Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Rick's Legacy

Authentic, genuine, honest, grace-filled, loving. There are so many words we could use to describe Rick Meadows. To me, these are his testament, his true witness. Over the years, he has laughed, told stories, hugged, encouraged and cried some of the most honest tears with my family.

His smile is my earliest memory as a little girl new to CUMC. His hugs got me through my teenage years and he was one of the few people who accepted our changing family and loved us through the transition without judgement. With time we became friends and I enjoyed all of his stories. Some of my favorites were in his office as Evan and I prepared to be married. I am so thankful to have our ceremony on video, the glint in his eye as he read our letters has never been forgotten.

But perhaps the greatest love he shared with me was that week in September of 2011. The prayer on speakerphone at the hospital was exactly what we as a family needed. His tear stained smile as he met us at the door of Moore's. The thoughtfulness that went into sharing the basin that Mary Elizabeth had been baptized with and the words that have carried me each and every day. The act of baptizing Aidan alone. The hugs and tears as we prepared for the services. The fact that he stood up next to that tiny casket with such grace and composure, says everything about him. The hugs that have since followed and the "check ins" as he called them.

Because of him, I understand what it means to be truly authentic. I have witnessed a true disciple at work. I have felt immense love and care. I have laughed so hard, I have been given the freedom to cry without judgement, and I have been loved because he chose to love me.

He is one of the true great men in my life and my world just seems a little more empty without him.

He also gave me hope. And I smile because I know without a doubt he is telling A stories tonight. Stories of battles in the civil war, stories of humor, stories of his momma as a little girl.

I will miss the hugs, I will miss the laughter, I will miss him updating me on his girls, but most of all, I will miss his love.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

This day

It is the Sunday before Labor Day. This day is the reason I feel such a pull to be surrounded by those I love. Why I hate to miss church. Why I light a candle at church and sing to Gods glory. 

Two years ago, on the Sunday before Labor Day, I was given a precious gift. Aidan was born. I became a momma. 

Last year we chose to hop on a boat and just be. We turned off the phones, left the computer behind, literally left the country. We celebrated and remembered. We took the time to ourselves and allowed ourselves to heal. 

This year, we are staying home. I have tried to think of ways to celebrate and honor Aidan this week. I have some special things planned. While I know they will never truly live up to him, they are my way of saying thank you and passing on his goodness. 

This week is tough yet a favorite. It is my chance to revel in the gift of my son. It is my week to share of God's love and mercy. 

Today was spent surrounded by family. Celebrating the new life that has been born in the past year. I couldn't help but think of Aidan and how similar the days were. Aidan's Sunday was a day of awe and being surrounded in Grace. I don't see that day as goodbye. That day was everyone's hello to the tiny boy who would leave the biggest legacy. 

This week the tears will fall and I will miss him with all of the rawness, but I will also smile and hopefully honor him in a way he deserves. 

As I sit here watching Kellan sleep, I can feel the wholeness of Aidan. I know that Kellan is so much of his brother. Our connection to heaven. Our gift from above. 

It's not his birth date, but it is his Sunday. His beautiful perfect Sunday. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

A legacy

I wanted to take a step back and pay tribute to a woman who helped the loss community in central Arkansas immensely.

When I think of nurses on labor and delivery, I immediately think of the happy deliveries. They are the ones who push a momma through labor and then turn around and hand that beautiful baby to the families. They are a face of comfort and joy.

Until, you aren’t that typical family. Your baby has died/is dying/will die. You are in a state of shock. You are numb. You are terrified. And then you are expected to labor and deliver all of your hopes and dreams, knowing you won’t get to see them come true. It is here that you hope and pray that you have a nurse like Treasure Grier; someone who even in the darkest moments is a ray of light, a woman of unending grace and infinite compassion.  Someone who will look at your baby and be able to show you their beauty and make sure you have every memory possible. A nurse who wouldn’t shy away from your room because she is uncomfortable, rather she embraces your entire family and loves your baby without limit.

Treasure began paving the way for grieving families long before most others. She recognized the need and wanted to make sure that these families were able to honor their children. She stood at the front of the pack and made sure no baby was left behind. Treasure became the coordinator for the bereavement program at her local hospital, Love Lives. Bracelets, bears, hats, clothes, layettes, books and pictures all came to be because of her dedication: all precious memories that countless families have because of her heart. She was more than a nurse. She became a part of your family.

I didn’t deliver Aidan at Treasure’s hospital, but as time crept by she still filled that role for me. All of my questions, all of my doubts, all of my fears….she was able to give me some answers. She was able to give me the knowledge I needed to begin to heal.

She is one of the first people who believed I could carry a baby to term. She promised to walk the journey with me and be my nurse. She started the hope that grew to be Kellan.

When I think of her, I think of someone who radiated joy. I see her in her scrubs, I hear her laugh, I feel her tears when she talked of the babies, I soak in the love she had for her own family. She saw the best in everyone and was determined to make us all be that person and nothing short.

Today is August 6th. One year ago today, Treasure ran into the arms of all of those babies she cared for. In her earthly life, she loved our babies and carried their families through the darkness. For the past year, we have loved her and carried her legacy on. Each and every life she touched has been changed.

 We are group of nurses, moms, doctors, friends, family and we are all connected by a woman. She left us much too soon, but we are all determined to finish the task. We will break the taboo. We are shattering the silence. With each and every day we walk in her footsteps. Every step is a promise to remember, honor and treasure these lives.

Friday, July 12, 2013


There are moments in life that define you. In the past two years, I've had A LOT of them. I've learned the true meaning of compassion and grace. I've witnessed pure strength in the face of overwhelming sadness. I've faced fear head on and relied completely on my faith. I promised that I would keep Aidan's  legacy alive and ensure that he made a difference to the world. 

As I sat in a hospital room tonight, I was taken back to our own room and the time I spent with Aidan. I was able to share our journey amd hopefully ease some of that burden for another family. The most important lesson I learned from our way to short of time with Aidan was to make every moment count. Memories are all that I have and I am so thankful that I made them. Now I want to share that knowledge and encourage others to do the same. We are not guaranteed tomorrow so why waste today? 

I have also learned to trust in my faith and to lean into God when there just are no words. And truly when you are looking into the eyes of grieving parents there are no words. You must simply draw your strength from him and allow him to lead. If you can do that then You are truly the hands and feet of God. 

I live, truly live, each day for Kellan. I'm no longer just trying to survive the waves of grief. I can finally draw a breath and feel it filling my lungs. I can find the joy in purely being alive. I breath, eat, pray, and truly enjoy each day. All for Kellan. 

But in moments like tonight, these I do for Aidan. I draw my strength and my courage from all of his 14.6 ounces. His perfection allows me to see these families and their babies and see only love. Not death. His life inspires me. 

My heart breaks every time I hear of another baby passing. Prayers are lifted. If I can, I reach out. 

And for the first time, tonight I raced home to be with Kellan. My miracle. My joy. 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Thankful for What?

In the time "before Aidan" I like to think that I was grateful. However, I know without a shadow of a doubt that I wasn't nearly thankful enough. I didn't appreciate the moments in the present and was usually hoping that the current good times could happen again. I was always planning for the next time instead of enjoying the moment I was being given. I couldn't live in the present because I was already looking ahead.
Of course, time stopped when I went into labor. Suddenly I couldn't look forward. All I wanted was for time to stop or even go backwards. I spent those hours cherishing every kick. Memorizing every heartbeat. Thankful that so many took the time to come visit.
Then, when the unthinkable happened, I needed time to freeze forever. I have never been more thankful for patience, tears, words, silence and the compassion to allow us to love Aidan as much as we needed. For the first time I was truly present in the moment. Moments that will have to last me a lifetime. Moments that are some of the most precious.
In the almost two years since then, I have learned more everyday to appreciate each smile, laugh, tear, hug and snuggle. I have loved with all of my heart and then some.
Since Kellan's arrival, I find myself losing time. I lose minutes, hours and occasionally days. Not because of the exhaustion of a newborn, but because I am so immersed in these moments. Moments I wasn't sure I would get to have. Moments that I often think of Aidan and know that I am getting a second chance.
The big moments are fantastic. The moments that I have thought about and dreamed about are even better in this reality.
But, the small moments are the ones that I am really soaking in. The snuggles, the coos, the early morning feedings, each new development....all of them are so precious. The past 10 weeks have flown by. My heart has been so full. I've even found myself cherishing the hard moments. The ones where I miss Aidan so much I think I might just break again.
So yes, I am that mom.
I laugh at his cries because they are the most beautiful sound.
I laugh at his pout because it looks like his Daddy.
I cheer when he poops because it is one more diaper I get to change.
I smile through the bittersweet moments because they are moments that belong to both of my boys.
I take the time to pause and be thankful when I get to fold up a stroller and put it in the trunk for another use.
I had to stop writing this and go rock a fussy baby to sleep and it was quite possibly the highlight of a pretty terrific day.
I find healing in these moments. And for that I am so thankful.

Monday, June 10, 2013

You came to my rescue

Almost two years ago, I stood in a room and had my child baptized. I held him while being surrounded by Evan and our parents. The pastor who had married us was there reciting words that I cherish. Honoring one of the few wishes I could control. We promised to honor and cherish. We thanked God for this life and vowed to make sure it served a bigger purpose. We remembered our own baptisms and renewed our faith. It was a holy moment. A moment that took place in the back room of a funeral home. A moment that has allowed me to maintain a grasp on sanity on the worst of days. Because the moments and days that followed were the hardest I have ever known. 

No parent should transition from a baptism to sitting at a mahogany table discussing arrangements and browsing burial options. The moments in that room are the ones that wake me up at night. They are the ones that bring me to my knees. They were the beginning of the end of my time with Aidan while here on earth. 

This past Sunday I got to do it again. I got to hold my child and present him for baptism. I got to do it in front of all of our family and friends. I got to smile and soak up every moment of Kellan's perfect day. We made the same promises. We said the same words. I felt the same holiness. 

Every moment we get to experience with Kellan is tinged with a bitter sweetness of those we miss with Aidan. But this moment, this moment I got with both. 

One of my favorite songs is "You came to my rescue". It touches the deepest parts of my heart. I sing it often. We sang it Sunday. 

Truly, I know that these boys are my rescue. They are my reason for living. They are Gods glory. I'm just lucky enough to carry the title of momma to them. 

Falling on my knees in worship
Giving all I am to seek your face
Lord all I am is yours

My whole life
I place in your hands
God of Mercy
Humbled I bow down
In your presence at your throne

I called you answered
And you came to my rescue and I
I wanna be where you are

In my life be lifted high
In our world be lifted high
In our love be lifted high

Thursday, June 6, 2013


Life in this new normal is always tinged with a sense of anxiety. An extra dose of fear. What if something else happens? What if I have to say goodbye to someone else that I love so dearly?

Of course, during Kellan's pregnancy and delivery the fear was amped up. There is also a sense of expectation (for lack of a better word). I spent so long preparing myself for the worst case scenario just because I live with the reality that it does actually happen. I refused to be caught off guard again.

That first week of Kellan's life I was convinced something was going to happen. With every cry, grunt, nurses check, Dr's appointment, car ride, hour of sleep I would attempt to prepare my heart for what was to come. Attempt being the key word there. As much as I thought I could "prepare" myself for another battle, I was desperate to not fail him. I so badly need him to thrive and fill my arms.

He will be six weeks on Saturday and I had finally gotten to the point where I was trusting my gut. I was starting to believe that I just might get the upper hand on the anxiety, when the words heart murmur were uttered. Out of nowhere. I was totally unprepared. And it shook me to the core.

Some people will question why a murmur would seem so scary. People have murmurs all the time and are totally fine. But, in my world I can no longer live by that rationale. I am all too aware that the usual or status quo isn't a guarantee. Bad things happen. For no reason. Without warning.

Today, Kellan and I traveled to Arkansas Children's Hospital to the heart clinic. Our pediatrician referred us, with our history she wanted to have him seen. We were quite the scene. A terrified mom pretending to have it all together while she pulls her month old miracle around this hospital in a wagon. This little boy and I are quite the pair!

Thankfully, after lab work, vitals, ekg and two wonderful doctors he was deemed perfect. Perfectly healthy with little to no murmur. No follow ups, no reasons to worry. I was allowed to breath and walk out relieved. 

I will never be able to take these moments for granted. Another gift from Aidan and his legacy. 

Hearing that he is perfectly healthy and congratulations are truly gifts. 

On this side of grief every single thing is different. Literally. I'm learning it over and over again. 

Tonight I am just flat out thankful. Thankful for Kellan's health. Thankful that I am able to be thankful because of Aidan. Thankful that I can see the joy in this beautiful mess. 
Design by Small Bird Studios | All Rights Reserved