How true is that statement?

I remember a conversation that occurred shortly after our miscarriage with someone who didn’t know it had happened.  It was the end of my work day and I was up at the front desk chatting with a co-worker, when a parent on their way out stopped at the desk to chat.  She had begun asking my co-worker how her pregnancy was going, and when their conversation ended she turned to me and asked the same question.  I admit, I hesitated for a bit.  To me it seemed like minutes.  I looked at my co-worker, hoping she might say something.  It was at most a week that I had been back at work, but I still wasn’t ready to answer this question.  My response was simple, we lost the baby at 17 weeks.  She asked me how I was doing with it all and my co-worker jumped in saying that I was handling it like a champ.

A champ?  I don’t want to be a champ at this.  It makes me sound like I am a winner.  I understand she meant well by it and not in that context.  It also meant that on the outside at first glance it looked like I was handling it all well, even though on the inside I was falling apart and people didn’t really know the hell I was going through.  But a champ? Not quite.

Just a few weeks ago, I heard another perspective on this.  Instead of the word champ being used, it was the word strong.  I have been told I am strong and I will make it through this.  Someone else I know  was asked “you are so strong though all of this, how do you do it?”  My perspective on this statement, as well as her’s was simple.  I don’t really have a choice.  Life is moving forward with or without me.  It would be easier to just stay in bed, shut the world out, in a way give up, and let the world move forward without me.  Or, I could begin to walk this new path one small step at a time, one foot in front of the other. 

Am I going to stumble?  Am I going to take steps backwards? You bet, but I am going to do my best to move forward.   I am going to have bad days, it is going to be tough, but I am going to do it.  Notice I said, move forward, not move on.  I will never move on from what happened.  It will always be a part of me and my baby girl will always be with me.  Right now she is in good hands and some day I will see her again.  This is what allows me to move forward. 

Am I strong?  Maybe, maybe not.  That’s for you to say, not me.  Am I a champ?  No, I wouldn’t describe myself that way.  What I do know, is that this had made me realize a few things.  1) Life is short, I need to fill it with the things that truly mean the most to me.  2) I need to stand up for myself more and let my voice be heard.  3) I am more comfortable now with who I am then I have ever been.  I am not afraid to truly be me.

 “We don’t know how strong we are until being strong is the only choice we have” – Small Bird Studios

 

In all of this a person can’t help but to ask “Where is God?”  With this question come a whole slew of other questions.  Like:

Why me/us? or  Why? or What did I/We do to deserve this? or What did I do wrong?

And the list goes on and on.  With all of these questions we strive to find answers, to be able to put the pieces of lives back together and to find a sense of peace.  The only thing…we may not find the answers to the questions.   There is a chance that down the road we may find some answers to our questions, but there will still be many left unanswered.  When we can’t find the answers we are looking for then we start turning towards someone to blame.  For some, they blame someone close to them; like their spouse, a friend, anyone in their path at the moment, even their own self.   When the answers still aren’t there then the blame ends on God. 

 Am I guilty of this?  You bet, I have blamed myself and I have blamed God.  I’ve asked these questions over and over; when I couldn’t find the answers I began to blame myself.  When I still didn’t find the answers, I turned to something that I thought had control over everything.  I turned to blaming God. 

Believe me; I blamed God for this for a while.  At first I blamed myself.  Then I blamed myself and God.   And last, I just blamed God.  To me, I wondered how could God put anyone through this and why would he.  If he could do this, then he could fix it right?  I also began to wonder if God really existed.  Because if he truly existed, then why did I feel like he walked away from me and left me stranded, filled with so many questions.  Above all, why when I begged, pleaded, and called out did I feel like I was alone and my thoughts and prayers were no longer being answered. 

After reading a book recommended to me from someone who had walked the path of miscarriage, “Why Bad Things Happen to Good People”, my perspective has changed greatly.  I have learned that God doesn’t choose to bad things or good things to people.  He doesn’t look at you and say you were good here you go, or you were bad here you go.  That’s karma.  Instead God takes what happens in our lives and uses those experiences to shape us.  Those experiences are what guide us down our path. 

We didn’t do anything wrong.  Our miscarriage was something that was totally out of our control.  In fact, it was bit of a fluke and the chances of it happening again that way are even more less likely to happen.  Have I turned away from God during this time, no not really.  But, I have gotten mad at him, yelled at him, begged and pleaded, unloaded on him, and been at a total loss for words on what to say.

I know we all have our own beliefs.  With loss the beliefs may change, weaken, get strong, or go away completely.  Other than holding on tightly to my family, especially my husband and the strong relationship we have, I have been holding on to God.  Though sometimes my spirit was frayed and I questioned God (a lot) he was still there.  I encourage you to rebuild and strengthen the relationships you have and can believe in.  Now is not the time to turn away from those, no matter how angry you may get.  Hold on tight to what is steadfast in your life.

 

La Belle Dame

Miscarriage, Stillbirth, & Infant Loss Memorial Jewelry

 http://labelledame.com/

  

This is an infant loss necklace that my husband bought me after it all happened.  I was looking for something of high quality, that would last, and I would be able to have with me around my neck always.  We had Samantha’s hand print in clay, but I wanted something with the footprints.  My husband found this site by chance on the web.  I later read it as a resource listed in one of the books I had been reading “Naming Your Child” by Jenny Schrodel.  This necklace is so beautiful, though this picture does not do it justice.  It is hand stamped with the footprints and Samantha’s initials.  I had two gem stones added: one for when she was born (January), and one for when she was originally expected to be born (July). Kimberly De Montbrun began making this type of jewelry after her own experience.  It is a phenomenal gift she has to be able to create a way to memorialize those that we’ve have lost too early.    In fact, I had one made for my mom, who also experienced a miscarriage, that had the footprints on it, as well as a January birthstone (for her grandchild) and a February birthstone (for her own child) attached.  I encourage you to take a look at her site.  She has many options to choose from.

 

When you think of “awareness” and the month of October, most people’s thoughts go to Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  If you happen to be a teacher, then you also toss in Fire Safety Month.  What most people don’t know, is that it is also Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness.  October 15 is not only a nationally recognized day when people who have experienced pregnancy and/or infant loss come together to honor their child(ren) who have grown their angel wings, but it is also a worlwide recognized day.  I would have never known about this myself until we experienced the loss of Samantha.  With her loss I have began to learn a lot.  Sometimes, it is a lot more than I want to learn, but yet at the same time it is helpful and good to know.  Miscarriages and stillbirths are still a comon thing to happen and as common as they are, so is not talking about them.  However, as time goes by more and more people are speaking about the topic and creating awareness.  They are “breaking the silence”.  It’s not always easy to talk about, it’s not always easy to hear, but it needs to be talked about in order to create a better understanding.  By designating a month to create awareness and having a day to help recognize and honor those who have been lost is a start in the process of breaking the silence.

In honor of Samantha we lit several candles.  We participated in “the wave of light”, that created a contious wave of light across the world in recognition of pregnancy loss and infant loss.

What made this day even more special and touching is that I found out on the morning of October 15 that I get to participate in an online course by Illuminate that uses photography as a way to help heal and work through the grief process.  The photo that I submited for the contest was a collage of photos I took during my last visit to the memorial wall.  It was at the end of a tough week and I need to be somewhere that was quiet.  A place with little distractions and with the hope of feeling closer to my little girl.  And hoepuflly I would come awy with a slightly clearer head and less weight on my shoulders.  It was a visit that I know she was there, because there was a dragonfly that sat with me.

 

 “Naming Your Child: Hope-filled Reflections on Miscarriage, Stillbirth, & Infant Death” by Jenny Schroedel

 My Book Review: I received this book from my mother in law after we all attended the funeral service.  It has taken me a little bit longer to get through this book, only because “normalish” life began to take over again.  But it has definitely been a good read.   This book helped to validate the feelings I was going through and made me feel like I wasn’t the only one.  We all grieve, and those of us that have been through a loss like this have something in common.  We know to some degree how others feel and what they are going through, yet because we all grieve differently we can only listen and sympathasize.  In the book it was helpful to read other people’s stories.  They are all different, but with one common thread, loss.  It gave me ideas on how to get through the different emotions, especially the ones I wasn’t used to dealing with…like jeolousy.  I learned that life will go back to normal.  Not necessarily the normal before being pregnant, but a new type of normal and that’s okay.  It was helpful also, that the author put such a heavy emphasis on naming your child.  It doesn’t matter how recent or how long ago it was, it is still important to give a name.  We may all grieve differently, we are all at different stages in the process, but we are all connected on a deeper level.

 

Stepping out…what does this mean?  Stepping out the door to take in a breath of fresh air…Stepping out onto a new path-weather it be career, school, big life events…Stepping out of your comfort zone…Stepping out of your normal routine…Stepping out to help someone out…So what does stepping out mean to you?

For me, stepping out means stepping out of my comfort zone.  Admitting that some times, you just can’t go at it alone any more.  You need a little extra help, help that can only come from those who are walking the footsteps you are or have walked those similar steps before.  I am surrounded by a lot of people every day.  But having people who really understand you and will walk with you, instead of people who will only walk with you can go a long way.  I am finding, that being on this new path, I need to have both in my life.

I have no problems opening up to others around me through my blogs or in occassion back and forth on a social media sight.  That’s me, a behind the scenes kind of person.  The struggle comes into play when the thought of putting myself out there with a group of people I don’t know face to face.  Now, that is a whole different story.

However, it is a step deep down I knew I needed to take.  The timing due to my work schedule just didn’t work well and it wasn’t a match.  When I decided to take a step back, give up my classroom, and become a building sub, then the pieces seemed to fall into place better.  Now, I had the time.  But that meant, that now I had to take that step.  With each step, it will get easier and I will get stronger.  One day, the step will not seem like such a big step.  It will merely be a bridge to the next place on my path.

What are you stepping out on?

 

 

Better Than a Hallelujah” Lyrics

God loves a lullaby
In a mother’s tears in the dead of night
Better than a Hallelujah sometimes

God loves the drunkard’s cry
The soldier’s plea not to let him die
Better than a Hallelujah sometimes

We pour out our miseries
God just hears a melody
Beautiful, the mess we are
The honest cries of breaking hearts
Are better than a Hallelujah

The woman holding on for life
The dying man giving up the fight
Are better than a Hallelujah sometimes

The tears of shame for what’s been done
The silence when the words won’t come
Are better than a Hallelujah sometimes

We pour out our miseries
God just hears a melody
Beautiful, the mess we are
The honest cries of breaking hearts
Are better than a Hallelujah

Better than a church bell ringing
Better than a choir singing out, singing out

We pour out our miseries
God just hears a melody
Beautiful, the mess we are
The honest cries of breaking hearts
Are better than a Hallelujah

We pour out our miseries
God just hears a melody
Beautiful, the mess we are
The honest cries of breaking hearts
Are better than a Hallelujah

(Better than a Hallelujah sometimes)
Better than a Hallelujah
(Better than a Hallelujah sometimes)

 

Ever since we moved into the house we have been building our gardens.  I went from having one garden to know having five!  Thanks to my father and his well developed garden, he has been able to give us plants.  Over time, we have split the plants and been able to grow our gardens.  We haven’t bought many plants, just a handful of perenials over the years and several annuals each Summer. 

I remember while growing up I would pick handfulls of flowers around the house and each weekend we went camping.  To some, they were weeds but to me as a child they were a beautiful boquet.  For whatever reason, once I had my own gardens I didn’t pick flowers all that often.  I don’t know why, maybe I used the cats as an excuse.  I didn’t want vases around that would tip over or that they would eat the flowers from.

In the last year, at least since Christmas last year (2010) Raun and I have been back to our hometown almost monthly.  If we weren’t back there, we had family up here.  So far the only months we haven’t been back home or had family to visit has been May and September.  Each time we went home I noticed something at my parent’s house.  There were always bouquets of flowers.  They were in the kitchen, bedrooms, and bathrooms.  Some were bigger and some were small, but it didn’t.  It was pops of color and beauty, as well as life and vibrance added around the home.

So, I decided to start finally picking my own flowers.  I have done a few larger bouquets to have out in our living room to enjoy, as well as a few small ones throughout the Summer up in our bathroom.  Right, now though, I have to wait a little bit more for my late Summer/early Fall flowers to fully blosoom.  I have realized that there are certain times throughout the gardening season that I don’t have much color in the gardens and have to wait to make my own bouquets.  So, instead when I get a chance and find a good deal, like at the farmer’s market, I will by a bouquet.

Here’s to picking flowers, adding bursts of seasonal color & life into the home, and for enjoying the nature all around us.  What do you do to add bursts of color and life into your home?

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