Year one of my grief journey was THE hardest year of my life. My trauma and depression were at an all time high, and I didn’t know how to handle it by myself. I tried my best to make the pain go away, but nothing worked.

I cried all the time, I slept, I starved myself, and my life was almost taken from me. I call depression the “Silent Assassin”. I was in an environment where I absolutely could not be vulnerable, and that took its toll on my life and my grief journey. I would go into the grocery stores, and people would see me and cry. Once the news of my baby’s passing hit social media, my grief journey, my personal business, and my life only got worse. I absolutely did not want to be bothered, I pushed people away, and I became a whole new person. I became a person that I didn’t even know existed, but it also taught me how to set, and enforce my boundaries.

Photograph courtesy of Jasmine Ellington

My sister Breanna had her daughter 4 months after I lost my daughter, Azalia. I love my niece, but it’s sad because she has nobody her age and I am the one that always wanted to be a mommy. It strengthened my relationship with my sister because even though I grieve, she helps make it a little bit easier, and so does my niece.

For Azalia’s 1st and 2nd birthdays, I bought cakes, and I did a balloon release for her. I am always finding ways to mother her and keep her memory alive. I got a tattoo of her name and I always order ornaments from Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep in her honor.

Photographs courtesy of Jasmine Ellington

Azalia’s urn is in her keepsake box, and I keep that in my room, in her own special place, in my closet. I take it out and kiss it often because it makes me feel closer to her. I also let my mom “babysit” the urn when she feels like she needs a spirit boost! My princess brought so much joy to everyone’s life, and I believe wholeheartedly that I’m keeping her memory alive by celebrating her every single chance I get!

As time passed, and I sat in my new home, I realized that in order to make Azalia proud, I had to keep living! It took every ounce in me, but I pulled up the strength to go get certified as a Full Spectrum Doula. I chose this lifestyle because I had a Doula during the birth of Azalia, and she was wonderful! I want to be able to give back to my community in the form of support when ladies are expecting, and especially when they’ve lost a baby. In the future, I will specialize in high-risk pregnancies due to pre-existing medical conditions, but I will accept anyone. Regardless of insurance, and ability to pay full price, I’m here to help out in my community!

Photograph courtesy of Jasmine Ellington

Remembrance Portraits
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