In the Ashes of September.

I’ve never been one to wish away time.

Even when I was super pregnant with Jensen and my feet were so swollen. I happily waddled around and was so blissfully happy that everything seemed so perfect. Honestly, I didn’t even have a countdown for his arrival. His due date, April seventeenth, was always in the back of my mind, but each day was so special with him.

For the first time in my life, I wished time away. I wished September would have ended two weeks ago. It’s been a month full of pain and change. There were many days I just sat and thought of loss and death. I’ve had my darkest thoughts this past month; times I wanted to literally rip the skin off my body to feel some relief. Tears fell so freely and there were only bits of relief. As bad as this month was, no month, from forever on, will ever compare to April, but this September comes in second.

At the beginning of the month, I posted a blog: The Promise of September. I wish I would have listened to my gut instincts that I had on that day. The words I wrote even doubted good things to come. They were full of fear for the future. It’s like I knew deep down that this month would be another month that would change my life, just in all the ways I never thought.

“The promise of change scares the living hell out of me.”

Those words are ringing in my ear. September kept its promise of change and I’ve felt that living hell each day.

But I’m going to let you all in on a secret, no matter what happens to me in the months to come, nothing will compare to the pain of losing Jensen. I am a survivor. No matter how hard it is to be left or hurt or beat down, if my heart can still beat after Jensen’s stopped, I can take everything else. Death has creeped inside of me and stolen away the one person who I would have given the whole entire world. If I could survive that, I can survive whatever else this cruel life has to throw at me.

Once another beautiful mother told me, us loss mommas were like phoenixes. I might have posted about this before, but it holds true during these bad days and months. My soul and insides have caught on fire and burned out, just leaving ashes behind. But I’m rising from those ashes. For Jensen, for me, and for our story, I will rise and wish away the remaining hours of September to be stronger for October.

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Just another reminder that tomorrow is the beginning of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month! I will be posting every single day with the prompts from Capture Your Grief. Hopefully, you all can follow along and share your stories as well.

 

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The Greatest Gift.

If I could ask for anything for my birthday, and every single day, I’d ask for you.

For my birthday, I wish I could be counting your toes. I wish I could have taught you how to walk and then I’d see your footprints all the time. I’d have to wipe them up each day, but every night they’d grow just a little big bigger. In this lifetime, your feet will forever be this big. Even though they were just little, baby feet you continue to leave a huge footprint on my life and this earth.

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This is one of my favorite pictures of your perfect feet. Your ten little toes, that look just like mine. All those perfect creases make such a unique print. Every single part of you as beautiful as the last. I’ll forever be longing to see you using these perfect pair of feet. You are the greatest gift I’ve ever had.

Jensen Grey, I’m wishing for you today and all the days of my life.

To Danielle at Twenty-Two.

Happy twenty-second birthday. This birthday will bring you joy and hope for the future. It will be busy going to a football game, spending time with your most loved ones, and choosing baby names. Today you found out you are carrying the most precious gift in the whole entire universe. At that second it turned positive, you knew this year for you would be completely different from any before. You would start counting down the days to important pregnancy milestones and planning for the rest of your life. Soak in this happiness, this will be your last birthday that you will be able to freely smile with meaning.

This year you will grow and not just your belly getting bigger and bigger. Your love will grow and be greater than anything you thought was possible. The pride you have for you family and son will burst from the seams. There will be a light in your life that grows with every single beat of Jensen’s heart. He will grow and as you watch him dance across that screen, your smile will grow at each visit. Your little house will have a ceiling and walls up, even a nursery. Instead of your mind focusing in on a single person’s house, it will grow suitable for a small family. Everything around you will be nurtured for the future you came up with, as you woke up on your twenty-second birthday.

November will be the happiest month of your year. You find out the little baby in your belly is a boy, your Jensen. He sits there just like Dad does on the couch. He isn’t shy about being a boy and you’ll soon find out he cooperates for everyone when you ask him to. Even when he’s being the most stubborn little boy for the nurses, when you ask him to move he does. The love you have for each other is unbreakable. You find out his heart is strong and he has hair; the only two things you asked for when you found out you were going to have a baby. Even though you didn’t think you would see Jensen twice a week while you were pregnant, you will be so thankful for that time with him.

There will be so much happiness and love in this year, you will be on the greatest high in your life. Collect those moments as they come and never let them go. You will have bumps while you’re pregnant that you’ll never think you can get over. They are not important. You would’ve got through the, but you didn’t think anything worse could happen. You could never have imagined the alternative. Instead of listening to almost everyone around you, you’ll fight for Jensen. Just as any mother would. No matter the challenges placed in front of you, you will always do what’s best for Jensen and you.

Then comes April. At this point in the year, it’s gone so perfectly. You will be so ready for his arrival, just getting a few more things the weekend before. In the second day of this month, you will joke how you feel like Jensen won’t wait to come out for very much longer. You will be surrounded by Anthony and your family. Love will pour in that weekend. Everything will feel just like it has, until you walk in the doctor’s office on Monday, April the fourth. This is when everything changes. The joy and happiness that you felt on your birthday, this day one year ago, will vanish. Your hopes and dreams will go away and you have to say goodbye to the one, little person that brought you so much light.

On April fifth he is born. You find out he did in fact have hair, looked exactly like you, and never once brought you pain. He’s a perfect baby at seven pounds one ounce and nineteen and three-quarter inches long. All ten fingers and all ten toes are there for you to count. His big cheeks and button nose would have scrunched up to boast a big smile. You made him with love and he looked so peaceful. The day will be static, even as your twenty-third birthday comes. I can’t tell you when that day comes back clear. It hasn’t yet, there’s a chance it never will.

I’ll be honest with you, Danielle. The days, weeks, and months that follow his birth are hard. You’ll plan your son’s funeral, tears come more freely than smiles, and the light is impossible to see. It will hurt to breathe and nothing will scare you anymore. I wish you never had to meet death this year. This isn’t what you wished for as you blew out the candle on top of your sundae. You’ll wish to go back in time, something you never did before. Depression will creep up, self-doubt will happen, and all you will be able to do is survive. There will be people who don’t understand this and you’ll feel alone. A loneliness and emptiness will eat away at your everyday. There will be darkness.

Somehow, you will keep surviving.

Jensen, even in death, is your light. He and all the memories you have with him will keep you going. There’s not a lot of smiles in the last few months of your twenty-second year, but when you do, it’s when you remember him. Many will tell you to find some light in your life and somedays it’s just a flicker. Jensen’s light is so strong, but sometimes grief is pitch black. When you feel like giving up, search deep down. You’ll see his light. No matter how pitch black it is, Jensen’s light never goes out. He never hurt you when he was here and he would never leave you in the dark.

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I want you to know that grief does not get lighter, we become stronger. This pain and darkness does not go away. You just learn how to live with it. There will always be an absence in your life, but his presence was so great. Through this year, soak up all the light and happiness you can. Even now, as this year is coming to its close, I would never wish it away. I would never want to forget all this love and each day Jensen was with us. I can say that even through this darkness and pain.

This year you will become a mother of all mothers. One who does not hold her son in her arms, but in her heart. Forever.

Love,

Danielle at almost twenty-three.

Grandma’s Belated Birthday.

For as long as I can remember, I have loved birthdays.

My favorite birthday in the whole entire world was when I turned twenty-two and the day I found out I was going to have my little Jensen. We went to the Steelers game and talked about our new secret. Anthony and I laughed and smiled, came up with Jensen’s name, and fully jumped into the idea of our new life. All I wished for was a happy little baby and for our little family to have a bright and happy future.

My least favorite birthday I’ve celebrated was my dad’s last birthday. I know that sounds horrible; it was nine days after Jensen was born so silently into this world. How could I be happy for a birthday? Someone else being able to be another year older, when I was angry Jensen couldn’t be another second older. It was a hard day, but my dad is such a trooper to understand my sadness on his day.

Then yesterday came, May Nineteenth. It’s one of my favorite person’s birthday: my beautiful mother’s. I woke up crying, it was going to be a bad day. A day where I know Jensen would have brought so many smiles to his family, especially his grandma. It hurt all throughout the day. Her smile brightened up the room when I walked in with her big gift bag. She showed me her roses my dad bought her. When she opened her present and read her card signed from Jensen and I, I knew she sensed my sadness. Her smile faded to a frown as she looked to my face. As she came over for what I thought was a thank you hug, became a comforting one.  She’s such a strong mom and grandma.

That moment made me remember the day I told my mom she was going to be a grandma. I was so afraid to tell her. She was asking me every single day if I was going to have a baby, but I just kept telling her not to worry about me and that I would tell her. I finally broke down on September 17 and sent her the ultrasound picture via text. Yes I know, how silly to tell someone they are going to be a grandma.

Then she said the best thing: “This baby is such a happy surprise. You will be a great mother.”

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This is my mom’s favorite picture of our family. She has it on her phone and I gifted it to her in a frame for Christmas from Jensen and I. We have it up in our bookcase. Our happiness from the before shines down on us everyday. I love the before, I loved the during, and I love how strong we are growing.

Although a day late (online), Happy Birthday to my beautiful mother. I know how vibrant I usually am on days like yesterday, I just wish my little love was here to celebrate with us. He always loved hearing your voice.

I know Jensen smiles down on you every single day.