May We All Heal | Distance 

The distance between a mother and child should never be too far. From conception to a time we can’t even comprehend, they should always be together. While her child grew in her belly, they were literally connected by an umbilical cord to provide life. This lifeline stay connected even after birth, until someone makes that cut.

Does that cord ever really get disconnected though? When it does happen, is there a real distance between mother and child? Or is that lifeline always there?

Even in death?

I remember the moment he was born. Immediately the emptiness filled my body. Yet, he was right there in the room, still connected to me. It felt like time stood still as the doctors handled his body, covering him in his blanket. They asked Anthony if he wanted to cut the cord and I wanted to scream out ‘NO!’ Please don’t disconnect his lifeline from me. Let it stay, forever. Instead, they cut it for him and took Jensen away. The first moment I was ever distanced from him. It’s a moment that will always haunt me.

There are times I feel the distance between earth and heaven is just too far away. My heart and arms ache for some physical connection to Jensen. I try to hold Jensen bear or go through his hospital folder. Anything to take me back to the moment before we were physically distanced.

Then there are moments where I feel like I can tug on this invisible lifeline that’s connected between him and I.

I can send him messages and tell him I need a sign. It’s our little secret connection to diminish this earthly distance. I can really feel him here with me. He’ll send me a cardinal or blue jay. Or something will just let every cell of my body know that he’s reaching out to me. Everyday I wish I could take this cord and pull him down from heaven and into my arms. That way we didn’t have to talk through this secret, silent language we’ve created. I really wish that.

Each day I try and fail to make this wish come true. Deep down, though, I don’t think the connection between mother and child ever goes away. We are all invisibly connected to them, but, some distances can be seen and others cannot.

But no matter the distance, my heart will always be connected to his.

May We All Heal | Succumb

I refuse to succumb to the darkness.

For me, grief has thrown me so many emotions and thoughts I didn’t know I had. There’s so much anger, sadness, and guilt that is so embedded after Jensen was born, that I never felt before. Which, honestly, makes sense. Life after loss is completely different from what it was in the before. Emotions are much more intense and this longing for Jensen… it knocks me off my feet some days.

There are many days where the cycle of those emotions don’t stop turning. During those times, it feels like there will never be light moments for me again. My body and will become weak, sometimes feeling like they are going to break.

The thought of picking up those pieces, again, seems ridiculous. I did it in the weeks and months following Jensen birth. It was a painstaking process that I had to do for myself. But if I would ever, once again, get to that broken place… What is the point of doing this again? Why not just let myself slip into a slumber that I’ll never awaken from? Be with Jensen for eternity. Succumb to the pain and anger to just be free.

That darkness stays with you. It tempts you and makes you question all of what you believed before. You could easily surrender yourself to it.

But, I refuse to succumb to the darkness. 

When those moments flood me, I remember love’s light.

I think of Jensen and the happiness and life he would wish for me.

I think of my family, who would do anything to make me smile and feel like I have a place.

I think of my friends, who are old and new, that support me and choose to be here.

I think of Leo and Poe and the joy they bring me every day.

I think of an impacted future where I can continue sharing Jensen’s name.

I think of succeeding and knowing that since I lived through the worst imaginable loss in my life, I can conquer everything else.

To succumb to this grief and pain would never solve any problems. It would only cause more loss. I can’t let anyone else ever feel this way. That’s why I refuse to succumb to the darkness and choose to follow love’s light.

May We All Heal | Reflect 

When I woke up this morning, I knew I had to do a great page for today’s May We All Heal Prompt because I didn’t share mine from yesterday. It was a busy day and what I wrote, just didn’t need to be shared. But, reflection. I reflect every time I write about Jensen and this journey.

How could this go wrong?

Then, I spilled water all over my page today after of a few minutes of trying to be artsy and get an orange reflection for the pictures. It smudged ‘reflect’ and Jensen’s name. Instantly, I was angry.

Why does everything I touch just get messed up?

My eyes filled with tears from the wheel of negative thoughts that keeps turning in my head. Some days I just don’t feel good enough or that any of my actions don’t matter. So what’s the point of even doing them? Over a year of grieving and waiting for Jensen to just magically appear in his room one morning and it still hasn’t gotten any better. This sucks and me spilling half a glass of water on this book and page I’ve worked in everyday this month just topped it off.

Logically, I know that I haven’t messed up everything in my life. I can look back in the time Jensen has been gone and see positives that have come out of the love I have for him. Most times, I can list a handful of great people and things I have right here. Then, I reflect on Jensen’s life. He was here and he lived so greatly. I didn’t hurt him or cause him to die. Quite the opposite.

So why do I want to scream when I  see this water-soaked and marker smudged page?

It reminds me of sadness, tears, and negative reflection. Which shows how easily grief can take this day and twist it and me to something it’s not. This. Is. So Hard.

This is what healing and reflecting is though. The grief process mangles us. It takes us and drags us through the mud. Who’s to say these negative moments and days aren’t apart of healing too? With every up, there’s a down. Just like there has been the past over thirteen months.

This is healing. This is grieving. This is reflecting.

May We All Heal | Sunshine


You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. You make me happy, when skies are grey.

I can’t think of a better prompt for today. The day was beautiful with the sun shining bright and the birds singing their melodies. I felt Jensen all around me.

When I think about being pregnant with Jensen and just his whole being, I think of the sunshine. He was so lively and bright. Even though I was mostly pregnant with him during the winter, I was never cold. He brought a warmth to my heart and soul that wasn’t there before. The morning after he was born, the sun peaked in my room and tried to heal me the best it could. He will always be my sunshine, no matter what happens in the future.

I’m not sure if you’ve heard this before, but babies before loss are called sunshines. Babies who have passed are called angel babies. The grief is the storm. Babies after loss are called rainbows. Well not all the time and not for every person, but in general that’s what you hear. Even though I know Jensen is my angel, I really believe he’s my sunshine too. Having him was the brightest part of my life. It was the greatest high full of love. Yes, losing him was devastating, but he didn’t bring that pain. The loss of his life and not being able to see him grow and thrive like he should crushed me. I guess you can call it the storm, but Jensen never brought about anything bad.

It’s my hope that one day, people won’t be afraid to bring up babies who have passed because it’d make the mom or dad sad. They are our sunshines, our happiness, our children. They make us smile and we can feel their warmth even after they’re gone.

I also wanted to share this flower sent to me by Lily Katherine’s mom, Hannah. From sunshine grew this beautiful flower and our two sweet babies brought us together to form a friendship. Knowing Jensen’s remembered and remembering my sweet friends babies with them, let’s me know we’re all connected through this journey. 

Hannah, thank you so much for always remembering Jensen. It means the world to me. 

May We All Heal | Tears

 

 

When I was younger, I thought a person cried because there was so much sadness or pain inside them, that the only way it could go out was through tears. Little Danielle believed all those emotions were tangible because that’s how we explain things to ourselves when we’re younger.

Honestly, I wasn’t too far off.

Tears are a physical representation of when a person is feeling sadness and/or pain and so much more. Your body cries as a defensive mechanism and to communicate to others that there’s something wrong.

When I say I’m in an immense amount of pain since losing Jensen, I’m not joking. My whole body hurts and my thoughts can be so negative and complex. With all those emotions trying to escape, I cry… a lot. There hasn’t been a single day since I heard those words that I haven’t cried. It could be one or two tears or it could be a sob-fest. It just depends on the day and the trigger.

I’ve cried going to get groceries, not caring who in the world saw me.

I’ve cried going out to dinner and telling the waiter not to worry about me.

I’ve cried in front of people I never thought I would.

I’ve cried driving down the highway and then feel bad that I was driving poorly.

I’ve cried telling Jensen’s story.

I’ve cried when people have asked how I was doing.

I’ve cried alone in my bed.

I’ve cried brushing my teeth.

And I’ve sobbed in the shower.

Here’s the thing I’ve learned about tears, they don’t show weakness. A lot of people have grown up hearing that projecting their feelings and being in pain is ‘bad.’ We’re told to suck it up and stop crying. Or there’s other people who try to make a person ‘feel better’ when they’re crying.

I’ve learned, it’s okay to cry in public and in front of the whole world. There’s battles people are facing every second of the day and getting those tears out releases a lot of what’s bottled inside. There is nothing weak about that.

There is strength in tears.

And that’s a good thing for me because I’ve cried enough to fill the oceans.

May We All Heal | Remember 


Remember… how could I ever forget?

Everyday I wake up and you’re the first thought that pops in my mind. I am filled with all the mornings we spent together. Our routine was spent with me telling you how loved you are as I traced my hand over each of your kicks. We took those first minutes of the day to just sit in peace. Even to this day, I spend that time saying good morning and still telling you how much I love you.

When I look at myself, I can see what I gave to you. You have my hands and feet. My nose and cheeks. I wish I could have known the color of your eyes or the sound of your voice. But when I see those parts of me that you had, I remember what love created.

I’ll always remember what food you liked and what times you tolerated eating. Just like I’ll remember to lay on my left side so you could sleep soundly. Or the time we were painting in my bedroom. We had all the windows open and each time I reached up, I felt you stretching to help me out. My little home improver. There are countless moments and memories from our thirty-eight weeks that I will never forget.

There isn’t a time where I have to sit here and try to remember you. It’s just natural that you’re in my thoughts every second. No matter what happens in the future, you’ll always be thought of and honored. You are my first-born child. The little guy who made me a mom and showed me a love that is so big and powerful. There will never come a day where you aren’t remembered.

I love you, Jensen. Thank you for all the memories we spent together and the ones we have made since you’ve been physically gone. I will always hold you in my heart.

May We All Heal | Color


Red. Orange. Yellow. Blue. Green. Indigo. Violet. 

To many people, colors are what you use to paint with and tools we use to describe the outside world. That’s what they were to me before having Jensen. Of course I liked black and grey, but They weren’t bright or anything meaningful. 

Jensen made every color seem brighter and more vivid. He taught me to see the world in a different light and perspective. It is a gift I will always cherish. 

After he was born, colors didn’t hold much meaning; really nothing did. Everything seemed bleak and all the vividness he taught me was so muted. Life was different now and that meant I viewed the world around me so differently. 

Until I moved into my house and walked into his nursery for the first time. My whole house is painted different shades of grey, besides his room. I built up enough courage to go in there and his two colors came back to me. 

Navy and orange. 

The first colors that flooded my mind when I find out Jensen was a boy. 

Mixed with grey and white, navy and orange decorate his room. 

They are the ones many family and friends first saw when they learned about Jensen. 

My weakness when going shopping. I own more navy and orange than what’s probably normal. 

The two colors that let me know Jensen is near. 

They are colors that instantly make me smile, even when I’m crying my eyes out. 

My newly adopted favorite colors. 

Jensen’s colors that he uses to paint the sky for me everyday. 

His colors can turn my day from horrible to great. In my mind, they’ll forever be Jensen’s colors and that’s why I love them so much. 

I’m thankful to start seeing colors more vividly again. He’s showing me the world as he does now through my healing by leaving me signs of navy and orange. 

May We All Heal | Wound


It felt like every second that day tore through me.

There was no physical wounds on my body, but on the inside I was all cut up. My arms ached. The pit in my stomach burned. My eyes were so sore from crying and wiping my tears all the time. Then there was my heart. It was completely broken, more like shattered. My whole body felt like a wound needing tending to. Where would I even begin to start taking care of myself?

I realized my pain and suffering would take a lifetime of healing, but would always be there.

When I first jumped into to learning about grief and what happens about loss, I found a really interesting metaphor towards it. This type of loss and grief acts like a deep wound. It’s not a scrape on the top layer of the skin that heals quickly. Those cuts went far deeper, almost all the way through the other side. We all know wounds of that caliber never completely go away. To start the healing, it has to be cleaned out, then stitched back together.

Slowly the wound heals, like any other type. Sometimes stitches come out and you have to put yourself back together again. Heck, that even shows how much you want to try and heal. There’s been many times I’ve fallen. Afraid I’d never get back up again. But I know he wouldn’t want that for me. Jensen would want me to keep going, to be the best mom to him I can be. So, you do whatever you can to try and make it better. There will always be lasting effects from a deep would like this, but you grow stronger and live.

I still feel those cuts from that day. Some have grown a little smaller and others have gotten bigger.  No matter what though, I want to still write and to talk about him at any chance. This is what helps me heal my wounds.

This is what I’ll continue to do.

May We All Heal | Tree 

I am like a tree.

Jagged and pointy on the inside. Trying to figure out what needs to go where and hoping it will all end up in the right place. Some branches grow thick and long. Others do the opposite. The inside is full of the ruggedness of grief. It’s dark, but trying to make everything right.

Blossoming and lively on the outside. Even when it doesn’t feel like it, I am healing. When I look in the mirror I see a more colorful face. I’m wanting to grow more and show everyone that even though it is madness on the inside, life and loss have made me grow into the person I am today.

Leaves falling to get rid of the negative. The bad comments or why I feel when someone forgets about Jensen. I try to let them fall away because they’re only in the way of other beautiful things.

Inside the trunk of the tree lays rings. When you inspect them, you can find thick and thin breaks between the lines. Each tells a story about how the tree was in certain years. My post loss trunk is small. It’s stretched thin from the neglect I’ve put on myself. I hope when I look back, I don’t criticize its thinness, but rather be happy that I made it that far.

But no matter how I grow thick lively rings or if a new branch comes to join me, Jensen is supporting me. Always. Like a tree needing help when it first is planted, that’s what he’s done for me; because it sure feels like I’ve been planted into a new life. A new world. He lets me know he’s there, cheering me on and sending his love. He is my son and one of the biggest parts of me. His life and impact is most definitely my favorite part of this crazy story called life.

May We All Heal | Listen

Listen and you’ll hear Jensen’s name in the wind. 

Listen and you’ll know today’s day four-hundred of my grief journey. 

Listen and you’ll hear the fire crackling behind me. 

Listen and you’ll understand how healing the elements can be. 

Listen and you’ll hear my heart continuously trying to put itself back together. 

Listen and you’ll give a bereaved mother the gift of talking about their child. 

Listen and know how much this simple act can help another. 

Listen.