I know that when we face difficult times in our lives our faith can either be destroyed or strengthened.  I also know that there are a lot of pregnancy and infant loss families out there, as well as those who support them that have lost their faith because of their loss.  While yet, some of those families have gotten a stronger faith because of it.

In all honesty my faith life is still kind of young and growing.  With the death of our daughter there were some things I didn’t want to loose hold of.  I didn’t want to loose hold of God and my faith and I didn’t want to loose the strength of my marriage.  I know full well that both of these things could have tanked afterwards, but from where I sit I feel like they have both gotten stronger.  Yes, my faith has wavered throughout this time and there are times I wondered how God could take away such a young life.  But I rest assured that Samantha is being held in loving arms and being taken care of, she is in Heaven’s Nursery.  As far as my marriage goes, we’ve always had a strong relationship and this experience, I feel, has brought us closer than before.  With my husband and with God, I know I can face the tough spots in life.

I will have to admit that sometimes my praying gets side tracked a little to easily.  Since everything has happened I have tried to make more of a conscious effort to pray.  Sometimes it’s in the morning, sometimes it’s before bed.  But most of the time it is through little bullet prayers throughout the day.  Just a short one or two sentence about whatever is happening at the moment.  There have been many days where I just don’t know what to say and that’s okay.  That is when I say, well Lord, you know what is in my heart even though I can’t find the right words to say right now.  Recently I started doing an ABC prayer.  When I don’t know what to say, but really feel the need to put some words out there, I do an ABC prayer.

I start at the beginning of the alphabet and think of a word or phrase that goes with each letter.  If I come to a letter and can’t think of anything, I move onto the next.  By doing this, I usually have something that pops into mind a few letters later.  If I do skip over a letter I make sure to go back, so that each letter has something.  For example: A-angels, B-baseball, C-creativity.  I use things that are blessings, gifts, important to me, events, or people on my mind.  You will be surprised at what you think of for the letters as you go along.

What do you do to collect your thoughts at the end of the day?  What prayers do you find helpful?  What do you say to yourself to uplift your thoughts and  cares?

 

My week 3 assignment for my Illuminate course consists of two mini assignments rolled into one.  First we were challenged with taking steps, 100 steps to be exact.  We had to walk 100 steps and take a photo using what was available around us at that moment as our focus.  Second, we had to focus our writing on gratefulness.  I went on two different walks where every 100th step I took a photo.  Each walk I went on I combined the collective photos into a video.  So, 100 steps & gratefulness.

When you think about it, 100 steps really isn’t that much.  But there are times when even one step seems like way too much, so to accomplish one hundred is just out of reach and unthinkable.  I’ve been there before.  My husband and I have been together for over 16 years, married for 5 +.  Yes, that makes us high school sweethearts, and then some. We’ve had ups and downs in that time, but  what relationship doesn’t, especially after being together for so many years.  However, we have never hit as low of a point as we did this year when we had to say goodbye to Samantha.  The simplest of tasks became the hardest.  Sometimes, even the difficult steps were just a blur because you walk around so numb.  You move through life, while life around you moves on.  If it weren’t for my husband, I don’t think I would be as strong as I am.

I am grateful for my husband and the relationship we have.  It is a deep relationship, filled with:  love, communication, strength, encouragement, commitment, warmth, and arms to hold you.

Steps can lead you up, down, winding, straight, and even sometimes backwards.  Have I stumbled on my journey, yes I have.  But through it all, I have been learning from it all.  The steps of the path I am and taking currently, are steps I never thought I would take.  Who does?  For most…you grow up, get a job, get married, and decide to have a family.  No where in your thought and plan do you decide to become the parent of child who is in heaven.  Unfortunately, those are the cards I was dealt.  However, as unfortunate as it is, honestly I am able to remain very thankful and grateful.

I am grateful for the life I have.  I am grateful for the blessings I have received.  I am grateful for Samantha.  I may not have planed for this, but this is where I am.  I have learned a lot over the past year about life, probably more in that short of time then over the course of my life up to this point.  I have learned to slow down and take the moment in.  I have learned that not having a plan can be just as good as having a plan.  I am learning to do more of things I love to do instead of just thinking about doing them.

Steps can take you down familiar terrain or it can be like trying to cross a river where some steps are easy to make and some are sunken just below the water causing uneasyness.  When we take familiar steps, we easily fall into a rhythm and often a routine.  It isn’t until those steps take us out of comfort zone, sometimes way out of our comfort zone, that we begin to worry, are fearful, or begin to shut down.  There are times when going out of our comfort zone is good for us.  But it is easier to take it all in when it is our choice to move out of the comfort zone.  When we are tossed out of comfort zone by no choice of our own, that is when it sometimes gets tough.  It is important to have family and friends.

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Family is important to me and always has been.  However, now the importance of family is even more valuable than ever before.  Beyond my husband, my family has been another major support in my life.  I am grateful for the prayers, support, conversations, love, and everything else that come with being a family.

I am grateful for the few close friends I have.  Friends that will join me in having a cup of coffee and good converstation.  Friends who are there and supportive, and genuine.

Steps can be easy or they can be hard.  When you have the things you are most grateful in life for surrounding you, the hard steps become a little easier.  Those hard steps sometimes create the opportunity for us to forget the simple things in life, the things we are grateful for.  I encourage you to slow down and take a step.  If you can, take another and then another.  Break down the big things in life, into smaller steps.  Instead of taking 100 steps, try 50, or even 20.  And if that first step is too hard to take on your own, I encourage you to take the hand of someone who can take that step with you.  Whether it is a spouse, a friend, a family member, or God reach your hand out and say “please go with me, help me take this step”.

 

 

 

I am continuing to share with you what I am thankful for, grateful for, or just plain blessed with in my life.  At the beginning of the month I decided to share my 30 days of Thankfulness.  You can read the first part of my 30 days of Thankfulness by clicking here for 1-6 and here for 7-13.

14.  Support-I am blessed with a tremendous support system that has come out of losing Samantha.  Without that support system, I wouldn’t be able to be where I am today.

15. My new contacts-I know this may sound odd, but I have been trying to get the right ones for the past three months.  Finally, after like the 7th pair they are right.  I can see well during the day and night finally!

16. For an Extra Long Fall-In Minnesota, Fall doesn’t always seem to stick around.  We have been very lucky and very blessed to still have decent weather.

17. My memorial garden-It’s the middle of November and the flowers I planted (Yellow Snapdragons) that are around the memory stone are still blooming.

In Spring, when I first planted everythingSnapdragons still blossoming as of November 19

 

18. The Internet-without there is a lot I wouldn’t be able to do.  With it I am able to easily keep in touch with family and I am able to share my photography, as well as my writings.

19. MyInfantLoss.com-it has been a way for me to reach out to others, hopefully helping them while helping myself through the healing process.

20. My Car-it allows me to go where I need to go, as well as where I want to go.  Without it doing so many of the fun road trips we did this past year wouldn’t have as possible as they were.

21. God-without having the knowledge of God walking beside me and being there, I think times would be a lot tougher and things would be a lot harder to handle.  Even though I may waver, turn away, yell and get angry, He is always there, no matter what.

What are you thankful for?  It’s not to late to start creating your list.  If you aren’t able to do the 30 days of Thankfulness, then I encourage you to create a list of 10.  I look forward to continuing to share mine and I look forward to hearing from you what is on your list.  Share you thoughts below.

 

 

“Glory Baby” Lyrics

Glory baby you slipped away as fast as we could say baby…baby..
You were growing, what happened dear?
You disappeared on us baby…baby..
Heaven will hold you before we do
Heaven will keep you safe until we’re home with you…
Until we’re home with you…

Miss you everyday
Miss you in every way
But we know there’s a
day when we will hold you
We will hold you
You’ll kiss our tears away
When we’re home to stay
Can’t wait for the day when we will see you
We will see you
But baby let sweet Jesus hold you
‘till mom and dad can hold you…
You’ll just have heaven before we do
You’ll just have heaven before we do

Sweet little babies, it’s hard to
understand it ‘cause we’re hurting
We are hurting
But there is healing
And we know we’re stronger people through the growing
And in knowing-
That all things work together for our good
And God works His purposes just like He said He would…
Just like He said He would…

BRIDGE:
I can’t imagine heaven’s lullabies
and what they must sound like
But I will rest in knowing, heaven is your home
And it’s all you’ll ever know…all you’ll ever know…

 

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.

 

 

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)

 

 

February 6- 

This is the first day back to church since it all happened.  Interestingly enough, most people there didn’t know that we were pregnant yet, therefore they didn’t know what we had just gone through.  Truthfully I don’t remember much from the service.  Apparently Raun’s grandma had talked to Pastor Anita letting her know what had happened.  She came up to us telling us she was sorry for what had happened and she wanted to chat with us about it.  The odd thing was, she never did.  She never asked any more questions, didn’t say anything else, never chatted with us.  I am not sure how I feel about that.  From what I have heard Pastors, as well as other clergy, have a tendency to take on the God perspective saying it would be better this way, this the way God wanted it, those kind of things.  I am not sure that would have been overly helpful.  Yet at the same time, it is a little frustrating that she never touched based after saying that she would. 

 After church we headed home, to a once again empty house.  Barb had left a little package that had a book about infant loss, necklace with a lily and tear drops, as well as a beautiful card.  Raun and I sat down to order a special necklace.  It has tiny hand stamped footprints on the front side of a heart pendent, Samantha’s initials stamped on the back, and two birthstones-January for when she was born & July for when our original due date was set.  It looks absolutely beautiful online and I can’t wait until it comes in the mail.

 The rest of the day went through as a bit of a blur and in the evening I prepared to go back to work tomorrow.  Not sure if I can ever be fully ready.

 

       

   I take heart in knowing that other’s still care.  But truly, I feel that only a few truly understand.  Some around me try to understand and just go with the flow, not having experienced this themselves.  Some try to understand and try to say the right thing.  And there are some who do truly understand, have walked the path, yet say nothing. 

         There is someone close to me that has no idea truly, what I am going through, however her kind words echo through my mind and my heart.  When I don’t know where to turn, when I feel completely overwhelmed, when I don’t understand my emotions I turn to those words.  Sometimes saying them helps, sometimes it makes me stop and think, and sometimes it just resonates.  One of the things that she said was “I truly believe that everything happens for a reason”.  I agree with her, though it is tough to hear and to take in some times, God lets everything happen for a reason.  As much as I would love to know is why this, I also know I will never truly know why.

       She also said that I was one of the strongest people she knows, if anybody can get through this I can, and based on that she knows that I will ge through this and that one day I will truly be blessed in a big way.  Hmmm…I am strong.  Do I feel like that?  Sometimes I do.  Other times when the tears are flowing I think, really?  Am I really strong?  I may not always agree with that statement, but having someone else believe it, helps me believe in myself.  One day, I will be able to stand up tall and say with confidence “I am strong”

 

 

Most people think that enough time has gone by, I am fine and everything is back to normal.  But, in reality, it doesn’t work that way.  I manage my way through the day as normal as normal is now.  However, the little things pop up totally unexpectedly and the reaction is just the same.  My word of advice, be cautious in your words and make sure you really fully understand what is going on before you let the words go.  Even the best of effort, can be a pitfall for the person.  It is nice to know “we” and our situation are not forgotten about, but it all comes down to timing and how it is said.  Remember we have all lost someone close to us, but losing a child is not like anything anyone has faced before.  I ask that you let God guide your words.  Then they will come out right, with the best of intentions, at the moment that person needs most to hear them.

 

 

Today I take a break from posting another part of “The Story” to take a moment to reflect on this special day given to mother’s to celebrate all that they have done, do, and will do in the years to come.  Mother’s are a very important part of our lives.  From the moment life begins, they are always there.  The connection and bond are deeply seeded, and only grow as their child grows.  At some point the child becomes more of a friend.  Even though you may have lost a child, whether it be sometime during pregnancy or any time after, you will always feel that bond with your child.  It is a deep, deep seed that lies within your heart.  Life changes, goes on, but you will never forget.  And that’s okay.  We always will remember.  The toughest question for me to answer right now is when other people ask me “Do you have any kids?”  Insntantly my mind says “yes” but as of yet, that’s not how it comes out.  I think I am fearful of what the question will be to come and how to answer.  Some day, the answer will be easier to give.  But for now, I will relish in the fact that yes, I am a mother and I have a beautiful daughter who is resting safely in God’s arms.  I found a quote today that I find says a lot: “Mother’s Day is a day of appreciation and respect. I can think of no mothers who deserve it more than those who had to give a child back” ~ Erma Bombeck.  We are all mother’s in one way or another.   Happy Mother’s Day to all the mother’s out there.

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