How I Honor My Son on Halloween.


Halloween is most definitely a kid’s holiday. They get to dress up and be whoever they want to be, while they get all the candy their hearts desire. It’s full of fantasy and fun. Just what little ones love. 

For some, like myself, our children do not get to traditionally partake in the festivities. It’s the first holiday of the season and the start of complex grief. Even if a loss parent has living children too, they will always see their missing trick-or-treater. For mother’s without living children, it feels like they could hide away and avoid the entire night, which is perfectly fine if that’s what they choose. 

Last year was my first without Jensen. There was a lot of mixed emotions, but I felt like Jensen and I needed to be apart of the night. Honestly, I didn’t know how to pull it off. With a lot of thought I came up with an idea that I used again this year. 

Last year’s candy bowl including Jensen’s first Halloween ‘walk.’

I had a graphic made with Jensen’s name on a pumpkin that said, ‘Happy Halloween to Heaven.’ Above and below the picture says thank you for letting Jensen walk with your child and to check his story out here. It was a great way to give back to neighborhood children while sharing Jensen’s story. I felt like this was a perfect option for me to be involved. 

As I said above, this year I did the same concept, but a different graphic. My mom and I packed the candy with the slips. It’s a way we can feel closer to Jensen and not let this night overcome our grief. 

This year, I also decided to carve a pumpkin for Jensen. Of course I used a big J to represent him on it. I love that I’ll be able to sit near his pumpkin and be able to pass out a little of his light with the candy tonight.

It’s not a huge gesture, but it makes me feel a little more in control of my grief while making sure Jensen’s name never fades. 

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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.

Back to December.

The month I’ve been actively avoiding has finally arrived and I’m terrified. I’ve honestly been putting off talking about how it’s here. It’s like if I don’t talk about it, then it’s not really here. It’s just hard. If December goes as quickly as November, I’ll be out of 2016. Out of the year Jensen was born in and into new waters. As hard as this past eight months has been, there was still so much love and happiness.

I just want to stay here forever, or at least on November thirtieth.

As we all know, December holds some pretty big events. We have Christmas, Advent, and the New Year. For me personally, I’m going on vacation, we found out big Jensen news this month, and it’s my first year decorating for the holidays. Jensen will also be apart of at least two Christmas ceremonies that I’m going to. They’ll definitely be sad, but I’m glad I can enjoy those events in remembering him with others. Most of all, it would be Jensen’s very first Christmas. There were so many things that I had planned for us and they just feel lost to me. Kind of like how I feel lost in December. The clash of grief and celebration should be ‘interesting’ to navigate. Such a horrible juxtaposition that no one should experience.

BUT, here I am. Although I’m doing this blindly, I am going to honor Jensen and this month in the best way I know possible. Starting with the Christmas tree.

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This month, I want to share certain ornaments on our tree and tell their meanings. There’s a lot of Jensen incorporated here, along with all Jensen’s friends gone too soon. I’m looking forward to telling you all about them.

I’m also planning something for my trip. We’re going to the beach in the middle of the month, but I want to bring Jensen and his friends with me. On Jensen’s Facebook page and probably on Instagram, I’m going to post to see if anyone would like to have their child’s name written on the beach. Hopefully I can get a lot of sunrise/sunset pictures to make it look beautiful! So, be on the lookout for that. I want to be able to just make an album on his page and tag people there. Or if you have loss mama friends, you can tag them on the post and on the picture when it’s up. Like I said before, I’ll talk about this more Monday or Tuesday.

With all that said, it’s going to be a pretty busy month. As always I love to share with you guys and keep you updated on this journey of loss and love. I’d also love for you guys to share some of your special ornaments or even your Christmas trees with me. It’s so nice to see how other’s honor their babies through grieving while trying to ‘celebrate.’

Just a reminder to everyone who’s having a hard time with the upcoming holidays. You’re NOT alone. Grieving through the holidays is so difficult to process. On the outside it looks like everyone is so excited for the big day, but you feel its eternal doom.

Feel how you need to feel. Cry, in front of everyone if you need to. Decorate or don’t. Recognize Christmas or any holiday you observe, or just act like it doesn’t exist. Do what you need to do to survive the holidays. There’s no right or wrong way. Let your heart lead you. No matter what, you’re not letting yourself, your family/friends, or your child down. They’re so proud that you’re surviving and doing the best you can.

If at anytime you need support, feel free to message me to talk or anything at all. I’m here for you just as I know you’re here for me.

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.

#WhatHealsYou

When someone breaks a leg (literally), healing could include surgery, rest, and physical therapy. It could take years for the deep pain of the break to feel like it was almost back to normal. Sometimes, the person might even have a limp for the rest of their life. No matter what you’ve done to heal the leg, it’ll never go back to what is was before.

In a crazy way, that’s kind of how grief and healing after losing a child works.

Obviously, one is physical pain and the other is a lot more complicated than that. But, it’s easier to explain something familiar to an unfamiliar situation. Instead of healing a broken bone in the ways I’ve said, for grief I’ve found ways to soothe myself, I rest a lot, and I go to therapy and support group throughout the month. Shock has fizzled out and there are days were I can feel something else besides deep pain.

I can’t tell the future or how my journey of grief and healing will go. There’s not a right way to live after losing a baby. If we keep on the analogy of breaking someone’s leg compared to grief, at physical therapy a person has to find what makes them want to learn how to walk again. Some like the bike and others like the treadmill. With grief, I’ve had to find things that are gentle on my heart. Those soothers are hard to find when everything looks so bleak, but they’re there… I promise.

For me, it’s a few things.

Leo and Poe can make me smile when I feel like nothing else can. They give me motivation to get up every morning and feed them to start my day. Leo gets himself into crazy antics almost every hour, like jumping on top of the shower curtain. Poe, who usually doesn’t want to be held, will come sit on my lap and let me cuddle on him everyday. His purrs are so loud and deep. They both let me care for them in a way I didn’t think I would ever care for anything again.

Hot tea, reading, and writing have saved me. When I can’t stop crying or when I can’t relax enough to sleep, I go to these each time. The aroma of the tea calms me, reading occupies my mind, and writing gets out all my thoughts. I’ve said over and over that it’s been therapeutic to me and that has been so healing. During those times, I feel like time stops and quickens at once. Getting lost in time is sometimes the only thing I know how to do to help.

Human connection. A huge generalization, but so important. I couldn’t imagine being locked up or stashed away somewhere completely alone. Friends, family, and the loss community have been there in different, but important healing ways. There’s understanding from those who have walked my shoes, encouragement and literally being dragged from places by my family, and a sense of trying to understand from friends. Even though grief is so individual, knowing I’m not alone in this journey through all the facets of my support, have helped me soothe and heal.

The last and most important is Jensen and love. I can’t imagine my life without Jensen being in it, which is probably weird to say since he’s not physically here, but he’s all around me. There are days when the only word that helps me is his name; I write it over and over again. I think of all the days I had with him and how the days were filled with joy. Seeing his face each and everyday calms me. He is all I’ve ever wanted. When I look at his urn with his candle lit, I feel a sense of peace. Warmth floods the room and it feels a lot like love. A mother and child’s love is unbreakable. Sometimes I can imagine it wrapping around my heart and trying to put the pieces back together. Love is what makes my world keep turning. It’s what allows me to get up in the morning to feed Leo and Poe. It’s what flows in and out when I read and write. It’s why human connection is even there. More importantly, it’s all Jensen knows and has.

Love is what heals me.

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