Wednesday, August 28, 2013

My "Missing Him Moments"

"Long drive + beautiful music = tears rolling down cheeks...sometimes a necessity. Let yourself have these moments..."

This was my Facebook status yesterday over at Facets of Life.

I wanted to elaborate a little more here today.

I believe these moments are necessary!

Tending to your heart after loss is so necessary and allowing yourself to feel when you need to feel...the good, the bad, the pain, the sorrow, these things are in there and need to come out.

Releasing, not suppressing the rawness of the emotions that you feel in the moment can bring cleansing to your heart and soul, even if for brief intervals.

Brief intervals to breathe are welcome...

I honestly had to learn that my emotions, feeling them, expressing them and releasing them were a very necessary part of grieving but also a necessary part of healing.

It was not possible for me to begin to heal until I learned to grieve.

The long drives, the short drives, walking on the beach, sitting at the park, in the pew at church, on my pillow at night, in the middle of the day outside, at the ball park...and many, many more places and spaces, I have learned to just be real with myself and let my mama heart feel what it needs to.  

I talk to God a lot.  And sometimes I just say "Dear God..."~ He knows my heart.  

Always, music, helps me.  Always.

I have my favorite CD, by Selah...and for those of you that have it and have lost a child, you certainly know what #15 is..."I Will Carry You."  And #3, "You Deliver Me" can you say rewind???  Times 1000?

And sometimes I just sit in the quiet and listen to the birds, the wind, the busyness of creation around me and it fills my heart with such peace.  Such peace.

Sometimes I need to cry.  Sometimes I need to laugh. Sometimes I need to dance.  Sometimes I need to write.

When I need to cry, I cry.  When I need to laugh, I laugh. When I need to dance, I dance.  When I need to write, I write.

These are all things that give to me healing moments, healing moments are also so welcome.

I crave a relationship and connection with my son and acknowledging these moments as they come satisfy my soul in a way I cannot explain.

I believe in these moments I draw nearer to God and that is where I feel so very connected to Matthew, and that is good, really, really good for my mama heart. Sometimes I don't want those moments to ever end...I smile because one day they won't have to!

I lost my son.  I miss him desperately.  Missing him is part of my life and I recognize the moments that I miss him and embrace them as they are...

"Long drive + beautiful music = tears rolling down cheeks...sometimes a necessity. Let yourself have these moments..." 

These are my "missing him moments"...and they are necessary.  

©2011-2013 All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The aftermath of our tragedy and our not so welcome guest, Hurricane Katrina

The aftermath...

Today I reflect upon the year that we lost Matthew, 2005.  Devastation was an understatement for us and just eight weeks after his death, Hurricane Katrina would wreak havoc upon our lives, our friends, our families, our communities, our neighboring cities, our economy and our businesses.

There was nothing that wasn't affected.  Nothing.

Let's go back to before Katrina...July 2, 2005, Matthew was born, twenty five minutes later, he passed away.  I remained on life support for four days and  in the hospital for the following two weeks.  July 23, 2005, we buried our son.

Five weeks later, August 29th, Hurricane Katrina came to claim what was left...

The aftermath was like nothing I had ever seen.

But you all have read and seen footage and photos, so today I am going to tell you what was going through my mind in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

The news reports were that the remains of bodies were lifted from the surrounding cemeteries.  I stopped breathing, I think when I heard that.  WHAT?

My baby's body was at a cemetery...the thoughts began...

As you can imagine, it took some time for my husband to get to the cemetery to see if Matthew's body and his little "bed" were still underground.  The thought of anything different makes me sick, literally sick.

But it was a possibility, especially since his space was so "fresh" out there.

Lives were lost, bodies recovered,  bodies here and remains there...the news horrified me at the mere thought that this produced.

I was so sick, physically sick and recovering from severe complications and trauma to my body from the uterine rupture and the loss of Matthew and all I could think of was did we lose him again?

Was his body taken from the ground in the rising flood waters like so many others?

Horror, this gave to me horror.

The eight weeks after losing Matthew and then the hurricane claiming so many lives, homes and businesses really made the wounds deeper.  It was too much.

We had no electricity for weeks, and please keep in mind I was recovering from major surgeries and was covered in infections from the antibiotics, no air conditioning and adequate bathing for such infections.  I had zero bowel and bladder control so you can imagine the hell that it was.  It was so difficult.

And my baby's body, was he still there?

I find it really hard to even write about all of this, so I am going to close, for it is too much to bear at this moment.

Matthew's body was where it was supposed to be when we were able to check on it...such a relief but such a heartache at the same time when my husband saw the tiny cross where his sweet body was laid to rest.

So tonight, I know that so many are reflecting upon this tragic time in their lives, the lost loved ones and the lost homes...and I reflect upon that too.  But what my heart is really remembering is the terror I felt not knowing if my son was floating around in his little white "bed."

It's pretty amazing the things we are triggered by and the things that make it all so fresh...

Hurricane Katrina took so much...added to the loss of our child, it was so much to bear.

I remember isolating people in my life because they were devastated because they lost their home and their things, and I understood that, but it was pale in comparison to losing a child.  It was awful to see my friends and community lose their homes, but if they had their children, I envied them.  I had a house, but not my son. It took me some time to sort those awful feelings out and to put them in perspective.  I would have given my house up and everything else we had to have my baby.

I am grateful for the findings that he was where he was supposed to be in the ground, but so sad because he really wasn't where he was supposed to be, in my arms.

Last year I reflected upon a little as well written in this piece Still much has changed.

I ask that God gives us all of the strength as we face this time in our lives of such loss.  Such life changing loss and tragic memories.

Many have rebuilt their lives and their homes...but the bittersweet feeling of gratefulness and sadness encamp my heart for the rawness this time brings to the surface.

Life is short, things are just things, love each other, make memories and most importantly if you can tuck all of your children in bed tonight, be grateful.  I would have given everything we had to do that for mine.

©2011-2013 All rights reserved

Sunday, August 25, 2013

I'm so sorry there are goodbyes...

I am not feeling too well today, my body and my mind are telling me I need to rest. But my heart is hurting...

When I woke up this morning, my news feed was full of condolences and sad faces with the death of two people within our community.

And then the news that a sweet boy would be meeting Jesus soon.

My heart broke.

Sadness and grief tunneled through my heart and soul.

It seems so not fair.

This brings me to my knees for his family and for all of these families that are suffering today...and always.

Sometimes I beg God not to let me feel this way when I see babies passing because it hurts my heart so very much and brings such raw emotions back when we lost Matthew.  But in the same breath, I know that God has given me compassion for these precious families and He has given me a heart for these hurting mamas and that is a gift that I cherish and I do not take it lightly.

As much as it hurts, it would  hurt more if I walked away or turned my head from the heartache.

I cannot and will not.

I will continue to love and encourage these mamas and continue the journey of Facets of Life in memory of my sweet son.

When I hear the news that a child has passed away, there is a great pain within my heart for the "right now" and the days ahead for the parents, but the long term really hits my heart the most.  The passing of the days without their child, the missed moments, the birthdays, the holidays, the back to schools, the...ALL of it.  The rest of their lives...every season change...ALL of it.

The first few months after Matthew passed I was in shock, disbelief and also was so sick. That the latter days, the more time passed, the more my heart ache.

So already, those that are saying goodbye today or yesterday, my mind is thinking about them at the holidays...and for the rest of their lives.

I am so sorry.

I am so sorry anyone knows this pain or that anyone has to say goodbye.

The journey of child loss is so difficult and it has many travelers...I wish it were different.

I send many prayers today to all of the families that are suffering the loss of a loved one and special hugs to the mamas out there who need one!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Don't Shelf Grieving Mama

Okay y'all, to begin this post I have to go back, eight years back.

Hang with me for a minute and I'll catch up to present time, promise!

When Matthew passed away, I was very sick, very sick.  Physically, I had a battle ahead of me that would continue for the rest of my life.  (I am so glad I didn't know it would be a permanent physical battle at the time.)

I had to fight to live.  Both physically and mentally it took every ounce of anything within me to do that. Physical therapy, neurologists, urologists, and all kinds of other doctors topped with tests, procedures and surgeries took residency on my calendar and priority on my "to do" list.

And I did what I had to do, to get better, to figure out a way to live and to learn to cope with the injured state my body was in.

I was so busy coping physically that mentally I couldn't process what happened to me or my baby.

There was no time to pencil in the things that come along with the loss of a child.


It was all about getting better (and I had to!) so I could be a mother to Nathan. (he was five at the time)  So everyone concentrated on me getting better physically.  And that was that.

And when I reached a point that I was "as good as I was going to get" physically, I was freaking out because I was left with the mental challenge of loss, my son's loss that I was never able to deal with.

There were NO instructions!  Where were the instructions?  (I have to say, the hairdresser in me never reads instructions, but I could have used them here for sure!)

By the time that happened, (like four years later!) everyone could see I was doing "good" (in the physical aspect.) - or so they thought!  I was so used to telling everyone I was okay because I didn't want their sympathy and honestly, I think I thought that was what they wanted and expected to hear.

But the day came when I realized I wasn't okay!  And when that day came I was crushed!  I knew I had never been able to grieve for my baby. 

I realized that grieving wasn't an option but rather a necessity and I didn't know how do that! (grieve)

I didn't read books about it, I didn't read blogs about it, I didn't know what was okay, what was weird, what anything was, but I knew I had to figure it out!  I had to let my heart grieve for my son, I had to LOVE him!

And so it began...I began to LOVE HIM OUT LOUD!

My heart connected at that moment, to grieve for my son was to love him...and I haven't stopped loving him or shut up since!

*My book was written in those tender days of loving him out loud!  And it is a beautiful testament of my love for him!

I go back to my story there to get to the present now-

I have been reading lots of articles, posts, blogs, about loss moms / dads getting judged by others on how they grieve, how much they talk about their child, how they should move on by now, and I am surprised that most of the judging and harsh comments come from family and close friends.

Wow is what I have to say to that with a super sad face.

These reads have really hit home with me because I was so very backwards in my grieving process that I never thought about it.  I mean, people told me the bit about time, etc, but they never heard me go on and on about Matthew or grief (only) because I couldn't at the time.  BUT I do now!  I talk about Matthew every single day.  And I will for the rest of my life.

I wanted my friends and family to think I was okay and worried that they would judge me if I wasn't.  I didn't want to "inconvenience" them with tears or my really bad moments, so I shelved grieving mama. I shelved grieving mama for so long that when I took her out, she almost didn't survive.

I don't think you should shelf grieving mama...not for family, not for friends.

I did and it was not good for me, I almost lost her too.

Point is, do what you have to do for yourself!  And if that makes friends or family uncomfortable, let them tune out, they can change the channel, you cannot!

Love on grieving mama, (she needs to be taken care of) and love out loud...the combination is capable of producing something beautiful!  

This is my something beautiful and the only kind of shelf that this grieving mama gets put on now!  
(this was my first set of books sold at Barnes & Noble)

Love to all!!!

BOOK GIVE A WAY!!! How to enter here!

I am so excited to be doing another BOOK GIVE A WAY!

How to enter:

1. Please visit and "like" my Facebook page here.

2. Share Facebook page (for additional entry)

3. Follow on Twitter (for additional entry)

You can have up to three entries!

If you do 1, 2 or 3, don't forget to leave a comment!  

I wish I could give everyone a book!  I really do!

Thank you all!!!

*The winner will be announced on Sunday, August 25th!  


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

My gloomy day "to-do" list...

When I am having a "gloomy" moment, day, week, month...(yes I said month!) these are a few constants that pick me up. (of course, this list excludes my most favorite pick me uppers, my boys and my husband!) 

*I surround myself in good, really good music. (Mostly praise and worship)
*I read my bible and any other encouraging thing I can get my hands on.
*I don't watch TV! (unless it is something beautiful and positive, or of course has to do with shoes!)- NO news!
*I polish my toes a "happy" color.
*I wash and blow out my hair, put something cute on (get out of sweats and yoga clothes) and I apply lip polish! (sometimes a whole face of makeup, depending upon how blue I feel!)
*I tidy my surroundings.
*I say I am grateful for three things after I complain about one. 
*I spritz my fancy perfume on!
*I eat cookies, ALL of them!

I do these even if I am home alone, actually, especially if I am home alone! (even the perfume!) No one else may smell me, but I do! And I have learned that I matter! And these things help me so very much!

I know the latter about the makeup and clothes may sound silly, but it really, really makes a difference in how I feel. 

Taking care of ourselves is so important and when feeling gloomy or blue may be the last thing on your mind, but it is so good for your soul! 

Choosing to do any or all of the above doesn't change my circumstances but it does let some joy creep in, while choosing to do NONE of the above throws my joy right out of the window.

Choosing joy today on this gloomy blue day!

PS- I am wearing pink lip polish and I smell good, that makes me smile! 

Try it, I highly recommend it! XOXO!

I have to add this photo- Last night when my husband came home, he had these cookies for me!  LOOK at the top..."lift for cookie joy!"

Yay, JOY in cookies!!!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

A Grieving Mother's Heart...

"One cannot truly separate the sadness or gratefulness within a grieving mother's heart; there is nothing else capable of producing a tear that can be followed by a smile or a smile that can be followed by a tear for the duration of our lives such as this." 

~Lori C. Weatherly

Friday, August 16, 2013

Return to Sender

One day, not too long ago, while I was working on an article, I pulled this photo for the media to go along with it.

This little white "bed" held my precious son, it held his perfect body that I held within me for nine months.

I still gulp when I see this photo.  Surreal.

Did my husband really take him out of my arms and place him in that bed?

I am pretty sure this is the hardest thing RW has ever had to do, take our son out of  my arms

And then I remember flashes of that moment and I am easily brought to my knees.

Dear God, that hurts.

The day I pulled this photo for the magazine, the words "return to sender" came into my mind.

I could see the words "return to sender" blared with ink on the top of his "bed" like a package being mailed off, like shipping instructions.  It was a strong visual thing for me.

Woah, I didn't want to return to sender!  (I immediately thought)

I wanted to keep my gift!

Then as tears rolled from my eyes, I remembered the scripture we had engraved upon Matthew's tombstone

"I prayed for this child and the Lord has granted me what I asked of Him so now I give him to the Lord."   1 Samuel 1:27-28

I know we say we "give" our children to the Lord, but I really had to give my child to the Lord.

I wasn't ready to learn what it feels like to literally give a child to the Lord.  Not like that.

I would learn a new meaning for this scripture through the most difficult days of my life.

I haven't been able to shake the "return to sender" thing since that day and so I just let it stay with me until I could write it out...So here I am, writing it out and it is giving me a beautiful new perspective!  After eight years, new perspective is always welcome!

You see, Matthew was returned to sender after twenty five minutes on this earth and as much as that makes me weep, I also find great peace knowing one day I will also be returned to Sender!

Call it a bed, a box, whatever you want when I am in one...but rest assured, there will be a huge smile on my face when our Sender returns Matthew back to my arms! 

As for the shipping instructions that I described above, I can almost see the shipping label hand written by one of Matthew's angels, kind of like when children go to school and they are sent out to the car rider line with a sticker so they get to the right car, you know what I mean?  I can almost hear Jesus telling the angel to pen "return to mother..." 

The visual that once disturbed my heart now gives to me a smile.  

One day y'all are going to hear me shouting from heaven "Returned to Mother!!!"

Woah, child...that  is going to be amazing!

So, I close today, grateful for God giving me yet another visual reminder of my eternal goal and what He holds there already for me!

Much love to all!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Pennies for a Purpose

Got a penny?  Give a penny.

Need a penny?  Take a penny.

How many times have we all seen this at a convenience store?  Have you ever taken a penny or left one?

I have done both.

But today I am going to ask a little something different.

I talk frequently about pennies from heaven and how every time I see one or find one, I think of Matthew. 

Many of you responded to this as well leaving an impression on my heart.  So I decided I would share an idea with you, "Pennies for a Purpose," here on the blog.

I am asking that you "intentionally" place a penny in a public place for someone to find.  May sound weird, but try it!  You never  know who is going to find that penny that needs a little pick me up.  Been there, done that!  And I am grateful for every single penny I find.  And they truly do pick me up!  Like a heart hug from heaven!!!

I ALWAYS smile and sometimes cry, when I find a penny.  It is amazing the places that they are, JUST when I NEED them the most!  

Little things can make a huge difference on any day, especially a difficult day.

And we can be that difference to others, even with one randomly dropped penny.  That's the truth...I have picked up many pennies and thanked God for them, many!!! 

My big sister, Charlene, did an awesome thing for me by collecting pennies for Matthew for an entire year. Of course, I didn't know she was doing it, but at the end of the year, she gave to me this angel full of pennies on Matthew's second birthday.  What a gift!  What a sweet, sweet gift!  She also attached a note card that read the following:

Dear Lori and Ronnie,
These 103 pennies are very special to me.  I  have found them on the ground during the last year.  You see, these are special to me because I knew our sweet Angel, Matthew, tossed  them from heaven to cheer me up and let me know he was thinking of me. So, I give you my "Pennies from Heaven" from your Angel.  
Love, Lene

How awesome was that? 

It was pretty awesome and I will never forget how special it was to me, and still is.  

This is also something you may want to do for someone as well.  What a beautiful idea that is SURE to touch hearts, like it did mine.

There are so many creative ways to give and show you care for others and I know that by doing such, even just dropping a penny, your heart will feel joy!  Think about the mama or daddy that may pick it up and treasure it as their penny from heaven!  Oh I love that!

So today, if you got a penny, give a penny.  And I hope that if you need a penny, you will find a penny!

Place a "penny for a purpose" and be blessed!  

Love to all!


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Dear Non-Bereaved Mama, with love, Grieving Mama

Dear Non-Bereaved Mama,

I am so grateful that you don't know how life is after the loss of your child.  I am so grateful that you don't know the pain, the heartache or the desperation that takes occupancy within my heart.

Sometimes I wish you would just "understand" me, but then again I am so grateful that you don't.

Sometimes all I want to do is sleep and sometimes I am afraid to.

Sometimes I am so sad.

Sometimes it is too hard to look in the mirror because there I see the pain in my eyes that I feel in my heart.

Sometimes I want to tell you how hard it is but I have resorted to just telling you I am "okay," that's what the world thinks I should be anyway.  Sometimes it is easier to just be "okay" in society until I get home to silence and then, then I wish I had a friend. 

I have many "sometimes" but I always have an "always" and when those "sometimes" happen, the "always" is always there.  Always missing my child, Always.  Not just sometimes, always. 

Sometimes I feel awkward and alone.  Sometimes when you tell me you are having a rough day because you have to rush your children here and there and laundry and homework, I get really mad.  What I wouldn't give to have to take all my children to three different places and to teach one more math.  I wonder how you could say that to me?  But as I think back to my life before loss, I really didn't think about such things either. So as much as it makes me mad, I know you just don't "know."  And I don't ever want you to "know."

I really cannot help all of these feelings.  I did not ask to feel them and I don't want to feel them.

I did not sign up to be a grieving mama, there was not a college preparatory class for this.  It's much harder than it looks.

Much harder.

Every single day of my life, I see room for one more.

When a smile is on my face, a tear is under the surface.  Some days are better than others. And some, some days just stink.

The bottom line friend is this,  I miss my baby.  I love him therefore I miss him, therefore I grieve.

I will (for the rest of my life) miss my child every single day.

I will (for the rest of my life) love my child every single day.

I will (for the rest of my life) grieve my child every single day.

To sum it all up, I will be done grieving when I am done breathing.

Sure I will laugh, I will love, I will live...but I will do all of those things missing my child. Always.

See friend, I respect and understand the place that grief resides in my life.  I ask that you do too.

And if you see me having a moment, please understand grief is like a current for me, I never know when it will take me under, when it will pull me here or there, but I do know when the current releases me and when I have the strength to go back out, that I truly wish my friends would be there.  If grief scares you, can you please take a moment and think about how much it scares me too?

I don't have a disease, I am a mother, just like you, that loves her child and you loving your child is beautiful,.

For me friend, for me, grieving is missing and loving my child.

I will always love...always love my child.  Loving my child is beautiful too!

Thank you friend for listening.  Thank you.

With love,

Grieving Mama

©2011-2013 All Rights Reserved
Author~ Lori C. Weatherly

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Don't judge my "cover" until you've read my "book"

I always steer toward the advice that you never know what the person next to you is facing, no matter how well they are "put together" or how their "cover" appears on the outside.

I will refer to my own life, my struggles and the appearance that all is well physically to those that "see" me.  My "cover" looks like I am a healthy, 39ish, (oh I wanted to say 25ish...) but my "book," my inside, the part that people don't see, is just the opposite.

I have blogged about my physical struggles several times and I am including one here called "The art and agony of being a cover girl."  Please take a moment to read, here.

Yesterday I posted the following status on my Facebook along with the photo of my bracelet.

I had a doctor appointment this morning for my feet. Neuropathy and progression of injuries are worsening. When I was talking to my doctor, I said "I went in to have a baby and eight years later, I am here." All of my injuries are from my uterine rupture so they are all related to Matthew's death. Stinks. It stinks! Anyhoo, when the nurse checked my blood pressure, it was 127/97. That could be from the intense pain I was in...or from me looking at that sweet baby in the lobby for twenty minutes. It's all related! I know to expect these moments so I wear my Serenity Prayer bracelet to all of my doctors appts, today was no different. It's amazing what deep breaths and this prayer will do!

I have been through so, so much physically over the last eight years.  It has been rough, ugly and difficult by all means.  But I am here, I am walking still and I am mothering my boys.  I am beyond grateful!!! And my heart is full of joy!  JOY!  I am not always happy about circumstances but happiness is circumstantial, joy is God-given!

My feet are ate up with neuropathy and crazy stuff but I can still wear shoes!  (did y'all know I love me some shoes?)  No, huh???  :)

On to the shoes...

Yesterday, I brought my doctor two of my flips that I wear at  home. He was quite surprised at the visual of the impressions of my shoes.  I am including these pics.  *It is important to tell you that my left big toe is the only toe part of the bottom of my feet that I feel, so when I stand, it takes the weight and carries me.  And the pressure, the stress point is evident in my shoes.  I wear custom soles in my athletic shoes, but I haven't figured a way out for me to put them in my high heels!  ;)  I better note that my doctors (all of them) are not fans of me wearing flip flops and especially high heels...BUT...)

These are my around the house shoes that I throw on to go outside or to the pool.

memory foam flip flops

These flips are only a month old, it hasn't taken long for me to wear that toe out!

I have to say, I get sad as I see the deterioration of my feet but it is happening. There's so much happening to my feet and legs but moment by moment and with God's grace, we get through it.

When people see me, this is what they see.  I have the agony completely covered up.  

*It is a huge miracle that I can walk, stand much less wear the shoes I have on!

These are my Sunday Shoes I wrote about last month!  

So once again, referring to my post earlier, there is an art and agony to being a cover girl.  That's why I thought I would drop the art of being a cover girl and tell you how it really is.

I am a survivor of something so tragic that claimed my son's life and claimed my physical health...and I have good days and I have bad days...but even on those bad days, finding something beautiful is the easiest thing I do.  I am blessed.

If you are struggling today or if you know someone that looks polished and put together, remember me! You never know what they are going through and what their shoes are like.

That's why I always say "don't judge my cover until you've read my book!"

Look beyond someone's cover today...and be blessed!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Please let her keep her baby..

Social media is flooded with ultrasound photos,  photos of growing baby bump bellies and the infamous countdown to delivery dates. Wow, life is happening.

Scrolling through, it is easy to see the great (innocent) anticipation that these smiling mothers have!   I remember the last time I felt that, that innocent anticipation of thinking I was coming home with my baby boy.

He was ALIVE.! ^^right there!  He was ALIVE!

I love it when life is created!  BUT I also know that when life is created, it doesn't necessarily mean life always gets to go home with you.  NO matter how ready you are.

Baby Shower
And we were ready!

I am pretty sure that most expecting moms have read a book or two on "what to expect when expecting," right?

I did!

I had the big version!

But when the "unexpected" happened to me, the innocent anticipation of "expecting" to hear Matthew's first cry along with the rest of what we "expected" was shattered and blown to lands far, far away.  Never to be recovered.

SO when I see all of the pregnancy news and announcements, I am not heading out the door to buy the diapers yet...

The innocence is gone and always will be.

As much I want to rejoice in the excitement, my heart holds just does. Because sometimes you just don't get what you are "expecting." 

In my heart, I really just pray, God please let her keep him...please let her keep her baby.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Lackers who have EVERYTHING, venting again.

Holy moly, I know I woke upon the right side of the bed but this post is going to kind of sound like I didn't!

Brace yourself.  And after you read this, hit print and give a copy to who you deem fit!  ;)

Here we go!

This morning I was thanking God for my children, my blessings and our lives with my heart full of gratitude. The stillness of the moment while it was still quiet in the house was nice.

After I had some sweet time with Jesus, I went about my morning activities.  Well, the stillness went away real fast and in a hurry when I thought about many of the conversations, uh em, complaints, that I have heard lately.

Yep.  Those conversations.

The ones where people have complained to me about the "lack of" in their lives.

Lack of what?

These conversations were like a film playing over in my head so I knew it was time to let it go.  So here I am, letting it go, as I always do, but not before I share with you fellow "child loss club members" my thoughts and two cents.

To all of those who "lack" what they think they really need...

First of all, if you woke up with ALL your children ALIVE, take your complaint somewhere else before I punch you in the nose.

If you woke up in your bed, any bed, that isn't a hospital couch, NICU waiting room floor while your sick baby fights for their life, shut up about the "worst night of sleep you ever had."

If you have children that aren't depending upon someone else's organs to live, or that aren't facing chemotherapy and treatments to keep them here one day longer, well, I am going to leave that one for you to fill should know what you need to do.

If you are overwhelmed by your to do list, read mine.

If you are choosing to worry about what you DON'T have, you are MISSING plenty of opportunities to love what you do have, you never know when that person may be gone...forever.

If money can buy it and you don't have it...shut-up.

Ah...Okay, okay, I'll stop now.

This post is done with love (okay, maybe not the shut-ups or the punching of the nose, but...) because what I am really trying to say is that if you woke up with healthy children, children that are alive and children that can get on your nerves without IV's hanging from their little arms, then sweet friend, you have EVERYTHING!

You have everything that really matters!

You have the everything that so many would die for.

Appreciate everything, love everything, don't take anything for granted, not even one second...for in one second, everything could be gone and then that would land you in our club and this, this is the last place you want to be.

I apologize for the rant, now I am going  back for some more time with Jesus, apparently I need it!

If you have given an amen to anything on this post, read here too!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Our "Something Specials"

Yesterday over at Facebook, I posted the following status: 

"Pennies. Pennies are my little connection with Matthew and have been since he passed away. After reading "Pennies from Heaven"" I knew this was going to be my thing. Eight years of finding pennies and the places I find them make me smile! I find a penny just when I need it! Always! When I need a little something from heaven, there is a penny. If you ever come to my house and see a penny or five on the floor, don't touch them! I will find them just when I need to!  This morning when I sent two boys to school, I found three pennies together. Little things get me through big moments. Grateful for little things!

Do you have something special that helps you just when you need it?"

I loved reading the responses and while doing my housework was inspired to go and find these special things around my house and take a photo of them as I remembered each mama that shared with me!  

I started thinking about the lives of the precious little ones that are no longer here but that left us beautiful ways to remember them by and today I dedicate this to them!  After all, they are our inspirations!  

So, here is a special picture for each of you mamas that shared your heart with me!  

Please feel free to comment here on the blog or on Facebook if you have would like to share your something special too!  Add a photo if you can!  Some really special stories there!  

I had to get creative to find an elephant in my house- but I did and it is super adorable!

The last few photos were taken by me over the last year or so.

I think that what makes me smile so much about all of these special things, is that now every time I see one of them, I will remember the story behind it!

I will remember your sweet children and that, that is what this is all about!

Love to you all, and thank you, thank you for sharing with me! <3

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Til' death do us part...

Letting go of your baby while trying to hold on to your spouse...

We were married six years before we lost Matthew.  Six glorious years of not knowing what it felt like to lose a child, our child.
We had no idea that July 2, 2005, would change us forever.  Individually and together.  It would change everything.

When we lost Matthew, we lost ourselves.  We lost each other.  We lost our marriage as it was.

Not a great thing to write or read, but it is the truth about our marriage after loss.

In our  first six years of marriage we were so in love with each other, the persons that fell in love together, the persons that dreamed together and built a home together.  We were in love with each other, the persons that we were.

When we lost our son, those persons left us.

Those persons were no longer there, the shell was, but those persons were gone.

We all know that loss changes lives, but we have to acknowledge that when individual lives change, the dynamic as a married couple will follow.

Without a certain point of grace, marriages are easily broken, not because love is gone, but because loss is present.  And with loss present and individuals changing, letting go of a spouse could become second to letting go of your child.

It happens all too often.

The evolution of whom one becomes after losing a child is quite different than the person he or she was before loss.  

If we all married the guy we dated when we were 16, where would we be?  We change.  We grow up.  We have a new set of eyes at the tender age of 21 and our boyfriends are still acting like they are 18.  Big difference here guys, sorry, but that's the gospel.  We grow into different people as life changes.

We see and feel things we never would have felt at 16.  

Why?  Because somewhere along the road, life happened and it changed us.

Just as life changes us, death changes us.

The death of a child changes the friend you are, the sister you are, the mother you are, the wife you are, the dreamer you are, the everything you are!  It changes  your spouse too!

When you and your spouse create life together and then that life, part of you both, is taken away and has been given the sentence of death, together, you die a little too.

It  is never the same, but I can tell you it has the potential to be better than ever before if God is at the center of your heart, your home and your marriage.

It takes work, a lot of work.

But before work it takes the acceptance of each other as the person they have become after loss.  This is a big one!  You also must first accept who you have become after loss before you will be able to accept love from your spouse. It is difficult to accept love if you do not feel worthy of love.  You must love yourself after loss, and with guilt, pain and grief, that is difficult to do.  It is important to understand that your spouse is feeling that too.  Accepting each other after loss is critical.

We suffered life altering changes with the death of our son and through many shed tears and prayers, we are better today than we ever were.  We learned what love really is...(read that here.)

The following words had an entirely different meaning to us after Matthew passed..."Til' death do we part."

Death, death of our son could have ripped us apart, but God scooped us up, gave us the grace and the strength to do this, together.  And we are.

Forever, til' death do us part.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Raw Truth

I have a journal that I keep in my car for moments of inspiration or lack of.  Sometimes I just scribble on a page to sort through what I am feeling inside.  Sometimes I write one liners.  Sometimes I write a book.

I was flipping through my journal one day and found a couple of pages that caught my attention.  Penned were the following words.  Nothing attached to them, just the words.

But they speak for themselves.

pray. faith. believe. hope. inspire, encourage. believe. trust. hope.

(yes, two words were repeated.)

sick. vacant. raw. empty. alone. sad. sorrow. depressed. dark. searching. not equipped. incomplete. gutted. ravished. starved. hollow. afraid. weary. not rested. tired. afraid of the night for there is no rest in my brain.

I am not sure when either of these were written or if they were written on the same day.  They were close together, but on separate pages.

I gasped when I read the latter of the two. (did you?)  But this was real for me, this was what came from my heart in moments of agony and pain since losing my son.

It is terrible to feel these things and really hard to admit that this is still a struggle for me from time to time. Raw truth.  Period.

These words became the inspiration for one of my articles at Still Standing Magazine.  The article, "I am after loss..." has become a very special piece to  me.

Being able to journal through the years has helped me immensely.  Sometimes I forget the raw, lowest of places that I have overcome and when I get a chance to go back and read my words, I am grateful for God's grace that has helped me through it all.

Since losing my son, I have had some really difficult moments and I have learned that I will continue to have them as long as their is breath in my body...but if I will just keep returning to the following words I'm gonna make it!

pray. faith. believe. hope. inspire, encourage. believe. trust. hope.

I hope you make it too!

Monday, August 5, 2013

To Whom It May Concern...With Love, Grieving Mama

When I went to the ball field for the first time after Matthew passed away, I had someone come up to me and say with great enthusiasm "Where's your baby?  Last time I saw you out here, your belly was huge!"  ~  GULP.  I simply looked at her and said "My baby died." and walked away.

I just thought the walk out there was long as I held my breath and choked down tears with great fear at how society would look at me without my son.  But the walk back to the car proved to be so much longer and brutally exhausting as I passed by strollers and smiling people and hearing cheers while I was dying.  Dying.

I am not quite sure how long it took me to go back to the ball field, but it was a long while.

This, this  is why it is so hard for grieving mothers to get back into society.  This.

Things, things like this, hurt so badly after loss.  Unintended to hurt, (of course) she just didn't know.

A piece of advice worthy of sharing, if you don't know, don't ask. And if you do know, and you don't know what to say, it's okay to not say anything, try a hug instead.  Hugs work.

And if you are a friend to someone who has suffered the loss of a child, please don't avoid or run away.  It's difficult enough to go out into society after  losing a child.  Seeing a friend in public after loss should be a safe and soft place to fall.

I cannot count the number of times I have left the ball field crying or any other place for that matter. (especially at church, passing the nursery is brutal.)

Coexisting and mingling in the great big world after loss is scary, all the way around.  Everything is so different after loss.  Everything.

There are babies and children everywhere.

If you are struggling getting back into society, plugging yourself back into work, ball games, church, etc., please be gentle on yourself and expect to leave crying a time or two or fifty-three.

You deserve a huge round of applause for everything that you do after loss.  Even for making it to Wal-Mart to walk in one door and walk right back out the other.  (experience has given me that right to applaud)

Love to all!

©2011-2013 All rights reserved

Friday, August 2, 2013

Facing Fear After Loss

Child loss is one of the greatest fears for most everyone.  It certainly was for me.  

As I study this fear, I am puzzled by a remnant that stays with me.  A remnant that leaves me absolutely fearless one moment, after all, the worst thing that could ever happen, already did, and then the next moment leaves me terrified of the very thing that I just had the courage to do like one minute ago!  My fear comes along and eats my bravery right up.  

The fear of losing my son, losing Matthew, it happened.  I lost him.  That same fear, while it empowers me to do so much can also can send me right back to the corner.  Some moments I have enough courage to stand up to the fear and some moments I simply do not.  

The most courageous things I have ever done have all been produced by fear within me.  The fear of losing my son again!

That may sound crazy, but it is so true.

I write so he is not forgotten.  I speak so his voice will be heard.

I couldn’t protect Matthew from his death but I can surely protect his memory and will spend my life doing so.

If I do not write, his name will not be known.  If I do not speak, his voice will not be heard.

The fear of doing both of those things is so great but the fear of not doing them is greater.

It takes a lot of courage to speak or write about the most tender and sacred moments of life, of loss and to put yourself in such a vulnerable place for the world to see.  But being vulnerable and open with your heart, the real stuff, can be really empowering, and can offer a sense of freedom, perhaps even give an ah-ha moment, if you will.  I learned that the hard way.  I had to let go of my pride with telling the world I was "okay" and just be real, sometimes that involved me screaming "I am not okay!"   Being real gave me that freedom.  The freedom to grieve (MISS MY SON) in every aspect of my life.  That freedom is priceless.  And valuable to me.

So this is what I do.

This.  This is what I have left of my son and these are the moments I have to trade my fears in for heaping doses of courage.  Courage to share my son, his story, his life, his death and how living without him is the greatest challenge of all and the courage to share my physical struggles that losing him left me with. (Insert me swallowing my pride every time I do that.)  

It isn’t pretty and sometimes it involves massive amounts of mascara dripping down my cheeks, but it is real.  It is real life without my son.  And it’s hard. 

Two fears are surfacing right now, leaving me with the following options, delete or enter.  

I’m betting on the latter one.

PS- to keep it real, sometimes I just use the "save" option and when I have the courage to hit enter, I do!