sunset

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sunset

the sun has set on this month. i’ve been channeling and working through my grief these last 31 days, as we brought awareness to infant and pregnancy loss this October. Carly Marie’s Capture Your Grief project has been on my mind daily, whether or not i posted my thoughts, poems, pictures, or stories here. i undertook this painful, determined action to document my grief, in hopes that i would be one step closer to closure, and also in hopes that someone, anyone, would understand/commiserate/sympathize with my struggle. i think in the end, in this culmination of difficult step upon step, i would like to think someone walked away with something tangible. something positive, in all the darkness.

honestly, i really hope that someone was me.

you see me up there? that is the face of struggle. and determination. and grief. and resilience. and hope. and hopes that were dashed. that face is all-encompassing, a chameleon of emotion. my self portrait is as ever-changing as my heart. so what heals me? that remains to be seen. i used to think it was another baby. and then that never happened. then i thought it was booze. lots and lots of escape mechanisms. exercise. retail therapy. more booze. nope. not that either. my latest answer was self-reflection. so far, that has been the most-healthy of all the mechanisms. but i stand here still, with a hole in my beating and bleeding heart. a cavity in the depth of my soul. i am unhealed. the scars do not fade. they simply fade in color, lose their raised edges.

these last few days of CYG were self portrait, reach out, what heals you, reflection and sunset. as i wrap up this exercise, i reflected on these days and i felt they all went hand in hand.  i am not ashamed to have lumped them all together, they are intertwined, breathing as one.but the bloodstream is less forceful. my knees less weak, my stance more grounded with each passing day. week. month. year. this months’ reflection has made me look back on these years with sadness but also with respect. there is no room for judgment. none for regrets. simply room for acknowledgment. forgiving the past and moving forward with the future. i will never be able to forget. simply to forgive and hope i am allotted the same respite.

sunset

the days are shorter. the nights longer. that means more time with my thoughts. as the sun sets on this project, i come back to this song. the words of which could be sewn into the stitches of my soul. i dedicate this to my loves. may these words find you, wherever you are.

“i have died everyday

waiting for you

darling don’t be afraid

i have loved you for a thousand years

i’ll love you for a thousand more.

and all along i believed i would find you

time has brought your heart to me

i have loved you for a thousand years

i’ll love you for a thousand more.

one step closer.

one step closer…”

-christina perri

i wish you all healing, for whatever ails your heart. and love. lots and lots of love.

#captureyourgrief

check out more of Carly Marie’s Project Heal at:

http://carlymarieprojectheal.com/capture-your-grief-2015

day 23 & 24 – love letter, choose your breath

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dear 40 year-old me,

this is a love letter to you, full of hopeful promises for the future. you give so much of yourself, it’s only fair to give some back.

promise me that in five years you will be different from the me now. not different in the “you will be more wrinkled and saggy” meaning (because duh we can’t escape gravity), but different in your aims and sense of self. please don’t take offense to this, but i hope you finally feel complete. 35 year-old you doesn’t know how to be at peace with life. she cannot let out her breath and relax… she is constantly searching for what she hopes will complete her. you have years on her, you deserve peace.

promise me you will forgive yourself. allow yourself the benefit of all doubt. you did all that you can do. you turned over every stone, and followed every path to its bitter end. and despite meeting locked doors and dead ends you dug deep and wouldn’t give up. so wherever you are now, whether a rocky path or a lush meadow, stop moving. rest your weary legs and be still. breathe in the air and let it all go. you deserve forgiveness.

promise me you will have more sunshine than dark clouds. not that you have changed your future into day upon day full of puppies and rainbows, but that you found a way to look at the world differently. you embrace the positive and can leave envy and bitterness behind you.

the last thing i ask you to promise me is you will look back on me and realize what my purpose was in this time in my life. why i was meant to be here, in this place, at this time. the me now is a spinning top, stuck in one place getting more and more dizzy. i cannot see past my blurry view of the world. i cannot catch my breath when i am moving this fast. the me now would love so much to have closure, and know why these last few years were meant to happen how they did.

if i could say anything to you i want you to know that you should have no regrets. you never gave up. it’s just not within you to quit, well, anything really once you put your mind to it. you did your very best. and you deserve to sit down, put your feet up, and let out that breath.

love, you

#captureyourgrief

21 & 22 – sacred space, dreams, rituals

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he is my sacred space

laying him down to sleep is the most heartwarming part of each day. after the stalling and “more water mama” and “i’m hungry” “i need socks” “my feet are too hot, i don’t want THESE socks” routine… we lay side by side, his head cradled in the nook of my arm… we lay in that sacred space, and hum lullabyes. the space between us is perfect: calm and peaceful. it is our time, our special place in the day’s business, to close our eyes and let the comfort of sleep whisk us away. “goodnight sweetheart, well, it’s time to goooo…”  i’ve been singing that to him since he first breathed air.

and so i dream of him

and them. his lost brothers and sisters. they run ahead of him, too fast for him to catch up. he reaches his hand out for theirs but they disappear in the blink of an eye. i dream of a life full of thankfulness, and empty of sorrow.

and when i wake in the middle of the night, i go to him

i have to make sure he is ok. he doesn’t stir. i check to see if he is breathing. check. is he warm enough. blankey,… check. i put his socks back on. check. i kiss him three times… forehead nose and lips. good night sweetheart. you are my favorite boy.

#captureyourgrief

day 20 – forgiveness + humanity

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i am guilty

guilty of holding on, boxing myself in

as much as i want to escape these bars

i turn the key in the lock and throw it away

because sometimes it is easier

easier to sit and hide

rather than to break free

sure, i want to feel the sun on my face

but i am terrified of more rain

it is easier to stay where i am

in my box

how do i forgive myself

and let go

days 18 & 19 – seasons & symbols, music

seasons & symbols

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i chose the symbol of the butterfly today, as butterflies are a common symbol in the loss world. they represent the spirit of our angel babies. they represent the soul’s transformation from an earthly body to a heavenly one. and their wings help them soar to the heavens, free from the weight of this world. whenever i encounter a butterfly, i take the time to stop and close my eyes… be present in the moment. for maybe i will feel a connection to what became so disconnected from me.

this particular butterfly is rad. it’s the parnassius apollo. not only does it appear to carry bleeding hearts on its wings, it survives in the coldest of climates, atop the mountains of the French alps. it is a true inspiration of beauty and resilience. it has adapted and grown strong, despite the harshest of elements, the most difficult of times.

music

music is a trigger. it can act as a catalyst, triggering a tidal wave of emotions. certain songs, that is. for me, there are a choice few that i can no longer listen to, mostly because i associate them with my losses. they are songs that i heard either on the radio, after leaving a doctors office/hospital post-bad news. every once in a while, when i need a good ugly cry, i will play them. and unleash the pent up pain. it is cathartic, a good cry. physically, emotionally,… sometimes you just have to let it out. and then there is one. one special song dear to my heart i have mentally reserved for playing when i finally get my rainbow baby. the words of this song, they speak what my heart has tried to say for years now. occasionally it comes on the radio and before i know it i am a heaping pile of tears. i have to turn it off, it’s too much these days. i cannot take the tidal wave.

#captureyourgrief

day 17 – secondary losses

 loss caused by loss
when you lose a child, you lose more than just a chunk of your heart. more than the weight you will carry for the rest of your life. you lose exponentially more.

you lose all that might have been.

his soft skin. sweet coos. first giggles. first steps. the way his brother may have held him close to his own heart. matching pjs. snuggles, because he’s the baby. teaching him to ride a bike. kindergarten. hugs. t-ball games with big brother. vacations as a “whole” family. high school dances. teaching him to drive. sending him to college. walking him down the aisle. watching him grow to be the man you raised him to be.  seeing him with his own little ones, gentle and sweet. full heart and joyful spirit.

you will miss how much big brother would love him. hate him at times but love him forever. they would have each other long after we were gone. they would never feel alone. you lose so much more than a chunk of your soul.

oh, what might have been.

#captureyourgrief