Almost immediately, somehow, through the disorienting fog of grief after the loss of our baby late in pregnancy, I felt an incredible pull to find the good amid the pain. I desperately needed to channel my heartbreak into something positive, or else, truly, I’d spend the rest of my days on the floor, sobbing. More than that, I was determined that our sweet little one’s life would be remembered, always. And, that her life would have a meaning, and a purpose here on earth.
That is how #100daysofCara was born. We sat down as a family and made a list of 100 ways to honor an angel baby we’d named Cara, and who, in her short time with us, had taught us so much. Like how important it is to be in the moment, and never take things for granted. How life should be celebrated, embraced, felt, every single day. And how much we love one another, no matter what.
Our list consisted of things big and small, from going to Disney World, to jumping in a pile of leaves. These were all things we’d wanted to experience with Cara. But now we’d have to experience them for her. This list would be a way for me, my husband, and our three young kids to find joy in everyday life, even as we crawled our way through sadness and hopelessness.
Through #100daysofCara, we have also been able to connect more deeply with our feelings about losing her, explore our love for her, and embrace our desire to be happy again, the ultimate way in which we can honor an angel baby whom we will never, ever forget.
Here are 22 things we have done so far:
1 – Jump off our boat.
2 – Make a sand castle.
3 – Eat ice cream with rainbow sprinkles, for hope.
4 – Celebrate Christmas in July.
5 – Eat a cookie the size of our heads.
6 – Have a crazy hair day.
7 – Buy purple flowers (my kids somehow decided that purple is Cara’s favorite color).
8 – Build a fort.
9 – Collect sea shells.
10 – Talk about why we appreciate having had Cara in our lives.
Other ways Cara’s life has been celebrated through #100daysofCara:
12 – We had a friend who surprised us by dedicating a book at our local library to her memory.
13 – Another friend needlepointed the letter “C” for us to hang on our wall.
14 – My kids swam with their clothes on.
15 – We put a Starbucks order in her name.
16 – We cuddled on the couch.
17 – We donated money to a charity that provides diapers to families in need.
18 – We watched the sunset.
19 – We planted a tree for her.
20 – We did 100 jumping jacks.
21 – We had a picnic.
22 – And, my personal favorite thing we have done so far: We bought an order of French fries, a food that made me throw up while I was pregnant, and drove over them with our car. Because clearly, Cara hated French fries!
Each time we check something off our list, I feel a pang of sadness that our baby can’t be here with us in body to experience it with us. But I also feel a connection to her, and a sense of joy that we are able to keep her in our lives in mind and spirt.
More bucket list items coming up include making someone who is sad feel better, putting our toes in the ocean, and even skywriting her name! We want to have a family sleepover, call an old friend, and try out a new playground. My husband and I also plan to get tattoos. All for Cara. All to honor an angel baby who inspired us to live life to the fullest, and find a way forward.
What else should we add to our #100daysofCara list?