Sunday, August 23, 2009

Byodo- In Temple

While I was on Oahu we visited the beautiful Byodo-In Temple in the Valley of the Temples. It was built in the 1960's to commemorate the arrival of the first Japanese immigrant workers in Hawaii. It is a replica of the 950 year old Byodoin Temple outside of Kyoto, Japan. If it looks familiar to you maybe that is because it was used in an episode of Lost.

This gorgeous temple is so peaceful (until the groundskeepers start up the leaf blowers, lol) and I'm very glad I had the opportunity to visit. There are koi, black swans, and this really cool bell to ring before you enter the temple. It is said that ringing this bell brings happiness, blessings and a long life. It was funny to me because a little boy was hanging on the post ringing and ringing the bell- afterwards he told his dad "I'm going to be so so lucky!"

And in the gardens there are these plaques to put the names of loved ones. I saw a baby 'Angel', another one with the same symbol that may be a child "Haruko Mirai" and then Jamil Ma'ema'e Dubie who's plaque said "Kealani Aloha A Me 1999 “Unborn gone without a cry We mourn but go with God now In the Arms of the Angels and ?” I tried and tried to see what the last word was but it was covered by that flower and I didn't want to step in the landscaping. I THINK the last word was 'fly'.

Anyone lucky enough to get to Hawaii should stop in and visit this beautiful, peaceful spot.

Say It With Flowers

Look at this lovely lovely site!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Scrapbooking Your Baby

I'm back! Did you miss me?

I had a great trip, and have several ideas for posts I'll be blogging the next week or so. But top priority is something I need your help with.

I had an email from a woman who is working on a scrapbook for her little nephew, Adam. She asks " I was wondering what I could do to tell his story with out being drab. He only lived 3 hours so I'm having trouble putting what I want to say into words that would honor is short life."

Any ideas for her?

My first thoughts are to document stories such as the emotions in finding out they were pregnant, how the family was told, and the love and caring expressed. Also using quotes and poems. Maybe asking others to write letters to include or send photos of Adam's name written.

I'd love to hear your ideas. How have you scrapbooked or journaled your baby's story?

Thanks so much!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

I'm off to visit my sister. Can I help that she lives in Hawaii? ;0) Wish me luck- I believe there is a hurricane headed that way.

I'll be back August 21. Take care of each other.

Is it just me or does this photo make us look like Siamese twins? lol

Friday, August 7, 2009

Lessons from Grief and Pain

"My grief and pain are mine. I have earned them. They are part of me. Only in feeling them do I open myself to the lessons they can teach."
-Anne Wildon Schaef

At first the pain was overwhelming. And then there came a time when the pain started to fade. And I MISSED IT. Because it felt to me that forgetting my pain meant I was forgetting my boy.

After a long while, I was able to step back from the initial grief and pain and it instead turned to tenderness towards my boy. And pride that I am chosen to be his mom.

I do think losing Gabriel taught me a lot. Patience. An appreciation for how much my parents love me. An unbefore-seen tender side of my husband. The fact that I'm a lot stronger than I ever suspected.

And mostly, a reminder to just lighten up about all the small stuff. In a flash, I was reminded of what is important. Family. Love. Our Health.

Has your grief and pain taught you any lessons?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

BP/USA: Signs from our Babies

I went to an interesting workshop called "Signs for Grief Relief". I thought it was going to be about how to tell if you are healing; instead it was about how to be sensitive to receiving signs from our children. It was presented by Sara Jessie Ruble, a grieving mom, Danine Florina, who has a background of working in hospice, and Jane Bissler, a clinical counselor.

They stated that our kids are always trying to get our attention- they want to communicate with us and we need to be open to it. They stated that 'seeing is believing, and believing is seeing' and you get to choose if you see signs or not.

To encourage signs, they suggest writing them down (including dreams and impressions), be aware of roadblocks such as grief emotions, and chaos. They stated that other people may doubt, but you need to trust.

What do you think of this? I am not sure where I stand. I'd like to hear your ideas and I'm respectful of both sides- those of us who believe in signs and those of us who don't.

I don't want to think that Gabriel is spending a significant part of his energy trying to get my attention. And yet there have been a time or two when something happens that makes me smile and wonder if my boy is saying "hi".

They are holding a spirituality workshop in Chicago in October- you can get more info here

Sunday, August 2, 2009

BP/USA What Helps the Most

A few weeks ago I presented a workshop at the Bereaved Parents of the USA Conference in NYC. One workshop I attended was called "What Helps the Most" by Elaine Stillwell. Her son Denis and daughter Peggy were killed in a car accident.

I think this is a very helpful list. I'm also interested to hear why YOU think has helped you the most.

Funeral service (a ritual of saying goodbye and remembering)
Loving support (friends, family and faith)
Talking (telling our story, sharing our child)
Books (wisdom from those who have walked before us)
Expressing your feelings
Sacred Space (place and time to meditate and ponder)
A Spouse who respects your way of grieving
Notes and cards (saying 'I care')
Giving your anger a voice
The love of a pet
response from the clergy
discuss feelings with spouse and family
visiting the cemetary
yoga, treadmill, walking
give yourself a present (tell yourself it is from your child)
support group
planting a garden
watching the growth of an amaryllis (or other flower)
planning a memorial
quilt making
welcoming their friends
establishing a scholarship
new routines and traditions (new ways to celebrate holidays, new friends)
doing crazy things (license plate with their name, give angels to everyone)
stay in the present as much as possible