Reflect. 

I have a son that I carry in my heart. I am never without him. Anywhere I go, he goes with me. 

This October didn’t go as I originally planned. I wanted to write each day according to the Capture Your Grief prompts. Life had a way of cutting in. Through pregnancy and infant loss awareness events, my mom being hospitalized, and a lot of work, I wasn’t able to complete them all; and that’s perfectly okay. I did what my grief and I was able to do. For that, I am so proud of myself and the little boy who has motivated me to keep pushing through the days. 

Reflection is important when journeying through grief. Even if it’s just reflecting on the previous day. Since I’m halfway through my second year (which seems absurd), I find myself reflection from last year. I’ve found I’ve grown tremendously. This year, I wasn’t hard on myself if I wasn’t able to post a prompt or a picture. I know others see the love I have for my son and my motherhood is completely valid. Although, I would never say I’m comfortable in my grief or even with what has happened in my life, I’m thankful to see how far I’ve come. I wish with all my might Jensen was here to physically be apart of this journey. 

This month has been a beautiful healing one. It always amazes me how complete strangers can come together and be so supportive, even after all the loss. Before I began writing this post, I went through all my pictures from this month and the ones that moved me the most were the balloon releases and ones with my family. Every release is painfully healing. Each of those balloons mark a child gone too soon and those who grieve their loss. In all the photos I have from them, there’s way too many in the sky. What you don’t see in the picture is the tears and comfort by family and friends. 

I’ve also noticed a difference in myself accepting the change of the month. If you’ve read my blog for awhile, you know the change of the month has been very hard for me throughout my journey. This month, I’m ready for it to end. Which sounds weird since I was looking forward to advocating each day. The thing is I raise awareness about pregnancy and infant loss everyday as I know all parents do. It’s a nice month to come together, but when it ends it doesn’t mean we have to stop talking. With that being said, I’m not ready for the second set of holidays without Jensen. I don’t think that will ever get easier. 

Tomorrow is the first of the holiday season. I’m going to touch on some things then, but with reflecting comes looking towards the future. It’s going to be rough. I’m going into the day with high hopes and have plans to incorporate Jensen that I’ll be sharing. It’s going to be hard seeing kids his age, it always is. I’ve come to a point where I know when to step back and know it’s okay to succumb to that grief feeling. 

No matter what, I’ll make it to the next day. 

I’ll be thinking of those balloons in the sky and what they represent tomorrow. Instead of just seeing the kids trick-or-treating, I’ll also see the ones who aren’t physically there. 

I wish this awareness month didn’t exist and babies didn’t die, but I’m so glad I have you all to walk this journey with. Thank you for letting me share Jensen and I’s story this October and every other time. I’ll always remember the community who lifted me up when I didn’t feel like I’d ever stand again. 

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Capture This Moment. 

Life is full of important moments. Ones you never forget because they’re so happy and others that are so terrible that they replay in your mind over and over. There are ones where you don’t think you’ll make it to the next and feel so overwhelmed. Grief has put a spot light in them all. 

I’ve learned that you have to take each head on. Once you get past the ones that bring pain, you will make it to the next. I promise. 

The moment they told me Jensen was gone the world melted. I never thought I would catch my breath again and yet somehow my body forced air in my lungs. To be honest, I wish the moment before that one, where I was excited to see him, was my last one. I can’t describe the pain in the following hours, days, and weeks that followed. Each day they replay in my head. I wouldn’t wish loss on anyone. 

For Capture Your Grief, I wanted to capture the moment I came back home. It’s right before I see Jensen’s pictures and his urn; both are things that bring me so much comfort. 

My face isn’t important this month. I’ve wore Pregnancy and Infant Loss ribbons everyday in October to advocate and give babies our babies a voice. It’s before I take off my pin and feel as if I don’t have to wear it here to visibly represent the lives that touch me in every moment I have lived after he was born. I place it with my other ones, waiting to be worn tomorrow. 

Collectively, our moments make up our lives. In them all, I am Jensen’s mom. I am an advocate for pregnancy and infant loss awareness. My voice will not be silenced in any moment that comes after this. For the rest of my life, Jensen will never be forgotten. As he is remembered and talked about, he will live and dance freely in those moments.  

A Day to Shine. 

His light guides me everyday like a lighthouse guides boats into shore. Whenever I’m in the dark, I wonder what he would want me to do and an answer always comes. 

Yesterday I wasn’t able to post for Capture Your Grief. My mother was released from the hospital and I was able to get her settled back home. It has been a tiring four days. It’s taught me lessons I didn’t know existed and calmed worries I thought I would have forever. I honestly thought for the rest of my life if someone was in the hospital for a dire reason, they would die. That’s my past experience. Although my mom was/is in pain, she’s here. I’m so thankful for that. 

During our stay, Jensen did really shine. I wore my pregnancy and infant loss awareness pin and people were asking what it represented. There was also a ton of comments on his footprint tattoo. I felt so proud to tell anyone who asked about him and felt like I was the lighthouse opening up the conversation on his life and this month. 

Jensen will always shine. 

This prompt has also got me thinking towards the Wave of Light happening on Sunday. Last year I felt so connected to the community and throughout the world. It lets all our babies shine collectively. I’m not sure exactly what I’ll be doing. There’s an event in Ohio that I’m thinking about driving to, but it depends on how my mom feels. I might also be speaking on Still Standing’s Facebook page, I’ll make sure to share if I do. If you’re unaware of what the Wave of Light is, in short, it’s on October 15 and whatever your time zone is, you light a candle for your baby/ies at 7pm. There will be a continuous wave of light light that spreads across the world as a result. Make sure to share your pictures on social media. 

Also, a big thanks to Kerstin, Mathilda’s mom, for creating this beautiful graphic for Jensen and I. This community constantly warms my heart and gives me hope. 

A Space Reimagined. 

There were only two places Jensen’s body was housed after he was born. One was the funeral home and the other is the wing of the hospital pictured above. Every time I drive past the funeral home, my stomach flip flops. I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to go back in there without the waves of memory hitting me in the face. That’s how I thought my visits to this hospital would turn out too. 

When I was bleeding at ten weeks pregnant this summer, we went to this ER. I was terrified to get bad news and couldn’t believe it when I did. Then a few days later, I had my D&C. I had left without my babies in this hospital, twice. 

I have yet to return to the labor and delivery wing. There are so many memories from the day Jensen was born there that I’ve revisited over and over. They’re hard. I’m terrified to go back and see those same sights or maybe to see a happy experience knowing mine was everything but. After my D&C, I promised myself I wouldn’t come back here unless it was an emergency or if I was ever lucky enough to have another child. 

It’s only been four months since my surgery and on this Tuesday, I got a call that was completely unexpected. 

My mom had to get emergency surgery today. 

Her room’s window faces the labor and delivery wing. I’ve faced it head on and know exactly what room I had Jensen in. Facing that place felt like the scariest thing I could handle today, but it wasn’t. When I had Jensen, although I felt completely hopeless, I was in control of my breathing and physical pain. I’ve never thought of how it would feel to be my mom or dad watching me go through labor knowing Jensen was already gone. Today I know how it feels to be helpless when someone is in pain. 

This hospital was a space reimagined in these moments. The wing that holds my nightmares is just a part of the hospital today. I’ve stared at it and waited for those memories, but the intense feeling of wanting to help my mom not feel pain overrides my fear. Plus, I know Jensen knows his way back here. I feel him and people have mentioned his footprint on me. That’s my sign that she’s going to be alright. 

A place where I have so fear for has shifted in helping heal my mother and I hope it’s much sooner than later. 

Clear + Let Go. 

I didn’t deserve him. My body failed him. I am alone. Love didn’t save him. I’m not enough.

These thoughts have crossed my mind more than a few times during the last eighteen months. They lead to self-doubt about my motherhood and grief journey. I wonder what Jensen would tell me if he knew I had these thoughts. What would I tell my mother if she had said these things to me?

When I saw today’s Capture Your Grief prompt, I wondered what I needed to let go? My space, my home, is pretty much where I need it to be. I don’t feel cluttered here. Yet, sometimes I feel trapped. I remembered this weekend and feeling anxious on the day of the walk. There were times Saturday where I felt all of those statements. That’s when I knew my mind needed to let go of the negative and clear space for the positive.

Today I held a little cleansing fire, on my dining room table. It’s raining out so it really wouldn’t have worked out there. I took the risk. On a piece of paper, I wrote down every negative thought that came to mind about me, my motherhood, and this grief journey. It was a longer list than I wanted.

I read them all, out loud. Each word stung and my tears felt cold on my cheek. It felt like I needed to feel what I thought they meant; yet they felt strange as I heard them. I crumbled the paper up as forcefully as I could then put it in my makeshift fire pit. Then I lit my match, watched the fire take over the words, and the smoke cleared them out. As I watched the paper burn, I felt those words leave my head. I was able to clear and let go.

I did deserve him. My body didn’t fail, it grew a perfect little boy for thirty-eight weeks. I’m never alone. Love keeps his memory alive. I am more than enough. 


Although I wouldn’t suggest doing a fire cleanse on your dining room table, the fire is such a healing element. Every few months I have a fire in my backyard and burn letters to Jensen so the smoke delivers it to him. I would suggest anyone to try doing this, it has felt like a weight has been lifted since I did this morning.

Tribe Circle. 

Technically today’s Capture Your Grief prompt is ‘Sunday Tribe Circle,’ but my Sunday has revolved around self reflection, healing, and resting. This is because yesterday was all about my tribe circle at one of the annual Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness walks I go to. 

If you’ve never been to an awareness walk like this, it’s full of conflicting emotions. You’re surrounded by a ton of people who have had similar experiences to you. The room is full with bereaved parents and their support people. In this journey, it’s hard to feel like you belong anywhere or that you’re the only person who’s walking this path. At events and walks like these, you realize you’re not alone at all. On the other hand, it’s devastating. When I arrived yesterday, the line to just get registered was SO long that they had to have two separate ones. It dawns on me that each person has felt this immense loss. All that pain. Yet, somehow they’re able to keep living and moving forward with their child always in their hearts. 

To mark our second year of walking for Jensen, I made another pin. Last year’s was the ‘J’ button with all his colors. This year’s was my meaningful mantra, greatness starts here. (Both pictured above.) It’s a way I can share a little about Jensen with someone just looking at me and the pins. I think it’s also nice for people to see where I am in my grief journey and maybe it will help them out. 


Through my journey, my tribe circle has gotten larger. The group walking for Jensen this year all dawned his mantra ans have helped me heal with each step of my journey. Not only do I have the support of my family and friends, my tribe circle continues online through Facebook and Instagram. Most of these women and men, I would never have met if our children didn’t die. We were complete strangers, but have learned to lean on each other because we all understand. Awhile I go, I posted a graphic that said, ‘find your tribe, love them hard.’ Sometimes I don’t know where I’d be without my support system. It makes me think of all the mothers in the past who were silenced and didn’t know who to turn to. Projects like Capture Your Grief and so many others help the bereaved across the world not be silenced like those before us. 

During the walk yesterday, I was hot and wanted to complain about it feeling like it was constantly uphill. Then I saw all the children walking for their brothers, sisters, cousins, aunt, and uncles and I realized I’m walking for Jensen and the steps he’ll never take. We’re so lucky to be living, even when life and losing our children feels like anything but luck. So, I carried on with Jensen forever being held in my heart. 

When we arrived back to our starting place, we were prompted to take balloons to release to the heavens. I love balloon releases. They are so relaxing and feels like a little part of my grief and sadness is being lifted. It’s such a beautiful sight too. Blue, pink, and white flooded the skies; each representing a child the releaser was walking for. This also visually represents the tribe circle the bereaved community has. We all walk and advocate from our different experiences, but for the same cause and love. 

Dear Beautiful Mother,


I’m so sorry for the loss of your beautiful child. I’m sorry you’re here and we have to meet in this way. The loss of a child at any age is devastating. It completely rips a person’s insides up. It feels like the world has turned its back on you and that no one understands. On top of all of that, your arms ache and you realize your child is really gone. Your whole life flashes in front of you in just and instance.

How am I going to do this?

Unfortunately, I can’t take all your pain away; if I could, I would and I’d bring your baby right back to you. But, if there’s one thing I can do, it’s let you know what has helped me…

Moments.

In the beginning, I thought I had to take the rest of my life on all at once. The future I had with my son disappeared and there I was, alone and drowning. My anxiety heightened, which made my depression and grief deeper. Every emotion hit me then lingered. I was completely lost.

Life was like this for the first six months (and there are still days I feel like this). It slowed down one morning when I watched the sunrise. I was able to appreciate the beauty and warmth as different shades of orange painted the sky. It was a crisp October morning and it was like I was the only one awake. The moment the sun peaked felt like a hundred years. I felt my son, Jensen, was in every bird’s song and dancing all around me. It was like the sky was telling me to listen and feel what this moment brought.

So, I listened.

The elements soothed me and let me know he was right there with me. This moment also connected me with all the other bereaved moms in the world watching the sunrise. I didn’t feel alone and I didn’t feel lost.

It also told me…

There are light and dark moments.

There are moments full of love.

There are moments full of pain and agony.

There are moment of support and understanding.

There are moments where everything feels helpless.

No matter the moment you capture, you will power through. This is just one moment and I know you can make it to the next. I did.

Give yourself this moment. Right now.

Take a deep breath.

Feel any emotion you need at this second. Recognize if you’re feeling the sadness that pulls you down, the pain that cripples you, or the love that carries you through.

Then, breathe out.

Your survived this moment and I promise me and this tribe of mothers will help you through the ones you don’t think will ever end.

We remember your child with you.

We see your motherhood.

We feel the unending love that only a mother has for her child.

Always remember, you’re never alone in this journey of loss and love.

All my Love and light,

Danielle Ridgway

Forever Jensen’s mama

Want to purchase this book to read all the letters? Click here!

Sharing Jensen in Class. 

One of the scariest things about starting up school again is that dreaded question: do you have any kids? I’ll never not share Jensen to someone who asks. So my answer is always yes, I have a son. I am so proud of him and his life, I’ll share more about him if they press on. The part that scares me is their look of helplessness when I say he died. 

Admittedly, I’m just doing online classes right now, but it still gets brought up. Instead of not mentioning him, I tell our story. It’s shaped me into the person who I am today and he has inspired me to go back to school. 

I wanted to share with you all how I introduced Jensen to my classes. Sometimes it’s hard to find the right words to say, but maybe this will help someone else. 



Honestly, I was nervous that I would get negative responses. I didn’t really think I would, but there’s always a fear of hurtful words after you share something so vulnerable. Instead, I was welcomed with supportive comments. I was so thankful and happy I could share Jensen with others who don’t know his story. 

Somehow, I wonder how I’m strong enough to keep sharing and going on. I think of Jensen and what he’d want for me, but also being able to share here with you all. You’ve given me the strength to keep telling my story and advocating for all our children. Everyday I live hoping to change the world into a more sympathetic and understanding one. It starts with all of us sharing and letting others know it’s okay to grieve. Just like it’s okay to talk about our children (and family members) gone too soon. 

Five Tips on Making a Prayer Flag for Your Child. 

The Day of Hope – Prayer Flag Project is coming up, in one week (August Nineteenth) to be exact!

This is my second year participating in the project. Last year was definitely a learning process for me in participating with the community and making something that reflected my grief, motherhood, and of course Jensen. I wrote a little post to introduce my flag and explain the meaning behind it, here. This year, I’ve been a little more relaxed with my flag. I had one design in mind, but when I went into the craft store, that idea went out the window and I came up with something so fitting. 

I’m not going to share the whole flag and it’s meaning until next week, but I wanted to show some snippets of the flag while I was creating today. Also, I wanted to give you all some tips if you’ve saw the project, but have been weary of committing. Hopefully this can inspire you to be apart of this great project and day. 


Check Out CarlyMarie’s Page for Information 

CarlyMarie is a beautiful loss mom who has been in the community for ten years now. She does all sorts of projects through the year to helped bereaved parents with their grief and honoring all our children. This page is going to give you the complete background of what the project stands for and how it came to creation. It also gives you a great starting place when it comes to purchasing items for your flag. Such as, the dimensions of the fabric you’ll use and videos of how others have made prayer flags. 

Also, it includes event links and social media hashtags to connect you more to the community and see what everyone else made. 

Get Creative 

The possibilities are endless when it comes to creating a prayer flag for your child. Whatever you can think of, you can create. I know it. 

Last year, Jensen’s ‘J’ initial was the highlight of the flag. Incorporating their name or their initials is a perfect way to add a big touch of them. I also used his colors, blue and orange to focus on. These colors were used in his nursery and for my baby shower. You could possibly use a color you identify your child with or any theme. Another item I incorporated last year was flowers. I always picture Jensen sending me flowers and it was so peaceful adding them. If you get signs from your child, such as feathers or butterflies, add them. This is the fun part of seeing how all our babies are different. 

This year, I’m mainly using his colors and buttons… so excited to share what everything means next week. 


Don’t Overthink Your Design 

I was guilty of this last year. Sometimes (most of the time) I can be a perfectionist; I’m a Virgo, enough said. 

You know your child better than everyone else. Whatever you choose to add to your flag will be perfect no matter what. Everyone is in different stages of their grief too, which will be apparent in each and every project. Listen to that creative voice in your head and jump in. 

Here’s something else not to worry about, if you don’t find an item that you had pictured in your mind, don’t compromise, but don’t let it drag you down. You will be surprised of what you can create. For me, it’s always way better when it’s done than what I had originally planned. 

Have Fun 

The hard fact is we never wanted to be in this position of making a prayer flag for our child. There are hundreds of things we should be doing for them instead. Sometimes projects like these can be overwhelming depending on where you are in you’re journey. Believe me, I understand. 

I urge you to try it though. 

It is so heartwarming to be making something for them. This is one way we can still parent them and show our love. Working with your hands is so healing and, for me, it’s fun to actually hold items that remind me of Jensen. I put on some Jensen jams and rocked away with my glue gun in hand. Try to smile and even have fun while creating. 

Embrace the Community Cheering You On

Whether you decide to share you flag publicly or keep it private, we’re all here for you, always. There are times when we don’t feel confident in what we’re doing, especially after loss. There are people, like me, that are here to encourage you to keep going and just to listen. 

As I mentioned above, there’s usually an event page on Facebook that participants can share their flags with each other. It is such a supportive space to share and hear others stories. I would recommend joining in on this; when I find the event page, I will definitely post on Jensen’s Page. Another social media platform I recommend for the Day of Hope and just with grief in general is Instagram. Last year there were hundreds of moms (and dads) posting their flags and everyone had such kind words.  

Just some ending reminders… 

  • The Day of Hope – Prayer Flag Project is on August 19th. 
  • If you want to know more information, check out the event page, here.
  • There’s still time to participate and make a beautiful prayer flag. 
  • Check out some inspiration on social media. 
  • You got this!

Grief Stares Back. 

I broke down in the shower this afternoon. 

There wasn’t any specific trigger, besides just missing him. No one has said his name out loud to me, there hasn’t really been a reason for everyone to mention him today. I was just standing there, letting the hot water pound on my back. Then I realized how long I’d stood there. This wouldn’t have happened if he was still here. 

That’s when I lost it. 

It’s these moments in grieving that people don’t see. Where I’m sitting on the shower floor and I  can’t differentiate the water from my tears. No one sees me trying to stand up and wishing I never had to. Then when there’s enough courage to stand, I feel like there’s so much weight on my shoulders. The tears didn’t do anything but put sadness more in my head. All I keep repeating in my head is why. 

Somehow I get up and look at my mirror. Instead of just wiping off the steam, I write his name. I take it in and say it out loud. 

His name deserves to be said. It’s such a strong, sounding name. He fit it perfectly. Then I look at it all written out.  I take in the curves in each of his letter, then savor this moment. The calm in the storm. 

As it slowly evaporates, I’m faced with myself: a bereaved mother. My eyes are all puffy and there’s some mascara left under my eyes, even with the heavy stream of water I just was under. I wish I could smash it to pieces and never have to look at myself after a breakdown again. It’s painful to see myself in such distress. I feel it constantly, but rarely see it staring back at me. 

This is grief.