"Because life is fragile and death inevitable, we must make the most of each day."
President Thomas S. Monson

Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween


Holidays were so difficult last year...and I really felt that things were better...that things were not so difficult. I got ready for halloween this year and got the girls ready and thought nothing of it.
Then the day came. I was almost paralyzed with fear this morning. I did not want to get out of bed...I especially did not want to go to the girls' school to volunteer. It seems like volunteering was something I did with Amberlee. The year I was pregnant with her was my best year...I had so much fun doing it...the students even looked forward to when I would come into class and talk to them. Then I delivered Amberlee...and I was blessed to still have the energy and time allowance to go to the school, but then Amberlee was gone.

Now I feel like I don't want to volunteer at all. The school probably reminds me of her more than anything. It is exactly the same as it was when I was there pregnant with her. The same smells, the same sights...the same teachers. I can barely bear to enter the school without her...and I am not sure if I will ever get past this.

I called a friend this morning...to ask her to help me figure this out. I wanted to be there for my other children...but I couldn't muster the courage. Unfortunately my friend did not have the time this morning...it being Halloween and all...to talk in depth. You know what though...I was extremely grateful when I got to the school and right as I was exiting the car my phone rang. It was my friend. Checking up on me...and trying to help me with my decision. It meant a lot that even though she could not talk to me right then...she did call me back to make sure I was o.k.

I did make it to the school...I have no profound insight on it though, because although I enjoyed seeing my children in their classrooms and taking pictures...I feel too disconnected to actually enjoy being there. My emotions are so strong I even considered putting them in another school. I hope that time will help...but I am not sure it will. If you are praying for anything for us right now...please pray that I will one day have the strength to volunteer again. I know how much this will benefit my girls...not just them but also their education.

Thanks for travelling this road with me.

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Pictures from Phoenix Children's Memorial 2008

video

The memorial service was good. I am glad Kyle & I went. The speakers shared personal stories about their own losses, and experienced medical professionals shared the influence our children have on an eternal perspective of learning to heal. Here are the pictures that I took to remember the Memorial Service. It is the last of our Memorials. My favorite part was the Bagpipes. It was amazing to hear them in honor of my child. I also enjoyed the music tremendously. They chose songs that I never thought to put toward our tragedy, but I am always happy to hear another song that can both remind me and help me to move forward in life.

Monday, October 27, 2008

An Encounter with her name...

A month or so ago I volunteered at a School book fair for my children. I was excited to start volunteering again, and I jumped at the opportunity because I enjoy the book fair so much. I was doing fine the first day. I even left excited for the next day, and then the next day came.

I went to the book fair like normal. Sat down, and got ready to ring the orders for the children. The other volunteer that would sit next to me...sat down, and another Mom came up to speak to her. Side note: I feel like I am out of the loop, rarely getting a change to speak to other Moms or even to volunteer, but I feel like I will never quite "fit" in again. A year passed by and I never went to the school...it was like the year just was sucked out of my life...Digressing......

Well this other Mom asks my helper, "So how is Amberly doing this year?".
What?
Did she just say that?
Panic struck...and I couldn't breathe. I am lucky...I chose a very unique name for Amberlee...and until now I have NEVER run into it. I was stopped dead in my tracks when this Mom said this to my helper. I instantly began to cry...and shake...I didn't know how to escape in the chair I was in...I had nowhere to go.

Shortly after the helper was done with her conversation and she immediately looked at me...she introduced herself...but unfortunately I am certain I will NEVER remember her name because I was in shock. I put one finger up and gestured that I needed her to hold on while I got myself together, and then I apologized. I said "I am sorry but do you have a daughter named Amberly?"...she smiled and she said yes...as if that was not enough...she gestured to Amberly and had her come over to me as she introduced her.

This beautiful 10 year old girl had no idea why I appeared afraid of her. I was grateful to see her short and very blonde hair and blue eyes (opposite of my Amberlee). I was also grateful when she showed me the spelling of her name. But I sat there with a flood of emotion and flashbacks that I try to suppress on my best days.

I explained to the Mom, so she wouldn't think I was absolutely Crazy, just slightly. I said my daughter's name was Amberlee and she passed away. She then said..."All my friends called me to warn me, I wanted to meet you." She apologized for my loss, and wanted to listen to the story. I was a little upset...I am not happy that people are talking about me and our situation...but I guess it is common place. I just wish they would talk to me. It seems like people at the school don't even realize something happened.

I guess some things I just can't prepare for. I never know when something will trigger an emotion...and I cannot prepare for the worst of emotions that I am experiencing. I wish this were different...it would be much easier to deal when I have time. Meeting Amberly was a blessing and a curse. The event of meeting her was horrible, but now I look at her when she walks by at the school and I can smile. I remember my baby...and I think...Wow...one day, in another life I might get to see her grow to be just as beautiful as this girl.

I am always grateful to find hope despite the sorrow I feel.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Sisterhood...& Baby John

After Amberlee left us for heaven not many people would talk about her. Almost Nobody had the courage to come up to me and ask anything about her, or how I was doing. People were simply too afraid to say anything to me, for fear they would hurt me...I desperately wanted to hear it though. I wanted people to hurt me if they must, but just SAY HER NAME!

Well there was one person who did not know me well, but she had the courage to say her name. Easter weekend Ashley was in my ward, visiting family. I recognized her from afar, and I was excited to talk to her as I had not seen Ashley in years. I only heard about her in passing from family members, and I knew some of what Ashley had experienced in life, but not a lot.

I left the main Sacrament Room to sit on a more comfortable couch, I was pregnant with Riesse and uncomfortable. (I am reminded I also needed a snack.) Ashley sat nearby me, she was also pregnant (but looked much better than I). I talked to her a bit, and we remembered each other and caught up a bit. But what amazed me the most is that Ashley asked me about Amberlee. This person, who barely knew me, remembered my daughter, and had the courage to ask me about Amberlee. It meant more to me than most memories of that year, and it still does.

I wish the story ended here, but little did I know, a little over a month later, Ashley would endure the same fate as I...when her soon to be born son was lost all too soon.

I have no doubt in my mind that our meeting was not a coincidence. I am certain that the paths our lives take are meant to lead us to those people that can influence us, or help us to grow. I have no doubt that Ashley was supposed to be in church that day, to tell me what she did, so that I could remember and be grateful to her. Grateful that she was one of the only people that dared to ask about my daughter that she knew was in heaven. I am glad that I can help her to grow through her loss, and I can be here for her because of mine.

I truly believe that this is what is meant by sisterhood. Together we can use our experiences to bring compassion for those that cannot see where this tragedy might lead them. Once I have walked the road alone, I can better hold someone's hand to try and keep them from falling while we travel together toward a happier place.

Thanks a million, Ashley!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

A Tree for Amberlee








Kyle's brother Kevin and his wife Denise planted this tree for Amberlee today. Their almost 4 your old son Gregary was a big help as well. It is so precious...a little baby tree that we just can't wait to see grow. We are so grateful for their expression of support, and memory of Amberlee. We'll keep you updated as the tree grows.

Thanks Kevin, Denise, & Gregary...we can't wait to see it in person!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

October 15th

Shalayne...from Junior/High School...Thanks for coming!

Trevor & Zegee (We met them at M.I.S.S.), we were remembering their son Diego as well, he passed away due to complications after a car accident. Zegee was in in her 7th month of pregnancy, when the accident occurred, and he lived 1 day.

Shauna, Crazy as ever...this is her "Cheerleader" pose.

Me & Kyle...Oh and my FAT arm, LOL

Mike & Riesse...honestly, she was the highlight of our night...what a cutie!

Carrie...She is thinking about New Kids On The Block, hence the Smile.

Rich the entertainer...

His better 1/2, Sommer, and Lilly

Their Family, minus the 2 that weren't there.

Note: Alicia & Justin came as well but I have to edit their picture...Michelle showed up too, she also lost a baby, Amber, after a fatal birth defect took her life shortly after birth.


For October 15th we invited our family and friends to Claim Jumpers for desert and talking. The day was actually a nice day of rememberance. Sometimes it is difficult to focus on the good, when you are surrounded by grief and sorrow, but October 15th felt to me like a day I could focus on just Amberlee, and not all the end stage sadness that happened in her life. Kyle and I decided that this is the day we will remember Amberlee with our friends and family, from now on. At this point we feel that Amberlee's "Heaven Day" & "Birthday" will now be more of a private family thing. Having said that...I feel somewhat pressured by others to "move on". Although I will not be "moving on" I can respect that others don't quite feel the pain in the same way...I understand that they don't comprehend because they have not been through it. I am happy that they have not been through it, regardless of my need to have them acknowledge my daughter.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Divorce Statistic is WRONG!

I hope that everyone who reads this can have hope that their relationship is not destined to fail based on the statistics that our friends love to rant off. I was told many times that 50% even up to 75% of couples divorce after they lose a child. This simply is not true, and I find comfort in knowing that my fight...is worth the battle.

I ran across an article that said this awhile ago...someone asked me to post it here so I am now posting it.
http://sids-network.org/experts/divorse.htm

Furthermore...I posted these comments on the M.I.S.S. Forum for Bereaved Families and Dr. JoAnne Cacciatore commented as follows...

"I've just published an article in a peer reviewed journal with DeFrain and Jones' regarding couples after the death of a baby. Another article is being published in Birth: Issues in Perinatal Care and demonstrates that most mothers rely most heavily on their partner, this being the most important variable in maternal anxiety and depression.Most couples do not divorce shortly after a child's death. The numbers are approximately 10% though it is difficult once you control for time (longitudinally 30% or more couples eventually divorce anyway, non-bereaved). In many couples, this experience brings them closer."

This is wonderful news...and all of us that experience the loss of a child can now rest at ease and focus on what needs to be focused on, our families and getting back to life with loss.

Monday, October 6, 2008

A Gorilla's Grief...

I ran across this article and thought is was interesting. I was actually intrigued by it. This poor Gorilla's 3 months old baby boy (sound familiar), died in her arms...and she held him and grieved over him for days. Zoo visitors watched her emotions in tears, as she mourned the loss of her baby and continued to look at him hoping he would somehow spring back to life

I apologize for the content that is listed on the side bar, but the article is good...if you can just keep your focus there.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1046549/A-mothers-grief-Heartbroken-gorilla-cradles-dead-baby.html

Friday, October 3, 2008

A precious gift...

I heard about the website "To Write Their Names In Sand" but I hadn't yet contacted them. The sweet woman that runs the site lost her son in January. In a dream...she saw 3 children running on a beach and they stopped in the distance and they were writing something in the sand. As she approached the children ran away...and she saw what they wrote...it was the names of her 3 children. If you e-mail her on Thursday, Friday, or Saturday, she will write the name of your child that has passed in the sand for you.

I intended to e-mail her...but yesterday I got an e-mail from her. She was grateful that I made the M.I.S.S. Conference video...and she had a present for me. I opened the link and there it was...


Sweet Carly had written Amberlee's name in the sand for me...I started crying instantly...and could not stop for several minutes...In fact I am crying as I write this. It is just so precious. I am touched when others show they love, even this much. I am even more touched by a stranger that can show this kind of love.

Thank you Carly...for bringing all of our angels...Alive again...by writing their names on the sand!