Not words I thought I’d want to utter after losing our precious first daughter and most certainly not something I thought I’d ever enjoy again.
The last true ‘vacation’ we took was just after losing Bella. It didn’t feel much like carefree getaway though. It was more like an escape, from a cruel reality we needed to run from.
We took hideaway at the beach exploring this new world after baby loss. The one where your soul was just ripped apart, tossed around, and turned into something unrecognizable. The world where you just became one of those 1 in 4 mothers who lose a pregnancy.
For a long time I wondered how we’d ever embrace the idea of ‘family vacation’ again when one member of our family would be forever missing.
But as the years have passed and our family has molded and grown and changed we knew it was time.
Ironically after such a sad ‘escape’ 3 years ago, our induction back into the world of family vacations took place at the ‘happiest place on earth’: Disney World.
And surprisingly, my notions about Bella being missing on future family trips was wrong.
On a walk through Epcot’s World Showcase, there was a henna artist in Epcot creating these beautiful elaborate tattoos.
I was immediately drawn in to the designs, their beauty, their meaning, the way they’d only stay with me for a fleeting moment in time.
Just like Bella.
So, with words of encouragement from my husband and mom I had ‘the healer’ tattoo proudly scrolled onto my forearm, delicately winding it’s way up to my more permanent memorial, my Bella Rose tattoo.
That art instantly made me feel closer to her. It was as if Bella was right there enjoying the vacation alongside us.
Art carries such healing power, yes?
Just like that Henna artist scrolling away reminders of our sweet daughter, photography has been the source that has always brought me instant connection to my daughter.
My camera over the past 4 years has rewarded me with such a deep sense of purpose, of mindfulness, of confidence, and of self-discovery.
And, as I’ve gotten to know my camera I’ve been able to use light and the beauty of nature to create lovely reminders of our Bella and her fleeting time in our life.
Carrying it with me has made the difficult life events after loss a bit easier to bear: holidays, baby showers, and yes — even family vacations.
In the wake of our loss, everyone else’s life was still happening. Their daughter didn’t die. Only mine did. My camera allowed me to hide and avoid the awkward glances and conversations, but also served a purpose in documenting those special moments in the lives of my friends and loved ones.
From all the lessons my camera taught me follow our loss, the Illuminate E-course was born. This 5-week experience offers a compassionate community of women from all over the globe, in different stages and places following their loss, healing together (camera in hand), each walking their own unique grief journey with me as a guide.
Today I’d like to give away a space in the March Illuminate e-course session ($150 value) to one Still Standing reader.
The session begins March 6th, 2013.
To enter follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter box below.
Entries will be open through Sunday, February 17th up until 11:59pm
If you’re looking for more details about Illuminate or are ready to register right now you can click HERE. (if you register and win the giveaway I’ll gladly refund your registration fee)
I can’t wait to begin the next Illuminate session, to help you heal, and to give you the tools to feel and even deeper connection to your baby and to the world once again.