Who are you going to be with?

The holidays bring about a time of year where you will be surrounded by people.  For some people this will be okay, for others not so much, and yet others will have many mixed emotions or feelings about this.  So what do you do?  Take a moment to think about the people you will be around, whether for an extended time period or just a couple of hours.  If there is anyone who doesn’t support you in your grief and healing process, then you may want to consider how you will spend your holiday time with them.  Do you do what you normally would with them or do you change things up?  This could be anything from changing the venue in which you get together or even changing the lenght of time you meet.  Celebrating a holiday, especially the first one, without your little one can be tough to go through.  Be sure to surround yourself with those who truly do support you and the process you are going through.  Even if you are unable to get together with some of them during the holiday time, make sure to have a way to be in contact with them if possible.  Each person, each couple will go through this differently and a level that they can handle.  So, take the time to talk with your spouse and loved ones to keep them informed on what you are feeling and what you need.   A piece of advice I heard from someone was to have a backdoor plan.  Basically, an exit plans if things get to be too overwhelming.  Create a code word with your spouse that either one of you can say if you find it necessary, then you can make your exit.

 Fortunately, our family and friends are very supportive through all of this.  We also are rather open and honest about it all too.  So, we will be spending our time with family and friends.  If it comes down to it and I need some space I can easily go for a walk, or if I need to talk there will be someone nearby that I trust that I can talk to.

So, who are you going to be with?  What is your plan?  Share below your thoughts, tips, or ideas.

 

Throughout the years we come across things on our path that at the time may seem meaningless.  It isn’t until later that we begin to wonder.  It may take minutes, days, or even years, but for what ever reason we can’t get that thing out of our mind.  It changes us.  For me, this year has been filled with seeing things in a different light, a different perspective, or new meaning.

 The beginning of the year brought on a life experience I never thought I would face.  The loss of a child.  My husband and lost Samantha, our first pregnancy the end of January.  Since then I have been seeing the side of beauty in the world around us.  What some may see as an annoying snowfall, I could see a beauty in snowy covered trees surrounding us.  Or a simple walk back to a campsite turns into rays of light filtering through the trees.

Since I was a child I was intrigued by dragonflies.  When we were camping and I would catch a glimpse of dragonflies flying around, I would stop for a brief moment watching them.  This past Spring, as I put out my garden art pieces, I realized I have several draongfly pieces.  It seemed odd to me that after having put them out year after year in Springtime that I had never noticed before.  So what changed?  The significance of dragonflies.

The dragonfly runs more deeply and touches even deeper in my heart.  The maternity floor at the hospital is also known as the dragonfly floor and there was a dragonfly stone one the wall just outside my door.  Once we were home we received a peace lily and in the peace lily was a dragonfly.  For my birthday I received a card from my grandfather had a dragonfly on it.  A book I received had the coloring of a dragonfly wings on the cover.  There are dragonflies as a part of the website where I received my infant loss necklace from and the label of the bath bombs that I got as a Christmas gift. 

Throughout the Summer I would be visited by dragonflies in places where I normally did not see them.  I would see them at work while out on the playground, occasionally they would hang with me at the memorial wall where Samantha’s name is written, and even at home.  There was even one time when I was leaving for work, it happened to be a tough day,  that a dragonfly landed on my hand for a brief moment.  They seemed to show up just when I need them the most.  Even though it has gotten cold now, the dragonflies still come around.  Only instead of flying around outside, I find them around the house in the midst of doing daily tasks.  For me, a dragonfly lets me know that our little angel is very close by and just stopping into say “Hi Mommy, I’m alright”.  This bring a great sense of peace and comfort to my mind, heart, and spirit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where will you be?

For a lot of people the holidays means a time for travel.  For some, it could be across town and for others it is across the country.  Whether by road or by air, most of us usually end up traveling some distance to be with family.  Traveling can be exciting, but even though your trunk may be full of gifts you may feel that your arms are still empty.  The thought of this may cause a debate with yourself, your spouse, and your family.  Do we travel this year or do we choose to stay home?  Along with this thought is, do you or will you accept the usual holiday invitations?  What about new holiday invitations?  I have heard it both ways.  Do you choose to skip the usual invitations, but go to the new ones where most people there don’t know your story?  For a moment, you can live the way you did before your loss.  Or do you skip the new ones because people won’t understand what you’re feeling and do the usual ones because you would be with people who know and understand.  Something else to think about…will you be including different activities at home for just your family?

We will continue to do what we always do for Christmas.  We head to WI for an extended weekend to spend time with both of our families.  Fortunately, both of our sets of parents live about six blocks from each other, so it makes it easier to see all our family.  As far as invitations go during the holiday season, we don’t get many, which we are fine with.  We get the usual work holiday parties, which most likely we will go to.  Seeing as it is just my husband, two cats, and me at home, our family activities will remain the same.  I will decorate the house, we will decorate the tree, but we are planning to add in a few new decorations this year, and there will be some holiday baking.

So, where will be?  What is your plan?  Share below your thoughts, tips, or ideas.

 

It only takes one word to give you hope, or strength, or encouragement.  It only takes one word to help make the day and all that it brings easier to handle.  Some times, that word will stick with you for days, weeks, even months.  Other times, depending on the events of the day, as well as the emotions, your word might change to convey what you need most.  That word gives you a handle, a rope, something to hold tight onto.

This week my Illuminate photography assignment was to think of one word.  Then go out and find those letters to make up the word in a series of photos.  Sounds simple right?  Well, the catch is you can’t use the easy things like street signs.  My word…is trust.  It is a word that has been with me since we were in labor and delivery.  The plaque in the picture was given to us at the hospital.  Trust, it seems like a simple innocent word, but it is really a strong, powerful word, that can bring so much with it.  The verse that goes with this is Joshua 1:9 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged for the Lord, your God will be with you wherever you go.”

So, my journey began.  St. Paul is filled with so much architectural detail it was fun driving around town to find hidden letters.  Incidentally, when it came down to it, most of the letters I ended up using were from my own backyard.  Trust… 

This week I have also been challenged to write about the future.  Where might I be in 1 month, 6 months, 1 year from now.  This is our last Illuminate assignment and for whatever reason, this has been my hardest.  The letters I found easily.  It is the writing that I have needed time to let sink in.

Before thinking forward, I needed to reflect on the past year.  It was a year ago this week that I found out we were pregnant with Samantha.  She is our first baby.  We had decided earlier in the year to begin to grow our family.  Last December our family grew by one more.  Samantha was our, as well as our families special early Christmas present.  Had the pregnancy gone without complications, right now a year later from that moment, would be a lot different.  Then again, so would have this past year and a year from now would have been a whole different path.

Instead, my path had different intentions and decided on a different way to go.  This way that it went was not a choice of mine.  However, I have learned to walk in this new direction.  This past year has been filled with loss and also filled with joys.  Even though Samantha is now in heaven, we celebrated a lot this year with weddings, holidays, a 95th birthday, and life.  I have met new people, gotten closer to others, and built stronger relationships.

Thinking ahead I know I want to continue doing some of the new things I picked up this year, I want to expand things, and I want to readjust other things.  I want to move into more of a simplier mode.  I hope down the road I am able to continue to do the things that bring me the most joy.  I will continue to spend time with family.  I hope to take more  time to have  coffee and chats with friends.  I will take an active approach in my health, making the simple step of being more active.

In a year from now I hope to be “living the backyard life“, as my husband puts it, still and having that life include little feet running around the house.  My wish is to grow our family.  To go from 3 to 4 or 5.  Whatever it may be.  To be raising a family is my dream.  I also hope that my photography has grown.  I hope it grows into something where I can share it more with people and where I can create something special for families.  I hope my path continues to introduce new people into my life in hopes that bonds can be formed and relationships built.

In the year ahead I plan to continue blogging/journaling, creating a place for others to find help & healing on their infant loss path, as well as a place to share their story through my website www.myinfantloss.com, and continue to find ways to honor Samantha.  I hope to find beauty in the world around me each day, find great joy in the simple things, and grow (mentally, spiritually, and emotionally)

I will be adding another word to make my one word motto into a two word motto.  As the new year begins I plan to carry two words with me…trust and strength.

 

Raun and I have faced many holidays since we lost Samantha.  She died in January so we have faced Easter, Mother’s day, Father’s day, and Thanksgiving so far this year, and soon we will be able to add Christmas to the list.  The first year of holidays is tough.  I have run the gamut of emotions.  I am happy to be with family and celebrate, but saddened because Samantha was not there to be a part of it.

Thinking back to when our due date was, she would not have been born yet for Easter, Mother’s day, and Father’s day.  We would have still been pregnant at the time had there been no complications with the pregnancy.  Either way, because of when she was born, January, we faced those holidays without our daughter here on earth.

Fortunately, we have been blessed with a very supportive family and strong group of friends.  With them, it has been easier to get through the holidays.  Instead of moving through them in a blur, I have been able to be present and to find some joy throughout them.  On each of those holidays, our family has honored and remembered Samantha in some way.  Even though she is not here on earth, she is still a part of our family and our family holds her closely in their hearts.  They show it through their words, prayers, and cards.

I know this may not be the case for others out there who have lost their little one(s) through miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant loss.  I have heard stories of people’s relationships becoming strained with their family members, in-laws, or even their spouse after the loss of their child.  Sometimes, even friendships are broken because of the loss.  My heart aches for those who have lost this supportive circle.  Most of the time it is because people just don’t know what to do or say, so it becomes easier for them to ignore what happened.

Holidays can bring the best or the worst out in people, no matter what their life situations are currently.  The holidays bring a different disposition to most people.  For those who have experienced the loss of a child, this time of year becomes tough in a whole different way.  They are celebrating a holiday, but they aren’t able to have their little one with them physically to celebrate it too.  This creates a tension.

So, I want to help give you the tools to create a plan in hopes that you will find your burden a little less and that you can  find happiness and beauty in what is in front of you.  I will provide some things for you to think about and help set steps towards a holiday plan.  Your answers and feelings may differ than your spouse’s, so be sure to sit down and talk through these things together.  I will also share with you what my husband and I will be doing.

Raun and I are truly excited for the holiday season.  Yes, we will miss Samantha and will feel saddened that she won’t be here physically to celebrate with us.  But, we do know that she will still be celebrating with us in spirit.

I send you extra thoughts, prayers, and hugs during this holiday season.  I wish many blessings for you and strength.  I hope you may find some beauty and joy in the season.  Your little angel will be near in spirit, holding your hand and guiding you through.  Lastly, I pray for peace for you.

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