Capture Your Grief, Day 1: Sunrise

I’d love to have seen the sunrise
but I missed it for fitful sleep
seeking to behold my son’s eyes
available only in dreams

I don’t have a sunrise picture and only read the details of Capture Your Grief this morning after waking up to Kaya barking at something outside. I got irritated, but I got her because I missed having the movement around the house and needed a reason to get outside- the rude awakenings were a substitute I was going for, but whatever.

I’m not much for putting myself through other people’s filters and projects, but I haven’t been writing and I’ve been meaning to, so it seems like a good time and idea; October first not only marks the beginning of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, but it is also my father’s birthday. He died on September 2, 2010 still planning is annual fishing trip- we took the boat out in his honor instead.

captain's hat


I guess in some ways, that’s what grieving is… finding ways to hold space for who the person was and would have been by bringing them into conversation and doing things and bringing people together that honor them– and dealing with letting go of the attachment you have to the way it should damn well be. I know I try and do that with Patrick all the time at home and in social media, alike. Timehop has actually been a bittersweet way to both jog my memory and bring the people I miss into my daily life, like the picture above as well as the one below. Sometimes it can be triggering, but I wouldn’t change having or seeing those moments for anything- it’s an honor that they exist in the first place and that I have them to remember.

Patrick had a natural 80’s skate punk hair combo- a mullet AND a rat tail. Rad.

Patrick was named for my father. He was a rainbow baby of sorts- after heavily grieving death, Patrick was the life to be a light to me after dark times… it made his sudden, unexplained death all the more difficult. In some ways, I’m glad I had practice grieving in such a deep way- although nothing, nothing can compare or even touch what it feels like to lose a child. My father was a wonderful, kind, patient, gentle, generous, silly, curious, creative, can-do person that I love and appreciate every single day of my life and I am still prostrate with grief some days at the loss of- but losing a parent is a part of life, however soon that part may have occurred in mine. It’s still within the right order.

No matter how you turn it or for whatever reason, losing a child just isn’t fucking right. When it happens, it’s a feeling as primally discordant, heartbreaking, soul-deflating as they come. I’m so glad to not be in those first days. The first months, even… I can’t even find words to describe them. Feel free to hit the “Grief” or “Poetry” sections on my blog if you want to read what they were then. Though it’s what caused me the most pain, especially at first, I now miss the visceral memories of his skin on mine, hearing echoes of the sounds he made throughout the house, his smell, his things about the house. I’m at my new normal, where a part of my life is accepting that a part of it will always be missing, and I’ll always have ways that absence affects the rest of it.

Danny and I had broken up months before Patrick passed- in fact, he was supposed to move out that very weekend. We cohabited for another 6 months through the early shock and grief, then went our separate ways, and I haven’t had another serious relationship since. In some ways, taking time to work on myself has been very beneficial; I am a raging phoenix lion goddess of a human compared to who I used to be and I’m grateful for and love myself very much. But I hate the reason why I’ve had such a rapid spiritual regrowth. I have to be fierce because my heart is so tender, so vulnerable, so perforated. It’s hard to bring those things to the table and keep them in balance when it comes to addressing old friends and meeting new ones, but I’m working on it.

It’s hard because SUDC means I’m fairly certain what I’m putting my time and effort into is going to get ripped away from me, suddenly and without cause- it applies to basically everything I own or love, most of all people. It makes it hard to form new attachments after I lost my friend suddenly, then my marriage (and everything I’ve ever owned, save what was in my hastily packed suitcase to attend said friend’s funeral across the country), my father, then son. (There’s a post with more detail/summation of that from when Patrick was alive here.) I’m no stranger to loss, yet 137 weeks later, (okay, 136 weeks and 6 days, but who’s counting?) I’m still reeling from the lack of Patrick and trying to figure out how to relate and connect to others, how to parent, how make a living as a grieving introvert with anxiety.

Losing a child just isn’t right. It’s fucked up and it fucks everything up. Sometimes I can get up in the morning now and get all the way to the coffee machine before remembering what my life has been and where it is now. I imagine I’d feel the same after losing a limb- I would wake up after a time and expect it to be gone and go about my day with perceivable “ease”, but always there are the reminders. The reminders can come from within my own body, from a situation, from others, from a certain sense or impulse, a memory of what I used to have, a thought of what should be, of what would be if only… If only. So many ways to end that sentence and all of them hurt.

So I continue, because it’s all I can do. Progress, I guess… though I never meant for my blog title to bear such a heavy, personal imbuement of the word. I’m still getting used to it. Anyhow- here I am. I’m writing. I’m doing a thing to kick my butt into it. If you want to participate, too, check out and click through the picture below.

1 in 4 women has experienced pregnancy, infant or child loss. This month is about giving those women space to have their voices heard- and I appreciate you taking the time to listen to mine.



  1. Hi Julie. I came across your blog while searching for others who might be participating in Capture your Grief this year. Everything you have written resonates so strongly with me, and it’s really great (although utterly heartbreaking) to read someone whose reaction is so similar to mine, I can’t find any comfort yet in the peace and light that so many other blogs seems to radiate. I’m still well and truly in the place where everything sucks. Thank you so much for sharing. I’ll be checking through the month as I struggle to blog about my own experiences. All the best x


  2. Julie, well said. Right there with you. Thanks for the good cry. Most days I wonder what is the point… the point of it all. Suicide becomes an overwhelming thought at times. I wish you peace during October, as it too is National Child Death Awareness Month.

    As Halloween approaches, I wonder what Patrick and Lily would have been, what might have scared them, and what would their favorite treat.

    This life fucking sucks!

    Thank you for your blog.


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