Four Months & Jensen’s Tree

 

It’s taken me all day to write this, so I’m going to start off with what will be less of an emotional toll for me…

We bought a tree! Well, more like we donated a tree to the Gnadenhutten Nature Center in Jensen’s name. Jensen’s tree is a Red Jewel Crabapple tree that attracts birds, pollinate the area, and looks beautiful.

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We have been wanting to plant a tree in our backyard in honor of Jensen and do a memorial garden around it, but the locus deterred us from doing that this year. Anyways, since the locus are gone, we were happy to donate a tree in his name for the community. It’s just down the road from us and we can go visit him there. Since we had Jensen cremated, he’s always right there with me. It’s nice to be able to go to a place and feel connected to him. We’re planning on getting a stone with his name on there to place in front of his tree.

 

His tree is placed right in front where everyone can see it. I hope I can come back to his spot in twenty years and the tree is just so big. Maybe he’ll send us cardinals and blue jays. I can see us going down and having a picnic there and just basking in the peace. We donated his tree yesterday and have ridden our bikes to see it four times already. I know Anthony and I are just so happy to be able to do something in Jensen’s name, especially helping out the community and the nature center.

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We have probably fifty more pictures of the tree, us and the tree, and the sunset in the background with the tree. It’s pretty silly, but we just love seeing it there. I hope it’ll bring joy to others when they see it as well. I’d also like to say, the two gentlemen that planted the tree and play a major part in this project were so nice and genuine. From the time I contacted them to dropping his tree off, they were so nice to stay in contact with and help out. If you’re local, I hope you can go check it out!

Now to the hard part. I’ve been trying to find words all day to explain how I’m feeling and coping. Nothing seems to fully capture everything, but I’m going to try my hardest.

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The Importance of the Loss Community.

During the car ride home after Jensen had been born, I felt completely alone. My mom and dad had no idea what I was going through or even what to say. Not only did I know anyone who went through a stillbirth, but feeling the emptiness that Jensen had filled just the day before hurt so much. I know Mom and Dad were talking on the car ride home, I sat there not hearing a word they were saying and completely silent. My thoughts were so jumbled. It would feel so real when I got home without Jensen. Where would I go from that point? Is this whole experience even normal? Am I normal? Am I alone in all of this? These thoughts came and went constantly for the first few weeks.

After Jensen’s obituary, that I still have not allowed myself to read, was in the newspaper, I got one of the most important messages in my life. A girl, I knew back from high school, reached out and opened up about her experience with loss. She introduced me to a local loss group and told me I wasn’t alone. I saw that there were so many people in my small area that are on this journey with me. It was my first experience with this community and I can never thank her enough for the introduction.

Honestly, at first I felt so naive to think that I was the only person to go through this loss, then the pain of knowing so many others have kept me up all night. Well I wasn’t sleeping at all, but that first night I kept thinking, “How can this world hold so much pain?” I held on to that question through Jensen’s funeral and till about his first month in heaven. I didn’t even have the strength to look and see everyone’s story after that first experience of feeling everything so deeply. It wasn’t until Anthony went back to work and my first therapy session, that I actually saw the importance of the loss community.

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Forget-Me-Not

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One of my favorite necklaces I’ve ever purchased. Inside is a pressed forget-me-not flower with Jensen’s handwritten name. It’s the perfect length and I love the antiqued brass finish. The snap is a strong magnet and after a day of moving and jumping around, it stayed perfectly. Thank you Jessica and Melissa!

My new, beautiful necklace on this (almost) Wordless Wednesday.

Created and purchased from BurdenBearingBaskets.

Seventeen Weeks & The Biggest Trigger.

As you all know, Tuesdays are the roughest days for me. I woke up in disbelief that today marks Jensen’s seventeenth week in heaven. The past few days, I’ve been preparing myself for Friday, the four-month mark. For some reason I just didn’t mentally prepare like I usually do. I’ve felt dizzy all day and am just trying not to break down in tears every second. It’s so much harder to fight grief and emotions off when you’re physically and mentally tired, it just floods your system.

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Last night I dreamt of Jensen as an angel. He was constantly around me, but I could never reach out and grab him. I could just see him smiling at me and guiding me on. In my dreams, Jensen grows to what I would imagine his age now. His cheeks were still big, he had a big Buddha belly, and chunky legs. He looked happy to be watching over me, but I thought he was upset that I couldn’t hold him. All I could tell him was that I loved him and I’m trying my very hardest to be the best mommy I could. Oh how I wish I would have just been able to grab him and wake up with him in my arms. Instead, I woke up crying. My face was wet and everything hit all over again.

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August.

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Hello August.

You’re here and I don’t know how to feel about you yet. I used to get so happy for your arrival. It meant another year older and school would be beginning. You’ve always been the start of my new year and each time I would celebrate to no end. This year, I’m angry I’m nearing Jensen’s fourth “month-day” and he’s not with me. My arms literally ache and my heart is completely broken. Last year you brought me so happiness. I found out the best news of my whole entire life this time last year. You helped me welcome my precious son. I’ll never forget that day. All the happiness and joy the flooded my life. My dreams and hopes for the future were so bright. It all began with you.

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Schwinn Sunday.

Today I did something I didn’t think I would have done for about five years; I bought a bike.

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I have a horrible track record with bikes. Unfortunately, I’ve been hit by a car while riding a bike three times. This was all about ten years ago, but I still don’t actively go out and try to get hit. Each time I’ve flew off, went airborne, and hit the ground so hard. Once, I even blacked out for about five minutes. The last time I got hit, I swore that I would never own or ride another bike in my entire life. Well, I broke my promise to myself.

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MISS Foundation Kindness Project

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Today I decided to participate in the MISS Foundation’s Kindness Project. Since I have complete social anxiety after Jensen’s birth, I had to be creative in what I did. First, I got Jensen’s Random Act of Kindness cards and set off from home. I ended up buying colorful flowers, since they reminded me of him. Most of them were blue and orange just like his room, with some yellow and green ones too. Then I stopped at Applebee’s to get two gift cards, since Jensen loved Applebee’s and their Fiesta Lime Chicken. Then the real journey began…

I probably drove around for an hour, having a complete anxiety attack. So to save me from the breakdown, I decided to leave the bouquets and gift cards are people’s windshields. I drove around searching, still sort of freaking out. Then I just parked in a lot, saw someone walk in to the post office, ran to her car, placed the flowers and ran back. It happened so quick. I can imagine people were just laughing at me. I stayed for a little bit to see if she got them. Sure enough, she put them in her car and drove away. It was a hectic three minutes for me though. I felt like a complete stalker. The other two bouquets and gift cards went way easier. AND I didn’t stay around and feel like a stalker waiting.

Hopefully Jensen’s story reached them and our little random act of kindness made their day just a little better. If Jensen and I were able to make someone smile today, my anxiety attack and worries were worth it.

I’m sure Jensen was up there laughing at his momma running frantically back and forth. It’s all for you, little love.

Sixteen Weeks & Some Good News.

Today is rough. I’ve already had three major breakdowns and it’s only two o’clock. I woke up in disbelief that it’s really been sixteen weeks since Jensen’s birth. Then a huge rush of emotions and the stresses of everyday life beyond grief. I’m hurting and missing him so much today; and everyday.

On top of missing him and going through all my emotions and grief, I still have to work. This may be complaining, but it’s hard. It’s hard to want to actually work and do good for myself when Jensen’s not there motivating me. Through grief I’ve learned that one little stress multiplies to a breakdown. It can be something as little as my phone buzzing too much or the cat running under my feet. After the little stress, grief barges through the hole and drowns me. But here I am, still treading and doing the best I can be doing.

I think about how next week I’ll hit the four-month mark. August is going to be a whirlwind of emotions from that milestone to my birthday at the end of the month. August brings in the school year and just starts to things that I have no control over. Time sucks during grief. You want it to move forward, but you’re just grasping to go back in time when they were still with you. This is the cycle that’s constantly going through my head and today I just can’t push it back.

I’m thankful for certain messages and text I’ve received today. It lets me know that all of these feelings and emotions and desires to have him back are completely normal. More importantly, it lets me know that I’m not going crazy. I also have something else going on right now that I’m excited to announce…

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Why I Can’t ‘Like’ Your Thriving Child.

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I’m sorry, I really am.

I see your beautiful sons and daughters getting bigger and doing new things, but I can’t ‘like’ the post. But I do like, even love, them in my heart, it even brings me a little smile. Children should grow and discover new parts of the world every single day. Each step they take is a milestone and every time they learn something new it should be celebrated. I completely understand why you want to share with the whole entire world, but I can’t bring myself to show how I care.

It only takes two seconds to press a button, but it’s so hard for me to acknowledge your child is thriving and mine is not here. I’ve neglected my role as a friend when it comes to others having children. I hurt inside knowing that I can never show how proud I am when Jensen does something new. I’ll never be able to record his first steps or how he smashes into his first birthday cake. My firstborn will never get a first day of school picture or a time-lapse from the beginning to the end of the year. I see all of these from all my friends and I’m truly happy for you, but it breaks my heart at the same time.

Some call it jealousy or being bitter. I admit, there’s jealousy that Jensen didn’t come out kicking and screaming and I can’t pull out my phone and show you any videos of him. There’s jealousy in never being able to share those big moments, especially when his milestone days come and he’s still not with me.

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The Story Behind Jensen’s Name.

If you hadn’t noticed, I love Jensen’s name. His name sounds so beautifully when said out loud and the loops look so perfect wrote out. When I hear other’s say his name, it’s the sweetest sound. He always was my Jensen, even before we knew he was a boy. It’s been our connection to him from the start.

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After being asked about his name, I realized I’ve never really told you the story behind his name. Fair warning, it’s not as exciting as you would think. It’s actually a little silly, but it all came together so perfectly.

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