Capture Your Grief 2015

Capture Your Grief 2015 - In Honour of Koby James

Day 1 ... Sunrise.
So today was supposed to be a sunrise photo, but after a long night I didn't get up in time to see the sunrise. As this is my challenge I thought I can take artistic license and while I didn't take this photo today - I took it yesterday ... this is my first photo for the 2015 Challenge. This is the start. This is where I am. This is my life.

My babies, my sunshine and my rainbow, and my angel. To anyone who doesn't know this is just a picture of my 2 kids... but to me, this is a picture of all 3. This is Koby's garden, and the mosaic I made to represent Koby and our family. The mosaic where Koby showed me my rainbow. This is a picture including all 3 of my boys .. My sunrise x

Day 2 : Intention
This is the 3rd time I have done this challenge. For me it is something I can do for Koby, for me, to keep remembering and honouring him, and to keep him in our lives and minds. My intention is to continue to love Koby, and to include him in our lives. To share what he has given us, and to show that love outlives grief, that love continues, through the sadness.

Day 3 : In Honour This Challenge is done in honour of Koby James Coram-Stanley. Koby was our much wanted and loved miracle baby, conceived after we had been told we would not conceive. He was hope and love and everything good. He still is. He is pure and happy and encompasses everything good and wonderful on this earth. He is love and light and inspiration.

Sadly my body couldn't keep him safe, and when he did come into this earth he had already passed. There was much darkness, but now there is much light, more so than darkness, as the pure spirit of Koby lives on and inspires me on a daily basis. He is here with us. He will be for always. Koby, you are my baby, you will always be my middle child, for always. This amazing photo (not taken by me) now includes Koby Thanks to a wonderfully clever lady. This was taken 2 years ago, when I was approx the same gestation with my 2nd miracle baby as when Koby was born. My Rainbow baby, who is now the age Koby would have been in this picture. Koby is with us always x

Day 4 : Dark + LightThe days and weeks following Kobys death and birth were very dark. Filled with so much darkness I didn't imagine ever being able to see the light again. I didn't know if I wanted to. But as the weeks and months passed, bits of light began to get through, and eventually the light became greater than the darkness. There is still darkness, just mostly it isn't as overwhelming as it was then.

Mostly now when I think of Koby, it is with love rather than the despair, anger, disbelief, the raw why is my baby not here that makes you want to scream and cry. My life has changed because of Koby, and he has bought much light and joy into it. Something I never would have believed possible, but it is true. There are still moments where dark and light cross and I cant come to terms with in my head. If we had Koby we wouldn't have Devon. I can't imagine life without Devon. I can't imagine life without Koby. Its confusing. But Koby has given me light, given me appreciation of what I have, and appreciation of what the world has to offer, even if at times it may seem unfair.

Day 5 : Empathy
Today's topic is about what people can do and say, rather what not to... How can others show empathy... what can others do.At the end of the day there is nothing anyone can say or do to make this better. There just isn't. It's shit, and that's all there is to it. I think bereaved parents, need others to listen, to allow us to include our babies if that is what we want/need to do, allow us to do what we want to remember and love our babies.

Don't pretend they never existed ... include, remember, listen. Ok that was a what not to do ... but do accept that our babies are with us forever, we want them to be with us, to be part of our families, and we wish beyond anything that our babies were here with us today. So if you want to 'help' - accept what I do, to remember and love Koby, say his name, he is part of my family and always will be and I just want everyone to know and accept, he is my baby, just like Brayden and Devon. He is my baby x

Day 6 : Books
Well to be honest I haven't read any books on grief. I have created my own. Each year out of these challenges I create a book. I have read a lot online. I have a journal I mean to write in. I tend to write my blog more. It's easier to type than write, faster, I can keep up with my thoughts.So I don't really have an image for today related to this topic. I'll share a picture I took today of the blossoms that are starting to come out on our apple tree in the driveway. I love this tree. There are blossoms on the trees out at Koby's ... blossoms remind me of Koby. This is his season. Spring flowers always remind me, which is nice, they are beautiful and signify new life, sunshine and happy days.

Day 7 : Memory
This is one of my favourite memories of being pregnant with Koby. We'd had our 20 weeks scan and found out the we were having a boy. Everything looked perfect. I decided to take some pictures to celebrate ... tripod and timer, and a little bit of editing to make it black and white! I wish I had taken more - all through my pregnancy, but I didn't. However I have a lovely selection of photos taken at 20 weeks, of happy, innocent times, before we knew babies could die, before we knew how life could change. Before we knew absolute heartache and grief. This photo for me is innocence and love and excitement and everything pregnancy should be. I love you Koby, and miss you so much x

Day 8 : Wish List
What are your wishes for this grief journey? What do you need from others?The 'real' wish is that Koby were here - of course that is impossible, but that doesn't stop me from wishing it. My wish for this journey is that there are places, and opportunities to continue to remember and celebrate his life. Every life is important, no matter how short ... Koby's short time with me has changed my life. Changed my families life. My wish is that others can understand the need to remember and include Koby in our liv

Day 9 : Family
My babies ... my family. My sunshine baby and my rainbow baby sitting in my angel babies garden.... the mosaic I made in the weeks after Koby's birth - that foretold my rainbows arrival.
(NB it wasn't until I uploaded these photos here that I noticed I had used this photo twice .. but they are my sunrise, my family, my reason for being x)

Day 10 : Words
I just really miss you xxx
That's all there is to it.
I miss you Koby.

Day 11 : Glow in the Woods
Today is about where we found our ' Glow in the Woods' - what resources we used to find connections and hope. For me I found the understanding, and the light to help me move forward I was looking for online, through the people I have met, continue to meet. It really does help to find people who understand and 'get it' - unfortunately the only people who do - are the ones who have also lost. So while I am happy to have found those who I did, I am also sad that they also have been through, and are going through, this life without something very precious. We are all missing a part of ourselves, and this is what binds us together. I am so glad that the internet is here, to enable us to connect with those we probably wouldn't have been able to without it.

Day 12 : Normalising Grief
With my business, website, blog, I often get messages from people saying Thank You for what you do, Thanks for sharing your thoughts and feelings and your journey. They say it makes them feel 'normal' and not so alone. So many people feel alone in their grief... sometimes it just takes for them to see someone else speaking or sharing about their journey to make them feel not quite so alone.

I do what I do, because its what I need to do, but the great thing is when I get these messages, that I feel by speaking out and sharing when I need to - that I am helping to normalise this journey ... Feeling alone, is what leads me to share. When you share you don't feel quite so alone. Thats just how it works.. It's all about doing what is right for you.

Day 13 : Regrets & Triggers
I have regrets of things I didn't do. Things I didn't know I could do ... until after the fact. I regret I didn't take more photos. Millions of photos. I regret I have no photo of myself with Koby. I regret that I didn't look at him more. I regret that I didn't hold him more. I regret that we didn't know about hand and foot casting because that would have been amazing to have.

I have regrets surrounding those few days we had with him - wishing we had known and done more.Triggers - they are random, and change with time. It used to be pregnant woman, babies... Now that doesn't bother me as much. Birth, that is still a trigger. Hearing of impending births, scares me. Watching birth on TV, makes me sad. Hearing of little babies surviving, is a trigger. Spring. Koby's season. Certain flowers. Ed Sheeran. Sometimes the triggers cause sadness, sometimes they dont.

Day 14 : Express Your Heart
Today we can share whatever is in our heart. This morning Koby's iris's were like this ... pure and ready to bloom. This afternoon they are in full flower and look stunning. They are achieving what they were meant to. They grow, and bloom. While I have been trying to be positive and look forward, today I just feel sad. Koby was this flower this morning.... pure and growing - but he never got a chance to bloom. He will be forever this pure wee baby, who just didn't get enough time to grow. His life stopped, before he had a chance to show anyone who he would be, and what he would achieve. Today, it all just seems so very unfair.

Day 15 : Wave of Light
Lighting Kobys candle for the Wave of Light every year feels like such a special thing to do, knowing there are so many others, doing the same thing, at the same time... and then even more over the next 24 hours as it travels around the world.It's a very special day, and so wonderful (and sad), seeing so many candles flooding through Social Media, that people are sharing more than ever before. Connection and understanding, acceptance that our babies matter, and losing that feeling of being isolated in our grief - so very important.I love you Koby, and will love you and remember you for always x

Day 16 : Creative Grief
I have done many things to remember Koby creatively. I have made a huge mosiac, a garden, numerous pieces of jewellery and other keepsakes, and drawings. I have created many baby loss designs for my business, while not specifically for Koby, they are inspired by Koby, for others. While it makes me sad to make them, I am pleased I can, and I have this creative outlet where I can do that elusive 'something' to remember and help. This is one of my favourites.

Day 17 : Secondary Losses
I found losing my innocence about pregnancy is a difficult loss. I have found a whole new world where there is so much sadness and grief, that I just didn't know existed. I don't think about pregnancy the same ... if someone tells me they are pregnant, I feel scared and worried for them. Never had that thought before, not once. Pregnancy was a happy announcement. My subsequent pregnancy was a scary ride. Babies die. At every gestation. At birth. And after. There is no 'safe' time. I hate that my first thought, at that announcement, isn't a positive, excited one.

Day 18 : Seasons & Symbols
Spring is Kobys season. He was born in spring ... the coming of spring reminds me (as if I need reminding) that his birthday is nearly upon us. First come the blossoms, then the iris's. He is buried under some gorgeous tree's, at the moment a sea of blossom.

Symbols - I think of Koby when I see butterflies. We were also visited by a wee sparrow, when Koby was home with us, each day a little sparrow would sit on the fence outside the window, do a little dance and it seemed to be watching over us. It stayed for a couple of days after Koby's funeral, and then I never saw it again. I love it best, when the iris's come out. My Mum bought a lot for us when Koby died, and we had them at Koby's funeral. I now have these exact bulbs in my garden, and they come up each year in October.

Day 19 : Music
Ed Sheeran - anything by him, reminds me... just his voice. His song "Small bump" came out around the time we lost Koby, and would randomly come on the radio just when I was thinking about things ... still does sometimes.

Day 20 : Forgiveness and Humanity
Today we open our hearts to the idea of forgiveness and accepting our own humanity and the humanity of others. I have accepted that people are human, and make mistakes. Some things I can forgive easily, and others take more time. True forgiveness is hard to achieve. I have made mistakes in life, I have forgiven myself, and I hope that I have been forgiven. But you cannot force someone to forgive you, and you cannot force yourself to forgive someone else. It is something you feel, when the time is right. I don't want to hold on to things that hurt me, but forgiveness is a work in progress.

Day 21 : Sacred Place
This is Koby's sacred place. Where we left him. Were we can visit him. I love it there in the spring, when the trees blossom.

Day 22 : Dreams and Rituals
We like to have cake for Kobys birthday... to take it out to the cemetary. I also donate a pendant to Waikato Hospital, for families who lose babies, for each month that Koby has been gone. So it will be 48 pendants this year. We buy a Christmas Decoration each year for Koby (and the other kids) to put on the Christmas Tree ... we include him in what we do. He is part of our family. Always will be.

Day 23 : Love Letter

Day 24 : Choose your breath
Today is about knowing where you are in your grief journey, and knowing where you want to go. I am in a place where I can smile at Kobys memory, where I enjoy finding new things to add to his table, or making his garden look nice again after the winter.

I love that his memory can help others, and hearing how people have read our story and can find comfort that there can be hope and inspiration after loss. Sometimes I have 'down' times, but they come and go, and don't last for as long. I am glad I have those times as well, as they remind me just what I have lost. There is beauty and light as well, and a lot of that came from Koby. His gift to us. I think there will always be questions, and wishes, and 'if onlys', but they are outweighed by the memory of a little baby who changed our lives, who gave me new focus, inspiration, and appreciation that I didn't have before. Losing Koby tore our world apart, but remembering and loving Koby holds our world together more than anything else could. Todays image is of my rainbow baby and I, sent to me by Koby, in Kobys garden ... one of the great joys in my life.

Day 25 : Earth Rememberance
These beautiful purple flowers were planted just a few weeks ago in Koby's garden. I usually have purple or blue flowers in his garden, though last year I did red! But it is nice to have the purple back.

Day 26 : Gratitude
I am grateful Koby came into my life, even if only for a short time. I am grateful for my boys. I am so grateful, and I love them more than I ever thought possible. I am grateful for my family, and for the gorgeous sunshine we have today. I am grateful my Mum was happy and smiling today, as we sat in the sunshine together. I am grateful I have this opportunity this month to express my thoughts.

I am grateful I am living this life now and not in the past when I wouldn't have been able to express my thoughts like this. I am grateful I have a creative outlet. I am grateful for choice and chance, love and cuddles, for laughing and for life. I am grateful for memories. All of them. I have a lot to be grateful for.

Day 27 : Self Portrait
This is me now. I have a part of me missing. A part of our family missing. But I have this new little person, who wouldn't have been here if it wasn't for Koby not being here. I love this new little person so much. And I love Koby so much. But I wouldn't have one without the other.

I am happy I have this one, but wish I had the other ... I want both! I have been changed by Kobys death - I will never be the same as before. I am far more protective of my children, I worry for pregnant woman, I cry over every loss I hear about, and worry about the families and how they are coping. I worry about the future a lot more, for the future of my children. I want to give them everything. The best. Happiness. To protect them from sadness. I look whole. But I'm not. Our family looks complete. But its not. There will be forever something missing. But you cant tell from the picture.

Day 28 : Reach Out
Today is about showing compassion, and how it can help with grief. CarlyMarie says when she feels at her lowest, reaching out to others helps ... and I find this also. I reach out by helping others, the auctions for the Cuddle Cots, we've raised around $7K in total, and I donate to various fundraising auctions associated with baby loss and other causes. Helping makes me feel good. Makes me feel like I am doing some good. At the moment I am working on making 48 wee necklaces to donate to my local hospital where Koby was born, I make one for every month he has been gone. Last year I donated 36. This year it is 48. I hope they bring a little bit of comfort to others. It brings comfort to me that I can do this. The other day I spoke to a lady who recently had used the Cuddle Cot we donated to our hospital. She spoke about how amazing it was, and what a gift. Such reward, hearing that. I don't of course ever want anyone to use it, but hearing that they felt it made a difference, is amazing.

Day 29 : What heals you ?
What heals me ... lots of things help. I bought this the other day, for Kobys garden. A wooden heart ... I love it. That heals, for a while, doing things for him. Buying him things as if he were here. My babies heal me ... my gorgeous children. Love and laughter heal. Helping. Giving. Living. Creating. Will I ever be 100% healed, I dont know, but then again, I dont know if I want to be.

Day 30 : Reflection
The words have come easily to me this month, even if I've looked at the subject a few days earlier and thought oh I dont know about this one, then on the day, it has been there. I'm not sure if I like that I haven't had to put much thought into it or not, I'm hoping it means I understand where I am, and not just that I'm saying the first thing that pops into my head, whether it makes sense or not. It is coming up to Koby's birthday, so it always makes sense to me to do this each October, in the leadup.

I dont feel I have gotten as much out of it as the previous years, but maybe thats because I know where I'm at this year ... or maybe its because I didn't think deep enough. I'm not too sure. This gorgeous flower inspired me this morning.

Day 31 : Sunset
A beautiful sunset tonight, taken by Koby's daddy out at the cemetary. While we didn't get a sunrise photo, I think we've made up for it with the sunset photo. The month has gone so fast. Just like these (nearly) 4 years since you came into our lives before we expected you. Its been nearly 4 years, but its been forever, the time before you seems like another lifetime. Time is so subjective, it seems to move so slowly sometimes, yet at others it vanishes before your eyes. It seems like forever since I saw and held you ... but I'll remember that forever. I love you Koby, We love you ... this sunset is for you xxx