Guest Author - Michelle McVaney
Scrapbooking and journaling can be considered a form of narrative therapy. Those who have experienced the fear, loss and grief of a death or serious illness can use writing, drawing and photography in a scrapbook as a safe place to express their emotions and record events through both words and images, accelerating the process of emotional healing.
A good friend of mine has discovered just how theraputic journaling can be and is now determined to share her discovery with others.
Our dream as parents is to have children that are born completely perfect. When we are blessed with a different reality, we often times aren’t sure we can endure it. Jacob Aldridge was born on July 28, 2005 with an unknown seizure disorder. His parents, Kevin and Jamie Aldridge, have already survived the journey of losing one precious child, Brianna, to the same disorder and know the struggle first hand. Sadly, Jacob joined his big sister, September 20, 2005.
Where some might find no strength to walk the journey again, especially after having a perfectly healthy daughter, Amanda, born after Brianna’s death, Jamie is able to find some peace in journaling Jacob’s daily progress. Through him, she has been inspired to share with us the ups and downs, successes and setbacks. Her journal entries are therapy for her and those that are a part of her family’s life.
In the midst of watching her little one struggle, Jamie felt led to find a way to help other families. She believed in her heart that if everyone had a way to document what they were going through, the healing process would be so much easier for them now and in the future, too. Thus the reason for Journal the Journey.
Jamie says, "This is a project that was inspired mainly by Jacob, however, the seeds began to planted 3 years ago with Brianna, it just took a little while for God to reveal it all to me. Timing is everything. As I've endured this journey in the NICU for the second time, I realized how therapeutic I've found writing this daily journal has been for me. Not only has it allowed me to go back in time to see all that we've gone through, it's also allowed a place for my friends & family to go for updates without the daily stress of repeating the same thing over & over again -- reliving it so to speak. It was as if a light bulb went on one day...I need to share this with all the NICU parents, PICU parents & children, and beyond. I needed to find a way to help them through their journey, as well as explain to them that it's ok to share your emotions. Since there are so many emotions, medical terms & other things that are thrown at you day after day, it's human nature for us to tune some of it out & become overwhelmed. Documenting the journey is a way to capture those emotions, get out your frustrations or encouragements, & reflect back on it when you feel you need to or want to."
We all have journeys that leave a lasting impact on our lives. These journeys come in all forms and can be happy, sad, dramatic, funny, exciting or a combination of many experiences and emotions. Each journey teaches us a lesson and most often we want to remember as much about the journey as possible. Journal the Journey is an album kit that helps you remember in more detail, the moments of the special journeys you have experienced.
Imagine a father deployed while his child is born, imagine the gift he would receive if the mother were to journal all the feelings, emotions & trials she faced while having to walk the journey without him day after day, allowing him to get a sense of what he truly missed.
Imagine the joy on the parents’ face of a journey written in their own child’s words of the ups & downs they’ve faced while dealing with a serious illness. What a treasured gift they would have for a lifetime if the child doesn’t conquer the battle. Imagine the confidence & self esteem the child would gain by re-reading the trials & tribulations they faced & how they overcame them.
This kit was born out of one mom’s desire to help other people document the journeys that grow them as people. Whether it be one of pain or one of hope, we all have experiences that are a part of who we are and who we will become. May this kit help you to journal your journey, whatever it may be.
What previous or current journey are you going to journal? What about the journey you might help your children journal? Do you know somebody that needs a way to express what they’re going through?
Thank you, Baby Jacob, for the inspiration you gave to your mommy and the impact Journal the Journey will have on lives around our world.
Read more about Baby Jacobs Journey