Year 2013: The Year My Child Died

If you are new here or have stumbled across this page, welcome. You are probably unfamiliar with our story. At the end of June, our beautiful baby girl Shaundi was born and she was perfect and such a joy! In early September, my husband found her unresponsive and not breathing. Life with in our family with one of our babies gone has been hard. I’m sharing our journey here.

Today is hard. Sounds are giving me headaches. With every noise around me I can literally hear my brain crying out. Thoughts are crushing my heart. I prepared myself that Christmas would be one of those really hard days. Every day is a really hard day but I thought Christmas would just crush my soul in way that would leave me crumpled in a corner in such a manner that could not be uncrumpled. I survived. I survived by cindy johnson family photography indy with kids loveforshaundi

New Years Eve. That’s the day. The day that has me running errands between mini breakdowns, begging the girls to please just play together nicely in the other room…quietly. I’m trying so desperately hard to remember that 2013 was mostly good. I made a video about it, I keep telling myself this over and over, but it’s like burning a pan of rice. Even though it’s just the rice on the bottom that burned, it all tastes like burnt. My whole year, my whole LIFE just tastes burnt right now.

I’m trying to reflect on the good. The good people we’ve met, the good people we’ve known, the good people who have taken care of us, of our girls, of our tiny angel baby. It’s so easy to reflect on the good but it’s just so hard not to feel the loss, the horror, the terror, the guilt, the hurt, the blame, the hot tears.

I wanted to tell you about a friend of mine who is on my mind a lot. Cindy is someone that I might never have met if it wasn’t for Indy with Kids. When I was pregnant with my second child, Cindy, a “regular” on the Facebook page, wrote to me and told me about her photography business. She offered to photograph our family. She took gorgeous photos (coincidentally) on the day that I went into the hospital to have my baby. They are my favorites ever.

photo by cindy johnson family photography feet indy with kids loveforshaundiNot only does Cindy photograph families, but she does boudoir sessions. She wants to make women see their own beauty. She can find that angle, that perfect shot that makes life (and people) look beautiful, even when they don’t feel beautiful.

Since the first time Cindy photographed our family, she has been there for us so many times. When baby Shaundi was in the hospital and we knew it was the end, we asked her to come and she came. Cindy and a network of volunteer photographers are a part of a group called Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. They provide remembrance photography sessions to families suffering the loss of an infant. Until I wore these heavy, sad shoes, I might have thought it a strange idea and just thought, “to each his own” but can I tell you, having those photos of our baby in our final moments together as a family, of her baptism, of our tears and our hugs and our love, those are very important photographs. They aren’t my favorite, they aren’t ones that bring a smile to my face, but they are so special.

Cindy has this huge heart for people. She loves and gives of herself and shares her talents in so many ways. I’m so blessed to have Cindy in my life.

Beauty–when I feel days that are this ugly and hard and I feel the need to share the pain, I’m going to do my best to tell you about something beautiful. I’m going to tell you about some of the pretty that shined through during the past four months.

For 2013, thanks.

For 2014, hope.


*The photos shared above are from our newborn family shoot when all was well. We have chosen not to share our remembrance photographs at this time.

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