The draw of nature…more specifically in this case-water, the sounds, the calm.

Being near water and listening to the waves is one of my favorite moments.  it puts me in a mode where everything seems to slow down.  I am able to gather my thoughts, sort through things, meditate, and reflect.  After my times by water I walk away with a sense of peace, open mind, and a renewed energy.

Where is your place that brings you this?  Have you been there recently?  Or is your heart and mind calling you to go?  What would it take for you to go now?  How much benefit would it bring to you?

I ask these questions because after this past week I realized I had not gotten in touch with the outdoors in a while.  The reason?  too busy.  It’s more of an excuse, but with the weather being as nice as it has, it’s a pretty lousy excuse.  After an early day at work, I quickly went home changed, grabbed a few things, and headed down to the river.  It felt good to sit in the sun, watch the waterfowl, listen to the water, and write.

This past Saturday was an absolutely gorgeous day!  80 degrees!  I must say this is highly unusual for Minnesota during the month of March.  A year ago we were still buried in many feet of snow at this point.  Raun and I took the opportunity to hang out down by the river for several hours.

I was able to get so writing done and some photography done.  While both were fun, the photography opportunity was amazing.  I would sit down by the water, listen to waves, and wait.  I waited for the ducks and geese to get ever so close so I could catch a photo.  Waiting still, waiting for the sun to peak out made the adventure more fun.

The draw of nature is what brings me satisfaction.  I need to be around, submersed, near it throughout the days.  If I go too long, I notice big time.  The call and desire burn like a flame.  It stays manageable if I have my priorities straight, but when they are off balance that flame is more like a fire.  It is one of my happy places.

What is your happy places?  Where do you go?  What do you do?  Have you checked in there recently?


But I am grieving, how can I be happy?  Is it possible to do both?  If I am happy, does that mean that I hurt any less?

Have you had these questions cross your mind throughout your grief journey?  I sure have.  When I was first on this roller coaster ride called grief I would wonder how could I ever be happy again.  Once those little rays began to push through…the smile here, the laugh there I began to wonder does this mean that I am  hurting any less or that I am done grieving or am I taking something away from Samantha.

The short answer to this is..yes, it is okay to be happy, to smile, to laugh.  You need to let yourself be happy, it is okay.  It doesn’t mean you aren’t still grieving and it won’t take away from the memory of your little one.  Your little one will forever be apart of you whether it is a good day or a bad day, whether you are smiling or crying.  Learning how to be happy once again is a part of the journey.

This combination of laughing while feeling like I was about to cry, being happy while being sad was…well it was kind of weird.  It is amazing what we feel and how quickly it can change.  I remember many years ago after my grandmother’s funeral we had just finished up dinner with all the family at the family bar.  We had so many tears in the morning and so many laughs that night.  When we left dinner my brother and I got into a snowball fight that later had my dad joining in.  Yes, we said good bye to a family member but there was a burst of happiness that made it’s way through that day.

As you go through the days little burst of happiness will begin to come through.  Find the things that can make you feel happy-a hobby, a book, a cup of coffee.  Whatever it may you need to let yourself be happy too.  Those around you who truly support you will understand and recognize that it is okay to have the grief and the happiness.

After loosing Samantha my comfort was a cup of coffee.  Now, when I say coffee I mean one of those fru fru coffees.  It didn’t matter how terrible the day was, getting my hands on that cup brought a small sense of peace.  All be it a brief moment at first, but it was something.  As time went by and the weather turned to Spring my happiness was found in photography.  Then through writing and photography.  Seeing a dragonfly ever now and then was the best source of happiness.  It meant Samantha was closer by.  My healing and happiness has come through taking pictures and writing about my journey.

Some day, down the road you too will find the things that can make you happy again.  It is there just waiting to push through.  When you are ready, let yourself be happy.  It’s okay.


Raun and I have been through many holidays and celebrations since we lost Samantha.  We have faced Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Weddings, and Birthdays.  We are to the point where we have two major holidays to work through…Thanksgiving and Christmas.  These two holidays are filled with families, friends, new experiences, old experiences, and tradition.  So, how does one face these next couple of months?

In my pregnancy and infant loss group this was our topic…How to make it through the Holidays.  This topic is interesting for me,  I learned a lot just by listening to others in the group.  To start we each shared what we were most dreading about the upcoming holiday time.  For most, it seeemed to be family that was causing the most anxiety.  Unfortunately for a lot of people their relationships become strained with their family and their family is not overly supportive on the topic.  They would prefer to push it out and remain inside their comfort zone. 

I am not familiar with this.  Fortunately, for me, for us, I think our relationship with family has become stronger and deeper.  We are lucky to have many hugs, prayers, and words of comfort coming from all over the country.  That, to me, is a big blessing, especially after listening to other’s in the group.

We also began to talk about the things we will do, do not do, or change.  Like parties to attend, people to see, food to make, shopping to do, and so on.  For me, the thing that I took away from this night was not only being thankful for my family, but the idea of doing something special to remember our little one.  I had been thinking on this for a little while.  We are going to include a special something in each of our Christmas cards that we send out this year in memory of our little girl.  Iam also keeping my eye out for a special decoration, ornament, or something that resonates deeply within my heart that we can always put out during the holiday season.

Over the next couple of weeks I am going to post some topics on getting through the holidays.  They will be questions to think about and I will add my own input on what we’ve done on previous holidays or what we plan on doing for the next two.  It is my hope that these will help make it a little easier to get through the holidays and hopefully you will even be able to find a little joy and happiness during this time.  I know it isn’t always easy to find the happier side of things when you’ve lost a child, I have been there.  I am still learning though.  Learning how to make it through, how to move forward, how to take what has happened and help others, and find ways to honor Samantha.

So, I ask you…this upcoming Holiday Season, what is something that you dread? What are you most fearful of or worried about?  On the flip side, what are you most excited about?  What are you most looking forward to doing?  How are you going to find bits of happiness and joy in the season?  I liked to hear your thoughts and ideas.  Together, we can work our way through the holidays.

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