Monday, February 15, 2010

Mid-Month Challenge: February

February's mid-month challenge, based on the Community Poem: Prescription, is to write a recipe for your own healing. What is moving you through each day and getting you through your loss? When you add all the elements up, what recipe make a functioning you? Here are the recipes we received for this challenge.

Recipe for Sanity
by Franchesca Cox

God's promises
fuchsia things sprinkled in my life
Jenna's picture
reminding me of a purpose I still have to live each day
space and lots of it
a space to be creative
constantly seeing Jenna's name in my world


by Amy McCarter

1 punching bag
1 large arm load of books
1 New pair of running shoes
i-pod playing Foo Fighters
2 greyhounds
Variety pack of dark beer
Multiple bottles of white wine
Dark roast coffee
4 - 5 girlfriends
Multiple paint brushes
Hot shower

Wake up drink coffee - black, no sugar no cream. Check emails and read blogs. Write. Walk the dogs. Pet the dogs. Nap with the dogs. Crank music loudly into ears and run until chest hurts. Hit punching bag until arms feel like rubber. Wipe away snot and tears. Stretch with the dogs. Cook dinner while drinking wine or beer...or both. Read a book about grief. Go to bed. Wake up and repeat. Stir in camping trip with closest girlfriends. Relax in the woods. Drink wine. Sprinkle on top beach vacation with hubby. Relax by the ocean. Drink beer. Stand with eyes closed in hot steamy shower. Write. Paint. Sleep. Learn to live again.


Baked Grief
a recipe by Kara LC Jones aka Mother Henna

Mix all of the following ingredients well:

*immeasurable amount of grief
*three 16 ounce bars of dark, sweetened chocolate
*a bowl full of community, peppered with other bereaved parents
*long nights of sipping tea with dreams

Then add enough art to make the whole concoction boil over. Pour into non-stick heart and bake till golden, but do not let it burn!

Serve in huge dallops with a side of compassion and topped with sprinkles of sympathy.

Eat regularly to stay sane.


Recipe for Survival
by Michael

Course 1 - stillbirth

1 baby
Infinite hopes and dreams
1 hospital
5 doctors
1 ultrasound
no heartbeat
lots of shock and grief
1 tiny tablet
3 midwives
10 hours
3 injections
Lots of tears
112 Special words
1 Camera
5 Photos
Broken hearts

Take baby Abigail, along with all the hopes and dreams to the hospital. Add the doctors at this point before conducting the ultrasound. This will show no heartbeat. The quantity of shock and grief will be immense. No controlling this process will be possible. The doctor will provide 1 tiny tablet and two days later labour will begin. Take 3 midwives, 10 hours and 3 injections of pain killers (for physical pain - nothing can dull the emotional pain). Add in lots of tears until baby is born. Take your time to add the special words. Add some more tears at this point. Use camera to take photos. 5 is not enough but you will only discover this later. By this point your heart will be broken, but you are creating memories that will last forever.

Course 2 - funeral
1 funeral director
1 crematorium
90 friends and family members
1 small white coffin
1 red rose
1 “I love you” heart balloon
1 teddy bear
More Tears
1 minister
3 Poems
4 songs
7 comforting bible verses
1 small plastic urn of ashes
1 special place

You won’t feel old enough to plan a funeral for your daughter but this stage cannot be delayed for very long. You can also create an incredibly beautiful service even amid the pain and shock. So, take 1 funeral director, 1 crematorium and add 90 friends and family members. The essential ingredient is to add 1 small white coffin at the start which will prove the focal point for this course. Since it is Dad’s job to walk the daughter down the aisle, Mum may chose to add 1 perfect red rose, 1 “I love you” heart balloon and 1 teddy bear on top of the coffin. At this point expect tears. Then add Minister and mix in poems, songs and comforting bible verses to create a beautiful service. Do not rush. Expect more tears. The next day you will be left with 1 small plastic urn with a few ashes inside. These can be scattered later to create a very special place. Expect more tears.

Course 3 - Grieving
1 Strong marriage
100s honest conversations
More Tears
1 faith – battered and bruised
Lots of Time
1 special place
Weekly walks
iPod playlist
67 songs
6 Good Friends
Dozen less good friends
Well intentioned but banal comments
1 Blog
87 posts of total honesty
7 rainbows
4 butterflies
Liberal quantities of hugs
Bottles of red wine

This stage will take the longest and indeed never ends. 1 strong marriage provides a valuable foundation for this course. This can be augmented with a constant stream of honest and open conversations and of course more tears. Your faith will also be a key ingredient – it is okay if it is badly bruised at this point, now batter it! Another key ingredient is time – add lots of time. There are things you can do to help in this process. Take the special place created during course 2 and add weekly walks. Take the memories that were created in course 1 and add even yet more tears and time. Take iPod playlist and gradually add 67 songs. Take iPod on weekly walks. Take 6 good friends and add 100s conversations. These will reduce in helpfulness as time passes but are worth persisting with. Unfortunately at this stage you will also find that less good friends might curdle with well intentioned but banal comments. Loneliness can result. At this point you may find that a blog and 87 posts of total honesty provide an invaluable antidote to loneliness. Yet more time – you really cannot have enough of this. The occasional rainbow and butterfly will add cheer to this bleak time. Asks friends to be liberal with hugs – you really cannot get enough of these either. Beware of adding too many bottles of red wine, they may dull the pain but they are not helpful in excess. Add time. Always more time.

Course 4 – Rainbow baby
1 healthy sperm
1 egg (unscrambled)
1 pregnancy test
9 months
Fear and hope in equal measure
1 rainbow baby

A vital part of healing will come from this course. Add 1 healthy sperm and 1 egg to create embryo. Take pregnancy test and add 9 months with fears and hope to create 1 rainbow baby.

(Alternative recipe)
7 months infertility treatment
40 hospital appointments
7 counselling sessions
6 months of antidepressants
More blogging
New virtual friends

In the event that you cannot source 1 healthy sperm a rainbow baby will not be possible. Instead add 7 months of infertility tests, 40 hospital appointments and lots of disappointment. Add 7 counselling sessions and 6 months of anti-depressants tablets. Remove some friends and replace with loneliness. Add more blogging and discover new virtual friends.

Strengthen faith and marriage. Appreciate what you have.

Add time – lots of time.

Thank you to everyone who participated in this month's mid-month challenge. The Community Poem will be posted some time this week. XO


  1. Michael's recipe was ingenious to say the least. Wow.

  2. I agree, Michael's could leave anyone speechless, but they are all amazing.. there were only a few which goes to show how difficult the challenge was... much sincere credit to each of you - I love them all.

  3. These are fantastic, but Michael's has me bawling right now.

  4. These are absolutely wonderful, very moving.

  5. I love them all but it slightly surprised me that the one coming from michael had me bawling, too. Thanks, dear recipe writer's!!

    xx to all of you!

  6. I really appreciate all the recipe posts too. I too appreciate all the ingredients in Franchesca's and Kara's and whilst the rawness of Amy's is certainly powerful and perhaps a way I would have gone if not too lazy!

    I think it was an ingenious idea which I never would have thought of myself but I really found it helpful, challenging and healing in equal measure. When I wrote it I thought it was a bit over the top but then I couldn't boil my story down to fewer ingredients.

    In a hopefully non-perverse way I am grateful that people "got it" and even cried! Surprised but grateful. I can't help but wonder which bit?

    Anyway, this comment risks being as long as the original post.

    Peace and healing to all

  7. I should point out that Livingintherainbow is Michael. Doh

  8. Wow! Very nice! Michael's made me cry.

  9. Thanks to all of you for sharing-I wanted to, but couldn't find the words, or the strength for the words.


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