Monday, November 28, 2011

Illuminate ~ Week 3 ~ Perspective

I’m a day late posting for Illuminate week 3 but my family and I were gone for the Thanksgiving holiday and I didn’t get home until today. We went to our cabin in Michigan and spent 4 days there. It’s always nice to get away and spend time there.

This week’s assignment is about perspective-in our own lives and through our eyes. The photography part was about taking 100 steps and composing an image and the writing topic is about what we are grateful for.

I’d like to share my stepping journey first. I actually did all my pictures in one day since I spent the rest of my time enjoying my family for the holiday, but I did enjoy my time out alone snapping pictures. I took all of the pictures in the area around our cabin in Michigan but had different starting and ending points. I also edited all the photos in the same way with a more vintage feel because I just liked how it looked compared to the other way I edited the photos (with more softness and brightness, which was neat too but I favored the other-maybe it was a rustic cabin thing! lol).

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I think you tend to appreciate the beauty in things more when you slow down and take a look around you. This assignment gave me the opportunity to do that. So often life is busy and I’m rushing around trying to get things done. You can miss so much if you just don’t stop and take in the moment. I think sometimes you have to make a conscious effort to do that because it can be so easy to say “oh, I’ll do it later” or “there’ll always be time for that”. Nobody knows how much time that they have so you have to make the most of it while you can. Cherish the moment while it is still here.

Our lives changed forever on December 15, 2008. Before that day I don’t think I really appreciated what a miracle it is to have a healthy baby. I knew things went wrong but those things happened to other people, not me. I never wanted my daughter to have anencephaly and I sure as heck never wanted her to die. However, I am so grateful that Carleigh is my daughter and if the only way to have her was to have her die then I accept it fully. I would rather have known her this way than to never have known her at all.

One of the things I am so grateful for is knowing ahead of time that she wasn’t going to live. This gave us time to prepare for what we wanted as far as her birth and her funeral. It also gave us the opportunity to make memories we would not have made otherwise. I never imagined it to be a blessing but it certainly was. Had her death been sudden, I would not have known what my rights were regarding the death of my child or the keepsakes that I could have to remember by. I would not have known how priceless pictures would come to be and I fear that I would have taken very few.

I am grateful for the many people who loved and supported us along the way. Family and friends stepped up but we also had the support and prayers of complete strangers. So many followed our journey and offered kind words and sympathy. I’m sure many who followed then do not follow now but I am grateful for every person who has gotten a glimpse of my daughter through my own words and pictures. I like to think a little part of her remains with every person whose life she has touched.

I could go on and on about the little things I am grateful for about our journey and about our daughter. (But I think if I did that this post would never get published!) The fact is I have become more grateful because of her. She opened my eyes as if I was blind before she came. Having your life changed dramatically hasn’t always been easy. Grief is now a chain I will carry all of my life, but I thank God that He helps me carry the chains. Without Him I would have grown weary very quickly but He has given me the strength to carry on without my baby girl. He has shown me that life without my daughter is still a life worth living. He has given me precious gifts to take care of and I believe I see their sister through them.

I’ll always be grateful for this road I have traveled. Of course, that doesn’t mean I haven’t had my “this is so unfair!” moments because I certainly have. (I’m sure I still have some more of them up my sleeve too.) At the end of the day though, I am glad she was a part of some of the steps of my life. Those are some of the most cherished moments I will ever have had the privilege to experience.

13 comments:

Beryl said...

Holly, thank you for this optimistic post and beautiful images. I know it can be so difficult to see our losses as a blessing, but once we get to the place where time hopefully heals us a bit, we begin to see how much our little ones have helped us grow and evolve. I too stop more frequently and try to slow down through this life. Appreciate nature, take time to ask how my friends are doing, and not take things for granted. I love that you were able to incorporate nature into your gratitude post this week and I love the processing you did. It's neat how vintage processing lends itself SO well to these types of shots. You did a fantastic job choosing a style that complements your images so well.

Liz said...

I like what you did with your photos. They bring such warmth during this time of year, which is hard to find in the midwest. You have such a positive, uplifting post. I too feel like I have begun to slow down more and really take life in since losing Samantha. You sound like my husband, you are both right. You don't know how long or short your life is, so why continue to put things on hold. This is a theme that he has running through his blog and something he has taken to heart after losing our daughter. THank you, your optimisitc view is contagious!

Linda said...

Holly, you are precious....and so is this post. You have grown so much through your time of grief. You are a beautiful person inside and out. I love how you have found so many ways to help people who are suffering loss. May God Bless you for that...and for being such a good mommy to Carleigh...and your other girls...and to the baby you are carrying now.

Loved the pictures. It looks like a great place to go to relax!

Love, Linda

Remembering Alexander said...

Your pictures and words are beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing.

Laura Beck said...

I LOVE your vintage cabin vibe. You pictures look awesome!!
I really enjoyed reading your post. You have such an optimistic outlook and it gives me hope that maybe someday i'll get back to a place like that.
Thank you for sharing, Holly!

Mary said...

En vivant la Mort nous en apprenons bien plus sur la Vie...
Carleigh ne sera jamais oubliée...
Les photos sont superbes

Melissa said...

Beautiful post Holly. I love the pictures too!

Kristie said...

I really loved the vintage look of your photos. They turned out really beautiful. I also found your post to be very uplifting and hopeful. I too hope someday I will feel this way and it's so nice to hear that it's possible. Thanks for sharing Holly!

missingjonah said...

Your pictures are great! You are such a strong mom!! I hope that someday I can be as strong and grateful as you are. You give me hope!!Thank you!!xoxo

Debby@Just Breathe said...

The pictures are beautiful. It is easy to take things for granted, I try to take a step back and remind myself that these moments are fleeting.

Alissa said...

You are such an inspiration to me..I always appreciate your optimism. The pictures are amazing...just like the photographer. ((hugs))

learningtosmileagain said...

I live in Michigan so I am wondering where your cottage is?

However, I am so grateful that Carleigh is my daughter and if the only way to have her was to have her die then I accept it fully. I would rather have known her this way than to never have known her at all.

^^^This is so very true. I need to learn how to accept that this.

Beautiful pictures as always!

elena said...

I always find I can relate to your words and the way you view this whole journey. Your pictures are amazing!

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