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

Full Circle

Tomorrow marks the first day of our final 10 days with Teddy two years ago. There are two types of deaths, the sudden and those that play out over time. Teddy’s death played out over ten days. Prior to that as much as we knew he would die we remained hopeful. Hope is a life line. Without it, it all felt impossible. Two years ago we drove to SickKids in Toronto for a routine fetal echo. Two years ago we sat in a room, a doctor walked in with a look written all over his face. I knew by his eyes Teddy journey was ending way sooner than I was ready for. It was the moment my stomach hit the floor and my heart caught up to it shortly there after. It was confirmed the end was near, he was an incredibly sick little boy and the doctor thought he might survive a few hours to maybe a day. He gave us ten. Ten days that were incredibly hard, so hard there isn’t a word in the English language to articulate it properly. Ten days that were the greatest gift Teddy and God could have ever given me. Because he didn’t die instantly, because we had these days together I don’t have one day that feels hard to relive but ten. It is the ten day pilgrimage to the birth of our third son, the only day in my life that will ever hold the full range of beauty. The birth, the death, the baptism, the love, the only and final good bye.

Two years ago I was preparing for his birth, his death, his funeral. Last year I was busy creating cards to celebrate him while spreading his message of love. This year I hold our newborn. Every year is so different from the last. I believe as each rolls on I will reflect on each year and see the growth, the pain, and the gifts. The common threads through it all I believe will be how my love is unwavering, my gratitude is abundant, my heart longing for him, and his importance in our family.

Sunday we baptized our precious Zooey Helen. A day filled with love, but leading up to it felt heavy, and a day I actually wasn’t ready for. I spent time in the couple weeks leading up to it trying to figure out my emotions and sort out what was really going on. I couldn’t bring myself to order a cake, I couldn’t arrange the party afterwards. I was paralyzed and it wasn’t something I haven’t ever experienced before. I want Zooey to have a Mother that can be fully present in her moments. I wanted this for her birth and for her baptism and the reality is it is impossible. Those were experiences that I shared with Teddy, and doing them again was hard. The truth is her brother died. He died before she was born and because of that, it comes with sharing at least those two moments with him. He didn’t have any more moments in his time with us so they are the only two they have to share and I believe Zooey would generously give us all of that. She might even be honoured to do so.

I have realized throughout the past few years I have these moments that I am forced to go full circle. Zooey’s birth and baptism were one of those times. As I was figuring what I was really feeling with the baptism I was lead to look at what I feel when I am at Church. This building houses so much life for Ryan and I. Even before we were married Ryan and I attended Church. We always sat upstairs in the balcony. As we were planning our wedding I would sit there envisioning this magical day that was in the horizon. We said our vows, promising on that stage to love and support each other with God as our helper. I had no clue at that moment how much we would actually need his help in the next few years. Once we were married my dreams of our wedding day switched to envisioning the day we are parents and could proudly baptize our children. But years went by as we watch so many other families doing what we desperately wanted for ourselves. We sat in that balcony praying fiercely to be blessed with a child, and held back tears as we watched the other families go before us . Finally our day comes, not once but four times, only one of these baptisms wasn’t on that stage, it was in the hospital only hours before we said goodbye forever. Our Teddy made his way to that stage but it was for his funeral. So where we said our vows and baptized two children I stood reading Theodore’s eulogy. We never did sit upstairs regularly since that day. Instead we sit up front one seat back from where we sat that day we honoured Teddy and those seats almost always remain empty. So as the weeks went by and Zooey’s baptism approached I would often look back up and think of that girl. The girl who once thought optimistically of the life she thought we were intended to live with no clue the significance the walls around us would hold. I thought about those tears I would hold back in church and would fall once we left after witnessing a baptism. I wondered if any of those families felt as I did on this past Sunday. Not knowing their story, they too could have felt very conflicted. Could there have been someone else looking upon us not knowing our story and feeling what I once felt? This Sunday during the service after Zooey’s baptism Pastor David talked about judgment and as he spoke I thought about not the judgements I have made but more about all the assumptions.

The circle is complete, our last child is baptized, the day was perfect and exactly as intended. I am grateful for having those hard days that forced me to look deeply and sort out what it was about. I see it all clearly now, I see the importance and the role faith has played out in our life together. Zooey’s baptism allowed me to connect the dots in a way I am not sure I ever would have without it.

I am not sure what these next ten days will feel like as I make my way through them. What I am sure of is it will be a mixed bag, it will be different from the last two years and different from all the rest to follow so I intend to remain very present, to find gratitude for this unique journey, to feel it all, and to grow as much as possible through it.

Being blessed isn’t about living an easy life, but living one rich with lessons, with growth, and having the ability to find gratitude even in the hard moments. Because we are blessed our life is rich.

xoxo Momma Bear

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

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.

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.