Ever October we Remember because it’s Infant Loss Awareness Month…
Every October we Remember.
You don’t often realize how quickly time goes by until it’s…by.?
You think it will be next to impossible to make it through, over, or past something when you’re in the thick of it. But then one day it becomes apparent that you in fact have (for the most part) made it through.
12 years. 12 walks. 12 days. 12 times I’ve been faced to look out at other parents and see myself in various stages of grief.
?I told Brian 2 years ago driving home that I could tell which mom’s recently lost their baby. I could tell in their faces. The way they clung to their husbands. The look in their eyes.
That empty feeling. Looking at them was like a flashback to that same empty feeling. That same look. That same moment in time where it all seems too much. 12 years. This year I found myself yet again at a point of saddened happiness. Because there IS joy in my life.
❤️I have the most amazing husband. Three beautiful, healthy children, and growing life’s work that I love and has REAL purpose to me. ❤️
But there are still moments when I am reminded that she’s not here. It’s bitter sweet. Because she gifted me my own life which is both simple and complicated to explain. And without her short life, we wouldn’t have Harper, Meredith and Ivan.
Every Year We All Gather…
Year 12 and there were well over 120 people at the walk this year. Where 12 years ago there were maybe 50. And after we say a prayer and a song is sung. We speak out loud the names of our baby.
And every year my throat swells, and I feel hesitant to speak her name. With tears dripping into the corners of my mouth I waited for Brian to maybe say her name. But I know he knows to wait for me.
?“Faith Lynn”. ?
And in that quiet moment I’m reconnected to the first moment 12 years ago, like it was the first. I can’t explain it. But it was a relief. I feel relieved when I speak her name each year. I speak her name out loud to others.
You would think sharing my story countless times over the years would make it less emotional. But I am reminded of it doesn’t work that way. But this year. Year 12, I am also reminded of how I’ve grown. How my family has grown because of her.
The Never Ending Gifts from Faith…
My kids are now old enough to truly understand service to others. And they carried the quilt squares for others babies that weren’t there to be carried.
I know it might not seem like much. But to an 11,9 and 4 year old. Who wants to carry a blanket for a mile? But it opened up a conversation with them about support, respect, loss and being there for others. Another blessing yet again my tiny 2 pound daughter gave me and my family.
Whispering in my daughter’s ear to look out at all the families. And that one one thing we all have in common is a baby like Faith. That on any given day you wouldn’t know the loss and wounded heart we all carry and slowly are learning and have somewhat learned how to mend. But we are all connected.
I looked at her face as she looked out. And for the first time I could see it. Compassion. ❤️A true and real understanding of compassion. All thanks to her sister Faith.❤️
It’s one day. One day out of the entire year that my family remembers together. That we honor her life and the thousands of real blessings that she has given us.
And selfishly my greatest blessing is my own life.
Truthfully I don’t know where I would be today without her life as it was.
Words cannot and will never express the deep sadness I feel for her loss. But the deep undying gratitude and love I feel for what she gave me.
An opportunity to have a life worth living.
I keep sharing, every single day…I keep sharing.
Most of the stuff I write is usually for me. Maybe a form of therapy or expression I guess. And in hopes to help or inspire another…
If you have lost a baby. If you understand that deep sense of emptiness I’m talking about. If you wonder what good could ever come of something like this.
There can and will be blessings, good and healing.
❤️But do not be afraid to be in pain.
❤️Do not be afraid to cry your tears dry.
❤️And do not be afraid to feel that hole in your heart.
?Because that pain will lessen.
?The tears will soften.
?And the hole will one day sprout a new flower all because of what had once grown there.
Never replacing. But rather adding to the space that was once empty.
October is Infant Loss Awareness Month and I urge you to take even just a moment to connect with the notion that an innocent child’s life no matter how small is a life. I am grateful for the time I had with my daughter and now, 12 years later, am grateful for her sacrifice.
? #dailydoseofhope #infantlossawarenessmonth
Update: How to connect and support someone going through grief and loss is challenging. I want to invite you to read a recent blog I was featured in talking about how to communicate with others going through grief. HERE
All day I have been thinking about it. About her.
All day she has been on my mind.
And part of the long car ride home from speaking… I cried.
I cried those special tears that go deep. That I feel everything all over again. Not just losing you. But when I first found out I was going to lose you. It was hours. Literally hours after I had just came to terms with becoming a mom and welcoming you into my life. Our life.
I didn’t know it then but you would become the best thing to ever happen to me. Your showering of gifts that would have never happened if it wasn’t for your life exactly the way it was.
The insights. The personal push into taking back my life and truly standing in recovery and never looking back.
You gave me compassion. Insight. Perseverance. Determination. Trust. You lead me to feel in a deep way. A deep way I didn’t even know was possible to feel. You gave me three beautiful children. Of whom would not be in our life if it wasn’t for you and your life.
You gave me a deeper sense of purpose. Purpose to live. To be bold. To be brave. To pick up the pieces and move forward.
A few weeks after you left me. I dragged myself out of bed and looked in our bathroom mirror and told myself I needed to find something good in this. That this pain. This unexplainable pain. This pain I would never wish on my worse enemy had to not be for nothing.
And then it happened. I started to see the blessings. The blessings that only carrying you in my womb, and holding you in my arms and watching you leave this earth tightly nestled within my grasp. Then giving you away leaving me with the most empty feeling I could never fully explain to anyone could feel.
But it happened. The blessings. I started to see them randomly on occasion, but I knew it was you. Then more frequently. Things would happen and the only explanation was you.
And now 12 years later I have experienced dozens, hundreds if not thousands of blessings your life exactly the way it was could have given.
My biggest blessing was in losing you. Losing you gave me purpose to live. Losing you pushed me to forge on fully into recovery. That because of you I wasn’t going to waste another second. Through your death I found life. Like a real life. One worth living. One worth striving for. One where I wanted to not just live but become the best version of myself while helping others do the same.
But I’m not going to lie. Losing you was one of the darkest, most difficult, incredibly painful experiences ever. But that pain brought your Papa and I closer together. It showed us truly what it meant to have a healthy baby. What bringing another life into this would meant. And how valuable our own lives truly are.
It is on this day each year that I am reminded of what you gave me. And I am forever grateful for you and for you coming into my life. I couldn’t fully see it at first because, well, grief is hard, and messy and complicated and as much as people try to box it in-it’s impossible to.
And for anyone out there grieving the loss of a loved one…a child. The grief never leaves. It just changes. The waves become less rocky and if you are open to it, and ask to see them, the blessing will blow in.
I am sharing this because I know what it is like to struggle. To beg for your life. To want to die, and watch someone die in your arms. But I also know what it is like to get back up again. To not just survive, but to thrive.
You will get though this. I see you. I feel you. I hear your cries. I know your pain. And give yourself the grace to just feel this moment. Because it will eventually pass, but the hole in your heart, I’m not going to lie, will never go away.
But I have come to understand, it’s not suppose to. It is partly what has made you who you are at this point in your life.
But the beauty and blessing is, eventually a seed will sprout and a beautiful flower will grow. That flower would have never been there if it were not for all of this.
Tonight we prayed for you in gratitude for all the blessings you have given us. That we have all experienced as a family, all because of you. This family we are today is all. because. of. you.
Never lose hope…
Additional Grief and Loss Resources:
Sleep During a Crisis: How to support your mental health and sleep
When Life Hits You In the Head: How to Listen for Your Next Steps
Nearly ten months ago, I took an awful fall that landed me an ambulance ride and lots of fun doctor visits (and many of you know how much I love going to the doctor).
While at a wedding in Iowa, I was walking out of the pool while carrying my son Ivan when I stepped into a puddle of water on the slippery deck. I fell backward and hit my head twice on the rock-hard pavers beneath me. By the grace of God, my son Ivan was not harmed. However, this fall not only knocked the wind out of me; it stopped me dead in my tracks.
Bed-ridden for two weeks and unable to stand upright, focus, or move around without a splitting headache, my life was taking a huge turn. A very slow recovery left me for months inching my life back to its normal pace.
Roughly a month after the fall, I found myself sitting on our living room couch in tears over this stressful recovery. I began to ask God the same question I had asked for years as a teen secretly struggling with an eating disorder:
What good was to come out of this? My husband losing his mind because it was on him to do everything? My yoga studio going under because not only could I not teach, but I couldn’t even look at a computer for more than a few minutes without my head going nuts?
If everything has a purpose, and I do believe it, then what was the purpose in this?
As I laid on the couch thinking, into my head popped my little angel in the sky, Faith. I started to think about her short life and her impactful death, and what that all meant to me. As I thought of that, I began to think about my whole entire life. Surely all of the struggles and hardships I have overcome at such a young age were not for nothing.
While lying there, I started to think about however since Harper and Meredith were young I would tell them about their sister and how she lives in the sky. They know that she is always watching over them, and whenever they see a butterfly, it’s Faith coming to say “hi”. I laid there thinking about how my kids still giggle with delight when they see a butterfly, even at almost nine and seven years old.
As those thoughts passed, I began to ponder how everything in life is connected and began to wonder why I was named Hope. Although these thoughts were not new in my brain, this time I felt the urge to look up what the symbol for Hope was.
I then remembered an acquaintance, LaVonna, who through her speaking business created a light bulb bracelet. She did this to symbolize her message, igniting people’s lives. I began to wonder what kind of meaning my message could have. So, I picked up my phone and googled “What is the symbol for Hope?”.
To my surprise, up popped a picture of a beautiful butterfly. Tears started to roll down my cheeks as this overwhelming sense of love and validation ran over me. The butterfly was my daughter Faith, and the symbol of Hope is a butterfly; surely this was not a coincidence.
And what is a butterfly… New life, change, growth, and transformation.
I believe that when you are on the right path in life, you are provided for. It may not always be easy, but pieces do begin to fall into place. It took me hitting my head to slow down and truly start to shift gears. This was vital to ensure that I’d hear this important message clearly without distraction.
Make sure it doesn’t take you hitting your head to hear your next steps in life.
Click below to join Hope for her 5-day Challenge!