SHARE Atlanta Pregnancy and Newborn Loss Grief Support

Share LogoSHARE Atlanta

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

Triggers that remind me of my son, Ian's, stillbirth on 9/11/97, sometimes catch me by surprise.


"Crying Babies" by JoAnn (3/98)

"In Memory of Megan" by Jill (3/98)

"Haunting Triggers/Releasing Emotions" by JoAnn (4/98>

"It just kind of hit me hard tonight. And these feelings feel crazy." by Trischa (11/05)

Crying Babies

One situation that has really bothered me since Ian's stillbirth is going shopping, only to find smiling/happy parents with children; what's worse is when those children start to cry. My whole body tenses up; I even notice I start walking "like a zombie" (similar to when I first got home from the hospital after having Ian). It's strange how hearing a baby cry reverts your senses back to the way you felt months ago!

Yesterday I somehow managed my emotions. My husband and I went shopping together; lo and behold, crying babies everywhere! Usually I break down in tears. Yesterday, somehow, my senses tuned them out. My husband was waiting for me to break down (he's been through this scenario many times). I remember he took my hand and said, "are you okay? Don't you hear them?" I must have had a glazed look; I said, "hear what?" Amazingly, I hadn't heard the babies until he said something about it!

JoAnn's Diary...A mother's reflections in loving memory of her son, Ian ~ E-mails to SHARE Atlanta from 9/97 for over a year's time. JoAnn shares her highs and lows in an effort to understand her loss and pain on her path of healing.

Ian Marcus Walter
Binghamton, NY

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

Return to list of Letters and Poems


In Memory of Megan ~ A Trigger Moment

I stood with a friend in a toy store this weekend, feeling somewhat brave and proud of myself for not breaking down despite the fact that I was surrounded by toys and darling little children. My friend, bless her heart, had not thought of the consequences of such a thing when she said while we were window shopping, "Do you mind if I just duck in here for a second and get some candy?" So there I stood, precious babies running all about, and I really felt okay.

I thought, I'm handling this. And more than handling it, I decided to look for an Easter decoration for my daughter's grave. I felt awkward at first, worried that some salesperson might ask if they could help me. How do you respond? Yes, I'm looking for something wonderful for my dead child?

But I was determined not to let it get me down. Too many times I have felt so sorry for myself in those situations, allowing thoughts of "why me?" to overwhelm me. Not this time, I vowed. Take your time, breath deeply, you can do this.

And then, there it was. Something red caught my eye, and I bent over to pick up a tiny, red patent leather "Hello Kitty" purse, no bigger than my hand. I can't explain the feeling--don't know if I will ever be able to. I wasn't thinking of that purse for a decoration, obviously. I swear that purse just drew me to it, and I thought, my angel would have adored this purse!Here is the difficult part for any one other than a bereaved parent to understand. Megan lived in utero only 22 1/2 weeks. She was not yet born when she died, and yet, I knew she would have loved that little purse--even stranger that I should know that considering I didn't care for the purse myself.

Well, I could feel that wave--the best way I know how to describe it--of pain beginning to wash over me. It's as if I could look up over my head and literally see it about to crash down on me. And WWWOOOOOSSSHHH, Oh, lord, there it was, and I was bawling. Bawling like a baby over a tacky, plastic purse. I wanted that purse so bad.

Even now I wonder why I didn't just buy that purse. I put it down, however, and walked over to my friend. She could tell I was crying, and was deeply concerned. As we walked out and down the street, I told her about the purse and tried to explain the loss of a child (she has none). "You have to understand what I am missing," I explained.

I could sense she felt awkward because it wasn't as if I had lost a child who was 2 or 3 and whose habits and preferences I would have known. "I miss Megan's soul--the child I knew in my heart from before conception--from before she ever existed. I miss my future with her. I miss the time that has passed with her in it, but I miss the future even more."

How do you explain this, God? Give me the words to help people understand, I thought to myself. My friend was beginning to see it, I think, so I went on. "I miss the fact that I will never get to roll my eyes and let out an annoyed sigh over the fact that my little girl is begging for a six dollar plastic purse worth fifty cents! That is the scene I saw in my mind's eye as I held that purse."

All of this is to say that we bereaved parents have no idea when the wave will come. I have bought baby clothes for friends and felt only a twinge of sadness; I have called to congratulate happy new parents and felt only an inkling of envy--and I have bawled like there would be no tomorrow over a "Hello Kitty" purse.

My angel, I know you can hear me, so listen well. I know you are in Heaven where wonders abound, but Mama wants nothing more for you than that tiny, plastic purse. I won't pass it up again.

Megan Downs
Tulsa, OK

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

Return to list of Letters and Poems


Haunting Triggers/Releasing Emotions

Triggers that remind me of my son, Ian's, stillbirth on 9/11/97, sometimes catch me by surprise. My husband & I were invited to a friend's 40th birthday party on 4/18/98. Another couple at the party brought their 6 1/2 month old son with them. When I first saw the child it was like a STAKE had penetrated MY STOMACH. My initial thought was, "how am I going to make it through this night?" Another thought was, "Ian would've been about that size today." I panicked slightly, but somehow found the energy to maintain my composure through the evening. I dreaded the inevitable "baby stories" however there weren't as many as I expected. My husband's face looked a bit flushed after while; I could tell by his expressions that the sight of that child stirred up emotions inside of him as well. The minute I left our friend's house and we started the short drive home, I fell to tears. I bawled all the way home.

This situation finally made me really understand that we need to cry and we need to let those emotions out as often as we need to during the initial grieving process. I cry because I love my son and I miss him. I'll always love him and miss him. Sometimes I try to take the approach, "I'm crying for my son and he deserves to be recognized that way."

It was very difficult managing my emotions in front of a group of people when I saw that child. The child's Mother & I had shared "pregnancy stories" throughout our terms. She didn't say too much to me that night, it must have put her on edge also, seeing me there. I guess I'll never know. Of course we never talk about "the elephant in the room." Later at home my husband said, "I know how difficult that was for you." I responded, "it must have been hard for you, too." He didn't say much to my response, but I knew it hurt him, too.

The next day I used the emotional energy that had built up inside of me to make a special momento for Ian's grave. It helps me cope. I need to do this for my son. And, I need to do it for me, too. I miss my son and I love him.

JoAnn's Diary...A mother's reflections in loving memory of her son, Ian ~ E-mails to SHARE Atlanta from 9/97 for over a year's time. JoAnn shares her highs and lows in an effort to understand her loss and pain on her path of healing.

Ian Marcus Walter
Binghamton, NY

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

Return to list of Letters and Poems


It's been awhile since I've visited the SHARE Atlanta website, but tonight I am so grateful to find comfort there. It will be one year since Valeria's birth on November 5 and Ricardo and I chose not to bury her ashes because I want her to be buried with me someday. We believe that she is in a special place in Heaven and most of the time we realize that she is very lucky to be chosen by God to be a special angel for us and for our future family.

I normally find having her ashes near very comforting. Her tiny ashes are in a small plastic bag inside the cardboard box just as it was given to us from the funeral home. I keep the box wrapped in a special baby blanket that was mine when I was a baby. I talk to her when I am doing housework, I walk by and give her a tiny pat, we sometimes give her tiny gifts or pictures etc.

I feel very connected to her spirit when we do these things and that is why tonight I am so disturbed by what has happened. You see, Ricardo and I left to go away for the weekend...and we always feel guilty about leaving her ashes at home. I know this seems crazy because she is in our hearts not in the box, and she goes with us everywhere in spirit. Anyway, before we left we both gave her a kiss and told her when we would be back and that we love her very much.

While we were away, I did some shopping and found the most beautiful silver box to keep her ashes in, and I am having it engraved. I felt so relieved to finally find a better place for her because for the longest time I felt she deserves a better place than cardboard.

However, when I came home tonight, apparently it had rained all weekend, and we are temporarily living upstairs in a house that is probably about 200 years old. I'm telling you this because the ceiling leaked and her ashes, box and blanket were all wet along with her teddy bear and a very special scrapbook of pictures, drawings, cards and letters that I've been writting to her. The damage was minimal, but devistating emotionally.

And all of these feelings came flooding back like the water from the ceiling. I feel guilty for leaving her in addition to the guilt of not being able to give her life that has subsided somewhat but, apparently not gone away. I'm angry and disturbed and confused and I feel so overprotective yet irresponsible. I haven't cried like this in a long while and it just kind of hit me hard tonight. And these feelings feel crazy.

Do you know of anyone else with anything similar to this happening to them? I can't help but wonder if there are hurricane victims who are mothers of "special babies" who may be experiencing something much worse than myself. Is this normal? I've read the section on "triggers" but this seems different somehow?

I think everything will be ok once it's all dry. I keep telling myself that they are just ashes and not her...not her soul. But emotionally, suddenly everthing has been turned upside down again.

All the best to you, your family, and everyone at SHARE Atlanta. I can't thank you enough for your compassion. Trischa

5/72"Valerie's First Year Anniversary and "El dia de los Muertos"" by Trischa (11/8/05)


Marcia's thoughts: Of course, I remember you! I know that I talked with you on the phone..and then you moved. I was pleased to receive you note, and sorry to learn of your pain.

I believe you have several issues going on here...and how wise of you to do a search on our site to try to come up with some understanding and some comfort. It always is good to seek support.

Yes, there is some "triggering" going on here, but also anniversary grief and a normal reaction to having a cherished memento/s damaged in any way. Ricardo and you had made a new choice to leave your daughter's ashes at home and by a turn of nature water got into your precious treasures. How touching it is that you thought about our friends in LA who might be, and probably are, experiencing similar situations on a bigger scale.

We learn throughout life that we are "not" in control of many - many situations. What we are in control of is how we view them and handle them. Mourning about what happend is a have experienced another loss of innocence...even when protected - things can unexpectively happen.

It wasn't in the act of leaving Valerie's ashes in her home that something was in the bigger picture of real life that something happened. You could not have known this outcome and, obviously, you did not cause it. We humans face this kind of problem over and over again and our guilt eats at us as we try to reconstruct how we could have done differently. It is a common problem of the grief process..but even though common, never easy to move through.

I carried Seth's pictures everywhere with me, at first. Then, Leon made a comment about what if we had an accident or someone broke into our car, etc. So, we took some of his pictures and all of the negatives and put them in the safety desposit box at the bank. I made sure I had a picture of special "Seth" mementos, too. That way if anything should happen to any of this, I would at least have photos of everything.

Would it help if something did happen? I don't know...but in the back of my head I know that I have a little bit of those Seth days safely locked away...both in my heart, as you speak of, and in the safety deposit box.

I would guess that you are grieving and having to cope with any level of guilt that is tied with the "loss" of innocence in that things can happen to your treasures and how little control we have. You were healing as you went and found the lovely silver box for Valerie's ashes. Being able to leave her ashes was also a sign of healing.

She knows you love her and bringing the engraved box for her ashes is a wonderful memento to commend her first anniversary. Anniversaries, especially the first year's anniversary, trigger all sorts of emotions. There is an entire section on the site about anniversary and holiday grief.

We remember back to a year ago and all that happened. We relive it...just as we do in any type of anniversary, but, of course, we know that our baby died. It is difficult and it is often made easier by doing special things in memory of our baby. Many of our parents have kept their baby's ashes so they might be buried with them someday. I think it is a beautiful idea. I love it that you have kept her ashes wrapped in your baby blanket. That is so very dear.

Do I think you are crazy for crying? NO. You have had some very special treasures damaged. Yes, her soul is in heaven and in your heart. She will always be your daughter and she will never leave your presence. Material items are not as important as what we hold in our hearts and souls, but they are important because, as humans, we like to hold on to our mementos for comfort and validation that what we know is in our heart is real...real enough to have something to hold on to in honor of or memory of a loved one.

We often have treasures from long lived loved ones, or a dear friend or family member or a special occasion (our spouse stays with us after the wedding, but we still love mementos from our wedding). That is the way we are put together. So, yes, we grieve if they are hurt in any way.

But, ultimately, we know that what is in our soul is the most important...what we "do" with what is in our heart and soul is the key. I always talk about making our babies/loved ones/tragic events meaningful so in that way what we have experienced can become a part of who we are. A part that we can reflect on and remember that we loved this person very much and that what we went through ultimately molded us in a positive manner..and is a living part of who we are.

Life offers up the good and the very bad, (in my heart God is always there and is helping us work through every single life event that we experienced...I could not do it without my faith.) - but whatever we believe- finding meaning as we work through our grief is important.

Do I know of others who have experienced this very event...not exactly, but surely others have- and felt as you do. You will always be Valerie's protect her memory and those treasures that remind you of her. We as parents experience the first tragic understanding of how little we can control, when we can't "protect" our baby from dying. What we must come to understand is that we are not in total happens.

But, we can give our loved ones, and more importantly ourselves, the benefit of the doubt and realize that, for the most part, we are doing the best we know how. Forgiveness for any perceived short coming is important for healing...forgiving ourselves is difficult.

Valerie would not want you to grieve this for long, she would want you to be happy, to think about special ways to remember her on her anniversary. I know my living children always like to see me happy. You did a very sweet thing for Valerie...your love is clearly there...and, I believe she knows that and that is what is most important. Love holds us together and binds us forever.

I hope this helps some...I will be thinking of you. I hope all drys out. Don't be too hard on yourself... remember this is a difficult time over the next month. Perhaps you would like to add an ornament on our festival of trees tree in Valerie's memory? Many of our parents do cupcakes or cake and balloons for the anniversary. These are our very special children.

Let me know how things go and I feel touched that you shared your thoughts with me last night...

Trischa's reply: I really appreciate everything you wrote. You are so right. I think I knew that all along, but it is so good to hear it (or see it in writing). And I'm doing much better now. You have given me some good ideas. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and thank you for your compassion.

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

Return to list of Letters and Poems


"Allowing Grieving to Happen to Heal" Menu

Share Logocopyright(c)SHARE Atlanta 10/97-12

Graphics on this Site are Copyright