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

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Tale of Despereaux

I LOVED this movie. I think almost anyone that is filled with grief could leave it with both hope and inspiration. In short...the movie shows how one's person grief can affect many in both good and bad ways...even in ways they dont realize.

Have fun at the movie!...or you know...read the book if you like that =)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

A Christmas Rainbow

On Christmas morning there was a lot of rain. As we sat down for our Lunch we noticed a beautiful rainbow in the sky, centered nicely behind our house. I don't have to mention anything more about rainbows, they are our symbol that Amberlee is still with us. They feel like Amberlee is nudging us and reminding us not to forget her. It was so special for us to see this rainbow, on Christmas, a holiday where we miss her the most.
We love you baby princess, forever!

Monday, December 22, 2008

I found this on Compassionate Friends Website...=)

MY WISH LIST* I wish you would not be afraid to speak my loved one'sname. They lived and were important and I need to hear their name.
* If I cry and get emotional if we talk about my loved one,I wish you knew that it isn't because you hurt me: the fact thatthey died causes my tears. You have allowed me to cry and Ithank you. Crying and emotional outbursts are healing
* I will have emotional highs and lows, ups and downs. Iwish you wouldn't think that if I have a good cry my grief is allover, or that if I have a bad day I need psychiatric counseling.
* Being Bereaved is not contagious, so I wish you wouldn'tstay away from me.
* I wish you knew all the "crazy" grief reactions that I amhaving are in fact very normal. Depression, anger, fear,hopelessness and a questioning of values and beliefs are to beexpected following a death.
* I wish you wouldn't expect my grief to be over in 6months. The first few years are going to be exceedinglytraumatic for me. As with alcoholics, I will never be "cured" ora "formerly bereaved", but forevermore be recovering from mybereavement.
* I wish you understood the physical reaction to grief. Imay gain weight, lose weight, sleep all the time or not at all,develop a host of illnesses and be accident prone, all of whichare related to my grief.
* Our loved one's birthday, the anniversary of their deathand the holidays can be terrible times for us. I wish you couldtell us that you are thinking of us and them on these days. Andif we get quiet and withdrawn, just know that we are thinkingabout them and don't try to coerce us into being cheerful.
* I wish your wouldn't offer to take me out for a drink, or toa party, this is a temporary crutch and the only way I canget through this grief is to experience it. I have to hurtbefore I can heal.
* I wish you understood that grief changes people. I am notthe same person I was before my beloved died and I will never bethat person again. If you keep waiting for me to "get back to myold self" you will stay frustrated. I am a new creature with newthoughts, dreams, aspirations, values and beliefs. Please try toget to know this different me -- I'm the one who'll be here from now on.
--Author unknown

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Changing my tune...

The 1st couple of weeks of the Holiday Season were ok for me. NO major drama...I was excited, happy even to approach them. I felt like this year would be different and things were looking up, and then it hit me.

I put up my decorations late. I didn't put them all up last year. This year I didn't have time. The day I completed them all, I sat down to relish in the spirit and instead of pure Joy I felt something much different. Sadness encompassed me as I began to think about my sweet baby and what she is not looking at or experiencing this year. I wondered if she would be pulling on my Christmas tree, trying to touch the lights. As I tried to think that I might be mad at this I instantly realized that I want her here to do it. I want her here to break ornaments and wander around my house in awe of the changes that the Holidays bring. I want to hear her little voice, and see her smile when she looks at Santa. But I won't get this, the gift I want most of all, will not come for me in this lifetime.

Since that day the Holidays have been difficult. I try to take my anger out when I am exercising. I began jogging recently, and when it is hard to breathe and it hurts, I can push myself because I push my pain into it, and it helps. I am stuck in a conundrum though. I don't really want to celebrate because Amberlee won't be with us. However, I want to enjoy the Season for my other children.

Friends and Family have called and ask how I am doing. I tell them...o.k. and they sense something. Most of them ask what is wrong. I don't want to be rude, but I wish they could be empathetic and try to understand what I am missing. The Holidays are about family, but my family is not complete right now. We are missing one person, and it makes all the difference.

I am dreading Christmas Morning. I picture my children coming out to open their presents and get their stockings. I can see it now in my mind...all of the stockings will be hung and stuffed, all but one. Amberlee's stocking will sit all by itself, still hanging unremoved from the fireplace, empty. It seems so wrong, but this is the life that we have now. I realize there will be Joy in the upcoming Holidays...I just wish it were possible that that Joy could be more full.

Thanks for listening.

P.S. I changed the songs on my blog for the season. I heard "Where Are You Christmas" by Faith Hill the other day, and it seemed to fit the emotions that are consumming me. The song ends with hope which is where I feel I am most of the time. I am sure that one day Christmas will have the same magic it once did. Right now, I guess we are simply trying to redefine what we experience.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A Letter from Maria Beth Chapman, about her loss and Christmas

I am sure that some of you know, Steven Curtis Chapman (a prominent gospel singer) lost his daughter this year, when her brother accidentally ran her over in their driveway. Their hearts and faith are amazing. Their situation, is similiar to our own, and their suffering appears to mirror ours as well. While their beliefs are slightly different...they are still very close to my own. Steven's wife, Mary Beth Chapman, published a Christmas letter that had a very touching description of Mary (the mother of Christ), and what she might have felt as she knew what would happen to her son.
I can only imagine knowing throughout the brief time that we had, that Amberlee was going to die. How would that change us? I would hope that I would be the same mother, but I am certain I would have cherished the smaller moments much more. I was inspired by Mary Beth's thoughts, and I felt it was best to share them here. I wish you all Happy Holidays...I am here for you if you need me, just ask.


As I anticipate Christmas 2008, I have many thoughts flying through my heart and head. The last several days, my mind has not been able to stop thinking about Mary, the mother of Jesus. Pregnant and scared, knowing that the baby she was carrying eventually would pay the ultimate price of His life. How would I have lived differently if I knew that my time with Maria was going to be this short? Regretfully, I would have lived much differently. I would have purposely hugged and kissed more. I would have tried to memorize and lock away in my heart certain smells and smiles. I would have colored more and worked less. I would have laughed more and fussed less. Bedtime wouldn’t have become a chore to check off the list of things to get done. Instead it would have been more of an opportunity to listen about the day and offer whatever words were needed. The swimming pool wouldn’t have been too cold to swim in. The flowers in the garden would have all been picked, and definitely more ice cream would have been consumed!

I wonder what it was like for Mary after her son’s death. I know she saw him resurrected and was certain of the fact that she would she him again, but she was still his mom. Mary found favor with God; therefore she was chosen to be Jesus’ mom. But because God favored Mary, she was also chosen to suffer. Not just at the crucifixion, but her whole life. She was chosen to carry a baby in her womb, be persecuted and give birth in a dirty stable. Most of the time at Christmas we end the story there…. in the stable, with Mary, Joseph and Jesus receiving their company. Wise men, shepherds, and angels - you get the picture in your head right? The star, the animals, the Nativity! What about the rest of it? Mary, mothering the Son of God! She was human, she had a baby, and she raised that baby with the heaviness that she was to see him suffer and thus she too would suffer. I think when Mary was hiding things in her heart; it was a lot more than the reality of whom she carried in her womb. I am certain that she was hiding away the memories of first smiles and steps, as well as the first tears and tumbles. Knowing what was to come, did Mary have the opportunity to live differently as a mom to her little boy? I believe she did. I am sure that she watched him differently, taught him differently, and prayed differently. I can only imagine the discussions that she and Joseph would have when their son wasn’t listening, how they probably begged God to let the cup pass from them, but in the end yielding up the prayer we all hesitate to pray when it comes to our children…. Your will be done. UGGHH!!!! I don’t want to. I didn’t want to on May 21st, and I still don’t want to now. Yet somehow we did, and somehow we will continue to. I am reminded more than ever this Christmas, that it doesn’t end at the Nativity in Bethlehem in a cozy manger… it is a journey all the way to the cross on the hill in Golgotha on Good Friday.

Christmas for the Chapmans this year represents suffering. For that matter, from here on may we always remember that it represents the ultimate suffering that came. But isn’t it amazing that it is called GOOD Friday? Why is it good if it is full of suffering? Because Easter came on Sunday and what Satan intended for evil, God intended for GOOD! Christmas ultimately ends at Easter and the reality that we will see Maria again! If we are to live as Christ, then we will suffer like Christ. I am thankful this Christmas more than ever for Easter. When all the questions I have will be answered and all the tears I have will be wiped away. Until then, Merry Christmas with the reality that Easter came and all of this suffering will some day be gone in a moment, and all things will become new and right and awesome!

Thanks for your prayers during this journey. It isn’t an easy one and your love and support is continually needed. May you be richly blessed for gracing us with your love.

Longing to be washing dishes in heaven with Maria,Mary Beth for all the Chapman family.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Another Mother's Strength

Every once in awhile I read something from another mother that inspires me on my journey. All stories inspire me actually, but some just hit the right spot in my heart. I am happy to share with you Lisa's Strength. Everytime we think, "Oh, I have it so bad."; evertime we have a pity party. We have to realize that there are others that have suffered more than us. If they can have the strength to move on...than so can we. This is a long and difficult road, but we can walk it togther.

Here is Lisa's Wish for Hope:

My story of Hope. I found MISS in March of 05 right after I lost my 4th child. My son Peyton was born still at 21 weeks from a true knot in his cord. I never knew things like this could happen I have 3 living children and never had any issues with those pregnancies and was in total devastation that something like this could happen to our family. The blame the guilt you name it we lived through it all.

We knew right away that we wanted to try again ASAP and were assured that this was a fluke and chances of another stillborn were very slim so with that information we started trying again. We found ourselves pregnant again in Aug 05 only to miscarry at 6weeks again why me questions but no answers.

So here we go again we had been trying add a 4th living child to our family since 03 with no luck. In April of 06 we were pregnant again around 12 weeks I started bleeding heavy and was sent home from the hospital to miscarry only I didn’t turned out I had placenta previa my Beautiful daughter Lilly was growing strong and right on target. On Dec 6th 2006 I had what would turn out to be my last Dr’s appt.Lilly sounded great and we were scheduled to be induced on Dec 20th My husband’s birthday she was coming 3 weeks early since we lost Peyton my Dr wanted her here as soon as we hit 37weeks . 37 weeks never came 2 days later I could not get Lilly to move I knew in my heart she was gone. Lilly was born still on Dec 8th 2006 at 36 weeks reasons unknown my perfect beautiful rainbow baby gone. How could this happen you told us the odds were 95% that we would bring her home why us again what had we done to have 3 babies die in a row.We buried Lilly 1 week before Christmas my entire family destroyed no reason to go on in my eyes why did my living children need me I had failed their brother and sister and would surely fail them to. Days turned into months and months.We started talking about trying again had we totally lost our minds yes!!!! our hearts and arms ached for another child could we risk losing another child that was a chance we decided to take. 11 months after Lilly died I got that BFP the anxiety started on day 1 I just knew that we doomed that this baby to would die. The weeks went by and baby bean was growing and growing. I had a million Dr’s appt and a Set date to be induced 34 weeks regardless this child was coming even if that meant nicu time.

June 25th 2008 Our Beautiful Son Cooper William was born ALIVE and CRYING I have never felt so many emotions all in one. To hear those cries after 2 silent births was the most amazing sound in the world!!I know the pit that all of you are in right now the despair you are living with but without hope what do we have? I never gave up HOPE when many would have stopped and thier dream would have died with them and now my arms are filled.Please know that one day you to will have reasons to HOPE you will be able to smile again at the little things.All of you are the strongest women I have ever met.Hugs, Lisa