Capture Your Grief, Day 5


In the early months of grief, when I couldn’t pray, I clung to this book—HEALING AFTER LOSS by Martha Hickman. Every morning, or afternoon if it was impossible to get out of bed, I would sink into the messages, longing for a sign of hope or healing.  It was a daily ritual.

In nature, I looked for signs of her life.  A heart.  A butterfly.  A gentle breeze.

I would go to her grave every single day.  I couldn’t bare to be a part from her body. I would journal. Cry. Talk to her within my heart. Sit in silence.  

Every night, before bed, I would look at her picture on the mantle. Trace my thumb over the rosary beads made from her funeral flowers.  And beg for it to all be different. 

When I couldn’t sleep, or anxiety arose, I would inhale lavender.  Tuck into a bathroom stall to cry.  Or hide away from everyone.

And then life started to move forward. I went back to work. I became pregnant again. And these rituals began to wane.  I was living in exhaustion and grief was draining me.  I was trying to survive. 

Bringing flowers to her grave on the 22nd of every month began to space out until it was a holiday.  Her picture, removed from the lock screen on my phone.   Life started to morph and take a shape of its own. 

And so I’ve wondered...  Do I have any rituals?  Does my life honor hers? 

I’ve had guilt about that...not taking on a large project in my baby’s name. Not wanting to do a run in honor of baby loss. Wasting the opportunity to bless someone else for her sake during the Christmas season.  Wanting to keep her “birthday” simple.

So how do I remember my baby?  I speak her name everyday, especially with her siblings.  I look for her in my surroundings. I speak to her in my heart. She is the last thing I think about before bed, and the first thing I think about when I awake. I write to her. I write about her. I run to her when the longing breaks me in two.  I take another step forward everyday.  And I am not ashamed to talk about her. To tell her story.  I look at her pictures when my heart begins to forget reality. I care for her little brother.  I find her in the present moment.  In conversations and interactions.  I meet others in their suffering.  I allow her life to change mine.

Yes, I will light a candle this month for the wave of light. Yes, I will hang her ornaments on the Christmas tree. Yes, I will honor the day she was released from my body. 

But I won’t look too far ahead.  I do not know what a tomorrow will bring.  For now, I will live in today. And today, I will remember. And today, I will say her name.  And today, I will find her.  This is my ritual.