BECOME A COMMUNITY GALLERY ARTIST
If you have ever considered picking up a pen or a brush or a soft wad of clay, but chose not to because you don't feel creative or you're not sure what to do, I encourage you to let go of your doubt and hesitation and just dive in head first. I promise you the water here is warm and safe. Please send your submissions, questions & comments to Stephanie@sweetpeaproject.org


Stacey Fisher

Steps of Remembrance Day

Today when I wake you will be my first thought. Always imagined greeting mornings by just staring in your eyes.
My broken heart will carry you as time passes by. Trying to ignore the emptiness in the arms that longed to hold you.
I will gather with strangers. Yet I know them, because we share the same pain.
My words of love will be written on special paper. All the words I thought I would whisper in your ear.
Standing in quietness I listen for your name. The one I wanted to say out loud a million times.
With shaking hands I will release all that I am to heaven. Wishing I was there to see you catch it.
No strength to fight the tears that will flow. Yet I was prepared to catch every one that trickled down your sweet face.
Evening darkness will be brightened by the light of your remembrance candle. Aching I never got to light them on your cake.
My head than lays down on a pillow, reflecting on a day that will always be yours. Closing my eyes to dreams of eternity. Mommy believes in the promise of it being ours.
Until than....I will take these steps.
I love you my precious Angel


Written by Stacey Fisher
Precious Baby Boy Fisher's Mama

Nicole Arnold-Taylor


A Mother's Love
by Nicole Arnold-Taylor

Josh White

Hope

We came with a baby, and left with a box
A sorrow so deep it externally knocks
Our dreams and wishes, will remain only that
For she is gone from our world and not coming back
Life here on earth, she will never know
I wish we could understand why this is so
She lives in the heavens, I know this is true
Look up at the stars or the skies of blue
Our hope was an angel, with beautiful wings
We are so blessed to know the love that she brings
I can feel her always, she has all my love
I know she is watching from the heavens above

Written by Josh White
Hope Angel White's Daddy

Jamie Bauman

Treading Water

My pain is like the ocean waves
Crashing against my stomach, my heart, my throat, my mind
Crashing with a constant rhythm

My babies are dead
My babies are dead
My babies are dead

I force myself to go through the motions and tread water
Get out of bed, go to work, eat, try to sleep
All the while the waves are crashing

My babies are dead
My babies are dead
My babies are dead

I try to talk to people, hoping they will ask about my sons
Sad when they don't, angry when they say the wrong thing.
They mostly stay away, afraid my waves will drag them under

Still they crash against me.

My babies are dead
My babies are dead
My babies are dead

The waves will not stop crashing
So I will continue to tread
Someday I will be a better swimmer


by Jamie Bauman
Max & Eddie's Mama

Brooke Grunza

Expectations
 
Come at me if you are gentle, patient, and kind for right now all I have is my grace to carry me through.  But for her I am here.  She is the only reason I continue to survive this lonely existence. 
A year later and I am more alone than when my son died and my world forever changed. 
I forever changed...
And now my circle, my tribe has begun to abandon me.  At least then, in the moments and months after his death, I had my grief to cling to and everyone understood-they expected it.  But now?  Time has passed and I should move on.  As if reaching that milestone has somehow healed me or changed the memory, the pain, and my reality. 
I find more comfort in the embrace of a stranger than I do those near to me. 
I hear the whispers..."she has changed","she is bitter" and "she lost the beautiful person she used to be" 
But I would like to ask those whispering, How was I ever expected to remain the same? 
Everyday I see my reflection, feel my heart race, and hold my stomach in hope and desperation it is a reminder  
that I will never be that person again-the person who lived on hopes and dreams...the person who believed in should haves and could haves until they were no longer mine. 
They do not know how to take my grief.  Behind closed doors they sneer and say "Is she STILL carrying on about that-she hasn't moved on yet-doesn't she know it makes people uncomfortable?" 
They are OVER my loss. 
And maybe if I was lucky enough to color my world in rainbows it would somehow be easier. But that is not my story. 
There just isn't much happiness some days and I am sorry if it is too much for you too handle.
 
by Brooke Grunza
Lennon Kai's Mama

Catherine Bayly

You Braided My Hair

In that hospital room, my hair fell in my face.
The long wisps got caught behind my glasses
and stuck to my wet eyes.

But I didn't dare to reach my arms up and brush it away,
because that would mean leaving my stomach
open to the gazes of our visitors.

They would have to see my still, vulnerable bulge,
swollen with a baby that had already left us.
They would have cringed, looked away.

The aversion of their eyes to my baby would break my heart.
That stomach would press into their worlds and burn there
and force us all to contend with the inevitable.

I resisted the itch to raise my arms, protecting her despite my failure
So I let the hair cluster up around the moisture on my cheeks.
and let it hang there until I couldn't stand it.

Then, you braided my hair. You sat behind me when I needed you.
I don't forget that you waited for my signal or how that must have hurt.
Your eyes must have dripped and you must have let them.

You protected me despite these human failures by keeping your hands
wrapped up in my hair, never dropping the strands to wipe your nose.
For those moments, you took on the heavy sweet tangle.

by Catherine Bayly
Sophie Salome's Mama
www.thelifespanofbutterflies.blogspot.com

Rachel Davis

Francis Heart


by Rachel Davis
Francis Davis' Mama

"As I looked at the sonogram screen at my doctor's office, I saw emptiness, an empty circular object, one devoid of life. Of course, due to the fact that I cannot really read sonogram images, I didn't know the implications of the emptiness I was beholding. The sonogram technician didn't let me know either. I found out later that day that the child that I already loved so dearly would not be known to me on earth. When I started the piece of artwork, I started with the empty circle and from there was determined to create something beautiful as a result of the pain. It is such a beautiful, yet delicate gift to be able to make pain and devastation into something lovely, to overcome the agony with perseverance and peace. That was the purpose of this piece: to record the journey that my heart was on, as a result of having my baby taken from me. I trust that God is infinitely wise and infinitely good and the great blessings that He has poured upon me will not forever be hidden. In fact, I have been so blessed to have a "front row seat" to some of the most amazing events through this time of grief."

Chaya Hathaway

You were alive inside of me
Two positive home pregnancy tests – I couldn’t believe my eyes
You were alive inside of me
I never thought that I’d see this day – I’m going to be someone’s mom
You were alive inside of me
Everyone was so excited for your arrival
You were alive inside of me
Identical twins – 2 boys – dreams really do come true
You were alive inside of me
You helped me vote at the presidential election in hopes of a brighter future 
You were alive inside of me
Daddy spoiled all three of us
You were alive inside of me
Eating ice cream always made me feel better 
You were alive inside of me
Braylon and Myles - your names have been chosen
You were alive inside of me
My belly’s getting bigger and my feet are swelling too
You were alive inside of me
Watching both of you always so active on the ultrasound screen
You were alive inside of me
I never slept so much in my life – that’s all we did
You were alive inside of me
I loved talking to you every morning on the way to work
You were alive inside of me
We were passing all of our appointments with flying colors
You were alive inside of me
The nursery’s been painted, furniture assembled, waiting just for you
You were alive inside of me
Got to see what was in store for your delivery on the maternity ward tour
You were alive inside of me
Planning your baby shower was in full effect, invites going out soon
You died inside of me
How can this be, we were doing so well, are you kidding me
You died inside of me
I will always be haunted by the still images on the ultrasound screen
You died inside of me
Emotions can’t be controlled and now I’m expected to call your dad
You died inside of me
Driving home in a flurry of tears, wishing the car would slip on ice and just disappear
You died inside of me
In the hospital bed watching the inauguration of the president you helped elect
You died inside of me
The news said an unwanted baby was found alive & abandoned on a cold porch
You died inside of me
I don’t understand and I’ll never know why
You died inside of me
For two more days - you laid under my heart
You died inside of me
Giving birth to death has become a reality
You died inside of me
Looking in amazement – my precious baby boys
You died inside of me
My identical twin sons but I could still tell you apart
You died inside of me
It’s time for me to leave you and the place that you were born
You died inside of me
How am I expected to do this, I feel so torn
You died inside of me
At home, learning to live all over again
You were alive inside of me yet you died inside of me


By Chaya Hathaway
Braylon & Myles' Mama

Laurel Taylor

You Are My Sunshine


By Laurel Taylor
Brianna Taylor's Mama

"This is a picture I took after working a long day at work. I came home and up the stairs to relax.  The sun was beaming as bright as I had ever seen it through the window in Brianna's room.  It was the perfect way to destress at the end of the day and feel my sweet girl."

Catherine Bayly

Still Life
I turn your photos at all angles.
Upside down, sideways, longways, backwards.
I try to get inside the layers that fade and shimmer.
Try to touch your dimensions there.
But today you are really gone.
I miss you so my heart splits, overripe.
It is not beautiful today.
It is not a sweet sadness.
It is frantic, and felt through gritted teeth.
In moments, I want to cry out the worst words.
I do it silently, mouth wide open.
Almost tearing at the edges, but no sound.
You can't hear me say those things.
And I pray you are watching me.
Knowing how I’m spilling everywhere.
And how fast I’d sew my skin to have you.
If I knew all along you would slip sweet silence,
I would swell and carry you again.
Just to have those moments of holding you.
And I would do it right then.
I would kiss you with abandon.
In the soft hollow under your chin.
I would kiss and weep into the palms of your hands.
I would know then what I know now.
That more than two years later,
It would hurt like it was yesterday.
That missing you would feel like
Organs just gone, body hot throb and hobbling.
Worse than that.
I would know that nothing feels worse.
I would know for sure that I would never be the same.
I would prepare for this agony.
I would drink your soft skin.
I would remember your baby shoulders.
I would brush your long hair.
I would dress you so gently.
I would hold you until the nurse begged to take you away, and took you when I slept.
I would photograph you from all angles.
Your places hidden from light.
Spaces between fingers, backs of knees,
Delicate skull with fissures, pursed lips that redden and redden.
I would take beautiful photographs.
So that I could never forget the way your
Neck met your baby chest.
I would plaster my house with the pictures of you.
I would show them to everyone I meet.
Written by Catherine Bayly
Sophie Salome's Mama
http://thelifespanofbutterflies.blogspot.com/

Penny Rainey

Plans

As I sit here my heart starts to break while my arms ache.
When the lines crossed on the stick I longed to feel a big kick.
But God had other plans that I still don't understand.
Why me again? Did I not suffer enough then?
Even though I know I have an angel by my side it doesn't mean I don't cry.
My love is overflowing as the tears start going.
On my cheek they rest it's too tough to forget.
But one day I will find another little miracle that makes my mind, feel calm and serene just like a good dream
And when I wake up I'll feel a tug at the strings attached from above.
You are my angel and my sunshine, you are forever mine!

By Penny Rainey
Shelby Chere', Maddy Lane & Casey Avery's Mama

Kelly Karr

A bit of color in a dark world of grief



by Kelly Karr
Natalie & Angel Karr's Mama

Kara LC Jones

Black White Red




Body Trace



By Kara LC Jones
Dakota & Mizuko's Mama

"Creativity is a practice, not a perfect. I work my creativity in many ways as part of an emotional expression of life, particularly the life I am living after the deaths of my sons Dakota and Mizuko. The Body Trace piece was very much an exploration of how my relationship to my own body changed after the boys died. The Black White Red piece was from an art journal exchange I was doing with a friend, and with this piece, I was exploring what it feels like to be in the middle of traumatic experience that ends up breaking your heart...open. I share a lot of my own creative exploration on my blog at http://www.motherhenna.blogspot.com if you would like to see other works. Also, via my main http://www.MotherHenna.com site I offer ways to co-create with others such as coaching, speaking, Reiki, and readings. Many thanks to Stephanie, founder of Beauty in the Breakdown, for the opportunity to share creativity with you all here!"

Angie Yingst

She's Not An Angel

by Angie Yingst
Lucia Paz Yingst's Mama
"I have drawn these little modified stick people with my daughter for a long time. I tell a story and begin drawing. Now that she is older, she narrates the story while I draw. They had always been happy little sketches of our family. After Lucy died, I began painting again, mostly still life in watercolor. This was the first painting I did around my grief. I wanted to turn these happy stick figures on their head, show them in our current reality. Sad stick figures. Grieving stick figures. I decided to try it with watercolor. Of course, the whimsy is that Lucy is smiling and alive. I always draw her smiling. And the saying became something of a silent response to the nurses referring to Lucy as my angel during my experience birthing her. I knew they were being kind and gentle, but I wanted to scream, 'She is not an angel. She is my baby. She is my dead baby.' Maybe I toned down the painting a bit."

Nicole Reigle

May 14, 2011

Chloe, you've been gone now,
a little over a week
I continue to grieve because
it's your heart that I seek

I haven't cried much today
tears currently frozen
they've all been for you
because you God has chosen

Everything makes me think of you
day through night
when will we be together again
please show me the light

I looked up your flower the other day
you have a bunch
guess what, one is a lily
I had a hunch

What color are your eyes? Would you like
sports or be a little dancer...
I have so many questions
all I want is some answers

I am no longer afraid to die
in fact I can't wait for that day
cause then we can be together
till then I just pray


Written by Nicole Reigle
Chloe Ann Reigle's Mommy

Kristen Bailey

Sweetpea


I had carried you for 20 weeks,

But it was way too soon to meet you.

I cried tears of pain and anger

Wondering why was this happening.

Early in the morning on December 5th,

Your daddy and I met you.

Our sweet baby girl.

So beautiful and perfect.


Grammy wrapped you in a blanket,

And handed you to me.

I held you so close

Kissing your nose and cheeks.

You were perfect and

I didn’t want to let you go.

I had so many plans, hopes, and dreams for you.


So much had changed since Thursday.

The worst three days of my life,

But I was holding my baby girl.

The most perfect baby I had ever seen.


Would you have brown or blonde hair?

Would you be short or tall?

I wondered about all these while I held your tiny body.

And I will never know the answers,

Until I can rock my Sweetpea in Heaven.


She is my first baby.

Perfect, loved, and never to be forgotten.

I cry because I miss her, want her back,

And for the future we will never have.

I am Sweetpea’s mommy,

And she will forever be my precious baby girl.


In memory of Sweetpea Bailey

Silently born December 5, 2010

Written by her mother, Kristen Bailey

Krista Tomczak

Missing Faith



by Krista Tomczak (age 9)
Faith Tomczak's big sister

Hope Wood

You Were Meant To Live


Life is not as it should be

Blessings still abound

God is still God

Endless mounds of sorrow

Life’s constant companion

Reality has been altered

Something sacred slipped away

Two lifetimes suddenly gone

Out of reach, just beyond grasp

A grand canyon between our worlds

Faces of a family forever altered

In need of mending yet unable to see completion

Landscape of life suddenly shifted


You were meant to live alongside us all

To breathe in of earth and all that life was created to be

It is not better that you died, you were meant to live

It was not a matter of timing or for the best

Heaven was not your intended destination yet

Death is not God’s heart cry for His creation

Life is not as it should be

You were meant to live


God cries with me

He feels the grief as well

He allows death yet desires life

Such tearing in the fabric of life & family

Such cutting grief - down to the marrow

Such parting was never meant to be

Such grieving not part of His Plan

Life cut short not from need for you there

Gone not to punish

The piercing of life in a fallen world

Life is not as it should be

You were meant to live


I hear the echoes of your voices calling my name

I imagine the weight of you in my arms

I almost know the softness of your hair beneath my touch

I dream of kissing your plump cheeks and the feel of your skin

I can envision the twinkle in your eyes

Almost hear the sound of your giggles

I imagine the delight as you discover new things

I almost taste the salt of your tears

I dream of rocking you

Every song I sing is for you too

Every book I read for you as well

Every prayer carrying kisses & hugs

Every tender word uttered, all the love expressed

For all my children, in my arms or only in my heart

I stand in awe that I was chosen to carry you

Grateful for every moment

Every sensation, every movement

Every heartbeat heard

I know you know my voice still

Life is not as it should be

You were meant to live


Two unique ones, fully human, eternal souls

Cute fingers, pudgy toes

There will be no replacement with the next one

No coming back in another rounded belly

You graced my womb

You now grace the beauty of Heaven

You are real, waiting for us

You are being held and loved

These are my best comforts

Life is not as it should be

You were meant to live


Who were you meant to be?

How would you have taken up space in this life?

What would have brought you love, laughter, & tears?

Your first step, Your first word

You vanished, we grasp at shadows

How our lives have altered beyond perceiving

Our hearts broken with no lasting present repair

Forever changed

Nothing is the same as it was

Colors look different now

Fragility & significance of life painfully known

Wounds too deep for words

Aches a mommy and daddy were never meant to feel

A child is a child no matter how long they are with us

Grief is still grief, the shape of it changing with time

The healing of all wounds doesn’t happen with time

Time is not the healer or enemy

Time is simply time

Life is not what it should be

You were meant to live


Being your mommy has brought a new me

A better person for the affliction

New world of awareness

New level of expansion

Eyes wide open

Nothing taken for granted

Better only by God’s power through loss

His comforting Hand, saving grace

What buried me, what almost took my life as well

God used to create a different me, a different family

Even so, Life is not what it should ultimately be

You were meant to live


I imagine our reunion

Envision our eternal lives unfolding together

I trust in a God good enough to fill all the empty places with wholeness

Heaven holds new meanings now

The promise of knowing you fully, no stage missed

What was stolen now will be restored

The promise of a God who redeems

Who will bring new birth to all that was taken away

Reunion of siblings lost to one another oh so long

A mother’s heart forever unbroken at last

A father’s arms overflowing with no child of his missing

You were all meant to live

Life will one day be what it should be



By Hope Wood

Zoe Elizabeth Wood & Addie Kate Wood’s Mommy

Naomi N. Rogers

Mommy's lil' Angel


Up in the air you go,
Smiling down on me;
Mommy's little pilot,
My whole life through you I see.

Healthy little baby,
Daddy's little man;
Why did you leave us...
To be an angel in promised land???

So full of life,
Big hopes and Big dreams;
Loving every minute on earth with you,
Taken too early, it seems.

So as I sit here and
Feel sorry for myself;
Remembering your held by angels,
I smile,
And it helps.

The three months you were here
Were the best of my life;
For you I wish I could
Give my life as a sacrifice.

Blessed by your laughter,
And your joy,
Loving your cries...
And especially your kisses,
You beautiful baby boy.

Even though the day you left
A part of me died too;
Hunter William I CANNOT EVER forget
How much
I LOVE YOU...


by Naomi N. Rogers
Hunter William's Mommy

Michelle Froman

Alone

Lying in the dark my tears
fall down, down, down.
I feel the wetness on my face.
Then they drip down,
down into my ears
I don’t bother to wipe them away.
It’s only me, and I am free,
Free to cry.

I don’t care about the tears,
I don’t care about anything.
I just want to stay here.
Here in the dark, away,
Away and alone.

Alone from everyone,
Everyone who doesn’t care.
Everyone who’s life is the same,
Same as the day before.

Alone from the world
Where my hurt is valid,
Valid to only me.
My baby is gone,
My baby is gone, and I
Am all alone.


by Michelle Froman
Mommy to two Angels in Heaven

Michelle Froman



Safe In The Palm of His Hand
by Michelle Froman
Mommy to two angels in heaven

Ralyssa Ensinger

Numbness


Numbness, sadness, it is all I feel

Why did you have to go

I wish it were different


When we found out you were on the way

We decided to build this house for you and your siblings

Now your room sits empty

So carefully designed for you


You will never be in it

Will anyone

I don’t know for sure


I am so sad

Nothing seems real

You are always on my mind

Your name on my lips


I don’t want to “move on.”

Be strong for the ones still alive

But I miss the one who is not here

I miss him so so much


I thought with time things are supposed to get better

I miss you more everyday

I am slowly dying inside


Life is so overwhelming

I am tired of thinking

Of caring

I want you here with me

I want to hold you, to comfort you


I don’t want to be strong

It wasn’t supposed to be like this

Our family was supposed to be complete

Now I am left wondering


I wish I could promise your siblings another baby

But I know you could never be replaced

It will never be the same

I want you here with me

Why did you have to go


Numbness, sadness it is all I feel


You were my life, my future

I am so lost, so alone

It’s not getting easier

Someone wake me from this nightmare


I never thought it would hurt this bad

I never thought I would miss you so much

I don’t know what to do now

How am I supposed to live

When all I can think about is you


I wish you could have been here longer

No amount of time would have been enough

There were so many more people I wanted

To be able to meet you

There just wasn’t enough time

I wanted so much more


Numbness, sadness it is all I feel





by Ralyssa Ensinger
Evan Michael Ensinger's Mommy