Sunday, December 6, 2015

Beyond the Rainbow

Beyond the Rainbow My life in loss is not like the beginning where death had destroyed me and left me so raw and yet so close to those I love. I felt out of place in the world but so connected to my little family. We were all crippled and would never be the same. I made a choice that death might have taken my daughter and destroyed me but I would soak in her light that remained shining even if I couldn't have her here with me to hold. I kept walking forward and following her light. I lived for hope that life could have joy again. Having a rainbow signified that death's darkness would be washed away. I knew life could still have its ups and downs. BUT it could never hurt me more than burying my baby girl. It still can't but people can and have. People that endured the same hell with you don't always remember and continue to live and love with the insight that life is fragile and we should never take what and who we have for granted. Some get lost in the world of people that have never lived in the darkness of loss. Some people don't value the insight that losing a child brings. Time does not heal all wounds. Time isolates those of us that are forever changed. Those that have lost will always have a piece of our soul stuck in time where we had to leave the life we once knew that was as simple and normal as everyone else's. the grief that can pull you into its abyss can be conquered with hope. Or so I thought. Faith and hope don't have the same meaning for me any longer. They are my daughters. They are beautiful gifts. Gifts can only give as much as they are valued. They can not take away pain. They can not make someone change. They can not make someone better. A person has the power to be happy or miserable. if life gives the unimaginable, good or bad, it is up to a person to see the good beyond the shit thrown in front of them or to only bask and wallow in the shit. I believe my God is an awesome God, and will hold my hand through any and everything this world gives and takes. BUT You decide how you react to the not so good and how much you cherish the gifts you've been given. Focus on the negative and your world will remain negative.... It's been seven years and sometimes I can't see her light because her love and light does not shine where there isn't hope and love and truth. So maybe I can't wait for some people to catch up because I can't allow anyone to cause her light to fade from my life. Maybe they need some time to find their way back without me holding their hand. In many ways I miss the clarity that the beginning brought. even though it seemed so awful, her light was so bright for everyone not just me...

Saturday, September 1, 2012

4 years since you slipped away

Warning: if you have come to read this blog for hope and inspiration, you won't find it today.

4 Years since You Slipped Away-

 Hello baby girl,my FAITH, I used to write you so often- daily turned to weekly to monthly, and now I try not to. Some would think that means I'm getting stronger, but those that have lost a child know it means I'm running. I have to ignore my reality in order to survive. Four years of torture has been my reality, and it is a life sentence. Yes, I wake up every morning to this reality and decide to live- to live for you and for your brother and sisters. Not for me... I don't want to be in a world that is not complete. A mother should not have to live in a place where her child has died. I try really hard to fight this everyday, then the day comes, the anniversary of when you left. Then the day we heard the dreaded words, im sorry there is no heartbeat. Next, the darkest day, yet with the most beautiful moments of holding you for the first and last time after 23 hrs of labor. Begging you to look back at me. You have to do all the things that Grace has been waiting on you for. You have to wake up. She won't wake up.... I chanted the words, i love you, i love you, i love you, i love you hoping it was enough to last a lifetime. It wasn't enough... I want and yearn for so much more with you. The trick to all of this is learning to deal without ever getting what you want. A want that feels like a need. This is where we shove reality away. Today, I will have my moment and shove it back down as deep as I can, and be the mother I know you would want me to be. I am your mom too though. I want nothing more than to cry this day, this weekend away. I don't want to smile...

 The last few days have been torture. So many emotions and thoughts swirling around in my mind. This seems to happen when I put off addressing my feelings. Well, I have spent the last few evenings taking all of my anger and sadness out on your garden. I usually enjoy your garden. I think of how much you must like it because you send so many butterflies for me to watch each morning as I get ready. Well, lately I have ignored your garden like those feelings. The weeds have overgrown most of the flowers, yet some have managed to keep living. Those flowers represent your love to me, it will never die. The weeds are all those feelings I have thought I successively shoved down deep enough to not feel. Sooner or later, if I want to see the beauty in this life or your garden, I have to deal with the weeds. So I did. Like a mad women, I ripped them all away with my bear hands(because Mema aka Granny Clampet(sp) broke the garden sheers :/) I spent hours crying and ripping away. At the end we had a beautiful garden again. I wish these feelings were that easy to rip away. Your butterflies have arrived this morning. All 48 of them. One for each month without you. I remember journaling my plans before your first birthday. Little did I know that the first birthday would be the easiest. I was so excited that I thought of releasing butterflies for each month without you, and how beautiful it would be to see more and more as you got older. Oh, it will be beautiful, but all those butterflies represent so much pain. I want so much to be optimistic today. I do so much to keep you alive in this world. I will go to my grave making sure people know that I have five children. Grief is so draining though. It is a constant battle for me to make your short life something positive and not all of this I'm writing about. I have met so many wonderful women because of you. After you died,I became so jaded to the people of this world that have not buried a child. Don't get me wrong there are some crazy people that I have dealt with, BUT one by one you and God have sent some amazing people into my life to break down that wall. First,my twin Sara: we became so close during my pregnancy with you. She has never treated me differently, but has always offered a shoulder to cry on when I need it. She has stuck by me no matter how crazy it has gotten. Second, the angel that I know you chose before you even left, our nurse Sherry. I don't think she will ever realize just how much she has done for us. She is a friend for life because of you. Third, and I don't think she would even think she would be on the list, but she is and it is well deserved :) Amy, she does work in the infant loss world,but I can sit and laugh and talk about nothing and in the next moment we are planning a candle lighting for Oct. 15th. It almost feels like she is another angel mom. ;) Cathy from Jackson hospital has from the beginning of us donating baskets there has always been so receptive to my advice and genuinely cares for angel moms. There are many more, but these women that do not know from personal experience what it is like to bury a child, still as women know how painful it would be. This journal was supposed to be dark, all of the emotions I have pinned up inside for months. Instead once again, Faith, you make me find the good in everything. I refuse to find the good in your death. I could say without you dying, local hospitals would not have baskets.... Well, someone else could have and i would love to have all of my babies and help them do something in memory of their baby.I could say there would be no CBRS in Alabama... Someone else would have fought for it. I could ignorantly say as others do that Hope would not be here... I'm fertile and this would be the exact age that you would have been if I were about to have #5. I don't see the things I do as something good that I do because you died. I see them as my way to keep my daughter alive in this world. It is that simple. Women that you meet that have buried their child and they are doing great things, they are doing them to keep their children alive in this world and to change the way this world perceives infant death. We don't like being part of a taboo subject. Our children are beautiful People that have made a difference in this world. no matter how short their lives were. They are beautiful and I will never stop talking about my daughter, my lving children's sister, the little girl that has done more good in this world than most who will get to live 90 years. I am forever grateful for all the angel mamas and their babies that I have met along the way. There are too many too list. I never thought that my tomboy self would ever have so many girlfriends.;) I do, and I wouldn't and couldn't survive this without them. Thank you to you all. Once again, you have brought me out of the darkness with your beautiful light. No matter how down I become, your beautiful light makes me see the good. Death, sadness, grief, anger will not win. I love you my gorgeous daughter. You are forever cherished and never forgotten. Thank you for all that you are and who you have made me become. I will celebrate you even through the tears. Love, Mommy

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Faith's Healing Baskets

Mommy is so proud to announce that we have filed for our 501(c)3 (non-profit status). We are officially Faith's Healing Baskets and have obtained our Federal Tax ID#. As you know, I have avoided this for a long time. I didn't want what I do in your memory to lose its meaning. I didn't want it to become like a business. Yes, I want other families to know they are not alone, and I want to provide them with tools to support them in their grief journey. BUT as your mommy, the baskets are my gift to you- to let you know I will never forget you, and if you can't be here to mother, I will mother you this way. Oh, I know you are so proud of the lamb and butterfly that Krista drew for our logo. I can't wait to add it to a website- hint, hint. Send someone to create one for us!! lol
We have donated a total of 45 Baskets to our local hospitals. Because of donations received for your 3rd birthday from friends and a grant from a local Women's Service League, we have been able to buy sewing equipment to create preemie burial pouches and increase inventory. I don't want it to be businesslike, but I realize I have to have the non-profit status to receive donations. The need is far greater than I ever imagined when we donated our first basket for your Christmas present... I know you would want me to provide as many baskets as I can. Everyday, I'm sure you welcome another baby that has left their family to soon. I wish I could give a basket to all of their families. For now, I have to focus on our local hospitals, but I will touch as many lives as I can in your honor baby girl. Keep lighting my way, and I will follow. After all, Hope flies on the wings of Faith. Love!!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Happy 3rd Birthday my sweet girl!

Faith, I just can't believe that you will be three...I know that you see how hard I fight to live for you. I promised you that your death would not destroy my faith and that I would be the best mom I could be to your siblings. We both know I'm not perfect, but I hope that I am living up to those promises for you. We have a motto in this family because of you, To live times two. We all have to live more, give more, love more, be more in honor of you sweet girl. Nash, Krista, and Grace are back at school this year. They are all doing well, and I'm enjoying just being mom and helping with homework. :) Nash and Krista love being back with their friends everyday. They are both making As so far. Krista is finally over her math anxiety after seeing that the other kids are not doing as well. I hope she learns to believe in herself more. Grace is having a hard time adjusting to the long hours away from home. She talks about how much she loves PE because you send her lots of butterflies. Send her your strength and always let her know you are with her. Your little gift, your crazy little She is such a joy and entertains us all. You picked a good one. I know you enjoy watching her cause so much mischief. I love it when she looks at your picture and says, Faif. I can only imagine how much mischief my Irish twins could cause together. Oh, how I still wish I could have you here. I could go on, but the yearning for you will never change. I won't rewrite all that I have said before. With tears running down my face, I choose to wipe them away and smile because no matter where you are, no matter where I am- you are my daughter, I am your mother. I celebrate the bond that can never be broken by death. Our spirits are connected so I am filled with peace. The human nature in me still grieves the physical absence, but the spirit prevails always. Our spirits are one, so when I fall into the darkness your shining light guides my way out. I will continue to honor your life and make your imprint in this world visible.

Take a break from your big birthday bash and watch the butterfly release, lanterns, and fireworks on your birthday. Love you baby girl!
"Hope flies on the wings of Faith"

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Faith's story written January '09

A few years back a woman in my parish was pregnant with her sixth baby. When she was close to her due date the family moved away. It wasn’t long after that an announcement was made at church to pray for their infant during the prayer for the dead. As a mother I gasped thinking, “how is the mother surviving”? How does she even breathe? My mind couldn’t even process those feelings. As quickly as they would enter my mind during prayer at church, they would leave. My thought of them would end with thanking God that my children were alive and healthy. I was then one of the mothers that I am jealous of now, a mother living unknowingly a carefree life. No matter how many struggles life throws at you, no one knows hell until they have lost a child. We are not taught about stillbirth. Most of us do not even hear the word until we experience it. If we do, we only think of babies that are seriously ill inside the womb. That is not the case most of the time. That is not my story and it is not the story of most of my friends that are enduring the pain every second of everyday since they lost their babies.

My story begins with me, as a mother of three beautiful and healthy children, Nash 11, Krista 7, Grace 3, and my desire to have a fourth. I love children and the excitement they bring to a home. As usual, we quickly became pregnant with number four: our big finale. Pregnancy has always been a breeze for me with the exception of horrible morning sickness and the usual aches and pains that go with it. For me, if I decided on having a child I was blessed with one. I’ve always thanked God for this because so many women, including my mother, long to have children and struggle to get pregnant. After the first few months of morning sickness, we learned that we were having a girl. I was a little sad for Nash, my oldest, because he really wanted a brother. I quickly became happy to have another girl because I love watching them twirl around in their tutus and singing. Grace couldn’t wait to be a big sister and Krista, my “little mommy”, couldn’t wait to have a baby in the house. At night, both girls would dance around in my bed stopping occasionally to give my belly a kiss and say hello to Faith. We decided on the name Faith because my faith in God has always been strong. My husband the worrier was afraid financially to add a fourth. As always, I told him to have “Faith” and everything will be okay. The remainder of the pregnancy was the same as all of mine; everything was perfect. Those were the words I heard from my OB at every appointment. On August 18 I went in for my 33 ½ check-up not knowing this would be my last carefree easy visit. My next appointment was scheduled for September 2, 2008. The weekend before my appointment we were very busy getting the house prepared for our new bundle of joy. I was in “nesting” mode cleaning, my husband was putting in new flooring, and my kids were having a good time with their cousins that were visiting. Needless to say I wasn’t thinking about baby movements and had never even heard of kickcounts. On Labor Day, company left including my husband who had to fly that day. The chaos was gone so it was clean-up time before my shower and bed. Faith was always most active at bedtime. I guess because she was waiting for the show that her sisters would perform each night. That night she didn’t move. I thought she must be as exhausted as I am. All night I kept waking knowing that something wasn’t right. Part of my mind knew she was gone while the other protected me and lulled me back to sleep saving me from the pain a little longer. I know my daughter’s beautiful little soul was there comforting me. I believe she was giving me the information a little at a time to ease me into now what is my hell-my life with grief. After waking again, I thought of a section in the What to Expect… book about counting baby movements. It was around 2a.m. I got up and ate some doughnuts and sat in our quiet living room begging Faith to move. I could feel her elbow or knee so I pushed on it without a response. Because of the time I decided to get ready early the next morning and go in. My appointment was scheduled for 1:30 but I would call for a quick heartbeat check to calm my worries. She had to be O.K. After all, this was the perfect pregnancy with the perfect baby- right? Babies don’t die. There has to be a simple explanation. I called as soon as they opened and they told me to come right in. On the way I called my husband. As usual, he reassured me that everything would be okay. I wanted to believe him so bad, but knew that this time that I wasn’t just the exaggerating pregnant woman. As I sat waiting in the Dr.’s office, I took out my calendar (I write everything about my pregnancy appointments) and jotted down, “Faith not moving. I went to drs. office for heartbeat check”. I left a space for later to write some funny explanation. That space was left blank for a few days until I wrote: “Faith gone”. They called me back for an ultrasound. The US tech was joking with me about already having problems from a girl. Then she was silent and the room was quiet- there wasn’t the sound of a heartbeat. There wasn’t any more joking or reassuring words that she is fine. She said, “Cynthia, I’m having trouble so I need to get the Doctor”. I began screaming, “You know already! You tell me NOW!!!.” I can remember the terrified look on her face as she told me that Faith was gone- there isn’t a heartbeat. My mind is racing- I’m alone. What do I do? The Dr. came in while I was calling my poor unexpecting husband to tell him that he wasn’t right. She’s not okay. He was stuck on a trip two hours away . I was alone. We were talking but couldn’t get to each other. My baby is gone! He said he would call Pete, my brother. Fortunately, he was only a few minutes away. I was blurting out random questions to the Doctor when he walked in. He held me and we cried. My usual doctor was not there so this one told me I could go home and my doctor would call to discuss my next move. On the drive home I kept looking at my pregnant belly that used to be so full of life wondering “how can a perfect pregnancy end this way?” Then my mind quickly turned to my kids at home. I had kept the oldest two home from school that morning because of the appointment. How would I tell them that Faith wouldn’t ever be coming home? When I got in I called them into the living room. They all sat around me concerned by my crying. I’ll never forget their faces as I told them. A child should never have that look of pain and shock on their faces. At that moment their innocent world crumbled. I could no longer protect my kids from this world’s pain. They didn’t understand and I couldn’t explain because I didn’t either. I was saved from dealing with it when my doctor called to tell me that I needed to go to the hospital. I would have to induced and go through labor. This sounded so barbaric to me. Making a women endure the pains of labor knowing she wouldn’t have the joy at the end. My brother drove me and Kevin would meet me there a few hours later. When I arrived at the hospital the nurses had already been alerted. They were very nice and somber as they walked me to the isolated room at the end of the Labor/Delivery hall. They didn’t want to expose the other women to the mother of the dead baby or subject me to the cries of the newborn babies arriving safely into this world. Before Kevin arrived, my priest came by for a visit and to anoint me and give communion. During our conversation he said, “Grieve, but do not grieve without hope”. How could he say that to me? To a mother with a lifeless child inside her. I didn’t know that those words alone would carry me through my darkest days. When Kevin arrived all we did was hold each other and cry. I sent my brother home. We began preparing for our baby to arrive but not go home with us. The nurses were spectacular. I remember thinking, “How do they know what to do because this never happens”? Babies don’t die. Our nurse Sherry arranged everything. She went and got an outfit made by a women’s charity group. It was beautiful with lace trim and cross embroidered on the front. It didn’t hit me that this was the outfit for my daughter to be buried in. Sherry talked about how Faith would look, that we could keep her as long as we wanted, she would take pictures, get hand and foot prints, and make keepsakes for us. My labor began around 2 on Tuesday. The next morning pitocin was started. It seemed like it would never be over. I wanted it over- I wanted to get her out. I was tired of looking at this pregnant belly that was still full but not of life. I wanted to see her and hold her and never let her go. I wanted to know why. At 1:17 p.m. on September 3, 2008 after 23 ½ hours of labor my sweet, beautiful baby girl Faith was born. She weighed 5 pounds and was 19 ½ inches long. She was beautiful. We were “lucky” to find out why. Faith was a perfectly healthy baby that was unfortunate to have a true knot form in her cord. She also had the cord wrapped around her neck twice. My baby’s “lifeline” killed her. Instead of nourishment it brought her death. My doctor told me it was the equivalent to being struck by lightning. He sees many babies born with knots that don’t die. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room as we held and talked to our baby girl. She was the most beautiful baby that I had ever seen. She had Nash’s eyes, Krista’s nose, and Grace’s sweet little lips. Every favorite part of my kids she had. I wrapped her fingers around mine the way a baby would automatically. She was lifeless, yet her fingers did not let go. I tried to kiss her nose enough to last a lifetime. I smelled her hoping to remember it forever. I said “I love you-I love you “over and over hoping to make up for the times I wouldn’t get the chance to say it to her again. Kevin held his little girl the way he always held our babies. If it wasn’t for his sad tears, I could have pretended that he was walking around with our newborn that we would take home in a few days. I eventually said to Sherry that Faith was getting cold and that I didn’t want to remember her not being warm. She took my baby away. This is when my real nightmare began. My arms were empty and would never be filled again by her. In the first few days of grief we cried freely. We moved in and out of reality. We are comforted by friends and family that cry and share in our grief. You think that it will not or cannot get any worse until people want you to forget so they can. They can’t imagine our pain so, like me, when I heard about the church friend I wanted to quickly push it out of my mind, so did they. What I didn’t know and what they didn’t know is that it never leaves a mother’s mind. Time does not heal a mother’s heart and empty arms. It only takes her away from the only day she spent with her child. As time goes on we learn to cope and to move through life doing what is expected, but never does our baby leave our every thought. We move through life because life keeps moving. The words my priest said to me, “grieve but do not grieve without hope” help me keep going because I have to have hope. Hope that life can have joy again and that I can give my living children a happy life. As bad as the grief is I live for them. I named her Faith because I know that God is always with me, walking with me, and guiding me. I believe He did not take her but welcomed her. I don’t know why He didn’t prevent her death the same as I don’t know why He doesn’t prevent natural disasters. The knot in her cord was my own natural disaster. I do know that He is always there to pick up the pieces in the aftermath of a tragedy. I promised Faith and God that I would stand by the reasons I named her Faith. “Faith is the daring of the soul to go farther than it can see” author unknown. It is believing in the unseen that we will be okay even in our darkest moments. True Faith is blind faith. I made a promise that my faith would not be destroyed even after being tested beyond my ability to understand. I also promised Faith that I would give her brother and sisters a good life and make her proud. I promised that I would show them that there is hope that it will sustain us. I would live by the words, “grieve, but do not grieve without hope”. Kevin and I knew that we wanted another child. We were told to wait 6 months. For us, that was impossible. I had to feel life inside of me again to know that there is hope for us to have new joy in our life. As blessed as we were with three living children and a beautiful angel, we felt like we were standing still in our grief. We knew we had to live with it but we wanted it to follow us, not consume us. It’s always lurking, waiting for the moment to take over and it does. It’s always there; sometimes mute and sometimes loud. We let the feelings whatever they might be take over and ride it out. Then we re-enter the living and live. We decided to get pregnant as soon as possible and once again when I think of having another child we are blessed. On November 9, 2008, we found out that we are expecting. This time is different, there aren’t any carefree moments and all joy is tainted by the “what if’s”. However, holding it all together is the hope and the possibility that there can be joy in life after stillbirth. We are pregnant with another girl that we are naming Hope. Every movement she makes is analyzed. Every heartbeat heard is adored. Every moment is full of fear and hope. My children know that children can die. My four year old says that if Hope dies she will ask baby Faith and God to pick out another baby for us. She repeatedly asks if she will get to hold baby Hope. She says this because towards the end of my pregnancy with Faith I told her that when I go to the hospital she will come and get to hold baby Faith. She never got to do that so now that’s her fear. My family has been touched by fear that I can’t protect them from; that I cannot calm because it is also my fear. But, I can speak of Faith and Hope. I can teach them that while we have fear we can overcome it with hope. That joy will come home with us in July. My baby Faith is not replaced. She is cherished and remembered. She will live in my every thought. She is a part of me and I am a part of her. Her death is the reason I hurt but her life is the reason I live.

Thanks be to God and my sweet angel Faith- Her baby sister Hope was born screaming July 8,2009 weighing 7 lbs 6 oz. Grace proudly holds her baby sister everyday.

CBRS in Alabama

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I Run to You

I run from hate, I run from prejudice
I run from pessimists, but I run too late
I run my life or is it running me, run from my past
I run too fast or too slow it seems

When lies become the truth
That's when I run to you

This world keeps spinning faster
Into a new disaster so I run to you, I run to you baby
When it all starts coming undone
Baby, you're the only one I run to, I run to you

We run on fumes, your life and mine
Like the sands of time slippin' right on through
And our love's the only truth
That's why I run to you

This world keeps spinning faster
Into a new disaster so I run to you, I run to you baby
When it all starts coming undone
Baby, you're the only one I run to, I run to you

Whoa, oh, I run to you

This world keeps spinning faster
Into a new disaster so I run to you, I run to you baby
When it all starts coming undone
Baby, you're the only one I run to, I run to you, I run to you, yeah

Whoa, oh, I run to you
I run to you girl, whoa

I always run to you
Run to you, run to you