Welcome Mothers, Fathers, Grandmothers, Grandfathers, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, Friends and anyone else who needs an ear...Please come with an open heart.

This is a place for anyone who has felt the loss of a child. Treat this as a communication haven regardless of how or when you felt your loss. My definition of loss: miscarriage at any stage, still birth regardless of week gestation, infant death at any month, and loss of a child even if your child was all grown up. For me they all hold the same root of devestation. None are more profound or more "easily" dealt with than another.

Please cry if you need to.
Please connect with others who are in your same space.
Please email me if you feel led to
Please comment so we know what you need
Please tell your story

Monday, March 30, 2009

Uncomplicated Labor (children mentioned but not pictured)

If you read my parenting-after-loss blog, The Bear and The Comedian, you will know that our cat Sally found herself in a pregnant way.

Sunday morning, The Comedian elephant-footed down the hall at 6am. This is an everyday occurrance, ususally followed by "I'm awaaaaake" or "I'm reeeeealy hungry mama". But on this day the sweetest, softest voice came through the door tingling with excitement. Her sing-song tones couldn't hold the big news anymore. "The babies are out of Sally's belly!"

Thanks to dedicated and intelligent readers I knew her gestational period was 2 months and that she would 'pick' her labor location. I cringed slightly thinking of a messy birth in my closet or under the desk in the office, but the idea of her delivering outside in the cold, rainy weather was even more disturbing.
And then, I realized. I had no control over this - none. The nice big box lined with a cumfy but disposable piece of extra carpet we put in the upstairs bathroom remained empty. Sally was in complete control of her pregnancy. There had been no pre-natal vitamins for cats prescribed. She didn't ask us to bring her for a nuchal-scan or her four week ultrasound. We didn't time any contractions or gather her courting cat and bring them to a birthing class.
This was uncomplicated, natural birth. She lived her life - eating, sleeping, chasing mice and birds for her two months of pregnancy, only slowing down near the end as we ooooed and aaaaahed at her massive belly watching little legs poke and stretch in the night. I would put my hand on her stomach, and she let me; the miracle of feeling babies kick just as powerful for me regardless of their feline beginnings.
Sally never stressed about her kittens. About whether they would live or die. The kids wondered, but she didn't. She was a first time mother, blissfully ignorant, and it was a beautiful thing.
Sally took complete control of her labor - pre, during and post.
This is where she chose:

tucked away against the furtherest wall of the seldom used bed in The Comedian's room.

And here is her brood:

24 hours old. Alone for the first time since birth - wildly independent, regardless of their current disability.

I don't know if she mewed all night. I don't know if she was in pain. I don't know how long it took. I don't know how much they weigh or measure. I do know there are five kittens. Five perfectly alive kittens.

What a miracle. Nature is miraculous.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Backsplash - A Review of all kinds

It is great when something makes a splash - literally or figuratively.

A rock breaks the surface plunging into the water, but our eyes watch the ripples to see how far back the splash will go.

A child dives into the water for the first time and we focus on how deep they will submerge before they appear again.

A movie takes the nation by storm and we 'fall in love' with the lead actor, researching his early films when we were none-the-wiser to the fame that would become him.

We happen upon a blog we've never been to before, perhaps via this oh-so-useful-monthly-portal called ILCW, and are struck by the post in front of us. We could have written those words. We feel an instant connection to the author of the site and, go back - into the archives, reading, searching, devouring what they did, 'before'.

And then, there are books. If I made it my life's goal to read every book ever published - I would fall short, not by lack of motivation - but our restrictor - time. If, however a book makes that perfect splash, I find myself asking, What came before this? What other literary works came from this person's head and travelled to the page for me to read?

Elizabeth McCracken's most recent book, An Exact Replica of a Figment of my Imagination made that splash. There was the O-magazine excerpt, the major publishing house backing the book, the Exhale interview, and - of course - the cover, with its small, capitalized letters running across the top; BY THE AUTHOR OF THE GIANT'S HOUSE.

Every time I opened that book, and believe me I have done so too many times to count, I saw that phrase, and found myself intruiged. What came before this? What kind of words poured from her before the tragic death of her Pudding? And so, I checked it out of the library.

It is a novel - fiction based on real life experience as her many years with the title, Librarian. It is fantastical, over-the-top, and filled with that astounding way she writes that can simultaneously draw me in to the story line and cause me to re-read with the sole purpose of marveling the arcitechual design of the writing itself.

Of course, there is loss - death I mean. What story doesn't have it, in some form, in some permeation? And the main character is lost, really - and so the underlying ripple throughout the whole book is her grief of lost, never-to-be-achieved possibilities. But then, there was this passage:

"I believed then that the thought James is dead would be the key that swung open my heart and then broke off in the lock. It would ruin me. I believed I was making a choice. I could carry on, I could do my work and think of him and iron my clothes in the morning; or I could become so wrecked by grief that I wandered the streets, my fingers stuck in my hair and my hair struck in my mouth, strangers running from me as I said, wait a minute, I only want to tell you about somebody. I thought these were the only two paths before me, that they diverged so wildly that, as I stepped onto the sensible ordered path, my lifelong choice, I would not see or think of the other path again; it would lead to another neighborhood entirely. I did not know that walking on one, I would be always in sight of the other; that they crossed one another sooner rather than later; and then crossed each other, again and again."

It strikes me that if you substitute the name Pudding for James, the intent of the paragraph still stands. In fact, I believe you could insert any of our lost baby's names: Emma, Hope, Charlotte, Andrew, Michael, Christopher, the comprehensive list of names at the Wall of Angels even, and it would read perfectly.

But more than that - it strikes me, to the very core, that she - in her character development, in her study of and readings of grief, was able to embody that perceived fork in the road we all face after the death of a true love.

I'm just stricken by this woman and her writing, her depth and emotion - both pre and post Pudding. This is what I hope for as I write. That my words can be so authentic, so real and true as they travel from my heart to my head, down the muscles of my arms and pour out of my tapping fingertips; that they speak to the reader, Yes - I've sat where you sit, Yes - I've cried oceans of tears, Yes - I can smile and even laugh again, and Yes - life as we know it will never be the same.

There are more books in her backsplash - I'll be checking one out today.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Place I Should Have Gone

So, every now and then a great idea - no, a hello-stupid-why-didn't-you-think-about-this-sooner idea appears to me (read: hits me over the head).

With the (and pardon the verb use) conception of Share Southern Vermont, Inc. I have been nearly everywhere in the southern Vermont counties distributing promotional materials. I mean, EVERYWHERE!

I have frequented doctor's offices, midwiferies, relaxation specialists, acupuncturists, massages therapists, chiropractors, the hospital (obviously), libraries, day care centers, banks and pretty much ANYWHERE that has a posting board.

I have submitted our news to countless papers - repeatedly. I have learned how to get your info on the local tv station. I have even navigated the semi-complicated world of radio stations.

I thought I had my bases covered. And so, as I cursed having to stop this morning for gas as the bright shining sun is a ruse for the actual weather we are being dealt. (A suto-spring to say the least - highs of 30 with winds at 15-20 mph - and that's a good day!) Anyway, after cursing I set the gas nozzle to automatic and found the best possible place to stand so the wind could access less of my limbs.

And that's when I saw it. (Be ready for the big-fat 'duh' you are about to deal me, and it's going to be even more deserved than the 'where we have our first meeting' story - promise.)
A funeral home was across the street.

Yeah - not kidding. You know, that place where they deal with bereaved people all the time!

Five minutes later: flyers, brochures and business cards complied from the trunk I was sitting in the "talking" room of the funeral home. I had a ten minute conversation with the most astoundingly receptive man I'd ever known to work in such a field. And this is what he said.

"Oh - I wish I had known about you yesterday."

My heart dropped. Another family not aware of what is out there, that we are willing to be their safety net until they get their feet back under them. *sigh* "I might run into them again" he continued, "they are fairly local".

Um, three guesses where I'll be headed tomorrow?? (hint: there are two other funeral homes in adjacent towns)

So - how many 'duh's are you dealing me?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Show And Tell - A New Pair of Wings

Oh -Yeah! That's right! Exhale had a logo-makeover thanks to the talent and generosity of Samantha Bennett. So now, when you see this image:

a quick click of our new wings - will bring you lots of greats reads and ALI inspired artwork!

What is the rest of the class showing and telling?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Falling off the balance beam

I've never been coordinated. "Grace isn't your middle name" is a phrase I heard often growing up. It isn't.

There were the biggies: the knitting needle through my knee as I kneeled onto the pre-school rug for story time, how I bit nearly through my tongue after going out of control sledding a flying saucer and hitting a tree, and the friend who tried to "catch" me at the bottom of the slide but instead, punctured the tight skin under my right eye with her tooth.

And then, there were the everyday blunders: the time I tripped and fell, but intent on saving the ice cream my dad recently purchased for me - rippled my knee open, the day I dislocated my thumb playing - um..volleyball (don't ask me how), and the legendary bike crash of 1984!

Now a days, I fall off the balance beam less frequently - physically at least. The Comedian seems to have inherited that trait and I have to be on my toes to keep her from walking into walls, streets, and posts!

But I am by no means balanced. My grown up version of walking the tightrope are committments. Admittedly, they are mostly self-inflicted, but responsibilities I take quite seriously none-the-less. The reality of the situation is, (hold onto your hat for a cliche) - there just isn't enought time in the day. Sorry, but there isn't.

I like to think that I balance my external responsibilites fairly well with my homebased job of mother and wife. My family eats, my kids are clothed and bathed, and we enjoy our time together. But to do it well, to do it ALL well, just isn't possible.

And so - this is a long, Cara-like rambing way to say I'm Sorry.

I know I haven't been my typical comment-on-every-one-of-your-posts self, and I'm sorry. My current ballooning project - Share Southern Vermont's First Annual Memory Walk - is taking so much of my time. And, I'm loving every minute of it. The smile I wear as I walk into yet another business asking for sponsorship is one indicitive of the heart mission I am on, and - it must resonate with the askees - for no-one has turned me down yet.

And so I ask you to bear with me as I pull this event together. I'm here. Email me whenever you need to. I will catch up on your updates...just as soon as I climb back on that blasted narrow beam. I always sucked at Gymnastics - obviously.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I never did think...

  • I'd connect with a community of loss and infertility parents that understand, accept and affirm my emotions....But I do - and they rock.

  • I'd write for a magazine that makes a difference - that raises awareness about our struggles and losses ...But I do - and I am so very grateful. I love every minute of it.

But -I REALLY never thought I'd get a chance to interview* Elizabeth McCracken. In fact, I thought I got darn lucky to get a galley copy of her memoir, An Exact Replica of a Figment of my Imagination - and it was just that - timing and dumb luck.

Much like a new lover takes solace in the other - I whipped through it the first time in two days, and then took my time the second time around. I dissected her emotions, nodding and crying - yes, yes - that is exactly how I felt. I laughed - oh, how I laughed - I mean, I can't think about the book without cracking a smile in memory of the Dwarfs of Grief and wondering why they weren't employed by my hospital. It would have been a nice reprieve. But most of all I was nearly jumping for joy that a babyloss memoir had finally cracked into the big time, (um - she did have a spot in O-magazine!) and that the general all-pregnancies-end-in-a-live-baby public would finally hear our story.

And then - the suggestion that knocked me for a loop. "Why don't you do the interview?" wrote my fellow Exhale columnist Christina Gombar, "...because you and Elizabeth have experienced the same thing -- loss of a child, followed by healthy birth."

I jumped at the chance, combing the book a third time as I scribbled notes that eventually fleshed out into full-fledged interview questions. Elizabeth was kind and gracious enough to answer all my questions, regardless of her current full time mommy status.

What a treasure of an experience and I think the final interview found: HERE - has a lot to say about life after loss.

Thank you blogosphere. Thank you Exhale (Monica impeticular). And Thank you Elizabeth.

You make this journey more fulfilling each and every day.

Oh - and while you're over there you might as well peruse the other literary and artistic offerings this month's issue has to offer including my current column: Believing Without Seeing.

In Grief and Love - Cara

* - updated to clarify that our communication was through email but her gracious nature came through loud and clear!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Show and Tell - Abundance

There is a collective shift happening across the country and beyond. We are being told that our thoughts hold power - that focusing our thoughts intensely and with "unwaivering faith" towards our ultimate goal will, in fact, allow it to happen.

The power of positive thinking is a vast topic and one I don't intend to dive into in a philosophical way - I know, shocking. I'll just say that I'm not against it. And - that it's effects on one's home life cannot be disputed.

Case in Point - my husband. About 18 months ago he watched The Slowly, I watched him shift his way of thinking. His scowl was replaced with smiles. His quick responses to the children replaced with a listening ear and measures of patience for the way they see the world.

He set goals and began to work toward them, yet didn't give up when the shape of his vision shifted - becoming not-exactly what he intended.

His new favorite word became "abudant".

We are so abundant.

Sure - let's get pizza, because we are abundant.

Oh - the world economy is in the toilet? Meh- I'm still going to put that 8 person, 40 adjustable jet, built in speaker system hot tub* on my vision board, becaus ...(you guessed it) we're so abundant!

We, as a couple, try to approach the world with this attitude ; not negating the current "climate" as they say (And why do they use that weather word? But - that's a post for another day.) but keeping-on-keepin'-on believing that we will weather this storm. (oh, maybe that's why the weather vocabulary..sorry)

But, his love and over-use of the word abundant could not be denied. (I feel like I should throw a fingerboard in here just for good measure.) And so, on my way home from my looooong trip away when I stopped in a B.g L.ots to get a big bottle of water and spied this:

I just knew I had to get it. I was giddy with repressed laughter for the remaining 2 hours of my drive (snow, sleet and freezing rain aside) - for I had my presentation line poised on the tip of my tongue.

"Hey baby! Now you can eat your abundance."

And - he does. And - he quite likes it!

* - Yes! He shares a love-of-everything-hot-tub with me!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

“These Are A Two Of My Favorite Things…”

Oh- sorry - did you think I was talking about wine again? Sure, sure – Merlot, Pinot Noir, and Chianti definitely rank in the top ten of my favorite things…but on the last day of my trip I discovered that combining two of my other faves makes an enticing combination.

Recall my surprise at discovering a Meditation Room in the airport.
Recall my quest for a dip in the hot tub at the hotel.

Each was refreshing, relaxing and just what I hoped they would be. And so, after a long, long…long day of travel, culminating in a 3 hour layover delay in Cleveland, Ohio and a near midnight arrival in Albany, NY - I checked into a hotel and passed out.

The phone rang waaaay too early the next morning. Ok - 7:45, but let's just say that I don't do wee-hours-of-the-morning travel combined with sleep deprivation very well.

"No need to rush" says my totally fab hubby. "The weather's not so great and there is no school."

Ok - so now I'm awake, zombie-like, but awake. I draged myself out of bed.

In the name of "creating circulation so I could function" I found that I really liked this: (who knows…might make it into the top 10)

Apparantely, another elliptical perk is that brilliant thoughts come to mind. Thirty minutes and minimal sweat build-up later mine arrived. Cara – why not put on your meditation soundtrack while in the hot tub?

It sounded as good as a bad idea after one too many drinks. Yeah - that good!!

And - it was.


+ This:

= Pure.Unadulterated.Bliss.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Angel Wall Updated

I arrived home to a number of Angel Wall Babies waiting to be remembered. My heart simultaneously broke and smiled at each image that came into my screen. But the dates really touched me. The grief represented by the parents who submitted is raw, it's recent, and many of them have just passed the first anniversary of missing their little one.

If you haven't sat with the angel wall in a while, will you please click over? Would you mind taking a minute to think of these babies and their parents who struggle everyday.

Thank you for reaching out. It means so much to all of us.

In Grief and Love,


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A Quest...Achieved

I am a bumbling traveler. This – I have already well established. What is a lesser known and more embarrassing fact, although – no less valid, is that I am equally unable to plan a trip.

I tried. Really I did. I surfed multiple websites, looked at solo offers, combination offers and then – I admitted defeat. You see, I don’t like choices. My husband will confirm this. Consequently, picking paint colors, choosing tile, and – well – mostly any remodeling decision is very troubling for me. Luckily, we share a similar taste so he picks three possibilities and then presents them to me. Hence, I’m not overwhelmed and most of the time, my first choice was his as well.

I digress.

I gave up, closed the travllocity, orbitz, and whatever the other seven browser addresses were on my screen and sent out an SOS. I called my bestest friend from high school. Erika is a world traveler. Her parents own a travel agency. They planned our honeymoon – a totally awesome cruise to Bermuda! I called in a favor. Of course I shoomzed and loved on her in all the appropriate ways that a bestest friend should when calling in a mungo favor. And, of course – as always – she came through.

Brief exerpts from my schoomzing email:

Hey - I need to call in a best-friend favor (otherwise know as I don't have any idea what the heck I'm doing and you will) favor. I need to travel to Missouri in March for the National Share training. I have gone to the do-it-all-in-one place sites to make travel arrangements...but ICK...there are too many choices and it is sooooo > overwhelming. I managed to do this …. but of course I also managed to find the one place where I can't add a hotel and save bu-ku bucks.

I want:

* a mid morning flight out of Albany, NY on Thrusday, March 5th ultimately landing in St. Louis - Lambert airport. (1 stop is fine)

* a connected deal to a nice hotel** in St. Charles (the conference is at > the St. Charles Convention Center)

* I don't mind being a minor distance away from the center, but I'd like to be able to walk there in the morning.

* an afternoon flight on Sunday March 8th (the conference ends at noon on Sunday) getting me back into Albany by 7:30-8pm.

Is this doable or am I such a travelling virgin that I have my head in the clouds?

** - by "nice hotel" I mean somthing with more than two levels and has an indoor pool/whirlpool. Hey - a girl needs her comforts, right?

Ha! This is funny even to me as I re-read my request! However, I must give props where they are due…for my sweetest friend ever planned the perfect trip!!! Every trip however has blips and posts to come will expane - but this post will focus on the last **.

Serves me right for being selfish – really. I mean, a trip about grieving my angel baby and learning more how to support others as they grieve theirs shouldn’t really be contingent on lounging in 105 degree hot, bubbling water – with the jets directly on my lower back as I float without a care in the world…
*(sorry – I got a little lost there for a minute)

However, it seemed less selfish after the first day of crying so hard that I was sure my skin had expanded about a ¼ inch to the naked eye!

Suit – check. Towel – check. Room Key-Card – check. (And oh boy do I wish I had a picture of this for you, but alas – my there-will-be-no-hot-tub-in-your-future…ALL WEEKEND grief prevented me from the foresight to get my camera)


With a ½ inch cheap plywood as the temporary cover, no-less. *Sigh* - No…BIG *SIGH*

And so,I'm ashamed to admit I whined – just a little, but I did – to the other participants. And, miracle of miracles – one of them who was staying at the fancy, shamancy, connected-to-the conference-center hotel was more than happy to let me use their facilities.

GOD BLESS THIS SWEET AND WONDERFUL LADY. (of course she was from New Hampshire- my sister state!)

An already long story short – I tried once, too late. I tried twice – tweens had taken over the pool area. And then, thrice – sweet victory at 1pm on Sunday afternoon.

The conference was over. I was mentally free to just – be. Yes there were a few teens returned for a repeat performance, but they were in the far side of the pool and – I – alone in the hot tub. I can tune them out. They were almost sweet background noise.

I lowered myself into the all-encompassing relaxation water.

The background noise began to fade away. A sweet whoosh - whoosh as the jets sent waves of water bubbling against the tile edge was taking over my senses. And that’s when I heard it.

“Emma. Emma, over here. Watch this! I can do a handstand without holding my nose!”

I was out of tears. All I could do was smile in the knowledege that this was the time I was meant to be in the hot tub.

Of Course it was ...of course.

Monday, March 9, 2009

I'm Home ...


Ahhh - It's good to be home.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

You Know Cara Is Travelling To A Warmer Climate When...

Well - take a walk with me down the old, brick cobblestone street in the sweet little historic district of St. Charles, Missouri! I'll be sure to point out the (should be obvious) signs that it ISN'T negative five here.

My Hotel... (snowless)

Historic Main well marked, but since the minute you step onto the red cobblestone sidewalks you feel like you are in a time warp! The real Williamstown has got nothing on this!

(Um...notice the lack of anything white and fluffy??) - The charm is complete with the Amish Peddler. I inquired about an actual horse and buggy ride, but - not one of the amenities offered.

This location, however - caught my vino-based attention immediately. I quickly forget to be amazed at the face that I wasn't wearing a coat and was drawn in by those little letters on the bottom of the sign.

That's right - a tasting room! A meditation room AND a wine tasting room on the SAME trip? This is just too good to be true...and it was. Mmm....I tried all their local reds - dry, sweet, semi-sweet...dry with a sweet finish - Y.U.M!

A warm and comfortable, pre-dinner buzz reminded me once again to document the LACK OF SNOW!

Take a gander across the street and you will see....outdoor seating - IN MARCH!!!! It turned out that the resturant was owned by the winery, hence served all their fab reds with dinner! Want to take a guess where I dined?

If you are a shopper (which, by the way I'm not...but the allure isn't totally lost on me) then you might want to check out: The Bling Boutique

Or, if you are feeling a bit empty in the pocketbook, try its next door neighbor...Poor Man's Art! This intruiged me. No

And, of course - the Univerise couldn't forget to make a strong showing. I mean, I am here for a Grief Conference. And so, if ever I felt like I needed a brief trip back down Alice's rabbit hole...I don't have far to walk.

Or - if you're on the fence...just have a cup of tea. The Mad Hatter will talk you down.

And, if you are craving some puffy eye, tear stained stories from the conference itself - don't worry, I'll post all the eye-opening details as Share Southern Vermont's site later.

Friday, March 6, 2009

What A "TRIP" - (Pun Intended!)

I haven’t flown in over five years. I am a bumbling traveller...seriously - but just awkward and odd looking enough that I couldn't be a threat. I walked past each part of the terminal with my jaw continuously dropping another millimeter. And then - handed the security guard my baggage claim ticket instead of a boarding pass. I was horrified! He just looked at me with a pitying smile.

And – although my final destintion is really a world in itself, the journey getting there is just as astounding.

I mean – look at this.

It is like they read my mind or something…a Meditation Room! I could picture it in my mind immediately – a calm, quiet room filled with cozy pillows, and soft meditative music playing in a surround-sound, straight to your soul kind of way. And, HECK YEAH - you know I followed the signs to get a picture of the actual room, but alas – it was for business class only. So, my pastel, pillowed low-tone image holds. What the actual room looks like I will never know.

And my journey continued through a virtual time warp, it seems. For as “new age” and “futuristic” as a meditation room in an Eastern New York airport terminal seems, I arrived here – at this Newark, New Jersey total throw-back of a 1950’s diner! Mmmm- Ruby’s tasted good!!!!

I sat there in that glossy red booth, each foot in a large black and white tiled square and The Terminal came to mind. You know – that Tom Hanks movie where he lived IN the airport terminal because of an immigration issue.

I could live here, I think. I passed nearly every necessary ( and unnecessary) daily life-requirement on the way to this sweet little diner. I passed bookstores, coffee shops, beauty salons and spas – retailers of all kinds, and even a sultry looking wine bar that was so inviting I nearly took a seat, at 11:30 am.

I look like a tourist of the most annoying kind; high on life and camera happy. (fyi – they can glare if they like for I tip like a tourist of the best kind. Being a humble server in my rural little ski town – I get it)

I admit it – I am high on life! This trip is the beginning of something much bigger than even I know. I can feel it. Or, more accurately, I feel the need to document it. I don’t know why, but lately my best ideas come from nothing, thin-air if you will, and I find, if I just nod and obey – good things happen.

Kind of like what happened at the first gate I approached this morning. The gate attendant looked stressed through her kind and welcoming smile. She opened her mouth to speak, but instead of talking to me, she spoke into the small amplifier in her left hand. “Hello and welcome to flight 2643. This fight is over booked. I need three volunteers. If you volunteer I will get to your final destination today and give you a $200 flight credit to use within a year.” Intruiging. “And” she added with just a hint of desperation in her voice, “a lunch voucher.”

“Sure” I said, shrugging my shoulders, “I’m traveling alone and in no great hurry.” She looked relieved. In the end, there was enough space on the plane after all (the original issue being something to do with the maximum weight of the the luggage on board and not the number of people), but this sweet woman was so grateful for my “flexibile thinking” (a recently learned skill to be sure) that she gave me an in-flight voucher for a drink! Heck Yeah Baby – I got me a glass of air-merlot!

Stand By…Much more to come!

UPDATED: I'm here but the internet connection is spotty! Come on back later tonight for a bulleted list of "You know Cara is travelling to a warmer climate when..."

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

I'm Leaving On A Jet Plane...

I really am this time! Heading out tomorrow for some plane hopping with an eventual arrival in ...St. Louis, Missouri! I will be gone five days and (I can hardly believe it myself) I WILL ONLY HAVE TO WEAR ONE HAT FOR ALL FIVE DAYS!

The pale purple hat I'm packing is Share Southern Vermont Representative.
I swung into the resturant last night to pick up my tips check and my boss said, "Have a great trip! It is business or pleasure?"

The question threw me. After a beat I said, "both". It is I think.

I mean, I will learn many useful and important tools about running a Share group, leading the corporation and meeting active griever's needs. (business)

But, I will also meet a host of new people in the grief world. Some, will have lost children of their own and others will be there to gain a sensativity for grief in the workplace (most nurses or doctors). In both "nice to meet you" conversations Emma will come up. And, it will be expected that she does. And, the best part of all, the mention of her name will be accepted and understood. (pleasure)

And yes, it truly will be a pleasure even if I shed some tears, for speaking of her, telling her story, sharing her life has become enjoyable. The knife-like edge has worn away, so when I speak her name it sounds likes music. A smile accompanies the syllables. I feel her with me. Our logo says it all - we hold our hearts in our hands.

I have no expectations for this trip. I imagine there will be wireless, and of course - I'll check in, but I also know that I have to let this journey evolve and what is it meant to be. I will meditate everyday - of that I am sure, for through meditation I will be better able to hear my inner voice calling me, leading me.

Back on - must go do laundry!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

My Breakdown - Part 6 "The Resolution"

'The Resolution" **

I have learned so much this past year. I learned a great deal that day I fell under the weight of grief without expecting to.

I have learned how using words to process my grief is my process.
I have learned how good it feels to share them with you - and hear yours.
I have leaned that a journey is exactly that, a series of moments with no ETA or goal location.

I knew all this, once upon a moon. I forgot. I'm not sure when or where, but I am so very grateful to have regained perspective.

Now - I know a list of entirely different, hopeful things.

I know I have found a book format that feels good, feeds my soul - and in turn, has the ability to feed others. It will be published. I don't know when but it matters very little to me.

I know my husband has found his center, for when confronted with my emotional breakdown, the likes of which he hasn't seen in a VERY long time, he acted quickly, with compassion. He possessed an innate knowledge for what I needed in that moment, even when I didn't.

I know it is my responsibility to put myself first: body, mind, and soul. It feels good to do it.

I also know, that this - my blog - has become like my second home. I love it here because you welcome all emotion without judgement. You support and confirm this process, and I yours. It is a relationship founded on blind faith that we have something to offer each other. It is a connection of the rarest kind.

Hi! I'm Cara. I have three kids - two sit at the dinner table.

I know I am ok.

** This is the final part of my Meltdown series. If you are just coming in, you may find it helpful to read: PART 1, PART 2, PART 3, PART 4, AND PART 5. They are on the top bar in order.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Show and Tell - Selfless Giving

My Emma Grace - perfect and stunning in her quiet beauty.
This week's show and tell came in the mail. It brought me to my knees, moved me to tears in a way that only a gift of selflessness can.

A few weeks ago I was reading blogs, and Brenna's sketch-of-the-day caught my eye. Although I am creative I am not artistic. I don't grieve a non-skill, for I have plenty of my own. But it does heighten my appreciation for other's work. I left a comment to that end, noting that I had always wanted a sketch done of Emma. There is much more to that story - but I left it there, my sadness hanging, mine to deal with - to make choices around.

An e-mail popped in my inbox. "I'd love to try sketching Emma for you." I was stunned, moved to the core. Hoping this wasn't one of those really good dreams you wake from, I scanned the one picture we have of Emma, and a picture of her bunny - then, hoping I wasn't pushing my luck as this sweet woman was volunteering to do this...I asked her to make some modifications. You may recall I was never fully satisfied with the over-striped image that hung on my wall.

The package arrived Friday. I knew what it was, and yet – I didn’t. It represented an image of my daughter I had desired for years, simple, elegant - pure Emma. I ran my hand over the smooth surface, feeling the energy pump through my veins. Allowing the emotion to build, knowing an overwhelming outpour was my future. I embraced it, allowed it to build. Still stroking the glossy letters like an old lady pets her favorite cat. I sighed with contentment. Emma was in this long, flat, shiny box with PRIORITY MAIL tape running the full perimeter. I have waited for this for years.

And I have. And it is perfect. And she hangs peacefully in the space under her memory shelf that has remained intentionally empty for 8 years - waiting for the image of Emma that reflecs the meaning of her short life.

I'll close with the poingiant words of the amazing woman who created this, "She's such a beautiful girl. I feel as though I now know and love the contours of her sweet face."

Yes - and, now - so do I, thanks to you.

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Time Is Both My Best Ally and My Worst Enemy: My Meltdown 8 Years Later