Sunday, July 17, 2011

Illuminate Week 1 - Write a letter

For the next few weeks I will be taking part in an online photography course called Illuminate, taught by a sweet new friend and baby loss mom Beryl, from Be Young Photography

For our first week's writing assignment Beryl has asked us to write a letter to our baby or babies. This has been extremely over whelming for me. I've tried to start a letter several times, only to tearfully give up. I guess I was stressing about whether I should write to Journey, the baby we just lost in May, or if i should try write to all my angel babies. I think writing to all four just seems too overwhelming so for now I think I will try addressing my letter to just Journey. So ... deep breath, sigh, and here we go ...

My dear sweet baby Journey~

Two months ago I cried so hard that I could no longer carry you inside of me ... I carried you for 12 weeks, and the last 10 days of that knowing you had already passed. We saw your beautiful heart beating twice (at 6 weeks and again at 8 weeks), but at the next ultrasound everything was so still and silent. Although I carried your tiny body inside of mine, you were already in heaven. I knew it made no sense to continue carrying you in my womb, but oh how I hated the thought of letting them take you from me ...

I just kept asking my self Why? WHY? Why was this happening aging? I'm sure you know already that you have three siblings in heaven ... so this was the fourth time I had to say good bye ... the fourth time my life shattered and my heart tore open ... the fourth time I had to deal with the blood and the pain and the empty arms ... the forth time I had to give up the dream of kissing, rocking, nursing and holding my baby. Oh Journey, how my arms long to hold you!!! In my mind I sometimes ask God why He could not have waited another month or so till you were just a bit older ... so I could have truly seen you and held you, had tiny foot prints and photos to cherish while we are apart. Obviously there is no answer, I don't know why and perhaps it would only have made me hurt that much more. I don't know ...

What I do know is the love and the hurt ... I miss you so much it hurts ... my chest aches and my arms feel this dull throbbing pain. I don't share about that pain often because I'm sure most people would think its all in my head. I know so many think "you really can't love or miss something you never had". But Baby, I did have you ... you were supposed to be safe inside me, I knew you were there for weeks, felt such relief when we heard and saw your little beating heart, I treasured you and loved you from the moment I suspected I was pregnant ... and sweet Baby Journey I still do! And I will miss you as long as I live. I don't understand why I don't get to parent you here on earth, I suppose I will never understand that until I see you in heaven.

I know that you are happy there in Heaven. I know you have great-grandparents that probably dote and love on you and I've dreamt of auntie Missy holding you and rocking you and playing with you other siblings there ... that brings me such comfort. I know that Heaven is perfect, with no tears, no pain, no evil ... but the world I'm left behind in is full of tears and pain. I guess my job now is to figure out my purpose here, what is it that I am still here to do? Your journey was much shorter than mine and now you are at peace (that very thought is how we got your name: Journey Peace Sauerbrey) My journey will be much longer, but one day, some day we will be together again. Now i ask how do I carry on in such a way that I bring grace and glory to the Lord our God and how can I move forward honoring your little life with my life? Oh! If only I could figure that all out. I must be meant to carry on (I'm still here) ... to finish something here on earth, but most days I feel so lost and I have no energy ... I keep praying for clarity, for vision and for energy ... that God might point me in the direction of where He wants me to go. So today I wait ... I pray and I wait ... and I cry some too.

I won't ever forget you sweet baby Journey, your mama will always cherish and love you. I will blow kisses up to you and send balloons up to you when I want to celebrate specials days. I will light candles and remember you. I will tell others about you and I will comfort others who hurt like I do. I hope you are proud of me, I hope you know how much we loved and wanted you. If you don't mind sending me a few butterflies as kisses every now and then I would sure love that.

Love Always & Forever ~ Your Mama

The other part to our assignment this week was to turn the camera on ourselves and take 3-5 self portraits during the week that tell the story of how we are feeling in this moment following our loss. This part was hard for me too, because I still feel like I'm on an emotional merry-go-round and roller coaster all wrapped into one. I am often exhausted by the end of the day from all the different high energy emotions I am experiencing. Swinging from one extreme to the other is taxing on my energy, my attitude, and my ability to cope. But even when I want to collapse life continues to move along, dates arrive, kids need attention and love ... so intermixed with all the sad and pain are definitely moments of peace and joy. I wondered if I would really be able to capture that reality.

I kept my camera handy this week and caught several different emotions ... keep in mind there were actually dozens more ... but these are what I captured:

Depression & exhaustion are ugly ... but the truth is that most mornings still start this way. I'd rather stay in bed than face the world.

Feeling drained (almost literally)after a morning doctor appointment.

Getting fresh air and a date with my sweet hubby always helps me to relax. We enjoyed a beautiful walk and some beautiful scenery together.

He really is my wonderful support ... I'm so in love!

We were excited to be offered tickets to watch a MN Twins game from an air conditioned suite on Sunday (on our 18th wedding anniversary). But even in the excitement of kids and ball games exhaustion can hit and I fell a sleep!

But I did wake up and I did have a good day and enjoyed being with the gorgeous man I married 18 years ago

I know I don't need any more pictures added to this assignment but there was a very healing moment for me today that I wanted to share. I had wanted to take part in The Compassionate Friends Walk To Remember held about 25 minutes from my house in Mpls, MN today. But weather and air quality being what they were today (bad!) we decided it would not be a wise decision to take part in the walk because of my asthma and my 5 year old's heat sensitive medical issues ... I was so sad at first, then I decided to take the signs I was going to carry in the walk and go buy some balloons and just send my love up to our angels on my own, right from my back yard. I'm sure the neighbors think I'm a bit crazy, but I don't care ... it felt really good and healing to just send up a little "we love you!".

Even before I knew we would not get to walk I had planned to try include each of my new friends from my Illuminate Photography Course. I'm sure their angel babies and my angel babies are enjoying heaven's playground together and I wanted to send love to all of them, so I wrote colorful names on a piece of paper. When I could not carry it in the walk I just attached it to the balloons:


  1. Heather, what beautiful words for Journey! You have such strong love and faith. I know your angels are proud. I completely understand about wishing for just a little more time with your baby. It's so hard because so much of losing our children is beyond our understanding, but one thing is completely clear- even though her stay here was short, Journey was loved every single second you held her.

  2. beautiful! Oh how I feel so many of those words too! Wondering what to do now and how best to carry on her life and glorify God! Thanks for sharing!

  3. What a beautiful letter to your the meaning behind your angel's name. Amazing.

    The pictures are beautiful! Thank you so much for including Aiden in your balloon release. That means the world to me!

  4. I love Journey's name Heather. I think it speaks volumes as to who she was and how she is a part of your family. I hope you are able to find that she is watching over you and bringing you peace as you go through this journey of baby loss.

    Your last 3 pictures are incredibly moving to me. I love that you included all of your new found classmates and friends into this assignment. You are a beautiful person inside and out. Thank you so much for including all of our angels in the balloon release. I also wanted to comment on your first image in bed. I love the story you are telling with your processing. You used a slightly "soft" edit, perhaps because the world seems fuzzy right now?

    Thank you again for embracing this assignment and sharing so much of yourself with us.

  5. I was moved to tears when I saw my Heather's name as part of your balloon release. Thank you for your love and care that you extend to each one of us.
    I also wanted to tell you that I really resonate with the picture of you in bed and how you describe mornings and the feelings of depression. I'm so with you on that. Most days it's all I can do to haul my bum out of bed and face the world. Thank you for capturing in words and your photos how you feel.

  6. Heather, I also like to imagine our Lewy with loved ones in Heaven. It is comforting to know that he is not alone. I just know that his great grandma is spoiling him rotten for me. Thank you so much for including Lewy's name in your balloon send-off. I love that you wrote his name in blue. His birthstone is blue topaz. :)

  7. Heather, How wonderfully you captured the truth for those of us in this "club". You are so brave to allow all of us into your world and allow us to join you on this journey of healing. Thanks again for thinking of all our little ones as well as your own.