The Curiosity of Dreams.  

I had a dream.

Honestly, I was afraid to tell a lot of people because I didn’t want anyone to think I was crazier than I already am. It was two nights ago and although it was comforting for me, I tried not to look at it as a sign. In it, I dreamed about a man who told me Jensen was happy, always with me, and loved laying in bed when I was there. The man was so real and sure of what he was saying, I have never met him before, but I trusted him. When I woke, I remembered every detail of what I dreamed, the room I was in when he told me, what he looked like, and most of all his words.

As I laid in bed thinking of what had just happened, I finally decided to check my phone to see what was going on in the world. I saw that I was tagged in an Instagram post and checked it out.


@thefivefacetsofhealing

Now, I try not to go looking for every sign I think I get, but this was too coincidental.

They are never far from you, no matter where you go. 

The man in my dream had told me Jensen was always close. I always knew he was near, but it was just some sort of validation I needed this month. Maybe another birthday gift from beyond. I went along with the rest of the day and didn’t really think about it more, until this morning.

Last night, one of my best friends and I went out to celebrate and just be in the moment. As I have said, it’s my birthday month and it’s just nice to go out and savor the night for what it is. She ended up sleeping over since we got back so late. This morning, she wanted to tell me about her dream. She kept saying it felt so real, like it happened just as we were talking.

In her dream, she dreamt we were having a sleepover with her daughter. It came to the part of the night where we were laying in bed and we started taking pictures. Her daughter was on her and we were smiling and laughing. After we were done taking pictures, she flipped through to see them and noticed another smiling face laying between us. She saw Jensen and instantly knew it was him. He looked to be around sixteen months old, just enjoying the sleepover like we did. It was him laying in bed with us, like the man said he liked to do.

I got cold chills. The man’s voice repeated what he said in my mind. My second validation that Jensen was letting me know he’s happy with his smiles and was laying there with us.

Jensen always seems to let me know he’s okay; this month especially. I feel like he’s been cheering me on and wanting me to have the best birthday I can possibly have. Sometimes I think the signs he brings me makes me insane, but I know deep down he wants to me to know.

Our children gone too soon can reach out in amazing ways.

If You Were Here Today, You’d Be Sixteen Months Old. 


The fifth of every month weighs heavy on my heart, this month is no different. 

I didn’t know if I wanted to write today, maybe this would be the first fifth I didn’t write on. For the whole morning and most of this afternoon, I laid on the couch crying. Sixteen months. Time hasn’t soften the loss of you like everyone thinks. In fact, it’s done quite the opposite. I hate that there’s this distance between the last time I felt him, not knowing when I’ll finally see him again. 

Those thoughts are haunting. They take me to a place I don’t like to travel often. I get lost in them, trying to figure it all out and wonder where I go from here. 

As I sat there, I didn’t want to write and tell you all this. I want everyone to know this hurts and it’s not how it should be. 

If he was here today, I’d make him funfetti cupcakes to celebrate another month of growing. He’d have blue frosting all over his face and just laugh. People would think I was crazy for celebrating each month and maybe we wouldn’t if I didn’t know what losing him was like. I do now and if I had that knowledge, we would celebrate. 

It’s a dreary day, but no rain, so we would have went to the zoo to walk around. He would know what sounds the animals made and mimic them. I can imagine him pointing then making their noise, then look back at me with that look. The look that only children give their parents. A look I so desperately wish I could’ve got from him. 

I would buy him an animal book to read for bedtime. He already has so many books as is, his collection would have only grown in sixteen months. That book would be read at bedtime, after our nighttime routine. On the drive home and listen to music he’d dance in his car seat to, until he fell asleep. Then I could shut the music off and listen to him breathe as I drove. That would be my most favorite noise in the world. 

Maybe we’d stop by grandma and grandpa’s house to show him our adventures to the zoo. Who knows, maybe they would have been the ones to take us, but we would all be together. A family should always stay close. 

When we got home, we would be together. He would tear through the house and want another cupcake that I would probably give him. Sixteen months is something to celebrate. After his face was all blue again, it’d be time for a bath. All his favorite toys would be brought in to help him get clean. He’d get dried off in his little robe, then into his pajamas. Slowly, he’d grow more and more tired until it was time to read the animal book we got earlier that day. With each word, his blinks would get longer until dreamland welcomed him. I’d lay him in his crib, shut off the light, and tiptoe quietly out of his room. 

As I would prepare for bed, I would get ready for the next day. There would be no worries, no death, no grief. Just him and our life. 

That’s how this day should be as he turned another month older. 

This post was inspired by the ’30 Day Writing Challenge For Stillbirth Mothers‘ day five prompt. 

The One Thing I Wanted to Teach You. 

I wanted to teach you everything.

How to walk, talk, read, count, ride your bike, drive a car, talk to girls, and everything else in between. In a lifetime, you would have learned so much from me, maybe even a few things I didn’t want you to like biting nails and the occasional bad word. Seeing you soak up all the information you possibly could, would give me such joy. 

When you were in my belly, I thought about this often; the basic things to teach you. I did this by reading to you and making sure I was constantly talking out loud. Yet, I daydreamed of you holding my hand as you stumbled across our living room floor and how you wouldn’t quit talking once you found your voice. Honestly, I thought we would have so much more time. I didn’t expect you to be gone before I got to do any of these. 

As I look back on the sixteen months without you, I realized what the most important thing I could teach you…

There is no greater force to know and feel than love. 

Of course you would have known how loved you were. You knew that from the thirty-eight weeks you were safely tucked inside my belly. All you ever felt was love. But, this is something different though. I would want to teach you how it feels to be loved by someone who means the world to you. That no matter what the circumstance you’re in, that love will be your saving grace and nothing could ever take that away. 

It took me twenty-two years to completely grasp how it felt. My parents always loved me like that, but you, my sweet son, opened my eyes and showed me what I was blinded to my whole life. 

You taught me the very thing I wanted to teach you. 

I’m sorry I didn’t get to teach you this and all the other things too. In your short life, you already had so much wisdom that I couldn’t possibly understand. For that, I thank you. 

This post was inspired by the ’30 Day Writing Challenge For Stillbirth Mothers‘ day nine prompt. 

How does a person eat an elephant? 


I vividly remember being asked this question while planning Jensen’s funeral. Flabbergasted, I sat there and stared at the pastor who I had only met that day. He was looking at me, not with pity or sadness, but in a way where he really wanted me to learn from this moment. 

‘One bite at a time.’

Then he explained his story, it’s not mine to tell completely, but what I can say is he’s experienced child loss and being a widower. His words, at that time, felt like a lot to carry. I was in so much pain and didn’t understand how people can carry this grief for so long. It’s overwhelming to think of living the rest of your life with such a tremendous loss. 

Just as it would be if someone placed this huge elephant in front of you to eat. 

A grieving person doesn’t have to take their whole life at once, just one day (sometimes moments) at a time. Maybe some bites are easier than those others, but it’s still a lot. Grief is heavy, it always will. 

Then when we look up to see how far we’ve come, we really do see healing. Even in the worst days, I can see how I’ve healed. In the beginning I thought healing was bad. I didn’t want to feel anything else but the pain that drowned me. If I didn’t that way it  would make it seem like his loss didn’t matter. Of course we know this isn’t true. That elephant is always there. 

Sometimes, I wish I could go thank him for the elephant inquiry. It’s one constant question I’ve asked myself during this time. When he first said it, I didn’t get it. I mean how could I when just two days before I found out my son had died. He knew I couldn’t possibly grasp in the meaning in that moment. Maybe we never truly understand, but through life after loss we can continue learning about our grieving process and how to live our best for those who have gone. 

One. Day. At. A. Time. 

Never all at once. 

I was made aware of one part of my healing today. Last year, I posted this. It was a time where I was terrified for time to pass, I still don’t like it very much, but I know it’s the way of the world. Yesterday, I was relieved July was going to be over; it was a painful month for me. Then this morning when I woke up, my body welcomed August. 

Jensen met me in my dreams last night and was playing with balloons. It’s my birthday month, I’ll be twenty-four on the twenty-third. I think he wants me to celebrate me this month, hence the balloons. So, that’s what I’m going to do. 

There will be a few people sharing Jensen and I’s story this month and my first article on Still Standing will be out. I’m planning on writing frequently, since it’s my go to self care. With that, I’m going to do something special for myself each and every day this month. Maybe I’ll make a list and share it on here to give all you amazing moms (and dads) some self care inspiration.  We deserve it so much and our children think so too. 

Hello August, I’m going to take you on one bite at a time through grieving, loving, and celebrate. 

Allowing Myself to Feel Whatever I Need. 


I’ve been staring at a blank screen for an hour. There’s so much to say, but the words can never accurately describe the madness inside. Sometimes I wish I could let this pain consume me from the inside out, that it would eventually take over and be in charge for good. 

It’s been six weeks. 

Instead of wanting to drink my sorrow away, I should have a happy sixteen week baby bump. I wouldn’t know he was a boy yet, but I would be happy to find out soon. I looked in the mirror this morning, thinking of the grey shirt that’s hanging in my closet. The one I used to document his short ten weeks. If things went differently, I’d be wearing it today wondering if my anatomy scan would go more smoothly this time around. 

This isn’t fair. Six weeks ago, I still had hope everything was going to be alright with Huxley. He had his big brother watching from above. 

Miscarriage hurts. 

Damn it, it’s more than hurt. I’m drowning over here in what could have been. My longing for Jensen is even more intensified, I’ve never squeezed his Molly Bear more than I have since I miscarried. I’m literally gasping for air and it feels like my head is continually being pushed under. 

I’m supposed to be ‘strong.’

I should just get pregnant again to mask the pain. 

At least I’ve already went through the worst part of my life. Miscarriage should be so much easier after having Jensen. 

Focus on the good in your life, not the pain. 

It’ll get easier. 

I don’t want to be strong. I don’t want to feel anything but how I’m feeling right now. Another pregnancy does not take away that they lived and they matter. You’re right, I have lived through the tragedy of having my full term child die before he was born. I’ve cried everyday for him and it hasn’t gotten easier without him. 

Why does our society diminish pregnancy and infant loss of any gestation or age? It’s not easy and I know grief and death is uncomfortable, but this is my life. 

I should have a sixteen month old baby boy and be sixteen weeks pregnant today and because they’re not, I’m allowed to feel whatever I need to get by to the next moment. 

My Collection of Drawings. 

Tonight is a bad night. 

My heart feels so heavy and all I want is just one more moment with him. Maybe just one picture I haven’t ever seen of him. I want Jensen here with me. 

It might be the influx of rainy days we’ve had here or the anticipation of the beginning of my Jensen anniversaries, but it’s hitting me hard. The silence feel more real than usual and the sound of rain drops are coaxing my tears. I just want to sleep and never wake up again. Dreaming is the only time I get to see him moving. 

When I’m having moments like this, right now, it’s hard to see how far in my grief journey they I’ve actually come. I take for granted the things I can do now that I wasn’t able to just last year. Heck, just in the last six months. While looking through my Jensen album on my phone, I came across this picture that I just added a few days ago. 


My cousins daughter drew this for me, to put on my fridge of course. It’s of her (with the hair), me underneath her, then under me is her little sister. To the right of her is Jensen with his hat and her spelling of his name. When I see her, she asks me to spell Jensen’s name for her so she can write it down and I have a little collection of her Jensen drawings. 

It warms my heart to get her drawings of her and Jensen. I know she’s and all of my family think of him, but this is tangible for me to hold in my hands. On the other hand, it breaks my heart. She drew on picture of Jensen crying and said he was crying because he missed his mama. Then she says she misses Jensen. 

All I can say is I do too, then think of how it all should be different. 

Back to where I was going before. Last year, I could barely be around her and her siblings. It’s not that I wasn’t happy to be around them, it’s that I was sad for me. He was missing from the picture and it was too much (sometimes it still can be). Yet, I can play with them and talk about him now. 

If I hadn’t have got this far into my healing, I would never have my collection of Jensen drawings, nor would I have had the light moment tonight in the midst of this dark grief. 

Just when I needed to see something new of him, I did in the imagination of another missing him. 

How I’ll be Celebrating Jensen’s Twenty-First Birthday. 

This past weekend, my parents took my brother and I to Tennessee. It’s always bittersweet to go on family vacations or getaways; I constantly see the missing piece. Of course we find ways to incorporate Jensen when we go somewhere. At the beach we write his name or I’m taking pictures of his footprint. When we knew we were going to Nashville and Lynchburg, I was weary of how to make a new memory with him that was unlike I had before. 

In Nashville, we didn’t really have to opportunity to do anything besides walk around and eat (and drink). I was determined to do something special for him the next day in Lynchburg. When we first got there, I was so amazed by the Jack Daniels’ distillery. There was so much to look at and learn more about. Within the first twenty minutes, I found this huge visitor registration book. 

It was a perfect way to put Jensen’s name in the book and in their database. Other people could see and read his name. I scribbled our information down and was happy to leave his mark there. 


We began our tour shortly after signing this book. The grounds there were so beautiful. It was way bigger than I imagined and I had butterflies following me throughout the entire time. Everywhere I looked, they would be floating by my head. Jensen and Hux telling me hello, we’re always here with you. 

After our tour and tasting ended, a bunch of us went to their bottle shop. When I learned they could engrave on the bottle I wanted, I had an idea. This is another way I could incorporate Jensen, now and in the years to come. I picked out my favorite tasting whiskey and what I wanted engraved on the bottle. 


I bought my son his first bottle of whiskey at fifteen months old. That would sound like something a horrible parent would say, but knowing our story it makes sense. His bottle is to be open and drank on his twenty-first birthday. Not a drop until then either. Which seems like a long time from now, but this is how I can parent and keep his memory going. 

Honestly, it’s crazy to think I’ll be grieving for that long. That on his twenty-first birthday he won’t be here, or any until then. One year without him felt like a slap in the face. Missing him will be forever, but somehow by planning this one, tiny detail of that day made me feel loved but. 

In these little moments, I can do something for Jensen. They let me bring him alive again. This little bottle of whiskey will give me something to look forward to on his big day, twenty years from now.  

Life after loss has been a dysfunctional mess, but days like these are so much sweeter than I could ever have imagined. 

One of the Hardest Posts I’ll Ever Write. 

I wish what I’m writing right now would be the good news I hoped it would be. What it should be. 

Truthfully, I had been keeping a little secret from you guys. Hiding my hope and (yes) excitement for the future. You see, the Wednesday before Mother’s Day the word ‘positive’ boldly presented itself right in front of me. I was blessed with another baby, another pregnancy. Jensen had handpicked his little brother or sister for me. There the fire of having a living child was reignited. 

The past weeks were full of anxiety and guilt and joy for this new life inside of me. I’ve been sick to my stomach and craving avacados. Eleven days ago I even saw his or her’s strong heartbeat on the ultrasound screen. Ten perfect weeks of pregnancy. 

Late last night, I noticed light, brown spotting. Of course I was concerned. I read through all the baby blogs and boards. My mind kept telling me, it’s just old blood. Everything has went so smoothly. Then this morning, it was back. The spotting went off and on, I thought about going to the doctor first thing, but figured I’d just rest unless it got worse. 

Then it did. 

My mom and I went to the hospital. Still, I was so confident nothing was wrong. There was no pain or any other symptoms. They took my blood and urine. It said I was pregnant, but we needed to scan just to see. 

I should’ve known when she didn’t let me see the screen. Part of me did know, but I was holding onto hope. 

Loss had already struck, it wouldn’t hit me again. 

We waited in our room for what it seemed like forever. Today there was a ton of trauma patients. There were so many people being wheeled to the rooms beside me. I told my mom that I wasn’t high priority, they were just getting to everyone first. There’s nothing wrong. I really didn’t think it could happen again. 

He came into the room, muttered some words, but all I got out of that cacophony was ‘there wasn’t a heartbeat.’

I don’t know what’s going to happen now. In the blur of the conversations after those words, I know I’ll either miscarry naturally or have a D&C Monday. This weekend was supposed to be happy, I was going to announce to the rest of my family. Show them the baby’s ultrasound, have hope for the future. 

Mentally and emotionally, I know I’m in a sort of shock. Different from what I was with Jensen, but still shock. I am angry and feel as if having a living child is not in my cards. 

There’s nothing that’s going to make this ‘better.’ This baby is not in a better place and I don’t want to hear about God’s plan for me. I’m in pain. Losing this child hurts like hell. I loved and wanted him or her so much. It wasn’t just a few cells, it was my baby. Just like Jensen is my son. 

This is my child. He or she was here and so real. I miss them already and hope Jensen will take care of his little sibling. 


Although I don’t know when this will be posted (I’m writing this on my couch after just leaving the hospital), I will probably be MIA for the next couple weeks. If I do post, it’s not going to be ‘happy,’ my second child just died. 

I do appreciate all of your support through my journey of loss and love. It’s not one I’d ever wish on anyone. 

To Anyone with a Fragile Heart:

I want you to know you’re not alone.

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

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

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

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

Please don’t ever feel alone in this world.

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

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

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

You are never alone.

You are so wanted

You make an impact on this world.

You are loved.

Remember, I’m always here for you.

Love,
Danielle
Jensen’s mom

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.