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. 

Advertisements

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.

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. 

Fifteen Months. 

Another month is here without him. One more that I never thought I would survive, yet here I am trying to be strong. The anticipation of each month change has not gotten easier since the very first one. I feel its weight in my bones trying to make me crumble. 

This past month has been one of the hardest. Two weeks ago my second child’s lifeless body was taken straight from my womb. The grief of losing him or her ontop of what I feel for Jensen and his loss has been complex. Most of the time I don’t know how to describe what’s going on in my brain. Maybe this extra weight has made this month change so much worse. 

I went into his room today. Sometimes I have this strong pulling to just sit in there, more than my everyday look. 

Every time I step in there, it’s like I’m transported to another reality. I see his room what it would be like if he was here. Not at infancy, but right now running and testing his limits three months after his birthday. Toys are scattered along his rug and there’s clothes to be put away. There are projects we have done on the wall and all his books are on the shelves. I see this scene and him in there. Somehow I wish I could describe it better than just being transported to another reality, it’s literally like I step through another veil and there he sits. That’s how I picture Jensen and I’s heaven.

After snapping out of the world I want to be living in, I saw things I hadn’t paid attention to in awhile. The little details that I love that wouldn’t be exactly there if he was here. On his changing table lies a little racecar and my favorite sign I bought before he was born. ‘Just be awesome.’ There wasn’t any pressure on him to be something, just as long as he was happy and growing up to be a good boy. Then there’s the books I actually have in his room. Stuffed away with a lot of his things is his whole library, many of those books from the book drive we did during the baby shower. The ones in his room are my favorite though. Sometimes I pull them out on special days and read out loud for him to hear. I know he’s listening and sometimes Leo comes to listen too. 


Yes, I accidentally bought two of the same J’s…. oops. 


Fifteen months have gone by since I last physically felt Jensen. In that time I’ve picked up most of the pieces, dropped them multiple times again, and kept trying to place them back to a new normal. I’ve felt the biggest heartbreak, twice, but I’ve also learned how to love so deeply. 

To feel everything so deeply. 

I wish this wasn’t my reality, but I’m surviving and doing my best to thrive. Even if I knew what was going to happen, I’d still choose my little, blond hair boy born fifteen months ago.

Peace, Love, and Rushing Around.

I’m home!

It has been such a crazy week of vacation that I’m glad to be back to the peace that is my little house. Not writing for this whole time has been strange. I’ve felt all these words and emotions built up. I plan on expanding on some of them in the next few weeks, but today is a little catch up.

Tuesday has quickly snuck up on me this week as I figured it would. Thirty-seven whole weeks have passed since Jensen’s silence birth. Even though I had the past few days to relax, I woke up with great anxiety again. I’m missing him so very much. Walking into my house last night, I was glad, but my heart was so heavy knowing I wasn’t coming home to him. I wouldn’t be seeing his excited face as I went to pick him up after a week of not seeing him. Grief didn’t take a vacation as I did. I can’t say it welcomed me home, but it changed and felt different while I was gone and came back.

Today has felt even faster for me. I woke up late and had to start getting things done around the house. My mailbox was full of beautiful Christmas cards from other loss mamas, two new ornaments for Jensen and our tree, and of course bills. It was such a happy welcome home. Each card that was sent to me warmed my heart and the ornaments, they were so perfect. I kept thinking about their warm wishes and the comments and messages I received while I was gone. My tribe of mamas are always showing me they care and Jensen will forever be remembered.

Along with my vacation, I wanted to update you all with all the angel names I wrote on the beach. Well, my phone didn’t take the trip very well. Not to go into great detail, but I wrote all the names and took the pictures in the first few days. Then, all of a sudden, my phone had deleted ALL my pictures from December and eventually factory reset the last day. Frantically, I had my mom and dad help me with all the baby names. I wrote and wrote and wrote as my mom took the pictures and my dad checked them off the list. It was such a rush, but I am 99.9% sure I have all the names as I did before. The pictures are on my mom’s phone and I am going to download them tomorrow and hopefully will have everything on Jensen’s page by Friday.

With all the names, I am going to post about my experience with others while I wrote them. It was an interesting process and there were a lot of reactions from others. There was nobody that came and said they had lost their child, which I am thankful for. But there was a lot of people who went and said your children’s names out loud as they walked across the beach. I said them with them proudly each time. They were very taken care of and the waves washed their names peacefully away.

I just want to again, thank you all for trusting me with their names so I could write them along with Jensen’s.


Since there’s only five days left till Christmas, I wanted to share a very special ornament I received today. Especially since I’ve been slacking off on sharing all the ornaments I wanted to with you, I blame vacation. This ornament is from Lachlan’s mommy and my very best friend, Melissa.

Screen Shot 2016-12-20 at 4.21.00 PM.png

This beautiful blue and orange sparkly ornament has Jensen’s name on the front and 2016 on the back. It’s personalized just for him and holds so much meaning in my heart. Lachlan and Jensen were born just days apart in April. They should both be eight months old and getting spoiled during their first Christmas. I hate the way Melissa and I met, but I am so thankful for our friendship and to know Lachlan and his family. Friendship in the midst of grief is hard to come by, but here we are finding some kind hope and walking with each other in this unknown future.

Although I haven’t told Melissa yet, when I opened her Christmas care package today on Jensen’s thirty-seventh week in heaven, I broke down in tears. It’s not only an ornament for me to remember him by, it’s one that he would’ve absolutely loved. He would have been amazed that the blue and orange that decorates him room would be on our tree. I see it as a little present for my son, the first I have received for him during Christmas. My heart is truly touched.

Thank you, again, Melissa for this beautiful ornament. It will be one of my favorites to put up every single year. You have been such a great support system for me and I will never be able to thank you enough. Although I know we both would have rather this holiday season to be so much different, I’m glad we’re able to be here for each other.


Jensen Grey, I love you so very much. Happy thirty-seven weeks in heaven. You are the light of my life. Thank you for protecting your whole family through our travels and vacation. I felt your presence as I wrote your friends’ names on the beach. My mind let me know how much you loved playing on the beach and watching the waves come in and out. You give me more strength than I ever though possible.  I miss you. I love you.

The Gift of Hope.

All of Jensen’s Christmas presents should be bought by now. Even though I know I would keep finding more and more to get him.

The freshly, fallen snow should have fascinated him all throughout the weekend.

I should be watching him grow each day.

He should be here, but he’s not.

There are times during the day where I’m just grief-stricken and in utter disbelief of my life. In fact, all of these should moments are completely different that what I ever intended. I haven’t bought one Christmas present for anyone so far this year. The cold and snow are just annoyances to me. The only growth that surrounds me is my growing strength to face another day and soon, another year.

Quite frankly, I’ve been negative about all that’s happening around me. Frustration has taken root deep down. I know it’s just my mind trying to navigate grief throughout the holidays and it trying to conceive that Jensen isn’t here for his first earthly holidays. Each day I instantly think of all the ‘shoulds’ I thought I’d have. Reality has a funny way of telling me that they are not happening, but there are beautiful moments that happen because Jensen did live and is very loved.

As I’ve been writing this, I was sure I had introduced Jensen’s brick in Stow protected by the Angel of Hope. Turns out, I haven’t written about this beautiful memorial that was built by pure love. If I end up finding a post where I talk about the first event, I’ll hyperlink it here. Long story short, there is a book written called The Christmas Box by Richard Paul Evan which is about a mother’s grief of her child. The book was a really big hit among grieving parents who wanted to honor the story, their grief, and children, by bringing an Angel of Hope statue to their town. Eventually Stow, Ohio saved up and was able to also get an Angel of Hope to honor all children gone too soon. You can find out more on their website, here. On that link you can also buy a brick for the Stow location. If you’re not by me, there’s a ton of different amazing locations where the angel is. That list can be found, here.

Shortly after Jensen was born, I stumbled across the Angel of Hope. Since he was cremated, I don’t have a spot to go for him. I knew I wanted to though. Being able to buy a brick right in front of the statue was a way I could get out of my house and visit Jensen in a spot. I’m able to take flowers to lay on his brick and also on the base of the angel. I know I’ve just said this, but the location is breathtaking. It’s quiet and solemn. Every time I’ve been there I’ve just been able to let my tears flow. And, there’s something about seeing your child’s name that makes you pause.

Here is Jensen’s brick. Flowers from his mama and pennies from his grandpa.

Christmas Brick - 2016.png

Well, yesterday we were invited to go to the Annual Candle Lighting Ceremony to honor Jensen and the rest of the children who do and don’t have bricks. It was so frigid outside. The snow slushed under my feet and I had to really watch that I didn’t fall. Once we made it to the group, I was just in awe. The amount of people there was so overwhelming and not in the way you’re thinking. My world really shakes when I know there’s so many other people feeling how I do. Obviously, everyone is in their different stages of healing, but to grieve a child through the holidays… there’s really no words of comfort.

When we a lit our candles, it was just a wave of light that warmed me even through the freezing weather. I always say Jensen is my light and constantly have candles burning in my house. Every time I see flames, I feel his presence. We felt it so much last night, that my dad’s cup lit on fire and he had to throw it down. Laughter is sometimes much-needed in these moments. To be able to smile through the tears and not knowing what to say really shows something.

Of course the parents who put on the ceremony were able to share and talk. One thing really stood out to me. They lit five different candles and one of them was lit for the love parents have for their children, even through death. He said, something to the effect of, look how much each and every single person there loves the child they are there for. That even through the freezing cold temperature, we stand there to show our love. To show that no matter has happened, this love is so strong. It’s unbreakable. My first thought while standing there was, I would stand out here every night if that’s what Jensen needed. Then I thought, I would do anything for Jensen. There is literally nothing that would stand in my way if it was something I had to do for him.

You can’t see this, but I’m sitting here just crying and having to keep pausing to wipe my eyes so I can see. It is crazy for me to think what I would do for him even though he’s not here. It’s like I challenge myself to an even more outrageous act and there’s not even a second of doubt that I wouldn’t do it. Often I wonder how that would be if he was actually here. Would it be more or less? Or would it just be different? Most times I think it would just be different…

Back to where we were originally.

All those ‘shoulds’ are never going to go away. Even when Jensen is supposed my age now, I’ll try to imagine what challenges he would be facing and how it would be so fulfilling to see him overcome them. It’s hard for me to think of what I’ll actually be doing in twenty-three years, but it’ll never be what it should have been. No matter, with each candle I light, whether it be in ceremonies like last night or in the comfort of my home, I do it as a promise. A promise of love and to keep doing everything in my power to show him that. Right now, that’s to get keep living and doing the best I can.

Angel of Hope - Christmas 2016.png

Dearest Angel of Hope, keep Jensen and all the children taken to soon safe in your reach. I look to you for hope, love, and the will to keep pushing on from day to day, month to month, and year to year.


Just wanted to add, I will be going on vacation this week. If you haven’t put your child’s name on this post, please do before I close the comments on Tuesday. In case you didn’t hear, I will be going to Punta Cana this week and offered to write baby names on the beach. I already have a lot of names which is heartbreaking, but I’m happy to help and to remember Jensen and all his friends. After I get back, I will be posting an album of all the pictures Jensen’s Facebook page.

Surrender & Embrace.

Screen Shot 2016-10-09 at 12.33.55 AM.png

I’m in a constant state of falling apart and picking up the pieces.

From the minute I was being wheeled out of my hospital room, I let myself surrender to the heaviness of sadness. The unfairness of leaving without Jensen was overwhelming. I wanted to scream, but no sound came. Instead, tears flowed so freely and I couldn’t stop them even if I tried. While we were in the elevator, I kept opening and closing my eyes wishing that when I did it I would finally wake up from this nightmare. When I sat in the front seat of the car on the way to my parent’s house, I felt like I was in a vacuum. In this vacuum, there’s no outside noise or reason. There’s just me and my uncontrollable thoughts. After we got home, I realized that I would never be able to fight off the pain and sadness. I promised myself that I would accept whatever feelings and emotions came my way.

I surrendered myself to sadness, anger, pain, depression, and even joy.

Sometimes I wish I didn’t. There are moments in life where feeling everything so intensely isn’t ‘acceptable’ or ‘normal.’ Yet, they’re right there. Sadness and pain are always reachable for me. Almost everything in my life right now can be set back to, ‘If Jensen was here.’ I love being able to imagine it, but breaking down at a restaurant when they ask how many people are eating and I always have to say one less than what’s in my heart, is unacceptable. Those moments I can breathe through. In the few other times where I’ve felt like I had to hold it back and tried to force another certain emotion, grief came back around in a few hours times; one-hundred times worse. Worse as in, the emotions were just more intense where I literally can only lie there.

Continue reading

Myths.

Life after loss is all about discovery. Discovering healing and how to keep surviving each day. There are good discoveries and there are bad. Most of the bad are from myths that our society have compiled about grief and child loss. I’m going to do my best to debunk some of these myths and probably ramble a lot.

I’ve narrowed it down to the four that really get under my skin. They all kind of loop in with one another, but they are all things I’ve heard. I’ve also wrote about all of them before which really helps show the progression of my grief journey.

Happy debunking.

Myth One | Everything happens for a reason.

Before loss, I found comfort in this statement. In my logical mind, there had to be a reason for everything that happened. It was just be pandemonium if there was no answer to each thing that happened in the world. There had to be a lesson or something we could learn from everything that happened in life.

Then Jensen died.

There is no a reason a baby should die. I can remember searching within myself, thinking if I did anything wrong. Even if I had some sort of bad karma, there still isn’t any way that Jensen’s death would solve anything. His death didn’t happen for a reason. Don’t tell me God needed him and that’s why he died. That’s preposterous, there are a ton of people who die everyday that God can have; not my baby or anyone else’s baby.

Honestly, it just floors me when I hear this. Even if you think there’s a justifiable reason for a baby to die, just don’t say it. It’s not true and something a grieving mother (or any person) needs to hear.

Myth Two | At least you didn’t know him.

Please don’t say this to me, ever. I knew his kicks and when he was uncomfortable. I knew his schedule. I knew his favorite foods. I knew what music he liked. I knew when he was annoyed and didn’t want to participate for the ultrasound tech. I knew he loved to hear people talk about him. I knew he loved being read to. I knew everything about my son.

Just because he didn’t live outside the womb doesn’t mean he didn’t exist or that I couldn’t know him.

I understand it’s a different sense of knowing a person. Jensen was only a baby and I didn’t know him as a toddler, or as a child, or as a teenager, or as an adult. I don’t know what kind of person he would have turned out to be. That’s just a fact, but to say I didn’t know him at all hurts and disregards him as the little human he was. Even though I don’t know for sure who he would have become, I can imagine and dream of that. Tomorrow’s prompt dives into the beautiful mystery he is and I’m excited to share that with you all.


Myth Three | Grief follows five steps in an orderly fashion.

Screen Shot 2016-10-07 at 1.44.39 PM.png

We all are told and know the telltale stages of grief: Denial. Anger. Bargaining. Depression. Acceptance. In the stages of grief, we’re only supposed to be in each for a designated time and then find acceptance in all of it and move on with our lives. If we stay in one stage longer than an another, we’re not grieving ‘right.’ Or if we go from anger to depression and back to anger again, we didn’t do something right. We already prejudge our grief before we even start grieving. There’s this list of stages that we’re supposed to follow and when we don’t, we look down on ourselves, just as others do. But we’re not talking about each stage or the ones I’ve been in and tangoed with over and over again. There are many posts I’ve written about grief and the stages.

Still, it’s ridiculous to expect someone to follow grief in a timeline or a specific order. Grief is so individualized and different things let different individuals heal. Honestly, there are days where I’m still in denial that I have to live the rest of my days without Jensen. I’m twenty-three years old, let’s say I die at seventy years old, that’s forty-seven years I have to live without my son. I am in denial about that. I’ll expand that thought with the next myth. Then I have days where I’m in a complete rage. I could break plates and punch anything around me. There are times I scream at my cats if they meow because I just have so much anger built up. Then I go to bargaining and guilt. Depression is always there, so these stages make no sense for me.

I’ve left out acceptance for a reason. It’s supposed to be the end all of grief and it’s really not. For me, I feel like there’s different stages of acceptance. I’ve half-heartedly accepted Jensen’s death. Half-heartedly because I know he’s never coming back, but I don’t like it and I’m not comfortable with that fact. So there’s that slight acceptance. Right now, I can’t accept that I’m going to live for decades without him. It’s sad and heartbreaking. I don’t like it, but that’s grief and trying to process everything.

When I hear I’m not grieving correctly or if you think someone’s not, just know it’s their journey and process. Their heart will lead them to where they need to be at that particular time. Trying to rush them through their grief will only hurt them in the long run.


Myth Four | Time heals all wounds.

I feel like every last attempt to comfort me leads to this phrase and I hate it the most. Maybe because when the conversation gets to this point I’ve already lost hope with talking about Jensen and I know they’ll never understand.

Time sucks. I feel when time passes, I’ll become stronger and be able to be productive in my own ways. There won’t be a time where I go back to Danielle before Jensen and I don’t want to go back to her. Maybe in time the pain won’t be as intense? I don’t know. Thinking towards the future has been really difficult for me lately, so I’ve just stopped. As I was saying before, I keep thinking of living all these years without Jensen. He’s gone. The life I planned is gone. It’s overwhelming and to think as time as a savior, I just can’t think that way.

Maybe I’m just feeling defensive right now at this point with my grief. I don’t want time to slip away, but I also want it all to end quickly. It’s just strange. Do I want my life to get to a point where I’m excited for things again? Yes. But that doesn’t erase the pain or the hole in my heart. That hole will never get smaller.

Screen Shot 2016-10-07 at 1.44.11 PM.png

Time passing isn’t comforting to me nor do I know if it’ll heal me. Right now it’s a huge myth to me in my six months into grief. My wound is still deep and open, it’s one that will take a lifetime of healing.

The Unspoken.

Today I cannot talk about my nitty-gritty unspoken encounters and thoughts I’ve had the past six months. My heart is already heavy with longing and sadness. I think most people would be surprised to know there are a lot of things I haven’t talked about here. Seems crazy to think that since I’ve tried to be completely honest about everything.

Somethings are secret between Jensen and I.

Somethings I whisper in the morning to help make me through the day.

Somethings I’m not ready to talk about.

And somethings, I just want to be selfish about.

Screen Shot 2016-10-05 at 6.33.25 PM.png

Continue reading

Sunrise.

The crisp morning air welcomed me as I stepped outside, hot tea in hand. As I sat down on my cool porch, I noticed clouds covered the sky. There was no way I would be able to see the sun light up the sky in all it’s brilliance. I was disappointed as I realized I wouldn’t be getting the beautiful colors that we would expect from a sunrise. But I sat and waited waiting to see the sun poke through as I let hustle of the world go on around me. I thought of the morning Jensen was born. It was the last time I watched the sun say hello to this side of the earth.

As I impatiently waited for the perfect shot to capture my grief and love for Jensen this morning, I asked him just to give me just a little light today. One minute later, Leo was meowing loudly from the window. I walked over to calm him down through the screen and he stopped. I looked back to where I knew the sun would be rising and saw just the perfect amount of light. The sunrise I dedicated for Jensen was in turn dedicated to me by a special little boy in heaven.

Screen Shot 2016-10-01 at 8.13.44 AM.png

Gnadenhutten, OH – 7:22am

Continue reading