Tag Archives: CarlyMarie Project 2015

#CaptureYourGrief – Day #8

Wish List


My wish is that we understand that grief doesn’t exactly have an end.  As we move along the path our grief changes.  Our beginning isn’t the same as any other length but that doesn’t mean that along the way we just hop off and have no more sadness, pain, or tears.  It means that our paths sometimes fork along the way.

Sometimes the path we walk loops around and we walk back into feelings we thought we already dealt with.  Sometimes those loops are brought on by milestones like birthdays, first steps, first days of school, school pictures, graduations, weddings, and countless other milestones along the way.

Sometimes our paths meet others.  We walk with them for an unknown number of steps until our paths fork again.  We continue through the journey of survival through the rest of our lives.  My wish is to touch lives along the way.

Along my path I have found a few things I wish I and others understood about grief before they became a giant fork. This perpendicular fork often leads to relationships ending and hard feelings.

I Wish….

…it was okay to tell people when they are not being helpful.

Now I am not saying this should be said to everyone nor should it be said out of anger.  The truth is there are people out there that aren’t going to be as helpful as you wish they were.  This includes family and friends.  I spoke up about things that were bothering me and I was told to “get over it.”  To this day those relationships are strained at best.  I wish the words, “I am sorry.” would have been used instead.

…people understood that trying to protect children from death and the emotions of grief isn’t helpful.

There are so many things we want to shelter our kids from but hiding a loss or your grief from them can do more harm that good.  Kids don’t need all the details about the passing of their sibling, cousin, friend, ect.  They do need age appropriate explanations.

Children need to be able to say goodbye just like adults.  We received some unkind words about letting our daughter’s older brothers have a private viewing of her body.  That day I was thankful for the caring funeral home director who gave the sound advice on why it is important for them to see that she was no longer coming home.  They felt her hands and face and asked questions.  He answered every question with compassion and set us on a path that helped our boys along the way.

On many occasions they have joined in my tears as we remember their sister.  The know there is comfort in talking about their own grief.  It has opened the door for them to reach out to friends and strangers as they experience their own loss.

My wish is that we are understanding of our children’s abilities and need to grieve as well.  We can protect them without sacrificing their grief needs.  Sometimes it means we have to open our wounds a little more than we want.

… that death and grief didn’t make people so uncomfortable, and there were fewer awkward encounters.

It doesn’t matter if it is right after the loss of almost seven years later.  I inevitably make someone uncomfortable when I share Clara’s part of our life.  If I cry, they feel bad and don’t want to upset you again so they avoid the topic.  If I don’t appear sad, there have been not so nice comments.  Sometimes it is just awkward.

I have learned never to use Clara’s life as a way to create awkwardness.  When I was pregnant with my last baby I heard so many comments about my pregnancy.  Never more often than while standing in line at the grocery store juggling 4 boys, groceries, bags, and payment.  “Are you hoping for a girl.”  “Trying till you get a girl.”  “You don’t know what your missing with no girls.”  Step #1 breath.  Step #2 say “Thank you.  Healthy is okay with me.”  End.

I too often out of frustration clearly stated, “I do have a daughter, she passed away when she was 3.5 months old.”  That certainly stopped all further comments.  That however does nothing for the community and outsiders who honestly aren’t saying those things to be mean.  They are just trying to initiate small talk to be polite.   I realized I have been on their side with small talk that really isn’t any of my business either.

Anyway, be prepared.  It will happen with strangers and sometimes even with family.  My wish is that we handle these situations with grace and create awareness through projects like #CaptureYourGrief about pregnancy & infant loss.

As I look at my wish list I feel these situations in my past and present.  I know they will be a part of my future too.  My wish is that some day these things will be accepted by all.  I hope one day I can be open with others without judgement.  My wish is that my path will have fewer forks and loops and that someday those perpendicular forks might meet again.



#CaptureYourGrief – Day#2



My intention this month is to reflect, reminisce, read, and hopefully share and feel comfort.  I want to be able to wrap all of that around me like a blanket.  I want to remember Clara’s blanket wrapped around her, comforting her, soothing her, and hugging her as she lived her days in our arms.  My wish is that everyone finds their blanket, comfort, and a mending of their broken heart.

 This morning gave me some quiet time to share some of Clara’s things with Haleigh and Preston.  They got to feel her pretty blanket and her music toy.  We looked at a book of pictures and hold her pacifier.  Today I chose those things that comforted Clara to capture my grief, comfort, and healing.

I appreciate being able to follow others on their journey.  Reading their work makes me look into my own heart and reflect upon how I did or would have handled what they had to.  There are always things some of us aren’t comfortable sharing but just being able to read that someone else did or felt the same as you can be healing.  I know it reminds me that I am not alone in how I feel.  I hope that by the end of the month, you too know you are not alone.



#CaptureYourGrief – Day #1


CaptureYourGrief Day1Sunrise: 7:03am October 1, 2015 (North Liberty, IA)
I caught the beauty just before the sun rose over the horizon. For me it captures the anticipation and the shadows we sometimes feel through our journey.  It shares my own anticipation and sometimes lack of patience.  
The quote says everything this project is about. Clara’s life was little and yet touch so many.  The grief that goes with the loss of that small life is nothing short of monumental.  

Preparing for CarlyMarie Project 2015

September has disappeared and October is just a few hours away.  October for me means a month of devoted reflection and remembrance while I complete the Carly Marie Project Heal.  I started this a few years ago and have found it to be healing each time I go through it.  I am always touched by the changes that happen through each year(s).

This years list is most certainly geared the most toward grief reflection and a little less focused on just the child(ren).  I can see how even Carly Marie is changing in her own grief as she presents the topics we will cover this year.  I am looking forward to many and to the challenge of a few.

If you have experienced the loss of a child or even the inability to have children, I encourage you to take the time to reflect on these topics through the month.  It is a challenge but one with such emotional comfort and growth.  By the end of the month I feel a peace overcome my heart.  Oddly enough I feel the ability to put away some of my grief and move ahead a little stronger, lighter, and content.