Friday, January 30, 2009

Presidents and Grief

This is taken from the current issue of the Bereaved Parents of the USA newsletter

We often forget how many people have suffered the same loss as each of us. It is especially interesting to realize that many of our Presidents and their wives are not immune.

John Adams & Abigail had 5 children. One daughter, Susanna, died at one year of age

Thomas Jefferson and Martha had 6 children. Five died: 5month old Jane, a 2.5 week old son, a 4 month old daughter, 25 year old Mary and 3 year old Lucy. What a lot of grief!

James Monroe and Elizabeth had 3 children and their son died at 1 year of age.

John Quincy Adams & Louisa Catherine had 4 children. Catherine died at 1 year of age.

John Taylor & Letitia had 8 children and one, Anne, died in infancy.

Zachary Taylor & Margaret had 6 children. Octavia died at 3 years of age and Margaret at 1 year.

Franklin Pierce & Jane had 3 sons: Franklin died when 3 days old, Frank Robert died at 4 years and Benjamin died at 10.

Abraham Lincoln & Mary Todd had 4 sons: Edward Baker died at 3 years of age, William Wallace who died at 11 years of age and TAd who died at 18 years of age.

Rutherford Hayes & Lucy had 8 children. Joseph died at 2 years of age, George Crook died at 2 years of age and Manning Force died at 1 year of age.

James Garfield and Lucretia had 7 children. Eliza died at 2 years of age and Edward died at 2 years of age.

Chester Arthur & Ellen had 3 children. Willian Lewis Herndon died at 2 years of age.

William McKinley& Ida had 2 children. Both died: Katherine at 4 years of age and Ida at 4 months of age.

Calvin Coolidge & Grace had 2 sons: Calvin, Jr. died at 16 years of age.

Franklin Roosevelt and Eleanore had 6 children: Franklin Delano died at 8 months of age.

Dwight Eisenhower & Mamie had 2 sons. Doud Dwight died at 3 years of age.

John Kennedy & Jackie had 3 children. Patrick died at 2 days old and John died after both his parents.

George Bush & Barbara had one daughter, Robin, die at 3 years of age.

In this sad world of ours, sorrow comes to all. It comes with bittersweet agony. Perfect relief is not possible, except with time. You cannot now realize that you will ever feel better. And, yet, this is a mistake. You are sure ot be happy again. To know this, which is certainly true, will make you less miserable now. I have experienced enough to know what I say.
- Abraham Lincoln

A quick note about BP/USA: I haven't been to a meeting in person, but I AM attending their gathering this July in NYC and will be presenting a workshop. You can get more info about the gathering here.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I've Got a Pretty Good Attitude!

I was talking yesterday to a good friend of mine, Lisa. She has been a big support for me, even though she herself has a lot of challenges with her life and kid's health. She is the one who I had originally had the being good to yourself discussion and we were kind of having a follow up conversation about that.

I was telling her about the
'I Get To.. idea and how that was such a lightbulb moment for me.

She then said something that struck me as funny and I started laughing.

She said "I've usually got a pretty good attitude.. except when I'm depressed".

Isn't that the truth? That is totally true for me, too!

I've usually got a pretty good attitude, except when I am depressed!


Monday, January 26, 2009

Memorial Jewelry

Do you have an item of jewelry you bought in memory of your child?

After Gabriel died I splurged on a special necklace from MISS.
I love it.

I came across this other site recently with neat jewelry

Some of my favorites are:

the 'Footprints on my heart' necklace

and the

'Forever My Baby' necklace

The owner has sent us a discount code good for 10% off any item in her store until Feb3rd. The code is EMILY10. Thanks, Diane!


Saturday, January 24, 2009

Happy Birthday, Ryan

Rachel sent me this email:
You have mentioned in previous posts gathering information about how people help remember our angels. This Saturday would have been Ryan’s 4th birthday. Last year on that day an email popped into my inbox here at work. My older sister was inspired to write a poem for Ryan. She probably should have sent it to my home address as I immediately burst into tears but it is wonderful. I have the most amazing family and friends. They have been my strength when I needed them and showed so much love to us. I just wanted to share the poem in hopes you would share with others in your blog.
Take care,

A Poem for you, to Ryan…

Today is your Birthday and like many more, I will always love you even more than before. I can’t buy you clothes or buy you new toys, I can’t give you anymore new joys. I can’t hold your hand and say I love you, or tell you why the sky is so blue. You are not here with us anymore, for you have went thru that other door.

When God took you from us and chose you for him, I thought my world would come to an end. It almost did and I felt incomplete, then God gave to us some tiny new feet. When I hear his pitter patter, I think of you always and I know that life matters. I can’t hold you in my arms and give you hugs and kisses, I can only hold the memories of the days that I’ve been missing. I can hold the memory of how you fought so hard and how you touched my heart. I can still hear your laughter although it’s many years after. I will meet you at this very spot, whenever I want to be with you in thought.

Today is your Birthday and now you are three, I think of how much time has passed since you were two months. I think of you often, almost every day, I will love you forever.

For you on your special boys birthday…….Rebecca

Rachel, thanks for sharing this with us. What a wonderful sister to be so thoughtful.

Happy Birthday, Ryan!

Friday, January 23, 2009

I Get To..

Do not click the link! Read all the way to the end, first. Trust me.

YaYa turned me on to this wonderful post

I am telling you not to click the link. But I did want to give credit properly for this idea. Stay here for a few minutes.

Lana posts about the idea "I Get To" as opposed to "I Have To". Like "Today I get to go to work" instead of "I have to go to work" appreciating the fact I have a job. OR, "Today I get to clean my house" instead of "have to clean my house" appreciating that I have a house, when so many are losing theirs .

It is a modern day glad game!

I am going to start using "I get to.." and try to be thankful for these things I have and to appreciate the responsibility that comes with them. I am going to TRY to see laundry as a blessing rather than a drudgery- I have clean running water, electricity, and more than one outfit to wear.

What a powerful idea! I love it.

I would send you to read the original post, but think it best to warn you ahead. You may not want to. Actually, I will tell you not to. Just don't.

The reason being- She is very thankful for her kids. And I know that is a hard thing for those of us without ours. We know too well that we would give anything to be up in the middle of the night with a crying baby. Or having to deal with any of the mess and inconvenience that comes with children.

So, I love her post like crazy and in all fairness would love to send you running over there but be forewarned. It is pretty hard to take today for some of us missing our kids.

wishing you peace-

Feeling the Love

I got two 'blog' awards yesterday- I feel so loved. You know in kindergarten when you do your worksheets and the teacher puts a big old gold star or 'good job!' sticker on your paper? They are kind of like that. Thanks, everybody! It makes me happy!

intimeout gave me this one (aw shucks)

and mile191 gave me this one (sniff, sniff, cry)

Instructions for awardees:
please share this opportunity with your favorite bloggers by doing the following:

1. put the logo on your blog or post
2. nominate at least 10 blogs, which show great attitude and/or gratitude!
3. be sure to link to your nominees within your post
4. let them know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog
5. share the love and link to this post and to the person from whom you received your award.

To spread the love I am nominating these 10 blogs I've quickly become addicted to (in no particular order!):

1. Girl in a Swirl My sister (who does so much for so many of us- writing the names on our Sandwritten site.) If you happen to subscribe to Family Fun magazine you can see her gorgeous self as she is February's MOTHER OF THE MONTH. Well deserved!

2. Crash Test Dummy Diaries is always good for a laugh and to lift my spirits.

3.YaYa is someone I totally hope to meet one day and I hope she is holding the hands of a few little kids. Her own. Keep on trying, anyway you can!

4.Women Doing More who always makes me think about something bigger than my own small life and small problems

5.MotherHenna Kara was my first inspiration that my life as Gabriel's mom was not over- it was, in fact, just beginning

6.Stephanie and SweetPea project who is someone I have met in real life and a real inspiration of how little acts can add up to be something wonderful and warm. Like a quilt. Or 200 receiving blankets to donate to the hospital in honor of her daughter.

7.Ter who is my quickest responder and most loyal reader. ((hugs))

8.Daydreams by Design Charyce who helped me get my act together and acted as a consultant to design this totally rockin' site

9.E and K Rausch one of my first followers and I still read her blog to see her adorable little guy Kenner

10. Just a Cloud Away I met Diana at the SHARE conference and wish I was so very talented. Go check out her garden in honor of her son, Tanner. Amazing

And for all of you who have my button on my blog and I don't know you yet or don't read you yet, here is an award for you to take:

((hugs)) all around!
peace- emily
Aaron's mommy sent me a quote she loves- and so do I

"In life there are moments when you miss someone so much, that you wish you could just grab them out of your dreams and hug them tight!"

Thanks for sharing that with us, Nikki!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

March of Dimes- add your site!

A few years ago our family participated in March of Dimes. It was about the same time of year as Gabriel's day, and I thought it would be a nice family activity for the bunch of us.


I am lazy as the day is long and, having done no prep and never exercising, the 4 miles killed me. My husband, who was in training for the Marine Corps Marathon and running 6 miles a day and 15+mile runs on weekend did not see why his weenie wife wanted to quit. I kept insisting "It is symbolic! Nobody cares if I walk the whole thing or not!" and he was just as insistent "These people paid you to do walk so less talking and more walking!"

I was so glad to see the finish line.

This photo was taken at the beginning of the day. I don't have any photos taken at the end of the day. I think I was sitting in the car not talking to my husband at the time. Nobody thought to snap a photo of that momentous event.

So, THIS YEAR, instead of participating in March of Dimes myself I am supporting YOU! My loyal readers!

In the comments go ahead and add the link to your own page- I'll add a link at the top of my page so we can find this post. I'd love to hear about your experiences.

Way to go! I'm proud of you! (and will be cheering you on from the sidelines!)


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

None of us are alone

...All those who try to go it sole alone
Too proud to be beholden for relief
Are absolutely sure to come to grief.

-Robert Frost

This is one thing that makes this journey easier- the knowing that I am not in it alone. I mean, in real life it feels lonely sometimes. It seems everyone around me is back to business, back to the real life living and I'm left kind of by myself. And that is a lonely feeling.

But then I go to SHARE message boards (which are amazing.. if you haven't visited them I'd encourage you to stop by) or come post here and people reach out to me. People I don't know in real life. People whos story really maybe isn't that different than mine. People that give me ((hugs)). People who care.

And reading your stories, your blogs, your messages it confirms what I was hoping all along. I'm not crazy for feeling this way. Or at least, if I AM crazy, at least I'm not the only one.

Big ((hugs)) to everyone today!
Thanks for reading!
Extra thanks to those who comment!
I surely appreciate you all more than you know.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Looking for Peace

Possess yourself as much as you possibly can in peace; not by any effort, but by letting all things fall to the ground which trouble or excite you. This is no work, but is, as it were, a setting down a fluid to settle that has become turbid through agitation.
-Madame Guyon

I came across this quote. I think this is good advice for me, right now.

I have been so agitated the last few days. I can't settle down. I'm trying to clean my basement, so the rest of the house is trashed by the time I return upstairs. I've been yelling a lot.

I had a conversation with my neighbor that I regret (we have agreed not to discuss politics- we are on such different places- and I broke that agreement) and then I repeated it to another friend that I later realized wasn't such a brilliant idea either. I am anxious, on edge.

I dislike crowds. They make me nervous- such opportunity for one stupid person to harm a lot of others. So many people downtown today, in the cold... I worry.

They showed a woman on TV who drove here from Texas with her 4 children to take them downtown. She has no place to stay, no tickets to the event. And she came. And brought her kids- including a 2 month old baby. It is about 25 degrees. I worry about that baby.

I hope everyone is SAFE today. Warm enough. I'll be glad when today is over.

Sorry for the downer post. I've been quiet the last few days not wanting to spread my negativity. Everyone around me is estatic, excited, thrilled, celebrating. The news tells me it is a day of optimisim, a day of hope. I'm not feeling it. I feel alone.

I think I'll head back down to my basement. Don't mess up the kitchen while I'm gone.

(hoping for) peace-
(and a clean basement at the end of it)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Congratulations, Winners!

Congrats to our winners Marci (bubble bath), cmweese (aromatherapy body wash), prettyamylee (instant comfort scent), and Heide (the Lindy Longhurst magnet)

Winners- email me asap with your addresses. Thanks to all who entered! I hope to have another giveaway in the near future.

peace- emily

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Last chance!

Last chance to enter the Peaceful New Year Giveaway! I'll leave it open until midnight tonight. Check back tomorrow to see the lucky winners.

Friday, January 16, 2009

While we are on the Subject

Ter mentioned Build A Bear. I have also heard of others who did a Build a Bear after their child died. If you do not know what Build a Bear is(I've never been to one, personally) you choose the stuffed animal design you wish, and then put a little heart symbol inside and fill it with stuffing and they close it up right then and there. They have other animals besides bears, and you can personalize them with outfits and accessories.

I have seen several family photos with a bear or other stuffed animal included in the photo in order to symbolize and include the child that has been lost.

And I saw an article in the paper a while ago (darned if I can find it now) and the Build a Bear representive said that it is not uncommon for people to bring in some cremation ashes to put inside the bear. They suggested to call ahead and find out when would be a quiet time to come to the store- to let the staff know and to make sure you are not there the same time as a child's birthday party, for example.

I am a big believer in doing WHATEVER GETS YOU THROUGH. If it is not hurting anyone, why the heck not? It is a way to fill empty arms, and something soft and small to hug.

I hope today is gentle for you. I'm sorry any of us need to be here. I'm glad to meet you, but sorry it is in this way. I'd much rather have met at a yoga class or somewhere, anywhere, else.
peace- emily

Thursday, January 15, 2009

10 inches, 10 ounces

When Gabriel died, the women I worked with didn't know what to do. They took up a collection of money and gave it to my mother-in-law, who had stopped in to pick up my stuff from work as I would not be returning. The instructions were to buy something for me- flowers, they specified. My MIL, wise woman that she is, did not do that. Well, she did purchase a very small floral arrangement and then gave me the rest of the money to spend as I wanted. And I splurged on an item some people thought was very strange.

I bought a doll.

This has come up in other forums and other places and I know it can be a controversial topic. Some people think it is creepy, morbid or weird. Some people think it is unhealthy. Some people think I was trying to replace my baby.

For ME, it was none of these things. Mostly, it was to remember EXACTLY the size and weight of Gabriel as I had held him. He was 10 ounces, 10 inches. I did not want to forget what that felt like.

It did serve other purposes as well. It allowed me to fill my empty aching arms. It gave me something physical to hold while I remembered my son. And, for a while, it was a good indicator of how my day had been. If my husband came home and saw my doll on the bed he knew to step lightly as it had been a rough day.

One other purpose it served is it gave my other children a way to know and remember their baby brother. I had not taken them to the hospital, and had not told them (then 4 and 5) what was happening until Gabriel had already been born and gone. But as we talked about their baby brother, then could hold this doll. They could talk to it. They could sing to it. And more than once they asked to sleep with it.

Now, I keep Gabriel's doll in the memory box I was given at the hospital, with his gown and his blanket. I rarely take it out, but I am glad I have this memory. I am glad I splurged on this item.

The woman who made my doll no longer makes them- but her same pattern is being made by Wee Bundles and Remember Me Preemie . They are primarily for preemies, but are also for those of us who are missing our children.

It says to contact them for babies less than 20 weeks- I emailed them and had kind emails back from both sites. They DO make tiny dolls- as tiny as 10 weeks- so contact them for prices and info about that.

I hope today is gentle for you.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Can I Carry Your Bucket?

You've maybe heard me talk about my sister. She is the one who writes the names in the sand for our SandWritten site. She is lucky enough to live in Hawaii and someday I will get to go visit. But for now I spend a lot of time reading her and her friend's blogs. And I stumbled upon this gem.

Crash at Crash Test Dummies Diaries was talking about how she took her and my sister's kids fishing. They get a few nets, a big bucket of water and have a grand old time.

My nephew was walking along, struggling to carry this big bucket of water. And Crash offered to help him. After carrying it a bit she looked inside to see how many fish there were. None. Not a one. So she suggested maybe they could dump out the water and fill it up when they got closer to the fishing spot.

And she talked about how so many people are carrying burdens unnecessarily. Maybe we can help carry their bucket. Or encourage them to dump some of it.

I thought this was a great analogy. I've thought about it a lot these last few days.

Go visit her blog Crash Test Dummies Diaries to hear her story. She tells it so well. And she kindly mentions Stepping Stones and Sandwritten and wishes well to anyone who has lost a child. I so appreciate this. Someone supportive, someone who 'gets it'. Thanks so much, Crash. It means a lot.


My Happy Place

Zil made a comment that I was "such a good example."

Uh oh.

I'm so not.

IRL (that's In Real Life) I would never be called a 'good example' as I sit here in my pjs, unshowered in my untidy house, blogging when I should be doing my work-from-home job.

That's why I like blogging so much, I think.

I can come here create a happy place for myself. I can be what I want to be. 30 lbs thinner, fashionably funky dressed, witty and clever, always saying the right thing.

I like this place because it is one of the only places I am known solely as "Gabriel's mom". I think of it like we are all a bunch moms sitting around at a playgroup, chatting amongst ourselves while our children play together. They just happen to be just out of sight. But if we listen hard we can hear their happy little voices.

I think mine just hit yours. Sorry about that! I'll remind him to play nice.


Speaking of Zil, why not pop over to her blog Three Little Birds and see the gorgeous Certificate of Life she got from the Shrine of the Holy Innocents for her Baby Boy G.

To find out how you can request a certificate for your child, click here

Monday, January 12, 2009

More Women Doing More

Many thanks to the folks over at Women Doing More for posting How to Help Someone Grieving the Loss of a Child. I appreciate the chance to get the word out there- the best (maybe the ONLY thing) to say is "I'm so sorry" and then be there to listen, even after everyone else has gotten back to business as usual.

Why not go check out their blog? They have many inspiring ideas about how small acts can make our world a better place.

But before you head over there, don't forget to sign up for my Peaceful New Year GiveAway

Playing the Glad Game

I don't know if you've seen the movie Pollyanna. It's a movie from 1960 about a little girl who is orphaned and sent to live with her cold aunt in an unfriendly town. She is optimistic and bright, and is always talking about playing the 'glad game' How every situation in life has something you can find to feel glad about. When her parents were alive they were missionaries and the family was very poor. For Christmas, Pollyanna was wishing for a doll for Christmas. Instead, a set of crutches were received in the missionary barrel. And they played the glad game- she was glad she didn't have to use them.

I'm NOT going to tell you to play the glad game about the loss of our children. I'm not going to say everything happens for a reason. If someone said that to me I'd smack them in the head. Although, now, nearly 7 years later, I have been able to discover some gifts I've received in my life due to Gabriel's loss. You can read that post here

I AM going to say that in my everyday life, though, I try to play the glad game when I can. I was thinking about it this week when my entire house was struck with the stomach flu. A nasty bug that cycled through the house and I watched my family succumb one by one and all I could do was keep the washing machine running and stay out of the way on their mad dashes to the bathroom.

So I started to play the glad game in the event that I were to get this bug- would there be anything to be glad about? What I came up with was this- it surely would kick start my new year's diet- a quick way to lose a few pounds.

Pretty thin, I know.

Nobody was sick yesterday. I'm starting to think maybe I dodged this bullet. Fingers crossed. And that is what I'm glad about today. It takes so little to make me happy these days.

I hope today is gentle (and illness free) for you
peace- emily

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Peaceful New Year Giveaway! Enter Now!

I’ve got some prizes I super love and hope you will too. I was thinking about my word of the yearand what could make my life (and yours) more peaceful.

My first thought was a weekly maid service to clean the bathroom and kitchen.

I wish I could say this was one of my prizes. Alas, it is not. You will have to clean your bathtub yourself.

However! Once you have a clean bathtub, maybe you would like to enjoy a bubble bath. And that is where I can help you out.

I am giving away some goodies from Bath and Body Works-

Fresh Vanilla bubble bath and shower gel (2oz )

Aromatherapy stress relieving body wash RELAX Eucalyptus Spearamint Scent (2oz)

“Instant Comfort” aromatherapy Vanilla and Chamomile scent (.3oz)

Also, I wanted to show you one of my favorite artists: Lindy Longhurst
I love the vibrant colors and sweet expressions. Several of her pieces resonate with me but my very favorite is perfect for my peaceful new year giveaway: I have a magnet with the ‘Dream by the River image’ for this giveaway. If I close my eyes I can imagine this peaceful place with me holding my baby.

To Win! Sign up as a follower and also to receive my email newsletter. (Both are in my sidebar to your right.) Then leave a comment below. If you are already a follower and get my newsletter, just leave a comment. You can tell us how you relax and find peace in your life or just say hi.

Thanks! Good luck! There will be 4 winners chosen. Check back next Sunday to see if you are one of the lucky few.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Alicia Afterimage- Book Review

When Lee and Low Books contacted me and asked if I’d review a book for them I was glad to do it. Children’s book author Lulu Delacre has written Alicia Afterimage after the death of her daughter, Alicia. Alicia was 16 when she was killed in a car accident. Ms. Delacre interviews Alicia’s friends and wrote this book with their input.

The first thing I did was google Lulu Delacre. And I found out she lives about 15 minutes from my house. And the local library is having an exhibit on this book. Such a small world.

This book is primarily a book for teens about teens grieving the death of their friend. I could see how the process (the interviews and writing of it) would be healing for Alicia’s family, friends, and classmates at school. It is written in 3rd person, which makes the mother seem a little detached, but it also makes for a kind of separation which is probably easier for a grieving teen to read and deal with. A book like this would have been very helpful for my teenage friends and I when we found out a week after graduation our friend Scott Boland had been killed in a car accident. I remember acutely the pain and confusion we felt. And how going to his funeral was the saddest thing I had ever had to do in my 17 years of living.

As I read through the book I noticed that many similar themes with those of us dealing with the death of a smaller child. Seeing or hearing messages from our lost loved ones. Anger- and I was very curious how that would be resolved as to the driver of the car, who was a student at the same school. Not being able to say goodbye. Time too short with our child

And then I came to the final chapter, the perspective of Mama. And was struck once again with the fact that the death of a child is the worst thing a mother can go through. No matter what age the child. And I felt I related to the changes the mother describes.

“She had gone through an event that shattered life as she had known it, and her priorites had shifted…She was no longer afraid of being hurt, for there could not possibly be any pain depper than that of losing a child. Her empathy grew…”

“In time Mama began to recognize the signs of a spiritual connection to Alicia- a ladybug in the most unlikely of places…And more vivid dreams. Mama became acutely aware of all these surprising occurrences that seemed to carry messages. So she began to heed her inner voice: She learned to act on her instincts, following her heart instead of her head.”

I am glad for the chance to review this book. I’m glad I didn’t just discard it as a book for grieving teens. I’m glad to have read it; to again realize that our children are our children and their leaving us too early causes pain that a mother feels no matter how long she has with her child.

Click on the linkto see an interview with this author, Lulu Delacre

I hope today is gentle for you.
peace- emily

Thursday, January 8, 2009

My Quest for Peace- 15 Minutes a Day

This isn't particularly about losing a child, but it is about this life I have now. I have been thinking about this word of the year thing and came to a realization.

My 'peace' would be increased significantly if I didn't have so much clutter in my home. Stuff on every flat surface. Stuff living on the stairs landing waiting to be carried up (or down). Unfinished craft project making me feel guilty. Dishes in the sink. Christmas decorations still up.

Why am I holding on to these things? A lot of this stuff I don't even like. Maybe I like the person who gave it to me. Or I like the idea of it and hope to use it, someday.

You may already know Flylady, but I love her idea that 15 minutes can make a difference. And housework done imperfectly is still better than if it wasn't done at all. She also says you can't organize clutter. I believe that to be true.

I need to get in gear and get myself going. Flylady talks about 'babysteps'- so this is my baby stepping stones to a peaceful new year.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Travolta Family Statement

John Travolta's son Jett died on Friday- he was 16. I have been thinking about them since I heard. Today I saw a family statement they made and thought it was beautiful.

Jett was the most wonderful son that two parents could ever ask for and lit up the lives of everyone he encountered. We are heartbroken that our time with him was so brief. We will cherish the time we had with him for the rest of our lives. We have received many messages of condolence from around the world and we want to thank everyone for their prayers and support. It has meant so much to us. It is a beautiful reminder of the inherent goodness in the human spirit that gives us hope for a brighter future.

The part I particularly love is:
We are heartbroken that our time with him was so brief. We will cherish the time we had with him for the rest of our lives.

No matter how long you have with your child, it is not enough. 5 months of pregnancy, 5 days, 5 years, 15 years. It isn't enough.

I wish I was as eloquent less than a week after my son's death, but I'm going to guess having PR person would have helped me. That's what the hospital should do- assign a PR person to everyone to has had a child die.

((hugs)) to the Travolta family.

peace- emily

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Word of the Year

I was reading over at Tip Junkie and she has a post asking her readers to sum up what they want in 2009 in a single word. It is hard to pick just one- there are so many words that I wish for 2009, including Hope. Kindness. Love. Strength. Health

And then I realized I already knew my word. I sign all my emails, all my posts the same way.


I wish it for the country, I wish it for the world, I wish it for my life and my heart. I wish it for all of you.

I hope today is gentle for you.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Women Doing More

Quick! Go check out the site Women Doing More to see a post by yours truly ;0)

A big THANK YOU to the women over there for letting me post and share about the SandWritten Project my sister and I do.

I found their site when they were doing their series of 12 Days of Christmas posts, and I was hooked. I find it inspiring that by small acts we can change the world.

I hope today is gentle for you.
peace- emily

The Shrine of the Holy Innocents

I am not Catholic, but wanted to share this opportunity I found. There is a church in New York City that will send you a certificate of life for your baby. This is what their site says:

Often children who have died before birth have no grave or headstone, and sometimes not even a name. At The Church of The Holy Innocents, we invite you to name your child(ren) and to have the opportunity to have your baby's name inscribed in our "BOOK OF LIFE".

Here, a candle is always lit in their memory. All day long people stop to pray. On the first Monday of every month, our 12:15pm Mass is celebrated in honor of these children and for the comfort of their families.

Shrine of the Holy Innocents

One of the things I really needed was to see Gabriel's name in print, on something official. This is a wonderful way to get a certificate for your baby.

I hope today is gentle for you.
peace- emily

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Our Deepest Fear

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?- Marianne Williamson, from her book Reflections of Love

This quote has jumped out at me twice yesterday from two different sources- from the Healing After Loss book, and from the movie I watched last night Akelah and the Bee (I liked this movie a lot).

I guess this means I need to think about this quote more- I don't have anything brilliant to say about it yet, but I'll get back to you. Or if you want to tell me what it mean to you I'd love to hear it.

peace- emily

Friday, January 2, 2009

Be Good to Yourself

"I do not think that means what you think it means" Inego Montoyo, from the movie Princess Bride

A good friend of mine told me this year her goal is to 'be good to herself'. Every day she is going to work on treating herself well. I had to laugh, because my first thought of what this means is so the opposite of what she was talking about.

My first thought was about indulging myself- eating a bag of mini snickers bars, drinking diet coke, taking a nap and ordering fast food for dinner so I don't have to cook.

That is NOT being good to myself. I mean, it feels good while I'm stuffing my mouth full of cheap chocolate, but it makes me feel so bad later on when I'm all hyped up on sugar and caffiene and I can't button my pants.

I have always felt that drinking water and exercising were more like punishments. I need to change that mindset. How do I do that? I honestly do not know. I'd love any suggestions.

This is the other quote I've been thinking about today:
"You can not do everything at once, but you can do something at once." Calvin Coolidge

I am going to start small. Do something. One thing. Today. To be good to myself.

I think it is another part of creating our children's legacy- being a person they can be proud of.

Now, if you are newer in the journey or even later in the journey but having a bad day cut yourself some slack! Do what you need to do. For me, I spent the first month in bed watching M*A*S*H reruns. I still have days spent in bed, but they are further and farther between.

I hope today is gentle for you. peace- emily

It takes as long as it takes will not be cured, but... one day- an idea that will horrify you now- this intolerable misfortune will become a blessed memory of a being who will never again leave you. But you are in a stage of unhappiness where it is impossible for you to have faith in these reassurances. -Marcel Proust

There is no way out, only a way forward. -Michael Hollings

I have been reading the book "Healing After Loss: Daily Meditations for Working Through Grief" but instead of just reading one a day instead I've been flipping through the book, reading parts here and there. This one jumped out at me (in my own words):

It takes as long as it takes. Grieving can not be shortened, or cheated. People sometimes tell us it is time to 'get over it' and we ourselves may think that the faster we get through the sooner we will be back to feeling better. But consider this- in many things we do and experience, faster is not necessarily better (food, or sex for example) and it is better to 'do it right' the first time. (Whatever 'right' means for you.)

I hope today is gentle for you. peace- emily

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Creating Our Children's Legacy

When I first heard the phrase 'continued parenting' from Kara over at KotaPress, it was like a lightbulb went off in my head. It just made sense to me. The idea is that our relationship as our children's mom or dad does not end when they die- it is just beginning. The things we do for our children, and in their memory are how we 'parent' them. We create their legacy, for they are not here to do it themselves.

This is the idea behind the Kindness Projects over at MISSfoundation. We can watch for small ways to do good in the world, as a way to honor our children's memory. MISS sells small cards to be left behind explaining that this anonymous act of kindness has been done in memory of a child and that "their brief life and death continues to matter."

Creating a scrapbook for Gabriel was very difficult for me. For one thing, going to the scrapbook store was painful- so many 'baby's first steps', and 'baby's first smile' stickers and paper that I would never use. I thought it would be easier once my husband designed the Heartspoken Vellum Quotes pages and I had some quotes and images specific for scrapbooking a stillborn baby. And it was easier, a bit. But still I put it off.

I didn't want to start because in the back of my mind I never wanted to be 'finished'. It was easier to begin once I realized that I never need be 'finished'- I can always continue to add to his story, or rather my story as his mom. I can add pages for the Walks to Remember I attend. For the March of Dimes walks. For the friends I have met that I would never know otherwise. For the good I am able to do because although he was only with me for a brief moment, he changed me forever.

With or without offical 'kindness cards', large events or small acts done in memory of our child are ways to honor them. This year I hope to find ways to continue Gabriel's legacy- this blog is just another small way to do this.

I'd love to hear ways you are creating your children's legacy- please leave a comment or send me an email to share.

If you are newer in your journey and your loss is more recent you may not have any energy or enthusiasm for this. That is ok. Someday you will. Do what you can do at this minute. Take care of yourself.

I hope today is gentle for you. peace- emily

A Legacy for our Children

Nikki (Aaron's mommy) sent me this email:

It has been 2 and a half years since Aaron's death. Looking back there were so many things that were helpful. There are one things I can pinpoint that probably helped the most though. It came in the form of a book. After Aaron died I was kind of obsessed with finding books to read about the subject of babies dying and what to do afterwards. I read a lot of them. Many of them were geared towards the mother and my husband was desperate to find something he could relate to. One day he was on the internet ( of all places) and found a link to a book one of their columnists had written. He found one called, "Noah's Rainbow: A Father's Emotional Journey from the Death of his Son to the Birth of his Daughter", by David Flemming. He told me about it and I went straight to the book store and got it for him. He read it in a couple days. We talked about Aaron constantly but men and women express their feelings so differently. I was always asking how he was doing etc. and I couldn't always understand the differences. My husband asked me to read that book and I finally understood exactly where he was. It put us closer to the same page and opened up whole new lines of conversation. They one thing the author stresses is that since our babies are not here to have a legacy, we are their legacy.

The book changed our view on how to handle things. We decided after reading the book we were going to give Aaron the best legacy we possibly could. We got actively involved with March for Babies (previously WalkAmerica) sponsored by the March of Dimes. We have a family team. This will be our 3rd year (in 2009), but in our first two years we have raised well over $10,000. The walk is always the last Sunday in April and Aaron's birthday is April 28th so it is always right around his birthday. We have a picnic the day before the walk for our team that serves as the perfect way to thank them and help us all remember/celebrate Aaron. We also have a toy drive every Christmas in his memory. We just completed our 3rd one and they have grown every year. We have both become BETTER people through it all.

Thanks for sending this in, Nikki! I love the idea that we are creating our children's legacy. It reminds me of the kindness projects and then also the idea of 'continued parenting' from Kotapress- our relationship of being our kids parents isn't over when they die- it is just starting as we create a legacy for them. I will be posting more about this later on today but think this is a perfect way to start the New Year- thinking about how to create our children's legacy.

Wishing you all a gentle New Year- peace, emily