Day of HOPE Prayer Flag Project 2017

hope – a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen

During pregnancy mothers and fathers hope for so many moments. They want to make sure everything goes smoothly and that they’re child has everything they would ever need. When a child dies, it feels like there is no more hope left. A person’s worst nightmare has happened. Nothing would ever feel as sweet as the before.

I have been in that place. Hope had been completely drained from my soul and darkness took its place. I’ve also survived life after loss for over sixteen months. Each day, I have felt the hope build back inside of me. Maybe it doesn’t feel as grand as it did before, but the promise of a new day to share Jensen’s story and for me to keep moving forward with his memory gives me hope. I have to celebrate the little victories. That’s what they would want me to do.

This day, the Day of Hope – They Prayer Flag Project, brings our community of bereaved parents together. It helps show all of us there is hope after loss. We are able to celebrate the lives of our children and share little parts of them. I cannot think of a more perfect way to spread hope.


Now, I’ve been extremely excited to share this year’s prayer flag with you all. My flag represents both Jensen and Huxley in different ways that I am happy to explain to you all.

Colors

There are three main colors: blue, orange, and grey. Of course, right? Blue and orange are forever Jensen’s colors. When I see them, I instantly smile and it brings me back to when I was pregnant and all the hope I had decorating and planning his nursery. The other color, grey, is his middle name. It felt like a strong color to use for the background. It’s what holds the flag together and his name felt so strong while we were choosing.

Buttons

When I was pregnant with Huxley, I started collecting buttons; a little fun fact. I had this craft I was so set on doing for him for his nursery. The mason chair in my closet is a quarter of the way full with different sizes and colors of buttons. When I was decided on how I was going to make this year’s prayer flag, I didn’t know what I was going to do. I went into the craft store and was lead straight to the button aisle. Then it all fit together.

Initials

Last year, Jensen’s flag had a huge J on it. I knew I wanted to include Jensen and Huxley’s initials somewhere this year. They seem like such simple letters, but for some of us, that’s all we have from our babies. I added them close to the heart because they’ll forever be in mine.

The Heart

I could go for the literal translation here and say I’m wearing my heart on my flag, but I promise there’s a little more meaning here. The heart is made of a ton of little buttons (sadly, I didn’t count them to give you an exact number), this resembles the pieces of my broken heart. In the same sense, they are all together, which resembles my healing process and the hope to keep waking up and doing my best every morning.

And yes, there is the literal translation of a heart representing love and my favorite poem from e.e. cummings.

Ribbons and Tassels

Mainly used for decorative purposes, I wanted to bridge a connection from last year’s flag to this year’s. Although I have grown tremendously since this day on year ago, I am still on the same journey of loss and love. What better way to represent this than some pretty ribbon and getting my aggression out by cutting fabric?


Thank you all for allowing me to share this year’s prayer flag with you. It has been such a healing activity and a great day to connect to other loss moms and dads. I hope you enjoyed my flag as much as I enjoyed making it and that you learned something more about Jensen and Huxley.

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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!