Wednesday, December 11, 2013


The holidays suck.  I said it. They suck. From Halloween to New Year’s Day. There is just no better way to say it. ‘Tis the season, right?
But if you’re grieving, this season brings much more than costumes and Christmas trees.   It brings a great deal of reflection and pain and sadness and a host of other emotions.  I’d like to think I’ve come to terms with that. So now, my job is to try to make it suck less. I was recently asked about ideas for surviving the holiday season in grief, to which my response was simply “Vodka.”
I was half joking, but only half joking.  Because you know what? If vodka works, go for it. If doing the big family gatherings helps, do it. If it makes things worse, stay home. Host Thanksgiving if you want. Boycott the turkey all together if that works. Put up a tree, if you’d like. Be a scrooge if you need to.  
Whatever helps you survive is okay. No matter what that may be. It’s simply about survival. And I think we need to grant ourselves permission to do whatever works.
If I am still breathing, not institutionalized, not incarcerated and halfway functional come January 2nd – I have succeeded. And that…is good enough for me.

Last year was my first Christmas after Jocelyn died. It should have been her first. It was terrible. I bought some toys for a family in need. Money I would have spent on her. I ordered an ornament for our tree. I hung it tearfully and thought of my sweet girl. She had a stocking on our mantle. It remained empty.
I did things to try to lessen the blow of Christmas without my daughter. Some days it helped. Other days, not so much.

This year, I haven’t done any of that. It’s just where I’m at. I can’t find her stocking. And that’s okay. I put the tree up because my son deserves that. I hung her ornament. I didn’t buy a new one. I’ve bailed on shopping with my family, and ordered everything online instead. From my bed. In my pajamas. And it was wonderful. Because that’s what I needed. 
I’m planning to do Christmas at home and keep it low key. And if I change my mind a dozen times in the next few weeks, so be it.  If anyone takes issue with what I need to do in order to survive, let them.

‘Tis the season for survival mode. And I’m in it.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Still standing

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Still Standing

I am so honored and humbled and excited to be writing for Still Standing Magazine. Check it out.

Monday, November 4, 2013


Today really sucked. It started almost immediately when I woke up. The familiar knot in my stomach. The dreadful lump in my throat. The heaviness in my chest. I looked at the clock as my brain started running through the possible scenarios and excuses that could buy me a day in bed. I rolled over and hugged my pillow tightly. As if to protest life and the coming day. I made myself get up eventually. But it didn't get better. I simply pushed through each task mindlessly. Up. Coffee.  Cereal. Makeup. Clothes. Lunch. Keys. Bye. 
It followed me to work. I cried on the way. The facade of happy, streaming down my face. Fresh with mascara and salt. Physical proof of my pain. Kind of nice actually, to see something tangible in my tears. 
I walked into work with a deep breath. Grateful to have an office where I could sit in silence. With my light off and my lamp on, the only sound was coffee brewing and music playing softly. Thank god for those mornings. I surely needed it today. But I felt no better. I was just glad to have a peaceful place in which to feel like shit. Between the emails and the meetings, the lump returned. Through everything, the knot remained. I thought of her with every passing moment. Finally the clock shed some mercy on me and the day ended. 
I cried again. I like to cry in my car. Not the wailing, hyperventilating, ugly cry. Those are best suited for the bed or shower or pretty much anywhere other than behind the wheel. But the calm, effortless cry. Where tears fall freely and with solid conviction. I stopped at the cemetery on my way home. I sat by her grave. And then I went home, where my two lives collide. The life that is and the one that should be. I cook dinner. One less plate. I hug my son. One less child. We watch his show. No sibling argues. He goes to bed. A lone goodnight kiss. 
Now I'm in bed. This day is done. It was awful. But I did it. And I survived it. And that makes this awful day, also kind of amazing. 
Come on tomorrow, please be gentle. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Should Haves

This is the week that Jocelyn should have been born last year. My due date was never really agreed upon, but I would have had a c-section which means it would have been somewhere around this week.
It should have been.
I should be getting ready to celebrate a first birthday. Instead her first birthday happened four months ago and was celebrated only by a pink balloon in a lonely cemetery and lots of tears.
I think the should haves are one of the worst parts of child loss.
A friend once told me that it's so complex because it's not only the loss of a baby. But it's the loss of potential. The loss of what that child would have been. This loss of what our family would have been.

It's the should haves. And they are evil.

The should haves waste no time getting started. I should be blank weeks pregnant. I should be finishing the nursery. I should be preparing for maternity leave. I should be, should be should be.
I thought (or perhaps hoped) naively, that the should haves would slack off once I passed my due date. Once I should no longer be pregnant, surely the should haves would get better.
Oh, sweets. Wishful thinking.
It quickly became she should be this old. She should be doing that. She should blank. I should blank. We should blank.
Then I thought (or perhaps hoped) naively, that the should haves would slack off once I passed all of the "firsts". Once we made it through all of her should have been first holidays. Once we survived her first should have been birthday. Surely, then the should haves would get better.

But alas, I was wrong. Again. Damn. It is now my belief that should haves are here to stay.
They may change and they may shift. But they are a permanent part of my world. There will always be something that she or we or I should have had or done or experienced.
And my mind will always go there. It will always go to that place.  I will always wonder and wish and hope. I will always think of her in every piece of my life. In every possible capacity.
No matter how much time passes, or how many times I buy a pink balloon or hang an empty stocking.

I will never stop knowing that she should have been.

And that, I guess, is simply how it should be.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Ninja Feelings : Anger

A while back I shared my opinion on feelings that just sneak up on you, seemingly out of nowhere. I call them Ninja Feelings and I generally think they are evil.
Anger is one of them. I've found that it is quite crafty. See, it doesn't only present in it's original and most common form. You know, the normal angry. Oh, no. Nothing, is normal anymore. Feelings included.
Ninja Anger comes in many different shapes and sizes. So many varieties.
For me, the most intrusive version of anger is resentment.
Resentment that quietly creeps into the corners of my relationships. And whispers lies to me about what his intentions were. Or what she really thinks. Or what they really meant.
Another common version is bitterness.
Bitterness is a tricky one. Because a part of me, and sometimes a big part, feels entitled to that bitterness. It's justified. My baby is dead. And I get to be bitter about that if I want or need to.
But, no matter how valid that bitterness may be, at the end of the day, it only hurts me.
Bitterness rusts the edges of my soul. And that is not okay.
I could keep going on about the many facets of the Ninja Anger.
Fear, anxiety, isolation, etc.

But I will leave it at this: Be on the look out for this particular Ninja Feeling. It's a sneaky, manipulative little bastard. And it will eat you alive.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

It hurts.

My heart hurts. It really fucking hurts. 
There are moments that still take my breath away. Moments where I still can't believe this is all real. Moments that send me spinning back into darkness. 
I want my baby. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


It's been so long since I've written. Partially because of totally benign reasons. Work, 3 year old, life. 
Partially because I've been tired. In so many ways. I'm going to try to write more. We shall see. 

Sunday, June 2, 2013


The cemetery keeps me acutely aware of the days that pass. 
There is no room for denial. The changing seasons are the ultimate clock. Tic Toc with change so visible, so tangible, that I feel it in my bones as I drive toward the cemetery.
Summer is burial. So hot. The air is thick and I sweat. We buried her in June. And the heat accompanies my first memories as the mom of a dead baby. 
Then the leaves begin to change color. And I grow uncomfortable. Fall is my favorite season but it's changing her place. It brings cooling winds and shorter days. Darkness falls early and I have less time. As if there has ever been enough. 
Winter falls. Christmas comes. Trees are bare. Just like her stocking. Suddenly the cemetery is a different place. It's cold and it's quiet. Somber. My memories reflect a backdrop that is almost unrecognizable. And I'm reminded that time is passing. And passing quickly.
Rain falls as Spring begins. The birds begin to stir. The sun warms my tearstained cheek and things begin to feel familiar. Shit. A year has nearly passed. I don't want to believe it. It feels impossible. But the seasons make it real. 
The heat returns. With thick air and sweat. Her birthday approaches and the cemetery now matches the memories.
A year has passed. 
The first of many. 
And the seasons continue to keep count. 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day.
I want to stay in bed. Under my covers. Where it's safe and warm. Something about being in bed seems so protective. Like my heart can't ache quite as much as long as I'm snuggled in my bed.
I know my precious Jude is here. And I'm so grateful for him. But I can't NOT notice her absence. The void in my life. In our family. It's always there. Even in times of (almost) joy, in times of happiness - it's there. And she's not. And it fucking hurts.
So tomorrow, like so many of you, I will celebrate my mom and I will be celebrated. I will smile. And maybe laugh. But she will be missing. And my heart will hurt and my chest will ache. And my mind will consistently wander to our precious daughter, our missing piece.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Ninja Feelings: Lonliness

Grief is so many things. So much that you would expect and yet even more that could never be anticipated.
Grief is an expert at those ninja-like sneak attack emotions, one of which is lonliness. (Others include anger, fear, and anxiety. More in those jewels later)

Grief is a lonely place to be. It's alienating.
Holy shit, is it alienating.
Because at the end of the day, no matter how much they love you and want to be supportive and want to ease your pain, they cannot walk this treacherous path with you. At the end of the day, they must go home. They must leave us and go their own way, leaving the sadness behind as they return to their own lives, skipping along in normalcy.
At the end of the day, no matter what, they get to leave.
And when they do, it's just me and grief.

Friday, April 26, 2013


Pinwheels are a common sight at the graves of babies. Jocelyn is no exception. She's had a pinwheel since she was buried. She has one now.
As I approached the cemetery last week, my eyes were drawn to the spinning colors spread across the grass. So many pinwheels. So many babies. So many parents living without their babies.
Babies who were denied life.

I wondered why pinwheels are so common. It only took a minute for me to come to a conclusion.
Pinwheels are a sign of life. Of movement. They breathe with the wind and they move.
In a way, the pinwheels live. Like our babies didn't get to.

And as the parents, we instinctively seek this sign of life. Most, like me, completely unaware of why.
Yet so many of us seek out pinwheels. So many of us place them by our babies.
And we watch the vibrant colors as they spin into life. We watch the movement. The wind breathes life into what once stood still.
A sign of what we cannot see.
And we watch.

Monday, April 15, 2013


The speed at which life continues after the death of a child is astonishing.
Days and nights pass slowly and painfully. Time stands in quiet stillness though I beg for its merciful passing. Yet somehow the weeks, months, and years disappear with a brutal quickness. And time breezes by with agonizing ease, though I beg it to pause and remember.

I cannot believe it has been a month. Six months. A year. Ten years.
I cannot believe I am still breathing. I cannot believe I am surviving. But I am.
Sometimes I attribute this strength to her. It’s the only thing that makes sense.

And although it is hard to believe, it is important to believe.
Sometimes, the only thing that gets me through the day is the knowledge that I survived the day before. And sometimes, in those moments that steal my breath, I remind myself that there is nothing I cannot do. After all, I have buried my baby.
And surviving that is an equalizer of sorts.
There is no moment or day or year that can intimidate me with its promise of pain.
Time can come or go. Fast or slow. The fact remains that my baby died. And the ache that runs through my being will never change. It is a part of me. A part of her, in me.

And that is a beauty, not bound to time.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Missing you

I just miss her. It's strange to miss someone who was barely around and yet I feel her absence everywhere.
I feel her absence, the hole.
But I also feel her presence, the light.
Some days one is stronger than the other.

Love you, Joce.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

10 months

I don't even know how to begin this post. I can't really process the fact that so much time has passed. 10 months. I think about the day she was born and the events that followed her quiet birth. My heart aches and my mind spins. 10 months. Almost a year. What's next? 2 years? 5? 20? I can hardly believe it.
But the amount of time seems irrelevant because every day feels the same. I love her the same. I miss her the same. I hurt the same. The thing that really gets me about the passing time is that it never stops. Time just keeps ticking despite the heartache. Despite the desperate need to pause and catch my breath. Time stops for no one. And it's just so unfair. Basically what I'm saying is that time is an asshole. And I wish I could punch it in the face.

Friday, April 5, 2013

The Letter

(This is the letter that Mr. J and I wrote to Jocelyn that is buried with her)

Dear Jocelyn,

Hi. It's mom and dad. We don't know how to write this letter. We are sorry that you were so sick. We are sorry that we couldn't fix it. We wanted to so badly. We would have done anything, given everything to fix it, to make you all better. To save you.
This world is a crazy place where things are unfair and unjust and sometimes, unimaginable. But you don't have to live in this place. You don't have to ever know the hurt and pain in this world. We would gladly bear those burdens daily to keep you protected from them. And we probably will.
But you, sweet girl, have never been and will never be a burden to us. You are such a blessing, a gift. We are so lucky to be your parents and we will always cherish the short time that we had together in this world.
We hope that you play freely and joyfully wherever you are, until we come to meet you.
Know that not a moment will pass that you are not loved and missed and remembered.
Your big brother is crazy. He would have given you hell. So you may want to keep an eye on him. On all of us, even.
You are so loved, Jocelyn. You have been since the moment we learned of your existence and you will be forever.
We also promise to work hard to allow your short life to be the blessing that it is. To not become bitter or resentful, but to embrace gratitude for you always.
We'd like to write forever, to fill countless notebooks, to avoid saying goodbye. I'm sure that we will write many more letters in the days, weeks, months, and years to come. But this letter has to stop somewhere.
We won't say goodbye though, not ever.
We will continue to know you, feel you, and love you forever. With more love than words could ever express.

Mommy and Daddy

Dear Jocelyn

June somethingtowardstheend, 2012

Dear Jocelyn,

So much has happened lately. It's too much to keep up with even. I feel like so much of your story is missing.
So I'm going to just recap the last couple of weeks for you.

We did a lot in preparation for your burial. We chose a stone to mark your "grave". I fucking hate that word. I know you aren't there. I considerate really more of a memorial.
We went the day before your service to finalize the plans. I took the box that contained your ashes. I held it tightly against my chest as we rode from the funeral home to the cemetery. When we arrived, I laid the box, your box, gently in the burial vault. I tucked a letter from your Aunt Liz on one side and a letter from me and Daddy on the other. I put a piece of Katie's blanket in there. (A gift from your Aunt Susan from the blanket set that Katie was buried with.)
A picture from your Aunt Mal of her and Jude (she wrote you a sweet message on the back) and  a pair of tiny camo socks. I included Jude's blue crinkle elephant, his favorite toy from when he was a baby. It would have surely been among your first round of inherited toys. Now it sleeps with you. A small silver cross from your Maw Maw and Paw Paw.
And then I laid a piece of Daddy's baby blanket (affectionately known in our house as "Blue Blankie") gently over the top of the box.
Then I took the glue and traced along the seal of the vault. And I closed it tightly. Securely.
I took care of you. I couldn't feed you. Or rock you. Or bathe you. But I could do this. And so I did.
I cried, but calmly so. It felt oddly right. A mother, simply caring for her new daughter.

June 16, 2012

We buried your box and vault that we filled with words and items of love. We had a small and beautiful service for you. Your Great Aunt Linda led the service. She cried fearlessly. And she smiled sincerely. And it was perfect.
You are so loved. I know I've said it a million times already, but I just want you to know.
We love you. Always have. Always will.

June 24, 2012

We went to the beach this weekend. I thought of you every second. I was afraid to leave town at first, because I didn't want to miss a day of visiting the cemetery. (I sent someone very special in my place.)
I was scared that being so far from home. Afraid that I wouldn't feel you there. I'm so afraid to not feel you.
I was told that you'd be present with me. That I just had to keep my eyes open and look. That I would see you, feel you.
And I did. And you were there. You were in the waves, in the sunrise, even in the board game laughter. You were with me. You are with me. I'm sorry I forget that sometimes.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

One? Two? One? Shit.

"How many kids do you have?"

Ugh. The perpetual knot in my stomach tightens. I say one. Usually. Mostly out of self preservation. I say one. Then in my head, I apologize to Jocelyn. Because she counts. She does. I just don't always have the energy to go through all of it. And sometimes those who ask don't need the story. And sometimes, they don't deserve the story. So I generally say one. Even though I know that silence is counterproductive to awareness. Even though it literally pains me to deny her. Even though what I really want to do is climb the highest mountain and scream the loudest scream and tell the sweetest story of the beautiful baby whose mommy misses her every moment of every day. But instead, I say one as I avert my eyes. I take a deep breath as I rub my necklace.
I close my eyes and I whisper my love into the air.

Sunday, March 31, 2013


We're missing an Easter basket today. One that should be filled with teething toys and yogurt melts. And undoubtedly something soft and pink. A little stuffed bunny or duck maybe. Or a bath toy made for baby giggles and momma splashing.
A very first Easter basket filled with love and excitement.

Happy Easter, Joce. Missing you this morning.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Bereaved Mother

I came across this the other day. As I read each line, a resounding "yes!" echoed in my head. Each one louder and more intense than the last.
I actually read it a few times because my I internal dialogue was so distracting. Whether you are a member of this dreadful club of bereaved mothers, or a spouse, friend, sister or coworker of a mother who has lost a child, please read this. It's important to try to understand the path we walk. It's equally important that we try to explain.

Read this.


This made so much sense to me. People fade as the dust if death settles. Yet we stand among the debris, almost frozen in fear. Read it.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Not so emerging.

Tonight, I am tired. I am buried in grief and pain and loneliness. I know that I will be better. I know that I am strong and resilient. And I know that I will be better. After all, I'm a fighter.

But sometimes, tonight included, I don't want to be better. I am tired of fighting.

I want to just lay down and let the pain swallow me whole.
I don't want to be resilient.
I don't want to be strong.
I want to just give in to the sadness and anger.
I want to quit trying.  I want to be content in misery.
I wish I could  lay down and give up.
I wish I could welcome resentment and bitterness with open arms.
I wish I was content to let this grief swallow me whole.

But I'm not. And I can't.
So tonight, I will take a hot shower and crawl in bed.
And like it or not,  I will try again tomorrow. It's in my blood. In my soul. A gift from Jocelyn, no doubt.

Like it or not, I will fight again.


bro·ken  (brkn)
1. Forcibly separated into two or more pieces; fractured
2. Sundered by divorce, separation, or desertion 
3. Having been violated
4.a. Incomplete
   b. Being in a state of disarray; disordered
5.a. Intermittently stopping and starting; discontinuous
   b. Varying abruptly
   c. Spoken with gaps and errors
6. Topographically rough; uneven
7.a. Subdued totally; humbled
   b. Weakened and infirm
8. Crushed by grief
9. Not functioning; out of order

I am broken.
I've said it many times, to many different people, in many different contexts.
And generally those people spend the minutes after that comment trying to convince me that I'm not broken and explain to me why.
But I can't understand that either. Because I'm FUCKING BROKEN, people!
Then these same people, who are in their own denial about my brokenness, expect unbroken behavior from me. Unbroken feelings and unbroken thoughts.
They want me to be unbroken. Why? Because it's easier for them? Or maybe because then they think that they too can stay unbroken? That if life should (god forbid!) serve them the same shit sundae it has served me, that they could somehow stay unbroken too.

It's all crap. I am broken. I do not and will not ever think like I used to. Feel like I used to. I don't have the same beliefs or attitudes. I think crazy shit. I say and do crazy shit. I'm irrational. I'm unfair. I'm unreasonable.

I am broken. And that, at least for now, has to be okay.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Dear Jocelyn

June 13, 2012

Dear Jocelyn,

We scheduled your burial today. It is so surreal.  Sometimes, I can still feel you inside of me. I hope that's where you'll stay. I don't have a lot to say today. And yet I could write for hours. But I am so tired.
I miss you. I love you.
As big as the sky.


June 14th, 2012 - 7:30am

Dear Jocelyn,

One week. It's been once week since your birth. Almost to the minute, as I lay in bed and watch the clock. I replay the events of your birth in my mind. Thinking about the last moment that you spent inside of me. Knowing that you were already gone. Wishing I could hold you inside forever. Knowing that to push was to say goodbye, at least in the physical sense.
I miss you so much. Sometimes it hurts just to breathe. But I close my eyes and I picture you. This beautiful little girl playing freely in fields of flowers. And I remember, that you are free. That you knew only love in this world. That you knew no pain, or hurt, or sorrow.
I would gladly carry it all for a million years to protect you from it. I guess I kind of already am.
One week. I hope you enjoy your field of flowers.
I love you more than words.


June 19th, 2012

Dear Jocelyn,

Hey love. On my way to bed. Just wanted to say we love you. And miss you. I think about you constantly  I feel you around me sometimes. I hope as the dust settles, I can feel you more. You may know this already, but you have made such an impact on the lives of those who love you.
I wish I could hold you. Touch you. Kiss you. When I close my eyes, I can see you. You are beautiful and happy and free.
I hope you can still feel my love.


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Dear Jocelyn

June 11, 2012

Dear Jocelyn,

Hey sweet girl. I miss you so much. Sometimes, when I pass a mirror, I see my belly and I think about how I should still be pregnant with you. How you should still be tucked away safely, growing and preparing for you grand October entrance.
I cry a lot. I don't know if you can see that, but I'm sorry if you have to see me cry. Please know it's not your fault that I'm sad. I just miss you. I know that you are better now. I know that you were sick and I know you left this world in peace. But it will take a long tome to make my heard understand what my mind already (sort of, sometimes) knows.
Tonight, we were sitting in the living room and I had this moment of peace. This moment where I felt you near me. It was the most calm and confident and peaceful feeling I've had since we found out how sick you were. I don't really know how this whole afterlife thing works, but if you had anything to do with that precious moment, please feel free to do that again at any time.
I love you. More than words can say. Daddy loves you too.

Talk to you soon,



There are a number of things that I have learned about grief in the last 9 months. Things that I didn't realize before I lived it. Things that Webster won't tell you. That people in general won't tell you. But I will.

 It is all consuming.
Nothing in life after loss is spared the wrath of grief. Everything, and I mean everything, changes. Perceptions. Opinions. Emotions. Reactions.Beliefs. Attitudes. Expectations of the world around you. Of people in general, and of those whom you love. Priorities change. Those who knew you in the before may not recognize you in the after. And not just casual relationships or old friends. We're talking Husbands. Wives. Parents. Children. Sisters. Brothers. Lifelong friends. Grief has the power to change every relationship.

 It is exhausting. 
No amount of rest or relaxation or sleep is any match for a grieving mind. I'd write more about this one, but I'm too damn tired.

It is terrifying. 
So many times I've thought and said, "what if I never get better? What if I'm never happy again?"
I still don't know the answer to those questions. And guess what? Neither does anyone else. And they tend to look at you like you should be medicated if you ask. Which leads me to number four.

It is alienating. 
People share in your sadness. For a while. Then they move one. All at different paces, and in different ways, but they move on. And even those who love you and mean well don't always know how to handle the griever. They don't know what to do or say. And you know what seems to be the next logical step for most people? Just don't do or say anything. It's a matter of their comfort level. As if they could make anything worse. Please. I've buried my daughter. I can handle anything you can say. Just say SOMETHING! But the vast majority of people around you will choose silence instead. And it's lonely. We watch them move one. And we stay.

It is unique and individualized. 
I'm not going to grieve like you and you aren't going to grieve like me. People told me that Mr. J and I would grieve differently. I didn't really know what it meant, until it happened. And when it happened, it was undeniable. I don't really know how to explain it other than to say that you will recognize it when it hits your marriage upside the head. I had so many moments of intense disconnection from him because we were simply in different places, with different needs, and different feelings.

It is inconsistent. 
I want people. I want to be alone. I need to laugh. I want to cry. I'm tired. I can't sleep. I want another baby.   I don't want anyone but her. I'm feeling better. I feel worse than ever. Today is not so bad. I hate today. Hi, how are you? Screw you. Don't talk to me. Where are you going? I could go on and on. I could stop here.

It's not all bad. 
Now I'm still very much learning about this one. And I'm sure I will write more on this when I know more about it. And although I wish every moment of every day that my daughter was here - losing her is changing me. And it's not all bad. I find that I'm more grateful. I move through life a little slower. A little more observant and appreciative. It's new and still a little icky for me. I guess because it treads dangerously close to everything happens for a reason crap. Which I think is shit. But I have a dear friend who often tells me that there is grace to be found. That out of this awful, unjust, unimaginable pain - there is grace to be found. She's right. I think. Maybe. To be continued...

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


I spent the weekend in the hospital with my almost three year old son. He was rushed to the ER with respiratory distress and damn near coded. The ER staff was amazing and stabilized him quickly. Long story short we ran a hundred tests over the next two days and came home last night. With very few answers. And follow up appointments to try to figure it out. He is doing well and acting like his regular crazy self.

But the fear. Holy fucking shit, the fear. It's paralyzing. I watched as nurses swarmed and surrounded him. And I thought I was going to lose him. I thought I was going to bury him next to my sweet Jocelyn. Obviously I didn't. And I'm not. But man.

Now that things have settled down, it's left me thinking about the fear in general that follows loss.
It's so intense. An intensity that I never knew in the before. It carries with it, an expectation of worst case scenarios. So vivid. So real.

Because these scenarios are not simply imagined. They are remembered.

We have lived worst case scenarios. The innocence that protected us once upon a time, has been brutally shattered. We no longer say things like, "Oh my god, I can't imagine" when we hear horrific stories of death. Because we can imagine. More than that, we can remember. We know.

When medical crisis hits, there are no thoughts of panic asking what are we to do. There are no moments of uncertainty. At least not for me. I knew exactly what we would do if we lost him. And my mind went to the cemetery. To the empty plot below my daughters.

And that? That is really fucked up.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Speaking of survival...

One more thing. Today the staff meeting in my office suddenly turned into pregnancy story swapping. And I sat there paralyzed for a while. And my anxiety built with every passing minute.  Finally, I grabbed my phone and my keys and escaped to my car. And I sat there and caught my breath and I calmed my mind.  And when I went back in, everyone had dispersed. And with a little pharmaceutical assistance, I didn't punch anyone. And I went back to my desk. And I continued in my day.


Survival Mode

When I think about the days and weeks immediately following Jocelyn's birth, I literally have no idea how we did the things we did.

I don't know how we managed to sleep or eat or sometimes even breathe.
I don't know how we managed to go to the funeral home and plan her service.
I don't know how we managed to design a headstone or attend her memorial service (Although I do remember threatening to not go and/or go in my pjs).
I don't know how we managed to even walk out of the hospital the day after her birth.

I don't know how in the hell we managed at all.

But we did. We did all of those things.

I like to call it survival mode. Some may call it shock or denial or detachment. But I like survival mode much better.
The mind, the body, the spirit - it just all goes on auto pilot.
And somehow, we survive.

We do things that are entirely unimaginable, until the time comes for them to be done. Then, it's just done.

I saw a new therapist a couple of weeks ago. (Yes, I am in therapy in case you were concerned about my mental health.)
I mentioned this concept of survival mode pretty nonchalantly.
She stopped me.
She reminded me that I need not downplay my survival. She reminded me that just walking this road each day counts as a great achievement.
She reminded me to give myself credit, where credit is due. And grace, where grace is needed.
She reminded me that it's not just being in survival mode. It is being a survivor.

It's so easy to focus on all the pain and dysfunction and negativity because those things are such powerful forces in grief. And plus hello? Dead babies are pretty fucking negative. (Remember my morbid warning? This is nothing.)
But it's so important, at least for me, to acknowledge progress in grief.

I deserve to be proud that I got out of bed. And that when I was in bed, I actually slept.
I get to consider breakfast, coffee, and a touch of makeup to be success. Because it is, damn it!
I get to celebrate the fact that I drove to work without having to pull over and do the cry/puke/hyperventilate thing.

There are no small feats in grief. Everything is a big deal. Everything counts. Everything matters.

 We are survivors. When push comes to shove - we can, we do, and we will.

And we get to be proud.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


One of the things that has always seemed to help me, is writing letters to Jocelyn. 
I've written many since she was born. And I want to keep writing them. 
So over the coming weeks I am going to post the letters that I've previously written to her. 
Just a heads up, so if you see letters with dates from June you won't think I've totally lost my marbles.

P.S. I probably have totally lost my marbles. 

P.P. S. Marbles are overrated.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Rest for the weary

Tired. Exhausted. Beat. Fatigued. Worn the hell out.

However you want to say it. It's all the damn same. And what I'm learning is that grief is a lot of work. But more importantly, it means I have to take care of me. "Take care of yourself." I've heard that a lot. But what does that even mean? And how do I go about doing this mystery thing?  Where do I find time among the sadness, the responsibilities, the bills, the cooking, the cleaning, the errand running, the playing, the working, the crying, etc.
I can remember being so angry (and still am, quite often) that the world didn't stop when Jocelyn died. Not forever, although there were moments when that was a nice thought. But just for a while. It should have stopped if for no other reason than to acknowledge that she was here. It should have stopped for her.
And it should have stopped for me. For us. Time should have stood still for a while. So that I could catch my breath. So that I could attempt to process everything that was going on. So that I could pause. It should have stopped so that we could rest.
But it did not. And it has not. And it will not.

Life goes on at a seemingly absurd pace. I've tried to join in at times. And at other times I've tried to invoke my self proclaimed right to do whatever the hell I wanted and/or needed to. Perhaps THE world wouldn't stop, but MY world could. Right? Wrong. Both of these strategies failed. I was even more tired. More angry. More resentful. How dare you people waltz leisurely into Starbucks?! Don't you know my baby died?! Assholes.

What I am learning is that there is a balance to be found. Some things in my life will continue to demand participation. Work, my marriage, my son. And those things deserve participation from me. They deserve investment.
But the other piece is that the exhaustion, the hunger for rest, the need for solace? These things are very real. And they are very important.
I have to figure out how to take care of myself. I have to figure out what it means. Here is what I know so far:

I have to rest. Sometimes that means sleep. Sometimes it means stay in pj's and be lazy. But I have to rest.

I have to get up. I have to get OUT of my pj's. And do something. Even when I don't wannnnnaaaa.

I have to talk. I have to know who my safe people are. And I have to talk to them. A lot.

I have to, on occasion, be quiet. Be still. Resist the urge to word vomit all of my thoughts. And be still.

I have to make sacrifices. I have to step away from some things. Not because they are innately bad for me, but because they are barriers to peace. And I need as much of that as I can get. It's a rare jewel these days.

I have to uphold commitments. Not everything is to be sacrificed. Some things are non-negotiable.

I have to know my limits. And I have to honor them. I have to listen to my body, my instincts, my heart. I will miss out on somethings. And that has to be okay.

I have to be gentle with myself. I have to grant myself grace. This road is hard. And there is no right or wrong way to do it.

This list is evolving. Daily. Sometimes hourly. But it's a good start.

For now? I'm tired. So I shall rest. Goodnight.


Sunday, March 10, 2013


I wake up in the morning. I hear the silence. The space. The void where her cries ought to be.

I pour my coffee. I smell the caffeine that won't be in my breast milk. 

I pee.  I remember the catheter at the hospital. 

I drive to work. I'm blinded by the sun. I feel her in its warmth. 

My mind drifts to her a thousand times a day. In a hundred different ways. 
Sometimes for a moment, sometimes without ceasing. 

I check my rear view mirror. I see the missing car seat. Sometimes, it's almost there. 

I play with my son. I feel the absence of his sister. 

I hear him say her name. My heart is flooded with pain and with joy. 

I hold my husband's hand. I feel his finger. It's missing the tiny hand, that should grasp it so tightly. 

I crawl in bed. I long to dream of her. Hopeful every night. 

I go to the grocery story. So many things not on this list. So many babies all around. 

I sit at a wedding. No dress for her. No big day. No father daughter dance. 

I cry. She doesn't. 

I laugh. She never will. 

Do I think of her everyday? 

A thousand times a day. 
A hundred different ways. 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

9 Months

9 months ago today I held my sweet Jocelyn.
Sometimes it is so hard to believe that it's been 9 months.
Sometimes it is so hard to believe that is has only been 9 months.
This time last year I was blissfully pregnant.
Such a strange concept to me, now. Sometimes I wonder if I'll ever be blissfully anything ever again, let alone blissfully pregnant.

9 months. Grief is a fucking time warp.

I love you, Joce. As big as the sky.

And so it begins

This is a story all about how my life got flipped turned upside down.....

No, really. It is. I'm starting this blog as an outlet for me as I deal with the evil bitch we all know as Grief.
On June 7th 2012 my daughter, Jocelyn, was stillborn due to Turners Syndrome. I will write more about how all of that went down soon. But for now, I am just writing to say that I'm going to write.
I'm going to talk about all the things that have happened. All the things that have changed and subsequently split my entire world into "before" and "after".
I'm going to cry. And laugh. And be wildly inappropriate. And morbid. Yes, prepare for morbid.
The title of this blog is simply a challenge to myself. A reminder that I don't want to be broken forever. I don't want my daughter to be the reason that I am not okay. I want to somehow, in some magical way that I don't yet understand, be better because of her. Because of loving her and knowing her and even because of losing her.
I don't want to move on. Or forward. Or past it. I want to emerge. And I want to emerge better.