A decade

Today
marks 10 years since
Malou Amelia
was born.

Malou Amelia

And 10 years and two days
since she died.

A whole decade.

How did I make it this far
…those of you reading who might
have stumbled upon this blog
deep in the midst of your own, more recent grief may wonder?

I am not sure at times.
Surviving is not always a choice.

Breathing is automatic
and time marches on
thankfully
but also
relentlessly, persistently,
every single day,
leading you out of the darkest days,
even if you don’t see the light yourself
for a very long time.

So in that way
time does help heal.

And what doesn’t kill you
does make you stronger.

At least if you let it.

I was determined to not let it for awhile.

I hated finding any type of “good”
coming out of my daughter’s death.

It was as if I mentally
wanted to raise my middle finger
to a universe that could
so suddenly
remove
a completely
innocent little girl from
this world we know
and
shatter my world, my heart, my innocence
into a million pieces.

I wanted no part in
finding a silver lining
or making the best of it
or accepting there is a reason for everything.

Goodbye Malou 088

But now
I see that what didn’t kill me
did make me stronger
in some ways.
Better, I would even say.
More compassionate, more reflective,
more certain of a God,
more aware of myself.

But it did not come without costs.
It was and is
hard work
plain and simple
to fight my way out of a dark grief,
losing a marriage along the way,
seeing and feeling the worst parts of myself
and deciding
who and what I want to be,
and how I want to live,
to be the best I can be
in honor of my little girl
who never had a chance.

I am not anywhere close to perfect,
I am so far from it,
it is laughable.

But I get up every day,
and try my best.

To be
Patient
Kind
Loving
Rummelig (a Danish word that doesn’t have a good English translation)
Forgiving
Honest
Authentic
Open
Hard-working

All things
I want my children to be.

Everything
Malou
should be,
would be?

Funny how when a person dies,
it is easy to only remember
(or at least only talk about)
the good parts.

It’s as if they turn into
an angel
upon death.

With
Malou Amelia
it is also so easy to do that
because her personality
and the little anecdotes of her life
were never known.

And of course people love to call “sleeping babies”
angels.

Malou and Mommy

But I don’t care if it is true or not,
it feels true to me.

She is the epitome of innocence
and yet also a
soft, spiritual presence in my life
representing only goodness and faith.

I miss her every single day.

Even though I never really “knew” her.

There has not been a day that has gone by
in the past 10 years
where I have not thought about her.

Sometimes it is fleeting,
other times it is deep and heavy.

But she is a huge part of me,
that I often carry alone
because no one can see her or feel her inside me
like I do.


To mark
Malou’s
10th birthday

and 10 years of living
without her

I designed a gold ring
using her birthstone, an emerald,
surrounded by small diamonds,
with her name and birthdate
engraved inside.

RingĀ (It only fits on my pinkie now that I am 8 months pregnant šŸ˜‰

It is meant to be a
a beautiful, visible reminder to
myself of my little girl

and

a conversation-starter,
so I have a reason to speak of her,

and

I hope an heirloom some day
for my grandchildren and great-grandchildren
to remember her as well.

I love the few pieces of heirloom jewelry
I have from family who died long before me
because
I feel I bring them with me into the future
and ensure they are never forgotten.

That is of course
my biggest wish:

That no one ever forgets
Malou Amelia,
whose heart beat in 2007 and 2008.

She was here,
she was alive,
and she was loved.

So a couple of simple bouquets of flowers
a lit candle
Danish flags (a birthday tradition)
some tears
and also two small boys
who about broke my heart
in their innocent way of asking (excitedly, happily),

“Mommy, I want to be buried right next to Malou when I die, ok?!”

Boys with flags

Boys

And suddenly
the day is here and gone.

One decade down.

10 years living without her.

But it’s her birthday, too!

So Happy Birthday to my darling firstborn and my only daughter.Ā 
You are loved every single day
and I wait patiently for the time that we will see each other again.
I hope you are safe and happy and at peace.


As you can see,
I am pregnant with
Malou’s 3rd little brother,
due just 12 days before
Malou
was due.

3 of us

I have never been pregnant on
Malou Amelia’s
birthday before.

And it is quite emotional
to be following almost exactly the same
milestones as when I was pregnant with her.

So today we enter unknown territory,
passing all of the days seared into my mind
that are associated with
Malou.

Her birthday.
The last day I saw her.
Her funeral.
Her burial.

I hope and pray this little boy
makes it to our world safely
and that somehow
there is a meaning to his due date,
to nudge me forward even more on this path of healing and acceptance
by restoring days associated with sadness
to days of hope and joy (10 years later).

Just as
Nohi Oliver
did when he was born on the day
Malou
died (4 years later).

Just as
Liam Johannes
did when he was born and brought
true joy back into my life
for the first time (2 years later).

My precious third son is such
an active little boy
reassuring me constantly
with his big kicks.

Telling me in his own way,
he is strong,
he will make it,
giving me hope enough
to live through the fear.

Carrying new life is
something I can never take for granted.

I am so lucky.

A mama of four.

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Published in: on May 28, 2018 at 13:49  Comments (1)  

9 years old

I never wrote a blog post on
Malou’s
9th birthday in 2017.

Not sure why
as I sure did think about it.

So now on the eve of her 10th birthday,
I am uploading some pictures from that special day
last year.

On May 28, 2017,
Liam, Nohi and their dad Tom
and I all went to her gravesite
and had a picnic.

With two boys
ages 5 and 7
so there was not a lot of time
for reflection or tears. šŸ˜‰

And that’s ok.

There is a season for everything,
and right now,
the season is a busy, rambunctious house
raising small boys.

And I am so very grateful for that.

But they know
Malou.

They speak of
Malou.

They believe she is
somewhere we will see her again.

They wish she was here
at times.

They say they
miss her.

But I think they miss the idea of her.

A big sister.

I miss that for them too.

Happy Birthday, to the littlest big sister in the world.Ā 

 

 

Published in: on May 27, 2018 at 20:29  Comments (3)  

8 years old

I am sitting down on my couch
to write this post
not knowing where it will take me.

It’s been so long since I have regularly blogged
but something keeps pulling me back
to write
on
my baby girl’s
birthday.

Today marks 8 years.

Eight years.

It is starting to feel like a long time ago.

Malou Amelia
lives with me every day
so she feels close to me
but the raw emotion
and the feeling
of losing her feels like it happened a long time ago.

And I guess it did.

Today
is the first time her
birthday
has felt like a day to remember
What Happened
rather than
a Birthday.

I can see that in how I wrote this post…

I haven’t even written
Happy Birthday, My Darling Girl!

Somehow
I don’t think she minds.
It hasĀ never been about the day she died (May 26th)
or the day she was bornĀ (May 28th)
or the day of her funeral (June 7th)
or the day we buried her (July 4th)
or the day she was due (July 24th)

but it’s always been about her.
Her beautiful, innocent soul
and
the transformative power
she has had over my life.

It’s about
the intense, all consuming love and pride
I have felt being her mother,
which I have felt since the day I found out I was pregnant with her (November 18th, 2007).

Dates have always meant something to me.
I’m not sure why.

But I know I am entering
the Season of Malou
where she is on my mind
even more
than usual…

No one knows
how much I see her and feel her
in every single part of my life.

I have integrated it into the way I live
so I honestly don’t notice it anymore.

It feels natural to think of her,
and see her beautiful face in myĀ mind
inĀ even the most mundane situations.

I wouldn’t mind sharing with anyone whoĀ asks
but I no longerĀ need to share
the how and why
thatĀ a smell or or a specific street or a type of bird or a song or a glimpse of my sons or niece or nephew
bring me right into a memory of my girl.

Back when I wrote this blog regularly,
I needed to share.
And you were all here listening and holding me up.

I am still so grateful for that.

And now I am continuing on a path
leading me further and further
away from the day I saw
Malou Amelia’s face
but at the same time
I believe with all my heart
also leading to the day
where somehow
I will see her again.

In the meantime
I am trying to live my life
in a way that honors all the
Malou Amelia
taught me:

I try to
*Be compassionate with others and myself*
*Focus on the good and fill my heart with love*
*Let go and forgive the mistakes of others (and myself)*
*Be open and vulnerable*
and always ready to
*Connect with people*

Today
when we visited
Malou’s grave
we walked past a man
planting a tree in a nearby cemetery plot
and had a wonderful conversation.
We connected with him over the love we have
for the people no one else can see.
Over the fact thatĀ love and connection doesn’t die
just because a heart stops beating.

The thing is, though,
I fail.

I fail every day at being the person I would want
Malou Amelia
to see.

My messy, imperfect life
is full of failure and impatience and tears and insecurity and worry.

But messy and imperfect means
my life is also full and thatĀ I am willing to take chances on something new
even if that risks failure.
And my impatience means there are opportunities to learn and forgive,
and my tears mean there is passion and emotion,
and my insecurity and worry means I am always
trying to to do best.

I feel this blog post coming to an end
and yet I am not sure
if I have said what I want to say.

That’s a change.
Usually this blog
as helped me process things
and every post
has led me somewhere I needed to go.

Maybe that means today
– 8 years out –
I am beginning to find full peace and acceptance
in what has happened
and therefore
I have less of a need to process things as such.

I am not sure.

But I am sure
Malou Amelia
was meant to be my daughter.
And I wish more than anything our life
turned out differently
and she was here with us
and I woudn’t have to answer Liam’s questions
“But why did she die?”
over and over…
because there is no good answer.

And when there is no good answer,
an inquisitive little boy will keep asking the question
trying to make sense of it.

Someday
he too
will come to the conclusion
that there is no sense in it
but there is still

beauty
and
value
and
worth
and
love
in the short life
that was his sister’s.

Happy 8th birthday, my darling girl!
My entire heart is filled with love for you, now and forever. I hope you are safe and happy and content and completely surrounded by
peaceĀ and love.

Published in: on May 28, 2016 at 22:02  Leave a Comment  

7 years down

7 years ago

Malou Amelia

was born.

I remember back then

getting to know of people who had survived

the stillbirth of their child

and not being able to imagine

myself

so far out.

I couldn’t see that time would march on

and life would go on

and joy would return.

It just wasn’t comprehensible.

And now here I am.

I have survived.

My daughter died.

I lost two small babies-in-the-making.

I birthed two healthy boys.

I lost my marriage.

I found love again.

What do they say?

What doesn’t kills you, makes you stronger?

I don’t love cliches

but there is a bit of truth I think in this one.

Some things you want to kill you

but they don’t.

Some things you don’t want to learn from

but you do.

Sometimes you want life to move faster

to escape the pain

– or move backwards

to find happiness again.

But life just keeps going on

at its same steady pace.

We have no choice.

Our only choice is to keep

waking up

&

breathing

and slowly but surely

the amazing spirit of life

pushes us on

and with some luck

life becomes good again.

I wish that for all of my fellow babyloss mamas

and all of the people I know right now

who are living through their own

tragedies.

We all have them.

Some of us luck out a little more than others

but none of us can deny that

Life is hard.

It has its trials.

It ends.

But it can also be

so so sweet.

One of the sweetest blessings in my life

is my daughter.

Happy birthday, to my beautiful, silent daughter. I hope you are looking down from somewhere peaceful and you see how many people in this world love you. I can’t wait to see you some day, but wait I will. 7 years down…I promise I will live each year until I see you with joy and love and adventure and I will take you along in my heart wherever I go until we meet again.

Published in: on May 28, 2015 at 09:00  Comments (3)  

A guest post by Malou’s daddy

To my baby Malou and your loving mom,

I am writing for the first time in six years to tell a littleof my story. Maybe some think it is too late? Maybe it’s a terrible mistake? I hope not.

I do this because it is first now that I have almost finished reading through what your mom wrote on this blog. I am so sorry that I could not be there for here the way she needed it when we lost you. I tried to in my own way. But i see clearly now that I did not manage to do it the way she was crying out for.

Six years have passed since we lost you. I am not anywhere near over the loss i still feel. Not only did I lose you, I also think today I somehow lost your mom from the day you died. I havenā€™t finished the whole story yet that your mom put out there to the whole world. I just canā€™t get through it. Because every time I read parts of it, I start to cry and i cannot stop. It just hurts so much and I also feel so guilty for not being able to read it when it first was posted. Still so many years later, the pain your mom went through was, and is, just too hard for me to read about because I saw it in her every single day for years. And I just couldnā€™t handle it. Please please forgive me for not doing it the right way.

At that time I felt I did the right thing. I somehow managed to block out my own sadness and pain in losing you. My first child. My only daughter. I did not do it on purpose. I did it because I was so afraid, so scared, to lose someone else that I also loved deeply. Your mom. I did say many times to her that it would get better one day. That time would heal. But it was a terrible mistake at that time. I did get angry because I felt helpless. I did not ask for help. I just got more and more frustrated and bitter to see your mom suffering so much.

I did too! Blame myself for losing you. I still do even today. I know I was the reason we had such a hard time getting pregnant. So I still canā€™t stop thinking it was part of the reason you did not manage to live in this world.

I cannot believe six years have passed being without you. I miss you. But I am also so grateful for having two wonderful boys, your brothers Liam and Nohi. Thank you, Stephanie.

Why am I writing this? Because it is coming back to me now. The time where I tried to block the pain out. Things also changed in my life that does I have to look at myself in a different way.

Maybe I too need a closure to let go of the past? To not feel guilty anymore. To cry out to the world. To let people know a little about where your dad has been and still is in all this. I am also in a place now where I need forgiveness from you and your mom. I am so so sad. I also hope writing it out there will somehow help me get through this hard time. Just like it helped your mom.

With love,

Daddy

Published in: on May 28, 2014 at 08:00  Comments (3)  

5 years

Happy 5th Birthday,

Malou Amelia!

I am writing thisĀ in
the wee hours
of the morning of May 26th,
the day you died.

But as I mentioned last year,
it is also the day your second brother was born.

This is a good day.

Nohi Oliver is a sweet, cuddly, mellow little guy
with the most amazing smile.
He loves his big brother Liam so much it’s crazy,
and I know he loves you too.

So I don’t know why I have been up for hours,
or what propelled me to check your blog,
but when I did and started crying,
I realized the date
and that I needed to write to you.

5 years old
seems like a big deal.

A nice round number.

If we lived in the US,
you would be starting kindergarten
in the fall.

Kindergarten!
Imagine!

I do imagine.
Not always,
but sometimes.
Usually,
you remain my baby girl.
But I always know how old you
“should” be.

Although as the years pass,
I let go more and more of the
“should haves.”

It helps that I know
your life
is not over.

You live in me,
in your dad,
in your brothers,
and in the thoughts
and memories
and good deeds
of many many other people.

You were alive.
You are real.
You are beautiful.
You are precious.

I will love you forever.

You are love perfected.

Darling girl,
We have had quite the year.
You would have loved it.
We are just back from 5 months of travel,
visiting your aunt and uncle
and new cousin Annabelle
in Panama
for two months
and then your American family
in Washington
for three months.

It was an amazing trip,
but somehow I think you know that.

You were never out of my thoughts,
and your name was written in the sand
of the Pacific and the Caribbean,
and I found heart-shaped stones
even when I wasn’t looking.

I miss you so much,
still,
but I know you are here.
There.
Everywhere.

There was a time
that I thought I could never leave
your grave.

5 months away would have been
unimaginable.

But now I feel at peace,
knowing that
yes, this is where your ashes are buried,
but your beautiful spirit
is soaring
all over the world
and you are
always
in my heart.

I love you, daughter of mine. Always have and always will. Happy, happy birthday! Love, your mommy

Published in: on May 28, 2013 at 09:01  Comments (8)  

A perfect life

Nothingā€™s perfect.
I know that.
But I canā€™t help but think
of what could have been.

My life could have been perfect.

But who deserves that?
No one really,
certainly not little old me.

But I donā€™t know why
Malou
has to be the one thing missing.

I would give up almost anything else
in exchange for her.

I feel like
if she were here
Life really would be perfect.
She is all that is missing.

And itā€™s not like with other thingsā€¦
I can never get her back.

So I guess I can never have
that life I always dreamed of.

Iā€™m not saying this to get
sympathy
and I donā€™t mean to convey
this with any sense of self-pity
because I donā€™t feel that.

I know I am so very lucky
in a lot of ways.

But I feel sadness and
such an intense longing
for my daughter
and I feel sorry that
sheĀ never got the chance
to breathe in this wonderful world of ours.

I donā€™t know why
she got short-changed.

On this new yearā€™s eve
I am making
my cousin Emilyā€™s
yummy chocolate chip cookies
while Liam is napping outside
and
I am looking forward
to a great party tonight
with family and friendsā€¦

but yet I am sad.

Because
Malou
is missing.

She should be here
helping me stir the batter.

I can see it so clearly.

The life I should be leading.

Iā€™m so sorry you are not here, Malou, as we usher in another new year without you. I feel like I let you down even though I did everything I could to protect you. I find some comfort in thinking that your short life was perfect. You only felt warmth and contentment and you spread more joy in your short life than most people do in a lifetime.
We miss you so much and we will be thinking of you when the fireworks go off at midnight tonightā€¦you continue to light up our world, baby girl.

Published in: on December 31, 2010 at 15:19  Comments (4)  

Memories & Ideas

Thank you so very much to everyone who commented on last week’s posts, especially Memories and Ideas. You can click on the links here, or scroll down, if you want to share your own memories about the day you found out Malou died, or if you have any ideas about how to celebrate her 1st birthday on May 28th. I read every comment, even if it is to an older post, and your ideas mean a lot to me.Ā Thank you!

Published in: on April 15, 2009 at 18:45  Leave a Comment  

Blog Updates

Aside from my Wednesday post below,
here are a few new items this week.

Check out my new Resources page
and feel free
to add your own suggestions and comments.
I will be updating this as well.

I have also added a few more things
to my 30 Things page
andĀ updated with my progress
(but I still need to come up with some more).

Finally
don’t be surprised if the
the format and background
of this blog
changes in the near future.
(I am experimenting)

Thanks for reading!

Published in: on January 14, 2009 at 19:06  Leave a Comment  

Wednesday Posts

Just a quick mention
that thereĀ are a lot ofĀ posts today-

Scroll down to read
all four.

I tend to write them throughout the week,
that’s why the tone
can be vary from
post to post.

And then I just publish them all on
Wednesdays.

Thanks for reading!

Published in: on November 19, 2008 at 15:59  Leave a Comment