Life is truly precious

Life is truly precious

Today I welcome Carolyn and Adrian Aarnoutse here on Wanted Chosen Planned. As Carolyn shares her story of meeting and losing her son, Willem, I felt like I was with her, remembering my own loss and reliving those emotions. I honor the bravery of Carolyn and Adrian in opening up their heartache to us, and also I join with them in celebrating their precious baby Willem and his important life. Here is Willem’s story: I wake up every morning with the feeling that a part of me is missing; my heart is heavy and feels broken. We felt so blessed and proud to have five healthy and perfect children.  Our sweet Willem came into this world with one fast push; a healthy 6lbs 5oz boy. His three sisters and one brother loved him dearly. Often, I would see them carrying...

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October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month

October is PREGNANCY AND INFANT LOSS AWARENESS MONTH. Please join with me in raising awareness for this life-changing experience. October is a time to… Remember the children that have died. Celebrate their lives and how they live on in our hearts. Break down the taboos around this type of loss. Give needed support to families. Honor bereaved mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, extended family and friends.   At this very special time of year, Wanted Chosen Planned (and my book and film: Expecting Sunshine) will have a butterfly takeover! This takeover is to help remember, celebrate and spark conversation.   If you are to Google “butterfly symbolism” this is what will come up: Butterflies are deep and powerful representations of life....

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A Video Game to Cope with Grief

A Video Game to Cope with Grief

I listened to one of the most touching Ted Talks just a few days ago. It was about a family that designed a video game to cope with the grief of losing their son. It was so touching that I wanted to share it here. THE DRAGON, CANCER A little background: When Amy Green’s young son was diagnosed with a rare brain tumor, she made up a bedtime story for his siblings to teach them about cancer. What resulted was a video game, “That Dragon, Cancer,” which takes players on a journey they can’t win. In this beautiful talk about coping with loss, Green brings joy and play to tragedy. “We made a game that’s hard to play,” she says, “because the hardest moments of our lives change us more than any goal we could ever...

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Father’s Day for the Bereaved Dad

Father’s Day for the Bereaved Dad

Father’s Day can be challenging for the bereaved dad, just like Mother’s Day is for the bereaved mom. It only adds to the problem when fathers who have lost a child do not receive the support they need (but may not ask for) after their loss. This is not a fact I recognized around the time of Zachary’s passing, which I am sorry for. I was very introspective and self-focused back then, which is okay when you are trying to hold it together yourself. I still attempted to be there for my husband, though I’m not sure if I did a good job of it. My husband Aaron resumed life quickly after our loss, which at the time hurt me deeply. I felt abandoned by my partner and couldn’t see that he was grieving. Boy, was I wrong! I did not appreciate...

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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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The Male Perspective on Grief

The Male Perspective on Grief

I have people ask me all the time: How did your husband cope with his grief? My first reaction for MANY YEARS was: I have no idea It seemed like he wasn’t really grieving And he never really talked about it I assumed he was doing okay   I have since had all four of those reactions turned on their head. I learned: I had no idea how my husband, Aaron, was grieving because he often tried to be strong for me, therefore didn’t always show his feelings. Aaron was grieving, deeply; his grief just looked different from mine and so I didn’t recognize it or understand it the same way as my own. Men are not encouraged to share their feelings as much as women, and sometimes when they do they are made to feel less manly or in control. We can never...

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