Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Remembering at Christmas 2010

If you are missing someone you love this Christmas, someone of ANY age who is spending Christmas with Jesus this year, join us on this very special Walking With You. We are sharing our Christmas memories and the ways that we remember our loved ones who have gone home to Heaven at Christmas time.

(Here is last year's post that I wrote.)

Christmas is my absolute favorite holiday. I love everything about it-the sights, the smells, the sounds. Even Carleigh not being here with us to celebrate with us doesn't tarnish the beauty of the season and the joy in the birth of our Lord. Sure, there are moments when I am sad with missing her but I also know that she is having an even better Christmas than me in Heaven with Jesus. I’d love to be there too!

I wish that I had Christmas memories of Carleigh in my arms, but sadly, I don’t. The only Christmas memories that I have are when she was in my belly and I am so thankful to have those. Carleigh spent Christmas in Hawaii with us in 2008 just days after we received her fatal diagnosis on December 15th. So I thought I would share a few pictures of Carleigh in my belly in Hawaii! I was 23 weeks while we were there.


The picture above is when we first arrived and I got a little belly shot standing in the kitchen of the condo we were staying in.


We stopped at a beach nearby and walked in the sand.


We swam in the Pacific Ocean. I didn’t stay in long because it was a little chilly (for Hawaii) that day!


We climbed over some lava rocks.


We took naps. :)

I only wish now that I had taken more pictures of me and my Carleigh belly on our trip.

Last year for Christmas I had a little tree and hung all of Carleigh’s and Jordan’s ornaments on it. I think this year I may hang them on the big tree. I haven’t completely decided yet. We have our tree up (it’s prelit) but we don’t have any decorations on it yet.

Last year we weren’t home for Christmas to visit her at the cemetery so I visited her on Christmas Eve instead. This year we will be home so that is something that I would like to do. Maybe we could release a balloon with a little note for her.

I’m sure I’ll spending a lot of time thinking of her and missing her and loving her as best as I can from here.

Happy Birthday November Babies

Happy Birthday to all the special November babies! Sending their mommies and families lots of love!

Faith & Grace ~ November 3, 1996
Aiden ~ November 6, 2009
Chaya ~ November 6, 2008
Nicholas ~ November 7, 2008
Zach ~ November 7, 2009
Calvin ~ November 10, 2008
Lillian ~ November 13, 2009
Madeline ~ November 13, 2009
Kenner ~ November 13, 2008
Faith ~ November 14, 2009
Kasey ~ November 16, 2008
Alexandra ~ November 16, 2009
Olivia ~ November 20, 2009
Alexander ~ November 23, 2008
Xavien ~ November 26, 2009
Matthew ~ November 28, 2009
Logan ~ November 28, 2005
Alyssa-Joy ~ November 29, 2008

Sunday, November 28, 2010

2nd Thanksgiving

Well we've made it through our 2nd Thanksgiving without her. It was definitely easier than last year I think. I thought about last year. I don't really remember much about it other than I was missing her. I remember driving home and telling Anthony that it would've been a better Thanksgiving if she had been here. Then I got to thinking about the Thanksgiving before that when she was still alive in my womb. We hadn't yet found out that she wouldn't live. I have no idea what we did that Thanksgiving and I didn't write it down. I kinda wish I would've.

Both of our parents came down for the day. We ate and visited. I wanted so much to go to the cemetery but by the time our parents left it was getting dark and it was still raining. I didn't want to take the girls out in that weather. So I figured I would just go after church on Sunday. Well, that didn't happen because Kyndra was sick. So I didn't get to visit at all, which makes me a little sad.

I know Thanksgiving is supposed to be the time you reflect on all your thankful for but I just didn't do a whole lot of that. I know what I am thankful for and I figure I don't need a special day to remember that. At least that's how I felt this year. Thanksgiving is a good time to get some yummy food! I'm always up for that! :) So that is what I enjoyed this year.

Here's hoping everyone else's Thanksgivings went alright...

Oh yeah, today is 20 months too. That only reminds me that we're getting closer to 2 years. Crazy!!

Friday, November 26, 2010

How many children do you have?

I know so many of us struggle with this question. It isn't an easy one to answer when your child(ren) resides in Heaven and not on this earth. Do you include your child(ren) that's gone or do you keep it to yourself? Everyone has their own answers and reasons for this answering this question. There is no right or wrong way to answer it.

I got to thinking about this question last week and this week when I was asked on several occasions at work. The first time it was someone I work with and see on a regular basis. Since I was back from maternity leave they asked me about that and then if it was my second girl. Then it hits you. You're set back for a moment because you're not quite sure how you should or want to answer it. Your mind works at a faster pace as it tries to process what to say. Does anybody else ever feel like this? Well, after a brief pause I ended up saying, "Nope, the third." And that was that. No more questions. That isn't always the case though. Some people are more nosy.

The other time was by a patient and my bff and coworker was with me. The patient asked us if we had any children and I just let her answer while I said nothing at all. I just really didn't feel like getting into it at the moment. Luckily, the patient was satisfied with just her answering.

Usually the question of how many children you have is followed by how old they are, which is another difficult question to answer if your child(ren) is dead. I find it much easier to answer both questions to strangers than friends or acquaintances. Strangers don't know any better and will believe that all your children are alive unless you tell them otherwise. People who know you at least a little bit can figure out that something doesn't add up, especially if your other children are with you (if you have other children) or they knew you were pregnant. Needless to say, things can get a little awkward. Of course, I've come to the point where I don't really care if it is awkward for the other person but that doesn't mean I don't still feel the awkwardness in the situation.

Sometimes I won't even tell people my daughter is dead. I just tell them how old she would be now and make them think I have 3 girls at home. Then they say stuff like, "Oh, I bet they keep you on your toes!" or "They'll grow up to be best friends" or something else that really isn't true but I wish were.

Even though I struggle with what to say almost every time, I've always included Carleigh. Maybe it's because I know I'll feel guilty if I don't. Maybe it's because if I talk about her I can connect with someone who has also lost. Maybe it's because I just want people to know she existed. Maybe it's because it just feels wrong for me not to.

I wish it were a natural thing for them to just be included and that (most) people didn't get all weird about it.

And you can't really blame people for asking. The question is a natural conversation starter. People talk about the weather and they ask about your kids. I mean, if you look back how many times have you asked that question to someone? I know I've asked it and perhaps I've even asked it to someone who has lost a child and they struggled with how to answer. You just never know. I guess now I'm just much more aware of how a seemingly simple question can be not so simple to answer.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Blessings in disguise

It’s easy to focus on all the negative things that come from losing a baby, but have you discovered any ‘blessings in disguise’ throughout your journey? What can you find to be thankful for related to your loss?

Losing a child absolutely is the worst thing that can ever happen to a person, but I really do believe that even in the midst of such a tragic event, good things can happen. Perhaps I feel that way because I am the eternal optimist.

My children have touched my life so immensely and forever changed who I am. I wholeheartedly believe that their lives have made me a better person. I wish that I didn't have to live this life without them but this is the path that I was given. All I can do is just try to walk it the best that I can.

I am thankful that they existed, even if for a short time. They have made my faith stronger and unshakable. There is nothing in this world that could ever break it.

I am thankful that I knew ahead of time that Carleigh wouldn't live. It was a blessing to be able to treasure the time we had left together and to make plans for her. It also allowed us to get many keepsakes and photos and for that I am thankful.

I am thankful for the many family, friends, and even complete strangers who gave us love and support through our whole journey and even now.

I am thankful for God's love and forgiveness even when I don't deserve it.

I am thankful for and blessed to have a wonderful husband and beautiful children that grace both Heaven and earth.

I am blessed to be able to know and help others who have lost.

I am blessed to know that my children have touched the lives of others.

I am blessed to know that one day I will be reunited with Carleigh and Jordan and I will be able to hold them for eternity.

It's hard to completely describe my life now compared to before. I was changed after Jordan and then changed again after Carleigh. The road hasn't been without bumps but with God by my side I know I can get through anything.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Ebb and flow

And so it goes.....

Seems like a long time since I really wrote about my grief on here. While it isn't as intense as it used to be, it's still there. (Gasp! You mean I'm not 'over it' yet!? Hardly.) Sometimes things are going really well and I can forget sadness. Days and weeks can pass but it always seems to come back at some point. The most recent for me was on Halloween. We were driving back to the northern region and Anthony was listening to NASCAR on the radio. It wasn't something I really cared to listen to and we couldn't get the wireless headphones in our van to tune in the radio so I pulled out my Blackberry and listened to some music on it.

Whenever I listen to music on my phone I always listen to her playlist. It's a bunch of songs that remind me of her or our journey or just seem to speak to me. A lot of the songs on my phone are below on the playlist on this blog and I'd really like to get them all on there some day. Anyway, I was just sitting and listening and looking out the window. Eventually the words just got to me and it kinda took me back to those times and it made me want to cry. I didn't but I could've. I just thought about her and all of what we've been through since the day we found out she wouldn't live. It's been quite a journey.

Did this really happen to me? Did my daughter really die? Sometimes it doesn't feel real. Her time here was so brief and it just wasn't enough. I don't have enough memories to last a lifetime. There are days when it's hard to remember what she was like and what it felt like to hold her. Damn you time! I have mixed feelings about you. You take me farther away from those moments with her but closer to the day we'll be together again.

I guess I just needed to write a little because ever since that car ride it's been on my mind to get something-anything-out of my head and onto here. Feels good.

Carleigh's Memorial Page

Here is Carleigh's memorial page that is in Anchored by Hope's book in The Sketchbook Project.

Thank you Kristie and Katy! I love her page!

Monday, November 08, 2010

Days 26-30

A little late but I've been gone for over a week and just didn't feel like getting online and finishing it til now.

Day 26 – your week, in great detail

Gonna skip this one because I don't remember back on day 26 what my week was like but this past week I stayed at my mom and dad's house with the girls.

Day 27 – your worst habit since your child’s death

Prolly spending too much time on the computer. Before blogland I never got on as much as I do now, but compared to a year ago I do spend a little less time on it.

Day 28 – what’s in your handbag/purse

Lots! I like to carry as much in my purse as I can. I like to be prepared for anything I might need. However, most of the time right now I don't carry my purse around because I just throw my wallet in the diaper bag.

Day 29 – hopes, dreams, and plans for the next 365 days

I hope that in the next year we will be able to pay off our debts and buy a new house. I plan to just be happy and enjoy my family.

Day 30 – a dream for the future

I would love to be a surrogate for someone who couldn't carry a child. Whether it will actually happen I'm not sure.
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