Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Really don't like November

November is not my favorite month ... most people assume its because the weather is getting colder, and days are getting shorter. And while I'm not fond of either of those characteristics of November, my reasons are different ones. November is the month we experienced our first pregnancy loss (in 2004) . We named that baby Liberty John. I often think we would have called her Libby. I know she was born straight into heaven ... never knew pain or sadness of fear, but still I miss her and wish she could have been a physical presence in our family. I suppose that is a bit selfish ... but its true.

And this year only strengthens my dislike for this month. We expected and planned to welcome a new baby boy on 11-11-11 (cool date for a birthday, ha?) His name is Journey Peace. But he made his journey to peace in May ... again he knew no pain or sadness or fear ... he is full of joy and peace; as I imagine that is all one would feel in heaven. My babies can look right into their Heavenly Father's face and feel such love. But my journey here is not finished and I still live in this fallen world, surrounded by hurt and sadness and fear and I am weary in this battle. Today I am sad and hurt and confused. I want so badly to hold my babies.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Are You Ok?
by Susan M Simpson

They ask if I'm ok,

Which answer would they like?

There's the one that they'll find easier,

Then there's the one that's right.

I could tell them that I'm coping,

That I'm moving on with life.

They'll smile sadly, nod, agree with me,

Not see my inner strife.

But inside my soul is screaming,

It heard that awful lie.

The truth they just don't want to hear,

This pain I have to hide.

My heart, it feels, is broken,

My spirit, that's gone too.

I sense there's no fight left in me,

That went when I lost you.

And this I cannot tell them

There's no words to explain,

And even if there were,

It would only cause them pain.

I can't pretend, I'm not that strong,

It only makes me cry,

Can't say the words to lie to them,

Don't even want to try.

I'm not 'ok' - will never be

Your life changed me, it's true

This sadness that I carry,

Is a mother's love for you.

So when they ask, I'll look at them,

Through eyes that burn with tears.

I won't deny my love for you,

With lies that quell their fears.

There are no words for me to say,

Instead I will just shrug.

And hope that it will be enough,

They'll leave with just a hug.

I know that if they try too hard,

Their words will just hurt more,

Though kindly-meant, they're meaningless

I fight this lonely war.

They'll say 'you'll have another one'

'Just try again', 'you're young'.

'Accept it wasn't meant to be',

'Get over it', 'move on'.

How could they ever understand

This sorrow that I hide,

Sadly, the only way

Is if they ever lost their child.

Other children I may bear,

And happiness might find,

That never will erase the love

For the child I left behind.

So please don't ask if I'm 'ok'

Don't try to comfort me,

The kindest thing to offer

Is a simple 'I'm sorry'.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Oct 15th

This post was originally written by Corinne O'Flynn and shared at Rowan Tree Foundation:

In 1988, the month of October was named national Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. And in 2006 October 15th was further recognized as the international day of awareness.
All losses are the loss of a child. When it comes to grieving the loss of your child, there is no line drawn to separate miscarriage, stillbirth, newborn, infant, and older child. No matter how long they spent in the womb, or in your arms... it is your child you are missing.

Please join us on October 15th at 7PM (in your time zone) by lighting a candle for remembrance. Organizations across the globe ask that you take part in this "Wave of Light" by lighting a candle at 7pm, in your local time zone. Please take a moment on this day for reflection, and remembering our lost children by lighting a candle at home, in groups and gatherings, attending a mass, or calling someone close to you who has experienced this loss. No matter how recent or how long ago, every parent would love to know that someone is remembering their angel child.

By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

Each year, approximately a million pregnancies in the United States end in miscarriage, stillbirth, or the death of the newborn child. National observance of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, 1988, offers us the opportunity to increase our understanding of the great tragedy involved in the deaths of unborn and newborn babies. It also enables us to consider how, as individuals and communities, we can meet the needs of bereaved parents and family members and work to prevent causes of these problems.

Health care professionals recognize that trends of recent years, such as smaller family size and the postponement of childbearing, adds another dimension of poignance to the grief of parents who have lost infants. More than 700 local, national, and international support groups are supplying programs and strategies designed to help parents cope with their loss. Parents who have suffered their own losses, health care professionals, and specially trained hospital staff members are helping newly bereaved parents deal constructively with loss.

Compassionate Americans are also assisting women who suffer bereavement, guilt, and emotional and physical trauma that accompany post-abortion syndrome. We can and must do a much better job of encouraging adoption as an alternative to abortion; of helping the single parents who wish to raise their babies; and of offering friendship and temporal support to the courageous women and girls who give their children the gifts of life and loving adoptive parents. We can be truly grateful for the devotion and concern provided by all of these citizens, and we should offer them our cooperation and support as well.

The Congress, by Senate Joint Resolution 314, has designated the month of October 1988 as "Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month" and authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation in observance of this month.

Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim the month of October 1988 as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. I call upon the people of the United States to observe this month with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-fifth day of October, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-eight, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirteenth.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

In Honor of Oct 15th

On Monday this week I accompanied my friend Kristie to the City Council Meeting in Red Wing, MN. She had been asked to accept a proclamation honoring Oct 15th as a day of Remembrance for Pregnancy and Infant Loss, read by the Mayor. She accepted on behalf of Anchored by Hope and New Beginnings, as those are the two organizations hosting this weekends Memorial Service at 5 pm on Sat Oct 15th.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

A 31 Day Blogging Challenge From Another Baby Loss Mom

Today is the final day of the Star Legacy's Stillbirth Summit that I have been attending in Bloomington, MN. In honor of that and October being the National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month I want to share a Blogging Challenge that I came across:

Cassie started a 31 Days Blogging Challenge For Mothers of Loss at her blog, Living A New Normal, in honor of Pregnancy & Infancy Loss Awareness Month. Please visit her site and feel free to join in.

Journaling or blogging has always helped me, I think its a great idea for moms who are walking this very difficult road of loss. And if getting started is an over whelming idea, Cassie has helped make this very easy. She has listed out prompts for each of the 31 days in October. You can answer the question each day as a way to get your thoughts going.

Day 1: Who are you? Share as little or as much about you in general.
Day 2: Tell us about your child(ren). As much or as little as you like. Names, birthdays, stats.
Day 3: Through your grief process who has been your "rock"
Day 4: Through your grief process what has kept you going?
Day 5: Do you ever get subtle reminds of your angel(s)? If so what what are they?
Day 6: How do you answer the question of how many children you have?
Day 7: Do you do something to honor your angel(s)? If so what?
Day 8: Do you feel you have more good days than bad ones?
Day 9: If you have other children how has your loss affected them? If you don't other children how has your loss affected your relationship with your partner?
Day 10: If you have Rainbows or older children do they know and remember your angel(s)?
Day 11: It is said that Father's and Mother's grieve differently. Do you feel this is true with your angel's father?
Day 12: How has the rest of your family dealt with your loss?
Day 13: Does anyone else besides your speak your child's name?
Day 14: What have you done to preserve your child's memories or make new memories of your angel.
Day 15: Today is Pregnancy and Infancy Loss Awareness Day. What are you doing today?
Day 16: Do you take time for yourself?
Day 17: Do you feel your child is watching over you?
Day 18: Have you found something that puts you at peace?
Day 19: What is your happiest memory of your child(ren)?
Day 20: If you have anger.....What are you most angry about?
Day 21: Is there something about your child(ren) that brings a smile to your face?
Day 22: Do you have a song or songs that make you think of your child(ren)
Day 23: Besides changing the outcome, what is one thing you would have done differently?
Day 24: On Birthday's, Diagnosis Day's, Anniversaries of Passing. Do you prepare for them?
Day 25: On Birthday's, Diagnosis Day's, Anniversaries of Passing. How do you handle them?
Day 26: On a scale of 1 to 10 rate your day today and why?
Day 27: Share a picture.
Day 28: Have you ever corrected or wish you corrected someone about your loss?
Day 29: What are your beliefs as far as where you think your child(ren) is/are. Will you see each other again?
Day 30: How are your preparing for the end of the year? (ie: Holiday's and starting a new year)
Day 31: Do you feel like 31 days has helped you open up more about your child(ren) and your grief?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Journey Peace

Originally posted a few weeks back, but was watching it again tonight, so thought I would repost:

I have been part of bible study for babyloss moms this summer. It's put together by some wonderful women at Anchored by Hope. As a final project each of us are putting together a memorial to our angel babies. I thought I would sharef mine with you:

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

GMG in 1 John ~ Week 1

This week begins the Good Morning Girls 12 week study though the book of 1 John. My summer has been full of sadness and loss ... but my God has been graciously by my side. I am currently feeling flat, sad and defeated ... with very little energy to keep up with much of a bible study. But I know in my heart that to overcome and live the life God wants me to live I need to find a way to soak in His Word on a daily basis. I need to stop trying to just survive day to day on my own will and strength and instead immerse myself in love and worship for my great God, so I will once again see and hear His call and His plan for my life. The plan and method the Good Morning Girls are using looks to be a great way for me to start. The daily reading is short (usually 1 or 2 verses) followed by a short writing assignment ... but that gives me all day to look up, think about, and meditate on those verses (and hopefully have something to write down about them). It is truly His Word that I will spend time digging into and praying over ... no one else's interpretation ... just what the Lord wants to reveal to me each day.

I would love to hear if other women are also out there joining the Good Morning Girls in this study of 1 John ... what are your motives? what are your hopes for this study? do you already have a set time and place that you do a quiet time? or is this a habit you are hoping this study helps you learn? or like in my case re-learn?

If you are joining us this fall and looking daily at 1 John, I hope you will share with me from time to time your insights and observations of the verses we are reading. I will try and post at least weekly about the observations and/or applications the Lord is showing me as I study His Word. This week already I have been struck by the tone of excitement I sense in 1 John 1:1-4. In my Good Morning Girls facebook group many of us have commented on the fact that John is basically giving his credential ... like he is saying 'You can believe me because I saw him, I heard, I touched him ... I was there!!! And Believe me Jesus is the Messiah, the One who is eternal life, the one who was with God from the beginning!!!' He has seen and heard and touched and now he wants those he is writing to to know what he knows. Reading these verses makes me excited to read the rest of 1 John.

If you have not yet learned of The Good Morning Girls or if you have not printed out the E-book click HERE to read more and see God at work in the lives of women around the world.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Been processing a few things ...

So far September has been a tough month and I have been doing a lot of silent processing ... three people we knew passed away due to cancer in this first half of September ... I am also still processing and grieving the fact that we will not welcome a new baby this winter ... my sister and her kids were attending the Reno air show this week where there was a horrible crash and several spectators were killed and injured (my nieces and nephew saw it all)... several of our friends are dealing with family tension, or cancer, or unemployment or financial issues ... there just seems to be so much pain, so much suffering ... its so hard to understand ... so hard to see that this could possibly be used of God. Why would God allow such pains? If I let myself I suppose I could struggle with did God cause this argument vs. God simply allowed this evil to happen argument. At this point I just KNOW it happened ... and people I love are hurting and suffering ... I am hurting and suffering and feel so broken. I want to shake my fists and scream at the top of my lungs "GOD! THIS ALL MAKES NOOOOO SENSE!" ... OK, in all reality I have actually already done that and it solved nothing ... no miraculous voice came down from the sky with answers, nothing got better (I got a sore throat and my neighbors might be wondering about my sanity).

I figure God hears all my thoughts, He knows them even before I can form them into words. So I have decided to just spew it all out before Him. Not long after my sister, Missy, died back in 2006 someone told me "don't try to hide what you are really feeling and thinking from God (as if thats even possible) ... He is big enough, He can handle your confusion, and anger, and tears. And how can He ever help or answer if you don't ask." So I have been asking, I have been praying on my knees, and while I walk, in my bed, and in the shower, in the car and at the mall. I have called out in loudly spoken prayers and conversed with Him in my quiet thoughts, I have journaled and I have sang. In whatever way the words come, I don't think God minds, as long as I keep talking to Him. I can't say that I have any more answers, but there is a comfort in being able to voice what I feel and think. When a moment of unexpected grief over takes me I cry out to my God, and I just talk about whats going through my simple human mind. God has been good and oh so patient with me. Some days he reminds me that I don't see the big picture, some days he reminds me that this world I live in is not my eternal home ... I was created for and I long for different things. He knows because in His infinite wisdom, He sees it all. In His almighty kindness and compassion He watched as His own son walked and suffered life here. But He also gives me hope ... he leads others into my life who call out of the blue with a story of hope, or just to say that i crossed their mind today and they prayed for me. He leads me to articles or books that paint beautiful pictures with words like the idea that God is weaving me (my life) into a beautiful tapestry. And some days he needs bright golden joyful threads, and some days he needs mellow cool colors like blues or greens and other days he weaves with red or even dark, dark black. Each day as He works all I see is that one thread being pulled in and out, in and out through the tapestry. But He is God! He is the master crafter of my life and my days. He knew which day to being this tapestry and He knows on exactly which day it will be finished. And he knows exactly what colors and events will be woven into my life. I think we often want only those golden beautiful threads ... because from our view point those are the ones that seems so attractive ... and there is no denying that those golden moments are indeed wonderful. But if you look at a beautiful tapestry you will realize it would not work very well to only use one color .... the blacks and darks are just as important as the bright and vibrant colors. God blends and mixes them together and one day we will join God in heaven and we will have a different view point ... we will see the big picture, we will see the completed project that is our life. And we may even get to know and understand why He needed to use those dark threads, those dark moments in our lives. But there is this little inkling in my mind that tells me once we are there in Heaven, at the feet of our great Lord and King, we won't be wondering any longer about the mysteries and confusions of this earthly life, we won't be seeking the answers I have been seeking ... we will stand before our Great God and Savior and all we will be able to do is worship.

I have been reassured over the years that God does indeed have plans for my life (Jeremiah 29:11) ... still some days I struggle with how? and why? How can such hurt and pain and loss be a part of what God has planned for my life? For those I love? I don't have the answer ... but I know the One who does and just because I can't explain things in human words does not mean that I won't continue on in love and trust and worship ... He calls me to loves others, Trust in His plans and timing and to Worship Him through all of it. Trust me, its easier to say and write than it is to put that into practice. Some days I do better than others. Some days I get caught up in earthly things ... I lose my focus on God and eternal things and I get concerned with earthly things and circumstances. Those days are rough and sooner or later I am reminded where I need to focus and trust. Thankfully God's mercies are new every morning and once I realize I need to adjust my focus I can seek God's help. How amazing is it that the author and creator of all creation is always willing to take my broken and foolish self back. Whenever I realize my focus is off I can feel so bad about myself and am tempted to believe the lies that filter into my mind ... lies like "why would He want you back?" and "you are too messed up to ever be useful for the Gospel". Lies are tricky things, planted by the master of evil. Its become one of my biggest prayers lately that God close my ears to all the lies and open my ears and my mind only to Godly Truth. I don't want those ugly lies messing up the beautiful thing God is doing with my life. Some day when I stand in Heaven I want to see all the colors God used to weave my story my, my life, my tapestry and I want to give thanks and praise for the way he wove my days.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

What Grief Is, What it Isn’t ...

A child loss friend of mine posted this on her facebook page today. She said that she found it on a site called www.opentohope.com I really liked the way they explained grief.

Grief doesn’t wait for an invitation. It doesn’t go away because you want it to. It always overstays its welcome. It isn’t logical or easily explained. It doesn’t respond to threats or bribes. It will not be avoided indefinitely. It will find a way to be noticed.

Grief is not linear, horizontal, or vertical. It is not predictable. It is not confined by time or space. It doesn’t play favorites. It isn’t just for women and sissies. Grief doesn’t forget. It has an excellent memory. It cannot be gone around; only through.

Grief is never really “finished” or “over.” Rather it takes breaks. It is not a single lesson to be learned, but rather a series of lessons. The outbursts and outpourings of grief seldom happen at convenient times.

Grief does not apologize. It knocks on everyone’s door eventually.

It is not the plague and it is not contagious, though it may seem that way when others repeatedly avoid you. It can find you even when you are asleep or dreaming.

Grief will not leave you alone because you swear at it, although you might feel better for awhile if you do. You can no more reason your way out of grief than you can a paper bag. It will not be toyed with. It insists on being taken seriously.

Grief wants to completely take over your life. You can’t allow that or you will become its victim. Grief respects those who honestly acknowledge its existence and who work with it rather than against it. For them grief allows itself to be reshaped into creative energy and makes room for hope to co-exist along side of it.

Edited to add: Because I really want to give credit where credit is due I spent some time googling and searching www.opentohope.com and I found the origional post my facebook friend was refering to. It was posted on August 6th, 2011 and written by Deb Kosmer.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A Memorial to Journey

I have been part of bible study for babyloss moms this summer. It's put together by some wonderful women at Anchored by Hope. As a final project each of us are putting together a memorial to our angel babies. I thought I would sharehttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif mine with you:

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Please Join Us On Oct.15th

This October 15th our family will be joining many other families and supporters of the baby loss community. We will gather to remember our babies and children in heaven, to share our stories and share love. We will light lanterns in memory and release balloons with our babies/childrens names. Many women are working behind the scenes to pull this even together and many prayers are going up that families will find comfort. If you can help or if you can join us please let us know at:


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Day of Hope

Lots of things floating in my mind ... so much I want to say and yet so hard to put it into words ... I think the words will come when its time, but for now I want to ask ... no beg ... everyone to please read and check out the site for Aug 19th - Day of Hope And then, please tell all your friends and readers to visit too.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Illuminate Week 4 - One year from now?

what might your life look like in the next week? the next month? What might it look like a year from now?

That is our final journaling assignment for the online photography course, Illuminate, taught by my friend Beryl, from Be Young Photography

I have to admit, this is a tough one for me. I know how I wish it would look, but that dream was shattered a few months ago. And I think I'm afraid to dream or plan right now ... afraid of more loss. What if I look forward to something or try and plan for something that does not happen? Can I handle any more losses or more goodbyes? How can I possibly protect myself from that horrible kind of pain? I don't really think I can ... I don't think anyone can.

Still, looking into the future now scares me ... the reality is that any of the people I hold so dear could be gone in an instant ... Aug 6th 2011 I spent at a graveside service burying my baby, Journey Peace. I know that at some point in my life I will have to stand at another grave site and bury someone else I love. I know that is unavoidable. Dear Lord, please do not let me be alive to attend any more of my children's funerals. But I have grandparents, and parents and other family, I have dear close friends and neighbors ... I've learned all too well that things like cancer and sickness and accidents can take those lives away. I suppose its morbid, but there are days I start to wonder "well, who is going to be next?" My experience has taught me that what I love and cherish can indeed be ripped from my hands ... from my life. Will it happen tomorrow? No, probably not. Will it happen to everyone I love and cherish? No, most likely not ... but sooner or later it will happen and I will fall apart all over again. I don't think I can handle it again. I don't want to look forward knowing that will eventually happen. I think I would rather live today ... in this moment I have ... and love big!

Somewhere in the tangled mess of all these thoughts are my memories of bible verses and truths that I am loved and created by a powerful and loving God, that my children are loved and guided by this God as well, that our days were written in the book of life and numbered long before anyone of us were even conceived. So you see, this brings me to very special word i have been holding dear this summer:

This life on earth is a journey ... and no two journeys will ever follow the same exact path. We each have our own journey to take. I'm blessed and pray that I will spend much of my journey surrounded by family who love me. But some of them will be called off, to their own journey, down a different path, some much sooner than I would like. Others will possibly say longer than I would like. But I find comfort in the knowledge that someone much wiser than I already knows the number of days we will each journey on this earth. One day my journey here will come to an end and I will truly know peace ... my tiny baby is already there ... my baby Journey Peace left this world ... he has indeed journeyed to peace ... and one day I will meet him there.

Burial at Resurrection Cemetery

I'm not sure I'm ready to write much about the service and burial yesterday. I am grateful for those who attended and showed us love and support and grateful for those who covered us in prayers even though they could not be there physically.

Truthfully I think for me Tuesday was much more difficult and lonely ... the service yesterday was very honoring and comforting.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A beautiful soft new blankie for Journey ... more tears for his Mommy

On Saturday we will have a prayer service and burial at Resurrection Cemetery ... but today I had to take our baby's remains to the funeral home. I know that since his heart stopped beating in May, Journey has been in heaven ... healed and perfect and full of joy at the feet of his Savior and Creator. But I am still here on earth and am still imperfect and weak in my human state ... this was a very hard day, filled with tears. I am glad that on my way to the funeral home the idea to buy a baby blanket to wrap his small casket in came to my mind ... so instead of driving right past that Walmart, I stopped and went in. I stood in the baby aisles, tears in my eyes. I avoided eye contact with other shoppers and workers lest anyone ask me if I was finding what I was looking for ... Could you just imagine me tearfully saying "I am trying to decide which is the perfect baby blanket to bury my baby in."? Such an odd feeling to know those around me were shopping for every day needs and carrying on life as normal. I can't even comprehend normal anymore, my life feels broken ... I stood there trying to decide if I should really spend $16 dollars on that beautiful blue super soft blankie or just get the green Pooh Bear one for $9, it was cute too. Then there was the $4 blue air plane one ... but not soft at all, almost scratchy feeling. BUT LIKE IT REALLY MATTERS!!!! HE IS DEAD! I stood there for a long time, picking up one then the other, then another one and then the soft blue one again. I finally decided I needed the one I loved, the soft blue one ... and I needed not just one but two. One to wrap his casket in, and one for me. I know it seems like a waste of $32 to some people. But it was comforting to wrap his tiny casket in his soft new beautiful blue blanket. And as I cried and left the funeral home, actually gasping for breath, I clung to my soft new beautiful blue blanket.

I sat in my car bawling asking God where do I go now? Wiping my tears with my soft blue blanket. I finally just started driving and ended up at Resurrection Cemetery. They have a memorial wall and children's garden there. I brought my camera and my soft blue blanket, walked the path down to the garden and cried. I cried out to God and I prayed ... I am grateful for a place where I could just cry and pray.

I know that everyone has their ways of coping ... for some reason my camera has become one of mine. I'm sure that taking pictures would not bring comfort to some people, but for me it has been incredibly soothing. I never leave home without my camera now. God met me there in that garden, as I cried and prayed ... He was with me. Am I done grieving ... done crying? No, certainly not, but He did bring me moments of peace and comfort there in those beautiful surroundings and I wanted to capture that in pictures. The pictures can't really convey the feelings, but they help me remember. For a while I sat and cuddled my soft new blanket, so glad I had it. Then these three white butterflies started flying around me ... really pretty. I would almost get a picture of one of them and then it would fly away, zoom around over my head for a bit and land somewhere else, so I would tip toe over to its new location almost get the picture, but as soon as I pressed my shutter button it would be gone again ... at one point I was actually giggling at them ... it was like a game. And then for a bit a really big and bright colored dragon fly joined their game, but I was never able to catch him in a picture. Only caught two of the butterflies:

Later as I sat down on the ground I started playing with the leaves and twigs and bark laying by me ... I ended up spelling out my baby's name ... again so glad i had a camera with me:

I know God met me there in that Garden and he met my needs today. As I drove home I was able to turn up my Selah cd and sign hymns at the top of my voice.