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.

 

 

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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