Wednesday, April 28, 2010

13 months

Today it's been 13 months. I didn't think I would post each month anymore after Carleigh's first birthday but I figured it would be a good time to update on how I am doing.

Things have been going really well. I stay pretty busy most of the time between work, taking care of our home, and spending time with my family. Sometimes I wish I had more down time, but I guess I've gotten used to busy.

As far as my grief, most days have been good. I still think of Carleigh many times every day and miss her tons. I still wish that I had 2 little girls at my feet instead of just 1 and I don't ever see that changing.

Today was unexpectedly emotional. I started reading Angie's book I Will Carry You and I am about half way through it. I have practically been in tears the whole time reading it. I guess I shouldn't have started it at work! I have related to this book so much and it is very deep and moving. I really like how Angie talks of the story of Lazarus. But it's taken me back too. I remember my own journey as I read about hers. So I was a little emotional after I left work. I decided to go to the cemetery for a visit and wouldn't you know the song that was playing when I got in my car was Love Never Fails by Brandon Heath. On the way I thought I might lose it, but when I got there I felt strangely calm.

One of the caretakers was mowing and he said hello to me and apologized if there was grass on Carleigh's headstone. I said it was ok. I just brushed all the grass off and wiped off all the bird poop. I was also happy to see her flowers still there. I just laid on the grass, let the sun hit and warm me, inhaled the smell of freshly cut grass, and listened to the hum of the lawn mower. Relaxing. And then I sat up in front of her stone, choked back some tears, and told her that I loved her and missed her. Then I got up and left to go home. When I turned on the van Amy Grant's song Better Than A Hallelujah came on. KLOVE always plays the right songs when I need them. So that made me cry! And so I pretty much just cried the rest of the way home. Does it seem odd to say that it was nice to cry? Because it was.

I have been feeling a little conflicted lately about a few things. Thank you, Kelly, for listening to me and helping me out. I was going to post all about it here but I have since changed my mind since talking with Kelly. What I will say is that there may be times when I'm around and there may be times when I'm not. I'm not leaving completely but there are times when I just need a break from this community. Being in this world and reading so many babyloss blogs can take a lot of time away from my family (because I follow so many) and I've come to a point where I am not ok with that anymore. The reality is I know I'm not gonna wish years down the road that I spent more time on the computer. So there will be times that I need to step away a little bit to be with them.

And thanks to those who have stuck with me through everything.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Blog Award


I got a blog award and thought I would post it. Thanks to Michelle at Leaning on the Everlasting Arms. Michelle’s daughter, Janie Beth, was born with a fatal form of dwarfism on December 29, 2009. She went to be with the Lord on December 30, 2009.

The rules of this award are:
1. copy and paste the award on your blog.
2. list who gave the award to you and use a link to her/his blog (or hyperlink).
3. list 10 things that make you happy.
4. pass the award on to other bloggers

Ok, in no particular order, here are 10 things (besides the obvious God and family) that make me happy…

1) Candy – I ♥ to eat candy, especially candy that is sour.

2) Hot baths – It’s relaxing to be able to just sit and a hot bath after a long day.

3) Warm, sunny days – Days when the sun is shining and it’s nice outside just make me feel better.

4) A good book – Nothing like curling up under a blanket with a good book to read.

5) Homemade hot chocolate – Sooo much better than that store crap!

6) Cloth diapering – May seem weird but I love doing it!

7) Snuggles – Whether it’s with my hubby or my kids, it just feels good.

8) Riding on the back of our motorcycle – I don’t get to do it often now with kids and I seem to be in some stage of pregnancy in the summer, but it’s something I enjoy doing with my hubby (besides, it’s how we basically met!)

9) Snowmobiling – A family hobby for a long time.

10) Vacations – It is so nice to just get away from it all!

And now here are people I am passing it on to:
Trisha @ Looking for Blue Sky
Jenny @ His Grace Is Sufficient
Kelly @ The Beauty of Sufficient Grace
Crystal Theresa @ Blessed to Be Broken
PJ @ Baby Seth's Story
Mary @ Our Angel Amiee
Elena @ Lily Elizabeth

Friday, April 23, 2010

Threads of Hope, Pieces of Joy ~ Chapter 7

Walking With You is an outreach of Sufficient Grace Ministries, led by Kelly Gerken. We are a group of mothers who have lost a baby or child. We gather together from different places on our journey, each month to share our stories, to encourage, and pray for one another as we walk this path together. Our hope is that you will be comforted when you join us here...and maybe that we can offer some grace for the journey as we look to the Lord for comfort and strength.

Chapter 7 was about acceptance.

“The final stage of grief is acceptance. Acceptance means facing the full reality of the loss of your child. It is not the absence of pain, but learning to live with the ongoing reminders of your loss.”

I believe that I am in the stage of grief now where I do accept what has happened and I am learning to live through it. I think there has been a part of me that has accepted this all along. Seems crazy, but it’s true. I remember the day we got Carleigh’s fatal diagnosis I accepted that this was the road that I was given, but there was still shock and devastation amongst that acceptance. I have no doubt that God was a big part of that.

But this road hasn’t been easy even with acceptance. Grief can weigh you down. You have days when you are happy and days when you just can’t seem to find much joy at all. I’ve relied on God a lot to get me through everything.

If you are tired from carrying heavy burdens, come to me and I will give you rest. Take the yoke I give you. Put it on your shoulders and learn from me. I am gentle and humble and you will find rest. This yoke is easy to bear and this burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30

We are like clay jars in which this treasure is stored. The real power comes from God and not from us. We often suffer, but we are never crushed. Even when we don’t know what to do, we never give up. In times of trouble, God is with us, and when we are knocked down, we get up again. 2 Corinthians 4:7-9

I think these verses are very true. God can give us rest from the burdens that we carry. He never abandons us, even when we might think so. I am so thankful that God has been with me through this whole journey. I really don’t know how I could have made it through this without Him. Even around the 6 month mark when he felt far away, I still knew He was there. And looking back I’m glad I didn’t give up on Him, just like He didn’t give up on me. I think that Satan was testing my faith, just like Job in the Bible. He should’ve known he wasn’t going to win! There is nothing that can separate me from God. It even says so in one of my favorite verses in the Bible.

I am sure that nothing can separate us from God’s love-not life or death, not angels or spirits, not the present or the future, and not the powers above or the powers below. Nothing in all creation can separate us from God’s love for us in Christ Jesus our Lord! Romans 8:38-39

“Once you have experienced loss, you are never the same. After a period of intense grief, life must go on. It is then that you choose your attitude and response to your loss. You can look upon life as tough and grim or you can bear it willingly, as His child, sharing with Him only a fraction of what He bore for you.”

It is so true that once you have experienced loss you just aren’t the same. And how can you be? Losing a child is prolly the most devastating experience a person can go through. I personally believe this and I know there are others that feel the same way. Then why do people expect you to go back to the way you were? Is that even possible?

For myself, I am closer to the person I was before than I was just a year ago. It wasn’t a change that happened overnight but gradually as I started to find more joy in life again. I have no expectations to be the person I once was nor do I really want to be. This is me now and I have completely accepted her and I fully expect others to do the same. I believe I am a better person now that I was before. I know how to love deeper and appreciate things more. I have more compassion. These are just a few of the ways I’ve changed for the better. I honestly can’t think of even one way that losing Carleigh has changed me negatively. I feel like that would be like me saying something bad came from having Carleigh and that could never be true.

I tell you for certain that you will cry and be sad, but the world will be happy. You will be sad, but later you will be happy. When a woman is about to give birth, she is in great pain. But after it is all over, she forgets the pain and is happy, because she has brought a child into the world. You are now very sad. But later I will see you, and you will be so happy that no one will be able to change the way you feel. John 16:20-22

The verse above is one that I don’t remember reading before. Perhaps I have, but it never really stuck with me. Reading it now, though, it has a lot of meaning. I have cried and I have been sad when the world around me seemed so happy, and it didn’t seem right at all. It felt like everyone was going on with their merry little lives while I was stuck with this pain of losing my daughter. Do they even care? This verse gives assurance that the sadness won’t last forever. It is possible to be happy again, with the greatest of happiness being in Heaven with our Lord and children.

Sometimes in facing the future it can seem a little uncertain. How do I go on living without my child?

When confronted with painful memories what do you plan to do?

I don’t have very many painful memories. Most of my memories of my time with Carleigh are good ones. The most painful one that comes to mind was when we left the hospital and drove to the funeral home with Carleigh. Then handing her over to the funeral director and walking away. That was incredibly hard and the most difficult moment of my whole journey, but I’m still thankful for it even though it isn’t the most pleasant of memories because it is a memory of her. Some people don’t even get memories of their children like this.

How will you answer the question, “How many children do you have?”

It may not seem like it, but this can be a difficult question to answer. Our society seems like they want us to forget our dead children-that they don’t count. That certainly isn’t true! They count in every way possible! I know in my heart that I am a mother of 5, even though right now people only see 2. Even when you’re pregnant you’re a ‘mother-to-be’. What!? That doesn’t make sense to me at all. I became a mother to each of my child the moment they came into my lives. I’ve thought a lot on how to answer this question when asked, and I still haven’t come up with the perfect answer for me that would include all of my children. Most of the time my answer has been (before I was pregnant) that I have 3 girls. Then that leads into how old they are and ultimately reveals to whoever asked that one of my children is dead, which then makes things awkward for them.

How will you respond when you meet a child born at the time of your loss or one that would be the same age as your baby?

I actually follow a few blogs of moms I know from Cafemom that were in the same due date group as me and I often see pictures of their children. When I see their children, I try to picture what Carleigh would look like if she were that big. I wouldn’t say it is easy or difficult for me.

Who is presently supporting you in your loss?

I think that God is all the support that I will ever need. After all, He is the One that has gotten me through everything, but it is nice to be able to connect with other people through this. It means a lot for people to check in and ask how I am doing (and really mean it). And it’s no surprise to me that I have found more support online than I have IRL.

At what point will you be finished with your grieving?

That’s easy to answer! Never! I believe it is a lifelong process. It is more acute when the loss is fresh. As time passes and your heart heals, the grief isn’t as painful but it’s still there. How do I know this? Just talk to those who are 10, 20, or even 50 years on this road and they will tell you so. You never stop missing them or loving them.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Carleigh's Corner revisited

Carleigh's Corner is posted over at still life 365. Click here to visit. I made a post about it last summer. Just thought I would share! :)

And I do plan on making a post of her corner this year when I actually plant some flowers in that area! I can't wait to make it colorful!

Others remembering Carleigh

I am finally able to share how others remembered Carleigh for her birthday. Thank you to everyone who did something and sent me photos. It took me a little bit of time to get all the photos together because I made collages of each remembrance and put the names of the people who did them on the collages. If you want to see them larger just click on the photo.

Thanks everyone!!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Sorry for all these posts in one day but I wanted to say thanks to a few more people.

Thank you Kristie for creating this beautiful stitching in the frame and for taking the time to make this for me. Thank you Jenny for the beautiful figurine that you picked out for me. It's perfect!

Thanks to Lisa at Waterfall Angels for doing more pictures of Carleigh's name. It is much appreciated!!

More drawings by Maryline

I have some more lovely drawings to share from Maryline that she surprised me with. Thank you so much, Maryline! You do such beautiful work! You can see her other drawings she has made for me here.

Maryline explained to me that in this first drawing, the hands represent the gift and they form the top of a candle. The baby forms the flame that represents the soul that climbs. One can see a cross and a star. Every balloon that climbs represents a child. The one here is located in a star.

If you click on the picture you can see it bigger and you may notice names in the balloons that Maryline added herself. The names she put in this drawing are Nolan, Chase, Seth, Lily, Faith, Carleigh, Emma, Hannah, and Jordan. If one of these names is your baby's name and you would like a copy of this drawing I would be happy to send it to you. I just love how the drawing has all the names. She did such a great job on it!

She also sent me a drawing she had made inside a candle. It's so lovely!

Threads of Hope, Pieces of Joy ~ Chapter 6

Walking With You is an outreach of Sufficient Grace Ministries, led by Kelly Gerken. We are a group of mothers who have lost a baby or child. We gather together from different places on our journey, each month to share our stories, to encourage, and pray for one another as we walk this path together. Our hope is that you will be comforted when you join us here...and maybe that we can offer some grace for the journey as we look to the Lord for comfort and strength.

Chapter 6 touched on the topic of Depression and Parenting.

"After a period of intense depression there is, at some point, a determination of will to move on, whether or not our grief is resolved. Often we bury ourselves in activity-anything to keep our mind occupied. Unfortunately, our busyness does not rid us of our grief, and eventually we must quiet ourselves before God."

One thing I did initially after losing Carleigh was plan her service. I kinda threw myself into that to where I didn't have to think about things so much. I also worked on putting a scrapbook together for her. It made me feel better to focus on things that I was doing for her.

Being at home was a big comfort for me. I didn't feel like leaving the house much at all and I think that may have been difficult for others to understand. My home was my safe zone. When I was at home I didn't have to worry about people saying or doing the wrong things (mostly). I didn't have to worry about seeing pregnant women or babies. Even though I didn't venture out much, I kept myself busy. When I was off on maternity leave I spent a lot of time on the computer or taking care of Kyndra. I didn't really do much house work. I wasn't up to that. Once I went back to work I was even busier. People thought I was spending too much time on the computer but it helped me to cope so I didn't see anything wrong with it. I do think there have been times, however, when it being so busy kept me from feeling the full extent of my grief.

In Luke 10:38-42, it talks of Mary and Martha. One spent the evening working in the kitchen and the other at the Lord's feet. I know I am guilty of spending too much time "working in the kitchen" and not enough time with God. I've recognized this and I want it to change but it hasn't been easy. I've found it hard to navigate out of my daily routine that I've been set in. So that is still a work in progress. I'd like to spend less time on the computer and more time with my family. And I actually have been doing this. I am getting more quality time with Kyndra. I try to get as much done as I can when she is napping or snacking. It is hard to get quality time with Anthony because I can be so busy taking care of Kyndra.

My parenting has definitely changed since Carleigh. I don't sweat the small things anymore and some of my ways of thinking have changed. For example, I have always used the CIO method but I have found myself using it less. I'd much rather hold her than to hear her cry. And I doubt that I will use CIO with Lainey as much as I have used it with Kyndra.

Being pregnant with Lainey has been wonderful so far. I wasn't sure how it would be since it is my first pregnancy after losing Carleigh. There have been times where I have been nervous and afraid but God has given me a lot of comfort. I can truly say I am very excited for this little girl to finally be in our arms and I trust God for that to happen.

"Sometimes when we are in a crisis, we call out to God to rescue us, rather than trusting Him and His promises, despite the outcome. In this process, we may make promises to God hoping He will fulfill our desires."

I don't believe I have tried to make any promises with God. I really do trust Him with everything, despite whether the outcome is good or bad. I've come to trust Him completely because of the experiences I have been through in my life. I have seen His goodness, His mercy, and His grace. I have experienced His love and His forgiveness. With all that He has done for me, how can I not trust Him?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

A Heavy Heart

My heart has been extremely heavy. I learned yesterday that my friend's son, Jordan, was born still.

My heart has been aching for her and her family and has been weighed down with grief for them. This has all hit me so hard. It is very difficult to see a friend go through such a tragedy. You never want to see someone you love go through something like this.

I was in tears for several hours yesterday after I found out and today in church, I felt the weight greatly. I poured my heart out in prayer at the altar over this whole situation.

Please say a prayer for Scott and Kristi. We all know how rough this road can be and they need it right now.


One day I received an email from a lovely lady named Maryline with a drawing (the first one) that she had done for me for Carleigh's birthday. We corresponded back and forth and she did even more beautiful drawings for me, which I so appreciate.

Maryline lives overseas and has a lovely family. She has 3 beautiful children at home and 1 up in Heaven. It was nice to be able to meet and share with her. Thank you so much Maryline!

I would love to share all of the beautiful drawings that she has done.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Photos and thanks

Ok, here's a BIG post of a bunch of photos that have been done over the last few months. Thank you everyone! Some sent me more photos than I posted here. All photos can be viewed in the gallery.

Thank you La Cubanita at Names On The Sidewalk

Thank you Chris at Treasure From My Heart
Thank you Caroline at The Croley Gang
Thank you Jessica at Forever Remembered Photo Collages

Thank you Nicole

Thank you Laura at Angel Baby Names

Thank you Lisette at Learning To Breathe Again

Thank you Michele

Thank you Michelle at Missing Juanito

Thank you Misty at Heaven's Seashells
Thank you Danielle at Letting Go and Letting God

Thank you Jacie

Thank you Jill at Vermont Angels

Thank you Brittany
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