By: Rachel Helden
One year. We lost you one year ago today. Where does this leave us now? What has the last
year been like?
Hard, an excruciatingly soul crushing kind of painful. Then we lost your brother a few months
later. Our little dream of a family with a girl and a boy has gone away in what seems like no
time at all. Even though we’ll always love and remember you with every breath we take, it’s not
the same as being a parent who can hold their sweet children. We can only hold you in our
hearts and memories.
Now I’m pregnant again, for the third glorious and terrifying time this year. Your younger sibling
is forming just as you did, and I love the sensation, despite whatever illness or body
tenderness I feel. This time your daddy and I are leaning into the joy of the present moment.
We don’t know what will happen, if you’ll take your first breath in our arms or if we’ll have to
say goodbye before then.
This ache in my heart won’t release. I want to live fully in joy and hope, but today especially, it’s
a challenge for my heart. The accumulated grief of enduring and surviving three miscarriages in
my life leaves me shattered on the inside. Even though I try to glue and piece myself back
together, I’ll never quite be like new or like I was before. They’ve left their mark, and now, I try
to allow Adolyn, Harmony, and Roland to bring a smile to my face because I love them so, and
because I know they want me to continue to live life to the fullest in their stead.
Life is brimming with unknowns, wonder, excitement, heartache, grief, and magic… it’s one big
messy tangle of them all. Maybe, just maybe, the richness of each of these experiences (these
colors) is what makes life so grand, so wonderful.
My heart is with anyone who has lost a sweet baby, no matter the length of time they came to
stay. Their lives are so very real, even today, as they are every day.
“When sorrow holds you in it’s arms of clay
It’s raindrops that fall from your eyes
Your smile is the sun come to earth for a day
You brighten my blackest of skies
You are the rose of my heart
You are the love of my life
A flower not faded
Nor falling apart
If you’re cool let my love make you warm
Rose of my heart”
Johnny Cash, Rose Of My Heart
About Rachel Helden:
Rachel Helden is a photographer from the greater St. Louis, Missouri area. For the past four years she has been working on Free Way: An Adventure Through Loss, an illustrated memoir about a solo road trip she took after going through a divorce and her father’s passing. Rachel’s search for healing took her to all 50 states in the USA, most of our national parks, and twenty other countries. She sees the book as a grief manual, an account of how one person dealt with losing a past self. Rachel is currently working to self-publish Free Way. You can find more information about the project on her website at www.rachelhelden.com and follow her adventures on Instagram at @_photonomad_