October In Avery's Garden, Day 1: Introductions
Hello, and welcome all to October in Avery’s Garden. For those of you that might be new to my journey, my name is Tara and I am an Angel Mommy to Avery Robert who was born on June 17, 2016. Avery was born at 20 weeks and 4 days gestation due to my incompetent or weakened cervix. As Avery grew, my cervix weakened that ended in his stillbirth.
To say that this journey has been difficult would be an understatement. Nothing could have prepared me for the things I have had to endure throughout the grieving process. While I have lived in some very dark times, Avery has also helped me shine in other ways.
Dealing with the darkness has been horrible. In the early stages of my grief I was forced to go head to head with the taboo stigma or pregnancy and infant loss. I have always been a strong minded girl and I saw nothing wrong with showing my pain and the rawness of my grief. For those around me I know that it was difficult to watch as my whole world crumbled around me. I had taken the approved maternity leave from work and began searching for ways to remember my son. That is when we decided to plant a garden in his honor. Avery’s Garden. I never had a green thumb but his garden gave me strength to become the caring gardener I am today. My husband, Mike, helped me create this special space that continues to provide me a retreat from my grief. I continued to share my story, pretty much to anyone and everyone and started an Instagram page for a safe-haven. I began connecting with other women who had lost children and the group continued to grow. I was blind to miscarriage and stillbirth before Avery, but his life led me into some of the most incredible friendships in the process. In October 2016, I was introduced to Capture Your Grief founded by a fellow Angel Mom. Working through the 31-days of written statements allowed me to pour my heart out, still fighting to break the stigma and to those who wanted to silence me. Losing Avery is the worst thing that could have ever happened to me and I wasn’t going to stop yelling his name and honoring his spirit.
I decided to give back to some of the mothers I had met at that point and wrote their children’s names on leaves which were later released by attaching them to balloons. At that time I did an estimated 20 leaves and will always look back to those early moments as one of my first creative grief projects. I completed a youtube video highlighting the angel names and felt empowered by the light that started to fill in the broken cracks of my heart. In December of 2016, I completed another creative grief project and started meeting even more angel babies and their families. I drew customized ornaments for over 100 babies and was so humbled by the love and support that became pouring into my life. All these families were hurting like me, and we were bonding over tragedy but filling ourselves back up with love, understanding and acceptance.
Avery’s Garden Grief Journal was a turning point in my journey. In January 2017, I began drawing larger images for families that turned into the coloring books I publish to this day. If it wasn’t for Avery leading me into the lives and hearts of others I would have never found my calling. My true purpose of helping heal through creative art and kindness.
I recently submitted an application to have Avery’s Garden recognized as a 501 (c) 3 Not For Profit Organization and am anxiously awaiting the results. My goal is to one day offer a tree house retreat center for bereaved families that will offer a creative grieving space for those in need. I use all the proceeds from the coloring books towards this vision and know in my heart that one day this dream will come true.
As for now, I continue to live as a wife, and mother to my 3 earthside fur-babies: Foxy, Mila and Gemma. I wished for a rainbow baby and continue hoping that one day I will have a child in my arms.