Sunday, October 18, 2015

Project Heal: Capture Your Grief: Seasons and Symbols

In an effort to ease my hurting heart this Fall, I am participating in Project Heal: Capture Your Grief . It's a photography/storytelling project to honor the babies we've lost.

Day 18: Seasons and Symbols 

When I lived in Chicago, I used to have a hard time with Spring, because that's when I lost her. The day she died, it was bright and sunny, and I remember thinking "That's not how this should be. It should be storming and horrible outside" because that's how I felt inside. Instead, I left the hospital to find bright sunshine and blue skies.
I think every spring thereafter that we lived in Chicago, I had a hard time. I couldn't walk down certain ways from the hospital to either where our apartment was or to my Mom and Dad's. I couldn't walk past certain houses, or even see the flowers that were in their flower gardens. I was relieved when we moved to the next town over and I could always find a shortcut (or a longcut) to get to where I needed to go that would not take me past any of those "bad" places.
I have a hard time in the Fall, too. They take everything out of the cemetery there. All the decorations, all of the flowers. It's just leaves and grass, and after a while everything starts to look...well, dead. And it's a reminder...and I just don't deal with that well.
One summer, I was at the cemetery with Ella...I think maybe she was 3. It was early evening and she said, "Mom! Look at all the dragonflies." And there they were. Dragonflies everywhere. The air was thick with them.
Someone once said to me that they had heard a legend where the dragonflies were the souls of babies and children, and I drew a lot of comfort from that.
Dragonflies have always been my Riley symbol. They never fail to make me smile. They're not afraid of me, and I'm not afraid of them...and I'm not even a big fan of insects/bugs/crawly things. I've been known to scream if an inchworm drops down on me. But, a dragonfly can sit on my hand and it just makes me so calm.
This summer, Gabe thought one of our cats had swatted at this dragonfly on our deck. I went outside and picked it up. It stayed on my hand long enough for me to take tons of photos and to walk it across the street to the wetlands. I saw it fly away into the evening sky. Dragonflies remind me that every moment is precious...every moment I had with Riley was precious, and the moments now where I think of her are precious as well.

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