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?

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The Moon and the Sun.

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I wonder if the moon ever aches for the sun.

For the sun gives the moon its light from afar,

Letting it shine brighter than all the stars.

The moon and sun will never be one,

But they are always connected together.

Just as you and I, forever.


 

 

Twenty-Three Weeks.

The memories of the day before and the days following Jensen’s birth have slowly been coming back to me. It’s almost like water coming from the faucet. My brain tries to let a steady stream come out, but sometimes it just comes flooding. I’ve been getting used to the constant flow, yet this past month, it’s came back so fast. Certain things come out of nowhere and it breaks me.

That and the fact that time refuses to stop. I know that probably sounds silly because how can time stop? It’s just going too fast. Me finally getting on a somewhat regular sleep schedule hasn’t helped slow time down. I used to not sleep until three or four then wake up by nine or ten. It felt like the day lasted and I could actually think. No I wake up and go to sleep fairly early so I have more time in the day to get work and life things done. Maybe it’s good for grief, but I hate the fact that I don’t have a five month old baby waking me up.

Which brings me to today. Another Tuesday without Jensen physically getting another week older.

It’s actually a really weird time because the outside world has moved on. A lot of people think I should be ‘moving on’ by now. Almost a half a year and I’m still ‘stuck’ on him. Or when I just post about him because nothing else seems relevant to my life right now. Some days I almost feel bad about revolving my life around Jensen and his time here with me. Then I think, if Jensen was here would I be moving on from him right now? Would I move on from him at a year? Or five years? Or twenty? You can’t move on from a child and I hate that I’m supposed to feel bad about being sad.

Yesterday was a bad day. Monday’s I’m usually in a bad mood anyways because I just don’t want the day to end. So, I didn’t have a good day to start out with. Then I got bad news and I couldn’t stop crying. To try and make me feel a little better, I tried to go shopping. I was met with an associate who told me to ‘turn my frown upside down’ and ‘nothing could make your day bad on this beautiful day.’ Except when your baby dies and you hear things aren’t going they way you thought they would be, you’re allowed to have bad days. Not just one, but a lot. Long story short, I told her my baby died, she gave me an appalled look, and I ended up tears while walking out of the store.

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In the past, I’ve shared pictures of what a bereaved mother looks like a various stages of grief. I believe it’s important to see this rawness; especially when I try to keep it together a good percentage of the time. I will admit, I wiped most of my tears off so I could see where to press the button. But, when I walked out of that store, I knew I had to capture that moment. It’s vulnerable to sit in a car crying as people are walking by looking in. Being told to cheer up because there shouldn’t be bad days on such a beautiful day outside is wrong. I know I wasn’t having the best okay day after loss, but the harsh reality someone was having the worst day of their life. Someone’s baby died yesterday and I don’t know them or how many families were effect by loss yesterday, but I do know they’ll be going down this path. There’s days where the sunshine will not heal you. Days where you don’t get to sit at dinner with your partner and attend an amazing support group like I did after this moment. Most times, you can’t pull yourself out of this moment. You don’t know yet that just writing your angel’s name down on paper over and over again can help you. You’re lost and spiraling and an associate trying to do her job ruins your day even more. The point is death happens and people are sad. That’s the unfortunate promise of life. Why should we shame others in sadness when they already feel horrible? Why do we feel the need to fix the unfixable?

But I want to tell you, yesterday taught me an important lesson in my twenty-three weeks post loss. When it feels like the world is turning it’s bad on me, I don’t have to hide those feelings and I can work through them. I’m learning how to catch my breath when I’m drowning. In times of feeling like others look down on my grief or think I’m not ‘moving fast enough,’ I can tell them it’s their opinion and I’m doing what’s best for me. Grief is selfish and I need to continue being selfish for Jensen and I.

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There’s Jensen’s name.

Today I shared, “The amount of times I’ve written his name already today is mind-blowing. It’s very therapeutic to just see it over and over again.” One hundred and sixty-one. That’s how many times I wrote his name today. It’s also the amount of days Jensen has been gone. I wrote how the amount of times I wrote his name was mind blowing, but it never crossed my mind that the amount would end up being the number of days he’s been gone. It’s a crazy amount any way you look at it. But it is written and no one can erase his name from that paper. Just like they can’t erase the memories or the impact he continues to bring to my life and the world around me.

Jensen, the second thing I told you this morning will be the second to last thing I tell you again tonight. Happy twenty-three weeks in heaven my sweet, little boy. You are so loved and missed everyday. Your momma will never, ever forget you. The strength you bring to me each and everyday is what keeps me treading. I hope you played with all the other babies and are now being rocked to sleep as the day comes to a close. Let me love swaddle you as you sleep and dance in the clouds.

I miss you.

I love you.

 

The Story Behind the ‘Yellow’ Nails.

There are a lot of days in grief where there is no lightness. Most times I’m drowning in the waves of loss and depression. It’s a dark time in my life, but as always I keep treading. I have to keep going and living life for me and Jensen. Even in the ever-present darkness, there’s moments of light. I’d like to share my latest light moment with you all…

“What color nail would you like?”

“I’m thinking a deeper, yellow color. Still clinging on to the last of summer.”

“Okay, I have the perfect yellow for you then!”

As I washed my hands, I was looking forward to see the beautiful, mustard-yellow color I had envisioned on my nails for the remainder of September. There isn’t one part of me that wants fall to arrive. I kept thinking, I could still see glimmers of summer on my hands. I didn’t have to move forward right now and I was perfectly fine staying in the summer months. After I dried them and walked back to the station, the technician presented me with his perfect ‘yellow.’

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I’ll pause for laughter here. No, they’re definitely not yellow. No one that sees color would ever tell me they were yellow. Even if they’re not, this color is so special to me.

This man’s ‘yellow’ was Jensen’s bright orange. When he asked me if I loved the color, I couldn’t tell him no. Of course I love the orange; my Jensen’s color. Was it the yellow I wanted? No, but there it was. It was my sign from Jensen. Him letting me know he’s right there with me and really wanted his mom to have bright orange nails. It’s the color a little boy would most definitely pick out. My little love’s bright orange that’s painted on the wall, that his crib would still be filled with.

Maybe you could say it was a confidence that this guy picked out this orange when I told him to pick out a yellow. Or maybe it’s not? I believe in the feathers, blue and red birds, and dragonflies he sends me. Why would it be ridiculous to believe that this bright orange was anything else other than a sign from Jensen. It made me smile. It still makes me smile as I see them while I type. It’s a good moment. A good moment that will span over the next two weeks.

These ‘yellow’ nails, that some would see as a mistake, are happy little reminders that Jensen is here with me, always.

Little Leo Comes Home.

If you’ve been following along in our journey of life after loss, you’ll know at the two month mark we got a kitty, named Leo. He’s the most adorable, orange kitty cat that I’ve ever laid my eyes on. All my life I wanted a black cat named Poe and an orange one named Leo. In December of last year, we adopted Poe as Jensen’s kitty and he’s been our little trooper. He’s seen us at our best and our absolute worst. There were days when I was still pregnant that Jensen and Poe would cuddle with each other. He was super protective over me and Jensen while he grew. After Jensen was born, Poe knew. I was at a point where I needed something to hold and cuddle, but Poe was going through a weird phase. That’s where Leo came into our little family.

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Always right by my face.

The first night in the house, Leo slept right between Anthony and I. We soon found out he loved to be held and cuddled. He’s right there when I’m cooking and likes to be covered up by blankets. Yes, he’s spoiled. In his defense, I made him that way. I needed something to look after and care for physically. He would listen to me as I sung to him and told him stories about Jensen. My voice relaxes him and he’ll fall asleep as I hold him in my arms. My little Leo has helped me heal. He’ll always hold a part of my heart. (So does Poe, don’t get me wrong! He’s very much loved and cuddled when he pleases.)

Yesterday, Leo had to go to the vet. He had to get fixed, which is a normal and routine surgery that many animals get. Poe had it done as well as my parent’s pets growing up. It’s just how it goes. The night before, I noticed I was starting to get really upset. I kept telling myself everything would go smoothly, just as I always believed it would with Jensen.

Then loss and grief hit. What if Leo dies too?

Death takes over my head sometimes. It took my baby away and taunts me everyday with that fact. Leo can easily be taken too. I didn’t know how I would handle another loss. It would make me question ever getting close and having feelings to something ever again. Because life ends, but it shouldn’t end on my son who was supposed to be safe in my belly and my cat who would be doing a routine surgery. I was hurting and I couldn’t sleep, not that I do anyways.

So, yesterday morning rolls around and I have to force him in his carrier to take him. He meowed the whole time and gave me the saddest eyes. As I drove, he scratched the entire surface of the carrier to try to escape. With each of his meows I wondered if this was the last time I’d hear him. Would it be the last time he heard my voice calming him? This might sound dramatic, but we never know when the last time for any of us will be.

After dropping him off and having the girl there promise me she would call afterwards to let me know he was okay, I got in my car. The memories of leaving the hospital without Jensen came to me in full force. I was leaving empty-handed, full of worry, and not knowing what the future would be like. The silence in my car was broken by my sobs. I miss Jensen. This life is so hard after losing him. It’s not just losing him either; it’s the loss of the innocence I held in this world. Death took away my son from my belly, it would be easy for him to take away my cat laying on the table. Loss and love battled each other for who would win out. I remember through my tears and driving, I just prayed God and Jensen would watch over Leo and he would have a fast recovery.

When I walked into my house, Poe gave me the same look as he did after Jensen was born. He was looking for little Leo and didn’t understand. I would say yesterday was definitely hard for me. I kept wrestling with the idea that bad things happen to good people. Coming home to Poe was nice, but I knew Jensen should have been there too. He should be with me everyday. Then my kitty wasn’t here either. Life after loss hurts. Living with this pain everyday is tiring and it comes out of little things.

Later in the afternoon, the humane society called me. I was anxious to hear how surgery went and if he was recovering well. Well, it went so well that when he woke up he was being a sassy, little boy. He hissed at everyone and didn’t want to be around anyone else… but me. When I came and got him, he stopped hissing as I soothed him with my voice. We came home and I held him as he slept for the better part of the evening. Last night, he stayed in my arms, just purring away. He’s still a little sore today, but he’s recovering and letting Poe take care of him. I’m so thankful he was able to get through surgery and be his little ornery self afterwards.

It brings me delight to see him back home, but it also makes the hole I have in my heart for Jensen sting more. I can imagine how complete the house would feel if Jensen was laying with Poe, Leo, and I on the couch. My life will always have Jensen missing, but we’re learning how to live again.

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Happy to be home.

Five Months.

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I usually don’t talk about Jensen’s big hands, just his perfect feet. Sometimes I don’t have the words to describe each of his features, in my mind they’re each just so perfect that there are no words to encapsulate him. This past week, I dove into Jensen’s drawer and looked over his hospital folder. These big, bear hands just reached for me to look more closely. I never realized how ginormous they were until the last time I saw them. We also printed off a few of his pictures to hang around the house and the one that sits next to Anthony really shocked me. His hands looked bigger than they do on his prints. They’re chubby and really long actually. You can’t see that in the prints, so you’ll just have to trust me. Those hands would definitely be bigger than mine. I hope he’d give better high-fives than me too.

Five whole months. He would’ve been using his hands so much by now. Holding his bottle, gripping my fingers hard, and probably flailing them around. I’m sure they’d be right by his face all the time, just like he had them during all the ultrasounds. He would for sure be a thumb sucker, but that’s okay. I can just imagine how he would have grown by now and I would be seeing this beautiful boy with his hand in his mouth and slobber everywhere. Then when he’d get our attention he’d just give us this ornery, big, gummy smile with his hand still stuck in there. I can just picture it…

Honestly, I didn’t imagine me being able to make it to the five month mark without Jensen with me. Sometimes I think my heart is so broken that it’s going to stop too. Kind of like how older couples die just months between each other. I feel like that’s going to be me. Everyday I’m amazed that I wake up, feel it beating, and can get out of bed. The pain of outliving my child stings with every breath I take. I try to fill the house with him each day so I have a reason to smile. Most times I wish I could just stay on my couch curled up in my blanket with all my candles on and just be. Not doing anything, but being warm and present. Those days are necessary most of the time, but I have to get up. I have to work and try to keep living the fullest life I can.

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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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