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.

Capture Your Grief – I Am 

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

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

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

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

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

Capture Your Grief – Lemons and Lemonade 

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

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

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

Capture Your Grief – Creative Heartwork 

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

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

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

Capture Your Grief – Surrender and Embrace 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Capture Your Grief – Beautiful Mystery 


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

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

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

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

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

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

Capture Your Grief – Myths 

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

Myth #1 – Everything happens for a reason.

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

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

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

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

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

Myth #3 – God wanted another Angel.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Capture Your Grief- Support Circles 

In my experience support comes in many forms. I have family, I have friends, I have my Sisters-in-Loss, I have acquaintances, I have strangers, and I have professional help. Each having a place they own on this journey with me. The support from each is different but all equally valuable.

I have a circle who are very good at providing and helping with basic needs, such as food delivered to my door, flowers, thoughtful gifts, beautiful cards and letters or emails.

I have a circle who send messages to ensure I know how deeply I am loved and in particular a dear friend from out of town who religiously sent a text everyday letting me know how loved I was during the early months when days were so hard. I am not sure she will ever know how much of a gift that was. It was a lifeline in those early days.

I have a very small circle that are willing with coffee/tea and a treat in hand to walk through my door and listen to me when it is hard, when things get messy. They can hold space as I cry and feel my heart hurting without getting uncomfortable. They listen, sometimes offer advice but mostly give permission to feel what I am feeling and agree how badly this all sucks.

I have those in my life who aren’t comfortable with any of it and would prefer my old self to return. Or those who think enough is enough we are approaching 10 months in a few days and they are done with asking or talking about it.

I have a circle of online support. Those who I don’t see in person but are always willing to extend love, prayers and encouragement.

The circle of Sisters-in-loss I have are by far some of the most loving, and emotionally giving, kickass women I have ever had the privilege to share space with. My heart is forever grateful to have these woman in my life. To be able to have another Mom who feels what I feel and for them to have space in their heart that is also broken to love me through my journey is a gift from above. These women are heroes.

I have created a circle of professional help that without it my journey would be a mess I am sure. The circle includes my dearest friend and Reiki Master, a Shaman, a Grief Counsellor, our Minister, and newly added personal trainer. Becoming more physically active has really helped recently.

The one man circle I would be lost without is my husband Ryan. He is the foundation of this journey. He is my rock. I have never received love in my life as fiercely as I have since this journey began. He has been so determined that nothing will break our marriage. His commitment to me and our family is something that I believe is so rare in this day and age. My heart is safe in his hands, and he is my protector against all. Our love runs deep. It is something that isn’t easy to articulate but what I know without a shadow of a doubt is it is a gift from God. We both know we were meant for each other and we were destined for this journey. Together nothing feels impossible.

What I have come to learned is that each person no matter what circle they are in deserves a spot in this journey. It is no coincidence that you (yes you reading this), whoever you may be, you were intended to also have a role. No matter how far removed or up close and uncomfortable (or not) it may be, you too were intended to be a part of Teddy’s legacy and journey of love. This isn’t all about me. He called everyone in to learn about a deeper love. To challenge you to choose love especially when it is hard to make that choice.

I have come to love many people for the role they play and I will be forever grateful. This journey can’t be a one man show. It is one of community, one that relies on help, love and support from all, in all different forms.

So thank you for being in one or many of my circles. Thank you for being open to come along for this wild ride and opening your hearts to choosing love even if it was only once.