The One Thing I Wanted to Teach You. 

I wanted to teach you everything.

How to walk, talk, read, count, ride your bike, drive a car, talk to girls, and everything else in between. In a lifetime, you would have learned so much from me, maybe even a few things I didn’t want you to like biting nails and the occasional bad word. Seeing you soak up all the information you possibly could, would give me such joy. 

When you were in my belly, I thought about this often; the basic things to teach you. I did this by reading to you and making sure I was constantly talking out loud. Yet, I daydreamed of you holding my hand as you stumbled across our living room floor and how you wouldn’t quit talking once you found your voice. Honestly, I thought we would have so much more time. I didn’t expect you to be gone before I got to do any of these. 

As I look back on the sixteen months without you, I realized what the most important thing I could teach you…

There is no greater force to know and feel than love. 

Of course you would have known how loved you were. You knew that from the thirty-eight weeks you were safely tucked inside my belly. All you ever felt was love. But, this is something different though. I would want to teach you how it feels to be loved by someone who means the world to you. That no matter what the circumstance you’re in, that love will be your saving grace and nothing could ever take that away. 

It took me twenty-two years to completely grasp how it felt. My parents always loved me like that, but you, my sweet son, opened my eyes and showed me what I was blinded to my whole life. 

You taught me the very thing I wanted to teach you. 

I’m sorry I didn’t get to teach you this and all the other things too. In your short life, you already had so much wisdom that I couldn’t possibly understand. For that, I thank you. 

This post was inspired by the ’30 Day Writing Challenge For Stillbirth Mothers‘ day nine prompt. 

How does a person eat an elephant? 


I vividly remember being asked this question while planning Jensen’s funeral. Flabbergasted, I sat there and stared at the pastor who I had only met that day. He was looking at me, not with pity or sadness, but in a way where he really wanted me to learn from this moment. 

‘One bite at a time.’

Then he explained his story, it’s not mine to tell completely, but what I can say is he’s experienced child loss and being a widower. His words, at that time, felt like a lot to carry. I was in so much pain and didn’t understand how people can carry this grief for so long. It’s overwhelming to think of living the rest of your life with such a tremendous loss. 

Just as it would be if someone placed this huge elephant in front of you to eat. 

A grieving person doesn’t have to take their whole life at once, just one day (sometimes moments) at a time. Maybe some bites are easier than those others, but it’s still a lot. Grief is heavy, it always will. 

Then when we look up to see how far we’ve come, we really do see healing. Even in the worst days, I can see how I’ve healed. In the beginning I thought healing was bad. I didn’t want to feel anything else but the pain that drowned me. If I didn’t that way it  would make it seem like his loss didn’t matter. Of course we know this isn’t true. That elephant is always there. 

Sometimes, I wish I could go thank him for the elephant inquiry. It’s one constant question I’ve asked myself during this time. When he first said it, I didn’t get it. I mean how could I when just two days before I found out my son had died. He knew I couldn’t possibly grasp in the meaning in that moment. Maybe we never truly understand, but through life after loss we can continue learning about our grieving process and how to live our best for those who have gone. 

One. Day. At. A. Time. 

Never all at once. 

I was made aware of one part of my healing today. Last year, I posted this. It was a time where I was terrified for time to pass, I still don’t like it very much, but I know it’s the way of the world. Yesterday, I was relieved July was going to be over; it was a painful month for me. Then this morning when I woke up, my body welcomed August. 

Jensen met me in my dreams last night and was playing with balloons. It’s my birthday month, I’ll be twenty-four on the twenty-third. I think he wants me to celebrate me this month, hence the balloons. So, that’s what I’m going to do. 

There will be a few people sharing Jensen and I’s story this month and my first article on Still Standing will be out. I’m planning on writing frequently, since it’s my go to self care. With that, I’m going to do something special for myself each and every day this month. Maybe I’ll make a list and share it on here to give all you amazing moms (and dads) some self care inspiration.  We deserve it so much and our children think so too. 

Hello August, I’m going to take you on one bite at a time through grieving, loving, and celebrate. 

Allowing Myself to Feel Whatever I Need. 


I’ve been staring at a blank screen for an hour. There’s so much to say, but the words can never accurately describe the madness inside. Sometimes I wish I could let this pain consume me from the inside out, that it would eventually take over and be in charge for good. 

It’s been six weeks. 

Instead of wanting to drink my sorrow away, I should have a happy sixteen week baby bump. I wouldn’t know he was a boy yet, but I would be happy to find out soon. I looked in the mirror this morning, thinking of the grey shirt that’s hanging in my closet. The one I used to document his short ten weeks. If things went differently, I’d be wearing it today wondering if my anatomy scan would go more smoothly this time around. 

This isn’t fair. Six weeks ago, I still had hope everything was going to be alright with Huxley. He had his big brother watching from above. 

Miscarriage hurts. 

Damn it, it’s more than hurt. I’m drowning over here in what could have been. My longing for Jensen is even more intensified, I’ve never squeezed his Molly Bear more than I have since I miscarried. I’m literally gasping for air and it feels like my head is continually being pushed under. 

I’m supposed to be ‘strong.’

I should just get pregnant again to mask the pain. 

At least I’ve already went through the worst part of my life. Miscarriage should be so much easier after having Jensen. 

Focus on the good in your life, not the pain. 

It’ll get easier. 

I don’t want to be strong. I don’t want to feel anything but how I’m feeling right now. Another pregnancy does not take away that they lived and they matter. You’re right, I have lived through the tragedy of having my full term child die before he was born. I’ve cried everyday for him and it hasn’t gotten easier without him. 

Why does our society diminish pregnancy and infant loss of any gestation or age? It’s not easy and I know grief and death is uncomfortable, but this is my life. 

I should have a sixteen month old baby boy and be sixteen weeks pregnant today and because they’re not, I’m allowed to feel whatever I need to get by to the next moment. 

My Collection of Drawings. 

Tonight is a bad night. 

My heart feels so heavy and all I want is just one more moment with him. Maybe just one picture I haven’t ever seen of him. I want Jensen here with me. 

It might be the influx of rainy days we’ve had here or the anticipation of the beginning of my Jensen anniversaries, but it’s hitting me hard. The silence feel more real than usual and the sound of rain drops are coaxing my tears. I just want to sleep and never wake up again. Dreaming is the only time I get to see him moving. 

When I’m having moments like this, right now, it’s hard to see how far in my grief journey they I’ve actually come. I take for granted the things I can do now that I wasn’t able to just last year. Heck, just in the last six months. While looking through my Jensen album on my phone, I came across this picture that I just added a few days ago. 


My cousins daughter drew this for me, to put on my fridge of course. It’s of her (with the hair), me underneath her, then under me is her little sister. To the right of her is Jensen with his hat and her spelling of his name. When I see her, she asks me to spell Jensen’s name for her so she can write it down and I have a little collection of her Jensen drawings. 

It warms my heart to get her drawings of her and Jensen. I know she’s and all of my family think of him, but this is tangible for me to hold in my hands. On the other hand, it breaks my heart. She drew on picture of Jensen crying and said he was crying because he missed his mama. Then she says she misses Jensen. 

All I can say is I do too, then think of how it all should be different. 

Back to where I was going before. Last year, I could barely be around her and her siblings. It’s not that I wasn’t happy to be around them, it’s that I was sad for me. He was missing from the picture and it was too much (sometimes it still can be). Yet, I can play with them and talk about him now. 

If I hadn’t have got this far into my healing, I would never have my collection of Jensen drawings, nor would I have had the light moment tonight in the midst of this dark grief. 

Just when I needed to see something new of him, I did in the imagination of another missing him. 

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. 

May We All Heal | Distance 

The distance between a mother and child should never be too far. From conception to a time we can’t even comprehend, they should always be together. While her child grew in her belly, they were literally connected by an umbilical cord to provide life. This lifeline stay connected even after birth, until someone makes that cut.

Does that cord ever really get disconnected though? When it does happen, is there a real distance between mother and child? Or is that lifeline always there?

Even in death?

I remember the moment he was born. Immediately the emptiness filled my body. Yet, he was right there in the room, still connected to me. It felt like time stood still as the doctors handled his body, covering him in his blanket. They asked Anthony if he wanted to cut the cord and I wanted to scream out ‘NO!’ Please don’t disconnect his lifeline from me. Let it stay, forever. Instead, they cut it for him and took Jensen away. The first moment I was ever distanced from him. It’s a moment that will always haunt me.

There are times I feel the distance between earth and heaven is just too far away. My heart and arms ache for some physical connection to Jensen. I try to hold Jensen bear or go through his hospital folder. Anything to take me back to the moment before we were physically distanced.

Then there are moments where I feel like I can tug on this invisible lifeline that’s connected between him and I.

I can send him messages and tell him I need a sign. It’s our little secret connection to diminish this earthly distance. I can really feel him here with me. He’ll send me a cardinal or blue jay. Or something will just let every cell of my body know that he’s reaching out to me. Everyday I wish I could take this cord and pull him down from heaven and into my arms. That way we didn’t have to talk through this secret, silent language we’ve created. I really wish that.

Each day I try and fail to make this wish come true. Deep down, though, I don’t think the connection between mother and child ever goes away. We are all invisibly connected to them, but, some distances can be seen and others cannot.

But no matter the distance, my heart will always be connected to his.

May We All Heal | Remember 


Remember… how could I ever forget?

Everyday I wake up and you’re the first thought that pops in my mind. I am filled with all the mornings we spent together. Our routine was spent with me telling you how loved you are as I traced my hand over each of your kicks. We took those first minutes of the day to just sit in peace. Even to this day, I spend that time saying good morning and still telling you how much I love you.

When I look at myself, I can see what I gave to you. You have my hands and feet. My nose and cheeks. I wish I could have known the color of your eyes or the sound of your voice. But when I see those parts of me that you had, I remember what love created.

I’ll always remember what food you liked and what times you tolerated eating. Just like I’ll remember to lay on my left side so you could sleep soundly. Or the time we were painting in my bedroom. We had all the windows open and each time I reached up, I felt you stretching to help me out. My little home improver. There are countless moments and memories from our thirty-eight weeks that I will never forget.

There isn’t a time where I have to sit here and try to remember you. It’s just natural that you’re in my thoughts every second. No matter what happens in the future, you’ll always be thought of and honored. You are my first-born child. The little guy who made me a mom and showed me a love that is so big and powerful. There will never come a day where you aren’t remembered.

I love you, Jensen. Thank you for all the memories we spent together and the ones we have made since you’ve been physically gone. I will always hold you in my heart.

May We All Heal | Possibility


When I was first pregnant with Jensen, I knew there were thousands of possibilities before us. If I think about it now, I could list off hundreds of them that swirled in my mind the thirty-eight weeks we were together. I won’t list those off today, but as soon as I knew he was there, the seed of possibility was planted.

Of course I nurtured this seed and wanted it to grow so big that he’d be able to climb it and do whatever he wanted. That’s why the countless appointments and being poked by all the needles never mattered; this is what was best for him. I considered all the possible things that could happen during birth and the first year, besides the worst. The whole entire time, I could see our life blossoming just from that little seed and a whole bunch of love.

As quickly as they were planted, it felt like all the possibilities that had bloomed and thrived was pulled right out.

I can remember thinking nothing will ever be possible again. That no matter what happened, life was over after he died. Everything that I wanted for him would never be. There was a sea of nothingness that somehow grabbed me and made me feel like I was drowning. I never thought I’d be able to smile or laugh. It didn’t even seem possible that I would live through the next year. I was waiting for my heart to completely break and just give out on me. Sometimes I still think that. Anything’s possible right?

Then one day, I smiled and laughed. It didn’t feel right. Actually it felt like I was betraying my son who would never smile or laugh. I’m not sure I knew it then, but all the impossible things I thought about in those first weeks/months, suddenly became possible. One smile turned into two, then four, and so on. Somehow a whole year even passed and I actually celebrated Jensen being a year old.

I’m not saying my life is just as it was before, it’ll never be that way. A person is never the same after they have the one person who made dreams possible gone forever.

But I am saying, that the seed that was planted almost two years ago now didn’t get pulled out with everything else. It is still right there and has unknowingly been nourished through loss and grief. Jensen still makes me feel like my goals are still in reach. He’s the biggest motivator. Even though our possibilities are not the same as before, they’re still sprouting. They might not seem as beautiful, but they’re full of hope and love.

Some would say the future holds possibilities and I believe that’s true. No one knows what exactly is going to happen, but we know anything is possible. For me, in all this post loss craziness, Jensen has inspired me to keep my eyes and heart open. To not be afraid of doing anything just because I know he never will. With Jensen and the love that will always blossom in his name, encourages me to keep growing stronger and one day the impossible will come possible.

May We All Heal | Magic


Magic was something I believed only to be in fairy tales and children’s stories. Of course I would always want to pretend unicorns existed and that maybe there were witches in Salem that got away. I even planned on reading all these magical journeys to Jensen. But, I knew a genie would never come out of a magic lamp or (unfortunately) Hogwarts never existed. That’s just not how the world works.

Or maybe, magic forms in other ways here on Earth.

I don’t know how else to explain how a little boy completely changed my world. It was by some chance that I got to be his mom. That I got to feel him grow and see my body change to provide him the best home. I know science can describe pregnancy and what comes along with it, but experiencing it firsthand is indescribable. It feels magical that this little baby is planted inside of you and with love is made into a little person with distinct facial expressions and emotions. All the while your hopes and dreams transform to want to do the best for your child. Just like the body transforms, your whole being does as well.

Maybe love is a form of magic.

Love really does feel magical. Being a mom is pure magic because there’s no love like one between a parent and their child. Jensen took this dull world and left his footprint on it, yet he never even took a step. To see how much my son can positively affect another person, means everything to me. The love I have for him and the every parent has for their children keeps the world turning.


That’s why I believe we can see love as a form of magic. But, I wish I could have used all the magic I felt when he was with me to let him live forever.

 

‘Be Gentle’ It’s Bereaved Mother’s Day.


Today is a day I hold close to my heart; it’s Bereaved Mother’s Day.

Why not just celebrate on Mother’s Day? You may be thinking. And honestly, you have a point. Bereaved mothers want to seem like any other and Mother’s Day (before it was super commercialized) was started for a bereaved mom with living children too. So why have a special day like today, well, for me, you’d have to be in this situation to understand.

It is so hard to talk about a lot of what a bereaved mother goes through and thinks about every single day. Moms and other people how have not experienced loss, would probably look at us like we were crazy. Which brings up today and it’s meaning.

Earlier today, I went to a beautiful luncheon surrounded by mothers who have lost one or more children. Each of their stories breaks my heart and allows me to see healing in the years to come. They are all beautiful mothers touched by loss… and they understand. After the usual hi and hellos, we were really able to talk freely. We could say our children’s name and their stories. Then we could talk about our struggles through loss and what has helped us get through. They let me know that the pain never really goes away, but you get stronger. You’re able to carry the weight more gracefully, but there are some days that knock you right down to the ground. Days where it feels like you’re reliving the loss.

We could talk about the really deep, gritty thoughts that so many grieving mothers have. Then we could laugh and make light of topics that were never meant to be that way. They understood the differences in stories and made sure to let each other know that whatever had happened, we did the very best we could in those moments.

I felt so welcome.

That’s what Bereaved Mother’s Day is all about. It’s not an extra day to get attention or to show our differences as mothers. This day is to form camaraderie with each other and to know that through this journey, we are never alone. This day is for me and my tribe of warrior mamas.  It’s not a day where I expected others to text me or fuss over me. I felt so beautiful in being able to wake up and know I was able to talk about anything Jensen and grief related with people who understood. Driving to the luncheon, I felt Jensen all around me. He was cheering me on, wishing the very best for me. And believe me, it was a gentle day on my heart and soul.

Today’s May We All Prompt is ‘be gentle.’ I use this phrase a lot when speaking to other grieving mothers. Day can’t always be good and I’m horrible at faking it. There are days when I’m so mad at myself when I can’t stop crying and there are days were I feel so guilty for being able to laugh. Being gentle on your heart is perfect for Bereaved Mother’s Day. It means to be easy on your heart no matter what wave of emotion is coming to you.

We are doing the very best we can. We are honoring our children in all the ways know. We are beautiful mothers to angel babies.

I am here for you all. I love you and your babies so much.

Be gentle on your heart this coming week.