DAY SIX: RITUAL
I had a lot of trouble trying to think of any rituals that I had for Ariella. I visit the cemetery often, but not on a set day or anything. She hasn't been gone long enough to have birthday rituals. So I did what I often do: I asked my husband for ideas! And sure enough, he had one. He reminded me that everyday I wear my Ariella Jade necklace. I actually have two of them, this one, which was gifted to me by the Adelaide Baby Wearers, and another from Held Your Whole Life (which will feature in a later photograph).
DAY SEVEN: YOU NOW
DAY EIGHT: COLOUR
Red, white and teal all remind me of Ariella. They are the colour of our clothes in our Heartfelt photos, Ariella's aunt made this cushion and two quilts that feature these colours, and the sheets we had bought for her cot even had those colours! None of it was planned, but I suppose when you have to buy gender neutral things, your colour choice drops a little! While these three colours remind me of her, it's not a case of "I see them and think of her." It's more that red, white and teal are what I come up with when I need to have something!
DAY NINE: MUSIC
Rather than pick one song, I decided to pick an album. Beauty Will Rise, by Steven Curtis Chapman, is an album all about loss, faith and hope. Chapman's five year old daughter tragically died in an accident and this album contains songs he wrote in response. I love how the songs present a real look into grief and faith, and how they combine. That very issue is one I have been trying to figure out! This album played nonstop in my car for months and is still a regular feature. Particular favourite songs include Beauty Will Rise, Faithful, and Heaven is the Face. But I would recommend all of them!
DAY TEN: BELIEFS
I believe that Jesus died and rose again, and that through His sacrifice, we can spend eternity in Heaven with God. Ariella just has a head start on me! I am in no way perfect, and I'm still working out exactly what faith looks like after loss. But if I trust and praise God in the easy times, I need to trust and praise Him now. Or else I didn't really have faith before hand. My daughter was stillborn, but my God is still good.
DAY ELEVEN: TRIGGERS
I figured it was impossible to take a photo of everything in my life, so I went for this instead. While many, many things are triggers for me, one of the worst occurred when I flicked the calendar to August. On August 5 was written the words "return capsule". That day marked six months since Ariella's due date, and the day we should have been returning the car capsule we had hired. Instead, that capsule had been returned within a week of Ariella's birthday. Seeing those words was an unexpected shock, and reminded me both of how much time had passed and just how different to my plans that life has turned out.
DAY TWELVE: ARTICLE
I have read so many blogs and articles since Ariella was born and I thought it would be impossible to pick just one. But while I was scanning through some of my favourite blogs, I came across an article that had meant so much to me at the time: A Hiatus of Sorts, by my friend Sarah. In it, she describes how she needed to take a break from being positive, from feeling anything other than sad about her sweet Evie's death. I've always been an optimist, bu it was so, so hard to be positive after Ariella's death. When I read this article, it gave me the freedom to really feel sad and awful. To realise just how much my daughter's death sucked, and to know that acknowledging that didn't mean I wasn't trusting God. So thank you Sarah.
DAY THIRTEEN: BOOK
For the "music" picture, I photographed the booklet from Steven Curtis Chapman's album. Well, this book is his wife's response to their daughter's death. It really is an inspirational story, and I love what the title implies. It's a choice to see God in tragedy; it's choice to trust Him even when we can't see Him. We can choose hope, we can choose strength.
I also highly recommend the books Heaven is For Real (Todd Burpo), I Will Carry You (Angie Smith), and Celebrating Pregnancy Again (Franchesca Cox).
DAY FOURTEEN: FAMILY
Someone made a comment to me recently about "when we start a family". I was a bit stunned... our family began last year when I was pregnant with Ariella. It still existed even though she had died, and it expanded this year when I became pregnant with our second bub. Our family is a husband, a wife, a baby in Heaven (the missing piece of our hearts) and a baby on the way.
DAY FIFTEEN: WAVE OF LIGHT
October 15 is the International Remembrance Day for pregnancy and infant loss. At 7pm, candles are lit to remember the precious little ones gone too soon. They stay lit for one hour, and given the different time zones across the world, these candles create a "wave of light" in recognition of little lives lost. I lit five candles: one for my Ariella, one each for Baby Pearce, June Bug and Samuel, the babies of some of my close friends, and one for the other babies I know of who are no longer with us, including Evie, Lucy, Levi, Desiree, and Jonah.