It started with pieces of me gone with my babies, pieces left behind by grief. I'm in fragments, but it's a beautiful mess, so I'm blessed to be broken.

Capture Your Grief – Day 12: Music

“All of Me” is one of those songs that just overcomes me. It sums up how I feel about every one of my children — how I felt when I learned of Calvin’s amniotic band syndrome and then held him after he was stillborn, how I felt during each following pregnancy (including the pregnancy with my earth baby).

You’re gonna know all my love
Even if it’s not enough
Enough to mend our broken hearts
But giving you all of me
Is where I’ll start

Matt Hammitt. “All of Me.” Every Falling Tear. Sparrow Records, 2011.

Music is a part of my relationship with each of my children. And it is one of the few ways that I continue to connect with my heaven babies. You can listen to “All of Me” and some of the other songs that remind me of Calvin, Rainbow, Gaelen, and Pixel on this YouTube playlist (bit.ly/RemembranceSongs):


Capture Your Grief is an annual, 31-day mindful healing project that consists of photography and reflection. It is for “anyone who is grieving the death of a baby or child at any age or gestation.” Learn how you can participate or provide support at Carly Marie Project Heal.

Capture Your Grief – Day 11: Altar

Calvin, Rainbow, Gaelen, and Pixel's spaces in our home.
The spaces of our home are filled with the presence of all of our babies.


Capture Your Grief is an annual, 31-day mindful healing project that consists of photography and reflection. It is for “anyone who is grieving the death of a baby or child at any age or gestation.” Learn how you can participate or provide support at Carly Marie Project Heal.

Capture Your Grief – Day 10: Support

There are no right words, but your presence speaks volumes.

Thank you for staying with us, remembering our children, and sharing in our story.


Capture Your Grief is an annual, 31-day mindful healing project that consists of photography and reflection. It is for “anyone who is grieving the death of a baby or child at any age or gestation.” Learn how you can participate or provide support at Carly Marie Project Heal.

Capture Your Grief – Day 9: In Memory

Calvin's Cupcakes: Made for Heavenly Babies

I started Calvin’s Cupcakes in memory of my first son Calvin Phoenix. It has been such a humbling honor to abide with other families who have experienced child loss, to share part of their stories, and to create these virtual remembrance cupcakes for their children. To make a request, please fill out a cupcake order form »


Capture Your Grief is an annual, 31-day mindful healing project that consists of photography and reflection. It is for “anyone who is grieving the death of a baby or child at any age or gestation.” Learn how you can participate or provide support at Carly Marie Project Heal.

Capture Your Grief – Day 8: Resources

Logos of various bereavement resources



Capture Your Grief is an annual, 31-day mindful healing project that consists of photography and reflection. It is for “anyone who is grieving the death of a baby or child at any age or gestation.” Learn how you can participate or provide support at Carly Marie Project Heal.

Capture Your Grief – Day 7: Sacred Place

"I am a mother" at Ocean Beach, San Francisco

The beach is a sacred space I share with my heaven babies. This connection first started when I wrote Calvin’s name at Ocean Beach in San Francisco. It was freeing to declare my son’s name in the open expanse of sand.

Then I spent my first Mother’s Day the day at the beach writing names in the sand for other bereaved mommas. That day, I also asserted my motherhood — even if my baby had died — by writing “I am a Mother.”


Capture Your Grief is an annual, 31-day mindful healing project that consists of photography and reflection. It is for “anyone who is grieving the death of a baby or child at any age or gestation.” Learn how you can participate or provide support at Carly Marie Project Heal.

Capture Your Grief – Day 6: Books

Books that I've collected along the grief journey.
I haven’t read/used all of these, and they aren’t all specifically about grief or the loss of a child. But just having them in my possession as I mourn has brought me a measure of comfort in knowing I am not as alone as grief can make me feel.

  • Miracles of the Moment Journal
  • Pregnancy After a Loss
  • Empty Cradle, Broken Heart: Surviving the Death of Your Baby
  • How to Survive the Loss of a Love
  • Healing a Parent’s Grieving Heart: 100 Practical Ideas
  • 21 Reasons Bad Things Happen to Good People
  • The Chronology of Water
  • A Return to Love
  • Find it in Everything
  • Grieving the Child I Never Knew
  • I’ll Hold You in Heaven
  • The Bible Promise Book
  • Still to Be Born
  • They were Still Born
  • One Thousand Gifts
  • An Exact Replica of a Figment of my Imagination
  • In Faithfulness, He Afflicted Me
  • Lies Women Believe: And the Truth that Sets Them Free
  • Choosing to See
  • I Will Carry You

Capture Your Grief is an annual, 31-day mindful healing project that consists of photography and reflection. It is for “anyone who is grieving the death of a baby or child at any age or gestation.” Learn how you can participate or provide support at Carly Marie Project Heal.

Capture Your Grief – Day 5: Journal

Crystal's JournalI write letters to my heaven babies in a journal titled “Miracles of the Moment.”

I write about my grief and mourning in this space.


Capture Your Grief is an annual, 31-day mindful healing project that consists of photography and reflection. It is for “anyone who is grieving the death of a baby or child at any age or gestation.” Learn how you can participate or provide support at Carly Marie Project Heal.

Capture Your Grief – Day 4: After

Crystal in October 2014October 4, 2014.

I have the amazing privilege and gift of being mother to four in heaven and one on earth.

I have no doubts about my marriage and relationship with Louie.

I am humbled by the realization that so much in life is beyond my control.

My heart has been shattered, softened, and broken wide open.

I do not believe that everything happens for a reason or for a greater good, but rather that bad things happen and a lot of times for no reason. I believe that it is through God’s grace that blessings can arise from and through loss, pain, and heartache.

I’ve learned that healing begins when you’re allowed to mourn as you need, on your terms. I am healing.

I am still learning to forgive.

I recognize and accept that I am broken. But not all of it needs fixing.

I’ve found my magis in writing and art.

I may not have the same lightness and joy and self-assurance as I did 6 years ago, but I have gained so much more. And that girl ain’t got nothing on me.


Capture Your Grief is an annual, 31-day mindful healing project that consists of photography and reflection. It is for “anyone who is grieving the death of a baby or child at any age or gestation.” Learn how you can participate or provide support at Carly Marie Project Heal.

Capture Your Grief – Day 3: Before

Crystal Nov 2008I took this picture on November 1, 2008. A little over a month after Louie and I were married, a few days after backpacking in Emigrant Wilderness (my first time camping!). I remember how I felt: content, centered, light, open, confident, sure of myself; and it took me a long time to get there. Now, I don’t identify with the girl in that photo, that smile that feels so foreign to me.

Stillbirth and multiple miscarriages and infertility diminished me in so many ways, shattered me in more ways than every other heartache and loss and trauma I’ve experienced. But the heart of who I am now and this life for which I am so grateful, began after this photo was taken. 24 days later, with me showing Louie two pink lines on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. It begins with Calvin.


Capture Your Grief is an annual, 31-day mindful healing project that consists of photography and reflection. It is for “anyone who is grieving the death of a baby or child at any age or gestation.” Learn how you can participate or provide support at Carly Marie Project Heal.

Capture Your Grief – Day 2: Heart

I carry Calvin, Rainbow, Gaelen, and Pixel in my heart

Because I cannot hold them in my arms,
I carry them in my heart:

Calvin Phoenix (03.05.2009)
Rainbow (12.10.2009)
Gaelen Evangeline (03.24.2011)
Pixel Clementine (11.27.2013)


Capture Your Grief is an annual, 31-day mindful healing project that consists of photography and reflection. It is for “anyone who is grieving the death of a baby or child at any age or gestation.” Learn how you can participate or provide support at Carly Marie Project Heal.

Capture Your Grief – Day 1: Sunrise

6:56am, San Francisco, CA
Sunrise and St. Ignatius Church

at sunrise

grey overwhelms blue
the light fades into mourning
wet fog surrounds me

I wrote my first version of this poem, “each morning,” about two months after Calvin (my first baby) died. In those raw days of grieving, waking up to the reality that my baby had died was one of the most difficult parts of my everyday. The transition from sleep to conscientious was like the transition to before and after the knowledge of death; it was like being told again and again “I’m sorry but…” For a long time, my days began and ended with tears.


Capture Your Grief is an annual, 31-day mindful healing project that consists of photography and reflection. It is for “anyone who is grieving the death of a baby or child at any age or gestation.” Learn how you can participate or provide support at Carly Marie Project Heal.