Live Out Loud Grieving Cards
If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist will answer you: I am here to live out loud.
We dedicate our grieving cards to Ani Samaras who is the daughter of April and Paul Samaras. April is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Communication Studies at the University of Denver and a member of our research collective. Ani died in 2007 when she was four-and-a half, nine months after being diagnosed with a diffuse pontine glioma tumor in her brainstem. In her final days, Ani often could be found wearing her Janis Joplin glasses and strumming her guitar. One day Ani's family was talking about her as if she was not there. Without missing a beat, Ani proclaimed, "Hey I can hear you. I came to live out loud!" Indeed, Ani's spirit lives in The Scraps of the Heart Project and our Live Out Loud Grieving Cards. We offer you these cards, in Ani's honor here for free, so that you might bring a little comfort to those suffering the tragic loss of a baby.
Where did the idea come from?
Our Live Out Loud Grieving Cards are born out of an observation that we made in our very first workshop. We noticed that we spent a lot of our time in our meetings discussing those things that people in our lives did or said or did or did not do after our babies died. Because baby loss is seldom discussed in our culture, people often don't know the words and deeds that can be helpful and hurtful.
Service-Learning Research Project
With the help of University of Denver graduate and undergraduate students in Dr. Erin Willer's Health Communication and Visual Narratives of Women's Health courses, our collective set out to create our very own line of research-based "grieving cards." Students interviewed approximately 30 people who had experienced the loss of a baby in their family. Participants drew what losing a baby felt like and identified the most hurtful and compassionate messages they had received following the death. From this data we then identified themes in participants drawings and messages. These themes inspired ideas for the grieving cards.
Using the themes and ideas the students generated from the service-learning project, Erin Willer conceptualized and drew the cards. Kate Hoyt brought the cards to life digitally. As a member of our collective, Kate often brings her artist talents to the project (e.g., Help Me Remember). Our Live Out Loud logo was drawn by Kelsea Schoenbauer. Kate Hoyt captured the logo in digital form.
about baby loss