Balancing The Lies Amoung The Truth

Blog postOriginally written for Still Standing Magazine – February 20, 2018

Some days I was a truth teller and some days I was a liar. What I wasn’t expecting was how easily the lies would roll off my tongue. Chatting about how busy I was going to be, talking about how three little boys under three will be noisy and crazy, how blessed I was to have them. These are the expected conversations while out and about with a one and two-year-old boys while visibly pregnant. People would comment how glowing I was. I clearly mastered the art of lying with my whole being. It must have been the smile, and belly rub as I agreed my life would be hectic.

The truth be told there would never be three little boys, my house wouldn’t be filled with the noise and the hectic life they envision, and I talked about. My hands would be full but with a mountain of grief, not three little boys. I knew my baby was going to die, he just didn’t stand a chance with multiple heart defects.

Telling the truth was possible but I had to feel safe. I was so protective of him and my choice to carry him for as long as possible. That choice isn’t right for everyone and I was sometimes judged. The lies were easier to tell than the truth. The truth was hard, it was hard for others to hear and incredibly hard for me to tell. At times I carried on with these lies with people I knew eventually would learn the truth. People like my esthetician who does my eyebrows, I even contemplated never going back after he was born because she would then find out I was lying to her every visit

He was dying, I knew it, but it was so hard to be honest about it. It was that look I would get when the truth was told, it cut so deep to see the instant pain within someone else’s heart my truth just inflicted. Everyone who knew us felt his loss, I didn’t own it alone, he wasn’t only mine. He was a neighbour, a friend, an acquaintance, a relative, my son and his name is Theodore.

To walk around looking so normal and people always wanting to politely chat about it was a double edge sword. The lies made me feel normal, but they also told my soul all that it will be missing. I had to shelf the grief of the life I thought I would live to stay present with my baby. To give him all he deserved I had no choice but to make my daily mantra “Today I am pregnant, today Teddy is alive” and live today as it could be his last, flooding him with love. Being his Mother, my only job was to love and support him through his journey, I was powerless to do anything else.

Two years ago, Teddy was born and died 22 minutes later, we said hello and goodbye. It was then the truth teller was born. The truth is heavy but speaking his truth lightens my heart. He was real, he mattered, and his truth holds profound beauty.

To all the truth tellers and liars that walked before me and all those who walk behind me I see you, I feel you and I admire your strength.

Time Keeps Rolling

My sweet little boy Teddy, time keeps ticking along and how my heart feels is forever changing. I miss you. I wish I could hold you. I wish I could talk to you, hear your little voice. I wish I could see who you would have been today. I wish I could love all the Teddy quirks, all of who you could have been. Instead so much will be left as a question mark. I wonder if missing someone’s laugh could be harder than missing a laugh you were never blessed to hear.

Two years, three and half months have passed since you were born. It feels so long ago. So much life has happened since yours ended. Your sister was born six months ago. She is incredible and is loved by your brothers intensely. When she was born I could only see you. But she wasn’t you, she was full of life. As that life has blossomed she has become this incredible light in our family. I always say she completes us. Saying this isn’t because you or the boys weren’t enough, or because she fills a physical space you left, but rather the opposite, without anyone of you we would be forever incomplete. She was always intended to be apart of our family just as you were.

Zooey didn’t take your place. Your place is filled by you, our third baby. You are our forever baby, and what a special role that is. Your life has impacted me in ways no one will ever truly know. You have given me a new lens to view the world through. You have given me a perspective of life that spoken words could never truly articulate, it is something that I know only you and I share.

I miss you. I want so much for you to share this life with us but I also know this was never your intended life. I know all of this wishing is for me, and I also know undoubtedly that you are exactly where you should be. I love you more than needing my wishes fulfilled so I accept our reality. My heart will forever be filled with love for you and my mind will always wonder what could have been but having this understanding about your intended life provides comfort and peace.

I will forever shed tears for you. I will forever miss you. I will forever feel grateful for all of you. I will forever feel joy for you. I will forever feel heavy because of you. I will forever feel light because of you. I will always choose love because of you. I will forever honour you. I will forever feel blessed because of you.

Feelings flow like the waves of the ocean. Some days are sunny with a beautiful light breeze at your back pushing you along. Some days are stormy and feelings are crashing all around you. Then we have days that are a combination. In the last two years, I learned to never fight emotions, just like the ocean they can be a force to reckon with so it is best to allow it all to pass through you. To feel it all, to own it, to see it and before you know it the tide has changed and you feel new again. Today my heart is all yours Teddy. I feel your physical absence, and long to be close. The only emotion that is forever unwavering is my love for you. You are loved. You are LOVE.

Your Momma Bear

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

Shrapnel of Grief

44 days ago we welcomed Zooey Helen into the world. 688 days ago we welcomed and then said good bye to our dear Teddy. Exactly 100 months ago Ryan and I consciously started trying to create our family. 3 days ago we had our final midwife appointment for our lifetime. It marks the last day of the family growing stage for us and sent us off lovingly into the family raising stage of our life. Having spent 100 months creating and growing a family this final appointment left me reflecting back on all those days, all the moments of being broken, being brave, all the joy, all the love and everything in between for us to be walking out of that office on Tuesday with a full heart and arms.

Those aren’t just numbers that represent a day passed, they are numbers that represent the most changing time of our life. The numbers are a representation of the time which allowed for growth and for a total rebirth of who Ryan and I are today. The last few days has had me reflecting on relationships. How they have evolved, how new ones have emerged, how some have been lost. Going through fertility challenges and then experiencing a loss of a child I see how many common threads they share and how they equally can put a strain on many relationships in your life. It is hard for everyone. I see how true the saying “people are in your life for a season, a reason or a lifetime” and I see throughout the years how some have fit into a category.

For the most part I am totally at peace with how relationships have evolved even the ones that didn’t survive the storms or the ones intended for a season. I do struggle with how people have been effected by our personal struggles. There is one person in particular I haven’t been able to shake how everything has changed, how so many days I wish I could go back in time and we could be who we used to be to each other. It was always easy, being together was always good for the soul, leaving feeling better than you arrived. It felt safe, she is always loyal. She always has good advice, and ear to listen and heart full of love. Time together never felt like enough, we could talk for hours over a simple cup of tea. She would be the first at our door when life once again handed us a shitty deal and always the first to celebrate when life was being kind and the first to meet our babies. I can’t stop wishing she wasn’t hit by the shrapnel of my life, my grief.

Moving through grief your perspective is narrow. It is hard, so hard to see all sides of situations or even at times when you do, your heart hurts so much it is easy to feel angry anyway. It makes it so hard to be a good friend. To be the person you once were, the person who had room for problems others faced. With this particular friend two things happened which I can see so clearly now. Life wasn’t always light for them, but as many people they weren’t able to bring their problems to me when my plate was so full. By not doing so shared moments were passed, and space between us was created. Someone else filled the void created by not being the person they went to for support. It changed the landscape of the friendship, I missed out on parts of their life. Being a person that I care deeply for, it was so easy to be hurt by them, even when they didn’t do anything wrong, the layers of grief changed our day to day interactions.

There was moments I became so angry, which was just deeply hurt feeling because I felt like I lost so much when Teddy died. There was loss in every aspect of my life, from close family members, to friends and basically everything in life as I once knew it. Everything changed and at times it was so hard to accept.

This friend had the most beautiful baby boy only months before Teddy was born. We shared our maternity leave when my second son and her daughter were born. It was amazing and when we found out we were pregnant again together we were so excited to share this experience once again. We were going to have two boys within a few months of each other, we both were looking forward to the life we would all share throughout the years. Then my baby died and it was simply impossible to do so. It was just one more layer of loss.

Being 100% honest I so desperately wanted to still be included, but I couldn’t and it was so hard to accept. As more time rolled on and the time we should have spent together drinking tea and talking about life was turned into me being swallowed up in grief and her no doubtably feeling our absence but also building closer relationships with others. Teddy was meant to be her son’s best friend, that was the way we intended it and she also lost that. She felt his loss deeply, I know this to be true. Our friendship was set up to be rocked purely by the situation we were presented with. I was so mad at her at times, but it was never her. It was real life. I wanted her to be drinking tea and sharing baby time with other Moms, I was just so mad and hurt I no longer belonged. I was so tired, I couldn’t ask for what I needed. I just wanted my friend back, I just wanted to be the friend I once was again. I wanted it all to be light, and to be easy but it just wasn’t possible.

I remember the day before Teddy’s first birthday I popped by the baby group as the group leader wanted to hand out Teddy’s Choose Love cards in celebration of him. I arrived and the four girls I should be with had Teddy not died were drinking tea, chatting and all four of their baby boys were there crawling around. They looked so happy, as they all deserved to be. They didn’t see me. I left with such a clear visual of what I desperately wanted and was missing. Unfairly I was hurt by this friend, she did nothing but kept living the life she deserved and the one I wanted for her. But sadly of the four girls it was her my heart chucked daggers at, because it was her my heart was truly connected with and missed deeply. I became angry my baby was dead, and I didn’t get to spend my morning with friends, instead I was driving around alone distributing cards in memory of him. It felt so unfair. I wanted my baby to be alive as well. I wanted the life we had envisioned.

At the time it was so hard for me see it all as it really was. Intellectually I always knew but my heart was broken and this was a layer of it and emotionally was not capable of seeing it clearly. I am so grateful for perspective. I see how much she loved us through it all, I see she was given an impossible hand to win with, I see she felt our loss deeply, I see she loved Teddy as well, I see she also felt his absence and I see she too probably wished I could be the old me and for everything to be different. She lost her friend as well, her #elsupremo.

Grief is so powerful, it doesn’t have mercy on those around it. Shrapnel flies and so many people get hurt. I know in this process many people have been hit by our shrapnel. I am so sorry for each of you and in particular this friend I speak of. Grief is messy, holds no boundaries and is unforgiving. Time though allows for perspective, it allows the fog to lift and clarity to be regained. If you have been hit by someone’s grief shrapnel please give them time, give them grace and give space if needed but just hold on if you can, clarity will come once again. You may never receive the loved one you once had, they are forever changed but maybe just maybe together you can find your way to building a stronger house than the one that had blown down if you still have the foundation remaining.

I am grateful that the foundation to this friendship is still there. I am grateful and hopeful she will be in the category “for a lifetime” and that with time we will rebuild our house. It might not be the pretty tea house it once was, but I have faith it can be stronger. I have moved through the heaviest parts of losing my son and am now in a space where I can once again be a friend, one who can help carry the load of others because mine is once again lighter. I look forward to helping carry some of her load when needed as time moves on. I will be forever grateful she didn’t shut me out, she always stood by even if it was at a distance, I know being hit by our shrapnel has caused pain, and I am so sorry for that. She chose to love us even when it wasn’t easy. #alwayschooselove

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

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.