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.