OK, though I knew I'd never keep up with a picture a day, I thought I'd do better than this! Oh well... I think I put it off so long because so many of the images have to be found images rather than images I've taken...Again, oh well.
Once again, here are the days:
If you missed it, my photo journey started HERE, and there are links to take you through the other days.
Day 16: Release
I tried to think of when I felt real release after Charlotte's death...I've realized that it was after I finished putting together her memory box. I felt like I needed to put her photo album and her baby book and her footprints somewhere important...not just in a bag or a shoe box somewhere. Putting it all neatly in the box and shutting the box felt like a release to me.
Day 17: Birthday
OK, so, obviously her birthday isn't for a while yet...but here's what I'm planning. I want to write a letter to Charlotte, thanking her for everything good that's happened this year, put it in a balloon, and release it to her. We want it to be a happy occasion, not a sad one. She was stillborn, but she was still born (I stole that from another blogger...)
Day 18: Your Family Portrait
I wish I had a picture of Mia with Charlotte...but she wasn't there. I guess I'm happy about that, too...but I wish I could have a family portrait with both my daughters. Instead, here we are with Mia at Easter, when Charlotte was still alive...albeit, not a good picture.
Day 19: Project
As weird as it is to post a photo of my blog on my blog, that was my project...particularly my experience journal. Writing "Time With Charlotte" was the project I needed to come to terms with a lot of my memories and preserve them, in a way that feels really important.
Day 20: Charity/Organization
I posted about this before...LLOST is a charity that really helped us, though we didn't know it at the time. See my post HERE.
Day 21: Altar/Shrine
I know that I've posted a picture of the curio cabinet before, but Charlotte's shelf really has become a little shrine for her. Mike and I aren't hugely religious people, but the angels comfort us. It's how we see our baby, now.
Day 22: Place of Birth
This isn't exactly our room (or maybe it is...I don't know...but it's the exact same setup of room from the same hospital, so close enough. I thought of just putting in a photo of the hospital, but the sum total of hours that I got to spend with my daughter I spent in a room that looked like this...so it's not so sad a memory, I guess.
Day 23: Charlotte's Photo
This feels hard to post...I don't know why. I think it's because, though she was tiny, had a birth defect that caused her death, and wasn't fully developed, to me, she was perfect...and I know that other people won't and can't see her that way. I remember feeling that way myself...before it was my child. It's hard to share her with people when I know they can't see her the way I do...but she's my daughter, and I'm proud to be her mother, and I need to be proud to show her photo...regardless of what others think.
Day 24: Siblings
Thank God for Mia. If I didn't have Mia, I don't know if I would have come out on the other side of this.
Day 25: Baby Shower
Charlotte didn't get a baby shower...she probably wouldn't have gotten one even had she lived...being a second child does that. Instead, here is what I WOULD have gotten for Charlotte as my own personal baby shower, had things been different. (I have both a Gymboree and a monkey obsession.)
Charlotte was 21 weeks when she was born...I'm tempted to lie if ever asked. People don't see that loss as being as valid as a later loss...but maybe more valid than an earlier loss. I had a loss at 13 weeks...for me, this was so much infinitely harder.
Day 27: Artwork
I bought this shortly after Charlotte's birth...I love this photographer's work, and the words tore at my heart a bit...in a good way. I plan to frame and hang the print sometime soon, but I haven't yet.
Day 28: Memory
How does one photograph memory? I have no idea...so here's one of my most vivid memories. I found out we were expecting Charlotte on the day The Hunger Games was released in theaters (March 23). Mike and I were going to go see it the next day, having a babysitter and everything, and I stayed up all night that night so I could see Mike when he got home from work. I remember talking about our new baby in the car with Mike on the way there...we were so happy. It's good to look for a good memory, I think. So much of what I write is about the end...this was the beginning. I don't regret a second of my time with Charlotte.
Day 29: Music
The Olympics started the Friday after Charlotte's birth. Do you remember the song that they played (and played, and played, and played) for the US Women's Gymnastics Team? "Home" by Phillip Phillips (really? Phillip Phillips?) That's just one of those songs that you can't help but remember...and I heard it so, so many times in the weeks following Charlotte's birth. I know it's a song that, when I hear it years from now, will bring me right back to those weeks...in the best way possible, if that makes any sense.
Day 30: My Grief
I remember taking this picture...I remember thinking, "This is the only time you will get to hold your daughter...try to look a little happy, damn it." It was hard. This is how it came out.
Day 31: Sunset
It started at the beach on day 1...it should end there, too. It's hard to take a picture of the sunset at the Outer Banks. It's on the East Coast, and the sun sets behind us. This is of Mia at sunset...you can see the fading colors and light. The time at the beach after Charlotte's death was relatively healing...as was this photo journey. I think this is a good way to finish that journey.