Monday, December 30, 2013

Gratitude for those who remain faceless

I recently read a blog post written by a Labor and Delivery Nurse about her experience helping a family through the stillbirth of their son. Her words were beautiful and it gave me a little perspective into the other side of pregnancy and infant loss. I wish I could place a link to the post here but it's since been changed to a private post. 

As parents of loss, we know the hell our loss brought into our lives. We remember all of the details of that day more vividly than we would like. We replay the day over and over in our heads. We know firsthand how each moment of that day felt and how it continues to be and will always be a part of us, each and every day. But what we don't know is how our loss day impacted those who were part of our loss. We don't know what was going through the heads of those involved. 

I'm not talking about our families. I'm talking about those who were there with us, doing their jobs to help try to save our babies or trying to comfort us in our darkest hour. I very often think about the first responders to our home that morning and the doctors and nurses at the hospital who worked on Avery. I often wish I could get them all in a room and find out what the day was like for them. 

There was the police officer, a corporal, I believe, who was at our house so quickly. I can't see his face but I can clearly remember him busting through the door, running into our bedroom and taking over CPR for me. I know how hard it was for me to do CPR on her but I often wonder what was going through his head that morning. Was he just about to finish his shift or was he just starting his day? Was this the first time he had to respond to a call with a baby. God, I pray he doesn't get these calls often. I wonder if he has a family of his own. Did he to home and hug them a little tighter? I will always have a very great appreciation to this man, a man I don't know at all, who gave it his all until the fire department arrived. 

I often wonder many of the same things about the firefighters and paramedics who were next to arrive. I wonder what they were thinking as they rushed to our house. I wonder if they knew deep down, she was already gone once they started working on her. I wonder if any of them prayed on the drive to the hospital. I wonder if any of them still remember that morning. I know it couldn't have been easy for any of them. 

And then I wonder about the hospital staff. Those who spent over 30 minutes working on Avery. Trying everything they could to save her. I wasn't allowed in the room, I cannot remember any of their faces, but I am forever grateful that they tried as hard and as long as they did. I wonder if the doctor who broke the news to us had ever lost a child under her watch. I wonder if she still remembers Avery. I wonder how they found the strength the continue working that day. 

I wonder how June 12, 2012 affected each of the people involved in our loss. I know everything each of them did that day is just part of their job but to us, we are forever grateful of their service.  Even though most of these people remain faceless to me, they will always hold a special place in my heart. 

I want to say thank you to all of our police officers, fire fighters, paramedics, doctors, nurses and all others who stay strong when facing the worst and try their hardest to better the outcome. It takes a special person to do this work and I am forever indebted to those who helped that awful June morning. 

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas 2013

Last Christmas we ran away. It was exactly what we needed. It didn't feel like Christmas. We weren't forced into family traditions without Avery by our side. Honestly, if I wasn't 35.5 weeks pregnant, we probably would have run away again this year. And boy I wish we could have. 

For most of the big events since losing Avery, the days leading up to the event are normally more of a drain than the day itself. The anticipation and anxiety of what the day will be like take their toll, leaving the actual day generally not as bad as I had built up in my head. Christmas this year, however was different. I have been so busy over the past few weeks, I had pushed the thoughts about Christmas to the back of my mind. I knew it would be hard, but I didn't work myself up over it. This made Christmas Eve and Christmas day much harder than I prepared myself to face. 

Being forced into family traditions was absolutely heartbreaking. I made it a total of 15 minutes through our Christmas Eve service at a church before I had a mini anxiety attack and ran out of the church hysterical. Christmas Eve service is something I normally love and look forward to. However, it was a very I your face reminder of her absence. She should have been there with me in my arms. This is a tradition I looked forward to but absolutely hated being there last night. It killed me.  It's the things we do every year that are the knife to the heart. The traditions kill me. She is supposed to be a part of them. Here with us, not just in memory. 

Today, my old friend anger made it's presence known again. I woke up immediately angry. I wanted to sleep as late as possible but was wide awake at 6. She's supposed the be here. I'm supposed to wake up with her. We're supposed to have a tree with tons of presents for her. We're supposed to sit together and ready the story of Jesus' birth as a family. It's not supposed to be this way and it infuriated me. The littlest things had me on edge. I was dreading being around anyone and knew that it wouldn't take much to set me off. From the start of the day, I wanted to just crawl back in bed and avoid everyone and everything. But I couldn't, I had to out my game face on and face the traditions head on. I'm not going to lie, the day sucked. 

Nobody should have to spend time at the cemetery visiting their child on Christmas. Nobody should have to debate whether or not to include their dead child on gift tags. Nobody should have to try to speak to everyone as little as possible on Christmas for fear they will snap, the anger finally taking complete control.   Nobody should feel jealousy towards the happy families, complete and together on Christmas. It's hell. It's completely awful to spend Christmas this way.

I'm absolutely exhausted. I am so ready for the day to be done. I am ready to crawl in bed and have a good cry until I fall asleep. I'm ready for this pain to be over but I know that it will always be here in some form. Parts of Christmas may become more bearable over the years, but there will always be the lingering ache from the missing piece of my heart. 

Nothing will ever be the way I once pictured in my perfect world. And it hurts so much knowing I will never be able to change that. But I am thankful that God sent his son, Jesus, to be born and most importantly to die for us. Because of this, I know that while I cannot bring Avery back to me, one day, one amazing day, we will be together again. For this I am thankful. This keeps me going even when I feel like throwing in the towel. 

Monday, December 9, 2013

My Pregnancies

There was this status update going around Facebook recently where you were assigned a number and then you had to update your status with that many "fun fact" about your pregnancy. I'm generally not one for the mass status update trends on Facebook but I really wanted to share some facts about my pregnancies. So, I've decided to take to the trusty blog to post these things. 

1-I found out I was pregnant with Avery on October 15, 2011, Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. I found out I was pregnant with Harper on May 15, 2013.

2-I only took 1 pregnancy test with Avery. I still have it. I took at least 3 with this pregnancy, just to be sure. I have those too. 

3-I had morning sickness with both but never tossed my cookies. Eating was the only thing that made me feel better. Needless to say, I gain more weight than I should. 

4-Avery's name was picked out well before we knew she was a girl. 

5-I will be delivering at a different hospital with Harper. 

6-Both pregnancies were intentional-no "accidents."

7-We tried to announce our pregnancy to our families creatively. Avery they each received baby related gifts. With Harper we made up a special photo announcement. 

8-We did fun gender reveals each time. Avery it was pink cupcakes, Harper it was pink silly string. Both times we knew ahead of time. 

9-It took us 4 years of marriage to decide we were ready for a family. Avery celebrated our 5th anniversary in our arms, 3 days before we lost her. Harper was just a tiny bean celebrating with usin my belly on our 6th anniversary. 

10- Avery was born at 39w3d. Harper is scheduled to arrive via csection at 39w3d. 

11-I was induced with Avery and ended with a csection. Harper will be a scheduled csection. 

12-During Avery's csection, my leg fell off the table and I could feel it happen. I told to doctor and she told the nurse to pick it up. It was quite comical. 

13-I am horrible at documenting my pregnancies with photos. 

14-My sweet tooth takes over while pregnant. 

15-My favorite part of pregnancy is just watching my belly contort with the baby's movements. 

16-We plan to stop having children after Harper. 2 girls is just right for us.

To my blogger friends, please feel free to share facts about your pregnancies. I'd love to read your posts too!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

was letting Harper listen to some music tonight and pulled up Somewhere Over the Rainbow as sung by the children on Newtown, Connecticut. It's a beautiful rendition of the song.

I haven't listened to this song while pregnant but I thought it was fitting for our rainbow, Harper to hear it. While listening to it, I am reminded, once again, that with Harper about to enter our lives, I'm going to be so very torn between two worlds. 

Since losing Avery, I have no fear in death. And while I realize I've known where I am going after I die for sometime now, death was still something I was afraid of. That is until we lost Avery. Since losing her Heaven sounds better than ever. I have no fear of dying. I know when I leave this world I will be in the presence of Jesus and my beautiful daughter. How could I have any fear in that?  But now, Harper changes that a bit. While I'm not scared of dying, I will soon have another daughter who needs me. Here, in this world. Again, I'm being torn between two worlds. Which I realize will be the story of my life. 

The lyrics of this song are so fitting. When I first downloaded this song, I always longed to be the bluebird. To fly over the rainbow and away from this world and into hers.  I would always think, when listening to this song, how great a day it will be when I can finally spread my wings and fly to Avery. But at the same time, I had been praying and dreaming of being a mom again. And I've now been blessed to have that opportunity with Harper. My dream I've been dreaming is becoming reality. Little did I realize, when I first downloaded the song, how torn I would be when my dream was finally coming true. It's quite a challenge wanting to be present in two worlds but only being in one.  To want to stare into the beautiful rainbow but to also fly far away. 

For now, I will aim to soak in the time I'm allowed here in this world with Harper and know that one day, when it's time, I'll be with Avery again and eventually, we will all be together.

Somewhere Over The Rainbow

 Somewhere over the rainbow, way up high
There's a land that I heard of once in a lullaby
Somewhere over the rainbow, Skies are blue,
And the dreams that you dare to dream, really do come true...

Someday I'll wish upon a star
And wake up where the clouds are far behind me
Where troubles melt like lemon drops
Away above the chimney tops, that's where you'll find me

Somewhere over the rainbow, blue birds fly
Birds fly over the rainbow, why them, oh why can't I?
If happy little blue birds fly beyond the rainbow
Why, oh why can't I?

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Turning Pink into Purple

Taking Avery's room apart to make it Harpers was so much harder than expected. Over the last 17+ months I've had a love hate relationship with that room. After we lost Avery, I hated going into her room. I was a stark reminder of a future lost. Over time, it became my sanctuary. I would spend hours sitting in the rocking chair, writing to her and reading. It became a place where I felt close to her. It was her room. But as the weeks turned into months, I found myself in the room less and less. It became a place where we kept her belongings and momentous we had gathered. 

In the last 2 months, Harpers things have slowly been added and honestly the room was a cluttered mess. This weekend was the weekend to make the transition. To transform Avery's room into Harper's room. Thanksgiving night we worked to clear it out so we could paint in Friday.  I was doing well until I had to take down the wall decorations. The decorations I spent hours picking out and putting up. I lost it. I felt like I was taking her down to put her away to be replaced by Harper.

It got worse the next day when it came time to paint. Avery's beautiful pink was going away, being replaced by Harper's pretty purple. Painting made the transition permanent. It became so very real. To make matters worse, the paint didn't seem to be going on well, my husband was really frustrated and both of our emotions were running high. Half way through, we were both questioning why we were even repainting. I felt absolutely horrible.  Painting really wasn't necessary. Why did I feel the need to cover Avery up? After many tears and much talking, we both found peace with giving Harper her own room. As much as Avery deserves to always be part of us, Harper also deserves her own identity too. After coming to grips with the fact that paint or changing the room isn't getting rid of Avery, the day went much better and the paint turned out beautiful. 

Saturday was time to get everything in order and put up Harper's decorations. The day went pretty well. It felt nice getting the room ready for Harper's impending arrival. We put up the art on the walls, washed the new bedding and blankets and organized the closet. 

I was doing well until it came time to change out the bedding. I will always absolutely love Avery's jungle bedding. As I folded up the blanket to put away for good, I felt like my heart was going to explode. She didn't get to use many of her belongings in her six short days but every night we got her ready for bed by laying her in her crib to dress her in her pajamas. She used her bedding, even if only very briefly, and there I stood, in a now purple bedroom, folding her perfect blanket and putting it in a bin. The perfect decorations for the perfect room all ended up in one Rubbermaid bin that will go in the attic. That's it. Avery's room no longer exists. And I feel like the hole in my heart is gaping wide open again. 

I know it's just a room. It's just a place. Her room is not her identity. But when all you've had is six days, it's hard not to cling to physical things. It's hard not to tie part of her identity to the things that were part of her short life. It's hard not to feel like once again I am being pushed further away from her. 

And at the same time, I feel guilty for feeling so terrible about changing the room. There really was no part of getting Harper's room ready that was fun or exciting. Getting ready for Avery was such a happy time. Once again, nothing is the same the second time around. But poor Harper deserves my happiness and excitement over her arrival. And so far, I really haven't been able to find that excitement. I am so afraid I will let her down. 

So here I sit. Torn between two worlds-one pink, one purple. With a love for both but with no idea how to balance both. I love my daughters dearly and want them both to feel that love. 

Avery's pink Jungle room. 

Harper's purple room (still a work in progress)

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Giving Thanks

It's still hard many days to be able to see past what is missing in life and see what is still here to be thankful. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't sit and wonder what life would be like if Avery was still here with us. 

The holidays make that especially hard. Watching families celebrate with each piece in tact, seeing the million posts on Facebook of baby's first Thanksgiving, reading how everyone is thankful for their kids. It's enough to make a grieving parent want to lock themselves away from reality. 

Last year, that's exactly what we did. Las Vegas was out anti-Thabksgiving. It was what we needed at the time. But this year, we are back to reality. Back to turkey and football with the family. Back to the stark reality that this is NOT how we envisioned Thanksgiving when we were pregnant 2 years ago. But today, instead of focusing on the life I'm missing, I want to take some time and focus on all that I do have to be thankful for this year. 

I am thankful for...

God's unending love and grace. He has kept me going even on the darkest days. And His promise that one day, we will all be together again. 

Avery-my beautiful girl and the time we had with her, the things she has taught us and for her unending love.

My amazing husband who picks me up when I can't get up on my own, who walks this journey with me and who loves me and our girls unconditionally. 

Harper, my sweet and stubborn rainbow baby. The one who has brought hope back into our once dark and dismal lives. Avery's little sister, who will know all about her big sister in Heaven. 

Family who has stuck by outside through everything. Those who still speak her name, those that don't think we should be "over it" already, those who have kept us standing. 

Friends, old and new, who are like family. They never cease to amaze me with just how much they care for us and her and will continue to help keep her memory alive.

Even in our darkest moments, we still have lots to be thankful for. ❤️

Monday, November 18, 2013

Today the Storm is Raging

I woke up in a storm this morning...

I've had my ups and downs lately but I really thought I was learning to cope and function through the downs better. It had been quite some time since I had one of those days where I just couldn't do anything. I woke up and instantly felt anxious. No exact reason to be found just extremely anxious. I thought once I got to work, I'd be distracted enough to get through the day but once I got there it got worse.  I lost it and couldn't put myself together. There was nothing specific to set me off. No triggers. No major significance to the day. But I was a mess. I ended up leaving work within a few hours. 

I've been trying to pinpoint why I'm struggling so bad today. And still have no exact answers. I think it's a compilation of things...

The impending holidays...I'm dreading them. I thought they would be easier than last year since I'm pregnant but every bit of me wants to run and hide from them like we did last year. They are such an in your face reminder of all that is missing. Avery would have been so much fun this year. But instead we face the holidays without her. We must watch those around us and their happy families share in the joy of the holidays while we feel so incredibly incomplete. 

Harpers approaching due date...I wish I could fast forward to January. No make that February so I can get last her first 6 days of life too. I've had a few good weeks just enjoying pregnancy and looking forward to the future. But now that we are less than 9 weeks from her expected arrival, fear is over taking me again. I am terrified of losing her before she is born. And I'm terrified of losing her once she is born. 

Balancing Avery and Harper...I've had 2 amazing baby showers in the past week. And while they were wonderful and we are truly blessed to be surrounded by those who love us, it's still very bittersweet. We are all so excited for Harper's arrival yet if Avery were still here, I don't know if Harper would be coming. It's hard to celebrate and be completely excited when this thought is in the back of my mind. I'm still trying to figure out how to balance both without letting either of them down. 

Flashbacks...while I've been good at not focusing on the day we lost Avery, I've had a lot of brief flashbacks lately. Out of nowhere my mind briefly goes back to a moment of that day. Waking up, following the ambulance and calling family, my husbands reaction to the awful news, saying goodbye. I can still remember every vivid detail. These flashbacks don't last long and I can quickly refocus my thoughts but they are still a dagger to the heart and come out of nowhere. 

Shifting Avery's room to Harper's...we have a 2 bedroom house so I have no choice. I've kept Avery's room her own the last 17 months but January is quickly approaching and Harper needs her own space. Part of me is anxious to get Harper's room ready but a huge part of me isn't ready to get rid of Avery's room. I know I have to, I just wish I didn't have to. And it's crazy since it's just a room but it's hers and has been for quite some time. 

Today is just one of those days where the rainstorm seems to be stationary above my head. I hadn't watched the news to be told the storm was coming. I was caught off guard by one of those storms where the rain comes in every direction and no umbrella can keep you completely dry. Today's storm caught me unprepared. I had no umbrella handy, no raincoat or boots tinted to fight the cold rain off. I had let my guard down, and thought these storms had passed. But the truth is these storms will always come and go. Somedays I will be better at staying dry, others, like today, I just need to embrace the storm.  I need to let it soak me and know that eventually this storm will pass and I can dry off. 

All I can do on days like today is pray and know that I am not alone. "He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds."Psalms 147:3

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Being Needed

At about 4 this morning, I was woken up by the sound of my dog coughing in the living room. I ignored it for a few minutes but it just got worse so I got up to check on him. Poor thing spent the next 30 minutes hacking and hacking. Nothing but a dry cough but the poor thing was miserable. He eventually stopped and we went back to bed, leaving our door open so that we could hear him if he got worse. But he felt so bad he instantly crawled in bed between us and snuggled up. After another round of coughing he finally fell asleep tucked snugly between us. 

By this time, I was now wide awake and as I laid there trying to fall asleep again, snuggling with the dog, my heart was warmed. He needed us to comfort him. It felt so nice to be needed. But as quickly was I felt warmed by his love, I realized I never got that with Avery. Yes, clearly in her 6 days of life she needed me, but she wasn't consciously choosing me. I never got to experience her choosing me when she was sick or hurt. I never got to snuggle her in bed when she wasn't feeling well. I never got to really mother her. It breaks my heart that she and I both missed out on this. 

It still never ceases to amaze me that  the littlest thing can bring me back to what I have been missing out on with Avery. I still cannot wrap my head around the fact that I'm a mother that has never been able to experience most motherly duties. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

CYG Days 21-31

Day 21: Honor

After receiving Avery's name from Carly in Australia we decided we would honor Avery during our travels by writing her name wherever we go. I love the idea of having pictures of her with us wherever we visit. She may not physically be on our trips but she's always in our hearts no matter where we go and this is how we chose to honor that. 

Since then, the idea has spread and we've had family and friends take Avery on their trips with them. Avery has been all over the US and the world. 

This is a small sampling of the hundreds of pictures we have of Avery's travels around the world. 

Day 22: Words

As I've said many times, I don't know where I would be without my eternal hope that I have through my beliefs. God has held us and comforted us through our darkest days. Even when I pulled away, He was there. This verse reminds me that He is the God of all comforts. And as He has comforted us, it's now my goal to be there for others who are grieving their babies. 

The loss of Avery will not be swept under the rug as a bad thing that happened. I will use the loss of Avery to bring attention to pregnancy and infant loss. I will use my experiences-good and bad-since losing Avery to be there for others going through the similar situations.  I will use my tribulation to help others. I will be her voice since she cannot have one. I will make a difference because of her. 

Day 23: Tattoos/Jewelry

My husband was never big on tattoos. But after losing Avery, he knew he wanted one for her. We took a trip with his brothers and their wives within a few weeks to get his tattoo. It's pretty, girly and pink-a perfect representation of our little princess. I knew I wanted to follow suit but it took awhile for me to make a decision. I had a great friend sketch out my idea to incorporate her name, a heart and an infinity symbol. It represents my infinite love for her. I got it done the day before my 28th birthday, 1 day shy of the year mark of us finding out Avery was Avery. 

Over the last 16 months I've also collected a number of necklaces that mean the world to me. The one with her initial, birthdate and birthstone I had picked out before she was born but we lost her before I could order it. I decided I still wanted it and it was the first piece of jewelry I have for her. The next was made by a sweet baby loss mom, Lori, using a butterfly. Butterflies have their way of always crossing my path now and I always feel it's Avery saying hi. The next I fell in love with when I saw it. It represents my hope for our reunion with her in Heaven. The last piece my husband bought for me last Christmas. What should have been our first as a family of 3 was a somber day. He picked this out to represent our family of 3 and how we will always be intertwined. 

To some jewelry and tattoos may seem like just things and in reality they are, but to us they are physical, outward ways to show her with us daily. Other parents have their babies with them to show off, for us this is what we have. 

Day 24: Artwork

My Avery sunset picture taken by Carly in Australia is still my favorite piece of artwork we've received in the last 16 months. It was actually the first piece I received after losing Avery and this sunset speaks volumes to me. When I received it there was so much about it that brought me comfort and seemed like a sign from Avery. 

1st-I received it exactly 2 months after burying Avery. I had just gone back to work and was having an exceptionally hard day when I received this from Carly. It was just what I needed that day. 

2nd-The colors instantly reminded me of Avery. The beautiful pinks and purples were colors that will always be associated with our girl. 

3rd-I love how the sun is just barely peaking through the clouds. Avery had the cutest, chunkiest cheeks. They were so big, we really only ever got to see a small bit of her eyes shining through. The way the sun only slightly shows make me feel like Avery is in the picture, smiling with her eyes barely squinting though her cute cheeks. 

This picture now hangs on a canvas in our house. Another piece of Avery we surround ourselves with to keep her close. Another way we include her in our daily life. 

Day 25: #SayItOutLoud

I want the world to remember that Avery, and every baby taken too soon, is just that-a baby. A human. A person. Someone's future. Someone's hopes and dreams. 

Avery was here. Avery is my daughter and always will be. She is not just a sad thing that once happened to us. She is not just a small event in history. She is a person. She deserves to be spoken of, to be remembered and to be loved just as any living child would be.

Don't write off our babies as if they didn't exist. They were and always will be a part of our everyday.  Even if they never made it out of the womb, even if they were born straight into Heaven, even if they only took one breath and even if they were only here minutes, hours, days or weeks, they are our world. They are our children and should never be forgotten. 

Day 26: Community

Our baby loss community has helped me find strength through our shared bond. Because of this community, I do not feel completely alone; I find reassurance that my thoughts and feelings aren't crazy but rather normal; I find courage to get through the toughest days; I find healing though sharing; I find love, compassion, understanding and friendship from people walking the same path as me. I wish none of us were a part of this community but since we are forced to be, I am thankful for the bond we have formed. 

Day 27: Signs

I truly feel we've experienced many signs from Avery in Heaven. Whether it's a beautiful butterfly crossing my path bringing peace, a rainbow after a storm bringing hope, an "A" appearing randomly to make me feel she is saying hello or a cardinal showing up at just the right time, there are so many things I feel cannot just be coincidence. 

Most recently and maybe one of the most clear signs was during the recent 2nd Annual Avery Diane Hanson Memorial Golf Tournament this September.  Shortly after the start of the tournament this "A" appeared in the sky and could be spotted all along the golf course. I feel Avery wanted her presence to be known on a day that was completely about her. So many people saw the "A" in the sky that day. It truly brought comfort on a day that was very bittersweet. 

Over the last year or so, I've blogged about some of the signs I've felt. You can read about all of them here:

Day 28: Special Place

Avery is always with me and I feel her near often. But if I had to pick the place closest to me, it would be her gravesite. It is a beautiful location under a strong, shady oak tree. While it may sound odd to some, this is the one and only place I still have that I feel I get to mother. 

She doesn't need me anymore but her gravesite does. It was one of the last things we were able to do for her. From picking out the perfect spot for her to be, to designing her unique and beautiful headstone, I've been able to do for her even with her not here. I've been able to mother her special place. And Every week I continue to do so. We bring new flowers weekly, we decorate for holidays and look for cute additions to her spot that remind us of her.  It's not much but it makes me feel needed still.  I know it's just a place, I know she isn't really there but it's all I have left. 

Day 29: Healing

I truly do not believe my wounds will be completely healed until I am with Avery again.  However, I have been able to find more peace and healing than I would have thought possible 16 short months ago. I would have never thought it possible to feel happiness, joy or anything positive in June of 2012. Life stopped at that point, I fell apart and I didn't think I would ever be able to put the pieces back together. 

Since then, I have started to put some of my pieces back together even though there is always going to be a big piece missing. I attribute this healing to many factors; family, friends, faith, support, connections with other moms, etc. I think what's helped me most is being able to share Avery with others. Having family or friends bring her up without my prompting adds a small stitch to the gaping hole in my heart. Sharing her with others who are on this journey helps me know she will always be a part of me. Hearing stories of how she touched the lives of complete strangers brings me great pride. Knowing that her cousins and her sister will always know her as part of our family gives me peace that she will never be forgotten. 

The wounds remain and always will but sharing her with those who accept her means the world to me. It's helped me get this far in my journey and it's what will keep me going even on my darkest days. 

Day 30: Growth

I changed as a person on Oct 15, 2011 when I found out we were going to be parents.  I changed again on June 6, 2012 when Avery came into the world. I was a mom through and through. The second she was placed in my arms, I knew there was nothing I wouldn't do for her. Life was no longer about me, it was all about her. I was again forever changed on June 12, 2012 when my world came crashing down, when Avery left our world. In the last two years, I've been through so many changes as a person. I will never be the same person I was before Avery entered our lives. 

Some days I feel more compassionate whereas others I still feel very bitter and cynical. I'm learning to embrace the new me. I will never be the carefree person I once was. It's impossible-I know too much; I've experienced too much. This world is so incredibly unfair. But at the same time, I've grown stronger as a person and found my voice. I am not as quiet or reserved about my thoughts and feelings as I once was. Avery has helped me find my voice. I don't care if talking about her or other babies taken too so makes others uncomfortable. This is life, this is the real world. It's messy and uncomfortable. Change doesn't happen when people are complacent.

I am sure I will continue to grow and change as I continue on this journey. The person I am today and the person I am 5 years from now will not be the same. But one thing will remain constant as the years pass-my love of my daughter and my passion to break the silence surrounding pregnancy and infant loss. 

Day 31: Sunset

As the Capture Your Grief project comes to a close I would like to thank everyone who has followed my posts and supported me sharing my grief and my thoughts this month. Your support means so much to me and I am so thankful you allow me to speak out about my journey.   Even though October is coming to an end, our grief will not. It will be with us forever and it's our burden to bear. But thanks to great support, I know it's not a load I bear alone. 

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month but please don't forget about the families who suffer daily with their grief, please don't forget the 1:4 women who will experience the loss of a baby, please don't be afraid to speak our babies names year round. My hope is that projects like these will help break the silence surrounding pregnancy and infant loss

The sunset tonight at first looked like it would be ruined by clouds. But as I was standing on the dock, looking for a shot, I was taken aback. Not only was the sunset beautiful but there was also a rainbow burst at the far left. Id like to think its a sign from Avery of great things to come with our own rainbow. 


CYG Days 11-20

Day 11: Emotional Triggers

Early on it was hard to predict what would send me I to a downward spiral. The sound of a baby crying in a restaurant, diaper commercials, pregnant women all sent me running for the hills, normally crying in public. As time pushes me forward, my skin has become tougher, my mind able to block out the sting. Normally keeping myself together isn't an impossible feat but there are still a few triggers that send a deep stabbing pain piercing through my heart and unfortunately, these are hard to avoid. 

• Ambulances, especially number 24. I will never be able to erase from my memory how it felt to follow that ambulance through town to the hospital. Every time I see one, I'm sent back to that awful morning, reliving every painful detail.
• The emergency room at our local hospital. Same as above. I never want to step foot in that area of the hospital again. Just being near that section of the hospital is enough to send my hear racing. This is, for me, especially hard to avoid since I work very closely with the hospital for work. 
• The songs we played at her funeral, Hallelujah, Heaven is the Face and When We All Get to Heaven bring me to my knees. They are all perfectly beautiful but as soon as I hear those first chords start to play, I'm sitting in the font pew at Avery's funeral all over again. The first two songs I easily avoid by turning the radio but the hymn is hard to avoid when it seems to be sung at church frequently. Every time I try so hard to make it through and every time I fail. 

Day 12:  Article. 

I love Still Standing Magazine. There are so many articles I've read that have really resonated with me. If I need to be lifted up, there's an article. If I need reassurance that I'm not crazy for the way I feel, there's an article. 

One thing I've struggled with is guilt after Avery. SIDS (and any loss) will do that to you and the guilt is amplified. The what ifs, and why's  plague me. It's hard to accept that your child is gone for no real reason and yet you did nothing wrong. We are use to cause and effect. I know the effect, but what was the real cause? Did I miss a recommended precaution? Should I have checked on her 5, 10, 15 minutes earlier? The questions running through my head are endless. It's taken me the last year to stop beating myself up and to accept I did nothing wrong and this was out of my control. It's not my fault, I'm not a bad mom and I didn't do anything to deserve this. 

This article helped me allow myself to let go of the guilt and accept that I am not a failure as a mother. I am a damn good mother and until my dying day I will be the best mother to Avery that I can be. Read the article here:

Day 14: Family

"The people who are there for you on your darkest nights are the ones worth spending your brightest days with."  

Our family is more than just those related to us through blood. To us, our family are those who have been there for us the last 16 months. They've been with us through our deepest darkest times, through our healing, through our anger, through our rejoicing, through us despair. Our family has proven their love and support for us over and over again. I am so thankful for each and every person who has made it a point to be a part of this journey with us.  It's not an easy journey to be on, some have gone astray along the way, but those most important to us are here, by our sides every day helping us through. 

Day 15: Wave of Light

We spent the evening with other loss parents at a beachside Wave of light ceremony. The event, hosted by Elizabeth Ministries of Melbourne, included luminaries and candles on lit on the beach. This is the second year we attended with two great friends.  We attended last year but when it came time to share, I couldn't. This year, I was able to share a little bit of our story and it felt amazing to share Avery with this group. It was a beautiful evening. 

It was also amazing to come home to see so many friends and family had also lit their candles in Avery's memory that night. 

Day 16: Seasons

Summer will always remind me of Avery. She was born and went to Heaven during the summer. The Florida afternoon thunderstorms started the day she was born and it stormed every afternoon for the 6 days she was here with us and for the months to follow her passing. The beautiful sunny mornings and afternoon storms of summer will always bring me back to Avery's summer, the summer of 2012. 

Day 17: Time

Early on, time was my enemy. I felt I was caught up in a strong current being pulled further and further out to sea, losing contact with the shore. 
Every day past June 12th I felt I was being pushed further and further away from Avery. I felt like I was losing more and more of her. But now, as time continues pushing us further from the day we were forced to say our unexpected goodbyes, I no longer look at time as an enemy. Time is no longer the villain because no matter how many days it's been since I've held and loved on Avery in person, she is always here with me. And as the days add up since she was last here, the days tick away toward the day we get to be together again. Everyday that countdown clock gets closer to our sweet reunion but until that day, I carry her heart in mine. 

Day 18: Release

Over the past 16 months I've struggled with the guilt over losing Avery. Deep down, I know that it's not my fault. We did nothing wrong and I know that, but as a mom, I feel I should have been able to keep her safe. The "what-ifs" make the guilt worse...what if I would have woken up a little bit earlier, what if I would have purchased one of those monitors, what if I would have just kept holding her that night instead of laying her down, what if I missed something...the list goes on and on. SIDS is awful. There are no answers, there is no closure. I am working to let go of these things. It's not my fault and no matter how many scenarios I play in my head, none will bring her back. It's getting easier to let these thoughts go but some days they still plague my thoughts. 

Day 19: Support

I am beyond blessed for the support I have in my life. My husband is my rock and our friends and family hold us together when we feel like crumbling. However, over the last 16 months I have made so many connections with others who are walking in my same shoes. Nobody else can really get it like these women (and men) do. They've been walking this same path, the understand these feelings like nobody else can. I've made some beautiful new friends along this journey through our babies.  Whether it be from blogging, online support groups, Facebook or local support groups, this network of support is amazing.

Last year a good friend shared this poem with me the same day it was read at an Oct 15th event we went to together. It gives me goosebumps every time I hear it because it is so true. We all hate these shoes but we will forever be stuck in them. 

Day 20: Hope

My hope for the future is that more awareness would be brought to pregnancy and infant loss so that the taboo would be broken and support be prevalent. 

My hope for the future is that there would be a cause found with SIDS and a cure. There has to be something causing this nightmare. No parent should ever face this cruel unknown. 

My hope is that technology and medicine would advance to help prevent miscarriage and stillbirth. 

My hope is that no parent would ever have to suffer this heartache. 

My hope is that Avery's Light will continue to shine and bring support to those in need. 

My hope is that this rainbow I'm carrying helps fill our arms, our quiet house and brings us true happiness. 

My hope is that one day, she will not go through the devastation we've experienced. 

My hope is that I continue to live my life in a way that makes Avery proud. 

CYG Days 2-10

was bad a posting my daily Capture Your Grief photos to the blog. Better late than never, right?

Day 2: Identity

Avery Diane Hanson, no name will ever be as perfect. We knew if we ever had a daughter, her name would be Avery. There is no significant meaning to it, other than on vacation 3 years before she was born we had a waitress names Avery. We both loved the name and it stuck. There was no second guessing her name when we discovered our baby was a girl. 

Avery's middle name is after my grandmother. She was the rock of our family and I grew up spending many nights at her house. She is forever missed and forever loved. 

Like her name, Avery was perfect and brought so much happiness to our lives before SIDS took her from is 6 days after she was born. 

❤️Avery Diane Hanson❤️ June 6-12, 2012❤️

Day 3: Myths

Time does not heal all wounds. It simply puts more space between losing Avery and today. Time does not heal, my wounds will always be present. Time simply helps us learn to live with our wounds. Some days they are more raw than others. 

Day 4: Legacy

Since Avery's passing we've created a small non-profit, Avery's Light (, to help other families experiencing pregnancy and infant loss. Since Avery's passing there have been 2 Memorial Golf Tournaments in which proceeds went to build Avery's Place, a playground for our church. We've also used proceeds to sponsor the building of 100 bears through Molly Bears and will be using the remaining proceeds to help local families. And we have many friends and family who frequently perform random acts of kindness in her memory. 

Even though she is no longer here physically, Avery's Light continues to shine daily and she is touching so many lives. I am so proud of the legacy my six day old daughter has left behind. 

Day 5: Memory

I am so thankful to have many great memories through my 9 months of pregnancy and 6 days of Avery's life. While it will never be enough, I am thankful for those memories I do have. We had 9 months and 6 perfect days with her. One of my fondest memories was on June 10, 2012. She was 4 days old and it was the first time I was alone with her at home (even if only for an hour). My husband ran to the grocery store and I stayed home. I spent that time just mommy and daughter. We cuddled in her room, I read "I'll Love You Forever" to her and she in return blessed me with some of my favorite memories of her. She was smiling and making silly faces while we sat and rocked. It was a great afternoon, one that stays in my heart and really helps me to remember that I still am a mom. 

Day 6: Ritual

Every week without fail since June 16, 2012, my husband and I always visit Avery at the cemetery on Sunday after church. We bring fresh flowers, clean up her area and spend some time there with her. Even though we know she is not there, she's in Heaven, it's still our place to feel close to her. This is our special time as a family, our family ritual that brings us peace and comfort each week. 

Day 7: Where I am now...

1 year, 3 months and 25 days of missing her later and daily my grief shifts and surprises me. It is constantly changing and evolving in new ways as the days continue pushing us forward. 

Today I am 24 weeks, 3 days pregnant with our rainbow, Avery's little sister. This has changed my grief. In some ways it has lightened the load; it's given me hope. Hope that very recently seemed so far away. Hope that I'll be able to raise and parent this child and get to actively mother her here and not only in memory. It has given me something to look forward to, something positive to fill my thoughts. But it also has made aspects of my grief heavier. I'm afraid Avery will be forgotten by others, I fear I will disappoint her, I worry that I won't be able to mother a daughter in Heaven and one here on Earth. She's been my life and now I must figure out how to balance her and her sister. 

This photo represents my two girls. Avery through my bracelets I always wear in her honor and Harper growing daily inside of me. This is me now. 

Day 8: Color

When we found out we were having a girl we were thrilled. Avery was the first girl on my husbands side full of boys. We knew pink would be her color. Her bedroom had pink walls and matching accessories, her closet is full of pink. 

Since losing her, pink has taken on a whole new meaning. Pink represents Avery in our family, even to the youngest members who have pink matchbox cars that they call their "Avery cars." Whenever we do something to recognize or honor her, pink is the color of choice. Pink will always be Avery's. 

Day 9: Music

There are so many songs that have hit me in different ways since losing Avery. Some, like the ones we played at her funeral, crush me. I cannot listen to them. Others bring me hope and are a reminder that this pain is not eternal. One of my recent favorites is Carrie Underwood's "See You Again." I will see Avery again and I am so glad I can live in this hope. Without that I don't know how I would get through each day without her. 

The photo is of a necklace that has hung in my car over the last year. Like the song, this necklace means a lot to me and has brought me hope and peace. Read the story behind the necklace here: 

Day 10: Belief

My faith brings me hope and peace and helps get me through even the darkest of days. 

I believe God sent his son, Jesus, to die for us and forgive us of our sins. I believe that one day, when my time comes I'll be in Heaven. I believe Avery is safe in Heaven, surrounded by Jesus and our family members who have gone on before us and I have faith that one day we will be together again. This faith brings me peace and hope for the future, this gets me through my worst days, this reminds me that her death was not our final chapter and I look forward to that day when we are together again. 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Fear- I can't do this again

As I lay here unable to fall asleep thanks to the time change and my husbands snoring (sorry baby) my mind keeps drifting to January and how I am going to be able to cope with having Harper at home without losing my mind. Tomorrow we have 2 OB appointments and a meeting with a new pediatrician. Up until this point in my pregnancy, I've been worried about losing her before birth. I haven't really let my mind go to bringing her home. But tonight I cannot help but worry about losing her once we are home. I cannot go through that again and tonight I cannot help but remember back to that awful day. 

I'm not so much focusing on the beginning of the nightmare but more on how it felt once we walked out of the hospital without Avery. All I had to show for her was the pajamas she was wearing and the blanket she was swaddled in. I remember vividly the car ride to where we decided to stay. I remember just clinging to her things and staring blankly out the window thinking that this must have somehow been an awful dream. I remember my husband and I getting to our friends house where we stayed the first few days and just laying in the guest room holding each other, holding her stuff and crying until we somehow fell asleep. I remember feeling so incredibly empty. Not knowing how I was going to survive. I remember visitors coming to see us but feeling like a zombie talking to the.  I was there physically but mentally I was nowhere to be found.  

The next day we were forced to plan a funeral for our daughter. The car ride to the funeral home was so quiet. Neither of us knew what to say. I remember losing it as we pulled in. Every part of my body screaming to run far, far away. I remember sitting there staring at the cars driving by thinking once again this must be some horrible dream. I remember staring at the only coffin choice we had and once again falling to a million pieces. 

Those first few weeks were so incredibly empty. I stayed in bed and tried to sleep as much as I could so I didn't have to face the sounds of my ridiculously quiet house.  If it wasn't for Gods love, I don't know how I would have survived those early days. And as I may here thinking back to those darkest days I am almost paralyzed with fear that I will have to go through all of it again. I've survived once but twice is more than I think anyone can bear. I'm so scared. I can't have two daughters in Heaven. I can't go through it again. 

I pray constantly that this time will be different. I pray that we  get to see Avery before Harper does. I pray for strength to get through these next few months leading up to her birth and then for peace she we bring her home. Prayer is all I have. And it should be enough but sometimes, many times I am still just so scared. 

Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Holidays are Upon Us

It's yet again one of those days where I can't help but dwell on the fact that today is NOT the way it should be. Avery should be here celebrating Halloween with her cousins. She should be trick or treating for the second time but for the first time as a toddler. Stumbling from house to house. I imagine what she may be dressed as this year. A princess? A cute ladybug? I don't even know what costumes are out there for a child her age. 

I've avoided the Halloween section of Target. Tonight, we've turned off our porch lights avoiding knocks on our door from adorable children wanting candy. It's not because I'm a grouch. I just don't want to have a break down in front of an innocent family who shows up with a little brunette girl Avery's age. What a mess I would be crying as I have out candy. Heart breaking as I watch the family walk down the drive. Happy. Doing what I want to be doing tonight. 

It's sinking in tonight that the holiday season is now upon us. Pumpkins will turn to turkeys and then we will be surrounded by carols, lights, presents and trees. The most wonderful time of the year has lists it's charm and yet again I am dreading the holidays. They are stark reminders of what is missing. Of what I thought these days would be like and how they have actually turned out. Last year, we took trips away for the holidays. It was exactly what we needed. As these days get closer, I wish we could do that again. It's not that I don't want to be with our families, I do. It's just so hard to enjoy these days with my little family missing such a large piece. 

Like each day since Avery passed, I know we will get through these days.   Somehow, someway we always do. 

Happy Halloween little girl. We miss you so much. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day: Oct 15th

2 years ago today my life was forever changed when 2 pink lines appeared on that stick. I took the test not expecting a positive result. They hadn't been in the past and we had just started trying. But once I saw those lines I could not stop smiling. I was a mom. We would have a family in a few short months. Life was great. I waited to tell Eddy. I showered and got myself ready for the day. The poor guy was blind-sighted. He didn't even know I was testing so when he walked in the house from washing the car and I sprung the news on him, I though he was going to faint. A few minutes later, a glass of water and a seat on the couch and he was excited too. October 15, 2011 was a day that will forever be a memory cherish. Our lives were forever changed that day, little did we know how changed our lives would really be just a few months later. 

Meanwhile, that same day, while we were celebrating, hundreds of thousands of families worldwide were spending a the day remembering their babies gone too soon. Little did we know 2 years ago that 1:4 women will lose their child through pregnancy or infant loss. Little did we know that after 9 months of an uneventful pregnancy we would have only 6 short days with Avery. Little did we know how we would spend every October 15th from that day forward. Oh how quickly life changes. 

This is the second year we will be remembering Avery by lighting a candle at 7pm. This is the second year I wish today didn't exist. This is the second year I will help break the silence surrounding pregnancy and infant loss. We do it to remember Avery, to remember every baby gone much to soon and to bring light to pregnancy and infant loss awareness. 

1:4 is too many to simply be forgotten. 1:4 is me. 1:4 represents women from all walks of life. 1:4 could be your neighbor, your coworker, the lady next to you at the grocery store. Just think about how many women that really is. It's astounding that more attention is not brought to this topic. 

You can help break the silence!  Join us and so many families as we light candles tonight at 7pm to remember our babies. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

CYG 2013- Day 1 Sunrise

Day 1: Sunrise. Titusville, Florida, 7:30 am. 

As I stood in my backyard snapping pictures of the sky, I was greeted by the sounds of birds, singing their morning song. This year, I'm reminded of the hope the sunrise brings to me. A fresh start, another chance to do something good. 

As I stood outside I reflected on how much has changed over the last year. Last year during the Capture Your Grief Project, my wounds were still fresh and raw. I was only 4 months out from losing Avery. Days were still very dark and light had to be searched for. Reflecting back, I pulled up my blog post from this day last year. And as much as things have changed, they also remain the same. 

Last year on my blog I wrote this about today, "Today’s sunrise gave me hope.  Hope that even though today is another day without her, I am still here and she will always be with me in my heart and in my mind.  Every morning, is a new day and a new day for me to remember and honor her." 

A year later, there are still dark days, but the light can be found without searching too hard. We have hope in a new baby come January and we continue to spread Avery's light and love to those around us. Remembering her and honoring her is always on the forefront of my mind. She is and will always be with me every sunrise and sunset until one day we are together again. 

Friday, September 27, 2013

Pregnancy After Infant Loss

I'm struggling to be truly happy and really enjoy being pregnant again. I though once I got past the first trimester I could breathe a little easier. And then the first trimester went by and my anxiety didn't change much. Then I thought once I can feel her kick I will be relieved. Those kicks started at about 18 weeks and are continuously getting stronger yet I lose plenty of sleep worrying. Part of me is just waiting for the worse thing to happen, part of me is just waiting for this baby to be taken from me too. 

January is fast approaching and yet I am really struggling to be truly over the moon excited. Please don't take that wrong. I love this baby, I've prayed endlessly for this baby and I die for this baby but pregnancy after loss is not all sunshine and puppies like it was my first go round. With Avery I was carefree. I expected to be raising a child at the end of my 40weeks and beyond. Now I know there is no guarantee and that scares me.  Human nature wants us to be in control and know that no matter what I do, it's out of my hands. That's hard to accept. That's hard to be ok with. 

People say that the first six days will be the hardest for me and while that is true, SIDS can strike at anytime in the first year. Avery fell outside the norm of the greatest chances of it happening. So even when we pass the six day mark, I know it can still happen at any point. 

I'm trying to enjoy this pregnancy. I'm trying to take a step back and breathe. I'm trying to soak in every kick, every jab, every flip. I'm trying to get excited over decorating and shopping. I'm trying to picture what life will be like this time next year with a 9 month old. But most days the fear wins. Most days I'm just waiting for the other shoe to drop. I'm just waiting for the bad to happen. And I hate that. I want my ignorant, blissful self back. The one who wasn't acutely aware of the most common genetic disorders, the one who didn't know how often babies are born still, the one who thought taking all the recommended SIDS precautions would keep her safe.  I wish I didn't know these things and at the same time now that I do, I wish more people truly comprehended how often these tragedies happen. 

My goal as this pregnancy progresses and I get closer and closer to my due date is to really take it all in and enjoy the time I do have. I don't want to let the fear keep me from seeing the miracle that is happening. I don't want to let it run my life or take away from this little one growing inside of me. I should know all too well time is short. I don't know how long I have to hold this baby. I need to enjoy what I do have. 

Pregnancy after loss is hard, no it's extremely hard. I'm not sure others who haven't been there really get that.  Honestly, unless you've personally been there, you can't. Lightning can and does strike twice. We have no guarantees. If you know someone who is pregnant after a loss, please know, this pregnancy will be like no other you or they have experienced. Excitement is frequently overshadowed by worry.  As much as we all hope and pray the cards are different this time around, it cannot be guaranteed. 

Pregnancy after loss is different in every possible way. Please try to understand this, please think about the words you speak, think about what the parents want, think about the fear we live in daily, the scenarios that play on repeat in our heads. We may want more time as just us alone. We may not want grand showers. We may want to shelter this baby from everything. We may not even really know what we want until the day comes. Whatever is it we want, let us be. Don't judge. Don't expect it to be like what everyone else thinks is right. Nothing about our situation is normal and there is no right and wrong way to have a second baby while your other watches from Heaven. 

This miracle isn't the turning point in our story where everything becomes magically all better. And we go on to being our old selves. This pregnancy is part of our loss journey. It ties Avery and this baby together as siblings forever and adds a new dynamic to our grief, making our road a little more bumpy but while also bringing a little light to help us navigate our way. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

The 2nd Annual Avery Diane Hanson Memorial Golf Tournament

The Second Annual Avery Diane Hanson Memorial Golf Tournament went amazing. We raised just over $9,000 for Avery's Light and Molly Bears. It was once again such a very humbling experience. The outpouring of love, even 15 months later, is much more than expected. It warms my heart and brings tears to my eyes that it's all because of my Avery. 

We've spent countless hours over the last three months planning the tournament. It's such a bittersweet experience. On one hand I am full of pride, how many people can say their 6 day old daughter has impacted so many? But on the other hand, I dreaded planning it, who really wants to plan events in memory of their infant daughter?  All in all however I've come away from the experience moved. We will help full the arms of over 100 families with bears from Molly Bears and still have funds to help those in our community. 

Over 25 volunteers and 100 golfers made the day as successful as it was. We had the support of over 50 local businesses. Everyone who was part of this event committed to helping the community of bereaved parents, everyone of those people helping break the silence. 

I will forever be grateful for each and every person who took time out of their busy schedules to think about Avery and all of the other babies gone much too soon. I truly cannot put into words how touched I am by the success of the event. We will continue to make this an annual event and continue to speak out for Avery and her friends in Heaven. 

Although the void she left will never be filled, I am so thankful to be doing good in her name and to continue to have others do the same. 

Much love to everyone who keeps the light Avery brought into this world shining for all to see. 

"Sometimes our light goes out but is blown into flame by another human being. Each of us owes deepest thanks to those who have rekindled this light."

~Albert Schweitzer

Avery sending us her love during the tournament. This A appeared in the sky that day and could be seen all over the golf course. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

15 Months

15 Months ago we were spending the evening with family and Avery. Things were going so well at home and we were really getting into a routine of having an infant at home. 15 months ago, life was perfect.  I went to bed that night expecting to spend my first day the next day home alone with Avery. I was nervous but ready to really be a Mom. 

But I never got that far. I never got to spend the day alone with her. And 15 months later, it still kills me that one day everything can be perfect and within a few hours everything can just fall apart. Dreams can be lost, hearts broken and futures lost. 

15 months later and I sit here putting the finishing touches on our 2nd Annual Avery Diane Hanson Memorial Golf Tournament to benefit Avery's Light ( and Molly Bears (  And while keeping Avery's memory alive and helping others who are walking this same path is very rewarding, it doesn't compare to holding her in my arms. I will now always work to help others but it will never be enough to fill the void. 

I never expected to be doing this 15 months ago. I never expected to be planning a second memorial fundraising event. I didn't expect to have empty arms. 

Time continues to pass and while I am better at functioning like a 'normal' person, the pain is still very real and cuts deep. Time does not heal wounds, it just helps you get better at managing the bleeding. 

I miss her today and every day just as I did 15 months ago and just as I will 15 years from now. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

That sums up my day. 

My job comes with a lot of stress. It isn't easy but most days, I love what I do and most days I feel that I am good at what I do. I work with an amazing group of people who let me talk about Avery, who sent flowers and cards when she passed, who came to her service to support me, who have gone above and beyond to support me as I came back to work two months after burying my daughter. I thank God for allowing me to work with amazing people. 

But my job has its negative side. I occasionally have to discipline employees and on rare occasions terminate employment. It's never easy for me but its part of the job. There are rules to follow and when broken there are consequences to be had. Regardless, terminating someone is never easy or something I take lightly. 

That however is only one small part of my job. Most days the stress rolls off my shoulders and I feel like I am there to help our employees. I try my best to have open lines of communication, to be compassionate and to really care. 

After losing Avery, I will admit, hearing people's problems irritated me. Honestly, nothing at work is that bad in comparison to losing your child. But I've also worked really hard to know that to these people, whatever their problem of the week is, it's significant to them and because of that its my job to listen and help them. I've worked hard not to be cold or calloused. And I take my time in decision making to make sure my emotions don't make me biased. And I truly feel I've done well at this. 

This background all leads up to my terrible, no good, very bad day. Last week we terminated an employee for a policy violation. Of course the employee was upset and I explained the situation, the violation and the consequence to her. I was very matter of fact regarding the situation. The employee then called back with questions. I called her this morning to answer her questions and was forced to take a firm tone with her after she continued to argue with me over policy. This is where the day went down hill at lightning speed...

She then says to me that since Icame back to work (implying since Avery died) I've been mean, cold hearted and have no heart or compassion. She also stated I'm not a good person and doesn't understand how I could be that way considering (again alluding to Avery).  

Let me just tell you, and I apologize for the language, but I lost my shit. How dare anyone judge my character or use my daughters death to tell me I am not a good person. How dare anyone throw Avery in my face. How dare she tell me I have no heart. 

This has probably been the most upsetting, most blatant slap in the face I've experienced in the last almost 15 months. I couldn't control my emotions, I called my husband hysterical. I was so hurt, so shocked, so betrayed by these words. I sobbed  alone in my office for the better part of an hour trying to get my, cold, heartless, mean self composed. 

One person single handedly ruined my day. 

I'm still very hurt by these words. Yes, I understand she is upset because she's without a job but rules have consequences and it does not give anyone the right to be so nasty. 

These words really had me rethinking my career path today.  Maybe I'm not cut out for this job anymore. This isn't the first time someone has said something mean to me. I've been called all kind of names in these situations in the past.  But this is the first time I really felt like my whole being was being judged. I couldn't shake it for the longest time. Maybe I just can't do this line of work anymore. Maybe I need a job that's all flowers and rainbows. But does that even exist?

I'm trying to let this go but I'm struggling. People just never cease to amaze me. I just need to focus on the amazing majority of people in my work life and personal life who support me through my struggles and my grief. 

I just needed to get that out.