Mother’s Love Day

#judedays, Child loss, Grief, Healing, Parenting

Since loosing our sweet Jude, there are so many mundane conversation starter questions that I simply don’t use anymore, and dread being asked them; including “do you have any children?” or “ how many children do you have?”. These questions for a bereaved mom are dreadful and grief triggering, irrespective of where in her grief journey she is.

During my subsequent pregnancy after loosing Jude, I was introduced to a whole new set of triggering questions such as “is this your first?” or “ are you excited to become a mom?”.

Since having my daughter, a new set of triggering questions have presented themselves, but the one that has been triggering me the most is, “ how are you enjoying motherhood?”.

Like all of the other aforementioned questions, they are often asked innocently and mindlessly which to most moms, is ok. But not for a bereaved mom — and here’s why.

I’m already a mom. I’m already experiencing motherhood.

Before I was a mom to my daughter, I was a mom to my son Jude. He made me a mom.

The question itself implies that I’m new to motherhood which denies the existence of my son. And that is the triggering point. Any bereaved parent will tell you that the only thing that hurts just as much as loosing your child is the thought of your child being forgotten. His memory diminished. His existence erased.

There are multiple forms, sides and dimensions to motherhood.

Motherhood is easy when your child gets to live. It’s when they die that it’s hard.

Now I know that’s a bold statement to make, but as a mom that has the privilege to mother a child amongst the stars and mother a child below the stars, I have become familiar with the multiple dimensions of motherhood and can stand behind the statement. Each dimension has its joys and sorrows. It’s good days and bad days. It’s peaks and valleys. But at the end of the day, I get to hold my daughter and kiss her goodnight everyday — something I cannot physically do with my son. Something so many other moms who hold their babies only in their heart so desperately want, but simply cannot have. And not having that simple ritual is hard. Really hard. Unbelievably hard.

But yet, we manage to move forward every day – one day at a time. Tending to our heart and our child as if they were physically present, because to us, they are so unbelievably present in our hearts, our minds and in our souls. Every. Single. Day. That dimension of motherhood is hard.

So when asked the question of how I’m enjoying motherhood, I often respond with a somewhat mundane response sprinkled with a bit more raw honesty than most new moms would, which catches the inquirer by surprise. Just imagine how surprised they would be if I answered them truthfully and said that Motherhood is easy when your child gets to live. It’s when they die that it’s hard.

So today, on Mother’s Day, look around and acknowledge and honour all moms (and dads) – whether you can physically see their children or not. Afterall, as nurturing human beings, whether we bear our own children, raise someone else’s, have them physically with us or carry them in our hearts, we are all programmed to love, teach and nurture them in our own unique way.

Wishing you a gentle happy Mother’s Love Day today.

the village

#judedays, Child loss, Grief, Healing, Parenting

They say it takes a village.  They are right.  It takes a village to survive this thing called child loss.

It’s the village that lends a hand to get you back up from the black hole that you get thrown into after you loose your child – or a loved one for that matter.

It’s the village that allows you to speak the raw truth.  Listens with no judgement.  Offers no platitudes.  Doesn’t rush you through your grief journey.

It’s the village that feels your pain. Understands the size, depth and complexity of the hole in your heart that longs for your child.

It’s the village that’s there on the Holidays.  The special “would have been” milestones. The Anniversaries,  to ensure that your fragile heart is bubble wrapped in love.

It’s the village that shows up on the first day of grief, the second week, the third month, the fourth year – time and time again to just “check in”; make sure you’re ok.

It’s the village that never forgets. Never shy’s from mentioning your child’s name. Always remembers with you.

I’m grateful for having a village.  Many like me, simply don’t have one; leaving them feeling alone, tired and fearful that their child will be forgotten.

This journey is hard.  I can’t begin to imagine what it would be like to walk the gravel roads of grief without the support of my village.

The fabric of my village is not unified.  It’s a weaved tapestry of patches – souls brave enough to have stood by me or joined my side along this journey.  Many of which; carry side by side in their hearts, not only their child, but also mine.

It’s these brave and generous souls that have enabled me to make sweet lemonade out of my motherhood.

For them and their babies; whom I love and carry in my heart alongside Jude, I am eternally grateful for and to.

Find your village in any of the resources below.


Mother’s Day with Jude 

#judedays, Child loss, Grief, Healing, Parenting, Self Growth

I am fortunate that I have the opportunity to travel for my work.  Work travel has taken me to so many travel destinations that I likely would have not been able to see on my own.  Last year work took me to Vancouver, BC. I instantly fell in love with this humble and beautiful city.  Too me it’s the heart of nature – where those that inhibit have the out most respect for its beauty and those that visit it, quickly get told if they disrespect it.   It was here a year ago that it all began. It was here that  my sweet Jude’s heart began to beat.

A year later, I ironically find myself back in Vancouver on Mothers Day Weekend to embrace this day and honour the infinite love between Jude and I.

As the plane descended and entered the magisterial embrace of the Rocky Mountains, my heart melted. The overwhelming feeling of love and presence of my baby boy Jude poured out and welcomed me back to this beautiful place.  I couldn’t help but wonder whether it was truly coincidental  that I was here on this weekend or whether this was Jude’s Mother’s Day gift to me.  My heart believes the latter.

I prepared my heart for this weekend.  I prepared it with unique ways that will help my husband and I honour our little boy. Celebrating our love and unique bond with him. Living his spirit brightly and keeping his memory alive always.

Packed in my carry on suitcase was a love rock I painted with his name and date of birth/death.  It will not return home with me. Instead it will sit at the base of the Seven Sisters trees in Stanley Park where our breaths were taken away  a year prior as we admired their remaining strong beautiful presence.   Much like our sweet Jude’s strong presence in our lives.  Folded  neatly in my husband’s carry on suitcase were the origami paper boats that we carefully made and decorated in preparation for Jude’s voyage in the Pacific Ocean.  Letting go of our baby boy and sending him off on the sail adventure of life is something all parents must do at one point in their child(ren) ‘s lives.  Setting sail in his aragami boats with messages of love and support from his mommy and daddy was our way of setting our baby and our hearts free.  Pressed between a travel journal purchased especially for Jude, were two postcards that were created and distributed to family and friends in memory of Jude.  The postcards were born out of the desperate need to keep the memory of our baby alive, asking all friends and family to fulfill our wish of showing Jude the world by taking him with them on their vacations.  The overwhelming response we received so far has been humbling.  It was now our time to show our baby boy a part of our world that we had come to cherish partially because of him.

We started in Squamish, BC, where we rode the gondola to the very top of the mountains to take in the breath-taking views.  The mountain tops were sprinkled with snow and the green hue varied from top to bottom of the mountain.  At the very top of the mountain we pulled out Jude’s postcard and took a selfie – all three of us together for the first time.

It was also at the top of the mountain that I drew a stake in the ground and declared  my motherhood through the healing project of #motherheartsalute.  It was liberating to allow myself to join this pack and call myself a mother for the first time. motherheartsalute

As the weekend went on, the love and presence of our little boy Jude intensified. It was present on the beach where my husband and I watched the waves crash into the rocks of the seashore, every time breaking them down a little much like Jude’s love did with our grief.  We sat watching the people enjoy a beautiful afternoon of sun with their families, friends and pets, oblivious  to our ceremonial presence.  After our picnic lunch on the beach we carefully set out to pick the perfect place to gently launch the paper origami boats we had made for Jude.  We hesitantly laid them down on the Pacific Ocean and watched as the waves rocked them back and forth eventually toppling  them over and swallowing them into its fierce waves.  Jude's PacificOceanHolding each other, we watched as our little boy and our hearts, fought the waves of the Pacific Ocean until he and our hearts stopped fighting and allowed ourselves to relax and ride the waves instead.

Our last ceremonial stop was the seven sisters in Stanley Park.  Nestled  between lovers trail and brittle trail, there the remains of the  Seven Sisters surrounded by new tree growth just as tall, strong and present as the Seven Sisters were, is where we laid the love rocks that we made for Jude.  Chances are someone will remove them eventually, but in my heart placing them there in that spot, reflected my belief that Jude deserved to be amongst them. His presence acknowledged, our love for him deeply rooted in the ground. His love and spirit free and high – to be admired by young and old. SevenSisters

Each ceremonial stop opened our hearts a little bit more and allowed hints of light back in.  With each light streak came a flood of tears – joyful and sad tears that washed away the bitter pieces of our heart only leaving behind the pieces containing Jude’s love.

The revving of the airplane engines drowned out the noise around me, giving me the opportunity to acknowledge the beauty of the Rocky Mountains one more time and softly thank my sweet Jude for a unforgetable Mother’s Day Weekend.  There’s only one thing that would make it better – having him with me.