Sunday, September 26, 2010


We continue to cycle through moments of disbelief and acceptance. We fondly remember the precious moment we spent together at James and Jena's over Christmas when we thought we were not pregnant and then the hope and belief after doing some google research on implantation bleeding. We validated Elan's light on January 4, 2010 and then again on January 5th, January 8th through a blood test, and our 8 week first appointment with the doctor on January 28th. We were so excited.

The plus signs on the EPT were so strong and vibrant (and instant). What ensued was elation, celebration, protection, nurturing, tenderness, and making sure the whole world could share in our joy.

We took it slow at first, discussing what we needed from each other, our home, and our relationship before putting anything in to place. We shared with our friends and families. We read and read and read.

It is sweet to look back and reflect upon the whole journey since December and really since we met in 1999. It is hard to realize how much work we have put into ourselves, our marriage, and our emergence as parents and yet is comforting to know that we have such a strong foundation and belief to turn to. That belief keeps us steady and through the tears we are still able to validate our love. We love to love each other.

We realize that this moment does not define who we are as people and as a couple, and yet it is a defining moment and our lives have been transformed regardless of where we would have our intentions lead us. Preparing for pregnancy and emptying our individual plates, and then being pregnant together was one of the happiest times of our marriage. We would often tell people that along our journey. We had arrived at a true point of family, creating our dreams together united. After 5 1/2 years of marriage, Jalene changed her last name to Salus.

We have the journey so well documented both in writing and in photographs. Jalene's nutrition journal and the compost in our backyard even play a part in remembering how we lived and how we live. Each of us letting go of little things, so that we could focus on our little growing guiding light. We even have our little guy's heart beat tracked so well throughout pregnancy and then every contraction up until the operating room. There were never any warning signs.

We want to remember the time fondly, the awe we felt when we saw the anatomy ultrasound, when we found out we were having a boy, the gratitude we felt to everyone who gave us clothes or other baby items, watching Jalene's belly button disappear, feeling the first kick, listening to the heartbeat, taking a photo of momma's belly every 4 weeks, choosing Elan Vie's name, watching J float on noodles in the pool at Allie and Jim's. There are moments when these memories make us smile and moments when they remind us of what we don't have.

We would often say to each other, including Elan, "I love you guys with everything I got." We never imagined the depths of that sentiment. It supported us then, and buoys us know.

Your comments and love continue to support us. Although we are not able to talk to many of you in person yet, it helps us to know that you have heard, believe in us and continue to feel with us.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Your life and inspiration through Elan is powerful

As grieving parents, there are moments that we just want to sit and weep and then there are moments of such lucidity in which we feel guilty to share. We are so blessed by your outpouring of support and we are honored that you are thinking of us and our son. Elan's gift is ever present, thank you for loving us. We love you.

While closing our time at the hospital, we learned enough to know that neither we, nor any of the many providers did anything wrong. We learned enough to know that what happened to Elan was not preventable. There is tremendous peace in that for us.

When we left the hospital on Saturday, our nerves were raw, fearing that looking at the nursery, the little clothes, the journals we have written for Elan during pregnancy, the high chair, etc. would send us into intense grieving and we would not be able to breathe. Instead, what we felt when we returned home was incredible peace. Elan's room is beautiful, we made great choices, we know he loves it. Our journals are testaments to the journey we have been on and the deep reflection we made in honor of our son. There is nothing to fear at home.

We cried when we opened the refrigerator and found it full. Our family and friends have surrounded us and helped fill our space with the nutrients we need to begin this phase of our life. 

We held a small ceremony in our backyard yesterday to say goodbye to the physical loss of Elan and celebrate and honor him. Each person shared something personal about Elan, the anticipation of him, the loss of him, the moments of light and the moments of darkness we are all feeling. What we witnessed was healing in the most tender places. These people in our backyard stood for Elan, they stand for us, and we know you do too. There is so much to share about the ceremony and yet I don't know how to entirely do it justice. We invite anyone in attendance to share if they feel moved.

Here is what RJ shared as a tribute to our son:
Oh how we love you Elan Vie
How we celebrated you dancing in mommy’s womb
How we snuggled and held hands
How we got to know each other without ever embracing
How is it fair that we need to release you and not see what would have become of all of us in this home?

I say goodbye to all of the dreams we held for you and us together
I say goodbye to the dream of being your role model, guiding you, and watching you find your way
I say goodbye to dressing you in your fun outfits, pushing you in your stroller, and soothing the cries that we never got to hear
I say goodbye to watching your mother nurse you and the thought of the three of us cuddling in bed
I say goodbye to camping, playing in the waves, eating ice cream, monkeying, reading, and living each day with you in my arms
I say goodbye to the man I knew you would become and the journey we could have watched along the way

My Elan Vie, I say goodbye to these visions not because I want to, but because I was not given the choice

I celebrate who you were to me, the time we spent together when I read to you or kissed you or put my hand on momma to warm you and connect with you
I celebrate the love you showed me by kicking, by having such a terrific heartbeat, by passing every test, by being your sweetest and purist form
I celebrate what you have shown our community, our friends, our family; that we can share the gift of you by loving each other so deeply
You are our treasure, our affirmation of the gift of life and the pleasure of each moment

You are Elan Vie, our Elan de Vie, our sweet Elan Vie, Elan Vie

While I say goodbye to what you are no longer I welcome everything that you are to my each and every day



Today we were honored by the Buddhist Powa ceremony in our home. We will not go into detail about the ceremony, but will tell you that there were moments of great bliss in which we could feel that we were helping our son make a beautiful transition.

In gratitude and love,
RJ and Jalene

Friday, September 17, 2010

The gift of Elan Vie

Jalene and I conceived our beautiful son with intention and the purity of our love and sacredness of our marriage. We have been filled with light, passion. vigor, health, creativity and abundance as we basked in the pure joy and adventure of becoming parents. While we want nothing more than to celebrate his life, we also need to inform you that our newborn son Elan Vie Salus passed away moments after his birth on Tuesday night, September 14, 2010. 

We were conscious and made educated choices in pregnancy and birth and ensured Jalene and the baby’s safety while living to our values and following our hearts. We are filled with gratitude and love for the empowering birthing process that we created surrounded by amazing competence and determination. After a strong, graceful, courageous and beautiful birthing time in our home we made the choice to move to a hospital, where the doctor supported our wishes to continue as natural a birth as possible. When progress slowed, we all made the choice to deliver the baby via ceasarian birth. Elan’s vitals were strong throughout the whole process, including just prior to the delivery; however as soon as he was lifted from the womb he appeared unresponsive. The hospital team made every effort to revive Elan after he was separated from Jalene, but he died shortly after.
The reasons for this tragedy are not yet clear.

Jalene and I want everyone to know how much love we have felt  - for ourselves and for Elan – throughout the pregnancy, the birth, and Elan's short life. Though he passed quickly, perhaps he was so pure and filled with love that he did not need anything more in this world. Our young baby has shared a pure love no matter how brief his life. He didn’t need anything else –  he is complete.

The gift that our little boy gave us will be ever present. We have held him in our arms since day one of conception. While our pain is tremendous, we have felt love from Elan and from all of you. We know that all of you out there are thinking the most pure thoughts of love in honor of Elan. This is Elan’s gift to you, that you may know the full bounty of love and compassion that you feel for us in this loss, soak it in and never lose its purity. It is raw and painful, but it’s beauty is never ending. Our Elan, our son, our nephew, our grandson, our little sweet angel is shining on all of you in this moment and he wants you to take this gift with you and let it fill you and remind you of all the beauty and abundance of life.

Jalene expressed that she now knows what it is fully like to live in both the light and the dark. To give birth to life and have it taken away in the same moment. She and I want to give you the sweet thoughts we have of Elan and remember that he was so loved, so filled and so fulfilled. We believe he received a lifetime of pure love, that he did not need to accomplish anything in the physical world that we live in.

We would like to share with you why we chose the name Elan Vie so that you can truly know who he was and what he brings to all of us. Elan is Hebrew for tree, Vie is French for life. Thus we have our tree of life. Elan de Vie is a French expression for passion for life, life force, vigorous passion. So you see Elan brings the gift of living each moment to the fullest. This little tree grew so quickly and spread his limbs to allow us all to bask in the light when we need and he stands tall to provide us shade and comfort when the heat and hurt is too much. To see Elan’s sweet face and to feel the sweetness of his soul as we held him was a gift. The power of his sweet light is now his continued gift. He is forever an angel to our family.

May you bask in the purity of the love that you feel right in this moment.

Please leave your thoughts and prayers for Elan, and our family. The Salus/Nardella family will soon have a small intimate ceremony to honor the sacred journey that Elan has taken us all on. Jalene and I know that many of you would like to be there, that you want to embrace us and nourish us so that we may feel your love. In the days to come, there will be a time for you to provide physical comfort and for us to feel your embrace. We will need it. Right now we ask that you leave your thoughts here with permission that they may be used during this ceremony that celebrates the love that was created, the inspiration of life, and the true knowing of what it is to live in both the light and the dark.

This page is an open invitation for anyone that needs to begin this healing journey with us.

With love and gratitude,
RJ and Jalene