Monday, November 16, 2009

2nd Annual Walk To Remember, October 24, 2009

Here is the remarkable Susan Friedman, the social worker with Scottsdale Shea who came into my life when we were hit with our stillborn son. She organized this event out of the love in her heart and her need to do something tangible to help grieving families.

My good friend Jeni made my daughter this bow in memory of her little siblings. Butterflies because that's how we often "see" Jackson and purple because it's her favorite color right now.

Once again, the balloon release is a beautiful way to pay tribute. This was after a powerful poetry reading by families who've lost children.

I'm so glad my kids had friends there to play with. I think it helps them a lot not to be alone with such a heavy load.

My friend and I were discussing a button my husband and I made for the babies. I felt so guilty before the walk because I hadn't made a shirt with their names or pictures or something... I felt like I should represent them, take the time. I think that I kept putting it off because I didn't want to face the loss. I kept busy with the family routine and other obligations because the loss is too much to bear daily. But of course the day before there was no shutting it out and then I scrambled to do something. Luckily, a friend suggested buttens. Walmart sells the blank ones and we printed pics out at home and cut them to fit. On the back we wrote, "You held our hands for a fleeting moment, You hold our hearts forever." With their birthdates.
Thanks to the friends and my mom who came to support us and the babies. We gave them buttons too, wanting the walk's purpose to be a little more tangible.

It's amazing how comfortable and talkative my husband is in these settings. He feels right at home because he's free to talk about the loss without being taken weird, or making other's uncomfortable, or even annoying them. Do you ever feel like you aren't allowed to be sad anymore? I actually had someone tell me today basically to just stop with my issues because it's not their problem. Are we in a quick fix society or what?

Susan Friedman brought hundreds of ladybugs for the kids. That was so great for them!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Jackson's First Birthday- Sept 7, 2009

The day of your baby's death is seared into your - and hopefully your family's minds. We often wondered where we'd be one year from Jackson's death... would we feel joy again? Would we have another baby? Would we have discovered some of the purposes and whys to it all?
And just like I ironically told Blue on the way to the hospital while in labor with Jackson that I could never handle having a stillborn, if someone had told me that on Jackson's first birthday there would already be another sibling's grave beside his, I would have honestly said I wouldn't survive such a tragedy.
But we do, don't we? We are changed. People around are changed. Even our relationships with people around us are changed. For some of us chosen people, life is not our own to plan but part of something greater planned for us.
Still, we could hardly process the important one year mark of Jackson's passing clearly. I tried to focus on him though his sister's C-section scar still ached and I could still see her little swollen face in my mind whenever I closed my eyes. I wanted this day to be about him.
One thing I felt was really important to do on his birthday was release balloons with messages to him. This is a tangible way for children to reach out to their dead siblings. You can see Jackson's six year old sister here writing him a message. Everyone in attendance did it. I felt that it honored him, helped us remember him, and helped us as well hope to be better people as we live a life here in a way that he can not.

*Claire's grave on the left, Jackson's on the right*
I was grateful to my step father for bringing nice soil up and dressing the graves. It made them pretty in my eyes.

We also made a "cake" for him. My kids were a little disappointed that more people didn't come to his "party," said that was not fair to him. I was touched by their desire that this unseen sibling receive just as they do in life. The sad part about AZ graveside celebrations? More likely than not, it's HOT, even in the morning. It was hard to enjoy the sweets when we were all dripping sweat!