Holiday Family Traditions

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My first grader came home with a project called “My Holiday Customs and Traditions.”  It included a list of questions to answer about how our family spends the holidays and a requirement to make a poster to accompany an in-class presentation.  The underlying theme is to celebrate differences in both the holidays celebrated and the traditions that the families have created for themselves. 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

Conversations at Home

We have “conversation starter” cards on our dinner table and every night we draw a card or two and go around the table and answer the question presented.  Topics range from “if you could change one thing about your school, what would it be?” and “how do you think your life is different from your grandparents?” Continue reading