Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Grief that Simmers

I feel like recently my grief has changed its shape. I haven't felt like it is constantly bubbling up inside me and spilling out as it did for so long. Maybe it is integrating itself into my life. 

These days my grief feels more like a deep and constant ache. It is locked inside where it bounces around all day long. Sometimes it bubbles out, but mostly it simmers inside where the outside world can't see it. I'm not sure which is worse. Emotions that bubble out without warning, or emotions that feel like I'm the only one in the world who knows they're there. 

On November 2 it will be Emma's four month birthday. Its hard to believe it has been that long already. In some ways it seems like yesterday, and in others it seems like it was an eternity ago. Most of the time though it feels like I am watching a movie and I still can't resolve the fact that Britt and I are the people in it.  A lot has happened in these last four months. One of the hard things has been watching the world slowly get back into its routine while Britt and I feel stuck where we are. Of course we don't expect people to stay in this dark hollow place with us, but its strange to see life go on seemingly as if nothing has happened. People and relationships get back into routines, daily rhythms continue, and life is going on. Sure its selfish, but part of me wants to shout STOP my daughter is still dead why is life going on, if I can't move on you shouldn't either. I realize that sounds terrible but its how I feel. This is a hard stage to be in.

I think that is one thing that feels so healing for me about starting Butterfly Wings. Knowing that anyone who buys one of our bracelets will be wearing Emma's butterfly around their wrist. Her memory will be carried by {hopefully} hundreds of people around the country. As her mommy that makes me so happy. Flutter on sweet girl, we love you! 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Capture Your Grief Day 20: Hope

Hope is a hard one. I hope that our next child will be living. I hope that we will learn to find joy in every day and break out of this haze of grief. I hope that I can figure out how to be both the woman I was and the woman I am now. Really at the end of the day I just hope to have hope again.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

This week has been a strange mix of emotions. A lot has happened that I had anticipated making me really emotional, but I haven't been the wreck I thought I would be. I've had some tears, and when I say my days are okay, fine, or dare I say even "good" there is still that heavy heavy weight in my chest that has not lifted. Even when I'm smiling or going through my day, everything is clouded with the weight of grief. I still want to come home, curl up, and take a break from the charade, but I am seeing positive change.

I feel like I am moving to a place where I have a better grasp on our new reality. For so long I have been in this crazy world where nothing feels right, where my brain really has trouble processing what has happened to us and that this is our real life now. If I really try and think things through those feelings still are there, but for the most part I am able to say to myself, yes this happened. I guess my brain is slowly allowing more in as it feels safe. Its amazing what the mind can do. There was even a day a month or so ago that I seriously thought to myself as I was looking in the mirror, maybe this could be a dream, maybe if I wish hard enough I could actually wake up and realize I'm having a bad nightmare. I truly thought this. That is sad.

The biggest hurdle was Wednesday, because October 16 was the date last year that we found out we were pregnant. Waking up Wednesday morning was such a sad and different experience. On Wednesday it was also my class's field trip to the pumpkin patch. Last year this trip was the day after finding out we were pregnant, so I remember that day vividly....walking around surrounded by all those parents, kids, and teachers, holding onto my little secret. It was fantastic! This year I spent the day hoping there wasn't anything that was going to trigger me into a meltdown...at the pumpkin patch there is not even a proper bathroom to hide in, just a nasty old porta-pot. I guess beggars can't be choosers, but luckily I had no need for the porta-pot and was fine all day. Pretty bad that my life now includes being on the lookout for the nearest emergency exit in case of meltdown.

Some other things that have been heavy on my heart this week:

Calling the hospital where Emma was born to see about donating care packages. Although I feel good to be able to do this for other parents it made me really sad too. I can post more about this project later, but for now visit our Facebook page for more info!!

Going in for my first haircut since Emma was born and having to tell my stylist that Emma had died. By the way she was so compassionate and amazing (and she's great at hair if you live nearby and are looking for someone new!). I have been in awe of the kindness and care from everyone, many of whom are practically strangers to me and Britt.

Talking to the perinatal nurse to give her my medical history in preparation for my upcoming appointment...this meant talking about my pregnancy and Emma's stillbirth.

Getting Emma's Certificate of Birth Resulting in Stillbirth in the mail today. So happy that Virginia is one of the states that offers this, as it is an important document that validates Emma's life and presence, but sad to see her death officially in print.

I hope you all are having a peaceful week xoxo

Friday, October 11, 2013

Capture Your Grief Catch Up 9,10,11

Well I got a little behind and I'm okay with that. After all, Carly Marie gave us permission to only do what we were able and felt like. For once, I am not being an overachiever. ;)

#9 (music) and #10 (beliefs) are touched on in my post from last night, so I'm just going to go with that.

Today is #11, Triggers. Honestly this early on in my grief journey, what is not a trigger? Pregnant women, babies, anything baby related, pictures of myself pregnant, reaching milestones/holidays, Emma's room, Emma's clothes/toys/etc., my students accidentally calling me mommy before Mrs. Arthur, and the list goes on.

It depends on the day and my emotions, but it could be anything. Sometimes a trigger from one day won't bother me the next. I basically don't know what to expect, when to expect it, or how I will respond. A nice way to go through life, right? I feel like I am tip toeing around trying to protect myself at all times.

I find that triggers make me feel bad or sad but they don't cause a "griefburst" too often anymore. Days or moments when I am super emotional aren't usually triggered by anything, instead it is just my built up feelings and emotions coming to the surface. Some days I just wake up and feel like I'm going to lose it and I have to wait for the breakdown to come before I'm okay.

Thursday, October 10, 2013


Well it's been a little quiet around here. I guess I haven't felt like talking (or writing). Many of you here know that's not my strong suit anyway, especially when it comes to how I'm feeling. I like to keep everything neatly boxed up and work through it in my own mind and on my own terms. Not always very effective.

Tonight I visited with a special friend and had a chance to talk about Emma, have that good cry that was overdue, and even share Emma's picture. It all felt really good. Sharing her picture especially. There are a lot of feelings that go along with that, probably enough for a whole post, and I don't have the energy for that.

The other night the song Take My Hand, Precious Lord popped into my head. It is one of the songs we played at Emma's memorial service. Some of the words really capture how I feel right now, and they are sometimes the only prayer I can mutter.

"Precious Lord, take my hand
Lead me on, let me stand
I am tired, I am weak, I am worn
Through the storm, through the night
Lead me on to the light..."

Worn is exactly how I feel. This week has been long and trying. It's been one of the weeks that I just want to be alone in the quiet safety of my home talking to no one. One of the weeks that I am in disbelief of my life and the weight of grief that I will always carry. It sounds dark and gloomy but that's grief for you.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Capture Your Grief Day 7: You Now

And when I say there I don't mean some kind of end point, a place of healing or closure or moving on. I mean a place where my grief and I can live side by side. A place where there are more good days than bad days. A place where the weight of grief is a little lighter on my chest. I'm not there yet, but some days I get a glimpse of that place. I'm on my way.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Capture Your Grief Day 6: Ritual

I don't really have a lot of rituals when it comes to dealing with my grief. I think the closest things I have to rituals right now are every morning I put on my necklace that is made with Emma's actual handprint and I have this blog to journal my feelings and experiences.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Capture Your Grief Day 4 & 5: Legacy and Memory

Day 4: Legacy

Endless love and a mission to connect with and reach out to others who are suffering the same pain of stillbirth.

Day 5: Memory

Pure and unbroken happiness. This picture is still really hard for me to look at...

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Capture Your Grief Day 3: Myths

Fact: Grief is messy and chaotic. It does not follow a pattern or have stages. It may have components, such as anger and denial, but they come on their own terms and often without warning. Stages also implies that there is an end point. My grief does not have an end point. It will ebb and flow, but the heartache of the death of my daughter will never travel neatly through five stages and then be gone.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Capture Your Grief Day 2: Identity

This one is hard for me. I want to talk about Emma and share about her, but today has been a really hard really sad day. Today is Emma's three month heavenly birthday. Its hard to think what my life might be like if my three month old was here with me. She would be reaching milestones, and I would be nervously anticipating taking her to the babysitter as my maternity leave would almost be over. Today the pain is too raw to even put into words. So, instead I share this with you...the most precious ten little toes.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Capture Your Grief Day 1: Sunrise

October 1 marks the beginning of Infant & Child Death Awareness Month. This is the term used by the MISS Foundation. Most others call this month Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month. I was recently told by someone who is a part of the MISS Foundation that the reason they have chosen another name for this month is because words have a big impact and meaning, and the truth is I (and anyone else in my shoes) did not lose a pregnancy, I lost a child. My child. All beautiful 8 pounds 3 and a half ounces of her. She wasn't just a pregnancy, or even worse a "fetus"...that makes me cringe.

As part of this month I will be participating in Carly Marie's (an amazing inspirational bereaved mama) Capture Your Grief project. I will be posting my pictures here on the blog as well as on Instagram. Here is an outline of the project:

Image Source
If you follow me on Instagram you know that I have started photographing the sunrise and sometimes the sunset. It is really beautiful to me, and gives me a sense of peace, hope, and promise. Like Emma, I feel that it is perfect and beautiful, but can only be held onto for minutes before its gone.

I was excited for today's subject, Sunrise, and was then disappointed when I woke up to cloudy skies and a not so spectacular sunrise.

However, after looking more closely I decided that this sunrise is a good reflection of where I am today. Not too spectacular, just doing what I am supposed to do without any pizzaz. I love though that behind those dark clouds (they look kind of like mountains) some brightness is shining through. There is even a streak of light from an airplane flying by. I like to think of those bits of light as what lies ahead for me while I am stuck in these dark clouds.

Here are a few of the more spectacular sunrises that I have photographed in the last few weeks. All are without a filter and taken with the camera on my piece of junk phone (can't wait for my iPhone to arrive!)

And the best one for last. Anyone else think the cloud between the two trees looks like a little angel?