Keepsakes of our Loss

Keepsakes of our Loss

Before Zachary died, Aaron and I went to the funeral home that would be performing Zach’s cremation. We walked through a large room filled with wooden caskets. The sight made me nauseous; literally sick to my stomach. I kept my eyes on the floor, Aaron guiding me. We passed through that room into a tiny, closet-like space. There, on a low shelf, was a tiny collection of urns – for children. Regular urns, for adults, are similar to the average flower vase in size, whereas for children, their bones being much smaller, the urns are petite. I remember weeping, furious I would have to make such a decision as the container for my child. There were urns that looked like miniature versions of the adult containers but these felt so cold and impersonal. Aaron and I chose a...

Read More

Easter Reflections: Finding Faith, Losing Faith

Easter Reflections: Finding Faith, Losing Faith

It’s interesting how the loss of a child affects each individual so differently. From the way that people talk about their child and the loss, to how they grieve and respond to others, there is nothing cookie cutter about this experience. With Easter a week away, I’m thinking about colorful eggs, bunnies – and faith. I once met with a woman over coffee whose baby had died and in sharing her story with me she spoke of how the loss brought her closer to God. She was a Christian before her child passed away, and in the aftermath she found a great deal of comfort and grace in processing her grief through her faith. There are also people who find faith for the first time after traumatic experiences. Or to the opposite extreme, lose their faith entirely. For...

Read More

Portraits of Healing in The Quiet Rebuild

Art can heal. It may sound corny but it’s true. The language of art is not like a spoken dialect; art touches the human heart through contrast, color, symbolism, metaphor and personal and creative expression. You don’t have to be an artist or even have a clue what I’m talking about for art to make a difference for you. I can help! If any of this resonates with you (or even sparks your curiosity), I am still looking for volunteers to participate in fine art portraits for my work, The Quiet Rebuild. This is an opportunity to share your story of love and loss and survival. Please get in touch if you are interested: info@alexismariechute.com You can read more about the project here on Wanted, Chosen, Planned – Portraits of Healing and you can...

Read More

Three Minus One Anthology

Three Minus One Anthology

The Three Minus One book will be released on April 19, 2014 by SheWrites Press. I am so thankful that one of my essays is included within this hugely meaningful anthology. My essay is called, “The Tiny Voice that Saved Me,” and is about the days following my son’s death. Description of Three Minus One: Three Minus One: Parents’ Stories of Love and Loss is a collection of intimate, soul-baring stories and artwork by parents who have lost a child to stillbirth, miscarriage, or neonatal death, inspired by the film Return to Zero. The loss of a child is unlike any other, and the impact that it has on the mother, the father, their family, and their friends is devastating—a shockwave of pain and guilt that spreads through their entire community. But the majority of...

Read More

Wanted Chosen Planned nominated for a Yeggie

Wanted Chosen Planned nominated for a Yeggie

Why do I write this blog? There are a lot of reasons: My son Zachary gave me the greatest gift of LOVE and compassion which I hope to share with others. Wanted, Chosen, Planned is my labor of LOVE to make a difference in the world. I LOVE writing and am glad that my gifts can be used in a meaningful way. I guess it all comes down to LOVE… These reasons are worth it in themselves but make it all the more special when I learn that my blog is nominated for a Yeggie – and has been shortlisted! A Yeggie is a new media award in Edmonton for bloggers, social network addicts and twitter personalities that are doing good things with their screen time. Wanted, Chosen, Planned has been shortlisted in the “Family and Parenting” category. I find this a huge honor...

Read More

Thawing of the Bereaved Soul

Thawing of the Bereaved Soul

There is a magic that comes with the spring thaw. The snow starts to melt and little buds appear on the trees. Maybe you are like me and feel an internal blossoming as well. Spring makes me feel alive. The warmth opens my heart. Zachary died in October 2010. Following his death my city of Edmonton went into its typical cold winter and my soul along with it. I spent that season distracting myself from my grief and disguising my sorrow with the busyness of life. My heart was frozen; cold and barren like the landscape. Another time my internal world mirrored the external was when I was expecting following my loss. In my pregnancy with Eden I ripened to full term along with the colors of spring. Eden was born at the end of June 2012. With Eden’s arrival my heart...

Read More

Baby Loss Quotes

Baby Loss Quotes

Sometimes along the journey of loss we need a little help. Okay, that’s not totally true. Yes, help sometimes but also often, daily, minute by minute support… When no one is there to encourage you directly, here are some quotes that may help.       “Out of these ashes, beauty will rise.” - Steven Curtis Chapman   “It’s a happy life, but someone is missing. It’s a happy life, and someone is missing.” - Elizabeth McCracken, An Exact Replica of a Figment of my Imagination   “If I had lost a leg, I would tell them, instead of a boy, no one would ever ask me if I was ‘over’ it. They would ask me how I was doing learning to walk without my leg. I was learning to walk and to breath and to live without Wade. And what I was learning is that it was...

Read More

“The New Normal: A Mother’s Story about Love and Loss” – Flurt Magazine

I write a monthly column for Flurt Magazine and in the spring 2014 issue I published an article called, “THE NEW NORMAL: A Mother’s Story about Love and Loss.” This is my story about losing Zachary and how his life transformed every part of my ‘normal’ existence into something altogether different. I also talk about coming to terms with the title ‘new normal’ and how Zachary gave me the greatest gift: a passion to care for and encourage others who have also experienced loss. I truly believe this journey we are all on can seem unbearable at times but in the end we are stronger together. If you would like to read my full article, you can purchase your copy on Flurt Magazine....

Read More

Praise for Wanted Chosen Planned

Hello lovely readers! I just updated Wanted Chosen Planned with a Praise! page. If you are willing+able and have enjoyed this blog, please get in touch. I welcome feedback either in the comments below this post or by email at info@alexismariechute.com. Thank you in advance! And… with all my heart, thanks for reading!  ...

Read More

Tiny Hands

Tiny Hands

There is music in every person. Sometimes it’s a love song, sometimes it’s a lament. Sometimes I don’t know the words to the melody of my heart’s song which aches for my son, but it’s always there, beating away in my chest. I am so blessed to have a thoughtful and musically talented friend. Candace is in a band with her twin sister Karli; they call themselves Drowning Ophelia. Candace and Karli played in the gallery during my latest exhibition in an evening of art and music. It was in the second set they played: Candace was standing in front of a portrait of my husband which symbolized his grief after our loss. Then Candace surprised me. She told me and the crowd that she wrote a song for my family, a song for Zachary. Her lyrics moved me deeply and put words to...

Read More

Wanted Chosen Planned Updates

Coming back from vacation is always a time of productivity for me. I get rejuvenated and inspired with new ideas. Now, back at my desk, I have added a few new features to Wanted, Chosen, Planned.   Resources This is a brand new page and I would love your help in filling in the blanks. I believe people are stronger together and so if you have a blog, a service or a resource for bereaved parents please email me (info@alexismariechute.com).   Portraits of Healing For a limited time I am offering free portraits as a part of my artwork called The Quiet Rebuild, creating Portraits of Healing for exhibition and publication in a book. If you want to participate, please get in touch. I will be doing upcoming photo shoot dates across Canada and the United States....

Read More

An Invitation to Share your Story

An Invitation to Share your Story

When Zachary died, I felt terribly alone and like a failure as a mother. Naively I believed that babies didn’t die anymore in technologically advanced places like Canada. No one in my circle of friends and family had talked about their own experience. Sex education didn’t teach me the stats nor did my parents or my doctor warn me when I got pregnant. I was not prepared for what happened to me, though you likely can never be fully prepared. Did others feel this way? Our culture doesn’t cope with death in a healthy manner. The mindset seems to be that once the funeral is over you must pick yourself up and move on. Speaking for myself, my journey of grief didn’t really begin until after the memorial. I needed so much in that first year in particular, needs that I am...

Read More

Family Planning After the Death of a Child

Family Planning After the Death of a Child

“You’ll know when you’re done.” That’s what people often say when I tell them I’m not sure if I’m finished having children. I used to be more decisive with the number of kids I wanted to have. I once wanted six. Oh boy, right? Then it was three to four. After Zachary died I was sure I wanted four living children. Now that I am thoroughly enjoying my career, and free hands as Eden is a year-and-a-half old, I wonder if two living children is enough. While my numbers fluxed over the years, in those moments I was always confident. That’s not the case these days. The trouble with family planning is that there is no magic eight ball to shake and give you the perfect answer. I find the more I talk it out with girlfriends, the more uncertain I am one way or the other....

Read More

Stillbirth Led Robert Munsch to Write Love You Forever

Stillbirth Led Robert Munsch to Write Love You Forever

Have you read Robert Munsch’s book, Love You Forever? Do you know the story behind it? I’ve owned a copy of Love You Forever my whole life, but I didn’t understand the impetus behind the book until my sister-in-law sent me a message with the link to Munsch’s website. That’s where I learned that the author penned the song in Love You Forever after his wife had two stillborn babies. “I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living my baby you’ll be.” Munsch could not actually sing the song for a long time because of the strong emotions that came up when he tried. He eventually wrote the song into a book that he had intended as a children’s story but to the surprise of Munsch, and his publishers, the story appealed to people of all ages....

Read More

It’s all about Art and Healing: Conferences, Artist Talks & Exhibition

It’s all about Art and Healing: Conferences, Artist Talks & Exhibition

I am a passionate person and some of the things that I am passionate about include: Family Creativity Healing There are some exciting events coming up that bring together my passions and I would love to share them with you.   FEBRUARY 2014   “The Quiet Rebuild” Exhibition February 1-28, 2014 - Friday, February 7, 2013, 6 – 10 p.m. Art Central, 100 – 7th Avenue S.W. Calgary, Alberta, Canada Fridays, 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. & Saturdays, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. OR by appointment, 780-499-4311 Exhibition description: Award winning photographer Alexis Marie Chute has created a series of provocative images of individuals in their time of healing following hardship. The portraits are symbolic of the regrowth of a forest after wildfire. As new...

Read More

Creativity to Ease the Pain

Creativity to Ease the Pain

I have been an artist and writer all my life. Somehow I refused to let go of the child-like desire to color, paint, build block towers, write short stories and pen poetry as I grew. Working as an artist and writer have been very fulfilling for me. Then when Zachary died, I stopped. For one whole year, what I call my Year of Distraction, I couldn’t be creative nor did I even try. I lost myself in so many ways. It was when I got back into my work that I realized the amazing potential of creativity to help find a way through my grief – and this creativity is not reserved for just professional artists and writers. It’s for everyone.   Creativity itself is mysterious, spiritual and healing.   Creativity taps into a different part of our brains and allows us...

Read More

Grieving {Guest Post}

Grieving {Guest Post}

I met Bobbi Junior at a social network marketing class I taught at Harcourt house for artists and writers in the fall of 2013. When I shared Wanted Chosen Planned as an example of my blogging efforts, Bobbi realized that she and I had something in common; early infant loss. I was intrigued to hear Bobbi’s perspective on the death of her child since she has many more years experience on this journey than me.   Thank you, Bobbi, for this blog post. I’m sure it will encourage many.      Her gravestone reads, “Wendy Lorraine Junior. Budded on earth to bloom in heaven. April 23 – 25, 1985” My husband, Rick, picked the phrase from a page of quotes provided by the funeral home. I had tried to choose, but none felt worthy of our baby girl. She was being buried...

Read More

Home Burial by Robert Frost

Home Burial by Robert Frost

When I picked up a stack of reading for my MFA graduate student residency I had no idea that one little poem could touch me so vividly. Home Burial, by Robert Frost. I read the poem for a class on dialogue in literature. Home Burial was an example of dialogue used cleverly within poetry. Once I started reading I realized that the action of the poem is the argument between a married couple. Their baby had died. The husband buried the child in a plot on what I imagine to be their family farm. The couple are grieving very differently, they are hostile towards each other, and they sometimes seem like strangers. Marriage after the loss of a baby can be strained. The tragedy can bind two hearts together or tear them apart. What I learned in class is that Robert Frost...

Read More

New Year’s Resolutions for the New Normal

New Year’s Resolutions for the New Normal

Resolutions are tough. We envision the perfect version of ourselves and set goals of how to morph into that person. While others resolve never to make a New Year’s resolution because they know that they will most definitely break it. I happen to like resolutions. Goals fuel me. Having a purpose becomes a motivating factor for me in moving forward with my life. Some of the things I have learned about this ‘new normal,’ this life after the death of a child, in terms of making New Year’s resolutions include: Life is unpredictable and no matter our plans, we may head in an unanticipated direction. Being adaptable, flexible, and open are character traits that will serve us well. It is still better to hope and believe and make plans knowing that they may get changed or...

Read More

Weights and Measures – The Impact of our Unseen Children

Weights and Measures – The Impact of our Unseen Children

This is a speech I wrote for the Parent Care Candlelight Service on December 19. The chapel was full and I barely made it through my reflections as the love and longing for unseen children was so palpable. We are still in the midst of the holiday season with New Years on the way. I hope my words may continue to be an encouragement. Love always.             The holidays are a time for togetherness, board games, gifts, and food. It is also a time for reflection.             Since I am cooking my very first Christmas dinner this year, I started to reflect on food.             I now have a folder full of recipes ready for the meal-of-the-year but my palms begin to sweat as I remember all the truly terrible meals I have made over the years.             When the...

Read More