Thanksgiving Reflections

Happy Thanksgiving,

Thanksgiving is my most favourite holiday. It is a time family gathers and focuses on sharing fellowship and good food without material gift giving involved. The fall is my favourite season, not because I love winter and it is around the corner but because you can feel change, the change is fresh, the air is clean and crisp, the leaves are so beautiful and makes the most beautiful crunch as you walk across them, and then for many it is another stage in life with going back to school, starting school, never returning to school after a graduation. It is an opportunity for a fresh start, an opportunity for rebirth. I love that Thanksgiving is a time that people reflect on life and the blessings they have received. For some this isn’t a regular practice and it brings to the forefront what there is in their life to be thankful for. Even on our darkest days there is gratitude to be found.

Long before Teddy I started a gratitude jar, and every evening I would write something I was grateful for the day and put it in the Jar and at the end of the year or when I really was feeling down I would read through them all changing my vibration and lifting my heart from where it was sitting. After Teddy I stopped writing on those little pieces of paper, not sure why, maybe because I was writing so much more on my blog and in my notes section of my phone, maybe I was simply far too exhausted, but I never stopped using gratitude as a way to remain in good or increase my mental health.

Teddy’s journey pointed out how very important the practice of gratitude really was for me. Through him and our experience together I learned quickly to articulate how I was feeling and then ask myself “okay so what is the gift in that?”. Seeing that my feelings held purpose allowed me to honour them exactly how they were, even the super heavy dark ones that felt so hard and uncomfortable, it allowed me to feel okay with them just being as they are knowing that they will change, nothing was forever and a wave would come and carry me for a rest soon enough. Through it the purpose was served, a lesson was learned and I was forever changed by the growth.

This year our Thanksgiving looks a lot different. We have so much to be thankful for. But so much of my gratitude comes from the lessons I learned through Teddy’s death and having to live without him. He changed who we are as a family. But what I didn’t know was who would I be as a Mom of a newborn after experiencing such a loss. I now know I am a Mom who has slowed down, who truly knows how quickly these newborn days go by and as hard as they are I find gratitude for them daily. I am a Mom who has made hard choices because when asking myself “what is the most loving choice for everyone involved” the answer didn’t line up with what I personally truly desired but without wavering honoured the choice that put love for all first. I am a Mom who now knows what it feels like when our family is complete. It is the most satisfying feeling to feel whole, knowing all members of our family are here and accounted for and now we all can just love each other through our intertwined journeys in life. I am a Mom who watches my two oldest boys love in a way that makes my heart sing. They have always had copious amounts of love for each other so it shouldn’t be surprising that the love for their sister would be endless, but it is the tenderness that truly gets me. Everyone should be loved so softly and intentionally as these boys love Zooey. So my gratitude this weekend is for the family we have created, with a huge emphasis on remembering Teddy for all he has given us, to bring us to where we are today. My heart would never have known a love so deeply if it weren’t for him. He is loved, he is missed, and he is remembered. He is LOVE.

My wish for my boys is to grow up knowing the value in gratitude, to know the healing power it holds and for them to incorporate it in their everyday life not only on Thanksgiving. Every day is a day to give thanks, even or maybe more so on our hardest days.

One Thankful Momma

It isn’t all Rainbows 🌈 and Sunshine ☀️

I haven’t been super open about our journey through pregnancy after our loss of Teddy. During our 38 weeks together I felt very closed off, I also felt very protective of Zooey and what people might feel about our choice to try our luck at bringing another baby into the world. I also didn’t always know exactly how I felt but I knew I wanted it all kept close to my chest where it was safe.

One of the biggest gift I received from Teddy was learning to live in the present moment. He taught me to treasure today and worry about what tomorrow brings tomorrow. I lived by the mantra “Today my baby is healthy, today I am healthy”. Somedays it was super easy to believe fearlessly and other days I had to face all the what ifs that crept in. I spent many quiet moments writing to our Sweet Pea Zooey, talking to her, sending her love, and praying for strength should life take another turn down a hard path.

I was so blessed to have a handful of friends who honoured how my heart felt and didn’t judge. There is this balance that I was constantly fighting, enjoying my pregnancy knowing it would be my last, and wishing it away because I physically felt terrible while pregnant and it was my fourth pregnancy in five years and it has taken a toll on my body. I honestly felt done. I struggled feeling guilty at times. How could I want to rush a gift of new life after I lost one only a year prior? How could I complain my back hurt when I should be finding the gratitude in that pain resulting from my body holding and growing my Sweet Pea who I loved dearly? How could I see a stretch mark (only ever had them in the fourth pregnancy) and it not feel worth it? The list of moments such as these big and small is long, I was constantly balancing my gratitude and real life struggles of pregnancy only feeling safe to express the truth to a few and always reminded by those few that I was human and I was able to honour all the emotions, they were all real and all okay to feel.

As the end of our time together as one was coming closer and closer I realized how the birth of Zooey meant the end of a long journey to create a family. Ryan and I started our journey to create a family in 2009, it included our first year of naively trying to get pregnant, to a few heartbreaking rounds of failed IUI, then IVF with a few complications resulting in a miscarriage and the birth of our first son in 2013 and was followed by our second son in 2014, and Teddy at the end of 2015 and now our daughter in 2017. Realizing we are moving on to the next stage of our lives was exciting and also emotional. Looking back and seeing all the tears shed while trying to conceive, to the tears shed over our loss, to the tears of joy from each child that joined our family made me see what a gift it all was, I could see the layers of the foundation our family will firmly stand upon as the years go by being laid as each tear was shed, each moment that felt heartbreaking and each moment our hearts bursted with love. None of it was easy, but I am grateful and see the purpose of it all.

September 13, 2017 Zooey Helen Williams joined our family. We were so fortunate to be surrounded by the same healthcare providers and doula as we have for our previous births, who have supported us so lovingly throughout each one and this time was no different. Birthing Zooey wasn’t all rainbows and sunshine, but I felt the warmth from the rays that did shine upon us. Being so present in pregnancy, worrying about tomorrow, tomorrow worked super well until “tomorrow” arrived. I desperately wanted Zooey’s birth to be about Zooey. She in my mind deserved for me to be 100% present for her but it was impossible. Emotionally I had work that needed to be done, wounds that needed to be healed that presented themselves during labour. I had moments that I felt excited to be meeting my daughter, but I also had moments where it all felt too big, too hard and I wanted it to stop. I shed big tears, I faced huge fears, I spent time right back in Teddy’s birth with each contraction, and with the support of those beside me I worked my way through it all. To me the most significant moment, one that I am sure I am not alone with feeling was that moment you need to push the baby out. Tomorrow is no longer a day that never arrives, it is the moment you need to lay all your cards on the table, and even though you know the deck is stacked in your favour and the hand you have been given couldn’t be better, you know in real life shit happens, and it doesn’t always work out. I wasn’t ready, well my body was but my heart wasn’t, I was terrified to see if I would be given the greatest gift or another tragedy. So I dug deep, I knew the time was now, I was as ready as I ever would be (which is not at all) and I needed to be brave and just do it. Within three contractions she was out, and cried the most beautiful cry. But I needed a moment, I needed to pause. You would think after all we have been through my reaction would be one of relief and tears of joy, but it wasn’t. It was one of panic, it was hard to breath, it was totally and completely overwhelming. Then after the pause and feeling grounded I was able to see her, to see how healthy and alive she really was and how much she looked like her brothers. From that moment forward the love and joy followed.

When you live today for today and worry about tomorrow, tomorrow you really don’t allow yourself to sit in the future. You don’t envision your life bringing the baby home, and what all of that would be like. It took us sometime to truly feel all that had happened and soak up our new beautiful reality. The warmth from the sunshine is stronger each day, and our hearts are filled with gratitude for our healthy little girl. But the truth of it all is the past 38 weeks of pregnancy and Sweet Pea’s birth wasn’t all beautiful rainbows. Our family finally feels complete and so do our hearts, it was all worth it. It is all exactly as intended.

Now on to our next stage of life, firmly planted on the foundation we have laid during the past 8 years.

Wish all six of us luck! I am sure it will continue to be a wild ride filled with love and life lessons! ❤️

The Mystical Mother

When I sit back and think what it is to be a Mom, like a really good Mom, not just to hold a title but provide what a child young and old truly desires I have to go back to the little girl within me. Spending time evaluating the Mom I was given, the Mom I wish I had and the Mom I want to be, all which makes me wonder if the being this Mom is more of a mystical creature, or a rare gem that few are truly blessed to have.

Who are you oh wise one? Better yet where are you? The little girl inside me screams to be mothered by this special mystical creature. I wonder how many people also knowingly or unknowingly are feeling the void of such gem.

To be loved unconditionally. Without judgement, to have the security to know that regardless what choices I make, behaviours I display or words I speak that the love is constant and unwavering.

To be loved more than you hate, or lack, to be put first under all circumstances. For your love to be larger than your jealousy, that your selflessness means you want anything and everything that brings positivity and love into my world even if that means it takes something away from you personally. You will always choose to simply love me more and sometimes that comes with sacrifices.

Pride, you see my accomplishments as if they are also yours. When I win you win. You see the beauty within me, for who I am. You see the potential I hold and always encourage me to take world by storm and experience it all.

Your love is so large that you show up. When you come to my home, you are helpful. You take back your Mothering role and help with all the physical tasks possible. You never forget you are the Mom and love Mothering when the opportunity arises. Your love is large enough you want my life to be easier even if temporarily.

Your love is so large that you show up, without hesitation show up emotionally. Your Mothering skills kick into high gear when my heart is broken, wavering, struggling, or feeling tender. You hold space, you find the words, the gentle touch that says together we will make it okay, tomorrow will be better.

You rejoice in my joy. Large and small moments that bring me great and little joy make your heart sing. You lift me up and feel this joy within me. You understand joy within me is also within you. No amount of joy I feel can take away from you, on the contrary it fills you as well. You wouldn’t do a thing to intentionally stand between me and joy but clear the path so that the joy can be amplified.

You provide a sense of security. To know that you will always show up. You will always do what needs to be done and that my heart, my life, my family is safe with you. You can be a soft place for anyone I love.

To enjoy each other’s company. To share a laugh, to remember a lifetime together, to talk about all that has yet to come, to dream about the impossible. To enjoy a friendship now as adults.

To love without expectations. To feel grateful to have a family, to be open and honest and to do what it takes to be a part of the family your children have made, to fit in without demands. To be okay with life’s imperfections and understand we own our roles.

To share gratitude. To verbally share your love. To see the blessings you have been given by being blessed with the family you have. To understand with gratitude abundance comes. To see life as a beautiful gift and treasure it as such. To be honest always, but by speaking from a loving heart, not jealousy, anger, or other emotions. To understand when we all choose love, we all win.

Does this creature exists? Being a Mom is hard. Being one, I know always making the right choice isn’t easy, sometimes the hardest choices are the most loving. I have to believe if our choices are driven from love, like true selfless love than maybe we can find our way to be closer to this. I think of what our world would look like if everyone had a Mom who could Mother them in such a way? How much more of a secure and loving world we might live in. Becoming a Mom has responsibilities and it is a job that is never ending. Not everyone can be a rare gem, maybe not even me. What I see so clearly is we all deserve to have this creature in our lives, to be loved in a way only a mystical mother can.

Maybe I can’t be this Mom everyday, but every day I can try. For the days I fail, I will give myself grace, and pray my children will as well knowing I am not mystical, I am imperfectly human but my love is powerful and my heart is overflowing with it for each child today and until the end of my days.

Peace Changes with Time


Dear Teddy,

I am breathing in the most beautiful morning. Fresh Papineau Lake air, boys have gone fishing with Dad and Sweet Pea and I are having a quiet moment together. It felt like the perfect time to write you my dearest Teddy. Every since you entered our world this has been our most peaceful place to just be. It feels different from last year, and of course the year before that, as you were physically within me and alive. We have spent 8 night and have two more to go before we make our way home for a few days. Enough time to fully feel how everything has changed.

Feeling peace keeps changing. Last year I felt so much peace because there were signs every time I turned around. You were close. I felt you there, always. This year peace feels light. You aren’t as close, not that the love has changed maybe if anything it has grown stronger with space. You are the air I breath, the ripples in the water, you are the quiet moments, you are the spark within the fire, you are the colourful sky as the sun sets and rises, the song that comes on the radio, you are my everything yet you are light and subtle. Maybe the truth is I don’t need you as close, my grip has released and you are here but in the way you choose not in the way I once needed.

As much as I know you are always with us, I am so grateful to have a place where Ryan and I feel so connected to you and overwhelming sense of peace. I see you missing here too but it no longer swallows me up in grief. I see Ryan and the boys fishing, swimming, boating, learning about the different birds and other random father son activities and I see you missing. I watch my boys play together on the beach, going on walking adventures alone between the few cottages around us, the games they make up and play, the memories they have formed and I see you missing. I can’t help but wonder how different our lives would be had you lived. These moments often feel like a test, a test in staying present and grateful for all that we do have and not fall down the hole of what ifs. There are no amount of what ifs that could change our reality, there is only acceptance and love. I love you enough to feel grateful for our time we did have and love you enough to allow the space for you to be free. It isn’t always easy, but after the moments pass I see my family clearer, I see the gifts and just breath you in with all the fresh air, I hear you as the water ripples, I feel you move across my face with the gentle breeze and know all is how it truly is meant to be.

This is life, never easy, always worth it and forever changing and that is okay. We will always be okay, we have love and gratitude as our medicine. Love heals.

Your forever loving Mom

Forever in my heart.

Circle of Love ❤️ 


We all have these moments in the journey of mending hearts when your breath is unexpectedly taken away. Those moments you don’t see coming. Those moments that stop you in your tracks and force you to feel it all. 

Those moments don’t happen as often to me anymore but on the occasion they do, and I feel it. Like really feel it, and have no choice but to welcome all that comes with it. 

30 weeks pregnant with our sweet pea, always actively moving, sending and receiving copious amounts of love and letting me know always how real she really is. Being 30 weeks wasn’t something I have thought about, the more pregnancies the less I seem to keep track of what week I have arrived at. Being my fourth I am shocked I even remotely know. 

This morning as I was cleaning our house and dusting a bookshelf in our bedroom I stop to look at Teddy’s hand and foot moulds. There they were white ceramic with prints that have been indented from his tiny little hand, and his tiny little foot. This isn’t something I look at often, not something I even really think about. But there I am holding it and seeing how perfect that hand and foot really were. How tiny they were and all the while realizing that is the same size of our Sweet Pea’s hands and feet as Teddy was 30 weeks when he was born. 

It is then my breath is gone, my heart feels all that happened and all that is yet to come. I am holding the mould of the most perfect foot and hand in my hands while holding equally perfect hands and feet within my womb, knowing that the hand that can no longer be held has one hand on my heart and one holding his sister’s hand within my womb. The three of us all at the same time holding each other, it feels heavy and beautiful. The power within that circle of love is greater than something that can be articulated but can only be experienced to understand the gravity of the impact a small moment in time can have. It is a circle of love, gratitude, joy and sadness. 

Life is exactly as it is intended to be. It isn’t how I once envisioned, but it how needs to be. Growing a baby after having to say goodbye to another is a beautiful yet different experience. It brings the widest range of emotions that are forever changing. Some are hard and heavy and others are light and full of peace but all equally beautiful. Today I feel it all. As hard as that moment felt I am so grateful today I had the reminder how closely tied the three of us really are. How this journey would be impossible if we weren’t a team, and how the love that flows and supports each of us has to be equal and balanced. 

My heart feels heavy today but I was due for a day of a heavy heart so I am sitting with it all full of gratitude that it came with such a beautiful reminder. 

With Love, 

The Fearless loving Momma Bear.

Hand in Hand 


I look at this picture, I see the most precious hand that I thought was made for me to hold and him to hold mine until my forever came to a close. It is a hand that is etched in my mind so clearly and in my heart so deeply loved. It is a hand that at times I longed to kiss and hold physically, to watch it grow into big man hands that no longer look as cute but hold a powerful amount of love. 

No amount of longing or wishing will change the reality. Instead these days I envision how this was the hand that encouraged our new baby soul to join us, that he ever so gently placed her into the only home his hand knew and has been holding this soul so lovingly and now holding her hand as it grows bigger and bigger. I see the day she will be born, he will take her hand from his and place it into mine. Their hands forever tied through time spent together on a soul level. A gift she is blessed with; time with her brother she will never know physically here on earth. 

This hand has purpose. It holds power. My gratitude for this itty bitty hand is never ending. I feel safe knowing he has been aiding in her safe arrival, this hand has been guiding and loving her as she came from spirt to baby and will eventually join us on the outside to grow together as a family. Seeing this hand makes my heart grow every time I look at the picture, and every time I envision it in my mind and heart. This hand was one of the greatest gifts I received in my lifetime. 

With Gratitude 

Momma Bear, Warrior of Love ❤️ 

Our Family Tapestry Is Brighter –  Story of Sweet Pea 


In January 2017 the year of living began and Ryan and I took a vacation to Aruba for sun, love and relaxation. What we didn’t know as we were packing to go was the trip wasn’t just the two of us. We were taking along some of the most precious cargo life has. Before dinner one night we confirm that indeed another little soul has made my womb their home and our family and hearts just grew beyond belief. 

People often say no two pregnancies are the same. I can only speak from my experience and agree all four pregnancies for me have been different each facing different challenges yet physically they are very similar with all including terrible sickness for four months, then a few months of enjoyment and then the unbearable heartburn kicks in. 

Pregnancy a year after delivering, then holding your precious, loved baby while he dies changes things. I have read a lot about pregnancy after loss and I think it is also true that this experience is so different for everyone. There will be common threads that people will share but the experience as a whole is different and everyone faces different challenges based on their past experiences. 

Beyond worry I struggled in the early days with moments of being angry, I was incredibly ill and it felt so unfair that I had to do this again. It was never coming from a place of not wanting this baby or not being grateful to be a place for her to grow but they were real emotions and I had to honour them and allow them pass freely. 

As a warrior of love, I loved this baby long before she joined us. I wrote to her, knowing she was there, knowing it was a possibility that she may join us but also to make it clear if she didn’t want to join us we would be okay. We loved her enough to leave that choice to her and God, but our family was open and had room to love another soul deeply. 

With confirmation that she had chosen to join us, a flood of thoughts and emotions came over us. Fear, worry, and a love like no other. It became a daily practice for me to remind myself, “today I am pregnant, today my baby is healthy, today I am healthy” and anything beyond that didn’t matter because this was our truth. It was our truth and will continue to be until told otherwise. Ours minds are powerful, and once you have joined this club and met Mothers who have lost their babies from all different circumstances it becomes so clear that no one is protected from potential loss and it is easy to find something to worry about so I have to hold steadfast in my truth. Some days it comes easily and other days I have had to remind myself continually. The truth is no amount of worry will ever change the outcome, it only steals time and space that should be filled with love. 

What I didn’t expect was my overwhelming need to protect her. Understandably others have opinions about our choice to welcome another baby after our loss. Some are full of fear for us, some wouldn’t have made this choice themselves and they are unable to understand it, and some have reasons that I will never know or understand and that is okay. What we also know it is an extension of love for us and can understand as we too at times feel worry. At the beginning we naively assumed everyone will be filled with joy, love and hope for us just as they have in past pregnancies. When I realized that this wasn’t the case I immediately felt a strong need to keep her to ourselves to not share our news, not because we can’t handle judgment but because she deserves to be welcomed with love and excitement unconditionally from the moment her presence is known not when she is born healthy nine months later. She deserves all the love in world, she is precious, she is deserving and is a part of our family regardless of how long she will be with us. We learnt this lesson with Teddy, you don’t save heartache by pushing love and joy aside and allowing fear to take it’s place. It just doesn’t work that way. What we also know is no matter the outcome, we have no control of that outcome, we can only make choices as we walk the path and for us it is to Always Choose Love. Not only because she deserves it but because we do too and by doing so reassures us we will be okay no matter what happens. 

Timing is always perfect. It may not always feel that way but it is for us. This baby joined us just after Teddy’s first birthday. After our year of grieving ending and our declared year of living started. She joined us after our hearts found peace and were ready to welcome a new love. She isn’t the reason for our year of living, but rather a sign our choice was the right one for our family. What better way to start a year of living than to grow a healthy baby within your womb, who kicks and moves literally reminding you continually how alive we really are.  

Teddy’s life didn’t play out as any parent would envision for their child but his life was the perfect life for him. His death could look like it created a very messy storm but to me it doesn’t feel that way, it was only messy because growth was taking place, and messy can be beautiful depending on your view point. His mission to receive, teach and spread unconditional love was accomplished and he simply didn’t need years to do so. My heart and many others have hurt by the fact he couldn’t stay but it will never outweigh my gratitude for his life, and him choosing to be a part of our family. Teddy has given far more than what was lost, a price I feel was worth it, and have come to peace with. 

Each member of our family is as equally important as the next, we all have our roles we play and a thread that is woven to create our beautiful family tapestry. Each thread woven together is what makes us stronger. We are welcoming this baby with unconditional love and gratitude, she will be loved by all three brothers and will have a life journey of her own that we will honour and support. 

The birth of a new family member is exciting, it fills our hearts. It doesn’t not have any impact of how we feel about our loss of Teddy. His journey is one of his own and no one can take his spot or fill the absence of his presence in our family. Our two boys before him and his sister after were not brought to us for that purpose and it wouldn’t be fair to ask them to fill a hole carved in our hearts by the loss of their brother. So instead as a family we will continue to honour those who live their personal journey along side us and hold love for dear Teddy who travels with us in spirit. His place in our family is not growing bigger or smaller but will firmly be held the same with love as the years roll by. He is equal, he is loved, he is missed. 

If you can, send love to our sweet pea. If you feel fear or worry for us just know we will be okay no matter what happens. Acknowledge your fear and then please try to find your way to choosing love, she is worthy of it. She is already here, she is real even though you haven’t met her, she has been with us for a long time, way before she physically joined us and as surprised as we were when we had confirmation she joined us we weren’t shocked. It was always meant to be this way. Teddy without a doubt played his role in this miracle. Trust, and choose love. 

September is the month this beautiful sweet pea is intended to join us on the outside. We are lovingly anticipating the moment our eyes meet and our hearts grow once again in unimaginable ways. Her older brothers ask daily how much longer and also have so much love for her, and are eagerly waiting to meet her. Life is beautiful, life is full of gifts, some are wrapped up looking like hardships and some are presented in the form of a beautiful healthy baby placed in your arms. I so deeply hope we are given the latter but will find gratitude for whatever is meant to be. Until that moment we have faith, trust and will keep Choosing Love ❤️. 

Love, 

Momma Bear of four!  

Living with Intention and Zero Guilt. 


I haven’t written publicly in the last few months. I haven’t shared much of our journey to living in 2017 but today as I was driving to get some groceries when my car took me to a place to park with the view of our beautiful Bay and Teddy was on my mind. I look up and a sign saying Memory Lane is directly in front of me so here I sit writing what my heart is telling me to share. 

Living and not grieving doesn’t mean forgetting. It is actually the opposite. I probably think of him more often but that is because I can do so with gentle love that no longer holds heavy pain. He is with me always. He travels everywhere our family goes. Our love for him is equal to our other children. We have found our way to peace and loving him quietly. 

Life is ever evolving and so is our journey with Theodore. At one time I was desperately afraid people would forget him, would not acknowledge him, would not know how important he is. Now I know it is okay if his name is to never be spoken by another soul. I have found the peace in our journey that my love for him is enough. My heart knows how important he is, how much he has taught me, and how much love I have for him so seeking it from others isn’t necessary. He requires zero validation. Other people have their own connection to him, I can’t speak for their journey of loving and saying goodbye to him and I am okay with it being whatever it is for them. He came to teach many and I know without a shadow of a doubt he has spread his lessons far and wide, he has touched those I would never have imagined and that is one of so many reasons why I love him dearly. He has been so generous with his life and teaching of love. 

Letting go of all that could have been has been hard it has been messy but I truly arrived at a place where I am okay with it all being what it is. There was never supposed to “could haves or should haves” that wasn’t a part of this lifetime for him, this wasn’t necessary for him to have lived his perfect life’s journey. Realizing that desperately wanting all those life moments was for me and not him enabled me with time to see my love for him is greater than my personal desires for things to be different. My unconditional love dictates I want what is best for Teddy, and he lived what was best for this lifetime. 

Living with intention and not grieving gives me a new sense of purpose. I honour him always, but now I can be fully present for my other children, my husband, and everyone else around me.  Life is lighter, life is easier, life is enjoyable and I have zero guilt. Theodore was about loving and I know he would want me to love fully the rest of my life I have to live and being in the trenches of grief left little room for me to live that way. People always talk about the secret to happiness is finding balance. My life in 2017 has significant more balance than 2016 and I am grateful. 

Theodore is alive today in my heart as much as he was when he was in my arms and in my womb for all those months. My heart has fleeting moments of feeling heavy and I am grateful they are fleeting and they aren’t stuck because I feel closer to him today than the days I was desperately holding onto him with fear and heartache. I am still a Mom who’s baby is forever physically gone, a Mom who is forever changed but a Mom who wants to live with purpose in honour of that precious soul I have the honour to call my son. 

I also want others to know finding a way to happiness and gratitude is possibility should you choose to walk the path. It isn’t a smooth, well manicured path but when you find the light at the end you will know it is worth the work. Life no matter who you are will give you challenges and periods of your life that feel impossible. No one is saved from troubles in life, they just look different for everyone and one person’s challenges aren’t easier or harder than the others. They aren’t there to be judged. With love, hard work and accepting help from others the path can be walked. This path has no expire, and is different lengths for different people but there is light at the end should you venture down it. 

Peace, Light and Love to you all on your own journeys. Thank you for so much love and support as I have been walking mine. 

With copious amounts of Love,  

Teddy’s Mom 

12 Months of Lessons. Hello 2017

As we are turning over the calendar page to begin a new year I am feeling open and optimistic that 2017 will bring love, peace and joy.

Starting a new year for our family is a time we reflect upon the year we just lived, we review our goals we had set, we create a photo album containing moments captured during our family adventures and everyday life, and Ryan puts together a video containing clips with moments we have captured throughout the year. Every other year doing this ritual feels good, we feel proud of all we have accomplished, all the adventures we experienced and grateful for all the memories we have made with friends and family. This year is different. This past year was hard. Harder than any year we have lived to date. I hope it is the hardest year we will have to live. I see all the pictures of all the moments we experienced as a family and as beautiful as they are, and as much gratitude I have for those moments I see Teddy missing. I see my eyes in the pictures and in many I see how the light was dimmed. I see pain, I see through my eyes as if they are a window to my soul and see all I have felt this last year. It is hard for me to see. I also see the light being let back in as the pictures progress. The final family picture of 2016 was our Christmas picture we put on our cards we sent out and my eyes are finally full of light again. When that picture was taken I had a great sense of peace and my heart was filled with gratitude and joy.

The first year living with grief teaches you a lot. I am grateful for the lessons and as hard as this year has been I wouldn’t change it. I have learned we are stronger than we ever imagined. Being strong looks different every day and means something different to different people. Being strong for me has been the following.

  • Accepting when my heart was far too heavy to continue with my everyday life, and allowing myself to feel and honour all that my heart was feeling.
  • Waking up everyday and parenting two beautiful boys when my heart was so broken, and couldn’t help but see Teddy missing every time I looked at them.
  • Talking openly and honestly about our experience to help others who have experienced a similar journey feel less alone.
  • Keeping my heart open to allow joy, love and peace in when it would have been easier to shut my heart down and protect it from future heartache.
  • Choosing to seek help from many avenues and being committed to finding peace. I attended a grief retreat, went to counselling with Ryan, had Reiki, saw a Shaman, spoke to our minister, talked honestly to those I trust to hold my heart gently and without judgment, attended peer grief meetings, and wrote about it all, especially when it was hard and messy.
  • Allowing myself to feel joy and love for those in my life when they were blessed with beautiful life moments. It was hard at times for all involved to separate our heartache and the joy of their blessings.
  • Having the realization that our level of grief and sadness doesn’t equal our level of love for the one who died. You can love that person deeply and have a heart filled with joy for the life you are living even if it is without them physically present.
  • Openly admitting when my heart was heavy, life felt messy, and then also openly sharing when joy and peace have been welcomed and was allowed to stay.
  • Accepting help, asking for help, and learning to lean on others.
  • Giving grace to friends, family and even strangers who have been unknowingly hurtful, and to all who have judged not knowing what it feels like to be us. I have also had to give myself grace in times I have spoken words driven from hurt, or moments it would have been easier to be angry, place blame and/or have unloving feelings towards myself.
  • Finding peace, and welcoming it to stay took a lot of strength. I can say a lot of the time peace now stays for weeks. I have moments that feel heavy but they are mostly fleeting. This isn’t to say I don’t have times when sadness hangs around a bit longer or that in my life times won’t feel hard but by allowing peace to stay has given me more strength to allow emotions to be flowing in and out freely. I no longer hang on to them. I am more present and more open.

Being strong never looks exactly the same twice. It isn’t the same for different people and one’s strength can’t truly be judge by others, not even by those who have experienced a similar loss. We have all been blessed with unique circumstances in life, we have been gifted hearts that feel deeply and journey that is unique to its own. Knowing that it would seem like commons sense how we navigate a journey of deep loss would also be unique but so often people compare and judge. We judge ourselves amongst other’s journey with grief and the people on the sidelines tend to judge what they see looking in. Both equally unfair to everyone involved.

I have learned when we experience a loss the ripple effect is larger than we initially imagine. As time rolls on the realization that the loss continues in many forms. You are excluded from events or activities because either your heart can’t handle attending, or because you no longer belong. Relationship change some become stronger and new ones are formed, and other times the cracks in a relationship become very apparent and you are unable to unsee them. The death of someone you love is multi layered and is always unique to the individual.

Practicing mindful gratitude has taught me that in my darkest days there is always a glimmer of light to hold onto. Being grateful for blessings and teachings because of a loss doesn’t mean you are grateful the person died

Grief isn’t a party of one. It effects all those who love, share space and interact with the person experiencing the grief. It takes a village to get through it. We are all called to be apart of each other’s life experiences allowing us to grow, to become more compassionate and more aware of all that others experience in life. We can’t live it all ourselves but we can learn though those around us. It truly is a gift.

I have realized once you experience a life altering moment the old you is gone, a distant memory, and a person you and others might miss. The new you may be a better version of the old you, but it takes time to find your way there. It is one of the ripple effects to grief, and an added layer of loss but also could be a blessing.

I have learned that we all have our own medicine. What I need to navigate this journey isn’t necessarily what will work for others. There is no right or wrong way to do this. Everyone has to be true to themselves and support each other in the manner that works for them. There is no room for judgement but plenty of room to hold space, and offer love.

I have learned the old me was an incredibly judgmental person. The new me works really hard not to be. I understand as much as anyone how hard it is to not judge, to trust that a person is doing what is best for them, to trust people are genuinely good and the words they use and the acts they commit are based on love.

In 2017 I wish for a community that holds space for those in pain, shows an abundance of love, even when it is hard to do, and that we all consciously choose to not judge others, rather trust them instead.

Life is full of mountains to climb and valleys to pass, struggles in life are real. We all face them, they never look the same from one person to the next but what we all have in common is that fact we struggle. If we all spent more time loving ourselves and each other, our time here on earth will be that much easier. The load for each of us would be lighter. Worry is the thief of joy. If for the next 365 days we can choose love and encourage those in our communities to do the same I can only imagine what 2018 will feel like.

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