May We All Heal | Possibility


When I was first pregnant with Jensen, I knew there were thousands of possibilities before us. If I think about it now, I could list off hundreds of them that swirled in my mind the thirty-eight weeks we were together. I won’t list those off today, but as soon as I knew he was there, the seed of possibility was planted.

Of course I nurtured this seed and wanted it to grow so big that he’d be able to climb it and do whatever he wanted. That’s why the countless appointments and being poked by all the needles never mattered; this is what was best for him. I considered all the possible things that could happen during birth and the first year, besides the worst. The whole entire time, I could see our life blossoming just from that little seed and a whole bunch of love.

As quickly as they were planted, it felt like all the possibilities that had bloomed and thrived was pulled right out.

I can remember thinking nothing will ever be possible again. That no matter what happened, life was over after he died. Everything that I wanted for him would never be. There was a sea of nothingness that somehow grabbed me and made me feel like I was drowning. I never thought I’d be able to smile or laugh. It didn’t even seem possible that I would live through the next year. I was waiting for my heart to completely break and just give out on me. Sometimes I still think that. Anything’s possible right?

Then one day, I smiled and laughed. It didn’t feel right. Actually it felt like I was betraying my son who would never smile or laugh. I’m not sure I knew it then, but all the impossible things I thought about in those first weeks/months, suddenly became possible. One smile turned into two, then four, and so on. Somehow a whole year even passed and I actually celebrated Jensen being a year old.

I’m not saying my life is just as it was before, it’ll never be that way. A person is never the same after they have the one person who made dreams possible gone forever.

But I am saying, that the seed that was planted almost two years ago now didn’t get pulled out with everything else. It is still right there and has unknowingly been nourished through loss and grief. Jensen still makes me feel like my goals are still in reach. He’s the biggest motivator. Even though our possibilities are not the same as before, they’re still sprouting. They might not seem as beautiful, but they’re full of hope and love.

Some would say the future holds possibilities and I believe that’s true. No one knows what exactly is going to happen, but we know anything is possible. For me, in all this post loss craziness, Jensen has inspired me to keep my eyes and heart open. To not be afraid of doing anything just because I know he never will. With Jensen and the love that will always blossom in his name, encourages me to keep growing stronger and one day the impossible will come possible.

May We All Heal | Magic


Magic was something I believed only to be in fairy tales and children’s stories. Of course I would always want to pretend unicorns existed and that maybe there were witches in Salem that got away. I even planned on reading all these magical journeys to Jensen. But, I knew a genie would never come out of a magic lamp or (unfortunately) Hogwarts never existed. That’s just not how the world works.

Or maybe, magic forms in other ways here on Earth.

I don’t know how else to explain how a little boy completely changed my world. It was by some chance that I got to be his mom. That I got to feel him grow and see my body change to provide him the best home. I know science can describe pregnancy and what comes along with it, but experiencing it firsthand is indescribable. It feels magical that this little baby is planted inside of you and with love is made into a little person with distinct facial expressions and emotions. All the while your hopes and dreams transform to want to do the best for your child. Just like the body transforms, your whole being does as well.

Maybe love is a form of magic.

Love really does feel magical. Being a mom is pure magic because there’s no love like one between a parent and their child. Jensen took this dull world and left his footprint on it, yet he never even took a step. To see how much my son can positively affect another person, means everything to me. The love I have for him and the every parent has for their children keeps the world turning.


That’s why I believe we can see love as a form of magic. But, I wish I could have used all the magic I felt when he was with me to let him live forever.

 

‘Be Gentle’ It’s Bereaved Mother’s Day.


Today is a day I hold close to my heart; it’s Bereaved Mother’s Day.

Why not just celebrate on Mother’s Day? You may be thinking. And honestly, you have a point. Bereaved mothers want to seem like any other and Mother’s Day (before it was super commercialized) was started for a bereaved mom with living children too. So why have a special day like today, well, for me, you’d have to be in this situation to understand.

It is so hard to talk about a lot of what a bereaved mother goes through and thinks about every single day. Moms and other people how have not experienced loss, would probably look at us like we were crazy. Which brings up today and it’s meaning.

Earlier today, I went to a beautiful luncheon surrounded by mothers who have lost one or more children. Each of their stories breaks my heart and allows me to see healing in the years to come. They are all beautiful mothers touched by loss… and they understand. After the usual hi and hellos, we were really able to talk freely. We could say our children’s name and their stories. Then we could talk about our struggles through loss and what has helped us get through. They let me know that the pain never really goes away, but you get stronger. You’re able to carry the weight more gracefully, but there are some days that knock you right down to the ground. Days where it feels like you’re reliving the loss.

We could talk about the really deep, gritty thoughts that so many grieving mothers have. Then we could laugh and make light of topics that were never meant to be that way. They understood the differences in stories and made sure to let each other know that whatever had happened, we did the very best we could in those moments.

I felt so welcome.

That’s what Bereaved Mother’s Day is all about. It’s not an extra day to get attention or to show our differences as mothers. This day is to form camaraderie with each other and to know that through this journey, we are never alone. This day is for me and my tribe of warrior mamas.  It’s not a day where I expected others to text me or fuss over me. I felt so beautiful in being able to wake up and know I was able to talk about anything Jensen and grief related with people who understood. Driving to the luncheon, I felt Jensen all around me. He was cheering me on, wishing the very best for me. And believe me, it was a gentle day on my heart and soul.

Today’s May We All Prompt is ‘be gentle.’ I use this phrase a lot when speaking to other grieving mothers. Day can’t always be good and I’m horrible at faking it. There are days when I’m so mad at myself when I can’t stop crying and there are days were I feel so guilty for being able to laugh. Being gentle on your heart is perfect for Bereaved Mother’s Day. It means to be easy on your heart no matter what wave of emotion is coming to you.

We are doing the very best we can. We are honoring our children in all the ways know. We are beautiful mothers to angel babies.

I am here for you all. I love you and your babies so much.

Be gentle on your heart this coming week.

 

May We All Heal | Patience 

Patience…

Some have it and others don’t. Leo is obviously one of those who need to learn. I was one of those people who needed to learn once upon a time too.

Even when I first found out I was pregnant. My patience was nearly non-existent because all the appointments felt so far away and I wanted to know everything right now. After that first appointment where I saw him, I knew I needed to learn. The little baby inside me needed to grow and I was the only one who was going to help him do so. That’s when I decided to take each day and week as they came and embraced them. I remember being asked if I was going to find out the gender early and I just shook my head no.

“No, I’ll know at the time this baby wants me to know. Either boy or girl, I’ll be happy. Just want him or her to be happy, healthy, and have hair.’

Patience came quickly when we found out about Down syndrome. My arms were poked and pricked with so many needles. Each to tell me what exactly what was going on. The first nurse messed up the blood test and bruised my arm all up so much that the first results came back inconclusive. In the mix of meeting with Fetal and Maternal Medicine, all the ultrasounds to do his measurements, and them telling me he ‘looked fine.’ Everything seemed so normal. I was patient. Then they told us the blood results came back 99% positive. The world felt so different, but I was patient through every week and all the appointments just to see him grow and doing his best.

I was patient for thirty-eight weeks and one day. Then my world flipped upside down. 

When I was laying in the hospital bed and my blood pressure spiked, I wanted him to be out. I didn’t know what to expect because nothing seemed like it made sense anymore. They kept telling me I needed to be patient, that he’d be out soon enough.

For the five hours I was in labor, I was patient. I thought it was going to be a whole day of laboring, but he came quick. After he was born and I was cleaned up, I remember sleeping. When I woke up I showered and felt that emptiness in the pit of my stomach. The one place and part of me I was so patient to watch grow was now, just done. That’s when I realized one huge thing.

I have to be patient until my last breath to finally hold Jensen again.

Although you can’t really see everything I wrote in the picture above, the top waves say, “living with,” then “patience” in the middle. For the rest of my life, I am forced to live with it. There’s no way for me to pluck him from heaven and hold him in my arms. On this day, almost my four-hundredth without Jensen, I patiently wait and I’ll be doing the same on day four-thousand and beyond.

What I ask from my family and friends is that your patient with me. Patient with my grief and my healing. I’m living with lifelong patience to see my child again, so sometimes I need a little slack. Journeying through this life of loss and love is hard work, I appreciate all the love and patience you’ve given me so far and I hope (with all my might) that it continues.

May We All Heal | Empty

I never knew what the word empty meant until thirteen months ago when I walked to the shower after giving birth. I felt nothing but the emptiness in me. The space Jensen occupied for thirty-eight weeks and two days, was eerily droopy and not right. My belly was this big, visual reminder that my baby had died. That the only, sacred place I held him was now this dreadful pit of despair.

The following weeks, I caught myself staring at the empty hole my body had every time I went by a mirror. Not only did I physically feel emptiness, my feelings began to feel the same. All the pain I felt was numbed by my brain. I didn’t allow myself to feel, so it was always just blank, but gosh did those tears fall.

On Jensen’s very first monthday, I promised myself (and him), that I would choose love. That’s how I’ve been able to get through each day, feeling that sweet love and wanting to do my best. When I wrote about him and how I was feeling with my still motherhood, I wanted to be brave. I projected that. But, I felt the emptiness. It was always there and it’ll always be here. Even with a whole year of grieving and healing behind me, emptiness. 

When I wake up every morning, I don’t choose to be sad or let grief overwhelm me. I try to wake up and smile as I say ‘good morning, Jensen,’ as I give his bear a hug. Maybe sometimes I have to smile through the tears from waking up from a nightmare, but I try. I try my best. Yet, as the day goes on his absence is so present, the emptiness grows. My house is empty. My womb is empty. My heart even feels empty sometimes. I don’t choose this at all. I’ll always pick love instead of pain, but I can’t stop this feeling.

Feeling empty draws you in. A person can even get lost in feeling that way.

Today I felt empty. Maybe because I was thinking about this prompt all day or that it’s the fifth of May. I questioned myself if I always feel this way, but it’s more noticeable since I’m focusing on it.

I reminded myself that whatever I feel is okay. A person cannot make themself feel a certain way. You have to let whatever comes to you pass through and not suppress it. Being sad doesn’t make me a horrible person. Feeling empty doesn’t mean I have to fill it with something else. This grief journey is a huge learning process of knowing my ‘new normal.’ That comes with positive and negative thoughts, feelings, and beliefs.

What I want to leave you all with is feeling empty after loss is normal. Your baby’s physical body is gone. There’s no weight there anymore, but there’s something that remains. Even when it feels like storm clouds are happening on the outside and nothing is on the inside, I promise you this one thing stays.

Love.

I know there will always be a missing part of your heart and an empty feeling in your belly from where your child left, but what remains in the emptiness is love.

May We All Heal | Wish

I wish…

I could hear his laughter.

I could know if his nose scrunches when he smiles.

I could see him chase after Leo and Poe. 

I could hold him tight as he falls asleep in my arms. 

I could teach him as a child.

I could hear his protests as a teenager.

I could be nervous the first time he drove a car.

I could help him get ready for prom.

I could cry as I sent him off to college.

I could have a mother and son dance with him.

I could collect all the memories we were supposed to have.

I could have stayed in our little infinity forever.

I could have got him out a week earlier.

I could have taken more bump pictures.

I could live to see a day where there is no loss.

I could take the pain away from every grieving parent.

I could bring their babies to them.

I could still feel blissfully ignorant concerning pregnancy and loss.

I would have held him.

I would have whispered in his ear how much I loved him.

I would have known. 

for all the flowers he would have picked for me.

that I could have seen him wish all his wishes. 

that my house wasn’t empty when I got home.

that he was somewhere for the day and at any moment they were going to drop him off.

he was here.

I wished for a love so big, so strong that nothing could ever come in between us. That wish came true, but I wish death didn’t have to get in the way.

May We All Heal | Timeless

It’s early in the morning here. I couldn’t sleep last night and found myself staring at the clock.

4:25

The time that ended all other times flashes across my bright phone screen. My body is telling me to go back to sleep, to get lost in my dreams and push it aside. Of course, I didn’t listen to my body. I woke up, made tea, and looked at today’s prompt. Timeless.

Funny how the universe works right? Or maybe it’s the mind, constantly working and trying to make everything connect.

In the past two days I’ve been in a serious battle with my depression. Nothing I can’t handle, but it hurts. It’s impacted everything I’ve written and drawn for May We All Heal. Today is no different. The pessimism in my drawing taunts me.

Timeless. Any other millennial would have thought of an infinity sign. Just think of all the pretty synonyms: unending, forever, and vastness. This page could have truly been beautiful and filled with positive thoughts.

Instead, a clock flows out of me. Although this clock looks broken, it really isn’t.

Time stopped at 4:25am on April 5, 2016. It was the exact minute Jensen was born into this world. At that same time, he was taken away; breaking our physical connect forever. This very minute, halted my world. It stopped so hard and quick that all the minutes and hours fell from the face of the earth. Just like my world crumbled around me. All I could do was watch and feel the sharpness of the pain. Time felt like it would never go on again.

Then I asked about him.

Just a mother trying to learn all she could about her son. In the same day my son was stillborn and it felt like nothing would ever make me smile or feel anything but gasping for air, I learned he in fact had ten fingers and ten toes. That made me smile and feel a blanket of warmth cover me that I hadn’t felt since I heard he was gone. Hearing about Jensen… feeling the unending love I had for him… somehow it made the sting of everything lessen in that minute.

So the clock’s gears started back, slowly. Some would say barely visible in the first few months. They couldn’t see the littlest one though, its way in the middle working overtime. This gear doesn’t tire or need greased. It keeps moving, even when the others don’t want to budge.

This gear will infinitely turn. It never even stopped when the world did. One day, it’ll almost coax all the others back to as they did before. A part will always be missing and there’s no numbers to even tell how long or judge how long the clock takes to make its way around.

And that’s okay.

Because love is timeless. 

Love does not judge. Love motivates. Love keeps turning, no matter if it’s the only one doing so.

Jensen is my love. He does not judge his mama and only motivates her to do better. The love I have for him and I know he has for me will always be.

This love is timeless.

May We All Heal | Life 

Life truly began in this moment.

It was a pretty hot September day and I knew I was a few weeks pregnant. We went to our first appointment to confirm I was pregnant and we were going to get to see this little thing growing inside me. I was scared. Deep down, I knew he wasn’t ready and I wasn’t sure I was completely ‘ready’ either, but I knew I was already attached and protective.

Thoughts kept swirling around in my head. It didn’t help that I was being asked all these questions from this woman who was supposed to help me. She wanted to make sure I was ‘financially ready’ and ‘could handle the responsibility.’ I began questioning myself and fighting back and forth in my head, but I simply told her I was ready to be a mom. I have a house, a job, and a heart full of love for this baby even during these early weeks.

After being stuck in that room with her, they ushered me over to a dark room. It had a table I was supposed to lay on and a screen right at the foot of it. I was instructed to get undressed, just the bottoms. All of the sudden, I got extremely nervous. Now these thoughts of doubt and worry about what all could be wrong were popping in my mind. I laid down on the table and waited.

The ultrasound technician came in. She seemed happy. Before we began she told me all what she was going to be doing and of course I consented. Then the screen came on. It was bright even though it was mostly black. She rubbed my belly trying to find the baby, until she stopped.

Then my world lit up.

I saw him, before I even knew he was a him. My baby was right there, he looked like a little peanut, so small. She searched for his heartbeat and we got to see it on the screen, we couldn’t hear it with the doppler yet. I didn’t even mind, because I was so transfixed on the screen. On the little life that was inside me.

All those worrying thoughts slipped away. Every thought was on the life I created, the one I was growing.

When she asked if she could print his first picture out, I probably said yes a little too quickly. I couldn’t stop smiling and when she placed the ultrasound in my head, I put my finger over him. Like I was touching him, I instantly wanted to rush to April so I could physically touch him.

I have never felt this much love and I never felt more alive. Being this baby’s mom is what my life was going to be about.

My whole life began with the little one that grew inside me.

May We All Heal | Imagine

I Imagine…

Waking up on a warm spring morning, filling my pink, mom cup with coffee before Jensen starts stirring. Somehow he’s already almost thirteen months old. He hears me just as I finish my last drink. The sun hits his crib in the most wonderful way. When I look at him, he’s already staring back at me with his big, hazel eyes. He smiles, of course. His blond, curly hair seems to have dark pieces intertwining as each day passes. I pick him up and the day begins.

After our morning routine of breakfast and getting dressed, I play him music. He loves to dance around and is always showing me these crazy dance moves he somehow learned. I’m hoping with all this dancing he ends up being better at it than me. His moves make me smile and laugh. I have to take pictures and videos to remember this moment. The house is fluttered with all the moments of the past year.

With the sun shining so brightly, I take him outside. The sun is shining so brightly and he continues to dance and play. His steps are getting more sure and stable. All of them so important and I know one day his footsteps will take him on great adventures. We’re outside for a while. I notice him picking the little flowers. He brings them over to me, proud that he found them. I take them and this pleases him, until he’s hungry again.

The day passes, almost too quick. I wish these day were unending. The sky starts to change and soon the stars will be twinkling. I open the curtains in Jensen’s room so he can stare outside as I read him his nightly story. He begins blinking slowly and more frequently. His hand starts to twirl his hair, but he’s hanging on to every word.

When he finally does sleep, I finish the book anyways. Then I hold him tight. I have my whole entire world in my arms. There is no pain or loss. Everything is just the way it needs to be.

But I’ll never get this day. It’ll always be just something I imagine.

Now imagine a love so big, that even though none of this can ever happen, my heart is still full.

Imagine this love that heals.