Remembering Angels

I am sorry that I have been missing from this precious space over the past few weeks. As my due date has approached it has been difficult for me to be here. As I have been contemplating how I will remember our son this week, I asked a dear friend, Lani of Me & Boo - who is much further along this journey - to share how she remembers on significant dates...

The lovely Christie has a significant date coming up this week. Instead of celebrating the birth of her second child, she will be thinking of the baby that should have been a physical part of her family, rather than the baby who has been lost* but will forever live in her heart.

Her Angel Baby.

I am sure Christie and her family will create their own traditions for remembering/recognising significant dates. However she chooses to remember her Angel, will be right for her. There is no right way or wrong way.
I have my own traditions for remembering my Angel Kai. They involve lots of tears about those lost dreams I had for him.

Yellow roses play a large part in remembering my little boy. They have always been a favourite of mine, and when Kai was born I received a couple of bouquets of yellow roses. I have 2 yellow rose bushes in the garden and when they’re in bloom I often spend at least a few minutes looking at them everyday, thinking about Kai, 'the what could haves' and the 'what should have beens.'

On Kai’s birthday, I always have yellow roses in the house. I HAVE to have yellow roses in the house on that day. I remember literally hunting the city (with an 11 month old in tow) for yellow roses on Kai’s 2nd birthday/anniversary. There was a shortage of them. Each florist I went to, I became more panicked and anxious as they said ‘No.’ I found some eventually, and immediately felt more at peace.

I have a memory box that comes out on Kai’s birth date. I allow myself to sit and cry with it for a long time and take out all the things that remind me he was real. The box contains my ultrasound pictures, Kai’s tiny hand and foot prints, photos, cards from people who cared, a guardian angel, some pressed yellow roses, the handmade quilt and heart that were in Kai’s moses basket in the hospital, a recognition of life certificate, 2 teddy bears I was given, the little blue box Kai’s ashes were in, and a blue bunny. I bought the blue ‘Baby’s 1st Bunny’ when I first found out I was pregnant. It is exactly the same size as Kai was when he was born.
Boo (who is now 5 years old) in the last year or so, has become aware of the memory box. She often asks if we can get Kai’s box down and look at his things. We do this together, and we talk about Kai and how he’s our special Angel.

I always go to the beach on Kai’s birth date. It is where I spent much of my bonding time with him, and much of my grieving time. It is also where his ashes were released in a blue helium balloon. Until Kai’s 6th anniversary, I’ve always taken the day off work. Last year, it just wasn’t a possibility, though I didn’t achieve much work.
Kai’s actual due date never passes me by unnoticed. The first 2 years that date was tough, and I spent it much as I spend Kai’s birth date. However over time, my due date has faded in significance. I have slowly come to realise that even if he was well, and I had a term pregnancy, he probably would not have been born on that date.

I wish Christie and her family much love in the coming weeks.

* I don’t really like using the word lost for angel babies because we know where they are, but I don’t have a better word.

How do you remember on significant dates?

Read Kai's story here.

A Difficult Story to Tell

In 2008, on the 1st of December, we found out that we were expecting Baby #3.

It was a total shock, but what made it even more shocking was that we were so far along, way into our second trimester. Well, it was not meant to be.

I started to miscarry on December 18th and was in the hospital for much of the time until December 24th.  Found out that I was 20 weeks...devastating to lose a baby so far along, but yet, it was not far along to have a funeral for a fully formed little one.

But just wish that people would be more sensitive...

People who make comments they think will help but don't are the ones who say things like:
"I know how you feel. my cat died and I miss him"...No offense to cat lovers but losing a cat and losing a baby are not the same thing.

or " Well, it probably would have been deformed or had some serious handicaps and so really, God did you a favor"...this is not what someone wants to hear who has lost a is not comforting to hear this in any way whatsoever.

or " You were that far along and you didn't even know you were pregnant? What is wrong with you?!? No wonder you lost the baby, if you were so out of tune with your body to know that you were pregnant"! That is not only unhelpful, it is mean.
I was having what I thought were periods but turned out to be spotting. I had called my mom to ask about maybe if I could be going through early menopause, or maybe it was just due to the stress of having to move...
I had gained some weight, but not much...we were in the process of moving so it was not that surprising that my back hurt and that I seemed tired, etc.

Also, doing things like calling to ask why Christmas presents were just sent in a plain box versus having each present individually wrapped and not even acknowledging that the sender had just lost  a baby...Totally insensitive...

I know all three of these from personal experience that some people decided to make these comments to me.

It is going to take a while for me to let these feelings of anger go against the insensitive people who made these comments. It may take a lifetime to fully get over losing a baby at 20 weeks, but I have to get over it and have a new normal or else it will hinder my life and those around me.I have to work at living for the here and now...for my darling boys and wonderful husband who need me to be fully living for today, not dwelling on this most difficult time from our recent past...

I am hoping to create some sort of memory ornament for the tree, but that has to be it...after that I need to live in the present and be happy for our two little blessings who are here with us.
Colleen's memory ornament, which is engraved on the back
Big Bro was really affected by the miscarriage last year. He was so angry and sad when I came home sans baby, as we unfortunately had shared our joy and delight about the news that we were expecting. He so wanted to have another baby in our home.
He has worked through his emotions, with the help of a play therapist, and at the therapist's suggestion last year, we got a puppy.
Let me tell you, a puppy does not fill the void for a grieving mommy or daddy, although it did seem to help our sons.

So I am trying to keep very positive but today has been a rough day...
Just trying to continually remind myself of how nice our life is and how wonderful the boys and my dear hubby are to me.

Well, I just had to get it out there. I have not been able to really speak of how devastating it was but now, I have said it and am gearing up to embrace life in the present and the wondrous Christmas season that is unfolding.
I need to feel peace and joy in my soul and I need to be grateful for the gifts from God all around us. Just still don't know why it was not meant to be...that is the burning million dollar question that has to be put to rest in order to enjoy the holidays. I just have to think that it was not meant to be and not dwell on the why part...

Here's wishing that this is a wonderful happy holiday time here in our home and at your home, too.

For anyone else grieving, my thoughts and prayers are with you, too.

This post was originally published on Colleen's blog, Sunrise Learning Lab.

A Gathering

We gather
Young and old, tall and short, male and female,
Mothers, fathers, children, grandparents, friends

All here in common grief.
None of us deserve to be here.

The words wash over me
But I hear little.
In colour I see roses, butterflies
I feel sprinkles of rain
The names, so many names.
I am grey. And numb.

I see tears, so many tears,
Hidden behind glasses,
Cried into shoulders,
Silent tears, quiet sobs,
Bodies shaking with insurmountable grief.

We step forward
With equal measures of love and dread.
And I hold the memory of you in my hand
For just a moment
Before the breeze carries you away.

We remember.
And then it ends.
There is so much more to say.
And yet so much unwritten
In this short book of life.

I wrote these words moments after attending the hospital memorial service for our son born at 16 weeks gestation.

With tears of love, Christie x

It is good to feel...

I attended the White Butterfly Reflection Service this morning. It is a reflection service to acknowledge the loss of children during pregnancy or infancy. When I was first invited to the service, I was wondering why I would consider going. Hadn't I dealt with my miscarriage already? After all, it had now been 8 years since I lost my precious child. But as I read the invitation, I knew I had to go. A lump appeared in my throat. My heart was not fully healed from the loss of my child that I have never met.
My mother, sister and nieces and nephews came with too. They had lost a grand-daughter, niece and cousin respectively. It was special having so many members of my family there to acknowledge my daughter Lanay, whom none of us had met. 
It was such a beautiful service. I felt my emotions overcome me looking around at how beautifully they had set up the service before it even began. During the service, there was an item of a woman dancing with 2 children dressed in white. I was fixated on the little girl. I could not take my eyes off her. In the moment I was swept away and it was my own daughter that was dancing before me. Free and whole and happy. Tears came and I could not stop them.
Then I looked over to the right of the stage area, and while the Pastor shared words of encouragement, an artist drew a picture. I watched as the picture took shape. It was a picture of a little girl. And I again felt sorrow that my daughter was not with me. I allowed the tears to flow. Grieving for the daughter that I would never see grow up with her brothers here on Earth. Grieving that I have not yet held my beautiful child that has gone to Eternity before me. My heart hurt. And the tears came.
Balloons and cards were given out. Messages on the cards to the children that we had lost were attached to the balloons, and released into the blue morning sky.
This is what I wrote:
Mummy misses you and loves you very much Lanay. xo
This is what Leader Boy Warrior wrote on his card:
I love you Lanay.

What surprised me the most was the emotions I felt at the service. I felt safe displaying them, as I was surrounded by people who knew what I was going through. Still, the depth of my emotions was a shock to me. Feelings that I didn't even know existed overcame me. I know not to suppress them, but allow the Holy Spirit to heal my heart by letting the emotions come. It is good to feel. It hurts to feel. But it is good to feel.

This post was first published on Jo-Anne's blog, Princess Warrior Lessons