Saturday, December 31, 2011

A beautiful Mess

As we sit here tonight, I keep thinking about all that 2011 meant. All it brought to us. All it took away.

2011 was the year that changed everything.

It started with a diagnosis and finally answers to years of pain. We watched our nephews turn one. We learned we would welcome a child to our own home. It brought one of the best summers of my life.

It also took a lot away. I said goodbye to a woman I have known my entire life. A woman who loved me and who loved my Mom like no other. I still have moments where I forget she is gone.

It was the year of Aidan. The year in which he existed. The year I became a mom. The year that taught me the true meaning of unconditional love. The year that taught me the truth of a broken heart.

There were other relationships forged and relationships severed in this roller coaster year. With Aidan's birth and subsequent passing, a shift occurred.

The first shift included people who stood by us. The people who have stepped up to the plate and have done the hard stuff. The things you never want to do with someone you love, but because you love them, you do it. These people are the ones who talk about Aidan, who share what Aidan has done in their lives. Some of these people are family and others are people who quickly became family. These are the people who don't expect it to just be ok or for us to get over it. The people who acknowledge we lost a child and have decided to love us through.

The second shift happened when this new community of people walked in. Our fellow families of this cruel twist of fate. Our babyloss family. The group you never want to belong to, but once thrust into this world you are beyond thankful to have them. They are the hope we can survive. The light in the darkness. The ones who allow us to be real and in the moment.

The third shift was one I didn't see coming. I wasn't prepared. It's the people who for whatever reason walked away. Whether it was a lack of words, fear or just an easy out they slowly started backing away and then turned completely around and walked away. It's this group I try to not focus on. Because it was unbearably hard to know I was going to have to live without Aidan. It's just too much to think someone I loved was leaving willingly.

So, you see. 2011 was a lot of things. It's 365 days, encompassed a lot. It changed my life. It changed my faith (one of the blessings of this year). Because it is the year of Aidan, it changed the world.

Our precious, perfect and tiny child. All 14.6 ounces and 10 5/8 inches of him, changed the world. Without ever taking a breath.

And it is because of him. That I will forever cherish this year. It wasn't what I imagined. It was hard. It was trying. It was a beautiful mess.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Aidan Thomas

Not so very long ago,
I sat and wondered who you would be.
Not so very long ago,
I felt you kick and couldn't wait to have you here with me.

A short time ago,
I held you close and kissed your sweet face.
A short time ago,
I counted your toes and welcomed you to this place.

A short time ago,
I said hello and goodbye on the same day.
A short time ago,
My sweet boy you went to Heaven to play.

A short time ago,
My world shifted.
A short time ago,
Your name, Aidan Thomas was lifted.

I cried for you and no one knew.
The ones who thought of you were few.

Not so long ago,
They told me I was going to be a mom.

A short time ago,
I delivered you.

A short time ago,
I carried you home and said my final goodbye.

I pretended to be ok and hid my tears.

I am your mom.
You are in heaven.
And I am missing you.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Is love alive?

If I compare this Christmas to last Christmas, nothing has changed. Yet, nothing is the same.

We spent it with the same family members for another blessed year.

 We were blessed. If you compare last years pictures to this years, you would think that 2011 had been a peaceful small year. We have all aged, but we are all still here.

Of course, none of that is true. 2011 was a big year. It was a defining year. And everything has changed.

Aidan would have been front and center (or at least my 37 week stomach would have been). Instead he was remembered. He was quietly observed. He was missed beyond words.

I don't even know where to start. I really don't think I have any words to describe our Christmas without him. I did everything I could to make him present. To make him apart of our Christmas and we are so blessed by all who allowed us.

We were given several gifts just for him.

Aunt Mika had this made. It is the poem from his program.

His Papa got me an elephant charm for my bracelet.

His Nana found him some pinwheels

His Memaw found this beautiful Snowbaby

Aunt Bre captured the Christmas Morning sky

And on Christmas Eve day, this bloomed.

A few weeks ago, I made a request. I asked for anyone to do a good deed in Aidan's memory. Then to write it down and send it to us. I then put them all in his stocking. Now, I am not very good at surprises, but this I did. I didn't read a single one until Christmas morning.

And boy did you guys give me something special. You truly are some amazing people.

Because, you see, money was donated to the March of Dimes, breakfast was bought for a stranger, gas money was given to a woman in need, hair donated for someone who can't grow their own, snacks given to families at a Ronald McDonald House, toys bought for children who would have otherwise had a very lonely Christmas and money was donated to a clinic in Alaska. All because you cared enough to give me a moment to be a mom and be proud of my little boy. That was my Christmas Joy.

Christmas felt so different this year. God feels so different this year.

Every year we hear the Christmas story from the gospels. This year of all years, we heard it from the book of John.

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome[a] it.
 6 There was a man sent from God whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.
 9 The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
 14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

And in Isaiah 9:6

 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given. 
This year was very very different. It was also very special. Hearing the Christmas story often takes me right back to Aidan's delivery. The fear that Mary felt. The worry of Joseph. The unexpected entry into this world. The peace of the night. All take me right back to September 4th, 2011.

So, while this season was not what I dreamed of. It was not what I would have chosen. It WAS special. It was all about Jesus. It showed me that love is alive. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Not what I envisioned...

The sleepless nights. The emotional upheaval. The tears. The fear.

I thought I wouldn't sleep because I couldn't get comfortable. Not because the nightmares have returned.

I figured I would be a hormonal mess that everyone picked on. Not a grieving mother that makes people uncomfortable.

My tears would be of joy. They would be sweet. Now they flow steadily and are bitter and like salt in a wound. Each one a desire. A drop of my love.

I was supposed to be preparing for delivery and the firsts of being a first time parent. There is no balm to soothe these fears.

I imagined what these days would be. I'm watching them come to fruition in others. Mine are completely different.

The only thing that hasn't changed is God. He is my constant.

I found a picture tonight that reads, "Faith is seeing light with your heart when all your eyes see is the darkness ahead."

This is all I have. This is what has to carry me through.

Monday, December 19, 2011

All of me

We are in the midst of Christmas.

I am struggling.

I do what everything I feel I should do. I show up where I think I am wanted.

The days feel very weighted. My heart is very heavy.

I miss him. I miss what this Christmas was supposed to be about.

I have done everything I can to try and make this season one where I can find hope.

I find small nuggets in the stocking stuffers in the mail, the amazing ornaments that hang on his tree, in the faces of Carter, Peyton and Jo.

I find love in the people who acutely aware of how badly I am hurting and they reach out to make sure I know I'm not alone.

Tonight at dinner, we were the only couple without our child at the table. You could see it on the waiter's face, "Why are they here with these kids and none of their own?" I so badly wanted to scream I do have a child. I just didn't get to keep him.

Had I known that we weren't going to get to raise Aidan here on earth, would I have loved him as much? Would I have protected my heart? Would I have saved some of my hopes and dreams?

No. Because I was blessed enough to hold perfection. I was blessed enough to be the one given the privilege to carry and deliver Aidan. I was chosen to be his mom. And just because his time on earth was short it will never diminish that he is my child, nor that I am not just a mom, but, his mom.

Because from the first moment I knew I was pregnant, he had all of me.

Afraid to love
Something that could break
Could I move on
If you were torn away?
And I'm so close to what I can't control
I can't give you half my heart
And pray He makes you whole

You're gonna have all of me
You're gonna have all of me
'Cause you're worth every falling tear
You're worth facing any fear
You're gonna know all my love
Even if it's not enough
Enough to mend our broken hearts
But giving you all of me is where I'll start

I won't let sadness steal you from my arms
I won't let pain keep you from my heart
I'll trade the fear of all that I could lose
For every moment I share with you

Heaven brought you to this moment, it's too wonderful to speak
You're worth all of me, you're worth all of me
So let me recklessly love you, even if I bleed
You're worth all of me, you're worth all of me

It's where I'll start

Friday, December 16, 2011

Keep on, Keeping on....

The past two weeks have been one big giant lesson.

The kind of lessons that we all learn at some point in our lives. Only when you are seeing the world through a new lens you have to learn them all again.

This one? Learn to roll with the punches. Let if roll off of you. Keep on, keeping on.

Two weeks. In two weeks this tilt-a-whirl of year really kicked into gear.

1. Evan drops and 5 gallon glass jar. It shatters. He cuts his finger down to the bone. Stitches to close the wound.
2. Monsoon rains. Aidan's three month birthday. Real plans to celebrate him with others who get it. Momma hydroplanes and all plans are thrown out the window.
3. Other vehicle's engine blown.
4. Evan's stitches are removed. Dr. fears there is damage to the tendon.
5. Specialist appointment, surgery scheduled. Two scenarios are given. One has a recovery period of a week. The other is 8-12 weeks plus therapy.
6. Surgery day. (Today) Much longer than anyone anticipated. Guess which scenario we are now facing? Yep, because 2011 just had to get another dig. We are looking 8-12 weeks of Evan being one handed and then therapy.

Do you see? 13 days. 6 of them were ROUGH.

And now, Christmas starts tomorrow. Aagh. I can hear the waves calling. The beach is beckoning.

Maybe on another day I will do a 2011 recap. And maybe not. I'm not sure I can relive it all.

Never have I been more ready for a new year.

But, that brings Aidan's due date. Not even going there yet...

For now, I am making sure Ev stays on med schedule and trying to help him maintain some sort of independence.

I do manage to find happy. I find God, even on days like today. Today, it came in the mail.

An ornament from Hawaii and a good deed for his stocking. I can't tell you what good it did my spirits to see his name written by others. That is the sweetest gift. Someone saying or writing his name.

So, I'm rolling with the punches. I'm trying to just let it roll it off. I'm keeping on.

Monday, December 12, 2011

A Day

Francesca over here is a fellow babyloss mom. She is a major inspiration and has made an amazing legacy for her sweet Jenna.

Today she wrote this. It stopped me cold. It made me wonder what my day would look like.

If I were granted one day with Aidan knowing he would return to heaven, what would we do?

How old would he be?

Immediately I thought of the big days. His graduations, wedding, the birth of his children. I really like the idea of seeing him get married. I smile wondering what type of girl he would choose. I see us remembering all of the days before. Is it cheating to have that flashback sequence included? Even if I didn't get to live out those days with him could there be memories?

Or, perhaps I want to experience a day with him at the age of Carter and Peyton. Those boys are at that perfect age. So much fun, so much innocence, so much love. I wonder what Aidan's little personality would be. What buttons of mine he would push. Would he cry for Nana when he didn't get to ride in her car? Would he call me Momma or Mommy?

And the tears have started. There are so many days I wish I could spend with Aidan. So many memories we never got to make. So many things I am going to sit on the sideline for and always dream about what might have been.

But, there is one day I really wish I could have with him. That first day. That very first day of holding, learning, cuddling, kissing and loving. I want that day back. Only I want it to be January 14th and our room is full of happy tears. Not sorrow. Our room is a revolving door of friends and family so excited to meet him. Not timidly watching me labor and then holding (or not holding him) because it was all we got. I want the nurses to hand him to us and say "Congrats." I want to hear him cry. Oh what wouldn't I give to hear that beautiful sound. I don't care how long I would have had to labor. I don't care if I had to have a c section. I would wear that scar with pride. Because he is worth every single bit of it. I want Evan to look at me and smile. I want him to look at Aidan and see such joy in our future. I want my baby boy to open those beautiful eyes and instantly know who I am.

But, I can't. I won't get any of these with Aidan. And that is an awful reality. One I am learning to live with. Not one I will ever get over.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas Joy


Three months ago I envisioned what these days would look like. The anticipation. The sparkle. The joy.


I have been afraid of the days to come. I have been afraid of my emotions. What if I can't find the joy in this season?


I was worried about decorating the tree. Check!

I was worried about Christmas shopping because I wanted to be buying for Aidan. I'm 98% done and actually had fun.

I'm stuck in a place of hiding my pain so as not to suck all of the joy out of a room and hurting so badly there are moments it bubbles over.

And, then I heard this.

Compassionate God, we ask that you free us from the darkness that traps us in our sadness. We ask the words to be spoken even when we cannot express them ourselves. Our experience of Christmas has changed because of a death or loss or physical or mental illness. We used to look forward to this time of year, too, but now we only feel like we are outside looking in on the joy. Bring back the joy.

The holiday season reminds us of what used to be. But the celebration of Your Son's birth...the real Christmas...reminds us of hope and promise. Please be near us during this season.

I attended the "Hope for the Holidays" Service with Emily today. This was not only said, but also written in the bulletin. Just for me. And you.

To me, it validated and assured. To Em, it was a window into my world.

The first service opened me up. The music pierced me. It left me raw and in an emotional upheaval.

The Hope Service took it all. It took the darkness of these days and acknowledged that I do and will struggle with our days without Aidan. And then I lit a candle to remind me that Jesus is the light. He is the lamp unto my feet. The guiding light along this path of darkness. My beacon of hope.

And then I was able to attend the Joy of Christmas and actually feel pieces of that joy. Because I had acknowledged the pain and learned that I'm not expected to be perfect now. By embracing the darkness my eyes adjusted and I can see the glow of light within it all.

I have a new goal. It's not just to survive. It's to celebrate all that we have and those precious moments we were given with Aidan. Most importantly, we will celebrate that Aidan is at the greatest birthday party and because that baby boy was born in a manger I will get to hold Aidan again. And that is the greatest gift I could ever receive.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Time Warp

I went back in time for awhile tonight.

Dedmon/Speyer walked the halls of Cabot High again.

It was so strange. It was hallowed ground to us. Yet, it looks completely different. Our auditorium is gutted. There are buildings where we used to park our cars. Everything looks different. But everything felt the same.

Nostalgia at its purest form. Standing there with Jane, Ashley and Gwen. Looking at pictures of our former selves from ten years ago. Standing there with the one friend who has fought with me and for me the hardest. Standing there with my other half.

I was introduced as the Dedmon half. For just those instances we were just alumni. All of the baggage was left at the door. We were witnessing our legacy there.

And then there was this beautiful moment. This moment where Jane looked at me, hugged me and loved me. She loved me because she has known me for over 15 years and has watched me grow. She loves me now because I can't hide the pain.

Like all of the buildings on that campus, I have changed. I'm not that fresh faced naive girl anymore.

I've got scars. I've got a story to tell. It's not always happy. It's not always optimistic. It is filled with faith, grace and lots and lots of love.

I've grown up a lot. I've grown up more than I ever wanted to. But, deep down inside me she is still there. Like the memories in the auditorium, that precious side of me is still there. It may be down in the tip of my pinky toe, but its still there.

I just have to heal enough to let her resurface. No, I will never be the same. I will never go back to the old Tara. That Tara wasn't a mom. But, there are pieces of me that will resurface. I just have to deal with all of this other stuff first.

So, please. Have patience. Have faith. Have hope.

Patience in my grief. I cannot tell you when I will come out of it. Just know I am doing the best I can. Most days I cover it up so as not to make anyone else uncomfortable.

Faith in me. Faith that I will come out of this intact. Faith that my faith will endure.

Hope for a future. I am counting on your hope to inspire mine. I know it's in there. I just need some help finding it.


Thursday, December 8, 2011



It's this word that instills fear in us. The word causes us to flashback to some of the darkest moments we've ever experienced. Or, if we have somehow skirted its dark cloud, we have images of someone we know.

In my 28 years, I've experienced a lot of death. Great-grandmothers I cherished, a grandfather taken by Alzheimer's before I really had the chance to know him, friends taken much too soon by car accidents, a war hero who gave the ultimate sacrifice (his story can be read here), a cousin and friend who succumbed to the darkness, a co-worker and her daughter gone in the second it took to cross that median. All gone. All funerals I attended. All people taken before I was ready.

All instances where death was once removed. I cried, I grieved and then the world moved on.

Of course, this was all before. Before September 4th, when I said hello and goodbye to my son. Before I carried him home and had him baptized. Before I sat at that conference table picking out a casket while holding him. Before I handed him over for the last time. Before I said my final goodbye that Thursday night. Before his funeral. Before they buried my child. Before my world stopped spinning.

So, no. I'm not over it. No, I'm not going to return to normal. No, it's not easier because I didn't get to know him. Because all of the other people I have had to let go, left me thousands of memories to keep. Maybe its because he is my first. Maybe it is because he is my only. But, the fact that Aidan was gone so fast does not make any of this any easier on me.

My life is in pieces, never to be put back together.

Oh Lord Jesus, come to be near us. Hold us with Your unfailing love. We cannot sustain ourselves.

A simple prayer. The biggest request I'll ever ask.

There is a very special woman out there tonight who needs our prayers. So please, if you pray include "C" in them. She is battling the demon we call cancer. She is fighting to come home to a very spunky little girl who needs her Momma.

Angie Simon says it best, "I don't where you are tonight, or what hurts you are holding up to God, but I will promise you this. If you can just trust Him enough to bring it up to Him, He will rejoice in your masterpiece. And if you need to scream a little, know that you have a God who can take that too, as long as your face is tilted (even slightly) toward Him."

I serve a God who knows my suffering. His grace is in a jar we all carry. And his glory is seen in the shattering.

(I must confess, it has been a BAD week. Not just a rough week in this process of grief, but BAD. In five days we have been to the ER for stitches in Evan's hand, had an accident on Sunday that ruined all of my plans for A's three month celebration and today the engine blew in our other vehicle. Enough to drive a perfectly stable person off the edge. My brain just doesn't know its way around the sorrow. So, I've rambled. I've let out some steam. Now, I have to figure out how to convince Ev our world is not crashing down. :))

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

My Dragonfly

Down below the surface of a quiet pond lived a little colony of water bugs. They were a happy colony, living far away from the sun. For many months they were very busy, scurrying over the soft mud on the bottom of the pond. They did notice that every once in awhile one of their colony seemed to lose interest in going about. Clinging to the stem of a pond lily it gradually moved out of sight and was seen no more.
"Look!" said one of the water bugs to another. "one of our colony is climbing up the lily stalk. Where do you think she is going?" Up, up, up it slowly went....Even as they watched, the water bug disappeared from sight. Its friends waited and waited but it didn't return...
"That's funny!" said one water bug to another. "Wasn't she happy here?" asked a second... "Where do you suppose she went?" wondered a third.
No one had an answer. They were greatly puzzled. Finally one of the water bugs, a leader in the colony, gathered its friends together. "I have an idea". "The next one of us who climbs up the lily stalk must promise to come back and tell us where he or she went and why."
"We promise", they said solemnly.
One spring day, not long after, the very water bug who had suggested the plan found himself climbing up the lily stalk. Up, up, up, he went. Before he knew what was happening, he had broke through the surface of the water and fallen onto the broad, green lily pad above.
When he awoke, he looked about with surprise. He couldn't believe what he saw. A startling change had come to his old body. His movement revealed four wings from the new body. He moved his wings again and suddenly found himself up above the water. He had become a dragonfly!!
Swooping and dipping in great curves, he flew through the air. He felt exhilarated in the new atmosphere. By and by the new dragonfly lighted happily on a lily pad to rest. Then it was that he chanced to look below to the bottom of the pond. Why, he was right above his old friends, the water bugs! There they were scurrying around, just as he had been doing some time before.
Without thinking, the dragonfly darted down. Suddenly he hit the surface of the water and bounced away. Now that he was a dragonfly, he could no longer go into the water...the dragonfly remembered the promise: "the next one of us who climbs up the lily stalk will come back and tell where he went
"I can't return!" he said in dismay. "At least, I tried. But I can't keep my promise. Even if I could go back, not one of the water bugs would know me in my new body. I guess I'll just have to wait until they become dragonflies too. Then they'll understand what has happened to me, and where I went."
And the dragonfly winged off happily into its wonderful new world of sun and air...

As a senior in high school I was described as a dragonfly. One of the people who shaped me into the person I am gave me a way to cope ten years later without even realizing. I have clung to dragonflies since then. Collecting them in. Receiving them as gifts. Even permanently etching one on my hip.

And now, three months after the single most defining day of my life I found the above poem. My son is also a dragonfly. I love the connection. I love the imagery.

So take flight sweet boy. Your wings are mighty. Your beauty immeasurable. Your perfection indescribable.

Momma loves you so. You are with me every step and now constantly by my side.

Monday, December 5, 2011

March for Babies

It's time! Registration is now open.

On Aidan's Wings has its very own team. Won't you join us?

This years event includes the March, a "Run before they can Walk 5k" and Craws for a Cause. The entire day benefits March of Dimes.

April 28th 2012. That's the big day. I would love nothing more than for Aidan's team to be the biggest out there. So please, if you want, come join. Come walk, run and party!

And if you can't be there in person, be there in spirit.

Before Aidan, I never thought I would be doing all that I am. I never thought that I would be the face of grief.

So, I'm taking a stand. I'm putting one foot in front of another. Literally.

Come walk with us. The babies deserve it!

The link to register and/or donate is just to the right. I sincerely hope we blow our goal out the window and to see you all there!

Friday, December 2, 2011

There is something you can do!

Since Aidan's birth people have asked, "What can I do?" I haven't had an answer until now. And it is perfect timing.

Christmas is going to be hard. It's going to have this bittersweet twinge because in all of the joy there will be someone missing. There won't be gifts for or in anticipation of Aidan. A fellow baby loss mom has given me inspiration.

There is something each and every person can do. In Aidan's memory, to make us smile, to include our son in this season.

Please help us fill Aidan's stocking. I have been nervous about hanging one for him. Now, I can't wait.

Here is the idea.

For the month of December do one nice thing for someone else. Something out of the box. Do it in Aidan's memory or because he inspired it. Then write it down and mail it to us. We will put the unopened things in his stocking and open them Christmas morning. This way we will have surprises with Aidan and hopefully a lot of good was done in the Christmas season!

Our address is:

Evan and Tara Finney
627 Woodland Dr.
Benton, AR 72019

I love that this will help spread Aidan's legacy in such a simple way. To kick it off I have Aidan's tree up and decorated so far. We have also decorated his spot. It's simple, but I it seems fitting.

Aidan's 1st Elephant

2011 Elephant

His Disney Ornament from Aunt Mika

I found this and had to have it. It's perfect.

Auntie Courtney took one of his shells from visitation and made a perfect ornament for his tree.

Nana found one with his name spelled correctly!

His growing tree

We don't have his headstone yet, but I think it looks nice.

My sweet boy.

And today was another milestone for this Momma. I ventured into my first labor and delivery unit since Aidan's birth. I held Aidan's first friend...Zachary James. I counted all ten toes and snuggled and loved him. It was bittersweet. I so ache to have Aidan to snuggle, but am so thankful that Zach is here safe and sound. He's a perfect full term baby. There's nothing better.

It made me wish so badly to have him again. I am so thankful to have pictures of the precious moments we were granted with him.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Into the Wilderness

It has been a week so heavy with sadness. A week that has taken so much out of me. A week of very little hope.

I write to Aidan every night. I write to him as a way to try and get the last bit of emotions out before I sleep. I write to remember him. Last night I wrote to him about the scariness of the wilderness this week has been.

The forest of grief had turned into pure wilderness. Somewhere I have never been before. Somewhere I didn't know if anyone could find me in. It has taken everything I've had to get up and get through the day. It has taken a toll on me. Physically, I'm back to anxiety ridden sleepless nights. Emotionally, I'm more raw and vulnerable than ever before. I'm quick to snap and then even quicker to tears.

I'm telling you all of this because I need you to understand the depth of the darkness of the week.

That darkness led me to church tonight. As an OMP veteran I LOVE our Worship in the Round services at Cabot United Methodist Church. If you are ever in need of some Thursday night intimate worship it is a wonderful place to start.

Ben led worship tonight and seriously, he was preaching to me. He was preaching about me.

He was talking about how we are beginning the Advent Season. How we are preparing for Jesus' coming. We read from the third chapter of Matthew.

 1  In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, 2 and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!" 3 For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying: "The voice of one crying in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the Lord; Make His paths straight.' " 4 And John himself was clothed in camel's hair, with a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey. 5 Then Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him 6 and were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins. 7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, "Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, 9 and do not think to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. 10 And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

Does anything in there stand out to you? Because it jumped out at me and hit me square in the face.


We are called to enter the wilderness to prepare for Jesus. We are called to step out of the norm. Ben broke it down in three steps.

1. We must admit our faults. We must bring them to the cross.
2. We must leave them there. Just simply drop them at the foot of the cross.
3. We wait. We actively wait.

I'm in the wilderness. I've been thrust in the wilderness.

So, like John the Baptist I'm going to embrace it. I'm going to relish the wilderness. It's a time of the year that is notoriously hard because of the reminders of those who aren't with us. Christmas is quickly followed by Aidan's due date. What better time than to escape into the wilderness and strengthen my relationship with God?

So, I am taking all of the burdens I am carrying to the cross. Guilt, Sadness, Fear, Doubt, Anger, Jealousy, Worry. I've been carrying them for three months. I acknowledge them. I admit I feel them.

And so now I have to figure out how to set them down. How to let go and really and truly Let God. One burden at a time.

And once I have done this I have to do the hardest one. I have to wait, but not by sitting in the shadow of the cross. I have to pray, share and spread our story. I have to share my faith, find my own hope and further God's purpose.

So, this is me. Wandering the wilderness. Embracing my inner cave woman. Walking a path of faith, hope, and yes still grief.

Won't you join me?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Beneath the glow of a tree sleeps love

It has been a long, dark, impossible day.


Because I will miss everything with Aidan. All of our firsts are our firsts without him. I will never watch him take his first step, hear the word Momma come from his perfect mouth, watch him devour his first birthday cake, take his first day of school picture, cheer at his first game, get to play santa, easter bunny or the tooth fairy for the first time, scrutinize his first girlfriend, help him learn his first life lesson. I won't get to do any of these things.

Instead I will brace myself for our first Christmas without him, celebrate his first birthday at his grave, survive his due date for the first time, walk into a labor and delivery for the first time since our fateful trip.

And while I may get to do these things with my nephews or his brother/sister one day, I still won't get to do them with him.

So I talk about him, I sit in his room with his things, I decorate his spot. I know he isn't actually in any of these places. He is surrounded by glory. He is surrounded by beauty. He is waiting on me. But, I will always miss him. And these are how I express that. They are how I show a small part of my love.

Tonight I sit in our rocker. I have rocked Peyton. I have sung him the only lullaby I can remember because I used to sing it to Aidan. And now I watch him sleep beneath the glow of Aidan's Christmas tree.

And the tears come. Freely. Softly. Silently. The tears of surviving a hard week, our first holiday without, our first disagreement since August, our first night to keep one of our nephews overnight. Tears because I would do anything to have a crib beside me awaiting Aidan. Instead he is with God, awaiting my arrival one day.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Fall Apart

Why in the world did I think I could
Only get to know you when my life was good
When everything just falls in place
The easiest thing is to give You praise

Now it all seems upside down

‘Cause my whole world is caving in
But I feel You now more than I did then
How can I come to the end of me
And somehow still have all I need
God, I want to know You more
Maybe this is how it starts
I find You when I fall apart

Blessed are the ones who understand
We’ve got nothing to bring but empty hands
Nothing to hide and nothing to prove
Our heartbreak brings us back to You

And it all seems upside down

‘Cause my whole world is caving in
But I feel You now more than I did then
How can I come to the end of me
And somehow still have all I need
God, I want to know You more
Maybe this is how it starts
I find You when I fall apart

I don’t know how long this will last
I’m praying for the pain to pass
But maybe this is the best thing that
Has ever happened to me

My whole world is caving in
But I feel You now more than I did then
How can I come to the end of me
And somehow still have all I need
God, I want to know You more
Maybe this is how it starts
I find You when
You will find me when I fall apart

Strong. Courageous. Inspiring. How can I be any of these when all I feel is lost, abandoned and torn apart?

Faith. Because in the moments that I am falling apart God shines through. In the moments I have nothing left, God acts.

Surviving this week was just as hard as I anticipated. However, something happened that I didn't expect. I am so overwhelmingly thankful.

1. Evan. His strength. His ability to look at me and see through the facade. His determination to get me through the dark days. His love for Aidan.

2. Our families. They are our shelter. They have protected us and acted as our shield. They love us through.

3. Friends. People who call just because we popped in their heads and thought we might need some encouragement. They are our constant.

4. Hope. You never realize how valuable it is until it is gone.

5. Time. I have learned the hard way the need to cherish and make the most of every second.

6. Faith. My foundation. When everything cracks. When I break it is left. It is my strength. It is my core.

7. Aidan. That special part of my heart no one else will ever touch. My purpose. My sheer determination. My son.

Everyday I have written something to be thankful for. The above list is just the last seven days. As you can see, even on the darkest days, even when my heart feels as though it will never heal, even when you look at me and wonder if I will ever be ok, I have so much to be thankful for. I am beyond blessed.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The night before ramblings...

It's the eve before our first Thanksgiving as parents. The first major holiday as parents without our child.

Those two sentences should never coincide.

As time passes, the shock wears off. The physical pain of his birth has eased. Life has seemingly returned to normal.

For the rest of the world this is true. As his Momma it's just not so. The pain is searing. I am so raw and vulnerable. I have zero defenses left to protect myself. I will never forget Aidan.

Will you? In this time of giving thanks, spending time with loved ones, shopping madness, sparkle, twinkling lights and all the holidays encompass will you forget that 1/3 of my precious family is missing?

I fear this because he wasn't here for us to make previous holiday memories with. I don't have a stocking from Christmas past to hang. I won't sit at the table tomorrow and see the spot he filled. Instead I will notice the space not left for him.

It will be bittersweet. It will be hard.

But I will be thankful. I will be so gracious for the blessings in my life. I will praise God because he blessed my story with Aidan.

I am thankful for so many things. Most of all for the precious little boy I get to call my son.

Monday, November 21, 2011

And so it begins...

How did it get here so fast? I'm not ready. I'm not prepared.

It's that time of year. The holidays.

A time for family. A time for togetherness. A time of joy.

And this year it will be bittersweet. It will be a time spent remembering Aidan and the plans I had not so long ago. There will be stark reminders of what is missing. Is there a way to make is easier? I don't know.

I'm at a place where I don't always want to share Aidan. I have become very protective of him. When all you have left of someone are a few tangible items and memories, you become very protective. I have mama bear written all over me.

But, there will be moments when I will need to know that he is there. That others recognize that we are missing a vital piece of our family. Whether its a look, a hug, an ornament or something sentimental we will need and love to know that he is missed.

It all feels very different now. The idea of Thanksgiving and Christmas. The anticipation is different. This week begins a season I'm not sure how to navigate just yet. I'm taking it day by day. Hour by hour. Minute by minute.

My heart hurts tonight. It's just not a fair world when the reminders of what is missing outnumber the reminders of the person who is missing. I cling tightly to the pictures that will never change. The blankets he will never be wrapped in again. The clothes he never got to wear. The bedding we never got to tuck into a crib.

Few people in this world truly know me. An even smaller group truly know Aidan. It is this group that brings me comfort. Allows me to grieve without restraint. Gives me the breathing room I need try and heal. It is this group that will help me get through what is coming.

I have been writing a list of things I am thankful for. I will share it all later in the week. This group is one of them though.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Longing, Wishing...Loving

What Makes A Mother

I thought of you and closed my eyes
And prayed to God today,
I asked, "What makes a Mother?"
And I know I heard him say:
A Mother has a baby,
This we know is true
But, God, can you be a mother
When your baby's not with you?

Yes, you can, he replied
With confidence in his voice,
I give many women babies,
When they leave it is not their choice.
Some I send for a lifetime,
And others for the day,
And some I send to feel your womb,
But there's no need to stay.

I just don't understand this God,
I want my baby here.
He took a breath,
and cleared his throat,
And then I saw a tear.

I wish I could show you,
What your child is doing Here...
If you could see your child smile
With other children and say,
"We go to earth to learn our lessons
of love and life and fear,
but my Mommy loved me so much
I got to come straight here!"

I feel so lucky to have a Mom who had so much love for me,
I learned my lessons very quickly,
My Mommy set me free.
I miss my Mommy oh so much
But I visit her each day.
When she goes to sleep,
On her pillow is where I lay.

I stroke her hair and kiss her cheek,
And whisper in her ear,
"Mommy, Please don't be sad today,
I'm your baby and I am here"
So you see my dear sweet one,
Your children are okay.

Your babies are here in My home,
And this is where they'll stay.
They'll wait for you with Me,
Until your lessons there are through,
And on the day that you come home,
they'll be at the gates waiting for you

So now you see
What makes a Mother,
It's the feeling in your heart,
It's the love you had so much of
Right from the very start.

Author Unknown

A Father's Grief

It must be very difficult
To be a man in grief,
Since "men don't cry"
and "men are strong"
No tears can bring relief.

It must be very difficult
To stand up to the test,
And field the calls and visitors
So she can get some rest.

They always ask if she's all right
And what she's going through.
But seldom take his hand and ask,
"My friend, but how are you?"

He hears her crying in the night
And thinks his heart will break.
He dries her tears and comforts her,
But "stays strong" for her sake.

It must be very difficult
To start each day anew.
And try to be so very brave-
He lost his baby too.

Author Unknown

His absence is strong tonight. I long to have my uncomfortable pregnant belly. I long to wish him here already. I long for the kicks. I long for his heartbeat. I long for him.

The tears are in abundance. They flow easily and constant. The salt burns my raw eyes.

I wish I didn't hurt. I wish Evan didn't hurt. I wish we weren't those parents.

I don't want to be afraid. I don't want to stress. I don't want to shy away.

But this is the new life. The life I not only had no choice in but one I am expected to live fully. I try and that's all I can do. Promise to try.

I love my husband. I love how close we are to our immediate families and the friends who might as well be family. I love the safety we find in them. I love Aidan. I love Aidan. I love Aidan. I love Aidan. Therefore, I have to love this life.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

What do I know?

Usually when I am called to write I start with a blank page and just empty my brain. No order, no reasoning. It's just something that has to come out. Tonight is different. Tonight the title came and I had no idea what God was trying to get me to write about. Until I was driving home.

I made You promises a thousand times
(Bargain. I would bargain with God for the good things. I thought if I made promises he would bless me.)
I tried to hear from Heaven
But I talked the whole time
(This is a huge fault of mine. I talk all the time. Too much. I have to speak it outloud to understand the impact.)
I think I made You too small
(In trying to have a relationship with God I tried to make him my equal.)
I never feared You at all No
(I had no reason to fear. I was blessed.)
If You touched my face would I know You?
(How many times was it God and I didn't realize? How many times did I miss him?)
Looked into my eyes could I behold You?
(How many people did God send my way that I overlooked?)
What do I know of You
Who spoke me into motion?
(I thought I had it all figured out.)
Where have I even stood
But the shore along Your ocean?
(How many opportunties have I missed because of fear?)
Are You fire? Are You fury?
(Do you burn hot with love? Anger? Jealousy?)
Are You sacred? Are You beautiful?
(If we are made in your image, how can any of us not be?)
What do I know? What do I know of Holy?
(Everyday I am learning more I think.)
I guess I thought that I had figured You out
(Yes. I thought I had it all figured out.)
I knew all the stories and I learned to talk about
How You were mighty to save
(I thought you would save me from heartache. I thought you would save me from myself. I never dreamed you would save me when I lost my son. You saved me because he couldn't be.)
Those were only empty words on a page
(It's easy to memorize and quote passages. It's much harder to live those words.)
Then I caught a glimpse of who You might be
(I looked at Aidan and knew he was a part of you.)
The slightest hint of You brought me down to my knees
(Not having my son with me has rocked my world. It has shaken me to the core. I fell but not on my face. To my knees.)
What do I know of You
Who spoke me into motion?
(Everyday I am trying to soak you in. Giving it all to you.)
Where have I even stood
But the shore along Your ocean?
(You lead me into unknown circumstances, but you are by my side.)
Are You fire? Are You fury?
(Instead of anger is it passion?)
Are You sacred? Are You beautiful?
(Yes. You are. You gave me a glimpse in Aidan.)
What do I know? What do I know of Holy?
(I know the presence. I know the power. And that isn't even the beginning of it.)
What do I know of Holy?
(Opening my heart, yearning to know more.)
What do I know of wounds that will heal my shame?
(You take them and you feel the pain. You want me to heal.)
And a God who gave life "its" name?
(You intrusted me with Aidan. You still do.)
What do I know of Holy?
(It's peace. It's grace.)
Of the One who the angels praise?
(You are holding my son until I can again. You have him.)
All creation knows Your name
On earth and heaven above
((Who better to trust Aidan with?)
What do I know of this love?
(I know what I feel for Aidan. He feels that times 1,000 for me. He doesn't want me to hurt.)
What do I know of You
Who spoke me into motion?
(You knew my son before I did. You love him like I do.)
Where have I even stood
But the shore along Your ocean?
(Bravely I take a step forward each day. A step into the unknown.)
Are You fire? Are You fury?
(Your passion is mine.)
Are You sacred? Are You beautiful?
(Sacred. Beautiful.)
What do I know?
(Very little.)
What do I know of Holy?
What do I know of Holy?
What do I know of Holy?
(Faith in you. In myself.)

Driving down the road. Ipod on shuffle. A song comes on and through the darkness God speaks. Thankfully, I have started listening. Finally. I am searching for him all the time. And always he catches me off guard. Tonight he spoke through lyrics. I have no idea why this song is on my playlist. I'm not sure I have ever heard it before. But, there it was. There he was. Aidan has done so much to my relationship with God. He has been the biggest test. Yet, he has drawn me the closest.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Praise You in This Storm

Rain. Thunder. Lightening. Ongoing since I woke up this morning. Even now I hear the rain and thunder rumbling. Storms usually provoke anxiety in me.

Except for today. The storm has been constant. Almost a comfort. Because it matches my insides. The tears are never ending and overflow the rain gauge. The fears, doubts and anger are clashing together as the thunder. The pain sears like lightening flashes.

For the first time, I felt like the outside matched the inside.

Dark, dreary, and comforting.

And yet still, glimpses of joy found their way.

A perfect baby boy was born. A new family is experiencing so much tonight. So much it makes my heart swell. So much that I totally understand and so much that I long to feel again.

And my sweet Savannah finally showed us her beautiful face in an ultrasound. She is the closest thing I have to Aidan. She is scheduled to be here two days before his due date. Her Momma is carrying me through. Just as we carried and planned for our babies together now she carries me. And it is because of her love that I can feel the true joy of Savannah. I can't wait to hold her in my arms. I can't wait to share that moment with Em. Because she has been there for me. All of the moments. She held Aidan's monitor. She held Aidan. She held me.

It is pouring. It is thundering. And yet, I will praise you in this storm.

Monday, November 14, 2011

East to West

"East To West"

"Here I am, Lord, and I'm drowning in your sea of forgetfulness
The chains of yesterday surround me
I yearn for peace and rest
I don't want to end up where You found me
And it echoes in my mind, keeps me awake tonight
I know You've cast my sin as far as the east is from the west
And I stand before You now as though I've never sinned
But today I feel like I'm just one mistake away from You leaving me this way

Jesus, can You show me just how far the east is from the west
'cause I can't bear to see the man I've been come rising up in me again
In the arms of Your mercy I find rest
'cause You know just how far the east is from the west
From one scarred hand to the other

I start the day, the war begins, endless reminding of my sin
Time and time again Your truth is drowned out by the storm I'm in
Today I feel like I'm just one mistake away from You leaving me this way

I know You've washed me white, turned my darkness into light
I need Your peace to get me through, to get me through this night
I can't live by what I feel, but by the truth Your word reveals
I'm not holding on to You, but You're holding on to me
You're holding on to me

Jesus, You know just how far the east is from the west
I don't have to see the man I've been come rising up in me again
In the arms of Your mercy I find rest
'cause You know just how far the east is from the west
From one scarred hand to the other
One scarred hand to the other
From one scarred hand to the other"

There are days when it is just too big. The emotions are just too much. I can't see the borders.

The last two days have been like that. On the outside I guess I look pretty put together. The inside is a completely different story. Do I miss him? Of course. But, there is so much more about grief. The longing is so powerful.

What I long for....
* To hear Aidan cry
* To know the color of his eyes
* To know what others would have gotten him that would have been special just for him
* To not have some people afraid to share their babies with me
* To hear his heartbeat again
* To change his diaper
* To have a blog updating everyone on his latest achievements
* To see everyone's face as they meet my son for the first time. As they hold him and not pictures of him.

The list just goes on and on. The pain goes on and on. Life goes on and on.

The above song played on my way home tonight. It reminded me that while this period in my life is bigger than me, it's not bigger than God's embrace. From one scarred hand to another...

Saturday, November 12, 2011

A shift

I had a good day.

A good day. Used to when I would have a day like today I would wish for more. I couldn't just be satisfied and thankful for the present blessing. I was already planning the next one.

Since Aidan was born this is yet another thing he changed in me. When I sat down to write to him tonight I realized the shift. I wanted to thank him for each moment because I now realize the next ones aren't guaranteed.

And the ones that do grace my world have to hold me through the really really dark days.

So. I am thankful to have spent such a great day with my sister. To have never lulled in conversation. To have never had our fill. Because you see my sister and I are night and day. But on days like today we bring out the best in one another. We click. We are a perfect match.

When I say it was a good day some may think that means I didn't think about Aidan. Maybe not feel the loss. That just simply isn't true. It was such a good day because he was present all day. I felt like he was close by. Just around the corner watching his Momma and Aunt Staci. He is more present on the good days rather than the rough ones. The rough ones are usually because he feels so far away!

So tonight I am thankful. I was blessed with a day with my sister, my nephew and Aidan.

Oh, and I have found the inspiration for his Christmas tree. I can't wait to share it!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Warning label. I promised to always be honest. Anger ahead.

I have been making my way through the tangled ball of grief. Each different emotion flows into another. There aren't stages. There are just moments that make up hours that make up days. Each moment defined by the current emotion.

Just when I was beginning to think I was figuring out the navigation system, I hit a roadblock at 100 mph. It caught me off guard. It hurt in a whole new way. And it's awful.


It started small. An overwhelming presence of pregnancy at Chick-fil-a.

And then it grew. And grew. And grew.

It has reared its ugly head. And it has brought all of its friends along. The why's. The what if's. The doubt. The fear.

Why? I did everything right. I was prepared for just about anything else. So, why would the one thing I never prepared for happen? Why am I the bad statistic? I am the 1 in 4. 1 in 100. Why wasn't I the 3 in 4 or the 99 in 100? It's not that I wish this on anyone else. I just don't understand why any of us have to do it.

What if? Would our story have been different if they had caught it earlier in the week? What would have happened if my stupid cervix had held it together for three more weeks? Where would we be if they had allowed me to be med flighted? Where would we be if WRMC had been better prepared for the emergency cerclage? What if I'm not strong enough to do this? What if I never get another chance because I am too afraid. What if Aidan was my only chance and my body ruined that for me? (Can you sense it growing?)

Doubt. Can I trust myself to do it again? Will the best Dr's in AR want to try? Do I deserve it? Will I ever forgive myself? How can I?

Fear. How do I find the joy without him? How do I prepare my heart to go there again? What happens if it happens again?

Anger. They say you have to feel everything before you can heal. I don't want to feel this. I want to remain hopeful and optimistic. I want to hang onto the peace. I want to skip this part. I don't like it here. I am not an angry person by nature. Especially not at things that don't affect me. I have never before had an opinion on such things such as the Dugger's. I mean its their prerogative but, I boiled over. I literally see red when I think about them having a 20th child. That sweet blessed baby named Josie was their wake up call. It was her body's way of saying I shouldn't be doing this anymore. And still they are choosing to put not only their child at risk, but also the mother the present kids so desperately need. On this side, it seems so selfish. It seems like a risk that could be avoided.

(I am adding to this now. Looking back, I see things a little different now. I'm not as angry. At least the edges have tempered. I considered just removing this post because of the birth of Jubilee Duggar. Instead I've just decided to update. If I remove it, I'm not being honest. I still feel what I wrote, but when I wrote it I never imagined they would lose that baby girl. I was more angry because they would get to have another. Does that make sense?

So now that family has endured another loss. Jubilee is with Aidan. They have been criticized for not just sharing pictures, but taking them at all. They are grieving and they are having to do it in front of the public eye.

My heart hurts that there is another mother yearning for her baby. My heart hurts that she will be expected to grieve by the publics standards. My heart hopes that she will find a place and a group she feels safe with. My heart hopes she will use those cameras to continue to share Jubilee and spread awareness.

My anger has tempered. I was never angry at the Duggars. I was angry that my child died. I am angry that Aidan died. I will be angry every time another child dies.)

Is that the anger? The fear for my own future as a mother? I don't know. I wish I did.

The only thing I am sure of is that on the other side of this darkness is a promise. A promise that someone is walking through it with me. I am never alone. I am not forgotten. I am allowed to get angry. I am allowed to doubt. Because I believe that God sacrificed his own son so that one day I will get to see mine again. And that counteracts all the anger in the world.

So, I am embracing this new turn. I'm holding tight to my faith. I'm giving it all to God.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Will you love me through?

"When you’re weak, I’ll be strong
When you let go, I’ll hold on
When you need to cry, I swear that I’ll be there to dry your eyes
When you feel lost and scared to death,
Like you can’t take one more step
Just take my hand, together we can do it
I’m gonna love you through it."

Someone, somewhere needs you. They don't need you to do anything. They don't need you to say anything. They just need you to love them through it. Whether it is death, cancer, addiction or just a bad day.

And you do it in the most simple of ways. The easiest? Listen. Let us talk. Let us spill our guts. Let us step out of the silence and shed some light on why our hearts hurt. Yes, it is that simple.

Another easy way? Share stories with us. I personally, love to hear Aidan stories. I got two very special ones tonight that made me smile.

First, Mika went through the Walgreens pharmacy line. The young lady that handed her her prescriptions handed them to her with an Aidan band on. Mika doesn't know this person. I'm not entirely sure that I do. But, how wonderful to know that Aidan's story has gone that far. Our little boy is making an impact. And, it's because you love him like you love us.

Second, Em met a very special little boy today. Em works for an orthodontist and this little boy is their patient. He noticed her Aidan band today and a magical conversation was started. He wanted to know what her special bracelet was for. She got to share Aidan with this little boy. At the end of her story, he shared his own special bracelet. A bracelet that is too big for his wrist so he wears it on his ankle. A bracelet for his own angel, his little brother. And this courageous child celebrated that they are together in Heaven. He wanted to know if she thought Aidan and his brother had met yet. She told him if they hadn't yet, they most certaintly would now.

I cannot even begin to tell you what these stories did for me today.

Another special path was forged today as well. Today, I met with the committee for The March for Babies/Run Before They Can Walk 5K. I am beyond honored and humbled to have been asked to join this group. I truly believe that through this Aidan's story will grow even further. Team Aidan is going to be so much more than I ever imagined. We will make a difference. Aidan's story will bring awareness and inspire hope.

It is because my heart is broken. It is because I ache to hold him again. It is because I am is his mom that I fight for the babies. But, it is because of your love that I find the strength to step forward and do it. If you are reading this, you are loving me through. Thank you.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Calm within the Storm

"Open your eyes, and see those things which are around us at this hour."
Richard Jeffries

"For this moment, the place where I am is my world."

These statements are beyond fitting for this Monday. Today was a day where I soaked it all in. I think it was the weather. It made me want to be in the here and now. Literally the calm before the storm.

If the past two months were a hurricane, today was the eye. This weekend was the eye wall. Something I had to pass through to be able to just enjoy today.

There wasn't anything special about today. Maybe that's why I found some relief? I was sitting at my desk and I said a little silent popcorn prayer. I just thanked him for allowing me to have a day where the pain was just a little more bearable. I thought of Aidan a lot. More than other days even. Always with a smile. Always at peace.

God knew I had reached my breaking point. He had given me all I could handle and then he assured me of his love and presence. And because of my rawness, my vulnerability, my willingness to listen I recognized the blessing of the day.

My pastor Beth, often speaks of beauty when she is talking about death. Beauty is a comfort. I saw today for what it was. I was in the moment an oh so grateful for the beauty around me.

Even tonight I looked over and saw him. His perfect face next to the gorgeous lilies Bre gave us last night. As I wind down and prepare to sleep, I am less afraid of my dreams. Some part of me hopes for sweet ones tonight. Did you catch that? Hopes. True genuine hope.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Room. All Saints Day. Alot for this Momma, but completely worth it.

I am writing this from Aidan's room. His now finished room. I couldn't just pack it all away. It was like I was packing him away. So, instead of his nursery it is now our space. A place to come and just sit. Relax. Be in the moment with him. I am no longer afraid to open this door. It's the first place I wanted to come tonight.

Awful. Beautiful. Heart wrenching. Cathartic. Emotional. Tears. Laughter. My boy. My friends. God's Grace. Healing.

That's how I would describe the process. I wish I would have thought to take befores. It was excruciating to go through every single thing of Aidan's. It is perfect knowing that everything now has a place. So that was Saturday.

And then there is today. Today was All Saints Day at our church. They included Aidan in the honors. So much comfort was given to me. Another hard day. Another day of healing. I know that a lot of people wanted to be there but couldn't tonight. It was a beautiful service. Aidan was included with an incredible group. What a blessing that was in itself. As most of you know, I was extremely nervous about sharing Aidan's story. The only way I know to even give you a glimpse of the service is share the song we had played while we lit Aidan's candle and the words I used to describe him. It was incredibly hard to stand there and keep it together. There were moments I just wasn't sure I could. It was in those moments I felt God. He was standing there and when I couldn't even breathe let alone talk to this group of people, he did it for me. I like to think someone else was there listening with him.

We lit Aidan's candle from the Christ Candle.

Once the song finished, God ever so slightly nudged me and this is Aidan's story...

Aidan taught us so much in the short time we were given with him. To say that he has been a blessing just isn't enough. When I think about Aidan, I immediately think of love. The love of a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, cousin, friends who are our chosen family and the love of our church family. Aidan has inspired an abundance of love.

He loved a waffle cone and grape juice. He loved the River Service music. At 2:00 every day, he wanted to stretch and play. He prompted me to walk so he could get some more room after being squished while I was working. And even in those last precious hours, he fought so hard. He showed us just how strong he was. And in the exact moments that he was born, we handed him to God.

Perhaps, this is Aidan's truest gift. The faith he has inspired. Without this faith, we wouldn't be standing here talking to you. We wouldn't know that one day we will hold him again. We wouldn't find comfort in knowing that Aidan has only known love. That is all that he will ever know. There is so much comfort in that.

We may not ever know the why. Why were we the chosen family? Why Aidan?

We are instead choosing to look forward. We are determined to keep Aidan's legacy alive and ever growing. What started as a mom desperate to have a piece of him with her has grown. Aidan's purpose is growing. It is already bigger than we could have ever dreamt. Allowing us to share Aidan's story allows us to heal. It allows us to raise awareness and fight for the prevention for future babies and their families. And it all started with a wristband. The comfort that we find in seeing Aidan's name on all of your wrists is immeasurable.

Know that your love and faith is bringing us comfort and simultaneously raising awareness and giving hope to other families like ours. After all...On Aidan's Wings, Hope Flies.

While I was visiting Aidan tonight I snapped this picture. This is his view every single sunset. Peace. Grace. Love.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Time Flies and Nothing Changes

Happy two month birthday sweet boy.

Two months ago at this time I was holding you. Breathing you in. Praising God for your perfection. Praying to the same God for the understanding. For the strength to be able to let you go just as soon as I had gotten you. I didn't sleep a wink that night. Each second had to count as a year. Each minute a decade.

It's just not fair. Plain and simple. I should be sitting here feeling your hiccups because my body didn't fail. I should be so tired because I am in the third trimester. I should be filled to the brim with excitement.

Instead, I am sitting here with empty arms. They ache so badly for a baby. I want to comfort, nurture and love on a baby. I am back to pre-pregnancy size. I sipped Evan's beer rather than just smelling it at dinner. I am missing you. Like I've never missed anyone before.

So again, on the 4th night of the month I am praying. Praises that you were mine, that you were so perfect, that your perfect feet have left such a footprint. Praying for understanding. Praying for acceptance and peace. Praying for his grace.

From the hardest to the best days you are always with me, Aidan. With me every step of the way.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Gift

What is a successful day in the process of grieving? What defines a good day? Each and every day of the past two months has been a struggle. Each day brings its own set of tears. Each day is one of two choices. To stay in bed or to get up? Getting up is hard. Going to work is hard. Surviving is the hardest.

My Mom is a survivor,
Or so I've heard it said.
But I can hear her crying
When all others are in bed.
I watch her lay awake at night
And go to hold her hand.
She doesn't know I'm with her
To help her understand.
But like the sands upon the beach
That never wash away...
I watch over my surviving Mom,
Who thinks of me each day.
She wears a smile for others...
A smile of disguise.
But through heaven's open door
I see tears flowing from her eyes.
My Mom tries to cope with my death
To keep my memory alive.
But anyone who knows her
Knows it's her way to survive.
As I watch over my surviving Mom
Through heaven's open door...
I try to tell her
Angels protect me forevermore.
I know that doesn't help her...
Or ease the burden she bares.
So if you get a chance,talk to her...
And show her that you care.
For no matter what she says...
No matter what she feels.
My surviving Mom has a broken heart
That time won't ever heal.

There are few things that actually make me "feel better." Sure, I can hold it together. I can put on a smile and maybe even laugh. But, each and every second it hurts. Not always that intense pain, but always a pain. I hurt so bad because my son is not here for me to hold, cuddle, rock to sleep, feed or watch grow. There is still one way I can experience him though. It's by talking about him, sharing our story and watching his legacy take flight. Please grant me this one small thing each day.

There's an elephant in the room.
It is large and squatting, so it is hard to get around it.
Yet, we squeeze by with, "How are you?" and "I'm fine"....
And a thousand other forms of trivial chatter.
We talk about the weather.
We talk about work.
We talk about everything -- except the elephant in the room.
We all know it is there.
We are thinking about the elephant as we talk.
It is constantly on our minds,
For you see, it is a very big elephant.
But we do not talk about the elephant in the room.
Oh, please, say his name.
Oh, please, say "Aidan" again.
Oh, please, let's talk about the elephant in the room.
For if we talk about his death,
Perhaps we can talk about his life.
Can I say "Aidan" and not have you look away?
For if I cannot, you are leaving me
Alone... in a room... With an elephant

Today was supposed to have been a very happy day. It was supposed to have been my shower at work. Needless to say, it was a hard day. Instead of eating cake and giggling over cute baby boy things, I received a different kind of gift. A gift I would have never expected and if I had a choice I would trade in. I can't and so I accepted the gift with as much grace and humility as I have. I shared our story. I brought some more awareness to the horror of an incompetent cervix. I found the strength to share my baby and allow his legacy to grow. And for that, I am thankful.
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