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Monday, October 08, 2012

Capture Your Grief Day 7, What TO say

Capture Your Grief Day 7, What TO say

Capture Your Grief Day 6, What NOT to say.

Capture Your Grief Day 6, What NOT to say.

Friday, October 05, 2012

Capture Your Grief Day 5 Memorial

I'm SO exhausted from the MISS Foundation conference 2012 that I don't have much to say today but I wanted to get Day 5 of Capture Your Grief up before I crash for the night. This is Jack's plaque at the Phoenix Angel of Hope. It's "Our Place" outside of our house to go and Be With Jack on his Birthday, Angelversary or whenever we want. It's the closest thing to a grave site we can get since we cremated Jack so he would always be With Us where ever we are.

Capture Your Grief Day 5 Memorial

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Capture Your Grief Day 4 Treasured Gift

What I treasure the most I can't capture in a photo, at least not one I am willing to share on the Internet. Jack made me a Mother, it's the only thing I ever wanted, it was my dream come true. A picture of me holding Jack would have been today's picture however, those pictures and his ashes are all I have left of my son and still 6 years later, I'm not willing to share them with just anyone, let alone the world. So instead I'll share my most Treasured Gift(literal).

The nurses at Banner Desert Hospital made this plaster mold of Jack's hands and feet, it's the only proof that Jack existed that I'll share with extended family, friends and strangers on the Internet.

Thank you Jack for making my dreams come true! I'm so proud to be your Mama! Love you to the Moon and Back!

Day 4 Treasured Gift

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

CYG Day 3 After Loss self portrait

 No words are really necessary with these self portraits of a Bereaved Mother. I'm pretty sure the insanity I felt and still feel since Jack died is clear.

Day 3 After Loss self portrait

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

CYG Day 2 Before Loss Self Portrait

When I saw the subject for Day 2, Before Loss Self Portrait, I was a little worried I wouldn't find a picture of me pregnant with Jack. It's ridiculous to think that you can be pregnant for 5 months and not have one picture taken, especially since we went on vacation to Utah a month before Jack was born! But that is my reality. I took all the pictures so I'm not in any of them. I can't explain how depressed I am to know there is no photographic record of my pregnancy!

WAIT! Hold ON! Hold the fuck on.....We also went to Moab in May 2006 for Jory's Birthday, I didn't know I was pregnant yet but there must be ONE photo...Hold Please!


At least I have TWO pictures of me pregnant with Jack! Of course I didn't know I was pregnant then and this photo pretty much sucks, but at least I have it. I took this sad excuse for a self portrait in the mirror at the hotel room the night we arrived in Moab.

 No I'm not retarded...I was teasing our cute little friend Leslie because she took at least 3128 MYSPACE style (including quite a few Duck Face) self portraits during the sunset. So I held up the camera in front of myself and pulled this face and asked her if that is how it was done. She laughed.

However I'm not using either of those for my Before Loss picture, only you that took that time to come to my blog actually get to see those, Lucky You!

This photo taken in April 2006(we conceived mid to late April), I think really captures our happiness, love and innocence to the emotional roller coaster we were about to get on. We found out we were pregnant May 28th, 2006, 8 years of trying, 5 of those with fertility treatments. It was our first attempt after my first surgery and the stick said PREGNANT seconds after I sat it on the counter. Jory saw it first and grinned, I thought No Way and I looked to see for myself and Oh My Hell, Finally, Life was Good to us. was Unbelievable! There are no words to describe how happy, excited, relieved, blissful we were after so many years of trying. Cloud 9 shit...Indescribable Ecstasy!

We had no idea.

Day 2 Before Loss Self Portrait

Monday, October 01, 2012

Capture Your Grief

CarlyMarie, the Awesome Aussie who draws Beautiful Butterflies at "Christian's beach" for bereaved parents over at Names in the sand. She's started a new project called "Capture Your Grief" that starts today and runs through October for Pregnancy and Infant loss awareness month.

Capture Your Grief is a 31 day photograph challenge. All you will need is the internet and a camera. It doesn’t have to be some big fancy DSLR – a phone camera or a pocket digital camera will be perfect. And if your camera is broken – you can still take part as in this project you are not required to take a new photo everyday.

You can join in this project through your own blog or website, your favourite social media website like facebook or twitter or any photo sharing website like pinterest or instagram. This is an opportunity for you to document your grief and your healing for a month and to share it with the world through your own eyes. You can be as creative with your photographs as you please. The event on my facebook page so that everyone can come to one place to share their images! If you can just make sure that the beginning of your photo caption is titled with the day number and subject, for example: “Day 1. Sunrise” If you are joining from twitter or instagram you can use the hash tag #captureyourgrief
So of course I'm participating! I've been trying to convince myself to get back to blogging/writing for A VERY LONG TIME now. I feel like I lost my Mojo a long time ago and I need my Mojo BACK!

Sometimes I'll follow Carly's Subjects, sometimes I won't and sometimes I might do BOTH! Look at me breaking the rules already! That's just who I am. Today I couldn't follow the Subject because I slept through the sunrise. As I layed in bed wondering what my Day 1 photo would be, I figured I would stay within the subject matter and imagined what life would've been like if Jack were here right this minute. I imagined he would've woke up, stumbled out of bed and wanderd into the hall, peaking around the corner into our room, found me awake, laying in bed being a lazy pants. And assuming Jack would be very much like me(truly bipolar), he would have immediately run and jumped up on our bed, really obnoxiously singing "Good Morning Good Morning Good Morning, it's time to rise and shine..." and just as abruptly, stopped the song there and climbed into my space, resting his head just beneath mine, his little hands grabbing my wrist and wrapping my arms around his bony body for some serious cuddle time.

That is not my reality though. Instead, I lay in bed alone, no pitter patters of feet in the hallway, no living room TV on cartoons with the volume up too high. Nope, Just quiet, absolute silence. So I grab Jack's elephant and snuggle it just as I would love to snuggle Jack and SNAP take a picture.

Day 1 Waking up well after the Sunrise
Mesa, AZ

Sunday, July 22, 2012

2012 International Kindness Project Day

"To help one person is to help the world." -- Joanne Cacciatore

Friday, July 27th is International Kindness Project Day started by the MISS Foundation. What is that...You ask?

It's a Kindness Revolution! Everyone is invited to participate with us, doing simple acts of kindness in the memory of a loved one or if you're lucky enough not to have one, feel free to do it in Jack's name! This is something we as bereaved parents do often in memory of our kids who have died.

JOIN the KINDNESS Revolution RSVP today!
My very first Random Act of Kindness was very simple. I went through the Wendy's drive-thru expecting to buy a $5 gift card or certificate but they didn't have them anymore. I had several cars in front of me so I was near the ordering menu for about 15 minutes. I was feeling kind of silly, since this wasn't going as planned. While I sat there with my window down, there was delivery guy hauling food in and out of the back door. He had his son with him, he looked about 4 or 5 years old who was playing around the bushes. When the delivery guy was finished he grabbed his crates and said, "Come on Jack, time to go." I started crying, it was confirmation that Jack was with me and I would do this Act of Kindness no matter how silly or embarrassed I was. When I finally got to the window, I handed the girl a $5 bill and asked her to put my $5 towards the guy's order behind me. She looked at me funny and asked, "What?" I told her that I was doing a Random Act of Kindness in memory of my son Jack and I wanted to donate $5 to the order for the guy behind me in line. She still looked a little confused but took the $5 and the Kindness Card that said, "This Random Act of Kindness...Done in Loving Memory of Jack Kendrick Johnson. As I drove away I saw her hand the card to the man and "explain" what I had done. Driving through the parking lot my tears were blinding me and I had to pull over but I didn't want the guy to follow me so I wiped them away with my shirt and headed home. My heart was so heavy with love for Jack, my tears were full of pain and sorrow, but I felt so good because I knew Jack was with me at that moment.

Last year on Int'l Kindness Project Day I donated 5 backpacks filled with supplies to 5 kindergartners who were living at one of A New Leaf's domestic abuse homeless shelters in Phoenix; to honor Jack's 5th Birthday and how he would've been starting kindergarten.

<---That's Me and one of the ladies who work at A New Leaf, she gave me a tour of this shelter and was so excited to accept my donation.
I was only able to do this because of the kindness of our friends and family who made donations. We are still in the same predicament this year, I'm STILL unemployed and we lost our house this past January. I really wanted to make this an annual donation for Jack's Birthday and Kindness Day but had been feeling uneasy about asking, yet again, for donations to make it happen. I recently posted my thoughts and feelings about it on Facebook and immediately had friends and family ONCE AGAIN wanting to jump on board and make it happen! So here we go again peeps...

It's Jackpack Time!

So as I said, we can't afford 6 backpacks filled with supplies, but we can afford One. That One will be picked out just as if it were for Jack and we will fill it with all the supplies and probably some extras.
The other 5 backpacks is where I NEED YOU! So my dearest Friends and Family....would you be willing to help me with this Kindness project for Kindness Day as well as Jack's 6th Birthday coming August 31? As I did last year I will photograph everything I purchase so you can see what your donations are going towards and of course I'll take pictures at the event and share them here with you!

First Grade Supply List

1 Backpack (Found them tonight for $10 at Walmart!!!)
12 #2 Pencils

1 Box of 24 Crayons
1 Box of 12 Pencil Crayons
2 Glue Sticks
1 Box of Tissues
1 Pink Eraser
1 Box of 8-10 Broad Tip Markers (can be washable)
1 Pair of Fiskar Scissors
1 Pencil Case
1 Wide Ruled Spiral Bound Notebook
3 Pocket Folders
1 Bottle of White/Elmers Glue
1 Personal size Bottle of Hand Sanitizer

Card Stock (any color)
Scotch Tape
Package Zip Lock bags(snack, sandwich, quart or gallon size)

If you would like to DONATE my PayPal DONATE button is on the right of the page Or CLICK HERE!

THANK YOU ALL in advance for whatever you are able to do to help me honor Jack for his 6th Birthday!

Keep scrolling for photos of 2012 Jackpacks!

Here are the photos from last years 2011 Int'l Kindness Project Day Event in Peoria, AZ:

2012 Jackpacks

7 Jackpacks and 7 sets of school supplies All bought, ready to organize!

 I chose this one specifically because of my brother in law/Jack's uncle Casey Johnson!
Spiderman was our special Jackpack FOR JACK
All 7 Jackpacks with 7 sets of supplies
Dropping of all 7 Jackpacks at A New Leaf in Mesa, AZ

Thank You ALL who made this possible with your donations and Love for Jack!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

DSM V - I'm not Mentally ill, I'm human.

I can't sit back and Do Nothing about this! How can you? Are you ok with being diagnosed Mentally ill 2 weeks after your loved one dies? Are you married? Imagine for a minute that you get the dreaded phone call, your spouse has been in an accident and has died. In two weeks are you going to be "over it" and fine? No you're not! You're going to be grieving as any normal human being would be! If you do Nothing, your doctor will be diagnosing you Mentally ill! Do you have children? With that diagnosis, you may lose custody of your children! Do you have aspirations to work in health care? Work with children? For the government? With that diagnosis, you won't be hired and could be FIRED from your current job! Have any of these things already happened to you? Why haven't you read Dr. Joanne Cacciatore's blog? Why haven't you Spoke up and told your story in the comments on her blog? Why haven't you signed the petition?

I can't sit back and do nothing. My son Jack Kendrick Johnson was born August, 31, 2006. He was born premature due to Incompetent Cervix. My son Jack died September 1, 2006 due to his prematurity. Two weeks after my son died, I was in shock that this nightmare had actually happened! I wasn't sleeping, eating and barely breathing. I'm not being dramatic! When your child dies, a part of you dies. You physically hurt all over, from your toes to the hair on your head. My heart wasn't broken, it was shattered! And the pain from that shattered heart is truly indescribable! But I'll do my best...It felt like there was an elephant sitting on my chest and that elephant was stabbing me, repeatedly and sometimes that elephant would lay just right on my chest that I would actually stop breathing. I didn't notice it until I realized I had forgotten to breath and I'd take a huge gulp of air. How do you forget to breath? My arms ached like I had been lifting 200 lb weights over my head for days. My eyes felt like they had been stung by millions of bees and dried out like dead flowers. There was no running out of tears, yet open or closed, dried or soaked in tears there was no pain-free moment for my eyes. My head ached in ways I'd never felt before. Worse then the worst migraine you can imagine, Physically heavy like it had been exchanged with a 100 lb weight ball, Filled with racing thoughts; What ifs, Should haves, could haves, replaying every second from the first moment of what I thought was gas pains two days before Jack was born to the car ride home from the hospital not pregnant anymore yet no baby in the car seat. That nightmare replayed over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over Every Night, Every Day, Every Moment of my life for the first TWO YEARS after my son, my only child died. TWO YEARS!

Two weeks after my son died, we were picking up his ashes and his death certificate. Was I mentally ill to STILL be grieving my son's death while picking up his ashes and death certificate? That's what the DSM V will say if you do nothing.

I'm not done.

Two years after Jack died, I got that dreaded phone call! My father suddenly and unexpectedly died of a heart attack. Two weeks after my father died, I was just beginning to grieve for him because my brother and I had to keep our shit together to plan his funeral and start the process of handling his estate. Two weeks after my father died I was home sitting on my couch calling my dad's cell phone hoping to hear his voice just one more time even if it was just his voicemail. I was sitting there realizing my dad would never again call me. Never again tell me he loved me. Two weeks after my dad died, I was grieving for my dad! I wasn't mentally ill, I didn't need pills. I needed to grieve for my dad!

5 years, 6 months and 3 weeks after Jack died, I'm STILL grieving for my son!
3 years, 3 months and 2 weeks after my dad died, I'm STILL grieving for my dad!
I'm not Mentally ill, I'm human!

I can't still back and Do Nothing!
How can you sit back and do nothing?

Friday, March 16, 2012

DSM-5 Why is this a big deal?

My dearest Friends and Family, I'm reaching out because there is something really scary about to change EVERYONES lives! The DSM-5 is changing the timeline for our doctors, therapists, social workers to diagnose US as Mentally ill just 2 WEEKS after our child/spouse/parent/sibling dies!

Why is this a big deal?

For many reasons: 1) Imagine the person you love most in all the world. Picture his or her face, laugh, touch. Now, imagine that you will never see that person again because he, or she, has died. And then imagine that a two-week time limit has been imposed on your sadness, grief, anger, fear, confusion. If you experience such profound distress longer than two weeks, you may be diagnosed with a mental disease. Reason number one why this matters to you? Because someday, you will feel deep and profound grief that will bring you to your knees. You are not exempt. No one is. Grief, as Anne Morrow Lindbergh says, is "the great leveler"; 2) Because a person can be denied private health and life insurance if he or she has been diagnosed with a mental disorder; 3) Because parents who have been diagnosed with a mental disorder can lose custody of their children; 4) Because individuals diagnosed with mental disorders can lose opportunities for jobs and often suffer the effects of global discrimination; 5) Because a diagnosis of a mental disorder stays in your records, despite the fact that many clinicians may not disclose this; 6) Because categorizing normal grief as a mental disorder is a lie and thus is unethical; 7) Because this lie further perpetuates the myths around 'normal' grief and obscures societal understanding, further marginalizing the traumatically bereaved; 8) because such lies harm people and relationships, and 9) many other risks, some known and some yet to be discovered.

Please read Dr. Joanne Cacciatore's blog post for further information. Please COMMENT on her blog and SHARE this all over the Internet, it's our ONLY chance to STOP this insanity from happening!

Please SIGN the petition to STOP this!

There is an Occupy APA movement on May 5th, Saturday, in Philadelphia.

Do Something!

Donate for My Kindness Project to Honor Jack!