Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Remembering at Christmas

As I watched them open their presents I witnessed the joy on the face with each gift.  It spoke volumes to my hurting heart.  I felt happiness and grief dance within me once again.  I felt so blessed to enjoy five of my children on such a peaceful Christmas morn.  The tears however, fell and reminded me of the one missing around my tree.  I remember him.  I remember the baby who danced within my womb last Christmas.  I remember the baby who I wish was gumming a red bow off the gift of one of his brothers.  It seems possible in mind.  I return to those with me.  I am blessed. I am sad.  Christmas will always be filled with a sad wonder and a glorious joy.   

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Angel of Hope

Angel of Hope
Candlelight Memorial
December 6, 2012
We attended the Angel of Hope candelight memorial as a family in memory of Seth.  It was such an unique way to remember him and include him in our family just before Christmas.  The candlelight memorial gives families a place to meet with lit candles and remember their children during a brief memorial service that included poem readings and live music.  Families who have the experienced loss of a child of any age meet at Ben Rau Memorial Garden at Blanchette Park in St. Charles.  I didn't even know it existed or knew of the story behind the Angel of Hope before I lost Seth.  There is a beautiful pathway lined with bricks lovingly engraved with the names of children being honored by their families.  The path leads up to the "Angel of Hope," an angel that was created based on the story The Christmas Box.  These angel statues have been created and placed all over the world.  It gives famlies a place to release tears and express grief.  The ceremony ends with flowers being placed around the base of the angel in memory of each child. 
The night was special and emotional for me.  I would like to think we will include this event in our traditions as a family.  It will be our special night in December before Christmas to remember our little "Snowdrop".

Little Snowdrop
Author Unknown
The world may never notice
If a Snowdrop doesn't bloom,
Or even pause to wonder
If the petals fall too soon.
But every life that ever forms,
Or ever comes to be,
Touches the world in some small way
For all eternity.
The little one we long for
Was swiftly here and gone.
But the love that was then planted
Is a light that still shines on.
And though our arms are empty,
Our hearts know what to do.
Every beating of our hearts
Says of our love for you.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Ideas and Projects: An Update

About a month ago or so I was determined to change my focus from all grief to actually living my life after babyloss.  I was ready to discover who I am again.  I want to find joy and not always be sad.  So I created a list of ideas.  It was helpful!  And I am happy to say I have been busy living out the items on my list.  I hope to update them now. 

List of ideas for Project Heal

  • Take a photography class -- I am really excited about this one!  ACCOMPLISHED
My Illuminate Assignments Complete

I loved taking the online photography course Illuminate.  It was an amazing photo-healing class that encouraged me to use my camera to move forward, change focus and learn about photography.  I am thrilled with the outcome.  I actually completed all of my assignments using a wordpress blog with the same name as my blogger blog.  Now I need to decide how to merge the two.  But I really love just how amazing the photos look in wordpress.  Do you want to see all of my assignments than visit my blog created for Illuminate assignments here

  • Attend the Designed For Life women's conference ATTENDED
The Designed For Life women's conference in Springfield, MO was amazing.  I was able to go away for three days I was able to go away for 3 days and be immersed with girlfriends, fun, shopping, happy rings, and God.   The title of the conference I attended was “Designed for Life: A Love Story.” The theme was intended to allow me to share my story of my life while intimately experiencing the love of my Heavenly Father. I experienced life in a bubble where I could get in touch with my feelings, thoughts, and fears in a very protected setting. I experienced songs, teachings, and pampering that spoke to my spirit. And one exciting part for me in that was being able to let go of some of the guilt and shame of grief that has been weighing me down. I was able to feel loved by God and hear of promises He is so graciously will to share over me. I connected deeper with women who have become special friends since my loss.

I was able to open my eyes to the tiniest of details of living. I was surrounded by new babies and was able to glance at them without deep pain. I was able to receive the blessing of my children. I was able to hear the words “Children need mommy’s who are happy” “Husbands need wives who are confident” “Brothers need Sisters who are beautiful” and believe that inside me I have what it takes to choose to be that mommy, wife, and sister! I was able to laugh really hard until I cried as a speaker from Australia spoke the words due date, estrogen, and awesome in a cool Australian accent. I felt my spirit lift at as the speakers shared funny stories and deep truths.   I came back home with a content heart and I couldn’t wait to love on my husband and children. I felt so loved by them as they shared “welcome home mommy” cookies and lots of snuggles. I was able to recognize pure joy in my heart as my three year old wrapped his arms around my neck.

  • Take a Walk by myself  Yep did that too!
One of the neat experiences of the Illuminate photography course was that it insisted that I walk outside my house and look for photos to compose.  I have been enjoy daily walks by myself with camera in hand.  It gives me a chance to clear my mind and really enjoy the beauty that God created.  It helps me be thankful for all the blessing God has given in my life.  A grateful heart and some excerise have been good my spirit. 

And there is still more Project Heal on the horizon.  Here are some items that remain and maybe I need to come with a few more ideas.

  • Read a book with my oldest daughter--her pick
  • Take a walk with a friend
  • Try something new
  • Create a peaceful place
  • Listen to Christian music and dive into devotion with God

Monday, October 8, 2012

Waking to the Grief

I woke this morning with a longing in my heart to have a sweet 6 month old laying next to me.  I felt the emptiness in my arms as I breathed in what should have been.  I haven't been here in a while.  I try not to think about the could haves or should haves much anymore.  But my inner being had different plans today.  I couldn't stop trying to imagine my Seth baby next to me with sweet smiles and hands drawn to his mouth.  I couldn't help but imagine what it would have been like to wake up next to him and nurse him.  I find myself wishing I was holding him in my arms and feeling his snuggle.  The longing and the emptiness took over my mind.  My arms ached for him. 

I got up and started my day, but I had a sadness that I just couldn't shake.  The kids were dressed and ready.  I drove them to school.  I left the school alone and I felt the sadness rising in me and the tears began to stream down my face.  I tried to hold them back, but it was time for them to be released once again.  As I was driving home I could feel I needed to work through this grief. I found myself driving past my house and I knew just where I was heading.  I would visit Seth's sweet resting place today.  My mind began to plan out just how I would work through this sadness today.  I had a plan.  I would tend to this grief today or it would dominate me. 

As I drove into the cemetery I felt a peace rising.  I know it may sound strange, but I feel blessed at the place we chose to lay Seth's body.  It is a pretty place.  The headstones are flat on the ground.  So as I drive I just see the beautiful flowers of fall that others have placed on the graves of their loved ones.  The trees are beautiful with fall leaves, the birds are singing and the frogs croaking.  It is a place of serenity.

I pulled up and parked by the tree that would lead me down to Seth's spot.  I brought my phone along and looked up the song "I will Carry You" on YouTube.  As it played I let the tears flow onto the ground, this sacred spot to me. This is the place that holds the sweet body that once inhabited my body.  The words of the song were so true once again.  There were pictures I wanted to take of Seth.  There were things I wanted to show him.  There was a life I expected to share with him. I did carry this baby while his heart beat here.  And I missed the sound of that beautiful heart.  I missed the sweetness of his face.   I began praying.  I told God how broken my heart was that Seth was not with me.  I cried out to the Lord.  I told him how disappointed I was that Seth did not get to stay with me.  I cried and cried.  I needed Jesus to meet me here, right now.  I cried out to the Lord at how I needed to know that Seth is ok in heaven.  I needed Him to tell my precious baby just how much I loved him and how much I missed him.  And I just cried.  I let the tears release the built up grief.  The grief have been learning to set aside to live in my life. 

The song stopped.  My prayer continued until I felt the comfort of the Lord.  I was left there in the silence.  I breathed in the crisp air. The coolness that strinkingly reminds me of holding my sweet boy.  I felt a peace and much needed comfort.  And as I always do when I visit Seth's grave I took a walk from his spot to the beautiful waterfall nearby.  The water was not running today.  But I still enjoyed being near it.  I surprised a frog as I walked near who in turn surprised me as he jumped into the water.  I stopped.  I grabbed my camera phone and I began taking photos.  I took pictures of the water, the reflection of the sun, the flowers.  I heard the bees buzzing.  And I began taking more pictures of the bees landing upon the flowers.  The photo moment was a good focus for me.  I had left my sadness at the grave for Jesus to hold in His hand.  I felt my spirit lift as I looked through the lens of my camera phone and found beauty.  God's promise is true He does make beauty again from ashes.  And He is filled my heart with beauty.

I was ready to drive away.  God had met me this mornng. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

My Story of Baby Loss

Looking for light after the darkness of losing my baby


Longing to hold my baby boy again.
Feeling so alone in the world even with close friends


Trying to find myself again
Rediscovering the joy of being a mommy to my other children.

A Letter to my Seth Josiah

Dear Baby Seth,

I can’t believe it has been six months since I said goodbye to your sweet face. I miss you so much. You are always on my mind. I worry as time passes I will lose another part of you — the sweet baby I remember in my heart and mind. You were a beautiful baby with such a energetic spirit. I loved how much you moved within my womb. I was so surprised at how active and full of life you were little one. I loved every minute of it.

When they told me you had died I swear my heart stopped beating too. I remember just looking at my belly like I was no longer inside my own body. I wanted to die. Losing you has been one of the hardest experiences of my life. I cannot believe how much emotional pain I have felt or how dark the world has seemed to me. In the beginning, right after you died, I fell into a darkness I never knew existed. It swallowed me up and I couldn’t breathe. I felt so alone in my grief. I didn’t understand why God let you die. I felt like people didn’t understand the immense sadness I felt or the trauma my body and mind had gone through to give birth to you after your death. I felt Alone, Ashamed, Unworthy, and Guilty. How could anyone possibly want to accept me now?

Grieving you has taken time. It also has taken so much of me and the person I was before you. I have felt lost inside myself, not sure who I was anymore or who I even wanted to be. Yet with each new day and with help from God, my family and friends I have begun to notice the light again. I have been more ready to emerge from the darkness. I am finally ready to heal.
I can still remember the weight of you in my arms. My arms ache to hold the you again. I remember your sweet face. You were so perfect and beautiful. I have decided that these are my memories and I have every right to keep them with me. They live etched in my mind and my heart. They remind me of the incredible privilege it is to be your Mommy. And that I will always be.

Someone recently told me that she thinks I am going to be a stronger woman through this experience. She said that I am not afraid to go deep and search my heart and the hurt. I think I know what she means. I do feel stronger for being your Mommy. I am not afraid to feel emotion anymore. I long to love deeper and live happier. I feel a new confidence stirring in me. One that wants to be bold and more outgoing. I do not want your life to go in vain. I want to make you proud of me. I want to live like you lived. You loved being alive. I want others to look at me and know that I survived the unimaginable and I did it by loving more than I thought was possible. I let go of more than I wanted to and it knocked me down to the ground. Getting up has taken every ounce of faith in God and His divine healing. God is faithful and He has not left me.

Hope is blooming in me again. Your big sister Natalie said to me this week that I am laughing a lot. I never thought I would laugh again after you died. I am so thankful to find some healing and it has been your sisters and brothers who have given me sweet reasons to smile. It makes me wonder if you know what my smile looks like? I will always wonder what your toothless grin would be. I try and imagine it in my mind.

Sweet baby I will never forget you. You will always be my baby boy and I love you so much. You will be the baby that left the echo of your heartbeat in my womb. I can hear the whisper of it in my heart. You are the one who I held every minute of your life. And that my precious Seth Josiah was an amazing gift.

I”ll love you Forever.
I’ll like you for Always.
As long as I am living, my Baby you will be.


Saturday, September 15, 2012

New Adventure: Illuminate

I am so excited to be embarking on a new adventure. The darkness is starting to fade. I can see the light ready to shine through. It has been waiting for me, calling my name. I am ready to look through the lens of the camera and see life all around me again. I am ready to look upon the faces of my children and capture their sweet smiles. I am ready to view the beauty around me. It is time to Illuminate.

I consider it such a privilege to take a photo healing class offered by another baby loss mom called Illuminate.  I just completed my first assingment of writing a letter to my baby and taking photographs that represent where I am in my journey following baby loss. 

To learn more about Illuminate visit http://www.berylaynyoung.com/illuminate/

And stay tuned weekly as I take this course and post about it here. 

UPDATE:  My Illuminate Photo Class Assignments can been found on wordpress :  apieceofmyheartinheaven.wordpress.com

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Ready to Be Much Muchier

I am sitting outside today enjoying the sunshine, the birds singing, the soft wind blowing, cool breeze flowing. It is a peaceful place. And the truth is I actually like sitting here.  I am pondering, reflecting, breathing it all in.

Certainly never in my life have I experienced such a struggle between giving up or moving forward.  Never has it been more difficult to choose to move forward. There have been so many moments over the past few months that giving up seemed easier to me.  But truth is that moving forward is always the best choice.

As I am sitting here today with a clearer mind I am ready to re-discover who I am after a tremendous loss of love, promise, and future.  I have been lost for months now.   I have been searching for the me and along the way have discoverd some amazing women who understand what it feels like to be so lost.

And as they say one thing leads to another that is just what has been happening on this vast place of internet.  Today I find myself being intrigued by the quote "I used to be much muchier, but then I lost my muchness."  Now that sums up a lot about how I have been feeling.  The neat thing is Tova of findingmymuchness.com chose a creative way to find her  muchness again. She decided to challenge herself to find her muchness for 30 days.  She loved the result so much that she decided to invite other women along.

I want to join her.  The next 30 day challenge is "Muchness Meets Photography".  How cool is that?  How neat the timing since one of my Project Heal ideas is to take a photography class.  I am taking an online class and this challenge will fit with it so nicely.

Hmm..it makes me wonder what is my muchness?  I am not sure anymore.  Tova's muchness was first found in wearing sequins and glitter everday for 30 days.  She photographed herself in bling and posted it to facebook everyday.  I love it but I am not sure that is me. I do love how simple the assignment. I still need simple right now.

I feel this boldness brewing inside of me. I am ready to fight harder to move forward. I am ready to find myself and be the woman God intended me to be. I know He designed me for life, this life. I can't wait to see if my muchness is bold as well.  I want to be as bold as backpacking up a mountain.  I have a friend who just returned from such an experience.  I am in awe in reading her blog detail the trip.  Amazing. Reality check that may much to muchier for me right now.

This week I am on a mission to start to discover my muchness.  I love that it can be anywhere between wearing a little bling to climbing a mountain.  The sky really is the limit.  But maybe it would be wise to start with my Project Heal list and see where that leads me.

I am ready to be much Muchier again!

What about you? Are you joining the 30 day Muchness Meets Photography challenge. Comment below and let me know so I can look you up over at
findingmymuchness.com .

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Thoughts of Him

My sweet baby boy!  So many thoughts of him.
Love, longing, some joy and lots of pain.
He is on my mind.

Am I thinking about this child of mine too much? 
I try not to think of him but my brain takes on a mind of it's own of such.
It seems to choose the thoughts and memories of this boy who is mine.
And so I think of him all the time. 

Some suggest that I need to busy myself
So I don't think of him all the time.
I am busy, he is on my mind. 
Some suggest that I need to spend
More time with my other children. 
I am with my sweet kiddos all the time, he is on my mind. 

Some suggest I go out with friends and be carefree.
I try to leave my thoughts at home, but they come along with me.
Some suggest that I need to spend more time with God
And His grace I will find.
Yes I find His grace and thoughts of heaven too,
They must have forgot where my baby boy resides. 
He is on my mind. 

Some suggest I get some sleep. 
I fall asleep and I am startled awake and he is on my mind. 
This is not always the sweet memories but the trauma that taunts me here. 
I hate waking up to the rememberance of what happened to us, him and I. 
I hate to remember hearing he did die. 
I hate to remember that I had to give birth to him to only say goodbye. 
You see he is on my mind. 

I have woke once or twice without him there. 
It is in these moments I panic too. 
I am worried that I have forgotten him much too soon. 
I search my mind frantically for the memories of him there. 
And he is on my mind. 

I finally wake to the morning light.  And he is on my mind. 
Not like when the morning is new and the day has so much in store,
No it is the reality of the memory that he is no more.
I fight to push the memory back for awhile to force myself up with the dawn. 
He is on my mind. Oh, I pause, I sigh and wish he was not gone.

I put on a smile and try to pretend I am alive and he is on my mind. 
I want to scream out loud all these thoughts I keep inside. 
He is on my mind. 
I want to let him be this little baby boy who is my son. 
But that isn't always who he is in my mind. 
I get lost in the guilt and shame and the tears flow from my eyes. 
He is on my mind. 

I need a break from these thoughts of him.
I don't know how to escape my mind who holds him near
Because it is my heart that holds him so very dear. 
So I choose to live with him on my mind.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Monkey Monday

It is Monkey Monday.  It is back to school time at our house.  My 3 middle children have now all had the same beautiful kindergarten teacher.  She labels the days of the week with an animal to help kids learn the all of the days.  Today is their first Monkey Monday back in school.  I had to laugh when they were talking about Monkey Monday over the weekend.  It is a bummer to have the weekend over.  Monkey Monday is somehow just a little more fun to look forward to.  I hope my kiddos have a fun day at school.  They made to the bus and are on their way to school.  I miss them!  I can't wait until they get back home.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Seth Josiah -- Day of Hope

Thinking of my baby boy, Seth Josiah today, Day of Hope Aug. 19, 2012

The world may never notice
If a Snowdrop doesn't bloom,
Or even pause to wonder
If the petals fall too soon.

But every life that ever forms,
Or ever comes to be,
Touches the world in some small way
For all eternity.

The little one we longed for
Was swiftly here and gone.
But the love that was then planted
Is a light that still shines on.

And though our arms are empty,
Our hearts know what to do.
For every beating of our hearts
Says that we love you.
--Author Unknown

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Letters to Heaven

Photo Credit: Small Bird Studio

Dear Seth,

If I could write a letter to heaven I would tell you I can't get you off of my mind, my precious Baby Seth.  It has been five months since you went to heaven.  I wish I didn't have tears in my eyes every time I think of you.  I don't think you would want Mommy to cry so much.  I cannot believe it has been five months since I said goodbye to you. I would so love holding you as a five month old if I could for only one day.   I would love to see you look at me and smile big as if to shout out loud  I am your Mommy and your most very favorite person in the whole world.  If I could write a letter to heaven I would ask you, do you know what I look like?  I fully trust you know the sound of my voice, but I wonder if you would recognize me in heaven.

There is nothing sweeter to a Mommy than sweet hugs from her children.  Today I will be extra thankful for the hugs I get from your brothers and sisters.    I sometimes close my eyes and pretend you are sending hugs to me to.  I can't decide if  it is really possible.  But if I could write a letter to heaven and ask God for one thing to make it easier to live without you I would ask for some hugs and kisses from you.  I would catch them as they fell upon on me and never let them go.

I choose today to celebrate you!  Seth you were longed for, cherished, loved!  The other day I had a banana split. I know it sounds silly, but it was my little way to celebrate you.  I loved banana splits when I was pregnant with you. If I could write a letter to heaven I would ask you if you remember the sweet taste of ice cream in my womb.   I am so glad we were able to share the little things while you were here. It makes me wonder are there really sweet things like banana splits in heaven?

I love you forever.  I like you for always.  As long as I am living my baby you will be. 


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

I am so excited to try something new.  I have seen Wordless Wednesday as a weekly post idea.  Today I ran across an cool to twist to this idea on Fresh Mommy.  Her take:  Hump Day Dump!  She simply dumped the photos from her iphone from the week.  The pictures speak an adorable story.  I love it.  It is also encourages me to take lots of photos during the week if only with my phone.  Hope you enjoyed my first  attempt at a Hump Day Dump/Wordless Wednesday!  Linking up with my very first Wordless Wednesday at  Fresh Mommy and Keeping Up with the Reinlanders.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

It is Still Raining

 I will not fear the storm
My help is on the way, my help is on the way

Oh, my God, He will not delay
My refuge and strength always
I will not fear, His promise is true
My God will come through always, always

I can't quite remember a summer like this.  It has been much like a drought.  The ground appears as though we have moved to the desert. It has been dry and cracked.  No flower has survived it. It has been so hot.  The lack of rain has left the heat feeling relentless.  And yet even in this heat and clear absence of rain I feel my storm continue. 

The storm came without warning.  I did not see the clouds or hear the thunder.  I did not get a forecast suggesting it would be arriving.  Lightening simply struck and my baby was gone. The loud thunder followed the silence of the deliver room.  And the tears began to fall in the rhythm of the raindrops.  The rain came crashing down and all around me I felt the strength of the storm beat on me. My baby had died.  I was certain I too would be lost in this storm.  It had no mercy. 

As with any storm there has been varying levels of energy.  Sometimes it has been raging and the emotions that came with it were intense.  Other times it has been so strong that all I could do was sit defeated and wait for it to lift.  And then the thunder ceased and I thought the storm was at an end.  Yet the rain did not stop. The mood of the rain so intimately matches the mood deep in me, sadness.

And today it is still raining.  The grief of Seth's death is still present in my mind and in my heart. It is not currently an intense storm of such, but it is still drenching me with fear and lack of confidence.   It still carries with it dark clouds that hold the threat of a downpour that will rock my boat about and leave me clinging for my life.  I am searching for the glimpses of the sun peaking through.  I am ready for the clouds to leave and let the sun beat down on my face for a change.  It shines at me a little when I see my children smile, when I laugh at something a friend has said, when I feel close to my husband again.  I am ready for more.  I want the rain to cease. It may not.

This Sunday I heard a song at church that met me right where I am in this storm.  I Fear it!  I feared it before it began and I fear it's strength and edurance as it has continued to rain in my life.  I fear the storm may never cease.  I fear that the sunshine will not shine in my life as it once did. I fear the storm has stolen my joy. The song is Always and it words say "I will not fear the storm" because God's help is on the way.

I can feel the change in the weather outside. The coolness has broken the heat even if it still hasn't rained. It speaks to a hope that the drought will be over soon. One day soon the rain will fall on the hard broken ground and bring a softness to the cracks.  The rain will give the flowers a drink and they will pose a bloom. The promise of life will spring up from the once dry ground again.  I am hopeful in drought or storm that His promise is true. God will not delay as I rely on Him as my refuge and strength He will come through.

I am not sure what my life will look like as this storm changes even possibly ceases.  But I am ready. I don't want to fear the storm anymore. I am ready for God to come through. I am ready for what the future holds. I want to know what possibly God could have in store to bring me joy even comparable to joy lost. I have my own ideas of what I want it to look like. It is hard to give up on those ideas and simply trust. Trust the unknown. Trust the calm. Trust that He will continue to comfort me as the storm has it's own way about me. Resist the urge to call me brave or strong I am just not. But I am trying to be faithful. Faithful to a God who will ALWAYS come through in the drought and in the storm.  ALWAYS.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Ideas and Projects

I am unsettled, ansy, fidgeting.  I need something to do to get this out of my system.

The end of summer is near.  It has been filled with baseball, swimming, vacation, family, friends, laughter, and grief.  The kids will be back in school soon.  I am not ready yet.  I like having them home.  Soon, though the routine will be set, the bus will come, and they will be away at school during the day.  I am worried about the silence it will create in my house.  I am feeling a need to prepare to fill it.

I doubt I will fill it with noise but I hope I can use the quiet to further my journey of healing and finding the new me.  So I have been creating a list in my mind of projects and activities.  I am not a good make a list and check it off kinda girl.  No, I am more of a dreamer who loves to come up with lots of ideas.  So this is more list of ideas.  I will not hold myself accountable if I don't finish the list, but I hope I do.

List of ideas for Project Heal

  • Take a photography class -- I am really excited about this one!
  • Organize a room aka do all the mundane household chores with enthusiasm :-)
  • Attend the Designed For Life women's conference
  • Write, write, write. Because I like to write
  • Go Blog Hopping
  • Try something new
  • Read a book with my oldest daughter--her pick
  • Paint a room
  • Take a walk with a friend
  • Take a walk by myself
  • Create a peaceful place
  • Listen to Christian music and dive into devotion with God

And there it is a list that gives me permission to make the most of the quiet during the day. The list is simple, I need simple.   I can't wait to showcase it all here.  My goal is to fill myself with energy so when the bell rings and the kiddos come home I will be ready to embrace them well and feed them, make sure homework gets done, bathe them, and tuck them in.  I don't want to miss a moment of them!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Car Wash Through Dialated Eyes

Are you intrigued by the title?  I am going for a whole to creative bent to this blog.  My 4th born Adam is the subject for today.  He is so adorable.  Ok I may be biased, but I love him. Adam is all middle child!  He can get nervous easy, is really loud when he is offended, is a "quiet" trouble maker/instigator, and is so incredibly sweet. He likes firetrucks, frogs, brocolli, oranges, and strawberries.  He has a slight addiction to gummies aka fruit snacks and he falls asleep every night with his green blanket.  He also loves going to the car wash.  It is instant entertainment for him.  In fact, I bribe him with a car wash to get him to go the places he is uncertain of like the doctor and dentist.  Today, it was the kindergarten eye appointment.  Following the eye doctor which he passed with with flying colors we drove through the car wash on the way home.  Hence the title "Car wash through dialated eyes!"  Here is what we saw!

The car wash audience.  It was a hit!  5 stars for sure.  Did it actually clean the van?  I am not sure, but the smile it brought to Adam's face! Priceless

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Sweet Faces of My Children

The past few weeks have been busy.  We have been "vacationing" with family and friends.  It has been refreshing, encouraging. And my assignment from my counselor....Life is for the living.  Living I am doing.  I have found a place for my grief upon the shelf.  I still need time to grieve and work through the sadness.  But I am choosing the "when" I take the grief box down and open it up.  This has given me the idea that this blog can also transform from only grieving to also living as well.  Sure I will need to use this place as a way to work through my grief thoughts.  But I also want it to be a place where I can display the living again part. What better way to transform this blog than to include the sweet faces of my children.  It is in their eyes I find beautiful reasons to smile. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Letters To Heaven

Dear Baby Seth,

If I could write a letter to heaven I would tell you I love you.  It has been four months ago that I said hello and goodbye. I still wish everyday that life would have turned out differently. I will always find it hard to understand why you were only with me for such a short while. I miss you

It has been a busy summer. Your big brother Ben has kept me busy and distracted with baseball.  Adam and Caleb love baseball too.  It makes me wonder for all the little boys.  Is there baseball in heaven?  Ben's team won first place in the All Star Tournament. It was very exciting.  If I could write a letter to heaven I would tell you I missed having you at the celebration when his team won. I felt a little pang in my heart when I took pictures of your daddy and brothers together.  You were missing. 

If I could write a letter to heaven I would tell you little baby that I hate living without you.  I would much rather be enjoying your giggles and your gumless kisses.  Will you save some for me?  It is so hard to get up and do the life dance after losing you.  But I must.  Dancing will never be the same but I am trying to learn some new steps.  Actually, Adam was really laughing at me the other day when I just started moving to a silly song he was playing on my phone.  It made me smile to hear him laugh. Smiling is bittersweet but I somehow believe you would like to see me smile too.  Just because you are in heaven does not mean I shouldn't try and smile when I think of you.

If I could write a letter to heaven I would tell you that I think of you everyday.  It has become my special way to be your mommy.  I will always keep you on my mind and in my heart.  I try to think of ways to honor you.  Here is a balloon with your name on it.   A sweet woman on facebook in Hawaii had a special memorial balloon release. She was so kind to include your name.  It makes me wonder can balloons really travel to heaven.   If I could write a letter to heaven I would ask God to give this balloon to you.   

I love seeing your name Seth Josiah.  And even if at times saying your name makes me cry I will never tire of loving it or seeing it or hearing it.  If I could write a letter to heaven I would ask Jesus to say it outloud just for me.  Until i hear him say it I will whisper it in my heart. I love you Baby Seth.

I'll love you forever,
I'll like you for always,
as long as I'm living my baby you'll be.


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Realizing Acceptance

I am realizing that grief really does change over time.  No longer am I living those first few moments following Seth's death when I could barely breath, when I couldn't move, when I would zone off into an empty space.  I was reflecting on that time over the past few days not to dwell there but to see for myself if I have moved from that time.  I need to know I am trying to live again.  I need to know that I survived that moment so I can believe it will keep getting better or at least keep getting to a new normal.

I was talking to a friend about this very thing.  I needed her to tell me that she thinks I am getting better.  Walking through life after such a tremendous loss has been the most difficult thing I ever done in my life.  I don't know how walking ever seemed easy in the first place.  Learning how to walk a second time has taken ever ounce of my being to accomplish.  Well, my being and God's incredible mercy and grace.

The very first song I remember actually hearing on the radio after Seth died was "The Hurt and the Healer"  I couldn't believe the words of this song.  The words spoke so much to what I was feeling on those first few days as I drove my children to the bus stop.  I was so broken.  I was deeply hurt.  I was so lost.

The words  “I am alive even though a part of me has died.”  spoke so true of my grief. I was alive. I was alive even if I didn’t want to be. And I didn’t want to be. My heart was in trouble and needed to have someone--GOD--breathe it back to life. 

The Hurt and Healer became my song.  I would play it over and over.  I even blogged about it here <<Surrendering the Pain>>. I had to believe as the song suggested that Jesus would not let my pain, my loss go in vain.   I was suffering.  I had to do as the song suggested and fall in to my Lord's arms open wide. There was no other choice really.  I had to allow Jesus to pull me through.  Here it was the place where my hurt and my Healer would collide.  The only thing that made sense was that Jesus had the ability to take my heart and breath it back to life. 

I can say He has and is still doing just that. 

Recently, as I heard the song I focused more on the phrase of the song that the music revs up and speaks about the mercy.  Maybe it was simply enough that God would just breath into my heart so it would contiue to beat.  A beating heart would keep me alive.  But God's love is greater than that.  He doesn't just want me alive, He wants me to LIVE.  So in His amazing goodness and mighty majesty He as the song suggests "ushered" in.  He showered me with His grace.  He covered me with His mercy.  And He said loudly, firmly yet lovingly, gently "It's over now". 

He didn't say "Get over it" or "Stop your crying" or "Forget it"  He said...I love you.  I have it now.  I have Seth now. I will never let go of him. I will never let go of you.

It really was there in my weakness that I could bow down and accept it.  My God has my baby Seth in the palm in His hand.  In that very same palm He holds me. He loves us.   

It is over now!  I will never walk through that pain of Seth dying again.  I will never fight to take a breathe as I did in that moment that he died.  It is over now.  I will not have to learn to take that first step without him again.  It is over now.   And it is the now that "acceptance" comes to the front of the grief cycle line and lets me in.  Acceptance is more than simply saying "My baby died. He is not coming back."  Speaking those words were REALITY not acceptance.  Reality hit about a month after Seth died.  And it was not pretty and it hurt --for lack of a better description-- like I just walked out of hell.  Acceptance to me has more to do with the living again part that I have been dancing around in grief trying to discover.   It is realizing that my grief had purpose. My Lord used it to pull me through to a place of accepting that this deep loss, this incredible pain, the love for my son, Seth's life all mattered. It mattered to me. It mattered to people who loved Seth.  It mattered to my God. 

 It mattered to God so much that He ushered in so that I would not merely breath but that I would live.  In spite of walking through all of that I AM ALIVE.  Acceptance is living again.  It means I can breath, I can smile, I can laugh, I can cry, I can speak, I can love.  I am alive.

Am I through grieving?  I don't know.  I hear that grief is best described like the waves of the ocean and I am like the shore.  The grief could come roaring in like a strong wave or trickle in like a cool breeze onto me at any moment. But I have learned how to swim better in the grief.  I am stronger now so the waves shouldn't drown me.  Am I still sad even when I am smiling?  Of course I am.  I love Seth and I miss him.  The being away part will always make me sad.  Yet, today here I am realizing acceptance by smiling, living, loving again.

It's the moment when humanity
Is overcome by majesty
When grace is ushered in for good
And all the scars are understood
When mercy takes its rightful place
And all these questions fade away
When out of the weakness we must bow
And hear You say "It's over now"

I'm alive
Even though a part of me has died
You take my heart and breathe it back to life
I've fallen into your arms open wide
When The hurt and the healer collide

--words from The Hurt and Healer by Mercy Me

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Seth Bear

            7 lbs. 2 oz.              7 lbs. 13oz.
 7 lbs. 13 oz.            7 lbs. 3 oz.                    7 lbs. 1 oz.

7 lbs. 6 oz.

I remember these numbers. These are the birth weights of my children.  These numbers are etched in my mind.  The hold the link to the memory of the first time I ever held my babies in my arms.  These then move on to the other memories that follow. The weight at their two week check up. The weight at their 6 month check up.  The weight at their first birthday.  As they grew I felt their weight sitting on my hip. 

My little guy Seth weighed 7 lbs. 6 oz.  That is the only weight I will ever remember of him.  He just stops there.  I only had about 24 hours to feel the weight of 7lbs. 6 oz. in my arms.  My arms ache for that weight again. 

There is another mommy out there that understood the importance of this long before I lost Seth.  She too had lost a baby.  And in honor of her Molly she started Molly Bears.  A wonderful organization that gives mommies something to hold.  A comfort item to fill the empty arms.  A weighted bear is named after their child and is the exact birth weight of their baby.

There is a sign up once a month. (Molly Bears sign up)  I signed up right away after losing Seth.  The current weight time seems to be between 12-18 months.  The need is big and the organization is run by volunteers and donations.  Then last month as they do from time to time there offer a chance to get to the front of the line.  By participating in a fundraiser to keep the bears in production I was able to have my Seth bear created sooner rather than later.

Our Seth Bear arrived last week.  And you guessed it.  Our Seth Bear weighs 7 lbs. 6 oz.  We absolutely love him.  We held him tight.  We took turns to pass him around.  My three year old can barely lift him. We talked about all the features of the bear.  We talked about our memories with Seth.  It was beautiful.  Each of my children have even taken a turn to sleep with him at night. 

For me holding 7 lbs. 6 oz. again is INCREDIBLE.  It takes me back to the last moment  I held Seth.  I held him. I breathed in the scent of him.  I made my arms remember the weight of him.  I cried a lot.  And then I let him go.  Today as I hold this silly teddy bear I fills in the gap in my mind between knowing he was here and imagining it all up.  I love my Seth Bear.

I now know first hand how competely and incredibly Molly Bears makes a difference in the lives of families who have lost a baby.  As I mentioned Molly Bears is ran by volunteers and donations.  If you would like to help this amazing organzation read more below. 

Molly Bears started twenty three months ago with the simple idea of bringing comfort and hope to people in the midst of tragedy. Out of this desire, Molly Bears has continued to grow, sending out over 1,500 bears thus far. What started out as one lady in her living room making bears in memory of her daughter has grown into so much more. However, even as we have grown and changed, Molly Bears has not done enough to keep up with demand.

The stark reality we face today as a company is that we do not have the funds available to keep up with the demand of bear production. We are now, like many months before, dangerously close to running out of funds. In order for Molly Bears to continue to be a vital resource for the loss community, we need YOUR help!
To donate please visit https://rally.org/mollybears.  If you would like to donate in Seth's memory please do so here https://rally.org/mollybears/38pZ79RnVKL/kimschamburg/donate