My Space will soon be 4

The space

There is a space in our family that cannot be filled. At one time it was tiny, 18 inches long, yet to reach three pounds, long and lean but tucked into a bundle dripping with my tears.

That space inserted itself into every day. She was milestones unmet, crib sheets unused, car seats returned. The pain of her absence stubbornly followed my every moment. Tears in the shower, aching emptiness in my chest and constant wonder over the functioning world.

Our space grew as we did. Two years old, a height evenly between her brother and sister, toddling in places she should be and shouldn’t.

This space came and went. She woke me up in the morning and reminded me over again how life had changed, she was a hair color I would never know and words I would never hear and this spot in every photo where I knew she should be.

As our space got older we got stronger. At four she was probably all kinds of things, probably tall and thin, probably inseparable from her sister, probably the one to like hugs more and dirt less.

We could almost see her, the little person she would have become and this hurt so much more but sometimes less.

When our space inched past 6 she was so far from the baby we held we weren’t sure how to imagine her. She might be the tallest or the shortest or have straight hair or curly forever tangled in a brush.

She wasn’t just remembered by us anymore, her siblings drew her into their imaginations, painted her into our world, dripping with vibrance and swirling colors. Their thoughts of her made our hearts burst and break at once knowing they had glimpsed our emptiness. She was their space to hold too.

Our space will be 8 soon, we’ve held her for that long. She would be begging me for purple in her hair or loving it cropped short. She should be trading clothes with her sister and sharing her bed at night or hiding her things so she won’t borrow them again.

She is the sister my daughter is sure would fix every annoyance from her brothers. The daughter I imagine would have made our life that perfect kind of ordinary. And the child I would give anything to have back.

She is the space we will always hold, she’s changed form and size and intensity over the years but there’s no force greater than what she’s left for us. A family forever holding her place.

See more of this article at: http://fourplusanangel.com/2015/09/the-space/#sthash.c9obvphA.dpuf

View original at: http://fourplusanangel.com/2015/09/the-space/

I love this post written by Jessica author of ‘Four plus an Angel’ it came in my inbox at the most necessary time. I couldn’t have written this feeling, these sentiments or thoughts any better so I have shared it with you.

Namaste,

Thanks for reading.

Sheri.

Grief and Loss Books

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MY TOP BOOKS ON GRIEF AND LOSS

In the dark hours and days/weeks after someone dies we often lay in the literal dark not able to shut off our minds, only wanting to sleep so the pain is not so physical; literal, as it is mental in those early days. Consumed with anguish, grief and loss. We search endlessly for books, articles, websites to help us understand what we are feeling, to know we are not alone, to help up cope. I have read many, many books on grief in the 5 short years since my daughters death, the ones that helped me cope were actually the fictional stories of parents suffering though a tragedy, in a very morbid way I was comforted. But I also read many books written specifically to help the bereaved and as I, 5 years ago would have loved to have stumbled upon a list of grief books, I didn’t, so I will share the top that helped me then and the ones I have read more recently to this day, when my daughter should be 5.5 years old.

#1 –   “no death, no fear” , (2002)  by Thich Nhat Hanh

#2 – “A Grief Observed”,  (1961) by C.S. Lewis

#3 – “Healing After Loss: Daily Meditations for Working Through Grief”, (1994)by Martha Whitmore Hickman

#4 – “The Bereaved Parent”, (1977) by Harriett S. Schiff

#5 – No Time To Say Goodbye: Surviving the Suicide of a Loved One”,   (1996) by Carla Fine.

#6 – “The Trauma of Everyday Life”,  (2013)  by Mark Epstein

#7 – “Wave”, (2013) by Sonali Deraniyagala

#8 – “Option B”,  (2017) by Sheryl Sandberg

#9 – “A Gift of Hope” (2012) & “His bright Light: The story of Nick Traina” (1998) by Danielle Steele

#10 – “Her”, (2013)  by Christa Parravani

#11 – “A Wind from the East” , (2016)  by Wendy Dartnall

 

 

 

Thanks for reading,

Namaste

Sheri

October 15th Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness day

October 15th Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness day

Recently, well over the last year, an amazing couple that I was lucky and unlucky enough to meet decided to join the movement in having October 15 be declared in Canada as Pregnancy and Infant loss awareness day so they created a website: http://www.october15.ca/ After losing their sons Marlon and Tobias, they felt there must be more, more recognition, more acknowledgment, more support for all the losses that society chooses to ignore or pretend did not happen.

The goal is to have October 15 proclaimed in and across Canada as National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness day.

Last year Jens(wife Kerstin) the creator(s) of this site, through all their hard work, had BC place lit up at 7pm to recognize all the silent suffering parents go through after a miscarriage, stillbirth or infant death. The CN tower in Toronto also lit up a beautiful blue last October 15 in acknowledgement.

Through their new site http://www.october15.ca/ as well as finding lots of resources for those going through a loss or to help a grieving parent, there is also a page designated to proclamations and how to have it done in your city.

I recently attempted to have Langley City and Township follow the leads of the cities of Richmond, Vancouver, Campbell River and Estevan who have had October 15th proclaimed, as have the provinces of Saskatchewan and British Columbia.  The North West Territories and Manitoba have gone one step further having declared October 15th as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day (Ontario, Winnipeg  are in process while Victoria, Saanich and Edmonton have been submitted).

After many emails back and forth with the mayor’s staff at Langley city council and Langley Township council I was told that neither of the Langley’s do proclamations but my request was read at the township meeting on September 19th 2014, as well as, the request to Langley city council will be read aloud on the televised October 6th council meeting on Shaw cable 4. I suppose them reading these requests aloud brings some awareness to this subject, this day; it is not a win nor a loss.  I do hope one day with the help of others this day will be recognized in Canada because in as many ways as possible we need to address the stigma that follows a miscarriage, stillbirth or infant loss, the awkwardness needs to be redirected into honest conversations so these parents do not feel so alone or isolated, so that the general public understands it is not a shameful secret that is not to be spoken or asked about and most importantly that it happens far more frequently than people realize and their needs to be more research into why. Please visit and share this site http://www.october15.ca/ Thank you.

Angel Flowers

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Angel Flowers

This is the bench I frequently sat on and cried after Lily died. I would go for an hour or sometime only minute long walks, I always ended up here, under the biggest tree in our neighborhood.
I pass it daily when I bring my kids to school and I always think of my angel when I see this bench or the beautiful tree it sits under.
Two months after my baby died, I was planting bulbs in my yard, I became very obsessed with planting and growing things- wanting to see natural phases of growth and death. I had lots of leftover bulbs so I planted five each on both sides of my bench. One for each of the angels and their parents I had met at bereavement group.
For and because of Lily’s death, I had met amazing people that had gone through the same tragedy, roughly half a dozen back then probably two dozen now.
– It is so very sad when you realize how so many people go through the traumatic tragedy of losing a baby, a toddler, a child, a teenager, a grown child. They too possibly sit under trees and cry as I did or walk by a bench that has a very personal meaning to them.
So I planted these bulbs two years ago for my angel and the other angels.
I was very disappointed that they barely sprouted last year and was quite angry when the ones that did got picked.
However I was so warmly pleased to watch them grow this spring and not just one or two like last year, all of them- big, strong, beautiful flowers, beside my bench where I will always remember my angel. I will always remember my time spent grieving on this bench, under the biggest tree in my neighborhood that now reside beside the angel flowers that I planted.