Today is a special day in which all dads are thanked, honored, and remembered.  It is Father’s Day and we celebrate all our dads and all the men in our life that were like a dad to us.  I have my one and only amazing father, but there are several others who have been like a dad to me over the years…like my father in law and good family friend of ours.

Today is an interesting day in our family.  From first glance, most would look at Raun and say “Happy Father’s Day”, “Is this your first child” or “Happy First Father’s Day”.  But for those that know our family, this isn’t his first Father’s Day.  His first one happened three years ago, the first June after Samantha was born.  Raun has been a dad for three years now, his roll has just changed a little bit now.  Yes, this is the first Father’s Day with Timothy, but that doesn’t make it his first go around the block on this special day.

It’s has been an interesting week leading up to Father’s Day that has gotten me think.  I receive email offers from some of my favorite local restaurants throughout the year.  This week my inbox has been flooded with Father’s Day deals.  Interestingly enough, the deal is bring in the family of four and dad receives something free.  Family of four…we are a family of four.  But if we were to walk into one of these restaurants I am guessing people would think we are crazy.  There is a part of me that wants to email the place back and share our story, there is also a part that kind of just wants to show up the restaurant with crew in tow and something of Samantha’s, and yet still a part of me that wants to celebrate on a low key style & have the same responses to people who don’t know as we did for Mother’s Day.  It’s such a weird place to be.  We are a family of four, but look like a family of three.

I believe that families who have experienced the loss of a child learn a new way to celebrate holidays.  And each year looks a little bit different.  So I say, celebrate this special day however you want.  May you have the courage and strength to find something memorable in the day.  Today is a blessing.  Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there!

Happy Father’s day to you Raun!  You are an amazing dad to our two beautiful children!!

 

When I found out that we were pregnant with Samantha I was excited.  A bit overwhelmed at first, but so filled with joy.  It didn’t take long for me to start thinking about how things might be down the road.  Would our little girl be all girly girly filled with frills, lace, and princesses?  Or would she be more rough and tumble, not afraid to get dirty?  Or would she be a little bit of both?  I dreamed that I would see her dance down the hall and one day dancing with her daddy.

Those dreams never came true when Samantha died.  They may be slightly shattered now, but they still remain just a dream.  Out of loosing Samantha new dreams began to surface.  One big one, the dream to have another child.  Another dream was to do something in her honor.  I started Samantha’s Dragonflies the Fall that year we lost Samantha.  Dragonflies represent her and bring me a sense of peace.  They are my way of knowing she is alright and everything is going to be okay.  Today, I still make the dragonflies.  However, the sit and wait.  The wait to fly out to those who need one.

If you or someone you know could use a dragonfly blessing please let me know.  All my dragonflies come with a special poem I wrote the first Christmas after we lost Samantha.  I have been blessed by dragonflies on my journey, let me pass that blessing and dream on to you.

 

The other day I was talking with a friend and she told me that someone close to her had recently experienced a miscarriage.  My friend didn’t know what to say to them and turned to my website for insight.  Here’s where I have fallen short.  This is a topic that I have not written on.  Seems a little odd that it hasn’t come out sooner and I apologize to all who have come to the site for help on this topic.  For each person who has suffered a pregnancy or infant loss, what to say and not say can differ a little because of how each of handles situations.  However, I feel like there are some common things that we either need to hear or don’t need to hear.  Some of these have been said to me and some have been said to those who have walked a similar path as I have.

What to not say

  • You can still have other children
  • It’s better this way or This is God’s way of telling you
  • So, when are you going to get back on the horse (the day you are discharged from the hospital)
  • You baby has expired
  • You need to just get over it or move on
  • You shouldn’t dwell in the past or on it
  • You should be done grieving by now
  • Why don’t you put everything that you have out in honor of them away to help you move forward
  • At least you weren’t that far along
  • It wasn’t meant to be
  • Maybe next time you can take extra vitamins

What to say

  • If you need to talk, I am here to listen
  • The child’s name, if there wasn’t a name given you can encourage the family to name their child
  • Your baby is beautiful
  • You are a mom/dad, no matter how many you have lost or even if you do not have other children yet
  • We may not always know what we need ourselves, so instead of asking what can you do do something specific for the family.  Like…bring meals, meet for coffee
  • I’ve been thinking about you. This can still be done months & years down the road
  • Remember their child in some way…especially on their child’s birthday
  • Don’t forget about the father.  A lot of times the men get forgotten about as the appear to be just fine.  Where they are just trying to keep it together and be strong for their partner.  Their grief may not surface until farther down the path.
  • It wasn’t your fault

 

If you are still nervous about what to say or afraid something may not come out right, there are two important things that you can do.  Be there to listen and remember their child.  And don’t forget to still do this down the road.  It’s been over two years for me and in some I am still grieving.  The grieving has changed, but it is still something that is a part of me and I have learned different ways to help me move forward. This is a part of my life and forever will be.

This by no means is an extensive list for either topic.  If you would like to share what has been helpful or not helpful to you after you experienced the loss of your child please share with us in the comment section below.

 

This weekend we celebrate Samantha’s second birthday.  It’s hard to believe, some days, that it has been two years since she came into our world and we had to quickly say goodbye.  I have to admit, the second year has been a lot easier to process through than the first.  I am not saying it hasn’t been without it’s difficulties and moments of undeniable grief, but those moments have been just a little bit easier to take in and deal with.

I am not sure what we will in honor of Samantha’s birthday this year.  I know every body does it a little different.  Some throw a birthday party, some just let the day go by and they remember in silence, and others do something something small in memory.  Whatever you decide to do to celebrate your little one’s birthday is your choice.  Listen to your heart to tell you what to do.  It can be a big party or it can be something small and it simple.  Last year for her one year birthday we visited her and placed some beautiful, bright orange flowers by her.  We took a moment to reflect and remember.  I would guess that this year, we will do something simple again.  But for us, that works.  Happy 2nd Birthday Baby Girl!

 

This post is getting out a little later than I anticipated, but I have been trying to decide what to write about this week.  I have been writing some poems lately.  The words just come to mind and then one line begins to flow into the next.  Before I know it I have a complete thought and a finished poem.  I have been trying to decide if I wanted to share them or keep them to myself.  The idea of writing has come easily to me generally, but poems come in short bursts.  The first one I wrote was for our Christmas card we sent out in 2011…our first Christmas without Samantha.  Now that poem is a key part of Samantha’s Dragonfly.  I have decided that poems are as equally as good as one of my normal blog posts.  The first poem is the one that I created just before Christmas and goes with each dragonfly that I make.  So, with a little hesitation still, here goes…

Dragonflies

Such beauty and grace, delicate and light

Washing calm and peace throughout

Bearer of comfort and strength

A little messenger, dropping by to say hi

Sometimes lingering, sometimes just but a moment

Soaring high, sparkling in the sun

Heavenly connection, closer to you my angel

Tears

tears streaming down almost like rain on the window

tears of sadness, of loss, of frustration

tears of hope, while giving in

tears of unanswered prayers

tears, the words of our heart

 With Each Storm, Comes A Rainbow

As the sky darkens

As the storm rolls in

As the rain begins to fall

My thoughts begin to wonder

Then as the rain begins to quicken

The lightening begins to flash

The thunder rolls

My focus shifts and my thoughts quiet

The sky begins to clear

Blue sky and white clouds

As the storm moves off into the distance

In between a beautiful rainbow

And there is calm

I am a mother

I am a mother

On the inside I know

But on the outside it doesn’t show

While my little girl rests in my heart

She is held by God’s loving arms

 

I grieve and I heal

I grieve and I heal

Sometimes I am happy

Other times I am sad

And yet I may be both at once

On the outside things may look good

But on the inside I may be falling to pieces

I may be falling to pieces on the outside

But on the inside I am cleansing my soul

It’s process with no finish line

I learn as I go and may not always understand

I grieve and I heal

 

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.

 

 

Happy Father’s Day to all the truly amazing fathers out there.  Whether you hold your child’s hand or you hold your child in your heart, you are a wonderful father.

Thank you to all the dads and granddads out there that have been a part of my life.

 

When a couple is faced with the loss of a child and having to be in the hospital, the nursing staff plays a key role.  They can either be helpful or harmful to the whole experience.  There are a few moments which are still vivid to this day.  Some of the people we encountered, doctors and nurses, left quite the imprint-both in good ways and bad ways.

Today I would like to take a moment to look at the good.  We were fortunate to have an excellent nursing staff surround us.  If I could remember their names I would thank them individually.  We had one nurse who, on our second day in the hospital, pulled a double shift and stayed with us a majority of the day.  She was the one who was there when Samantha was born.  She was great during the whole process. She made sure to capture moments on camera, take measurements, and gave us time to hold our baby.  She treated us with a great respect.  She treated us like we were parents.  I hope that when it comes time to have another baby, she is there and I can get the chance to thank her face to face for all that she did.

My gratitude and deep thanks goes out to the nursing staff that was by our side for the two days we were in the hospital.  In a way, they helped to make things just a little easier.   Thank you!

 

 

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there.  Whether you hold your children in your arms or your heart you are still a wonderful mother.

Thank you to my mom and all the other women who were like a mom to me.  Thank you for all that you have done, your wisdom, and your hugs.  Thank you for being there, believing in me, and your friendship.  You have given me hope, strength, and encouragement over the years.  I believe that one day I will be a great mom and it’s all because of you and what I have learned from you.  Thank you!  I love you!!

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