Capture Your Grief – My Promise To You

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When we received the news Teddy would die our initial reaction was devastation. Walking out of the Kingston General Hospital was easy, we were on autopilot. Each foot was placed before the other and we found our car and our way out of the parking garage. I think that is what shock feels like. We didn’t make it too far down the road before we had to pull over and allow all the emotions to overcome us. It was messy, it was hard and it is a moment I never want to relive. It was the precise moment who we once were, was forever gone. It was also the precise moment a promise was made. We promised each other we would put our marriage first. We were told how most marriages don’t survive the loss of child. So the promise was made and our marriage will always be priority number one and our boys will be a very close second. If our marriage is solid our boys will benefit tenfold. It was that moment that it became so clear whatever choices we made for the rest of our lives had to be made from love. Love became our driving force for all things. Our promise to Teddy was to Always Choose Love.

With those two promises we have been amazing at protecting our marriage. For us that is an easy one. Our promise to always choose love is easy 90% of the time, but we are human and there are times other emotions take over and we have to be reminded that the choice we are making isn’t the most loving one. For me that reminder can come straight from Ryan, or our boys, Jack is the first to let us know a tone of voice isn’t loving. The reminder can come from a whisper, my subconscious mind will nag me to the point I am forced to reflect on a moment that a better choice could have been made. Finally, I no longer can go to bed without spending a quiet moment going over my day and finding ways I can improve on Choosing Love. I am far from perfect but my promise is made and I will always work towards being able to Always Choose Love, especially when it is hard. I am so aware now, I am so grateful that it has become such a focus in our home. We talk to our boys about choosing love, and giving love to everyone daily. This promise is the greatest gift Teddy gave our family. His life was about loving unconditionally. He is our greatest teacher and without a shadow of a doubt our life is better because of this lesson.

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Capture Your Grief – I Am 

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I wish. . . I wish I could stop wishing everything was different. I wish by coming to complete peace with this journey the strong desire for it all to be different will be replaced with more love and a feeling of being complete and okay that our time together was so short. I wish my memory was crystal clear of every moment I had with him. Because I am blessed to have Teddy’s birth and time after captured through photographs which helps to jog my memory but without them I fear so many moments would have been lost forever. My memory of Jack and Patrick is an equal blur of 95% of their short lives so far but I don’t have that desperate feeling to hold each memory forever as I know for at least today we will make some more.

I remember. . . I remember how close and connected I felt to Teddy while I was pregnant with him. I felt connected to my two other pregnancies at the time but now knowing how deep that connection can truly be I am not sure I will ever feel that close and connected to anyone ever again. I remember the intense love our room was filled during our labour and his birth. I remember feeling complete sense of peace when he was born and placed on my chest. Heart to heart. . I remember being so tired after birth but not wanting to sleep our time together away. I remember him being tucked in with me and taking a nap together and thinking this will be our only nap we will ever take together and feeling blessed to have been so tired that moment had to happen. I remember wishing I could trade places with my son the moment the gentleman from the funeral home dressed in a suit came into our hospital room to take our son. I remember so clearly wondering if the whole town could hear my heartbreaking at that precise moment. Surely the sound of a heart shattering to the degree it can never be reassembled as it once was could be heard to the human ear. Then he was gone . . .

I could not believe. . . I could not believe how strong we were. I didn’t know how we would ever get in a vehicle to drive to a hospital to deliver a baby we wouldn’t take home, but we did. I didn’t know how I could go endure another long labour knowing my baby would be dead, but I did. I didn’t know how I would be able to hold a dead baby, but we did. I didn’t know how we would be able to hand over our baby knowing we will never see him again, but we did. I didn’t know how I would walk out of the hospital empty handed but we did. I didn’t know how I would deliver Teddy’s eulogy, but I did. I didn’t know how we would live our life knowing such a large piece of us was missing, but we do every day. I didn’t know how we could ever let joy in again, but we do. I could not believe how supportive our community is. I could not believe how many people have lived a similar experience. I could not believe how often this happens and how no one talks about it, how alone we truly felt at first.

If only. . . If only things could be different. If his heart could have been whole. If he could have stayed. Beyond that, I wish nothing to be different.

I am. . . I am many things to many people but my two most valuable titles are Wife and Mother. Loosing a child makes you take a hard look at who you are, what matters in our short life, what goals you want to achieve and the purpose for your own life. Being Ryan’s wife is the greatest honour. From the outside it may look like we have a charmed life. The truth is we are incredibly blessed but our marriage has been put to its test with real life challenges from the beginning. We all get married and think we are perfect for each other and life will be beautiful together but it isn’t until real life shows up that it becomes clear if you truly are meant for the journey of life together. Each time real life tested our love, our love grew, our foundation that our marriage stood on became that much stronger. Our most recent test was the death of our son. Not for one second did this event shake our marriage but rather from the moment we were told Teddy would die it was as if a truck full of concrete backed up and poured a thick layer on our already strong foundation making sure we were bulletproof. Our love cannot be broken and our broken hearts are always safe with each other. Without a doubt we were meant to be together on this crazy journey called life. Because of Ryan, I am a better mother, daughter, aunt, sister, cousin, friend, stranger. Because of Ryan there is light in the darkness, there is faith when I had doubt, there is love when I feel lost, there is laughter when my heart needs joy, and there is a feeling of safety and a knowing that together we will always be okay.

Capture Your Grief – Lemons and Lemonade 

I am not sure if it is always about making lemonade. . . Rather than being open to the blessings and the lessons that hard situations offer. I don’t make the blessings, I don’t create the lessons, they are right there for the taking. In order for me to see them, to be able to appreciate them and claim them for myself I have to keep my heart open, I have to sit in a vulnerable state. Creating a hard shell over my broken heart may potentially protect me from more pain but it creates an impenetrable force around me preventing me to make space to grow and accept the lessons and blessing.

I think to make lemonade is to make something sweet out of a sour event in life. I struggle with this since for me I don’t feel I have made anything. I am just riding the wave, and walking the path this journey has lead me on. I believe in all hard situations if we are open we will see the beauty and we will experience the blessings that come with it. I am just not the creator of that, they are always present regardless if I see them or not.

I also have a hard time thinking anything about Teddy is sour. People have referred to the day he passed away as the worst day of my life. That simply isn’t true. How could the day we met and only time I had with him be the worst? It was the best day. The hardest day but the best day. Teddy is light, Teddy is joy. His absence makes my heart hurt in unimaginable ways but that is only because he is loved so deeply because he matters and because he is so great that even after 100 years it wouldn’t have been enough time. He was born lemonade, he has cleared a path for all things sweet and all things love to be present, so there was no sour to turn sweet.

Capture Your Grief – Creative Heartwork 

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I am not sure if it is always about making lemonade. . . Rather than being open to the blessings and the lessons that hard situations offer. I don’t make the blessings, I don’t create the lessons, they are right there for the taking. In order for me to see them, to be able to appreciate them and claim them for myself I have to keep my heart open, I have to sit in a vulnerable state. Creating a hard shell over my broken heart may potentially protect me from more pain but it creates an impenetrable force around me preventing me to make space to grow and accept the lessons and blessing.

I think to make lemonade is to make something sweet out of a sour event in life. I struggle with this since for me I don’t feel I have made anything. I am just riding the wave, and walking the path this journey has lead me on. I believe in all hard situations if we are open we will see the beauty and we will experience the blessings that come with it. I am just not the creator of that, they are always present regardless if I see them or not.

I also have a hard time thinking anything about Teddy is sour. People have referred to the day he passed away as the worst day of my life. That simply isn’t true. How could the day we met and only time I had with him be the worst? It was the best day. The hardest day but the best day. Teddy is light, Teddy is joy. His absence makes my heart hurt in unimaginable ways but that is only because he is loved so deeply because he matters and because he is so great that even after 100 years it wouldn’t have been enough time. He was born lemonade, he has cleared a path for all things sweet and all things love to be present, so there was no sour to turn sweet.

Capture Your Grief – Surrender and Embrace 

The feeling of having to surrender isn’t new to me. Our first experience as a couple having to learn to surrender and embrace the journey we were on dates back to about 6 years ago when we experienced challenges conceiving a baby. At the time it was all consuming and an emotional roller coaster. Every time I encountered a moment where I felt in control I was quickly reminded I had none. I believe this experience prepared us to deal with health issues of our second son. The path we walked with him and navigating that experience prepared us for the death of our third son Teddy.

The day we were told Teddy had no chance to survive outside the womb was the ultimate test for us in surrendering. We had no control of his outcome. It was going to be as his life’s journey was intended; short but powerful. I couldn’t make him better, I couldn’t protect him or our hearts from being broken. All we could do as a couple was to choose love. We chose to give him all the love he deserved, a lifetime’s worth and embrace the fact our time will be short.

As our journey has progressed and he was born then our goodbyes were said, each step we were faced with a choice and each step we chose to surrender and embrace our reality. It wasn’t always an easy choice, many times I needed to consciously talk myself through it. I do know once I let go it is much easier to find peace. To feel grounded in the journey.

It has been 10 months or 304 days ago that we said our goodbyes and surrendering looked different. I was no longer surrendering to allow for space to fill Theo with love but to give myself grace as we navigated grief. When powerful and heavy grief sets in it can be scary. It can be so overwhelming that you wonder if you will ever feel joy again. At first I felt an urge to fight the feelings and tried so hard for everything to be like it once was. Grief from the loss of a child is so large it resembles a massive wall that it is impossible to push through. After a few waves of peace came through I learned that no matter how heavy things felt that I soon would be given a break and the heaviness would lift and feeling sad would be replaced by joy. Knowing this allows me to surrender to those heavy days. To feel them, deeply and fully. It allows me to emerge with personal growth as I am picked up by a wave of peace.

Recently I have learned to surrender to peace. Not long ago I had the realization that feeling peace for any lengthy period of time made me comfortable. I felt like I was moving away from Teddy. I had to work my way through feeling that my level of grief = closeness or amount of love I feel for Theo. My heart and mind now know this simply isn’t true. Intellectually I knew this not to be true but the connection between your mind and heart can often experience a disconnect. Now that my heart has come to terms with this, surrendering to the peace and allowing it to stay for as long as it can has really helped me be more present in our journey.

Surrendering and embracing to all life’s experiences allows you to be more present in them. To feel them more and to absorb all that they truly are. It isn’t easy but many things worthwhile aren’t.

Capture Your Grief – Beautiful Mystery 


There are so many beautiful mysteries when it comes to my dear Teddy. To me the biggest mystery is why he chose us to be his parents. Being his Mom is the biggest honour. Out of all the millions of women he could have chosen from he chose me. I feel like I won the lottery.

I never did see his eyes open. I often wonder what they would have looked like. I assume they would have been similar to his brothers, dark, wide and full of love.

I wonder what his cry would have sounded like. I wonder if he would have been a good sleeper or never sleep for three years like his brother Jack. I wonder if he would have had a love for the piano, love to do crafts, play sports, or sing and dance like his brothers. I wonder if he would have been loud like the Williams family or more witty like the Hewat’s 😉.

With so much left unknown and will always remain as a beautiful mystery I have grown to realize how powerful love truly is. Love doesn’t need details, the heart feels deeply what it feels because of a connection that cannot be seen to the naked eye. These details matter for the fact they remind me of moments that I won’t experience but I am also aware that I wasn’t intended to experience them, and I am okay with that.

His beautiful wonder has taught me compassion, love, trust, to find joy in simple pleasures, opening my heart to accepting help, to remove judgment, and be present in everyday life. There is so much I don’t know about him and will never know. His life ended so quickly but his story will live on forever as the ripple effect will be unending.

The most beautiful things in life are often a mystery. My sweet Teddy in my world falls into that category.

Capture Your Grief – Myths 

When I think of myths I think of all the things I may have thought to be true at one time or some experiences I have encountered. So here are a few from my perspective.

Myth #1 – Everything happens for a reason.

Truth – Many positive things come from terrible situations. Many people are given gifts and feel grateful for these gifts that have come because of the tragedy but I am not a believer that EVERYTHING (somethings yes but not everything) happens for a reason. I think we all have the potential for huge personal growth during trying times but that individual has to be open to accepting gifts and do the work so growth can happen. I also believe that challenging times are the biggest teachers but I also believe lessons can be learned in a multitude of ways.

To tell a parent who lost a child in an accident whether it be at birth or years later that it happened for a reason could possible end with hurt feelings. This isn’t a phrase that provides comfort to most I have met and even those that believe their loss did happen for a reason often don’t want it pointed out.

I believe Teddy’s life was meant to be short. I believe he is my greatest teacher and leaves the most beautiful legacy of love. I know in my heart things were meant to be this way for us, but we aren’t everyone.

Myth #2 – With time you will get over it.

Truth – I am not sure what being “over it” even looks like. I don’t have a goal to get over it. I will forever think of my son, I forever will speak his name, I forever will wonder what life would have looked like. I expect I will always have moments that will take my breath away, moments that I wish from my entire being that things were different and moments that bring me to tears. I also have a vision of being able to allow waves of peace to come and stay for very lengthy periods of time, a time when thinking of him warms my heart and makes me smile more than it makes me cry and long for him, and I believe with time this will all feel lighter, the loss will be easier to carry, but being “over it” won’t happen. Not in this lifetime.

Myth #3 – God wanted another Angel.

Truth – God did not want another angel. He has plenty and didn’t need my baby for himself. The God I know would never be that selfish. With life there are imperfections, there are events that are out of God’s hands and during these times God is beside you. He weeps the tears you weep, he holds you tightly and feels what you feel. He didn’t do this to me, he is there to support me and guide me because it happened. I also know he is loving and protecting Teddy until we can be together again.

Myth #4 – It is easier because you didn’t have much time with him. You didn’t really know him.

Truth – It isn’t easier or harder it just IS. I can only compare it to imagining the magnitude of loosing another son instead of him and my heart would feel the same. Memories are only a piece of grief. Many times memories make it easier and times they it make it harder. The grief of a baby is no different to any other being. You see them missing from every aspect of your life. They should have a first birthday party, a first day of school, go on dates, graduate, get married all these big moments, as well as the small ones. I should have three boys to tuck in and kiss at night, I should have three to buckle in the car, three to buy a treat for and a million other moments in a day that should happen but don’t. I notice when it is two and not three. Love doesn’t start when a birth takes place, love starts when the idea of becoming pregnant is ignited. We knew about Teddy for three years before I was pregnant with him. We paid fees every month to keep him safe until we were ready. We talked about him, we envisioned our life and we thought it was intended. Our love was fierce for him the day he was made not the day he was born. Crazy enough, I loved him before Patrick his older brother. (Oh science!! Crazy eh!)

Myth #5 – You are lucky you can always have another baby. Or you are so lucky to have your other kids.

Truth – That is like saying “you are so lucky you still have one leg”. Ahhh ya they probably are but they were meant to have two. They still feel that leg missing emotionally and physically. Having one leg doesn’t make up for the leg that is lost. Or to say when someone looses a parent “You are so lucky to still have a Dad”. Pretty sure that person wanted their Mom as well.

I am not greedy but I wanted all my boys. I am blessed to have two with me but the third should have been as well. My other two can’t replace him, they can’t make up for his loss. Having another baby is also not a replacement and it comes with many emotions. Pregnancy after loss is not a stress free nine months. Once the baby is here you also experience all that you couldn’t with the one you lost. These reminders are bittersweet.

We all have blessings and we all have challenges and I believe if we can honour the challenges for what they are and leave out platitudes people’s hearts will feel respected and healing will be easier.