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

Light, Words, and Gathering

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The only event on my calendar yesterday was a Luminary ceremony hosted by the loss support group of which I am a member.  My nanny’s exclamation of “Cinco de Mayo!” and various photos I saw of the Kentucky Derby reminded me that many people had very different celebrations yesterday.  Whereas for my circle, we gathered to light up the Angel Garden at the hospital and say our babies’ names out loud, in recognition of International Bereaved Mother’s Day. Continue reading

A Tree for All Seasons

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A month after losing Nelle, we scattered her ashes to the coulee where I grew up.  I was still in a dense fog of grief.  It was Ger’s suggestion to bring her to the tree where my grandfather’s ashes had been scattered in 2011.  The Sheltering Oak is nestled back on my aunt and uncle’s land and on that day in early October 2015, Ger and I walked back there alone.  It was  crisp, Fall day with a bright, cold sun.  Leaves were making their descent from the branches to the ground.  We sat in silence for a long time.  Just sat.  I couldn’t bring myself to leave the tree, and leave her there. Continue reading