Reliving the Pilgrimage 

Finding Joy. The five of us.
Teddy’s Love Cards
Teddy’s BDay! Look for all his green orbs

One week ago we celebrated our dear Teddy’s first birthday and since then I have had time to reflect on what the days leading up and after actual day felt like. I wasn’t sure what to expect, we knew this was important milestone in our lives and we needed to celebrate him and not mourn him. We miss him, there is a layer that wishes things could be different but we have accepted they can’t be, they never will be and because of that we have been on a journey of finding peace. Because of this it was important our focus was on his lessons, his purpose and not being consumed by our own heart’s desires for things to have ended differently. He deserved a celebration, he deserved to be with us in spirit and see us choosing joy, choosing love and choosing to keep living.

Not knowing how this was all going to feel I felt compelled to keep focused on his lessons about love and mostly the one about always choosing love. So I made 9000 LOVE cards and asked for people to help me spread his message to as many people as possible reaching those I could never have alone. This project worked, I was focused and reminded daily our choice to celebrate. When I originally had the idea, I thought I was being bold to think with friends and family we could pass out maybe a couple hundred. I am forever grateful for those who even handed one card out as well as those who received a card and felt loved, and/or possibly chose love when maybe they wouldn’t have without the reminder.

Beyond keeping focused on his purpose I had the privilege to relive our journey together but from another prospective. I made the ten day pilgrimage starting with the day we were told he was in heart failure ending on Teddy’s day of birth. I looked at every belly picture that popped up in timehop wondering if this was the last. I remember what I did every day, either before or after being checked for a heartbeat, I saw pictures of my other two boys, looking at them and seeing what babies they were too, and how they truly had no clue what was our family’s reality. I saw the Mom who mothered two children right up until she had to go to the hospital, the Mom who desperately didn’t want her life to change so hosted the annual Christmas party with friends days prior, and the Mom who went to prenatal yoga with a room of other Moms who had no clue her baby was dying but went because Teddy deserved it. I saw the Mom who wasn’t wasting a second with her dying son, who wanted to give him everything he deserved and believed he deserved it all, even a lifetime of love. I saw the Mom who went and lived life publicly, going to the grocery store with a brave face and talking about the pregnancy as if it had a different ending to spare the stranger or acquaintance the uncomfortable moment. I also saw the few moments I openly shared my baby was dying with a select few and realizing I chose that person unknowingly for a reason, and one in particular openly shared about her loss as well, right there in the grocery store. She shared her journey and sent love to me to carry me through mine. I was so grateful for her and Lanthe.

The day we were admitted to the hospital and the day Teddy was born was crystal clear to me. I saw the strength it would take to do what Ryan and I did. I saw the Mom who realized the end was near, she was sick. I saw the Mom who drove herself the hospital to get the tests and then making the choice with Ryan that the doctors were right and we needed to go home and prepare for a birth of a baby we would never bring home. I saw myself in my bedroom packing my bag and collecting the few things that were bought for Teddy. I saw the Mother that was scared, heartbroken, but didn’t want to waste the last few moments filled with fear or heartache knowing there was a lifetime left for that. I saw the Mom who took a few moments to write to her baby thinking it would be her last love note. I saw that brave woman, I saw the strength it took to simple move through the motions knowing what the ending was going to look like.

I woke up at 3am on Dec 9, probably around the time I needed to get an epidural the year prior and remembering every hour leading up to his birth at 11:22am on December 9th. I could see the beautiful sunrise, I could see Michelle and Ryan sleeping in the window as they have in previous births (Ryan with his heated blanket and Michelle with her hypnosis playing in her earbuds) I could see the birthing room which had low light, a layer of sadness and yet lots of love. I watched Ryan, Michelle and all the medical staff move through the final leg of that journey. We were all amazingly strong and blessed to have been chosen to be apart of his short life. I watched Teddy be baptized and blessed, I watched Michelle so lovingly give Teddy Reiki for his journey home, I watched him being held by his father, his Grandmother, and myself, I saw the love and the beauty in something before living it I would have had a hard time seeing how a day like that is truly the best, most significant and love filled day one could ever live.

As I walked that pilgrimage to our final moments together and then afterwards my heart broke for that woman, the old me. The heartache she has endured is unbelievable and my heart broke for me now knowing I am, who I am today for living through it. It is heavy having to feel what it felt like the first time around, then having to experience how it felt from the other perspective. I assume each year will be different from the next. I am sure each year this pilgrimage and the woman who originally walked it will need to be honoured by the new me. I suspect the emotions will feel different each time. The one constant will be our love and gratitude for Teddy. He is a blessing not a terrible event. I can say with all certainty knowing what I know now that if I was told on day one this was the outcome I wouldn’t change a darn thing. It was worth it. All of it. He was meant to be a part of our family tapestry. He is the most beautiful woven thread of us all, he shines bright and is our constant beacon of hope. He has proven to us what we are made of, how solid our foundation of love is and how important each and every day God gives is to live our purpose. Time doesn’t make our value but the legacy we leave behind does.

Thank you so much for all the messages on Facebook, all the posts, all the loving words. I did not respond to them all, I saw them and felt immense love and gratitude but emotionally wasn’t able to respond to each one. Thank you for all the ways that Teddy was celebrated, visited and shown love to us as a family.

This past year has been about love, gratitude and growth. It has been messy, it hasn’t always been easy for those who love us. We are forever grateful for those who chose to continue to show us love and to show up in our lives especially when it was messy. Thank you for reading about our journey. Thank you for using his name (any one of them Jeddy, Theodore, Theo and Teddy). Thank you for continually choosing love. Thank you for allowing me to share, without your support I am sure I wouldn’t have. Thank you for sharing your stories with me. Thank you for sharing when an emotion or an experience I shared is something you felt or experienced as well. Thank you for sharing with me how sharing this has helped you. Thank you for sharing my blog with others you think it would help. I am not sure how but we have had over 22,000 views from 68 different countries. I know many blogs have way more but I feel humbled and amazed how Teddy has been travelling spreading love and hopefully giving people some comfort and a sense they aren’t alone in their journey all around the world. Thank you. If you found us , it was for a reason and I feel blessed to have you on the journey with us.

With Gratitude and Love

Ally

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Happy Birthday Teddy

Happiest Birthday my sweet baby boy.

It is hard to believe one year has passed since you entered the world and left so quickly without even as much as a whisper. With no words spoken, no eye contact made, you received all that you needed and gave us some of the greatest gifts.

I could never in my wildest imagination have pictured my life being this way, walking this path and yet feeling such gratitude. Love and gratitude have carried us through. Lord knows we have been messy, we have felt the deepest level of despair one can feel, I have been on my knees calling out to you and praying to God to give me you back. Those moments were real and as I lived them I often wonder how I could possibly continue living feeling so utterly broken. Without love and without finding gratitude each and everyday I am positive that today would feel very different.

As this day approached, this significant day in our lives I have spent a lot of time reflecting on where we have come from and the path we have walked in the past year and where we are today. I remember so clearly those incredibly hard moments. I also remember the love, the love we felt, we shared and the love which was given to us from so many.

To say you are my greatest gift God could have given me is an understatement. Through you I have learned to love harder, louder, deeper, and with intention. I have learned to be a more connected Mother, and I have become a better wife. Our family has benefited from you joining us and then leaving us physically. I know with absolute certainty that your soul’s purpose was never to live here on earth with us, but to receive copious amount of unconditional love, to be held every second of your life, and to leave a legacy of loving fearlessly. I have reached a point in our journey where having this understanding gives me comfort and provides me with a sense of peace. As your Mother I have the honour of loving you and anything beyond that it isn’t up to me. We all have a soul’s journey to complete and there is no Mother powerful enough to be able to intervene with that. So I sit with you, I can feel you near always and I can love you but the rest is left up to God.

Finding peace within our journey hasn’t been easy. It was something I have been 110% committed to doing and I haven’t done it alone. This isn’t something that can be done alone. It takes a village and there is no timeline. I have been blessed with an amazing support network that combines, friends, family, acquaintances, strangers and professionals. Each one is as important as the next.

I think back to those moments of coming home after you were born, and how I was terrified to be away from your Dad. I have never in my life needed someone like I needed him. I am not sure exactly what I was afraid of but it was terrifying thinking he was going to have to go back to work, or even leave to go to the store or to run a simple errand. As the days, weeks and months move on my need for him changed, but there has been no doubt that I have needed him daily. I needed to feel him close, to feel like my heart was secure with him because it was so vulnerable and fragile and I needed him to love me loudly when things were messy and to love me softly when I was riding a wave of peace. He has been my constant, he has been my life line, and without him I am not sure this path could have been walked. Our love has been the foundation we walked on as we navigated our way through these past 12 months.

So here I am, listening to a song that often was played during our prenatal yoga classes and I feel as close to you today as I did then. 12 months later feeling you close gives me peace and comfort where it used to make me terrified the moment would end. I was terrified to allow space between us , I was terrified to stop grieving and to allow joy to stay longer, and I was scared that by finding peace, joy, and allowing space I would loose you and others would forget about you. I now know this to be not be true, I feel closer to you than ever and my moments of deep sadness are fleeting. Because my heart isn’t so heavy I can now hold you in there differently, gently, and so lovingly without desperation. You are now free from my tight grasp and you always choose to stay close and for that I am so grateful.

Today we are spreading your message on Love. We have created cards with this message on them and they will be passed out to thousands of strangers. I know with certainty your were born on this date for a reason. You could have picked any day, of any month but you chose just before Christmas at a time when we will always be surrounded by friends and family and when the world could use a reminder to Always Choose Love. My heart couldn’t be more filled with gratitude than it is, we have had so many people come forward and request these cards to help spread your message on love and to celebrate you. That is what we are doing, we are celebrating you, we are not mourning that you are gone but celebrating you because you live, because you matter, because you have changed lives, because your purpose was significant and because we love you.

So my sweet sweet boy of mine, Happy first Birthday in Heaven!!! I know you will be partying with all your friends and our family members so give everyone the biggest hug and kiss for us. I can only imagine what a party in Heaven looks like!

Loving you loudly today!
With gratitude your Biggest Fan – Mommy