Nine Months.

In my house there’s a room that remained empty for almost nine whole months. There are white squares on the wallpaper and one navy and orange wood wall. The curtains are drawn and frame a picturesque, snowy backyard. Its grey rug in the middle of the room calls out to be sat on. It yells for you to read all the books packed away in storage. Although it looks like any normal room, there should be a crib, a changing table, and bookshelves full of adventures. Instead, the only signs that it was anyone’s space is his name, weight, and birthdate written on the chalkboard paint right as you walk in.

For all this time I hated its emptiness, but there was no way I could take seeing his empty crib. It stayed waiting for Jensen and all his things. A nasty reminder of how life should have been.

Recently, I’ve gained the courage to actually use his room. The first step in this process has been putting up a big piece of furniture, a futon. In fact, it’s a grey futon with navy and orange pillows. My mom and dad came over to help me put it up. We decided the best place for it to sit was where Jensen’s crib would have welcomed his dreams every night. I truly believed that seeing his room being used would help heal my heart. That it wasn’t just a room that held stillness. As we assembled and centered it on the wall, the room started closing in on me. This just wasn’t how it was supposed to be.

I took a huge deep breath and tried once again to accept my reality.

Yes, I had to accept Jensen wouldn’t be using this room. At nine months old, Jensen isn’t in there standing on his crib mattress, waiting for me to pick him up. Instead of him crying to wake me up, there’s nothing but silence. There would be no bedtime stories or a room full of toys. I wouldn’t hear him jump out of his bed as he grew older. He wouldn’t race to his window to see if the snow had covered the street beside us, hoping school would be canceled. There would be no slamming of his door or sneaking out of it. None of these dreams will ever become memories. The futon in his room would always remind me of that.

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Today when I walked in and seen the image above, I smiled and then cried. No matter how much this futon reminds me of all things I don’t have with him, he is so present in this home. In the navy and orange, I see the color of crayons he would pick. The squares on the wall could only help grow his imagination, maybe he’d even become a better drawer than me. Who knows, maybe when he would have been older, he would have wanted this very futon in his room. He probably would think it was cool to have some place to hang out and play video games. I cried today because I wish I knew him at nine months and everyday of his life. His room would’ve become such a huge part of his childhood and now it’s up to me to use it.

I can’t bear to use see any other colors than the ones I picked out for him. It will always be Jensen’s room. My hope is to use his space to be close to him and do what I can in his honor. It took nine months for me to put a futon in there, so it might take nine more for me to actually sit there for a while. Everyday I’m doing my best for him and for me. Even if that means accepting what shouldn’t be.


Happy nine months in heaven, Jensen Grey. You are loved and missed beyond what words could ever describe. I hope you like the futon that occupies your room. It really is comfortable and I could really see me sitting there and watching you play. I hope you have your big nine month sticker on and sending me a most special snowflake. I miss you. I love you.

Peace, Love, and Rushing Around.

I’m home!

It has been such a crazy week of vacation that I’m glad to be back to the peace that is my little house. Not writing for this whole time has been strange. I’ve felt all these words and emotions built up. I plan on expanding on some of them in the next few weeks, but today is a little catch up.

Tuesday has quickly snuck up on me this week as I figured it would. Thirty-seven whole weeks have passed since Jensen’s silence birth. Even though I had the past few days to relax, I woke up with great anxiety again. I’m missing him so very much. Walking into my house last night, I was glad, but my heart was so heavy knowing I wasn’t coming home to him. I wouldn’t be seeing his excited face as I went to pick him up after a week of not seeing him. Grief didn’t take a vacation as I did. I can’t say it welcomed me home, but it changed and felt different while I was gone and came back.

Today has felt even faster for me. I woke up late and had to start getting things done around the house. My mailbox was full of beautiful Christmas cards from other loss mamas, two new ornaments for Jensen and our tree, and of course bills. It was such a happy welcome home. Each card that was sent to me warmed my heart and the ornaments, they were so perfect. I kept thinking about their warm wishes and the comments and messages I received while I was gone. My tribe of mamas are always showing me they care and Jensen will forever be remembered.

Along with my vacation, I wanted to update you all with all the angel names I wrote on the beach. Well, my phone didn’t take the trip very well. Not to go into great detail, but I wrote all the names and took the pictures in the first few days. Then, all of a sudden, my phone had deleted ALL my pictures from December and eventually factory reset the last day. Frantically, I had my mom and dad help me with all the baby names. I wrote and wrote and wrote as my mom took the pictures and my dad checked them off the list. It was such a rush, but I am 99.9% sure I have all the names as I did before. The pictures are on my mom’s phone and I am going to download them tomorrow and hopefully will have everything on Jensen’s page by Friday.

With all the names, I am going to post about my experience with others while I wrote them. It was an interesting process and there were a lot of reactions from others. There was nobody that came and said they had lost their child, which I am thankful for. But there was a lot of people who went and said your children’s names out loud as they walked across the beach. I said them with them proudly each time. They were very taken care of and the waves washed their names peacefully away.

I just want to again, thank you all for trusting me with their names so I could write them along with Jensen’s.


Since there’s only five days left till Christmas, I wanted to share a very special ornament I received today. Especially since I’ve been slacking off on sharing all the ornaments I wanted to with you, I blame vacation. This ornament is from Lachlan’s mommy and my very best friend, Melissa.

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This beautiful blue and orange sparkly ornament has Jensen’s name on the front and 2016 on the back. It’s personalized just for him and holds so much meaning in my heart. Lachlan and Jensen were born just days apart in April. They should both be eight months old and getting spoiled during their first Christmas. I hate the way Melissa and I met, but I am so thankful for our friendship and to know Lachlan and his family. Friendship in the midst of grief is hard to come by, but here we are finding some kind hope and walking with each other in this unknown future.

Although I haven’t told Melissa yet, when I opened her Christmas care package today on Jensen’s thirty-seventh week in heaven, I broke down in tears. It’s not only an ornament for me to remember him by, it’s one that he would’ve absolutely loved. He would have been amazed that the blue and orange that decorates him room would be on our tree. I see it as a little present for my son, the first I have received for him during Christmas. My heart is truly touched.

Thank you, again, Melissa for this beautiful ornament. It will be one of my favorites to put up every single year. You have been such a great support system for me and I will never be able to thank you enough. Although I know we both would have rather this holiday season to be so much different, I’m glad we’re able to be here for each other.


Jensen Grey, I love you so very much. Happy thirty-seven weeks in heaven. You are the light of my life. Thank you for protecting your whole family through our travels and vacation. I felt your presence as I wrote your friends’ names on the beach. My mind let me know how much you loved playing on the beach and watching the waves come in and out. You give me more strength than I ever though possible.  I miss you. I love you.

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.

A Letter to My Heart Thirty-Four Weeks Post Loss.

Dear Heart,

I felt you cracking even more as I woke up this morning with my cheeks already wet from crying in my sleep. Quite honestly, I was shocked that you could still be beating after thirty-four weeks of constant heartbreak. Maybe I should have listened to you the second I woke up, but I pushed you to keep going. You’ve surprised me for all this time and today I was going to take charge of my emotions. I made myself feel logically with my brain and ignore you.

Your beats quicken as I rushed around before I left. Tears were still falling down, but I still didn’t want to listen to you. Heart, sometimes feelings have to go to the back burner. My life needs to be compartmentalized to be semi-normal. It seemed like every song on the way to the gym were sad songs. I didn’t think I’d be able to make it there through my sobs. But I did. When I got there, all I did was take a deep breath and continuing pushing on. That’s what has gotten me this far.

While working out, I didn’t feel you beating harder or even quicker. It’s like you had given up on me, like I had you. Somehow we both kept beating on, like old friends talking through a disagreement.

During therapy was the first time all day I realized how hurt you were. Words didn’t seem to come out of my mouth, but tears continued to fall. I hadn’t looked in the mirror all day, but the look in my therapist’s eyes told me all I needed. It was a look I had seen every time someone saw me in the beginning. Your brokenness had carried through my eyes. It even carried through the words I managed to utter out. She helped me recognize you were hurting even when I tried to hide it.

I want to feel like we’re healing together, but the Jensen-sized hole in you is so apparent. On the outside, I’ve gotten better with living with that hole. It’s hard living without him, I know you feel it too. But even after knowing how broken you felt today, I still kept pushing you to the side.

At home, in our safe place, I kept busy. I mindlessly washed, folded and organized my clothes. Your beats quickened more as thoughts crept in my mind. Visions of me reorganizing Jensen’s clothes as he would be getting bigger now. I’d probably be frustrated with the weather changing back and forth, not knowing what I would need to dress him in for the next day. Usually you and I would let these visions play out, but I stopped it. The closet is now color coded in it’s appropriate spot. I thought this would help calm you, knowing that one more thing that had been weighing on my mind was done.

Night spread across the sky and I know we’d have to be settling down. I made dinner and took care of the cats. There was music on in the background, as there always is. I know we both cannot take the silence, even at day two hundred and thirty-eight. You even eased as we danced and though of his rhythmic kicks. I even smiled and my eyes were finally dry. Everything seemed to be going okay.

Until that song played. The one we listened to when we first found out Jensen was growing. It was long before we first heard his heartbeat and we hadn’t heard it since his heart had stopped.

| I want to tell you
How much I love you
I’m drowning in a sea of love |

I knew I had to listen to you then. I couldn’t do anything else but that. The sobs were uncontrollable and even though everything else felt number, the edges of your broken pieces plunged deeper in my soul. Screams were stuck in the back of my throat, but I couldn’t let them go.

The shower helped. It let me feel like I was drowning as I sat in there, letting the hot water sting my back. I hugged my knees and listened to you. Oh heart, I miss him too. There isn’t a second that goes by where I push thinking of him aside, even though you’re the one that doesn’t get my attention. I sat there feeling that hole that you constantly feel. It’s an abyss of emotions and pain and love that demands to be felt. When you dive into it, you have to wait till it spits you back out.

After it spit us both out, I had to take care of you first. You’ve called out to me all day and I’ve ignored you. I’m so sorry for that, heart. If you hadn’t kept beating strong through your brokenness, I wouldn’t be here. We would be talking about Jensen and sharing him to anyone that’ll listen. So, I did what I knew helped string together some of your broken pieces.

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Truth be told, heart, I’m jealous of you at times. As much as Jensen loved the sound of my voice, your steady beating helped him fall asleep. You were the constant and comforting sound he heard at all times. I wish I could’ve sung to him twenty-four hours a day, but you cared for him in that way. You were one of the first and last things he ever heard. Sometimes I don’t care for you or listen enough to you enough as I should. We’re both learning this new life together.

I’m listening to you tonight, my steady companion.

All my love,

Danielle


Happy thirty-four weeks in heaven, my sweet love. I wish I could whisper in your ear how much I love you. With every beat of my heart, I miss you more than words could ever describe. You are the light in my life. You help me heal and are the one thing that makes my heart warm. I promise to take care of myself and be the best mommy I can be to you.

I miss you. I love you.

Avoiding Situations.

Earlier this month, I talked about Reliving the Moment and how Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is common in moms who have experienced pregnancy/baby loss. In that post, I shared the four major symptoms of PTSD and my experience with the first one. Although right now my mind is blocking when I found out Jensen’s heart had stopped through the day he was born. Moments come flooding in my brain and I can only analyze those small bursts of time. Even though there’s no way to know when I’ll remember more about those two days, I find myself clinging on to the second symptom. For the ease of this conversation, here’s the list once more:

  1. Reliving the event.
  2. Avoiding situations that remind you of the event.
  3. Negative changes in beliefs and feelings.
  4. Feeling ‘keyed’ up or being on the lookout for danger.

When I first decided to talk about PTSD with you all, I didn’t even realize how much the holidays would go right along with the discussion. With Thanksgiving being my first, BIG holiday without Jensen, I didn’t know how I would handle the day or my emotions. Every day has been a test for me, but Thanksgiving and Christmas are really big days. They’re days where I’m supposed to be showing him off to the whole family and they let me know how big he’s getting. It’s the missing out on what his favorite holiday food would be, what his face would look like seeing the shiny ornaments on the tree, and so many countless things that these days bring with children…

As a loss mom, I have to weigh my emotions for family-get-togethers and other type of situations.

For the sake of not going on and on, I’m going to specifically talk about avoiding situations during this Thanksgiving. Maybe in the future I can touch on situations that directly remind me of the day Jensen was born. There’s so many ways this second symptom could go, but I think this is more relevant and timely for right now.

Going to Thanksgiving this year was hard. My family actually had two different ones, one that had all the kids and the other with just adults. Honestly, it was bittersweet to have. It’s nothing against my family, at all, but it sucks that Jensen wasn’t here. That he couldn’t be experiencing his first Thanksgiving with his whole family. I felt horrible, obviously I didn’t go to the first one. I avoided it, completely. There was no strength in me to go or even think about it. The whole night I would’ve pictured Jensen there and there and there. But like everyday since he’s been born, he isn’t physically here. There’s no silly smiles or trying to take all the food off the table. My brain puts it there, but it only makes his absence even more noticeable. I thought the second one would be better.

It wasn’t.

In the morning, I laid out my outfit and did everything I needed to around the house. As the clock kept getting closer to four, my anxiety kept getting stronger. Again, I felt myself wanting to avoid the situation and all the visions I thought I was going to have. Then when I told myself it was okay to have those thoughts, I was terrified to have everything come back to me. I didn’t want to go down the rabbit hole and that’s a really big possibility. My brain has been actively trying to remember those two days. I feel like if I give it a little room to explore my deep thoughts, it’ll play it all out. That scares me, especially because I don’t know if I’m ready for that.  So, logically what does a person do when they’re not ready to face something? They avoid it.

That’s what I did, for a few hours at least. Four came and went, and I still didn’t feel like leaving my bed. Jensen’s urn candle was on and I just kept watching it flicker, wondering what he would want me to do. I was still seeing him eating mashed potatoes and how he would look like at thirty-three weeks. Even sitting here in my room, I could see him dressed, ready to go, and watching me frantically get ready. I saw him in a denim shirt and khaki pants, with his white tennis shoes. Those images came so vividly even with me not at the dinner table. I avoided what I was afraid of for as long as I could. This type of situation of reliving the event, never goes away. I relive the days I was pregnant with Jensen, certain moments of his birth, and each day that he should be here.

When I got to my uncle’s house, I took a deep breath before I walked in. I kept playing with my Jensen bracelet as everyone greeted me. My arms felt empty, I kept thinking how I should be carrying him in his car seat. I’m not going to lie to you guys, it hurt. It felt like my chest was being crushed. This feeling overwhelms me and is usually present in my day-to-day life. Yet, I still made it to Thanksgiving dinner. A plate was given to me and I filled it up to eat. I sat, ate, and talked. There were moments I wanted to cry and there were moments I laughed. I kept wondering why I had avoided going over for those few hours and I wondered about my lifetime of avoiding these situations.

Losing a child brings a lifetime of hurting, dreaming, and avoiding. But with every step and day we continue on, we heal just a little bit at a time. I know how stressful the holidays are and how the PTSD can really hit. Even though I went to Thanksgiving dinner and have certain plans for December, it’s perfectly okay to avoid these days. Grieving is a learning process that we have to figure out each day. If one day you’re ready to face these challenges head on, do it. If the very next day, you just want to stay in bed and avoid everything, you have every right to do so.

You are not alone. These feelings are not strange or weird. Be gentle on your heart. I know how hard this is, just like I know you’re doing your very best.

 

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A little side note to this post…

I’d like to let everyone know that Poe made it home on Sunday. He’s lost a few pounds, but he’s safe and has no injuries. I am so thankful for my community, the positive thoughts that were coming my way, and that Jensen lead Poe back to his home.

 

Reliving the Moment.

Did you know a lot of women who have went through pregnancy loss also suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)? Before Jensen was born, I only thought veterans or people who went through a really violent experience only had PTSD. The weeks following his birth, I knew I would be going through postpartum healing, grief, and probably depression. I didn’t really think it would be much more than being really sad. Honestly, I felt so strange and different when I was feeling so much more than that. It wasn’t until after I talked to my therapist that I realized that a lot of what I was going through was the same symptoms.

Before I go on, I just want to say I’m in no way comparing my situation to a veteran or person who’s been through a war. That doesn’t mean I’m downplaying the tragedy and trauma I faced though. They’re different types of PTSD, but they’re both very real and affect a person’s everyday life.

There are four general symptoms of PTSD that can be found on the Department of Veterans Affairs:

  1. Reliving the event.
  2. Avoiding situations that remind you of the event.
  3. Negative changes in beliefs and feelings.
  4. Feeling ‘keyed’ up or being on the lookout for danger.

At thirty-one weeks post loss, I’m constantly facing each on of these. Sometimes all of happen them in one second and other times it really just is one that I can’t shake off. It’s very unpredictable lately.

For the next few weeks, I’m going to refer back to this list in certain posts. I want to be able to focus on each on when it happens or when it’s feeling most raw to me. Even though I’m experiencing all these feelings, sometimes one hits more than others? Maybe that’s not the best way to explain, but I’m not sure how else to do it.

Anyways, I want to talk about the first symptom on the list: reliving the event.

This past weekend, my brain has been focused on a single moment. I’m not really sure what brought it on, but it’s demanding to be present. This moment is being freeze-framed in my mind over and over again. It’s different then any of my flashbacks that I’ve had before, since it’s not triggered by sight or sound. The moment is a feeling that consumes me and is hard to pull away from. My latest flashback is the moment Jensen was born.

My mind has completely blacked out the time I walked back to the delivery room to getting wheeled out of that room. The only break in the blackness is only ten minutes at the most that I have little pieces of. Before this weekend, it was the last few pushes, the guy beside me yelling out 4:25, and me asking if he had ten fingers and toes. That’s it. It’s all I had remembered until I held Jensen bear. Logically I know the moment he was born only lasted a few seconds. Not to get too detailed in hopes I don’t trigger anyone else, my brain knows I pushed, he came, and was delivered. My mind is now sending me the feelings I had, but shock blocked them out.

Wholeness.
Holding on to hope.
Rush.
Push.
Release.
Hopes being crushed.
Emptiness.
Silence.
Final confirmation he was gone.
Loss of him and myself.
Blackness.

When I look at these feelings wrote out, they just look like words. I can understand someone who hasn’t gone through stillbirth not really understand them or someone who isn’t me. I mean feelings are personal and each of these words bring tears to my eyes. These emotions and ‘words’ happened within seconds, it’s a lot to process. Obviously, since it’s taken thirty-one weeks for my brain to catch up with itself.

Wholeness and emptiness are really sticking out to me. At one moment, his weight was right there. There was still hope, that I knew couldn’t be true. It’s like Jensen’s body held hope, wholeness, and everything that I ever wanted. When he was born, it all went away with him. I first felt the emptiness of where his body had inhabited for months, then the deafening silence. It was all so final and happened too quickly for me to even process.

As the flashbacks keep happening, I can feel the emptiness again and I can’t catch my breath. I literally start hyperventilating, even now when I’m trying to recall it.

It sucks.

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Feels like I’m living a nightmare, which I really guess I am. I lived through my worst nightmare and it doesn’t seem real that I haven’t woke up yet. The moment he was born was the best and worst of my life. Jensen was perfect and his body was beautiful. My body let me deliver him, complication free. That moment brought his birth and it could have easily been just the best day of my life. I see the beauty in his silent birth, but the darkness of the nightmare overshadows that moment. I also relive that silence and release of the physical connection we had. Death is ugly. The loss of my son hurts, so does the loss of my identity as a person and the hope I had in the world.

Reliving his birth is hard. I’m triggered by silence, even now and probably for the rest of my life. There will be moments of hope, wholeness, and release that I will encounter again that will most definitely bring me back to this. But somehow I continue to survive. Somehow that release didn’t take me too. You can look at that good or bad because I’ll always have to live knowing that my heart didn’t stop when his did; that somehow the silence didn’t kill me…

If you’re around me or anyone that’s working through trauma, just know these little triggers bring them back to the worst moments of their lives. Don’t encourage me to just move on from them, let me talk them through with you. There will be tears and moments that I can’t say anything, this is when I need you the most.

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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Surrender & Embrace.

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I’m in a constant state of falling apart and picking up the pieces.

From the minute I was being wheeled out of my hospital room, I let myself surrender to the heaviness of sadness. The unfairness of leaving without Jensen was overwhelming. I wanted to scream, but no sound came. Instead, tears flowed so freely and I couldn’t stop them even if I tried. While we were in the elevator, I kept opening and closing my eyes wishing that when I did it I would finally wake up from this nightmare. When I sat in the front seat of the car on the way to my parent’s house, I felt like I was in a vacuum. In this vacuum, there’s no outside noise or reason. There’s just me and my uncontrollable thoughts. After we got home, I realized that I would never be able to fight off the pain and sadness. I promised myself that I would accept whatever feelings and emotions came my way.

I surrendered myself to sadness, anger, pain, depression, and even joy.

Sometimes I wish I didn’t. There are moments in life where feeling everything so intensely isn’t ‘acceptable’ or ‘normal.’ Yet, they’re right there. Sadness and pain are always reachable for me. Almost everything in my life right now can be set back to, ‘If Jensen was here.’ I love being able to imagine it, but breaking down at a restaurant when they ask how many people are eating and I always have to say one less than what’s in my heart, is unacceptable. Those moments I can breathe through. In the few other times where I’ve felt like I had to hold it back and tried to force another certain emotion, grief came back around in a few hours times; one-hundred times worse. Worse as in, the emotions were just more intense where I literally can only lie there.

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Myths.

Life after loss is all about discovery. Discovering healing and how to keep surviving each day. There are good discoveries and there are bad. Most of the bad are from myths that our society have compiled about grief and child loss. I’m going to do my best to debunk some of these myths and probably ramble a lot.

I’ve narrowed it down to the four that really get under my skin. They all kind of loop in with one another, but they are all things I’ve heard. I’ve also wrote about all of them before which really helps show the progression of my grief journey.

Happy debunking.

Myth One | Everything happens for a reason.

Before loss, I found comfort in this statement. In my logical mind, there had to be a reason for everything that happened. It was just be pandemonium if there was no answer to each thing that happened in the world. There had to be a lesson or something we could learn from everything that happened in life.

Then Jensen died.

There is no a reason a baby should die. I can remember searching within myself, thinking if I did anything wrong. Even if I had some sort of bad karma, there still isn’t any way that Jensen’s death would solve anything. His death didn’t happen for a reason. Don’t tell me God needed him and that’s why he died. That’s preposterous, there are a ton of people who die everyday that God can have; not my baby or anyone else’s baby.

Honestly, it just floors me when I hear this. Even if you think there’s a justifiable reason for a baby to die, just don’t say it. It’s not true and something a grieving mother (or any person) needs to hear.

Myth Two | At least you didn’t know him.

Please don’t say this to me, ever. I knew his kicks and when he was uncomfortable. I knew his schedule. I knew his favorite foods. I knew what music he liked. I knew when he was annoyed and didn’t want to participate for the ultrasound tech. I knew he loved to hear people talk about him. I knew he loved being read to. I knew everything about my son.

Just because he didn’t live outside the womb doesn’t mean he didn’t exist or that I couldn’t know him.

I understand it’s a different sense of knowing a person. Jensen was only a baby and I didn’t know him as a toddler, or as a child, or as a teenager, or as an adult. I don’t know what kind of person he would have turned out to be. That’s just a fact, but to say I didn’t know him at all hurts and disregards him as the little human he was. Even though I don’t know for sure who he would have become, I can imagine and dream of that. Tomorrow’s prompt dives into the beautiful mystery he is and I’m excited to share that with you all.


Myth Three | Grief follows five steps in an orderly fashion.

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We all are told and know the telltale stages of grief: Denial. Anger. Bargaining. Depression. Acceptance. In the stages of grief, we’re only supposed to be in each for a designated time and then find acceptance in all of it and move on with our lives. If we stay in one stage longer than an another, we’re not grieving ‘right.’ Or if we go from anger to depression and back to anger again, we didn’t do something right. We already prejudge our grief before we even start grieving. There’s this list of stages that we’re supposed to follow and when we don’t, we look down on ourselves, just as others do. But we’re not talking about each stage or the ones I’ve been in and tangoed with over and over again. There are many posts I’ve written about grief and the stages.

Still, it’s ridiculous to expect someone to follow grief in a timeline or a specific order. Grief is so individualized and different things let different individuals heal. Honestly, there are days where I’m still in denial that I have to live the rest of my days without Jensen. I’m twenty-three years old, let’s say I die at seventy years old, that’s forty-seven years I have to live without my son. I am in denial about that. I’ll expand that thought with the next myth. Then I have days where I’m in a complete rage. I could break plates and punch anything around me. There are times I scream at my cats if they meow because I just have so much anger built up. Then I go to bargaining and guilt. Depression is always there, so these stages make no sense for me.

I’ve left out acceptance for a reason. It’s supposed to be the end all of grief and it’s really not. For me, I feel like there’s different stages of acceptance. I’ve half-heartedly accepted Jensen’s death. Half-heartedly because I know he’s never coming back, but I don’t like it and I’m not comfortable with that fact. So there’s that slight acceptance. Right now, I can’t accept that I’m going to live for decades without him. It’s sad and heartbreaking. I don’t like it, but that’s grief and trying to process everything.

When I hear I’m not grieving correctly or if you think someone’s not, just know it’s their journey and process. Their heart will lead them to where they need to be at that particular time. Trying to rush them through their grief will only hurt them in the long run.


Myth Four | Time heals all wounds.

I feel like every last attempt to comfort me leads to this phrase and I hate it the most. Maybe because when the conversation gets to this point I’ve already lost hope with talking about Jensen and I know they’ll never understand.

Time sucks. I feel when time passes, I’ll become stronger and be able to be productive in my own ways. There won’t be a time where I go back to Danielle before Jensen and I don’t want to go back to her. Maybe in time the pain won’t be as intense? I don’t know. Thinking towards the future has been really difficult for me lately, so I’ve just stopped. As I was saying before, I keep thinking of living all these years without Jensen. He’s gone. The life I planned is gone. It’s overwhelming and to think as time as a savior, I just can’t think that way.

Maybe I’m just feeling defensive right now at this point with my grief. I don’t want time to slip away, but I also want it all to end quickly. It’s just strange. Do I want my life to get to a point where I’m excited for things again? Yes. But that doesn’t erase the pain or the hole in my heart. That hole will never get smaller.

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Time passing isn’t comforting to me nor do I know if it’ll heal me. Right now it’s a huge myth to me in my six months into grief. My wound is still deep and open, it’s one that will take a lifetime of healing.

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