Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Big Question

Since starting Barrett's Blankets and sharing my Barrett and his story with the world, I have noticed there is one question I am answering quite a bit. At least once a day, I get asked what happened to Barrett.

In a way I had hoped to have an answer--to have something to blame it on so I wouldn't spend the rest of my life analyzing every move I made during my pregnancy. But I didn't get answers. The truth is, medically we have no answers for what happened to Barrett. All of the tests they ran on him showed a perfectly healthy baby boy. All of the tests they ran on me came back negative as well. His heart simply stopped beating.

So, the only answer I have is that it was God's plan for Barrett to be with Him. Everyone has told me, it won't happen again. The odds are in my favor. But honestly, that doesn't make me or Brent any less terrified of enduring this hurt again.

The fact is that the odds were in my favor the first time, but he died anyway. The odds of it happening to me were slim to none, but here I am. I've already been that statistic once, so there is no percentage or statistic that could make me feel any better about it.

So where do I find comfort for the future? In my Jesus. I know He is taking care of Barrett and I am starting to see His plans for me unfolding. I am trusting that whatever happens in our lives down the road, is in His plan. I am walking by faith and faith alone. I couldn't see why I didn't get to bring my baby home with me after delivering him, but every day I am seeing a little more of the picture and the incredible plans God laid out for my son. He knew my son before he was formed and He knew the plans He had for him. Psalm 139:13-16 and Jeremiah 29:11 confirm those truths for me everyday.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Wherever You Lead

I am going to send an angel in front of you, to guard you on the way and to bring you to the place that I have prepared.
Exodus 23:20 

Yesterday I had one of those days. It wasn't a bad day, I just had several moments where I had to fight back tears because I just missed him. Some days are just filled with moments where I have an overwhelming desire to just to hold him one more time. The only problem would be that I would always want one more time. I want a lifetime to hold him. 

I have so many mixed emotions right now. One minute I am longing desperately to hold Barrett and I'm flooded with memories of the day they told me his heart had stopped beating. The next minute I am overcome with excitement about different things happening in our lives and anticipation for things to come.

It never fails that on the days where it seems the grief may overtake me, God sends something that transforms my grief into thoughts of my son that fill me up with joy--so much so that I just can't stop smiling.

Yesterday, I was reading my Bible on my Kindle app and I came across the verse at the beginning of this post. It took my breath away as it seemed to jump out at me from the page. It was just perfect. It was exactly what I needed yesterday. 

Like I'm sure many angel moms do, I spend so much time thinking of the "could have beens" and the things I won't get to do with Barrett. But as I read this verse yesterday, I began to think of these things in a more positive light. I would never have taken the path that I am on now had I not given birth to an angel 2 months and 1 day ago. I thought I had my whole life planned. But God had different plans, and He used my little angel and my love for him to direct me in a completely different direction. And you know what? Despite the grief and the pain, it is so much better than anything I ever could have planned

I am going to send an angel in front of you, to guard you on the way and to bring you to the place that I have prepared.
Exodus 23:20  

Thank you God for sending Barrett to bring me down this path. I am so full of love and joy because of this painful journey. I am reminded to not take a moment for granted and to rejoice in the little things. I am so thankful for the ministry You have allowed me to be a part of in my son's name. **

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Thumbs Up Movement

Team Lane!
I'd like to introduce you to my hero. You will not find him featured in any Marvel special, but he is a hero to many. He is a thirteen year old little boy, and his name is Lane. Lane had cancer and he fought it hard. But what was so inspirational about Lane was his always smiling attitude. From the Prayers for Lane Goodwin Facebook Page:

On March 4, 2010 Lane was diagnosed with Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma Stage IV. This is a rare & aggressive childhood cancer that is only diagnosed in 1 per million kids. Please pray for our son as he begins 54 weeks of treatment. As of Dec. 15, 2010 Lane has completed 28 treatmeants of Radiaion & 41 weeks of Chemo. As of December 30, 2010 Lane's scans were CLEAR!! He will continue to have scans every 3 months for the next 5 years.
On July 22, 2011 we were given the worse news possible. Lane has relapsed & has a tumor in his neck & left leg. On August 11, 2011 his PET scan showed that he now has 13 tumors in his bones. He has chosen to fight & we will do whatever we have to in order to save our sons life!!
Lane again relapsed on May 8, 2012. Please pray as he battles this "monster" for the 3rd Time! 

 On October 17, 2012 Lane gained his angel wings. Hundreds of thousands of people joined together to remember Lane and pray for his family. This 13 year old boy inspired hundreds of thousands of people with his amazing attitude and captivating smile. Lane started the "Thumbs Up Movement" and thousands of people posted thumbs up pictures to show their support for Lane and to let him know they were praying for him. Lane brought thousands of people together and is a hero to many.

When I saw Lane's smiling face, I was reminded how blessed I am and yet I still don't always have that positive attitude. Lane has helped me to remember there is good in every situation and I should look for it.

One wish Lane had was to help other kids fighting childhood cancer. His family started the Thumbs up for Lane Goodwin Childhood Cancer Foundation to raise money for childhood cancer research. You can read more about it on their Facebook page by clicking here.

I encourage you to read about this young boy if you haven't already, and the inspiring journey he had on this earth. He has left a lasting mark on this earth and his legacy will continue.

You are my hero Lane!!!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Life Just Isn't Fair

Barrett's Gender Reveal Party
Tomorrow will be 9 weeks since Barrett left us. Looking back, these last 9 weeks have been incredibly difficult. I wish no mother had to bury a child. It's not fair. But, life isn't fair and that's the truth. But, praise God it isn't always fair.

On my way to work yesterday, I heard the song This Man by Jeremy Camp. It has always been one of my favorites.--

In only a moment truth was seen
Revealed this mystery
The crown that showed no dignity He wore

And the King was placed
For all the world to show disgrace
But only beauty flowed from this place

Would you take the place of this Man?
Would you take the nails from His hands?
Would you take the place of this Man?
Would you take the nails from His hands?

He held the weight of impurity
The Father would not see
The reasons had finally come to be to show

The depth of His grace
Flowed with every sin erased
He knew that this was why He came

Would you take the place of this Man?
Would you take the nails from His hands?
Would you take the place of this Man?
Would you take the nails from His hands?

And we just don't know
The blood and water flowed
And in it all He showed
Just how much He cared

And the veil was torn
So we could have this open door
And all these things have finally been complete

Would you take the place of this Man?
Would you take the nails from His hands?
Would you take the place of this Man?

Would you take the nails from His hands?

As I listened to the song, I imagined what his mother was going through as her son died a horrible and brutal death on the cross. My son left so peacefully and in no pain. But Mary watched her son be beaten and torn apart--she watched him suffer in agony. But what did He do to deserve that? Nothing. Life isn't always fair.

Jesus didn't deserve to die on the cross, and I don't deserve the grace He gives me. If life was fair, I would spend eternity in hell. Praise God that life isn't always fair.
Holding Barrett's first ultrasound

So, looking back on the last 9 weeks--yeah they've been hard. The hardest thing I've ever been through. Losing a child is the hardest thing a mother can go through here on earth. But at the same time, they have been the most incredible 9 weeks I've ever been a part of.

I have seen God move in ways that I never could have imagined. I have made lasting friendships with some incredible women. God took the small idea for Barrett's Blankets and grew it into something bigger than I ever dreamed of in a matter of days--Not only are the blankets going all over the U.S. already, but they will soon be heading to other countries as well. Everyday I am in awe. I can never say thank you enough to my God for the blessings He pours into our lives everyday and to everyone who has helped to make Barrett's Blankets what it is becoming today.

In a couple of weeks, I will be hand delivering a large load of blankets--so far they have always been mailed, so I'm very excited about seeing where they are going.

The night before Barrett was born, as I lay wide awake dreading what was to come, I asked God to tell me Why? Why my son? I never imagined the answer I would get. Seeing how many lives have been changed and touched by Barrett's life has brought me so much comfort--I love hearing from each and everyone of you.

So, thank you, thank you, thank you for your support, your encouragement, your love, your help, and your prayers--

Sunday, October 14, 2012


Pregnancy/Infant Loss Walk 10/13/12
It's been almost 8 weeks since my son was born. I can tell you exactly what I was doing 8 weeks ago today. I was buying clothes for Barrett. I bought him 4 or 5 bags of clothes 8 weeks ago and I was so excited and happy as I picked out the tiny little outfits and brought them home to hang in his closet. I imagined him wearing each of them and I imagined holding him and the pictures I would take and the life he would be living in each one.

It never occurred to me that he would never be able to wear them. It never occurred to me that he would never use the pack n' play I bought or swing in his little green swing. I never imagined that he would be buried with the little blue bear in his closet. But who does think that? We are amazingly oblivious to these things until it happens to us or someone close to us. 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant loss within the first year of life. That is a terrifying statistic. Even with all of our medical technologies today, it is still at 25%. It amazes me how so many people try to push this out of their minds because it's too depressing to deal with. I used to be that person. But for the ones who are affected by it, we can't do that. We are forced to live it every day.

In saying all of that, I have walked a very tough road the last 8 weeks. I would be lying if I told you it hasn't been hard and painful. There have been days that I didn't want to get up--that I wanted to stay in bed and hide. But I can't do that--I have a daughter and husband who need me and life does go on.

But just because I am walking a road of pain, doesn't mean I'm "unhappy" and if you got that from me, I'm sorry because it was a false impression. I was happy 8 weeks ago. Today, I am full of joy. I titled this post "Abundance" because I truly feel an abundance of joy in my life right now. For some reason people seem to think that joy and pain cannot coexist. I don't know why we make that assumption, because they can. The greatest trial I could endure in this life could never steal the joy I have that only comes from Jesus Christ. And I can attest to that because I buried my son 7 weeks ago today, I am smiling and joyful.

But just because I am smiling, does that mean I no longer hurt and long for my son? Of course not. That pain doesn't go away. It just gets different as you learn to live with it. Joy and pain are peacefully coexisting in my life right now.

I mourn every day for the what if's and could have beens. But I rejoice every day for everything God is doing through Barrett's life. Barrett, like Audrey, has brought an incredible amount of happiness and so many smiles to my life.

In honor of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day tomorrow, I made a video for my sweet boy that can be viewed by Clicking Here

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
James 1:2-4

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Footprints in the Sand

Walking for Barrett and so many more
Today we traveled to Pascagoula, MS for Footprints in the Sand, a walk for pregnancy and infant loss by Our Gulf Coast Angels. We left bright and early--it was still dark here! Every day this week Audrey has asked me if it was time for us to go walk for Barrett. She was so excited about sending him a note and a balloon.

This was the first year for this event, and I thought OGCA did a great job putting it together. I know we all really enjoyed it--the walk, the balloon release, the candle lighting--and Audrey loved all of the activities for the children.

Audrey's note to Barrett
During the candle lighting, Audrey kept a watchful eye on her little brother's candle. She didn't move from her "post" until we picked all of the candles up. When her daddy picked her up, she laid her head on his shoulder and started to cry. I kept asking her what was wrong and finally she said "I want my brother". And I couldn't even answer her as the tears welled up in my eyes and I choked back sobs. Audrey never got to meet Barrett, but the love she has for him is so intense for a child her age and it just amazes me. Watching her grieve for him though, is almost enough to break me. I am grieving for Barrett, and at the same time completely torn to pieces that I can't take that pain from my daughter. She is an amazing big sister! When this happened, a song by Reba McEntire:

What do you say in a moment like this?
When you can't find the words to tell it like it is
Just close your eyes and let your heart lead the way
Oh, what do you say?

Waiting to release Barrett's balloon
I'm living this new life as I go. Sometimes there are questions I'm not sure how to answer or times when my heart is completely shattered. All I can do is pray for the right words to say to comfort my living child and help her to understand the best that I can.

I loved doing something today to remember Barrett and so many other angels (To another special mommy, I was thinking of your Ella Bella too!).

I encourage you to check out Our Gulf Coast Angels and all that they are doing!

Precious Child 
by: Karen Taylor-Good

In my dreams, you are alive and well
Precious child, precious child
In my mind, I see you clear as a bell
Precious child, precious child
In my soul, there is a hole
That can never be filled
But in my heart, there is hope
'Cause you are with me still

In my heart, you live on
Always there never gone
Precious child, you left too soon
Tho' it may be true that we're apart
You will live forever... in my heart

In my plans, I was the first to leave
Precious child, precious child
But in this world, I was left here to grieve
Precious child, my precious child

In my soul, there is a hole
That can never be filled
But in my heart there is hope
And you are with me still

In my heart you live on
Always there, never gone
Precious child, you left too soon,
Tho' it may be true that we're apart
You will live forever... in my heart

God knows I want to hold you,
See you, touch you
And maybe there's a heaven
And someday I will again
Please know you are not forgotten until then

In my heart you live on
Always there never gone
Precious child, you left too soon
Tho' it may be true that we're apart
You will live forever... in my heart

Friday, October 12, 2012

Apologies and Such

This post was written solely for the purpose of allowing me to vent and get some things out of my head.

Dear Anonymous,

I'm sorry I'm not good enough for you. I'm sorry I don't meet your standards. I love you anonymous, but I have to say I hate the way you make me feel. I hate that you are the only one who can get to me. How did you get this power over me?

Dear Anonymous,

The wound in my heart is fresh. It's only been 50 days since I lost Barrett. 50 days since I endured eleven hours of labor knowing it was in vain. 50 days since I heard "The baby is here" yet at the same time heard silence rather than the beautiful cry of a newborn baby. 50 days since I grabbed him and wept as I looked into his beautiful eyes and counted his fingers and toes. 50 days since I was wheeled out of the hospital empty handed as my newborn son made his way to a funeral home. 50 days. That's not very long. It's been 47 days since I cried over his tiny casket. 47 days since I said my final goodbyes. 47 days since I rode away knowing they were about to bury my first born son. 47 days. That's not very long either. Anonymous, please don't throw salt in my very fresh wound. I'm doing the best I can. That's all I can do.

Dear Anonymous,

Do you know why I know exactly how many days it's been? Because no matter how hard I try, I can't stop counting. It never fails that every morning for just a second I let myself forget long enough to lay my hands on my stomach. But when I feel how flat it is, I am violently jerked back into the reality of being a grieving parent.

"When a wife loses her husband, she is called a widow.
When a husband loses his wife, he is called a widower.
There is no name for a parent who loses a child."

Dear Anonymous,

Please leave me be. Let me grieve. Maybe one day I'll have the energy to please you, but for now I don't.

Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.
Galatians 1:10

Thursday, October 11, 2012

A Few of My Favorite Things

I'm going to take a post to share a few more causes that have caught my attention lately. The first is:

Teeny Tears Bereavement Diapers

Their Mission (From their Facebook page):

Teeny Tears is a service organization that provides tiny flannel diapers to hospitals and bereavement support organizations at no charge for families that have suffered the loss of a preemie or micropreemie child.

To learn more about our mission or to JOIN OUR PROJECT BY DOWNLOADING FREE PATTERNS, please visit our blog!

If you want to help make diapers to donate for angel families in your local community or anywhere else, check out our participation group! It's a great place to get started, ask questions, post pictures, discuss your "flannel habit", and share your progress with others involved in the project! Some are making small, one-time donations in their local communities. Some are diaper addicts. All are welcome!

Approximately 26,000 children are stillborn in the United States every year, about 1 in 160 births. A significant number of these angels are preemie or micropreemie infants for whom even the smallest commercial diapers are far too large. 

To visit their blog, Click Here

You can also check them out on Facebook: Teeny Tears Bereavement Diapers Facebook

I love this idea! If this is something that interests you, I encourage you to find out about becoming a "diaper addict" in your community!


STILL Project

Their Facebook page description:
STILL will be a feature length documentary film which tells the stories of families from all walks of life who have suffered the loss of a baby during pregnancy or during infancy.

STILL is for those who grieve as well as those who want to reach out and understand.

STILL represents the silence of the babies who have died and the steadfast resilience of their surviving families.

Plot outline as listed on their Facebook page:

From the director Jonathan Pascual:

On August 1, 2002 our lives changed. We changed as individuals, as a couple and as a family.

We had not prepared for the arrival of our first child. The only thought that might be considered a plan were two names written on a piece of paper during a carefree moment before Carrie and I were even married.

Isaiah Jonathan and Elena Rebekah.

When we found out we were pregnant in June of 2002 we didn’t know that our baby had already been with us for 15 weeks. We also didn’t know that we would only be together for another 6 weeks.

We wanted to be surprised. Would we soon meet Isaiah or Elena? I could’ve waited for my December baby. That was not meant to be. Elena came 7 days before my birthday during the summer of 2002.

I could’ve waited. I didn’t have a choice and so she came. I held her. She moved. She had my nose and the most beautiful hands and feet I will ever see.

Through these past 10 years, the grieving and the learning have brought us here. We have been led to break the silence and share this story for such a time as this.

It is Elena’s message and that of all the babies. It is the legacy of the mothers, the fathers, the grandmas, grampas, brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles.

Our children shine the light, our stories share the hope.
I love this. Break the Silence and let the legacy of our angels live on. For more information on the STILL Project, visit their Facebook page: STILL Project Facebook 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Glorious Day

So many times I catch my mind wandering back to the day Barrett was born. I think that I will remember every single detail for a very long time. I have a thing with clocks when I am waiting for something. I will check the time a hundred times to see what time it is if I am anxious. The same was true for that day. I could tell you the exact time of every single thing that happened the night before he was born down to the details of when they gave me medicine. I'm a tad obsessive about it really. I had a lot of time to think that night. I couldn't sleep. For hours I refused pain medicine because I was terrified of not being completely awake when Barrett was born. When I finally asked for it, I only slept thirty minutes.

I spent those hours reading and watching the television in my room. Several times I wanted to throw something at the tv because I couldn't even watch 48 Hours without something about a baby being on there. I watched a lot of Animal Planet and Hurricane (then Tropical Storm) Isaac coverage. And I spent a lot of time just asking God Why? Why my baby?

There were moments it didn't seem real. There was no way it could be real. My baby had been perfect just days before. How could he so suddenly be gone with no explanation?

I find it much easier to accept things if someone can tell me why it's happening. So many times that night I prayed for answers. I had hoped I might get them at my follow up appointment, but I didn't. None of the tests showed anything for me or Barrett. As far as they could see, he had still been perfect when he passed. So I am still left with no answers other than it wasn't in God's plan for my son to walk this earth.

I hate for someone to tell me that this usually happens because something was wrong with the baby and they wouldn't have had a quality life. Or that it would have been hard on us.

A). I would not consider ANY child a burden. Every life is a blessing.
B). Every medical test showed my son was absolutely perfect. I don't believe for one second that he was taken because "something was wrong with him". I believe he is gone, because that was God's plan for him.

Psalm 139:13-15 and Jeremiah 29:11 both tell me that the Lord knew my son intimately before he was even thought of in this life. God knew everything about Barrett and every moment of His life. From the very beginning God planned for Barrett to go straight from the safety of my womb to the safety of His arms in heaven. That's why my son is gone.

Barrett knows no heartache or pain. He doesn't know what it is like to be disappointed. He knows not the stresses of this life and the trials you and I endure. He only knows the safety of his mother's womb and the joy that comes when we get to spend everyday worshiping our Creator.

So though my mind wanders back to that dreaded day so many times a day, it always ends with the beautiful image of where Barrett is now. And then I think to that Glorious day when I will go to meet my son. I'll recognize him in an instant and I will run to him. I'll hug him tight and listen to him tell me all he has seen and heard and hopefully I'll be able to tell him of the joy he brought to so many here on earth.

Glorious Day (Living He Loved Me)
by: Casting Crowns

 One day when Heaven was filled with His praises
One day when sin was as black as could be
Jesus came forth to be born of a Virgin
Dwelt among men, my example is He

Word became flesh and the light shined among us
His glory revealed

Living He loved me, dying He saved me
And buried He carried my sins far away
Rising He justified freely forever
One day He's coming, oh, glorious day, oh, glorious day

One day they led Him up Calvary's mountain
One day they nailed Him to die on a tree
Suffering anguish, despised and rejected
Bearing our sins, my Redeemer is He

Hands that healed nations, stretched out on a tree
And took the nails for me

'Cause living He loved me, dying He saved me
And buried He carried my sins far away
Rising He justified freely forever
One day He's coming, oh, glorious day, oh, glorious day

One day the grave could conceal Him no longer
One day the stone rolled away from the door
Then He arose, over death He had conquered
Now He's ascended, my Lord evermore

Death could not hold Him
The grave could not keep Him from rising again

Living He loved me, dying He saved me
And buried He carried my sins far away
Rising He justified freely forever
One day He's coming, oh, glorious day, oh, glorious day
Glorious day

One day the trumpet will sound for His coming
One day the skies with His glories will shine
Wonderful day, my beloved one bringing
My Savior Jesus is mine

Living He loved me, dying He saved me
And buried He carried my sins far away
Rising He justified freely forever
One day He's coming, oh, glorious day, oh, glorious day
Glorious day, oh, glorious day

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Days Like This

Today was another day that was hard for no particular reason. I just kept thinking of what Barrett would be doing if he were still here. I thought about how he would be kicking and responding to my voice. I thought about how Brent would be able to feel him kick by now--something he was never able to have. I wondered if Barrett would have gotten hiccups all the time like Audrey did so often when I was pregnant with her.

It's been over six weeks since we lost Barrett. 45 days. Maybe one day I'll be able to stop counting. Today I wrote down the words I wanted on his grave marker. Something I have put off for weeks now. I've fought myself about that. I so badly want my little boy to have his marker with his precious name on it, but at the same time it was just one more thing to make this nightmare real.

Sometimes it seems like this is all a dream and one day I'm going to wake up. Every night when I go to sleep I think maybe it will be tomorrow. Maybe tomorrow will be the day that I finally wake up and have him back. But it never happens and I know it never will. Every morning I wake up and feel my flat stomach and just like every morning before for the past 45 days, I am hit with a harsh reality. The harsh reality that if I want to visit my son, I must make the painful drive to his grave. The reality that I never got to bring him home and the only memories I have to hold on to are memories of crying as I held him. It never fails to hit me every single morning just as freshly as it did the day he was born. I get to the end of the day and breathe a sigh of relief that I made it through one more day. Only to realize that I will start all over again in the morning.

Today, while so many mothers were holding their children for the first time, I was finalizing the words on my first born son's grave. Something no mother should have to do, and something I never imagined I would have to do. Who would? We all think it could never happen to us. But unfortunately, this community I now belong to is large. We are a large group of women who belong to a group that we can never leave. We are bonded forever. But these are the strongest and most loving women I have ever met. Women who are willing to go well out of their way to bring comfort to another woman going through a similar loss.

But while every day is hard, I hope the joy my son has brought me is shining through the grief that is forever a part of me. I hope that when people see me, they see the joy rather than the pain because the joy is so much greater than any pain I feel. Despite all of the pain I push through each day, the joy overwhelms it.

You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy .
Psalm 30:11

I never in my wildest dreams thought I could be this happy six weeks after losing my son. But my God is that good. He took the most painful thing I've ever endured and He used it to bring glory to Him. I find so much joy in seeing how the Lord is using the life of my beautiful Barrett.

 I heard the song Cry Out to Jesus by Third Day yesterday. It's a song I have heard countless times before, but yesterday certain words stood out to me.

For everyone who's lost someone they love
Long before it was their time
You feel like the days you had were not enough
When you said goodbye
There is hope for the helpless, rest for the weary,
And love for the broken hearts.
There is grace and forgiveness, mercy and healing
He'll meet you wherever you are.

Cry out to Jesus. Cry out to Jesus.

Praise the Lord that I can cry out to Him in my joy and in my pain and He'll meet me wherever I am. He already knows what I am feeling and He is here with me every step of the way. There is hope. There is healing--All in my Jesus.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Making Memories

One thing I have been doing since Barrett passed away, is gathering things for his memory box. I told you about some organizations who have been helping us to do this. It is so comforting to have his things to look at and hold on the days when I feel overcome with emptiness. It is my hope that Barrett's Blankets can provide some of that same comfort to other angel moms.

I wanted to introduce another group today that is just getting started, but I believe they will do great things for angel families. Beloved Stars will be distributing memory bags and boxes to OB offices and hospitals to be given to the angel families. They are a non-profit group running solely off of donations.

Here is their mission:
This is a community for bereaved parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles. It is a place where the lives of our babies/children will be celebrated and there will always be a comforting shoulder to lean on. We will also be sharing our journey of creating memory bags for OB offices and hospitals. Eventually we hope to extend these bags to individuals/families as well. 

To learn more about the story behind the mission, read their "About" section on their Facebook page by Clicking here.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Don't Tell Me

 Rather than a vent, I prefer to call this an informative blog on what you should and shouldn't say to someone who has lost a baby.

I feel like I will be speaking for a lot of people who are walking in the same shoes as me when I say: Don't tell me to move on. Don't tell me that I need to move on for my daughter, or anyone else.

I believe a person is a person at the moment of conception. I believe that no matter how early or late in life you lose a child, whether it be 4 weeks into a pregnancy, or 16 years into life, you should grieve in your own way.

I believe that Barrett is just as much my child as Audrey is. I will give just as much attention to him as I do her, just in different ways. I don't need to "move on" for her. She loves her brother too. Just ask her. She loves to talk about him and include him in everything too.

Barrett's Bear from Robby's Rabbits
People make comments they shouldn't all the time, and I grit my teeth and smile because usually it is just because they don't know what to say. The only thing that just really bothers me is someone telling me to move on. We all grieve in our own way. Let me grieve in mine.

I will never be able to move on or get over it. Barrett will forever carry a piece of my heart with him. He will always be my second child and my first born son. First born son. I gave birth to him. I felt his precious kicks. I held him in my arms. I looked into his eyes. I counted his fingers and toes. I looked over every inch of his body. And then, I let him go.

You don't get over that. You just learn to get through it. One day at a time, one moment at a time. The pain and the grief doesn't go away, it just changes every day. It doesn't lessen or ease, it gets different. You learn to find the joy and happiness in the midst of the pain, but the pain still exists. It always will.

Here's another. Don't avoid the subject. Our children exist. Avoiding talking about them, doesn't ease our pain. In fact, for most of us talking is therapeutic. When you talk about our children, you acknowledge their life. When you acknowledge that they lived, that is the most precious thing you can give us.

A Mother's Grief

You ask me how I'm feeling,

but do you really want to know?
The moment I try telling you
You say you have to go

How can I tell you,

what it's been like for me
I am haunted, I am broken
By things that you don't see

You ask me how I'm holding up,

but do you really care?
The second I try to speak my heart,
You start squirming in your chair.

Because I am so lonely,

you see, no one comes around,
I'll take the words I want to say
And quietly choke them down.

Everyone avoids me now,

Because they don't know what to say
They tell me I'll be there for you,
then turn and walk away.

Call me if you need me,

that's what everybody said,
But how can I call you and scream
into the phone,
My God, my child is dead?

No one will let me

say the words I need to say
Why does a mothers grief
scare everyone away?

I am tired of pretending

as my heart pounds in my chest,
I say things to make you comfortable,
but my soul finds no rest.

How can I tell you things

that are too sad to be told,
of the helplessness of holding a child
who in your arms grows cold?

Maybe you can tell me,

How should one behave,
who's had to follow their child's casket,
watched it perched above a grave?

You cannot imagine

what it was like for me that day
to place a final kiss upon that box,
and have to turn and walk away.

If you really love me,

and I believe you do,
if you really want to help me,
here is what I need from you.

Sit down beside me,

reach out and take my hand,
Say "My friend, I've come to listen,
I want to understand."

Just hold my hand and listen

that's all you need to do,
And if by chance I shed a tear,
it's alright if you do too.
~Author unknown

Who Am I?

Today was a tough day. No particular reason really, other than I just really wished I could feel Barrett kick me just one more time. I love the fall and I had planned on dressing up with Audrey for Halloween this year with some clever costume that played on my pregnant belly. So, as I see different Halloween costumes, of course it reminds me of what I thought I would be doing right now.

I thought that right now the frantic period of my pregnancy would be beginning as I rushed around getting things ready before I was too big and tired to rush at all. But I'm not. I'm staring at his ultrasound picture hanging on my wall.

One of "Barrett's Blankets"
If you were to watch me throughout the day, you would notice a pattern I follow. It's a little bit OCD, I'll admit, but I can't help that. I will reach up and hold onto Barrett's hand print on my necklace and squeeze it. Then I'll put both hands on my belly and wait for a kick that won't come. Then I breathe a deep breath and come back to reality. My new reality. My reality of living with a hole in my heart where my first born son should be. You won't notice it unless you're looking for it. It's only obvious to me in the moments where I let myself slip away for just a second.

But in saying that, there is another pattern I follow. When I see something that reminds me of him, or someone else tells me a story of how Barrett has touched them, I'll reach up and grab his hand. I smile as I give it a gentle squeeze as if just to tell him "I hear ya".

My post today doesn't have much purpose other than I need to ramble.

I don't paint much, but when I do, it usually isn't for show, but for therapy. I may use a canvas over and over and I usually paint when I'm alone. Most of it is private to me.

Today as I was missing my son a little extra today, I decided that I would paint when I got home. I thought it might distract me. So I set out a blank canvas, brushes, and a lot random colors. Then, I stared. And I stared, and stared, and stared. What should I paint?

I reached over to my iPad and turned on Pandora radio to the Contemporary Christian mix. I listened to a few songs, and I thought. I thought about how I felt like a different person than I was 6 weeks ago. I thought about how I almost feel as if I'm starting over and having to learn who I am again. As these thoughts raced through my mind, I literally said God, I feel so consumed by grief. I feel like I am grief.

The moment the words were out of my mouth, I heard a very familiar song playing right beside me. I am a lover of music. I love to worship through music by singing along to the radio or my guitar. I believe God can speak to us through music as I believe He has to me many times before. The song I heard today was Who Am I?  by Casting Crowns. I can't make this up. It was way too big of a coincidence to truly be a coincidence. It was God. I grabbed a paintbrush and slapped paint on the canvas to the beat of the music as I listened carefully to each and every word of the song.

And then, I wrote on the canvas. Who Am I? Christian. Wife. Mother. Child of God. Angel Mom. Servant. Saved by Grace. Friend. Daughter. Joyful. And on and on. I ended it with I am LOVED. It was not meant to be a beautiful painting. It took me all of 10 minutes. But man was it therapeutic. Sometimes a little reminder such as just the right song at the right time is the perfect reminder of how much God loves us and that, yes, He is always with us.

 I am full of grief. Sometimes, I have moments where I am overcome by it. But mostly, I am joyful. I have so many moments where I just can't stop smiling or talking about what God is doing. I am not my grief. It is just a part of me. I am not defined by it.