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.