It is ok to be sad

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I feel you rolling your eyes, as I hit post. Another grief post you think! Your pain is no longer because it wasn’t your child you lost, it was mine, so you did feel sad for a bit after, you don’t understand how or why I am still grieving or posting sad stuff about grief. I get it its not your loss, you don’t feel it every day like I do and you don’t want to remember it  as much as I do. You might think I am bitter or want sympathy, I don’t. Just know that my heart hurts when I glance at the spot on the floor where she stopped breathing, that I have trouble thinking of moving because this is where she lived for 2 short weeks. Every time I hear a story of tragedy or a life lost I cry for her. Am I stuck? no I am human. I am a mother that gave birth to a beautiful baby that struggled to live, to breathe, that spent 5 weeks in the NICU, not sleeping, not feeling and slowly breaking. That was almost four years ago I know, you think I must have moved past this pain, I have another little girl right. She is my savior, yes. but also my daily reminder of my first little girl that is not here. Would they be best friends? or Would they fight a lot?  I wonder. And yes that too makes me sad. Immediate grief after a tragedy is overwhelming, its consuming and then time takes it away, little by little the intense memories fade and it is easier to ‘pretend’ life is what it is.

Today is October 15th- International Awareness of Stillbirth, miscarriage and infant loss

A day that makes me sad but grateful to have met and to be a part of a community of women, amazing women, that too have suffered a loss, something that is not openly spoken about but should be, something that people are uncomfortable to bring up, leaving the person(s) that suffered the loss alone. Why are we told not to share a pregnancy until 3 months? in case you lose the baby right, we don’t need to upset people like that! but then we suffer alone with our loss. Not right. After I lost my daughter, after she was born at full term, after she was given a birth certificate because she lived past 21 days (the time the government thinks your baby needs to live to be considered a human!) even though we all know as soon as we see that pink or blue line we have a child in our life, whether they live past 21 days or not, to be deemed a person! Different issue, I move on. The stigma that surrounds uncomfortable feelings needs to stop. People need compassion not shame. I don’t know how to change the world into thinking its ok to be sad, we do not need to ‘pretend’ to be happy all the time. As Buddha says ‘Life is suffering’ I believe we have pockets of happy moments or happy feelings but if you truly look at the world and live true, you see that it is about surviving, surviving tragedy around us, surviving, genocide, rape, famine , disease, homelessness, joblessness, then death. Acknowledging life’s struggles does not make us ‘negative’ it makes us real and if you let yourself feel the sad you will better be able to appreciate the happy.

After I lost my daughter, so many women came up to me and told me about their losses, a women lost her son when he was 21, another suffered multiple miscarriages’ but never told anyone, so many stories, so many women that suffered alone because society made them feel like they had to hide their shame because it wasn’t ‘happy news’ I call bollocks! I will continue to share my grief and encourage others to share because we are here for such a short time, all we have is each other. To help, to love, to pick each other up and hug.

Namaste

Thanks for reading.

Sheri

October 15 2015

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I-remember-with-you-meme-707x70710 Ways to Honor Your Friend’s Child That Died This October

Do you have a friend whose baby died? Maybe she took a healthy baby home and months later her son died tragically of SIDS. Or maybe he never got to meet his baby awake outside of the womb because his daughter was stillborn. Maybe you have a friend who suffered a miscarriage more than once but once is enough pain to endure. Maybe you have a friend whose toddler, school age, or teenager tragically died.

****If you do know someone who has been shaken to their core by the loss of their child, no matter what age, please take a moment and honor your friend and her or his child by remembering them this October for Pregnancy, Infant, and Child Loss Awareness Month.
I know, right now you might be saying to yourself, “Okay, yeah I have a bereaved parent friend and I want to help honor their child’s memory but I just don’t know what to do.”

Fair enough; that is why I’m here to help. As a bereaved mom whose child died two years ago, I have come up with some ideas I would love if a friend did for me. I am sharing them with you in hopes that you will reach out to your bereaved parent friend and let them know that you are thinking of them and always remembering their precious child this October.

1. Light a Candle for them. October 15th is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day (I like to include ALL children no matter what their age) and is recognized around the world and you are invited to participate. The remembrance ceremony can take place in your own home. It’s that easy. All you have to do is light a candle at 7 p.m. your local time and leave it burning for an hour. Doing this in honor of your friend’s child contributes to the wave of light that is created by others doing the same in their time zone on October 15th in remembrance of all children who left us too soon.

2. Say their child’s name.  When you grab that cup of coffee with your bereaved parent friend or you pass them at work, take a moment and say their child’s name in your conversations. It doesn’t have to be formal, maybe just in passing, bring their child’s name up if it seems appropriate. For example if you are at their house and see a picture of your friend and their child make note of it and say, “I love that picture of you and Susie.” Or if it doesn’t come up easily then just say, “I heard it’s Pregnancy, Infant, and Child Loss Awareness month and wanted to let you know I was thinking of Johnny.”

3. Send a card. You know that section in the store where the cards are that says, “Thinking of You.”? That would be perfect sentiment to send during the month of October to remind them that you remember their child this month and always. I’m sure it would brighten their day. As a bereaved mom, every card I still receive from family and friends that acknowledges my child and my pain as a grieving mother is almost like a hug in the mail from my daughter. I see it as my little girl working through you to get to me. Maybe your friend will feel the same way, and that is powerful stuff.

4. Call up your friend and just say, “I wanted to let you know I’ve been thinking of you and wanted to tell you this October during Pregnancy, Infant, and Child Loss Awareness month about how I think of your child often.” You could also go on to ask if there was anything they might need from you or like for you to do with them in remembrance this October.

5. Do a RAOK (Random Act of Kindness) in their child’s name. What better way to show that your friend’s child’s life has impacted others than by continuing to do things in his/her name?  The MISS Foundation started The Kindness Project and this idea of remembering our children though random acts of love. So this October, do a RAOK. Maybe buy a cup a coffee for the guy in line behind you with a note that it’s in remembrance of your friend’s baby that died or let the mom in line at the grocery store go ahead of you and tell them all about how Timmy, your friend’s child would have done the same. Be creative, the possibilities are endless and you will do it all in your friend’s child’s name. Don’t forget to let your friend know. It might just bring a tear of joy to their eye.

6. Participate in a Remembrance Walk with them. There are so many out there during the month of October. As a bereaved mom I find remembrance walks to be powerful experiences. It’s just so moving when your family and friends come out to support you and honor your child that you are missing. I know this might sound weird to the non-bereaved parent, but for those few hours, during that one time of year, when my feet pound that 5k course, I get to really “be” my child’s mom that day. People acknowledge me as “Nora’s Mom” and I get to publicly parent her in ways I never will get to in life. Now wouldn’t that be a good gift to give a friend this October. To find one near you click on this link at Remembering Our Babies October 15th.

7. Stop in for a visit and spend time with your friend. Don’t forget to mention why you are there. Maybe bring over some baked goods or a meal to share. We bring over food in the early days of grief and mourning after a loved one dies, I think a nice batch of cookies would be just as helpful years down the road too.

8. Invite your friend to a remembrance service or ask if you can go with him or her to one they might be attending. See if there is a remembrance ceremony being held in your neighborhood and ask your friend if they would like to come along. It would be a wonderful gesture and if you are uncomfortable bringing up the topic of their child that died it’s a nice way of segueing into the conversation.

9. Send an, “I remember with you” note through e-mail or as a Facebook status. Want to acknowledge your friend’s child this month but don’t know how to say it. Then send an e-mail, private message, or leave a note on their Facebook wall. Better yet, post something on their Facebook or yours publicly saying, “I remember your child with you” this October.

Originally published October 6, 2015

By Lindsay Henke

http://stillstandingmag.com/2015/10/10-ways-honor-friends-child-died-october-2/?fb_ref=Default

Quotes from bereaved parents

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minereminder of the voidsay their namealways remember

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Wed.Oct.15th 2014 Child Loss Memorial Service for Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Day

langley lawn cemetery childrens plaque

Mourning Mothers held their 12th annual Child Loss Memorial service at 1:30 yesterday(October 15th- Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day) at Langley Lawn Cemetery4393 208 St, Langley, BC There was  a dove release and a display of “Angel Gowns” made from wedding dresses, for stillborn babies or those who have died after birth. We lit a candle for Lily, placed an angel on the cemetery’s Angel Tree. I am so grateful to have found this place, I have been longing for a place to visit where I can remember my girl, having had her cremated, her ashes sit in a love box on our fireplace, we always felt like we had nowhere to go. We wanted to ‘buy’ a bench and have an in memoriam plaque placed on it but unfortunately Langley has decided it appears too negative to have ‘In memory of’ or  birth and death dates, so we decided against it. I cant even begin to describe the anger I felt when they told me this. Anyway, we do have a plaque outside the NICU where Lily spent most of her life but its just too far to visit and a little awkward to stand in a hallway with people and doctors passing by, also when we saw the plaque for the 1rst time we of course took a picture and a security guard told us we were not aloud and questioned why?? We thought are you kidding?! this is OUR plaque for OUR daughter, WE paid for and we will take a picture if we damn well please! Anyways after the service yesterday I felt so completely and utterly drained. But so glad I went.

“I find hope in the darkest of days, and focus in the brightest. I do not judge the universe.”
― Dalai Lama XIV

lily dovetree

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.

Link

www.october15.ca

A fellow bereaved parent, who works for UBC- faculty of medicine has created a new website to raise awareness about miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal death in Canada.   www.october15.ca

The site includes some basic advise how to support bereaved parents, resources, an event listing for activities like Walks to Remember etc.

If my friends site gets the most votes, they will get a grant to make a professional video to also promote this much needed but very silent cause.

To vote,

  https://yourevolution.ubc.ca/projects/156/pregnancy-and-infant-loss-awareness-day

They have collected many votes already, but need more to take over the lead. Thanks for your time and help.