One of the sessions at the 2014 Stillbirth Summit was a free writing workshop. After such an intense few days of medical research and information I was ready for a creative release. Although I’ve enjoyed writing for quite some time I haven’t really sat down in a creative sense since my days in college. I was shocked at how incredibly freeing it was. I was more shocked at how special it was to write TO my children.
We were asked to read the poem Beloved by Toni Morrison and write in response to a single line that spoke to us. The intention here was to write without ceasing or thought. Simply let the words pour out of you and then step back and see what you have. No editing. No picking apart. Just living with the words that came.
The line that I chose to respond to was, “You came back to me.” This is what came of that session.
You Came Back To Me
by Janelle Wourms
You came back to me.
You were lost and I was lost with you for what felt like forever.
The fog came in and darkened my door.
Where are you?
I need you.
The clouds broke one day from the corner window with the shade pulled tight.
Do I open it?
Are you there?
Can I find you once again?
My eternal hope sees you in my arms wrapped tightly.
Encircled in sunshine.
My break from the storm.
I step out into the darkened door and look for you.
Moments slip by and I see you in ways I never imagined.
The dragonfly darting by.
Three birds on a wire.
The warm sun on my face.
There it is.
The replacing warmth of your memory.
The pieces, fragmented still, but becoming clear.
Walking from the fog and grasping for your hand.
You are there.
You are there.
You are here.
You came back to me.
I’m honored to share another beautiful project in memory of a child gone too soon. My friend Jackie Sondrol (brought together through our mutual loss) recently started making these amazing Butterfly Boxes for women who suffer a miscarriage. I’ve felt so called to do something for all forms of baby loss but with the numbers in a larger city it’s a daunting task. Jackie, however, works in a little hospital in Deer River, MN. The smaller facility makes it possible for her to reach more people on every level and I just love that she’s reached out in this way to honor her son Aiden.
Jackie has also started a Facebook page, Aiden’s Wings of Awareness, to draw attention to information surrounding the loss of babies. I’d love for you to check it out.
Great work Jackie! I’m so proud to call you a friend and honored that we’ve been able to work together to help families in Northern Minnesota.
Read more about Jackie and her inspiration below.
If you’d like to donate to this project please use the Baby Loss Memory Box donation link on my home page and be sure to specific “Butterfly Boxes” in the notes field.
Butterfly Boxes by Aiden’s Wings
My inspiration behind these boxes came from a wonderful woman, whom I work with, that expressed to me the desire to provide mothers who have had to endure the pain of losing their baby to miscarriage with a remembrance memento.
My passion in bringing this idea to life came from my own son, Aiden, who was stillborn on August 20, 2013. Not a day goes by that we don’t miss our sweet baby boy. I am proud to be Aiden’s Mommy and grateful by how his life has touched so many already.
It is my hope that these mementos will offer families hope, healing and most importantly, to know that their baby is loved, honored and always remembered.
“Every life, no matter how fragile or brief, forever changes the world.” -Author Unknown
More to come in a full post about their second birthday. Thank you auntie Kaylie and cousin Parker for remembering our little ones.
Two years ago today – Valentine’s Day 2012 was a bittersweet day. Ten days prior we said goodbye to our sweet babies. Three days prior we had their memorial service. To say I wasn’t in a celebratory mood was an understatement. Our friends from church were getting together for a couples’ night out at one of our favorite restaurants and we were invited. These friends that felt like family. These friends who helped ensure our memorial service was perfectly prepared. These friends who had planned baby showers and then cancelled them upon my request. Who delivered care packages and surrounded us with comfort during a time when that seemed like a foreign word.
I remember digging through my drawers trying to find something to wear. Something that made me feel like me again. The old me. The me who enjoyed dinner parties and drinks with friends. The me who didn’t have five dead babies. I didn’t realize then that no matter how hard I tried to find her – she had forever changed.
Two weeks prior I was so proud of the weight I had gained. I gained it for my babies. I dedicated my days to filling my body with nutrition and calories to make strong bodies for the precious lives I carried. Now it was just fat. A reminder of what I didn’t have. I pulled on the one nice pair of maternity jeans I owned. Maternity jeans. Those are for women who are pregnant. A cruel reminder that I wasn’t. I found a soft sweater that my friend Natalie gave me. I remember always being so cold. I was used to sharing my tummy with three, warm little ones.
I sat at the table and felt like I was most positively ruining any joy that my friends would have had. I felt like a burden … not because of anything anyone there did or didn’t do/say … simply because I felt it was unfair to expect these wonderful friends to give even more of themselves for my sake that night. I felt like the elephant in the room. But I was there. I was proud of that somehow too.
I practiced living. I tried smiling. I talked about the weather. I asked how others were doing. I tried to respond genuinely when asked how I was doing. I tried. I practiced living among people who made that a safe place for me.
Two years later it’s hard for me to realize how much true joy I have in my life. There were days I was sure it would never come. Despite the love I knew had multiplied in my heart with the birth of my children, grief was delivered that day as well. Grief that overshadowed that love too many days to count. The comparative today is bittersweet. Lunch with my husband. A butterfly balloon and treat bag for my beautiful Nora. Smiles. Love – for all I have and for all I’ve had – for hope – for the new me regardless of how I got here.
I’m thankful for the love my friends showed me on a day when I had a hard time finding it on my own.
Filling out thank you cards for donations to my baby loss memory boxes. It hits me. Thirty little toes. I had THIRTY perfect little toes hidden safely in my tummy for 22 weeks. Oh how I wish I could kiss them today.
The summer of 2012 my neighbor Erica brought us some strawberry plants. It was so healing to walk outside and see LIFE growing. It felt good to take care of something with hopes of fruit. Guess how many strawberries we got from those plants?
April 2013 we visited Charleston, SC for a getaway, just Nate and I. As we were walking down rainbow row we found Elliott Street. Yes, an extra “t”. It still made me think of my son and smile. I love the big “One Way” sign pointing slightly up. We remember you Elliot!