Dear Beautiful Mother,


I’m so sorry for the loss of your beautiful child. I’m sorry you’re here and we have to meet in this way. The loss of a child at any age is devastating. It completely rips a person’s insides up. It feels like the world has turned its back on you and that no one understands. On top of all of that, your arms ache and you realize your child is really gone. Your whole life flashes in front of you in just and instance.

How am I going to do this?

Unfortunately, I can’t take all your pain away; if I could, I would and I’d bring your baby right back to you. But, if there’s one thing I can do, it’s let you know what has helped me…

Moments.

In the beginning, I thought I had to take the rest of my life on all at once. The future I had with my son disappeared and there I was, alone and drowning. My anxiety heightened, which made my depression and grief deeper. Every emotion hit me then lingered. I was completely lost.

Life was like this for the first six months (and there are still days I feel like this). It slowed down one morning when I watched the sunrise. I was able to appreciate the beauty and warmth as different shades of orange painted the sky. It was a crisp October morning and it was like I was the only one awake. The moment the sun peaked felt like a hundred years. I felt my son, Jensen, was in every bird’s song and dancing all around me. It was like the sky was telling me to listen and feel what this moment brought.

So, I listened.

The elements soothed me and let me know he was right there with me. This moment also connected me with all the other bereaved moms in the world watching the sunrise. I didn’t feel alone and I didn’t feel lost.

It also told me…

There are light and dark moments.

There are moments full of love.

There are moments full of pain and agony.

There are moment of support and understanding.

There are moments where everything feels helpless.

No matter the moment you capture, you will power through. This is just one moment and I know you can make it to the next. I did.

Give yourself this moment. Right now.

Take a deep breath.

Feel any emotion you need at this second. Recognize if you’re feeling the sadness that pulls you down, the pain that cripples you, or the love that carries you through.

Then, breathe out.

Your survived this moment and I promise me and this tribe of mothers will help you through the ones you don’t think will ever end.

We remember your child with you.

We see your motherhood.

We feel the unending love that only a mother has for her child.

Always remember, you’re never alone in this journey of loss and love.

All my Love and light,

Danielle Ridgway

Forever Jensen’s mama

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To Anyone with a Fragile Heart:

I want you to know you’re not alone.

Since my son, Jensen, was stillborn last April, I’ve found myself living with a heart that has been hastily taped together. There have been so many moments I didn’t believe I would be able to make it to the next. My heart felt like it was going to collapse and it still does to this day.

Lately, I’ve collectively felt what has been happening around the world. This could be you reading right now whose baby has tragically died. I know this journey you’re facing because I’m living it every second. This past few months I’ve seen so much loss. From the tragedy that happened in Manchester earlier this week to the person in school that doesn’t think their life is worth living. Even the people who are being mentally, emotionally, physically, and sexual abused. I feel like I’ve been extremely empathetic to every story I hear.

I’m sorry to each person this has happened or is continuing to happen to. I see you. It breaks my heart that you’re feeling this pain.

I will never be able to take your pain away, but if talking helps ease it, I’m right here. There have been times I’ve felt lost, but knowing there was someone who listened, that wanted to help strengthen my heart made me feel less afraid. Less fragile. It is terribly vulnerable to talk about your demons, but opening up and releasing those feelings can let someone know how to be there for you.

Please don’t ever feel alone in this world.

Here’s a little secret. To some, I’m a fellow loss mom or a substitute teacher or the girl down the street. In each of these roles, I’ve heard your story and feel everything that’s going on in your  life. When I see you struggling with your relationship, loss, or even yourself, I want to run up and comfort you. The worst is or has happened and left you broken. Each time I see you I want you to know you can come to me because ultimately we have lost part of the same thing.

Through each and every of  our difficult unbearable journeys, we have lost a huge part of our innocence. Nothing will ever change or bring that back. We now see this fragile world for how it actually is: broken.

The glue holding the world together is you and me and our relationships we build to strengthen each other. We’re able to help each other pick up the pieces. We are each others shoulder to cry on. when we are connected we become stronger. We fit in this beautifully, fragile community of survivors.

You are never alone.

You are so wanted

You make an impact on this world.

You are loved.

Remember, I’m always here for you.

Love,
Danielle
Jensen’s mom

Dear World,

I always believed in the beauty that surrounded me. The crisp, fresh air would fill my lungs as I drew a deep breath. Colorful flowers would beckon me to stop and smell them; I would pick a bundle and put a few in my hair. Each time I would step outside and enjoy the splendor that is this world, I thought I  knew my place. Even when I didn’t understand why something was happening, I could get lost in the stars. My hands would run through the grass calling out for me to just lay there and feel grounded.

When I learned Jensen was growing inside of my belly, I couldn’t wait to introduce him to you. There are so many opportunities you offer to each of us. In my dreams, I imagined him falling in love with all of your wonders and wanting to explore new places. Maybe I could even show him what you have done to comfort me. I’d see him play on your beaches and make sand castles. Our backyard would be full of mud pies and lullabies. He would be a fearless little boy and I hoped he would find his place here, just as I thought I had.

He’d grow up picking the flowers in a garden we’d make together, bundling them so he could give them to me. So proud that he had discovered a different part of you and bringing that beauty in our home.

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Deep down, I knew there was an innate darkness you had in your trenches. I didn’t think I would ever meet that part of you, until I did. You and my body were two of the only things I trusted with him. On that windy, spring day you flipped upside down letting darkness blanket over all the beauty I once found solace in.

You’re still upside down and I don’t know how to trust you anymore.

Bringing a child into this world is supposed to be the most natural act a person can do. There is nothing natural about him dying before he could leave my womb and discover you. Instead of him picking me flowers and discovering each constellation in the sky, his absence has brought me an eerie darkness. For awhile, that’s all you let me see and feel. You turned so cold, unlike anything I had experienced, especially after the warm nine months I carried him.

There were parts of me that came unearthed too. This overwhelming anxiety and depression that has made itself home in my body. A sense of dread each time the phone rang, wondering what other horror had escaped your trenches. The feeling of no fear, even when it was presented. There was hatred and a bunch of it towards myself and everyone and thing that was in close proximity. I felt betrayed by myself. All deviant feelings that I didn’t know existed were flooding me.

Since I never had you turn your back on me before, I shut you out. I didn’t believe there would ever be beauty in you again. How could there be?

Then I saw him with you.

You let him paint the sky with blues and oranges. He draws me to the prettiest flowers, that only little boys would choose. I feel his warmth as the sun creeps through my curtains and wakes me in the morning. The birds sing with him as I open the windows to welcome you in. He’s the shooting star that I make a wish on. You haven’t broken your promise to him and I. I see him discovering you in ways I could never imagine. Even though I can’t see his imagination spreading across his face, I feel his excitement as the seasons change. He has found his place in the world when he’s not sleeping in the clouds.

Oh world, I’m so angry with the darkness you’ve given to me. Most days I wish I could just get a tall enough latter to join him in the clouds, but I know that’s impossible. So, I live for the moments where I see his light. Somehow when I can’t see this, I remember he is doing all what I ever wanted him to do. He’s exploring the parts of you I’ll never see, until I’m free from this darkness and hold you have on me.

Love,

Danielle
Jensen’s Mom