Lilypie Angel and Memorial tickers

Lilypie Angel and Memorial tickers

25 Mar 2013

Fundraising for Amelia's Second Birthday.

Dear friends and family,

It has been two years since Amelia was stillborn. She should be running all over the place, potty training and stringing sentences together, but she is not...

On April 21, 2013 we will be walking the Vancouver Sun Run with Amelia in our hearts, pushing an empty stroller to raise funds for a conference Still Life Canada is hosting this summer.  The conference will give parents and healthcare professionals an opportunity to collaborate on building a community of support and informing changes in the healthcare system.

Please support us by sponsoring our walk to help cover the costs of this important event. With a donation of $10, $20, or even $50, you can help us reach our $1000 goal and help us create a better community of support for parents of stillborn babies.

For more information please visit

Three ways to donate:
By cheque: please make cheques payable to Still Life Canada and mail them to 529 - 3381 Cambie Street, Vancouver, BC, Canada  V5Z 4R3.
In cash: please give your cash donation to us in person.
Online: we accept any major credit card, 
please visit to donate through PayPal.   

Thank you for your generous support,

Alena, Dan, Mariya and Mr.Wiggles. For Amelia.

24 Mar 2013

Same Time Last Year, Amelia Was One.

Same time last year we were celebrating Amelia's first Birthday. It took me a year to write about it.


Living it is one thing, I don't have a choice. I make the most of it as I go.
Writing it is a choice. It makes it real. I didn't want it to be...

Now, a year later, we attended two other first birthdays of our friends' stillborn children. These beautiful bittersweet events helped me look back and accept.

We started preparing for Amelia's first birthday early, before Christmas. We had this overwhelming desire to make a small difference in other children's lives and we knew it would help us get through our grief. Slowly but surely we collected a package of art supplies: colouring books, crayons and paints, that we shipped to an orphanage in Belarus, my homecountry. That particular orphanage is home to 80 children, all preschool age. Thinking of all those children living in institutions always made my heart hurt, so we did what little we could: we sent them a box of smiles. The package arrived just in time and was delivered on the first anniversary of Amelia's last day of life... I received these beautiful pictures on her first birthday.

We also wanted to help local kids, so over time hubby and I collected same art supplies as well as legos and summer clothes for a little girl. This package we donated to a local shelter for women and children. It was hard buying all the pretty dresses, knowing I should be getting them for my daughter. Yet it helped, at least I got to buy them and bring them home...

In the weeks and days leading up to March 25, I spent quite a lot of time making cherry blossoms from sugar paste. I believe I made close to fifty fragile flowers to decorate her birthday cake (actually, it was two cakes, I wanted to make a two-tier cake but the top one was too full of chocolatey goodness and way too heavy, so one cake became two :).

All this activity helped us get through the anticipation of the day.  It felt good. It felt sad.
Sweet, yet bitter.

On the day of her birthday, friends and family waited for us to decide whether we wanted to see anyone or not. We were in such an overwhelming place, an uncharted territory, it was hard to predict what we needed to get through. In the afternoon, we felt we needed to see them, we couldn't stand being alone. In less than two hours our house was full of friends, smiles, hugs, and good food. We greeted the evening with a party, with cake and candles, just like it should have been. It was beautiful.

We are so grateful for everyone in our lives. Everyone who came to the funeral. Everyone who came to the first birthday. Everyone who stuck around for all the good and the ugly in between.

Thank you.

20 Mar 2013

Introducing Still Life Canada

In the first year of Amelia's life and death, as I processed everything that happened in the 24 hours between "I'm sorry, there's no heartbeat" to us leaving the hospital without our daughter, I realised that I was lucky to have the memories and keepsakes that our midwives and doula helped create. At least I had something...

Still, as I walked the path of grief, a lot of things were missing, Amelia was missing. 

The more I searched for support and meaning, the more I realised how little understanding there is of the process of stillbirth and its effects on families. I felt so alone.

In the second year of Amelia's life and death, I met two families who were walking their first year of grief. As we shared stories of our stillborn children, born at term in three different hospitals of one city, we realised how it was luck that decided what we got and what we missed during the precious last moments with our babies and the events that followed. 

It was also luck that brought us together, yet we felt anything but lucky.

Over coffee, lunch meetings, potlucks and walks in the park we decided something had to be done. We knew there was a gap in services, understanding, and awareness of stillbirth and we wanted to make sure parents walking in our footsteps will have less regrets and more memories. 

This is how Still Life Canada was born.

Still Life Canada: Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Education, Research and Support Society is a non-profit organisation that provides bereavement support for anyone affected by stillbirth and neonatal death and promotes research to reduce both.  As bereaved parents, we accompany others in their discovery of healthy grieving practices, work towards building a caring and compassionate community, initiate personal and professional development networks and provide opportunities for dialogue among parents, families and community.

Please visit our website to learn more.

With love,
Amelia's Family

16 Mar 2013


I'm finding it hard to breathe, my mind is gasping for air but my lungs won't move. My heart is breaking into a million pieces, all over again. Once again, I'm crying myself to sleep.

Next to me is my son, sleeping peacefully in his crib. Her crib. Tears roll down my cheeks, quietly, as I think of how she should be tucked into her bed tonight. Instead she is in her grave. GRAVE. My daughter, my beautiful little girl, has spent almost two years in her grave. She should be a big girl by now, running, talking, playing. Instead I feel like I'm loosing her. Time takes me further and further away from her. I hate it.

I'm so tired of grief, of this pain, of this foreverness. It's only been two years though, I have the rest of my life to go.

I try to pretend sometimes that I don't have it, the Grief. I smile and act all happy.


It's not happy.

I'm not happy. Not in the way the "innocent" people are.

My "happy" always has a grain of salt in it, a huge big pile of it, actually. Right in the middle. It makes a lot of the stuff taste butter, but at the core it's too.much.salt.

3 Mar 2013

Little feet.

Today was the first day when I actually played with Mr. Wiggles' feet. Up until this afternoon I focused on his hands, face and anything but his feet. I kissed and cleaned them, but I saw them in a fog.

When I was pregnant with Amelia, she used to kick me in the ribs with her little footsies. It was cute and painful at the same time. I used to have to really push my arm into my rib cage to stop her from bending it outward. The whole time I couldn't wait to meet my little girl and kiss those feet.

The day she was born I thought I'd never get to do that. Thanks to my midwife, I got to kiss her foot once. Just once. She unwrapped her leg from the blankets and that's when it really hit me...