Wednesday, January 27, 2016


I wrote this at the start of the month, but it holds true especially tonight, on the eve of the worst day of the year:

Tick. Tick. Tick.

The minutes tick by and I'm aware that Seanna may wake at any moment. It's past midnight, we're all sick and I could certainly use the rest. Except I can't sleep. 

Because it's January. 

Aside from Levi's birthday, that oh so wonderful day at the start of the month, there's not much I like about this month. I mean, what is there to like about the month my daughter died in? I've never downloaded Timehop because I didn't want unexpected reminders; I didn't think I could handle it. But now Facebook shows memories in my newsfeed "because they care about me". Thanks for that Facebook. I can't say I wanted to be reminded of how excited people were to meet our baby...the baby they never actually did meet. Because she died. And every January that fact keeps me awake. 

I hate you January. 
I wish you'd let me sleep. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Three years of Celebrating Ariella Jade

Ariella turns three this week! As we have done in previous years, we invite you to celebrate and remember her with us. We'll be lighting a candle on her Heaven Day and watching the sunset on her birthday (if Levi and Seanna don't need to be in bed first!). Would you join us? We would absolutely love to see photos of you celebrating our girl - please post here in the comments, on Facebook or Instagram using #celebratingariellajade . I know some people like to make a donation in her name (although of course there is NO pressure to do so) - our favourite organisations are HeartfeltSands and SIDS and Kids, but any donation in her name are appreciated. However you celebrate her this week, please tell us about it. It brings a smile to our hurting hearts. Thank you!

Hiroshima, Ariella, and Beauty from Ashes

Late last year we visited my sister in Japan and while there, we spent some time in Hiroshima. What a hauntingly beautiful place. As we wondered through the Peace Park I found myself swept away by the park's beauty, even momentarily forgetting the horror that is the sole reason it exists. 

Beauty from ashes.

I chose to have an audio guide as I walked through the museum. (It's a small device with pre recorded explanations on it.) I knew from what friends had told me that you'd hear more stories by having one than you would just by reading the signs that accompanied each photo or object. They were right. Even today, two months later, my thoughts are captured by one short sentence said by the guide:

I am the one with the bad luck to survive.

Words spoken by a mother whose child had died. I couldn't help but relate. In saying that, I am not comparing Ariella's stillbirth to the atrocity that was committed against the people of Hiroshima. Not at all. But the words of a grieving mama transcend situations and time. My heart broke as I heard those words, knowing the emotional pain she must have experienced to say that she was the unlucky one, even though she survived. Some days it really does feel like that. 

Another story I cannot forget is the story of this tricycle. A grieving father could not bear the thought of burying his toddler alone. So he buried his boy's trike with him. When the boy's remains were relocated years later to be with family, the tricycle was donated to the memorial museum. As I reflected on the tricycle and the father's grief, memories of trying to chose what to bury Ariella in and with came flooding back. It was hard, unexplainably hard. At least we had time and space to decide. This poor father did not. 

Wandering the streets of Hiroshima, it was hard to imagine the devastation that flattened the city 50 years before. It was hard to believe and acknowledge that it was my country's ally that had inflicted such suffering. Never again. But it was also inspiring to see how Hiroshima had created beauty from ashes. The Peace Park was honestly one of the most beautiful places I have seen. My hope is that I can create just as much beauty (or more accurately, allow God to create it) in the ashes of life after Ariella. 

Thursday, January 21, 2016


I first notice it in December, when the birthdays begin. Little children turning three. We were pregnant at the same time, their mamas and I. I thought our children would grow up together; I remember waiting to hear their names and hoping none would share a name with our baby. I remember laughing as one was given a name we had seriously considered and I was so glad we had chosen a different one. I didn't realise just how sacred her name would become. 

I notice it again at Christmas, in the glaring absence of one precious little girl. There's silence where her laughter should be and her present being opened by her brother...not her. 

It hits once more on New Years Eve as I remember the joy and hope of NYE 2012. We welcomed in the year on the beach, laughing with friends and trying to find someone with matches so we could light our sparklers. 2013 was a year filled with hope and anticipation. Until it wasn't. 

And then the end of January draws near. The heaviness that has been lurking since December gets stronger. Darker. Suffocating-er. I didn't realise grief could be so physical. 

I cannot breathe.

Because, next week. 

Next week is the Australia Day public holiday. The day we found out she had died. The date changes but the memories don't. 

Next week is her Heaven Day, when our sweet baby girl arrived in Heaven. My sad day. When the heaviness is as heavy as heavy can be. 

Next week is her birthday. The day I felt a rush of love I had never felt before but also a sorrow I had never felt before. The day I caught her as she was born and smiled because she was indeed a she, just as I had suspected. Next week we'll picnic on the beach and write her name in the sand. Because the day she entered our lives is worth celebrating. 
Next week she'd be three. 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Long time no write!

It's been a while since I wrote something here. I haven't felt like I've had much to say and when I do, it's been for my monthly posts on Still Standing Magazine, Pregnancy After Loss Support (PALS) or the occasional post for Sands Australia. Since I posted here last we have been blessed to welcome another little girl into our family. Our sweet Seanna Hope is now 3 months old, born safely after another stressful pregnancy. I shared my pregnancy journey on PALS and you can read her birth story there too. I cannot put into words how healing her labour and birth were. Maybe one day I'll try.

With our little Seanna, photo by Karen Pfeiffer Photography

Life feels full these days. I never expected to be able to say that, considering our precious Ariella is always missing. When she died I searched out so many blogs; I needed to know my grief wasn't an isolated experience. I was in a place of devastating grief and I feel like most of my posts were written in that place. But I'm not there anymore, the son has starting shining again and as a result I've written less. I had found so many grief blogs but not as many that continued sharing life after the initial heavy grief had passed. I (subconsciously) thought my blog needed to be the same and stay grief focused. I'm not even sure how I put that expectation on myself but I want to break free of that. It IS possible for life to be good again. There is hope after child loss. There is joy after intense grief. And if my two littlies allow me time to write, this is what I hope to show!

(Thanks to the beautiful Franchesca Cox for my new blog design)
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