Thursday, October 31, 2013

Day 31 ~ Capture Your Grief

Sunset: To close this project and this month of Baby Loss Awareness I thought that we could all photograph the sunset from wherever we are in the world. If there is no sunset where you are, you can still take a photo of the early evening sky. You just need to be able to get to a window. Remember to caption what State/Country you are from and the time.

I didn't capture the sunset this day so here is a picture of Carleigh's name at sunset on Christian's Beach in Australia.

Perth, Australia 2

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Day 30 ~ Capture Your Grief

Growth: Do you believe you have grown or are growing as a person since the loss of your precious baby? How? How do you see other people now? How do you see the world? Do you believe you have a higher purpose? Do you believe your baby had a higher purpose?

My little girl, who I held on this earth so briefly, changed my life profoundly. I’m not the same person that I was before she lived and died. She changed me for the better in many ways.

I believe I have a choice in how her life and death impacts me. I can choose to let grief consume me or I can choose to grow with the grief. I choose to grow with it because I know that by doing so I can truly honor my daughter.

I know that out of any tragedy God can bring beauty and He has certainly done that for us. Many good and beautiful things have come from the journey we have been on with my daughter and I have no doubt there will continue to be.


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Day 29 ~ Capture Your Grief

Healing: What has had the most healing impact on your life through this journey of grief?

I have found various ways of healing through my grief, but by far the biggest healing for my broken heart has been my 2 rainbow babies born in 2010 and 2012. A mother’s heart and arms will always long for the baby she lost but when those arms are filled again it eases the ache.


Monday, October 28, 2013

Day 28 ~ Capture Your Grief

Special Place: This could be your baby’s place of rest. If they do not have a grave, maybe you have a special place that you associate with your baby. A place you go to, to remember them. Where is it? Why did you choose that particular place?

One special place is the cemetery. It’s where we buried Carleigh so it will always be a special place to me. While I don’t visit as often as I used to, I still like to go when I can.


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Day 27 ~ Capture Your Grief

Signs: If you believe in life after death do you believe your child has ways of contacting you? Have you had any signs?

I like to think that Carleigh has some way of letting me know she’s ok, but I cannot say for sure that she can. I see things that remind me of her and I have had experiences that can’t be explained.


Saturday, October 26, 2013

Day 26 ~ Capture Your Grief

Community: What does this community mean to you?

It means the world. It is people coming together to celebrate, remember, and honor their babies regardless of age, race, sex, etc. It is an instant connection to another person without even having to speak a word.


Friday, October 25, 2013

Day 25 ~ Capture Your Grief

#SayItOutLoud: Say It Out Loud is The STILL Project’s famous hashtag. STILL is a feature-length documentary film project aimed at breaking the cycle of silence surrounding pregnancy and infant loss. If you could say anything out loud about your journey with grief with the death or your baby, what would it be? What do you want the world to know? Is there a cause that touches your heart that you want to raise awareness for?

I would want parents to know that it’s ok to honor the life of your baby and to grieve your loss however you feel is best and not how other people think you should be doing it.


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Day 24 ~ Capture Your Grief

Artwork: Have you created a piece of artwork in the wake of your baby’s death? Or maybe someone has given you some artwork to honor your baby? Please feel welcome to share links to your own website or to other artists.

One of my favorite artists is Stephanie at Beyond Words Designs. Stephanie painted this piece for me called Starry, Starry Night. It’s a little different from the original as it has brown hair instead of black. I wanted it as it went perfectly with my belly cast she painted for me.


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Day 23 ~ Capture Your Grief

Tattoos/Jewelry: Do you have a piece of jewelry in memory of your baby? Or maybe a tattoo. Please feel welcome to share links too.

My most special necklace is one I wear most often. It has a pendant of one of her handprints and on the other side her footprints. Her baby ring hangs on it. The chain is from the cross necklace she wore from her visitation and service. The little cross on it fell off, which I was sad about. I want to get it replaced with a replica but have not done it yet.


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Beyond Words Designs Art Card Raffle

Stephanie from Beyond Words Designs creates amazing art cards that she sends to various organizations, hospitals, and individuals to give to families who are grieving the loss of their baby. Sufficient Grace Ministries includes these cards in the bags we give to our local families as part of our Perinatal Hospice and Bereavement Services.

Currently there are several baskets being raffled off to help raise money to be able to provide more art cards. It is only $1 to enter each raffle. The more entries you buy, the better your chances of winning. Please consider joining in for a good cause. Raffles end October 23rd!

Holiday Basket
Christmas is right around the corner and this year you could have this basket of goodies and share some holiday love all at the same time. This basket of Christmas Cheer is worth over $100.00 and every dollar you donate gets an entry into the raffle AND provides funds for 5 Memory Cards to be printed and distributed to women experiencing the loss of a baby. When you enter this raffle you can have your cake and eat it too...but don't worry, there's no fruit cake in here! #babyloss #love #hope
Holiday Basket ~

Rainbow Baby Basket
We are INCREDIBLY excited about this basket we are raffling off. It's full of beautiful baby things for a Rainbow baby (a baby after a loss) and when I say full, I mean worth over $425.00! Help We Remember You meet our $5,000 goal by either donating or by participating in this raffle, every dollar donated on the page enters you in the raffle ($1.00= 1 entry, $25.00= 25 entries, etc) and every dollar donated also buys 5 Memory Cards to be given to women experiencing a loss by her Doctor, Hospital or Loss Organizations around the world. This is money you can spend and feel really REALLY good about it. And even better if you win this fabulous prize!
Rainbow Baby Basket ~

Still A Mother Basket
We Remember You is raising funds for 16,000 Memory Cards to be printed and distributed to women who have lost a baby throughout the country via their Doctors, hospitals and through Loss Organizations. To reach out goal we need to raise 5,000 and have come a long way and you can help us get the rest of the way. This raffle basket is for the mother/family who has lost a baby to still birth. Every dollar donated is both an entry into the raffle AND prints 5 of our beautiful Memory Cards.  Still A Mother Basket ~

NYC Swag Bag
We are at almost 2,000 raised for We Remember You! SO exciting!! Please help us get the rest of the way there by either donating or participation in this completely Awesome raffle we are doing. There are NINE different baskets and are incredible values. Check out this first one. It's the swag bag from NYC's Fashion Week and it's worth over six HUNDRED dollars. Every dollar donated counts as an entry and every dollar you spend helps us provide 5 cards to women experiencing the loss of a baby, showing her love and providing her with resources for grief and healing.... what better reason do you need to dig deep (into your wallet)? NYC swag and you can feel good abut it at the same time?!! Hello! Share this with your friends, who wouldn't want to win this sweet prize? ;)
NYC Swag Bag ~

Angel Mom Basket

We Remember You is raising funds to have beautiful cards with a message of love with resources for grief printed and freely distributed to Doctors, Hospitals and Loss organizations throughout the country and throughout the world so that when women lose a baby they have one small piece of love and hope. It seems small knowing you are not alone is very big indeed. This raffle basket is worth over 100.00 and is full of beautiful things specially chosen for the mother who has lost a baby. Every dollar donated is a chance to win the basket AND provides funds for FIVE memory cards to be printed. Whether you win or not, the odds of touching someone's life are 100% and who can beat that?   Angel Mom Basket ~

Angel Dad Basket
Babyloss doesn't only effect the Mamas, but often times Dad feels unequipped to grieve or to show that he remembers his Angel too. Take a look at this raffle basket for Angel Dads. Every dollar donated is an entry into the raffle AND it benefits the Memory Card Project which provides cards with resources for babyloss free of charge to Doctors, Hospitals, and Loss Organizations throughout the country and even internationally. In fact, every dollar donated provides funds for 5 cards! So enter lots and win this for the babyloss dad in your life!   Angel Dad Basket ~

Miscarriage Basket
Miscarriage is something that effects a devastatingly large number of women every day, most of whom will grieve alone. The Memory Card Project works to change that by providing Doctors, Hospitals, and loss Organizations with cards that express love and provide resources for grief and most of all- tells her she is not alone in her loss. We have set a goal to raise 5,000 and have 16,000 cards printed and we would love your help in reaching that goal! You can be a part of that by donating or by participating in this beautiful raffle for a Miscarriage themed basket full of love that is worth over 160.00. Every dollar donated via this page provides you with an entry into the raffle and provides funds for FIVE cards to be printed.  Miscarriage Basket ~

Family Basket
When a family loses a baby it affects them all. You can enter to win this basket full of resources and amazing gifts aimed at a family and it includes a nearly priceless gift certificate for a line jump for a Molly Bear. A Molly Bear is perfectly weighted to be the same weight as the baby you lost and the current wait time is 16-20 months with requests opening only on the 30th of each month.
Family Basket ~

Get Creative Basket
This basket will get your creative juices flowing, it includes a wacom bamboo which turns your computer into a sketch pad and so much more! It's valued at over 125.00 and you get one entry for every dollar you donate on this page...and what's more, you also get to know that for every dollar you donate/entry you receive you are funding FIVE memory cards. That means you are paying for five women to have one small beacon of love and hope when she has lost a baby, and that's something you can feel really good about!
Get Creative Basket ~

Day 22 ~ Capture Your Grief

Words: Share your favorite quote, poem, song lyrics, scripture that you have found.

There are many words that I have found that I like. There is one that I liked that I chose it to be under the header of my blog.

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.  Psalm 73:26

To me, this means that no matter what God will always be enough no matter what and He will give me the strength to carry on.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Day 21 ~ Capture Your Grief

Honor: Is there anything that you have done to honor your baby since they died? Did you give back to the community? Make a conscious decision to live as beautifully as possible? Take on the role of helping others in your situation? Maybe you work as an advocate for breaking the silence for our community.

I honor my daughter by helping others. One of the ways I am able to do that is through Sufficient Grace Ministries. I am so blessed to be able to be a part of this wonderful ministry that supports grieving families.

comfort bear and book

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Day 20 ~ Capture Your Grief

Hope: Do you have hope for the future? What do you hope for those who will join this club in the future?

What helps me and gives me comfort through losing Carleigh is that I have the hope of seeing her again one day. I know that the brief moments we had on this earth are not the end.


Saturday, October 19, 2013

Day 19 ~ Capture Your Grief

Support: Share about what has been the best support for you since the loss of your baby. Maybe it is a special friend or family member? A pet? An organization? What have they done for you? Where would you be without them?

The support of my friends, other babyloss moms (BLMs), who have been through the same thing has meant the world to me. I am so glad to have met so many on this road yet sad we have met at all. They get it when others don’t. They don’t judge my actions or feelings. Thank you to all who have been there for me!

This picture is from my most recent meeting of some other BLMs back in July.


Friday, October 18, 2013

Day 18 ~ Capture Your Grief

Release: What do you want to let go of on this journey of grief? Is it fear? Guilt? Worry? Deep sadness? Regrets?

I can’t really think of anything I need to “let go” of. I am in a good place with the choices I have made. There will always be choices I may question or things I wish I would have done, but I know that lingering on the what ifs and what could have beens will never do me any good because I can’t change anything. I know that I made the choices that I thought were best in each moment.


Wasn’t sure really what picture to share with this day so I chose a pic of a lantern being released from the SGM Remembrance Ceremony we had this month. We need to release the negative emotions that hold us down like we release balloons, lanterns, butterflies, etc for our babies.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Day 17 ~ Capture Your Grief

Time: How long has it been since your baby died.


I have spent every moment since then loving and missing her.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Day 16 ~ Capture Your Grief

Seasons: Share what certain seasons or holidays mean to you now. What season did your baby die in? What season were they conceived/born in? Etc. Do you dread those seasons now? Are they more meaningful to you because of your baby?

Carleigh was born in early spring on March 28, 2009. Spring is the season of new life. Many animals have their babies. Tiny buds turn into leaves, flowers, and various plants. Carleigh is my little bud that never bloomed here on this earth yet beauty still emerged. I know her beauty is even more in Heaven.

Carleigh's Flower - Rory's Garden

I do not dread the spring or any other season with its holidays that make me miss her even more. Each day is another opportunity to love her and honor her here.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Day 15 ~ Capture Your Grief

Wave Of Light: Today is October 15th Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. Light a candle at 7pm to help create a continuous wave of light around the world for 24 hours. Photograph your light! Please remember to share your location for this day as well. Wishing you all a ton of love for this sacred day of remembrance.


♥ Remembering all the babies gone too soon from this earth. ♥

Monday, October 14, 2013

Article about anencephaly

A friend shared this article and I thought it was very well written. It shares many reasons why a baby with anencephaly should not be aborted. Some of the points made really make you think and I hope that it can change the mind of even one person out there who views a baby with anencephaly as a baby who should be aborted. Babies with anencephaly may not live long but it is still a life worth living.

For those who decide that it is best for their family to terminate, there is no judgment. I only hope that those who decide this route do so for themselves and are not coerced in any way. Families have a right to make their own decisions for their baby with complete knowledge and without influence from anyone.

Day 14 ~ Capture Your Grief

Family: What does you family look like now? Is it just yourself carrying your child’s heart in yours? Do you have other children? A partner? A pet? You may not have what society perceives as a family but we all know that just because you cannot see any children, that does not mean that they are not a part of your family.

This is the most recent pic that I have of our family. It was taken October 2012.


I have a husband who I have been married to for 8 years. I have four living daughters and one daughter in Heaven. We also have another little baby in Heaven. We always find some way to include Carleigh in family photos. In the picture above we have her Carleigh Bear from Molly Bears in the photo.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Day 13 ~ Capture Your Grief

Book: Have you read a book about grief that helped you immensely in your journey of grief? Please feel welcome to share the book and links to where it can be purchased so others can find it.

It’s not a book for everyone, but it reaches out to parents facing a poor or fatal diagnosis for their baby. This book is an excellent resource for those families. It was not yet out when I was carrying Carleigh, but I wish it were. It would have been so helpful. I did read the book after it came out and even reading it afterward was helpful to me. I felt more of a connection to other families. They had been where I had been and they felt how I felt. Every family facing a poor or fatal diagnosis needs to read this book before deciding whether to terminate or carry to term as doctors do not often have the answers families seek.


The book can be bought on Amazon and is available on Kindle too.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Day 12 ~ Capture Your Grief

Article: Have you read an article about grief that you would love to share with everyone? Maybe it is something from Still Standing Magazine or a blog post from your favorite blogger or writer. Please feel welcome to share who wrote the article and how the article resonated with you and also the direct link to the article if it is online.

I can’t really pinpoint just one article. I’ve read so many that the ones I would consider sharing I don’t remember what they are titled. I have read a lot of good articles on Still Standing Magazine, which centers on loss and infertility.


Friday, October 11, 2013

Day 11 ~ Capture Your Grief

Emotional Triggers: What triggers emotions associated with grief for you? Is it the weather? A scent? Photos? Places? Holidays? Words? Certain people?

I think the better question would be what isn’t a trigger. There are lots of things that make me think of Carleigh. Not everything is a sad trigger, but I can never really be sure what will or won’t be. Some days and moments are just tougher than others.

Service 100

One emotional trigger for me is church. It’s not because I’m angry at God because I honestly do not have any anger towards Him about losing Carleigh. Being in church and singing songs and listening to the sermon touches the deep and tender places of my broken heart. It has gotten easier with time to not cry every single service, but it does still happen.

We had Carleigh’s service in our church. We often sit in the very same pew where I held her for some of those last moments. I closed and sealed her casket in the very same sanctuary we worship in each Sunday. How could it not be emotional?

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Day 10 ~ Capture Your Grief

Beliefs: Do you have a certain belief about what happens to us after we die? You might believe that we go to a heaven or you might believe that our bodies eventually turn to dust and that is the end of our story.


I fully believe in God and the Bible. I believe that when we die on this earth we go to Heaven. I draw much comfort knowing that this is not the end. One day I will see my children again and then we will never be separated.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Day 9 ~ Capture Your Grief

Music: This might be hard to capture in a photograph so why not post a youtube clip of a piece of music that reminds your of your baby/ies/child/ren. Why this piece of music?

There are many songs that make me think of her or even think of a certain point in time on this road I’ve been on. So to choose just one is impossible, but I will share one of the many.

There is a song I found a few years ago that I had never heard before, which only makes sense because it was released in January 2009 and we lost Carleigh in March 2009. I found it accidentally while searching on some random music site. I heard it and it just blew me away. I have loved it ever since. It is Still by Gerrit Hofsink. I bought it the very same day I heard it.

source51h wDmBl4L._SL500_AA280_

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Day 8 ~ Capture Your Grief

Color: What color/s do you represent your baby? Why that color/s?

If you can tell anything from this blog then you might easily gather that the color I associate with Carleigh is the color purple. The color purple came when my pastor’s wife threw me a prayer shower and the color for the shower was purple. It just stuck. It was her color. Although, Carleigh did not wear any purple in any of her outfits after she was born. She had an outfit with little pink bows and she had a fuzzy pink blanket. A girl needs a little pink. :)

Her casket that we picked had a purple hue and the inside was purple. The blanket she was buried with was trimmed in purple ribbon. Almost all the flowers that everyone sent us were purple. Anthony wore a purple dress shirt during her service. The things we do to remember her often include the color purple. It’s become my favorite color.


Monday, October 07, 2013

Day 7 ~ Capture Your Grief

You Now: Where are you in your grief right now? How are you feeling? How far have you come? Are you wrestling with anything? Is your heart heavier or lighter now?

Right now I am in a good place. The heaviness of grief does not weigh me down, but that doesn’t mean it just went away. It still resides in me and will remain as long as I’m missing my little girl. No matter how many good days I have there are still days when the grief is harder and the missing is more.


I am looking forward, but never moving on. I seek the light, but I don’t forget the darkness. I know that both joy and sorrow can exist together. I have learned to dance to my own song and be comfortable in it no matter what other people may think.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Day 6 ~ Capture Your Grief

Ritual: Do you have any rituals to help get you through the day? Maybe it is a daily affirmation or prayer. It could be that you light a candle or recite a mantra etc. Do you do anything meaningful on special dates for your baby?

Every year on Carleigh’s birthday one of the special things we do is celebrate the end of the day with a cake that was made for her. It is something I look forward to as I get to decide what the cake will look like and I always want it to be something special. It’s the one splurge I make every year just for her.


Saturday, October 05, 2013

Day 5 ~ Capture Your Grief

Memory: What memory do you have of your child that stands out for you the most? It may be a positive or negative memory. When you think of your child what is the first memory that comes to your mind?

I am extremely thankful that I knew ahead of time that Carleigh wouldn’t survive as it gave me time to plan and know what I wanted when she was born. It gave us time to make treasured memories and gather precious keepsakes. There are not many negative memories of our time together so when I think of that time my mind easily goes to a happy one.

The first memory that comes to my mind is the moment after Carleigh was born and she was placed on my chest. The little girl I had been waiting months for was finally in my arms. In that moment, it didn’t even matter to me that she was born still even though we hoped so much to meet her alive. I was just so caught up in HER.


I’ll always wish we had one moment longer because the time we had together will never be enough. It is hard to fit a lifetime of memories into such a short time. I can still remember how it felt to hold her and kiss her. I hope I always do.

Friday, October 04, 2013

Day 4 ~ Capture Your Grief

Legacy: Do you believe your child left a legacy behind? It could be something very simple but meaningful.

Carleigh’s life has undoubtedly changed mine. There will always be a sadness and longing for my baby girl as long as we are apart, but I am at a point in my grief where I can say that her death has changed me for the better in ways that would never have happened had she not died. I am thankful that she left a purpose behind in me and a desire to honor her through serving others who are grieving. That is just one of the many legacies she left behind.

A little over 3 years after Carleigh’s birth my sister experienced the loss of her daughter, Leah. This little girl has also changed my life for she set me on the path of bereavement photography. I photographed those precious moments in the hospital for my sister and brother-in-law.

The photo below is from what I consider my very first session. It is Leah’s footprint on my sister’s finger.


It is because of Carleigh that I became involved with Sufficient Grace Ministries and am able to photograph precious moments for families who have to say goodbye too soon.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Day 3 ~ Capture Your Grief

Myths: Do you believe there are any myths about grief? You could write the myth on a piece of paper and photograph it.

There are many myths out there about grief. Most people believe them until they find themselves grieving. One of the big myths out there are the things that people say to those in the midst of grieving. I have heard some of these myself.


These are all things that people think are helpful or are ok to say when it’s really not. None of these phrases help a grieving parent. Even if they believe some of them to be true, like God has a plan, it is NOT something you want to hear from someone else who is only trying to make everything seem ok when it’s not.

October Babies

♥ Remembering October Babies ♥

Claire ~ October 1, 2009
Cayla ~ October 2, 2009
Meredith ~ October 3, 1974
Shelomith ~ October 4, 2009
Isaac ~ October 7, 2008
Samuel ~ October 7, 2010
Blumpy ~ October 8, 2009
Cana ~ October 8, 2008
Caleb ~ October 8, 2012
Maribel ~ October 8, 2008
Samuel ~ October 9, 2009
Cadynce ~ October 10, 2009
Elisabeth - October 12, 1990
Adelle ~ October 12, 2009
Rebekah ~ October 13, 2009
Madison ~ October 14, 2010
Emma ~ October 14, 2008
Jamie ~ October 14, 2009
Nathan ~ October 15, 2009
Tayler ~ October 17, 2000
Dylan ~ October 19, 2000
George ~ October 20, 2008
Colin ~ October 20, 2009
Gracelynn ~ October 21, 2010
Kennedy ~ October 22, 2009
Johanna ~ October 23, 2009
Christopher ~ October 24, 2009
Jacob ~ October 25, 2010
Sami ~ October 26, 2009
Lukah ~ October 26, 2009
Anastasha ~ October 26, 2010
Lhiam ~ October 26, 2011
Faith ~ October 28, 2008
Aiden ~ October 28, 2009
Claire ~ October 28, 2010
Lainey ~ October 29, 2011
Adam ~ October 30, 2009

Sorry if your baby is not on this list. Please leave a comment if you would like your baby added.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Day 2 ~ Capture Your Grief

Identity: What is your child’s name? Why did you chose that name? What is the meaning of their name? If they were born, what were their birth details. What were their features? Who are they?

Abiding Hope collage

Her name is Carleigh McKenna. Her name was chosen before she was born and before we even knew she would not survive. Carleigh means 'free man' and McKenna means 'ascend'. Her name seem very fitting for her.

Carleigh was born on Saturday, March 28, 2009 at 3:49 am. She was 3 lbs 15 oz and 13.5 inches long. Even... though she was small, she still had long fingers and toes and chubby baby features, especially her cheeks! Because of her anencephaly, the top of her head was exposed but despite this she still had quite a bit of hair. It was dark brown and I made sure to get a few locks to keep.

She is the 3rd of our 5 daughters. She is a precious gift of God that we were not able to keep on this earth yet she continues to bless our lives. Every day I am thankful for her. My life is different because of her. It’s taken a path I would not have chosen for myself had she not died, but on this path I have found many good things and ways to continue to honor the memory of my daughter. She lives on through me and through others she inspires.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Day 1 ~ Capture Your Grief

Sunrise: Just like last year, I thought it would be very meaningful for us all to capture the beginning of this journey and important month by us all getting up early to photograph the sunrise from wherever we are in the world.

Well, most days I am up and at work too early to even see any sign of the sun. Today I was unable to get a picture of the sunrise so I took a picture of the sky after I got home from work.


Capture Your Grief


Joining in again this year to share through pictures.

Remembrance Jewelry, Memorial Keepsakes
My Forever Child - Remembrance Jewelry, Memorial Keepsakes, Sympathy and Decorative Gifts to comfort those touched by the loss of a Child. Personalized, Engraved & Handcrafted Miscarriage-Pregnancy Loss Bracelets, Baby-Infant Footprints Charms, Custom Necklace Pendants with your child's Footprint, Handprint image or photograph.