Emotions & Childloss

Hi Friends,

I will again start this post with the caveat: This is MY experience, and others may perceive or experience grief differently from me.

I will start out by admitting I have always been somewhat of a dramatic person. I have always expressed feelings loudly and vehemently. I like to believe this is because I feel things intensely, and that it's not just me being loud! However, over the last 12 months, I have felt things to a depth I didn't experience before.

There are two feelings I want to talk about specifically, and a few others I will mention too.
Sadness (and guilt, and anger)

The sadness really didn't surprise me per se, but the intensity did. Early on after Charlie died, I would weep loudly and intensely, and it felt like I was turning inside-out. And when I wasn't weeping, I felt a heavy stone, deep under my sternum, of the sadness and loss. I felt shattered and broken, and there was a hole in my chest where I thought my love of Charlie was. I think it …

Baby Tree

Hi Friends,

When Charlie was newly born and we were getting gifts after the funeral, we got a few that were not tangible. They were really wonderful, too! For instance, one person bought a star in his name, so we got a certificate and a star map to show us where it is (it's a dim star in the constellation of Cassiopeia).

One person bought us a tree --- but not for us, or our yard, or even for a park near here. Instead, they bought it through Trees For Change in Charlie's name, and it's planted in an area that needs replanting. When I first got the certificate and then looked up the website, it told me that his tree would be placed in Tahoe National Forest, and that it would be a local variety, likely a pine or spruce.

And on June 21st of this year, 1 year and 2 days after Charlie's birthday (less than a year after the tree was bought, though), I got an email with information about the batch of trees that was just planted, including Charlie's tree.

So I'm sure …

No Smash Cake!

Hi Friends,

Charlie's party went beautifully.

On Saturday night, hubby was working overnight, so I was alone in the house. I'd been doing ok, knitting and watching movies, but once I started getting ready for bed, it hit me that it was Father's Day (it was past midnight), which was the day Charlie was born (of course, the dates shifted this year, which meant that part of my brain was constantly trying to figure out what was happening at "this moment" a year ago). I suddenly couldn't stop myself from thinking about the day Charlie was born and my experience, and everything suddenly weighed down on my and I started bawling. I was texting with hubby, but even that didn't calm me down, nor did cuddling with Pookie, so I was at a loss. I ended up calling my parents (at 2:30 in the morning!) and baring my soul to them. I had many things on my mind. Foremost, of course, was the combination of being alone and missing Charlie (and thus being sad). But I also had …

Learning and Growing

Dear friends,

I recently learned a phrase that I find beautiful, and really hits the nail on the head.

Have you ever noticed how, in English, we have no real, common word for a parent who has lost a child? We might call them a a loss parent, maybe. I suppose bereaved parent is pretty good.

However, in German, they can be called Verwaiste Eltern. This means orphaned parents. Sometimes I really feel this way - but instead of someone missing who should be caring for me, I feel like the missing person is one I should be caring for.
One of my German aunts told me this word. I'm really glad she did. I am more comfortable expressing myself in English - I have a better grasp of nuance - but every once in a while there is a word or phrase that just encapsulates an idea perfectly.

Edited to add: my mom pointed out there is an English book called "Orphan Mother" and that it's a phrase. Which is cool! I'd never heard that before. I like it.

I noticed I have started looking…

Happy Birthday, Little Charlie

Hi Friends,

I am doing something very difficult right now. On June 19th, 2017, it will be exactly one year since our son Charlie was born. Stillborn. Died. Was baptised. Everything. His whole life. And I am planning a party.

Well, not exactly a party. What would you call it? A get-together? A memorial picnic? A celebration? I don't know. It's complicated and emotional and weird. There are a few things that are fact, though:
Charlie was born on the 19th. Fact. He may have died 2 or 3 days earlier, but no matter what, this day is his birth-day.We also had our priest baptise him, and the only day that was an option, given our circumstances, was that day.I love Charlie, we love Charlie, and we want to honor him and our memories of him.
So, I'm planning a thing for him:
- and it's easy: Just reserve a picnic shelter, buy a cake, and send out an email to friends and family. Keep it small, keep it simple.
- and it's hard: I want a thing for him, but what do I want? A mem…