Honestly this post comes with an inspiration from a sermon I heard.  What are the signs of light, love, and hope that you see?  This is fairly easy when things are good, but what about when things seem to be at their darkest.  How do you find light, love, and hope in the darkness?  The blessings in disguise so to speak.  Light, love, and hope are always around even at the deepest ruts, ravines, darkness, and despair.  They maybe be hard to see or find, but they are there somewhere.  They may be hidden or subtle, but they are there.

It is in these harder, darker, tougher times when we need light, love, and hope the most.  Even though they may be hard to find, we need to dig deep to find them.  Sometimes we may need help to do this and that’s okay.  The help can come from friends, family, church, group, or whatever works best for you.  There will be other times when we can slowly find them and our way on our own.  But even on our own, it is still good to have a little extra backup support every now and then.

Finding my light after Samantha had been tough.  I submersed myself in work, pushing down much of what I was thinking or feeling.  My blog writing was made up of my journal writings from early on-I just transferred them from paper to website.  The idea of new or current content was not something I thought about adding until many months later.  So my emotions, when they would finally surface, came out in tears on the drive to and from work.  By the time August of 2011 rolled around I began to realize what I was doing.

I knew changes had to be made and I needed to find others that I could meet up with face to face that could relate.  My light at that time was to give up my current position at work for something not as full time and flexibility.  It was time to take care of us and me.  At this time, I also began going to an infant/pregnancy loss group and talking about my thoughts.  I also began to write more.

My next ray of light showed up through an Illuminate group.  This became a close knit group of eight of us, who are still able to connect now even though the class is done.  This brought the light of photography back in to play and I remembered how much I enjoyed it, as well as realized that it been a missing link in my life for a little while.  So, I try to incorporate photography more often.

Photography, my groups, my writings, and support have given me the love that I have so needed, which has helped to make my light shine brighter.  With my light shining brighter, I am able to have a renewed sense of hope.  With this renewed sense of hope, I believe that I can move forward with more strength and courage.

So, I want to know…what brings you hope?  What makes your light shine a little brighter?  If you need to, lets dig deeper together to help a little light grow.  Because if that light can grow, so will hope.  What can you do today to help your light grow?

 

 

What will 2012 bring?  I haven’t the slightest clue, but I will continue to hope, plan, and dream.

I know I want to continue doing some of the new things I picked up this year, I want to expand things, and I want to readjust other things.  I want to move into more of a simpler mode.  I hope down the road I am able to continue to do the things that bring me the most joy and mean the  most.  I will continue to spend time with family.  I hope to take more  time to have  coffee and chats with friends.  I will continue to travel.  I will take an active approach in my health, making the simple step of being more active.  I dream to rebuild my photography business in hopes it grows into something where I can share it more with people and where I can create something special for families.  I hope to reach out to others who have experienced a pregnancy loss or infant loss, building connections and healing.

I hope to be “living the backyard life“, as my husband puts it, still and having that life include little feet running around the house.  I hope that we will grow our family.  To go from 3 to 4 or 5.  Whatever it may be.  To be raising a family is my dream.   I hope my path continues to introduce new people into my life in hopes that bonds can be formed and relationships built.

In the year ahead I plan to continue blogging/journaling, creating a place for others to find help & healing on their infant loss path, as well as a place to share their story through my website www.myinfantloss.com, and continue to find ways to honor Samantha.  I hope to find beauty in the world around me each day, find great joy in the simple things, and grow (mentally, spiritually, and emotionally)

This past year I have taken one word with me.  It helped me to get through the tough days, gave me hope, and created a sense of peace.  That word was trust.  2012 brings a new year and a new word, with the help of an Illuminate class I took I decided to make a conscious choice about what word I want to carry me through the new year.  I have been trying to decide between two…strength and believe.  With all that I am hoping for and dreaming for, my word is going to be…believe.  It encompasses so much and with my one word mantra, I will continue to grow and will be able to make it through the year with a strong foundation.  What does 2012 look like for you?  Whatever it may be…I hope your year is filled with relaxation, happiness, laughter, and many blessings.  Happy New Year!  Here’s to a great year!!

 

 

Raun and I are coming up on a year since Samantha came into our lives. I have learned a fair number of things. One of those things I learned is the importance of support. No matter what life dishes out a person needs support. When you loose someone close to you due death, that support becomes even more important. When you loose a child, support becomes a necessity.

Nearly a year after, there are things I am finally doing to work through the grief. There are also things coming out because people feel that I am ready to hear it. I found out recently that some of the support I thought was there really isn’t truly there. I also found out that people were being told one thing about our loss and we were led to believe something else.

On the flip side we have been blessed with having a very supportive family.  They all seem to have an understanding of what we are going through.  Some because of their own life experiences and other’s because she is a part of our family.  I also have a few friends who are there to turn to when ever I need to.  I am also blessed to have Raun.  He is truly a wonderful husband.  He helps to provide encouragement, strength, comfort, and different perspectives.

You need to have a variety of support as well.  My husband has been great and is great, however it wouldn’t be fair to only rely on him for support.  He to is grieving as well.  Each of us grieves differently, so what each of us needs may or may not be the same.  We all face the different stages of grief, but in our own time and in our own way.

I encourage you to find support from some one who has been down this path before.  For me, I have two people.  I have my mother and a friend from work.  Though it was many years ago, both have walked this path and they understand.  It gives me hope to see, that despite the loss, they were still able to grow their families.

I want to let you know that it is okay to seek out resources and groups that focus on this type of loss. You need to do what helps you. You may choose to seek outside help in a group setting or in a one on one setting. It will take some strength and courage to make this step, but once you do you will begin to feel a sense of relief.

I was able to find a group and I was also able to come up with a million and one reasons I couldn’t make the meeting.  I wasn’t ready.  My outlet had been this blog and a few groups on facebook.  The thought of sharing face to face scared me.  In October I was ready and went to my first meeting.  I won’t lie, it was tough.  When that first meeting was over I began to feel a little bit better.  With each time I go I get more of a voice, share more of my thoughts, and I am surrounded by people who understand.  I feel normal.

I have also found creative outlets. It is through these outlets that I have strengthened relationships and built new ones. I have been journaling/blogging since this all happened. I recently went through an Illuminate course where it combined journaling and photography. I have had a passion for photography for years, but taking this course gave me the opportunity to really combine two things I enjoy, as well as share a different perspective on the loss of a child. There are many opportunities out there to use creative talents. If there is something you enjoy doing I encourage you to continue and use it to help in the healing process. If there isn’t something that you do creatively, now could be just the right time to try something.

Over time, what you need for support will change. Whatever way you decide to go, I encourage you to continue to surround yourself with the people and things that truly bring you support.

 

It only takes one word to give you hope, or strength, or encouragement.  It only takes one word to help make the day and all that it brings easier to handle.  Some times, that word will stick with you for days, weeks, even months.  Other times, depending on the events of the day, as well as the emotions, your word might change to convey what you need most.  That word gives you a handle, a rope, something to hold tight onto.

This week my Illuminate photography assignment was to think of one word.  Then go out and find those letters to make up the word in a series of photos.  Sounds simple right?  Well, the catch is you can’t use the easy things like street signs.  My word…is trust.  It is a word that has been with me since we were in labor and delivery.  The plaque in the picture was given to us at the hospital.  Trust, it seems like a simple innocent word, but it is really a strong, powerful word, that can bring so much with it.  The verse that goes with this is Joshua 1:9 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged for the Lord, your God will be with you wherever you go.”

So, my journey began.  St. Paul is filled with so much architectural detail it was fun driving around town to find hidden letters.  Incidentally, when it came down to it, most of the letters I ended up using were from my own backyard.  Trust… 

This week I have also been challenged to write about the future.  Where might I be in 1 month, 6 months, 1 year from now.  This is our last Illuminate assignment and for whatever reason, this has been my hardest.  The letters I found easily.  It is the writing that I have needed time to let sink in.

Before thinking forward, I needed to reflect on the past year.  It was a year ago this week that I found out we were pregnant with Samantha.  She is our first baby.  We had decided earlier in the year to begin to grow our family.  Last December our family grew by one more.  Samantha was our, as well as our families special early Christmas present.  Had the pregnancy gone without complications, right now a year later from that moment, would be a lot different.  Then again, so would have this past year and a year from now would have been a whole different path.

Instead, my path had different intentions and decided on a different way to go.  This way that it went was not a choice of mine.  However, I have learned to walk in this new direction.  This past year has been filled with loss and also filled with joys.  Even though Samantha is now in heaven, we celebrated a lot this year with weddings, holidays, a 95th birthday, and life.  I have met new people, gotten closer to others, and built stronger relationships.

Thinking ahead I know I want to continue doing some of the new things I picked up this year, I want to expand things, and I want to readjust other things.  I want to move into more of a simplier mode.  I hope down the road I am able to continue to do the things that bring me the most joy.  I will continue to spend time with family.  I hope to take more  time to have  coffee and chats with friends.  I will take an active approach in my health, making the simple step of being more active.

In a year from now I hope to be “living the backyard life“, as my husband puts it, still and having that life include little feet running around the house.  My wish is to grow our family.  To go from 3 to 4 or 5.  Whatever it may be.  To be raising a family is my dream.  I also hope that my photography has grown.  I hope it grows into something where I can share it more with people and where I can create something special for families.  I hope my path continues to introduce new people into my life in hopes that bonds can be formed and relationships built.

In the year ahead I plan to continue blogging/journaling, creating a place for others to find help & healing on their infant loss path, as well as a place to share their story through my website www.myinfantloss.com, and continue to find ways to honor Samantha.  I hope to find beauty in the world around me each day, find great joy in the simple things, and grow (mentally, spiritually, and emotionally)

I will be adding another word to make my one word motto into a two word motto.  As the new year begins I plan to carry two words with me…trust and strength.

 

I took this photo in Spring, just after I placed the stone & planted the flowers.

My week 2 assignment for my Illuminate class is “Finding Your Light”

It has been nearly 10 months since Samantha joined our world and quickly left it.  In the early days, the light and the hope were dim.  It didn’t help that at that time we were on pace to have one of the snowiest winters in a long time.  Plus, we were headed into the coldest time of the year, my husband and I had just gotten over the flu, our furnace had gone out, and I was having to face going back to work.  So, glimpses of hope and light just didn’t seem near.

As the days went by and we slowly got to move into Spring (which didn’t arrive until nearly the end of April) I was ready for the new growth and the freshness that the season would bring.  The warmth, the green, and the flowers.  Little bits of light began to filter through my every day.  Sure, there were still some darker days, but most of the days were becoming more gray than dark with hints of brightness.

As Summer drew in, I was surrounded by warmth.  Warmth from the sun, warmth from friends, and warmth from family.  Each month from Christmas 2010 until this point we had seen our family.  Whether it was a road trip home to celebrate Easter, a wedding shower and wedding, and birthdays or it was family visiting us we got a lot of family time in.  Raun and I surrounded ourselves with our own little road trips, each other, family, and the things that we hold most dear to us.  Life is to short to just sit back and let the days pass you by.  So, we decided to begin doing the things we truly wanted to do and mixed them in with the things we had to do or responsibilities that we had.  I began to realign and look at the things I truly wanted to be a part of my life and what things needed to change.  By the end of the Summer I was seeing things with more color and brightness.  I found myself more and more thankful for the beautiful things around me.

I took this photo the weekend of Samantha's original due date

As Fall began to roll in so did some changes.  One of the biggest change was my job.  I began to realize that my light had mostly gone out and I knew I needed to make a change.  I gave up my classroom and became a building substitute.  This allowed me time, flexibility, and the ability to take care of what I needed (my family, myself, my photography, and myinfantloss.com).  Giving up my classroom lifted a ton of stress and worry off of my shoulders.  The light outside and inside began to shine brighter.  And when my husband began to see the change, we both realized that I had made the right choice.  Fall is one of my favorite times of years and the colors this year were absolutely beautiful.  The changes in the air and the changes in me led me to spend some quiet time at the memorial wall where Samantha’s name is written.  It was there that colors and brightness really began to pop.  It was there that I got the photos that I submitted to Illuminate and allowed me to get this opportunity to expand on ways to help heal.

Shortly, we will be heading into Winter.  We’ve been lucky this Fall, it has last quite some time.  Last year at this time we already were piled up by snow around us.  The daylight is shorter and the days are getting colder.  So, I am going to have to find other ways to bring light and brightness, as well as color into my life.  Fortunately, Christmas time is one of my favorite times of the year to decorate my house.  It is one of the times of year I go all out.  And aside from the Christmas tree & stockings, most of it I am able to leave up through the Winter.  I am looking forward to warmly lit, wonderful smelling candles that will be glowing throughout the house.  I am looking forward to the twinkling of the tree lights.  I am looking forward to the frost on the trees sparkling in the sun.  I will be spending time with family, continuing on with traditions, and adding in a few new ones of our own.

I took this on October 15, 2011 to continue the "Wave of Light"

I know there will still be some tough days ahead, but I also know that with God, my husband, my family, and my friends I will be able to see more light and make it through those tough days a little easier.  And someday, hopefully those tough and dark days will turn into just mere moments.  And the light and happiness will not just be in moments, but in days instead.

 

 

 Dear Samantha,

Hi baby girl! You have been on mind a lot this week. I have a story that I want to share with you. It’s about you, my little baby girl. In a few weeks it will be year since we found out about you. In December last year your daddy and I found out we were pregnant for the first time. We were so excited. We shared with all our family that they were receiving an early Christmas present. That present was you!

Things were going well and you were getting bigger and bigger. Daddy and I were getting ready for you to come. We got a crib, made plans for the changing table, and began to plan what your room was going to look like. At Christmas you received a cute little toy in our stocking and I received things to help understand pregnancy better.

Shortly after Christmas I began to feel you moving around. To me, it felt like butterflies fluttering around. On ultrasounds you were a busy little girl, bouncing around inside or maybe even dancing. I would be sitting in the chair and start giggling when I would feel you move around. Daddy would always ask “what?” and I would say “the baby is bouncing around”.

At our first doctor appointment the doctor decided that I needed an ultrasound to see really how big you were. The doctors said one thing, your daddy and I thought another. So, we had our first ultrasound. It was you, me, and the doctors. The ultrasound tech said nothing other than that she needed to go talk to the doctor. I was moved into a room where the doctor talked to me about what the photos showed. I only remember bits and pieces of that talk and that day. We were told that the road ahead was going to be tough. There was extra fluid around your head and the doctor said it was most likely due to Turner’s Syndrome. Just to rule out other possibilities a bunch of test were run and we were sent to the perinatal doctor.

The visit at the perinatal doctor gave us a lot of pictures of you and another chance to watch you moving around. They were unable to do anything else that day, other than say they were pretty sure that you had Turner’s Syndrome. Another appointment was scheduled at a later time to run an amnio. In the meantime we were sent home and brought all of our family up to date on what was going on. We had a busy few weeks. Daddy had a holiday work party that we went to, I had one at my work as well, and we celebrated my teaching achievements at a gala. So you got a chance to be a part of some different things.

We never got a chance to return to the perinatal doctor because in the morning I went to a regular doctor appointment. That is when I found out that you had grown your angel wings. I left the doctor and made a bunch of phone calls. I was told that I needed to go home, get some stuff, and head to the hospital. So, daddy and I packed up some things and headed over to the hospital. That night we had some visitors stop by and then it was just us.

Then next our two, became three when you arrived into the world on January 27, 2011.  You were 17 weeks old, 2.4 ozs., and 5 inches long, a beautiful baby. Daddy and I held you for a while, took some pictures, and got your handprints and footprints. The next day we made your handprints and footprints in clay. That night we went home with a keepsake box (that has now become two boxes) in our arms.

One week later you were buried at Resurrection Cemetery with 25 other little ones. There was a beautiful service and we received a lit candle to honor you. In May your name, Samantha Jean Lauterbach, was written on the children’s memorial garden wall. Every so often I visit you there and you sometimes visit me. You visit me through dragonflies.

You are always in my heart and I wear a special necklace every day that helps me feel closer to you. I miss you baby girl. Some day we will meet again and I will be able to hold you in my arms. I love you!

Love,
Mommy

     

 

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.

© 2017 MyInfantLoss.com Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha
Sharing Buttons by Linksku