A Healthy Grief Movement

A Healthy Grief Movement

I want to bring people together to create a “Healthy Grief Movement.” Will you join me? What I see as some of the “manifesto points” of this movement: People are encouraged and feel comfortable talking about their own losses and speaking with others who are grieving. Sharing stories of life and death that help both the storyteller and the listeners. Children are brought up understanding that death is a natural and beautiful part of life. There is a healthy vocabulary to discuss challenging topics. There are cultural rituals to support the bereaved and remember the deceased. These are just some ideas. Do you have others? Though I am not entirely sure what this “Healthy Grief Movement” will look like, I have made some graphics to...

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Struggling & How to Help

Struggling & How to Help

Having a baby after losing a baby is hard. Then you add a complication to the pregnancy and everything spirals. To be honest, I am struggling right now.   What has happened in the last five days: I had my 20 week ultrasound last Tuesday. That night, our doctor called and said there may be something wrong with my baby’s heart and that it could be an indicator of a larger problem. I was making dinner at the time. The torrent of emotions nearly knocked me off my feet. I wept so hard both nostrils started bleeding. There was blood on my clothing and on my three-year-old son who ran to comfort me. Though I was making a new recipe that night, both Aaron and I lost our appetites after the call. At the same time, our instinctual coping mechanisms kicked-in. All I...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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