Day 30: Reflection. I think compared to my Capture Your Grief Project last year I am more content now in my daily existence of mixed emotions, wavering acceptance with my life story, and the ebbs and flows that are ‘life after loss’… Just like this picture I can now see the amazing beauty in life, even with the storm clouds looming over head… I think I will always, to some degree, be working through my personal journey of grief after the loss of Rylie and Avary, but as the project comes to an end this year, I feel stronger, more balanced between my happiness and grief, and ready to handle whatever comes next in life… There was truly a point in time when I didn’t know how one survives such a tragedy…. But I know now… It’s just one day at a time, doing the very best you can that day to find ways to heal your heart 💛🐝💛🐝
Day 29: What Heals You? I think embracing my grief journey and always trying to choose what feels right to my heart has helped the most in my healing process. It is being open with myself, my husband, my family and friends, and the world. Feeling like Rylie and Avary can be a part of my present without shame or fear of others opinions on this has allowed me to feel like I can move forward, without leaving a huge part of my heart behind….Connecting with people who I have met on this journey has without question helped in my healing process… I cannot describe what sort of relief comes from knowing people who really truly understand and ‘get it’… To have people you can talk 100% openly to without risk of judgement. Thank you to each of you who continue to help ‘heal’ me 💛🐝💛🐝
Day 28: Reach Out. My life goal since the loss of Avary and Rylie is to raise awareness of Infant and Pregnancy Loss and break the stigma and silence surrounding such a profound loss. It is to raise funds for research so that one day no parent knows the pain Eric and I endure on a daily basis…. It is to reach out to other loss parents so that each of us know we are never alone….
Thank heaven for 28 weeks. All the weekly doctor appointments, hormone injections, daily fear and panic, nights awake in worry, activity restrictions, and not working since 12 weeks…. All of it has been so worth reaching this moment. Feeling happy this morning. Continue to pray for a healthy last trimester and to keep this babe cooking as long as possible
Day 27: Self Portrait. This is a picture captured for us at this years Walk to Remember in Naperville, Il. I have very few pictures of myself, or of Eric and I from this past year… The only ones really that I seem to have have been from events like these, and then one from our anniversary where we found it easier and more sincere to be looking at each other, rather than smiling at the camera…
Smiling now a days to be captured in a picture seems forced and fake…. I hope that changes one day, but right now I feel more like I’m looking at myself in solemn pictures like this one, than any others…
I know I have mentioned this before, but I really feel so different than I was before the loss of my daughters. I know that I am the same person-physically- but emotionally I have changed….and I think that shows in my eyes, in the moments that are captured, in the soft lines that seem to have appeared on my face since Avary and Rylie died, even if I’m the only one who notices them…. I think it’s a matter of feeling like it just doesn’t matter anymore, but I never take the time to ‘do’ my hair anymore. I still go through my daily routine of putting my ‘make-up’ on each day, but I rarely look at myself in the mirror anymore. I only see now the bags under my eyes and the dullness that I feel is now me…
I recall a quote I used during Capture Your Grief last year that really just says it all: ‘Do not judge the bereaved mother- she comes in many forms. She is breathing, but she is dying. She may look young, but inside she has become ancient. She smiles, but her heart sobs. She walks, she talks, she cooks, she cleans, she works, she IS, but she is NOT, all at once….She is here, but part of her is elsewhere for eternity….’ (author unknown)
Day 26: Gratitude. I am incredibly thankful for having this man as my life partner, my shoulder to lean on, and my best friend. I honestly do not know where I would be today, 13 months and 11 days after the the loss of Rylie and Avary. This picture is from fall of 2012- we had just gotten engaged, and were so excited for all the adventures life was going to throw at us. We decided then that no matter what those adventures were to be, we’d be in them together…. Neither of us could have ever imagined this would include the loss of our first born children…. But just like he committed to on the day he proposed, Eric has stood by my side through it all. Even though we grieve the loss of our daughters differently, he has never once made me feel like I am ‘dwelling’ or taking too long in my grief…. In the early days when I would just repeat the same things over and over ‘but it’s not fair- I really really wanted them’ and ‘I can’t believe this is my life’ he would just quietly listen to the same thing day in and day out, gently stroking my neck or holding my hand… As time went on, he somehow knew when to leave me be and let me cry and grieve, and when to try to help pull me out of it and distract me with some silly story or movie….
Life hasn’t turned out the way we thought it would, and I feel 100 years older than the happy naive girl in this picture… But one thing hasn’t changed- and that is my unwavering commitment and love for my husband, the love of my life, and father of my children 💛 I hold such gratitude for the patience and love this man continues to show me daily
Day 25: Earth Remembrance. Just like this day last year, we planted more yellow daffodils (Avary and Rylie’s color, and now their flower…) in memory of our sweet girls. Last spring I was overjoyed to see the brilliant color that popped up out of the ground in early spring, willing me out of our home, out of my winter hibernation of sadness and guilt, out into the world that still had such beauty…. I didn’t want to believe that after the death of Rylie and Avary- that beauty still existed in this hell of an existence I was calling my ‘life’…. But it was true… And seeing our beautiful patch of daffodils that rose out of the still cold ground to bring me just a little bit of happiness felt like it could be none other than my little girls at work, bringing the color of sunshine to my rainy days….
This year we added daffodils to the side of our house and to the girls’ memorial garden. I can’t wait for our wave of yellow in memory of Rylie and Avary come next spring 🐝💛🐝💛
Day 24: Choose Your Breath. Today I choose to live in the faith that in the upcoming weeks I will become a mother to a living, breathing child here on Earth. I choose to rise above the overwhelming fear and anxiety that dictate my life and my PAL. I chose to believe that my sweet angel bees know how much I love and cherish them…. I choose to believe that they can hear as we talk to them at night, and that even though on my hard days I don’t believe it- that they are truly still always with me…. Today I choose to take a deep breath in, and with my whole being, believe this affirmation- (I)”didn’t fail, not even a little” -Angela Miller.
This isn’t always so easy… Many many days my doubts outweigh my hopes, my fears control my tears, and my sadness prevails…. But each day I put one foot in front of the other and give it the best I can that day- and today I choose faith, hope, and happiness 💛💛🌈
Day 23: Love Letter. Dear Chloe, I think it’s finally time we tell you about your baby big sisters… Your whole life you have known them- seen their pictures around the house, read books about your angel sisters, celebrated their birthday, and have seen Mommy and Daddy wipe away a tear from one another’s eyes when certain things-still now- trigger sadness…. But today we want to really tell you about Rylie and Avary- your baby big sisters in heaven….
You see, your baby big sisters brought such happiness and joy into Mommy and Daddy’s life…from the moment we first saw them on ultrasound we were in complete love. The day we met Avary and Rylie was one of the most beautiful days of our lives, because it was that day they made us parents. It was also the absolute most heartbreaking and devastating day because we also had to say goodbye….
We will always, always love and cherish your big sisters. They will forever be a part of our family- our first born children- and your big sisters. Not a day goes by that we do not remember them, think of them, love them…
And then we were fortunate enough to get you. Even though our hearts were still broken, knowing you were growing inside of Mommy gave us something to live for again. You were the hope we held on to on the most difficult days, and the child we prayed for to bring light back into our lives…. Even though we were so very very scared, we cherished every single moment of our pregnancy with you. We made memories together, daddy playing little games with you through mommy’s belly where you would kick back in response… We cherished every single moment together, knowing that whatever the outcome would be- you, my Chloe Rose- were our beautiful and perfect 3rd daughter and we loved you already with every ounce of our beings….
You see- Rylie and Avary made us parents; but on the day you were born you made us parents to a child here on Earth, something we longed so desperately for…. You were what kept mommy going even on days she thought she couldn’t…. And what made Daddy feel like he had purpose as a father and as a role model again. You my sweet princess, are our everything….
Mommy and Daddy
Day 22: Dreams and Rituals. I struggled a lot with what to write on this topic…A lot of my dreams died along with Avary and Rylie on September 15th of last year…I honestly don’t know what my dreams for my future are anymore…I know I hope to come to a place in my life where I know more joy than sadness, and more peace than pain…
One of our rituals is that we talk each night to Rylie and Avary right before going to sleep. Eric and I do it together, and I think this has helped keep us close and in touch with one another as we continue to navigate this journey of grief. We tell them how much we love and miss them, and how wanted they were and still are….and we tell them goodnight and to continue to stay close to us, and give us ‘signs’ that they are with us…Each night I pray that the girls will come to me in a dream- I feel like something like this would just make my heart feel so much lighter- to see what they look like in heaven- to see them together and at peace- would mean so much to my heart…. But this has yet to happen…. I haven’t even dreamed of the fact that they were ever part of my life- let alone of them actually coming to me- and it makes me sad… I often have vivid, uncomfortable dreams that make me wonder why my psyche would ever be thinking of such a thing… But not once have I had the dream I pray to dream… One that would bring peace and comfort to my broken heart….