Title: People & Relationships | overlaid on image of bench in Winnipeg, British Columbia (Miranda Hernandez)

Special Topics: People & Relationships

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Loss and grief carry unfortunate side effects into other aspects of our lives, particularly with relationships. Some friends and loved ones come closer, while some become more distant or disappear entirely. Some relationships end up permanently changed. All of this is hard. These secondary losses are another heavy layer to our grief.

Posts here describe or discuss various aspects of changed relationships and my changed ability to work within relationships after loss. As a single mother by choice, some posts here also deal with dating. And while my first step in the dating world as a bereaved single mom ended pretty disastrously, it is still worth documenting.

 

018 – Sun, Jul 9, 2017 at 1:32 PM

I think your Aunt Alexis worries about me. I worry about me. I am going through the motions, but inside I feel helpless. It wasn’t supposed to be this way.

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027 – Mon, Aug 14, 2017 at 12:15 PM

I look out the door of our cabin and think how easy it would be. I could just jump. It scares me.

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032 – Mon, Sep 18, 2017 at 9:24 PM

There’s a place apart from suicide. A place where you don’t think to cause yourself harm, but neither do you have reason to live.

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Hiking the Sleeping Giant Trail, Kapaa, Kaua'i, Hawai'i

3 Feb 2018 – The Kindest Thing

I am probably one of those ghosting stories that people complain about on social media. I am probably that person who just disappeared, and people are wondering, “What happened? What did I do wrong?”

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Tree branch in California - Feature

5 Feb 2018 – Akhilandeshvari

I don’t find comfort in the thought of a higher power. It doesn’t do anything for me. But I do find comfort in the fact that other people have also been broken…and they survived it. Which brings me to Akhilandeshvari, goddess of never not being broken.

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Palm trees over the Pacific Ocean - Feature

7 Feb 2018 – Beauty

This instinct for planning is painful to me. The best parts of my future are still achingly incomplete. I didn’t find him here because I carried him with me. I carry him and the world and the world is so heavy.

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Keālia Beach 1 - Feature

8 Feb 2018 – Prickly

Sometimes I need comfort, and I lash out instead. I am not your typical victim. I am so very angry.

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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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Miranda on the Pacific Coast 2 - Feature

10 Feb 2018 – This is How I Feel About Life

You asked me to this party, but you don’t want my casserole. It’s too heavy; it’s filling. It doesn’t fit your theme.

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Sunset over Arizona - Feature

12 Feb 2018 – Hard Things

Because I think love includes talking about hard things. Because I think love includes telling someone, “When you fall on hard times, I am here for you. When things go terribly wrong, I won’t run away.”

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Lakeside in Incline Village 3

14 Feb 2018 – I love you. Please.

There was a time when I was broken. (I’m still broken). There was a time when I struggled to get out of bed. (I still struggle to get out of bed). There was a time when all of this was so much harder / more immediate. There was a time when I needed help with almost everything. But not all things. I still remembered how to eat and go to the bathroom. I still knew how to put on my own clothes.

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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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Incline Village, North Lake Tahoe - Feature

20 Feb 2018 – Time

I feel unusual in the way that I’ve been counting. I’ve never kept elaborate timelines. My cousin’s wife reminded me when 30 days had passed. I was visiting, and her words took the breath out of me. It always feels like yesterday.

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A Letter to My Belly (Write Your Grief) | overlaid on image of Miranda making a heart on her belly (Synch Media)

24 Feb 2018 – A Letter to My Belly

You sheltered him for nine months. You expanded with him, kept him safe. I watched you grow stretch marks, tiger stripes. I talked to him through you. I never thought to say thank you.

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Sleeping Giant Trail 1 - Feature

25 Feb 2018 – That Day

I hate talking about these memories, because everyone is quick to tell me that it wasn’t my fault. Screw that! I don’t care about fault. I want to share my story. I want to remember the last week of my son’s life. I want to share these things that complicate how I feel about his death. I want to remember that this experience wasn’t entirely sunshine and roses. I want to remember what was real.

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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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Sunset over the California desert, with highway signs in the distance (Miranda Hernandez)

1 Feb 2018 – Photos

In the black-and-white photos, he looks like he’s sleeping. Photos are difficult; they don’t tell the whole story.

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Pier in Paihia, New Zealand

A Letter to My Mental Health Coordinator

I don’t actually fault you for forgetting. I know you see a lot of people. I was a little impressed you remembered my name. But when you present yourself as a safe person, you need to actually be one.

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Why Getting Pregnant Easily Isn’t a Gift

Statistics are funny. I really wish someone would do a study on the chances for real, taking into account the multiple factors that contribute to fertility. I still don’t know if I’m an anomaly, or if I just got lucky. I don’t feel lucky.

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View of the beach in Monterey Bay, California

Pleasant Surprise

I didn’t start this website to be inspirational. I don’t think I have the market on stories of tragedy, or redemption. I wonder, sometimes, if my combative and rebellious nature is even useful. I still carry so much anger.

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Understanding

When a grieving person tells you a comment is unhelpful, absorb it. Learn and ask questions on what you could say differently. We aren’t trying to shame you; we are only trying to educate. We know you don’t intend to be hurtful, and we want to show you a better way.

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Trail in Pinnacles National Park, California (Miranda Hernandez)

Not Okay

The Miranda from a year ago is dead. She died with Adrian. And that needs to be okay. It needs to be okay that I am a different person, that the things that used to make me happy are now different. Permanently.

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Pier, Paihia, New Zealand (Miranda Hernandez)

042 – Mon, Oct 2, 2017, 6:14 PM

Someone asked if I was “better” today. I don’t think she meant it to be hurtful, but I can’t fathom what she means.

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Stream, North Lake Tahoe, California (Miranda Hernandez)

046 – Sun, Oct 15, 2017, 8:09 PM

I am thankful for new connections. I am thankful to remember that all you ever knew was love. 

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Empty bench, California (Miranda Hernandez)

058 – Tue, Nov 14, 2017, 7:10 PM

Read more

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Sunset in California (Miranda Hernandez)

060 – Fri, Nov 17, 2017, 8:02 PM

I’m awake now, and I hate it. But what I hate almost as much are the expectations on me. I eat and I sleep and I put on my uniform and people assume that because I do these things, I must be okay.

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Iceplant on the California coast (Miranda Hernandez)

080 – Sat, Jan 20, 2018, 4:09 PM

I live in constant fear of the person I would become if I ever chose to live without you. I’m not capable of living without you. 

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Bike path in California (Miranda Hernandez)

098 – Thu, Apr 29, 2018, 8:58 PM

I started school this month. It’s been intense, learning to live again inside rules and structure. I can’t get up and walk away when I need to be alone with you.

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Draft email (Miranda Hernandez)

Two Birthdays

Almost three years ago, we both were pregnant. I didn’t realize at the time how closely we aligned. I think I thought about saying something then, but I didn’t. No excuses this time. And then your son was born, and my son died. 

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Found art of the California coast (Miranda Hernandez)

From one mother to another: A letter to the pregnant mother from one who is bereaved

The shock wears off, and we keep talking. You ask for details, or maybe you don’t. You start thinking. And now you are afraid for your child.

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Flowers at St Katharines's Parmoor, Buckinghamshire, England (Miranda Hernandez)

My experience as a pseudo-rainbow baby

My parents never talked to us about their losses, and I blame their generations. (Publicly) holding onto grief was something that wasn’t done. And so this grief was whispered, held tightly under cover, impacts erased before they could be explored. But these erasers only took away the surface.

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Limp hand holding a cell phone

26 Mar 2019 – The Worst Thing that Never Happened

This is quite possibly the darkest thing I’ve ever written. Please note that the following screenshots are simulated tweets. This is the timeline of an event that never happened.

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Cherry blossoms in Victoria, British Columbia (Miranda Hernandez)

Dear Pregnant Woman in My Office

Dear pregnant woman in my office – people are starting to get excited. They threw you a baby shower, and things are starting to feel very familiar. I wish I could explain why I’ve started to dislike you. I wish there were some logic beyond jealously and pain. 

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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

Every person you meet is going through something. Maybe their spouse left them. Maybe they’re dying of cancer. Or maybe it’s “just” that they have a really bad cold and they’re out of sick leave and they had to come to work anyway and life really sucks today. It honestly doesn’t matter, because whatever it is, it’s real.

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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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Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, Big Sur, California (Miranda Hernandez)

22 May 2018 – I only write to ghosts. You must be one of them.

You were more than pain. You swept into my life and your presence promised happiness. And I hated that, because happiness wasn’t something I wanted to know. And I hate it more now, standing here, awake and oh so lonely. And this pain isn’t comforting. And this new life feels broken.

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Seagulls on the California coast (Miranda Hernandez)

27 May 2018 – Fairytales

I should know better. Because life is not a fairytale. I should know better, because you’re a person, just like me. And I realize I put the weight of my expectations on something that was only fleeting. And now it’s too heavy. I’m sorry it got heavy.

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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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Miranda on the California coast (Synch Media)

21 Jun 2018 – The After

After he died, after that scream, I shattered. It wasn’t that time flowed differently. It was a completely different life.

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A Letter from the In-Between (Write Your Grief) | overlaid on image of Miranda staring off into the distance (Synch Media)

28 Jul 2018 – A Letter from the In-Between

I’m not actively suicidal, but I’m realizing this is the beginning. This is the in-between stage; this is where it starts.

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Matthiola flowers on the California coast (Miranda Hernandez)

26 Sep 2018 – Dear Grace

You are turning one next week, and I feel jealous. You are turning one, and my son won’t be here to send you a sloppy scribbled birthday card. You are turning one, and I am aching, and I realize that I miss your mother. I miss her, but I’m still not ready to be friends.

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Bench on the shore of Lake Michigan, Chicago (Miranda Hernandez)

The bluntness I wish I could share where it’s needed

I’m rarely this blunt but it’s been a week and I’m feeling so raw. F*** you. You are my friends and family, and you act like he never existed. He’s my first born. I will always be heartbroken.

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Tree limbs over a pond (Miranda Hernandez)

Awareness Isn’t Enough – Preventing Suicide Starts with Understanding

If you had asked me three years ago, I would have said suicide was cowardly. I didn’t understand, then, how quickly life can change, or how little we control. I don’t believe suicide is ever an answer, but I better understand the complexities behind the issue now.

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The words we use matter.

The Words We Use Matter

I think we are all familiar with the golden rule, but one of the most powerful things I have ever heard was to follow the platinum rule: treat people how THEY prefer to be treated.⁠ The words we use matter. And if you can’t say something kind, or supportive, maybe don’t say anything, at all.

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Sharing about my deceased child doesn't mean that I'm stuck or broken or even that I am actively hurting. It simply means I am a parent.

These are MY Words – Plagiarism in the Child Loss Community

I was scrolling through Instagram yesterday, and I came across a quote that really resonated. And then I realized–It was mine. And it was posted on a public account, using MY font, but not my Instagram handle. They even got rid of my elephant. And man–that’s not cool.

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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

People get excited when they find out you’re pregnant. It is a constant topic of conversation…Until your child dies. And one of the things that hurts me most in the After is when people don’t want to hear about or see photos of my child. This story is part of my effort to make it more normalized.

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Heavy waves on a sunny day on the shores of North Lake Tahoe (Miranda Hernandez)

Scripts for Bereaved Parents

When I was new in my grief, there were a number of situations where people said or did something and I wanted to respond, but I just didn’t have the words. Now that I am further out, I have put together a set of potential scripts to use in these situations.

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18 March 2021 – What I Wish You Knew

There’s something about the echoing emptiness, waking up in the morning and he’s not there. How I wish you had come in then, crawled into bed with me and just held me. How I wish you had shown me it was okay to fall apart…And then how I wish you had left again.

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19 March 2021 – Where I Live Now

I was tagged in a post the other day. An expectant parent had unexpectedly lost her child, and a mutual friend wanted to connect us. But then I was reading through the other comments on the post, and I found one that said, “someday this won’t hurt so bad,” and to be honest, I wanted to scream.

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26 March 2021 – Landscape

I remember being angry when people tried to cheer me up in those early days. I didn’t know much about grief then, but I was quickly learning. I could tell, already, this wasn’t how it worked. You don’t comfort someone’s grief by denying it exists. Is it so hard to understand this?

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View from the top of Waimea Canyon, mountains covered in fog, Kaua'i, Hawai'i (Luna Kai Photography)

What Would You Rather Not Know? (Quora)

I realize, when I look back at these moments with pain, that the thing I wanted least to know, was the true value behind the relationships that seemed valuable to me. Because it wasn’t what I thought it to be. And that kind of knowledge is quite hard. The death of my son taught me who people in my life really were, and that is knowledge I would rather not know.

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27 March 2021 – Community

I was weird before Adrian died, and then after his death I realized I was more weird. I don’t believe in a higher power. I don’t worship or pray or seek meaning. And in places here, like in Megan’s world, I think I find like minds. But sometimes not entirely. And sometimes not at all outside this world.

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30 March 2021 – Subsumed Grief

I met Liam only months before Adrian’s first birthday. We were thrown together by circumstances, and I was still only focusing on the things right in front of me—eat, sleep, breathe. I was taking steps into the world, but they were tiny. And it was literally weeks before I noticed Liam was noticing me. And he still had to finally, bluntly come right out and say it.

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Notes for the Bereaved - It is not your job to make other people feel comfortable.

It’s not your job to make other people feel comfortable

People are going to feel uncomfortable about death and grief…It’s not your job to comfort people who become discomfited by hearing your story. That’s on them.

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Collections of Posts on Special Topics

Title: Thoughts on Natural Birth | overlaid on image of Miranda's maternity photo with Adrian (Modern Lux Photography)
Title: Pregnancy After Loss | overlaid on image of Miranda's belly and Adrian's footprints (Two Little Starfish Photography)
Title: Postpartum Body After Loss | overlaid on image of Miranda's belly in Waimea Canyon, Kaua'i (Luna Kai Photography)
Title: People & Relationships | overlaid on image of bench in Winnipeg, British Columbia (Miranda Hernandez)
Title: Parenting After Loss | overlaid on image of Peanut's hands and Adrian's elephant (Miranda Hernandez)
Title: Mental Health After Loss | overlaid on image of Miranda and Adrian's elephant on the California coast (Synch Media)
Title: Guilt, Fault, & Blame | overlaid on image of fountain in San Francisco (Miranda Hernandez)
Title: Grieving Without God | overlaid on image of Miranda on the California coast (Synch Media)
Title: Grief Positivity | overlaid on image of the full moon (Miranda Hernandez)
Title: Grief Olympics or Comparing Grief | overlaid on image of sunset over Lake Tahoe (Miranda Hernandez)
Title: Financial Matters After Loss | overlaid on image of waterlilies (Miranda Hernandez)
Title: Death Positivity | overlaid on image of sunset over Kaua'i, Hawai'i (Miranda Hernandez)
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