The Promise of September.

It’s been a weird day.

September is here. I keep seeing post full of excitement for fall, the weather getting cooler, and everything pumpkin. The kids are back walking past my house every afternoon. I always loved the idea of being close to the school, now it’s torture. Leaves on the trees are slowly turning and will soon fall to the ground. There’s promises of change surrounds me from every direction. It pressures me to feel it, but everything in my body is telling me to run back to April. Run away from Jensen being five months old here in a few short days. The promise of change scares the living hell out of me.

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It’s crazy to be at a point where I remember being pregnant last year and can compare it with now. I guess what I say it like that it doesn’t make sense. It’s easy to compare the physical aspect of my life from last year to now. I was pregnant and happy that Jensen was here and now he’s not. The ‘interesting’ comparison is the train of thoughts. Last year I was constantly thinking for the future and what was best for the little life growing inside me, now I’m thinking of the past. What could I have done better? Why didn’t I take more pictures? I do a good job of making myself feel guilty…

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Twenty-One Weeks.

All day I went back and forth on if I wanted to write today. After yesterday’s fairly ‘good’ day, nighttime was a completely different story. I couldn’t sleep, stop crying, or thinking. My empty arms ached all night. Tears soaked his nightly letter and my eyes burned from them. Thoughts of the happy moments of Jensen being here and his death wrestled in my mind. This morning didn’t fare any better. It hit me that when I woke up, it’d be the next week without him. My face was all stuffy and my eyes bloodshot red. I swear my hair was sticking straight up and to the sides. The dark blue underneath my eyes weren’t as surprising. I looked sad and it didn’t even reflect how horrible I felt on the inside.

When I looked in the mirror, I saw the reflection of a bereaved mother.

This momma had to face another week without her son. Twenty-one to be exact, so three days shy of one-hundred and fifty days without him, here with me. I swear each day and week gets harder and harder. We’re coming up on five months in less than a week, the month is changing, and fall is quickly approaching. Change. It sucks when I’m still here experiencing what would have been brand new to Jensen. I can’t see the beauty in the leaves changing or really appreciate the weather getting cooler. All the things I was excited for when he was still with me is just gone.

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Why We Need To Talk About ‘Good’ Days After Loss.

If you would have told me twenty weeks ago that I would be able to smile again, I would have rolled my eyes at you. I would promise you that a smile would never cross my face again because how could I smile after my baby died? When I thought of smiling, I thought of the pure happiness from before Jensen was born. A smile that filled my whole entire face and came from the soul. I’m not sure I’ll ever have one of those smiles again in the after, but I have smiled. My post-loss smiles are broken, but they come and go.

My good day today falls on the day Jensen’s heart stopped. I never really pay attention to Mondays because I was so numb that day. Now I won’t let myself just focus on his death, but I mourn alone on Mondays. Tuesdays represent the last physical connection, which is harder for me. But alas, I’ve finally had a good Monday. Even on the Monday before the month changes! There’s been multiple reasons to smile today. I’m still gushing over the sunset that reminded her of Jensen, shared with me on Saturday. Yesterday while swimming, I found a little feather from Jensen. Today I got to see Jensen’s name (three times!) from two other people. One on a beach in Canada and two others from the Painted Name Project. I looked through all his pictures and hospital memories today too. All these moments are happy moments that stemmed from Jensen and his time here. It hit me after all these good things that these good days, with tears, don’t get shared enough.

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Up until a few weeks ago, I felt guilty over smiling. Heck, I felt guilty for having a ‘good’ day. Before I go any further I’ll explain what a ‘good’ day looks like. A good day after loss is different from before loss. It’s when you can breathe without feeling like you’re drowning. Where you can leave the comfort and safety of your home and not be overcome by triggers. Tears still come during these days, but they don’t stall everything else. You can live in the moment, still thinking about your angel, but able to do things for them and yourself. Good days are still hard right now, but they’re crucial during grief. But when it hits you that you’re having a good day and you find yourself smiling; the guilt rushes over. Especially on that first good day.

Then it all spirals down again. Grief hits harder and it pulls you under. You feel like a horrible person for being able to enjoy a day when you know your baby isn’t here and will never be here. There’s guilt in feeling like you haven’t fully mourned your child on that day. There’s distrust in good feelings and emotions. A part of you doesn’t ever want to feel happy again because how can you when they’re not in your arms? How can a mother feel anything but the pain that comes after hearing your baby’s heart isn’t beating? It hurts and you breakdown. The first good day for me ended up in tears. So technically it was half a good day. It was a learning moment in grief and I learned it was okay to have a good day.

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Healing through Creating.

After a beautiful morning and afternoon, I was stuck inside for most of the evening listening to the pouring rain. Most days I can keep busy with writing or reading, but I just couldn’t read or watch anything. This is when grief really sets in and since it was so nice out today, I was having a good one. I did not want the rest of the day to turn sour and completely breakdown for the rest of the night. My hands kept fidgeting, so I knew it was time to create. Thankfully I had a project in mind and I went right to it.

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The Greatest Gift.

If I could ask for anything for my birthday, and every single day, I’d ask for you.

For my birthday, I wish I could be counting your toes. I wish I could have taught you how to walk and then I’d see your footprints all the time. I’d have to wipe them up each day, but every night they’d grow just a little big bigger. In this lifetime, your feet will forever be this big. Even though they were just little, baby feet you continue to leave a huge footprint on my life and this earth.

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This is one of my favorite pictures of your perfect feet. Your ten little toes, that look just like mine. All those perfect creases make such a unique print. Every single part of you as beautiful as the last. I’ll forever be longing to see you using these perfect pair of feet. You are the greatest gift I’ve ever had.

Jensen Grey, I’m wishing for you today and all the days of my life.

To Danielle at Twenty-Two.

Happy twenty-second birthday. This birthday will bring you joy and hope for the future. It will be busy going to a football game, spending time with your most loved ones, and choosing baby names. Today you found out you are carrying the most precious gift in the whole entire universe. At that second it turned positive, you knew this year for you would be completely different from any before. You would start counting down the days to important pregnancy milestones and planning for the rest of your life. Soak in this happiness, this will be your last birthday that you will be able to freely smile with meaning.

This year you will grow and not just your belly getting bigger and bigger. Your love will grow and be greater than anything you thought was possible. The pride you have for you family and son will burst from the seams. There will be a light in your life that grows with every single beat of Jensen’s heart. He will grow and as you watch him dance across that screen, your smile will grow at each visit. Your little house will have a ceiling and walls up, even a nursery. Instead of your mind focusing in on a single person’s house, it will grow suitable for a small family. Everything around you will be nurtured for the future you came up with, as you woke up on your twenty-second birthday.

November will be the happiest month of your year. You find out the little baby in your belly is a boy, your Jensen. He sits there just like Dad does on the couch. He isn’t shy about being a boy and you’ll soon find out he cooperates for everyone when you ask him to. Even when he’s being the most stubborn little boy for the nurses, when you ask him to move he does. The love you have for each other is unbreakable. You find out his heart is strong and he has hair; the only two things you asked for when you found out you were going to have a baby. Even though you didn’t think you would see Jensen twice a week while you were pregnant, you will be so thankful for that time with him.

There will be so much happiness and love in this year, you will be on the greatest high in your life. Collect those moments as they come and never let them go. You will have bumps while you’re pregnant that you’ll never think you can get over. They are not important. You would’ve got through the, but you didn’t think anything worse could happen. You could never have imagined the alternative. Instead of listening to almost everyone around you, you’ll fight for Jensen. Just as any mother would. No matter the challenges placed in front of you, you will always do what’s best for Jensen and you.

Then comes April. At this point in the year, it’s gone so perfectly. You will be so ready for his arrival, just getting a few more things the weekend before. In the second day of this month, you will joke how you feel like Jensen won’t wait to come out for very much longer. You will be surrounded by Anthony and your family. Love will pour in that weekend. Everything will feel just like it has, until you walk in the doctor’s office on Monday, April the fourth. This is when everything changes. The joy and happiness that you felt on your birthday, this day one year ago, will vanish. Your hopes and dreams will go away and you have to say goodbye to the one, little person that brought you so much light.

On April fifth he is born. You find out he did in fact have hair, looked exactly like you, and never once brought you pain. He’s a perfect baby at seven pounds one ounce and nineteen and three-quarter inches long. All ten fingers and all ten toes are there for you to count. His big cheeks and button nose would have scrunched up to boast a big smile. You made him with love and he looked so peaceful. The day will be static, even as your twenty-third birthday comes. I can’t tell you when that day comes back clear. It hasn’t yet, there’s a chance it never will.

I’ll be honest with you, Danielle. The days, weeks, and months that follow his birth are hard. You’ll plan your son’s funeral, tears come more freely than smiles, and the light is impossible to see. It will hurt to breathe and nothing will scare you anymore. I wish you never had to meet death this year. This isn’t what you wished for as you blew out the candle on top of your sundae. You’ll wish to go back in time, something you never did before. Depression will creep up, self-doubt will happen, and all you will be able to do is survive. There will be people who don’t understand this and you’ll feel alone. A loneliness and emptiness will eat away at your everyday. There will be darkness.

Somehow, you will keep surviving.

Jensen, even in death, is your light. He and all the memories you have with him will keep you going. There’s not a lot of smiles in the last few months of your twenty-second year, but when you do, it’s when you remember him. Many will tell you to find some light in your life and somedays it’s just a flicker. Jensen’s light is so strong, but sometimes grief is pitch black. When you feel like giving up, search deep down. You’ll see his light. No matter how pitch black it is, Jensen’s light never goes out. He never hurt you when he was here and he would never leave you in the dark.

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I want you to know that grief does not get lighter, we become stronger. This pain and darkness does not go away. You just learn how to live with it. There will always be an absence in your life, but his presence was so great. Through this year, soak up all the light and happiness you can. Even now, as this year is coming to its close, I would never wish it away. I would never want to forget all this love and each day Jensen was with us. I can say that even through this darkness and pain.

This year you will become a mother of all mothers. One who does not hold her son in her arms, but in her heart. Forever.

Love,

Danielle at almost twenty-three.

Day of HOPE Prayer Flag Project 2016

When you drive by my little grey house with black shutters, you’ll be welcomed by a big pallet chair, flowers, and a big signs welcoming you. Everything is very monochromatic, besides the flowers and one flag that hangs to the right of the chair inviting you to sit. This flag is different. Even though it’s oddly out of place, it feels like it’s right where it should. It hangs behind an angel that sits and protects the house. When the wind blows the frays on the bottom dance. Each part of the flag tell a story and as the frays dance in the wind, it also tells a story of love, loss, and hope.

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The Battle.

Have you ever watched Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2? At the very end of the Battle of Hogwarts, Harry and Voldemort battle. They jump of a tower at the school and during the sequence you can see the two merging into one another. It’s a really beautiful part of cinematography, but I’ll get back to that part in a second. When they both finally get back on the group, they start the real fight. *An Obvious Spoiler Alert* Harry’s good magic eventually beats out the evil. In the books Voldemort just dies and his body hits the ground, but in the movie he kind of crumbles and turns to ask then floats away. I think they did it that way in the movie because it ‘looked’ better. Right now, I’m thankful they did it that way…

I keep saying I feel like I’m stuck in my body. Maybe I’ve written about it here too, but I know I say it quite frequently. It didn’t really hit me to what I meant until Anthony and I re-watched the series again. At first I was bothered because it looked like how I imagine cremation going, but then it really represented what I keep saying. I don’t think I’m evil or anything, but gosh if it was that easy to just crumble up and be free. My insides feel like they continuously are burning and turning to ash. It hurts to be inside my body and the part where his face sinks in and breaks is how I feel. Actually, I think if I read or heard anyone explain that they feel like they’re movie Voldemort dying, I’d be concerned. But in that moment, it just made sense. It looked like relief.

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Pain and grief effing suck.

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Schwinn Sunday.

Today I did something I didn’t think I would have done for about five years; I bought a bike.

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I have a horrible track record with bikes. Unfortunately, I’ve been hit by a car while riding a bike three times. This was all about ten years ago, but I still don’t actively go out and try to get hit. Each time I’ve flew off, went airborne, and hit the ground so hard. Once, I even blacked out for about five minutes. The last time I got hit, I swore that I would never own or ride another bike in my entire life. Well, I broke my promise to myself.

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