Stars and Stripes: Beach Edition.

Fourth of July weekend did not go entirely as planned. By that, I mean it didn’t go at all how I thought it would.

I’ve spent every Fourth of July weekend in my hometown. There’s a parade, fireworks, and a big cookout. Heck, that’s why I picked a few things on our summer bucket list. So when my mom texted and asked if we wanted to go to the beach for the weekend instead, I was a little shocked. But, who can pass up the beach? So we packed up and headed to Savannah, Georgia, which is right by Tybee Island and Hilton Head.

Instead of outlining everything we did, I’ll just say we had a blast. I swear Mila gets more adventurous and hilarious every single day. It felt like we were either chasing after her or laughing with her.

One of the funniest things that kept happening is her saying her new word. The last two weeks she’s been learning the word ‘hot.’ Like if there’s coffee around or the stoves on, I tell her it’s hot and not to touch. Of course, she’s been experimenting on how to say it and it’s the cutest. Check the video at the end of the post to see what I’m talking about. Anyways, the first day we went to Tybee Island and we got her out of the truck. It was like 100 degrees out and like thick air. I don’t think Mila has ever experienced heat like that. My brother’s fiancée, Chelsea, was holding her and Mila she looked at her and just said ‘hooooooot,’ like it had finally clicked what hot actually meant. After that, every time we went outside, she had to let us know she felt the heat.

We also learned even when Mila’s teeth are hurting and the suns too intense for her to eat, she’ll always take a mouthful of sand. If the sand wasn’t in her mouth, it was all over her body or being thrown on someone else’s. It’s a good thing she likes the water because we were always going back in to get it off of her. As soon as we went back to land, she’d just cover herself again. We pick our battles as parents, don’t we?

No matter if she was covered in sand or pushing down sand castles, she was having a blast. Somehow after applying sunblock multiple times throughout the days, she still ended up with a perfect beach tan. The Fourth of July this year didn’t come with fireworks or a parade, but I think it was one of our best.

Even though Mila and I didn’t check off the expected bucket list items, we did check off beach day and made way more memories than I imagined. I wonder which ones we’ll get to next.

How did your holiday weekend go? And make sure to check out this cute video of Mila saying ‘hot.’

This Still Mother’s Thought from the Beach. 

Guilt. It manifests in forms you never knew existed until it smacks you right in the face. Believe me, I’ve went more than ten rounds with it in the past year of grieving. Even when a person shouldn’t feel guilty about their actions and thoughts, grief puts it out there for them. 

Being at the beach should be relaxing, right? In some aspects it is. The sun is shining so brightly and is warming me more than I’ve felt in a long while. I smell the salt from the ocean and the sound of the waves almost puts me to sleep. This is a dream spot for so many people. The beach has always made me so happy. I can escape from everyday problems and just focus on the healing vibes. Well, I should say Danielle from before could escape her everyday life problems. The bereaved can’t just escape the immense loss they continuously carry. 

Let me just say, I love my son more than anything. I smile every time I think of him and can so vividly picture him in my mind. He truly is my everything. Even when I feel his absence crushing me, I can pull myself back with my love for him. 

That being said and widely known, the grief and guilt I feel without him is miserable. Yes, I get lost in my Jensen moments, but when I resurface and it all hits again, I feel so exhausted. I can’t relax. It feels like trying to jump the crashing waves over and over again. This vacation I’m on is beautiful, but I see where he is missing every moment. And it’s not as simple as pushing him out of my mind. I carry him wherever I go and will never deny these thoughts or feelings. 

This is just how my life is. I won’t apologize for loving and missing him. 

But this guilt and the thoughts I’ve had sitting on the beach trying to focus on it’s healing aspects make me want to break down. I know you’re thinking, what could possibly be that terrible? I’ll always answer the death of my child, but it’s so much more too. 

If Jensen was alive I wouldn’t be here on the beach. 

If we were here, we’d have so much fun making sand castles. 

I wish I had to wipe of his sandy toes instead of the sand of his footprint on my foot. 

How much sunblock would I need to put on him today?

Flinching every time my twenty minute alarm goes off, knowing another baby is stillborn in the United States. 

Would he be playing with all the other children here today?

All these kids look so happy and their parents are proudly watching them. 

I wish they could see the little boy that’s always in my thoughts. The one that’s playing with their children right now. 

How many more babies would be here? 

Frantically counting how many women are here and thinking of the one in four statistic. 

Can I just got push their kids down so I don’t have to see what he’d be doing. 

You’re a jerk for even thinking you want to push a kid down because of your pain. 

How can you be enjoying your time when Jensen’s been gone for more than one year? 

When will this ever get easier?


I can’t lie, grief and child loss is exhausting. A little over a year out, it has not gotten easier. There’s no ‘fixing’ me or these thoughts. This is my reality now and I’m learning how to live my life with it. Living without your child is something I would never wish on anyone. Even with that said, there are people battling internal wars all the time. 

Even at the beach where they ‘should be’ relaxed. 

This mama is going to try her best with not feeling guilty. I’m wishing you all gentle weeks as we approach Mother’s Day. Always remember, you’re never alone.