Today ends Carly Marie’s Project Heal Capturing Your Grief through photography.  I haven’t been on top of things for the past week or so and have fallen behind on my daily photographs.  Some of the topics kind of through me for a loop because I didn’t know how to share a photo about it or in some cases I didn’t have any…like place of care or baby shower.  So, I have looked at where I left off all the way through today and have compiled what I can into photographs creating a wrap up for the project.  So here goes my final thoughts in photographs and words…

Altar, Shrine, Sacred Space:  I wouldn’t say that what I have is an altar or shrine…I guess maybe it is a sacred place.  I have always had our unity candle and photos of Raun and I above the fireplace.  After Samantha died, I added her name in the sand, her handprint, and her candle.  I once had someone tell me that in order to help me move forward I needed to put away all things Samantha.  A sort of out of sight out of mind concept I guess.  I couldn’t understand where they were coming from and why they would say that.  I left these items out.  This wall above the fireplace is our family photos.  She deserves to have her pictures there too.

 

Their name, their photo:  The first photo is one that I ordered in the May following our loss.  It arrived shortly after in my email…absolutely beautiful.  The second photo was a beautiful picture that her name was added to…I was touched by the colors and the heart.  Both photos are done by Carly Marie.

 

Siblings:  This is our first 3D photo of Baby L done on October 19.  As of this date we don’t know yet if Samantha has a sister or brother, but we will find out in a few weeks.

Artwork: I don’t have any other specific artwork relating to all of this and Samantha really.  But I do have this collage that I created for my Illuminate class that I took.  It is a compalation of photos from the cemetary where Samantha is the first Fall season without her here.  I came across the class and entered for a chance to win a free spot in one of the following classes.  My photo was picked and I got to walk the journey of Illuminate with other amazing women on a similar path.

 

Your grief tell the world:  I don’t have a specific photo for this, but my way of telling the world has been through this website.

Sunset:  This challenge began with a sunrise and ends with a sunset.  This photo is not from the last day of October, but from Labor Day weekend 2011.  Raun and I decided to take a weekend and get away, so we went to one of our favorite places…Bayfield, WI.  It was a quiet weekend around the small city, but it was very relaxing and the time away was needed.  This photo is from a sunset one of the nights we were there and it is one of my favorite photos.

 

 

Shortly after Samantha’s first birthday I was to the point in the healing process where I felt the need to give back.  Dragonflies are a big part of my life, the healing process, and my way of knowing that things are going to be alright…our baby girl is just fine.  So I knew it had to be something dragonfly related.  Dragonflies have been my way of remaining hopeful, finding comfort, and finding strength.  So, I found a beautiful way to make beaded dragonflies and Samantha’s Dragonfly was born.  This is my way of passing along the blessing that I have received.  I donate the dragonflies to a few hospitals for their keepsake boxes, as well as anyone who requests one. I also include a very special poem that I wrote about dragonflies that we included with our first Christmas Letter the year that Samantha joined our family.  With each card we included a little silver dragonfly as well to share.  My project…Samantha’s Dragonfly.

 

I’m a little late putting this together, but I was waiting until we went to the doctor today to have an ultrasound.  Cool thing…we got a 3D photo of baby!  So, I combine that photo, with Samantha’s special garden memorial stone, and a few photos of Raun and I.  So, here you have it, our family portrait!

 

 

Both of these photos were taken on Samantha’s first birthday…January 27, 2012.  Raun and I visited, took time to reflect, and laid flowers.

 

  

 

This past Summer marked the one year anniversary of Samantha’s due date…July 5.  While this day holds significance, I seem to find myself not as drawn to the date as much as the first passing of it.  It is a day that will always hold a spot in my heart though.

These photos are from a balloon release I did on July 5 of this year.

  

 

Wave of light is a special day where at 7:00 pm those that have lost a child due to pregnancy or infant loss light a candle in memory of their little one.

One candle lit in memory of Samantha and one candle lit in memory of other little ones gone to soon.

 

There aren’t any scents that remind me of Samantha.  However, there are scents that I really enjoy that help to bring comfort, calm, happiness.  I feel that these scents have helped me to find moments to relax and take time to think.  So here are some of my favorite scents…rain showers, gardens, and campfires.

   

 

I have been blessed to have a very supportive family in all of this, and a select few friends as well.  Over the past year I have also made connections that have allowed my support system to grow, that I would have not made had none of this happened.  I have listened to stories where marriages are falling apart, family ties are broken, and friendships lost because of the loss of a child.  While most of the friends that I have, have not experienced anything like this, they try to understand.  Sure, they are some who don’t ask questions and don’t want to hear about it…so I don’t open up as much to them.  The connections that I have made with others are with those who have walked a similar path.  They understand, they ask, and even now…a year and half later, they still ask questions and let me know they are thinking about us.  My husband has been there through all my ups and downs, confusions and understandings, hopeful moments and worried times.  He has been strong when I could not be and he has been able to provide different perspectives on this whole thing that I would have never thought of.  My family, though scattered from one end of the continent to the other, has been there for us whenever we needed.  They’ve been helpful, understanding, supportive, and encouraging.  Though we may be scattered, we are still strong and supportive of each other.

Thank you to everyone who has been supportive.

The loss of child and the grief that follows can make what lies ahead of you seem like this…

But with supportive family and friends the healing is easier to take one step at a time, making the journey more like this…

You may not see the end directly, but getting through the grief becomes a little bit easier.

 

 

 

 

For many of us when we go through a process like this we begin to associate certain things to it.  Whether it be a song, a place, a flower, a bird, a bug, etc. they all become a symbol for us.  It’s our way of knowing that our little one is watching over us.  A way of letting us know that, “It’s going to be okay”.

Since the beginning of all of this dragonflies have been very present in my life, they have always intrigued me.  I have many garden stakes that deal with dragonflies around my yard.  The dragonfly runs more deeply and touches even deeper in my heart.  The maternity floor at the hospital is also known as the dragonfly floor and there was a dragonfly stone one the wall just outside my door.  Once we were home we received a peace lily and in the peace lily was a dragonfly.  For my birthday I received a card from my grandfather (who incidentally, that year-2011- chose the card on his own.  being 94 years old, my mom usually picks it out) had a dragonfly on it.  A book I received had the coloring of a dragonfly wings on the cover, as well as seeing dragonflies as a part of the website where I received my infant loss necklace from and the label of the bath bombs that I got as a Christmas gift.  For me, these seeing a dragonfly let me know that my little angel is very close by and just stopping into say “Hi Mommy, I am alright”.  Over the past year and a half, I have seen them about when I need to most, have had them land on me, and visit me while I am at Samantha’s memorial.  A dragonfly brings a great sense of peace and comfort to my mind, heart, and spirit.

 

I am still playing a little catchup from the weekend.  So I have combined yesterday’s photo and today’s photo.  Yesterday’s photo capture is jewelry.  From the time of the memorial service I knew I wanted a necklace that had little footprints on it and something representative of Samantha.  Raun found La Belle Dame Jewelry.  She specializes in hand-stamped jewelry.  So I ordered my necklace with Samantha’s initials on the back and two stones attached to the top…her birthstone-garnet and a stone for when she was due-ruby.  Over that first Summer I came across a beautiful dragonfly pendent that I added to it, as dragonflies have a special meaning to me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s photo capture is a special place.  At the memorial service Samantha was buried with other little ones gone to soon.  On that spot marks a beautiful stone saying “Love You Always”.  Shortly after the service we had Samantha’s name added to the memorial wall in the Children’s Memorial and Healing Garden.  She also has a special place back where both of sets of parents live.  There is a bench in her honor.

   

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