Today I’m marking Day 50 of the 100 Days of Healing and Remembrance Project with some new additions to the painting, awe, gratitude, and a bit of reflection.
The first 49 stories have been emotional, difficult, heartbreaking, beautiful and encouraging. But more than anything they have been brave. Brave because it’s easy to talk about the great things happening in our lives, there’s even an expectation in many cultures to do just that, but it's not so easy to share the difficulties.
I’ve been in awe of the people who’ve been willing to share their difficulties and speak their truth in the name of honoring a baby and/or the experiences that have changed them, and in the name of helping other people feel less alone. Each story in 100 Days of Healing and Remembrance is powerful.
Whether you’ve shared your own story here or have read some and are not quite ready to talk about yours, my wish is that you find some comfort and hope and a supportive community through these 49 stories; a community that quite literally stretches across the world.
The people who share these experiences are not from one place, religion, set of beliefs, race, heritage, or age group. They’re from people who have had a loss recently or many years ago. They’re from people who are in the midst of their experiences with infertility or have long since been through it. They’ve come from 3 continents (and counting). Some of their stories include children or pregnancies before or after a loss. And, although the stories posted in this project come from women, many men have shared their story with me via email, private message or in conversation as well. I see so much beauty in all of these aspects. It’s further confirmation that we are all connected and that our age, gender identity, race, orientation, heritage, religion, and beliefs don’t exclude or advance your experiences with infertility or grief. Sharing these tragic experiences has the power to connect us to each other and to our own humanity. Above all, there’s no question that, particularly right now, we all have a deep need to be seen and heard in our emotional pain and grief as much as in our most celebrated and joyful moments.
Another element of this project that has struck me is the number of people who have decided not to contribute but have told me that it has helped them to hear from other people and that many of the stories have resonated with them. One friend told me she has been following the project and found some peace with her own losses through it but she hasn't contributed because she felt her experience wasn’t “as bad as many others have had it.” If you can relate to that, I respect that you may not be ready to share your experience or may not want to at all. But, if the only thing holding you back is a feeling that your story might not be as intense or feels more intense, I want to encourage you to share your own truth. There are likely others who feel similarly and could find healing in your voice and point of view. I get that and it’s completely human and normal to compare. But, when you’re in the acute and most painful moments of grief or infertility, it’s also perfectly understandable and normal to be consumed with the pain and need some support regardless of what someone else has been through. Your experience is yours and it matters.
With that, I’d love to share your story and send you a piece of the painting at the end of the project. Please share this project with anyone you think might like to contribute or could find comfort in it. Please also consider sharing the link to it if you’ve never been through pregnancy or infant loss or infertility, there’s, unfortunately, a high likelihood that someone close to you has.
And thank you to everyone who has been a part of this, through reading it, contributing or sharing. Your bravery, kindness, compassion and time spent to understand another person’s experience are not small, I think those things truly help make the world a better place.
This #100DayProject captures the experiences of those of you who have been touched by infertility, miscarriage or the loss of a baby.
With the stories you share, I’m creating one large abstract painting by adding to a canvas. At the end of the project, I’ll be cutting it into 100 smaller pieces. These tiny abstract paintings will be sent to those who contributed or could use some encouragement, or both.
Why do this? Because those affected [we] are all part of an unintentional and unfortunately large community of people who don’t talk about these experiences enough and art is healing. We can find beauty and strength from sharing our stories and supporting each other. For more information or to contribute, please go to http://angelacravenart.com/100-day-project