CarlyMarie’s capture your grief, day 2: rise + shine mourning ritual

Day 2 instructions:

“Create a new mourning ritual. When you rise in the morning spend a few moments in silence and create space for yourself. Wherever you choose to do this, whether it is at the end of your bed as you wake up or out side with a cup of tea, take a few minutes to ground yourself. You can do this by either sitting on the ground or placing both feet flat on the floor. Take a good posture and close your eyes. Take some slow relaxing breaths in and out. Envision your child’s light burning bright like the sun from your heart. Once you feel calm, awake and present, dedicate your day to living for your child and set an intention for how you want your day be. Write it down and share it with us.”

I usually wake at the latest possible moment, squeezing all the milliseconds I can out of hitting snooze. This morning, though, I got up with my alarm and turned on my bedside lamp. I scooted upright, and opened my journal to the blank page (the one after my entry from the bank of the Arkansas after rafting), and closed my eyes.


I thought of Kade. Then I looked at the picture of him holding Asher on my wall. I sat with him for a quiet moment. If you’re not a bereaved parent this might sound crazy to you (or maybe it doesn’t):

It was nice having a little time with him. I’d been missing him. I need to hang out with him again soon.

My intention for the day came to me in the form of a bracelet I ordered from a site I follow, Hands Free Mama. My bracelet reads,

“Only love today.”

There was my intention.

I found my bracelet, jotted my intention, added a little love note, “captured my grief” (snapped my picture), and felt calm and ready for the day.

Starting my morning slowly, mindfully, and by setting an intention was a brilliant change of pace. I will try to do that for at least the rest of October’s Capture Your Grief, and maybe it will become a habit beyond.


capture your grief, day 9: surrender & embrace

Early on I learned the phrase, Lean in to your grief. I have a grief counselor who has imparted that the crazy feelings I come in with are OK and normal. I’ve gone to an incredible bereaved parent retreat with a focus on mindfulness and being with your grief.

Does it suck to surrender to the sadness? Is it hard to embrace the emotions? Of course. Is it easier to avoid, and not go there? Yes, and I often do. Well, when I get through the things I need to get through in a day, like being around other people, going to my part-time job, or going to class, I am likely actively avoiding going there. Sometimes I’ve put off journaling for months. It’s been so hard to physically open it up, get my Kleenex, and know the pain that will ensue. But it’s cleansing. It’s…surrendering.

This may sound strange, but at four years out, I schedule time for going there. When I go to Buena Vista for the anniversary, I carve out alone time to journal by his river. When we go on vacation (it’s especially hard because I wish he was with us), I set aside time to journal. When it’s been too long, I crave things like being with my grief friends, going to Kade’s stone, going to a grief retreat, and journaling.

I suppose I crave those things, as a mom craves being near her child.

This topic, Surrender & Embrace, reminds me of other powerful sentiments: You can’t get around it, you have to go through it and If you don’t deal with it, it deals with you.


October 9, 2016, the Front Range at sunset

blogging a – z challenge – “w”


What to write about?

OK, I’ll write about writing.

Writing is an almost magical way to process Kade’s death. Magical because what I start writing often isn’t what I end up with. Themes emerge only after it is quiet, my brain gets focused, my fingers start clicking or my pen starts scratching, and words populate the page. It amazes me almost every single time.

I write in a journal. It was strongly recommended as a release and way to preserve memories in the early devastation after his death. Journaling really does help. Especially early on, I could feel when I needed it; when I was overdue.

I got the crazy idea to write a book. It was after all the grief reading I did, and memoirs I read. When I attended the Compassionate Friends National Conference in July of 2014, and met memoir authors and partook in writing workshops, it sealed the deal. That’s when I got inspired to find a writer’s group and start a blog: first steps in writing and publishing a book.

My first writer’s group was great. Super kind and encouraging women who met at their college and were working on different projects. But unfortunately, we met less and less frequently and then it fizzled.

A friend of mine I used to work with began a writer’s group to finish her horror novel. Yes, a totally different genre…but is it?

She invited me to join her group. And what a group. They’re all fiction writers but welcome this nonfiction memoirist. We meet every week and are currently reviewing the third completed manuscript in the group. It’s stimulating and motivating. Through them I’ve learned of and participated in writing exercises like NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month with the challenge of writing 1,067 words per day in the month of November), the Blogging A – Z Challenge, and workshops, conferences, and contests.

My blog is another writing outlet. It’s a place I can share images, and where I can decide exactly how much I want to share. I can keep these pictures and notes together and maybe somebody could even get something out of them one day. And of course, where the world can see Kade’s smiling face.