When the Work Isn’t Helpful

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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

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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

On Being a Witness

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Last night was my support group and I didn’t want to go.  I had gone to dinner with friends the night before and was out past my bedtime.  I could feel a sore throat coming on and wasn’t feeling well.  Rather than going and listening to the other parents share their stories about losing their babies, I really wanted to curl up in bed and watch Project Runway. Continue reading

A New Permanence

I got my first tattoo five months after losing Iris.  Eight days before her due date.  I wanted to carry an acknowledgment of all of my children.  After perusing photos online of various tributes from parents, I found one and it was perfect: birth dates, done in a square formation and typewriter font, in the upper part of my back.  It was simple and I could show or hide it as I pleased.  I used a tattoo artist that a friend recommended, at a little hole-in-the-wall shop several suburbs away. Continue reading