Archive: Commonality and community in loss and grief

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Commonality and community in loss and grief

A light gray stuffed elephant nestled between sage-green military boots

Identities

Someone looked at this website the other day and commented that, if you didn’t know better, you wouldn’t know I was in the military. I never intended to keep this a “secret.” Mainly separate. But how much can you separate of your core identities?

It doesn't always have to be a new beginning.

It Doesn’t Always Have to be a NEW Beginning

Sometimes I think we can get caught up in the idea of a new year being a fresh start. We look forward to everything being different on 1 January. But will it be? Are we leaving this pandemic and the rest of our lives behind us? Or do we carry these things with us into each new day?⁠

Close up of a white flower with skinny pointed petals, taken in Victoria, British Columbia (Miranda Hernandez)

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.

Miranda holding Adrian's elephant on the coast in California.

Go, Go, Pause

Do you ever find yourself in a “go go go!” pattern, and then suddenly realize you need a break? This is definitely true for me.⁠ It’s been a great month, and some days I have felt overwhelmed. I’ve also felt pretty darn thankful. You guys are an amazing community. I feel thankful for all of you.⁠

Introducing the Sea Glass Parenting community; a community for parents after the loss of a child.

Introducing the Sea Glass Parenting Community

It’s been commonly noted that the English language doesn’t currently have a word to describe a parent whose child is deceased. ⁠I choose the term, “Sea Glass Parent.” It acknowledges both the Broken and the Beauty in my life. It’s a metaphor, and also a piece of unique beauty on it’s own.⁠

3 Years, 3 Months

3 years, 3 months ago, Adrian was born silent into this world. This year, in my year of outreach, I am shouting his story from the rooftops.

Sea lions on the California coast (Miranda Hernandez)

Child Loss Retreats

If you have the resources, attending a retreat for parents, couples, or families who have lost children may be a valuable way to devote time and space to your child and your grief.

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.

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.

Tree limbs over a pond (Miranda Hernandez)

Awareness Isn’t Enough – Preventing Suicide Starts with Understanding

Three years ago, I would have said suicide was cowardly. I didn’t understand, then, how quickly life can change. Suicide may not be an ideal answer, but I better understand the complexities behind the issue now. Awareness isn’t enough—suicide prevention starts with understanding.

Peanut's feet with Adrian's Elephant (Miranda Hernandez)

First

People sometimes ask me if my daughter is my first child. I needed a simple way to tell them I had a child before her, but he died. When people ask me now, I have a simple response.

Orchid cactus flowers in the gardens at San Juan Bautista

Dear Nature-Based Childbirth Educator

Dear Natural Childbirth Educator, I always considered myself part of the natural community, and this is why I followed you. I read the traditional books, but your words were more comforting. I only wish you would have talked about stillbirth, because until it happened to me, I had no idea.

Sunrise in Kaua'i. Hawai'i (Miranda Hernandez)

Stillbirth and Statistics (Old Version)

1 in 160. That’s the rate of stillbirth in America today. Other countries may be higher or lower, but most hover around similar points. 1 in 160. Less than 1%. Sometimes called “rare.” It’s interesting how we define “rare.”

Bench on the Monterey Bay Coastal Trail

Grieving My Child Without God

One day, someday, I will die. I don’t know what will happen then, and that’s okay with me. I don’t need confirmation or thoughts of reunification. I don’t want to be told my son waits for me in the afterlife.

Bench on the California coast (Miranda Hernandez)

078 – Mon, Jan 15, 2018, 11:32 AM

I think it would be so much easier if I believed as other people believed. It would be so much easier if I could close my eyes and know with certainty that you were listening when I said your name. It would be so nice. But it’s not real.

Hyacinth flowers, Victoria, British Columbia (Miranda Hernandez)

059 – Wed, Nov 15, 2017, 7:52 PM

In one of my earliest conversations, my friend said something along the lines of, “Of course–there’s something so special about children; if you want to be a mother, then go forth and do.”

Lakeside in Incline Village, North Lake Tahoe, Nevada (Miranda Hernandez)

041 – Sat, Sep 30, 2017 at 8:30 PM

One year ago yesterday I drove to the doctor’s office — nervous, excited, and full of such hope. I never expected you to happen so quickly, but I was ready. You were my dream. 

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.

Birds on the Pacific Coast in California - Feature

22 Feb 2018 – Fuck

I wrote a letter to Target a while back. I still find myself walking through the baby aisles, thinking about things I would be buying. Should be buying. I should have a living son.

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.

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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