Grief Journey Q & A, Pt. II
Compiled by Kota Discussion Group

In Honor and Loving Memory of Our Children

Editor's Intro:
Welcome to Part II of our Grief Jouney Q & A. The content here is generated from an online discussion and support group for bereaved parents. The creator of this Grief Journey Q & A is Stephanie Marrotek who posts questions once a day or couple times a week and invites all members of the discussion group to post answers. In addition to answering on the group, some members have elected to share their insights in a more public way through this column. Our hope is that you will find some spark of inspiration or comfort or help here. These words are not offered as prescription for the ways we "should" handle grief. These are just insights into how others are managing day by day after the death of a child.

The Q & A

Question 1: Have you ever had someone tell you that their grief is WORSE? Why did they think that?

Yes, I had a facilitator at a grief support group tell me that everyone else's grief was much worse then mine, because my loss wasn't a real loss in that I never got to 'know' my Son since he was stillborn. Also, a bereaved Mom told me once that her pain was worse, because she had more time with her child then I did. People are so clueless sometimes and just don't understand. If only they could spend a day in my shoes and then tell me if another's grief is worse from the other...would they still feel the same way, I wonder. -Katie I.

Yes, the last town we lived in, we were at a church pot luck and I was talking to this lady who I had learned had had a daughter die. I knew no details, but I figured that loss is loss and that maybe we could be supportive to each other. WRONG I was! Her daughter was 5 and had drowned in their backyard stream.....she told me that my child was not a child and my grief was not real, because I hadn't lived with her for 5 years.....That her daughter was real and live so her grief was so much more. She basically told me that I didn't have a right to grieve because Amanda was stillborn and because she had held and nurtered her daughter for 5 years. I was so angry. So I wrote this poem:

Comparing Grief?

If your child died
when she was 5
and mine before her birth,
does that mean that your grief is more validated,
more deserved?
Your daughter lived and
breathed and laughed.
Mine never got that joy.
So are you more deserving
of sympathy and understanding, than I?
For if this were so,
then another, who's son
died at age 15,
her grief is more and she has more
to cry than you or I.
Do you see
how silly you are?
How uncomparable grief is?
So don't tell me that I have
less of a loss,
don't tell me yours is worse!
My grief is my own
and yours is your own.
Let it be
and don't compare
the value of a life.
By Stephanie Marottek

Writing this poem helped me to feel a bit better, but I wish I would have had the courage to give it to that woman, so she wouldn't continue to hurt other grieving parents! But then if I would have had the courage, I probably would have made her even more bitter.....whatever.....she hurt me alot, and it wasn't right! -Stephanie

Yes.... my aunt who said losing her dog was worse because she got to spend time with her dog, and Nora didn't really exist... gosh I have so many telling me this... -Christine

Good heavens, YES!!! That seems to be one of the first dumb things that people feel compelled to "share"!

For example, when we lost our last baby, and my SIL gave birth to twins 10 weeks premature...(they are now 4 years old and are thriving!) Well, I was told that was soooo much worse than our baby who didn't matter, didn't have a soul (though my SIL's DOG did!), chose to go back to heaven, ETC!!!!

I always hear that it is WORSE to have an older child die...and I cannot judge that, for gratefully we have not experienced that...

It's a sore subject of silent grief, silent sorrow (like to book by Perry-Lynn Moffit), "grief denied" for families who have suffered the loss of a baby....will it ever change??? -Martha


I wasn't told that in those words but I went to a local agency that says it's purpose is to offer grief support to bereaved parents. They conduct and interview before you can attend their groups. After
telling the woman who interviewed me about Raeyn's stillbirth she told me, "we support people who have actually lost a child." I was SOOOOOOO angry. I took out my picture of Raeyn and showed her my perfectly formed beautiful little girl and explained to her that I was in labor for 26 hours with her. I loved her, I gave birth to her and she WAS and will always be my child. She offered no apology or
anything...she sent me on my way.

I did follow up with the center director and was told that the center is run by volunteers and that was the excuse. I was offered the chance to participate in their groups but to this day, I am angered
by that place. How dare they even suggest that my grief or my child for that matter is any different.


Question 2: Lately I feel like I am on an emotional roller-coaster... What do you do to bring peace to your hearts, even momentarily?

I allow myself to take a time out. I try meditation, write in my journal or just close my eyes and lay back and relax all my muscles and clear my mind. Also calling a friend that will listen and understands helps me find some peace. If the weather is nice, and I have some free time, I'll take a drive to the Garden of Angels for some peace. -Katie I.

I was given a teddy bear at the hospital that wears the first outfit that we bought for Raeyn. I'll lie in bed with it, cry if I need to and remind myself that she was "too beautiful for Earth" and that I will see her again. ~Keny, Raeyn's Mommy

I write my poetry, journal, escape to the net to you all, or just lock my self into the bathroom and take a shower and just cry. Walking in the mountains also helps. I make cards with stamps and do crafts. That all helps to calm me! -Stephanie

Eat chocolate. Well, okay, that's the smart-alekie answer. Seriously, sometimes getting outside helps, walk on the pier at low tide, check out the starfish and jelly fish and anemone -- this whole underwater world that is totally oblivious to my personal roller-coaster. Sometimes that gives me a bigger perspective and some peace. If I could ever get back to truly doing good self-care, I know that doing yoga or bellydancing makes me feel very in harmony. But I can't motivate to do those things most of the time, soo... Sometimes watching movies -- but I am selective about it! DVDs like old Hepburn/Tracy films or the Philadelphia Story with Hepburn/Grant -- or Return to Me with Minnie Driver -- or Monsoon Wedding (this is an amazing one -- when the family dances and sings as they henna the bride!!! what I wouldn't give to dance in a group like that!!) -K.-

I try and take a long walk and soak up the sunshine... it feels like its Nora's love just surrounding me with peace. I write in the journal or just go outside and stare at the clouds. -Christine

Journaling helps my heart to heal, just to release it all is a relief! I return to my favorite "grief books", a walk among the flowers, a trip to church, just quiet time... -Martha


Question 3: Right after we lost our child... our bodies went into a form of shock that caused thinking clearly to be slowed down and perhaps not done at all until a few months afterward. Can you think of anything that happened in your period of shock, that you wish that you could do over, now that you are thinking more clearly and are a bit more in control?

I wish I would have dressed her myself. I was so shocked seeing her, I expected a pink healthy chubby looking baby, just sleeping, and seeing her, kinda dark and skinny rocked my world.....When they placed her in my arms, I truely thought that I was holding a chineese baby, her skin was darker and her eyes were just little slits! I then realized that this was the effects of her being dead inside my womb for a week before delivery.....I do wish I would have had the courage to dress her myself. I was so scared that I would break her, or her arms would come off or something. The Dr. had told us before she was delivered that she may come out of me, in pieces! Thank God she didn't, she was whole, but I was very afraid of that! But I wish I would have asked a nurse to help me dress her.
-Stephanie M.

Ouch, this is a sore one! The one thing that I would do after learning about the death of my baby, is to request, no...DEMAND that I have to opportunity to cremate the remains of our dearly beloved babies, no matter WHAT anyone else said! This would allow me a memorial place if we so desired...and I do so yearn for that now. I know so much more now, and thankfully that has helped others in our Share group...but it's too late for us. Being further down the road, enables me to be more of an advocate for bereaved parents, even though no one was there for us. Thanks for letting me get that out...phew! It STILL hurts!!! -Martha

I wish that I did the planning of Charles' funeral a little differently. I wish I had asked more questions and had the clear mind to do so. I wish that I had known it would be okay not to buy an urn through the funeral home. It was so costly, and I felt pressured by them to choose one and buy it during the
planning of his final arrangements.

I wish I had the clear thoughts to find the right words to talk to my Mom instead of hardly talking at all during such a difficult first few weeks and months.

I wish I didn't pressure myself to return to school for final exams the week after my loss just to flunk out of my class that I had an 'A' in up until I took the test. I wish I took more time off from work to grieve privately.

I wish I had remembered my car accident while I was being interrogated rather then spacing it out and not realizing that must have been the cause of the placental abruption until a few days after my loss. I wish I had the right frame of mind to tell the cops to talk to me rather then at me, when they have
some training in compassion.

I wish I had the clear mind to demand to see my Son and hold him in the hospital and demand that I get his foot/hand prints.

I wish I had the clear mind to tell the doctor that assisted me after I gave birth to my stillborn Son to f*k off, after he told me to return to his office in a month for a post partem check up and to be sterilized so this sort of thing doesn't happen again. I wish I had the clear thoughts to tell him to f*k
off, when he told me that he had to leave to deliver twins to a Mom that wants her children, so he'll try and come check on me later if he has the time.

I can go on and on, but then I'd have to write a book on all that went wrong during the early stages of my loss.

Katie I.

This question is so hard for me, I was not there right after she died, nor two weeks after...and then my physical recovery and amount of meds just made everything crazy. If I would have had a choice at anything..... it would have to be the funeral. I was not coherent and on too many meds when the funeral was planned. I was in ICU when they started, Barry and the funeral director... so it was a nothing funeral, nothing special, no music, poems or anything. I was lucky I got to see it at all so I didn't really think about it, until I met so many and learned of their beautiful funerals for their angels. Sometimes I feel guilty, like I should have been able to be there to plan, like Nora got cheated and didn't have a very nice funeral. It was such a quiet funeral with hardly anyone there...I don't know... still so much guilt over this one. -Christine

OMG, there is sooooooo much I would change. I would have had someone show us Losing Layla in the hospital to explain our rights. Or I would somehow magically have known my rights. I would have demanded they drive back to the funeral home and get my son for me. I would have demanded they let my have him for the whole 4 days I was in the hospital. I would have demanded they let us take him home. I would have demanded that we take him to the funeral home. I would have demanded that he be in-arms, not in that fucking casket, for the service. I would have shoved his beautiful little body into the arms of those who now forget that he was real so that their arms would be heavy with his death and they'd have a sensory memory of that. I don't know. Then I have other days when I think, "It was what it was." And I just let it go at that. Woulda, coulda, shoulda never served anyone, so why
do I even to think about it? I don't know. -K.-

What would I do differently? Better question -- what would I do the same?

I wouldn't let my mom and sister pack up all my tiny little girl clothes, my bassinet and my maternity clothes, my baby girl announcements and all the boys things I had deemed "okay" for my little girl.

I wouldn't let my mom and mom-in-law plan the whole funeral and pick out Lily's casket and take her clothes to the funeral home and pick out the flowers and everything else they did.

I would undress her and look at every tiny inch of her body. I would sing to her and tell her about her brothers and her family.

I would have told anyone who said anything I didn't agree with to go to hell.



Question 4: Do you have a set pattern of grieving in your mind? What is it? Have you been able to stick to it?

HaHaHa! This question is hilarious because I remember the "stages" pamphlet they gave us at the hospital and I remember thinking, even then, that I was already off-the-map of the "stages" -- so not only couldn't I give birth correctly, but geeeeeeeezus, I couldn't even grieve properly! I hate that bull. I hate that they still teach it as a way to trying to get 20-something college kids to understand shit that they will never understand. I hate that they still handout stuff like that to bereaved people. I HATE that the woman who created the gawd-damned "stages" has had to defend herself to the teeth because the FACT is that she created those stages for the person who was actually going to die!!!! The reason the last stage was "closure" was because the person would be DEAD!!! Those stages were not written for the bereaved who are left behind, but does anyone listen to the woman now when she says that? NO! Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross has had her work mis-represented for like 3 decades + now -- and the people suffering from the mis-representation? US -- bereaved people who are left behind. It sucks. Anyway, in the end, NO WAY, there is no pattern, I don't follow anything but my own damn drum, and everyone can just deal with that in their own way -- including those who think I "should be over it by now"!! -K.-

Yes, when we first lost Amanda, our pastor gave us a pamphlet entitled The Three Stages of Grief. And it says stage 1 is Surprise and Shock: generally lasts up to the funeral. Stage 2 The extended period of struggle: can last for a long time. And Stage 3: Beginning to stabilize or reconstruction. And I thought to myself, that is PRETTY VAGUE! So I searched for more detailed answers. Another pastor told me there are 5 stages to grieving 1) Denial 2) Anger 3) Blaming 4) Bargaining 5) Acceptance. I was quick to point out to him, that there cannot be a set pattern for grieving, because we are all so individual and unique. For if I were to follow this pattern, I would STILL be stuck on #2, however, I have been thru all the others, in various orders, sometimes several times.

I do not think that there IS a set pattern for Grief. In my opinion, everyone grieves differently and in their own ways....It angers me that people try to put a title on the "stage" I am at, or give me a time table. There is no time table in grief.

So my opinion on that has changed dramatically since our loss, and during the time following. It may even change again. I am a woman, therefore I reserve the right to change my opinion every day if I so choose!

Those stupid, stupid stages.

Someone said to me, you really need to get past the depression and anger, it's not healthy to stay in one stage too long.

I am thinking -- Oh great, so I move through ALL of the depression and anger and I get to do what, exactly? Start bargaining? Accept that Lily's never coming back? Move on with my life and get pregnant again and worry every second that the same thing will happen?

I say, sorry, i don't think it's healthy to listen to you too long -Melanie

This is a difficult question. I don't think there's such a thing as a set pattern. Everyone deals with their grief differently. Some days are better then others. I have my good days with my bad moments and my bad days with my good moments. I just let it flow and allow myself to feel however and whatever I feel at the moment as it comes. I cry, I vent, I smile I feel what I need and want to feel. Charles will forever be a part of me and so will my grief. -Katie I.

Ha!!! "Set pattern of grieving"....yes, I used to feel that way, ten years ago when this whole new way of living/dying began. All I had wanted was "for it to be over" and "to feel better"....and I expected
it immediately!!! If not yesterday! And then I began to learn...from myself...and others around me, but mostly from give into the grief, to allow it to penetrate ever cell of my body...and then some light came. But that did not happen for many months. Sadly to say, with each subsequent loss, I did learn babies have taught me a lot. I remember my husband saying at one point..."I'll give you 18 months"...meaning, that it often took me that long to begin to integrate the loss into the fiber of my motherhood, wifefood, familyhood. Not that after those 18 months would I be "ok", but by then, a lot of the griefwork had begun to take seed. He's very patient, that man! And now he is patient and giving to the utmost in his support of the bereavment outreach. Heaven touched earth when I met him.. .-Martha



Question 5: Who were you the most angry at, when you learned your baby had died?

God... just God. I had prayed the entire pregnancy, then when they couldn't find the heartbeat I began pleading and screaming to God very loudly.... and then they told me she died. I felt God betrayed
me. I know now differently and am working very hard but I was mad at God first. -Christine

-- Myself.


First myself, then the medical staff at the hospital and ob/gyn practice. -N.

I was angry at God. I was angry that He could allow this to happen to us, good people, when there are so many out there who do not deserve their children and they pop them out like nothing. I was angry that He would take away the daughter that I so desperately wanted. I think I am STILL angry at God. -Stephanie

Initially, I wasn't angry at all, but in a state of shock. I didn't even know I was pregnant. When reality set that I wasn't just having a nightmare, I was most angry at myself and at God. Angry at myself for not knowing. And angry with God for not saving my Son from death. -Katie I., Mommy to Charles

Well I was angery at myself and wondering why my body has to do this.. And I had alot of WHYS to ask God.. there are so many of us who want them but can't and there are those who don't want them and get them...UGH!!! ~Sheila~

Hmmm...I was most angry at the God/dess coz I know the MOMENT She took him that night before -- I freaking felt it happen, I swear! I still have issues with Her. Then I was really ticked at my body for being so stupid and incapable. I mean there have been life-long issues with the old body since the days of being like 11 years old and my grandmother starting to tell me that my hips were too fat in one breath, while doing the "eat, eat, I slaved all day cooking" routine. So to then have the old bod fail with my child -- well, you know, that was just that. The bod was officially on the "crap list" and the hatred set in strong. There are parts I've come to terms with about the bod. But the secondary stuff, PCOS, etc. well, I just mostly continue hating bod for it all. Of course if you believe in anything wholistic or energetic, then the "hate" energy is not helping me heal at all --- which I then feel guilty about, etc etc, adnauseum :) -K.-

ANGRY....hmmmm? Don't like that angry phase...denial at its hilt, isn't that? :) Anger scared me within my grief. Guess for starters, with each loss, I just couldn't believe that my body could fail angry at myself. Then once I got really mad enough, I screamed sooooo loud up in my room into my God! And then I was afraid...and thought, how can I be mad at God, He's my best friend...yet who understood me better than He who lost His only Son? From there came anger at my in-law family...and that was a good escape...for it was waranted! Anger....hmmm...still uncomfortable with it! Ugh! -Martha


Question 6: Since we were talking about anger..... I get really angry when...

I get really angry when...
Others do not even try to understand the depth of pain of loss....
Others belittle my grief saying theirs is worse.....
Others try to "cheer" me, sometimes I just need to cry....
I see teen moms pregnant with a child they don't want...
I see an overwhelmed mother of 3 yelling at, slapping or mistreating their babies....
and when I think of how unfair it is that our baby died and others get theirs....

I get really angry when...people tell me to shut up about my loss, it was two years ago, life goes on, people move on. Get on with it, stop loving the dead and love the living. Love your living children, not the dead ones. I get so very angry because that just shows their ignorance and their stupidity...Can you tell this just happened??? -Christine

Well, this is weird, but I get reallyl angry when I do totally work that totally is outside of the field of loss and healing and then people are not appreciative of it. I mean that the outreach I do in the loss and healing field is like "mission" work for me. I do it because I have this *driving* need to do it -- because I remember feeling utterly alone and isloated after my child -- because I know what it is like to laugh again and have people assume it means "I'm over it" whereas bereaved parents understand the complexity of my existance now. But it is not work that "makes the ends meet" as it were. So I do lots of other more "commercial" work that pays the bills, right? Well, in that world, I get totally and completely and utterly pissed off when people there don't appreciate my time, energy, and skills!!!!!!! I get mad because it's bad enough I have to waste any time, energy, and skills on the "commercial" world -- but to do so and have it unappreciated -- oooooooooooooh, I get sooooo mad. I just want to scream at them that there are four more dead babies every hour in the U.S. alone and they have selfishly and unappreciatively taken me away from doing outreach or writing or doing anything to help those bereaved families!!!!!!!!!!! But of course people in the "commercial" world don't get it. One, I don't think any of them really care until it happens to them. Two, I don't think they get how I feel I have to steal time from people in need to service the "commercial" world in order to keep a roof. Maybe I'm totally insane, but that's my latest anger experience.

I do also get really pissed off when someone compares stillbirth to abortion. I realize there can be grief for everyone. But I think abortion is *choosing* to end the pregnancy. Stillbirth happened without the choice of the parent. I just don't understand how the two can be compared. Though I do think there is a grief response for some who chose abortion, too, and I do totally appreciate programs like The Rachel Project for them. But my child was stillborn -- I did NOT choose his death. It just isn't the

I get really angry when...Others complain about spending time with their children and take the family they have with them for granted. I get angry when I can't share Charles as openly with others as I'd like. I get angry when I have to listen to clueless pregnant women talk about how wonderful it is to be pregnant and blah blah blah! -Katie, Charles Mommy

I get really angry when people just don't get it...grief and loss, that is...and I don't usually show it, but normally it comes out in other ways, such as grumpiness or shortness with my immediate know, those wondeful people we love the most, who get most of our garbage. I get really frustrated when after all these years, people just don't get it...grrr! -M.


Question 7: Do you feel you could have prevented your child from dying? Why and how?

Yes, I feel that if I would have went in to the dr. earlier, when I first felt no movement that they could have done an emergency C-section and saved her! -Stephanie

I don't know. Maybe if I knew why Nora died, I would have known how to prevent it. Maybe if I would have not gone to the hospital when I was in premature labor, I would have just had her, she would have been healthy.. she was fine, I was fine. Everything was perfect that day. I should have never let them stop me....maybe she would be here. -Christine

of course, i feel like i could have prevented Lily from dying. i feel like if i would have known that placental abruptions existed then i would have known that bleeding alot wasn't normal, if i would have known that bleeding wasn't normal then i would have called 911 and they would have done an emergency c-section and maybe revived her and she would be here right now. maybe if i wouldn't have worked really hard that day i wouldn't have had the placental abruption. if i would have listened to my doctor and not picked up jake or robbie the couple of weeks before maybe i wouldn't have had a placental abruption. maybe if i wouldn't have taken all the stuff for migraines and nauseau it wouldn't have happened. maybe if i wouldn't have taken a shower before i went to the hospital it wouldn't have happened. maybe, maybe, if, if, if. it's my fault. -Melanie

I often think about the 'what ifs,' but in reality I don't think there could have been anything to prevent Charles death, since it was because of a vehicle accident due to another's negligence. The only thing that could have prevented the placental abruption was to not drive at all that day. But I'm not psychic and had no idea that my life was going to change in an instant. It's amazing how much heartache can occur in a life time from a single moment that occurred in a split second. The day I was driving, I didn't even normally take that route. And just think...'what if'...I had gone the normal way...would he have lived? Would an accident have been prevented? I'll never know. -Katie I., Charles' Mommy

In the very beginning, I had all sorts of reasons why our babies died,for example, from climbing a mountain with a toddler on my back, to the cream I use for my excema, you name it, I took the guilt for it...but as I learned more about pregnancy loss, I came to realize that nothing could have prevented the death of our babies. As my husband always tried to explain to me: "Death is part of life". Don't get me wrong....that still doesn't "fit",'s probably true... -Martha


Question 8: Since the loss of my child, I never forget to...

Hug and kiss and cherish sooooo fiercly my living child, Charlie. I am sooo overprotective of him since her death. -Stephanie

I never forget that life is yet but a moment and not to take things for granted... Because you never know how much time you have... ~Sheila~

Since the loss of my child, I never forget to...remember how quickly life can change in an instant, in a heartbeat, in the silence of an ultrasound screen. -Christine

Connect with women and men who have felt my pain because of their own loss. It is a slight thread back to humanity. It keeps me from hating the entire world. -Melanie

Recognize each person I meet, especially their matter what that loss may be. I have learned that "a person's pain is their pain"... Since I have learned how it feels to be judged and
criticized, I think I have also learned how to accept more lovingly. I am more aware of others....and can cry with them in compassion... -Martha

be thankful for the support I've received. And I never forget to give that same compassionate support to others that have suffered a loss. I never forget to acknowledge how short and precious life is and how fast it can change in an instant. I never forget to cherish every moment. I never forget to say "I
love you" to Charles each night as I lay down to sleep. I know in my heart he can hear me from the heavens above. -Katie I., Charles' Mom


Question 8: I would like to have a dream about you, in my dream we would...

walk hand in hand through a mountain meadow of wildflowers, picking them and running and playing in the beauty. Charlie and you would be perfect angels and smile would say "mommy, I love you." - Stephanie

In my dream we would be rocking and I would just be holding you and loving you, and looking into your eyes. I would watch you play with Corey and Abby all the baby games they yearn to play. We would spend the day together outside and just soak up the sunshine and the love, but mostly I would hold you and tell you I love you. -Christine

Hug, talk and spend every moment together for as long as possible. We would have a birthday party for you with your Grandma. And we'd take a trip to the zoo as I know in my heart you're a true animal lover like your Mama. In my dream we would always be together. -Katie I., Mom to Charles

Actually, I already had the dream a couple times. But I would like to have that dream every night if possible. I am riding on a bus to somewhere. Not stressed about public transport, not in a hurry, the bus is not too crowded but there are people filling the seats. The bus hits a little bump and my arm instinctively wraps about the little one who is standing on the seat next to me, looking out the window. I realize it is Kota, maybe three years old. He's giggling at the bump, taking in the outside world as it passes by the window. With my arm around him, I feel safe. His head is just by my head as he stands there and I can lean in to smell his woody, shampoo-ie, little kid head of hair. It is the best smell I have ever smelled in the whole world in my whole life. And everything is *right* -- everything is in that moment, nothing else matters, there is no past, no future, just *that* moment. And it is *right*.

I cannot have that dream enough times to satisfy myself in this g-dforsaken life while I'm living out my days without my kid. -K-

In my dream, we (that is Timothy, Annemarie, Dorothy and James) would be all together...just a normal day, (in the summer!) and we'd just "be" together, enjoying the real physical presence... How
awesome it would see you where you really "belong" in our family, instead of the usual mind-games..."oh...he/she'd be *** years old".... How heavenly the dream, then again...I truly believe...
it WILL heaven...ahhhh... -Martha


Question 8: Do you believe that our children are watching over us now? Why or why not?

I really do believe that our children in heaven watch over us. I read a book once...(and don't know the title, sorry...) that said that our loved ones are but a "veil away", that is, that they are so fully present, yet we cannot see the depth of that. I believe that our children inspire me to do, to be pro-active in
support and understanding of others. I really do pray to intercede for their family on earth. My friend has convinced me that our little ones are so powerful in their prayer for our needs. No
proof, here, just what's deep in my heart. It's what makes my heart feel good about them and their eternal presence... -Martha

I totally and completely believe they are watching over us. I believe because there are too many things that happen that cannot be explained, the way a rainbow appears for no reason, not a drop of rain in the sky... and only when I am feeling sad , or the way a song comes on that makes us think of Nora everytime we are together as a family, lots of things that just show us our angels are thinking of us and always with us. -Christine

No, I do not think that they can see us, for Heaven is supposed to be a wonderful happy place, free from pain. And if they could see the pain that we go thru they would not be happy. Therefore I do NOT believe there are holes in the floor of heaven where they are watching over us. I do believe that we have gaurdian angels watching over us, but they are not our babies. Our children may send some of us "messages" in the form of a butterfly or a penny, now and then, but I do NOT believe that can see us! - Stephanie

Yes, I believe in angels and I believe my Son is one of them that watch over me. He leaves me 'signs' that he is around. I keep his teddy bears nicely arranged around the urn. Last night when I went to bed, his bears were all in place. This morning when I got up, I noticed his very first bear had been moved. It didn't fall over, because it was still setting straight up. It was about 6 inches away from the urn resting against some Peter Rabbit books. I moved the bear back to it's place, but 5 minutes later I came back into my room to make my bed. The bear had been moved again back to the books. I know it was Charles who moved it. I wonder if he wanted me to stay home and read him a Peter Rabbit tale? Especially since today was the most horrible day ever at work. I think Charles was letting me know he's here for me. It's a very comforting feeling. -Charles' Mom, Katie I.

I do believe that our angels are watching over us because there are simply too many things that are unexplained. It's like extra-terrestrial life -- in the movie Contact she asks her dad, "Do you think there is life out there?" and he answer, "I don't know, Sport. But if not, that's an awful waste of space." So I don't really know who or what or how we are watched over or what place Divine or Higher Power plays, but I can't ignore the "coincidences".

In Jo's Dear Cheyenne book she talks about that incident with Stevie Jo's hand, about that deflatted ratty old balloon, the connections from the Kindness Projects. Just can't ignore all that. And in my own life, at all the moments when I'm ready to give up, cash it in, lay down and die -- some sign comes, something loud and clear and hard to ignore the bump on my head from the bricks falling on it. Since I had all those hypno-therapy sessions and dreams of Kota before he was conceived, where he told me what his work was to be, when he let me in on the signs and symbols that he used -- well,
when I see that work unfolding now, when I see those symbols in random places, I just can't ignore all that.

And I have two friends who have had babies within the last year. Both of them told me they felt or saw or heard Dakota in the delivery room with them, helping them, helping their chilren -- one of whom was born blue, not breathing, with the cord around her neck. I can't ignore it.

Is it Kota? I don't know. But if it isn't, I'm hard pressed to make sense of any of these "coincidences". Maybe it's just random chaos. But what a waste of beauty then??!! ??? I don't know. -K.-


Question 8: How can a broken heart possibly still beat?

Maybe it is that it does still beat, but it beats in pieces. It isn't one heart anymore. It is several pieces. And each piece beats a little differently. The rhythm is different now. Some days, I'm perfectly well adapted to the new form of my heart. Other days, this new form makes it very difficult to breathe. Because it isn't just one beat, but several, I have to listen harder -- there isn't just one answer to anything now, there are several possible answers.

When I was just one beat, I had a naive confidence in that solo, singular beat. There was no question. It was just one.

But now with several pieces beating, the confidence is gone. With every beat, I am reminded of what the word "broken" really means.

And yet somehow the broken pieces made an expansion -- rivers of space between each piece where compassions, connections, and coincidences flow that I never even knew existed before the break.

And maybe the hard part is when dealing with people who don't know anything but the singular beat. They can't take their eyes off the beat in order to see the rivers. They are disturbed by the different rhythm and can't hear the music of the different beats. Instead they obsess with trying to make
me make my pieces beat the same again -- "like before," they say.

I don't know. I guess it does still beat. It will just never, ever beat "like before" again. -K.-


It can't. It doesn't.
Our hearts stopped the moment our baby's did.
And for us, time stood still.
My heart isn't is just functioning enough to keep me alive, until God calls my name.

A broken heart can still beat. There is hope for brighter days ahead after a loss as long as we keep an open mind to that faith and hope. When I lost my Son, my heart felt like it stopped. A dull pain and heaviness weighed hard on my heart. It was the physical side effects of a broken heart. In reaching out for help, my heart has slowly begun to mend over time. Time does not heal my wounds. And reaching out to others will not fully heal my broken heart. The mending of a broken heart from the loss of a loved one particularly one's own child is a life long process. There will always be bumps in the road of grief. I will always have to take some bad with the good days and visa versa. I feel the choices and paths I have taken to get support and honor Charles has helped me survive such heart ache of loss. -Katie I., Mom to Charles, Born Sleeping on 11/6/1999

In my opininion (and boy is it an angry one) -- our broken hearts still beat because it is just one more way our body can completely betray us. First, our bodies betray us by letting our children die (at least in some of our cases) and then it betrays us by making us stay alive when we want to die. I think if our hearts actually stopped when they were broken that our world would be minus a lot of people. Me included.



We'll have more Q & A in September...

About the Kota Discussion Group
This is a discussion and support group held online thru the free services of Yahoo Groups. Stephanie Marrotek is the host of the Grief Journey Q & A. The full group is moderated by the staff of KotaPress. The answers given in this Q & A were offered by the generous hearts of the members of our online group. We cannot thank you enough for your candor and honesty.

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