For the past 7 Octobers, I have participated in a Capture Your Grief project created by Carly Marie Dudley of The Carly-Marie Project Heal and the Seashore of Remembrance. I have not seen any information about it happening this year, but I know Carly has been through a great deal lately and has stepped back from being in the public eye. I do know that this event is meaningful for a lot of people. So, I have decided to use her as an inspiration and create a daily prompt list here. Many of these prompts are inspired from those of previous years I have participated.
Please note, this is NOT my idea or my project and I am in no way attempting to co-opt it for myself.
I just wanted to carry it on for anyone who wanted to participate. Carly Marie deserves all the credit for the creation of this project. Also, my friend Elizabeth of Our Little Beastie Blog has helped me put some topics together for this.
For those unfamiliar, Capture Your Grief is a daily photo prompt challenge for the month of October - Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. It is meant to be a way to heal, to honor our babies, and to bring awareness to loss and grief.
There is no requirement to do every prompt, so you should only do the ones that speak to you - or the ones you feel up to doing. This should be helpful - not hurtful. You know your heart the best. Do what you can when you can. Also, all prompts are completely open to interpretation. Feel free to change it to suit your needs.
Day 1: Sunrise
If you can, get up before sunrise and find a place to sit with your thoughts. Take a picture of the sunrise wherever you are. If the weather isn't ideal, take a photo from your window. Breathe and take some time to think of your child(ren). What do you hope this month will bring you? Healing? Time and space to deal with some difficult emotions? The ability to share your grief with others? None of us wish to be here, but you are welcomed into our circle with outstretched arms and an open heart.
Day 2: Named
What did you name your child(ren)? Write their name somewhere, even if you don't post it. Hold it in your heart for a moment and then if you're ready share why their name is so special. Share any memories you have regarding their name - how you feel when you hear it spoken by another person?
Day 3: Before
Who were you Before loss? How did you see the world?
Day 4: After
We are all profoundly different. How have you changed? How do you feel about these changes in yourself? What has been left unchanged?
Day 5: Friendship
Is there a friendship that has become especially important to you? How has this friendship affected you in your loss? If you can, write a message to this person (people) to tell them what their friendship means to you.
Day 6: Space
Do you have a specific area dedicated to your child(ren)? A memorial space you've put together? Or just a space in your mind and heart you've created as a pocket where you keep their memory tucked away? How does having this space help you honor them?
Day 7: Rights
What are some rights you feel the bereaved should be granted? If you could create a list of fundamental rules everyone would follow in dealing with those grieving, (or YOU in particular) what would be on it?
Day 8: Seasons
Is there a particular time of the year that always makes you think of your child? What feelings does this season bring with it when it comes?
Day 9: Broken
Loss destroys us. We all break and we all try desperately to piece ourselves back together. Where are you in this process? How are you feeling about where you are?
Day 10: Comfort
Where do you find comfort when you need it? Is it in a family member or friend? A walk along the ocean? A warm cup of tea or a snuggle with a pet? What helps you find peace when you need it the most?
Day 11: Stuck
Sometimes, many times, we feel like we aren't moving forward. We feel stuck in our grief, unable to move. When is a time when you've felt stuck? What did you do to help yourself get out of that place? Or are you still there? (and that's ok)
Day 12: Hope
In the darkness of grief, we can't always see the light of hope - of a life lived in the face of grief. Maybe it's too far away. Maybe the darkness is too thick. Have you found your hope yet? Are you still searching?
Day 13: Breathe
Take a day to take a break. Focus on your breath and let yourself feel calm. In 2020, this is especially important.
Day 14: Support
What has been a support for you? An online group? A website? A book? A charity or organization? How have you found support in these places?
Day 15: Wave of Light
Today is Baby and Child Loss Remembrance day. Light a candle at 7pm to honor all of our children and let the wave of light carry their names around the world. Share anything about your baby you want carried on that wave of light.
Day 16: Treasured
What is a treasured object(s) you have that reminds you of your child? What are they and what do they mean to you?
Day 17: Beliefs
What is your belief system? (spiritual, religious, agnostic, atheist) How have your beliefs (or non-belief) shaped your grief? How has your grief shaped your belief? Have others' beliefs helped or hindered your healing?
Day 18: Empty
Grief is a shattering followed by an emptiness that really never goes away. What does it feel like to be in that empty? Are you early on in your grief and overwhelmed by it? Are you farther along and able to sit inside that emptiness? What does The Empty mean to you?
Day 19: Deed
"Grief is just love with no place to go". Today, find a place for your love to go and do a kind deed in honor of your child(ren). You could buy coffee for the person behind you in the drive thru - or donate to a charity in their name. If money is tight, send an unprompted message of love to someone who may need it. Anything you see fit to do is ok.
Day 20: Obligation
What is something you feel obligated to do for your child - or for other loss families? Is it an obligation you enjoy and appreciate - or does it wear on you? Could you take a step back if you needed to?
Day 21: Mantra
What is a phrase or mantra that keeps you going - or one that you feel encapsulates your journey of grief? Share what has spoken to you and why.
Day 22: Create
What have you created - or have had created - in honor of your child? Artwork you've made or purchased? Tattoos? Jewelry? Share something made by you - or by others - that honors your baby.
Day 23: Cultivate
How do you tend to your broken heart? Or, what would you like to be able to do to help yourself heal? How can you cultivate a place of healing within yourself? If you're not sure - where would you like to be eventually?
Day 24: Music
Share some music that reminds you of your baby. How did this music make you feel when you first heard it? How does it make you feel now?
Day 25: Trigger
What are some triggers that come with your grief? What do you do when confronted with a trigger? Have they gotten better or worse?
Day 26: Release
What especially painful piece of grief do you hold on to too tightly? Why is it so hard to release? Share your thoughts on how you can start letting go - not of your love, but of what causes you pain.
Day 27: Self Care
Take a minute to do something for yourself today. If you choose, share what that is. Remember, you are worth taking care of. You are worthy of feeling good. Loss has not changed that.
Day 28: Love
We grieve forever because we love forever. Share your love for your child in any way you see fit.
Day 29: Connect
What do you do to feel connected to your baby? Do you have any specific rituals or routines? A yearly event? A daily occurrence? When and how do you connect?
Day 30: Vision
Take a minute to look to the future. Maybe it's a year from now. Maybe it's tomorrow. Where do you see yourself in your grief journey? Where would you like to be?
Day 31: Sunset
Find a moment to take in the sunset and reflect on this past month. Did you learn anything about yourself or your grief? Did you feel more connected to your baby? What did this month of prompts do for you? How are you feeling? Be gentle on yourself as you come out of this month of grief-reflection. Take care of yourself as you continue to heal - and thank you for sharing yourself and your baby with us.