In the Making of Grief Rituals.

Another day, another spin-off Capture Your Grief.

Day nineteen is all about Grief Rituals on big days and how they help. Since I’m just now starting to get to the anniversary dates of certain doctors appointments and finding out Jensen was boy, I’m still learning about the rituals I want to create. I’m thinking about maybe coming back to this after his first birthday and talking about what helped with the first year. For now, I’m still learning what I need to cope and heal with these rituals. Life after loss is a huge learning process, as I’ve said countless of times. Which is why I’m in the making of grief rituals.

Some of the big days, right now, that I have to ‘focus’ on are his monthday, Tuesdays, and some of the anniversaries I have hit. My birthday was a really huge trigger day for me since last year we found out he was in my belly. There were also a few dates in September that triggered me, like the day I first saw him, the fourteenth or one of my first appointments was the ninth. Those days were rough, but I can imagine from next month out I’ll be really focusing on grief rituals and what helps me get through the days.

There’s also days that I never knew would become apart of my rituals like remembrance walks, support groups, and ceremonies for all babies gone too soon. Two weekends ago we participated in our very first remembrance walk, which I blogged about here. It really helped being surrounded with other families going through loss for me, but also my family. They were able to see and know this pain is real for many others. Last night we were so fortunate to be apart of another local walk and that’s what I want to talk about today, our new rituals in the making.

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Toland-Herzig Funeral Home, in Dover, Ohio, had its nineteenth annual Walk to Remember for child loss of any age.  I was able to be involved in this walk by other loss moms letting me know they put it on. It begins with someone in the loss community telling their story and how they help others during this tragedy. Being able to get up in a room full of people, not to mention being – for the other two rooms to hear, is so courageous. I know how hard it is to talk about losing Jensen to small groups of people, but then adding public speaking on top of it… I’d probably have a heart attack.

We then were prayed over and headed outside for the candlelit walk. There was the huge circle in the parking lot and then everyone helped light each other’s candles. It was beautiful and symbolic for me. Being able to help someone with their candle and passing light and love to the other person is up lifting. It’s sad to see how many people are in the circle effected by the loss of a child in some way or another, but how beautiful is it to be so supported.

Not to mention, my flame danced the whole way just as they do in my home. Jensen’s way of letting me know he’s close.

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When we got to Warther’s Museum, we were led to this beautifully lit gazebo. Unfortunately every picture I got of it was so blurry, so I can’t share how breathtaking it looked. Music was being played and we all huddled around, listening and remembering. I’m sure it only lasted moments, but besides the music playing, it was quiet. Not the quiet that I cannot stand when I’m home, but one that settles the soul.

There was another gentleman that shared his experience in hospice and read a poem. Then we were all asked to come to the microphone, share our name, number of walks, and who we were walking to remember. It’s different to actually hear family members share their experiences with the walk and about their loved ones. You can hear the emotions in their voice and their strength as they say their names so proudly. They said, this part of the night was the easiest and hardest… and it was. It’s a big mix of it. Easy as in listening and supporting the person as they share their deepest grief. Hard as in building up the courage to speak in front of everyone and letting that acceptance of your child’s death hit again.

Not that it ever goes away.

I was nervous, but happy to share a small part of our story. There is so much strength in just sharing him with the world and not feel judged. To say Jensen’s name makes me beam with pride. I hate death, but love my son more than anything else in this universe. That’s what makes a parent’s grief so complex.

After everyone who wanted to share finished, we started our journey back. Jensen’s candle extinguished in the moments after saying his name. Just as if he was telling me thank you and I love you. Many times I write to Jensen that I hope he is swaddled in love and warmth in heaven and last night, I felt that same way. With the circle of support, walking with the light of his love in front of me, and saying his name for the world to hear, I knew as we got in the car to leave, this would become one of my grief rituals.

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Healing Therapies.

Breathe in, one, two, three, four.

Breathe out, one, two, three, four.

I remember when deep breathing and counting were going to help heal the supposed worst pain of my life: giving birth. Even during my labor with Jensen, I don’t think I needed anyone counting for me. The contractions didn’t hurt, but I wanted some normalcy while I delivered him so silently. After he came into the world my body started healing, but emotionally, I didn’t even know how to begin healing. I was in pain and my brain instantly went into shock trying to protect the influx of emotions. During that time, I had to focus on healing my body by sleeping and trying to eat. That was the best I could do.

When I had to focus on emotional healing, I was lost. I felt alone and didn’t even know where to start. For the first few weeks, I just sat and stared into the nothingness. Everything felt numb and black. Even now, I can’t recall those moments or it just spirals out of control. The second week I looked in Jensen’s hospital bag. A brochure fell into my lap about online and in-person support groups. From there, I found You’re Not Alone – Love Letters from Loss Mom to Loss Mom, so many blogs journeying through others’ losses, and support near me. I read and read through so many pages, learning about how other’s heal. I realized how much reading through their words had helped me.

Then I decided to write Jensen’s story and share.

It felt so healing to write his name. To let the whole entire world know about him and his impact on my life. I needed to share the good, the bad, and the ugly. There would be a lot of ugly, but love always paved the way for the good. Six months later, it’s one healing therapy that I do every single day.  Usually with hot tea in my mug and candles lit throughout the whole house. Sometimes I want to share with the world and others, I keep it between Jensen and I. I haven’t missed a day of writing since that two-week mark. Getting all my emotions out on paper, or laptop, has let me sort through it everything.

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As much as I wish writing could just heal me and I’d be perfectly back to normal, that’s not how grief works.

Talk therapy has done so much good for me.

One of the hardest things I’ve done post loss was making an appointment to a therapist. I did not want to ‘be weak’ and talk to a counselor. The first time seeing her, I was terrified. Then being able to say his name, talk about how I was feeling out loud, and not feel judged was healing. It encouraged me to go to my first in-person support group, then the second. I spend a lot of time with talk therapy, six times a month to be exact. Sometimes, like this month, I’ve gone to other groups or events where I could talk more about Jensen. It’s been one of the most healing therapies I’ve done in my life after loss. This journey is so lonely and knowing there’s so many people to support me is, well, bittersweet. It breaks my heart knowing these amazing, strong women have felt this way and are able to channel that to help me and so many other moms going through loss. Reaching out and letting others know you need help, is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but it’s helped.

There’s no rulebook on what to do after your child dies. That’s what makes finding these healing therapies so individual and hard for people to narrow down. I believe it’s trial and error. What works for me, might not work for the next person and that absolutely fine. I will say, if you are a support person reading this and wondering how to help your loved one, the most healing therapy someone can help with is saying their child’s name. It’ll open the line of communication between you two and might help find what the other person needs to heal.

I’d also like to say one more thing, losing a child takes a lifetime of healing. Please be patient with them or yourself and never feel like they or you need to put your grief on a timeline. Loss moms and dads are trying to figure out their new normal and how to move forward with their life. Be gentle with our hearts, we’re doing our best to find our healing therapies.

Even if it begins with breathing in and out.

Sacred Space.

Space seems so scary sometimes.

In the early weeks, it felt like all I had was space suffocating me; the space Jensen was supposed to occupy. Especially when he was first-born and I only had his nursery items and all his clothes. I didn’t have any remembrance items, besides what the hospital gave me, but I couldn’t even look at his prints at first. When I moved into my house, I kept seeing where I planned on having his pack-n-play and swing. The walls were empty and all I could imagine is what his newborn pictures would look like. It was hard in those beginning weeks of creating a home that I imagined my son growing up in, without him. Then I put his big silver J up that was supposed to be in his room.

Seeing his J everyday made me smile and feel like he was where he was supposed to be. From then came his pictures, the Painted Name Project print, and the most perfect footprints all over the walls. Everywhere I look there are pieces of Jensen that belong. I turned my whole house into my sacred space. I’ve added in silver birds and elephants to represent me sending messages to Jensen and how I’m not alone in this grief. My house makes me feel safe and comfortable. Even though he’s not here, he fills our home and that couldn’t make me happier.

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The space that felt so daunting in the beginning brings me so much solace now. It’s what I search for when the waves of grief are pulling me down and what I look at when they have subsided.  His candles are always on, like a lighthouse, leading me to the shore.

I wouldn’t call my home a shrine to him. My house is exactly how it would be if Jensen were here, minus the amount of toys. Although there will never be any pictures that show him growing from the day he was born, I see the progression of his life when he was here and the impact of his life since he’s been gone. My sacred space is all about him, just like it would have been if he was sleeping in my arms now.

This space that seemed so scary in the beginning has become a place I can call home.

Beliefs & Spirituality.

I just want to start off saying, this topic brings a lot of emotions when talked about. There have been centuries of wars started over religion and differences in beliefs. This post was not written to harm others or to push what I believe on anyone. I’m not like that and I value differences in opinion. It’s fascinating to hear what other’s think about the world and their spirituality. There’s no right or wrong in what you believe.

Beliefs, spirituality, and faith are as individual as each person or their journey in life. For me, it’s something that’s constantly changed as I’ve experienced different situations or learned more information. When we were young, we didn’t go to church or were pushed to believe in a certain thing. I mean, we celebrated all the holidays and learned about Jesus, but we were able to explore it all in our own time. That meant learning about any religion I could find and even more ideas about the afterlife. Like I said, I found it all so fascinating,

To put it bluntly, I believe in God and the afterlife. Yet, there’s so much more to what I believe than just that.

Before I get into the details, I want to make something clear. I do not find it comforting for people to tell me Jensen is in a ‘better place.’ There’s no better place for him than in my arms. It’s not comforting to know that God needed another angel and He somehow chose Jensen. More than anything else, it angers me and it’s not fair that he died. Believe me, I know he’s a special boy, but his innocent soul deserved to live so much longer. If you hear me talking about him being in heaven or being an angel, it’s because I can. That sounds ridiculous, I know. BUT, until you’ve walked in my shoes and experienced losing my son, you don’t understand what is comforting to me. It’s okay if I say those things because sometimes that’s the only thing keeping me being here. Knowing he’s protecting me and will be there when I die. As I said, faith and this journey is individual.

Now I’ll get back to the prompt.

Yes, I believe in God, but that doesn’t mean I’m angry with Him and it doesn’t mean that my faith wasn’t shattered. Most days, I’m still so mad and don’t understand why this is happening to me. I find comfort in a lot of verses, not all of them. One of my favorites is below, Jessica, from Lettered Hope, made this for me. It comforts me to pray and put my worries on God. If I say I’m praying for you and/or your angel, I don’t mean it in a bad way. It’s what helps me make sense of this loss. I believe God hears me and tells the children in heaven that they’re being thought of. Then I think they can just hear me too. I remember not praying for a few weeks after Jensen died because I was so angry, which was weird because I did a lot of work in the bible when I was pregnant. It was Jensen and I’s routine every night to pray. I can remember screaming till my throat would bleed asking Him why. Why Jensen? I know there’s not a reason for his death and I won’t know until I’m dead. There’s nothing good that can come as a result of Jensen not being here, but I’m being lead into healing through knowing I will be with him again.

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After losing Jensen, I understand how people don’t believe in God, or well any higher power. It’s not fair, especially when we’re led to believe that He put this pain on us. I get it and your beliefs are justified, just as mine are to my understanding of this.

Another belief I have, is in spirit communities; I’ll try not to go too deep into this, unless you’d like to know. When I talk about this, I literally feel crazy. I believe that everyone has a soul and that our souls are connected with those that mean the most to us. Some know this as soul mates, but I believe in a soul community. These souls stay around each other for all eternity and come back here to earth and find each other again. This can be from partners to children to friends, but we’re constantly searching for one another. I think Jensen and I’s souls have been connected for a long time. As any mother, I had a bond with him when I was pregnant, but I get a lot of signs that I know are from him. In my letters to him, I’ve said that we’re two souls who search for each other, but are continuously just out of our reach. Maybe this goes along with not only wanting to see him again, but one day seeing him grow? Who knows, I’m still working on this belief.

The last thing I want to touch on is heaven. I really believe there is a home for us after we die. Maybe we go there to rejuvenate for another life or we stay there forever, both comfort me equally. I think heaven is different for everyone. Sort of like everyone has their own house and inside is what makes their soul happy. It could maybe even be your house transported into heaven, which I wouldn’t be disappointed about! Sometimes I think my heaven will be walking right into my front door and picking Jensen up from his crib. Then just holding him and studying every detail of that moment. We’d never run out of diapers and food. My heaven is just us together in his nursery, watching whatever’s going on outside his window. Hopefully my other family would be there and so would Leo and Poe. But as I said, everyone’s heaven is different.

I often think about Jensen’s heaven. Maybe his is with me and that’s why I always have so many signs. I think he’s with my grandma being held, I have a feeling that would be apart of hers. Maybe he’s growing or waiting for me to get there so I can see that. I hope I can revert back to twenty-two and we can grow together.

Jensen will always be my heaven and I have faith that he’ll be eagerly waiting for his mother’s embrace.

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Dear World,

I always believed in the beauty that surrounded me. The crisp, fresh air would fill my lungs as I drew a deep breath. Colorful flowers would beckon me to stop and smell them; I would pick a bundle and put a few in my hair. Each time I would step outside and enjoy the splendor that is this world, I thought I  knew my place. Even when I didn’t understand why something was happening, I could get lost in the stars. My hands would run through the grass calling out for me to just lay there and feel grounded.

When I learned Jensen was growing inside of my belly, I couldn’t wait to introduce him to you. There are so many opportunities you offer to each of us. In my dreams, I imagined him falling in love with all of your wonders and wanting to explore new places. Maybe I could even show him what you have done to comfort me. I’d see him play on your beaches and make sand castles. Our backyard would be full of mud pies and lullabies. He would be a fearless little boy and I hoped he would find his place here, just as I thought I had.

He’d grow up picking the flowers in a garden we’d make together, bundling them so he could give them to me. So proud that he had discovered a different part of you and bringing that beauty in our home.

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Deep down, I knew there was an innate darkness you had in your trenches. I didn’t think I would ever meet that part of you, until I did. You and my body were two of the only things I trusted with him. On that windy, spring day you flipped upside down letting darkness blanket over all the beauty I once found solace in.

You’re still upside down and I don’t know how to trust you anymore.

Bringing a child into this world is supposed to be the most natural act a person can do. There is nothing natural about him dying before he could leave my womb and discover you. Instead of him picking me flowers and discovering each constellation in the sky, his absence has brought me an eerie darkness. For awhile, that’s all you let me see and feel. You turned so cold, unlike anything I had experienced, especially after the warm nine months I carried him.

There were parts of me that came unearthed too. This overwhelming anxiety and depression that has made itself home in my body. A sense of dread each time the phone rang, wondering what other horror had escaped your trenches. The feeling of no fear, even when it was presented. There was hatred and a bunch of it towards myself and everyone and thing that was in close proximity. I felt betrayed by myself. All deviant feelings that I didn’t know existed were flooding me.

Since I never had you turn your back on me before, I shut you out. I didn’t believe there would ever be beauty in you again. How could there be?

Then I saw him with you.

You let him paint the sky with blues and oranges. He draws me to the prettiest flowers, that only little boys would choose. I feel his warmth as the sun creeps through my curtains and wakes me in the morning. The birds sing with him as I open the windows to welcome you in. He’s the shooting star that I make a wish on. You haven’t broken your promise to him and I. I see him discovering you in ways I could never imagine. Even though I can’t see his imagination spreading across his face, I feel his excitement as the seasons change. He has found his place in the world when he’s not sleeping in the clouds.

Oh world, I’m so angry with the darkness you’ve given to me. Most days I wish I could just get a tall enough latter to join him in the clouds, but I know that’s impossible. So, I live for the moments where I see his light. Somehow when I can’t see this, I remember he is doing all what I ever wanted him to do. He’s exploring the parts of you I’ll never see, until I’m free from this darkness and hold you have on me.

Love,

Danielle
Jensen’s Mom

Lemons & Lemonade.

So, I’m going to break the rules on today’s prompt. Chalk it up to having an emotional morning or just a horrible past six months, my mind is letting me delve into the ‘lemonade’ I’ve made since Jensen’s been born.

This prompt was inspired by a new show, ‘This Is Us,’ where a couple was pregnant with triplets. Long story short, one of the babies died (either shortly before or during birth) and the doctor was talking to the dad about baby loss and how you have to continue on for your family after this tragedy happens. He spinned the saying, ‘When life give you lemons you make lemonade,’ and added on to it with his own personal story of loss. There was also a line about (along the lines of), even given the sourest lemon you can make something resembling lemonade. I probably should have re-watched before I started typing, but as I said, emotional morning.

When I first saw the video, I thought, yes this is it. This analogy is perfect, everyone should see this. Until it weighed on my heart a little more; maybe I just know how to sour everything. I kept thinking, yes this works for life and can be applied to loss, as it was presented in the show. There’s a point, I think, in the loss journey that you there’s more positive than negative. People are able to see all the good they’ve helped bring into the world in honor of their babies and to help others out. I understand the analogy perfectly and believe one day I’ll even be able embrace it.

Right now, I can’t.

I’m not saying there’s no positives ever in my life after loss, but right now it’s very hard to see. Instead of sticking exactly to this prompt, I’m going to keep the analogy used, but share it in a way that represents the grief journey I’m going through.

To make lemonade, a person needs water, lemons, and sugar. The water is the base of the whole drink, you add in lemons to give the sour punch, and then end off with the sweetness of the sugar. Obviously, right? When we talk about it metaphorically, lemons are always given to us when life isn’t going our way. Jensen’s death has been the biggest, sourest lemon ever given to me. Since we’ve been molded to only see the sour part, we don’t look beyond the lemon. An outside person might believe I can use the lemon and make it ‘somewhat resembling’ lemonade. I’m challenging you to relook at this.

Instead of thinking of me getting the biggest, baddest lemon, think of it like the sugar has been taken away. Before, there was such much sugar that even if I got another lemon, I could just sweeten the rest up. Without sugar in lemonade, it’s just really sour lemon water. I can keep squeezing and making the most out of all the lemons ever given to me, but without that one ingredient, it’ll never be the same.

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Creative Heartwork.

“I need to have a part of Jensen on my forever. Everyone needs to see him on me.”

A few weeks after Jensen was born, I kept repeating those words. My heart hurt that no one could see my baby in my arms and I wanted to somehow prove to the world that I was his mother. That and I wanted to feel physical pain, there was so much emotional pain that I needed to focus it somewhere else.

So we got tattoos.

Even though the one I got wasn’t the one I originally planned, I’m so happy it worked out that way. The celtic knot for motherhood is forever on the back of my neck. It’s beautiful and to me, represents that Jensen will always be with me. The pain I expected it to bring wasn’t there. Instead, the humming of the machine relaxed every muscle in my body. After it was all done, I was so proud Jensen was honored there for the rest of my life. I loved that I was able to find the design and put his birthday underneath it.

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As much as I love sharing my first Jensen tattoo with everyone, I think a lot of creative heartwork happens behind the scenes. It’s sharing your story online and at in-person support groups. Or it can be the connection you make with other loss mamas and doing anything you can to be there for them. Maybe it’s writing your baby’s name hundreds of times in every font you know how to do. It could be framing your favorite outfit of their’s in your favorite spot, so you can see it everyday. If a baby is buried, you can be creative during all the holidays and anniversaries and decorate their spot. SO many things that is creative and comes from the heart.

For me, it seems like I share all the creative heartwork that I do for Jensen. I love showing how much he means to me and my creative side. Today i’m going to share something a little more personal. As I’ve said before, when people walk into my house, Jensen is everywhere. Most people wouldn’t even notice the stack of notebooks of letter, filled with love, that I have written to Jensen. It started when I was pregnant, I would write a verse and then tell Jensen all about my day. When he was born, I started drawing him pictures and adding color to every letter. It was my way to be creative with him while I let all my emotions out on the paper. Every single word filled with love and appreciation to him. These letters have became my favorite part of the day and are a huge part of my healing. It’s my favorite heartwork I do for Jensen.

In between all those love letters, are drawings and letterings of his name or anything that reminds me of him. Today, I keep writing his name over and over again. If you’ve been following along, you all know Tuesdays are hard for me. They’re even harder when I can’t be creative and do things for him. All I’ve been able to do is writing his name. Even finding the words to this Capture Your Grief prompt has been difficult. This Tuesday marks twenty-seven weeks since Jensen was born sleeping. All those weeks ago, I bought my first remembrance bracelet to remember him by. It was Aries constellation bracelet, that I wear everyday. I never imagined then, that six months from that moment my favorite heartwork would be the letters I wrote to him just two days before his birth.

Tonight, as I continue my private, creative heartwork for Jensen,  I’ll be thinking of the love we show to all our babies everyday. Even in our deepest pits of pain, we continue creating beautiful things to honor our angels; out of these dark pits, blossoms the loveliest flower.

Happy twenty-seventh week in heaven, Jensen. When you look down on me from heaven, I hope you see all the creative heartwork that I do all for you. I miss you. I love you.

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Symbols & Signs.

The morning Jensen was born, my best friend came to the hospital. He brought flowers and just sat and listened. It was fairly early when I texted and told him Jensen was born so silently. I remember just talking and explaining it, I don’t even know if I was crying or if shock had taken my tears. He had to be so brave coming into that room. It’s not the scenario anyone expects to walk in. Usually there’s the baby being passed around and the mom is beaming. Anyways, during our talk he told me, “Jensen will come to you in a red bird and a blue bird.” I remember the thought of a sign from Jensen giving me so much hope.

It would be a happy moment that he was with me even in his death.

When we got home from the hospital, I completely forgot about our conversation on the birds. There were no birds going to come in my room as I let the darkness cover me. I was dragged out of the house to go on a drive two days before his funeral. We drove all around the county and ended up going to eat at a little restaurant that I’ve been to countless times. I sat down in one chair and didn’t like it, so I sat in the chair across the table. It felt better about that chair, weird I know. Then I looked up at the wall, one I’ve looked at before, and I saw my sign. A picture of a red bird and one of a blue bird right beside it; my sign from Jensen.

I remember just staring at it and not listening to a word my mom said. All I could do was point at the pictures and say, ‘he’s okay.’

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‘Walk for the Angels.’

One in four pregnancies end in loss.

My heart knows that fact, but even with online support, it’s hard to see that statistic in person. Maybe that’s why when I heard over six hundred people registered for the God’s Tiny Angels ‘Walk for the Angels,’ my heart skipped a beat. It was still just a number until I saw the line of people waiting outside the church to register. Even then it still didn’t click.

Yesterday was my first remembrance walk since Jensen has been born. I made big orange and navy buttons with a white J in the middle. We went out and bought bright, orange bandanas. I needed to be prepared for the day because I didn’t really know what to expect. It would be the first time I was around a huge amount of people who have been effected by loss, not just the small groups I was used to. There would be a lot of stories and emotions all in one room that I had to be aware of. I probably should have warned my family and Frank about those raw emotions that radiate off.

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Then there we were, in the sea of people in an ocean of grief.

The board members of God’s Tiny Angels spoke of sharing, healing, and helping. Their pillars of support and what they strive to do. I cried as the spoke knowing that each of those have shaped my grief journey. Jensen and I’s support heard those words for the first time, that didn’t come out of my mouth. They heard and they saw love, loss, and the magnitude of how many people are touched by angels. I think the heaviness of sadness was felt by everyone there, but we could surrender ourselves to that emotion and let hope flow in by walking for them.

Each step of the walk, I kept thinking of taking the steps for Jensen. He’ll never be able to take the steps for himself, but he had so many people there for him. As did all the babies gone too soon. The walk was peaceful and hundreds of balloons floated above our heads, symbolizing Jensen and all of his friends being with us. I also thought of the walk as journey of grief too. Although we have to take our steps to move forward, there are always people around to help us keep walking. AND we are always surrounded by our angels.

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As we got back to the church and went to the courtyard to release the balloons, I really could see how many people were there. Families grouped together with their buttons representing their child and packs of pink, blue, and white balloons everywhere you looked. Music was being played and we were asked to release our balloons and messages of love to the clouds, knowing our babies would see them. We let go of our pack of blue balloons with the glimpses of orange lettering on the cards. They danced up to the clouds, not alone, but with all the other balloons from each family. In that moment, it clicked. Each of those hundreds of balloons represented a baby gone and a family whose life was changed forever.

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I watched Jensen’s balloons until I couldn’t see them anymore. Tears fell down my cheeks, the release of love and loss is therapeutic. Although I couldn’t see the balloons dancing in the wind anymore, I knew he still saw them. He grabbed them and played with the balloons in awe. Maybe he was read those messages, but he already felt the warmth of the love we have for him. That’s all he’s ever known.

Surrender & Embrace.

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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.

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