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My second child and our first daughter, Camille, died and was born on June, 30 2011 when I was full term at 38 weeks pregnant. I gave birth to my rainbow baby, a second daughter, on August 31, 2012. This is me trying to figure out how to be a mother to my living son and daughter and function in society after our tragic loss.

Friday, January 4, 2013

My Peaceful Place

Last year on New Years Eve day and New Years day we were outside, We also conceived Harlow.
What a difference 1 year makes....A whole baby....living and everything.

This year we were in Santa Cruz and once again we were outside. I think it is a good way to end and start a year, being in a space and place that makes your soul feel more at peace. We went to the beach and although it was slightly chilly, it was beautiful, radiant, clear, fresh and it felt really good. 

A beautiful winter day at the beach

The Boy

All my babies together...if only in a photo

Camille would have turned 1.5 on the 30th of December. I can imagine her walking around on the beach all blond and tiny and I just miss her so much. 18 months of missing...

Harlow turned 4 months on the December 31st. here she is at midnight!
The next day we went to Fall Creek state park. I grew up on Fall Creek road, yeah really.... with a creek and redwoods in my back yard, a horse pasture across the street and the street dead ended at the state park! WOW! I spent my entire childhood running around those woods. Ferns, moss and water, mushrooms, redwoods, thick dark soil, leaves and that woody smell of all things natural.

I strapped Harlow onto me and our family trekked into the very chilly woods. The overgrowth of forest makes for very cold winter conditions, wet and slippery. I can not tell you the joy that fills my heart when I get to see Kai exploring the woods I grew up in. Jumping and climbing, finding sticks and toadstools. This is my peaceful place. I am not religious but in the woods and nature is where I feel my most spiritual.

Isn't this just beautiful


leaf skeleton

Me and two of my babies
When I hold my breath under water, I walk across this log in my mind.
Holding my breath is the ONLY thing I can beat Daryl at...
2 min and 52 seconds is my record.
The boys, hands in pockets...It was really cold.

There is a poem that my friend has on her wall. Now it resonates with me on a whole new level. I read it everyday, multiple times a day. This poem fits my state of mind and brings me to a place of calm.

The Peace of Wild Things
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

-Wendell Berry

The forethought of grief....oh man. I have such a hard time with this. The worry of what if... I worried about death of those I loved before Camille died, now it is a haunting that I have to consciously stop thoughts about. To be in a peaceful place where I feel calm and relaxed is just what my soul needs. I have to go to these places in my mind since I can't be there physically all the time.
another day on a hike overlooking the ocean
2012 was filled with hope for a rainbow baby. I worked for Harlow like nothing I have ever worked for.
 I hope in 2013 to regain some fragments of who I once was....I hope for rays of sunshine to pour into my soul and help warm the cold parts of my heart. 


  1. So beautiful. Those pictures are stunning. What a glorious place. Sending love, your 2013 plans seem so important. We lose so much of who we are when we have children and not in a bad way just in a caregiving way. We need to revisit that cave of us, and draw petroglyphs on our walls.

  2. Beautiful! I also feel more at peace when I am outside, and out of the city. What a wonderful place to grow up. I laughed at how cold it was...as an Oregon girl, I understand, but I now live in Minnesota and cold has a whole new meaning. :) I too hope for rays of sunshine-what a beautiful image.

  3. I love seeing some more of your trip. It looked amazing. I love that area and this made me miss it terribly. It feels selfish to seek out who we are after such a life changing event. Especially with children in the process. But it's important to them too, in the long run. Sending all my love, and hoping those rays of sunshine for you my friend.

  4. Breathtaking...what a beautiful area to grow up in. So glad you are able to share it with your little one's, but I know it is bittersweet since Camille is not there. Hoping 2013 is a good one for you as well!!

  5. This is really beautiful and I'm so glad you were able to end 2012 on a peaceful note. But I cannot get over holding your breath for 2 min and 52 seconds! Who are you Renel Lochte?!

  6. This is such a lovely post. I can't believe you grew up in such a gorgeous place with redwoods all around! Man, I miss them.

    I know you aren't religious, but my husband always says he things the mountains & out in nature is where God lives. I agree. It's the most peaceful and lovely and calm...

    Thanks for sharing such beauty.

  7. I could not agree more with your resolution for 2013. I, too, worked for my rainbow baby in 2012 in a way I have never worked for anything in my life. 2013 is a year of piecing ourselves back together, a year of calm, reflection and appreciation for the fact that we are here.

    Beautiful post. What a beauty your Harlow is! I remember her being born, as our babies were conceived in the same month, and praying I would get to meet my baby just as you had yours. Harlow has a special place in my heart.

  8. What a magical place to grow up. I love being around redwoods - there's something magical in the air where those trees live.

    Harlow's cheeks are completely kissable!

    I love that poem, and I agree about the angst in the anticipation of grief. Before Nathaniel, I thought that I had made peace with the transience of life. I don't know who I thought I was. Now, I have such an intense anxiety about anticipated loss. Potential loss. Inevitable loss. Sometimes my husband asks me to please, just be present. I'm too often lost in the past of losing Nathaniel or the future of whatever may be - anticipating future losses, future grief. Now, I have such a difficult time just being present with the beauty of what is right now. My every now moment is still marked with the absence of little 17 month-old arms around my neck, little 17 month-old kisses, and all of the joys and struggles of a toddler.

    I, too, hope that 2013 brings warmth and sunshine into your places of grief.

  9. Such gorgeous pictures, and babies. Happy New Year to you--here's to 2013 being a bit more peaceful.

  10. I remember feeling like I could take a deep breath for the first time since Eliza died only after traveling to Canada and driving up to the beautiful outdoor space of Whistler. I told my therapist that if I lived somewhere like that, I could probably follow through on her suggestions to meditate. That kind of nature does something to bring us in touch with the sacred parts of ourselves--the parts that are connected to the people we love, no matter where they are. Hoping 2013 brings you joy and light.

  11. Oh Renel, wishing you so much sunshine and warmth and the deep peace of wild things for 2013! I think there is something about wild spaces that is so good for your heart. I love seeing huge trees that have lost branches or fallen over and kept growing - I think if they can do it then I can too. And how beautiful to connect your babies with the wild places you grew up in. I love your photo of Kai, Camille and Harlow's names written together in the sand. Harlow is just lovely. I wish her big sister were here to delight in her. Sending so much love & light your way xxx hannah

  12. The pics are just beautiful. I love Harlow's peach fuzz head. She is 1 month older than Severus. Adorable. I hope your family enjoys peace and comfort in 2013. xoxo

  13. Those photos of your wilderness are so gorgeous. I can't believe you grew up there- the photo of the path looks like a painting!!! Harlow is too much, she kills me. :)

    I so know what you mean about working harder than ever before to bring these rainbow babies here... It gave me chills to read because it's true. I hope 2013 is everything we all hope it is.

  14. We live right next to rainforest and it is a magical, wonderful place to be, to feel, to cry and to find joy in. I'm glad you had this time away in this space you love. I hope you get what you need and want in 2013. You very much deserve it.

  15. Beautiful photos. What a lovely way to spend the New Year

  16. The pictures are breathtaking. They remind me so much of a favorite trail of mine that I haven't hiked since Otis was born (although it is literally a five minute drive from my house...) Perhaps I too need to work on regaining some of the fragments of who I was before...

    That poem used to be posted on my computer at work when I taught second grade. :)

    love to you and many wishes for a blessed and beautiful 2013, dear friend. xo

  17. I loved this post.
    I love the picture with all your children's names.

    It really is beautiful where you were.

    Sending my love

  18. I fear you are right - I've noticed a shift too... 2011 going into 2012 was all about getting Hugo here safely. It was as you say, one of the hardest things I've done. The following months were all about him and getting to know him and struggling with parenting after losing Seamus. Now that we're all a bit more settled in around each other, with no major life events planned, it feels like I need to try and scrape the pieces of myself back together, take stock, and try to make something of it all...

    I'm not sure what exactly that's going to look like.

    Here's to a peaceful and meaningful 2013.

  19. Dear renel, my heart bleeds for my long lost friend. I am so sorry to hear of your great loss. I hear there is no greater loss than that of a child. But I believe there will be no greater joy than when welcome them back in the resurection. I long to see my father, only then will we find true peace and comfort. In our arms again. When death is no more, then we can truely start living. You have a beautiful family, congratulations. Michel


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