Joy Comes in the Morning (Tiny Angel)

Through the miracle of social media, Jessica Hoefer-Land in Lake Oswego, Oregon heard about last month's Project Keepsake story contest. She submitted a story explaining the significance of a tiny silver angel she keeps.

 Jessica  Hoefer-Land holds her tiny angel and remembers her daughter.

Jessica Hoefer-Land holds her tiny angel and remembers her daughter.

Jessica's keepsake is a reminder of a child—a child who died. It was a hard story for me to read, because again, I felt a strong connection with the story and the storyteller.

We, too, lost children. Tragic. Shocking. Numbing. Draining. Devastating. Painful. Infuriating. Surreal. Sad. There really aren't words in the English language to describe the experience.

In our case, almost no one close to us knew what to say, so most people said nothing. Some people questioned me as if I had somehow caused one or more of the miscarriages—yet another emotional blow amid our grief. I defended myself. 

"No, I didn't drink caffeine," I answered. "No, I didn't even take a baby aspirin last week when I had that cold."

And so, my husband and I grieved privately—suffered in silence—with little or no support from family or friends. It was a dark, lonely time in our lives.

So, Jessica's story moved me when I read it. Her grandmother's gesture was kind and thoughtful and beautiful. Jessica's story is titled, "Joy Comes in the Morning." 

When I was 37 years old, I experienced the loss of a child.

The news from my doctor informing me I was pregnant was shocking as my husband and I ‘thought’ we were done having children. Life had other plans and we accepted the news with some trepidation, quickly replaced by excitement.

Of course I immediately knew she was a girl and had chosen, along with my husband, ‘Charlotte Josephine’ or ‘Josie’, as her name. We wanted to honor my grandmothers by naming our daughter after two very influential women in my life.

All the while I felt like something was wrong. My morning sickness, unlike my first two pregnancies, was non-existent. I had no cravings, again a huge surprise. I seemed to be taking the pregnancy in stride health wise.

My doctor wasn’t concerned, citing that ‘every pregnancy is different.’ Despite what my doctor told me, I still felt a nagging sense of worry.

Thanksgiving morning dawned bright and lovely. Truly it was a day to be thankful as we headed to my mother’s farmhouse in the country anticipating a relaxing day, complete with Christmas movies and lots of pie. After dinner I started feeling odd and sadly, began to miscarry our baby. It was surreal in light of it being Thanksgiving, a day of thanks. I kept telling myself that perhaps it was just a minor complication, that the baby was still fine.

After a trip to the ER, the silence from the ultrasound tech as she exited the room, the screen void of any movement and confirmation by my physician, I was gently told that yes, I had miscarried and they were very sorry for my loss.

My post miscarriage depression hit harder than I had anticipated and I would find myself sitting in the chapel at a monastery mourning my loss and trying to understand the meaning behind it all. I found it terribly difficult to function and ended up in bed at my mother’s for a couple of weeks.

No anti depressant could cure this feeling of loss. My grandmother in her loving, kind way sent me a little a little angel keepsake pin and I clung to it as I grieved my loss. It was such a beautiful way to let me know my grandmother was honoring her memory. No words were needed, just this simple act of kindness was sufficient.

I continue to hold on to the little angel and I keep it where I can see it in my top drawer. Every day I am reminded of a little life that wasn’t meant for this earth but brought joy, even though it was temporary.

My life has changed in drastic ways since then. Another miscarriage, a divorce, a move, loss of close family and illness have redefined my priorities and what truly matters. Even though my daughter’s presence was but for a small time, her legacy lives in my heart and through the pain of loss I find joy knowing she was a part of me. I keep my little angel as a little memorial to her. It reminds me how greatly she was loved and how she will always be a part of my life. Her memory brings me joy in the midst of loss.
— Jessica Hoefer-Land 2014

Jessica is a wannabe urban homesteader with a blended family of four kids, three rescue dogs, and four chickens. She writes fora variety of mom and urban living magazines, plus she shares her parenting adventures on her blog cleverly titled, The Dalai Mama (

I encourage all of you to share your stories—especially during the holidays. Turn off the cell phones and televisions, sit with your family members, and share the stories that matter. Keep storytelling alive!