It’s been just over a year and half since we said hello and goodbye to our daughter.  The time has, in some ways, gone by quickly…yet in other ways, not so much.  I have seen how it has affected my husband, my family, my friends, my work, and myself.  When everything first happened, I kept trying to find the “right” thing in memory of our daughter.  I began to realize that some of these items are just things and don’t truly represent our daughter and don’t seem to have as much meaning.  I have the important things in a keepsake box, displayed on our family wall, and in my heart.  Every now and then I do try be creative and create something personal.  Recently, I created a family ring.  It has my husbands birthstone, Samantha’s, and mine.

When Spring time rolled around this year I began to think of ways that I could honor Samantha on an ongoing basis, that held a strong meaning, and that could be done creatively.  I wanted to give back and to pass a little something along.  Dragonflies have always intrigued me.  With our pregnancy and shortly after, dragonflies seemed to be showing up here and there.  They became my connection to our daughter.  A blessing here on earth and something to let me know that things were alright.

Back in December I had some very special words that came to my mind that unfolded into a poem.  In honor of Samantha and our first Christmas we included the poem, along with a dragonfly with each of our Christmas cards.  That poem was the springboard that I needed.  I decided to make dragonflies.  Hand-beaded, bright colors, sparkle in the wings…just the way the show up in nature.  My hope is that as I pass them along, they will bring a sense of hope, comfort and strength.

Recently, my mom shared the completed project that she began working on at the beginning of the year.  My parents felt the need to do something in Samantha’s memory, so had a bench donated in a memorial garden through a local hospital near them.

There are so many ways that we can remember our angels.  If you are looking for ideas check out Beth Morey’s blog for an ebook for Remembering Your Child…http://www.bethmorey.com/2012/07/free-ebook-for-babylost-parents.html.  What are some ways that you have remembered your child?  What have you found that is helpful in honoring your child?  Share your ideas below

 

Samantha is a our beautiful little girl who went to heaven on January 27, 2011.  She was 17 weeks old when we experienced a miscarriage.  As parents of a child who went to heaven instead of home with us, we have been finding ways to honor our little girl.  We have been doing different things to honor our little girl.  The sky is the limit of what you can do to honor your little one.  Follow your heart and do what means the most to you.  Do what is special.

 

While at the hospital the nurse made sure that Samantha was weighed, her hand prints & footprints were done, and pictures were taken.  They also made sure we had a keepsake box to take home with us.  That keepsake box has gone from one box to two now.  The next day we were able to press her tiny little hands and feet into clay.

A week later we took part in a memorial service on February 5, 2011.  It was a beautifully done service at Resurrection Cemetery.   Samantha, along with the families of 25 other little one’s gathered on this special day.  Afterwards, we had Samantha’s name written on the memorial wall at the Children’s Memorial Wall and Healing Garden in Resurrection Cemetery.

 

In late Spring I came across Carly Marie and her website.  She lost a little one of her own and now she uses her gift of photography.  She writes names in the sand on Christian’s Beach in Australia and then takes a photo at sunset capturing all the beauty in the water, sky, and your little one’s name.  I decided to have Samantha’s name added to the waiting list and on June 24 (the same day my niece was born and Raun’s birthday as well) I received Samantha’s name photo.  It is truly beautiful!

Shortly after we lost Samantha I had the urge, the need to create a blog and website.  MyInfantLoss.com was created out of this feeling and realizing this is a way I could get our story out there, and hopefully help other’s who are on this path too, as well as connect with them.  Raun had a memorial necklace made for me that: has footprints stamped into a heart shape, Samantha’s initials (SJL) on the back, and two crystals-one is her January birthstone and the other is the July birthstone that represents her due date.  Raun’s mom also gave us a memorial garden stone that in Spring we can make a little memorial garden.  At Christmas time we added a dragonfly, blessing, and poem by me to our Christmas cards.

Many other good things came out of our loss.  Raun began a website talking about living the backyard life-http://www.backyardlifeblog.com.  We now have a completely different perspective on life and we do only what means the most to us.

  

 

How will you honor you grief and pain?

Don’t try to ignore your feelings.  It is okay to grieve and it is okay to feel the pain.  It is all a part of the healing.  It is alright to feel these feelings.  The best gift you can give yourself as you go through this is the recognition of what you have had to go through, how you made it through, and with time things will get easier.  Yes, there will still be days when you miss your little one, but the pain will slowly diminish and you will begin to see the light.  Take some time to explore your past and your future.  Help yourself to recognize when you are in trouble and don’t be afraid to ask for help.  Think of some ways that you can pamper yourself and what you can do to get in touch with your soul, and be sure to put them down on paper.

This season I will take extra time to light candles and maybe take a few extra-long bubble baths.  I will continue to write to help me through my thoughts and feelings.  I will take more candid photos of family and friends when I get the chance.  I will pick up my camera to get in touch with the beauty around me as well as inside me.  Most importantly, I will continue down this path one step at a time, one day at a time and count the blessings that I still have.

 

So, how will you honor the grief and pain that you may feel?  What is your plan?  Share below your thoughts, tips, or ideas.

 

How will you remember your little one?

There are so many ideas and possibilities out there of what you can do to remember your little one.  Really, the sky is the limit.  Do what resonates with you in your heart.  Do what feels right.  Share your ideas with your spouse, family, and friends.  See if your loved ones have ideas as well.  Some ideas are: you could visit the cemetery, make a donation to charity in their name, decorate a wreath in memory of them, burn a candle over the holidays, hang a tree decoration, or light a candle at church.

                We are looking for just the right ornament to hang on our Christmas tree.  I am also considering getting a special stocking, if I can find one that resonates within my heart.  I am pretty sure, at some point in the month of December; we will make a trip to the cemetery and memorial wall.  We are including a special dragonfly and poem in with our Christmas letters this year.

 

So, how will you remember your little one?  What is your plan?  Share below your thoughts, tips, or ideas.

 

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.

 

I wanted to share that I will be participating in an Illuminate course over the next month or so.  This will give me an opportunity to work through the grief and healing process in another way.  Or should I say, in addition to what I am doing.  It allows me to do two things, take photos and to write as I work through the process.  However, the writing that I will be doing will be on specific topics assigned, as well as the photos I take.  The first assignment is writing a letter to Samantha.  I look forward to working my way through this experience, meeting new people,  and continuing to walk this path while finding new ways to reflect, honor, and cherish.

 

When you think of “awareness” and the month of October, most people’s thoughts go to Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  If you happen to be a teacher, then you also toss in Fire Safety Month.  What most people don’t know, is that it is also Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness.  October 15 is not only a nationally recognized day when people who have experienced pregnancy and/or infant loss come together to honor their child(ren) who have grown their angel wings, but it is also a worlwide recognized day.  I would have never known about this myself until we experienced the loss of Samantha.  With her loss I have began to learn a lot.  Sometimes, it is a lot more than I want to learn, but yet at the same time it is helpful and good to know.  Miscarriages and stillbirths are still a comon thing to happen and as common as they are, so is not talking about them.  However, as time goes by more and more people are speaking about the topic and creating awareness.  They are “breaking the silence”.  It’s not always easy to talk about, it’s not always easy to hear, but it needs to be talked about in order to create a better understanding.  By designating a month to create awareness and having a day to help recognize and honor those who have been lost is a start in the process of breaking the silence.

In honor of Samantha we lit several candles.  We participated in “the wave of light”, that created a contious wave of light across the world in recognition of pregnancy loss and infant loss.

What made this day even more special and touching is that I found out on the morning of October 15 that I get to participate in an online course by Illuminate that uses photography as a way to help heal and work through the grief process.  The photo that I submited for the contest was a collage of photos I took during my last visit to the memorial wall.  It was at the end of a tough week and I need to be somewhere that was quiet.  A place with little distractions and with the hope of feeling closer to my little girl.  And hoepuflly I would come awy with a slightly clearer head and less weight on my shoulders.  It was a visit that I know she was there, because there was a dragonfly that sat with me.

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