The Day Everything Changed.

It was a Monday.

The weather was surprisingly nice being in April, but I felt off. Being thirty-eight weeks pregnant takes a toll on a person, yet this was a different feeling. I couldn’t quite tell what was wrong, but my body was telling me I needed to lay down. So Poe and I laid on the couch while Anthony left. I remember Poe laying super close to my belly and me talking to Jensen. A little part of me was wondering why he wasn’t moving as much as he normally did in the mornings. I kept pushing it out of my mind since I’d be going to the doctor at one.

On the ride to our appointment, I remember saying I thought something was wrong.

‘What would we do if he was still?’

Honestly, I thought it was just me worrying. Now when I look back, I think I knew. Anthony told me not to worry, Jensen is just fine.

He still hadn’t moved when we were in the waiting room. I was talking to him and remember walking into the bathroom three times while waiting. Finally we were taken back to the room, it felt like another appointment. She had me lay down on the table and put the jelly on my belly. I distinctly remember making a joke that there wasn’t much room left in there. She nervously chuckled and told me she’d be back.

I was worried at that moment, but everything was going to be alright. He was moving and passed his ultrasound less than five days ago. My comforting thoughts calmed the worrisome ones until my doctor came in.

It didn’t take him anytime at all to see that Jensen’s heart had stopped beating.

‘I’m sorry there’s no heartbeat. Do you understand what I’m saying?’ 

The world has come crashing down around me. I understood exactly what he was saying, but I didn’t know what happened next. He was talking, but I couldn’t hear any sound coming out. Just that we needed to go to the hospital to double-check and they would let me know what to do there.

When we walked out of that room, I felt Jensen’s weight just hanging there. I felt numb and in shock. As soon as I sat in the car, I cried and just kept saying the doctor was wrong. That they would tell me this was all a joke when we got there. After gaining somewhat of a composure, I called my mom. I needed her there with me. I don’t know what ran through her mind when I told her Jensen was gone. He doesn’t have a heartbeat. But she was there at the hospital way sooner than she typically drives.

At the hospital, they ushered me into a room I never been in before. They had the portable ultrasound in my room, three times, just to make sure. Each time I had my hopes up that his heart would start back up again. That I would see my boy’s heart flickering as it normally did.

It didn’t feel real.

When my mom got in there and they explained everything to her, I knew by her face that this wasn’t some sort of elaborate prank. The heaviness of the day crashed down on me. My blood pressure, which had been perfect before finding out, skyrocketed. I could only see huge black dots and my arms were numb. Everyone was quiet and giving me options at the same time. This isn’t what I had read in the baby books and it’s definitely not a situation they warned me about in baby class.

I don’t remember breathing, seeing, or feeling anything until they told me I needed to go back to the delivery room. Before I blacked out, the decision was made that I would be induced that night to deliver him when he came. I begged for a c-section. I was adamant on not seeing Jensen. I couldn’t believe that death had stolen the one person who meant more than anything to me. My mind couldn’t wrap itself around seeing him born lifeless. Yet, I still had to walk to my room.

At that time I needed to be alone, so I walked ahead with my nurse. I can remember taking a deep breath then. The next time I walked those halls, I wouldn’t be taking Jensen home with me. He’d be left there and it hurt.

She told me she was going to ask uncomfortable questions, but they had to be answered. I just kept nodding my head. It had to be done. I can remember her asking me about where his funeral was going to be, who could pick up his body, what his name on the death certificate would be, who I wanted in the room, if and when I wanted an epidural, and the most important at that time, if she could write his name on the white board. It was information overload all at once. I literally was going through the motions and my parents had to answer most of her questions.

I’ll never forget the room I gave birth to my son in. The bed was on the left side and the couch in the back left corner pulled out to a full bed. A bathroom was located in the back right and along that wall had the TV and whiteboard where she wrote Jensen’s name. To the right of the bed the hospital brought in snacks for the family. I thought it was ridiculous at that time. They ate and read the pamphlets about losing a grandchild. When I got my bag, I remember telling them to get it away from me.

Deep down inside me, I still thought there was hope. I thought somehow through labor and birth he would jolt back. That death didn’t creep inside me and take my son.

They decided to induce me at eleven at night. The doctor and nurse told me I would probably have him the next evening or longer. I was scared and I thought I had time. Not that you can ever prepare for a silent birth. Everyone kept telling me to try to sleep. That I would need my energy for the next day. They dimmed the lights and played Game of Thrones for me.

I’m not sure exactly what time it was, but my parents had gone home to take care of their dogs. Anthony had been sleeping and I was awaken by strong contractions. My whole stomach felt like it was violently vibrating and clenching all at one. So I went to the bathroom to scream, cry, and try to keep breathing. I called my mom to tell her she needed to get back to the hospital. For some reason, I felt like he was going to come a lot sooner than twenty-four hours. The nurses must have heard me or Anthony went and got them. They frantically knocked on the bathroom door and I told them I was in pain.

When I was checked in to my room I was only one centimeter dilated. Only a few hours after I was induced, I was fully dilated and contracting every one to two minutes.

Somehow my mom and dad got to the hospital just in time. It felt like as soon as they came in, Jensen was right there. The nurses kept telling me and my mom that it couldn’t be time yet. It hasn’t been that long at all for her first birth. But I felt him, he was right there and I kept telling my mom. After she yelled at them to check, I was right.

‘He has a head full of blond hair.’

Within a few hard pushes, he was born. My hopes that he would somehow come back to life were gone. I can remember them calling out his time of birth, 4:25. Then nervously I asked if he had ten fingers and toes.

I wanted nothing more to wake up from that nightmare. The nurses kept telling me how good I did. That I should be proud of myself for the ‘easy’ birth I had. But my son… he was gone and was never coming back.

Nothing in the world could ever make that right again.

Tomorrow, at 4:25am, Jensen turns one.

I’m planning on sharing something extremely personal with you all. Although I’m still questioning myself with it, I know you all will be here to support Jensen and I’s journey. Thank you all for reading my story once again. It is so healing to be able to share.


The Love Letter I Never Read Out Loud to My Son.

April 1, 2016


After months of waiting, I’m finally going to meet you in sixteen days (supposedly). I wish I could explain to you all my emotions, but I think you will have to feel them for yourself one day. Even though I haven’t met you, just yet, I already know I’ll love you more than anything.

At this moment, I’m sitting at your grandparent’s house, feeling you move in my belly, and watching Finnick be a bad boy. I wanted to write to you just to say how much I love you already. I’m scared I won’t be a good enough mom to you , but I know you’ll help me learn to be the best I can be.

Right now, in my life, I’m twenty-two years old. Last May I graduated college and want to go back to be a teacher. Mostly because it would give\allow me the most time with you. Our house is still under construction, I’m hoping it will be done before your arrival. Your dad and I love each other very much and are always talking about you. Your nursery is almost done and I wish\hope you grow up and love your room as much as I do.

I wish I had more exciting stories to tell you that has happened in the past few months. But I’m trying to stay nice and healthy just for you! I make sure to read the Bible or a children’s book to you everyday. I hope you love to read and write as much as your dad and I do.

Jensen, if I could let you know anything or want you to remember one thing it is: no matter what you do or want to do in your life, I will support you. Growing up is so hard and you will make mistakes. Just know I have made mistakes too and understand. There is nothing you can do for me to stop loving and supporting you. I know your dad feels the same.

I am so excited to finally be able to hold you and kiss your face. I want to see you grow and become the best, little boy you can. I can’t wait to hear you laugh and see you smile. I know you’ll break my heart a few times, but you’ve already made up for it by just being in my life. I can’t wait for you to come home from school and tell me all about your day. I want to know all your likes and dislikes. I can’t wait to travel with you and show you what the world holds. I want you to realize how much everyone cares about you and how much you care right back. I know you have been made with love and care. I am so excited you are my son.

No matter what, I will always be on your side, encouraging, comforting, and loving you. In sixteen days I’ll meet my favorite person and start the best part of my life. And I cannot wait.

I love you very much!

Your Mommy

The Baby Shower.

I woke up early that morning.

The rush of excitement to see my friends, family, and all the planning of the past few weeks filled me. Of course there were still more things to do, like the set up and making sure all the food got there. Then there was getting ready and making sure I put my feet up before I’d be on them all day. While I was constantly going over this checklist in my head, Jensen’s assuring ‘Go Mom!’ kicks made me smile.

When I stood up from my bed, I swore Jensen had dropped even lower. His weight gradually had been getting lower and lower over the past few weeks, but today he was the lowest. I waddled down the steps and we all started moving everything to the car. There was all the decorations and the table clothes that needed setting up before anything else, which was perfectly fine with me. As usual, I had to wait until after ten to get something to eat. Mr. I-don’t-like-mornings still hadn’t let me eat breakfast like I normally did before I was pregnant.

The boxes of my mental checklist were being marked quickly. On days like these, the hustle and bustle makes time go fast. Before I knew it, the guests were arriving.

I greeted people as they came. The first thing they probably noticed was my huge belly and my white slippers because no shoes would fit right. It seemed like the whole room filled up in under twenty minutes. Everyone was talking and laughing. Jensen kicked when he heard different people’s voices. I imagined this was how it was going to be from now on. His presence in the world brought happiness already and it would continue doing so when he would be in my arms.

My mom told me to go in the back while they played their first game, so I could eat. I can remember eating and a little one came up to me and asked what Jensen was doing in my belly. I smiled and told her he had been sleeping because we had a busy day. She touched my belly and asked if he was right there. Then he kicked. He was going to be friendly and love to interact with his cousins and friends.

After I was done eating, I remember walking out the door and seeing the huge, blue, ‘BOY’ balloons with the presents on the one side and diapers on the other table. I felt so blessed that Jensen and I were loved by so many.

The games had finished and everyone was eating. It was the perfect time to start opening gifts. I opened clothes, diapers, car seats, gift cards, pacifiers, books, stuff animals, bath needs, towels, and anything else you can think of. It was all there. We only needed to get a stroller which would be covered with all the gift cards. Everything was set for his big arrival now. All I had to do was get everything washed, unpacked, and assembled. Those things and of course waiting.

When everyone was getting ready to leave, I hugged them all and felt Jensen moving around. It was a tight squeeze so I felt him pretty frequently. In between every goodbye, I laid my hands where I knew his put was and then would trace down where his back was. He liked when I did that. He would move to follow my hand. Now looking back, a lot of those goodbyes were the last ones he had. They departed from us happy and thinking our future would be bright.

No one ever expected the worse was about to happen in a few short weeks.

My family helped take all the presents back to my house. We had to put them in the closet/laundry room because we still had to figure out everything with his room. I remember we went through each outfit and every book. In my mind, I had to organize everything so it would be easier for us to put away. Diapers in one corner, the bathing stuff in the other, and everything else had its place too. The clothes came with us so they could be washed.

Then we went home. Happy with how they day played out. I spent the evening reading the ‘Wishes for Baby’ and ‘Advice to Mom’ cards. Each out loud so Jensen would most definitely hear. I put them back in my purse so I could read throughout my appointments and ultrasounds, or whenever I felt like I needed to see them.

I was going to be a great mom.

That thought played in my head over and over. I was nervous, but I saw how much he was loved and I knew everything would work out just fine.

As quickly as the day went by, sleep welcomed me. Jensen and I had our nightly routine of reading a book and him kicking me until I laid on my left side. I’d be seeing him the next day and letting the ultrasound technician know how the shower went.

I dreamt of what he would look like that night. We were in the hospital room and I was holding him. He was snuggled so close to me and I was humming a lullaby in his ear. His body was warm and his hair smelled like a new baby.

Everything was perfect that day.

What It Feels Like Not to ‘Claim’ My Son.

There hasn’t been a moment during this loss journey where I haven’t claimed Jensen. When the moment is right during certain conversations, I talk about him. I would never force conversation on a person, but if there’s a chance, I seize it. Some part of me knows that it probably makes others uncomfortable. He’s my son, so I don’t find it weird or strange to talk about. I’ve had strangers and students I sub ask if I have any kids or remark about my Jensen tattoos and ask. Each time, I beam with pride while I show him off.

That’s the way I wanted it to be when I was pregnant and it’s not going to change because he died.

But, life screws everything up.

Here’s another secret for you all… I’ve been dreading getting my taxes done. 2016 was a roller coaster ride that I’m okay being done with now. Yes, it’ll always be Jensen’s year, but I’ve finally found peace with it being over. Too bad I have to comply with the government to not go to jail over this ‘tax’ matter. (Please read that with sarcasm, I’ve always done my taxes and I think I’m a pretty good citizen). Well, technically, I called because my mom put the number in my phone and pressed send…

Long phone call short, I gave her my name and got a date for an appointment, then she started asking the typical questions you need for your taxes. I knew it was coming and I knew the answer I had to give.

“And do you have any kids?”

The question vibrated in my ears and throughout my body. I swear it felt like a five-minute pause before the biggest betrayal tore past my teeth.

“No.” Not in the eyes of the government for me to claim him. 

I can’t claim the baby I grew in my belly for thirty-eight weeks and two days. The baby that was loved and nurtured for his whole life. Who had a name and a birthday. The one that I labored and birthed, knowing what the future held. My whole pregnancy and his life cannot be claimed. Which is the reason why I never got a birth certificate for Jensen and the reason when they ask if I have kids, I have to say no. His life is just a blink to them. They don’t understand how hard it is to lie to the tax people when you say you don’t have any children.

Obviously, I could tell them I have a son, but he was stillborn. Then I would have to hear he doesn’t count and that’s not true. He counts to me and to so many other people. The fact is, I don’t want the money you get for having a child or whatever. I want the satisfaction of the government opening its eyes to the fact stillbirth happens. That these children are real and they matter. That this 1 in 160 statistic in the United States is absolutely too high and unless there is conversation about this, it will stay right there.

Some might think I’m being dramatic here, but it is as simple as ‘claiming’ my son on my taxes. Just as it’s simple as giving him a birth certificate. It’s breaking the silence and letting people know I gave birth to this child. It shouldn’t matter if he had passed, I’m still a mom and he’s still my son. We should be recognized for that from the government.

Jensen counts. I’ll always claim him. That lie I told the tax lady felt like a huge injustice to his memory and everything I stand for.

I know she heard that silence and my resistance to answer. Who wouldn’t? When I hung up and went back home, I cried… and then cried some more. I kept telling Jensen I was sorry. That he’ll always be my son, but with things like this I’m not allowed to claim you. I have to follow their rules, but I want to change them. One day, I hope a bereaved mom will be able to confidently say how many children she has. She’ll be able to tell them that her child has passed, but they still count and the other person will agree.

Because our babies do count and they always will.

After everything that happened last night, the ways of the world offered me a way to put Jensen’s name back out there. When my therapy was done, I went to Lowe’s to get some more sawtooth hangers for the Etsy shop. (Which thank you all for your support with it!). While checking out, the cashier asked me if I’d like to make a donation for a child to go to summer camp. Of course I said yes and I got this four leaf clover to write the donor’s name on…

I know one little boy who would have loved to help others out.

Happy forty-eight weeks in heaven, Jensen. Your impact on the world is noticed and you matter. I can’t imagine never having you here with me. There isn’t a moment where I’m not thinking of you. I miss you. I love you.

The Reason I Keep Going When I Know It’s “Not Going to Get Better.”

This was Jensen one year ago today.

I was getting ready for my baby shower and asked the ultrasound technician to try to get as many pictures of him as she could. Jensen was posing on this day. He let her take pictures of his face, after he played hard to get and covered it with his hand. She kept trying to trick him so she could get a profile shot, but he wouldn’t cooperate.

That doesn’t sound like he was like me at all.

In a really nice, motherly voice I asked Jensen to please let mommy see the side of his face so all his family could see when they came to celebrate him. Within five seconds he rolled and let her take that picture. Then another one and another one. He stroked his hand on his chin and put his fingers in his mouth. I saw my son, so lively and with so much personality.

I’ll never forget this day. 

He was alive and growing perfectly. I was happy. Life was good.

I knew that in the next two months my life would be forever changed, but had no idea it would in the way it did. There was no sign he was going to be born silently. Jensen hit all his milestones and was monitored twice a week. All these precautions and the worst still happened. The doctors and books I read never prepared me for this type of motherhood. I was thrust into this dark and isolating world where babies die and moms had to live without them.

Somehow death stole my son and I’m never going to stop feeling that pain. I had thirty-eight weeks and two days with Jensen. This might sound like a short amount of time, but this was Jensen’s forever. It was my son’s whole life. That fact doesn’t get easier with each day that passes. There’s not a cure-all or replacement for a baby dying, nor will there ever be. It’s the reasons why I’ll never be move on from my son or this grief journey.

I’ll never have my Jensen back.

Death will have always entered my body and not have taken me.

The memory of that silent delivery room will not fade away.

I can’t forget feeling the painful emptiness that took over my stomach in the days following his birth.

My physical body may have healed, but inside will always feel like a fresh wound.

Time doesn’t solve these problems.

I know that. I’m not okay with the fact and I don’t want to accept any of this, but I’m here living this life. There are times I want to quit. Just clock out forever because what makes me so special to live and Jensen not? On average, I ask myself that around 50 times a day and my answer is always the same.

You can’t quit on Jensen. You can’t let him see you fail. You have to take the steps he’s never going to take. You are his mom. You feel so very deeply because you loved him so much. You have to keep going. 

The eleventh month mark is in just a few short days. I don’t know what this last month of the year is going to hold for me. It’s been an intense lead up to this point of time and I’m guessing it’s not going to be the best month.

There is a lot going on in my head. The memories of this month last year have become very tangible again, which I wasn’t expecting. Like today, it’s hard to remember and almost feel that pure bliss I felt on this day, exactly, last year. My mind is going to revisit a lot of days this month, especially in the weekend that led to Jensen’s birth last year.

Hopefully I’ll be able to put them to words. Not only will it help me try to calm myself and figure the thoughts out, I think it’s going to be beneficial for others to be in this loop. I have a feeling I’ll discover more. About what? I don’t know. But it’ll be here in writing.

The Rise of a Smile Through Grief.

During this time last year, I treated every day like it was a gift. I marveled how big Jensen was growing and how his kicks were getting stronger. Sweet lullabies were sung to him as I mindlessly worked or planned his baby shower.

Every morning I woke up with a smile.

It was never a conscious decision. I was genuinely happy knowing he was growing safely inside my belly and I enjoyed looking at my pregnancy app religiously every morning after I told him good morning, I love you. Even with the storm of confusion with finding out about Down syndrome and being shuttled to the constant appointments, I was thankful for everyday. Last year’s February and March were the happiest months in my life.

Of course everything changed when April came.

Those mornings I woke up in tears or just stone faced. I couldn’t make myself feel or do anything. Honestly, it’s hard for me to comprehend how I made it through the first three months. The body and brain do an amazing job of protecting itself through shock. I don’t think anyone could take losing a child without the fog that surrounds you (and that continues to protect me most days). Smiles didn’t come naturally those beginning months. They were all an act, I knew when I was supposed to act a certain way during conversations. Not that I even knew what anyone was saying to me, but I didn’t want to seem weirder than I already had felt.

The first time I truly smiled after Jensen was born, I instantly felt guilt. I’ve talked about this before, but I feel like it needs to be said again. In that moment, I let my guard down and was able to feel something; glimpses happiness are very enticing. BUT, how could I smile? My child is dead. What a slap in the face to his death. I’m supposed to be mourning, not laughing and having a good time. I would never see his smile or hear his laugh, so why do I deserve to do all these things.

I started to choose nothingness.

What’s nothingness you might ask? I didn’t want to make myself frown or to be sad. That was kind of inevitable. On the other hand, I chose not to smile. I would hear things that would spark a good feeling, but I honestly did not think I was worthy of any good. So I chose the middle ground. I succumbed to shock and feeling blah. To be fair, I was too exhausted to want anything else. I was feeling every emotion, every second of the day. It felt like being on a roller coaster that has constant loops.

Everything was bland. Food didn’t taste like anything. Even when I would eat Nutella (my favorite) there was nothing. Sleep and I had a love-hate relationship. There would be days I slept for hours upon hours, then the next I wouldn’t sleep at all. The hours of sleep I did get, didn’t make me any less tired. Nothingness felt right in those early days and I’m thankful it helped me make it to today. I can vividly remember thinking this would be the rest of my life. There wouldn’t be a day where sleep would welcome me, food wouldn’t taste terrible, or I could ever choose to start my day with a smile.

Until, I dreamt of his.

Jensen has a unique way of letting me know what he wants for me; whether that be a physical sign or putting a message in my dreams. In the dreams he’s in his blond hair is always a little too long, his cheeks still chubby, and his eyes always searching for mine. When our eyes meet, it’s always an instant smile. I’m telling you guys, it would light up a whole entire city. Maybe even the world. The first time I saw it in my dreams, he probably was the ten months old. Yes, the age he would be now. It was gummy and his nose scrunched up which made his eyes squint even more. I can remember never wanting to let go of that moment and I wanted it to be real. Maybe in another dimension it is.

That morning, I smiled.

Fast forward to last night. After I settled in bed, I felt grief starting to press down on me. It has been a rough two days anyways, but nothingness was fighting its way back to the top. Sleep kept eluding me and I just prayed that I would fall under its spell so I could have some relief. In my dreams, each part of my mind was at war with one another. It was a fitful night of sleep, but when I awoke I knew what side won.

The nothingness that I was scared of drowning me was gone. There was grief, there’s always grief and a tugging of sadness, but it did take me over. Yet, there wasn’t an immense amount of happiness. I felt peace and could only picture a blond hair boy with chubby cheeks urging me to keep going on.

Today I woke up with a smile.

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Happy forty-four weeks in heaven, my perfect boy. The weeks seem to be getting closer together and it’s getting very close to your first birthday. With each passing day, I feel myself getting more and more nervous. I’m going to try to choose to honor each day (but one) with happiness and peace in your honor. You make me want to do better. I miss you. I love you.

PTSD: Part Three

In November I started talking about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and how it effects women who have experienced pregnancy and infant loss. When I started these postings, I really thought I would be able to delve into them during the holidays. They went hand in hand with how I was feeling, but I couldn’t put it in words. I was feeling everything so deeply and at the same time, I was so busy I couldn’t get it all out. Honestly, I had forgotten that I needed to continue these, until last night.

I’d also like to say, I am in no way am I a trained psychologist. I’ve honestly never even taking a psychology class in college. This is just me making a connection with a very real life disorder and sharing my journey with you all. A lot of women who have experiences loss do go through these same symptoms. Not everyone is the same and not everyone goes through this journey just like the next. If you don’t feel like you’ve been through this, you’re not alone. If you do feel like you go through one symptom a day, you’re not alone. Although I’m here to talk about anything with you, this is not by any means a diagnosis.

To refresh your memory and incase you want to go back and read, these are the four symptoms of PTSD and how I have experienced them post loss. I found these symptoms on the Department of Veterans Affairs.

  1. Reliving the event.
  2. Avoiding situations that remind you of the event.
  3. Negative changes in beliefs and feelings.
  4. Feeling ‘keyed’ up or being on the lookout for danger.

If you read my post yesterday, I’m definitely feeling some negative energy. I keep telling people that I feel so cynical now. Every day I expect the worst, but then think the worst has already to me. There are times I really don’t believe I’m ever going to feel better. That’s hard to type for you all to read. I want to everyone to believe that I’m going to keep surviving each day and to know when I have good days. Yeah, I smile and laugh more freely now, but I always feel the negative right there.

It was so difficult to experience the holidays with this cloud looming over me. The strange thing is, it’s almost as if the fog or numbness from the loss has worn off and I’m just feeling everything head on. Like I’m playing football without pads or jousting without armor. Although I really just ignored Christmas, the change of the year was definitely negative for me. I didn’t/don’t believe the world around me is magically going to get better. There are times that I don’t really believe what I do to help is actually helping. This is going to sound crazy, I know deep down that I’m helping myself heal, but my body is just producing all this bad energy. That’s truly is only way I know how to explain it.

Like I said in the beginning of this post, I didn’t even really think about continuing this, even though I’ve wanted to, until last night. For those of you that don’t know, I’m an avid reader. Well I was an avid reader before Jensen was born. I read Jensen children’s books every night before bed and read a handful of big chapter books during my pregnancy. Knowledge has always been so powerful for me and escaping to these worlds where I can learn more about different ways fascinates me. Anyways, I put off reading after he was born. The time I knew I should escape, I couldn’t let myself. I was afraid that my love for reading was going to change and it’d cause me nightmares. There was so much negative to an activity I loved to do. Then a book I preordered with Jensen came in the mail and I read it in the span of a week. I felt so much better reading, but hadn’t picked up another book throughout the holidays.

Again, I was being so negative with myself. I hated this world I was stuck in, but no other world had Jensen in it. When I got a notification that one of my favorite books from high school was turning ten years old, I figured I’d purchase that addition and try reading. Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why was one of the first books I read that really talked about the dark and gritty. It’s also the first one I really, really understood the dynamic of loss. Of course I’ve read books before that had characters die, but this one was centralized about Hannah Baker. If you don’t know the story, she commits suicide and tells her thirteen reasons why via cassette tape. Each of her reasons are people and their actions that impacted her decision of taking her own life. Suicide is a serious issue and I know you’re wondering how it connects to me and pregnancy and infant loss.

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Well first, let me tell you how it directly connects to Jensen. In the book, you’re reading the protagonist’s point of view on how he views Hannah, as well as hearing her story. His name happens to be, Clay Jensen. I completely forgot that before ordering the book. My heart skipped a beat reading his name over and over again. All the other words blurred together as my eyes instantly went to the name I constantly say and write. That’s an obvious one, but then, in the last chapter there’s another part that blew me away. Clay’s locker combination is 5-4-23. All random numbers, except, Jensen’s birthday was the 5th of April, which is the fourth month of the year. So this might be pushing it, but this year I turned twenty-three. Kind of crazy, right? What’s more crazy is when I finished my marathon read this time around, I ended at exactly 4:25am. The minute Jensen was born… Just thought I’d take a second to share that with you all.

Now back to all seriousness…

The book is a work of fiction, but I know what it’s like to be in that dark place. To think you are all alone in this world and that when you finally reach for help, you get told to move on. Of course the world is different to me than it would be for a high schooler. There’s more experience and years, but it doesn’t make that loneliness more than the other. But I kept thinking of how PTSD after losing Jensen has brought all these negative feelings and beliefs in my life. I question,” Why Me? Why Jensen?,” over and over sometimes. At times I don’t want to reach out and spread this darkness. But what happens when you keep it all inside?

There’s a lot of statistics and facts I know about losing a child. One I do not know and have not looked up is that suicide rate among grieving mothers. In the book, Hannah contemplates how she wants to kill herself and she mentions running her car off the road. You wouldn’t know this, but I’ve thought those same things. I’m not suicidal by the way, but I wonder what that release of pain and darkness would feel like?

As much as the negative and darkness cloud my life, there’s one big shining light. It’s the light I see when I drink my chocolate milk in the morning and every night as the flame dances on top of his candle. I would do anything to have Jensen back with me, to have him physically light up my world. Unfortunately, I’ll never have that. But I do have him and moments full of blinding light and love. I have hope that I will see him one day, but I’m not going to rush to get there.

Post traumatic stress disorder is real for mom’s who’ve lost their child. I’ve never lied to you guys on this journey and I won’t stop now. A book triggered me last night to think of everyone in the world who can’t stop those negative thoughts or who’ve felt so alone they didn’t know what else to do. These go hand in hand. Or, as Hannah would say, “everything… affects everything.”

Even if you’ve found my page and have not experience the loss of a child, but are still feeling completely alone, please reach out to me. There is hope and one day there will be a light so blinding that you’ll want to share it with the world. It might not feel it in this moment or the next, but I promise you, you are wanted and you are loved. You belong right here and maybe it feels like this suffering will never end, but there are people (like me) that will help you through every step of the way.

Don’t Put a Timeline on My Grief.

Don’t put a timeline on my grief.

In the past thirty-nine weeks, I’ve lost my son, gave birth, moved in a new house, and gotten out of a relationship. Those are three, big life changes in nine short months. I have learned how to live with the biggest hole in my heart. There’s literally been days I’ve had to crawl in the shower to get the tear stains off my cheeks. I’ve experienced every single emotion, sometimes all in one second. The weeks have both dragged on and went entirely too fast. I’m exhausted and sick. Most days I get so frustrated with myself that all I can do is sleep. Depression and anxiety are in constant battle with each other, every second with grief being their puppet master. There’s time I just want to rip my skin off so I can have some type of emotional break.

Yes, I still cry. Every day tears run down my face. That’s because every, single day I’m missing out on something Jensen would be doing. When I am vulnerable in front of you, it’s not a cry for attention. It’s letting you know I need you here with me and I’m comfortable with you seeing me at my weakest. This isn’t the time to kick me while I’m down. It’s when you’re supposed to lift me up. Tell me some way Jensen has positively effected your life and if he honestly hasn’t, just say his name. Remind me why I’ve come this far because it really isn’t for me. It’s for the little boy who can’t take these steps in life.

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Thank you Gina, Everett’s mom, for this beautiful picture and reminding me to keep going on the worst days.

Just because the year changed to 2017 at the stroke of midnight on New Years Eve doesn’t mean my 2016 was magically erased. I am still at battle with all those things. The year change is nothing but a switch of a few numbers and the official passing of times. There wasn’t a person who came to my home and told my body to forget everything that’s happened. Or say, well it’s the new year and enough time has passed for you to be healed. It’s such a ridiculous notion.

Don’t put a timeline on my grief.

Nine months is such a relatively short amount of time in the span of life. And you know what? If I’m still crying every day at age ninety, I have every right. My innocent child died. It is the saddest tragedy that anyone could through. It doesn’t help when people make you feel bad for how you’re grieving. There shouldn’t be a set time where you’re just supposed to act like nothing ever happened. I’m sorry, but if you feel that way I’m not the person that should be involved in your life. There is no reason I should be apologetic for my grief. I will remember Jensen for as long as I live. In the time he’s been gone, I’ve said his name multiple times a day. This doesn’t mean I’m stuck in society’s timeline of grief, it means I love my son and that’s the way I show it. There will never a day where I’m embarrassed of him or will stop loving him. It sounds like a ridiculous to say, but when is a person is pushed to move on they’ll snap back.

I’ve lived more in the past thirty-nine weeks than a lot of people. You can say I’m damaged, but I’d tell you I’m healing. Grief has no timeline. There’s no set steps that a person has to go through. By limiting a person to the five steps in a certain amount of time only makes them feel like they’re not grieving right. I and so many other people are uncomfortable with how life has treated them. Of course I want to be happy. I should be happy with Jensen who’s testing his limits and giving me a ornery little smile. But I can’t bring him back to have that. There’s so much love in me for him that it pours out and sometimes my brain doesn’t know how to process it. It wants to give it all to him, but he’s not physically here. That is so hard on my motherly instincts.

If you can imagine just one whole day knowing your child is not alive and will never come back, you would understand. You wouldn’t want to put a timeline on my grief. Crying every day wouldn’t be weird. Still grieving at nine months wouldn’t be a huge deal. This life, although very uncomfortable, would make a little sense to you.

So please, don’t put a timeline on my grief.

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.


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.

Broken, but Still Functional.

Grief has an interesting way of showing itself.

Admittedly, I have been going back and forth if I’ve wanted to write about this or not. Over and over again I have told you all that I want to be completely honest about everything in my life that grief effects. So here I am with this little story.

To have this little incident makes sense, I have to give you guys a little background. Last month sometime, I signed up to be apart of a remembrance ornament swap. I thought it would help me be creative and keep my mind off the dark clouds surrounding upcoming holidays. It honestly gave me a lot of joy knowing I would be helping another mama out. I poured my heart into the ornament made for a little girl. It had pinks and polka dots on it. Something completely different from I had prepared for with Jensen. While I was creating, I thought of how the person making mine would connect with Jensen in a different way.

It makes me heart warm when I know he’s touched another person’s life.

Anyways, when I went to the post office yesterday, I knew the package in the mail was from the ornament from the swap. I rushed home to open it. There was white tissue paper that surrounded the smaller box inside. I ripped all of it out and proceeded to open the little on. Then came even more tissue paper until I felt it. The sparkly, white, glass bulb had Jensen’s name scripted in red on one side and a beautiful quote was on the other. I was in awe of how much love was put into this ornament. It would fit perfectly on my tree and I knew I had just the right spot.

Carefully I picked it up and crept over to the tree. I adjusted the branch to be in the right position. Just as I was about to put the ribbon over the tree branch, the bulb slipped right out of my hands. It was the longest fall to the floor, but I couldn’t catch it in time. His brand new ornament laid on the ground with the top right completely broken.

At first I wanted to scream and cry at the same time. How is this my luck? It was so carefully delivered and just as I was going to give it a spot on the tree, it crashes on the floor. My thoughts instantly went to getting down on myself. I couldn’t believe that right there was another thing I had broken. It was just another way I had let the person who made the ornament and Jensen down. There was so much guilt and anger raging inside me… until it turned into something else.

I had to start laughing.

This is my life. Sometimes it feels as if everyday has so much uncontrollable chaos that I just have to embrace it. In that moment, that ornament signified me more than anything else had for a while. There was a huge chunk missing from it, but it was just as pretty as it had been just moments before. It was still made with love and Jensen was present. Instead of its outside being smooth, it was jagged and could cut you. It’s insides were shown from the outside. You could see the brokenness at first glance. Broken, but still functional. What better way to describe me in the past eight months than that. Instead of putting it in Jensen’s drawer for safe keeping, I swept up the broken pieces and put it in its rightful spot. The brokenness makes it even more special that I will never hide it, just as I will never hide my grief and pain.

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Thank you so much, Michelle, for this beautiful ornament. Jensen would have loved the glitter and seeing his name in bright red. He would be reaching for it now and wanting to see how the light makes it shine. I am so terribly sorry a big piece of it is missing now. Just know, that it will always have a place on my tree during this time of year and will always remind me of how far I’ve come. Your ornament has touched my heart, but has also taught me even more about my grief. I hope you have the gentlest of holidays.