SHARE Atlanta Pregnancy and Newborn Loss Grief Support

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Grief's Path ~
Grieving as "We need heal..."

It has been several years...How do I get past this????


"How do I get past this hurt." by Patti (6/2003)

"The roller coaster ride and control issues..." by Nima (4/21/04)

In Loving Memory of Vincent James Chrabuszcz ~ September 4th 2000 ~ Poems about grieving our baby... by Ashley (7/04)

Grieving is hard work at a time when we have no energy... a response about grieving 'timeline' from Marcia

"How do I move forward?" by Crystal (9/8/04) GA

"I feel blessed to be holding my daughter, but so sad that I did not have a chance to hold my son like this and see him grow." by Tamara (10/8/04) GA

"Residual Grief?...8 years later..." (4/14/05)

"Do you heal?" by D (4/4/05)

Grieving over time..." Our babies are always with us in our hearts and in our memories." by Michelle (5/24/05) GA



have posted in this site before, have a candle for my two angels. My last loss was of my son in 99.

My question to you is, is it somewhat common for the grief to ruin the marriage? My marriage ended shortly after we lost Christian. I miss him so much,and feel as if my whole world was lost when he died, for my marriage ended with him.

I do NOT know how to get past this. I have accepted the loss of my the best of my ability. Yet, I do not know how to accept the loss of my husband, for I know that if Christian was still here, everything would be fine. How do I get past this???? Patti
Schaumburg, IL
June 2003
I am thinking about you....

Yes, marriages end as a result of the death of our babies. Sometimes, other factors enter into it as well. So many losses take a lot out of us. It is hard to climb back into a positive world when so many things in our own private world seem to be negative. It takes time to figure out where and how to scratch back out of the hole. It isn't a one day activity - usually not even a one month or year will do it.

Why is that? Well, here are my thoughts:

A tragic life experience that got us into the hole often leads us to other losses - we aren't as sure of ourselves, we feel insecure or unsure of things that we used to feel sure about; we get confused more easily; we aren't communicating to the people we used to talk to; what used to seem important to us, doesn't any more; our innocence is loss...etc.. (See Allowing Grieving to Happen to Heal/Grief and Secondary Losses.) We have to rebuild the sides and middle of our lives to crawl back out. It takes lots of work, and we really don't feel like we have the energy to do that. Grief takes energy. Just getting through the day takes a level of energy. Then we throw the regrouping our lives to crawl out of the hole on top of that...whew...almost too much to think about.

We wallow, try to rationalize that we are somehow fine just where we are, BUT the pain of being where we are keeps raring its ugly head - even as we try to adjust to this place.

We have to come to the point in our pit of life that we want out SO badly that we will do all we can to push or pull ourselves out. It also means "leaving behind" that part of us that we knew before our loss as well as the part ( with thoughts of our baby) that has wallowed in this hole for so long. We usually liked most of what we were BEFORE that period of time so we have an additional (irrational, most likely) fear of leaving this place.

The weight of our lives' concerns and issues at this point is heavy on our shoulders, it is hard to press upward - we feel stuck. There starts to be a place in our minds or hearts (or both) that knows we SHOULD move to the next stage - that we might even be BETTER off in that next place, but it all seems overwhelming and scarey.

FINALLY, as you are doing, we begin asking questions of ourselves and any other person who we think might help us out of this pit. We start to brainstorm about possibilities for - Yes - HEALING. We start to want this weight off of our shoulders more than any other thing.

AS we brainstorm and search, we are caught between wanting to make that huge CHANGE in our lives to accomadate the next stage and fearing, again, who or what we are leaving behind (the reality of your baby and our divorce) and who we will become if we start to REALLY change. We often find all sorts of reasons why or decide that the number of STEPS to healing are too hard for us.

My advice to myself has been - one step at a time or one rung of the ladder at a time. We begin by finding some easy things that will make us feel better about ourselves and then move to some of the harder to do things. Sharing our story is a good starting place which you have done; learning ways to cope also helps; and finally giving ourselves permission to grieve, to heal, and to forgive - all are important for getting through this pain. For most of us, too, finding ways to make our child's presence in our lives meaningful, helps. It doesn't have to be a big thing, but some way to know that we can "move on" but our child's life was a positive in some way (volunteering, giving books in memory of our baby to a church, giving clothes or items to charity in memory of our baby, etc. - see "Coping Ideas").

Time raises its head here once again. We, as a society, want it all done yesterday, well, in reality, it will take time to build the path out of the pit because we have to slowly figure out what will work for us.

Options become essential. They can be hard to find but supportive groups and books are important. Some find a counselor who can advise them is helpful. Learning how others have worked through these times - what coping ideas helped them - can be a huge aid in this upward spiral. Seeking support around the divorce issue may need to happen. It may be that there are issues there that have to do with other events than your loss with the baby. It may be that you have to work through these.

Slowly we begin to piece our lives back together. At each stage the weight on the shoulders becomes less. Our energy level increases as we discover a clearer world. We are on a spiral out of the hole so sometimes the going gets rough, but, hey, we know what the bottom of the pit feels like - this place we can handle.

Gradually, we welcome the shift in weight on our shoulders. The continuing "plan of action" to get us out of the pit seems less intimidating than it did. We find that things are "doable."

You have accepted to some level the loss of Christian, but I wonder if you have forgiven yourself for any guilt around his loss. We talk in the group about the fact that we did all we could based on our knowledge at the time. Loving ourselves again is important. Same with the divorce.

I know this is long winded. Perhaps there is something here for you to take hold of. My thoughts are with you as you continue to work through this time in your life. Several in our group have had similar experiences of loss and divorce. It is not easy to adjust and regroup. They have done it with much care and continued support from people who would talk with them.

Seeing the need to heal, realizing that you have begun, and seeking understanding of how to continue is a very positive place.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Forever in Our Hearts~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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The roller coaster ride and control issues...

Thanks Marcia for the info. I was at a loss when I was told my Ob was leaving her practice and was not sure what to do next. I will definitely try to come to the next meeting.

Some days are much harder than others. People close to me are getting on with their lives and I still think alot and cry alot about the son I lost. Sometimes it seems like a roller coaster of feelings. I have a toddler that makes me laugh because he is talking more everyday and then I find myself feeling very sad when I think of the son that was almost physically with our family. Thanks for staying in touch. I really appreciate all your advice. Nima

Marcia's thoughts: Your roller coaster of feelings is very normal. Grief is a yo-yo..up and down process. Our emotions and heart are in control not our mind. At first we can't control our emotions. This lack of control is part of grief, also. Gradually we begin to regain control of many things again, but it takes working through our grief to regain the control.

Control is something most of us pride ourselves with. For the most part, especially before our loss, we are responsible and 'in control' and in a daily situation this is accepted and a normal positive way to conduct life. But, as we grieve, we find it hard to be in control because the tragic loss tugs at our heart and is a constant reminder of what has happened to us. It makes us hurt and reflect on our loss.

We can't stop this tug until we have reviewed the circumstances of our loss many times and started to understand how they will now be fitted into our daily life. Then we have to work hard to figure out how we can take our 'new' life situation and what to add to it to make our walk of 'what will be' possible.

It takes rehashing the situation, asking questions and getting the 'best' answers we can about what happened tied with working with our emotions (of sadness, anger, confusion, fear,etc) through additional healing activities (writing, talking, rituals, etc.) to gradually get to some resolution and understanding. The roller coaster is the way your emotions and soul handles the day to day adjustment to what has and is happening to you.

You can get past it for awhile and then a trigger brings it all back. Gradually, the length of time between 'triggers' is longer and you don't go all the way back. You get to a place where you know that you have rehashed the story enough...gotten the details and just don't need to go back 'there' any more. You know you are beginning to heal when these times get longer and longer. It does happen, I just takes work and time.

As I have often said, we never have to like what has happened to us, but we do need to figure out how to make it a part of us and when we can it is even better if we can bring some positive learnings from it. We didn't ask for our baby to die, but our child died. Now, it is up to each one of us to decide what we will do with that tragic experience in our lives.

I gradually knew that I had to make it part of who I was...just as many of the 'good and bad' things in my life are...and I wanted my three babies' memories to hold some meaning for me. They do, today, and I am very grateful for that. I know they made a difference in my life plan and now I understand that it was possible for it to be in a positive direction (when at the time I couldn't see how this would ever be.)

Enjoy your living son...I did when I had my 3 year old after my third loss. He was the world to me and I cherished him as I know you cherish your son. My losses made Joel a huge miracle to me. Joy...pain mixed in one. A confusion that is so clear and such a part of the grieving process. Remember to try to take some time for yourself. I know it is hard, but you need even a few minutes for you.

Thanks, Marcia. What you say makes alot of sense and is exactly what I have been going through. Rehashing things, crying, thinking and asking alot of questions. I feel better now than I did 6 weeks ago and things are sinking in.

A friend told me to talk about what happened whenever it bothers me so it will feel more real. I am suprised that people are willing to listen sometimes to details I thought people would never want to hear. I know though like you said it will take a while to heal and overcome this pain that keeps constantly coming back. I have made a friend through an email response through the SHARE Atlanta website. Thanks for you help and advice. It is guiding me through this. Nima

"I suffered a incompetent cervix at 19 1/2 weeks...I need support." by Nima Midterm Loss Atlanta, GA (3/13/04)

"SHARE Atlanta's support meetings helped get me through some pretty hard times..." 10/04 SHARE Atlanta's meetings help and healing is happening. GA

20 weeks/incompetent cervix Atlanta, GA


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Forever in Our Hearts~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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In Loving Memory of Vincent James Chrabuszcz ~ September 4th 2000 ~ Poems about grieving our baby...

Love is not measured by time,
Or the chances we get to hold one another.

Love is not measured by laughter,
Or the tears we dry from each others eyes.

Love is not measured by memories,
And all the days that used to be.

Love is measured by what is inside your heart,
The place you hold for that special person.

No matter how long or short their stay,
No matter how many memories were made.

Sometimes you get a lifetime,
sometimes you get a day.

But somehow, someway,
This person still leaves imprints on your heart,
That no one can touch.

Vincent, my angel, You are one of those special people that have touched my life, in ways no one could ever understand. You will always be with me, no matter where life takes me. You will always be my special baby boy., My love for you will never die.

When I Think Of You

(C)2004 Ashley Szymkowicz

When I think of you,
It's not a sadness that I feel.
I don't feel the deepest grief,
Or the pain, heartache, and disbelief.

I don't really miss you,
We never even met.
I have no memories to look back on,
Not even a picture of your face.

When I think of you,
It's a heavy tug at my heart,
Because somehow our souls have met,
Though face to face we never did.

You're my guardian angel,
Some may say,
But no, it goes deeper than that.

Because when I think of you,
I feel the warmest love,
Surrounding me and holding me.
I know you're always by my side,
Helping me get through the hardest times.

You're more than just my angel,
You're my protector from pain,
My teacher of life and love.

I think of you often, you know?
You're always with me,
In everything I do.
I thank God for you,
Everytime I think of you.

Silent Grief

(C)2004 Ashley Szymkowicz

I suffer a silent grief,
For my baby cousin, That I'll never meet.
Not today, tomorrow, Or ever in this lifetime.

I suffer a silent grief,
And only in God, Can I find relief.
I know he has promised us, An eternal life, And that he never really died..

I suffer a silent grief,
And even when it gets too hard,
I have to stick with my belief, That Heaven is his home,
And it's all he will ever know.

I suffer a silent grief,
Only when I am alone,
Can my tears freely flow, And nobody else could ever know,
How much he means to me,
Or the part of me that can't let him go..

And most importantly, Nobody else could ever see,
What it meant to lose him,
And the part of me he took to Heaven,
Only I could know, In my silent grief.

Vincent James Chrabuszcz
July 26, 2004


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Forever in Our Hearts~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Grieving is hard work at a time when we have no energy...

Thank you Marcia and thank you for your advice too. I might just do that when I feel up to it.

Marcia's thoughts: I know how difficult it is to even put one foot ahead of another or think about anything very long. We talk about how grief eats away at our energy level...especially when many of us suffer from being unable to sleep (alternatively, others can't seem to get out of bed because all they want to do is sleep to put the experience out of our minds). Dreaming of the experience makes it difficult for everyone, too.

Knowing that there are options and that others have survived this tragedy helps us begin to believe that we, too, can survive the loss of our baby. It is doable, but very, very hard...and it takes work over a period of time. Another thought to hold on to might be this..we have a timeline of grief that I made based on my own grief and being the coordinator of SHARE Atlanta's groups for 20 years (plus much reading) below are some thoughts from the paper I wrote that I hand it out to every parent who attends my group.

The reason is based on what your thought "I might just do that when I feel up to it." We don't have the energy to move very fast and we become overwhelmed by societies (and our own) lack of understanding about the grieving process - one factor is the length of time it takes to work through it.

As we better understand the process, etc., we reduce the pressure on ourselves and begin to gradually be able to look at some of the healing options available to us...knowing that everything doesn't have to have happened "yesterday."

Here is part of the paper...I offer it as possible support...these are just my thoughts....

"How long will I be in so much pain? When will healing happen? Does it really happen?

The normal grieving process lasts from six months to a year and, possibly, longer...depending on the circumstances and you. This timeframe may sound like a long time, but we can’t rush grief, and it varies from person to person. Society and most bereaved parents generally believe grief lasts about two weeks to a month. When parents find that they can’t make their grief fit into this expected timeframe, they try to rush or deny their pain. There is often a sigh of relief when this expectation is lifted from their already burdened shoulders. Healing actually can be helped when the pressure is relieved.

The good news is that our grief does not stay at the intense level as it is at first. It varies as we move through the grieving process. Initially, (and this length of time varies for people) our grief overwhelms us, and we feel out of control (part of the grieving process). Then as we work through the process, we plateau and “adjust” to different levels of grief. We rest, redirect our energy, and become ready to move on in our effort to heal.

We gradually have more times of peace mixed with less times of sadness, etc. Eventually, we can visit our bittersweet memories on some occasions and feel relatively safe being there. Now, gratefully, we can come back to the present whatever that is for us at that time - and not stay in the past memories.

Will the pain ever really be gone...healing does gradually happen....

I believe that we know we are truly healed when, for the most part, we can control our grief---it no longer controls us. This ability becomes stronger until we rarely actually think about our loss and subsequent pain. We have not forgotten our child, but we have healed. Often, we realize that our child’s presence is now safely a part of us. A part that we can now cope with. (Marcia McGinnis (C) 2004)

Know that I am thinking of you...please look for my 'new' online forum that I plan to start this week. Together we mutually support one another on our path to healing.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Forever in Our Hearts~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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"How do I move forward?"

First of all, let me say "thank you" for the wonderful site and the kind words. I truly feel as if I have support from total strangers because of a bond we, unfortunately, share. I am truly grateful for your website and I hope that I will be able to attend a meeting soon.

But I do have a question for you: How do I move forward?

Everyone in my family keeps telling me that I can't dwell on losing CJ but I don't know what else to do. I miss my son very much and the worst part is that I can't seem to write my thoughts down. My poetry, which I use as a method of therapy, is forced and not at all what I am used to creating. The words won't come. I was also told by the bereavement specialist that writing letters to him or writing in a journal would help. I have been doing both but it makes me even more sad when I reread what I write.

I feel as if I am the only one who truly misses him the way he should be missed. Even my husband, who is a loving man, seems to be dealing with our loss better than I am. I feel as though I have lost everything good in my life and that nothing really has meaning anymore.

My mother-in-law tells me that I need to go to church and rely on my religious beliefs. The only problem with that is well, I am searching for answers as to why God allowed this to happen. Why I had to lose another child and this time, I had to give birth and then bury my much loved and wanted baby.

It seems as though this time, with CJ dying, I am grieving not only him but I am reliving my grief for my other "angels". I lost one through a ectopic pregnancy and I miscarried a set of twins. I just can't understand why I keep losing my babies. It is not as though I don't want them. I have always been excited about my pregnancies. I just feel so let down and abandoned by God and my family. I feel utterly alone in my grief...

Except for when I am reading the stories on the website or emailing Suzanne, the woman who lost her 3 little girls about 2 weeks before I lost CJ. Is it strange that I feel as though you and the group (through reading the other entries) help and understand more than my own family? I just wish I had found your website when I lost the twins; maybe then, I would have felt more capable of dealing with this loss b/c of the support your website gives. I don't know why I am rambling but I know I WANT to heal but I don't know HOW... Any advice would be listened to and followed. Please help me.

It seems as if I am getting worse instead of better as my due date approaches. My niece is pregnant with another boy, due in October. I am happy for her but at the same time, I just wish it was still me looking forward to my son's birth, instead of waiting for the other shoe to drop when she has her second son. Is this normal?

Am I grieving healthy? I don't even know what that means but I wish I could do it. Anyway, thanks for letting me ramble...

Charles Jeffrey Shoemaker, July 18, 2004 by Crystal (Newborn loss Between 20 and 32 weeks/Incompetent Cervix) Forest Park, GA

5/2"I SURVIVED..." by Crystal (1/10/05) Grief: Month by Month 4th to 8th Month; GA

Mother of Charles Jeffrey "CJ" Shoemaker
July 18, 2004
Midterm loss/Newborn Loss between 20 and 32 weeks;
Mother to three other little angels: Angel #1 Jan. 2000, Angels #2 and #3 October 2000


Marcia's thoughts: First of all, thank you for your kind words about the site and the comfort that you receive from it and Suzanne. That IS what it is all about. Supporting each other is positive for the very reasons you outlined in your note. Our family and friends - and most often our husband - can not understand our deep need to linger with our child, seek comfort and support, and slowly pick options that help us move into a healing place.

Society for the most part believes that grief lasts two to three weeks and those of us with an early loss should heal within that time. When we don't meet their expectations, we feel as though we are failures in taking care of our emotional healing...when we are already feeling like failures (because our baby died) as being mothers. (Which, of course, we are not because we did not cause this to happen, etc.) We have so many losses (I call these secondary losses...innocence, self-worth, hope, communication with others, etc.) that we feel like we are in the great pit of despair.

The alone feeling that the separation from others causes is what you are so well describing in your letter. It is a normal reaction to all that is happening in your world. We just had a group on how "Relationships" in our lives with all their expectations on top of our secondary losses and the loss of our baby (s) causes all of the emotional stages of grief that we move through.

So, what can we do????? How do we cope??? You are doing and saying the very things that will gradually help you survive the lost of your three babies. We have to remember that grief is a process. There is no easy way to grieve in order to heal. No one else can make this pain go away and no one else can totally understand your needs right now. SHARE Atlanta parents can support you through this because we do understand your need to 'try' out various options for coping with your losses. We understand that grief lasts anywhere from 6 months to two years...and that is okay. It often takes the pressure off to know that it isn't going to be better in three weeks.

Grief is sort of like going on a diet (I just thought of this the other day though a diet doesn't even touch on the kinds of issues a grieving parent has...I realize that. ) As you diet and as you grieve, you have to work at it, and you see small glimpses of success as you go along. Some days you have slip backs and down days, but you keep pushing on.

With grief, you are never like you were at first (as in the intense pain), but around the 4th to 6th month and around due dates and anniversaries things get tough. Why? Because the 'reality' of the loss of our baby really hits during these times. Around the 4th month panic and denial have gone by the wayside and the reality of it all stares us in the face. This is true at the other times...we were suppose to be having our baby and sharing these times with him or her and we are not. Fortunately, there are occasional sparks of light...of healing..between these times and these positive moments lengthen as healing continues to happen.

Grief is "doable" and it helps when we realize that: others have survived the death of their child; there are coping ideas for survival; and that we are not alone in the process. When those that we love tell us to "move-on" in their time table of life, we have to remember that this is our loss and our grief, and that we are doing what is normal for a grieving parent.

Dad and Mom do this grief thing differently. That is normal, too. My group on the 22nd is all about the differences. There is information on the site about these differences. It is hard, but important, for dad and mom to realize these differences and try to accept them. Mom will need more time with her grief and baby because she bonded differently than dad. Dad's do life differently than moms!! That is a good thing, really. It is just that we want our husbands to be our best friends during this time...and they are not able, for the most part, to listen, listen, listen and listen some more to our issues. They want to fix it and for us to be just like we were before all of this happened.

Because we women need to talk about this - that is what we do at the group and online through email exchange. SHARE Atlanta started a Women's group because of this need. Moms need talk time! That, too, is normal. You are not rambling, you are doing what all (or most) moms need to do. We do this with our 'living children" and we do this with those that are in our hearts and not in our arms.

Are you grieving "normally" or "healthy" because CJ and your twins died? I would say, most definitely yes. You are expressing your pain, sharing it with others, thinking through and feeling your feelings. Wanting to heal is the key to gradually healing.

Waiting for the other shoe to drop, is normal, too. Your innocence (a secondary loss) is gone and reality of death is there. We talk about this all of the time in the group. It also is hard to celebrate the birth of friends and family's babies because that is what we want and cherish. It comes with the package.

Don't push will go on for these people and you need to protect yourself from more pain. Husbands often don't understand this in us, but, again, it is a normal reaction to babies around us. Down the road all of this will become easier. But, right now, give yourself "permission to grieve" and know that those around you will lessen their push as they see that you are healing. Few understand grief or how to cope, but as we work at begins to show (just as when we are on a diet) and those around us become aware.

We never are the same as we were before. That is a scary thought when we liked who we were before. But, as in any major life event-change happens. This change is forced on us, and we don't like it and we never have to like it. But, when we begin to heal and can make, in some way, our child's life meaningful because we know that he or she is safely in our heart forever, we know healing is happening. We gradually realize we are fine with who we are becoming, too and that the deep, searing pain has lessened and our child is part of who we are. I often say, all five of my children have helped to make me who I am today...three in heaven and the two here on earth.

About not being able to use your usual coping mechanism of writing...

Sometimes we are so overwhelmed that the things that helped us before don't help us now. I think this is especially true in writing or something that we are a part of to make it music or crafts,etc. While these kinds of things can often be very healing and helpful, sometimes our hearts are so full we can't face seeing or feeling our reactions in something we do.

I have been in places where I just can't play the piano or write (both of which I love to do) because it is too emotional to do so and uses more emotional and physical energy than I can muster at the time. It is okay to "give it a rest."

At these times it might be better to view videos or read books or take walks...something that is not your usual thing. Something that doesn't "take" from you. It gives your mind a rest from all of the pain.

Often after I have done this, I can then revisit the piano or journal at a later date. I couldn't listen to music or play the piano for a long while after Seth died. It was okay for me not to...I can now.

I have had other parents express similar situations so I don't see it as strange. It just is upsetting when something we used to love to do no longer helps. It doesn't mean it will never help..but just not now.

Also, often it is not helpful to reread the journal for a LONG time. Going back too soon can add to our present pain if we aren't very far along. I have parents who reread after a year and are surprised how far they have come. I have parents come to the meetings on anniversaries or just to visit and give back and realize as they compare themselves to the more newly bereaved (or the ones who are finally allowing themselves to grieve) how far they have come.

There is no one way to do sample, see if it helps, and try other options...all along the way.

Crystal, I am glad you took time to write me. You are moving forward, but it all takes time because the "work" of grief is not over night. I hope in some small way this note helps. I will add your note and my reply on the site under "Grieving" because it is about that. Is that okay? I know that others are feeling the very same way.

Entry #2, 9/9/04

Thank you so much for writing back. It helps to hear someone say I am doing what is right; that my grief (even the intensitiy of it) is normal. I sometimes feel that my husband as well as others think I am dwelling on my loss.

It's not that I am dwelling, so much as it is I am just trying to keep his memory clear and new for myself. Maybe no one else understands but I know how I feel and I know that I am doing better but that I am not going to be the "old me" b/c my children have changed me forever.

My little babies, who I loved and wanted, were my life. I have had that taken and I can't just pretend it didn't happen.

And yes, please feel free to include anything I write in the email entries... I hope that my words can help someone else. I truly wish that my children could have survived but if my words can comfort someone who feels the same way, I feel that my babies helped someone else.

I look forward to the day when I can look back, without crying and being angry, and remember the happiest times in my life with a sad smile, but a smile nonetheless. I truly hope that the day will come that I might be strong enough to help someone the way that your words help me. You have been a godsend and I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart.

I hope to be able to meet you at this next meeting (ed. or a meeting...) Anyway, thanks again for writing back.

Marcia's thoughts: Crystal, Thank you for your thoughts.

Your thought, "to keep his memory clear and new for myself." is so true for our moms. That is why mementos are important. As I look at those things from my grandparents that I have I remember them as I grew up. The mementos from my babies help me to hang on to their memories as well. Plus, since two of my babies were born before 13 weeks, I "made" mementos to make them very real to me. Now, I know that they are 'forever with me" (that saying is true and why we used it for our logo). We gradually become very aware that we will not forget and it is safe to let go some so we can do what we need to move along our journey of healing. It never means forgetting...

We moms have to have a time with our babies that is just 'us' - much like we do when we have a newborn in our arms. It is an intense time. We bond very strongly and those memories we hold forever. The same is true for our birth stories about our special babies and any mementos or memories we make.

We must validate their presence because so many other people try to make them not real ...because they didn't know them. In some sense, we have know them since we played 'mommy and daddy' as children. Most parents begin to think of the future with our baby as soon as we know we are pregnant. Other people can not understand this deep bond and our deep pain at our loss. We must use our energy to focus on us and our healing. In our group, we often find that helping each other builds a deeper understanding that we are "normal" in our grief and we will survive this...over a period of time. Coping over time is one key to healing. Giving ourselves "permission to grieve" is another.

Just wanting to heal is a big step in the over all process. You can do this - because it is important to do so. Your children would want it for you, too.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Forever in Our Hearts~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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I feel blessed to be holding my daughter, but so sad that I did not have a chance to hold my son like this and see him grow.

Thanks for lighting the candle for me. At times I feel so blessed to be holding my daughter but so sad that I did not have a chance to hold my son like this and see him grow. I thought I was through grieving but I guess I am still working on it. Thanks for helping me through it.

I will see you at the candle lighting in November. Tamara

Noah Haire ~ 4/4/03
TYPE Stillborn
Atlanta, GA

A loving dedication for Noah you are always in our hearts. Please click on the butterfly...


Marcia's thoughts: Your mixed feelings are so very normal - often our subsequent baby brings forth feelings that we didn't know we had. This is especially true if our loss was our first child...our subsequent child brings into the realization the fullness of what we lost with the death of our first. Many of our parents share how holding their newborn brings back the grief that they thought they had left behind. We want to be happy, and we are, about our new baby, but this child "triggers' feelings about our baby that died.

It helps if we realize that these are normal feelings and with time and understanding of what is happening parents work through these new feelings.

Often, too, when we have had our subsequent pregnancy and child soon after our loss, we stopped grieving so we could focus on our present pregnancy. Some can grieve for their baby that died and focus on the baby they are carrying, but it is a very difficult process...because both are hard to move through. I have had moms attend the grief group (again) when the subsequent child is safely in their arms because they now need to fully grieve the baby that died.

The full truth here, I believe, is that we love both of our babies so very much. Many of us can not fully release our grief until we have "worked through it." We put our grief on hold for many different reasons...sometimes it is health reasons, sometimes it is because we become pregnant within the first few months after we have had a loss, sometimes it is because we have a full time job...or a sibling or a loved one that needs our full attention. Sometimes it is because we think we can "heal" without grieving. Whatever reason that brings us to need to grieve "down the passage of time" from our loss is our own and varies. The important point to remember is that it is "never too late to grieve to heal."

Levels of grieving go on even when we did take time to 'fully' grieve our loss. Triggers (events that make us "remember" - such as holding your beautiful daughter) cause us to reflect on what "might have been." These are normal parts of the larger grieving process. It is important and healthy to recognize them for what they are, seek support, and take the time to love our special baby and to move to another level of healing.

Healing is "doable" and it does take work and time. Coming to the candlelighting is one way to recognize our love because it is a "coping mechanism." It allows us time with our baby, our grief, our memories and to know that we aren't alone. It also permits us to give outreach to others and to realize that we are healing and can heal more.

I think that many parents are experiencing the very same feelings that you have shared with me and that it would help them, too, to realize that they are "normal" with their feelings and reactions. As is life, grieving is a that is difficult, but when we move through it we do heal.

I am anxious to give you a hug at the candlelighting.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Forever in Our Hearts~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Do you heal?

I you ever heal? find your way? I appreciate the few moments you took to help me feel less "alone." I really really do. Thanks. I cried when I read your message.

Somehow...that pain is never far from the surface-yet, so rarely shared. When I do share - or the moment is such that I must, people are so uncomfortable that it's really "not worth it" - they don't know what to say and then are uncomfortable with my grief and loss, which makes me even more uncomfortable and...ashamed.,/p>

You provide a wonderful 'service' - and the website is amazing - although my heart can only take small doses. The love does stay forever in our hearts - but it also...hurts...aches.

Hopefully a special ray of sunshine will kiss your face this Easter weekend. You deserve it! D

"The days when loss hits you out of the blue are the hardest" by D (3/2005)

April 4, 2005


Marcia's thoughts: As I have often shared with so many of our parents...healing is the reason I keep going. If I thought that we didn't heal, I'd have to stop right now. Healing should be the ultimate focus for each of us. Not to heal would mean to stay in a state of pain and limbo for the rest of our lives. While a gradual healing brings days that reflect both pain and "feeling better" moments, the feeling better moments gradually become the dominate ones. Over time, if we are doing grief "work," we no longer need to revisit the thoughts and reactions that our initial loss causes.

Our hope is to develop a new set of positive reactions and feelings on our path of "what will be." We can do this in several ways. First, we could review, hopefully in a safe place, (by talking or writing about our experience, etc) the difficult places in our lives - "tell the story enough" so we have explored the pieces leading to the "outcome," the outcome, and our feelings and reactions to that outcome - to the point that we no longer have to dwell on it. The time for this process to occur is the grieving process' essence, and the length of time for this to happen varies from person to person.

Our hope is to come to a place where we have gradually released the fear, confusion, pain, etc and energy around all of what happened to us over a period of time. We want to "let go" of the feelings and reactions associated with our pain and embrace new reactions and feelings that we slowly have incorporated into our lives path. This transition or change happens gradually as we reach for places within us that will carry these new learnings to make our daily live's happy again.

The new reactions, activities, and feelings usually are not the ones we might have chosen if our loss had not occurred, but they can make each day livable again and, hopefully, with time and a focus around learning to cope on our different path, we embrace them.

I always try to remember, that we never have to like what has happened to us, but so we do not suffer for the rest of our lives, we must find ways to cope, resolve and make life meaningful again. All of this is "doable" with an ongoing effort and a better understanding of the grieving process.

It is when we can say "no" to the ongoing review of our grief and "yes" to most of the new pathway, that we know that healing is taking place. In my mind, this comes in stages or levels. Often we plateau at a level and feel good for a while and we can rest, regroup on that level. Then, we decide it is "safe" to move to the next level. We often are forced into that next level by something that happens that lets us know that we "aren't finished our grieving, yet." Sometimes, it is a minor adjustment to the peace or lifestyle that we have been living...and when we finally let ourselves "regroup..once again" - we actually feel much better.

I believe that if we can make our baby a part of our fabric, make our baby's presence a meaningful one in our lives then we don't loose that part of us or who we were when the loss occurred. We carry our child and the love we have/had for that child forward into all that we do. I believe that my three in heaven would want me to always love them and remember them, but once I grieved their loss, they'd want me to do something positive...not negative...with their presence in my life. That way, I honor them and give to others (hopefully, for me, to their father and living siblings as well as to family and friends) the love that I had for them.

Healing happens if we let it. It is an option that we have to work towards. It doesn't happen by itself. We have to work at healing...choose options all along the way that open the pathway of "what will be" in our future. It is hard work, but so worth it because then we take the gift of life and make it as positive as we can.

As to others as we walk this path...your thoughts are shared by others in our group. Relationships are crucial and as I wrote in my response to Shannon (see her letter just a few below yours "Am I still a mother?"), so crucial that we have two groups a year that are directed to that topic. Grief influences every relationship we have and most people don't get it. We use lots of energy trying to "make" others see and/or feel our pain. Some will, but most can't and will not. Unless you have had a similar loss, it is hard to understand the depth of pain. You might read my section under grief "Allowing Grief to Happen to Heal" - it talks about secondary losses ( loss of hope, innocence, role as parent, etc.).

Most people don't realize the compound losses that the tragic loss of our baby causes. These all roll into more pain and grief. Others wish to minimize our pain so they will feel better. It is important to connect to others that do understand and to do coping ideas that let us recognize our baby and work through our grief. It is very special when a loved one or friend does embrace our walk, but this doesn't always happen.

Often the confusion between husband and wife grows as the first year or so passes. (see Father's Menu for a better description). All of this is "normal" for the grief process. Realizing it so we don't think we are crazy or alone is very important. You should not be ashamed of a process that is normal. You are not are grieving. Many people, I believe, think that grief is abnormal and that it should end in two to three weeks. Well, it doesn' takes 6 months to a year and sometimes much longer depending upon the circumstances (and to work through various "level's." And, I believe that wanting to heal is an important component of working through grief.

The people around us, "our relationships" greatly influence our pathway of healing. Some can be helpful, many are not, and we often have to actively seek those who can help us on this path. Often people who have been "there" - who have had a similar experience are the biggest supporters during these difficult times. They truly understand the kind of pain you are facing, the types of reactions from others that you are receiving and the various hurdles you must face along the path of "what will be." Sometimes someone who is loving and compassionate who hasn't had a similar loss, but who has worked through a difficult time in their own life is a surprised supporter in our coping.

The important message to take is to give others materials that describe how they might help, open the door for that help, and then use your energy to embrace the help and support that you find "works" for you. Sometimes our best friends, our closes family members are NOT the ones who can help us here. They are too emotionally wrapped in all of this to offer much support. (This is often true for the person you think cares the least...they might care very much, but just can't reach out right then to help you...for many various reasons.). We want their care and love, but what we most need is to heal ourselves, not close doors to anyone, and as we heal some of those who we think are not supportive might be able to be there for you down the road.

We have to keep in mind, we can't change others...we change ourselves. As we change ourselves, heal, etc, we can embrace those who will help us and help others, too. We should not be ashamed of our efforts to heal. Everyone will grieve at some point in their lives, we each make choices of how we embrace our grief and what the "lasting" outcome will be. I pray for peace, forgiveness, and the ability to hold on to those parts of me that are positive. It takes work, but it is "doable" with support.

I hope this long letter helps...I didn't mean to go on, but the idea of healing really makes me think. Actually, I started it last week and just finished it. I will post your letter and my response on the grieving page..and you can get to it on the "recent entries" page. I am thinking of you...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Forever in Our Hearts~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Residual Grief?...8 years later...

Hi Marcia. I initially wrote my story (My Philip) in 1997 after the loss of my son. Just this morning, I wrote an update, but on it, I didn't want to say too much about what I'm going through right now because I don't want to "scare" anybody, if that makes any sense. I want to offer hope to mothers who've gone through a stillbirth, not despair. However, it's been almost eight years and suddenly for the last few days, I feel like I'm in the thick of it all over again. Is this unusual?

As I stated in my second entry, we've moved since the last anniversary and are too far away to visit the gravesite this year. Perhaps that's the source of my agony, I don't know. I'm crying in bed every night, I'm struggling not to cry at work every day. I'm reliving in my mind the whole hospital experience. It's horrible.

What I'm going through is not as intense as when it first happened, but it's certainly many times more intense that it's been in years and years. Has anybody else written to you about this?

I feel like I'm going crazy for feeling this way again. I think maybe I just need to hear that it's not unusual. Of course, his anniversary is a couple of weeks away and April is never particularly easy. Please, just tell me I'm normal and I'll be ok. Alicia

"My Philip" by Alicia (7/97)

5/33"ALMOST EIGHT YEARS LATER" by Alicia (4/14/05)

Philip Alexander Eakins
April 25, 1997
Belleville, Ontario Canada


Marcia's reply: Alicia, what you are experiencing is called Residual grief. (Years after the grief work seems to be completed, a sudden rush of loneliness or sorrow may burst upon the scene.) It comes upon us at unexpected times and feels similar to the original grief - but "not really" - if we could revisit that original grief we could tell the difference. The pain is usually intense but brief.

Different things can trigger these times and you have mentioned several common triggers: anniversary, season that it all happened, moving, not being able to visit the grave site, husband away, even other children in stages that make you think about what "might have been" with the baby you lost if s/he were alive. You also have several issues going on here...that could lead to what we call "Accumulated" grief...the grief involved with loss due to moving, your husband being away, not being able to visit his grave site.

I think it is wise to recognize this grief as normal and 'there' and to re-remember that grief is a process and can pop up at different times. I have learned that when this kind grief happens.. it often means that I need to do something else around the original loss/grief. Sometimes it means making time for our feelings about our loved one, perhaps doing something in memory of our baby (since you can't visit his grave site - give to a charity in his memory, make a blanket in his memory and give to the local hospital or to a group such as us, etc.). Then, it is good to know that you have done what you can again for him and you.

Also, I think that as time passes we think through different parts of our experience and "wish that we had done things slightly differently." In our groups, we talk all of the time about the fact that we did the best we could at the time. Many of us had little or no support...we didn't know we could and should hold our babies as long as we wanted to or to take pictures of our babies ourselves. But, by sharing this today...we can help others because the nurses see how important this is for us.

Once we have reviewed all of this, we need to "forgive" ourselves for any less than perfect way of moving through all of this. Many need to forgive themselves for any thing they think they might have done that wasn't as they wished. We have to know that we are human and can't do it all - especially when we are in shock and disbelief.

I think - as I say so often - that our babies would want us to grieve their passing, support others who will have this happen- as we can, and remember their presence in a positive manner in our life. I think your Katie's comment is dear.

When these times in our lives pop up that we feel like we are moving through the grief again, it may be our way of knowing that we will "never forget" and our babies will be "forever in our hearts." If we can reflect on the truth of this, do something in memory of our child, know that we did all we could back then, have worked on our grief (as you shared), have "forgiven" ourselves, and made a positive path of 'what will be' (as you have with your twins and life) then we know that we do not have to fear these times. Embrace them for a time, know you are normal and okay, and know that you do not have to be caught in the full force of have been there and done that. This time is a reminder of that time in your to remember the precious baby you had/have...remember the path you have carved...and I find it helps to be thankful for the blessings I have today.

Yes, others have shared similar times with me. I have experienced them myself. It is normal. I find that as time moves on and I am touched by these moments, it takes me less time to move through them. (And, you can go years between these times and some never have any of these times or -experience such a time only once or twice.)

I know that I have had to move through them before. I know that each time I dwell on them less because I have done all I can do. Having ways to visit the moment is important. Sharing his memory in writing, as you did, is often helpful - for you and others who think that we forget. Sharing that this happens is also important. Because, when it does we feel a little crazy and scared. As you wrote, knowing that we are "normal" helps. (I wrote about Triggers and "time outs" in the section "Allowing Grief to Happen to Heal').

Of course, sometimes our renewed feelings of grief have to do with others it is wise to think through that, too. Sometimes other issues need to be addressed. But, if all else is fairly balanced then we can be fairly sure that it is most likely Residual Grief.

I hope this helps. I am glad you asked the question and wish for support. Sometimes members will show up in our group who are working through just such a time...especially during an anniversary date.

Not everyone can or will attend a group, but we are here, as you said, to support online. I will be including your entry on the site later today or tomorrow (I have lots to do today!). I am touched that you have returned to the site and glad we are here. I think you will find similar stories on our section entitled " Memories after Five Years and Longer Down the Path... " it is under E-mail Exchange.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Forever in Our Hearts~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Grieving over time..."Our babies are always with us in our hearts and in our memories."

Marcia, Good Morning ~ Thank you so much for your email, and lighting the candles in memory of Kezia and Constance. Thank you to SHARE Atlanta for having a place for Constance to be among other angels. She is buried in Babyland at Arlington Memorial. We buried her the day before Mother's Day. She is in front of the walkway. I am ever so grateful that she is there, it gives me comfort.

Constance is the 4th baby that I have lost. In addition to Kezia I have had two miscarriages. My husband and I hold on so tightly to our son Marquise who is 12 now. We know that God will continue to walk with us and bless us as we continue to strive together as a family. We moved to atlanta a month after we lost Kezia, this was right after hurricane hugo.

Constance was named Constance Grace because from the beginning God had placed on my heart that he would keep me in his constant grace during this pregnancy. What I really did not know is that I would need his continued Constant Grace for this time of healing.

My membranes ruptured with Constance at 15weeks, the doctors wanted me to terminate my baby, I just could not do it she was moving and had a heart beat. I researched and found other babies had made it. I talked with doctors around the world, and made an email friend in England, who encouraged me as her son was born at 27 weeks after her membrances ruptured at 13weeks. She was and remains an angel to me as well. Constance made it to 23 weeks and an infection set in rapidly, I did everything I could to try and save her but she did not make it, I went into labor she had lost her heartbeat.

She is with her big sister now in heaven. I see Kezia holding her every so tightly and lovingly for me, until I see them both again. Kezia is named from the bible from the book of job, one of his daughters.

Kezia, also lost her heartbeat during labor, as she went into distress and we were on st.croix, there was no where to do an emergency csection, as everything was damaged due to the hurricane, the doctors waited to long to send me off island. By the time I made it to the Navy hospital in puerto rico it was already too late. My husband was told he could fly with me there on the helicopter, then he was turned back at the airport. It took two days for him to find me where I was. There was no way to communicate with the island. There was a chaplain with me that was so dear, she stayed with me until our family came to puerto rico, and we buried Kezia there in Puerto Rico. The chaplin had never seen a delivery before. She was suppose to leave the day before, but she said the lord had told her to stay. She was my saving grace, yet another angel that the lord had sent. We kept in touch until I had my son, Marquise.

Mothers need to know that although we hurt, God eases the pain. Our babies are always with us in our hearts and in our memories. They are angels on our shoulders. We mothers need to remember that although there are storm clouds, and the rain may come, but afterwards there is a rainbow and the sun will shine again and dry our tears and warm our face. We need to know that the sun will indeed dry our tears and warm our face again. The days will get easier, and life will sometimes seem sweeter although we will never forget our babies. We also cannot forget that we are living and we must continue to love and in order to do so we must heal from our grief and pain.

In order for the sweetness of the memory of our babies to live on with us forever. The sun will indeed shine again and dry the tears that will often flow in the memory of our love, our hopes and unfullifed dreams for them, rather than in grief and pain. Maybe this is just a short that you can add for encouragement to the newsletter.

How can I become actively involved with the shareatlanta organization. How can I find a support group in my area, or become actively involved in hosting a support group in my area.

Marcia, thank you and God bless you!

Memorial Candle for Kezia

Memorial Candle for Constance

Michelle Vialet
Kezia Alanna Vialet
09/29/89, Stillbirth
Constance Grace Vialet
4/26/05, Stillbirth
Douglasville, Georgia May 24, 2005


Marcia's thoughts: Michelle, as our life moves along, it is clear that even in the most difficult places, there often is support and love offered us. It is in the accepting and seeing it, that is important. In our pain, it is often hard to see the offerings of support and people placed in our path as God's way to support us during our most tragic moments. For many it isn't until years later that upon reflection we can actually see these people or places for what they are.

You have shared how the dear chaplain stayed with you - during Kezia's birth and from that time onward as your rod of strength and love. You had a lady support your efforts to protect Constance and do all you could for her...and you did. You can always feel as though you gave both of your daughters all that was possible during their lives. We all know that the way we wish for things to develop and the way they truly do often doesn't happen, but when we know, in our hearts, that we have tried to our best knowledge, then our healing is made in that knowledge.

Our pathway and angel garden has brought much peace to parents. That is why it is there...our parents' effort to share the love we feel for our babies so others can gather comfort and continue healing and reaching for peace and comfort. Often as they do, they continue this love by sharing it with others. It is together - not alone - that we heal and survive. We would love for you to be part of our group. It is in the asking and the desire that that happens. People helping people to find ways to heal is what SHARE Atlanta's mission is about. We are not perfect...we are humans trying to support one another. What you have shared will go into our newsletter because it expresses the hope and need to find meaning in our children's presence - that is the essence of SHARE Atlanta.

We have a good number of parents who live out in your area. Several of the moms attend my Women's Group. You might consider joining us and meeting them! As to having a group out in that area, let's discuss that. I have another idea that might be more needed at this time...

Please know that your offer of support is indeed important and I know we can find a supportive place for your outreach within our group! Thank you for sharing.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Forever in Our Hearts~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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