Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Dear newly bereaved mother

Dear newly bereaved mother,

I couldn’t help but see you today at the cemetery. I saw your slow walk from the car to his special spot, I noticed the pain in your eyes as you loving tended to your boy’s grave and the way you lent on your husband for support. Emotions so familiar to me were painted on not just your face but on your whole being. I wished I could have jumped out of my car and offered you some comfort. I desperately wished there was something I could do. But when it’s been one month since your baby died, what comfort is there to be had? What answers could a stranger possibly have, especially when you are standing at the exact place you said your final goodbyes to your precious son?

Sweet mumma, I know what it’s like to be so overcome with the need to go to your baby’s grave but so overcome with pain when actually standing there. I know how wrong it is to place flowers on a grave when you should be placing your baby in the cot. The need to have everything perfect at your baby’s special place is one I am well acquainted with and one that hasn’t yet gone away. I know what it’s like to mother a memory, rather than mother a cooing baby. I know how hard it is.

My story is no doubt different to yours, as each of us travel along a similar but unique path. But newly bereaved mother, it’s only nine months since I was you; nine months since my daughter was born silently and still. To those further along this road than me, I am still newly bereaved. But even nine months along, I want to offer you hope. Going to the cemetery (or holding your baby’s ashes) won’t always be so painful, one day it might bring you peace. The walk from the car to your baby’s grave will get easier, and while your husband’s support is always there, you will get stronger and be able to do more on your own.

Dear mumma, I know you worry that letting go of the intense grief and pain is somehow the same of letting go of your little one. But it’s not; nothing will take away the love you have for them. I know you think about them every day and feel a flood of guilt if there is one day when you don’t. I want to encourage you that even if you don’t actively think of them, their memory is always with you, actively remembered or not. I know the outrage you feel when someone says something that implies your little one is unimportant. Don’t listen to them – your gorgeous baby matters, they are and will always your much loved child. You have every right to walk away from people who believe otherwise, but I know that sometimes walking away takes more strength than you have. My prayer is that there will always be someone alongside you to either help you walk away or comfort you in the pain of other’s words. Not everyone understands this pain, dear mumma, but some of us do. Even though you feel it at times, you are never completely alone.

Your baby is precious, and I’m so very sorry you don’t have them in your arms. It isn’t fair.

Sincerely,


The other mum at the cemetery


Saturday, October 26, 2013

How to catch a dragonfly

Once upon a time there was a baby girl. Baby Girl was so loved and wanted by everyone who knew she was on her way and her arrival was eagerly anticipated. Baby Girl's Mummy and Daddy were devastated to learn that her heart had stopped beating before her lungs even got the chance to breathe.

After Mummy and Daddy spent some time with their little one, Baby Girl was buried and her parents set about the task of making her special place look as special as it could. A bunch of bright pink fake hibiscus flowers was placed there, so her place would never be without some colour. A beautiful granite plaque was ordered and set in place, forever acknowledging Baby Girl's life. Mummy and Daddy visited regularly, bringing fresh flowers for their Baby Girl. But something was still missing. 

One day, Mummy visited Baby Girl at dusk. She noticed that many other parents had placed solar lights with their babies, lighting up the area and adding a touch of beauty to an otherwise sad place. And that's when she decided that a solar light would be a perfect addition to Baby Girl's special place. Daddy agreed, and the search began. 

For months Mummy and Daddy casually looked in the shops, searching for the perfect light. And then one day, they found it! A beautiful pink and yellow dragonfly, with blue eyes (just like Baby Girl). Not only would this light be beautiful at night, the colour in the dragonfly ensured it would look beautiful in the sun too. Mummy and Daddy were very excited to have finally found the right light for Baby Girl. They decided to buy two dragonflies - one for Baby Girl's special place and a matching one for their garden. That way, they could look out of their kitchen window each day, see their dragonfly and know a matching one was with Baby Girl. 

The day came when Mummy and Daddy could go visit Baby Girl's special spot to place the dragonfly. It looked as perfect as they had hoped! Mummy and Daddy left, happy to have a light for Baby Girl. They couldn't wait to come back at dusk one day and see the dragonfly lit up, joining the other babies' lights shining over their special places. 

But when Mummy and Daddy returned to Baby Girl's special place a week later, they were devastated to find the dragonfly missing. They searched the area, hoping that it had simply blown away in the wind. But they had no success; their dragonfly had gone. Mummy and Daddy had heard of things being stolen from graves but they never thought it would happen to Baby Girl's grave. But it had. 

Feeling pretty miserable, Mummy and Daddy decided to go back to the shop to buy Baby Girl another dragonfly, as well as one to keep as a spare. But when they looked in the shops, Baby Girl's dragonfly was no where to be seen. Three stores were searched and three stores did not have them. Mummy and Daddy decided to talk to someone at the store to see if more dragonflies could be ordered in, only to be told that the dragonflies were a promotional item and would not be back in stock. Mummy was particularly upset. Months of searching had gone into finding those lights, only to be undone by one heartless act. The matching dragonfly at their home no longer reminded her of precious Baby Girl, but of one person's callous act. 

Unsure of what to do and desperate for a matching light, Mummy went to the one place she knew people would understand her pain - the online community of Sands Parents. The support Mummy had found in this group of baby loss parents had been so valuable in the past and she knew it wouldn't fail her now. She was right. The response she got when she asked people to look in the local stores was overwhelming; so many people around Australia were going to look for Baby Girl's dragonfly, with one lady even asking her friends to look also. Their loving response helped restore Mummy's faith in humanity. 

After posting her request in the Facebook group, Mummy noticed that a friend in her home town was currently at a store that sold the lights. She hastily sent a message, practically begging him to look for the dragonfly. When he was unsuccessful in finding a matching one, he instead purchased a similar set to send and found out which stores would offer the best chance of finding the right one. The lights he sent now shine brightly outside of what would have been Baby Girl's room at home, a reminder of people's generosity. 

In the meantime, the search for Baby Girl's dragonfly contined around Australia. Members of the Sands community searched their local stores, sharing Baby Girl's story in the hope of locating a matching dragonfly. Mummy asked another online community (this one based in her home town) to try their local stores. Once again, the response brought her to tears. No one locally was able to find a matching dragonfly, but the fact that they had searched the stores meant more to Mummy than they will ever know. 

Then one morning, Mummy checked her phone messages to see this:


One of Mummy's closest friends, and a member of the Sands community, had found Baby Girl's dragonfly! It was all Mummy could do not to become a blubbering mess in the middle of the supermarket. Baby Girl could have her dragonfly back! Everyone in the Sands community rejoiced with Mummy, so happy that Baby Girl's dragonfly had been found. 

In total, three of Baby Girl's dragonflies have been sent to Mummy and Daddy, along with the two pretty-but-not-the-same dragonflies sent by their local friend. Not only will a dragonfly once again light up Baby Girl's special place, but Mummy and Daddy will have a garden of dragonflies to constantly remind them of the love and support shown by the communities they are in. 

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you catch a dragonfly.


Bloom where you're planted

I couldn't help but notice the lone purple daisy next to the driveway. I didn't even know there was a daisy plant there, I thought the only daisy bushes were further down. I took a second look to confirm that yes, this flower was indeed part of a small plant, hidden by some weeds and other bushes.

How odd, I thought to myself, one lone flower, so far from where I thought it belonged.

And then I heard something that stopped me in my tracks.

Bloom where you're planted, whispered the still small voice of God.

What? I asked. Bloom? Here? In a place of sorrow and pain? In a community that no one wants to be in, because the only way to gain membership is to lose a child?

The answer? Bloom where you're planted.



The flower was not where I thought it belonged. It was not where I would have looked if was to go searching for a purple daisy. I am not where I thought I belonged; I'm not where I would have looked if I was looking for somewhere to bloom. I argued with God for the next little while.

How can I possibly bloom here? I don't want to bloom here, I want to be somewhere else, somewhere that isn't a result of my daughter's death.

God's gentle reply was becoming familiar, bloom where you're planted.

So I guess that's what I'll do. I have my bad days, the days when I want to yell and scream at others, at myself, at the world. Days when I sit down to write and all that comes out are words of confusion and hurt; those are the posts that get labelled as "drafts", to be shared on a later day when I'm not feeling so vulnerable or afraid to be honest. The bad days are when the closest I get to blooming is being "blooming angry" that my daughter isn't here and the world has moved on. As the nine month anniversary approaches, those days are becoming more frequent. And it was on one of those days when I heard God's voice: bloom where you're planted.

So Deeper Still is me trying to bloom where I'm planted. Writing on Still Standing is me trying to bloom where I'm planted. Even simply getting out of bed each day is me trying to bloom where I'm planted.

This is not how it should be
This is not how it could be
This is how it is
And our God is in control
-Steven Curtis Chapman-

Friday, October 25, 2013

Do you remember? Do you know?

Do you remember my first baby?

Do you remember that it's only been nine months since we said goodbye?

Do you remember that I still miss her?

Do you remember that my husband misses her too?

Do you remember that no matter what happens with this pregnancy, my first baby died

Do you remember that I am a mother?

Do you remember?


Do you know that grief isn't linear?

Do you know that me sleeping in some mornings is my way of coping; that it is not a "luxury" and I wish it wasn't an option?

Do you know how much it means to me, to us, when you speak about our daughter?

Do you know stillbirth isn't something you can catch by talking about it?

Do you know how much it hurts when people act as though it is?

Do you know that my continuing grief doesn't mean I am not trusting God?

Do you know?

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Capture Your Grief: Days 16-22

DAY SIXTEEN: SEASONS


When I think about Christmas, I feel a bit like this ornament: shattered. Last Christmas, I was almost eight months pregnant, full of excitement and anticipation. This Christmas, I will be just over eight months pregnant and I expect I'll have rather mixed emotions. Excitement and anticipation at the fast approaching birth of this little one, but knowing that Ariella's birthday is also approaching. I feel like this Christmas will be too similar to the last one, but without my little girl in my arms.

DAY SEVENTEEN: TIME


As of October 17, it had been 37 weeks and 1 day since Ariella was born. It's fast approaching the day that means she's been gone longer than she was alive. I have grand plans for that day: nothing. I'm not going to schedule anything, I'm not going to make any commitments. I'm going to allow myself to be as sad as I need to be.

DAY EIGHTEEN: RELEASE


I already blogged about this one. You can find that post here.

DAY NINETEEN: SUPPORT


Out of all the people in my life, my greatest support has been my husband Marcus. I literally cried when choosing this picture because it got me thinking about all the things he has done for me his year. He's a pretty incredible man, and I feel so blessed to have him. He's been an incredible support to me even though he's been going through his own grief. I love you Marcus.

DAY TWENTY: HOPE


This is another picture that I've already blogged about, you can read it here. My hope is in Christ alone.

DAY TWENTY-ONE: HONOUR


To honour Ariella, I am raising money for Heartfelt Camera Kits. For all the details, read My Birthday Wish.

DAY TWENTY-TWO: WORDS


This Bible verse has been one that I have clung to all year long. I cannot wait for the day when I get to Heaven, and death will no longer exist. My little girl will be in my arms again, and I won't ever have to say goodbye to her again. Ironically, while this verse promises that one day there will be no more crying, I cannot read this verse without tearing up!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Some rather exciting news

Some of you may have heard of Still Standing Magazine. It's an online magazine/blog dedicated to writing about all aspects of infertility and pregnancy/infant loss. Still Standing's mission statement is:
In the face of loss and infertility, our mission is to show the world that we are still standing. Holding fast to resilience and hope. Our mission is to help you embrace life for everything that it is after experiencing the loss of a child or infertility.
I can't remember when I first came across the site, but I'm so glad I did. Over the past nine months, I have found immense comfort and healing in the articles posted there. They encourage people to submit guest posts, and so one day I decided I might give it a go. After a particularly difficult day, I wrote a piece called Perfectionism and Loss. It was about my struggles with wanting (needing?) things to be perfect and feeling like a failure after Ariella's death. I submitted it as a guest post, and was rather stunned to have it accepted. It was published on October 14 and if you haven't read it already, you can find it here.

In the weeks between having the post accepted and it being published, Still Standing put out a call for more regular contributors on their Facebook page. Maybe it was because I was still on a slight high from having the guest post accepted, but I decided to reply. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect to get picked, but in the spirit of "do things without being scared of failure" (that I wrote about in Perfectionism and Loss) I thought it was worth a shot. When I got an email from the editor saying that they wanted me to join the team, I think I went into shock. 

Me? Regularly posting on the site that has been one of the biggest helps to me this year? It seemed too crazy to be true. But it is true. As of November, I will be posting once a month on Still Standing Magazine! I'm so very excited, and also quite nervous. But looking forward to it nonetheless! 



Sunday, October 20, 2013

The tree of grief

There's a tree outside my house that, all year long, has represented my grief. Before Ariella was born, its branches were full of leaves and it was beautifully green. It looked so full of life. Soon after her death, the leaves started to die and then they all dropped. The tree entered into a long winter before tiny shoots of life began to show. It is now spring and the tree has much more life in it. It's branches are no longer barren and dry, they are covered in vibrant green leaves. Seeing the tree's leaves start to come back gave me hope that perhaps my joy would come back. A few days ago, I went out to the tree and saw this:

Capture Your Grief: Day 20

A cross. 

In the middle of this tree was a small cross. I couldn't believe my eyes! I wouldn't have seen it if I hadn't looked closely, but nevertheless it was there.In the middle of my "tree of grief" was a cross; a reminder to me that God has been with me throughout my grief journey. I had always thought this particular tree represented my grief and now I realise just how much it does. When I look at this year from a distance, it can be hard to see God in it. But when I look closer, He is there. Right in the centre. He always has been, even at the times when I didn't notice. 

I took a photo, just because I wanted to. I then realised that the prompt for Capture Your Grief day 20 was hope and knew this was the perfect photo. My hope is Christ, that in the chaos, confusion and pain of this year, He is always with me. Through Him, and Him alone, can I be sure that my daughter is safe and that I will see her again.

Grief has cycles, just like this tree goes through the seasons. It just so happened that the tree's cycle was the same as my grief's. My true hope is not the hope that my spring will come, rather, my hope is in Jesus Christ, who is with me throughout my journey, even if He is hard to see sometimes. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

When you don't want to forgive

The prompt for today's Capture Your Grief challenge was release. It was a difficult one - what have I released over the past nine months? Or what did I want to release? After a few days of thinking about it, I realised that I have released a few things: anger and control.

Some people have done and said some extremely hurtful things to my husband and I since Ariella's birth. I think I've been angry more this year than ever before. But I also know that there's no point in holding on to that anger. It doesn't do anything except make me stew over it and get more angry and hurt. And there's not a lot of point in doing that. I've also learnt that I really can't control a lot of things. To begin with, I couldn't control what happened to Ariella; I did everything "right" during pregnancy and she still died. I can't control what people say or do to me; I can control my reaction. Which brings me to the last thing I have had to release:

Unforgiveness.

Capture Your Grief: Day 18

As a Christian, I believe that God has forgiven all that I've done wrong and that I need to forgive others. Sometimes that is easy to do, especially if the offense was minor. But what about when I don't want to forgive? Do I have to forgive the person that referred to Ariella's pregnancy as a "practice run"? What about the person who went from speaking to me weekly, to only speaking to me twice in these past nine months? What about those people whose actions made me physically sick and caused a lot of anxiety? Do I really have to forgive them? Yes. I believe I do. But when it boils down to it, I don't want to.

So what do I do?

I have two choices: I can either retain or release my unforgiveness. I decided to go with the later, as hard as it was. I wish I could tell you that it was easy. That I was a "good Christian" and forgave quickly. That I have completely released my unforgiveness. But I can't, because that would be a lie. Even though I knew it was the right thing to do, I struggled a lot. However, holding on to the unforgiveness was only hurting me. Whenever I would think about it or see the people who had hurt me, it would eat away at me and cause more hurt. As well as believing God wants me to forgive, I needed to do so for my own sake.

I know I'm not the only person who has been hurt by people's words or actions after losing a baby. And that's why I decided to write this post. I don't have all the answers, but I wanted to share how I have been able to release the unforgiveness that I had been holding onto so tightly.

Firstly, I prayed. The Bible records a story of a man saying "Lord I believe, help my unbelief" and I found myself saying a similar thing: Lord, I forgive, help my unforgiveness. God wants us to forgive but He doesn't expect us to be perfect. And He never promises that it would be easy to forgive others, although he does promise that in Him we will have the strength to do so (Phil 4:13). I wanted to forgive these people, but at the same time, I just couldn't. I needed His help to deal with the unforgiveness.

Secondly, I had to choose to forgive. If I waited until I felt like I could forgive, I'd still be waiting. It wasn't a once-off choice either. Some days I had to make that choice multiple times. But over time, the choice became easier.

Finally, I want to encourage you that there's no need to forgive all in one go, take the steps you can and each step will help you get to the point when you can truly release your unforgiveness. Also, I don't think forgiving someone will remove the hurt at their actions. You are allowed to still feel hurt, even if you have forgiven the offender. Forgiving them does not make their actions right, but it does free you from the grip that their actions have on your life.

Forgiving someone is often hard. But as a Christian, I do believe God tells us to forgive others. And even if you aren't a Christian, I don't think unforgiveness is healthy.** It will eat away at you, whereas forgives provides freedom. It's a hard road to walk, but I truly believe it is worth releasing your unforgiveness, even when you don't want to forgive.

**I realised I had put "I don't think unbelief is healthy". I meant to write unforgiveness, not unbelief. I'm sorry!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Capture Your Grief: Days 6-15

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
 8.5 months along the road of grief; a lifetime to go. I am pregnant again and some days are brighter than others. But no matter what, I'm still on the road of grief. Sometimes it's a lonely road, sometimes people forget that it is the road I am on. But no matter what, I always have my husband with me. I would have got him in the photo too, except he was the one behind the camera. Just like I couldn't have taken this photo without him, I can't do life without him.


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.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

My birthday wish

For the past little while, I've been dreading my birthday (and Christmas, but that's a story for a different time). My birthday is November 10, a little under a month away. Just the thought of a significant day without my baby girl was enough to make me get teary, and part of me just wanted to ignore the day altogether.

But then I had a thought - why not let this birthday make a difference?

One of my most treasured possessions are the photographs of Ariella that were taken by a Heartfelt photographer, Karen. If you haven't heard of Heartfelt, they organise for professional photographers to come take photographs of babies who are stillborn or premature, and children with serious or terminal illnesses. The incredible thing is that this service is free. Absolutely free. We received over 70 photos on a disc, and around 20 professionally printed. Karen, if you're reading this, thank you.

Photos are such a precious thing to bereaved parents, because in one sense, they are all we have left of our babies. I love being able to flick through Ariella's album, and know that I will never have to worry about forgetting what she looked like or having that memory fade.

The problem is that sometimes it is impossible for a Heartfelt photographer to respond to a request. All the photographers are volunteers, and while they frequently go out of their way to make it to hospitals or homes, sometimes it just cannot be done. Many hospitals do have a camera, so parents can at least get one photo of their precious bub. However, many of these cameras aren't all that great, leaving parents with grainy, fuzzy photos as their only images.

Heartfelt have begun putting together Camera Kits to donate to hospitals that are in need of a better camera. Each kit contains:
*Quality compact camera (engraved) chosen for its ability to work in low light situations and to work closeup
*A compact printer that can be taken into the room so families can be given a print straight away
*Paper and ink supplies
*Camera case
*An inservice from an experienced Heartfelt member

From Hearfelt's website

I want to make this birthday count. How often do we give or receive presents that, while nice, go unused after a while? There has to be a better way. Since I am somewhat dreading this birthday, I wanted to do something to make the day seem worthwhile. And that's when I decided what my birthday wish is this year:

My birthday wish is to raise enough money to donate a camera kit to a hospital in need.

The total cost of a kit is currently $860. It's a lot of money, I know. I have no idea if I will be able to raise enough, but I want to try. Please be assured that even if the total is not reached, the money will still be going to Heartfelt and will contribute to a camera kit.

If you were thinking of buying me a present, would you please put the money towards this instead? If you wanted to buy me a card, please consider donating that $5 to this cause instead. If you had been thinking about donating to an organisation in memory of Ariella, please donate to this cause.

You can donate by going to the mycause fundraising page I have set up by clicking here. The money donated via this site gets sent to Heartfelt monthly, clearly labelled so that Heartfelt know what project the money is for. You can donate on this site using PayPal or a credit card. If you have any troubles, please just send me a note (on my Facebook page or email to loveisdeeperstill AT gmail.com) and I can work something out for you.

I don't know what hospital will receive the kit, and I like that. When Karen donated her time to come to the hospital, take photos and then edit them, she was doing something incredibly kind for people that she didn't know. I like the idea of giving a camera kit to whatever hospital needs it most, whether I have a connection to that place or not.

I know it's a big goal. Maybe it will have to be my "birthday and Christmas wish". I guess we'll see.

**UPDATE - I'm already blown away by donations. The new aim is two camera kits. No matter how much is raised, it will all go to Heartfelt**

**UPDATE TWO - Apparently the PayPal option isn't appearing on the mycause site. If you want to use PayPal, please send me an email (address is further up in this post) and I will reply with my personal PayPal address. Then I will send  that money to Heartfelt on your behalf. Sorry for any inconvenience! **

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Capture Your Grief: Days 1-5

DAY ONE: SUNRISE

I took this photo at 6:50am, so I did miss the actual sunrise. However, I love that I missed it, as I had actually slept well that night and didn't wake up in time! Given that I haven't been sleeping well lately, I was more than happy to sacrifice a sunrise photo for a good sleep.


DAY TWO: IDENTITY

Ariella: lioness of God.
Jade: precious gem; my own middle name.
Born: Wednesday, January 30, 2013, at 9am after around 20 hours of labour.
Weight: 3125g (6lb 14oz)
Length: 54cm (21.25in)
Features: deep blue eyes; brown wavy hair; long fingers and toes.
Our much loved daughter.


DAY THREE: MYTH

While I have never heard the exact statement in the photo, I have heard similar sentiments. They hurt to hear and they aren't true. A subsequent pregnancy does not take away the sadness of our daughter's death. We rejoice over this baby while still grieving the death of our first. This baby will never replace Ariella. If your spouse died, I doubt you would like people telling you "you can always remarry, and then you'll be happy." The same goes for a subsequent pregnancy. I wrote a poem based on this photo, which can be found here.


DAY FOUR: LEGACY

I wasn't sure what photo to take for this day.What is my daughter's legacy? Does she have one? I thought about the friendships that have developed since Ariella's death, but I didn't have any photos with those lovely ladies. And then I thought about this blog. I write to honour her memory. In particular, I thought of my A-Z guide on helping bereaved parents. This is her legacy. It's by far my most read, shared and pinned post and I am grateful. I feel very passionate about teaching people know how best to help grieving parents, because it's such an important topic.


DAY FIVE: MEMORY 

I have so many memories from pregnancy and the days we spent with Ariella. One of my favourites happened frequently. Ariella would make my bump move all directions at once. Even though I knew how she was positioned, sometime I couldn't figure out how she was managing to move opposite parts of the bump. I used to say that we were clearly going to have a starfish for a child, as no ordinary baby could reach all the spots she could. When she was born, she seemed long. Once measured, we discovered she was 54cm long (about 4cm longer than average). Suddenly her movements made sense. Ariella will always be my starfish baby.

______________________________

It'll be a bit quiet on this blog as of tomorrow, because I will be away for a week long holiday! Ahh, I feel relaxed just thinking about it. A week away with my hubby, visiting a dear friend and catching up with some family. Life will get a whole lot busier on our return, thanks to a change in hubby's job, so this holiday has perfect timing. I'll be posting my daily photos on my Facebook page if you want to keep up to date with them. Otherwise, I'll blog about them on my return.

Bon voyage!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Please remember

Please remember,
I love my daughter,
I'll always miss her.

Please remember,
The "old me" is not going to come back,
My daughter's life and death have changed me.

Please remember,
You don't have to fix me,
I am at peace with missing my daughter.

Please remember,
Mentioning Ariella's name is not going to upset me,
It's going to make me smile that you acknowledge her.

Please remember,
How much you take pride in your children,
I am no different to you.

Please remember,
A subsequent pregnancy does not take away the sadness of our daughter's death,
We rejoice over this baby while still grieving the death of our first.

Please remember,
This baby is not going to "fix" us,
We will always be aware of what we missed with our first baby.

Please remember,
I am not going to get over our daughter's death,
I will get through it, but I'll always miss her because I will always love her.

Please. Remember.

Day 3 of Capture Your Grief: Myths

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Hope in the darkness

I live near a park, so it's common to hear birds chirping away throughout the day. I hear them first thing in the morning, and it can be so lovely to open the doors or windows and hear them as I go about my day. But last night, they were chirping as I went to sleep. Since when do bird chirp (continuously) at 11, 11:30 at night? It was very strange, but it made me smile. The birds sounded so cheerful, even in the pitch black of night.

And that made me realise something:

Day 1 of Capture Your Grief: Sunrise.

Some days feel like the night; they seem dark and you just want to sleep through them. And I have to confess, yesterday was one of those days. I couldn't think of why, as it wasn't a significant date. A friend suggested that maybe it's due to the emotions that doing the Capture Your Grief challenge is bringing to the surface. I think she might be right. For whatever reason, yesterday was a dark day.

But just as the birds were singing in the darkness, there was hope in yesterday's darkness. A friendly older man to chat to while waiting in a line. An overseas friend who "happened" to not be able to sleep and was therefore awake when I needed to talk through some things. Another friend with good news to help me look beyond myself. Winning a fuel voucher. A cute maternity top for only $9. An email that I think contained some incredibly exciting news (although I'm just waiting for confirmation before I know for sure). A night spent with some wonderful friends. Knowing my husband would have today off work. Knowing it's just a few more days before a week long holiday.

Some days seem pretty dark. Yet there is always hope.


 
Blog Design by Franchesca Cox