As The Wind Blows

As the calendar turns over and we move into November my heart always twinges. This year it wasn’t as obvious. It shows up in irritability, feelings of anxiousness, and a level of sadness. Then all the signs of Teddy appear, I feel him close, his presence is made abundantly clear and it all made so much sense why these emotions are so close to the surface.

November comes with cooler weather, sometimes light snowfalls, the air is crisp and the wind has a different feeling of power as blows around. It is only this year that I am aware all of those things are triggers for my heart when it comes to Teddy’s loss. December was very mild the year he died. It was more like a November.

My heart and body won’t forget these imprints even though my conscious mind often does.

Grief is so interesting. It changes so much as time passes. Four years ago I was so consumed with loving this baby so deeply before his time was over. My heart was all of his. One year later my heart was shattered, I remember so clearly feeling so heartbroken for me, the Mom who endured it all. Each day that passed I remembered so clearly where I was the year before, I couldn’t believe what my heart was expected to live through.

Time passes, and here I am four years later. Day to day my heart and life are filled with so much joy. The heaviness has lifted and an outsider would have no clue all that my heart has endured when they see me out with my three vibrant living children. Time didn’t heal my heart, I did a lot of work to find healing and to lift the heavy blanket of raw grief and time was the gift that allowed that to happen.

So today, I am in our dearest Teddy’s favourite place. I feel him. I miss him and the grief is heavier than it has been in many months, shamefully or maybe proudly I don’t remember the last time when my heart felt this heavy.

Three years ago I never thought the day would come when my heart would feel light and the heavy days were no longer the norm. I didn’t think the day would come that I could allow myself to move through the grief and without guilt, welcoming joy and allow it to be our primary emotion. I am so proud of myself and Ryan that we have done exactly that. Doing so doesn’t exempt us from the days that grief still washes over but it is no longer scary because we know with certainty it is temporary, joy will return.

People talk about grief, you can read about it, but until you experience it you truly have no idea what it will look like. It is ever-evolving, it is unique to everyone and can be unpredictable. I have no idea what this December will feel like this year. I certainly didn’t anticipate how the arrival of November would feel and how so many emotions have surfaced by the environmental triggers.

I don’t know what is to come but today I am holding Teddy so close to my heart, I am at his favourite place, I will feel him in the breeze, I will smell him in the bonfire, I will hear him in the movement of the lake and will see him in his siblings eyes. He is woven throughout each of us and I may argue he the most beautiful common thread within us.

Teddy, the truth is my heart misses you. . .

All the time.

Every second.

Every minute.

Every hour.

Every day.

XOXO Your Momma ❤️

Light Does Come After Darkness

Teddy,

It is mornings like today when I wake up and wonder if this is all real. Did you really exist? Did you really come and leave so quickly? Did I actually survive the heart-wrenching days that followed? Was this all a bad dream?

I feel your absence this morning. I feel you every day but it doesn’t always feel the same. This morning I feel sad, and I miss you. I wonder what our life would look like with 3 boys. I wonder if Zooey would have still found her way to us. Could we have handled 4 mini Williams monsters?

In the last three years, I have hit all ends of the spectrum of grief. It was super messy at times. Most recently, I feel I am in a stage of rebirth. A whole new version of me is being created and I am totally in love who she is and feel excited to fully know this new version of me once it is fully developed. There was a time that I felt sad I could barely remember who I was before this journey started but not anymore. I am certainly not sad the girl who had paralyzing heartache is gone. You have changed me and I am grateful.

Three years later and without a shadow of a doubt I would still choose you. Every tear shed, every fear felt, every relationship lost, every day walking in a world that looked so unfamiliar, and every wave I didn’t know I could survive was worth it. You are worth it. You taught me about unconditional love, you helped create a life with only space for the authentic, you gave your siblings an opportunity to learn that feeling deeply is okay and not scary, you cleared a path for our family to rise to our highest selves with gratitude.

Teddy, you are loved. Our hearts have continued to grow with love for you as they have for our other children. My fears that you would be forgotten have settled, I know it is simply impossible. The majority of the time now living without you is light and we have peace, and the days like today are bearable and just a reminder of how important you are. It reminds me this isn’t a bad dream, it is real and that emotions are temporary. Eventually light does come after darkness if you can just hold on.

It is hard to explain the shift in life since you. We lived a good life before you, and we were good people but life is so much richer now because of you. We love deeper, we live more authentically, we prioritize connection over everything, we savour even the smallest moments in life, we are seekers of joy and laughter, we are more connected to our own souls and life’s purpose. I now know you can only fully taste and appreciate the sweet nectar of life once you have tasted life’s sourest lemons.

So my sweet boy as today I miss you, I am also filled with gratitude for all you represent and all you have done for us.

Missing you my Sweetest Teddy.

Loving you,

Your Momma

Grief Is A Thief

Blog post

Written for Still Standing Magazine – March 21, 2018

Grief is a thief, stealing so much from the grieving and those close to them. The wake is messy with shrapnel flying and everyone in your life being hit by it to a degree. If you are close to the eye of the storm coming out unharmed is a miracle. Doing so probably means you either weren’t as close as you thought or you are one of the few that were able to swim through the mud being a fierce protector of the grieving Mom’s heart.

Grief, after your baby dies, isn’t only about grieving the baby you lost but also grieving the life you once lived. You grieve relationships you had with friends and family that once felt loving and easy and no longer are. You grieve all you had envisioned for your future that no longer can be. The ripple effect is so great that one day you wake up and reflect on the life you once lived and it feels like it belongs to someone else, with little resemblance to the life you now live.

People may give you grace and understand the profound sadness that comes when your baby dies. What is often misunderstood is the pain that is caused by the ripple effect of grief and all that was left in its wake. We feel the pain to our core when we see who ran and hid, who judged you, who justified their own behaviour, who talked to others about you and who was clearly lacking love.

Once the fog clears and you see the landscape you are now living in, it is impossible to un-see it. You see your heart was truly only safe with only a few people and feel intense pain from being abandoned or let down by those you thought were put in your world to support you and help protect your heart.

Relationships are easy when living is easy. The real litmus test of a relationship is when you have to ride the waves together. When the person you trust to have your back catches you without hesitation as you are falling, when your sadness isn’t frightening, or inconvenient, and they are more than willing to meet you just exactly where you are.

Relationships over time evolve, that is natural. When a life event like this happens you as a person is forever changed and with that, the relationship you once had is also forever changed. People either choose to love you through it and allow the quick evolution to flow and become more connected or choose you no longer fit into each other’s lives.

Grief is a thief. It steals so much from everyone involved. You are left with the gift of seeing who is still standing beside you and gently holding your heart. Grief steals so much but also gives the gift of deepened, stronger and more meaningful relationships once the aftermath is cleaned up. It is those relationships you know will last a lifetime because they stand on the foundation of unconditional love.

I am so sorry if you are a Mom who not only lost their baby but also had grief steal so much more from you. You didn’t deserve it.

Thank you to all who swim through the mud, those who stand in the fire, the ones who take the responsibility to safely hold the heart when it is broken, and those who can love stronger than the shrapnel of grief. You are the grieving Mom’s greatest gift.

Photo by Kat Smith from Pexels

Balancing The Lies Amoung The Truth

Blog postOriginally written for Still Standing Magazine – February 20, 2018

Some days I was a truth teller and some days I was a liar. What I wasn’t expecting was how easily the lies would roll off my tongue. Chatting about how busy I was going to be, talking about how three little boys under three will be noisy and crazy, how blessed I was to have them. These are the expected conversations while out and about with a one and two-year-old boys while visibly pregnant. People would comment how glowing I was. I clearly mastered the art of lying with my whole being. It must have been the smile, and belly rub as I agreed my life would be hectic.

The truth be told there would never be three little boys, my house wouldn’t be filled with the noise and the hectic life they envision, and I talked about. My hands would be full but with a mountain of grief, not three little boys. I knew my baby was going to die, he just didn’t stand a chance with multiple heart defects.

Telling the truth was possible but I had to feel safe. I was so protective of him and my choice to carry him for as long as possible. That choice isn’t right for everyone and I was sometimes judged. The lies were easier to tell than the truth. The truth was hard, it was hard for others to hear and incredibly hard for me to tell. At times I carried on with these lies with people I knew eventually would learn the truth. People like my esthetician who does my eyebrows, I even contemplated never going back after he was born because she would then find out I was lying to her every visit

He was dying, I knew it, but it was so hard to be honest about it. It was that look I would get when the truth was told, it cut so deep to see the instant pain within someone else’s heart my truth just inflicted. Everyone who knew us felt his loss, I didn’t own it alone, he wasn’t only mine. He was a neighbour, a friend, an acquaintance, a relative, my son and his name is Theodore.

To walk around looking so normal and people always wanting to politely chat about it was a double edge sword. The lies made me feel normal, but they also told my soul all that it will be missing. I had to shelf the grief of the life I thought I would live to stay present with my baby. To give him all he deserved I had no choice but to make my daily mantra “Today I am pregnant, today Teddy is alive” and live today as it could be his last, flooding him with love. Being his Mother, my only job was to love and support him through his journey, I was powerless to do anything else.

Two years ago, Teddy was born and died 22 minutes later, we said hello and goodbye. It was then the truth teller was born. The truth is heavy but speaking his truth lightens my heart. He was real, he mattered, and his truth holds profound beauty.

To all the truth tellers and liars that walked before me and all those who walk behind me I see you, I feel you and I admire your strength.

Time Keeps Rolling

My sweet little boy Teddy, time keeps ticking along and how my heart feels is forever changing. I miss you. I wish I could hold you. I wish I could talk to you, hear your little voice. I wish I could see who you would have been today. I wish I could love all the Teddy quirks, all of who you could have been. Instead so much will be left as a question mark. I wonder if missing someone’s laugh could be harder than missing a laugh you were never blessed to hear.

Two years, three and half months have passed since you were born. It feels so long ago. So much life has happened since yours ended. Your sister was born six months ago. She is incredible and is loved by your brothers intensely. When she was born I could only see you. But she wasn’t you, she was full of life. As that life has blossomed she has become this incredible light in our family. I always say she completes us. Saying this isn’t because you or the boys weren’t enough, or because she fills a physical space you left, but rather the opposite, without anyone of you we would be forever incomplete. She was always intended to be apart of our family just as you were.

Zooey didn’t take your place. Your place is filled by you, our third baby. You are our forever baby, and what a special role that is. Your life has impacted me in ways no one will ever truly know. You have given me a new lens to view the world through. You have given me a perspective of life that spoken words could never truly articulate, it is something that I know only you and I share.

I miss you. I want so much for you to share this life with us but I also know this was never your intended life. I know all of this wishing is for me, and I also know undoubtedly that you are exactly where you should be. I love you more than needing my wishes fulfilled so I accept our reality. My heart will forever be filled with love for you and my mind will always wonder what could have been but having this understanding about your intended life provides comfort and peace.

I will forever shed tears for you. I will forever miss you. I will forever feel grateful for all of you. I will forever feel joy for you. I will forever feel heavy because of you. I will forever feel light because of you. I will always choose love because of you. I will forever honour you. I will forever feel blessed because of you.

Feelings flow like the waves of the ocean. Some days are sunny with a beautiful light breeze at your back pushing you along. Some days are stormy and feelings are crashing all around you. Then we have days that are a combination. In the last two years, I learned to never fight emotions, just like the ocean they can be a force to reckon with so it is best to allow it all to pass through you. To feel it all, to own it, to see it and before you know it the tide has changed and you feel new again. Today my heart is all yours Teddy. I feel your physical absence, and long to be close. The only emotion that is forever unwavering is my love for you. You are loved. You are LOVE.

Your Momma Bear

2018 Dancing with Joy

Welcome 2018

We are half way through the first month and I am only now ready to write about turning over the calendar, wiping the slate clean and starting fresh in 2018.

Each year as one ends and a new one begins Ryan and I always reflect back on our previous year’s goals we had set and see how many we accomplished. This year was different as we normally set realistic and attainable goals for the upcoming year,  then adjust our five and ten year plan and I just wasn’t into doing it. This year I don’t have goals but I do have intentions.

This is a big year. I have six months left before I turn 40. Holy Moly how did that happen! 40 seems real, like no way around it you are an adult once you cross over that bridge. Having the big 4-0 peaking around the corner puts things into perspective. It is another reminder how short life really is. How precious time is. I truly don’t want to waste time this year. I intend to spend my time only doing things that make my heart sing, spending quality time with those that encourage love, laughter and bring joy into our life. Not to say if you are in a place that is hard I don’t have space for it because I absolutely do, helping others warms my heart. But I am no longer going to water dead plants. I am letting go of relationships that don’t serve me anymore, ones that aren’t meant to be watered and that it is okay.

There is a huge portion of my story with Teddy that I never write about, that many don’t know. It has to do with a significant person in my life. I haven’t written to save them from the truth, the truth about how their role has effected my heart and my journey. What I have chosen for 2018 is to find peace with letting that role in my life to be a void. It is a role that no one else can fill. There is no amount wishing or wanting that can change the damage that has been done. Because of Teddy’s death the cracks in that relationship were revealed. For the first year I ignored the reality. I didn’t have the strength to see it, deal with it, acknowledge it or try to fix it. My second year I saw it all so clearly, I saw who they are, what my role was in the relationship and how unhealthy it was. I truly wanted it to be fix, I have been working to understand it and find peace with the knowledge I have gained but sadly there is no fixing it. So as we are moving in the third year without Teddy I believe with letting go I can make room for peace in that area of my life.

I have learned with death it is never just one loss. It will effect many relationships and areas in your life. I have also learned it isn’t all about loss because you also gain new relationships, deepen existing ones, and receive multiple gifts that comes in countless forms. It is true, the day your baby dies so do you and with time you figure out who the new you is.

So 2018 & the big 4-0 I am ready for you!! I am ready to become firmly planted in the new me. I intend to write more and not just about Teddy. I intend to dive into my untapped creativity. I will work on being completely present while Mothering. I intend to be the wife my husband deserves, he is amazing and deserves the best. I intend to love and care for my body and overall health as taking it for granted would be so unfair to all those who would give anything to have health. I intend to water all the wildflowers in my life, dance with joy and hold still for others when life is heavy. Lastly, I intend to remain connected in faith. I will listen when God whispers, and I promise to act. In the past I would feel called to do something, to reach out to someone, or whatever it might be and I wouldn’t act because I felt uncomfortable, I was unsure how it would be received but not this year. I am putting worry aside and will have faith that when an act comes from a place of love it has purpose and maybe that is where the magic will happen.

Cheers to you! Let’s all dance with joy together!! 2018 is going to be awesome and when it isn’t we will be okay, all things are possible when we help each other carry the load. Just holler over at me if you need help pulling the weight and I haven’t noticed. 💖

Happy 2nd Birthday 🎂

Dear Teddy

Today is just another day for the billions that fill this earth. To your parents it is the day our world stopped turning just two years ago. This day will forever be the most significant day of our lives, as will the ten day pilgrimage we walk leading up to it. In the past two years we have learned to allow our world to rotate once again but it will never spin quite like it once did. Our hearts will always beat with a hollow sound since you took such a big piece of it with when you left us. To so many today is meaningless or holds other significance to us it is everything. I honestly think only those who have suffered a life altering experience could possibly fully understand.

As your Mom two years sounds like a huge amount of time. It is 731 days to be exact. I feel like it was yesterday and forever ago all wrapped up in one. So many of those days I wondered if I was going to be able to keep walking further away from that moment in time where we parted ways. I wondered who I will become, would I ever feel whole again, and would I ever find the old me.

Whole? Nope, it is impossible. You are gone only to reunited when my days are done here. Who have I become? I became a woman who has learned all about grace and giving it to so many. Some who truly deserve it and some who aren’t as deserving but you my love have taught me to choose love. It has been a learning process and I haven’t mastered it but you have changed me with that one simple lesson. What I have also learned is choosing love sometimes isn’t easy, sometimes it creates waves, and sometimes it cuts ties. Will I ever find the old me? Nope nor do I want to.

The first year without you I was so consumed with putting one foot in front of the next, working tirelessly to try and find peace with all that life gave me when you left. This last year has been about seeing the aftermath of your loss, all that has been affected in other areas in my life. The relationships that grew and became so strong, the relationships that didn’t weather the storm so well, the ones worth fixing and the ones that are healthier to release.

I had no clue leading up to your death that I wasn’t just loosing you. The loss is widespread, some days it all cuts me to the core and other days I find my way to forgiveness, understanding and peace. Losing you to me is easy to make peace with, it is the rest that has truly tested me. Those losses feel so unfair. It seems so cruel to take you, my precious baby, my heart, my soul but then to have such a widespread ripple effect. No one seems to tell you about the true aftermath. It seems like as you sort one thing out and come to terms with that new reality, another layer is peeled back and the next ripple is revealed.

I have no idea what the theme will be about for this next year. Third year’s a charm? Isn’t that a saying? I hope so. . . but maybe doesn’t apply here.

Today for me is not just another day. Today we celebrate you, we mourn you, we feel you, we acknowledge your importance, and love you. As time rolls on you might not be top of mind for many, you aren’t here, people never met you, but to us you are everything and you are as important today as the day you made my womb your home, the day you were born, the day you died, the day we had a funeral for you. You matter. You are loved, you are missed. Your absences felt always, today and forever.

Birthdays aren’t always cupcakes, balloons and laughter, sometimes they are like today, heavy hearted. It’s just real life.

Loving you today, and every other day to follow. Thank you for being my teacher.

Happy 2nd Birthday my love,

Your fearless Mommy