Today is a special day in which all dads are thanked, honored, and remembered.  It is Father’s Day and we celebrate all our dads and all the men in our life that were like a dad to us.  I have my one and only amazing father, but there are several others who have been like a dad to me over the years…like my father in law and good family friend of ours.

Today is an interesting day in our family.  From first glance, most would look at Raun and say “Happy Father’s Day”, “Is this your first child” or “Happy First Father’s Day”.  But for those that know our family, this isn’t his first Father’s Day.  His first one happened three years ago, the first June after Samantha was born.  Raun has been a dad for three years now, his roll has just changed a little bit now.  Yes, this is the first Father’s Day with Timothy, but that doesn’t make it his first go around the block on this special day.

It’s has been an interesting week leading up to Father’s Day that has gotten me think.  I receive email offers from some of my favorite local restaurants throughout the year.  This week my inbox has been flooded with Father’s Day deals.  Interestingly enough, the deal is bring in the family of four and dad receives something free.  Family of four…we are a family of four.  But if we were to walk into one of these restaurants I am guessing people would think we are crazy.  There is a part of me that wants to email the place back and share our story, there is also a part that kind of just wants to show up the restaurant with crew in tow and something of Samantha’s, and yet still a part of me that wants to celebrate on a low key style & have the same responses to people who don’t know as we did for Mother’s Day.  It’s such a weird place to be.  We are a family of four, but look like a family of three.

I believe that families who have experienced the loss of a child learn a new way to celebrate holidays.  And each year looks a little bit different.  So I say, celebrate this special day however you want.  May you have the courage and strength to find something memorable in the day.  Today is a blessing.  Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there!

Happy Father’s day to you Raun!  You are an amazing dad to our two beautiful children!!

 

When we found out that Samantha’s heart had stopped beating and that we would have to be admitted into labor and delivery, I didn’t know what to expect or do.  Not to mention, at that point I wasn’t thinking very well as the emotions that ran through me were so strong.  I asked the nurse on the phone what we needed to bring with and one item she mentioned was a camera.  I didn’t really think much about it, I just tossed my point and shoot camera in the bag as we walked out the door.  I am happy to say, I am very thankful and blessed for that piece of advice.  We were able to get a few pictures of our sweet baby girl.  The nurses were great at helping take photos and doing different things.  Things at the time I had no idea why.  The only comment, “you may not realize it now, but down the road you will be thankful to have these”.

That nurse was right.  We are lucky to have photos, as many who experience a miscarriage or stillbirth do not have the chance to take photos.  We may not have many, but the one’s we do are a treasure.  I know now that there are organizations out there of professional photographers who come in and will take photos of the parents and their baby.  It’s a great service, however your little one usually has to be considered stillbirth age in order for them to come in.  For those having a miscarriage, especially early on, we are left to not having any photos or taking our own if possible.  It is my advice, that no matter how far along you are, take photos.  Take as many as you can or have someone you know help you out.

We recently had professional photos done of Timothy and us.  This is an opportunity we didn’t get with Samantha, so when the chance arose I jumped quickly at it.  One of the best parts of the session was that we had family photos done…family photos of all four of us.  Using some special items that were Samantha’s or reminded us of her, we were able to snap a few photos of all of us.  The photographer was great and even before I got started in showing what we had for “props” she was asking if there items of Samantha’s that we wanted to include.  I was in awe and felt blessed that she remembered, as well as recognized our daughter.  She even asked Samantha if possible to send a real dragonfly down during the shoot.  We didn’t see a real one that day, as our time outside was limited to small windows due to rain.  However, while taking photos outside we were surrounded by all the garden art dragonflies that we have.

So, when you have the opportunity take photos.  You can never have to many, as they all will be a treasure down the road.

 

When I found out that we were pregnant with Samantha I was excited.  A bit overwhelmed at first, but so filled with joy.  It didn’t take long for me to start thinking about how things might be down the road.  Would our little girl be all girly girly filled with frills, lace, and princesses?  Or would she be more rough and tumble, not afraid to get dirty?  Or would she be a little bit of both?  I dreamed that I would see her dance down the hall and one day dancing with her daddy.

Those dreams never came true when Samantha died.  They may be slightly shattered now, but they still remain just a dream.  Out of loosing Samantha new dreams began to surface.  One big one, the dream to have another child.  Another dream was to do something in her honor.  I started Samantha’s Dragonflies the Fall that year we lost Samantha.  Dragonflies represent her and bring me a sense of peace.  They are my way of knowing she is alright and everything is going to be okay.  Today, I still make the dragonflies.  However, the sit and wait.  The wait to fly out to those who need one.

If you or someone you know could use a dragonfly blessing please let me know.  All my dragonflies come with a special poem I wrote the first Christmas after we lost Samantha.  I have been blessed by dragonflies on my journey, let me pass that blessing and dream on to you.

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