Title: Grief Positivity | overlaid on image of the full moon (Miranda Hernandez)

Grief Positivity

Adrian's Elephant

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Before Adrian died, I knew very little about death or grief. In my mind, grief was like it was portrayed on tv—sudden and intense, but gone by the end of the funeral. This of course is not true.

This page is a compilation of my progression of thoughts about grief. You will see my thoughts are tentative in the beginning, and more developed today. If you asked me for a summary, I would say this: grief isn’t shameful, or limited, or merely a passage; it simply exists, in whatever form and space it needs.

 

Dahlia flowers at St Katharines’s Parmoor, Buckinghamshire, England (Miranda Hernandez)

What Happens When a Type A Personality Grieves

When a Type A personality grieves, at some point grief becomes her job. She finds old focus and determination. She reads books and attacks her grief with her previous energy.

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Bench in California (Miranda Hernandez)

Things I Didn’t Get to Say

People said some (mostly unintentionally) hurtful and insensitive things after the death of my child. This is what I wish I’d said in response.

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Sign found on sidewalk

Signs

I fight against happiness. I think that if I let myself smile, I will lose sight of my grief. I will lose him. Again.

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Title: My Personal Experience with Grief | overlaid on an image of Miranda in Kaua'i (Luna Kai Photography)

29 Jan 2018 – Grief

I used to think that grief was this sad time that followed the death of someone you loved. I never imagined it was really this new layer, this new identity. I never imagined the loss I was grieving would include the loss and rebirth of me.

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Title: Grief is a Mother, Too | overlaid on an image of Miranda and Elephant on the coast at sunset (Synch Media)

2 Feb 2018 – Grief is a Mother, Too

Death has never been my friend. The necessity of her existence is no more comfort than my own. I don’t hate her, but I look at her the way she looks at Disease. We are all harbingers. We all bring Pain.

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A seagull over the Pacific Ocean - Feature

9 Feb 2018 – No

Nobody tells you that stillbirth is a possibility. I still remember, even while screaming, that I was thinking about the three other women in that testing room, and how I must have been their shocking introduction to the fact that babies die.

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Lakeside in Incline Village 1 - Feature

13 Feb 2018 – The Condition of My Heart

I write a lot about this concept of numbness. I think that before, I would have described it as a lack of feeling. “I am empty, I am numb.” I realize today it’s something quite different.

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Title: A Letter to My Fellow Bereaved | overlaid on an image of the California coast (Miranda Hernandez)

18 Feb 2018 – I Love You

I want to wish you happiness, but I don’t know if you want that. I didn’t want happiness after the death of my son. It felt disloyal.

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Pinecrest Lake 1 - Feature

26 Feb 2018 – The Nuclear Bomb

I’ve often said that those of us who have experienced tragedy live in a new layer of existence. It’s the thing that defines us now, that marks this transition to this separate world. And I almost said “different” there instead of “separate,” but this is another defining characteristic; because the only thing that is different is each of us. Because we are a world inside of a world, and we are the only ones who know.

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Sunset over the Pacific 1 - Feature

26 Feb 2018 – Nuclear Bomb Part 2

I call it a nuclear bomb. It’s a conversation ender. You meet someone, you’re making good small talk, and then they ask about your family. I will never deny my son. He is a permanent part of me. And so it happens — I tell them, “Yes, I have a child. He died shortly before he was born.” And everything stops. It’s no longer a casual conversation.

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Annual flowers in Assiniboine Park, Winnipeg, Manitoba (Miranda Hernandez)

A letter to my roommate, who puts up with far more than she deserves

Sometimes, I am still a b****. I’m sorry. You don’t deserve it. You don’t deserve any of my anger. You’re just there, sitting closest to me. You shouldn’t have to make any changes.

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Miranda on the California coast (Miranda Hernandez)

28 May 2018 – Planet Miranda

I didn’t ask to live here. I loved Sunshine. I had so many plans. I built my peaceful house there. But my key doesn’t fit.

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Sunset on the California coast (Miranda Hernandez)

2 Jun 2018 – Peace

This year has been hard for me, but it’s been a clean kind of hard. Most people understand grief is a thing. Most people understand pain surrounding death. I don’t think most people understand what happens afterwards.

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Pier in South Lake Tahoe, California

Grief Isn’t a Disease

I am frustrated because of course this isn’t true. I can’t imagine the author has any real knowledge of grief. But these are the things that inform our cultural attitudes.

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Waves on Lake Tahoe, California (Miranda Hernandez)

085 – Fri, Feb 2, 2018, 10:09 PM

If grief were a gesture, it would be hands on my heart, one flat on the other like bad CPR. My heart is still beating, I don’t need this rescue. My soul needs it though. Every part of me needs you. Sometimes, when I’m very still, I still feel you kicking.

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Daisies (Miranda Hernandez)

091 – Sun, Mar 11, 2018, 1:10 PM

I have often examined the symptoms of my grief. It still feels so weird to me. The simplest things now make me cry. I examine those tears under a microscope. I examine everything, all while I’m feeling it.

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Fog on the ocean in Big Sur, California (Miranda Hernandez)

Sometimes I DO want to give up, and you can’t “fix” that

There’s something that bothers me about this common sentiment of “keep going” or “don’t give up”. It’s sometimes used as a means of silencing those with genuinely dark feelings, instead of listening and being a true help. When someone is feeling suicidal, they need more than simple positivity.

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Peruvian lilies in San Juan Capistrano, California (Miranda Hernandez)

115 – Sat, Jun 30, 2018, 1:03 AM

I think one of the strangest things I’ve learned about grief is that it’s expressed in the most unusual ways. Beyond the big moments, easily understood, I’m finding it lives in the details.

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View through the plants on the Haruru Falls trail, Waitanga, New Zealand (Miranda Hernandez)

118 – Fri, Jul 6, 2018, 7:43 PM

I think somehow I felt like I would be healed now, like your birthday would be a healing event. Like I felt about that cruise. I will never be healed.

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Waves on Lake Tahoe, California (Miranda Hernandez)

I Fail at Grief Olympics

What I found most interesting in my interactions with all of them, was the amount of commonality in our experiences. In how much I could identify with experiences I had previously thought were just mine.

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Close-up image of spiky pink flower. Flower ihas both dark pink and light pink petals, and a peach center. The background is blurred. Taken in Assiniboine Park, Winnipeg, Manitoba (Miranda Hernandez)

Why I Choose to Share Photos of My Dead Child on Social Media

Our children are not shameful. They are beautiful, real people. In my opinion, the only shame comes from the perception that they should hidden away. I will never stop sharing photos of my deceased child, simply because he IS my child.

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Miranda and Adrian's Elephant

Perspective

We are all living in uncertainty. We are all scared. We are all doing the very best we can. And you have every right to your feelings, even if they seem silly.

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Adrian's Elephant and a flower arrangement from his birthday (Miranda Hernandez)

Adrian’s First Birthday

Although I had a funeral for Adrian, I also wanted to do something special to celebrate his life on what would have been his first birthday. I wanted something not so much focused on grief, but more on his impact; a type of celebration. I had already decided to build this website, and so it seemed natural to have a party and document both its launch and my son’s short but beautiful life.

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Purple and white flowers on a green stalk (Miranda Hernandez)

Questions to Ask When Interviewing a Therapist after the Loss of a Child

Few therapists specialize in child or grief, but I believe many general therapists can still be a great match. Here are some questions to help you interview.

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Screenshot of Scary Mommy Article "Sharing Pictures Of My Stillborn Son Is Not 'Gross'" with a photo of Adrian and Miranda in the background.

The First Real Byline—Published in Scary Mommy

Two big influencers lost children this year. In the wake of heavy criticism of their public grief, I wrote this piece in defense of sharing photos and talking about our beloved deceased children. Today, that story was published in Scary Mommy.

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Dried wild plants in North Lake Tahoe, California (Miranda Hernandez)

Growing, Evolving…And Also Staying the Same

I am a growing and evolving creature. I am a grieving mother, and I am ALSO so many other things. And this is where I am today–exactly who and where I need to be. And I am both messy and complicated and also uniquely human. And I love being able to accept that and just be okay.⁠

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Miranda wearing her bracelets with an elephant charm.

Life Thoughts from Subscription Boxes

I think if we believe in fate, it can cause us to look at events in a symbolic light, and maybe take things a little more hard when they go wrong. Or maybe try to find meaning in the random tragedies of life. Was Adrian *meant* to die? I can’t believe this. It makes fate sound quite cruel.

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How do you get past losing a baby? You don't.

How Do You Get Past Losing a Baby? (Quora)

The death of my child is an event that lives with me; his absence is palpable; his presence is missing. And this is when I truly began to understand this monster called grief. You ask how one gets past losing a baby, and my answer is still—no. You don’t.

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