Navigating the Holidays

brooke-lark-385507-unsplash

The day before Thanksgiving, Ger made a comment to me that Thanksgiving was an “easy” holiday.  Unlike the anticipation of Christmas or the stigma of Valentine’s Day, Thanksgiving was just a day to be grateful for what you have, in his mind.

I responded “But what about people who are hurting?”  I pointed out people that we know who are going through or newly divorced.  Families with tensions and forced interactions.  People spending a first holiday without a parent who passed away within the last year.  And of course, the countless families in our world who are spending the day missing a baby that died. Continue reading

The Early Days of Loss

IMG_1586-1

This time, three years ago, were the “early days.”  Sixteen days since we learned that Nelle had died.  Fifteen days since she had been born.  I had already been to see a therapist twice.  I don’t remember if I had started working again or not.  And Theo’s birthday loomed – a trip to a waterpark hotel, planned months in advance.  I was relieved that we were not hosting a party, and simultaneously felt so much pressure to make the weekend celebratory for him – that he could be blissfully aware of the searing pain I still felt every minute of every day. Continue reading

When the Work Isn’t Helpful

IMG_5388

Some things in life cannot be fixed.  They can only be carried.  -Megan Devine

I spent nearly two years with my first therapist learning how to carry my grief.  She let me talk about how I felt and gently probed deeper.  She wanted me to identify, label, and learn to be comfortable with my feelings – even if my feelings hurt.  We talked through upcoming situations so that I could learn to manage my response.  When I lost Iris, she hugged me tightly and said “I’m so sorry, hun.  This isn’t what I wanted for you.” Continue reading

To Mother Orca

07302018_OrcaMonday_125742-780x502

Photo: The Seattle Times

I first heard about the grieving orca on Day 2.  Her calf had died within a half an hour of being born, and the mother – J35, or Tahlequah as she is known – began carrying her baby, pushing him through the water, refusing to let him go. Continue reading