How I’ll be Celebrating Jensen’s Twenty-First Birthday. 

This past weekend, my parents took my brother and I to Tennessee. It’s always bittersweet to go on family vacations or getaways; I constantly see the missing piece. Of course we find ways to incorporate Jensen when we go somewhere. At the beach we write his name or I’m taking pictures of his footprint. When we knew we were going to Nashville and Lynchburg, I was weary of how to make a new memory with him that was unlike I had before. 

In Nashville, we didn’t really have to opportunity to do anything besides walk around and eat (and drink). I was determined to do something special for him the next day in Lynchburg. When we first got there, I was so amazed by the Jack Daniels’ distillery. There was so much to look at and learn more about. Within the first twenty minutes, I found this huge visitor registration book. 

It was a perfect way to put Jensen’s name in the book and in their database. Other people could see and read his name. I scribbled our information down and was happy to leave his mark there. 


We began our tour shortly after signing this book. The grounds there were so beautiful. It was way bigger than I imagined and I had butterflies following me throughout the entire time. Everywhere I looked, they would be floating by my head. Jensen and Hux telling me hello, we’re always here with you. 

After our tour and tasting ended, a bunch of us went to their bottle shop. When I learned they could engrave on the bottle I wanted, I had an idea. This is another way I could incorporate Jensen, now and in the years to come. I picked out my favorite tasting whiskey and what I wanted engraved on the bottle. 


I bought my son his first bottle of whiskey at fifteen months old. That would sound like something a horrible parent would say, but knowing our story it makes sense. His bottle is to be open and drank on his twenty-first birthday. Not a drop until then either. Which seems like a long time from now, but this is how I can parent and keep his memory going. 

Honestly, it’s crazy to think I’ll be grieving for that long. That on his twenty-first birthday he won’t be here, or any until then. One year without him felt like a slap in the face. Missing him will be forever, but somehow by planning this one, tiny detail of that day made me feel loved but. 

In these little moments, I can do something for Jensen. They let me bring him alive again. This little bottle of whiskey will give me something to look forward to on his big day, twenty years from now.  

Life after loss has been a dysfunctional mess, but days like these are so much sweeter than I could ever have imagined. 

Third from the Top.

Yesterday was the first Tuesday for a very long time that I hadn’t written and shared. It was a busy day for me. I’ve been getting ready for vacation, started writing names for the beach post, and went to a Christmas service for Jensen and his friends last night. On top of all my busyness, I had a horrible headache. When I was sitting at the service, I realized I hadn’t eaten all day. It was already one of those days for me and it hit that I’m back to not eating again. I couldn’t remember the last time I had ate breakfast or lunch for the past few days.

Everything grief related started whirling in my mind. All the names. My longing for Jensen. How his loss has weighed on my heart. The mix of pain and love.

Seeing all those comments on the beach post for babies names to be written, I was so sad. There were too many names on that list, too many families feeling this same grief. Then on the service’s program, there were six full pages of names. Each name was someone’s child and there was Jensen’s, third from the top left on the third page. All those names are more than just names. When I read through them, I couldn’t help wanting to know all their stories and hear their parents beam about them. The names read and pictures shown were only the smallest glimpse into the lives they had and the memories their parents still carry on for them.

When Jensen’s name and picture was shown, my chest instantly felt tight. I couldn’t catch my breath and could only marvel on how beautiful he was and still is. The whole time his picture was up, I didn’t breathe. All I could do was sit there and let every emotion I’ve felt in the past thirty-five weeks flush over me. It was only a few moments, but it felt like an hour sitting there and looking at him. I noticed my hand was tracing my necklace, almost like it was second nature. My body instantly tried making my mind feel better and letting me know I was going to make it through this moment. It’s crazy because I had forgotten I wore a necklace, since I never do when I have a headache. I reached down saw that I was tracing his hand print. That perfect hand and fingers who have touched my heart and life in ways I never knew a person could.

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I know I’ve shown this necklace many times before, but it’s one of my favorite Jensen necklaces I have. It’s been really helpful for grounding during my anxiety attacks, just like I described above. His hand is so near my heart, which is so symbolic. He’s always there, but it just beautifully shows it. Sometimes I wish I could have a tattoo on my face saying I’m Jensen’s mom and I’m grieving. It truly is a mix of emotions. I know in my past few posts I’ve mentioned that I’ve been struggling. December has been really bad for me. Walking into any store is hard. All I want to do is buy children’s Christmas books so I can read to him. So, I can see that hand helping me turn the pages. People don’t get to see this side of grief. They’re not here in my home every night or they don’t see the Christmas book Jensen’s grandma bought him last year during this time. They don’t see that invisible hand pointing to that book or do they hear me reading it out loud to him.

The past week, I’ve longed for every baby to be back in their mothers arms. Grieving Jensen through the holidays is something I never imagined myself doing. I thought I would have to be keeping him quiet or tracing his actual hands during Christmas services. This universe shouldn’t have pages of children’s names written in a program or a list of them to be in the sand. But somehow that list grows longer each and every day.

If I’m being honest, I wish I didn’t know this world. Heck, I wish no one knew this world. Unfortunately, so many of us do. In a crazy, weird way, I’m thankful to be able to be in a position to write those names at the beach. Just like I was thankful to read all those six pages of names and get a glimpse into their lives. This type of grief takes a community to help heal each other. Just as I am so glad to be able to know each of your children, it makes me so very happy you all get to know Jensen.


If you haven’t written your child’s name to be written in the sand yet, please click on Jensen’s Facebook page on the left-hand side or click here. I’m also planning on posting more ornaments in the next few days. There are a handful more that mean a lot to me and Jensen’s story that I think you all will really enjoy.

Six Ways to Honor Your Child this Thanksgiving.

As Thanksgiving quickly approaches, there are a lot of anxious and sad feelings for loss parents. Many of us feel there isn’t much to be thankful for after losing our children. This results to a lot of people not participating in any previous holiday traditions and making their own. No matter what a person chooses, their decision should be welcomed with love and acceptance.

Although this is just a short list, I hope that it will allow me to feel Jensen’s presence and maybe help another mom and dad cope on Thanksgiving.

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Thanksgiving Day Craft or Graphic

When I was pregnant, I pinned a lot of crafts to do with Jensen on all of his first holidays. For Thanksgiving, I always planned on getting his footprint and making it into a turkey. It makes me sad that I can’t get Jensen’s seven month footprint for this craft, but I’m thankful to have his footprint from when he was born on my laptop. As much as I love free graphics offered in online support groups, I wanted it to be a little more personal. I was able to make a turkey with Jensen’s footprint using PowerPoint and some help from this website. It’s really adorable and I can’t wait to share it on Thanksgiving! (Maybe I’ll post a little sooner so you all can see.) Although you’ll see it then, it’s a clipart turkey with Jensen’s feet as feathers. Really personal and really cute. It’s important to me to still do all the crafts and things I had planned for his first year. Also, it’s a fun way to be creative and take your mind of things for a little bit. I’ll be looking forward to using that feature on PowerPoint to do more crafts for some upcoming holidays as well.

You could also do this craft with printing out their handprints or footprints and drawing/gluing feathers on the paper. There are no right or wrong ways with crafts and there are a ton of ideas on Pinterest.

Donate Food to a Local Food Bank or Food Drive in You Child’s Name

I imagined Jensen being a little gentleman and wanting to help. As I’ve said many times, I wanted him to volunteer his time and be able to help others in need. To honor a value I wanted to instill in my son, I’m going to donate food to the local boy scout food drive in his name, which is actually going on a few days before Thanksgiving. There are a lot of different food drivers going on this time of year and local food banks are always in need of food. So many people are not fortunate enough to be able to eat on Thanksgiving Day and how special would it be to give back in our child’s name. It brings happiness to the receiver, you, and your child’s memory. No matter how big or small your donation is, you’re able to help out at least one person. If you’d like to be able to include your child’s story, you can always add a graphic you did for Thanksgiving and put your story on the back. It’s just another way to talk about stillbirth, miscarriage, infant loss, and child loss in general.

Make Child’s Favorite Food for Thanksgiving Dinner

Thinking ahead to actually getting ready on Thanksgiving brings me a lot of anxiety. I’m not even sure if I’ll be brave enough to go to dinner. To bring Jensen in on the meal, I think it’d be really interesting to make one of his favorite foods. Whether that being macaroni and cheese or just drinking chocolate milk with dinner. It brings Jensen to the table and probably a lot of laughs with the crazy cravings a lot of us have during pregnancy. If you’ve lost an older child, you can make their favorite and talk about the times you made it for them. This idea can be carried out whether you’re going to a big family dinner or just having a small dinner with you and your partner (or for me, Leo and Poe). Also, it brings comfort. Speaking from my experience, whenever I’m feeling a little down I go and make chocolate milk. It reminds me of Jensen kicking and ends up making me smile. I feel like having that little part will bring that experience to everyone else as well.

I can imagine everyone drinking chocolate milk out of wine glasses during my family dinner. It’d definitely be a light moment.

Set an Empty Place Setting

My family doesn’t really have a formal Thanksgiving dinner, but I really like this idea. It actually shows to the people around us what we’re seeing in our minds. I know for me, I always am imagining what Jensen would be doing and although he’d probably just eat off my plate, he would still be there and eating with us all. This is very symbolic and I think like the previous idea, would be able to bring your child into everyone’s hearts that day. I know this one is kind of sad to think about that missing place setting, but it’s just another idea I liked and have heard about before. It’s really hard because it makes it ‘more real’ for everyone else. Just the image of loss is hard to grasp, but I think it would promote family members being supportive. This could also be a plate for all family members that are gone in case there are others that are grieving on this holiday.

Family Picture Including Your Child

Years ago, my family took a big family picture. Since then, there’s been more people to come into the family and obviously we’ve all grown. It’s nice to document those days, especially when everyone’s all together. After child loss, it’s hard to gather everyone when, again, we know there’s a huge part of our family missing. Our child can’t physically be there and have their picture taken, so it’s difficult for a loss mom and dad to want to take these pictures. But, I think it’s important to have them. If this is an option for you family, include your child in the ways you can. Whether it be their Molly bear, a framed picture, or any other remembrance item, include them in this. They’re present right there and I know it’s not the same as them being there, but they’re being remembered in that moment. It’s also another way to open conversation about how you’re doing on your grief journey and to talk about our children. We want them to be included on these big holidays and this one way to document it.

Plus, I love showing off Jensen bear. It would be the first time my family will feel Jensen’s weight. It’s special to be able to share that with everyone.

Start an “I’m Thankful For…” Conversation

Another challenging moment for loss parents on this THANKSgiving, is what we’re thankful for. Yes, I’m so thankful for Jensen and the thirty-eight weeks and two days I had with him, but he died. I mean there’s really no other way to explain. Other than the time and memories I have with him, I haven’t been thankful for much else this year. There’s little things like bluebirds and dancing flames, but it’s hard. I’ve heard it doesn’t really easier during the holidays years out as well. Yet, this is a moment we can honor them. Say out loud we’re thankful for our child and death cannot spoil everything. Death cannot take away the time we had with them and I’m thankful for that. Going along with the theme, this is a way to talk about our child without adding death and grief in, which lets our support people know we still are happy to talk about them. That it’s okay to talk about our children and there’s way more to their lives than death. It could be another way of talking about the community and the others ways you’re honoring your child during the holiday season. I think our families might surprise us and let us know that they’re thankful for our babies too.


I hope you’re able to use some of these ideas or come up with new traditions this Thanksgiving. If you do, please share with me. I’m always looking for ways to honor Jensen and survive the holidays without him.

I’d also just want to let you all know, if you’re feeling overwhelmed and need support this coming week (and anytime really!), that I’m here for you. We’re a strong community that are always supporting each other. Especially when we need it the most.

As much as I’m thankful for Jensen, I’m thankful for all of you too.

Happy Anniversary.

Today is a very special day for my family.

Twenty-four years ago, two people declared their love, said their vows, and walked through the doors a young, married couple. Their love story began years before and even survived through a war. Their story was exciting and now they were going to embark on their biggest one yet. Nine short months later, they brought home a baby girl and then sixteen months after that, a baby boy. As their children grew, they were able to teach them what true love really looked like. Even through the ups and downs, they were there to support each other because true love never fails.

Everyday of each year they would make sure to give their children everything they could, but they also taught them something special every seventh of November. Their anniversary was always their big day. They could take those twenty-four hours and make it the best they could for each other. No matter how many Sweetest Days or Valentines Days they missed, their would always be presents on their anniversary. If not presents, little getaways where they could really focus on each other. This taught the children that love really is special and worth it once you have it.

If you haven’t guessed it yet, I’m of course speaking of my parents; Jensen’s grandma and grandpa.

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Last year for their anniversary, I gifted them with little football booties and a grandparents sign. It was the moment we could all freely talk about the little life growing inside of me with all of us knowing. Of course, mom and dad already had known, but Logan did not. I can just see the pure joy in their eyes when I recall that moment. The little football booties sat in their bookcase for the longest time (we had to put them up because of their puppy dog) and the sign is still there. Everything felt like it was on track, that life was going how it needed to be. I remember thinking of how Jensen and I were going to be able to make them their gift the next year.

From then to now, a lot has obviously changed with me, but their love has carried on.

I’m sure this year has been one of the hardest on them. With the mix of grieving their grandchild and not knowing how to help their daughter, it has to be complicated for them. They helped so much during my pregnancy with getting things for Jensen and helping me finish my house. Every time my dad would talk, Jensen would listen intently. He would kick then when he started talking he would stop then start back up again when my dad would finish. When he was born, mom and dad were there and they got to see and hold Jensen. They protected my heart, helped me plan his funeral, and have supported me through my grief and Anthony leaving. No matter how hard it has been for me, they’ve been right there.

There is no way I could thank my parents enough. My whole life, I’ve only ever known my parents being in love. Of course there were hard times, but love prevailed. It really helped me know what kind of relationship I wanted to strive for. They are able to lean on each other and support each other in parenthood. No only that, but as I just said, they’ve made me the person I am today. They both made me want to be the as amazing as they were to Jensen. I wanted to give him everything I could, just as they did. They are my mentors, role models, and most of all my loving parents.

This year was different from I thought it would be. They still were given a handmade gift from me and I even think Jensen put his little touch on there; a smudge that looked a lot like baby angel wings. Instead of holding Jensen, Jensen bear was held and loved on. We were able to talk about the past, the future, and of course Jensen. I wish he would’ve been there, stealing the show and in some ways he still does. There was the obvious missing piece, but there we were. Able to smile, cry, and celebrate their twenty-four years of marriage and all that comes with it.

Happy twenty-four years of marriage, Mom and Dad. You’ve given me the very best and I know how much Jensen loves you both.

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.

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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.

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Symbols & Signs.

The morning Jensen was born, my best friend came to the hospital. He brought flowers and just sat and listened. It was fairly early when I texted and told him Jensen was born so silently. I remember just talking and explaining it, I don’t even know if I was crying or if shock had taken my tears. He had to be so brave coming into that room. It’s not the scenario anyone expects to walk in. Usually there’s the baby being passed around and the mom is beaming. Anyways, during our talk he told me, “Jensen will come to you in a red bird and a blue bird.” I remember the thought of a sign from Jensen giving me so much hope.

It would be a happy moment that he was with me even in his death.

When we got home from the hospital, I completely forgot about our conversation on the birds. There were no birds going to come in my room as I let the darkness cover me. I was dragged out of the house to go on a drive two days before his funeral. We drove all around the county and ended up going to eat at a little restaurant that I’ve been to countless times. I sat down in one chair and didn’t like it, so I sat in the chair across the table. It felt better about that chair, weird I know. Then I looked up at the wall, one I’ve looked at before, and I saw my sign. A picture of a red bird and one of a blue bird right beside it; my sign from Jensen.

I remember just staring at it and not listening to a word my mom said. All I could do was point at the pictures and say, ‘he’s okay.’

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‘Walk for the Angels.’

One in four pregnancies end in loss.

My heart knows that fact, but even with online support, it’s hard to see that statistic in person. Maybe that’s why when I heard over six hundred people registered for the God’s Tiny Angels ‘Walk for the Angels,’ my heart skipped a beat. It was still just a number until I saw the line of people waiting outside the church to register. Even then it still didn’t click.

Yesterday was my first remembrance walk since Jensen has been born. I made big orange and navy buttons with a white J in the middle. We went out and bought bright, orange bandanas. I needed to be prepared for the day because I didn’t really know what to expect. It would be the first time I was around a huge amount of people who have been effected by loss, not just the small groups I was used to. There would be a lot of stories and emotions all in one room that I had to be aware of. I probably should have warned my family and Frank about those raw emotions that radiate off.

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Then there we were, in the sea of people in an ocean of grief.

The board members of God’s Tiny Angels spoke of sharing, healing, and helping. Their pillars of support and what they strive to do. I cried as the spoke knowing that each of those have shaped my grief journey. Jensen and I’s support heard those words for the first time, that didn’t come out of my mouth. They heard and they saw love, loss, and the magnitude of how many people are touched by angels. I think the heaviness of sadness was felt by everyone there, but we could surrender ourselves to that emotion and let hope flow in by walking for them.

Each step of the walk, I kept thinking of taking the steps for Jensen. He’ll never be able to take the steps for himself, but he had so many people there for him. As did all the babies gone too soon. The walk was peaceful and hundreds of balloons floated above our heads, symbolizing Jensen and all of his friends being with us. I also thought of the walk as journey of grief too. Although we have to take our steps to move forward, there are always people around to help us keep walking. AND we are always surrounded by our angels.

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As we got back to the church and went to the courtyard to release the balloons, I really could see how many people were there. Families grouped together with their buttons representing their child and packs of pink, blue, and white balloons everywhere you looked. Music was being played and we were asked to release our balloons and messages of love to the clouds, knowing our babies would see them. We let go of our pack of blue balloons with the glimpses of orange lettering on the cards. They danced up to the clouds, not alone, but with all the other balloons from each family. In that moment, it clicked. Each of those hundreds of balloons represented a baby gone and a family whose life was changed forever.

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I watched Jensen’s balloons until I couldn’t see them anymore. Tears fell down my cheeks, the release of love and loss is therapeutic. Although I couldn’t see the balloons dancing in the wind anymore, I knew he still saw them. He grabbed them and played with the balloons in awe. Maybe he was read those messages, but he already felt the warmth of the love we have for him. That’s all he’s ever known.

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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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

Six Months.

I didn’t know how the world could keep turning  when Jensen was born. When the sun rose a few hours after his silent entrance in this world, I wanted to scream and pretend he was still safe inside of my belly. Then when I woke up the next morning at home, feeling empty and alone, and realized the world is going to keep turning. No matter how much I protested.

When the first week rolled by, I couldn’t comprehend that time just blew past. It went was just gone, just as Jensen was and I could never get any of it back. All the days mashed together and I thought maybe I would be able to distinguish days in the following months. My mind had to be able to compartmentalize and get back on track.

I was so wrong in that assumption.

Somehow it’s been six whole months. Six months since Jensen was born and I last felt him. I wish this wasn’t my life. If I could choose, I’d have a happy six month old smiling at me right now, instead of me typing this post. I would give anything to have him here with me and sharing his big, growing cheeks with you all.

But I can’t.

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