This month, the 5th is special for several reasons:
- this is Calvin’s 50th month in heaven (that actually makes me want to cry, knowing how long it’s been since I’ve held him),
- it is International Bereaved Mothers Day, and
- it is the 1 year anniversary of Still Standing Magazine and the heavenly birthday of Fran’s (the magazine’s founder) daughter Jenna Belle
So, inspired by my Calvin, Rainbow, and Gaelen in heaven, in sisterhood with all of my fellow bereaved and infertile mothers, and in honor of all of the babies we’re missing, I created this card to share a small piece of what being a babyloss momma has come to mean to me:
It was not my choice to survive without you… So I choose to live and to honor you. I am still standing. (Crystal Theresa Zapanta)
Please feel free to tag yourself and your loved ones and to share this via the photo on Facebook. You may also use this image on your own site/blog using the code below (please do not alter the image):
Dear Calvin, I love you so much my heart could burst. Though it’s been 50 long months since I last held you, sweet boy, I need to remember that it just means I’m 50 months much closer to heaven. I chose life for you, my son, and I continue to choose life for our family by honoring you and your sisters and by fully embracing this time on earth with your daddy and your baby brother, even as I ache for you.
Every time someone came up to Charlie while she was holding him, Nanay would say, “He doesn’t like you” (hindi ka niya gusto). I wish they could have had more time together in this world. (Posted via Instagram)
Today, I want to share a photo-a-day project I’m participating in called “Capture Your Grief,” which was created by Carly Marie, an amazing force in the babyloss community. It provides a way for bereaved families to process and share their grief during Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month (click the image to read more):
I’m not on an actual computer much these days, because my grateful arms are filled with my earth baby, I decided to participate primarily via Instagram, which you can also see in my right sidebar and via FollowGram or CopyGram. At least for Calvin’s day (and hopefully more), I’m sharing today’s subject, “Memorial,” in this space, my babies’ space:
Day 5: Memorial (April 2011). After our losses, we decided we would start participating in the March of Dimes walk in honor of our babies. Louie created this design, which we printed onto iron-on paper. I love seeing their names together.
My sweet Calvin, I think of you and your sisters everyday. I can’t believe how long it’s been without you. I will always long for you and Rainbow and Gaelen, but I’m grateful to have your baby brother—I know I see glimpses of you in Charlie. We love you so much. We love you always. Happy 3 years and 7 months in heaven, my firstborn.
Posted in Calvin Phoenix, Capturing Grief, Gaelen Evangeline, Grief, Photos, Projects, Rainbow Baby, The 5th Belongs to Calvin, We Remember
Tagged babyloss, Calvin Phoenix, capture your grief, gaelen, instagram, PAIL, rainbow, remembering
Chairs, Candles, and Tissue
Not long after losing Calvin, Louie and I began attending a bereaved parents support group through the hospital. We met in the same room every week for two months. The chairs would be arranged in a circle, and in the middle of the circle would be a circle of candles—one for each of us to light before we began then to blow out before we left. On every couple of chairs, there would be a box of tissue. The tissues were there, of course, because tears were expected. But their placement and the amount of tissue boxes (instead of one that could be passed around) were deliberate.
One of the therapists who facilitated the group explained that they wanted us to be able to reach them ourselves, because the act of handing someone a tissue is often associated with asking that person to stop crying, to stop the flow of tears. They didn’t want us to feel that pressure of needing to stifle ourselves and hold back. They wanted to honor our grief and our emotions, and they wanted us to do the same for each other and for ourselves.
Comfort, Tears, and Power
This has stuck with me over the past three years. It changed my understanding of what it means to comfort to others: to abide and to bear witness, instead of finding ways to “stop” the aching. It has also changed the way I view my own mourning and given me the grace of accepting and acknowledging the waves of grief, instead of trying to fight it or run away. Yes, there is vulnerability and even discomfort in watching another’s tears and in allowing oneself to cry, but as Washington Irving said:
“There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are messengers of overwhelming grief… and unspeakable love.”
So, for my first baby’s 3 years and 3 months in heaven today, I created this printable from Dandiewinks:
Dear Calvin Phoenix, there are not enough tears in me to express how much I love you and your siblings. But so long as they flow, I welcome them; it is one of the few ways I have of offering my heart to you. Mommy and daddy love you so much.