In October of 2012, a perinatal advocate named CarlyMarie created CAPTURE YOUR GRIEF. This project was made to coincide with National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Month, which is embraced and celebrated during the entire month of October of every year. The event was a beautiful success with over 2,000 people from the baby loss community taking part. She then decided to make Capture Your Grief an annual event. If you have experienced the death of a baby or child, then this project is designed just for you! It doesn’t matter whether you are only a week into this walk or if you have been walking this road for decades, all are welcome to join in.
Capture Your Grief is a 31-day photographic challenge. All you will need is the internet and a camera. You will be able to join in this project through your own blog or website, your favorite social media site (like Facebook or Twitter) or any other photo sharing site (like Pinterest or Instagram.) If you would prefer to keep this experience to yourself, that is perfectly fine. This is an opportunity for you to document your grief and your healing for a month. If you choose, you are welcome to share it with your chosen friends and/or the entire world. You can be as creative with your photographs as you please. If you want to help break the silence surrounding the death of babies, there will be a public Facebook event through CarlyMarie’s Facebook page to share images and raise awareness.
Below are the 31 daily subjects from the event in 2012. I am kinda being a rebel and choosing to not participate in this year’s Capture Your Grief. Instead, I am choosing to complete the challenge that was organized five years ago, as that project speaks more to my soul. “Grief opens a place in our hearts that we never knew could hurt so profoundly, but it also opens this same place to a love we never imagined possible.” Time doesn’t heal anything… it just teaches us how to live with the pain. I am taking each day of October to allow everyone to follow my journey through my own personal story of grief and love. I promise that you will see a little bit of everything… the good, the bad, and even the ugly. Lord knows my world has been filled with many ups and downs as I struggle to comprehend why Emilia was taken from me and I think it is important that the world sees the real struggle from a mom who had to give her baby back to the Lord.
This project was created In Loving Memory of all the babies who died during pregnancy and the little ones that could only stay with their parents for the shortest of times. No parent should ever have to bury their child. We will speak about these precious lives. We will honor them. We will remember them. Please share this project with whom ever you think it would help. Wishing everyone a beautiful, heartwarming, and healing October and I pray this project gives other families a spark of hope as they journey through their own unique grief. Love and Blessings to you all!
Day 1. Sunrise – Good Morning, Kansas City! What a breathtaking sunrise on this beautiful October morning! Every day I walk… and I like to call my 6.5-mile workout around my neighborhood my Emilia Walk. Long story made short, I walked almost every day of my pregnancy with Emilia. This routine that I have continued to carry out, rejuvenates my soul. In these moments – I find peace, I find comfort, and I find clarity. I have all of the worries in my world lifted off my shoulders when I escape on my Emilia Walk. There is something very special about Day 1 of this challenge and being able to incorporate my walk into this project. Seeing the sunrise while I worked out this morning was truly a gift. A reminder that life goes on and for brief moments throughout our day – we can capture pure, awestruck moments if we take a moment to look for them.
Day 2. Before Loss Self-Portrait – This photo was taken on March 13, 2017… Two days before Emilia was born. I was nearly 33 weeks pregnant. This was the evening (although we did not know it at the time) that Emilia passed away. My very last “bump” photo from my pregnancy with Emilia. Lord, am I grateful for this photo! I’m not sure if Emilia’s heart stopped beating before or after I snapped this selfie… But to have something tangible to hold and look at that was created on the day she passed away is oddly therapeutic for me. I posted this photo to Facebook that night, stating… “Almost 6 weeks till we meet this little one! Taking in every moment of these last few weeks, but cannot wait for you to join our family!” …We really had no idea that the very next day we would be given the worst news of our lives. This photo is literally my very last before loss self-portrait.
Day 3. After Loss Self Portrait – I thought this sketch really painted a better picture of what life after loss has been like for me. This image was drawn back in July at my support group for parents who have lost a child. We were told to draw our own grief and this artwork is mine. In the bottom-center, there is a woman in the forefront crying and her heart is visibly broken. This woman is me. In the background, I am surrounded by family and friends… the people who have supported me while I have struggled. Up high in the sky is a sweet cherub girl laying on a fluffy cloud in Heaven. This angel is Emilia watching over me and my family. This sketch is supposed to represent how my life has been changed. I will always hurt. No amount of time will take away this pain. But with the support from family and friends and the overwhelming amount of love that I have for Emilia, I will be able to continue to live each day till I get to see her again.
Day 4. Treasured Item – My most treasured items are the castings our nurses made from Emilia’s hands and feet. North Kansas City Hospital really goes over and beyond for their patients and this is just one example. How darling are these castings?! They show every little wrinkle and slightest detail. These are the little hands and feet that have forever changed my life. They belong to a little girl that continues to leave a huge imprint on my heart! Just a fun little fact… have you ever noticed the purple butterfly on Emilia’s Wings’ Facebook profile photo? The footprints that form the butterfly’s wings are Emilia’s actual footprints!
Day 5. Memorial – In May, Dan and I planted a flower bed in our backyard in memory of Emilia. We chose pink and grape Hyacinths as they are small, beautiful flowers that have one of the loveliest scents of spring. Even at a distance, you can smell their sweet fragrance. These flowers don’t get very large. When mature, they only grow to stand about 6-12 inches tall and 4-9 inches wide… small and petite just like my little Emilia. Hyacinths are early bloomers that tend to bloom in late winter or early spring. We wanted flowers that would bloom each year close to Emilia’s birthday, which happens to land on the cusp of spring (March 15). This last spring, I was bummed to see that my Hyacinths didn’t stick around for very long. After about 2 or 3 weeks they said their goodbyes and began to wilt away. I was so sad, but then I realized how symbolic the flowers really are. Everything about Hyacinths is perfect, just like Emilia is perfect. Although they add so much beauty to our world, they are only allowed to stick around for a short while, just like she did. I unfortunately do not have a green thumb, so I pray these beautiful flowers pop back up this coming spring. Since this photo was taken, our garden has expanded with lovely cherub statues, memorial rocks, and garden flags resting with the Hyacinths. I hope to add a bush of peonies close by my Hyacinths in the future.
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