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

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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

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

My Loss Made Room For Growth 

Grief opened the door to my soul. It ripped me wide open and held a mirror in front making me take a hard look at who I really am and giving me the opportunity to take inventory of all the beautiful aspects of me and all the ugly. I had the option to take this mirror, study all that it reveals and work really hard at bridging the gap between who I am and who I ideally would like to be.

In 19 days we will arrive at Teddy’s first birthday. This day is approaching and at times I can’t believe we have survived, at times I am so full of love and joy while thinking of how far we have come and how much change within us has occurred, and then I have the moments that make heart hurt deeply as I think about all that has happened without our sweet boy beside us. I have been spending my time thinking about our journey from the perspective of change and I am blown away with the level of positive change that has occurred within myself and within our immediate family.

I am far from a perfect individual, as I write this post today I have a list of things I want to improve upon but I am not the Ally Williams I was before this journey presented itself, I wasn’t a bad person but like anyone I was limited to my experiences and to the lessons I had learned in life so basically I was just a much younger version of myself before this all began. This experience for me wasn’t about survival but about growth and wanting to coming out of this stronger, wiser, less judgmental, more compassionate, more empathetic, deeper, and with a mind that was broader. I knew this journey for me was presented for growth, this wasn’t just a terrible loss but one that came with great purpose and I refused to allow this to be all in vein. I embarked on a journey of being 100% open and honest with my support system, I told them exactly what I saw in that mirror, I was honest about the gaps, I was honest about my moments that were ugly and messy, when I said terrible things out of anger or thought unkind thoughts. I owned my shit. Because I was open, honest and presented all of me on a platter to our counsellor, Shaman, and Reiki Master they knew what we were dealing with and that is when magic happened. Not only did we work on putting my heart back together but we took the deconstructed version of me and worked on putting it back together in a way that was much closer to the version of me that I wanted to see while looking in that mirror.

As this journey wasn’t all about loss but also growth some of the changes have given me a whole new level of peace I wasn’t aware I was lacking. People in my life who used to ignite strong feelings now have no impact, the power is gone and I am light. I now can see the light in them because I know it is in me too, sometimes that is all we have in common and that is okay. I see our world and those in it so differently now and I am forever grateful.

December 9, 2016 will be a celebration of so many things. We will be remember the anniversary of the best day of our life, the day Teddy was born was the most significant day we will ever live. The birth of your child is always significant but when you only have that day, when that day it is all you will ever get together in the physical world, that day becomes more valuable than all the gold in the world. I would do anything to relive those moments with him. We will take time to reflect on all the work we have done as a family to better ourselves, to keep moving forward with love and honesty and becoming such a solid unit that we are unbreakable. Time will be spent reflecting on all those who have loved and supported us in big and small ways throughout this past year. Without every single act of love and remembrance this journey would have been very different, our gratitude is endless. What we are most excited about it is celebrating all the lessons of love Teddy taught us. He had purpose and this purpose was all about love so we have plans to celebrate and spread this love with as many people as possible on this day.

Life is beautiful, no one said it was easy but the beauty is bountifully. For our family we have had a few road blocks that we have needed to navigate our way around and each time we have looked back saw what a beautiful detour it really was. Like most detours, they are inconvenient, not planned and can pose great challenges but can come with opportunities should you be open to see them. When our journey with Teddy began we chose to be present from the beginning, we weren’t going to be seeing blessings from the review mirror but in the moment they were presented and maybe this is why for us it has been the most life changing of them all. As we live our days and years going forward we will not be asking for a map but simply riding the journey that is presented and feeling all that there is to feel, the good, the beautiful, the hard, the ugly, we are here for it all.

2017 Living not Grieving 


Dear Teddy

April 23, 2016 I wrote “I know how I want the ending to look like. I want the last chapter to describe how I did let go, and how I am able to love you wholeheartedly and how the profound pain and sadness is replaced with peace. I will simply love you, our experience and accept this is all it was supposed to be, and no longer long for more and to be grateful for all I have.”

It has been 330 days since you left. Each day has been different from the next. Somedays have been peaceful and easy and many have been heavy, hard and at times down right ugly. As your birthday is quickly approaching I have been reflecting on the past 330 days and how I want our next year to look like.

I have not 100% arrived at the final chapter but I feel so very close to it. I know my journey with you will be forever changing but I feel so much peace. I haven’t quit wishing things were different, but I think of you and smile rather than having tears pour from me. I have my moments when a feeling of sadness washes over me but it comes, I honour it and it passes. I am okay with sharing space with sadness and I am okay having it leave me.

I spent time holding onto grief. There was a period of time where I truly felt my grief was tied to the weight of my love and closeness to you. When joy overstayed its welcome I would quickly shove it away as feared I was losing you. There was a period of time where the slight notion of having space between you and I would bring me to my knees. As time moved on, I have done a huge amount of work and I am now at a place where joy stays for weeks on end and is welcome to stay forever. I no longer feel desperation to hold on to you. I just know you are always there.

I have chosen as we move into the next year to focus on the love. The love you give me, the lessons of love you provided, and the love that has grown exponentially for your brothers and especially for your father. I am not spending another year grieving, I am spending it living. I want all of our 2017 to be about living in the moment, being present with those we love and being thankful for all we have. I know undoubtedly you will be right beside us each step of the way sending your love and light our way endlessly. You will always be loved and honoured but it will be done in a different way than it has this past year.

I thank you for being so close when I needed you to and for helping me work through letting go. I thank you for teaching me how to love you quietly, and how to be present in each moment. Being present allows me to honour all emotions and let them freely flow through.

I have been so blessed with such amazing support. You being my beacon of hope and love, then our counsellor who has help navigate our marriage, my favourite energetic workers and some of our friends and family have listened for hours, have sat quietly while I cried, have held space when nothing else was needed and have supported us in their authentic way. We have been loved and supported by so many near and far. Without each member of the support network I would never have found my way. Grief can’t be navigated alone, you need a team to help sail that boat.

Teddy, you are my son, today and forever. My love isn’t measured by my tears but by the love in my heart. Only you truly know the weight of my love and it is never ending and forever growing.

Love you always,

Your Mommy

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.