I just want to take this moment to send you all of my love. If this was not the internet and instead you were knocking on my front door, I would welcome you in, give you a warm hug and make you some tea. We would sit down together in my art studio and I would listen to your story. This is what I would say to you… I am so sorry this happened to you. I know it hurts, I know it is unfair. This is not the way things are supposed to be. I know it probably feels like your life is over and that things will never be the same but there is going to come a time when the pain lessons, when your heart feels light and the sun will come out for you again. There are others like you and I and that there is beauty to be found along this road of grief. Grief is so much more than pain, it is an incredible teacher.
A little bit of my work background in the Bereavement Community…
After experiencing the stillbirth of our beautiful son Christian my world came crashing down. I felt as if my soul left my body. I was weak. I was numb. I lost weight. I stopped living and started existing. I stopped answering the phone. I put down my paint brushes. I closed up all the doors and windows and I shut myself off from the real world. I was dead inside. I felt like my life had ended too. This new life after loss was strange and dark and uncomfortable.
After 18 months of trying to make sense of Christian’s death and trying to adjust to my new life, I dreamed of him for the first time. I felt a deep connection to him that I had not felt before. When I woke up from this dream, I felt my blood begin to pump around my weary body again. It was as if someone had reignited the fire inside me. He was okay and living a full and amazing life, just somewhere else across time and space. He was healthy, he was whole.
The dream that I had inspired me to visit the beach and write Christian’s name in the sand. On August 19th 2008 Christian’s Beach was born and our lives were changed again forever. Since that day back in the Winter of 2008 over 26,000 children’s names have been written in the sand at sunset on Christian’s Beach. You can now find most of my Beach Art and Memorial Beach Photographs here.
Over the last few years I have felt led to share my experience with others walking the road of pregnancy, infant and child loss and so Bereaved Mothers Day, Bereaved Fathers Day and August 19th – Day of Hope was created.
When your world is turned upside down by the death of your precious child, it really does feel like your world has ended too and in a way, it has. Finding joy or even thinking about having a beautiful life again seems impossible. Sit with your grief. Retreat and allow the darkness to fall upon you, but know that you do not have to stay there forever. Healing is real and waiting for anyone who desires it. It comes in many different shapes and forms. The trick is to find what it is that heals you. Take your time. Be gentle on yourself.
Project Heal is my place of healing and transformation, growth and learning. It is my place to come and write about my heartwork, my life, what is inspiring me, what I am working on, what my children are teaching me, what this life is teaching me. I write often at my facebook page, it is filled with my photographs and stories. Project Heal is not just about healing from this terribly dark experience. It is about growing into your life again. It is about reconnecting to yourself and discovering new ways of life. We live not only for ourselves now but for our children too.
If you are newly bereaved, a lot of my work may not resonate with you and that is simply because we are in different times or stages, but later down the road you may find yourself in a different place where my work does speak to your heart so I welcome you to come back at any time.
I have written so much about my son that I have planted his story into the ground. It’s rooted deep in the Earth, intertwined amongst the trees and rivers. The Earth knows his story now, he will not be forgotten. He will be remembered long after I become ash myself. Since Christian died, I had always identified myself with his loss. I didn’t know who I was outside of my grief. I now am on the road to creating my beautiful life I am discovering my purpose. It’s a beautiful and exciting point to be at, to be living an inspired life. I hope I can share that with you, I hope you feel that connection to life at some point too. I feel so many of us lose our identity through our grief and so we cling to it. We don’t know who we are outside of it. We let it become us. The truth is that grief is a part of me. I have accepted that, but it is not all of me. I hope my work empowers others to rediscover themselves as well. Healing is possible when you are mindful about the importance of self care, self love and self growth. Become conscious about your healing and knowing that healing doesn’t mean forgetting. Healing becomes powerful with intention. Remember to take moments each day just to stop and observe what your heart is feeling. Stand outside in the Earth. Get fresh air everyday and open your heart to the beauty that this world holds for you.
WHERE ELSE YOU CAN FIND ME <3
My art, heartwork and story has been published in the following books:
If you are here because your heart is broken my hope for you is that you can begin to heal, grow and learn and that you can find the light that shines within you… it never goes out, it may dim at times, but like your soul, your light is eternal. May you find your light again and see that you are a real gift to this world. In time, you will discover the gifts that your child has left for you in their short life. Just like every baby who is born healthy and alive, your child is a miracle and a true gift to you and this Earth.