Tag Archives: Memories

Capture Your Grief – 2016 – Day #19

Grief Rituals

Things have really changed since our first year. We no longer use blue Christmas lights on our tree. We still try to find a girl and boy Clara’s age to go Christmas toy shopping for. Our first year we didn’t really know what to do for Clara’s birthday. We wrote messages on balloons and let them go. Of course, Mason’s got stuck in the tree. We explained that Clara couldn’t read them all at once (and hoped the balloon moved by morning). Thank goodness it made the move overnight!

It was on Clara’s second birthday that we thought a cake might be different and yet normal. I wanted to create something that didn’t need a candle. It wasn’t like we could add one anyway. So it was decided that the doll cake was it. Each year her dress changes and we find new ways to capture who she might be. Three years ago we began adding a white butterfly to the cake. It is a quiet reminder of the baby we miscarried. A pregnancy that was detected mid-May with a due date of January 23, 2013. (crazy close to Clara’s birthday & passing dates).

Recognizing her birthday brings comfort, smiles, tears, and love. For us, the cake celebrates the time we held Clara. It reminds us of the good memories and some sad ones. It helps our kids to know that she was born and lived. It helps Chris and me to remember the journey to her birth. It is just one of the ways we celebrate all 111 days of memories on earth and remember each one of her Heavenly Birthdays. <3




Capture Your Grief – 2016 – Day #8

Beautiful Mysteries

Todays blog prompt is about imagining who Clara would be today.  For me this is difficult. I love meeting kids her age and getting a picture of what kids her age do but I feel like having to image who she actually would be inevitably means one of more of her younger siblings would not be in the picture.  It is hard to feel that rift in the before and after of her life.

Chris and I talked this morning about how life would be so different if she were still here.  She was Daddy’s princess so I imagine she would be active in gymnastics or dance.  She loved music and listening to her Daddy sing.  I imagine days filled with Frozen and Beauty and the Beast.  I imagine a girl who loves having her hair in pretties and dressing up in dresses.  I imagine a lot of dolls and shopkins. I imagine that this mirror would be getting lots more use than it does with her little sister. I imagine she has her Daddy wrapped around her little finger 😉

It is hard to imagine life with just Damon and Mason and Clara.  I feel like we would still be in South Dakota and I wonder if the boys would still be swimming.  I wonder if I would still be working full time and if I would have found my cake talent.  I wonder if Preston and Haleigh would be here.  I am almost positive Lincoln would not.  While I am sad that Clara isn’t here it makes me sad to look at life without the 3 little loves that her passing brought into our lives.  Tonight, as I write, I am thankful for the chance to ask Chris his ideas of what Clara would be like.  Our talk reminded me just how much of a princess he was to her.  It made thinking of our dancing, twirling seven year old a little easier.




#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.



#CaptureYourGrief – Day #19



Since the first day I saw the list of topics for this year’s #CaptureYourGrief project I have been thinking about today’s topic.  In the past I have shared links to music that have touched me or mean something to me.  I have to wonder what they mean to others because like books, music can speak differently to each of us.  The beauty of music is that it catches every emotion we feel.  I truly believe that the music we listen to is a reflection of everything we have been through.

The same is true for the songs from shortly after Clara’s funeral.  Songs touched my heart and tore my heart out still have that affect sometimes.  On other occasions they bring me comfort.  It really depends on the day.  Without a doubt my song preferences have changed as my grief has changed.  Songs mean different things at different times.  They lose or gain meaning depending on our circumstances.

Two years ago I created a video in memory.  Today that song still shares the thoughts that I often have.  “Who would you be?” and “Who would you look like?” are things I have posted a lot about this month.  Here is a link to that video https://youtu.be/WzarXf5z9Ms. It is a song that I don’t hear often but when I do I immediately think of Clara and the future we missed.

As I was preparing for today’s topic I pulled out my accordion to play.  I was so lost on where to go, what song to choose. I thought if a I just played a little music to get it might help me to get to into the right frame of mind.  I had no idea the sheet music I was playing from would be my song and my words from the heart this year.

My grandpa gave me the song almost 9 years ago when he began teaching me to play.  I have never really read the lyrics though.  I mean I noticed the blue eyes crying and thought it was special considering I have blue eyes and missed so much of my life with him.

Grandpa always wanted me to play it upbeat but for some reason I just felt like this should be a soft, melancholy tune.  I am sure my grandpa’s take on it is because for the most part artists like  Willie Nelson play it a little faster. It is a love song I suppose. This one is my sad love song.

Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain

In the twilight glow I see her
Blue eyes crying in the rain.

As we kissed good-bye and parted
I new we’d never meet again

Love is like a dying ember
Only memories remain
Through the ages I’ll remember
Blue eyes crying in the rain.

Now my hair has turned to silver
All my life I’ve loved in vain
I can see her star in heaven
Blue eyes crying in the rain.

Someday when we meet up yonder
We’ll stroll hand in hand again
In a land that knows no parting
Blue eyes crying in the rain.

It certainly has Clara written all over it.  She and I are both blue eyed.  The day of the funeral I stood a long time next to her casket. Finally they told me they had to put the lid on and that when they did it would seal forever.  There was no going back.  I remember knowing I would never lay eyes on her again.

My love for her is truly in memories now.  Some of those memories are old, some are made after her passing.  One thing is certain is that as I get older, those memories are very precious to me.  They will be all I have to remember her by.  I know someday, when I am old and pass, I will hold her again.

Blue eyes crying in the rain…



CarlyMarie Project 2013 – Day #24


“Mom, I am afraid I am going to forget Clara!!!” ~ Mason 8yrs old

Several weeks ago Mason found a foot key chain with the poem “Footprints” on it.  He lost it and was crying and very upset.  When we were able to finally get him to talk he told me about how afraid he was.  Afraid he might forget his sister and the fun times they had together.  He said there is already so many things he doesn’t remember.  His older brother Damon, who was 5 at the time, remembers the day she passed very well even though they were outside playing when everything happened.  He remembers the ambulance and firetrucks arriving, our daycare lady crying, our daycare’s husband hugging them.  Mason was only 4 and doesn’t remember nearly as much about that day nor the week following.

So Mason and I looked through Clara’s box.  Through her clothes and pictures too.  He cried as he tried to remember some of the memories I had.  He did seem to calm down when he got to hold her paci, musical rabbit, and an outfit he remembered very well.  I asked him if there was anything he wanted so he could remember.  He asked for a picture and put it in his room, on the wall next to his bed.

After that night I knew I needed to create something that would include some items from Clara as well as things we have done since she passed.  I decided to make shadow boxes for both Mason and Damon.  I wanted them to help by picking out an outfit of hers that reminded them of her.  That actually turned into looking at pictures of Clara and then the picked the outfit that matched their favorite picture.  Damon picked the outfit that we took their Easter picture in.  So his box has a pretty stripe dress and a picture of the boys and her.  Mason picked the dress she wore on Mother’s day.  He said he remembered her eating her dress all day and that we had to change her outfit because it was all wet, just like we do with Haleigh.  Perfect!

I added a few things like the funeral handouts, the buttons we wear for the run each year, a picture of them reading with her.  I have a few more things I would like to add like the pink ties my brothers wore for the funeral and a couple of pink and yellow flowers.

Both boys like them and have them displayed in their room.  Mason makes me giggle because he said he may decide to put it in his special box under his bed so that it doesn’t get broke.  “I want to keep it safe so that when I have my own house, I can hang it up.”  Makes my heart melt!!

I have saved a few other outfits just in case the 3 little ones want something like this for the sister they never got to meet.  Lincoln is 3.5yrs old and starting to ask about when he can meet his sister Clara.  I have already had to explain that right now she is in Heaven.  My wish is that they would want to have a box and some special items to know her by.  Knowing she is in Heaven is one thing to comprehend but having something tangible to hold can help in understanding she was here but isn’t anymore.

Explaining the truth never gets easier but making memories with them so that they can “hold” her in their hearts makes it worth it.


My First Shared Mother's Day

Mother’s Day turned out to be a wonderful day even though it was shared with the memories of such a terrible day.  When I opened my bedroom door, I found a small pile of gifts from my older boys.  Very cute!!  They didn’t get them put on my dresser before I woke up so they left them outside my door and hoped the little boys didn’t destroy them.

We started off the morning by going to church.  Lincoln made it all the way through church sitting with us rather than going to nursery and Preston even fell asleep playing with a toy while in the nursery.  Mason was complaining of the chills but had no fever so I chalked it up to him not wanting to sit through church.  I couldn’t have been more wrong.  Shortly after church was done Mason bolted for the bathroom.  Unfortunately there was someone in the restroom so he had to vomit all over the hallway floor.  My second Mother’s Day gift…not having to clean up after him.  Thank you to our church janitor who so kindly cleaned it up for us while I watched and helped as Mason continue his struggle in the toilet.

After church we went to visit Clara at the cemetery.  It has been far too long since we visited.  We left her some pink and yellow flowers, Pink Lemonade 🙂  I took a few pictures of our time there.  The boys enjoyed visiting and of course climbing all over the flower bed.  Haleigh was all smiles too.


After the cemetery we stopped for a quick breakfast.  Chris ran in to the grocery store to pick up donuts and hot chocolate.  While he was there I saw Elaine and gave her a big hug.  We shared a tear and a quick chat.  We then went home.  At home I got to use my lovely gift from my little boys…Potholders.  Perfect for the cake baking mom!  I started baking cupcakes and a  cake that was ordered.

While the babies were napping and my cakes weere baking, I decided to head out and work on planting my garden.  Tomatoes, spinach, peppers, beans, corn, onions, squash, carrots, and pumpkins made their way into the ground.  I can’t wait to see the garden in a few weeks.

My garden planting and cake baking finished up about the same time so I decided to work on flowers for a few special people.  I used the same pink and yellow daisies we left for Clara earlier in the morning.  I added a beautiful little angel to each arrangement.  I love!

We had my mom out for supper.  It was great to share the evening with her.  I frosted up the cupcakes and added a strawberry to each.  So delicious!

Supper was delicious but was quickly met with a little boy, vomit, and the carpet.  He tried so hard but didn’t make it.  So I got to use my little green machine for the first time of the night…. there were a few more times to follow 😉

After the kids went to bed I decided to show Miss Haliegh some of my baking secrets.

I figure she can’t share them yet and she was more than happy to watch.  We made the final graduation cake on my calendar before my gall bladder surgery.  I think we did a pretty good job!

All in all sharing Mother’s Day went very well.  I spent much of the day busy which is my way of coping and works well.  It helps me continue to make beautiful memories out of days that easily could be filled with sad ones.  I am thankful that I got to share the day with my kids and husband.  They make each day so special!