Capture Your Grief 2014
Capture Your Grief 2014 - In memory of Koby James xx
The first day of this challenge. It's my birthday today. I got up before my rainbow baby, to catch the sunrise, but still managed to miss it! Whenever I see beautiful skies I think of Koby. Whenever I see anything beautiful actually, I think of him. He has made me more aware of beauty in this world.
"I Carry Your Heart" EE CummingsThis mosaic I made a couple of weeks after Koby was born. My husband had to go away for work and I needed something to consume me so I didn't get consumed myself. It took 5 whole days 9am to 10pm every day. The stars represent our children. There was an extra one, I didn't mean to put it there, but decided it was there for a reason and left it. The extra one I decided represented hope. The other stars represent our 4 children (at the time). We now have 5 children so now ALL the stars are represented by the little beings that occupy huge places in our hearts <3
This is me Before. Before I knew babies could die. Before I knew just how your life could be shattered. Before I knew what complete despair could be. I admit, I didn't think it happened. Not in this day and age. Well not even that, I just didn't think about it. Noone I knew had lost a baby. It just didn't cross my mind. After all no-one ever spoke about it. But it does. I am not this person any more. There is a definate Before and After in my life. This is my before.
This is me now. I'm the same person, but I'm not. I look at things differently. Often see the worst that could happen, just cos now I know the worst can happen, and it can happen to me. It can happen to anyone. Noone is immune from bad things. Me, now, has this gorgeous boy who has blessed us with his gorgeous face and infectious giggles. He has helped us heal. Love. Laugh. Me now, looks at this little boy, often wondering what his brother would have been like. Would Koby have looked the same? Would he have had similar traits ... would he have giggled like this, or crawled like that. Would he think the dogs were endlessly amusing. Me now is often happy.
But its tinged with what might have been's still. There is still something missing. Someone missing. But me now, can appreciate what Koby has given us. While we dont have him here in person, he is here in our hearts, he has given us Devon, he has given me my passion, my business, my reason for most of what I do. Me now, was blessed with 3 boys, one of which is forever in my heart.
This may seem like a strange photo for today's subject .. And while I have a journal, that I treasure as it was a gift, I'm not a big writer. I think its because my thoughts come quite fast, and I find it frustrating. I'd rather type. I can keep up with myself easier. Though sometimes it ends up making not much sense. But I guess it is what is going on in my mind. What I do, instead of writing a journal, is stamp.
This poem (abridged for the bracelet), is one of my absolute favourites and it really speaks to me. "You will see my tiny footprints in each butterflies lazy dance,I'll let you know i am with you if you just give me the chance,Most of all these tiny footprints are found on mummy and daddys hearts,Cos even though I am gone now we will never truly part"So, amoung other things, my jewellery is like my journal. It records my journey of grief, remembrance and love for Koby xxx
I didn't really turn to books after losing Koby. I did read alot online. Searched for other people, to talk to, to try and understand, wanting to know what I was feeling was normal. I made a book though. I do turn to this one, when I am wanting to indulge my grief. Sometimes it hits me, unwanted or unexpectedly, but sometimes, I want to feel it, to feel closer to Koby. This is the book I made from last years Capture Your Grief project. This is Koby's book. I think, as I am doing it again this year, perhaps its the first book, in the Koby series of books.
This is my sacred place. Kobys resting place. These photos were taken today, a beautiful spring day, the blossoms out, gorgeous blue sky. We chose this spot for him, because of the trees, because of the blossoms that would come out, around his birthdate. We liked the idea that the trees would give him shade over summer. I do love this spot, to sit, reflect, just be. Unfortunately not as often as I'd like, but it was nice, this afternoon, to go out there, take some photos, enjoy the beauty and talk to my baby. Missed beyond measure x
I did search, for help, after we said goodbye to Koby. It took me a while. We received information from the hospital, but it took me a while to open it and see what was inside. This introduced me to Sands, an amazing organisation helping bereaved parents. I met alot people who have helped me along this journey, several whom I speak to daily. Without these people I would not be the person I am today. Another amazing organisation, which a good friend of mine is now very involved with, is Yasminah's Gift of Hope, which is an Australian group. I received my gift of hope, and still treasure it today. Its the people who make these organisation's the great resource they are, and that have helped me so far in my journey.
In Memory of Koby ... I have created a garden, my mosiac, we have tattoo's, jewellery, toys, pictures. I like to make things for him, I like to do things for him. I took up a hobby, now my job - I work every day in memory of Koby. Doing things in memory of Koby, is how I can parent him still. He is my baby still, and I will always want to do things for him, to remember him, and cherish him. I miss you my baby, and will continue to do things in your memory, forever. Mummy loves you Koby, so much x
This is Koby's space. Well one of them. We also have space on our dining table, and his garden. But this shelf is specifically for Koby. Koby's space. His things. Like his room. The room he should have had. But instead he has a shelf.
Day 12: Music
This ... this particular line from Ed Sheeran ... it was played all the time on the radio after we lost Koby, and became 'his song' to me. But this is the line that gets me.
Koby was born in spring. Spring is Koby's season. When everything starts flowering, I think of Koby. The trees by his gravestone, come out in flower, then the flowers fall and there is a beautiful carpet of flowers around him. I wait for his Iris's to flower. They are his special flowers, his Nana bought alot of them for his funeral, and for us to have here at home. Its his flower, his colour, his season. They flowered especially for me, as I needed to see them, just a couple of days ago x
Dark and Light of grief. This is a really hard one to write about, and still make sense. For me the early days after Koby, were very dark. I was lost in a dark fog of grief, and I cant really remember that summer, what we did, or how we got through it. Darkness is utter sadness and disbelief, darkness is devestation, not knowing how to go on, how to get out of bed, how to go to sleep.
Darkness is wondering why and constantly questioning yourself and what you could have done differently, said differently. Darkness is reliving every moment, over and over again, and sinking into the realisation that no matter how many times you relive it, the outcome is still the same. Darkness is realisation that your baby has died, and you will never ever get to see them again, and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it. Darkness is the extreme finality and unfairness of it all. It doesnt seem like there could be light. After all the darkness. But in time, there is. Light is the memory of finding out you were pregnant when you thought it would never happen. Light is seeing your baby in the ultrasound for the first time, and every time, until the last time. Light is feeling your baby kick. Light, is now being grateful that your baby was in your life, even for a short time. Light is, even though your baby isn't here physically with you, knowing that they will be forever in your heart, forever part of you. Light is smiling on a sunny day looking at the special plants you have for your baby flowering. Light is continuing to remember and celebrate your babies life. Some days still have darkness, but I know the light will follow. It no longer feels insurmountable. We have learnt to live again, holding Koby close, but to go on, and find the light we can, for him, for us, and with him, in our hearts.
Today, the baby loss community joins together and all light a candle for two hours, for our babies lost at 7pm. Ours we blow ours out, candles are being lit in NSW, Australia who are 2 hours behind us. This happens all over the world and creates a wave of light around the world. This community spirit, and acknowledgment, is something that helps, more than anyone could imagine.
While, in a perfect world, there would be no such need for a community such as this, there actually is a need. We are so lucky that we have each other, to listen, and understand, not to try and fix, because it cant be fixed, but to be there, listen - and not judge. Just to know that someone is really hearing your words and knowing where you are coming from. And, sad as it is, knowing that there are others who have felt this depth of grief and pain, while you wish noone else would ever have to, it does make you feel less alone. This community has been my rock. Thank you to everyone I have spoken to as I walk this path, and to everyone I am still talking to, and to those I will talk to in the future. I'm so sorry you are all part of this community also, but so glad we can be there for each other x
CarlyMarie says "If you are an active member in our community and belong to one or more support groups, caring for others as well as yourself can be very emotionally draining. We find ourselves helping to carry others grief too. Take today to be kind and gentle with your own heart. If that means retreating from the internet to take some space to breathe for a while, please do that. By looking after yourself first you become a more mentally strong person and therefore you are much better help to others".Sometimes I find myself so entrenched in reading with great sadness other peoples stories in the baby loss community, and reading their struggles and emotions, and while there is a need to share, sometimes you do also need to retreat to protect yourself for a while.
Sometimes, you just want to feel 'normal'. Sometimes you want to leave sadness behind you and escape all the thoughts and stories you have heard. My retreat is generally my children. My business. I just get busy. And stop reading. For a while. Not for long, and then you are drawn back. To let others know, they aren't alone. To let them know, you understand, you care. Just to be part of, this community. It's important. But it's also important, to retreat, to refresh your heart and soul, so you don't crash and burn and sink back to the depths of grief and disbelief and anger, and every emotion in between.
Day 17 was about thinking about where you are in your grief journey. I am struggling with this one, as I can seem accepting of what has happened, for so long, then all of a sudden, it hits me, and I'm confused, sad, angry, wanting to yell at the world, ITS NOT FAIR, I WANT MY BABY.
To me its a never ending journey, you go round and round, sometimes it takes a long time to go round, other times you go round all the emotions in a day. Most days, I'm accepting, I can think of Koby and smile, I love him, I miss him, but I know he is here, watching over us. But I feel so busy that I don't have the time to explore my mind and where I am, so when I do get a moment, it all comes rushing at me, bombarding me with everything all at once, so I have to sort through all the rush of feelings to search for the actual feeling of where I am. My journey is like this ball in Kobys garden, round, no real sharp edges any more, but a never ending cycle of feelings, coming and going. I'm nearly 3 years into this journey, one I would wish on noone, I dont know exactly where I am, but I know I'm exactly where I should be. Holding my baby tight in my heart, and keeping him forever part of our family.
Day 18: Gratitude
Todays topic is "Give". CarlyMarie says Today give something to someone else. As part of my journey, I found my 'calling', my business, inspired by Koby. For Baby Loss Awareness Month this year, every week I am giving away a necklace I designed specially for this. I like to give. Actually the idea to give away a necklace every week felt really good. Until the first week. I did it on my Facebook page, and I asked people to comment, and I'd randomly select a winner. It felt really good, until I read all the comments.
I knew I had alot of 'support' from the baby loss community, I've made alot of necklaces for babies no longer with us. But there were hundreds of comments, hundreds of babies lost. It made me feel really sad, and then really bad that I could only give to 1 of them that week. Sometimes giving can be hard too, because you want to give to everyone, in some way you want to make it better for everyone. You know you cant, but hope that in some small way it does help. This is the necklace I am giving away tonight. I wish I could give one to everyone who it will help a little, but I cant.
Today I was supposed to take time to breathe. To just be. To clear my mind. To allow peace to enter. Well that is something I struggle with - turning off. I generally dont have two minutes to myself, and if I do, I'm thinking of the things I should be doing. I went outside, took a couple of breaths, inhaled the air, fresh after rain, took a photo, and started thinking of what I 'should' be doing.
My relationship with grief. I hate it. I hate feeling sad, angry, devestated. Who wouldn't. But, sometimes I go searching for it, to feel closer to Koby. Sometimes I need to feel it. I don't feel like grief is something far in the past, it's right here, it just affects me differently as I go along this journey of life without my baby.
It has changed me, my outlook on life, my beliefs, and yes my relationships. It has changed how I think, and changed how I talk, and how I answer questions. It has made me much more aware of loss, in all aspects of life. I don't feel I can protect my children like I should. I certainly cant protect them emotionally, I cant say "No that will never happen", no comfort in those words any more. My relationship with my husband is stronger. We have been through so much. Seen each other at our worst. Leant on each other. We have learnt about grief in our own ways, but we have both learnt many things, things we wished we didn't know. It isn't something either of us could ever have with anyone else. While it is an unwanted bond, its a unique one, not one I could ever have with anyone else. Noone else could ever know Koby like we do. We are his parents and this is a bond that will tie us forever. Relationships with other people, some good, some bad. I am less patient, with things that no longer seem important to me - trivial things ... does it really matter, is everyone still healthy? Is everyone still here? Oh your car broke down ... that would have ruined your year, just like my baby dying. (Yes someone really said that to me - story slightly changed to protect the 'innocent'). I am different, relationships are different, life is different. Grief is ever present, ever changing, sometimes dull, sometimes sharp, but no longer the all consuming darkness it once was. I am learning to live with my friend grief.
Today is all about Self-Care... What have you done lately that is just for you? Well, generally I don't get a chance to do anything that is just for me. Today, when my rainbow slept, I did some work ... then thought, I need a break. I never give myself a break. I've been reading the same book for 3 months and still haven't got through it - and this is with me reading every time I have a 'spare moment'... so not alot of them. So today, I sat, and read, for an hour. It was lovely. It felt great to do something just for me. Of course afterwards I felt a bit guilty about all of what I should have been doing ... but I have to tell myself, it is good, and healthy, to do something just for me, sometimes.
Koby inspired me to start my own business. Not just that, he inspired me to see what I really wanted in life, what is important to me, and to go for it. KJdesigns is not just a business, its my passion, I love it. I love making things, designing things, meeting people, I love all of it. I love the fact that it enables me to say Koby's name so much, and for others to as well. I love that it enables me to remember him in a physical way.
I love that, sometimes I get emails and messages from people, saying I am an inspiration to them. Not something I'd thought I'd ever hear anyone say... but it's amazing. I don't feel like an inspiration, just someone who found something good out of something so sad. I love that KJdesigns enables me to stay at home, with my babies. Thank you Koby, for what you have given me, you are my daily inspiration x
Today's topic is all about forgiveness. I have forgiven people some things. And I have not forgiven people other things. There are some things that I cannot forgive. There are some people I cannot forgive. I know I should, but some things just hurt too much to ever forgive. I have found I can let it go, but can't forgive. Is there a difference, I don't know.
I guess with forgiveness comes trust again. All the things, I cannot forgive, revolve around Koby, and peoples lack of empathy. I know, it is hard to understand, the depth of loss you feel, if you have never experienced it, but some things said, or not said, are just unforgivable in my books. Some things said that hurt a lot at the time, I can and have forgiven, as they were said, without knowledge or understanding. I wish I didn't understand. Exactly what it is to lose a baby. But I do. I wouldn't wish it on anyone, so I can forgive, lack of understanding, as really, that was me before. People say stupid things. People don't think. People don't know what to say. I can forgive all that. I can't forgive people crossing the road so as not to have to talk to me. I'm sorry losing my baby makes you feel uncomfortable. I'm sorry you don't know what to say to me. But don't avoid me. Don't ignore me. How about, I'm really sorry, I don't know what to say ... that's ok .. it's ok to not know what to say. I wouldn't be offended at that. There would be nothing to forgive in that. I can't forgive the specialist who told me to go for a walk. I was in hospital and should have been on bed rest. Then this young doctor comes in and says I'll go crazy if I lie there waiting, I should go down town and go for a walk around the shops. I will not forgive him. I didn't do it. But I won't forgive him for not giving my baby a chance. For not thinking he might just make it, the 6 more days he had to survive inside me, so they could intervene and help him. Until he was considered the 'right gestation' to have a chance at survival. No other doctor gave me that advice, and I had a lot of them talking to me over the week I was in hospital. I do forgive the medical system for drawing a line in the sand. I understand they have to. I understand there has to be a line, where they will help babies and they wont. But I wish the line was the same everywhere. Or at least, I wish then I know what I know now. Or that they had told us. Different hospitals have different policies. A different hospital may have intervened to save a 23 weeker. Waikato would not. I wish I had known all this then. But I forgive myself for not knowing, cos, really, how could I have? But the "what if's" do play on my mind. From time to time. So, some things I can forgive. Some I cant. Maybe one day I will be able to.
Today was about doing something, to help Mother Earth. Something for our babies, like planting a tree or similar. We dont have much planting space. I thought a lot about this. I have been trying to find something new for Koby, for a while, and when we were at the markets, I came across these ... they are flowers, made of shells. Have I done something for Mother Earth? I'm not too sure, but these were made by kids on their holiday, sold at markets by their Mum, made from shells, recycled, upcycled, from Mother Earth ... and I'm going to 'plant' them, for Koby, with Koby by his headstone. Flowers that wont die. Some colour for Koby x
I don't really have any rituals ... I'm finding this a lot harder this year than last. Which I find strange. I keep getting taken right back in time. I keep thinking about things I thought I had forgotten. I was thinking last night about the funeral director doing the screws up on Kobys coffin. How surreal that was, and how I hated that moment. I mean I hated all of it, but doing the screws up seemed so final, so wrong. I'm not sure how to heal the hurt from those moments. Or how many other moments there are that are that painful. I hadn't actually thought of that, since it happened. And now, nearly 3 years later, it hurt. I went through all our photos of him, and that time... That helps, seeing him. I wish there were more.
This is a hard day. I have so much going on in my head. But now I have the chance to let it all out, I'm finding it hard to make much sense of it. I think I wish I could express what it is really like, to have your baby die, so someone who hasn't experienced it, could have some kind of understanding, how all consuming and life changing it is. I wish I could express how important it is for us, parents of babies lost, for you, to allow us to remember our babies.
How it makes us feel, for you to remember our babies too. Koby is my baby, he is no longer here, but he will always be my baby. My forever baby. I love him, miss him and wish beyond anything that he was here with us. Please allow me that, and help me remember and celebrate his existance.
I don't feel very wise. However if there is one thing I have learnt, is that everyone is different. My journey will be different from yours. There is one thing that is the same though. Its a long journey, filled with twists and turns, roadblocks, mountains, ditches and everything you can imagine. Sometimes you feel like you are cruising along, other times you are speeding out of control. Then again sometimes you are heading in the wrong direction, and there are detours as well. It's a long journey, a lifetime journey, and while we are all different in how we react and act to this journey, we don't have to do it alone. There is comfort in sharing. My piece of wisdom is to know you are not along in this journey. It helps more than anything else. Finding others to travel alongside you. For those I have found, and whom have found me, I am eternally grateful x
Reflecting on this month, I have found it very difficult. More difficult than last year, and harder than I had thought I would. I'm not too sure why. I had thought I was in a better place than I was last year. I now have my gorgeous rainbow baby, who has shown me good things can happen. He lights our lives with his smile and laugh.
But day by day things became difficult and I remembered things I hadn't thought of for a while, things that hurt me with how raw they felt. Lots of tears have been shed this month. Today, however, I feel perhaps, it has helped, to have had those thoughts, perhaps they've been waiting there, to come out. And this challenge has just brought them to the forefront of my mind. It does force you to think, of course, that is the whole point. It isn't supposed to be easy. I think I am where I should be, I do still cry, more so this month than all of the year, but that is ok. I can remember Koby with love and peace as well, the hurt is around specific memories, not Koby as a whole if that makes sense. I can know that it is shit, that he should be here, running round - creating havoc, but I can accept that he isn't, physically here, but of course he is in our hearts, and in our home, part of our lives forever, and I can remember him with love. I also have had signs throughout the month, his iris's flowered, just when I needed them, and the rainbow he sent me, and I've seen 11.11 on days when I have needed, which is the angels sign, that he shows me. He also showed me this picture, which is an old one, of my mosiac before I framed it ... that showed me my rainbow baby, and there was something new in the picture, there is a little rainbow at the bottom of the picture. I've not seen that before.
Day 30: Intention
My intention, is to appreciate. I want to appreciate all the little things, the special things that happen every day. We had a dark cloud over us and for a time it seemed it negated all the beauty in life. But Koby wouldn't want that to remain forever, hovering over us, affecting all our lives. So my intention is to appreciate life, in honour of my precious baby, Koby.