"Life isn't about surviving the storm...it is about learning to dance in the rain." Anonymous

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Keep Calm and........

I saw a shirt the other day with this saying...
 
I almost laughed out loud!  What a great shirt.  Ever since then, I have seen this "Keep Calm" saying everywhere.  There is:

 and my favorite....

 
What would life be like if we just lived in one big state of calm?  Probably much nicer.  I think if I could design a shirt with my own "keep calm" saying, it would look something like this...
 
 
I have been on this crazy journey of grief for almost four years now.  And what I have learned is that it is a journey, not something that can be fixed.  But something that I have to experience and be better for. 
 
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, which begins my countdown towards my Elizabeth's birthday on December 1st.  I mentally go through this every year....this week reminds me so much of the day she was born, which is also the day she left us.  I remember that four years ago, in 2009, my family came to my house for Thanksgiving because I was pregnant and had been on bedrest.  It was such a great day!  We ate a lot and she was moving so much.  I think she loved turkey :)  We were all so happy.  I didn't go shopping on Black Friday that year, because I was on bedrest, but I did a lot of online shopping on cyber Monday.  In fact, that is what I remember most.  I bought her a gift.  It was a playmat with ocean creatures on it.  I also ordered her the cutest little Baby Lulu outfit.  That was on Monday.  On Tuesday, I woke up, dressed in a black and white polka dot shirt and khaki corduroy pants, brushed my teeth, and started hemorrhaging.  On Tuesday, she was gone.
 
The black and white shirt hangs in my closet, untouched since then.  I don't know that I will ever throw it away.  It is a last link to her....the last thing "we" wore together.  The Baby Lulu outfit is in her memory box and the playmat is in the garage, in an unopened box that was delivered the day we came home from the hospital without her.
 
For a long time, when I relived that, I would be so angry with myself for taking too long brushing my teeth.  Maybe if I had not been up for too long, the bleeding would not have started.  Did I move the wrong way?  Did she know what was happening?  Why in the world did this happen?  So many why's. 
 
After December 1st, so many things changed.  I am an amateur photographer and have a passion for documenting everything.  It drives my family nuts.  I stopped taking pictures for a long time.  It is almost as if I subconsciously want that time to be undocumented.  Like I want for all that pain to not be there.
 
I started having panic attacks and not wanting to be in crowds.  I am a very social person and this was very disconcerting to the people who know me best. 
 
So many other things happened, all of which is normal grief.  I think I had to feel it, to go through the emotions, to love her the way I needed to and to feel the pain of that heartbreak of losing her.
 
But today, I am pretty calm.  I am journeying on.  I know that I am better for it, because she is my motivator.  I spent almost a year of my life helping her grow inside of me and planning for her and naming her and waiting for her.  I am so thankful for that time.  On a day when we are all thinking of what we are thankful for, I am thankful for my family.  And my family includes her.  She is such a part of who I am and who my family is.  She is always teaching us. 
 
This year is so different than the past 3.  I am looking forward to Sunday, which is December 1st.  We are making pink cupcakes.  I want to celebrate her and thank her for being part of my life.  She is such a part of my story, just as I am such a part of hers. She was born still, but she was still born and I am going to celebrate her this year on her birthday.  I want her to know that I am taking pictures again....lots of pictures.  I am annoying everyone with my camera.  I am also hosting a Christmas party for our friends.  I didn't realize it until I started typing this that I am evolving.  My grief is changing.  That doesn't mean it is gone, because it never will be.  But, it is changing.  I have turned onto a new road on this journey of mine.  And, at least for right now..... I am calm.

 


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

((Hugs))

A dear friend sent this to me the other day and I wanted to share it with all of you...


Peace and GIGANTIC ((hugs)) to all of you.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Memories

My "Big Daddy" died two weeks ago.  He was my grandfather on my mom's side.  We had always called him that because he was so tall.  Just a massive man, full of strength.  I can remember sitting on his shoulders when I was very little.  Sitting there made me feel like I was the tallest person on earth. 

It is interesting to me how I view death since I have been through the death of my baby.  I don't fear death.  I think a lot about it sometimes--the concept of death, what it is like, what heaven is like.  I know that sounds REALLY strange.  But it is true.  Don't misunderstand me.....I do not like the idea of death and I do not like to know that others around me have experienced the death of a loved one.  But, I think that because my little girl has been through it that I view it differently than maybe someone who hasn't really given it much thought.  I don't know.

So, I have been thinking a lot about Big Daddy.  Which makes me think a lot about my girl.  Now they are in the same place and that is nice.  I know that we all believe different things, but I believe in Heaven.  I wonder if he has been giving her rides on his shoulders?  I bet she would like that a lot.

My grandfather was a World War II veteran.  He loved to tell stories about his army days and how his plane went down over a part of Africa and he had to find his way home.  I can't imagine doing that myself....Ha!  I wouldn't make it out of Atlanta :)  But, it doesn't surprise me that he could.  He was like that.  He preferred little girls, maybe because he raised two daughters.  I remember him telling me how happy he was when he found out I was a girl after I was born.  He said there was no need to for sports and all that "boy stuff" when you could play Barbies or paint fingernails.  Of course, now I know how much he liked watching baseball and cutting grass and doing "manly" things.  But, when I was little, hearing him say that made me think he was really great.

In my last post, I mentioned that I would be getting my Molly bear soon.  A couple of weeks after that post, I had a really crummy day.  One of those days that make you sit in the car and cry.  I also knew that my grandfather had just been admitted to Hospice care and was not doing well.  Lastly, I was scheduled to be one of several speakers at the Atlanta Walk to Remember that weekend.  I was so nervous about that!!   I am not a great public speaker.  I really didn't want to mess things up.  That day is just too special for so many people and I was so worried about what I would say.  So, as I was saying, I was having a crummy day topped with a lot of anxiety and sadness.  I got home that afternoon and opened the mailbox to find my Molly Bears box.  I can't explain how it made me feel....it was perfect timing.  A not so subtle message from my darling girl letting me know she is still here and that all will be ok. 

Here she is....


                                                                                                ....my "Lizzie" bear :))

I can't think of a more perfect day to receive her and I am so grateful to Molly Bears for what they do.  I know it seems crazy to gain hope and strength from a stuffed bear, but I did and I do.  It is a strange thing to not have memories or much tangible evidence that a person existed and not only was part of your life, but irrevocably changed your life forever.  I think this precious gesture gives me a little of that, along with hope. 

I know that somewhere up in heaven, a very tall man with broad shoulders and a funny laugh is holding a tiny precious little girl and telling her all about her mama and what her mama was like as a little girl.  Maybe he is sharing some memories with her about me and that makes me really happy. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Rainbows, Walks, and my Molly Bear....oh my!!

I know, weird title....this is sort of a hodge podge post, though.  I have several things to share and I didn't want to post it all separately.

First of all....the Atlanta Walk to Remember is coming up on Sunday, October 6th at 2pm.  If you are in the Atlanta area, please come out to celebrate and remember with us.  This is always such a remarkable day, full of specialness and full of community.  This year, it is going to be held at Riverside Park in Roswell, which is so beautiful.  There is a great green space there, so you can bring a blanket or sit in one of our chairs.  It is sad that we are all part of this community of grief, but I feel so blessed to have this group of people.  I know I am not alone.  Registration is free....click here to register.   I hope to see you there!!

I have been so excited to see all of the rainbow pictures that people have sent me since my last post.  In fact, they are just so great, that I thought I would share a few...


I really love this one....sent by one of my special friends.  Thank you!!



I have to say that there are few things more beautiful than a rainbow.  They are so full of promise!  Keep the pictures coming.  I love them. 

Last, but not least....I got an email the other day from Molly Bears.  If you don't know about Molly Bears, they are such a great organization that creates weighted teddy bears for families who have lost a baby.  They will make a teddy bear with the same weight as the baby who is gone.  The downside is that they are so wonderful that their waiting list is pretty long.  I put my name on the list almost 3 years ago so that I could get my bear.  My baby, Elizabeth, would have been 4 this December 1st (wow!).  I don't know if I have ever mentioned this, but we would have called her Lizzie.  Well, my Lizzie bear is coming!  They said it should be here in time for her birthday.  I can't tell you how much this made me smile! 

I really needed this.  I have been thinking about her a lot lately.  More than usual.  My sister recently had a baby, a little girl.  It has been so wonderful getting a new niece, but hard, too.  This conflict of emotions has really had me unsettled.    You know, because you walk this journey with me.  It can be very unsettling at times.  To hear my parents talk about the fact that they have a granddaughter has hurt my feelings.  They usually forget to count the one who isn't here.  I have refrained from fussing at them for the moment.  I don't want to take away from my sister's moment.  But, it hurts me when my Lizzie is forgotten. 

My new niece is named Eliza....I love this name, but it is so close to my baby's name.  Again, I guess no one else is thinking about the one who is not here.  She is gorgeous, though, and I am in love with her.  I just need to find a place to put the hurt for now. 

I really do hope to see you at the Walk!  If you come, please look for me.  Someone will know where to find me.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

The Wisdom of Pooh

Hello!!  I am so sorry it has been way too long since I have written.  Things have been a bit hectic.  I went out of town and then have just been playing catch up. 

If you have read this blog for a while, you may know that I love the beach.  I am most definitely a summer girl.  No mountains for me....it is the beach that makes me happy.  You know also, too, that since I lost my baby daughter, it is our big summer beach trip to Longboat Key that makes me really miss her the most.  Strangely, for me, it is not Christmas or Mother's Day.  It is the summer family trip and Halloween (I know that is odd, but I can't help it) that affect me the most.  Maybe because during that trip, my family spends so much time together.  It, for us, is our time to not think about anything but family, take our family beach pictures, spend time with cousins, etc, etc.  It makes me remember that there is a little girl missing.  A little girl who would be 3 and a half, who may or may not like the ocean, who would probably love flying a kite, who would be so pooped by the end of the day that her daddy and I would put her to bed early.  A little girl with pink cheeks and probably blonde hair.  Oh, I miss that girl!  Which confuses me so much....how do you miss what you don't know?  I guess I miss knowing her.  I have missed it all.  And sometimes that hits me like a freight train.

It is crazy, though, that for the past couple of years, when I start to get really down about missing her on our trip, I see something that  just takes my breath away.  One year it was a school of about 10 dolphins that put on a show right in front of me.  Last year, it was the manatee that came and drank right from a water hose I was holding on a dock!  Well, this year, just as I was about to start crying, I laid my head on my knees and looked to the left and this is what I saw....


Isn't that gorgeous?!  The crazy part is that it had not rained yet.  It was cloudy, but no rain.  I just love that rainbow right over my favorite ocean.  Such a precious message from my sweet girl.  Just reminding me that she was right there with us.

A very dear person made some memory boxes for our office recently.  They are amazing.  She is so creative and took so much time making them and really poured her heart into them.  She is another mom who is missing her baby. 

One of her boxes had the following quote from the A.A. Milne Winnie the Pooh series:

“If ever there is tomorrow when we're not together... there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we're apart... I'll always be with you.”
A.A. Milne

I needed to read that.  I hope she knows how much that touched me and will touch the family who reads it.  There is so much truth and wisdom in that statement. 

So, I am now obsessed with what I call "Pooh Wisdom".  I have read some of the most loved quotes from A.A. Milne.  What incredible works of literature!  I have never noticed before, but most of Pooh's best-loved quotes speak right to your soul. 

So, here is to rainbows on the beach.  And a honey bear named Pooh and all of his sidekicks.  And to all of you who are right there with me, missing the part of you that is no longer here.  We are all in this together, one small step at a time.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Always a Mother

Most of the best moms I know have no baby at home to hold.  Instead, they dream of the babies they hold in their hearts, because their arms are too empty.  These moms, in my opinion, are the epitome of what it means to be a mother.  They know the intense love a mother knows.  They know what it feels like to be not only willing, but ready, to give up their life for the life of their child.  They also know what it feels like to lose that child, to let them go from this life.  And, to me, this is what makes them the most special moms in the world.  No other mother out there can honestly relate to this.  It may be a nightmarish thought they have thought at times but dismissed.  But, they haven't and they don't live with that reality every day.

Because of the journeys that bereaved moms go through, they cherish their memories more.  If they have other children, they understand the instability and the fragility of life and they parent in a different way.  Or at least, I know that I do now.  The loss of my sweet baby changed me in ways I could never imagine.  One of those ways was the way I look at my other children.  The way that I listen to their laughter and the way that I watch over them when they go to sleep at night. 

Some bereaved moms lose their babies to abnormalities that do not allow for them to live for long, if at all, outside of their mothers' wombs.  They  love their sweet babies and cherish the time they have.  They are heroes to me.

Many of us carried our babies for a period of time in anticipation of the excitement that comes with a new baby, only to leave the hospital without our precious child.  No mother should have to do that, but we did and people do it everyday.  These mothers know pain, and sadness, and a love so incredibly deep that it always bonds us to that child.

I was told once by a friend, "I feel like I was once a mother."  My reply was, "My sweet friend, you are always and ever will be a mother." 

I have written before, either here or in our newsletter this question for you to think about:  If you lose your mother or your father today, are you no longer someone's daughter?   Of course you are!  Just like you are always, and forever will be, a mother.  You are the only mother your baby knew and all he or she knew was love.  The kind of love that can only come from a mother. 

Happy International Mother's Day (one day late :))  and peace to you all this Mother's Day.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Walking the Line

Those of you who come to support group know Carol, who works with me in the office.  Carol is really awesome, always sharing a unique perspective.  Yesterday, she was telling me about something she read regarding a tightrope and somehow we were talking about the analogy of walking a tightrope and walking the grief journey.

Anyway, if you read my posts regularly, you also know that when I get something like that stuck in my head, it usually doesn't leave.  So, I have been thinking about this tightrope walk that I have been doing for the last three years. 

There is this kind of crazy man named Nik Wallenda who has been on the Today show several times.  His claim to fame is tightrope walking....he has walked over Niagra Falls and over a highway in Sarasota (without a safety harness, which really makes him crazy in my opinion), and now I think he is preparing to walk across the Grand Canyon.

I am kind of drawn to these stories, because I am typically not a risk taker and the fact that there are people out there who do such daring things is interesting to me.  Crazy, but interesting.

So, you are probably asking yourself what in the world this has to do with grief.   Well, let me tell you.....I think I can honestly say that my grief journey, my walk through the agony of loss, is my tightrope.

This walk has been so intense for me at times, so unpredictable, that sometimes I feel like I lose my footing.  Like my balance gets shaken by some trigger.  Sometimes, it is hard for me to hold on with my feet steady and not look down.  You see, if you lose confidence and look down for just a second, it is over.  You will almost surely succumb to the abyss below.  You have to look ahead, keep your eye on the prize, so to speak.  Though, in this case the prize isn't a monetary award or a trophy or an interview on the Today show.  But, it is healing and hope and a place where rainbows show their colors and laughter abounds.  I call it "the other side".

I want to make it there.  I want all of us to make it there.  It is so hard to walk this walk, especially with no acrobatic training whatsoever.  But, I know I can do it.  And I know you can, too.  Maybe not in record time, but that is not my goal.  My goal is just to make it.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Ride of My Life

For a while, I have been following the story of a little boy named Ronan who was diagnosed as an infant with Tay-Sach's disease.  His blog was recently named one of Time Magazine's top 25 blogs of the year.  His story and the story of his parents is one of incredible love.  They called him "Little Seal".  His disease was one that caused him paralysis, blindness, and death.  He passed away a couple of weeks ago.  His mom has written a book called The Still Point of the Turning of the World.  It is her memoir of her time with her terminally ill, beautiful little boy.

I have been thinking alot about Little Seal the past couple of days and I want to read his mom's story.  The name of her book is very powerful, I think. 

I think most people who have experienced loss of any kind will agree that time seems to stand still.  It is like your world just stops, but at the same time, the rest of the world continues moving.  The earth still rotates on its axis.  People continue to live, completely unaware that your world has come to a fast and grinding halt.

All of this has made me think of the emotions that come along with feeling so isolated and so shattered.  Right after my loss, my emotions would run the gamut of devastated, anxious, panicked, fearful, and happy (yes, sometimes happy) all in a 5 minute time period.  It has been 3 years and 3 months, and sometimes my emotions still are very unpredictable.  I have heard grief described as "a roller coaster of emotions."  Well, I guess I need to buckle up and prepare myself for the ride.

When I was a teenager, I remember going to Six Flags with some friends and riding that really old, wooden roller coaster the Scream Machine.  To this day, I don't know what my feelings are about that ride....scary, exhilarating, stomach lurching terror.   I remember that at one point, even though I was wearing my lap belt (that is all there is to keep you inside!), I felt like I was going to fly right out.  I think that is what most people love about that ride, but it terrified me and I have always refused to ride it since.

I guess you could say that I have been riding a very similar roller coaster for the past 3 years.  The difference is that I didn't buy a ticket for this one and stand in line for an hour to ride it.  No, I just happened to walk right on, along with hundreds of other moms and dads who had to go home from the hospital without their babies.  This ride is gut wrenching at times and has broken me down to the point of exhaustion before.  It has brought me tears, anxiety, and has left me with a hole in my heart that can't be filled with anything else. 

But I can't talk about this ride without acknowledging the beauty that has come from it.  True--as awful as the loss of my baby daughter was and is for me, there is so much joy and beauty that comes with saying her name and talking about her story.  Without her and her story, I would be a completely different person.  This one tiny little person taught me compassion and dignity in a way that I could never have learned it otherwise.  Her story is a part of me, just as I am a part of her. 

I will probably be riding my roller coaster for some time.  I still have a lot of healing left to do.  And this is one of those rides that doesn't make you get off until you are good and ready.  You see, I am in charge of my experience, just as you are in charge of yours.  What we make of this ride is completely and utterly up to us.  So, for now, I am going to tighten that lap belt a good bit tighter and keep my eyes wide open and maybe even hold my arms in the air so that I can really feel all the emotions and the world around me.  This ride is mine.  It may not be what I signed up for, but it is mine and my daughter's legacy will be waiting for me when I get off.  So, I need to make my ride and my journey count.  It's a daunting task, but an important one. 

In the meantime, the world is still moving and is encouraging me to be a part of it.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

6 Top Things I Don't Want to Hear...

I read the greatest article the other day written by a woman who listed her top 6 things you should not say to parents of adopted children, divorcees, working moms, etc.  She had a list for everything, including the responses she would like to give.  Even though all of her categories did not apply to me, I read them and understood alot of them and laughed out loud at some of her crazy responses. Really, I guess I understood her frustration, which was evident in some of her lists.  I think her point really was that too many people give opinions and unsolicited advice that can be hurtful.  Most of the time, the advice givers have NO CLUE what they are even talking about.

One list she didn't have was "6 things Never to Say to someone who has just lost their baby." Of course this does not surprise me, because alot of people avoid this topic.  So, I have decided to make my own list of my "Top 6 Ludicrous and Ridiculous Things People Say After Someone Loses a Baby" along with what I would like to respond back to them.  Of course, I am a polite Southern girl and would probably keep my comments to myself, but it sure is cathartic and fun to write them.  And who knows, maybe one day, someone will really annoy me with a stupid comment and I will not be able to help myself.  There are times when I think someone learns a very valuable lesson when they are told how insensitive and/or ridiculous their comment is.

I hope you either enjoy my list or realize that you are probably not alone in having to deal with insensitive, unsolicited advice.

Here goes:

My Top 6 Ludicrous and Ridiculous Things People Say After Someone Loses a Baby
(my responses in red)


  1. It just wasn't meant to be.  Ok, obviously not, but how would you feel if your child passed away at any age and I said to you that it wasn't meant to be for that child to continue living and to  grow older?  Puts a bit of a different spin on it, doesn't it?
  2. You just have to know that God has a plan and your loss is all part of it.  The Tsunami in Tailand and all of the other natural disasters that occur in the world are all part of His plan, too, but that doesn't make them hurt any less.
  3. You can have another baby.  (This is one of my favorites!).   Well, unfortunately, I am not as fertile as you are with your x number of kids.  And when I do get pregnant, things are not very easy for me.  Unless you are absolutely certain that I will be successful in not only getting pregnant, but also being able to carry that baby, please do not comment on my fertility.  Maybe, I am unable to have any more children or maybe I have chosen not to have any more.  VERY personal comment.
  4. You have your own angel now.  I would move heaven and earth for my baby to be here, with me.  I wanted her to bury me, not the other way around.  That statement may give me peace one day, but today it really does not.
  5. Try to forget this all happened.  I am so terribly afraid of forgetting.  I am afraid of forgetting her movement inside of me, her profile, my pregnancy sickness, my delivery.  If I could bottle it all up, I would.  That time is part of me and my family.  She happened.  You may need to forget it or ignore what has happened to me, but I will not.  Besides, how would you feel if I said that to you after you lost a loved one?
  6. There was probably something wrong anyway, or she could have had alot of problems.  First of all, why would you ever say that?  Second of all, why does that matter?  The fact that you think that says alot about your parenting style.  So, would you love your child any less if he or she was in an accident that left them impaired?  Would that child not still be completely worthy of being here?  I would have loved my baby no matter what.

The sad truth is that I could continue my list.  The happy truth is that I have gotten to a point where, most of the time, I don't let these types of comments get to me.  

Sunday, January 20, 2013

It Takes a Village...

This post may be a little long and rambling, but I have some emotions running about in my head today that need to be unloaded.  So, I will apologize ahead of time.

The other night in support group, the topic of the elephants and how they grieve came up.  For those who know me personally, you know that this story really fascinates me and makes me think about why people aren't as naturally willing to help others through grief.  Someone brought up the idea of geese and how they support each other through the loss of one of their own.  So, of course, I came home and started reading elephant stories.  I know it is wierd, but it is one of those things for me that inspires me and interests me.  I used to be this way about the Amish culture--I was very interested in their customs and read alot about them. 

Did you know that there is a lady by the name of Joyce Poole, who has studied elephants in the wild and wrote a book called Coming of Age with Elephants?  She writes about a clan of elephants who are on the move when one dies suddenly.  Several of them try to revive her and finally, they move on.  The next day, they all returned to mourn her and pay their respects to one of their own.  Poole talks about the emotional depth of elephants and the strong desire they have to remember those whom they have lost.  Wow, how I love elephants!!

Hilary Clinton is famously known for her 1996 book It Takes a Village, in which she makes the point that it takes a village to raise a child.  Well, I have decided that it takes a village to grieve a child.  The journey we embark on the minute we find out that our baby is gone is not one we can travel alone.  It truly takes a village...a community....a group of people around us who can help to lift us out of the awful devastation. 

It is always surprising to me when I realize who lives in "my village".  I am reminded sometimes, that it is not necessarily those closest to me who are my greatest support.  While that is a sad realization and the pain of that truth never gets better, it is what it is.  Many of you may have heard me talk about the "mean wells", those people who mean well and think that they are helping, but are very hurtful and callous.  The mean wells don't live in my village.  My village includes my loss community.  The friends I have made along this journey.  The other parents I know from support group.  The friends who remember my daughter's name and her birthday.  The people who I have never met in person, but know from online forums who have helped me more than they will ever know.

I bring this up because yesterday I got my feelings hurt.  Crushed, really.  By my grandmother, of all people.  She is DEFINITELY not a part of my village and it has taken me 3 years to accept that.  Let me start by saying that yesterday was such a good day--I got my hair cut which always puts me in a great mood. I spent some time with my closest friend in the afternoon.   I was looking forward to going out to dinner with my husband.  I decided to call my 94 year old grandmother to check on her, since she was ill this past week.  My grandmother is very opinionated and does not get along with many people.  She also does not like imperfection in others, even though she is not perfect herself.  She has always been this way. I know this and am usually ok with it.  Well, she proceeded to ask me how much I weigh and what size pants I wear now.  I haven't seen her in months, so I wasn't sure why all the questions.  She continued to tell me that I used to be skinny (which I did) and that I look "horrible" now.  I started to cry and told her that after 4 c-sections, I am not going to look like I did in my 20's.  She said, "Four?"   "Yes, Grandma, four."  "Oh, you must be counting that one baby that didn't make it."    Yes, I was.  I always count her.  I have the surgery scar to prove she was born.  She is part of me and my family.  She is actually part of hers, too, but she doesn't see it that way.

So, I spent the whole night in tears.  Sometimes, I feel like I lost more than my baby.  I lost relationships that I have had my whole life.  It really stinks. 

I went to mass this morning and lo and behold, the choir sang "I Can Only Imagine" during communion.  Most people don't know this, but this song seems to play whenever I am down.  It's almost strange how it has become the song that I associate with my baby.  So when I heard it this morning, I knew that she was sending me a message, letting me know that she existed and that she is here in all of the beautiful things around me.  She is part of my village and that makes it very special.  I am so thankful for my "herd of elephants" who support me and carry me everyday through this journey called grief.

All I can do is take it one day at a time and rely on those in my life who inspire me and support me.  Having those people around me makes me a very lucky girl.

Friday, January 4, 2013

My 21 year old self

Yesterday, I was listening to a very thought-provoking segment on the radio.  The radio host asked listeners what advice they would give to their 21 year old selves.  Maybe it's nostalgia or maybe it is because I just celebrated my 40th birthday 3 weeks ago....but I really started thinking about this.

Someone asked me once if I would want to go back to my 20's and I said , very confidently, "no".  I have learned so much and experienced so many things that have really impacted my soul.  I can't imagine going backwards.  Now, there are certain days that I would love to relive, but I wouldn't want to stay there.

So, here is my list.  My advice to my twenty-something self:


  • Laugh more and don't sweat the small stuff.  The small stuff usually figures itself out.
  • Don't think twice about not making the Mercer dance troupe....deep down, you know you are not a dancer and rhythm is something you were not born with and that is ok.  You are going to have such a great time cheering during your last 2 years of college.
  • Take some time to visit Aunt Jinny and to sit in her wonderful, vintage kitchen and eat her fried chicken.  No one will ever in your life make chicken like that.  And she won't be around much longer and you will miss her.
  • Don't worry if you don't have a date or plans for the weekend.  Stay home and eat dinner with your parents and watch TV with them.  They aren't getting younger and they really can be quite entertaining.
  • Don't agonize over when he is going to propose to you.  Just enjoy him and being young.  He will ask you when the time is right and you will make a happy home together.
  • Don't second guess your nursing career because you have to start out working nights.  You will meet some of your dearest friends working these crazy hours and you will have fun, too.
  • Take guitar lessons--you really enjoyed playing in the Phi Mu washboard band.  Besides, you need to know how to play more than Our House and You've Got a Friend.
  • You are strong.  The bad grade you make on your grad school project or the fact that the contract on your first house falls through or the flooded basement in the house you finally buy--those things are just bumps in the road.  Believe me, there are worse things.  Much worse, but you will live through those, too.
  • In a few years, you will be pregnant with your second daughter, who will not survive her birth.  The week before she's born, you will have an ultrasound and the sonographer will be in a huge rush.  Ask her for one last look and tell her not to rush through your ultrasound.  Make her give you a picture.  It is the last time you will see your baby kicking and moving around.  This is one of those really bad things that I just mentioned.  Her death will hurt your heart and alter your path in life.  But remember, you are strong.  You will be ok.  You will not be taken down and will be stronger and better because of it.
  • Lastly, cherish every single minute of every single day.  Cliches are started for a reason--the time really does go so fast.  How you choose to spend it is entirely and completely up to you.

Well, I have always been long-winded and I don't look for that to change. What would you say to your twenty-something self??