Friday, November 4, 2011

Bear's Heart, Claire

This photo was taken the day after I returned home from the hospital after the loss of our second child this summer. I took a shower upon returning home, and the steam revealed the message I had written in soap from the last shower I had taken while still pregnant. I had written the would-be nickname of our son, and a single heart, which appeared on the glass shower wall. The image is now the background on my phone and is a daily reminder of my two lost loves. I've been working up the courage to submit it for months now.

about the artist:

I'm 29 years old, live in Northern Virginia and married my high school sweetheart. Our first son, Daniel, was stillborn after 32 weeks of pregnancy on September 10, 2010. The cause of his death is officially unknown, but is suspected to have been linked to preeclampsia. This summer we lost a second child, also a son, to a second trimester miscarriage after a "low-risk" procedure to rule out problems caused an infection. "A man often meets his destiny on the road he takes to avoid it." This entry has been a long time coming. I'm beginning the journey to find myself again. -Claire

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Calypso, Melissa

North Shore, Oahu, Hawaii

Wreck Rock ~ Deep Water National Park ~ Australia

Waiheke Island, New Zealand

My daughter's life can be summed up in a few words. A short life that spanned the sea. Calypso Paikea Rhyder, her very name came from the sea. She was my ocean baby. Only three weeks and 2 days she spent with us, but her name has touched thousands of hearts and has rested on hundreds of seashores.

This entry isn't something 'I've' personally done. It's a project I put out into the world two years ago and that is still going on. Two years ago for Calypso's second birthday I asked some friends to write her name into the seaside at the ocean in the sand. I'm landlocked and couldn't do it. The photos started rolling in. Now in 2011, Calypso's named has touched over 250 shorelines and I've received over 300 photos. From South Africa, to the UK to the USA. Her name has touched the short.

I'm attaching a few of these photos. This year on April 15, 2011 my friend on Waiheke Island in New Zealand put my daughter's ashes into the sea for her final journey. I've not been able to go down to the sea myself, but someday.... I will. In the meantime I pray Calypso's name continues to touch on different shores and land on different hearts.

E kore te aroha
e maroke i te rā,
Mākūkū tonu i
aku roimata e.

From one of the lullabys I sang to her while she lived

My love will never
be dried by the sun,
It will be forever moistened
by my tears.

Thank you for allowing me to share my girl. and my project

About the artist

Melissa lives in Indiana with her husband and 2 older children. Calypso was their last child. Born at 29 weeks 5 days, she lived for three weeks two days. She died of Renal Failure as a complication of an infection called NEC. Melissa runs a charity in her daughter's name called Calypso's Ocean

In November she will be moving to Ohio and then they will only be 8 hours from the Ocean. She hopes to get out there early February and finally see the Ocean for the first time since her daughter was laid to rest. You can read her blog at Scars in my Yarn

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Laura's Spot, Louise

There is a place we visit in the south west of Ireland that, for various reasons, holds particular meaning for us and Laura. She is there in the landscape, in the sea, in the wind, blowing around us, whenever we visit. We have given her a walk in that place and on that walk a special spot. This summer we spent a fortnight there and invited various friends and family members to join us.

This photo, a ramshackle of kids and cousins, was taken in Laura's spot. We were out for the day walking and the kids all had a list of treasures they had to find on their way - blue flowers, heart shaped stones, Laura's spot, etc. etc. It was the closest all the cousins have ever been to all four of my children. When I asked them to stop for the picture, Astro Boy (who had been collecting wood as he walked) held up his wood to form an "L", holding Laura there proudly for all of us to see. I love this photo.

This past month here at Still Life 365 has been a pleasure and a privilege. Your photographs have been moving and poignant and beautiful. It has been an honour to hear your stories, to see your children's absent presence and to give others the opportunity to see that too. Photos are still coming in and so Angie and I have decided to continue with the theme for another while.

If you want to participate, but haven't attached your photo and emailed it in yet, now is your chance. There is still time and submissions will be welcomed as long as they land in the inbox. Just send them in to stilllife365DAYS(at)gmail(dot)com.

Thank you again for all your time and contributions.


about the artist.
Louise is a mother, a part-time educator, artist and writer from the south of Ireland. Laura was her fourth child, a wonderful gift she had hardly dared hope for. She was born in May 2009, her time on earth already passed. Louise is married to Kieran. Together they are very busy parenting their three living children as they try and come to terms with life without Laura. Louise has been guest editing on Still Life 365 for the month of October. She blogs at Radar of Chance.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Family Photo, Sally

This is a photo of a new photo that hangs on our wall of our perfectly imperfect little family. It only arrived this week and it captures my husband and I, our almost two year old son Angus and our brand new baby daughter Juliet Lily. Looks pretty good on the surface and we're all so happy, but someone is missing. Someone will always be missing.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Isabelle's Room, Nollaig

The picture with the moses basket was taken July 2010. I had spent weeks planning and preparing Isabelle's room. I did bring her home after she was born and she did spend some time in that moses basket. I read to her and played soft music. It took me some time to remove the moses basket.

The second picture is Isabelle's room as it is today, 19th Oct 2011. It is full of pictures of Isabelle, candles, butterflies, other Isabelle related things and many books on grief. For the most part, spending time in the room brings me great comfort but sometimes my heart can't cope with the memories the room holds, and sometimes Isabelle's absence makes the room cold and uninviting. Sometimes I stand in the spot where I was when I was getting ready to say my final goodbye, the spot where I savoured one last cuddle before I put her into her coffin and my heart breaks all over again.

The third picture is of a painting that hangs on the wall in Isabelle's room. Back in January a dear friend told me she had a dream about Isabelle and described it to me in detail, she said the thing that stood out the most was Isabelle's "beautiful shiney brown hair." A few months later she gave me that picture, she said she saw it and felt compelled to buy it and and when she gave it to me she said "that's her."

I wish Isabelle's room was full of an active 15 month old Isabelle. I wish I was concerned about child proofing it and not taking a picture of it.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Mantle, Amy

In the first month of grief my husband and I went to a store and I saw this stone statue of a family. I had to have it. As we were purchasing this item the cashier said something about family or baby ... it's been 4 years and the grief fog blocks her words ... but I do remember my eyes filling with tears. The woman sensed this statues importance and said something kind. Again, her words escape my memory.

The feathers have been found and given to us and are from the bird we find represents Liam's spirit.

The red stone heart was a gift chosen by me for Liam's 3rd birthday.

All three things sit on top of our mantle, in our living room, next to Liam's photo. They are a part of our daily lives, something we see each day.

about the artist.
Amy lives in North Carolina with her husband and two greyhounds. Amy describes her journey, "Our only child Liam was born alive and apparently healthy on September 25, 2007, and was the joy of our lives. Our son Liam died soon after birth due to unexplained/unknown causes, shattering our world and our hearts. Art is an expression and release of my grief, and a way to honor the memory of our little man who is missed beyond words." Amy maintains a blog showcasing her Creative Everyday Challenge at Surviving the Day Every Day.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Jumping Rope, Angie

I really love photography, though I am a terrible photographer, so please excuse the terrible framing of this one. But the other day, as my children were playing outside in the autumn crisp air, Beatrice grabbed the jump rope, tied it to the railing and began twirling. Her imaginary friend was jumping rope with her. As the children stood there watching the imaginary friend, it hit me all at once. If Lucy lived, Beatrice would be jumping with Lucy, and Thor would be watching. There is this space, right there in this picture, where she was just cut out of our lives. In this photograph, there is a little girl shadow in the exact place where she would have been. I don't always see that in my life. This was simply an ordinary moment that made me feel the enormity of what we lost when Lucia died.

about the contributor.

Angie is the editor of still life 365. Her second daughter Lucia was stillborn after 38 weeks of pregnancy on December 22, 2008. She died on winter solstice. She writes about her experience with grief and mothering at still life with circles, shares her art and daily parenting at still life everyday and is a regular contributor to Glow in the Woods. You can read more about Angie in the about the editor section.