Although your presence has significantly heightened our pain, you have brought out the best in others.
I shared previously that I have found an online community of fellow parents who have lost a baby. I’ve connected with these parents on Instagram and Facebook. These individuals openly grieve, share their love for their children, and have hearts that bleed like mine. Their sense of community is a treasure trove of support. It’s through this support that I’ve built a lot of new friendships. I only know most of these women through social media, but we are all invested in each others’ lives and how one another is doing.
We share our good days and bad days with each other. And if someone is having a bad day, the amount of support that the angel moms provide is incredible. It is difficult to get through each day, and it’s impossible to go back to the way things were before. I will never be able to go back to my prior state of normal before Jensen. I have a new normal – (which I would have had anyway), but this new normal includes the absence of someone who should be here. I describe the new normal as the following: Nothing has changed, yet everything has changed. You are constantly aware of your child’s absence.
The great thing about this group is that we are finding comfort in each other and are trying to lift each other up during the holidays. I’d like to share with you some of the kind acts that fellow loss moms or loss family members have done in honor of Jensen during your month of December.
The first is an ornament made by Denise, who lost her grandson Josha. Jensen’s ornament sits on Josha’s tree with other children who are no longer here. It is incredible that my baby boy is being remembered by Denise – all the way across the ocean in the Netherlands!
The next act of kindness is from another loss mom named Dara. She sent me the image below with Jensen’s name. She wrote to me, “Just a little something I made for your Jensen. I know for me it is very important that my son’s name is remembered and mentioned. So I hope you like it. From one angel mom to another.”
Dara lost her son Jayden. I learned that Jayden had Trisomy 13 – a chromosomal condition. Due to the presence of several life-threatening medical problems, many infants with Trisomy 13 die within their first days or weeks of life. Only five percent to 10 percent of children with this condition live past their first year. (Side note: I recently came across a video that documents the experience of two parents during the birth and death of their son with Trisomy 13. If you are interested, click here: Choosing Thomas ).
The next kind act was from Sarah. Sarah has the most beautiful garden in her backyard (below) that is in remembrance of her daughter Everlee. She decorated it for Christmas, and asked other angel moms if they’d like their baby honored in Everlee’s garden.
I asked for Jensen to be remembered, and she sent me the picture below. I love that his name is next to a beautiful white angel. You’ll notice that there are raindrops on the bulb – Sarah spent the day decorating Everlee’s garden in the rain. I tear up when I think about the dedication and love she put into remembering her daughter, and all of these other babies who are no longer here.
Another loss mom, Stacey, sent me this picture (below) of an ornament she made to honor Jensen. Stacey had a beautiful boy named Leo – the pictures she posts of him are so sweet – he had the most adorable little face.
The graphic below was created by Kerstin – a fellow loss mom who lost her baby Mathilda. Her daughter Mathilda is her love and light. I’ve come to learn that Kerstin is an incredibly creative and generous soul. Her profile contains the following quote, “Broken crayons still color.” I love that – I think it is very fitting.
Another beautiful act of kindness was from Kirsty. Kirsty created the Tree of Remembrance Project to remember her daughter, Holly, and other sweet babies who have passed. She hand made and decorated each snowflake out of wooden pegs. She hung them up in a local park for all to see. Jensen’s beautiful snowflake is below.
I found out today that Kirsty’s project made it into her local newspaper! (below) You can read more about her journey and the Tree of Remembrance project on her blog at hollyslegacy.com
Last, but certainly not least, my friend Tara handmade the ornament below in remembrance of Jensen. Tara handmade dozens of ornaments to honor babies who are no longer with us. Tara’s inspiration was her son Avery, who was born sleeping at 20 weeks. She personalized each ornament to make it extra meaningful for all of the parents. She included a butterfly on Jensen’s, and the quote “always and forever.” He is always and forever our son.
The final product of Tara’s Reclaimed Memories Project is just stunningly beautiful. Jensen’s ornament is on the second strand to the far right. Since the picture below was taken, she has filled this tree with more ornaments and another little tree as well. You can read more about her project on Facebook at Avery’s Graden.
I am amazed by the generosity and love of these mothers. They have devoted their time, energy and resources to honor our babies in unique and special ways. I think it is therapeutic to be able to share in the grief during the holidays by doing something positive and meaningful for others who are going through the same thing. I know I love seeing my son’s name or knowing he is being remembered. It can turn my whole day around. And it helps me to know that there are others who understand this pain. I wish none of us had to endure this – to outlive our children. But, finding others whose lives have been turned upside down like ours makes us feel not so alone.
So, December – while you are causing me to feel a deep sense of pain this time of year, you are also creating a lot of generosity, kindness and good will. You are bringing out the best in others. I am grateful for that because this is one of the times I need it the most. Your month is generating a sense of connection to others and a sense of purpose. You are causing me to reflect on the love and compassion that others who I have never met in person are showering upon me. You are causing me to also reflect upon life’s difficulties, and with the love and support of others, I am learning how to adjust to the cards have been dealt to me. You are showing me that broken crayons still color.