Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Heartbreaking Letter Written By Lexi Behrndt Entitled: To The Grieving Momma

Oh, sweet momma…

I am so, so sorry you are here.
I know this is your worst nightmare realized. I know this wasn’t plan A, B, C, or Z. I know the weight of it all is suffocating, soul-crushing, devastating, and earth-shattering in every way possible.I know you would trade it all just for one more moment.

I know your heart is broken. How I wish I could make you feel at home again. How I wish I could take away the pain. How I wish I could place that baby back in your arms. You could watch them grow. All the giggles, skinned knees, and eskimo kisses. I know you would savor every moment. I know you would breathe that baby in till you no longer had any breath in you. I know you would give every ounce of you to save every ounce of them, one thousand times over.
I know you miss them. I know you wish you could just smell them one more time, see their face one more time, kiss that squishy cheek and then freeze that moment so it would last forever. There are things that pictures and videos can never replace, and having that baby in your arms is at the top of the list.
I know.
If I could “fix” this, I would move mountains. My gosh, I would in a heartbeat.
You, sweet momma, are so brave. You are strong. You are such a good momma.
You need to know this.
On the days when it’s all you can do just to function, that’s okay.
On the weeks when you live off of sweatpants and dry shampoo and ice cream for lunch, you deserve a freaking break. You are doing a good job.
On the days when you try your hardest to pull yourself together, and somehow things just don’t work out, give yourself grace. Give yourself room to breathe, you are so loved, sweet momma.
On the days when no one but you mentions their name, I am so, so sorry. Say their name bravely. Know that they are still real, they were still here, and you are still their momma.
On the days when you feel like you could burst from anger and pain, go somewhere alone, cry it out, curse at the sky— there’s nothing worse than having to fake it. Just don’t. Please, let yourself feel it. You’ve been through too much to put on a face, and healing doesn’t come when we are living under a facade.
On the days when the world tells you to “heal” and “move on”,  friend, healing from child loss doesn’t look like healing from an injury. Our children were not a broken bone, they are a piece of our hearts, and now a piece of our hearts is gone. Friend, you will heal, just not in the way the world wants you. You will breathe easier. You will ache maybe a little less, but I’ve heard from mommas much, much further down the road than I, the longing will never, ever, ever leave. That’s the beauty and the fierceness and the strength of a mother’s love.
Momma, you are strong. You are so brave. You are doing such a good job.
You are irrevocably changed, in the sweetest, head-over-heels, all-in, never-stopping way. Your love is strong. That’s the promise you made when you swore to love them every second of their life and every second of your own, no matter what the cost was on your heart. Nothing on this earth has shown me unconditional love better than the love of a grieving momma. I see your love. I see the power of it. It’s stronger than any amount of pain, than a sea of tears, than even the grasp of death.
I know, because of that love, you would brave every ounce of pain one thousand times over just for them.
Even when you don’t feel it… Look, momma. Here you are… You’re still breathing. You’re still standing. You are so brave.
Sweet momma friend, I am so sorry you are here. Know that you are so loved.
Know that where there is great pain, there is even greater love.
So much love to you,
A Momma Who Knows
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Friday, December 25, 2015

Wherever you Go My Love Will Find You

 Even in the heavens above baby boy, do you remember? I told you so!


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Christmas Without You By Angela Miller

Christmas Without You By Angela Miller

 This is what Christmas without you feels like seven years later.
I miss you. I always miss you, even when I don’t say it, I’m always thinking it. It’s an ache that perpetually aches– in my heart, my head, my soul– deep within my bones. The you-shaped hole in my heart will always remain.
There are few people left in my life who knew you when you were here. Few people who know or say your name.
I’m not sure why that is. Honestly, I’ve stopped wondering about most of life’s whys. The whys and what ifs, they all end the same– a dizzying clusterfuck of senselessness that will never make sense to me, no matter how long I ruminate. It all ends in one big, giant headache. That and a whole lot of suffering mixed with endless tears. With no consolation prize, and with no more answers than when I first started asking why, seven, long years ago.
Like that song says, “It’s just a different kind of Christmas this year.” Different, is certainly one way to put it. I could also fill-in-the-blank with a number of other descriptive words, that would all be equally accurate. The thing is, Christmas without you isn’t just one emotion. It’s a jumble of emotions, that still leave me spinning. You’d think after seven years of living without you, I’d be getting the hang of it. But honestly? I’m not. There’s no “getting the hang” of living a life sentence without you. Grief still has a way of sneaking up on me without notice, grinchingly lurking around corners, and ruining otherwise “good” moments. Especially during the holidays. Grief is a bitch like that.
But here’s the other thing. There are so many incredible, beautiful, amazing moments I ache to share with you. Every good, “happy” moment always has one thing missing: you. And without you, it really knocks the goodness/happiness/joy o’meter down more than a few notches, you know? At best, life is bittersweet. Never again will it be purely happy and joyful like it once was. When you were here, and we were together. I had everything I’d ever dreamed of and then some. You, were a dream come true.
When I look at old pictures of me from “before,” I sob. It’s painful to look into her eyes. That sparkle. That mom. The normal one. The non-bereaved one. The one not perpetually weighed down emotionally, pinned between a rock and a hard place, by this incessant boulder of grief. The one that was all kinds of happy and joyful and mom to the nth degree. I’m not that mom anymore, sweet boy. I wish I was, I wish that mom was still in me somewhere. But she died the day you did. With you, she went. Together, we soar.
Yet, I’m still a mom. To you, and to the rest of your siblings. And I wonder? Do they know? Do they know how different of a mom they have now from the mom I was before? And if I could meet both of us, side by side, the mom I am now, and the mom I was then– would I really like the old one better? Or is it just that I wish everything could go back to the way it was?– before the nightmare took over? Or is it, I wish with everything within in me, that I could rewrite the ending. That I could edit this story to my heart’s content.
Because this story? This life? It’s not the one I wanted, dreamed of, planned for– and the holidays emphasize that fact loud and clear, like wretched nails on a chalkboard. This is not anything close to the life I had planned for us. Yet no matter what I do, I can’t go back. I can’t change the ending. There are no rewrites. No revisions. No do-overs. Unfortunately we weren’t given that choice.
This. is. it.
Learning how to live with it, this life I didn’t want, this life without you, is painfully hard. And painfully lonely. And painfully beautiful.
All the ways you’ve changed me, leave me speechless. You, sweet boy, are my everything. And death will never change that.
The truth is, this year I can actually smile at the Christmas cards. The cookies even taste a little bit sweeter than they did in years past. I can laugh with your brothers, and not feel guilty about it. And yet? There is still an undercurrent of sadness beneath it all. Our table will always have one empty chair, no matter how full it appears to be. Something that only others who have walked this path can understand.
No matter how “good” life seems at times, I always wonder how much better it could be, if you were here with us. No matter what, you are always missing. No matter what, my heart will always ache for you. No matter what, life will only be as good as it can possibly be, minus you.
To me, that’s just not good enough. Yet, somehow, I have to accept that’s as good as it’s gonna get.
In the grief world, there is a lot of talk of “acceptance,” and I wonder if I have reached the so-called promise land? If I’m honest, I accept that you’re gone. I accept that you’re never coming back. I accept that I’m a bereaved mom. I live in that reality. But, if acceptance means liking those facts, or coming to peace with your absence, I’m not sure I’ll ever get there. And really, should that even be the goal?
I think being a bereaved parent is a whole lot of holding all the shit, and all the joy together in a broken open heart. It’s messy. It’s complicated. I’m still learning how to do it.
This I know: I love more– deeper– than I ever dreamed possible. And, I cry more than I ever dreamed possible too. The tears don’t seem to be running out any time soon. That’s just real life post-losing you.
Being honest about it– this thing called grief– is really all I can do. I can’t pretend it’s not this way. I can’t pretend I’m “ok,” that I’m “over” you or “healed,” or that I miss you any less now that it’s been seven years. None of that is true. I can’t pretend I like being a bereaved mom, or that I don’t miss my old self, my old life, my precious, one and only you. I can’t pretend I’m wiser, more enlightened, or more of anything, really. I can’t pretend that any of this is easy. I can’t pretend I even know how to do this.
What I can say is– I’m better for knowing you, loving you, and missing you. You make me the best me. Our love does that. Your love sustains me. When I think I can’t do it anymore, our love reminds me I can do anything. I’ve already done the hardest thing there is. And no matter how much my heart aches for you– during the holidays, or any day of the year– I am thankful for you, eternally grateful, that out of all the moms in the sea,
You chose me.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Monday, November 9, 2015

Wildfeather Wellness By Franchesca Cox

 Franchesca Cox , love her! Fellow mama of loss. Beautiful writer, healer of the soul.
Wildfeathers Wellness.
Grief is the New Black is a six week workshop designed especially for bereaved mothers and is written by a fellow loss mother, artist and writer, Franchesca Cox (former Editor and Founder of Still Standing Magazine). The purpose of the entire workshop series is to work through your grief in a tangible way, and secondly to find a safe haven in our online community page. This workshop is ongoing, which means you can start at anytime. The minute you sign up, you will have access to the material, and receive a weekly emails from that day forward for six weeks.
This is part one to the entire Choosing Your Breath workshop and has been especially designed for those early on in their grief after losing a child. This workshop will guide you through the new world of grief and help you make sense of some of the things going on in your head and heart. Whether your loss was a tragic happening or something you saw coming for months or years, there is nothing that can prepare you for the life you are asked to live without them. The material is raw, and explorative as it takes you into various avenues of grief so that you can thoroughly do your “Grief Work” on your own timeline. It is also welcoming for those who might not have dealt with or were unable to fully express their new grief right after their loss.

Who is this for?

This workshop is recommended for newly bereaved mothers, or those who may have not been able to deal with grief right after loss, but ultimately if the description above sounds like something you might benefit from, it is for you.

How much will this cost?

This workshop is donation based. These types of workshops for grieving communities given elsewhere normally run anywhere from $29-$90 but the goal here is to make it accessible to those who need it most. The follow-up workshops to Grief is the New Black are each $15, but you can give what you can for this one, or nothing at all.

I’m interested, but what can I expect in this workshop?

This workshop is 100% done online, and can be done on your own time frame. You do not have to complete the tasks within the six week period. The materials will be accessible to you through download which will enable you to continue to work long after our workshop is over. The prompts to work through your grief are recommended to reap the most benefits from the workshop, but still completely optional. You also will not be “turning in” any work that you do, however there will be place to share what you have created or done with the weekly prompt’s in a secret Facebook group, if you feel like sharing. You can engage as much or as little as you wish in our group. This workshop is here to serve YOU in your grief – wherever that might be and whatever that might look like.

Additionally, you can expect:

+ to be given suggestions for practical ways to work through different obstacles we face in grief (i.e. anger, lack of trust of your own body, dealing with the real world after loss, etc)
+ weekly ideas for self-care
+ digital prints and coloring pages that you are free to print off at your leisure with quotes or meditative thoughts.
+ and at the end of the workshop you will receive a PDF of the entire workshop for you to keep forever
What others are saying about this workshop:
“Thank you so much for putting my emotions down in black and white. It helps to pinpoint what seems foggy in my head at times.”
“I LOVE this workshop and every week hits me.”
“I actually find myself going back to old workshops and retweeking them. It’s really therapeutic!”
“Thank you for this workshop!! I thought I was healing in my own but I wasn’t! This has really helped me so much. Thank you for taking your hard things and turning them into something beautiful.”

What materials do I need?

In short, this workshop is meant to be accessible and it is highly encouraged that you use what you already have in your home. For example: a spiral notebook, a journal, or even an old hardbound book to turn into an art journal (directions for this will be given), any type of paints, pens, markers, pencils, newspaper, doilies, the list goes on. For art journaling and all of the prompts given you hardly need to spend anything to participate.                      


                                               When gratitude feels impossible

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Healing Quotes

“Our mind thinks of death, our heart thinks of life, and our soul thinks of immortality.” - Sri Chinmoy

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Healing Quotes

“There is a land of the living and a land of the dead and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning.”   - Thornton Wilder