Soon after our first pregnancy loss I started having a spiritual crisis. I wanted to know more about where our loved ones go after they die. I had been taught about heaven in religious school but I felt confused and lost. I wanted to know where my baby was. For some reason being out in nature and looking up at the stars made me feel closer to the world that exists beyond here.
Shooting Star Sometimes I like to practice stillness or say prayers outside at night because somehow the stars make me feel like I’m closer to my baby. I also like to imagine that stars are remembered lost loved ones or maybe there’s a star for every person on this planet that we can look up to for strength or inspiration. I was sitting on our back deck stargazing and a shooting star rushed across the sky. It was neat that I noticed a shooting star at the same time I was admiring the night sky and practicing stillness. I was thankful for this beautiful moment and it made me cry. I wish I knew exactly where my baby is in the universe, but for now I will say good night to the stars.
The first year of grieving was tough! I felt like it took almost a year to get through the intense sadness. I know a year sounds like a long time but it’s quite short when you look at how fast time goes by. Reaching a year after our loss was emotionally hard but I also felt like I made a huge leap in healing from the day of the diagnosis until the day of our angel anniversary.
I kept my schedule light and focused on healing for some time. I gave myself a lot grace knowing that there would be hard days and I wouldn’t always be in the mood to do the things I once enjoyed. It was important to me that I continued to work on healing my heart and that I didn’t hold on to all the pain I was feeling.
Eventually I started to feel like my joyful self again. I found a new normal in my life, relationships and daily routine. Things started to feel lighter and my schedule started returning to normal.
“When I was ready to return to my routine and start spending time with people as I had done previous to the loss, I felt like I was living on another planet. It was weird to feel sad while watching everyone around me be joyful. Even though it was hard being in a different place emotionally, I know that being surrounded by happy people lifted my heart. I also noticed that I was more sensitive while I was grieving. I knew spending time with others meant there was a chance of something triggering memories or feelings about my loss. Anything could bring a burst of emotions for me—a beautiful song, a part of a movie, or even a thought that someone shared. I told myself it was OK if I needed to cry in front of others or take a break to spend a few quiet minutes alone while everyone was together.”
Looking back, sharing my experience and feelings with my friends and family was the the most comforting thing to me so that I didn’t feel sad and alone.
As far as other ways you can support your friend going through loss, I remember getting a lot of healthy meals and snacks dropped off to our home for weeks after the loss. The time before and after our loss we had a hard time planning meals and I didn’t even want to think about food when I was so sad. I think donating or making food for someone who has a lost a loved one is extremely helpful, it takes a little weight off of the daily routine.
I also got gift cards for self care. Self care saved me and my body! Friends and family would also send or drop off hand written cards or notes. I feel like I always received the notes on the days I needed them the most. These little things lifted my heart and made us feel so loved and cared for. So listen your intuition as far as what you feel is best and let your friend know you are there for them. They will be forever thankful.
Taken from a chapter of Be Still My Grieving Heart
“I’ve heard stories of friendships changing after loss and thankfully I didn’t experience that, but I feel for those who have. My friends treated me in the same awesome way as they always had, but I received a lot more hugs, cuddles, and phone calls, which I loved. I felt like my friends wanted to help more, but I didn’t know what to ask for. It turns out I didn’t need to ask them for anything. It was through sharing with them that I realized the best gift they gave to me was to be there and listen to me express everything I was feeling and experiencing. It made me feel like I wasn’t meant to go through this alone and that I didn’t have some sad secret I had to keep hidden inside. I know they would have done anything for me and my family that we needed. I felt supported and thankful to have friends who were incredibly caring and selfless.”
I’m very happy to share that I have a wonderful independent publisher BHC Press to publish Be Still My Grieving Heart. It was extremely important to me that I found the right home for my heartfelt book. They have an amazing variety of genres & authors! I personally invite you to browse around their website.
Be Still My Grieving Heart shares my personal experiences of pregnancy loss and my struggle through grief. It was a tough journey but I searched for ways to help heal my broken heart. One of the most important things for me was to feel my feelings. I wrote as much as I could, when I was happy, sad, angry, frustrated… I kept writing. After a few months I realized the journaling was helping me move through the intense pain. I’ve kept most of my journal entries and share them in the book to give an honest look at what grieving was like for me. I had so many days and moments that I felt like I was stuck in a little grey cloud but after a while I was able to see the beauty in life again.
January 1, 2012
LOVE is beautiful
If I didn’t have love in my life, my heart would be empty. I’m never going to give up on love. Rowan, you have grown so much love in our hearts. I feel like we are feeling more and loving more because of you. Love is what we have for you. I hope you can feel the enormous bursting love that we have in our hearts. We are in so much pain right now because of how much our hearts love you. When things are really dark and tough, I try to focus on the beauty of love.