Tag Archives: infant loss

Capture Your Grief – 2016 – Day #22

Pearls of Wisdom

I was surprised and humbled by the number of friends who changed sleep habits after Clara’s death. Some told me it was her passing that made the difference, others said it was in reading posts I had made to Facebook. If I could share just one piece of advice it would be this: Not everyone will listen or change.

I liken this to be similar to the lesson we teach our kids about touching breakables. We tell them don’t touch because it might break. In our loss, we share with the world that safe sleep is really important. It reduces the risk of SIDS and it does save lives. It will be your closest family and friends who ignore you that will hurt the most. It will hurt because it makes you feel like they don’t care or remember your baby. It feels like they are saying, “it can’t happen to me”. They will post pictures of their “beautiful” baby room and you will feel the sting of tears and the searing anger when you see their crib decked out with the latest puffy crib bumper. You will worry about the ones who sleep in the latest trendy “rock & play sleepers”. You will cry when you see an image on Facebook of a new baby sleeping on their tummy on top of blankets or bedsharing. You will pray for every baby.


Your first reaction will be to tell them that is dangerous. It is okay to do remind them once, or maybe twice, but please be gentle and remember this one thing: YOU CAN’T FORCE THEM TO CHANGE. Quite the opposite can happen. You will cause them to dig their heels in and shut you out. You absolutely should be sharing safe sleep habits but please, please don’t shove it down your friend’s throat (even though you really want to). Kindness goes a long way and is far more effective in reaching people.


Sadly, even seven years later, I still have friends and family that continue to use unsafe sleep environments. Every day I pray that they won’t have to live through the pain that I have. Each October I hope that my daily posts reach them. I pray Clara’s life and passing will somehow touch them in a way that causes them to change their habits. I pray for the day when no more families are surprised by Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Finally, I pray for the day when no family has to deal with the pain and guilt of losing a baby to a sleep-accident unrelated to SIDS.



Capture Your Grief – 2016 – Day #15

Wave of Light

Tonight we are remembering all those babies and children got too soon.  To those who continue to share the life and spirit of that special one, we are thinking of you.
Tonight I am reminded of the families who have received a diagnosis and may already know that this candle will be in their future. I am hoping for your miracle.



Capture Your Grief – 2016 – Day #9

Surrender & Embrace

Surrendering and embracing loss is a lifelong journey.  It isn’t something that you just do and move on.  Step by step we let go of things and slowly embrace their consequences.  Sometimes those consequences are good and other times bad. We have to hope those around us can give us time to search our heart for the courage to move forward in a healthy way.

Every day I drive back past this farm on my way to our elementary school.  It makes me sad to see all the houses being built so close.  The scene reminds me of the loneliness we feel in our journey.  We see the world, whole and alive, growing and moving ahead.  We can declare that is isn’t fair and hate the world.  We can hold onto the unjustness and finality of our loss. Just as the farmer can fight to keep the farm he once had, we can remain in the field alone staring at horizon with jealously and anger at the life we once had.

To surrender is not easy.  We have to admit and accept that our lives will never be the same.  We have to acknowledge that the world must move forward and that we have to too.  For me it wasn’t until I accepted that life isn’t always fair that I could fully embrace happiness again.  I finally embraced that I can’t change things.  I definitely recommend taking time to let go of some of the hurtful things people said or did.  These helped me embrace the world again. When I did, found I wasn’t alone.  There are a lot more people who quietly share my pain.

I have stumbled along the way too.  Milestones Clara won’t reach can get to me.  Once in a  while jealousy and anger creep in.  Each day is a challenge to surrender the pain of grief and embrace what is left in my world.  You see surrendering doesn’t happen in a single day.  It is something you have to choose to do every single day of your life until the day you take your last breath.




Capture Your Grief – 2016 – Day #6


Lately I have seen several ideas of how to explain bullying to kids.  Squeeze all the toothpaste out of the tube and try to put it back in or crumble a paper and try to make it flat again.  I think they are great ways to explain grief too.  Grief is a bully that often sneaks up on you.  It pushes you to your breaking point.  It can make you question life.  It shows can be hard to shake.  It crumples up your heart, stomps on it, and all the while people are tell you to just let it go.

I think being able to understand is always a work in progress. It isn’t always easy and nobody, not even those who have experienced loss, is perfect at it.  We all look back and wonder… “oh crap, I totally just said that didn’t I!?!” I have said things to mothers that I regret the minute it leaves my mouth.  As grievers we have to remember that those around us are going to make mistakes.  No matter how hard it is when someone comments to me, “oh look you finally got a girl!!” I have to step back and empathetic to the fact that cashier really doesn’t understand.  Empathy and understanding goes both ways.  After loss I think we can easily forget how innocent we once were in parenting.  It is hard to remember the days when I didn’t think twice about my kids outliving me.

When it comes to infant loss I feel like, “I am sorry.” is the easiest thing to say because really most people are truly sorry.  I always appreciate a hug or a mention of my little girl. Just stay away from phrases like, “god needed another angel.” or “god saved them from {insert bad thing}.”.  Honestly I am far enough into my journey that I am even okay with people asking “how did it happen?”.  I know that the loss of Clara has shaped my heart.  Some find it easier to hide their wrinkles but for me it is easier to embrace them.  They are a reminder that Clara was here and loved.

Today remember that some of the wrinkles of my heart are the reminder of who I miss.  Please don’t try to iron them. Embrace them with me. Stand with me as I face the bully named Grief. In return I promise to do my best to remember that you might not understand and not be a bully that adds a wrinkle to your heart.




Capture Your Grief – 2016 – Day #3

What it Felt Like

Words can’t describe how it feels to bury a baby.  Seeing her little body in a tiny coffin was absolutely heart shattering.  I had been to a dozen funerals before Clara’s.  I had seen friends, grandparents, siblings… nothing prepares you for this.

I will never forget the way Clara looked like a porcelain doll or how she felt rubbery.  I will never forget the funeral home suggesting we place a hat on her because of the autopsy wounds on her head.  It felt surreal and weird and overwhelming.  I didn’t want to look and feel but I couldn’t take my eyes off her either.

Last night as I looked through the few images we have of her at the funeral I cried. Today as I write, I cry.  I can’t believe how much this memory is burned into my brain.  She looks just as I remember. Time certainly doesn’t change the hurt it feels to see this.  I had to ask my husband’s permission to use this image today. Bless him for allowing me to share it.  We both stared at it for a long time. We both agree that it seems like so long ago and yet the pain is still palpable.  It instantly brings tears.

The hardest thing of the funeral was when they announced they would be closing the casket for the last time.  The finality of that moment is something I have never felt before or again.  There is something so different about it being a baby.  I felt like that moment was harder than being at the cemetery for the burial.  There would be no more peeks, no more touches, no more anything.  The last thing we did was tuck her in one last time.  She was beautiful and perfect.  Eyes closed she was ready for her final rest.

Do you feel the tears?
That is how it felt.



#CaptureYourGrief – Day #10



A single word can mean as much or as little as you want them to.  Put them together and you create a story that is all your own.  This image was originally create for Day #8 for {Wish} {List} however I quickly realized this was meant for Day #10.  Instead of writing on paper I chose to lay out my words and fill in the story.  These words mean little apart on the board but putting them together tells the world what they mean to me and my journey.

Here is my word story….

{Clara} is my baby girl.  She is {remembered} today always will be a part of my family.  She was {loved} and still is.   She forever {changed} me in ways I never knew possible.  My {heart} was {lost} the day she died.  Along the way I have {found} it again.  It is through that journey that I have tied the wounds of loss to keep as many of the memories as I can in my heart.

I am always {missing} Clara.  So many days we celebrate her life but a few days we feel the {grief} more intensely.  She seems so {far} away and yet so close.  On {rainy} days I think of her and wonder who she would be today.  Would she be holding a {pen} or a crayon and drawing pictures to hang on the wall?  Would she wear her hair in a {pony} or straight?  Would it be straight or curly, blonde or brown?  Days when I look to what is missing and I have to remind myself, ” {You} will be {ok}.”  Comfort is sometimes found in the memories that we hold.

Tears have fallen when a {video} is found.  We {open} it and watch our little girl smile and coo and fuss and play.  We fall {quiet} in awe of the memories we don’t always remember.  We want to {quit} watching it but yet we can’t be {torn} from it.  {It} is our {little} girl and her beautiful life that we miss and love.

For every hurt there is a word, and every word tells a story.  A story that says, “I survived.”



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.








Can You Feel Me When I think About You?

Today marks six years since I held Clara for the last time.  It also marks the first time that Clara’s entire life followed the same days of the week…like her birthday on a Wednesday, her passing being 2 days after Mother’s Day.  It is hard to imagine life without her and yet here we are living it.  Instead of having six years of memories I have three and a half months.  Sometimes the most vivid memories are not the “good” ones.  Each year as today approaches my thoughts are filled with memories of May 12, 2009 when I raced to the ER and held my breath for an hour while the doctors and nurses did everything they could to bring life back into her.  The afternoon where I held her earthly body for the last time.  The evening that I laid my baby’s body on the hospital gurney and walked away, leaving her behind in that empty room.  That night as we picked up the big boys from our daycare when we also left with an empty infant car seat and two boys asking where their sister was.  It is a day I wish I could forget and yet I don’t want to.  Each year I find the anticipation of this day is harder than the actual day itself.


As my family remembers year number six we do it in a place where Clara’s memorials are not close by.   A kind man listened to the story behind my blog and told me about a place in Iowa City that I might appreciate.  He was so right!  Along the river sits a statue of hope.  When we first got there I was sure of how I wanted to capture it through the lens of my camera, I knew what my hope was.  Instead I viewed something more heartwarming and thoughtful than I could have ever imagined.  The little ones were drawn toward holding the statue’s hands.  They kept taking and replacing the beads that were in her hands.  They took turns holding her hands like they were dancing.  I saw hope and love and a sense of calm.


Every May 12th I reflect upon the future and I am filled with hope.  Hope that her life was not meaningless.  Hope that her loss has brought my husband, my children, and myself closer to God.  Hope that there is always a future even if it isn’t here on earth.  Hope that I am one day closer to seeing her again.


When I think about Miss Clara, can she feel it?  I like to think so, that is my hope.


“The day which we fear as our last is but the birthday of eternity.”
L.A. Seneca

Mother's Day 2009

Mother’s Day 2009

Day 23 Mommy's Favorite







CarlyMarie Project 2013 – Day #26


“When a child dies,
a little bit of our dream breaks away,
a little bit of our future is erased before it is ever written.”

If there is one thing I have learned from the community of bereaved parents, it is that they don’t question why you keep bringing up your child.   The understand the sadness that 1st words, 1st steps, 1st birthday, 1st day of school, 16th birthday, graduation, weddings bring.   They understand why family pictures can be hard.  They understand why comments from others can hurt, even when we are told they shouldn’t.  Just like me, they know how much not getting to write a future that includes your little one hurts.  Just like me, they know the pain of dreams being broken and futures gone and yet we are there for each other.  We talk, listen, share, and hold each other.  Sometimes we are worlds apart and yet we can feel their comfort as if we were hugging each other in person.  This community is out there using their broken dreams to raise awareness so that maybe we can help another family write their future in a way we only wish we could.




CarlyMarie Project 2013 – Day #15

Wave of Light

Today is October 15, 2013 and Pregnancy, Still birth, and Infant Loss Awareness Day.  Tonight at 7pm we light a candle to remember those gone too soon.

A candle lit in memory of Clara (1/21/09- 5/12/09) and 1 for our miscarried baby (5/21/12). Thinking of all the babies lost too soon.