Growing up we are told that silence is golden and that it’s okay to sit in the silence of the day.  All to often we get busy with all the to dos, places to be, and distractions like T.V. that silence isn’t there.  When that happens, it sometimes becomes hard to sit in silence and just breath, taking in the day.  We always feel like we need to be busy doing something, anything.  I fell into this trap.  When I had a down moment I didn’t know what to do.  So, I always found something to do, even if it was a mindless task.

The silence became even harder to take in after Samantha died.  It was in the silence that my mind would turn the events of all that happened over and over again.  It was like the VCR was stuck on repeat and I couldn’t shut it off.  Now, there were some days when I didn’t mind replaying the events of it, but there were a lot of times that I wanted it to stop…almost like a bad dream.  The nights were the hardest because when the whole world is silent and all you want to do is sleep to shut out your grief, it seems like that is when you are the most wide awake.  That’s when it all floods in.  The emotions, the guilt, the stress, the demands all breaking through as if the dam had burst wide open.  During the day it is easier to push those things out of your mind for a little while because you can find a distraction.  It may only last a bit, but sometimes that is all you need…a brief moment.  But at night, those distractions aren’t there any more.

As time went by, the silence didn’t both me as much.  It gave me chance to reflect.  However, I had to go somewhere else to get away from the distractions in order to be in silence.  I would usually find myself somewhere out in nature.  More often then not I would visit the memorial wall where Samantha’s name is written.  While surrounded by the business of the city and the airport, it is a small area where you can find some much needed, almost silent time.  But as most things go, the farther out we got from her death, the more busy I got and the less I wanted to be in the silence again.

It wasn’t until my little guy, our rainbow, was born…just over 2 years after Samantha.  Now I find myself sitting in the house, in the silence while he naps.  The only sounds are the clocks, the monitor, and outside noises if the windows are open.  It’s silence, and I have to say, it’s golden.  I find myself now wanting to turn the T.V. off and find other things to do.  While I still get lost in the business of the day, I still try to find time to be in the quiet each day.  I may read, I may go for walks, I may journal, or I may work on my gifts list.  I do get distracted by the computer, but even that I am trying to put down more.

In the silence we can learn a lot.  We may not always want to be in it, but it is a necessity of daily life.  Some days are hard days and some days are easy, and so it goes with being surrounded by the stillness of silence.  But all I can say now, is that even on the hard days, the silence is golden.

 

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!

 

Spring is here!  Not only does the calendar say it, but so does the weather.  For most of us who are in the northern Midwest Spring coming is a great sign.  This year Spring seems to be showing up a little bit earlier than usual.  It was still Winter when we hit 80 degrees.  What that means for the rest of the season and the seasons to follow, I haven’t a clue.  What I do know is that I love Spring!  Next to Fall, Spring is my other favorite season.

It is a season the brings new growth, hope, warmth, and beauty.  Just watching all the green begin to pop everywhere around me is refreshing.  I now have flowers that are getting ready to bloom and my chives are nearly a foot tall already!  But I love it.  As I am writing this post I am sitting on my patio, listening to some of my favorite tunes and soaking up the sun.  I like to feel the warmth of the sun wash over me.  It brings in a sense of calm.

Seeing the plants beginning to push through the newly thawed ground and blooms starting to grow makes me remember.  I remember that we too go through a continual growth and blossom period.  Those plants work hard to push through the dirt, striving to feel the warmth of the sun shine down them.  Through life’s daily stresses, struggles, worries and frustration we need to push through to find our warmth, to find our sunshine.

What brings you warmth?  Where does your sunshine come from?

For me…being outdoors, photography, writing, family, and friends.  Share with me below your favorite season, what it means to you, and where your sunshine comes from

 

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?

 

 

Who are you going to be with?

The holidays bring about a time of year where you will be surrounded by people.  For some people this will be okay, for others not so much, and yet others will have many mixed emotions or feelings about this.  So what do you do?  Take a moment to think about the people you will be around, whether for an extended time period or just a couple of hours.  If there is anyone who doesn’t support you in your grief and healing process, then you may want to consider how you will spend your holiday time with them.  Do you do what you normally would with them or do you change things up?  This could be anything from changing the venue in which you get together or even changing the lenght of time you meet.  Celebrating a holiday, especially the first one, without your little one can be tough to go through.  Be sure to surround yourself with those who truly do support you and the process you are going through.  Even if you are unable to get together with some of them during the holiday time, make sure to have a way to be in contact with them if possible.  Each person, each couple will go through this differently and a level that they can handle.  So, take the time to talk with your spouse and loved ones to keep them informed on what you are feeling and what you need.   A piece of advice I heard from someone was to have a backdoor plan.  Basically, an exit plans if things get to be too overwhelming.  Create a code word with your spouse that either one of you can say if you find it necessary, then you can make your exit.

 Fortunately, our family and friends are very supportive through all of this.  We also are rather open and honest about it all too.  So, we will be spending our time with family and friends.  If it comes down to it and I need some space I can easily go for a walk, or if I need to talk there will be someone nearby that I trust that I can talk to.

So, who are you going to be with?  What is your plan?  Share below your thoughts, tips, or ideas.

 

Where will you be?

For a lot of people the holidays means a time for travel.  For some, it could be across town and for others it is across the country.  Whether by road or by air, most of us usually end up traveling some distance to be with family.  Traveling can be exciting, but even though your trunk may be full of gifts you may feel that your arms are still empty.  The thought of this may cause a debate with yourself, your spouse, and your family.  Do we travel this year or do we choose to stay home?  Along with this thought is, do you or will you accept the usual holiday invitations?  What about new holiday invitations?  I have heard it both ways.  Do you choose to skip the usual invitations, but go to the new ones where most people there don’t know your story?  For a moment, you can live the way you did before your loss.  Or do you skip the new ones because people won’t understand what you’re feeling and do the usual ones because you would be with people who know and understand.  Something else to think about…will you be including different activities at home for just your family?

We will continue to do what we always do for Christmas.  We head to WI for an extended weekend to spend time with both of our families.  Fortunately, both of our sets of parents live about six blocks from each other, so it makes it easier to see all our family.  As far as invitations go during the holiday season, we don’t get many, which we are fine with.  We get the usual work holiday parties, which most likely we will go to.  Seeing as it is just my husband, two cats, and me at home, our family activities will remain the same.  I will decorate the house, we will decorate the tree, but we are planning to add in a few new decorations this year, and there will be some holiday baking.

So, where will be?  What is your plan?  Share below your thoughts, tips, or ideas.

 

Raun and I have faced many holidays since we lost Samantha.  She died in January so we have faced Easter, Mother’s day, Father’s day, and Thanksgiving so far this year, and soon we will be able to add Christmas to the list.  The first year of holidays is tough.  I have run the gamut of emotions.  I am happy to be with family and celebrate, but saddened because Samantha was not there to be a part of it.

Thinking back to when our due date was, she would not have been born yet for Easter, Mother’s day, and Father’s day.  We would have still been pregnant at the time had there been no complications with the pregnancy.  Either way, because of when she was born, January, we faced those holidays without our daughter here on earth.

Fortunately, we have been blessed with a very supportive family and strong group of friends.  With them, it has been easier to get through the holidays.  Instead of moving through them in a blur, I have been able to be present and to find some joy throughout them.  On each of those holidays, our family has honored and remembered Samantha in some way.  Even though she is not here on earth, she is still a part of our family and our family holds her closely in their hearts.  They show it through their words, prayers, and cards.

I know this may not be the case for others out there who have lost their little one(s) through miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant loss.  I have heard stories of people’s relationships becoming strained with their family members, in-laws, or even their spouse after the loss of their child.  Sometimes, even friendships are broken because of the loss.  My heart aches for those who have lost this supportive circle.  Most of the time it is because people just don’t know what to do or say, so it becomes easier for them to ignore what happened.

Holidays can bring the best or the worst out in people, no matter what their life situations are currently.  The holidays bring a different disposition to most people.  For those who have experienced the loss of a child, this time of year becomes tough in a whole different way.  They are celebrating a holiday, but they aren’t able to have their little one with them physically to celebrate it too.  This creates a tension.

So, I want to help give you the tools to create a plan in hopes that you will find your burden a little less and that you can  find happiness and beauty in what is in front of you.  I will provide some things for you to think about and help set steps towards a holiday plan.  Your answers and feelings may differ than your spouse’s, so be sure to sit down and talk through these things together.  I will also share with you what my husband and I will be doing.

Raun and I are truly excited for the holiday season.  Yes, we will miss Samantha and will feel saddened that she won’t be here physically to celebrate with us.  But, we do know that she will still be celebrating with us in spirit.

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.

 

I am continuing to share with you what I am thankful for, grateful for, or just plain blessed with in my life.  At the beginning of the month I decided to share my 30 days of Thankfulness.  You can read the first part of my 30 days of Thankfulness by clicking here for 1-6 and here for 7-13.

14.  Support-I am blessed with a tremendous support system that has come out of losing Samantha.  Without that support system, I wouldn’t be able to be where I am today.

15. My new contacts-I know this may sound odd, but I have been trying to get the right ones for the past three months.  Finally, after like the 7th pair they are right.  I can see well during the day and night finally!

16. For an Extra Long Fall-In Minnesota, Fall doesn’t always seem to stick around.  We have been very lucky and very blessed to still have decent weather.

17. My memorial garden-It’s the middle of November and the flowers I planted (Yellow Snapdragons) that are around the memory stone are still blooming.

In Spring, when I first planted everythingSnapdragons still blossoming as of November 19

 

18. The Internet-without there is a lot I wouldn’t be able to do.  With it I am able to easily keep in touch with family and I am able to share my photography, as well as my writings.

19. MyInfantLoss.com-it has been a way for me to reach out to others, hopefully helping them while helping myself through the healing process.

20. My Car-it allows me to go where I need to go, as well as where I want to go.  Without it doing so many of the fun road trips we did this past year wouldn’t have as possible as they were.

21. God-without having the knowledge of God walking beside me and being there, I think times would be a lot tougher and things would be a lot harder to handle.  Even though I may waver, turn away, yell and get angry, He is always there, no matter what.

What are you thankful for?  It’s not to late to start creating your list.  If you aren’t able to do the 30 days of Thankfulness, then I encourage you to create a list of 10.  I look forward to continuing to share mine and I look forward to hearing from you what is on your list.  Share you thoughts below.

 

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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