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. 

Fifteen Months. 

Another month is here without him. One more that I never thought I would survive, yet here I am trying to be strong. The anticipation of each month change has not gotten easier since the very first one. I feel its weight in my bones trying to make me crumble. 

This past month has been one of the hardest. Two weeks ago my second child’s lifeless body was taken straight from my womb. The grief of losing him or her ontop of what I feel for Jensen and his loss has been complex. Most of the time I don’t know how to describe what’s going on in my brain. Maybe this extra weight has made this month change so much worse. 

I went into his room today. Sometimes I have this strong pulling to just sit in there, more than my everyday look. 

Every time I step in there, it’s like I’m transported to another reality. I see his room what it would be like if he was here. Not at infancy, but right now running and testing his limits three months after his birthday. Toys are scattered along his rug and there’s clothes to be put away. There are projects we have done on the wall and all his books are on the shelves. I see this scene and him in there. Somehow I wish I could describe it better than just being transported to another reality, it’s literally like I step through another veil and there he sits. That’s how I picture Jensen and I’s heaven.

After snapping out of the world I want to be living in, I saw things I hadn’t paid attention to in awhile. The little details that I love that wouldn’t be exactly there if he was here. On his changing table lies a little racecar and my favorite sign I bought before he was born. ‘Just be awesome.’ There wasn’t any pressure on him to be something, just as long as he was happy and growing up to be a good boy. Then there’s the books I actually have in his room. Stuffed away with a lot of his things is his whole library, many of those books from the book drive we did during the baby shower. The ones in his room are my favorite though. Sometimes I pull them out on special days and read out loud for him to hear. I know he’s listening and sometimes Leo comes to listen too. 


Yes, I accidentally bought two of the same J’s…. oops. 


Fifteen months have gone by since I last physically felt Jensen. In that time I’ve picked up most of the pieces, dropped them multiple times again, and kept trying to place them back to a new normal. I’ve felt the biggest heartbreak, twice, but I’ve also learned how to love so deeply. 

To feel everything so deeply. 

I wish this wasn’t my reality, but I’m surviving and doing my best to thrive. Even if I knew what was going to happen, I’d still choose my little, blond hair boy born fifteen months ago.

On This Mother’s Day…

From the moment I saw the word ‘pregnant’ on the first test I took, he made me a mother.

Through those early weeks of excitement to see him grow and feel him move, he made me a mother.The first time I heard that strong, galloping heartbeat, he made me a mother.

When he showed off what made him be a boy on the ultrasound screen, he made me a mother.

During the worry of wondering if I was going to be a good enough mother to him, he made me a mother.

Feeling his kicks everyday and him jab me when I didn’t lay on my left side, he made me a mother.

Through those last weeks of anticipation for his big arrival, he made me a mother.

Giving me a quick, almost painless labor, he made me a mother.

During those weeks of deep pain and grief, he made me a mother.

In these weeks of healing and living our new normal, he made me a mother.

Even through our tragic story, there is an endless, unbreakable love that will always stay because he made me a mother.

He made me a mother and I am so proud that he’s my son.

On this Mother’s Day, I’m honoring my motherhood and the love I have for my son by showing him off to the world. When I see him, my whole being fills with pride and happiness. I made this little human and he’s given me a life I never knew was possible.

My only wish for this day (as it is on every day) is to have him back in my arms. I know this isn’t possible. So instead, I hope someone tells me ‘Happy Mother’s Day.’ I hope someone says Jensen name to me. I hope every mother who has lost a baby feels honored today. Just as I hope anyone who is facing this day without their mom, or sister, or aunt, or grandmother, feels like their loved one is forever remembered and honored.

Hold the ones you care about most near your heart. There are so many others that have to carry others in their. Just like I carry Jensen and his great-grandmother in mine.

This little boy, he means the world to me. He made me his mother and that’s my favorite part about myself.

 

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.

Mother Hearts Project.

Next Sunday is Bereaved Mother’s Day… already.

April has completely flown by. It’s been one of the hardest months, but also filled with so much love and support. That’s not to say there hasn’t been any hard moments. It was full of them. Love always conquers though.

Back to Bereaved Mother’s Day. Here’s the quick history of the day. In 2010, CarlyMarie created a day for bereaved mothers to celebrate this specific motherhood. It’s created for moms who are mothering children in heaven and to connect to others. If you want to read more about it, click here. Anyways, each year there is a project moms can do and share on social media. Last year was show your mother heart, where you drew a heart on your palm and shared it. I was too much in a grief fog to participate, but I remember seeing all these beautiful hearts fluttered around Facebook and Instagram. A couple of weeks ago, she shared this years Mother Heart Project: We Carry Them In Our Hearts.

This is a play on ee cummings’ poem, ‘i carry your heart.’ Carly called out to mothers to take pictures or a short video of them placing their hand on their hearts. This picture could be taken anywhere, just a way to show where you carry your children. She’s choosing certain photographs and making a video that will be posted next Sunday.

Right after I read it, I knew I could join in on this. I was going to the beach and was going to take this amazing picture, but nothing felt right. This past week, I was dressed up and tried to take cute pictures while subbing and just around town. Still didn’t feel right. On Thursday night, with only hours to spare to turn in a submission, I was crying in Jensen’s room. I wouldn’t be able to do this.

Of course I called my mom to come over. I told her I was a failure. That I was letting Jensen down because I wasn’t able to take a picture and maybe it get put in the video. I told her I looked gross and I had been crying. Nothing was going the way I planned for this. Sound familiar?

Well, we took pictures all over the house. Deleted all of them. We were back right where we started, me feeling defeated on the futon in Jensen’s room. The very room I was supposed to feel exhausted, but happy to be mothering my sweet little boy. Before I knew it, we were capturing this moment.

Hands over my heart, look up, and I heard the iPhone make that picture sound. She smiled and said, this is the one and turned it towards me.

I hate this picture of me.

My eyes look so tired and you can tell I’ve been crying because my makeups a little smudged underneath. The shine from my face distracts me because I knew how many times I put my hands to me face. I see me being so exhausted and grieving and worrying about if I’m making Jensen proud or not.

Then I see the best part of the picture, his little hand over mine. Our hands holding both of our hearts so tightly. That’s what it’s all about.

I also the love in my eyes. I see Jensen’s cheeks and general face shape. His hands so very closely shaped like his mama. I see the bridge of his nose. There’s so much of me in him, besides that blond hair. This photograph is a grieving mom doing her best to mother her son who’s physically not here. It captures this crazy life that I hate and love, but it’s mine. I wouldn’t trade it for any one else’s.

Hopefully we’ll get to see my tired eyes on the video project Carly makes and if not, I’m proud I still did it for Jensen.


A little note for May.

I plan on writing or at least posting every single day. There will be some days I’ll be posting multiple times, especially in the first two weeks. I’ll be doing the May We All Heal Project, Still Mother’s The Mothering Project, and I’m apart of a group that will have writing prompts everyday for the first two weeks. A lot of things, but I think it’s much-needed where I am right now in my grief and healing journey.

As always, if you have any questions about any of the projects I’ve mentioned, please ask. On Jensen’s Facebook Page, I am doing a Mother’s Day name wreath. Feel free to request one and I will get it to you as quick as I can. Last little reminder, on my Etsy shop, Grey Woods Design, I am having a Mother’s Day sale. You get 15% off when you use the code: MothersDay. Hoping you all follow along this coming month and that they are gentle for of us.

Support Circles.

Before I begin on today’s prompt, Support Circles, I’d like to take a second and just wish Jensen a very happy twenty-sixth week in heaven. This week brings on the big six month mark, but I like to acknowledge the weekday since it’s meant so much to me. I’m having an extremely rough time with the six month milestone, so I’m using today to ease into tomorrow. As I light my candle for Jensen tonight and tomorrow, I will light another for all our angels. I hope each of them are able to see the light and feel love’s warmth.

Screen Shot 2016-10-04 at 5.59.50 PM.png

When I think about support, my heart tears in two. The one side is full of love from so many people who hold me up, remember Jensen, and make feel like I’m not crazy. Then the other is cold and empty from the support I thought I would have on this journey. This is what makes talking about support so hard. I wish I was able to stitch both halves together and just fill my whole heart with the support I have, but it’s hard not to be bitter and think of the other side. Here’s another BUT, I’m not focusing on the bad today because there is so many people that have shown me love that I cannot thank enough.

I’ve written and rewrote this multiple times. No words will ever encapsulate my gratitude to those who have supported me and said Jensen’s name. I am going to try my very best!

To you who was there when we heard the news.
To you who rushed from Jensen’s room to get to the hospital.
To you who was there as soon as you could and stayed the whole night.
To you who heard the silence instead of the loud cries.
To you who went to his funeral.
To you who first reached out and welcomed me into this community.
To you who shared your and your angel’s story.
To you who sent me your words to let me know I wasn’t alone in my thinking.
To you who met me for lunch, even though I was so nervous to go.
To you who encouraged me to write.
To you who saw them first.
To you who showed me what was best to say to a mother who has been grieving silently for years.
To you who wrote his name so beautifully.
To you who made me feel so proud of him.
To you who let me find my voice.
To you who did not judge.
To you who saw Jensen’s pictures and exclaimed how beautiful he is.
To you who know the part of my story that I regret the most.
To you who welcomed me in many groups.
To you who made me smile.
To you who will answer any text at any time.
To you who gave me a chance.
To you who reminded me that I wasn’t alone.
To you who listened to Jensen’s story.
To you who have followed along our journey.
To you who have heard my voice.
To you who lets me cry.
To you who dries my eyes.
To you who has a huge part of their heart in heaven.
To you who walks with me in grief.
To you who celebrates his life.
To you who is reading now.
To you who says Jensen’s name.

I say thank you, to you who continues to support Jensen, me, and our story.

There’s one more person that I would like to take a second to thank.

Also, wanted to say thank you so much to the Share Your Mother Heart group. You all have been a HUGE support to me throughout all of this. Each of you have encouraged me to keep writing, even on my darkest days.


Support Links and Pages I Follow Closely:

Still Mothers

Mother Your Heart

Invisible Mothers

God’s Tiny Angels

Precious Parents

Sweet Pea Angel Gowns

Lettered Hope

Addison’s Army

 

 

Twenty-Five Weeks.

It’s the twenty-fifth Tuesday.

One-hundred and seventy-five days since Jensen was born.

Jensen’s big day of the week and honestly today was busier than any other Tuesday I’ve had since he’s been born. The morning was really rushed and stressful. Leo and Poe were being trouble makers, we were in a rush to work out, and then I had therapy. Even when that was done, I was only home for a bit to go get supplies for the house and then finally eat. Today was just more rushed than I like my Tuesday’s to be. I honestly didn’t know if I’d write tonight since I posted a lot my feelings yesterday. I know I have a lot of Jensen and grief feelings going on write now, but I can’t make sense of them. Maybe at the end of this.

Then I figured everyone would have heard enough from me after my video chat with Emily Long, from Invisible Mothers, about love, loss, and figuring out life through grief. Which if you didn’t see and would like to, you can see it here. It was nice to be able to talk and actually speak what’s on my mind with words coming out of my mouth and not just directly on the screen. I am so very thankful she asked me chat with her to share with other loss moms and just feel what we’re feeling. Honestly, I didn’t re-watch it. I’m so afraid to hear my voice. I promise there’s good stuff on there and if you want to see me talking, it’s the perfect video to see.

But BIG things are happening.

This Tuesday is also the last Tuesday of the month of September, which means October is almost here. As I said in yesterday’s post, October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss (PAIL) Awareness Month, which is a pretty big deal. Especially since this is my first October without Jensen and knowing what else October holds besides Breast Cancer Awareness. It’s going to be an emotional month in general. October fifth is also Jensen’s six monthday, which I just cannot fathom. I’d do anything to be playing and picking out Jensen’s, at six month old, Halloween costume….

Continue reading

Broken.

The majority of time I hear a lot of phrases that are supposed to be helpful, but usually do more harm. I’ve written about it many times before because it really does hurt and those words just swirl in my brain. On top of all those things, I’ve had a really horrible week with Anthony moving out and adjusting to being alone.

I want to be very candid with you all; week twenty-four sucked. The majority of the week was spent in bed, under my covers. There were moments I wanted to rip my skin off to feel relief. Seriously, physical pain would have felt so much better than this mental and emotional anguish. I feel so bad and I know Jensen sees this. What kind of mom sits there and loathes herself? I guess someone could answer with, you’re really not a mom. This week I probably couldn’t have even defended myself and my motherhood…

The very person who would do anything for her son wouldn’t have had the energy to defend my motherhood. Grief has completely broken me.

Today I heard one of the best things since Jensen’s been born:

“He’ll always love and remember you.”

Continue reading

Twenty-Four Weeks.

When I decided to start blogging about Jensen and life after loss I promised myself I would always do two things:

  1. To honor Jensen by sharing his story and the positive impact he brings to me each and everyday.
  2. Be completely raw and honest no matter how hard.

Today, I unfortunately have to share news that hurts and is ultimately life-changing. Before I begin, I’d like to say this is not wrote in an ill tone or manner. This is real life and a fairly common thing to happen after losing a child.

Anthony and I have decided to go our separate ways to be able to focus on ourselves through our different grief journeys.

It hasn’t been an okay time for me and although I can’t speak for Anthony, I know he’s hurting too. The reality is grief does awful, awful things to a person and their relationship. I don’t think we’re going into this next stage of our lives with a bad taste on our tongues. We’ve been able to identify how each other needs to be able to better themselves and it’s hard, but in this time we have to be apart.

Screen Shot 2016-09-20 at 5.45.22 PM.png

Continue reading

Painfully Beautiful.

Let me tell you, this month is horrible. The majority of days are filled with heartache and sadness, but in those days I’ve tried my very best to see the light and good. This weekend, I couldn’t see anything but the top of the waves crashing on top of me. I would say the mix of the oncoming six month mark and all the other troubles going on in my life have not helped with my grief. Those stories are for another day. I’ve felt that I haven’t been able to write about what’s going on with me and my grief. Every time I sit down to write the words, they just fly right out the window.

But, I wanted to share with you what happened yesterday. It all started last month when I got an invitation in the mail about a memorial put on by the hospital. Now it feels like that was forever ago, but I had made sure to make sure I planned today for the ceremony. I thought I had everything ready to go, until life happened. There were unforeseeable events that happened this weekend that made me not want to go. Made my grief so much more intense and wanted to stay in bed all day long. Somehow I dragged myself out of bed, put on my most favorite dress, and went to celebrate my Jensen’s life.

When I got there and saw the three big tents and all the chairs, I instantly started crying. I kept thinking about how many babies aren’t with their families. Then it hit me. All the pain I was going through without Jensen. How he wasn’t there with me looking up at me from his carseat. All the memories I wanted to have with him physically here. When did my life involve going to a memorial remembering my child that died?

Continue reading