Amazed. By Grace. The 7 Gifts of My Daughter’s 32-Minute Life.

 

March 6.

1992.

The day my only daughter was born.

And died.

My baby would be twenty years old tomorrow. I imagine we would be going to lunch. Shopping. I’d buy her stuff. And hear about her school, her friends, some annoying boy.

Instead, I’m here with you.

Because on that rainy Friday twenty years ago, my beautiful little baby girl was born. Too soon. And died, 32-minutes later.

Here were her entire life possessions: one seashell, that the nurse used to hold the baptismal water while we waited for her to die. One baby blanket. I have it somewhere. It has a couple of flecks of blood on it. And one angel pin. That the nurse pinned to the blanket before she took her to the morgue.

That was it. Not even a diaper.

The death of a child brings unspeakable sorrow. It’s an “out of order” loss; wrong on so many levels.

One of the things that was really difficult to overcome was this – I was really suffering with the idea that the only people who ever met Grace were the staff at the labor room and the morgue.

I shared this sadness with a very wise man and he said this, “Jennifer, don’t you see? Grace’s eternity is that YOU ARE CHANGED FOREVER. And everyone you meet and everything you do will be different because YOUR LIFE was touched by Grace.

GRACE LIVES ON, JENNIFER, THROUGH YOU!

 

And so it is.

My whole life changed because of Grace. And because I made a decision. Any my decision was this – “I am going to find a way to make it matter that Grace was here.” And so I set out to learn everything there was to know about loss, bereavement, recovery, and legacy.

Grace is not getting a birthday party this year. There is no cake. No shopping. No lunch. And no gifts.

Well not for her anyway. But there are her Gifts. To me. And through me, to you.

And so, on the eve of my daughter’s 20th birthday, I share with you some of the Gifts of Grace.

 

Gift #1. Life isn’t fair. Or, often, personal. Grace’s death wasn’t personal. The universe wasn’t punishing me. She was simply born too soon for her lungs to work properly. When you choose to take hardship personally, you get all caught up in esteem issues, and blame issues, and justice issues. And those things make healing impossible, because they are the fertile ground of resentment and bitterness. Life — your big beautiful life — just IS. Don’t look for trouble. When trouble comes, don’t add to it by making yourself a victim.

 

Gift #2. You can take actions. But you can’t control outcomes. I’ve always been a planner. My father died of alcoholism when I was 11. I had my first strategic plan when I was 9. In my childlike mind, I decided that planning brought order to chaos. Grace’s death pointed out a key fallacy in my strategy. I could plan. I could even take right action. But the results of all that were outside of my control. Therefore, results are none of my business. Only Right Action is. So keep your Magical Magnifying Mind focused on the stuff that will count. Right Action.

 

Gift #3. When pain comes to you, you have one decision to make. You either get bitter. Or you get better. Which path you choose determines the legacy you leave.

 

Gift #4. Fear is not strategic. It’s pointless. Here’s why – if you decide that, no matter what, you are going to “get better” when tragedy strikes, then you can apply your Right Actions to finding the solution. No matter what happens to you in life, SOMEONE SOMEWHERE has survived that thing. Therefore, right now, you can claim fearlessness for the rest of your life if you just make this one commitment: No matter what comes, you will seek out healing by studying the work of those who have healed before. You will copy their work. And you will find your way up and out.

 

Gift #5. Love and Loss are the dualities of the same life experience. When you choose to love, you choose sorrow when love changes. Loss, sadness, bereavement, the depths of these are the measures of your capacity to love. You can’t have one without the other. Embrace both.

 

Gift #6. Sorrow digs a well for joy. Suffering digs into your heart. Your soul. It trenches through your psyche and leaves a harrowing and hollowing place for the next part of life. Remember, you either get bitter or better. So what fills that well is up to you. Choose love. Your sorrow expands your capacity and appreciation for love. You will love deeper. And more fearlessly, as a result of the hard work you do after loss.

 

Gift #7. Wisdom. It really used to pain me when people complimented me on my “wisdom” after Grace died. It felt like the “spiritual booby prize.” I wanted my daughter. Not the kick ass inner knowing that came in the space where she should have been.

 

But guess what, buttercup? I didn’t get that choice.

And so I make the most of what options I DO HAVE. And one option that I have is to make Grace’s life matter by sharing my wisdom with you.

I wish I had more.

Nope, that’s a lie.

I don’t wish I had “more.” I wish I had OTHER. I wish I had a twenty-year old daughter to spend time with.

And honestly, on days like today, the sorrow is still so incredibly deep.

So, I’m spending it with you with the hope that, if I help you, I honor her.

Blessed be. Namaste. With Grace.

Love, Grace’s mom.

Phtoto:  Flickr, Pink Sherbet

 

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Comments from the LAT Wisdom Circle

95 Responses to Amazed. By Grace. The 7 Gifts of My Daughter’s 32-Minute Life.

  1. Kathleen says:

    Deep thanks for your honoring of Grace. It has made my journey easier today. Kathleen

  2. My first grandchild, Jace, was stillborn at 8 months. No problems before that, no warning anything was wrong. A blood clot developed in the umbilical cord, just big enough to cut off his oxygen. One day my daughter told me she hadn’t felt him move and the next we were standing in a room full of midwives, nurses, and one ultrasound specialist. The room was horribly quiet while the specialist tried so hard to hear a heartbeat and finally put his instruments down and shook his head. He was born two days later, fully and perfectly formed and looking just like the rest of us, just not breathing. We had a small graveside service and the one thing I remember the priest say was, “When you count your children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, cousins, nieces and nephews, count Jace in.” I love that and try to remember it. I have a granddaughter now and when people ask me if she is my first, I say yes. I say yes because I don’t want to share that story with just anyone, but Jace is ours and will always be with us.” Bless you and your mission to make Grace’s time here count.

    • Jennifer says:

      Dearest beautiful Kim, I’m so sorry for your loss. I imagine Jace and Grace together. Because it makes me happy to think so. And it doesn’t matter one whit if I’m right or not. Love, Jennifer

    • Patti Winker says:

      When people ask me how many sisters I have, I always say “four.” I don’t need to say that one of my sisters is no longer living. She is still my sister. I understand fully.

  3. Jill says:

    Thank you for this! My Ethan would have been 20 this past June 3,2011 and he also taught me so much and changed my life forever! He was on this planet for 1 1/2 days and born full term.

    Peace and blessings,
    Jill

  4. Maureen says:

    You have offered your wisdom with such compassion and clarity. Love hurts, love heals. Thank you for sharing your “Amazing Grace” with us. Maureen

  5. Shawn says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. I so admire you for your ability to write about this and try to share with us some truths that can help us in life.

  6. Anne-Marie says:

    Thanks Jennifer for sharing this story. And here’s the Grace and the many gifts that she left you and, by extension us, through this touching, moving piece.

  7. Lori says:

    A humble thank you. My son’s 14th birthday was yesterday, and all day I was trying to think of how to express the multitude of emotions I am filled with each year. He was born with cerebral palsy- the euphamism his doctors used (that still grates on me) is “unexpected outcome”. Your list of gifts helped me to put words around our experience. Yes, there are days that I wish for “other”, but mostly I know that I am deeply blessed. Thank you for allowing us to join you in the journey! You not only honor your beloved daughter, but your own beautiful spirit <3

    • Jennifer says:

      Oh, I can so relate to the euphamisms. The ones they used for Grace are so unspeakable I’m not going to share them here in this space. Blessings to you and happy birthday to your son.

  8. helen says:

    dear jennifer

    thanks for sharing – i am feeling for you
    sending all my love and hugs

    helen xxx

  9. Karen says:

    My very belated, but deepest, condolances to you Jennifer, for your loss. We all need to be reminded of the seven things you so eloquently stated here. Very moving!

  10. Catstiny says:

    Thanks you divide your pain with us. God blesses you.

  11. Julie says:

    Tomorrow I will celebrate. I will celebrate the gifts the “blog” has given me and I will celebrate Grace ~ we all have Grace. Sometimes it’s just hard to find.

  12. Laurie says:

    Happy Birthday Grace! Who is still in the hearts and minds of many! I am sorry that you had to leave this physical world so soon. If it weren’t for you, I probably wouldn’t know your wonderful mother and I want to thank you for that. Watch over her and help keep her safe.

  13. Patty D says:

    Some of our greatest gifts are sent to us through our deepest sorrows. Thank you for sharing your beautiful gifts from/of Grace and your sorrow with us. May you also feel our universal embrace of love and support in your sorrow.
    love’n'light,
    Patty

  14. Kate Britt says:

    Thank you, Jennifer, for sharing your 7 gifts of amazing Grace, for they are now our gifts from you as well. We can all do honor to both her and you by learning from these gifts. The duality of love and loss is the gift that touched me most today.

    I’ll be thinking about you and Grace tomorrow.

  15. Great post, Jennifer. It’s the many things we learn from loss (as is true from failure) that we may never discern when things are copacetic (or successful). We have to come to terms with why this happened- not that we know all the reasons, but that we can classify the knowledge and use it in some other fashion.
    Thanks for making 3/6/92 (a new moon, to boot)- and it’s anniversaries- a reason to learn and reflect.

  16. Melanie says:

    A beautiful, eloquent post and your list is a wise one. I’ve had a recent loss, my dad, and I find that I have gone on a grief/bereavement reading binge. It does help me to get advice from others who have experienced similar feelings. Thank you — it took bravery to write this, but you have helped others by doing it.

    • Jennifer says:

      I’m sorry for your loss, Melanie. You are wise to seek the counsel of those who have found a way out of suffering. I’ll keep you and your family in my prayers. J

  17. Shauna says:

    “And everyone you meet and everything you do will be different because YOUR LIFE was touched by Grace.”

    I hope that this brings you some sense of peace and comfort in this anniversary season. Wishing you as many blessings and comforts as your heart can hold.

  18. Jenny says:

    Lovely post Jennifer. Of course Grace will live on forever through you & that’s all that matters, but thank you for sharing her with us. I find that I look at look at life much differently since my brother died, and it has taught me so much. Most importantly: life is precious & should never be taken for granted.

    Peace,
    jen

  19. Sandie says:

    Jennifer,
    46 years ago my spouse lost his first baby girl, Angela, 2 hours after she was born….when her lungs didn’t form. He lives with the pain. Sadly, he also lives with guilt. And depression.
    Maybe, if I share the Gifts of Grace with him, it will help some. It has already helped me just reading of Grace, and of her gifts to you. To us.
    If we to be a community, then perhaps we can all think collectively…now…and send loving thoughts and warm hearts your way on this thoughtful day. I know I am.

    • Jennifer says:

      Dearest Sandie, Thank you for writing. I’m glad he has you to hold heart space for him. And Angela. (little angel). Much love, Jennifer

  20. I’m sorry for your loss, but the wisdom you’ve learned and shared is incredible. I especially like your point “…you either get bitter or better…” I’ve never heard that turn of phrase before.

    This post was a blessing – thanks so much for sharing. You may want to check out a similar post I wrote about the eulogy I delivered for my dad. Here’s the link -> http://bit.ly/xlvr7J.

    Thanks again for the insight and perspective.

    • Jennifer says:

      Beyond gorgeous. I’m sorry for your loss. And so jealous. I would have wanted to say those things about my father, too. I’m glad that you paid attention, dearest Tor. You honor him well. Love, Jennifer

  21. You turkey, you got me crying again! I have told you before that words escape me when I want to tell you how sorry I am that you lost Grace… sending lots of hugs, and love and light to you today my friend!

  22. Caron says:

    Chelsea would have been 20 on November 26 of this year. And the 25th anniversary of Ben’s life/death (he was stillborn) will be on the summer solstice. Some years I think of the dates they were born or that they died and some years I don’t. I have integrated loss into my life — not in terms of feeling sorry for myself, but in terms of understanding how people deal with adversity. My pain is nothing new when it comes to losing children. My horror was small compared to, say, the horror of the Holocaust. Have you ever seen 19th century memento mori photographs? They were photographs of people, oftentimes children, after they died. In order for their families to remember them they would have their photographs made. I have Polaroids of my Ben that the hospital took and gave to me. I said I didn’t want photographs at first. The nurses did them anyway. I’m glad they did. I photographed Chelsea myself.

    I don’t think too much about about my children that died, but they are with me all the time because their deaths profoundly affected me. I made choices in my life that I probably wouldn’t have made had they survived. I became a braver person because they died. I don’t wish for them back because I understand it was a part of the scheme of things (or so I console myself) in terms of how life was meant to play itself out for me. I have two healthy strong children even though the survival rate of my kids has only been 50%. I’ve made up for it with insanely quick labors.

    Yes, there is a wisdom that comes from experiencing horror. I have felt it. I have often said that my goal in life is to become a wise old woman. Currently I am a wise middle-aged woman. You know when people say “I can’t imagine what it would be to lose a child?” Well, they can imagine it, they just don’t want to. I can understand that. There’s a certain poignancy that comes with being a mother of dead children. I don’t wish it on anyone, but in a way, in terms of self-understanding and self-growth, it was a blessing. It not only kicked my ass, but it also kicked me in the ass to really see what life could present to me if I just went for it. It’s been a long time since my kids died. For a long time I felt empowered by their deaths because there is nothing so bad as losing a child. My path deviated from my example. My mother married at 18. I married at 18. My parents got a house. I got a house. My parents had children. I had children. But my parents never lost a child. I was in no-woman’s land. I was forced to consciously think about what my life ought to be as it now became my own and not a mirror image of my parents’ lives.

    Most often we change because we are forced to change. Why change when things are running smoothly? For a long time I relied on the power given to me by my dead children to travel my own path and to take chances. Over the years I feel that power has waned to a degree. Now, I see myself deeply desiring change and to surpass fear. Life is quickly passing. I know I am meant for a path that transcends the status quo. I still want to do more with my life, but I feel that I am standing in my own way sometimes. I feel things changing, though.

    • Jennifer says:

      And so it is. I’m so sorry for your losses. I’m so proud that you claimed your wisdom. What’s the point of leaving that on the table afterward? Love, Jennifer

  23. Tina says:

    A quote from my daughter’s caringbridge website that was written about 18 months after she died. She was 8 months old. Today I feel your piercing grief and pray for that quite peace and joy. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself to help and heal others. You are very gracious indeed.

    “There are so many ridiculous ideas associated with grieving that you may have bought into but it is only through experience that you realize how much of it is bunk. Stages of grief? Baloney. The idea of a twelve step program that ends with moving on, starting over, getting over . . . these are horrible, guilt ridden, insulting ideas, ideas that really have no place in grieving. How can you measure a path of grief? Who can tell you where you “should” be on that path? I would subscribe more to Barbara Colorosso’s ideas that there is “piercing grief”, there is “intense sorrow” and there is a “sadness that shares space with a quiet joy and a gentle peace”. We can feel any or all of these on any particular day, yesterday, today and again ten years from now. In the beginning there is “piercing grief”, unbelief. That “quiet joy and gentle peace” are not even on the radar. On any given day our memories or an experience may bring back that “piercing grief” with all the horrific clarity of the day that Anika died but it is somewhat easier to live with for that moment with the newer realization that “quiet joy and gentle peace” are also a part of life. Permission to carry that grief and allow it to somehow live alongside joy and peace helps to alleviate the intense guilt that comes with simply living.”

    xoxoxo

    • Caron says:

      Tina,
      Your response reminded me that I had a clear memory the other night of my daughter in the ICU that came out of nowhere that affected me and it’s been 17 years since she died.

    • Jennifer says:

      Hi, Tina. I’m sorry for your loss. I can say that, 20 years later, the “piercing grief” is rarely part of my experience. However, when it does come, like yesterday, it feels very powerful indeed. I’m blessing you and your family today. Love, Jennifer

    • Patti Winker says:

      Piercing grief does live alongside incredible joy. It is what it is. Not a blessing. Not a curse. It just is. So well written. Thank you Tina and everyone.

  24. Louise (from Thelma & Louise) says:

    Thank you for sharing Grace and her gifts with us today. You will be in my thoughts and prayers.
    I have been a healthcare worker for over twenty years and have seen people just like you go through tremendous loss. Unfortunately, I only get to be there during the crisis. I have always said a prayer during these occasions for those involved to have the strength to get through the days ahead.
    You have given me hope!
    Thank you and take care.

    • Jennifer says:

      It would be so hard to only see the beginning of the grief cycle. Bless you for the love that you bring to so many! Jennifer

  25. Monica Diaz says:

    Dear Grace’s MOM,

    You have filled me with Grace today as well. It had been a good day. And still, it has gotten better by your touching me with your words, your heart, your wisdom! Thank you.

    Monica from Mexico

    • Jennifer says:

      Oh my goodness I love you generous heart, Monica from Mexico. Thank you for your kind and loving soul. J

  26. Cheryl R says:

    God bless you, Jennifer. And God bless all of you who have had similar experiences. Sometimes we think we are the only people who have gone through a particular grief, and it’s always surprising and validating to find ourselves not alone.

    Jennifer, the photo gave me chills. You move me.

    • Jennifer says:

      I’m so glad you wrote because I totally spaced and forgot to put the photo credit in. I’m going back to do that now. I love her stuff. She is Pink Sherbet and I get all my photos from the Creative Commons area of Flickr.

      And I agree, it is lovely and haunting. It’s a little weird, but when I looked at it again, she even looks a bit like me. And I love the “behind the veil” symbolism.

      Jennifer

  27. Caron says:

    Along the same lines … someone just posted this on facebook …

    “Someone I loved once gave me
    a box full of darkness.

    It took me years to understand
    that this, too, was a gift.”

    ~Mary Oliver
    The Uses of Sorrow

    • Jennifer says:

      perfect.

    • Tina says:

      I had to share your quote as well. Thank you for sharing it and your memories Caron. A reminder that I have a lifetime to embrace and grow from our grief. Slow and steady on our path.

      • Jennifer says:

        Hi, beautiful Tina. You are right. You have all the time you need. But you may need less than you think. I am sending every healing love angel I can your way.

        Jennifer

  28. Jeanette says:

    Good Morning Jennifer,

    I had to wait to respond to your post. First, it humbled me (I was having a rough week over nothing); but more, it opened a well of emotional gratitude to you and these amazing women, whose hearts opened here, as well . Every response, a testament to resilience. Not only do I have a better feel for what makes your writing speak so intimately to me (a gift of huge proportions, in and of itself) but your generosity in this particular post gave me a deeper understanding of my own mother, whom I love fiercely. Strange segue on the surface, I know, however, this is the gist: I am the youngest of 10, the first 5 of which were carried to term (or near…I think my oldest sister was delivered at 8 months), and 1 sister and 2 brothers died within minutes or hours of birth; she delivered my other brother and sister, stillborn. All were held, named and baptised. I have never understood how she and my dad had the courage, the…what? Faith?…to keep going, much less try again and again. Yet, here I am, one of 5 living, healthy, and adoring children.

    She and I have talked a great deal about the elder 5; how she and my father coped, the pain and horror of some of those deliveries; the isolation, the devotion. To this day, she is clear-eyed and certain of each child’s purpose. Your post gave me a deeper insight into why that is so. I have always been a benefactor of my parents’ unrelenting Faith; your post underscores the enormity of my legacy…oh my God, thank you!

    With affection,
    J

    • Jennifer says:

      Your parents sound like remarkable people. How lovely that you honor them this way — by sharing their story of loss and triumph with us. Jennifer

      • Jeanette says:

        Honoring…yes, I hope so…and beyond that, a deeply personal gratitude for your consistent expression of life’s conundrums…change is inevitable; loss is part of life and change; better over bitter. When I mis-carried at 41, I felt like I had lost my chance, but my Mom’s story carried me through… and then there are the life-altering accounts by women like you and those here, which help me see and accept that it is all a part of the same flow. And as my flow dries up, a prayer that in some way, I have given the gifts I believed mine to give, have helped a child, my stepsons in ways I do not yet see.

        I often use the term Grace in my wanderings about purpose…now, no longer a term, but a person; still ever, a soul who is a gift, a spirit of love and divine light. You are a gift, Jennifer. Your Grace, a divine light. thank you.

  29. Jeanette says:

    What I meant to say, over and above all-thank you for sharing your Grace. You were each given someone so very special to hold. That her spirit is so strong is felt even by this stranger. Peace and love to you through Grace and your boys.

  30. Caron says:

    I like how this discussion isn’t about dwelling on grief as a form of personal identity. I guess in a way grief has attributed to our identity, but it isn’t something we are relying on to get attention. I have seen that happen and it stymies personal growth. There seems to be a lot of strong women here in terms of accepting what has happened and moving forward with the knowledge of loss. Oftentimes it seems that the first time most people are faced with loss is when their parents die. Perhaps when children die we are given the chance to understand the value of life earlier than most people. Wisdom in terms of really valuing life has come to knock on our door. It’s up to us to open it. The biggest thing I got from this understanding is the value of an experiential life. Action makes a difference — to do something in the direction of who I want to become at any given moment.

  31. Such beauty and love in that post. So sorry for your loss on so many levels. Thank you for sharing and honoring who you have become and why. Much love.

    • Jennifer says:

      Thank you, Martha. You are such a love to write in. I am so happy that Grace’s story touched your heart. Love, Jennifer

  32. kathleen says:

    thank you

  33. Our church posted this on our Facebook page.

    Thank you for the ‘Grace’ in sharing your story. You helped me remember what a blessing my 2 teenage daughters and one Granddaughter truly are.

    Here is the closing prayer used during the Lent on d365.org. The last two lines are for you.

    Go now with the assurance
    That God has you in mind;
    God values you and
    Knows your potential.
    Live this day knowing
    That God has something for you;
    God is making a difference
    Through you.

    P.S. Love the name of your blog.

    • Jennifer says:

      Wow. Thank you so much for sharing this with me. As Grace’s mother, I am BEYOND thrilled and humbled that her story helps others. Could you send me the link to your church’s Facebook page, please?? Blessings, J

  34. Julie D. says:

    Jennifer, this was incredibly moving, heartfelt and so so true. The open-hearted will apply your brilliant wisdom to whatever uncontrollable tragedies befall them, and they will heal. Or they won’t. Either way, you have touched us all with your story and your perspective. Thank you so much. I’m going to share this with a few friends who need it today.

    Much love to you,
    Julie

  35. Patti Winker says:

    “SOMEONE SOMEWHERE has survived that thing”

    Dear Grace’s Mom,

    Yes. All the wisdom borne of loss is so much crap. Would we trade all that wisdom for having our loved one back? In a flash. I have not lost a daughter; I lost a sister and I watched my mother live through that. She was someone somewhere who survived that thing. I thought it would have killed her, and all of us, at the time. But, we lived and we learned. Would I trade my wisdom for my sister’s life? Yes. But, I have no choice, as you know. It is what it is. The unholy hell of grief takes its toll. Then we live, and years go by. And we want that time back with the person we lost. Thank you for sharing your grief here. A popular notion is that spirits aren’t released to go to heaven until our unfinished business is finished. It never is. Accept that and pay homage to the souls lost. You have paid homage to Grace.

    Peace and Love,
    Patti

  36. Lisa Leslie says:

    I can’t identify with you as a mother of a lost child, however, I am the oldest of two children that my mom had. My brother was stillborn at 8 months along when I was almost 3 years old, the day before my mom’s birthday. Not my idea of a great present to give. My mother had toxemia and was left with high blood pressure for the rest of her life. I always wondered what he would be like, what he would be doing – if we would get along, etc. But I never got that chance to find out. I do know that God has a plan and I think that plan was to make me the most independent I can be. This made me use my imagination and just push myself to places I never thought possible. To take life for a grain of salt when rough times are upon us, because He will handle those times and will bless us later. One of your other blogs, mentioned a God box. I SO love that idea. So inspirational.

    One of the ladies commented that the nurse photographed her baby. I think that is so crucial to the grieving process. They did not take one of my brother, they did not let my mom hold him or see him because he was ‘blue’. It leaves so many questions without that knowledge. I think that is why to this day, when I lose a loved one, I must attend their wake – not because I want to, but because it instills a ‘photo’ in my memory to remind me that they are in heaven now. And that is because I don’t have a ‘photo’ to prove that my brother is gone. Just a tombstone. My parents and family have memories of the funeral services. I was too little and who knows, I may not have even been there. I certainly could not blame my parents, they needed to take that time to grieve. I used to imagine that it was all a scam, that he was alive, but was such a beautiful baby that the nurse pronounced him dead and took him home with her and he became someone spectacular, changing lives.

    Thank you for sharing your Grace with us. This reminds me that he was spectacular and he most certainly changed lives – he changed mine. <3
    Lisa

  37. Diana Fredenburg says:

    Jennifer, As I look back to when I first met you when Clark was in kindergarten, I remember you talking about Grace. You were still grieving, but I remember thinking how strong you were and the unimaginable pain of loosing a child of any age must be. As I look back on watching the boys grow and our paths crossing over the years, because of you I feel like I knew Grace. We have all been touched by your Grace, through you!
    Hugs and blessings.

  38. Lisa says:

    I want to thank you soo much for sharing your story and your daughter w/me. I would like to think she and my son are friends. Zachary was 33 days old when he passed on March 4,1992. My husband(Jeff) and I went on to have 3 daughters. Just after our twins turned 2, Jeff passed away. I have struggled and sometimes not done very well but devoted the last almost 15 yrs to raising our daughters. I have done it alone.
    I have been looking at me life recently as I prepare for the twins to go off to college, I am afraid. I don’t know who I am or what I enjoy. I have no purpose after this. I have become so isolated. Physically and emotionally.
    In the last few days I have come across several websites that really speak to me. This is the top of the list. I think God is orchestrating coincidences again.
    I will continue to read and learn from you. Thank you for sharing your wisdom w/me.

    Lisa

    • Jennifer says:

      Oh, beautiful Lisa. I’m so sorry for your losses. I HOPE that you signed up for updates so you can get a copy of our eRetreat, “Reclaim the Sass.” It’s a 21-day gentle return to yourself. When I got to a similar place in my journey, it became really important to move slowly, rest, take good care of myself, and begin journaling about what was swirling around in my head. That began the process that led to clarity. And all of that — a year later — led to this blog.

      I want to help if I can. Please stay with us here. Love, Jennifer

  39. Tracey says:

    Dearest Jennifer,

    {{{{BIG HUG}}}}

    When my husband was diagnosed with cancer, one of the first things I did, almost on auto pilot, was to get a small tattoo on the inside of my wrist. It’s the word “Grace” written in my own script, along with the symbol for “infinity.” (Photo is part of a blog post here: http://mosaicmamacreations.blogspot.com/2011/01/two-half-pints-teach-me-big-lesson.html)

    I got it to remind me that even in the worst of times we are surrounded by “infinite grace” – we need only keep our hearts open to experience them.

    Nearly two years later my husband is ok, and moments of grace continue to humble and sustain me through all of life’s ups and downs. And now here I am, on your website where I feel I might possibly have found an online “home” of sorts, and who appears in the centerpiece of this project, but a baby girl named Grace. It feels like genuine, love-propelled magic.

    I am in AWE of you and all you are building here. Thank you. And thanks to all in this Circle who are sharing their wisdom.

    Love,
    Tracey

    • Jennifer says:

      Exquistely, gorgeously BEAUTIFUL. The whole thing. Please tell me you signed up for updates so we can stay in touch. I am all about “infinite Grace.” Actually, I want one, too. Love, J (and prayers for you and your husband.)

  40. Eric says:

    Ok a tad bit strange I ended up here today… but what a blessing.

    Thank you for this wonderful share you’ve done here Jennifer.

    and thank you all for the sharing above.

    Thanks Tracey for sharing your infinite grace tat and story with us. It is so true.

    Grace is always there for us,
    we need only
    open our hearts to receive it.
    and then listen. closely.

    because grace speaks to us
    and sometimes it whispers.
    and I’ve noticed
    the whispers can be hard to hear.

    Peace and health to all!

    • Jennifer says:

      Thank you, love, for taking time to write. I so agree with what you have shared, especially this part: “because grace speaks to us and sometimes it whispers. ”

      We need to carve out time to listen.

      J

  41. anna see says:

    Thank you for sharing Grace with us today. I am on the path of gaining wisdom after the sudden drowning death of my 12 year old son, Jack. It is a path I do not want to be on, but I do remember I am not alone. There is long, long line of women who have walked this road for centuries before me. And, like them, I’m choosing to get up every day and walk- walk -walk- forward.

  42. Kama says:

    So Beautifully written, so meaningful, so full of wisdom and so full of acceptance. You are a gift to all of us who are lucky enough to cross paths with you xx

  43. Diane Standish says:

    why I was brought to this post today I do not know-I only know I took the time to read your beautiful words and all the replies that were written. I have experienced loss in my life-not of children but my mom and dad and my best friend. I don’t know why I was led here today to read this but I am filing it all away in my heart for future reference. What beautiful words you have written-you art certainly filled with “Grace” yourself because you have shared your story with us-and touched us all. Thanks so much-I will be following your blog because I think I am supposed to for some reason, God Bless You Jennifer for the work of healing that you share and for your life! I feel I know you already…

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