Things She Wore and The Sweet Life

One of the most precious gifts we received after losing Jenna was a shadow box of little things we got to keep from her NICU stay.

Things she wore.

I haven’t touched them physically in over 2 years until yesterday afternoon.

The prompt came from Illuminate to explore light in our grief journey and photography.

When I lifted open the shadow box I didn’t feel sad. I was mostly struck with wonder. I kept thinking- Wow, I really had a daughter… So much pink is on this shadow box collage. It’s quite lovely. It makes having a daughter real somehow.

Some of the things she wore were…

prayers of God’s people…

itty, bitty hospital bracelet #1… I actually love that they called her “Babygirl Cox”. Not sure why they did, but again I loved anything that made me feel like a normal mother to a baby girl.

a darling red bow…

hospital bracelet #2…

goggles… (to protect her eyes from the light for jaundice)

I know on your screen this diaper probably looks huge, but it’s not. It’s no bigger than the palm of my hand. And it was big on her.

If I was completely honest I still don’t feel like the fog has completely lifted. I do feel the warmth of the sunshine and healing on most days, but the cloud of doubt, wonder and longing are never too far away. Somehow that makes the sunshine that much sweeter.

Life sweeter.

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  1. 1
    onceamother says:

    just beautiful fran. that little red bow that i always associate with your sweet girl brought me tears. i think you are brave. i still can’t touch peyton’s things. these pics are so beautiful. i am proud of you.

  2. 2
    Caroline says:

    All of her things are sooo Beautiful. Just as she was. I wish I could have seen her but there is the hope & the promise of Heaven. I thank God so much for that. Thank you for sharing this soooooo Beautiful just as <3 Jenna Belle <3

  3. 3
    Jill says:

    Oh Fran, glad you were able to photograph these. I instantly teared up as it brought me back to the NICU days with Emma and Chase. Her little bow is precious and I know exactly what you mean about the diapers. They are just so tiny. xo

  4. 4
    amanda says:

    awe, Fran this is amazing. I have no other words…

  5. 5
    Jo Mills says:

    Beautiful Fran, Thanks so much for sharing. xx

  6. 6
    Lori says:

    Beautiful! Your photography, her precious things, your words. Just beautiful. Just like your sweet little girl. A beautiful little miracle who has taught so many so much with her beautiful little life!

  7. 7
    Merle says:

    so sweet!

  8. 8


    These are such sweet photos. It’s funny, I have jealously guarded all of Beatix’s things in her box. I look them over often, but I feel almost like it would leave me feeling so exposed if I showed them….. but then I see those little hospiatl bracelets. And I want to share hers. I think if tomorrow is a sunny day, and I am still feeling the same, I may do just that. <3 Thanks!

  9. 9
    Sarita says:

    I’m so glad you have these sweet reminders of Jenna. They are truly precious. (((HUGS)))

  10. 10
    Natasha says:

    Love all her things Fran…..thank you for sharing….xoxo

  11. 11
    Rachel says:

    Love all your photos, but the one with the goggles is especially touching to me. I’m glad the class prompted you to look back through her things.

  12. 12
    Stephanie says:

    I have my special box of things for Amelia and it lives in my bedroom with her photo, dried roses, and a guardian angel sitting on top. I still have a hard time even wanting to open that box, mostly because when I do. . . it all comes rushing back. The ‘fog’ is exactly what I feel too and it feels a bit like shroud sometimes for me.

  13. 13
    Mary says:

    Her things are so beautiful Fran! I love her little red bow :) She also wore her daddy’s nose (Cox nose) and her momma’s beautiful hair :) Thinking of you guys <3

    • 13.1
      Franchesca Franchesca says:

      That’s exactly what Pete’s grandma said!!! :) Bubby also got the “Cox nose” :) I love that they share that <3 xx

  14. 14
    Tiffany Lopez says:

    beautiful <3

  15. 15
    Stephanie Desjarlais says:

    I love the first picture so much!! I can relate to those tiny diapers too. In fact, I pulled out my pics and looked that those tiny diapers again. Her’s were even more of a gauze I think then a full diaper. It’s hard to tell from the blurry old Polaroid pics I got from the nurses. Not sure if it’s better to have no pics or pics so blurry. I guess I would choose the latter any day.

  16. 16
    Dianna Castellanos says:

    I really love how the pictures with all the mementos. I can completely relate to their things making them more real. I’m glad that you have more days that are more sunny than not. It makes me hopeful that I will find the light one day among all this pain.

  17. 17
    Holly says:

    Such sweet things to remember her and I love that they are in a shadowbox.

  18. 18
    Beryl says:

    Fran, I love that this class inspired you to pull out and share some of Jenna’s things with us. We too had the hospital bracelet with “Baby Girl – Isabella” on it. I used to clutch that bracelet so hard because it was one of the only mementos that recognized that she really existed.

    That shadow box was also the perfect backdrop for all of her things as well. I can tell you used some great window light to highlight her things too. The lighting in your photos is just perfect. You have some beautiful things to remember your baby girl. Thanks again for sharing them. xoxo.

  19. 19
    Kelly Hamers says:

    I love how you arranged everything for the pictures. They are all so beautiful. I especially love the one with the bow and how the colors pop. You were very brave to pull all of this stuff out.

  20. 20
    Christy says:

    Francesca–we began this journey about the same time…..I consider you a “friend”, and I mean that with the warmest of thoughts. Reading this, I could cry. I am crying, on the inside. Tears are welling up in my eyes. Because it seems so long ago that we lost our babies….and so much is going on in our lives now with rainbows, with projects, with life in general, that writing about these feelings is rare compared to the beginning of this journey. Still, though, I know. I feel it, too. The “wonder”…. as hard as it is to believe it happened, it did. And it is amazing. It always will be. Your photographs are so beautiful. You tell your story with such beauty and grace. Jenna is everywhere…..sending you hugs.


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