"Life isn't about surviving the storm...it is about learning to dance in the rain." Anonymous

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Ways to Remember Idea #4

Are you a writer?  The answer doesn't really matter.  If you have been through a profound event, you have thoughts and feelings that need to be expressed.  Many people are great at talking about how they feel, some are not.  Why not try writing....keep a journal, create a blog (my favorite idea!), or write notes to your baby. 

The one HUGE difference with perinatal loss, as opposed to the loss of other loved ones, is that no one feels comfortable talking to you about it.  So, the grief becomes very isolating and lonely.  It is so important to get those feelings out. 

I know people who have written notes to their babies talking about their pregnancies, any guilt they felt over the loss, and any anger they felt.  I know others who journal and get their thoughts and feelings on paper.  I created a blog after my daughter died and it served such a purpose for me.  You don't have to be creative to do this...believe me, I am far from creative.  I just wrote and posted US pictures and got to share my feelings for her in a safe arena.  I didn't have to worry about anyone telling me they couldn't hear anymore or avoiding me because they didn't want to hear anything about a baby who was gone.  Writing my blog was so cathartic for me.  I was able to write about my anger and my own guilt, and over time, I was able to start expressing joy and happiness on my blog. 

You see, we must tell our stories.  If we keep them bottled up, they will eventually come to the surface.  We have every right to talk about our children.  We are parents....other parents talk about their children, so why can't we?? 

Writing is for you, but it can also help others if you choose to share your writings.  What a wonderful way to honor your baby.  By sharing your story with others who may feel alone, you are sharing your baby's purpose and sharing your love for him or her.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Ways to Remember Idea #3

Well, my goal of posting an idea every other day got a little off track, so many apologies!  Unfortunately, not having time to post on the blog usually means we have been really busy in the office. 

So, we have gotten many ideas in (all wonderful!!)  Today, I wanted to share a simple idea that I absolutely love.  After the loss of a loved one, whether it is a child, parent, or someone else who is special, many people want to plant something that will perpetuate.  Some people plant the plants they receive from others after their loss.   I actually planted a butterfly bush that a neighbor gave us after Elizabeth's death and it makes me think of her every day.  I especially love to see butterflies in the yard, even if they are not around the butterfly bush.  I think that maybe they are there just for her bush and to send me little messages. 

Anyway, the idea today actually came from a friend.  She and her family planted a garden in memory of their baby.  They have tomatoes, carrots, peppers, and a couple of other things.  She said she got the idea from one of her favorite childrens' book series, Beatrix Potter.  Her family named their garden "Emily's Garden".  They have 2 other children who help tend the garden and it gives them all a chance to say Emily's name and talk about her.  It has become, for them, a very special place for them to come and in many ways, work through their grief while working in their garden.  They have told me that when they eat some of the food from their garden that it just makes them smile because of all the love that went into perpetuating their garden.  What a great idea!

If you have an idea, share it with us.  We would love to hear and share it!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Ways to Remember Idea #2

So the idea I want to share with you today is one that you may know about.  If you don't, you really must check out the blog site and see how wonderful this is.  There is a couple who have dedicated themselves to writing the names of lost babies in the sand at the beach near their home.  They call their beach Christian's beach, in honor and memory of their stillborn son Christian.  Once you send them your baby's name, it goes on a wait list and within a couple of days, you will get an email notification that your picture is ready.  There is no charge to have your baby's name written in the sand unless you want to purchase the jpeg image, which is $25.  Then you can print your picture on canvas or any way you wish.  The sunsets in their photography are stunning.  The link is:  http://namesinthesand.blogspot.com/ 

If you take a look at the blog, there are links to some other creative things they offer.  One of my favorites is the selection of cards for bereaved parents.  They are really beautiful. 

Of course, you can always write your baby's name in the sand yourself--make it a project with your spouse, other children, or with your other family members.  If you don't live near a beach or have no plans to be at a beach in the near future, you can find another creative way to write your baby's name.

There is something to be said about seeing their name and writing their name.  For me, it brings home the reality that my baby was a being, that she was here in the world, and that she is remembered.  I had a friend who photographed street signs that had her baby's name on them.  She would make these amazing black and white photographs of these street signs.  I love them!

Someone asked me about a year ago if I would use Elizabeth's name again if I had another baby.  I am not making this up.  I thought, "Seriously??"  I had to stop and realize that this came from someone who has never experienced anything awful, especially the loss of a baby.  She was pregnant with her 5th child at the time.  Maybe there are differing opinions on whether to "reuse" the name, but I would not.  That name is and forever will be, hers.  It is not for someone else.  She is the only Elizabeth that I will ever have.

So, for me at least, there is tremendous power in a name.  Don't be afraid to say it or write it...your baby was here and it is OK to remember that in any way that you want to.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Month of Remembering Idea # 1

One of the most special ways to come together as a family or group of loved ones to remember your baby is to make plans to attend the Atlanta Walk to Remember.  If you do not live in Atlanta, or even in Georgia, there will be walks sponsored all around the country.  My family will walk together, along with some of my friends, to remember Elizabeth.  We are having t-shirts made with her birthday on them and a copy (I think...haven't finalized it yet) of my favorite story about the Brave Little Soul on the back.  This Walk is an afternoon full of remembering and coming together with other families who are also experiencing grief.  There is a balloon release and beautiful music, along with amazing speakers.  Grief is such a lonely place--the Walk, for me, reminds me that I am not alone.  I also love the balloon release and the idea of writing my own "butterfly message" to her to send up with her balloon. 

There is really something powerful in hearing your baby's name read and seeing it in print.  It reminds me that my baby was real, that she was here if only for a short time, and that she graced our lives with her presence.  I hope that she hears her name whenever we talk to her and knows that we think of her every day.

If you haven't registered for the Atlanta Walk to Remember, but would like to, the registration link is on the front page of our website.  I am also putting it here:   http://www.planetreg.com/E72213205298   Please go to our website at http://www.northsidepnl.com/ for more information.  You can also view pictures and video from last year's Walk to Remember.
Thanks to those of you who have been sending in your ideas for remembering your babies.  I hope to post an idea if not daily, every other day throughout the month.