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Parents of lost babies and potential of all kinds: come here to share the technicolour, the vividness, the despair, the heart-broken-open, the compassion we learn for others, having been through this mess — and see it reflected back at you, acknowledged, understood.

Many thanks to artist Stephanie Sicore for allowing us to feature her little bird in our banner.

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Tuesday
May192015

unexpectedly

I’m reading and his name crops up.

“Freddie”.

Tucked into the also ran prose of my current book, a little local colour, a little added detail.

On this occasion he peeps at me from inside the name of a favoured jazz player, beloved of the main character but far from essential. Not part of the main plot.

I stutter on the words, even though I’m reading silently. My brain rams up against it like a suddenly and unexpectedly jammed drawer, or a car that cannot rev itself out of muddy ground.

I want to glide past but instead I find that I slip the groove and over and over again I read the sentence.

Freddie. Freddie. Freddie.

And I try to see it as a small ‘hello’, a way for him to peep in through the shrouding curtains of my life and wave, that shadowy little figure that walks beside me, always concealed but never absent.

I try to smile and think the practiced fond thoughts, the wry smile and the wistful warmth of mother memories that I’ve rehearsed so long that now I nearly believe them.

I try to move on but the rhythm has gone and his name has jarred the flow and suddenly the words are scritchy scratchy, raw and brittle, bright and painful.

The story is gone and the words are solitary lumps that no longer make a sentence and I don’t think it is only the blur of tears that stops the story. Every so often I crash against the fault line that tells me my life is irretrievably broken.

Bang. Gone. Just a husk.

 I’m just good at ignoring that.

I want to call him and say ‘look, can you find your name in my book?’ and praise his little 5 year old face as he scans and beams and spells it out… “F for Freddie,” he would say, like my customers always do down the phone, without any idea of the twisted leap my heart does every time.

But he wouldn’t come if I called and so – in the ultimate betrayal that five years of learning to live with grief brings – I breathe, bite my lip, pull down the shutters, nudge the needle on.

No one wants to be a stuck record. Or more truthfully, no one wants to know one. I keep reading and shove him backwards though the pages and pretend it never happened.

It's survival.

Five years on, he’s a little shade in my day, a little extra colour, a tender detail of my life that often goes unshared and unremarked until into the moment he darts - Puck-like - the boy who never grew up, the also ran of my life, an unexpected fae.

Not part of the main plot, you might say.

But only if you didn’t know.

Only if you thought that five years on was not just a blink of my eye.

Only if you didn't know what strength it takes to hop the fault, nudge the needle, triumph over mud, slam the drawer and overcome the obstacle.

Freddie. Freddie. Freddie.

And on and on it goes.

How do you cope with the unexpected reminders that pop up in every day life? Have you developed a coping technique or are they still flooring you every time? If your loss is new, have there been particular instances that have seemed cruel or even welcome? And if your loss is longer ago, have your coping mechanisms caused additional losses in your life or do you welcome them as places to access memories or grief?

Monday
May112015

The look

Until 2012, I had two lipsticks. A brown one for work, and a mauve one for weddings, dinners, and holidays. A geek my entire life, I wore foundation only on my wedding day, applied by a professional, and carried all evening with a strange self consciousness. I was not cringing at people looking at me, I was never socially awkward, and chatted all evening with guests. I was cringing at people looking at the fact that I wore makeup. To them, it was natural, and I looked like a decorated bride. To me, I looked like an exhibit.  

I was brought up in a household where my mother held a fulltime job, was a busy reader, and dinners were often spent with her critiquing my poet father’s latest creation. She wore beautiful crisp sarees and minimal makeup to her banker’s job, and although she still remains the most stylish woman I know, whose sarees did not gather a single crease at the end of the day, she made it very clear to me pretty early on that makeup is for vain women. “It’s more about what you think, say and write, than about how you look,” she would state, flipping nonchalantly through magazines with glistening models, till she reached the crosswords puzzle, pencil in hand, her eyes shooting a fleeting glance at her wristwatch. She made multitasking an art decades before it became a verb. An intellectual, a professional, a mother, her bun, her impeccably draped saree, and her red bindi comprised the uniform of a superwoman. My unruly curls, big glasses and midi-length skirts made me a devotee at her altar. I obeyed what she said. I believed what she said.

It did not help to meet and fall in love with a man in college. Coached by my mother, I had by then developed a sartorial sense, and my crisply-tailored wardrobe had garnered a fan following. However, the appearance was still more about function than fun, about comfort than style. This was no competition, there was a clear conflict. One could not wear artificial makeup and yet be considered a thinker. One could not wear colored jeans or carry a yellow handbag and yet expect to be taken seriously. My boyfriend loved the smartly-dressed me, and while my other friends’ boyfriends were comparing them to a summer’s day and worshipping their femininity, the two of us read and edited each other’s writing for newspapers on dates. But for my braid and glasses, we often dressed the same.

At the wedding, my honest would-be-husband whispered to me at the altar, “You look too made up. Why have you dressed up so much?” Rather than being appalled, I was assured at that highly critical moment, of my impeccable choice of a partner, since his comment endorsed what I had been feeling too. During the early years of our marriage, I continued to maintain an androgynous style of dressing, and never wore anything but lip balm on my face. My husband bought me sturdy floaters for vacations, and on our most romantic date, during which we danced until midnight at home, I wore a striped shirt and jeans.

I did not need to look like a woman to feel like one. And I certainly did not need to wear lipstick or polka dots to act like one.

Then I had a daughter.

While battling the stress associated with Raahi’s long stay at the hospital, I decided to do something I had never done before. On a whim, I accepted a friend’s invitation to join a makeup-related page on Facebook, where I heard and learned about things like eyeshadow and concealer. A gorgeous season was springing outside, and I tried on a floral dress one day at a store, bought it, and wore it to visit Raahi. I don’t know if she knew the difference, but I certainly felt different. I felt happier, lighter. I started making an effort to dress well when I visited her. Nothing over the top, I had nothing over the top anyways. But it felt good to be “put together.” It lifted my spirit, and for the time, that was more than enough.

Gradually, I started to reassess my style and my appearance. I still loved my shirts and jeans, and on many days, nothing mattered or made me feel good. But I began to question the long-inculcated conflict between looking good and being intelligent. I began to question why it is “too much” for me to wear a bright lipstick in spring, when it can actually never stop me from thinking or writing or being smart. My mother was visiting us, and I took her to an Ulta store one day, and bought her some makeup. She smiled as I explained what a primer does. I said to her while driving back, “Ma, it’s a choice, as you always said. I am smart, I will never choose not to be so. But I can choose to look good too. The two can go well together. I think that will be a good lesson for Raahi.” She reached out from the passenger seat and touched my arm. The next day was Mother’s Day. As we stepped out to have lunch before visiting Raahi, I wore a pink lipstick.

I dreamed of raising a daughter who would not be afraid to look good and be smart at the same time. I wanted to teach her that caring for one’s appearance is not vain, nor are polka dots too girly for professional women. While negotiating the traps set by cosmetic companies and phenomena like Disney, I wanted her to develop a steadfast mind and identity of her own, and an ever-changing look of her own.

Since Raahi’s departure, I am more of a woman. I teach myself the same lessons that I would have taught her. I try to carry myself as I would have loved to see her carry herself in her 30-s. I do not resist a red lipstick from lifting me up from a deep and dark place, and I love how a purple handbag, in what I believe is my daughter’s favorite color, makes me happy. If I like how I look, I feel good. If I feel good, I let myself feel it a little longer. I do not question what impression my appearance gives others. I have long been walking the tightrope between making them feel I’m healed, and making them feel I’m cursed. I no longer add my appearance into the mix of predictors for my mind. Or my state of mind.

I do not look at myself with those old eyes of mine. Instead, I now look at myself with my new eyes. Raahi’s eyes. I see her Ma, her newly stylish and still nerdy Ma.

We both like how she looks.

 

How has your appearance evolved/changed since your loss(es)? Does making an effort to look "put together" matter anymore to you? What connection, if any, do you now make between how you look and how it makes you feel? 

Monday
May042015

from the archives: comparatively speaking

This piece is from June 2011 by Tash, on a topic I think never gets old and never goes away. No matter how hard I try to keep comparative thoughts out of my mind, they wriggle their way in. I suspect, as Tash hints at, it's just human nature.

I believe if you got a room full of widows whose husbands had died of the same form of cancer, each woman would still silently compare herself to those around her.

I wish my husband had survived longer after the diagnosis.

Thank goodness my husband went fast and it didn't drag out.

She's lucky, her kids are still young and in the house to lend support.

She's lucky, her kids are grown and she has time and space to grieve by herself. 

I wish I had been married longer.

She's so young -- she's got her whole life ahead of her.  No way I'm getting married again.

And so on.

I also believe, especially early on, that it's a good thing -- it's even a healthy thing -- to compare yourself to others in similar situations.  I think it puts parameters on your grief, and helps set the boundaries of exactly what issues you personally need to move through. 

At first, unsurprisingly, you probably think yourself the worst off in the room -- from newness and the raw angry wound if nothing else.  And that's ok, by dint of still bleeding, you probably are.

But the nice thing about support groups, either in person or online is that you realize you're not alone:  others have gone through the same thing.

Well, not quite the same thing.

And there's the rub:  we're all so alike, we occupy a tidy little corner of the internet where we share macabre humor and toss around familiar euphemisms, but then we hang around long enough and realize there are some odd angles and edges.

Some lose babies earlier in the pregnancy than others

Some lose two children -- or more -- in the same event

Some lose two children -- or more -- over time

Some have to birth already dead babies

Some have to make decisions about life support

Some have to make decisions about termination

Some have seemingly healthy babies who are rudely snatched from their hands -- metaphorically -- weeks after their birth

We ponder these differences, and hell, it doesn't really matter does it?  No of course not, many of us pronounce, pain is pain, and we begin to comprehend still other parts of the stories:

Some don't have living children

Some have to explain what happened to living children and help them grieve, too

Some spouses leave

Some suffer infertility along with babyloss

Some subsequent pregnancies don't work, either

Some had horrible medical treatment

Some have long-standing issues with depression 

Some were still suffering from other losses in their lives when their child(ren) died

And I think it's still good - and still healthy -- to compare, and realize, you know, I'm not the worst-off person in the room.  

And I speak rather ironically because of course, if you're following my examples here, no one is the worst off person.  Everyone is worse off.  Everyone is better off.  It depends to whom you're referring, to whom you're speaking, whose mind you're in.  Are we counting that refugee I just read about in the paper?  It just depends.

I'm not sure whose particular set of circumstances I'd rather have:  they all suck, and at least I'm familiar with mine.

+++

I gather -- for better or worse -- that this sort of self-comparison is probably a chunk of how we form our identities and selves.  Some comparisons are merely factual, some make you gasp in relief, and some perhaps make you feel a little less of yourself.

He's taller than me.

I'm lucky I like my job.

Her skin is always so clear and smooth, and mine looks like the lunar surface.

And it's what we do with this information that's important:  it shouldn't make you feel like you get a prize of some sort just because your car is a newer model, but nor should it take you in the dumps if your neighbor's lawn looks better this year.  It is what it is.

We sometimes bandy this idea around and call it the Pain Olympics, the idea that some play games to set themselves up as the worst, the bottom of the well, the stink of the trash-heap.  

And I still argue it's good and it's healthy as long as at some point in time -- and it usually takes a bit of time for the wound to cease throbbing and your head to stop spinning -- that you realize maybe, just maybe that person had it worse.  And now that I think about it, that person I read about in the paper?  She did to.  And he did.  And her.  

And suddenly you have perspective, and compassion, depth and breadth to your experience.  You're able to welcome someone with a far different set of circumstances, realizing exactly where your circles cross each other in similar shaded places, and where you diverge.  And you also begin to realize that what one person considers lucky, another considers a cosmic kick in the ass.  What one person deems a lousy situation sounds like a symphony to you, comparatively.  

And before long you're beginning to understand not just how your situation fits into the world, but how your pain does.  And that there are other kinds of pain, and maybe "more" and "less"  and "better" and "worse" really aren't good ways to go about comparing these sorts of things, anyway.  That actor who tried to kill himself when he was 22?  His baby didn't die (he didn't have one as far as I could tell), but you know, in his head, his life was so bad he wanted to die.  My life was never that bad.  That was the day I picked my chin up a bit, felt sympathy for this poor guy, and realized I could keep stumbling.

Who are we to judge what's better and worse, anyway?  Maybe my neighbor uses pesticides on that ultra green lawn.  Maybe my newer car gets lousy mileage.  Maybe I just need to be with my situation and deal with it on it's own terms and use other people for support and inspiration when it suits.

That's the problem with comparisons.  You sometimes don't know the backstory, the consequences of the outcomes.  Maybe we shouldn't do this so much, after all.

+++

Way way back, when I took yoga, in the beginning, the teacher reminded us practically every 5 minutes not to be competitive!  Don't look at your neighbor!  Ok, well go ahead and look if you must, but don't get down on yourself!  Because every person is different, every body is different, every student will have a strength and a weakness.  Work on your weaknesses, don't be ashamed to use props.  Revel in your strengths, but know that you can always grow -- the pose can always be better, made more difficult, held longer.

And I realized, in-shape-runner-me, that my soccer-muscly quads that allowed me to sit in air chair for an eternity outright forbade me from bending over and touching my toes, my hamstrings were so tightly wound.  Meanwhile, the 60 year old lady next to me had her head through her legs and was examining the backs of her ankles.

Grief is like this, I've come to realize.  Pain is like this.  It's mine, it's mine to hold and ponder and hold up and examine.  It's mine to improve.  I appreciate your sympathy in my down moments, and I really appreciate it when you find inspiration in my good moments.   

It's not better or worse, it just is.

Some of Tash's original questions: How often do you compare yourself and your story to others?  How does it make you feel overall? Has this changed over time? 

Monday
Apr272015

storytelling

We are a narrative species, Margaret Atwood says. It’s what sets us apart from other animals. From the moment we are born, we are woven into a narrative. Parents tell stories to their children. Mundane stories. And now it’s time to put on your socks. And this is how we put on our socks, and now our shoes. Look, we just put on our socks and shoes! We narrate our lives and in doing so, we are able to step outside of ourselves and become observers of our own lives. Watching our stories unfold. Being both ourselves, and our own storytellers. Creating, reflecting, rewriting.

 

I have been struck with this idea since I heard Margaret Atwood speak. Turning this new definition over in my mind slowly, walking around it to see it from all its angles:

The unconscious narration. Today I am going to the grocery store. I need to get my purse, get out my keys, oh, and grab the reusable bags. I open the door, look out at the yard. There is Joseph’s camellia, blooming now. It is spring again. Joseph is still dead.

Narrative worn smooth by repetition. My baby is dead. My baby is dead. My baby has died. My baby died.

Narratives imposed on me by culture. Maybe it wasn’t meant to be. God always has a plan.

Narratives formed in an attempt to answer questions. My baby died from a cord accident. Wrapped tightly around his neck, twisted at his bellybutton. An accident. That is all.

Stories left untold. ‘A cord accident,’ she said, ‘is not an explanation. Really, it is the same as not knowing the cause of death.’

Narratives that migrate over time. I wasn’t sure I wanted to hold him. I held him and thought, ‘This is not my baby.’ I couldn’t look at his face, bruised and peeling. At least I got to hold him. I got to hold my sweet, baby boy, featherlight. I wish I’d held him longer. I wish I’d looked at his beautiful face, touched his swollen eyelids and kissed his tiny chin.

The story I am compelled—over and over—to tell. I have two children. My daughter is one year old. My son, my firstborn, was stillborn.

 

We are a narrative species.

 

When Joseph was died and born, we were conscious of his narrative. The way we shaped it, intentionally and not. We were afraid that Joseph would become his story. That, in the telling, he would be reduced to a tidy, practiced recitation safe for mass consumption.

And so, in the early days, the story was short. Our baby Joseph was stillborn. We are devastated. End of story, no questions, please. I was afraid to open the door when friends rang with food and hugs and good intentions.

To each other, though, we relived his story over and over. Unbelieving, as if uttering the sequence of events could make it more real. As if words were tangible and we could wrap ourselves in his story like a blanket.

I didn’t know at first that I was allowed to talk about it with the outside world. I didn’t know that in telling his story—out loud, in verse, in paint and charcoal and tears—my grief would begin to heal. A river stone worn smooth by the waters flowing constantly over it, rounding its edges.

 

I needn’t have been afraid of Joseph becoming a story.

Joseph is only his story.

His story is all I have of him.

 

What stories do you tell yourself? What stories do you tell about your baby(ies)? 

Monday
Apr202015

to linger on hot coals: an interview with Catherine Bayly

To Linger on Hot Coals is a book of collected poems by babylost mothers. Edited by Stephanie Paige Cole and Catherine Bayly, it includes the writings of twelve other writers, including Angie Yingst, formerly editor here at Glow, and myself. The book came out in February 2014, and recently I was able to talk with Catherine about the making of the book, writing, and babyloss.

 

Burning Eye: Many babylost parents and writers feel quieter as time goes on, as grief settles. Both you and Stephanie are years out from your losses. Why did you decide to make the book now, so many years later? What was it like to be immersed in a project about loss, so many years after your daughters died?

Catherine: This is a good question, and really distance turned out to be an essential part of the book’s mission and effect, I think. True, Stephanie and I are years out from our losses, and it feels like light-years in some ways. But the writers we included in the book have very diverse chronological and life vantage points. And, of course, we all know that the experience of losing a child never resolves, even if grief “settles,” as you aptly say. So the book served the purpose of showing not quite a trajectory of loss (because there is no such thing) but almost a scatterplot or calculus of loss. And, in that way, the book shows something true that chronological texts can’t quite show, which is the zig-zagging and infinite process of human grief.

So, for us, this dynamic truth (perhaps the sole truth?) was only possible to come to with some distance from our sadness and selves. Because, like anyone, early on, it felt there must be an endpoint, like grief would have to reach some resolution. But, although I am a very happy, well-adjusted person/mother/professional, the real ‘aha’ moment was that there wouldn’t be a resolution, per say. All of it was part of the tapestry. So, for me, it wasn’t like revisiting or dredging up something I didn’t feel anymore—the book was more like a truth-telling that I simply wasn’t capable of before. It was a big picture, only possible with hindsight that I simply couldn’t have had before. And the goal was showing the large picture, seen through the process of reading, rather than an A to Z movement, if that makes sense. It was a peaceful process.

Burning Eye: The role of editor is very different than that of a writer. Why did you want to put together a collection of babyloss poems? Why not just your own?

Catherine: I think the answer to this question is contained in question one to some extent. We wanted to convey an expanse of feeling—we needed to remember or learn what others felt. Although Stephanie and I share a lot, we didn’t know each other when we lost our daughters. We have separate hurts we share with other people we love, and we all have separate, but never wrong, ways we remember. Our individual books, Stephanie’s and mine, would look very different. And this is true of all the authors in the book. To just tell my story is to tell one side of an infinite experience. And we certainly didn’t capture infinity—there was no way we could, and I regret that—but we caught some lightning in a bottle there. And then it’s there for those who want to remember and experience through poetry, and for those who will come after us and who are inevitably different from us and each other. We wanted the book to feel not a bit like a how-to guide, if that makes sense.

Burning Eye: Who did you make this book for? Who do you hope will read it?

Catherine: We wrote this book for those looking to understand the complexity and multifaceted nature of parenting and loss. This could mean parents who are years from their losses, in that limbo between immediate grief and life’s hurtling forward. It could mean allies (grandparents, friends, etc.)—those who want to understand a fuller picture of loss and its repercussions and resonances over the years. There is also some genuinely gorgeous and wonderfully-crafted poetry in the book, so the book has also been enjoyed by poetry readers. Very important to me, also, is the book’s value for a reader who’s experienced any loss. While the subject and experience in question is, of course, specific, I feel that we are writing about an emotion/reality that is essential to the human experience. So the book really puts loss within a genre that is meant to address the depth of human emotion.

Burning Eye: As editors, how did you approach the selection of the poets and the poems?

Catherine: Stephanie and I looked to folks we knew as writers, or writers from venues we knew and respected. Because of her work, Stephanie knew most of the people we queried and led the charge—she’s a leader and I’m a follower, so that was easy!  We did not put out a call, nor did we want to force people to write on this issue. Some people are just called to write about their losses and to share their beautiful writing about those losses. That’s the way some of us remember, and so we asked those we knew who felt that way and were already doing the hard work of writing. That seemed the safest and most ethical way to put together a collection of work. I could, however, have seen the value in calling for poets or pushing for more entries—that certainly would have given the work more diversity and perhaps even more texture. But I am so pleased with the finished book and its feel, and the ambiance of people giving willingly of the most vulnerable parts of themselves.

Burning Eye: What was it like to go back through the things you’ve written over the years in order to choose what you wanted to be in the book? 

Catherine: I have done this frequently, so the poems didn’t come as a shock. But, as a teacher of writing, I have to admit some of the rawness there was a bit embarrassing. And I don’t mean embarrassing like I worry about others’ perceptions of my writing. I mean more that I blushed a bit and longed a bit and cried a bit over that young woman I was. I came to new knowledge about myself. I was so in the moment then, so unable to abstract myself from my feelings, or see the big picture with any distance. It was a strange and humbling thing to go back there and recognize who I was now nearly a decade ago. It is interesting, because I try to teach my students this distance, as if it is possible for everyone, and I take for granted the years and hard work and patience from my loved ones that it took to get here. So, I came away more compassionate and kind—to myself and others.

Burning Eye: I think I understand that in a way, even though I am only two years out from Joseph’s death. Reading back over the pieces I wrote just after Joseph died is hard, not so much embarrassing but more like you said, ‘longing a bit and crying a bit’ over who I was then. I hurt for that woman, for her fresh grief, for how lost and shocked and isolated she felt.

You had a reading and event in the Philadelphia area last March, after the book came out. Why is it important to you to do readings and events in person, as opposed to just online publicity through the book’s website and Facebook site?

Catherine: My answer to this question may surprise you. But I am a very private person. Where, before, I felt or demanded that all people must remember Sophie always, ha, I now relish the near quiet surrounding my relationship with her. In the last year, I’ve gotten off of Facebook, and mostly dug into my work, family, and close friendships. That said, while I haven’t had a reading in a while, some of my most rewarding moments at past wonderful readings have been face-to-face conversations about loss. This gives me a chance to give back to someone who needs it. And, to me, that matters most—those one-on-one interactions with a mother who’s in pain. That’s not to say I haven’t messed those up, but I try my best and I learn more and more how much it matters just to be there for someone in pain.

Burning Eye: I’m a pretty private person, too (I haven’t shared my blog or that I write at Glow with my family or most of my friends). But I’m still in a place where I want people to ask me about Joseph. I want the chance to say his name. I know many babylost parents also want to talk about their babies, and a while back there was a thread on the Glow forums about opportunities to tell our stories. Do you talk about your loss in other arenas? Are you involved in other projects, writing or otherwise, around babyloss?

Catherine: I am not involved in other projects like this right now, although of course I have a select (very) few special people with whom I enjoy discussing Sophie and even saying her name. But I am somewhere different now, as strange as that seems. My ways of memorializing have changed. That need to have people remember is something that has transformed for me over time into a much more personal thing. That solitude is something I struggled with—something I never thought I would be ok with. But now, there is something special in it. Through writing the book, I actually, inadvertently, discovered just how private I’ve become and I’ve come to terms with that.

However, Stephanie, whose emotions of course I can’t speak for, stays involved in many projects in this arena. Stephanie continues to head Sweetpea Project, an organization which supports, guides, and provides remembrance venues for grieving parents. She’s also worked with Pia Dorer on The Sacred Project, and she’s constantly involved in art shows and writing projects. I do know that, like me, Stephanie is somewhere different in her personal life—somewhere much more peaceful—but the nature of her work is much more public and she feels a tremendous and sometimes heavy responsibility to advocate for the loss community. She works hard to stay to in touch with those mothers at all stages of loss—that is a remarkable thing about her. We’re very similar in some ways, but very different in the way we live out our emotions, but I so respect Stephanie for her work, which is so difficult.

Burning Eye: Do you still write about your daughter or your grief?

Catherine: I do not write about grieving Sophie anymore. Because, honestly, “grieving” simply doesn’t describe me anymore. And I hope that gives some people heart, even if it seems strange. I am full of too many feelings and people and roles now to ever say I’m actively grieving my first daughter. She always shows up and lives in many things I do—poems I write, the way I treat my students, the way I see seasons, the way I decorate, etc. But it’s almost never grief over her—just her life as a part of the complexity and story of my life. 

Right now, I have another collection of poems I’ve been very slowly chipping away at. The poems are very different in tone from those in the book—many of those were from my early days of grief. This contains some of that longing, but longing shaped by so many other wonderful and complicated factors.

Burning Eye: I think some of us have the fear that, if we’re not actively grieving, then we’re not remembering our babies. It’s something I’ve struggled with, even as far back as those first few weeks. When I felt happy or at peace for a moment, I felt like I was somehow betraying Joseph. But hearing to you talk about where you are in your grief-journey, it’s getting easier for me to accept that I don’t need necessarily need hold on to the grief part in order to hold on to Joseph.

Thank you so much for talking with me, and for helping to bring into being To Linger on Hot Coals.

 

Catherine will be checking back if you'd like to continue the conversation with her in the comments.