WHAT IS CAPTURE YOUR GRIEF? Capture Your Grief is a mindful healing project for anyone who is grieving the death of a baby or child of any age or gestation. If you are not grieving the death of a child but a loved one and would like to raise awareness for the bereaved parents community, we welcome you to take part as well to help us spread the word about our community.
Capture Your Grief is a beautifully poignant act of remembrance and awareness.. There are 31 subjects, one for each day in the month of October. You are invited to share a photo that captures your journey with each daily subject that inspires your heart. You are welcome to take new photos or use ones from the past. Capture Your Grief is about exploring your grief and discovering more about your thoughts to aid in your journey of healing and personal growth. Many of you will be using this project for different reasons. Some will be taking part purely to give others a glimpse in to what it is like to live a life of grief, others are wanting to explore their grief more and some of you may be here with a spirit of adventure to help break the silence surrounding the death of babies and children. Whatever the reason is that you find yourself wanting to take part, I ask you to please find the time to read all of the instructions below. I know there may seem like a lot them, but the information will help you.
WHEN DOES IT BEGIN? Wednesday October 1st 2014. Now this may be little tricky because of the time differences around the world. For those of you in the USA, I am around 12 to 15 hours ahead of you. So it may seem to you that I am posting early, but I assure you that I am not 🙂 If you would like to take part but the timing is off for you, you can always come back and do this project at a later time.
HOW DO I TAKE PART AND WHERE? You are invited to join this project at any point of the month on your own terms. Just take part in the days that you want to. You do not have to register to take part in the event, this is a very relaxed project and you may come and go as you please. Below are 31 photograph prompts/subjects. You are invited to share a photo for any of the subjects that you are drawn to and you are also encouraged to write about your experience in a caption of the photo. You may want to post your photos online on your favourite social media website like facebook, instagram or blog or you may want to keep your journey recorded in a journal and to yourself. All you need is the internet and a camera. A phone camera or a little point and shoot camera will be perfect. Please make a note of Day 25 as that subject may need a little planning in advance. If you are choosing to share your project online please make sure that the beginning of your photo caption is titled with the project name, day number and subject, for example: “Capture Your Grief – Day 1. Sunrise”. Each day of the event there will be a new photo up on my facebook page and also on my instagram. Please only post your photos that are relevant to that day and subject on the thread and follow the caption guide.
DO I HAVE TO MAKE MY PHOTOS PUBLIC OR CAN I KEEP THEM PRIVATE? This is completely up to you. If you would prefer to keep this a very private project, please feel welcome to keep this project to yourself. As much as I love raising awareness for our community, this project is about your own personal healing. So do what feels right for you. If you are passionate about breaking the silence and helping others heal after the loss of a baby or child through sharing your own story, please feel free to share your experience on your favourite social media website or blog. I will be posting my photographs on my facebook page and on my instagram too. You are welcome to share your own photographs each day by posting them in the comments section under the relevant post on my facebook page. For those of you who will be taking part publicly, this is a wonderful chance for us as a community to be seen and heard by the world.
PROTECT YOUR HEART! If you are going to be sharing your journey publicly on social media, remember that by doing so, you are opening yourself up to the world and there are some incredibly broken and insensitive people in it. If somebody leaves you a nasty comment, do not retaliate. Do not give them permission to upset you. Just ignore, report and block them. If you give these people any of your attention at all, they get exactly what they wanted. People that say something nasty about you or your photograph are not speaking any truth about you as a person, they are simply showing the world that they are so broken themselves that they have to try to hurt others to feel better about who they are. Remember this, once you post something online, it stays there forever. Only post what you feel completely comfortable with. It takes only minutes for images to go viral. If any of the subjects bring up painful emotions for you or you feel you are not ready, take the day off. Not all the subjects in this project will suit everyone and that is okay 🙂
ARE THERE ANY RULES? Basically, just a few. 1: Look after yourself. If at any point you feel stressed about getting your photo up for the day – you are not following the rules! Don’t set yourself a goal to finish the entire project. In fact – don’t set any goals! Just relax with the experience. This project is not about completing every subject, it is about healing, so if it doesn’t work for you, or makes you feel worse, please, listen to your own heart and do whatever feels right. 2: Use your own photographs. This is your own, authentic experience, not Google’s. So share YOUR story. It is also disrespectful to use another person’s image without their permission, it doesn’t matter if you just found it on google or not. Lastly: Be respectful. If your journey does not align with that of another person’s, that is okay. Accept that we are all different and be kind to your fellow community members. We are all grieving here. Anyone who is found to be trolling this event on my page will be automatically deleted and banned.
ONLINE GROUPS AND EVENTS: If you find a group or event on facebook or any other social media website, please note they are not official Capture Your Grief groups or events and I am not able to control what happens in them. Many people start these groups and events and they are usually lovely people with great intentions, but in saying that, please just be aware that I am not in control of any of them.
HASHTAGS & CAPTIONS: You can use the hashtags #captureyourgrief and #whathealsyourheart. If you are taking part on instagram, you can follow me and tag me @carlymariedudley
NEWS AND UPDATES: I will always post on facebook if there is any news or changes that are going to made with this project. If you are not on facebook much you can always sign up to receive my newsletter by clicking here. I promise to keep your email address private and I will not spam your email inbox either. The newsletters go out to give people information on what I am working on and also updates and new artwork that I am working on.
CENTER YOUR HEARTS & DEDICATE YOUR PROJECTS: This project is the perfect way to honour your children’s memory. The time that you take out of each day that you chose to do in this project can be a way to spend time with your children or loved ones. Before you start each project, take a few moments to clear your mind and ground yourself. If you come into this project with a racing mind or you feel distracted, you will not get much out of it and it will seem like more of a chore than a healing experience. Take a break, close your eyes and breathe, then when you feel grounded and calm start your project for the day and dedicated it to your children or loved ones.
THE PHOTOGRAPH PROMPTS AND GUIDES
Please note the chosen language below in the subject descriptions. I have chosen to use the one word “children” to describe our babies and children, simply because the it is too long winded to write “baby/babies/child/children” every time. Think of the subjects below as if we were all sitting in a group together and I was speaking to you all at once 🙂 These photo prompts description are just a guide for you. Please interpret them however you want to. I look forward to seeing all of your different ideas, stories, beliefs, perspectives and interpretations.
Day 1: SUNRISE. Let us honour the beginning of this healing month by waking up early to watch the sunrise wherever we in the world. This will be a beautifully, poignant way for us all to feel connected and energized for the month ahead. When you go outside to watch the sunrise this morning, don’t just snap a picture and upload it right there on the stop. Take some time to breathe the sunrise in. Make yourself a nice cup of tea and sit down to breathe in the fresh air, the scent of the new morning and all of the colours and sounds. Spend some time reflecting upon your children and your journey so far. Give yourself some time to feel at peace. If there is no visible sunrise in your part of the world because of the weather, don’t be upset, this is life and nature, and it really doesn’t matter. All that matters is that you take the time out of your day to be with us all in spirit. Take a photo of your surroundings, no matter what the weather is like. If you share your photo online make sure you write what State/Country you are in and the time of the sunrise. So google the sunrise time in your part of the world and set your alarm. Send some love out to everyone else in the world who is grieving the death of a child and remember those gone before us who were made to grieve in silence. We honour these people too.
Day 2: HEART. Last year, I asked people to post photos of their children on one of the days. Of course with me not giving this enough thought, this excluded all of the people who did not have photos of their children. So this year I wanted to do something that everyone could take part in, regardless of whether or not they have photographs. Today’s subject is inspired by the poem “I Carry Your Heart” by E.E. Cummings. Let’s flood the world with a sea of hearts in honour of all the children that we are dedicating this project to. Who are you carrying in your heart? Draw a heart to represent your own heart and write your children’s names in the center of your heart. If you did not name your children, just draw the number of hearts that you need to represent each life that you have carried. You do not need to be creative to do this, just a simple hand drawn heart will be perfect. You may want to write a little about your children’s stories. Who they are to you and what your hopes and dreams were for them. Share as much or as little as you feel comfortable with. I look forward to seeing all of your beautiful hearts and reading more about your darling children.
Day 3: BEFORE. Who were you before your children died? Do you miss anything about that person? What did you love about that person? Did you dislike anything? Do you see your life as before and after or do you believe that you have always been changing?
Day 4: NOW. Who are you now in this present moment? What are you feeling? Have you been irrevocably changed by the death of your children? How are you different now? Do you love anything about the new you? What do you want to become?
Day 5: JOURNAL. Writing is a wonderful tool for healing. When you put your pen to paper you may have no idea where you are going or where you will end up and that is the beauty of it. It is your own adventure. Find some time today to write. You can write about whatever is on your heart right now. It gives you the chance to write down anything that you need to release. Some ideas on things to write about are, you could write a letter to your children or maybe a letter to yourselves. You may want to write about what you are feeling in this present moment or maybe you could write about a memory you have of your children. Do you have a poem inside you or a short story that is waiting to come out? Maybe it is just one word, that needs to be written over and over and over. Whatever it is, write as little or as much as you need to. You may want to write in a journal, on a piece of paper, a postcard, a post-it note, a blackboard or a tree in your garden. If you try to write something today and it all seems to go horribly wrong, don’t be disappointed. This is where you are in your journey at this very point in time and sometimes our minds are too clouded to be able to write. You can always come back to it or skip the day together. There is no pressure to complete this project. Remember my rules!
Day 6: BOOKS. So many of us turn to reading in the wake of the death of our children. We take solace in other people’s words, stories, journeys and wisdom. Have you read any books that have helped in this journey of healing after loss? They don’t have to be specifically about the death of a child, just anything that helped you. Share about how they helped you and what you loved about them. You can share books that help grieving children too. Please feel welcome to share links.
Day 7: SACRED PLACE. Do you have a special place that you visit to “be” with your children? A place that you feel connected to? Maybe it is their grave, or a beautiful garden, beach or forest. What does this place mean to you? Why that place? If you haven’t got a sacred place that you visit to remember your children, maybe have a think about finding a beautiful place that you can visit to remember them. It is never too late to do this. Having a sacred space for you to visit to just be, is wonderful for your soul. It gives you some time out to just allow yourself to calm your heart and reconnect with the love that you have for your children.
Day 8: RESOURCE. When we become bereaved, in the beginning, many of us look outwards for help. We set out in the night with a blanket and a lantern in search of others like us. Along the road we usually find someone or something and it is with that discovery that we can walk this road with understanding company we watch the sun begin to rise over our worlds again. Share some resources that have aided you in your healing journey. It may be a website, charity, organization, a person/teacher/therapist/new friend etc. Whatever it is, share what is so wonderful about that resource and how it has helped you. Please feel welcome to share links so that others can benefit.
Day 9: IN MEMORY. There is such a deep-rooted yearning that we feel when our beloved children die. This yearning hurts but it also inspires us to get creative to do something in memory of our children. Have you done anything in memory of your child? Maybe it is something your created for them. A tattoo or a piece of jewellery. Did you create a garden? Maybe you created an organization or a charity benefit. Maybe you took up a new practice. A new hobby. Writing, painting, dancing, reading. Share away.
Day 10: SUPPORT. Have you felt supported in your grief journey? If so, where did that support come from. Was it from who you expected? Were you surprised by the support or lack of support you received. How would you suggest people could support those grieving, better? If you feel disappointed that your loved ones are not supporting you in the way you need, have a think about why that is. Sometimes when we stop to think about ‘why’ instead of just focusing on the negative emotions of disappointment that we feel, we discover reasons why those people cannot or could not support us. It could be that our story brings up painful memories for them. They could actually just be really insensitive or maybe there is more to it and they just had no idea how to help you and the fear of upsetting you even more was too great. Have you communicated your needs to that person? So many people, when asked that question say, no. Sometimes it is because they didn’t know what they needed at the time or it is because we subconsciously believe that our friends and family should know exactly what to do, when really, they cannot read our minds. Share thoughts about support and maybe send out some love to the rest of your community members as well.
Day 11: ALTAR. Do you have a space in your home specifically dedicated to your children? Creating a sacred space in your home for your children is a beautiful way to keep your their precious memory alive. You could make one indoors or outside. You may want to make your altar in a private place like your bedroom or you may want to have it out in the open for anyone who is welcomed into your home to see. So what do you place on an altar? Anything that has meaning to you and your child. It can be simple with just a few mementos or you may want to make it shrine that overflows in love and colour. If you are unsure on where to start just have a look around your home. Once you find a space, put on some beautiful music, make yourself a cup of tea and light a candle and clear the space so it is clean and new. Think about what you would like to place on your altar. Some ideas are fresh flowers, a candle, photographs, pieces of paper with your favourite quotes of poetry. An ornament that represents your child. Some people place pieces of Earth on their altars such as seashells, feathers or crystals. People of faith usually place small statues of their spiritual teachers such as Jesus, Mother Mary, Buddha etc. The beauty about your altar is that you can make it whatever you desire and it will grow, change and evolve over time. It a lovely idea to keep a photographic record of how it changes with your grief and life experience. I light a candle or some incense every morning and every night on my altar. It gives me a beautiful space to reflect, pray, meditate or just a moment to set a new intention for my day. If you are lost for ideas, you can check out my pinterest page.
Day 12: MUSIC. In grief we can resonate with music because it communicates the deep emotions we are feeling. Sometimes there are no words that accurately describe what we are experiencing and that is why I think I find myself so often lost in sounds and melodies. Share some music that enriches your life or reminds you of your children. Is there a story behind that piece of music for you?
Day 13: SEASON. What season to you associate with your children? Is it the season that they died in? Or maybe another reason like a beautiful time you spent together. What emotions arise in you when that season comes around. What is it in that season that triggers memories and feelings for you? Is it the scent in the air? The colour of the leaves? Do you look forward to this season because you feel more connected to your children or do you dread it? Have you ever wondered what you could do to ease the fear of what that season brings up for you?
Day 14: DARK/LIGHT. Today we are acknowledging the dark and the light sides of grief. The ugly and the beauty. The bitter and the sweet. The anger and the peace. You might want to write about the moments when everything falls apart or maybe the moments where our eyes are opened to the gifts that this journey has in store for us. Or maybe you just want to write about both.
Day 15: COMMUNITY. As a wave of light makes its way around the world today, we take some time out to honour and remember our children. It is a day of remembrance and a day of awareness. What does this community mean to you? Where would you be without it? What would you like to see happen in the future for this community? Share your candles of light.
Day 16: RETREAT. After yesterday which is probably one of the most emotional days for our community, it is important to take time out to protect your own heart. If you are an active member in our community and belong to one or more support groups, caring for others as well as yourself can be very emotionally draining. We find ourselves helping to carry others grief too. Take today to be kind and gentle with your own heart. Do what makes you feel good. If that means retreating from the internet to take some space to breathe for a while, please do that. By looking after yourself first you become a more mentally strong person and therefore you are much better help to others.
Day 17: EXPLORE. Have you ever sat down and really thought about where you are in your grief journey? Have you ever paid attention to your thought patterns? Are you stuck? Are you comfortable? Are you peaceful, angry, hopeful? What are you feeling? Why are you feeling that way? Where do you want to go next? How will you get to that place? Are there any changes you could make in your life that would benefit your grief journey? When you start exploring the landscape of your own mind you begin to become aware of your thought patterns and you get to understand your grief more. To find a way out of your grief your must go deeper into it first. Share your own grief discoveries. Do you feel hopeful for your future? Do you believe that grief and healing can co-exist?
Day 18: GRATITUDE. One of the greatest and powerful keys to unlocking the door to healing is having a sense of gratitude in your everyday life. It might seem ridiculously to be grateful when your grieving but if you can start practicing a little gratitude everyday, you will start noticing a difference in the way you fee about your life. So what are you grateful for today? You can list as many or as little things as you want. Think about making this a new ritual for you to practice each morning.
Day 19: GIVE. I always found that when I was feeling my worst, the only thing that would help was if I did something for someone else. It helped to pull me out of some very dark places. Today give something away to someone else. It might be your love. It could be a donation of some sort. It might be as simple as lending a helping hand to someone in need. When you help someone else, out of the goodness of your heart, without expecting any acknowledgement or anything in return, you help to heal your world and other peoples worlds too. Showing compassion inspires others to do the same and so it creates a ripple effect. Keep your children in your heart and think of them when you give away. There are multiple foundations that are centered around compassion. Check out The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation and the Bereaved Community’s very own MISS Foundation’s Kindness Project. Spend your day showing compassion to everyone. How did this act of love make you feel? Is it something you would like to practice more often?
Day 20: BREATHE. Step outside today and find a spot to sit or lay down on the ground. Switch off for a few minutes. Stare into the clouds and sky and notice your surroundings. So often we as bereaved parents find ourselves feeling overwhelmed by our grief and we don’t notice it, but we are holding our breath. When you start adding things like anxiety, anger and frustration to your grief you can end up feeling crippled by your emotions. This affects so many areas and relationships in your life. One way to help alleviate this overwhelming surge of emotions is to turn your attention to your breath. Simply step outside into some fresh air and focus on breathing in and out. Fill your lungs with fresh air. Breathe deeply and slowly. Do this for as long as you need to and as often as you need to. Start thinking about making this a daily practice.
Day 21: RELATIONSHIP. Recently I have been speaking with my friend and mentor, Nathalie Himmelrich who is the author of Grieving Parents – Surviving Loss as a Couple. We have spoken a lot about how grief affects our relationships. The relationships that we have with others and the relationship we have with grief. How has the death of your children affected your relationships? What is your relationship with your grief like? Do you feel consumed by it or is it more like something in the distance now? Do you have a relationship with your children now, even though they have died? How does that work? Share as much or as little as you feel comfortable with.
Day 22: SELF-CARE. Today is about all about you and taking care of yourself. What have you done lately, that is just for you? What can you do today that will benefit your heart and soul? Make some time to treat yourself. You do not have to go out and spend money. It might just be something as simple as putting a hold on a household chore that needs to be done and having a relaxing bath instead or a nap instead. You may want to go out and sit in the sun for a while with a book you have been meaning to start reading. Think about activities that you will enjoy and that will bring you some peace. Self-care is extremely important when it comes to healing. So slow down and be gentle with yourself today. Do something that brings you joy, something that feeds your soul and allows you to re-charge. See where your thoughts take you.
Day 23: INSPIRATION. Have your children inspired you in your life? Maybe it is someone you found because of your children that has inspired you. Share about who or what you draw your inspiration from. Living an inspired life is one of the greatest things you could ever do. Waking up feeling excited about my day is something that I never imagined would happen after our son died, but it did. I know today’s subject will not resonate with some people as the thought of waking up feeling inspired to be alive is one of the last things you are feeling. So if you feel you cannot take part today, maybe just have a look at what others are saying. It is my hope that this post might inspire some feelings in your own heart to start searching for some inspiration for your own life.
Day 24: FORGIVENESS. Today let us open our hearts to forgiveness. Even if it is just a conversation that we have with ourselves. You may not be ready to forgive someone today and that is okay. True forgiveness can never be forced so if you are not feeling it – then you are not feeling it! But we can still plant a seed. Forgiving someone may take years. It is a process. When you forgive another person you are not condoning their actions, you are just releasing yourself from them. When you hold onto anger or resentment for too long, you only end up hurting yourself. It is an easy thing to know in your heart that forgiveness will help you but to actually feel that is a whole other story. What are your thoughts on forgiveness? Have your had to forgive someone in your life? How did you do it? How did you let go of resentment?
Day 25: MOTHER EARTH. We as a community love to do things in memory of our children. Today I wanted to do something to honour our children’s spirits and I wanted this to be something that helps our Mother Earth too. Planting a tree is a meaningful way to remember our children. It also gives you a spot to visit them. It allows their memory to be rooted into the Earth. Let our stories, hearts and children be connected and intertwined as one, by planting their memory into the Earth today. Let’s give our children a place in this world to grow. This beautiful act of remembrance not only brings warmth to our hearts but it helps the environment too. Plant a seed, flower or tree into the Earth in memory of your children. Spend some time thinking about what you would like to plant for your child. There maybe different meanings behind different plants, flowers or trees that speak to you. Maybe it is a rose, or a blossom tree that you would like to grow. You may even want to start a veggie garden. The choices are pretty much endless. Plant whatever you can that is within your budget. If you are in a position where you are not able to do this yourself, put the word out to your friends and family and see if someone you love would be able to do this for your children. You may want to plant a plant in your garden or find out where there is a public place in your own community where you can do this. Invite your friends and family to join you to honour your children. How much love can we plant today?
Day 26: HEALING RITUAL. Think about something in your life that you are not happy about. Is it something that stems from your grief? If it is something that can be healed, what do you have to do to heal it? If it is something that you cannot change, what do you have to do to change the way you think about it? There is a beautiful quote by Maya Angelou that I love “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude”. These were such powerful, life changing words for me. Let Maya’s words inspire healing in your own journey. Spend some time creating a new healing practice for yourself. This is something that you do for yourself on a regular basis. It could be anything from starting some morning affirmations/meditation/prayer, to eating more nutritious foods, to being kinder to yourself, to disconnecting from technology more. You may not be able to make up your mind on this today and that is okay. But when you are ready, think about find yourself a new ritual. It might be starting a yoga practice (highly recommend!), taking up an art class etc. What ever it is, dedicate this healing ritual to your children and let them be the inspiration behind it.
Day 27: EXPRESS. This is the day in month where you can say whatever it is on your heart that you would like. Is there anything that you were hoping would be in this month of subjects that wasn’t? I am sure there is a bunch of things! This is your chance to share it. Find your voice. What is it that you want to express Is there anything that you want the world to know about your grief or children?
Day 28: WISDOM. Do you have any words that you would like to share about grief that might help others that are on this journey as well? Maybe it is something wise that someone once said to you or maybe it is something you read by someone else.
Day 29: REFLECT. Take today to reflect on this past month. What is your relationship with grief like right now? Is it still the same? Has anything changed? What have you learned about yourself and your grief?
Day 30: INTENTION. Set yourself a new intention to inspire your next path in grief and healing. It might be to live your life with more kindness towards others or maybe you might intend to live your life more wholeheartedly in honour of your children. Whatever your new intention is, write it down with the words
“I intend to ……………. in honour of my precious child/ren ……………..”
Day 31: SUNSET. I cannot believe today is the last day of Capture Your Grief. It seem to go by so fast. To close this project, like every year I think it would be beautiful if we could all photograph the sunset from wherever we are in the world. If there is no sunset where you are, you can still take a photo of the early evening sky. You just need to be able to get to a window. Remember to caption what State/Country you are from and the time. Thank you all for joining me on this journey. Whether you completed 1 day or all 31, I feel truly blessed to be able to have shared this experience with you all. I hope you feel it was worth it.
Copyright © 2014 CARLYMARIE PROJECT HEAL, All rights reserved.