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.

 

 

Holidays are a time of joy and celebration, filled with making new memories, celebrating traditions, and spending time with loved ones.  Holidays can also be a time of confusion, sadness, and uncertainty if you have lost a loved….recently or years ago.  It doesn’t matter how long ago it was that you lost someone special, there is still a tinge of sadness that hits you during the holiday time.  If has been recent and someone who has lived a long time, you begin to wonder what will happen to the usual traditions of the holiday time now that they aren’t there to celebrate.  If it is someone younger, you sometimes try to figure out ways to start new traditions in their honor and memory.

I have always loved this time of year.  All the beautiful lights and decorations to see, decorating my house, and spending extra time with family.  With all the beauty that this time of year has, I am no stranger to loss during this time of year as well.

This is our second Christmas without Samantha…though she is always in our hearts, it stills feels a little different. While we remember Samantha, we also celebrate Timothy who’s arrival will come in April.  I also see a change coming this holiday season as it is our first holiday without my grandfather, whom passed away in August this year.  Also, I see some new traditions beginning to grow as families grow and kids get older.  Some of the change will be tough at first, but at the same time some of the change will be good.  There still is a special magic to this time of year and deep in our hearts we can still feel it.

I wish you a blessed holiday season, strength when you need it most, hope to keep you going, peace to be able to feel at ease, and time…time to spend with loved ones and time to reflect.  Happy Holidays!

 

I have been thinking on and off throughout the day about how to begin and write this post.  And once beginning, I ended up walking away for a little while and did a little cooking to refocus my thoughts.  For whatever reason when I am cooking my thoughts seem to come together better and then I am ready to write.  The same thing happens when I go for walks.  This post is on emotions.  Sounds simple right?  But it seems to become more complicated when you loose a child and when you begin to try to get pregnant again.  Something that becomes more intricate because everybody grieves differently.  There are some people out there who just get it, others who try, and yet others who never truly understand.

Emotions are a complicated thing.   I have experienced emotions that I have never really experienced since Samantha died.  I am not the jealous type, but in the early stages when I saw others that were pregnant it made my heart ache.  I so wanted to be pregnant again.  To be able to bring home a healthy baby.  They had something I wanted.  I learned to move past this by telling myself that I didn’t know their story.  Maybe it was easy for them to get pregnant, but maybe it wasn’t.  Or maybe they were facing similar trials like I was.  I didn’t know their story and what led them to where they are now.  This seemed to to help and as time passed the feeling lessened.  Eventually it went away.

I never knew before now that you could be happy and sad at the same time.  Overall, there were times…even multiple days in a row that I would be sad for what seemed to be the whole day through.  However, looking at an individual day or moment in the day I was able to recall being happy and laughing.  This was one of the hardest things for me.  My child died, I am grieving but yet it is okay to smile, laugh, even find happiness and joy.

The decision to try again came with a flood of new emotions.  Sometimes overwhelming, sometimes confusing, sometimes just plain scared.  I have been learning different ways to de-stress and refocus.  I have been placing my energies into walking more, doing more creative projects, organizing, and spending time with people who mean a lot to me.  I have people tell me so much to not think about it.  This only caused me to think and focus, even obsess over it.  This is why the refocusing.  I have to leave it up God.  It will happen when the timing is right.

I can only imagine the emotions that will come when do get pregnant again.  Joy, happiness, excitement. Scared, nervousness, fear, worry.  Sometimes the thought of being pregnant terrifies me a little.  I believe this feeling comes from having experienced the death of our daughter.  There are so many different outcomes and it can seem terrifying, scary, or overwhelming.  It is my belief that when do get pregnant again I have the comfort of knowing that we have a phenomenal support system around us.  Sure there will be times of nervousness, but knowing we are surrounded will bring a sense of peace to help lessen that feeling.

And so continues the flood of emotions.

 

As we move throughout life there are always times we wonder.  It seems that when there is change it cause us to wonder more.  When the change is welcomed, the wondering seems to provide a positive exciting spin on things.  However, when the change is not well received or completely unexpected the wondering seems to take on a different spin.

When I found out that we were pregnant I was very excited.  That excitement lead me to wonder what our family would be like.  We were going from two of us to three.  What would our little one look like?  What would their personality be like?  What would it be like to be parents?  Were we really ready for this?  All of this provided excitement and joy, as well as some nervousness.  We were going to be first time parents.

When I found out that there was no longer a heartbeat the excitement turned into shock and denial.  I began to wonder what happened.  What did I do wrong?  How am I going to get through this?  How are we going to get through this?  What next?  As I began to move through the grief and healing I began to wonder what might have been.  As we approach a year from the due date, I can’t help but to wonder what things would have been like had Samantha made it to full term.  How different the past year and half would have truly been.

Now, as we have made the decision to try again, I find myself and my mind wondering a bit.  Or, more accurately, a lot.  I wonder what I can do to make things turn out differently.  As each month goes by, I wonder why it’s taking so long to get pregnant again and if I was meant to be a mother to children on earth.

There is nothing we did wrong and what happened was completely out of our control.  I’m not going to lie, it does suck.  There isn’t a day that goes by that I wish to have Samantha down here with us instead of up in heaven.  But as time goes by I am trying to learn from it.  I may never truly know why this all happened, but there is a lot I can take away from it.  It all has provided me with a different perspective on life.  I can’t change what happened.  And I will still wonder.

 

 

I am choosing to call this a hurdle.  Some see it as a “the dreaded question”, which is not to say that I haven’t thought of it that way.  I recently had a change of perspective after talking to a friend.  What is this hurdle?  This question?

Do you have any children?  It is a simple question which leads to a simple response…yes or no.  However when you experience a miscarriage or stillbirth, the question is no longer simple.  Sometimes you want to say yes and sometimes you want to say no.  It all depends on your own healing and grieving process.  It also depends on how you feel and your own thoughts on the subject.

For me, I hear myself screaming from inside yes, yes I do.  However, on the outside, with hesitation, out comes a um no.  It tears my heart to say that.  But, more often then not, if I don’t know the person I don’t want to get in to the whole story.  I am not sure why this has been.  It is probably because I don’t want to make someone uncomfortable.  It’s weird, I can put it into words and put it out on my blog.  But when in the moment, something stops me.  This is my hurdle.

I am not going to lie…part of me wants to just say screw it and when people ask, say yes.  But, the part of me that tries to not make people feel uncomfortable, is very hesitant about doing that.  Maybe it’s because of the slew of questions that could follow and how does one answer them.  Like, how many, how old,what’s their name(s)?  I know it’s best to be honest, but sometimes it is hard.  Miscarriages and stillbirth are not black and white.  There becomes a lot of gray that goes with it.

In my mind the answers are simple…yes, I have a child.  She was 17 weeks old and her name is Samantha.  Now, the hurdle…saying it to others, even if they don’t know our story yet.  Jumping this hurdle will be tough, but I believe that it is something that I need to do.  It is another step in the healing process of grief.  Who knows, maybe it will open up a connection as well.

 

I have begun work on a new project.  For a while now, I have felt a little tug at my heart telling me that I should be giving forward.  By this I mean, that I want to reach out to other baby loss families using creativity and crafting.  So, Samantha’s Dragonfly was born.  If you have read my blog before, you know that dragonflies carry an extra special meaning for me.  Like other baby loss families, it’s a special connection to our little ones.

I have begun making hand beaded dragonflies.  In with the little dragonfly is the poem that I wrote at Christmas time about dragonflies and a message about the blessing of a dragonfly to me.  I also have a special greeting card that is designed just for baby loss families as well.  My hope is that I can begin to pass along the blessing of the dragonfly and provide a little extra light for someone.

My dragonflies are donated to a local hospital.  It is the hospital we were at and these special items are added into the keepsake boxes that they give out to baby loss families.  I also send out my dragonflies to people who have experienced the loss of a child.  You can request a dragonfly for yourself or for someone you know as a gift.   I do not charge for the dragonflies, however I do ask that if you are interested in supporting Samantha’s Dragonfly that you consider donating $5 to help cover the cost of supplies and shipping.

Stop by Samantha’s Dragonfly to find out more information and to request a dragonfly please contact me at liz@myinfantloss.com or facebook: MyInfantLoss.Com

 

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.

 

I wanted to share something I found on grief that came across.  It has been helpful to me to read and hear, so I thought I would share.

I came across a piece by Lesley.  I like how she puts grief and healing into simple, but powerful words. “I need to be kind to myself and give myself permission to do what I needed to do to make it through, even if that means saying no.  Grief is unpredictable, you can’t explain it, you can’t always control it.  There is no right way or wrong way to do it and no two people do it the same way.”

Saying no has been hard for me, especially when at work.  It wasn’t until I gave up my classroom that I gained a stronger voice.  Becoming a building sub has given me a sense of freedom in so many ways and has helped to me really take care of what I needed to.  I had a tendency to push the emotions down as far as I could and submerse myself at work.  By the end of the Summer I realized I wasn’t any good to any one and I wasn’t taking care of myself well.  Now, if it doesn’t fit into my schedule or with the direction I am trying to head, the answer is “no”.

Grief is so unpredictable.  At the beginning I lived minute by minute, even task by task.  Over time I have been able to move into hours and days.  Now I can live moment to moment.  By living in the moment in front of me I am able to really focus on the important things, find the true blessings of that moment, and learn from what it may bring.  I am also able to help others and really truly be present.

I think one of the best words I heard was after I returned back to work.  It was from a parent in my classroom who had lost a child to Turner’s Syndrome at 27 weeks.  Her experience was similar to mine, however she said to me “I know what you are going through, but I don’t.  We all grieve differently.  Let me know if there is anything I can do for you.”  She really understood and I have turned to her a couple of times to help me through things.  But like she said, we all go through it differently.  There are some things or points we all go through, but how we handle it and how we go through it is slightly different.  She also gave me hope because she has a family of 3 children, as well as her little angel baby.

Grief is tough process, but with the right support you can find your way through it all.  It takes time and you have to allow yourself to go through it.  We all grieve at some point in our lives.  Remember to take care of yourself, be honest, and surround yourself by those you can trust & support you.

 

 

After Samantha, I found it hard to genuinely smile and laugh.  I could make myself do it, but my heart wasn’t in it.  In my mind I was thinking, I shouldn’t be laughing, shouldn’t be happy, shouldn’t smile because I am grieving.  Because I was grieving, if I did any sign of fun and happiness I thought it meant that Samantha didn’t matter any more and that I had moved on.

I remember Raun and I went out to dinner in the Springtime and we had a long conversation.  It was then that I heard some of the most helpful words.  He told me “it is okay to smile, to have fun, to be happy.  It doesn’t mean that you have forgotten or that you have moved on or that you aren’t still grieving.  Samantha is always a part of us and always will be.  We will move forward and she will go with us.  You can still grieve, yet feel happy and joyous.”  This combination was weird for me and took me a little while to be alright with the concept.  There are times when I am happy and sad at the same time.  Yes, I am still grieving and still healing, but right now I can see the joy in the moment and the blessing.

In one day I can go from having something trigger the tears to later seeing a moment of happiness.  As the past year has gone by, there have been fewer triggers in a day and more moments of happiness.  Are there still things now that make me end up shedding tears?  Of course!  But most days I can make it through with laughter, smiling, and remembering.  I feel like the grief comes and goes in waves.  Occasionally a tidal wave hits.  I have learned to expect the unexpected.  I don’t always know when a tidal wave will hit, but the best I can do is to take them when they come.

The best thing I can do is acknowledge how I feel.  No matter the feeling-good, bad, or ugly- I validate what I am feeling and move forward.  I am taking what I am feeling and hearing to learn and grow through this process.  I still take life day by day, one step at a time.  Sometimes I have go minute by the minute, other times I can go several hours.  I have made sure, especially more recently, to have the things that mean the most to me and bring me the most happiness surround me in my life.  That means I…

  • surround myself with people who are truly there and who want to have a relationship that will grow over time.  I surround myself with those who are supportive and allow me to be me.  I surround myself with family and friends.
  • have reinvested in my interests.  I enjoy being outdoors, so when I can do something outside I will.  I have a passion for photography and have decided this year to revamp my photography website.  I have been reading more and traveling more.

Can you smile?  Yes, you can.  It is okay.  Even though you are happy, doesn’t mean you aren’t still grieving.  Smile and laughter will do your heart good and help you heal.

 

The holidays can be a tough time of year to go through after the loss of a child, but there is also magic, joy, and peace that come with the season as well.  Surround yourself with the things you truly love to do, the people who support you, and find a way to honor your child.  Some of the steps in the holiday plan may not pertain to you or you may think “what does this have to do with any of it?”  That is alright.  If all you take from these steps are the ones that truly resonate with you, then you will still find the strength and courage you need. 

As we went through these steps, there are a few that, to us, just don’t seem to matter.  On the flip side, there are a few that have become really important and we have put into motions ways to fullfill them.  Go through these steps the best you can; following what you feel in your heart, what makes sense to you, and what will help you most in the path of healing.  Remember to go through these steps with your spouse, as both of you are grieving and healing differently.  You will each have different perspectives on them.  Also, remember to take time to honor your little and honor yourselves for all that you have gone through.  It is a tough road to follow sometimes, but there is also light on this path. 

Over time, the light will get brighter and it will get easier to breath.  Take the steps one at a time, and if you can’t take a step on your own it is okay to ask for help.  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 promise you will make it through this.  It may be a bit on the ugly side, it may not be easy, but you will make it through this. 

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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