon releases. They are so relaxing and feels like a little part of my grief and sadness is being lifted. It’s such a beautiful sight too. Blue, pink, and white flooded the skies; each representing a child the releaser was walking for. This also visually represents the tribe circle the bereaved community has. We all walk and advocate from our different experiences, but for the same cause and love. 

Eighteen Months.


One year and six months ago, Jensen was born.

My heart doesn’t know how to comprehend that this amount of time has passed. That my son has been gone for eighteen months and it’s nothing like it should be.

I didn’t know if I wanted to write again today. Something in me wouldn’t allow myself to write yesterday for Capture Your Grief. Belonging and Soul Therapy feels hard for me to express when I don’t feel like I belong anywhere but home and that my soul feels exhausted. Some days I feel like Im just falling apart rather than healing, today is one of those days. I don’t feel like I’m a mom of an eighteen month old boy. My surroundings don’t look like it. Outsiders don’t see him. Every cell in my body is just angry.

This anger began two nights ago. I wasn’t sure if I was going to share this, but I thought it was important.

Jensen bear’s leg is ripped. The seam between his leg and body is opening and I noticed stuffing falling out. This triggered me. I couldn’t even keep his bear safe, what would have happened if he was here? Of course, deep down I know it wasn’t my fault. I hold his bear a lot and carry him. Stuffed bears wear. All I need to do is get some grey thread and stitch him back together again. I haven’t went and got it, mostly because I’m jealous I cant go and get some special thread for my life.

Grief is such a lonely process. When I saw yesterday’s prompt, I didn’t feel like I belonged anywhere in the community. Melodramatic, I know. I’m just in a weird spot. Jensen is gone. I’m single and in a transition period. A part of me feels like others can understand where I am, then something like Jensen bear’s leg being ripped tips me over. SO, I didn’t get into it yesterday.

Today, healing therapies helped me get into a routine today. I didn’t have to work and sort of slacked on my college work. We all need days for ourselves. Jensen’s candle has been lit and I looked through all his pictures today. I drank chocolate milk this morning and have had kids movies on. The rain put me to sleep for a nap and I dreamed of him running around with his blond hair swept from how fast he was going. Tonight, I’ll put on a face mask and paint my nails. These are my go to’s for when my soul needs healed.

It’s just, I miss him.

These soul therapies only keep my mind occupied for a short amount of time. The weight of eighteen months feels so heavy today.

I wish it was all different.

For me.

For you.

For all of us who are living without our children.

Meaningful Mantra. 

I’ll never forget the day his heart stopped being and my continued. 

After we heard the news, we rushed to the hospital. We weren’t in my car with the neatly packed diaper bag or the black and white striped car seat. All I had was the clothes on my back and my son still in my belly. I had to call my mom to tell her the news and to tell her she needed to get me some clothes. She asked what I needed for Jensen, I told her his coming home outfit was in my car, so he needed clothes. 

I gave her the task to pick out his first and last outfit. What a harrowing one it was. 

They told me what he was wearing, but I didn’t see him in it until a couple months later. He was absolutely perfect from the strands of his hair to the tips of his toes. Something else struck me too: the saying on his shirt. 

Greatness starts here. 

When I feel overwhelmed in my grief, I remember this. Greatness did begin with Jensen and it hasn’t ceased. It is within me and I have the choice whether grief or greatness wins. 

Death didn’t take away Jensen’s greatness; nothing will ever be able to. This mantra has gotten me through some of my darkest times and I know Jensen would want me to always believe in it too. 

Rise and Shine Mourning Ritual. 

Good morning, I love you, Jens. 

I say after I roll over and kiss my son’s urn. This has been how I’ve woken up for about a year. Once I do this I can get up and get ready for my day. For some reason I can’t, let’s say on vacation, my day just feels off

Mornings have always been the worst after losing Jensen. The unwelcoming silence made me realize that this was still my reality. In the early days, I relived his birth and the silence that followed. This wasn’t the way I should be starting my days. Instead, all I wanted is to be picking Jensen up, changing his butt, feeding him, and putting him into one of his outfits. 

I felt lost in what I needed to be doing. 

Slowly, I started to touch his urn when I woke up. It felt nice to be close to him. Then I needed him close at all times, that how his urn ended up beside me when I slept. It helped break the silence. Telling him good morning brought me back into the present and let me keep moving forward, with Jensen always with me. 

Mourning rituals come when they need to while grieving. I have never tried to force myself into something that didn’t feel comfortable. What works for me, might not work for the next person, but making sure to do what’s right and helpful for your heart is most important. 

Sunrise Blessing – Capture Your Grief 2017

Gnadenhutten, Ohio – 7:22am

My alarm went off a little earlier than I had wanted it to. All of last night, I tossed and turned. I knew when I woke that I’d be in my second year of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month and what should be Jensen’s year and a half monthday, coming up on the fifth. After pressing a hundred buttons to quiet my phone, I threw on a sweatshirt, and made my way on my front porch.

Fall welcomed me. This might sound silly, but it’s been so warm here lately. The cement was freezing on my feet and the sun had just started to show itself behind the wall of trees. I whispered, ‘Good morning, Jensen. I love you so much,’  then started snapping.

It hit me that one year ago at this exact minute, I was sitting on my porch waiting for the sun to rise again. I waited for the perfect shot and had my props ready. The sun had risen and the sky looked beautiful. Then I stared at the sun and the picture I had taken today; it was so much different from last year.

Instead of a pink and blue skyline, I captured darkness and a perfect orange light. The trees look so rigid and dark. I wondered if I should have waited a little while longer out there. That’s what I would have done before.

But, that’s not how my grief is right now.

This sunshine blessing let me know I’m right where I’m supposed to be and if that’s rigid and raw, then so be it. Jensen’s life and legacy is still beautiful. My grief journey is still evolving. Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month and Capture Your Grief isn’t about showcasing the perfect moment, it’s about sharing our babies gone too soon and letting other parents know they’re never alone, no matter where they are in their journey.

*If you would like to follow along with CarlyMarie’s Capture Your Grief, here’s the photo with the months prompts.*

My Promise To You.

Capture Your Grief, My Promise To You, Pumpkins

In the days before your silent arrival, I wrote you a letter. I remember crying while writing it because I knew it was just the beginning of me writing letters to you. My plan was to keep these words secret from you throughout your childhood and give them to you as a surprise on your eighteenth birthday. As I wrote, I was trying to imagine what you would look like the first time I saw you and how you would be years down the road. During these thoughts, you wiggled around in my belly and I just kept encouraging you to keep dancing along. All of these movements reassured me for what I thought was a promised future.

These words were full of one promise I’ll always keep.

The letter I wrote on that day is my favorite that I’ve ever written. There was so much innocence and positivity in every up and down stroke. Even when I told you I expected you to break my heart and challenge me as you grew. I wanted you to know that no matter what you did, your mother would always be there for you. That no matter what trouble or ‘bad’ thing you think you did, I would right here to help. I told you I would be your lifelong cheerleader who would embarrass you at every turn, but I knew you would always be appreciative of those times.

To be honest, I forgot about this letter and a lot of other things when you were first born. My mind blocked a lot of those precious moments in the beginning. It wasn’t until the first time I was home alone at your grandma and grandpa’s, with just your urn and flame flickering away, that I found this letter once again. In that moment, I wanted to throw the notebook across the room. I would never get to embarrass you in the ways I wanted or I would never know what you’d look like at age eighteen. All the letters I had planned to write were gone and they were filled with different words now. Each up and down stroke was still filled with innocence and positivity, but the writer who was reading into her past had changed.

Change.

It flickered in my mind just as quickly as your flame. Each motion reminded me of the pain I was constantly feeling. My whole world has fell apart, Jensen. You are no longer physically here and that absence crushes me. I remember in those moments of sitting there with your letter in my hands, that my soul was tugging from two angles. The first was cold and painful. It was always right there. In those days, it was really the only thing my body could process, so I welcomed it. Yet, there was something else in that moment. The second pulling, which was warm and inviting. It was the promise I made to you each day you were in my belly and it’s the promise I continue to make to you even in your death.

My promise to you, Jensen, is love.

Love is the only promise that can never be broken. I promise to love you with each breath I take. It is the only thing you ever felt on your time here on earth and it’s what you continue to feel in heaven. My promise to you is not only to love you, but surround myself and your memory with love that everyone will be able to see. It’ll be the way I can survive through tomorrow, the holidays, and each day I encounter. My promise of loving you makes my world continue to turn.

I miss you. I love you.
I promise you I’m doing my best.

Give Away Your Love.

Real talk.

I wasn’t feeling love, kindness, or any sense of compassion today, especially as the evening rolled on. Honestly, I was doing well the majority of the day. Then talking about costumes through me off. There was this bitterness of little ones trick-or-treating and adults dressing up for parties. Halloween is just the kickoff to celebration days. My body is starting to feel this pent-up emotion of dreading the holidays and their cheery music.

Yesterday, I was planning on what Random Acts I wanted to do and decided on flowers and popcorn for Redbox. Flowers, since I feel like Jensen would want to pick me flowers and gift them to me for my birthday. I also ALWAYS have flowers here and have many live plants in my house. Then I wanted to leave bags of popcorn at Redbox stations because it’s Halloween and people love scary movies. I have a ton of popcorn at my house, but there are times I run out and it’s essential to keep your mind occupied during horror movies.

I had hoped I’d be able to actually hand out popcorn to people renting their movies, but I couldn’t. Social anxiety swept over me. My eyes would not stop watering, especially because I forgot my wallet at home and only noticed it when I was checking out for my flowers. That didn’t help my mood… at all.

But, I knew I had to do this today. I felt compelled to carry on and spread kindness in Jensen’s name.

Halloween - Random Acts of Kindness

Maybe you’re wondering if I came home and felt good about what I did tonight. Did the bitterness of the evening and tears go away? I wish I could tell you that I feel a hundred percent better in my attempts to make at least one person smile tonight. Some pain has alleviated from today, but I’m still said that I didn’t get to take Jensen’s trick-or-treating tonight and I know I can’t take him Monday. It hurts that I don’t get to surprise everyone with what his costume is. Then I think about all the little footprint crafts I had planned or the cute frames to put his first Halloween picture in…

On nights like these, coming home is rough.

Yet, I’ll keep surviving and living the rest of my days for the ones he’ll never live. Tonight that’ll be with my new bottle of wine, steak, and scary movies.


If you’ve found this page from one of the cards from the flowers or popcorn, comment here and leave a picture. I hope Jensen was able to make you smile tonight!

Forever.

“I cannot tell you how thankful I am for our little infinity. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. You gave me a forever within the numbered days, and I’m grateful.” –John Green

I’m so grateful for the forever you gave me. It’s my favorite one of all time.

When our forever together ended, I knew another would start. One that I never could have prepared to take on. This forever consists of little moments full of you and me finding the strength to continue on. It is intertwined with loss and even more love. I’ll keep pushing through until we spend our real forever with each other.

Screen Shot 2016-10-27 at 7.47.50 PM.png

Forever I’ll be your mom. Forever you’ll be my son.
Forever I’ll love you.