Goodbye, 2016.

Well in all my efforts to stop this day from coming, its here. The last day of 2016. Jensen’s year has come to an end and I’m being thrown into a new year. I don’t think it’s completely hit me yet, but when the clock hits midnight I’ll be numb.

As I said in my last post, it’s terrifying to leave the year without Jensen. There’s so much unknown in the future and I don’t know how much more hurt I can take. I read and hear this next year will be a better one and good things are coming. With each of their words I just want to scream out, they don’t know that for sure. The same things were being said to me last year, right smack dab in the middle of my pregnancy. This past year was supposed to hold all those things and even more, but we all know it didn’t turn out the way anyone thought it would. And yet, it doesn’t make this such a horrible year.

Just yesterday, someone told me this next year would hold better things for me. Almost immediately I thought, 2016 holds so many good things. There’s no part of me that wants to ‘try for a better year.’ No other year in this history of the world will ever have had Jensen physically in it. I know everyone sees the tears and loss I’ve had. It’s strong and it’s very uncomfortable. I get it. But there has been so much love, strength, and support I never have had before. Jensen has impacted so many people in the past (almost) nine months. He’s made me smile everyday and most of the times through tears. Maybe that means I’m comfortable in my grief, but I would beg to differ.

Honestly, I can’t say that 2016 was this perfect year. My son died. That is so life changing. His dad left, which has brought good and bad to my life. There are times where all I could do was lay in bed. I’ve cried enough tears to fill an ocean. Friends have left and people sometimes look at me in the craziest of ways. A pain I never knew existed was introduced to me. This year was my ground zero and I have to leave it without Jensen. Those are the bad things that’s went on. Looking back on those brings me to tears, so maybe I could fill two oceans instead of one.

Yet, through this pain, I’m still holding on to it. But why am I?

Mostly, it’s my fear that Jensen will be forgotten. It’s knowing that his first birthday will come and he won’t be there to smash his cake. I’ll be a mama to a one year old that’s not here anymore. Will anyone know what April fifth is when it comes but me? Then there’s outside pressures of people wanting to put a timeline on my grief. I’m so afraid that I’ll get to his birthday and everyone will be so impatient with it. They won’t understand why I’m still so sad. I’m terrified that I’m going to be more alone in this. Somehow? Deep down I know some of these are just really out there, but this is grief. This is what it does to one’s mind.

In all reality, I don’t want anyone to forget Jensen. I want people to tell me “Happy Birthday to Jensen” on his birthday. I want to smash his cake for him. I don’t want people to be impatient with me. I know a lot of people don’t understand this complex grief, but I want them to be okay with it. I want patience. I want people to say his name to me. I don’t want them to be afraid. I want them to know these tears aren’t toxic, they’re sometimes the only way I can show my love for him. I want people to see me as the mom I am. I want people to know that I won’t let them forget Jensen. I want them to know I’m terrified of the future, but I’m trying my very best.

screen-shot-2016-12-31-at-1-59-14-pm

A part of me wants to say, “let me take on 2017.” Let me show the world even more of Jensen and try to do greater things in his honor. Another huge part is saying, stay here forever. There’s a lot of things I wasn’t ready for this year and I grew stronger through them. Maybe that’s what the stroke do for me. Make me an even stronger mom to Jensen and give an even louder voice.


For all of you grieving this New Years Eve, know you are not alone. I am here for you and feel the pain and fear of going into the next year without a loved one. Yet, they’re always with you and you will you carry them in your heart forever. For where there is love, their memory cannot truly die.

Advertisements

Thirty-Six Weeks.

My chest felt like it was caving in this morning.

‘Another Tuesday,’ I instantly thought after I realized the weight on my chest was the anxiety of the upcoming day. It’s brought me another full week of Jensen being gone and closer to me being here longer than he was, post loss. That’s a scary thought to have. Knowing my heart made it to this point, completely shattered, while his heart had stopped at this time. I wish I could hear that beautiful, strong heartbeat just one more time…

During my usual Tuesday breakdown, I kept saying over and over again how I couldn’t believe this was my life. I say it on a loop nowadays. On top of grief and the week changing, I’ve also been preparing for vacation. We leave early tomorrow morning. It’ll be a long journey, but I’ll be on the beach and relaxing as the waves drift me off to sleep. I can’t help thinking of whether or not Jensen would like the ocean. Or how he would show me his imagination when he built sand castles with a big moat around his carefully placed structures. In some ways I’ll be bringing him to the beach; as well as all his friends up in heaven. His name will be carefully written in the sand and the waves will crash to take a little part of him with them. Or that’s how I imagined it to help lift the heavy weight that is anxiety off of my chest.

After therapy and surviving that breakdown, I was hit with the snow. Today’s snow is the perfect consistency for making snowballs and snow angels. It’s fluffy and packs so very nicely. I was standing outside my car and just could see him picking the snow up. At that same spot, I marked right where he would be with the loops of his J and e’s.

Screen Shot 2016-12-13 at 5.42.18 PM.png

My snow angel, he’ll forever be.

Somehow by someway, it brings me a little peace to see where he’s marked at my feet. Really, anywhere I see something that reminds me of him lightens the anxiety by a little bit. That’s the amazing part of having victories in the small battles, even the quickest moment can bring you some happiness.A smile can form from tears. Even if that joy is fleeting, having a break from treading those waves is such a relief.

I’m hoping to be able to update you guys about my trip throughout the time I’m gone. If not on here, definitely through the Facebook page or the Instagram feed. The one part of the trip I’m REALLY looking forward to is writing all these beautiful baby names out. It’s honestly been a little mission for me that has got me by the last few weeks and from dipping out on the trip. I really do think Jensen would want me to go to enjoy myself and to mark another beach off his passport.


 

Happy thirty-six weeks in heaven, Jensen Grey. You’re my light that leads me through the darkness of grief. I’ll carry you in my heart forever and just know from sand to snow, you’ll always be with me. I miss you. I love you.

Pressed Love.

Sometimes the smallest moment can calm the busiest of days.

Today has been high-paced. With only four days to go until I leave, I’ve rushed around my house cleaning and organizing. I’ve been wanting everything just right so I can relax when I get back. To be honest, I got a little off track today. Instead of doing what I had on my list, my books were staring at me. If I had opened them up, all the words written inside of them would have told me to find the right place for them. So embarked my work for today.

I can remember every book I’ve ever bought and read. Usually I can tell you right where they are, but Jensen’s baby books took me by surprise. I had forgotten they were in my bookcase. They’ve just morphed into my normal everyday. Instantly, I put them in his room. Where they should always be, being read and looked through. Surprisingly, I didn’t get triggered seeing them or putting them away in his room. Felt almost like a normal thing to do; picking up Jensen’s things and putting them away. My whole body tensed up when I saw them, but my mind was okay with his books. They still needed to be in their rightful spots.

After getting one of my bookcases done, I had to start on the other one. There were books I read during my pregnancy and that I’ve looked through during my grief. It’s crazy to see how you grow up through certain things, especially with books. Interests change and inside them are underlined or highlighted sentences. I would open them up and flip through just to see what jumped out at me.

That’s when Jensen gave me a moment to slow down my busy day.

Out of a huge, Andy Warhol book fell my little surprise: two perfectly pressed flowers, one orange and one blue. Immediately I knew what they were. They were from the random acts of kindness I did in Jensen’s name over the summer. I didn’t remember pressing any of them, but they instantly brought me to tears. In my mind, I knew it was Jensen picking his mom flowers and bringing them to me. He was telling me to slow down. That it would all get done in time, but to make sure I took time to care for my heart. They not only fell into my hands, but also in my heart. I decided to stop organizing and cleaning for the day and focus on the peacefulness of the snow falling.

Screen Shot 2016-12-09 at 5.07.20 PM.png

I made Jensen’s favorite drink, just heated up a bit, and framed his gift to me. To me these pressed flowers aren’t just from a bouquet from a random act of kindness, they’re flowers picked from heaven given to me by my angel. He somehow brought me what I had always imagined him doing, just in the middle of winter and through the only ways he knew how. This is what love looks like framed.


The past few days I’ve wanted to share another ornament with you all. As you all know, I haven’t done an amazing job sharing them. I thought this was the perfect one to show today. The little angel in the picture is from Emilia’s mom, Jillian. This little angel shines so bright on the tree. The gold snowflake shimmers and is constantly catching my eye. When I was making hot chocolate, I kept thinking of Jensen. How he shines his light so brightly leading me to what’s best for my day. It was also the first ornament I’ve received from another loss mama. Knowing Jensen was being thought about and how Jillian wanted to comfort me, really warmed my heart. I think of Jensen, Emilia and all their friends watching over us. Some even sending their gifts of pressed love to their parents.

Thirty-Three Weeks.

There’s a point in everyone’s’ life where they have to decide what direction they want to go in. As much as everyone wants to keep moving forward, there’s always turns in the road. Whether you can ease into them or they’re sharp, you have to make that turn. Then there’s other times when you get lost, and have to turn around. It feels like your backtracking and nowhere near the right path.

Today it doesn’t even feel like I’m on the road. It feels like I’m pulled over and trying to figure out where I’m going  with a huge map on my hood. But at the moment, the map is incomplete.

I haven’t posted it on here, but this weekend Poe, my black cat, got outside and hasn’t come home. It’s triggered a lot of those beginning feelings of guilt, of losing Jensen and now Poe. I keep questioning what more I could have done and why does this season of grief keep getting darker? Sometimes I don’t feel like I deserve anything or that I’m the common denominator in all the negative things that have happened this past thirty-three weeks.

That probably sounds dramatic, but this day last year was completely opposite to today.

On this day last year, I was eagerly waiting for tomorrow. It would be the day I would find out Jensen was a little boy. I was so excited and it would paint a clearer picture of how the rest of our lives would go. As I look back now, I’m so jealous of me then. The road in front of me had unexpected turns, but I felt like I was going forward. There was no looking back. The little life inside of me kept encouraging me to go full speed ahead.

Since Jensen’s been born, I’ve kept saying over and over how love leads the way. Even when today makes me feel completely void of happiness and consumed with the frigid air, love touches and warms me. When I wonder why I should keep going on, I think of Jensen. I take a minute to breathe and look at this face. In it (when everyone would see his chubby cheeks, mama’s nose, and his little pout) I see my world. Even when it breaks me to know he was taken away from me, this motherly instinct keeps telling me to get back in the car and just drive.

To follow Jensen through all the turns and seasons.

Screen Shot 2016-11-22 at 5.49.45 PM.png

Taken by Mariah’s mama, Nicole, in Las Vegas.

For thirty-eight weeks, the roads on the map of my life were highlighted, then one day it all went black. With each step I take, the world around me becomes lit up again. I’m rediscovering and making a new map everyday. Love is my compass, even though sometimes it spins and spins and spins. There are streets without names, but I know I can always find my way back by looking for Jensen. It’s so hard to feel lost and wondering where the road is going to lead, but I’m still following it.

I’m still surviving. I’m still breathing. I’m still doing the very best I can.


Happy thirty-three weeks in heaven, Jensen. I hope you’re watching over Poe and making sure he’s safe wherever he is. Guide him, as you guide me, back home. Thank you for teaching me love and knowing it’s okay to pull over when I feel lost. You are my favorite person in all the universe. I miss you. I love you.

 

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

#WhatHealsYou

When someone breaks a leg (literally), healing could include surgery, rest, and physical therapy. It could take years for the deep pain of the break to feel like it was almost back to normal. Sometimes, the person might even have a limp for the rest of their life. No matter what you’ve done to heal the leg, it’ll never go back to what is was before.

In a crazy way, that’s kind of how grief and healing after losing a child works.

Obviously, one is physical pain and the other is a lot more complicated than that. But, it’s easier to explain something familiar to an unfamiliar situation. Instead of healing a broken bone in the ways I’ve said, for grief I’ve found ways to soothe myself, I rest a lot, and I go to therapy and support group throughout the month. Shock has fizzled out and there are days were I can feel something else besides deep pain.

I can’t tell the future or how my journey of grief and healing will go. There’s not a right way to live after losing a baby. If we keep on the analogy of breaking someone’s leg compared to grief, at physical therapy a person has to find what makes them want to learn how to walk again. Some like the bike and others like the treadmill. With grief, I’ve had to find things that are gentle on my heart. Those soothers are hard to find when everything looks so bleak, but they’re there… I promise.

For me, it’s a few things.

Leo and Poe can make me smile when I feel like nothing else can. They give me motivation to get up every morning and feed them to start my day. Leo gets himself into crazy antics almost every hour, like jumping on top of the shower curtain. Poe, who usually doesn’t want to be held, will come sit on my lap and let me cuddle on him everyday. His purrs are so loud and deep. They both let me care for them in a way I didn’t think I would ever care for anything again.

Hot tea, reading, and writing have saved me. When I can’t stop crying or when I can’t relax enough to sleep, I go to these each time. The aroma of the tea calms me, reading occupies my mind, and writing gets out all my thoughts. I’ve said over and over that it’s been therapeutic to me and that has been so healing. During those times, I feel like time stops and quickens at once. Getting lost in time is sometimes the only thing I know how to do to help.

Human connection. A huge generalization, but so important. I couldn’t imagine being locked up or stashed away somewhere completely alone. Friends, family, and the loss community have been there in different, but important healing ways. There’s understanding from those who have walked my shoes, encouragement and literally being dragged from places by my family, and a sense of trying to understand from friends. Even though grief is so individual, knowing I’m not alone in this journey through all the facets of my support, have helped me soothe and heal.

The last and most important is Jensen and love. I can’t imagine my life without Jensen being in it, which is probably weird to say since he’s not physically here, but he’s all around me. There are days when the only word that helps me is his name; I write it over and over again. I think of all the days I had with him and how the days were filled with joy. Seeing his face each and everyday calms me. He is all I’ve ever wanted. When I look at his urn with his candle lit, I feel a sense of peace. Warmth floods the room and it feels a lot like love. A mother and child’s love is unbreakable. Sometimes I can imagine it wrapping around my heart and trying to put the pieces back together. Love is what makes my world keep turning. It’s what allows me to get up in the morning to feed Leo and Poe. It’s what flows in and out when I read and write. It’s why human connection is even there. More importantly, it’s all Jensen knows and has.

Love is what heals me.

Screen Shot 2016-10-26 at 7.18.05 PM.png

Gratitude.

Some days I can’t stand thinking I have gratitude for anything in this world after it took Jensen away. Maybe it’s clouded from the rain or the darkness that has settled in me this evening. Instead of delving into my thoughts, I want to make a list of all the reasons I’m grateful. My mind can’t go any deeper than that tonight.

Screen Shot 2016-11-16 at 12.28.58 AM.png

I’m grateful for you reading this and saying Jensen’s name quietly to yourself.

I’m grateful for my family and the support they give me.

I’m grateful for this path I’m on, even if I don’t understand it.

I’m grateful for my beliefs and how they keep me grounded.

I’m grateful for the loss community for never letting me feel alone.

I’m grateful for all the pictures of Jensen’s name I receive.

I’m grateful for noise, so the silence doesn’t pull me back.

I’m grateful for the rain as it waters Jensen’s tree.

I’m grateful for Leo and Poe, as they let me be the best cat mom to them.

I’m grateful for the happiness I once had.

I’m grateful for pain and it’s ability to push someone to their breaking point.

I’m grateful for my motherhood.

I’m grateful for the candle’s flame dancing just out of my reach.

I’m grateful for the first time I felt his kicks.

I’m grateful for every picture I have of him.

I’m grateful for his love of chocolate milk, that I still drink to bring back a part of him.

I’m grateful for the thirty-eight weeks and two days I carried him.

I’m grateful for the chubbiest cheeks I’ve ever seen.

I’m grateful for his button nose and pouty lips.

I’m grateful for his curly blond wisps.

I’m grateful for his memory and those who remember him with me.

I’m grateful for the courage he brought me.

I’m grateful for his signs.

I’m grateful for the love that constantly guides me in the right direction.

I’m grateful for being able to carry the most gentle soul and being able to learn all about him.

Most of all, I’m grateful for Jensen.

 

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.

Screen Shot 2016-10-19 at 3.45.04 PM.png

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.

Screen Shot 2016-10-19 at 3.44.39 PM.png

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.

Screen Shot 2016-10-19 at 3.44.06 PM.png

Beliefs & Spirituality.

I just want to start off saying, this topic brings a lot of emotions when talked about. There have been centuries of wars started over religion and differences in beliefs. This post was not written to harm others or to push what I believe on anyone. I’m not like that and I value differences in opinion. It’s fascinating to hear what other’s think about the world and their spirituality. There’s no right or wrong in what you believe.

Beliefs, spirituality, and faith are as individual as each person or their journey in life. For me, it’s something that’s constantly changed as I’ve experienced different situations or learned more information. When we were young, we didn’t go to church or were pushed to believe in a certain thing. I mean, we celebrated all the holidays and learned about Jesus, but we were able to explore it all in our own time. That meant learning about any religion I could find and even more ideas about the afterlife. Like I said, I found it all so fascinating,

To put it bluntly, I believe in God and the afterlife. Yet, there’s so much more to what I believe than just that.

Before I get into the details, I want to make something clear. I do not find it comforting for people to tell me Jensen is in a ‘better place.’ There’s no better place for him than in my arms. It’s not comforting to know that God needed another angel and He somehow chose Jensen. More than anything else, it angers me and it’s not fair that he died. Believe me, I know he’s a special boy, but his innocent soul deserved to live so much longer. If you hear me talking about him being in heaven or being an angel, it’s because I can. That sounds ridiculous, I know. BUT, until you’ve walked in my shoes and experienced losing my son, you don’t understand what is comforting to me. It’s okay if I say those things because sometimes that’s the only thing keeping me being here. Knowing he’s protecting me and will be there when I die. As I said, faith and this journey is individual.

Now I’ll get back to the prompt.

Yes, I believe in God, but that doesn’t mean I’m angry with Him and it doesn’t mean that my faith wasn’t shattered. Most days, I’m still so mad and don’t understand why this is happening to me. I find comfort in a lot of verses, not all of them. One of my favorites is below, Jessica, from Lettered Hope, made this for me. It comforts me to pray and put my worries on God. If I say I’m praying for you and/or your angel, I don’t mean it in a bad way. It’s what helps me make sense of this loss. I believe God hears me and tells the children in heaven that they’re being thought of. Then I think they can just hear me too. I remember not praying for a few weeks after Jensen died because I was so angry, which was weird because I did a lot of work in the bible when I was pregnant. It was Jensen and I’s routine every night to pray. I can remember screaming till my throat would bleed asking Him why. Why Jensen? I know there’s not a reason for his death and I won’t know until I’m dead. There’s nothing good that can come as a result of Jensen not being here, but I’m being lead into healing through knowing I will be with him again.

Screen Shot 2016-10-14 at 5.00.08 PM.png

After losing Jensen, I understand how people don’t believe in God, or well any higher power. It’s not fair, especially when we’re led to believe that He put this pain on us. I get it and your beliefs are justified, just as mine are to my understanding of this.

Another belief I have, is in spirit communities; I’ll try not to go too deep into this, unless you’d like to know. When I talk about this, I literally feel crazy. I believe that everyone has a soul and that our souls are connected with those that mean the most to us. Some know this as soul mates, but I believe in a soul community. These souls stay around each other for all eternity and come back here to earth and find each other again. This can be from partners to children to friends, but we’re constantly searching for one another. I think Jensen and I’s souls have been connected for a long time. As any mother, I had a bond with him when I was pregnant, but I get a lot of signs that I know are from him. In my letters to him, I’ve said that we’re two souls who search for each other, but are continuously just out of our reach. Maybe this goes along with not only wanting to see him again, but one day seeing him grow? Who knows, I’m still working on this belief.

The last thing I want to touch on is heaven. I really believe there is a home for us after we die. Maybe we go there to rejuvenate for another life or we stay there forever, both comfort me equally. I think heaven is different for everyone. Sort of like everyone has their own house and inside is what makes their soul happy. It could maybe even be your house transported into heaven, which I wouldn’t be disappointed about! Sometimes I think my heaven will be walking right into my front door and picking Jensen up from his crib. Then just holding him and studying every detail of that moment. We’d never run out of diapers and food. My heaven is just us together in his nursery, watching whatever’s going on outside his window. Hopefully my other family would be there and so would Leo and Poe. But as I said, everyone’s heaven is different.

I often think about Jensen’s heaven. Maybe his is with me and that’s why I always have so many signs. I think he’s with my grandma being held, I have a feeling that would be apart of hers. Maybe he’s growing or waiting for me to get there so I can see that. I hope I can revert back to twenty-two and we can grow together.

Jensen will always be my heaven and I have faith that he’ll be eagerly waiting for his mother’s embrace.

Screen Shot 2016-10-14 at 4.52.34 PM.png

 

Dear World,

I always believed in the beauty that surrounded me. The crisp, fresh air would fill my lungs as I drew a deep breath. Colorful flowers would beckon me to stop and smell them; I would pick a bundle and put a few in my hair. Each time I would step outside and enjoy the splendor that is this world, I thought I  knew my place. Even when I didn’t understand why something was happening, I could get lost in the stars. My hands would run through the grass calling out for me to just lay there and feel grounded.

When I learned Jensen was growing inside of my belly, I couldn’t wait to introduce him to you. There are so many opportunities you offer to each of us. In my dreams, I imagined him falling in love with all of your wonders and wanting to explore new places. Maybe I could even show him what you have done to comfort me. I’d see him play on your beaches and make sand castles. Our backyard would be full of mud pies and lullabies. He would be a fearless little boy and I hoped he would find his place here, just as I thought I had.

He’d grow up picking the flowers in a garden we’d make together, bundling them so he could give them to me. So proud that he had discovered a different part of you and bringing that beauty in our home.

Screen Shot 2016-10-13 at 3.05.45 PM.png

Deep down, I knew there was an innate darkness you had in your trenches. I didn’t think I would ever meet that part of you, until I did. You and my body were two of the only things I trusted with him. On that windy, spring day you flipped upside down letting darkness blanket over all the beauty I once found solace in.

You’re still upside down and I don’t know how to trust you anymore.

Bringing a child into this world is supposed to be the most natural act a person can do. There is nothing natural about him dying before he could leave my womb and discover you. Instead of him picking me flowers and discovering each constellation in the sky, his absence has brought me an eerie darkness. For awhile, that’s all you let me see and feel. You turned so cold, unlike anything I had experienced, especially after the warm nine months I carried him.

There were parts of me that came unearthed too. This overwhelming anxiety and depression that has made itself home in my body. A sense of dread each time the phone rang, wondering what other horror had escaped your trenches. The feeling of no fear, even when it was presented. There was hatred and a bunch of it towards myself and everyone and thing that was in close proximity. I felt betrayed by myself. All deviant feelings that I didn’t know existed were flooding me.

Since I never had you turn your back on me before, I shut you out. I didn’t believe there would ever be beauty in you again. How could there be?

Then I saw him with you.

You let him paint the sky with blues and oranges. He draws me to the prettiest flowers, that only little boys would choose. I feel his warmth as the sun creeps through my curtains and wakes me in the morning. The birds sing with him as I open the windows to welcome you in. He’s the shooting star that I make a wish on. You haven’t broken your promise to him and I. I see him discovering you in ways I could never imagine. Even though I can’t see his imagination spreading across his face, I feel his excitement as the seasons change. He has found his place in the world when he’s not sleeping in the clouds.

Oh world, I’m so angry with the darkness you’ve given to me. Most days I wish I could just get a tall enough latter to join him in the clouds, but I know that’s impossible. So, I live for the moments where I see his light. Somehow when I can’t see this, I remember he is doing all what I ever wanted him to do. He’s exploring the parts of you I’ll never see, until I’m free from this darkness and hold you have on me.

Love,

Danielle
Jensen’s Mom

Creative Heartwork.

“I need to have a part of Jensen on my forever. Everyone needs to see him on me.”

A few weeks after Jensen was born, I kept repeating those words. My heart hurt that no one could see my baby in my arms and I wanted to somehow prove to the world that I was his mother. That and I wanted to feel physical pain, there was so much emotional pain that I needed to focus it somewhere else.

So we got tattoos.

Even though the one I got wasn’t the one I originally planned, I’m so happy it worked out that way. The celtic knot for motherhood is forever on the back of my neck. It’s beautiful and to me, represents that Jensen will always be with me. The pain I expected it to bring wasn’t there. Instead, the humming of the machine relaxed every muscle in my body. After it was all done, I was so proud Jensen was honored there for the rest of my life. I loved that I was able to find the design and put his birthday underneath it.

Screen Shot 2016-06-16 at 10.13.19 PM.png

As much as I love sharing my first Jensen tattoo with everyone, I think a lot of creative heartwork happens behind the scenes. It’s sharing your story online and at in-person support groups. Or it can be the connection you make with other loss mamas and doing anything you can to be there for them. Maybe it’s writing your baby’s name hundreds of times in every font you know how to do. It could be framing your favorite outfit of their’s in your favorite spot, so you can see it everyday. If a baby is buried, you can be creative during all the holidays and anniversaries and decorate their spot. SO many things that is creative and comes from the heart.

For me, it seems like I share all the creative heartwork that I do for Jensen. I love showing how much he means to me and my creative side. Today i’m going to share something a little more personal. As I’ve said before, when people walk into my house, Jensen is everywhere. Most people wouldn’t even notice the stack of notebooks of letter, filled with love, that I have written to Jensen. It started when I was pregnant, I would write a verse and then tell Jensen all about my day. When he was born, I started drawing him pictures and adding color to every letter. It was my way to be creative with him while I let all my emotions out on the paper. Every single word filled with love and appreciation to him. These letters have became my favorite part of the day and are a huge part of my healing. It’s my favorite heartwork I do for Jensen.

In between all those love letters, are drawings and letterings of his name or anything that reminds me of him. Today, I keep writing his name over and over again. If you’ve been following along, you all know Tuesdays are hard for me. They’re even harder when I can’t be creative and do things for him. All I’ve been able to do is writing his name. Even finding the words to this Capture Your Grief prompt has been difficult. This Tuesday marks twenty-seven weeks since Jensen was born sleeping. All those weeks ago, I bought my first remembrance bracelet to remember him by. It was Aries constellation bracelet, that I wear everyday. I never imagined then, that six months from that moment my favorite heartwork would be the letters I wrote to him just two days before his birth.

Tonight, as I continue my private, creative heartwork for Jensen,  I’ll be thinking of the love we show to all our babies everyday. Even in our deepest pits of pain, we continue creating beautiful things to honor our angels; out of these dark pits, blossoms the loveliest flower.

Happy twenty-seventh week in heaven, Jensen. When you look down on me from heaven, I hope you see all the creative heartwork that I do all for you. I miss you. I love you.

Screen Shot 2016-10-11 at 5.22.58 PM.png