Tag Archives: fear

Capture Your Grief – 2016 – Day #28


Looking at this mess of wires reminds me of those times in grief when you are just a mess.  It is easy to look at yourself and be your worst critic.  Other people’s comments will make you question whether you loved your child enough.  You will wonder if you were a good enough parent.  You will see this jumbled mess of emotions and wonder, am I ready for the world again?

I often hear people remind me to take time for myself.  I even have to remind myself once-in-a-while to stop and reorganize the tangled mess of my heart. It is easy to overlook the mess or to push it away because, let’s be real, who wants to untangle those cords?  To untangle means to struggle and possibly be angry, upset, or sad.  It is only through the time being mindful of our own struggles, that we can feel a more peaceful heart.

For me, some of my self-compassion time comes through this project.  For 31 days I have to set aside time to untangle the mess I pretend not to see. Writing forces me to be mindful and understanding that my feelings do change each year.  It makes me stop and recognize that my struggles are part of our human existence on this earth.  It knocks self-criticism to the curb by showing me that each of our struggles is different and it is okay to feel different.  Each year I am reminded that I still have things I want to work on. Reading other’s journeys often sparks things that remind me of something I hadn’t thought of or gives me a different way to look at things.

Each year I use this project to create a book.  It is the best feeling in the world to close the back cover and feel a sense of relief.  Relief not because I had a month long pity party but because I feel a new sense of calmness.  A calmness that can only come from accepting yourself and your feelings.  One that comes from seeing your own emotional resilience, learned wisdom, and even a little bit of happiness again.  So thank you to my husband and kids who let me use this month to take the time to do what is good for me.  In just a few days I will close this year’s book, breath a sigh of relief, and see the nicely organized words that were written from my heart.



#CaptureYourGrief – Day #29

What Heals You


So I must give credit for the basis of this quote to Walter White.  While I loved his quote, it’s language maybe wasn’t quite #CaptureYourGrief-esq.  I changed it a bit to fit me and the topic today.

Letting go of fear has been helpful in my healing.  After we lost Clara we spent a lot of time scared.  Each activity, pregnancy, birth, day brought out some of the worst fears.  I remember the first time Damon and Mason rode with someone else.  I wondered what I would do if they died too.  I just wanted to control every situation.

It didn’t take long to realize that wasn’t possible.  I couldn’t let those fears rule my life.  If I did I would rob my boys of the life experiences they deserved.  We were missing out on activities and memories that could be made because we didn’t want to risk anything.  Some “risks” are worth taking!

In the image I captured this summer, I saw my hesitant daughter fall.  Did she get cry? A little.  Did she get back up?  Yes!  She tried and tried until her fear was small enough that her confidence returned.  I chose not to step in and stop her from falling.  Instead we encouraged her to keep trying and to not be scared.  Eventually she did get it and she had so much fun.  If she had given into that fear she would have missed out on an afternoon or memories!!

Grief is much the same way.  We fear how birthdays and holidays will be.  If you ask most parents the anticipation is far worse than the actual day.  Grief is never easy.  We struggle to hold on yet we struggle to let go.

We fear the passing of current or future children.  What if they make a bad choice that hurts them? We worry about everything.  The thing is we can’t do that all the time. Yes, it is natural to worry a bit but not about EVERYTHING.  It will consume you!  It robs you of making memories or allowing them to make their childhood memories.

Throughout my journey I am constantly working on releasing fear.  There are days when I fall and have to get up, brush off, and start again.  The best days are the ones where I leave worry and fear in the shower drain and let the memories be made.



Holding Hands

For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.  Isaiah 41:13

Most of us have cared for young children. Maybe you have cared for one with strong fears.  I can tell you from experience it can be tough for both the child and the parents.  Children naturally lean to us when they are fearful.  We have spent many days holding our children’s hands through blood draws, tests, surgeries, loss, or the anxiety of watching others suffer.  Each time they reach out their hand for reassurance that everything is going to be okay.  Often times they don’t want to let go and tears flow.  The grip of a young child in fear is one that pulls at the heart.  We want nothing more than to show them everything will be okay.  God wants to do the same for them and for us too.

As adults our fears are far more reaching that just our children’s health.  Many of us fear the ramifications of day to day decisions like moving, finances, jobs, stress, relationships, ect.  We need His help to overcome our own fears.  Just like our sweet children run to us, we should run to God.  But how many times do we really remember that He is there holding out His hand to us.  How many of us try to take our hand away and hold onto that fear?   We try to maintain control of a situation, thus holding onto the fear that goes with it.   That fear can leave us feeling alone, empty, and our life at a standstill.  It can blind us to the path God has in front of us.  All too often it causes us to focus on the bad instead of seeing any good in our situation.  When we hold onto fear, our children see that and they learn to do the same.

Chris and I have lived through the biggest fear of any parent.  Our daughter, Clara, passed away from SIDS in 2009.  Shortly after Clara’s passing we found out I was pregnant.  After a healthy pregnancy Lincoln was born with what was classified as a “cosmetic birth defect”.  Five months later we would learn differently.  As the doctor listed off issues they found on the MRI our heads spun and our hearts ached.  Nothing had prepared us for the fear that gripped us.  When our older boys came to us in fear of losing another sibling, we held their hands.  We questioned how we were to comfort them when we ourselves needed relief from fear?  We soon realized it was an opportunity to show our children how we rely on our Father for comfort from our fears just like they rely on us.

This week I challenge you to look at how you react when you are fearful.  Are you holding your Father’s hand like your children hold yours or do you pull it away? Are you taking opportunities to show your children that you seek God’s help with fears, just like they seek yours?  Take time to share a fear with your children and show them how you hold God’s hand.  Through facing fears together as a family you will see a change in your children as well.  They will learn to not only hold your hand but God’s hand too.  It is a gift that will forever change them.

When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. Psalm 56:3



CarlyMarie Project 2013 – Day #11

Emotional Triggers

Today I chose a picture of Clara with two of her friends.  Watching the girls grow up is a way to really see what Clara might be doing if she was still here.  It is cool to see them next to Lincoln, Preston, and Haleigh.  I can’t imagine life with four under 4 but I bet it would be exciting.  Yes, some days it stinks because it can make you really miss what you don’t have but I try not to look at it that way.  I try to be positive about it because I really do enjoy spending time with these girls.  Their hugs melt my heart.

I think really anything can be an emotional trigger but I think it depends on the day on how it affects me.  Some days it can be a movie or seeing that someone else has been or will be experiencing the pain of losing a child.  Sometimes emotions are triggered by something I read or something someone says.  It can be a song or a poem.   Days like the first day of school, her birthday, Mother’s Day, her angelversary are emotional days.  Most of the time these things will bring tears.  Some of those tears fall others wait for another day until I can’t hold them back anymore.

More often than sadness there are things that happen that create a smile.  Sometimes it is even the same triggers I mentioned before.  Like her birthday… I do feel sad because I wish I was sharing it with her but I am also happy to celebrate her life, to do something with the kids in her memory.  We also like to get a little girl off the angel tree that would be Clara’s age.  This is a way for us to shop for something we might have bought for her and create some happiness while we do it.  Last year the boys giggled when we had to walk through the doll aisle.  Then they suggested a bike since Lincoln was already riding one Clara would be too.  It brought a smile to my heart to know they do enjoy shopping for another little girl.

I think the birth of another child can trigger about every emotion the human heart can dish out.  I remember Lincoln’s birth being very hard emotionally.  He is the only baby we found out gender because we wanted to be as prepared as possible.  What if this baby was a girl, would we be able to reuse clothes, the room, take her to daycare.  What if this baby is a boy…would we be sad because of gender?  Is it wrong to feel sad because baby is a boy?  Okay, now we feel guilty, are we really trying to replace Clara?  Are we replacing Clara?  You get my drift.  It is an emotional roller coaster that we felt with Lincoln, Preston, and Haleigh.

While we were expecting Haleigh we decided that there would be no more children.  After all this was my 7th pregnancy and soon to be 6th birth.  We didn’t find out if we were having a boy or girl.  We really do like the surprise that comes on delivery day.  It also helped in our healing.  We were prepared to have a boy and hoping for a girl.  That day the delivery room was filled with such emotion and anticipation.  Not just from us but from the staff at the hospital too.  After being being in that delivery room 4 times in the past 4 years, the ladies knew us very well.  One nurse even switched her days off so she could be there with us!!  I think just about every nurse was in the delivery room with us.  It was amazing and when Haleigh was born that room erupted into cheers and tears.  It was then that I realized these ladies had been hoping and praying for us too.

Now that Haleigh is getting bigger she is outgrowing her sisters hand me downs.  Deciding what to do with them can set off a whole range of emotions.  I am aware and reminded that it is just “stuff’ but it is the only physical thing left from Clara. One thing that helps is that Haleigh wore it too which makes it less Clara’s and thus easier to part with.  Each time I give away or sell some of Clara’s things it is a struggle and yet some relief.

Last but not least, the largest emotional trigger for me… touching the cold hand or face of a baby.  I can’t even describe the panic, fear, want to barf all over feeling I get when I check on the kids and their bodies are cool to the touch.  The “gentle” shove you give them to make sure they are still here quickly calms the shaking hands of this mother and brings tears.  Sometimes those tears are because I just woke a sleeping baby and other times they are ones of relief and sadness that I know someone else just did the same thing and they weren’t so lucky.