With the fact that we have only a month and half left to go before Timothy makes his appearance, it is quite obvious at this point that I am pregnant.  So, now when I am out shopping or out to dinner I have been asked a lot when I am due.  That is an easy question and I have no problems answering it with a giant smile.  However, there is always a question that follows…is this your first?.  That question I hesitate and with a half smile say yes.

I have a daughter already and a son on the way.  That means two kids.  But if someone doesn’t know my situation, I can’t seem to say I have two children.  I am not sure why I don’t say two when talking to someone I don’t know.  Maybe it’s because I don’t want to make them feel uncomfortable or maybe I am not truly ready to explain to people that I have one daughter in heaven and one on the way.  I feel guilty about it and it breaks my heart to say it.

I know that this all a part of the healing process after the loss of a child.  I also know that, from experience, that trying to get pregnant and being pregnant after such a loss brings about a lot of mixed emotions.  I honestly thought that I would be able to easily tell people I have two children.  I guess that is a stepping stone that I have come to but I am not quite ready to step out onto yet.

I hope that there comes a time when someone asks me how many children I have that I can answer without hesitation or without holding back the actual number.  As of today, that number is two.  Could be more down the road depending on where my path leads me.  One day, I will be able to step on the stone and continue down the road of healing.

 

This weekend we celebrate Samantha’s second birthday.  It’s hard to believe, some days, that it has been two years since she came into our world and we had to quickly say goodbye.  I have to admit, the second year has been a lot easier to process through than the first.  I am not saying it hasn’t been without it’s difficulties and moments of undeniable grief, but those moments have been just a little bit easier to take in and deal with.

I am not sure what we will in honor of Samantha’s birthday this year.  I know every body does it a little different.  Some throw a birthday party, some just let the day go by and they remember in silence, and others do something something small in memory.  Whatever you decide to do to celebrate your little one’s birthday is your choice.  Listen to your heart to tell you what to do.  It can be a big party or it can be something small and it simple.  Last year for her one year birthday we visited her and placed some beautiful, bright orange flowers by her.  We took a moment to reflect and remember.  I would guess that this year, we will do something simple again.  But for us, that works.  Happy 2nd Birthday Baby Girl!

 

Gary Allen has a new song out called “Every Storm (Runs out of Rain)” that strikes a cord with me, especially deep down in my heart.  It is not only touching emotionally, but it also has a way of sticking with me mentally as well.  There are times when I find myself repeating the chorus of the song over and over in my mind.

“every storm runs, runs out of rain
just like every dark night turns into day
every heartache will fade away
just like every storm runs, runs out of rain”

Grief is kind of the same way, it runs out of strength so what ever storm you are going through slowly fades.  With the loss of a child, that grief does and will fade, however it never fully goes away.  It looses it’s strength and it’s hold.  I will forever miss Samantha, that will never change.  There will still be some what might of been moments, uneasiness with pregnancies, and some sadness around special days but as time passes by I will continue to heal and the storm won’t be so strong.  With healing I will be able to find joy instead of sadness on those days and a with a renewed perspective I will continue to grow.  This storm may never completely run out of rain, but it won’t stay a storm forever.  One day it will become a light rain, refreshing the surroundings around me and washing the memories over me.  Remember that with every storm things are different.  Each takes it’s own path and it’s own time to run out.  But, by surrounding yourself by those who understand and letting your voice be heard, you will begin to heal and you can find strength again.

Take a listen to this beautiful song.  I hope you can find the strength you need to work through your storm.

 

 

Today ends Carly Marie’s Project Heal Capturing Your Grief through photography.  I haven’t been on top of things for the past week or so and have fallen behind on my daily photographs.  Some of the topics kind of through me for a loop because I didn’t know how to share a photo about it or in some cases I didn’t have any…like place of care or baby shower.  So, I have looked at where I left off all the way through today and have compiled what I can into photographs creating a wrap up for the project.  So here goes my final thoughts in photographs and words…

Altar, Shrine, Sacred Space:  I wouldn’t say that what I have is an altar or shrine…I guess maybe it is a sacred place.  I have always had our unity candle and photos of Raun and I above the fireplace.  After Samantha died, I added her name in the sand, her handprint, and her candle.  I once had someone tell me that in order to help me move forward I needed to put away all things Samantha.  A sort of out of sight out of mind concept I guess.  I couldn’t understand where they were coming from and why they would say that.  I left these items out.  This wall above the fireplace is our family photos.  She deserves to have her pictures there too.

 

Their name, their photo:  The first photo is one that I ordered in the May following our loss.  It arrived shortly after in my email…absolutely beautiful.  The second photo was a beautiful picture that her name was added to…I was touched by the colors and the heart.  Both photos are done by Carly Marie.

 

Siblings:  This is our first 3D photo of Baby L done on October 19.  As of this date we don’t know yet if Samantha has a sister or brother, but we will find out in a few weeks.

Artwork: I don’t have any other specific artwork relating to all of this and Samantha really.  But I do have this collage that I created for my Illuminate class that I took.  It is a compalation of photos from the cemetary where Samantha is the first Fall season without her here.  I came across the class and entered for a chance to win a free spot in one of the following classes.  My photo was picked and I got to walk the journey of Illuminate with other amazing women on a similar path.

 

Your grief tell the world:  I don’t have a specific photo for this, but my way of telling the world has been through this website.

Sunset:  This challenge began with a sunrise and ends with a sunset.  This photo is not from the last day of October, but from Labor Day weekend 2011.  Raun and I decided to take a weekend and get away, so we went to one of our favorite places…Bayfield, WI.  It was a quiet weekend around the small city, but it was very relaxing and the time away was needed.  This photo is from a sunset one of the nights we were there and it is one of my favorite photos.

 

 

Shortly after Samantha’s first birthday I was to the point in the healing process where I felt the need to give back.  Dragonflies are a big part of my life, the healing process, and my way of knowing that things are going to be alright…our baby girl is just fine.  So I knew it had to be something dragonfly related.  Dragonflies have been my way of remaining hopeful, finding comfort, and finding strength.  So, I found a beautiful way to make beaded dragonflies and Samantha’s Dragonfly was born.  This is my way of passing along the blessing that I have received.  I donate the dragonflies to a few hospitals for their keepsake boxes, as well as anyone who requests one. I also include a very special poem that I wrote about dragonflies that we included with our first Christmas Letter the year that Samantha joined our family.  With each card we included a little silver dragonfly as well to share.  My project…Samantha’s Dragonfly.

 

I’m a little late putting this together, but I was waiting until we went to the doctor today to have an ultrasound.  Cool thing…we got a 3D photo of baby!  So, I combine that photo, with Samantha’s special garden memorial stone, and a few photos of Raun and I.  So, here you have it, our family portrait!

 

 

Both of these photos were taken on Samantha’s first birthday…January 27, 2012.  Raun and I visited, took time to reflect, and laid flowers.

 

  

 

This past Summer marked the one year anniversary of Samantha’s due date…July 5.  While this day holds significance, I seem to find myself not as drawn to the date as much as the first passing of it.  It is a day that will always hold a spot in my heart though.

These photos are from a balloon release I did on July 5 of this year.

  

 

Wave of light is a special day where at 7:00 pm those that have lost a child due to pregnancy or infant loss light a candle in memory of their little one.

One candle lit in memory of Samantha and one candle lit in memory of other little ones gone to soon.

 

I have been blessed to have a very supportive family in all of this, and a select few friends as well.  Over the past year I have also made connections that have allowed my support system to grow, that I would have not made had none of this happened.  I have listened to stories where marriages are falling apart, family ties are broken, and friendships lost because of the loss of a child.  While most of the friends that I have, have not experienced anything like this, they try to understand.  Sure, they are some who don’t ask questions and don’t want to hear about it…so I don’t open up as much to them.  The connections that I have made with others are with those who have walked a similar path.  They understand, they ask, and even now…a year and half later, they still ask questions and let me know they are thinking about us.  My husband has been there through all my ups and downs, confusions and understandings, hopeful moments and worried times.  He has been strong when I could not be and he has been able to provide different perspectives on this whole thing that I would have never thought of.  My family, though scattered from one end of the continent to the other, has been there for us whenever we needed.  They’ve been helpful, understanding, supportive, and encouraging.  Though we may be scattered, we are still strong and supportive of each other.

Thank you to everyone who has been supportive.

The loss of child and the grief that follows can make what lies ahead of you seem like this…

But with supportive family and friends the healing is easier to take one step at a time, making the journey more like this…

You may not see the end directly, but getting through the grief becomes a little bit easier.

 

 

 

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