Day 21. Altar/Shrine/Sacred Space Share a photo of your special place in your home/garden for your baby/ies/child/ren.
My thoughts: I don’t know if I necessarily have a sacred place. Maybe their burial area will eventually feel that way to me. For now their ashes live here (they’re box is behind the picture frame in this photo). I have my trio of candles and the peace lily from my grandma’s funeral where I put the three little dragonfly garden decorations. I see them every day. I tried to hide this photo after the funeral but my daughter wouldn’t let me put it in the box, “No mommy we need to see the babies!” It ripped my heart out at first. I dodged this area with my eyes every day. Now I look at it with pain but mixed with joy. I can look at their features instead of just the pain they represent in the hole in my heart. I pause here daily. They are beautiful and perfect in every way and I’m thankful for this place in my home – the center of my home. This is the first time I’m sharing their picture and I do it with slight hesitation. The world wide web is a dangerous place at times so I post this with prayers that this image is respected to every extent possible. I share it with hopes that people can see how perfect they are and love them with us. (We love you Alexis Marie, Elliot Nathan, and Alice Mae Wourms).
Day 20. Charity/Organization Share your favourite charity or organization that has touched your heart on this road of grief. If you don’t have a photograph to share, just simply post the link to their website!
My thoughts: I have two organizations that have meant the world to me. The first is called Threads of Love. This is the group who made the beautifully handmade, perfect little gowns and bonnets for my babies. They also each had a flannel blanket and a hand knit blanket. I don’t know if those are from this group or if the nurses just added those for us. I can’t even put into words what these things mean to us. They are all I have that they touched and wore. I’ve typed this sentence three times and I just can’t put it into words. So I won’t try. They are priceless to me and I struggled washing them. I’m thankful for the love and care my mom took washing and pressing them – and for my dad’s phone call to remind me to ask for them from the funeral home. I plan to donate some of the money from the funeral to this organization. If you’d like to give as well there is a link on the site here. Please donate in their memory.
The second organization that has meant the world to me is CarlyMarie’s Project Heal names in the sand. The woman who hosted this conversation/inspiration blessed me with each baby’s name written in the sand at sunset and I cherish them as well. I made the print above for a canvas wrap and it’s on my bedroom wall. I love seeing their names together.
SIX YEARS AGO TODAY: Post ectopic surgery. Another friend’s wedding. Another bridesmaid dress taken out and still too small post-surgery. Thankful for the groom’s father who ordered the ushers to help me throughout the day. I sat through most of the ceremony and reception.
ONE YEAR AGO TODAY = 7 weeks pregnant: Second ultrasound and meeting with the perinatologist. We refused selective reduction and she said this to us, “It would be terribly sad for you to lose these babies before 24 weeks (there’s a 15-30% chance of natural miscarriage up to 24 weeks which is the point of possible survivability for babies), but if they were born between 24-28 weeks and survived, you’d have 3 very sick babies to take care of for the rest of your life. Not one sick baby. Three.”
Day 19. Project Have you worked on any projects inspired by your loss? They could be anything from an art project to organizing memory boxes for a hospital. If you have not yet done a project you could share something that you would like to work on.
My thoughts: Today I ordered three little lamb blankets and a willow tree ornament for a woman who delivered triplets at MAYO – and lost one of her baby girls. She had GBG triplets as I did. She delivered where I would have if we had made it one week longer. It just felt right to reach out. God’s taught me to listen to those nudging words in my head and act instead of sitting on them. I pray it brings another grieving family peace and a moment of comfort. I want to do more but need to listen to my heart as we walk this instead of carrying a burden to do things that are still too hard for me. Someday.
Day 18. Your Family Portrait Take a photo of you with your family, work out a way to incorporate your baby/ies/child/ren who are no longer physically with you anymore. You could hold up photos of them or even just hold their names with you. What does your family look like now? Is it just you left here? Do you have a large family? Is it just you and your partner?
My thoughts: This picture was taken right after the funeral. I wanted a picture of our family that day even though it felt wrong to smile at this moment. I wanted to find joy for Nora that day. She is a reminder of all that we are thankful for in the gifts God has given us even in the midst of such pain. One little lamb for each of them.
Day 17. Anniversary/Birthday/Due Dates Share a photo of what you did for your baby/ies/child/rens special day. Did you hide away in bed? Did you have a cake? Did you have a party? What did you do?
My thoughts: Their due date, June 8th, was a hard day for me this year but not as I expected it to be at all. We had thought about burying them this day but it just didn’t evolve that way and looking back I’m ok with that. Instead I was in Rochester, MN at my brother’s house enjoying the summer sun with family. Nate wasn’t able to join me so it felt a little odd that day. We filled the day with fun in the water and my daughter, Nora, had SO much fun chasing bubbles. How could a day be sad watching that crazy, little girl? I’m happy I have a picture of pure joy from that day. I went to bed alone that night. A few months after we lost our babies I was feeling panicked about losing the few memories that I had of them. I still feel that way. I asked the family and friends who met them those two days to write a letter to me sharing their memories. To somehow help me put a patchwork of memories together to amount to something MORE than what I could recall. To help me replace the horrible memories I was shoving away with the ways that my children affected others. My mom gave me her letter that day and I read it before bed and cried myself to sleep. Not “ugly crying” as I like to call it. Just silent tears missing them trying to imagine what my children would have looked like at full term. I’m thankful for her memories and the sweet poem that she wrote for them (I love you mom):
Hide and Seek in Heaven
By Jane Neveau
After the three new little ones came
Jesus said, “Who wants to play a game?”
“I do”, “I do”, they were far from meek
“I’ll count” he said, “you hide and I’ll seek.”
Alice Mae ran for the choir loft
She loved to feel the robes so soft
Alexis was off to the director’s stand
She could hide behind and still wave her hand
Elliot loved the drums lively beat
It’s so easy to hide by the base drummer’s feet
Hiding and playing, they lost track of time
Until midst the music, came His call sublime,
“Beloved ——— Beloved ———-!”
“All-e, All-e….. all in Free!!!!”
I love you….. From Grama Jane
Day 16. Release Balloons, lanterns, butterflies, doves.
My thoughts: Last weekend we celebrated my nephew’s birthday. Last year at this time we shared the news of our trio with my side of the family so living that anniversary was tough. That said we successfully lived the day with joy for my not-so-little-anymore eleven year old nephew. We spent that evening talking with my parents and siblings about a burial plot that we’d chosen for ourselves and the possibility of all of us sharing the area with one monument stone. Tough conversations to have, but we did it. The next day we drove everyone to the little slice of land in the beautiful cemetery we chose. The kids all fed the ducks (and WOW how those little guys have grown! Take a look at the awesome shot below of them all flying across the pond. What a site!) Then we made our way to the burial area and I took out some special friends – the little lambs from their funeral. I dressed them in the little winter hats that my niece and nephew made for the babies. Their little smiles warm my heart. My sis-in-laws picked up balloons for the day (one for each of the babies we’ve lost – yellow for the first two, pink for Alice and Alexis, blue for Elliot – which worked out perfectly as each child there got one to hold/release). I grabbed my camera to capture the moment and struggled with words. I didn’t want to say it. I choked out the words to let them fly and the battery on my camera died. Of course it did. I snapped two pictures and then felt defeated. I didn’t feel like I could enjoy the moment because of the stupid camera. But then I looked up at the balloons as they were drifting further away (how did they get so far away so fast?) and we all sort of held our breath as we noticed one of the pink balloons was caught in the branches of a nearby tree. The kids were upset. So I sat and stared at it. I just let myself look at it there with all the others barely in view on the horizon. It stayed. It let me breathe and just BE. The tears hit – hard. My daughter ran up to me asking why everyone was so sad. And then my brother yelled, “There it goes!” – and the last little pink balloon was set free from the branches and I watched it float away ’til it disappeared from site. Somehow we were blessed with an extension of a moment that otherwise would have been gone too soon. One little balloon.