Sunday, November 29, 2009

December ceremonies- National Children's Memorial Day

National Children's Memorial Day happens every year on the second Sunday of December and is observed internationally to honor the 80,000 children who die each year. Families around the world light candles at 7 p.m. in their corresponding time zones. As candles burn down in one time zone, they are lighted in the next, creating a 24-hour wave of light that encircles the globe. This remembrance ceremony provides the world with lit candles for an entire 24 hour period in order to honor the children we have lost, the children who lived and died, and who, even in death, continue to matter.

This year National Children's Memorial Day will be held December 13th

December ceremonies- Angel of Hope

The story behind this angel statue is told in the book "The Christmas Box" by Richard Paul Evans. In the book a grieving woman mourns the loss of her child at an angel statue in a Salt Lake cemetary. There have since been over 80 Christmas box angel statues placed around the United States. They are dedicated as places of love and healing for all those who have lost children. Many of them have candlelight vigil ceremonies around this time of year. It is customary to leave a white flower behind. If you look closely at the angel statue there is the word 'hope' hidden in her wing.

To check if there is an angel statue near you, visit the site Christmas box angel locations

I have several copies of The Christmas Box to give away- if you would like one, please email me at nickwilberg @


Saturday, November 28, 2009

Congratulations to our winners!

Thanks for all your kind comments and emails! I feel so loved ;0)

Congratulations to our lucky winners!
the Mending Invisible Wings journal goes to LeannaR
the Amazon gift card and Willow Tree Angel goes to PamelaW

I've emailed you both.. thanks to everyone for entering.
I've had a few emails asking where to buy the journal- you can find it here


Friday, November 27, 2009

Last chance!

Just a reminder today is the last day to enter my giveaway! Just leave a comment and send me an email. You can get more details here

Good luck!

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Importance of Friends

I've been thinking about this a lot recently. Last weekend I had an old roommate visit (we aren't old, but you know what I mean). I haven't seen her in about 15 years and we had lost touch but recently reconnected on facebook. Anyway, I was making a big deal about having my kids clean up and telling them the schedule of how things were going to go while my friend was here. And my 4yo said it. "I didn't know you had a friend!"

It made me think.
I have sister in laws.
I have visiting teachers.
I have other folks from who come and go from my home.
but no, I really don't have many 'friends' in real life.

And yet, online?
Lots of people I consider 'friends'
They are the first to console me when I'm feeling sad
The first to congratulate me when I've got good news
The first to commiserate with me when I'm stressed or unhappy
They've sent me cards, chocolate, and gifts
They reach out and let me know they care

I do think online friends are real friends. Even though I may never get a chance to sit down with them in real life, we definitely share connections and get involved in each other's lives in a way I don't often do with people in the real world.

And today one of my online friends is hurting.

Some of you may know Yaya. She's awesome. She's funny and real, and she and her husband Josh have been through a lot- pregnancy loss, infertility, the ups and downs of adoption. And today she is hurting a lot. It's not my story to tell, but if you know Yaya, you know she is always reaching out to those of us who need support. And today she could use ours.

Go on over to her blog and send a little love.

((HUGS)) Yaya
Thank you to all my online 'friends'
I hope today is gentle for you.

Just a reminder to enter my giveaway HERE

Friday, November 20, 2009

Book Review- Mending Invisible Wings Journal

Because I'm in a giving kind of mood, I'm going to post this little goodie I've been holding on to for awhile.

A while back the author Mary Burgess contacted me about reviewing her book Mending Invisible Wings: a Healing Journal for Mothers. Part of the deal was I would offer it as a giveaway to one of my readers.

I'm sorry I agreed to it. To give it away, I mean. I want to keep it for myself.

This beautiful book is a journal- meant to be interactive as you fill it out and write, draw or paint to express your emotions and (as it says on the back cover) "reclaim your body, your heart and your life". The pages are these lovely thick paper which begs to be filled. Throughout the book are little treasures of images, illustrations, sketches, affirmations, poetry and ceremonies.

This book has a definite earth mother/goddess feel to it so if you are looking for a Christian type of journal this is not it.

So, after holding onto it as long as I possibly could get away with I am ready to send it out in the world to one of you, lucky readers. I've decided to do it in tandem with my other giveaway. (Winners have been chosen- congratulations!)

Good luck!


To thank you all and to celebrate my anniversary of my blog I'll be holding a giveaway for the next week. I decided to give some of my favorite things:

You've heard me mention these fondly and often:

Mini snickers! Only I'll send you a full size snickers, lol.

A Willow Tree angel ornament- this one is called Angel's Embrace and is of an angel holding a baby.

and a $25 gift card to Amazon. I buy a lot of books, but you can spend it on whatever you wish.

Thanks! and Good Luck!
THANKS FOR ENTERING! Congrats to our winner, Pamela!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A Little Crazy!

So I've posted more in the past ten minutes than in the last 2 months put together. You think to yourself, 'What the heck is that crazy lady over at Stepping Stones up to?'. Well, I'll tell you..

I'm posting back issues of my newsletter, which is something I've meant to do for awhile (and I'm also avoiding opening all these boxes here in real life now that we are finally back in the house after the flood) but I found out something pretty amazing. My first newsletter was a year ago this week. The week before Thanksgiving. How cool is that?

Add to this the fact that I now have 100 followers. How the heck did THAT happen? I'm so humbled that anyone is interested in anything I might have to say. Let alone hundreds. Well, a hundred. and two.

But I bet you WILL be interested in this next thing I'm going to say.

To celebrate this perfect storm of my anniversary of my first newsletter, a year anniversary of my blog and 100 followers... Let's have a giveaway! It's about time, I'm thinking!

So watch here for details coming soon in the next day or so..


Thanksgiving- November 2008 Newsletter

Thanksgiving can be a difficult holiday. It is often filled with family dinners, little kids running and babies being passed around for everyone to hold. There is a big empty spot in my hearts and hands as my baby is not here. Even after 6 years, I see the cousins born the same year as Gabriel and watch them getting bigger and thinking about what he should be doing right now.

And it is hard to be told I'm supposed to be feeling THANKFUL.

How do you handle Thanksgiving? If your loss is recent you may want to opt out of the big family dinner. That isn't always possible but you need to do what feels right to you. Maybe dinner can be held at a different house this year, or have it at a different time. Something to make it different than it always is.

One idea I heard that I LOVE is when everyone sits down to dinner have a toast to remember all our family members not sitting at the table with us. BRILLIANT. It is individual to each of us what that means, and can be done while with all family members, including grouchy grandpa or those who don't want to be reminded.

I have started a blog to share ideas on how to learn to live now our lives have a 'new normal'. I'd love your ideas as well. I hope you will visit and let me know how you remember your baby/babies when sending out Christmas cards. It is a question asked often and I'd love to hear your suggestions. I'll also be adding posts I'd love your input with- what type of books were helpful to you, what was the most helpful thing a friend said, etc. This blog is a work in progress and will be getting a makeover in the next few weeks.

I hope you have a gentle Thanksgiving.
peace- emily

Christmas- December 2008 Newsletter

A Family Time of Year

Many of us celebrate Christmas at this time of year. Some of us celebrate Hanukkah. Or Kwanzaa, or Diwali or Solstice. In any case, this time of year is about FAMILY and it is obvious that the whole family is NOT HERE.

This is the time of year I am most often faced with the "it should be's". Gabriel should be 6 years old- I should be buying him toys and new pjs with cartoon characters on them and taking him to the mall to see Santa. I should be yelling at him to take his dishes to the sink and no, you can't wear that grimey tshirt to visit grandma's house and can he please pick up his shoes- for the millionth time? I should be taking his photo for our Christmas card and helping him do his shopping at the dollar store and decorating gingerbread men and don't lick that icing we all have to use it.

It is not an easy time of year, but several of you have shared ideas about how to include your child in your holidays. Several people mentioned buying special ornaments with their child's name and then sending them to grandparents and other family members. Some of you use a special footprint or angel stamp or punch to include your child in your holiday cards. I like to do a service project in Gabriel's honor. I donate to Toys for Tots, or from the Angel trees found in many stores.

If your loss is more recent you may not have any energy to do any of this. Do not feel bad about that. It might be right for you at this time to just hole up. Do something different Christmas morning. Drive to the beach to watch the sunrise. Go away. Go to church. Light a candle in memory of your baby.

Please come check out my blog. I have been working on it and trying to figure out what it is going to be, what I want it to be. I decided to rename it "Stepping Stones- a path to healing after the loss of a child" There is a wonderful quote I have heard that says "The trick is to make your stepping stones out of stumbling blocks". I want this blog to be a place where we can share our ideas. For those of us who have 'been there' can help support those who are 'there now'. For us to share our 'stepping stones' to healing.

There are so many things I wish someone had told me. How to get my name off baby mailing lists. How to dry up my milk that cruely came in anyway after I was sent home from the hospital without my baby. How painful the innocent question would now be when I was asked "How many kids do you have?" I invite you to stop by and read, or comment. If you have any suggestions of what you wish someone had told you, or what you'd like to tell someone else to help make this path easier I invite you to share it with us.

I am having a giveaway with prizes the week of Christmas- Click on my blog link below to get details about how to enter.

I hope this is a gentle holiday season for us all.

peace- emily

Peaceful New Year- January 2009 Newsletter

A Peaceful New Year

I'm new at this blogging thing- just about two months. I can't stop reading blogs. It is kind of like reading someone's diary. All these strangers I feel I know. So creative. So real. And they inspire me.

On the blog Tip Junkie there was a post about picking a 'word of the year'. This idea caught my interest. What is my word for this year? There are so many things I wish- Hope, Kindness, Strength. Success. Health.

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


I wish it for our country, I wish it for the world, I wish it for my life and heart.

I wish it for all of you. For all of us.

Click below to go on over to my Stepping Stones blog and enter my contest giveaway. It is easy- you just have to sign up as a follower and to get my newsletter. If you are reading this you are already halfway there!

An idea we have been discussing on Stepping Stones is that we need to create our children's legacy, since they are not here to do it themselves. Every March of Dimes, every donation of memory boxes to the hospital, every small act of kindness done in our children's names. That is the legacy we create for them. We can make the world a better place because they existed- if only for a moment.

I hope only good things for all of us this year.

peace- emily

Remembering the Love- February 09 Newsletter

Oh you got to you got to remember the love,
You know that love is a gift from up above
Share love, give love, spread love
Measure, measure your life in love.

~Rent, Seasons of Love~

I had read this post by Zil on her blog The Three Little Birds some time ago and I keep coming back to it.

I love this idea- to measure a life in love.

If I look back to when Gabriel died, I can see so much love expressed to me and my family. The nurses at the hospital who compassionately stayed with us (or stayed away) depending on what we needed. The memory box given to me at the hospital dontated by an unknown mom who had also lost her baby. Women from church who stopped by with meals. The coworkers at my husband's work who covered for him as he was out for a week.

But this is measuring my life by the love.

What if I measure Gabriel's life by the love?

In his so short life he was only loved- by his mom and dad, his grandmas and grandpas, his siblings, his aunts and uncles and cousins.

So I'm trying to do this- remember the love. Instead of focusing on the pain I felt, the fear, the sadness, the hurt and confusion, I am going to try to remember the love.

I'd like to invite you to pop by and see what we have going on at my Stepping Stones blog. Be sure to enter this week's giveaway- you may even win a little something.

I also wanted to show you LaBelleDame jewelry. These are beautiful pieces with items specifically for miscarriage , stillbirth and infant loss. I will be donating from the proceeds of any sales made when you click through my link.

I hope today is gentle for you.

Be Good To Yourself- March 09 Newsletter

"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:

"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.

I'd like to invite you to pop by and see what we have going on at my Stepping Stones blog. If you'd like. We'd love to have you.

I wanted to show you these bracelets Rose at SHARE is making. Aren't they gorgeous? They are even prettier and more sparkly in real life. All profits go to benefit SHARE and their work supporting bereaved parents.

I also want to tell you about the March Compassion Challenge. The idea behind this is that March 11 marked the tenth birthday anniversary of Kara and Hawk's son, Dakota Jones. They have challenged readers of their Kota Loss & Compassion Blog (and I challenge my blog readers) to do 10 random acts of kindness. I'm doing this in memory of Dakota, in memory of Gabriel, and in memory of all of our babies. If 10 is an overwhelming number, do just 1. One act of kindness in memory of our babies.

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.

We Are Not Alone- April 09 Newsletter

When it seems that our sorrow is too great to be borne, let us think of the great family of the heavy-hearted into which our grief has given us entrance, and inevitably, we will feel about us their arms, their sympathy, their understanding.
- Helen Keller

My sister lives on the windward shore of Hawaii. She and her friend Crash took their children '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.

So many people are carrying burdens unnecessarily. Maybe we can help carry their bucket. Or encourage them to dump some of it.

We now belong to this club none of us wanted to join. I'm comforted to know there are people out there who understand. Who share my sorrow. Who can help carry my bucket, or to give me perspective on how to dump some of it. It makes all the difference in the world.

When Gabriel was born, before I was discharged from the hospital, I was given a business card for a grief counselor. I remember turning to my husband and saying "What good does talking about it do?" Now I know. Talking about it is all I can do. Every time I share Gabriel's story, I strengthen my identity as 'Gabriel's mom'.

I spend a lot of time reading other people's stories. On message boards and in books. And I appreciate everyone who reaches out to me. It helps so much to know I'm not alone in all of this. To know that no matter what I'm thinking or feeling it is normal. I'm not crazy. Or if I am, we all are.

I am now on the slippery slope of less than a month to Gabriel's Day. May 10th. Which happens to fall on Mother's Day this year. A double whammy. I hope this next month is gentle for all of us mommies missing our children.


Mother's Day- May 09 Newsletter

I am sending this email early.. I think the week before Mother's Day can be so difficult- especially as it has chosen to rain all day and is expected to rain all this week. Anyway, I had planned to send this on Friday but decided some of you may need it early. ((hugs))- emily

I am thinking of all you moms this weekend. All you moms missing your darling babies, and especially those of you without living children. I'm so sorry they are not with you. I hope you get the recognition you deserve. I hope you get flowers, breakfast in bed and some special time to yourself. You are a mom. You love your child as much as any mom and deserve to be recognized.

You might be interested to know that Mother's Day is not just a holiday invented by the card companies to sell more cards. It started as so much more. In 1870, Julia Ward Howe (author of the poem The Battle Hymn of the Republic) was distressed by the devastating effects of the Civil War, and called for a formal recognition of a Mother's Day for Peace. This crusade was taken up by Anna Jarvis, whos mother had been working to improve sanitation through what she called Mother's Work Days. Later, the first Mother's Day was celebrated in 1907 as a 'memorial day for women' in West Virginia. The custom eventually spread to 45 states, and the first national Mother's Day was finally declared in 1914 by President Woodrow Wilson.

It is fitting that on this day that began with mother's mourning their sons we remember ALL mothers- those that have their children with them and those that are missing their children. Happy Mother's Day to all of us.

I wanted to let you know we have restarted our project of taking photos of names written in the sand. Our site has been renamed 'Aloha Remembered'. I love the fact that 'Aloha' is a word with many meanings, including 'hello, goodbye, peace, and love'. All these things I felt and said to my child all at once. We'd love to write your child's name and take a photo for you. We have decided to start charging for this so we can use it as a fundraiser and donate from the proceeds. You can find out more info here.

If you haven't stopped by my Stepping Stones Blog, why not take a peek? I'm not at my absolutely best this week but hope I'll be energized and focused once this week is over and I'm past Gabriel's anniversary. Until that time, you know where to find me. Holed up in my room watching M*A*S*H reruns and eating my way through a bag of mini snickers bars.


Father's Day and Summertime- June 09 Newsletter

We can complain because rose bushes have thorns,
or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.
-Abraham Lincoln

Hello, All!

I want to wish a gentle Father's Day to all the dads out there. You know who you are. Most of my readers are women, I suspect. But sometimes the men show up.

Grieving dads have a hard time- they are supposed to be 'strong' and often feel their role is to 'fix stuff'. Yet how do you 'fix it' when a baby dies? Impossible. So they put on their game face and hang tough. And then their wives accuse them of not grieving, or not caring.

It's a tough spot to be in.

Men grieve differently than women. I'm not a man so can't claim to be an expert on this. But I know I grieve differently than my husband. I spend hours online reading message boards and blogs. I make scrapbooks. I wear jewelry in memory of my baby. I cry.

He does none of these things. At least not when I can see them.

But he goes along with my projects. We've done March of Dimes. He designed my logo for my site. He lets me shut down when I need to, he gets the balloons for our balloon releases. He does what he needs to and lets me do what I need to.

So big ((hugs)) to all you dads out there. I hope this weekend is an ok one for you. Go do something manly with a hammer or some sort of power tools. Go golfing. Play some sort of zombie shooting video game. Whatever you want.

If any of you moms want to get a white rubber band bracelet for your husband, there is still time. You'll want to order it by Wednesday to make sure you get it in time. Click this link to order. I'll pop it in the mail asap.

I want to invite you again to visit my Stepping Stones blog. We've been talking about summer movies and how even in the movies babyloss shows up unexpectedly. Has anyone seen UP?

And then I want to tell you about my new project- SendOutCards. When was the last time you sent a greeting card? When was the last time you GOT one? Most of my mail nowadays are bills or credit card come-ons. I remember I used to get cards from my grandma, just for no reason. I've been sending a lot of cards and having a blast. It makes me feel good, and I hope it makes the people I send them to feel good. Click the link and you can get a free account to send a few cards. You can also use it as a fundraiser for your group.

I hope you have a great month, full of summer fun and sunshine.


Continued Parenting- July 09 Newsletter

They are not gone...Who live in the hearts of others.
--Native American Proverb

Happy July to you all!

I first heard the idea of "continued parenting" on my friend Kara's kotapress site. Your parenthood did not end when your child died- rather, it began when he or she was born. You can read her whole article here.

It makes so much sense to me. Granted, we are a 'different kind of parent'. We 'celebrate' angelversaries with balloon releases, we participate in March of Dimes. We have angel gardens and we know why October 15th is special. We do kindness projects and wear memorial jewelry. We are creating our children's legacy since they are not here to do it for themselves.

Kara is also the one who told me about research being done at Tufts University by Dr. Diana Bianchi. With each pregnancy, a woman is given fully functioning white blood cells from her child. Regardless of the outcome of the pregnancy, live or still, full term or miscarried, the mother is left with cells filled with the DNA of the child in her body. Cell that are fully working. Cells that show up first on site of infection or injury. Cells that work in brain even.

Our babies were with us such a short time but changed us forever- emotionally AND physically.

Kara is a grief coach, a talented artist, and a darn nice person. I hope you'll check out her blogs. She is currently accepting registrations for Grief: Finding Our Way group session workshops. They are offered online so you can participate from wherever you are located.

Kota Loss & Compassion Blog
Mother Henna

If you'd like me to write your baby's name in the sand please visit Aloha Remembered. We are currently doing this as a fundraiser to send a percent of the profits to SHARE.


Parable of the Cracked Pot- August 09 Newsletter

The Parable of the Cracked Pot

A water bearer in India had two large pots,
one hung on each end of a pole which he carried
across his neck. One of the pots had a crack
in it, and while the other pot was perfect and always
delivered a full portion of water at the end
of the long walk from the stream to the
master's house. The cracked pot arrived only half full.

For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water in his master's house.

Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect to the end for which it was made.

But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do.

After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it
spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream.
"I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you."

Why?" asked the bearer.

"What are you ashamed of?"

"I have been able, for these past two years, to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your master's house.

Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work, and you don't get full value from your efforts," the pot said.

The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot, and in his compassion he said, "As we return to the master's house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path."

Indeed, as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the beautiful wild flowers on the side of the path, and this cheered it some.

But at the end of the trail, it still felt bad because it had leaked out half its load, and so again it apologized to the bearer for its failure.

The bearer said to the pot, "Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of your path, but not on the other pot's side?

That's because I have always known about your flaw, and I took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back from the stream, you've watered them.

For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers
to decorate my master's table. Without you being just the way you are, he would not have this beauty to grace his house."

It is funny. I didn't see that ending coming. I was relating to the water carrier- toiling along day after day and only getting half of what he should.

But we are the pot- imperfect, cracked, leaky. We try our best but end with less than we think we should have.

Look around. You may be influencing those around you in spite of your defect. Or quite possibly because of it.

None of us quite know the impact we have on the world.


I know a lot of you are in the midst of planning awareness events and walks for the fall. Let me know if I can help you! The white "Remembering Our Babies" bracelets are perfect mementos for your event, or can be used as a fundraiser. I also have pins, clings, tshirts, hats and other items at my cafepress site. If there is something you are thinking of but do not see send me an email request.

Friday, November 13, 2009

A kind gesture

I opened my email today and found this beautiful photo from Holly (caring4carleigh)

How beautiful! I love it. Such a simple thing that means so much- seeing Gabriel's name and knowing that I'm not the only one who remembers him.

Thank you, thank you