If you are just joining me, start here for some background on my recent miscarriage:
I don't plan on writing a lot more specifically about this loss, though I know it will come up in lots of cracks and crevices and in other stories. However, I did want to mention a few specific gifts and tangible things that were given to us during this time that were beautiful and simple and meant so very much during the rawest time of our grief.
Like me, I'm sure you have known many friends or family who have experienced this type of loss. It can be hard to know how to navigate, but I would simply say: Please navigate it with them. Say something, or give them a hug if they are huggers. Because I've been in your shoes, I know what it's like to not know what to do or say. Nothing will fix it. Nothing will take away their grief. But showing up in big and small ways will shoulder some of it for them and with them, and it will be the breadcrumbs and breath that lead them back to the Bread of life and that will breathe life back into the valley of dry bones.
That being said, I wanted to share a few specific things that were meaningful to me during this time in case you are wondering what you can do for someone else:
Every trip to the mailbox ended up being sweet balm to my soul as I would receive another note or card from friends-- some very close to me and others who I may not see or talk to for years. Some wrote their own words, others simply signed a sympathy card, and that was enough. It was enough just to receive something that told me they were aware and "in" the grief with me. [Facebook messages were also good, but I'm old fashioned ;)].
I received a couple of different arrangements from friends and family. To put them in my kitchen and living room-- to fill a space with something beautiful-- felt refreshing.
Friends and family sent me a handful of gift cards to my favorite places to eat. They lived out of state, but wanted to "show up" for me in a real and tangible way. Providing a couple meals for my family was very thoughtful, especially during a time that cooking is the last thing on my mind. I wasn't always hungry, but my family had to be fed. And providing me with giftcards to my favorite place [Olive Garden!] insured that I would eat too!
Also, I think an iTunes gift card would be a wonderful gesture as well. I bought an album during this time that someone had pointed me to [Ellie Holcomb's Red Sea Road], and it ministered to me in deep ways.
Similar to the above, but from friends who were near. Not only is grief a good time to show up for people in this way, but I hadn't realized or thought about the physical side of a miscarriage much. But there is pain involved. Sometimes surgery. And not having to be on my feet and making meals was a blessing in so many ways. Plus getting to have people come and drop them off and/or eat them with me was what I needed. I also had a friend just drop off some Oreos, a card, and a box of kleenexes. It was perfect. [You know your friends, some of them may not want people at their house for long, others may want you to pull up a chair. If you don't know which they are, ask. And then leave or sit.]
>Lullaby of Hope box<
A sweet couple that I went to college with send me a "Peace box" from the non profit, Lullaby of Hope. She volunteers for them, and I cannot explain how beautiful this package was. I just sat with it for awhile, looking through all the perfectly thought-through gifts inside. The book that was in the box, "Grieving the Child I Never Knew", has also been wonderful. Please, go to their website and check them out-- they have boxes for miscarriage, infertility, and the loss of an infant.
Lullaby of Hope website HERE
I had a few different friends who gifted me jewelry of some kind and I love these as a way to remember this baby's life.
One friend gave me a beautiful bracelet from The Jones Market.
It came packaged beautifully with a print and, bonus, this jewelry is made to be tugged at and chewed on by children.
Another found this beautiful shop on Esty [MinMac] and gifted me this necklace:
She also sent me this screen shot in a text, and told me it was my necklace in the seller's hand when she wrote that post. Incredible.
I have birthstone rings that I wear for each of the girls, so I wanted to also have this baby's birthstone [due in February]. My sweet online friend, Bonnie, happens to have the perfect shop [Hey June] for what I needed. I ordered one for my mom and my mother in law as well.
I love this necklace and have worn it daily since it came in the mail.
I'm sure most of you have seen Willow Tree figures, and they were such a touching and perfect gift during this time. I was given these two figurines, which were both perfect for this specific loss:
My aunt has made a bear for each of my girls when they were babies. She is insanely talented. I couldn't even tell you the first step at making a bear... buy fur? Regardless, she gave me a bear for this baby, Jordan, as well. Maybe you don't make bears, but there is something thoughtful or meaningful like this that you could do as well? [My aunt does sell these, by the way ;)]
I have probably forgotten something. People were just so good to me. Just check in. Say something. Send something. Show up. Know your friend. Maybe they don't want to talk about it, but your presence could be part of their healing. Maybe they don't want something sitting on their shelf to remind them, but a good meal in their belly will start turning ashes to beauty.
Also, remember. Remember their loss for them. Remember the baby that was but never was but will always be. Just remember. And let them know on the hard days [holidays, mother's day, the due date], that you remember.
Thank you to those of you who were present in this with me. The big and small things, the in between stuff, and the remembering have meant so much.