Holding Our Angel

Loving After Loss



Halloween. Again.

8 years ago today my mom died. I was 19. I didn’t go to another Halloween event after she died until this year.

Last year Kenny and I talked about what we would dress Theo up as (the Karate Kid) for this year, and how we would use his adorableness to get us candy. And all of the pictures we would take.

This year, we went to a very adults only murder mystery party over the weekend, and had a lot of fun. I love our friends for so many reasons, but I’m not going to lie: knowing there would be no kids at the party was a big selling point.

There was an event at our church last night for our age group (young professionals) that sounded like a lot of fun, but I bailed at the last minute. Though many of my friends aren’t married and have no kids, there are several couples in the young pros community at our church, and I know a few of them have young kids/babies. So I bailed, because just not up for that. I would have brought Theo, and would have loved the attention from everyone. We probably would have gravitated toward each other, watching our kids play with each other.

But mostly I just think how this is “officially” the start of a very difficult holiday season, and the first of many seasons to come.


We’re going for it!

Aaaaaah, I can’t believe I am saying this!

I booked a space for Theo’s first birthday party!

His birthday party won’t be until February… I realized I just don’t know if I’m going to be up to seeing everyone near his actual birthday. And while everyone we plan on inviting to the party is incredibly supportive and would not make me feel bad, I am a people pleaser and would feel like I have to be “on”. And then if we push it back a week or two, we are at Christmas. And we can’t really have it any earlier, because of Thanksgiving and the fact that October is almost over and I haven’t done any planning… And somehow, our January is already pretty booked so February it is!

And having it so far out will give me plenty of time to put together activities, buy party supplies on the cheap, etc.

I can’t believe I’m doing this. I’m so excited, but it feels so surreal. It’s not the birthday party I ever imagined, but at least we’ll be celebrating him with our loved ones.

I guess over the next few months I’ll be talking about his party and what we are doing to celebrate him!


Separate World

Sometimes I really wish there was separate world for those of us who have experienced a loss. All of the non-loss individuals would be in one world, and we could join them there. But when it just gets too much, we could escape to our separate loss-world, free of commercials that involve babies for no reason and everything that triggers us.

I’m just so frustrated at dealing with triggers. It is exhausting. I’ll have moments, days even, where dealing with them isn’t so bad. They tug at my heart, but I’m able to move past them quickly and they don’t stick with me. Other days, it is just the opposite.

I am part of a couple of scrapbooking groups, which I have been avoiding like the plague lately. Too many people post pictures of their pregnancy or baby scrapbooks, and I totally get why they want to show them off, but it’s just too much some days. And the organizer of one of the groups is pregnant, and she just had her 20 week anatomy scan, and it is bringing back way too many memories. Too many emotions of sadness, bitterness, anger, jealousy. I remember when I was that naively happy regarding pregnancy–thinking that once we got a good anatomy scan we were in the clear. I want to go back to that time.

Mostly I’m just so sad and angry that so much of me can’t participate in the normal world so often. Feeling like I can’t do my normal things for fear of being triggered is just awful, and I feel like I’ve lost such a large part of me. I know I probably sound like a bitter, broken-record whenever I talk about triggers, but I am so sick of dealing with this.


A little possessive

I learned something about myself yesterday: I’m a little possessive of my Theo Bear.

I sleep with Theo Bear almost every night. Occasionally I try to be nice to Kenny and let him sleep with the bear. He finds comfort in the bear too, and I want him to be comforted.

He had a rough day yesterday and I offered him the bear to sleep with. He said no, and we went back and forth on whether or not he should sleep with the bear. “I bought it for you, it’s your gift.” “But you like Theo Bear, and it’s yours too!”

Finally I asked him why he really wouldn’t sleep with Theo Bear.

He looked at me and asked, “Do you ever wonder why you *always* wake up with Theo Bear, even if I fall asleep with it?”

“… I assume it’s because you get up for work before me and give him back to me when you get up.”

“No, it’s because you always steal him back from me in your sleep. Sometimes rather forcefully.”

Sooo… I’m a little possessive of my Theo Bear. Can’t say I’m surprised. Lol.


Well that was actually sweet

The receptionist is the one who set up the baby photo game for Monday. After a lot of debating, and talking about it with Kenny, I decided to ask her where the baby photos would be hung up.

I phrased the email as “Hey, baby photos are very hard for me to deal with. I don’t know if Monday will be a good day for me, but if it ends up being a hard day, can you let me know where the baby photos will be hung? I would like to avoid them if I can.”

Her response was so sweet. She said she didn’t even think of how it might be hard for me, and sent out an email to everyone that the game was being changed to pets. Bring in a photo of your pet so everyone can guess whose is whose!

My cold, black heart melted a little when I saw her email.

I really appreciate her doing that for me (and I made sure I let her know that). I actually teared up a little that my feelings were considered that way.

I do see how it can be easy to not realize these things are triggers if you haven’t been through a loss, but damn, sometimes I wish other people could read my mind so I didn’t have to say that they’re hard for me.

I guess I’m sharing my food with everyone now. 😉

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Nothing but fun

I got an email at work today that on Monday we are having a potluck!

Ok, I like food. I approve of this.

Oh wait, there’s a game too!

Bring in a picture of you as a baby, and everyone is to guess who is who. Sounds like SO. MUCH. FUN. right?

NO. Not really. Not at all actually. Just no.

I don’t want to look at baby pictures. Even if they are 40 years old, I don’t want to see them. I really don’t need more reminders that my baby is freaking dead.

I do like to bake though, so I will bake something yummy, to participate in the potluck.

I will conveniently be on a conference call during the games. Or maybe a doctors appointment? I’ll be busy doing something else, that’s for sure. I just hope they don’t put the baby photos all over the office, and confine them instead to the breakroom or something.

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Loss Retreat

This is for women living in Northern California (or willing to travel there) about a loss retreat.

The retreat is called Life After Loss. It is led by Amy Andrew, who volunteers with a local organization to help grieving parents. She led an intense, 4-week series called Navigating Grief that Kenny and I attended. This series was so incredibly helpful for Kenny and I, and for everyone who attended it with us. We learned so much about our grief and each other. She also helps host the regular support group for grieving parents. The retreat is open to women only.

Amy lost her daughter, Kate, in 2013. Here is her story. She recently decided to change careers and dedicate herself to helping women who are grieving. I know she’ll be able to help many women who are grieving.

Even if you can’t attend her retreat, I recommend you check out her site and the other resources she offers.

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Random Memories

Have you ever suddenly remembered something you thought you forgot?

Yesterday I remembered a conversation I had while pregnant with Theo.

It was sometime in early third trimester. During an appointment, my doctor brought up the need for us to decide what to do if the birth goes wrong. If the doctors can only save me or the baby, what would we like them to do?

End of life conversations aren’t fun, and this was not a fun conversation for Kenny and I to have. We’ve discussed our wills, life insurance, whether or not we want to be resuscitated, etc. before. But this was a much different and harder conversation to have. He (understandably) had trouble making a decision.

A couple days after Kenny and I came to a decision, this type of conversation came up with some coworkers. One recently had a baby, and we talked about having to make this decision.

I remember the conversation so well. She said her husband wanted to save the baby, and she responded with “And leave our daughter [their oldest] without her mother? We can always have another baby, but she only gets one mother.”

I remember a second coworker saying “You say that now, but I think if you were actually in that moment, you would be making a different decision.”

And the thing is…. I kind of saw the first coworker’s point. Because at that point, I hadn’t lost Theo. And I didn’t get it. I mean, I knew it would be devastating to experience your baby dying, but I didn’t know. And yeah, while Kenny and I were deciding what to do, the point of being able to have more children came up. It is something we considered.

It’s a weird conversation to remember.