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Jasper✨🐝 11✨04✨2016 "A marker drawn to show our end, is etched into its line.
The briefest moment shared with you the longest on my mind." Lang Leav

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October 15th Wave of Light. I’ve lit two candles one is for my sweet boy. Jasper Mars Dow. You were such a bright light in your short time on Earth. I wish so badly you could’ve continued to shine here with us but for reason I will never comprehend that wasn’t our fate. Instead you came into our life like a shooting star, here for a moment and gone the next, but you were such a sight to behold. The second candle is for all the other lost little ones. I think of the mothers(and fathers) in this community often. I think of your babies. I honor you and them today. I know if there’s a place beyond this they are together watching this beautiful ceremony that brings us together. A simple yet deeply meaningful act that show how brightly they shine through us. Sending you all so much love today and always.✨
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.  #waveoflight #jaspermarsmagic #pregnancyandinfantlossawarenessmonth
Day 10: love letter:
Dear sweet boy,
I have started dozens of letters to you like this and yet, today, I find myself lost for words. When faced with the pressure to “tell you everything I want you to know” a swirling vortex of the past year jumbles my thoughts and I’m tongue tied. How can I best encapsulate everything that has somehow transpired despite your absence? Our lives move fast and slow. Our days seem to be over before I know it yet there’s always something that feels like an eternity about every second...minute... hour. I know that’s the living without you part of my internal clock. I wish somehow I could manipulate time, Bend it to my will and revisit the precious moments I spent with you. I’m sure I could find a million new little details about you if I could just keep those two days on a loop. As impossible as it is I still wish for it. I must have wished for the impossible thousands of times. I wished that the doctors were wrong, or that somehow you would defy the odds or that I was having a vivid and horrible nightmare. Wishing and hoping have become very painful things indeed. But if I’m honest there is one wish I still make often. I wish that somehow...you are somewhere. In a place that is beautiful and safe. That maybe  you ride clouds in the day and are tucked in with stars at night. I wish on everything that you felt my love before you left and that somehow... you still feel it now. 
I love you always and forever,
-Mommy
Day 9:Transformed: 
I’m forever changed by my tiny 4lb 14ounce wonder. He transformed me into a mother, my favorite and best role in life yet and he altered my limited understanding of love by opening my eyes to a deep limitless and unconditional version I didn’t know before him. Losing him came with it’s dark transformations as well but today I choose to focus on the good. This picture was taken on our last family outing unbeknownst to us at the time. We were trying to make memories with him... 11 days later he was born. 
#captureyourgrief #pregnancyandinfantlossawarenessmonth
Day 8:Support:
I am lucky to have a lot of support from friends and family and being part of this community has also been a huge support. I spent the last month before Jasper’s birth reading loss Mom’s posts which may seem odd but living with the knowledge that I was going to lose him drove me to desperately seek others who had been through what I was about to. I wanted to know what others had wished they’d done or things they were glad they had. I wanted to know what I could ask for in terms of comfort care and resources. @waterswife was the first loss mom I came across. I found myself watching all of her videos and, though I was scared and heartbroken,
I finally felt like I was not alone. I went on to find many more stories and I’ve made some wonderful connections. My hospital was also a huge source of support. I have a lot of love for that place. I met incredible people there. At some point after giving birth to Jasper a social worker spoke with us. She was kind and helpful. We were given a packet and told about a local loss parent support group. We were also linked with a wonderful grief counselor at one of our preliminary appointments before losing Jasper. I would say if you can reach out to your hospital they may have resources that you are unaware of. If not look into local infant loss support groups. It was incredibly helpful to be with other people who had experienced something similar and they may also be great for linking you to other helpful resources.
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#captureyourgrief #infantloss #infantlossawarenessmonth
Day 7: Wisdom:
The wisdom or advice that I would pass on to people wanting to help someone they love who has lost a child is a pretty simple and short list. The first thing is show up. And not in the way you want to but in the way they need you. That means if they aren’t up for your company don’t throw your hands up and say “well I tried that’s that!” Send them a letter or a card or a text or an email or a DM letting them know that you are still thinking of them. Be specific with what you have the capacity to help with. If you tell someone “let me know if you need anything” they are likely never going to take you up on it. If you feel like there’s something you can offer in specific than offer it and if they don’t take you up on it don’t take it personally but instead ask them what they need or what feels appropriate. Also when you show up do not make their grief about you. Nothing has ever been less about you in all the history of your life than the death of their child. Even if it’s your grandchild or your nephew or niece or they are your very best friend. They shouldn’t be saddled with sorting out your feelings along with their own. Lastly let them talk about their child. It would be nice if their child could be brought up in a conversation and they didn’t have to watch people awkwardly shift in their skin. I know the thought of a dead child is foreign and sad but imagine how uncomfortable it is for them to never get to talk about this whole other person that they love. Simple things mean the most even just asking a small detail about their child. Including them in any way is one of the best things you can do.
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#captureyourgrief #infantloss #infantlossawarenessmonth
I’m a few days behind so I’ll catch up with back to back posts 
Day 6: healing: I wrote three different things for day six and none of them felt quite right so these images incapsulate a fraction of how I feel about healing.
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#captureyourgrief #infantloss #infantlossawarenessmonth
Day 5: Rituals:
Early in our grief we were very ritualistic when it came to our process. Every Friday at 8:25pm we would write a letter to Jasper. We would light a candle and then we would share our letters and cry together. We did that every week for a year. At Jasper’s one year mark we looked inside a box full of letters which, after a few months, became redundant. “I miss you.” “I wonder what you’d be doing.” “I wish things had gone differently for you.” We told ourselves maybe once a month on the 4th we could come up with more things to say to him. Quality insights. Better stories about life. As life continued to move at it’s dizzying pace many things interrupted ritualistic grief none more than the active care of the tiny person who was now presently here and who’s needs have only continued to grow and grow. Soon the letters stopped completely. We have never talked about it. For me there’s been a lot of guilt even though I don’t go a single day without thinking of Jasper. When the 8:25 alarm goes off on my phone every Friday my heart sinks a little but I never think about taking it off. It has sort of created a smaller ritual. No matter what I’m doing at 8:25 on a Friday I will stop and sure I feel guilty that there is not a larger set ritual for him; that it’s no longer a production but I like that no matter what I’m in the middle of at that moment there is a set moment for me to think of my son. It’s a simple gesture but it’s no less full of love than what I used to do. I also try to remind myself that grief itself is a ritual. It is the ceremony we perform to honor a love worth exalting even though it’s been ripped away by tragedy.

#captureyourgrief #infantloss #infantlossawarenessmonth
Day 4: Today: 
Today my grief looks very different than it did a year ago. A year ago I didn’t much care that it eeked out into every part of my life. I was angry at the universe, I was broken into a million little pieces and I felt like a stranger to myself. But I was also better at existing in the space of loss. I was better at allowing myself to feel whatever came to the surface, I was better about sharing the unabridged version of my feelings. Now I can say I am less angry. I have managed to resume some version of myself even though I am different in many ways that go unseen. I’m much less insular and I also have true joy in my life thanks to my daughter. Now most of my grieving exists in secret. Before it used to flow out of me, I really couldn’t help it or ,maybe, I just didn’t care to. Everything was tinged with the pain of my loss. Now I find myself holding it in and in the moments I have to myself it bursts forth like gasping for air after being under water for too long. I find I can’t talk about it as easily anymore. I want to keep it to myself, parcel it away like some guilty indulgence. I think I’ve just gotten precious with it. I don’t want to talk about how this loss affected the other people who feel some claim to it and I don’t want to give anyone the chance to act exasperated about the fact that I’m still and will always be grieving. I guess before I wanted everyone to acknowledge my grief because it felt like in doing so they were also acknowledging Jasper’s life but now I don’t know that those things are one in the same. I suppose this is a long way of saying that I’m in a weird place with my grief. It used to be a raging fire that I could not and did not want to contain but now that I’ve grown used to living with it I have come to admire the flames and I am fiercely protective of it but it doesn’t mean I want it to burn everything in its path anymore and I don’t want well meaning people who don’t understand it’s nature trying to stamp it out.
#captureyourgrief #infantloss #infantlossawarenessmonth
Day 3: Essence:
There is so much I will never know about my son. It’s something I think about all the time. Early on I had a lot of time to think on all the things I would never know. The details. Then we had Ellie and that list only kept growing. So many details I’ve learned packed into only a year and the experience has often left me wondering if I knew my son at all. I cling to the details I have. I’ve tried to squeeze every drop I can out of my memory. The smell of the hospital room, the pattern on my gown, the feeling of bringing my son into the world, the weight of his tiny body in my arms, the thick curls atop his head, the sound of his first and last coo. I’m forever trying to hold onto these memories in as graphic detail as I can manage but time is cruel and some details have slipped. Like liquid through cupped hands, I’ve been left with a fraction of what I started with. The day we got home from the hospital I had already lost his scent, to my immediate heartache none of the things that he had been in smelled of him. The next to go was the feeling of holding him. A feeling I couldn’t recreate even with his baby sister. These details are often the stirrers of storms that rage behind my eyes. I’ve been brought to my knees over these details. But that word...Essence...It’s powerful. The details of being a mother are always going to be important. I’m always going to wish I had more of them. I’m always going to wish I could never forget the ones I have. But I know the very core of my son. I know him better than anyone in the entire world could ever know him. Even if he’d walked this earth for eons this would be true. His essence was gentle...His essence was brave. I can not say I will never grieve the details but I will try to remember that at his very core exists a part of me. Even though I could not bring him home I did not leave him with nothing. I gave him a piece of my soul so I would know him anywhere in this life or the next. and I gave him a name. Jasper Mars Dow.
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#captureyourgrief #infantloss #infantlossawarenessmonth
Day 2: purpose(for doing CYG): I guess I’m participating this year because on this leg of my grief journey I’ve been feeling the pull from other people to “move on”. It’s no one moment in particular but instead it’s a bunch of tiny behaviors that I’m not even sure people realize they are doing. I do have people in my life who are totally supportive and awesome so if they are reading this I want them to know that they are the gold standard by which I hold all others to. But I think I’m participating this year because I want to reach more of those people who maybe just still don’t know how much it matters for me to be able to mother my son in the only way I can; Through carrying his memory. I want them to know how nice it is to hear them talk about him every now and then and not like a cautionary sad tale but just like a normal baby and experience. I think some people assume that if I bring up Jasper it’s automatically going to get sad and depressing but most of the time I just want to talk about his cute little face or his hair that was just like mine or his giant paddle feet! I just want to talk about him like they talk about their living kids and like I talk about his sister. I know who I can go to when I really want to talk grief it’s not about spreading my sadness all over it’s just about keeping his memory alive. I just hope that doing prompts like these will help people who are unsure of how to continue to be here for us to see that it’s really very simple! Think of us! Think of him! Do and say things that reflect those thoughts. Period. It is that simple.
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#captureyourgrief #infantloss #infantlossawarenessmonth
#captureyourgrief2018 Day 1: Sunrise:
The sun has risen 695 times since the day I thought it never would again 
That amounts to
16,704 hours...
1,002,240 minutes....
60,134,400 seconds.....
I’ve been without you
Only the rest of my life to go
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#captureyourgrief #infantloss #infantlossawarenessmonth
October is here
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#captureyourgrief #infantloss #infantlossawarenessmonth