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.