Surrender & Embrace.

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I’m in a constant state of falling apart and picking up the pieces.

From the minute I was being wheeled out of my hospital room, I let myself surrender to the heaviness of sadness. The unfairness of leaving without Jensen was overwhelming. I wanted to scream, but no sound came. Instead, tears flowed so freely and I couldn’t stop them even if I tried. While we were in the elevator, I kept opening and closing my eyes wishing that when I did it I would finally wake up from this nightmare. When I sat in the front seat of the car on the way to my parent’s house, I felt like I was in a vacuum. In this vacuum, there’s no outside noise or reason. There’s just me and my uncontrollable thoughts. After we got home, I realized that I would never be able to fight off the pain and sadness. I promised myself that I would accept whatever feelings and emotions came my way.

I surrendered myself to sadness, anger, pain, depression, and even joy.

Sometimes I wish I didn’t. There are moments in life where feeling everything so intensely isn’t ‘acceptable’ or ‘normal.’ Yet, they’re right there. Sadness and pain are always reachable for me. Almost everything in my life right now can be set back to, ‘If Jensen was here.’ I love being able to imagine it, but breaking down at a restaurant when they ask how many people are eating and I always have to say one less than what’s in my heart, is unacceptable. Those moments I can breathe through. In the few other times where I’ve felt like I had to hold it back and tried to force another certain emotion, grief came back around in a few hours times; one-hundred times worse. Worse as in, the emotions were just more intense where I literally can only lie there.

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Beautiful Mysteries.

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The sun is just starting to peek through the curtains beside my bed. I lay there, waiting for the day to start. Thoughts rush through my mind of what all I need to do and how messy the house has been. Then I hear it, the tiny steps sneaking into my room. I stay still because the next part of my morning is my favorite.

He climbs up the bed and lays right beside me. I pretend to sleep by closing my eyes and then feel the tap on my shoulder. His impatience builds up as he starts playing with my hair and whispering in my ear.

“Good morning, mommy. I lub you!”

I tickle him and give him a big kiss. The sound of his laughter fills the house. In that second there isn’t anymore worry to what needs to be done during the day or how messy the house is. I take in his big smile and his dirty blond hair, just a little bit too long. His eyes are squished up as he laughs. He throws his head back as he laughs and then when he stops, he gets serious. Every time he gets serious he asks for one thing…

“Mommy, I’m hungry. Can we have ‘nana pancakes?”

His eyebrows raise, waiting for me to answer. Before I get the words out of my mouth, I smile, and he jumps off the bed and runs to the kitchen. One more big breath and stretch to start my day. Sometimes I don’t even get that, he’ll plea for me to come in and I can’t say no to him. As his sits on his chair at the island, I can see his black and white pajamas are getting a little shorter. He’s growing faster than I can keep up with.

He helps me mash-up the bananas and stir in the eggs. When I pour the cinnamon in, he yells ‘STOP,’ whenever he feels like there’s the perfect amount in the bowl. I ask him if he had any dreams last night, while I pour the batter in the pan. He speaks with his hands and his voice gets louder and louder as he explains them. His imagination grows along with him. He finishes explaining each and every character in his dream, just as I flip the last pancake on the plate.

I place his in front of him. He gives me the look as if I’ve forgotten something, but I know what he wants. His pancake needs cut so he can easily eat them, but he usually asks me for a specific shape. This morning he wants triangles and he’ll get them. He smiles as he eats each one of his triangle banana pancakes.

“Mama, you are the best nana pancake maker!”

The morning continues with him playing under his tent as I pick up after him. He’s so curious and inquisitive, but I answer each question he asks me. I see him figuring out the world around him and as I’m in awe of this little human who is all mine, my mind keeps going back to one though. This is my heaven and I know as he grows, there will be one day where these mornings cease. For now, I will soak up every second of him at this age.

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Myths.

Life after loss is all about discovery. Discovering healing and how to keep surviving each day. There are good discoveries and there are bad. Most of the bad are from myths that our society have compiled about grief and child loss. I’m going to do my best to debunk some of these myths and probably ramble a lot.

I’ve narrowed it down to the four that really get under my skin. They all kind of loop in with one another, but they are all things I’ve heard. I’ve also wrote about all of them before which really helps show the progression of my grief journey.

Happy debunking.

Myth One | Everything happens for a reason.

Before loss, I found comfort in this statement. In my logical mind, there had to be a reason for everything that happened. It was just be pandemonium if there was no answer to each thing that happened in the world. There had to be a lesson or something we could learn from everything that happened in life.

Then Jensen died.

There is no a reason a baby should die. I can remember searching within myself, thinking if I did anything wrong. Even if I had some sort of bad karma, there still isn’t any way that Jensen’s death would solve anything. His death didn’t happen for a reason. Don’t tell me God needed him and that’s why he died. That’s preposterous, there are a ton of people who die everyday that God can have; not my baby or anyone else’s baby.

Honestly, it just floors me when I hear this. Even if you think there’s a justifiable reason for a baby to die, just don’t say it. It’s not true and something a grieving mother (or any person) needs to hear.

Myth Two | At least you didn’t know him.

Please don’t say this to me, ever. I knew his kicks and when he was uncomfortable. I knew his schedule. I knew his favorite foods. I knew what music he liked. I knew when he was annoyed and didn’t want to participate for the ultrasound tech. I knew he loved to hear people talk about him. I knew he loved being read to. I knew everything about my son.

Just because he didn’t live outside the womb doesn’t mean he didn’t exist or that I couldn’t know him.

I understand it’s a different sense of knowing a person. Jensen was only a baby and I didn’t know him as a toddler, or as a child, or as a teenager, or as an adult. I don’t know what kind of person he would have turned out to be. That’s just a fact, but to say I didn’t know him at all hurts and disregards him as the little human he was. Even though I don’t know for sure who he would have become, I can imagine and dream of that. Tomorrow’s prompt dives into the beautiful mystery he is and I’m excited to share that with you all.


Myth Three | Grief follows five steps in an orderly fashion.

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We all are told and know the telltale stages of grief: Denial. Anger. Bargaining. Depression. Acceptance. In the stages of grief, we’re only supposed to be in each for a designated time and then find acceptance in all of it and move on with our lives. If we stay in one stage longer than an another, we’re not grieving ‘right.’ Or if we go from anger to depression and back to anger again, we didn’t do something right. We already prejudge our grief before we even start grieving. There’s this list of stages that we’re supposed to follow and when we don’t, we look down on ourselves, just as others do. But we’re not talking about each stage or the ones I’ve been in and tangoed with over and over again. There are many posts I’ve written about grief and the stages.

Still, it’s ridiculous to expect someone to follow grief in a timeline or a specific order. Grief is so individualized and different things let different individuals heal. Honestly, there are days where I’m still in denial that I have to live the rest of my days without Jensen. I’m twenty-three years old, let’s say I die at seventy years old, that’s forty-seven years I have to live without my son. I am in denial about that. I’ll expand that thought with the next myth. Then I have days where I’m in a complete rage. I could break plates and punch anything around me. There are times I scream at my cats if they meow because I just have so much anger built up. Then I go to bargaining and guilt. Depression is always there, so these stages make no sense for me.

I’ve left out acceptance for a reason. It’s supposed to be the end all of grief and it’s really not. For me, I feel like there’s different stages of acceptance. I’ve half-heartedly accepted Jensen’s death. Half-heartedly because I know he’s never coming back, but I don’t like it and I’m not comfortable with that fact. So there’s that slight acceptance. Right now, I can’t accept that I’m going to live for decades without him. It’s sad and heartbreaking. I don’t like it, but that’s grief and trying to process everything.

When I hear I’m not grieving correctly or if you think someone’s not, just know it’s their journey and process. Their heart will lead them to where they need to be at that particular time. Trying to rush them through their grief will only hurt them in the long run.


Myth Four | Time heals all wounds.

I feel like every last attempt to comfort me leads to this phrase and I hate it the most. Maybe because when the conversation gets to this point I’ve already lost hope with talking about Jensen and I know they’ll never understand.

Time sucks. I feel when time passes, I’ll become stronger and be able to be productive in my own ways. There won’t be a time where I go back to Danielle before Jensen and I don’t want to go back to her. Maybe in time the pain won’t be as intense? I don’t know. Thinking towards the future has been really difficult for me lately, so I’ve just stopped. As I was saying before, I keep thinking of living all these years without Jensen. He’s gone. The life I planned is gone. It’s overwhelming and to think as time as a savior, I just can’t think that way.

Maybe I’m just feeling defensive right now at this point with my grief. I don’t want time to slip away, but I also want it all to end quickly. It’s just strange. Do I want my life to get to a point where I’m excited for things again? Yes. But that doesn’t erase the pain or the hole in my heart. That hole will never get smaller.

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Time passing isn’t comforting to me nor do I know if it’ll heal me. Right now it’s a huge myth to me in my six months into grief. My wound is still deep and open, it’s one that will take a lifetime of healing.

Empathy.

Before I begin this post, I want to show the difference between empathy and sympathy. I think a lot of people think they’re the same thing, but they’re very different from each other.

empathy – the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

sympathy – feelings of pity and sorrow for someone else’s misfortune.

The first time I thought I understood what empathy really meant was in college. I remember the professor telling us her sister’s story; I won’t tell her story, but it deals with the loss of a child. My professor said to feel empathy you had to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and somehow understand those feelings.

Then she said, ‘I could never imagine losing a child, therefore I can’t have the full understanding of empathy for her situation.’ Continue reading

The Unspoken.

Today I cannot talk about my nitty-gritty unspoken encounters and thoughts I’ve had the past six months. My heart is already heavy with longing and sadness. I think most people would be surprised to know there are a lot of things I haven’t talked about here. Seems crazy to think that since I’ve tried to be completely honest about everything.

Somethings are secret between Jensen and I.

Somethings I whisper in the morning to help make me through the day.

Somethings I’m not ready to talk about.

And somethings, I just want to be selfish about.

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Support Circles.

Before I begin on today’s prompt, Support Circles, I’d like to take a second and just wish Jensen a very happy twenty-sixth week in heaven. This week brings on the big six month mark, but I like to acknowledge the weekday since it’s meant so much to me. I’m having an extremely rough time with the six month milestone, so I’m using today to ease into tomorrow. As I light my candle for Jensen tonight and tomorrow, I will light another for all our angels. I hope each of them are able to see the light and feel love’s warmth.

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When I think about support, my heart tears in two. The one side is full of love from so many people who hold me up, remember Jensen, and make feel like I’m not crazy. Then the other is cold and empty from the support I thought I would have on this journey. This is what makes talking about support so hard. I wish I was able to stitch both halves together and just fill my whole heart with the support I have, but it’s hard not to be bitter and think of the other side. Here’s another BUT, I’m not focusing on the bad today because there is so many people that have shown me love that I cannot thank enough.

I’ve written and rewrote this multiple times. No words will ever encapsulate my gratitude to those who have supported me and said Jensen’s name. I am going to try my very best!

To you who was there when we heard the news.
To you who rushed from Jensen’s room to get to the hospital.
To you who was there as soon as you could and stayed the whole night.
To you who heard the silence instead of the loud cries.
To you who went to his funeral.
To you who first reached out and welcomed me into this community.
To you who shared your and your angel’s story.
To you who sent me your words to let me know I wasn’t alone in my thinking.
To you who met me for lunch, even though I was so nervous to go.
To you who encouraged me to write.
To you who saw them first.
To you who showed me what was best to say to a mother who has been grieving silently for years.
To you who wrote his name so beautifully.
To you who made me feel so proud of him.
To you who let me find my voice.
To you who did not judge.
To you who saw Jensen’s pictures and exclaimed how beautiful he is.
To you who know the part of my story that I regret the most.
To you who welcomed me in many groups.
To you who made me smile.
To you who will answer any text at any time.
To you who gave me a chance.
To you who reminded me that I wasn’t alone.
To you who listened to Jensen’s story.
To you who have followed along our journey.
To you who have heard my voice.
To you who lets me cry.
To you who dries my eyes.
To you who has a huge part of their heart in heaven.
To you who walks with me in grief.
To you who celebrates his life.
To you who is reading now.
To you who says Jensen’s name.

I say thank you, to you who continues to support Jensen, me, and our story.

There’s one more person that I would like to take a second to thank.

Also, wanted to say thank you so much to the Share Your Mother Heart group. You all have been a HUGE support to me throughout all of this. Each of you have encouraged me to keep writing, even on my darkest days.


Support Links and Pages I Follow Closely:

Still Mothers

Mother Your Heart

Invisible Mothers

God’s Tiny Angels

Precious Parents

Sweet Pea Angel Gowns

Lettered Hope

Addison’s Army