Life After Loss

Life After Loss 

I sat with my anger long enough until she told me that her real name was grief
January 13, 2020
Talking openly about anger isn't something that happens a ton, but as anyone who has gone through loss can tell you, it's a very real part of grief. And as someone who has spent a lot of time angry, here is the most important thing I have to say... Anger always has a story to tell. Click to read more.

January 28, 2019
After you've gone through major suffering, I think it can be easy to slip into a pattern of criticizing yourself. If you're feeling this way right now, we have a message for your heart. Click to read more.

The Love of a Mama Never Fades

October 1, 2018
No matter what type of loss you have experienced, one thing remains the same – the love of a mama never fades. October is Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month, and we have a special message for any woman who has experienced pregnancy or infant loss. Click to read more.

June 2, 2018

A few years ago, I went through a really painful season. I found my way back to joy again, but it wasn't easy. Here are a few thoughts on "hope" and how to cling to it when all seems lost. Click to read more.

When I was younger, I used to think that each year would bring the "easy year." I used to say "we're due for a good year." Next year things wouldn't be so bad. Next year things will be fresh and new. Next year we will be fine. Next year things will be good. Next year things will be easy. I can say with confidence now that the easy year isn't coming. And while some years will be easier than others, if we live in a community that carries each other's burdens, every year is a hard year.

“I don’t care where you’ve been or what you’ve faced. I see you. I see your broken heart. I see my own, and I’ve seen the light. Take my hand. Let me show you the way."  Nearly fifteen months ago, I lost my son. He was six months and seventeen days old and his age didn’t even matter. From the moment I saw two pink lines, he swallowed me whole just as my older son did before him. I gave them both my whole heart in the way a parent does for each of their children, somehow giving all of themselves, multiple times over.

A few weeks ago I walked into a yoga retreat, running kinda late and frazzled because I'm always late and always frazzled. I knew I was supposed to bring a journal, but I couldn't find mine anywhere... typical. In my rushing around, I saw it... a gray journal where I had poured out my heart in the lowest moments of my life.

I was 9 when I first found out about the baby -- the baby named Marilyn. She was my Grandmother's baby girl. Being just 9, I wasn't privy to much information other than she had died in infancy and Grandma and Grandpa were very sad when that happened. As I got older I gleaned more information about the sad mystery of my Aunt Marilyn. She was born on November 2, 1949, just two days before her parents' eighth wedding anniversary. There had been no prenatal diagnostics, no reason for them to believe they would be getting anything but a happy addition to their little family. However, at some point after Marilyn was born it was determined that something was "wrong" with her.

It’s hard to know what to say to someone who is grieving. Whether it's grief over the loss of a parent or spouse or child, or a miscarriage or stillbirth, it is tough knowing what to say in any case of loss. And everyone, at some point, will know someone who is grieving. I think our most natural response to grief involves words that try to make sense of the situation, to offer reasons behind the loss. And while those words are always from the best places in our heart, there is no way to reason away, or even make sense of grief. We can’t take away the pain and the grief, and our words need to reflect that...

I was 25 years old and 10 weeks pregnant when I miscarried. We were young marrieds living in a big city. I had a job I loved, living in a town I loved, with a man I loved. It is now five years later and I don't think about that loss very often. But tonight, after reading your stories and engaging with your losses, I am brought back to that year. And while I'm no wise sage, I have some things I want to share with those of you on this journey.

Dead. The word is an absolute, especially when it was spoken of someone she loves. Dead. How it felt to lose them, as if her insides crumbled, as if her blood kept pumping but her heart stopped. In shock. Cold. Dead. Alive. The cruelest joke in the early days, the days when putting one step in front of another felt like walking against a tidal wave. She moved, barely cognizant of herself, her surroundings, breathing, but in a fog so thick it threatened to steal the breath from her lungs. But it didn’t. She was still alive. Even though they were gone.

They say comparison is the thief of joy. And I keep thinking about that lately, but not in the way that you might expect. Because I'm not comparing myself to other people. I'm comparing my life to a previous version of my own life. I'm comparing myself to the moments before. Before years wore me thin. Before life was quite so complicated or difficult. Before I felt loss and sandpaper on the soul.  

Maybe you found us here at laurelbox because a dear friend is experiencing a hardship. All you want to do is be there for her. Maybe you don't know how. Maybe you do. Maybe you found us because you are experiencing hardship. Your life doesn't make sense and maybe you feel alone...  

One year ago, this month, my life broke in a big sort of way. And then a few months later, it broke again. Then when I thought it could not break anymore, it broke some more. And then during all of the breaking, I broke too...

About Us

Hi! We are Johanna and Denise, cousins, best friends, and founders of laurelbox. Our little shop works hard to support the supporters and bring community during grief. Welcome! Thank you for joining us and we hope you'll stay awhile!

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