Sunday, October 31, 2010

Fleeting and Fragile

Most disturbing experience today.

I tried to rescue this beautiful bird who had been wounded tonight. It looked like a small duck and huddled against the white line. Okay, I'll be honest, when I first drove by it looked like a squirrel that was severely injured and so I looped around intending to *help* it out of its misery. I wouldn't have been able to sleep knowing I had left it to die a slow death in the road on a cold Halloween night. As I looped around, I saw it was actually a beautiful bird ... It was adorable and duck-like, so I decided to rescue it. I parked, climbed a small embankment and walked right up to the little guy when a truck veered and ran over its head. I saw the little life practically jump out of its body and it was just horrible. I couldn't believe that I was so close to helping it and now it was dead. I got back in the car and just trembled with grief and regret and anger. I was angry at the truck driver, I was angry at myself for failing, I was angry because I felt so sad over this little life and no one would understand. They'd say, "It was just a bird" or "that truck driver put it out of its misery" or "it probably would have died anyway."  They would have been missing the point!

I don't know how this triggered memories of my children, but I was reminded of my failure to rescue them, too,  and I just broke down. As I cried for the bird, I cried for my children. My son kept asking what was wrong, but I couldn't snap out of it ... I told him what happened to the bird and he just said, "I'll help you mommy. I'll give you a hug. You'll be okay because I'll help you mommy. When we get home, I'm going to hug you and be with you ..." I simply said, "okay".  And that's just what he did.

I took some life lessons out of this experience.

1. Life is fragile and fleeting. Sometimes even our best efforts won't restrain death when it's time for the spirit to leave the body. We can't take life back once its gone and maybe that's what hurts the most ... that it's so completely out of our hands. The flip side of that thought is we have to get to a place where we can admit that wielding the power of life and death is God's responsibility. It's too weighty a sword to bear. Even through the hurt we can be comforted because He knows the beginning and the end and if we hang with Him, we'll get answers AND a happy reunion with our little ones.

2. Hearing a word of encouragement from someone who loves us is indispensable. When we're sad and a loved one tries to throw us a rope, we can choose NOT to get offended because they want us to feel better. We need to reach out, grab that rope and hang on for dear life. Or else, drown in our sorrows.

3. I am all for being positive and looking forward, but that does not mean I ever mean to suggest we should not feel sad. Sadness is a part of life. But so is happiness. In life, if you're human, you'll experience both. It is better to have a happy life with spurts of sadness, than to have a sad life with spurts of happiness.

As always, share your thoughts!


Monday, October 25, 2010

FREE download of Stolen Angels - this week only!

For Infant and Pregnancy Loss Awareness Month, I'm offering a free download of my book Stolen Angels; 25 Stories of Hope after Pregnancy or Infant Loss. Simply fill out the form found here, and type "free download" in the comment box. Emails sent within 24 hours.

 Offer ends 11:59 p.m., Oct., 31, 2010.

No one should experience life's greatest tragedy, but if they do, they should never think they are alone. There is hope and healing after a baby leaves this world too soon.


Thursday, October 21, 2010


On my Facebook page, I made a post that seems to go completely against what the baby lost community is all about. Before I go *there* let me share 2 cents about me and what gave me the nerve (lol) to crash that party. First, I'm the mother of 3 stolen angels - Christopher (part I and II, Kasimir, and Elyana. I've been a bereavement counselor for 4 years, facilitate a parents grief support group for an Army base also for 4 years, am a member of the bereavement support committee at an Army hospital, authored the book, Stolen Angels: 25 stories of Hope, am on the board of directors of the Aneysha Foundation for Fibroids and I'll graduate as a marital and family therapist in June. That was a mouthful!! I've talked to many, many, many parents and have discovered a few things. If you're willing - and this sounds crazy, but - close your heart and open your mind, I think you'll discover something exciting!

Hurting parents - moms in particular - just want someone to understand her story. We just want someone to really *get* our day-to-day experience without judging or trying to change us. We just want to be around others who can appreciate just how deep this loss feels. We feel lonely and misunderstood because oftentimes family and friends and -let's be real - society in general - acts like this is not a big deal. So, yes, we need each other. But in our search for validation and understanding, be careful of the voices you allow in. Words have power. The words you listen to and the words you speak guide your future. I can't stress that enough. Here's an example that I think (hope) makes my point more clear.

Let's say you are training for a marathon, so you recruit a few buddies to train for the big event with you. The purpose of such training groups are to motivate each other to go faster, further, and essentially stay in the race. The idea is that each others' attitudes are contagious. When one feels weak, the others say, "come on - we're going to make it!" They holler, "Just one more mile, keep moving your feet!"

Now what if your group of training partners spill words like, "this is too hard," "I can't make it," "I hurt too much to go on" ... or what if they spend your training time constantly talking about how rough this marathon training has been/will be. Will you finish strong surrounded by a group like this? Now, leave your heart at the end of this sentence. Don't try to "feel" your way through that question. Use your logic. Will you finish STRONG surrounded by a group like this?

Probably not.

Now, CAN you still finish ...? I'd say yes, but you certainly will face additional challenges along the way. I mean! This is the race of your life! We're talking miles and miles and miles - often low crawling - over hot coals and broken glass! Do we really need *additional challenges*!??

Okay. Let's get to it. Here's the bottom line, in-your-face-honest-to-goodness-truth: It is derniddally (yes a word I made up!) near impossible to find joy and healing if your support network is a group of sad people who also complain a lot. Do not interpret this to mean that the injustice of losing a baby isn't real, incredibly intense and life changing. Do not interpret this to mean that there is such thing as "getting over it" or that your complaints are not valid. They are.

In another post, I'll share further about things we should NOT say or dare listen to!

Until then,


Saturday, October 09, 2010


There's a difference between clinical depression and the intense sadness you get after your baby is gone. Medical professionals often try to medicate a mom who is experiencing sadness just 6 months later. Being sad for a year is normal! Parents (sadly) have to stare grief in the face and work through the whirl of intense emotions that go along with it. I'll tell ya what. Unless a mom is willing to stay on anti-depressants forever, that grief is going to be waiting once the last artificial hormone leaves her body.

My advice to you

  • Survive the tough days, weeks, and months ahead by setting aside time each day to grieve. Let yourself really feel the hurt and channel it through exercise, writing, prayer, shouting - whatever provides a release.
  • Cast off anger, bitterness, and unforgiveness. These are black reactions that block healing and hinder your prayers.
  • Search out any happy or hope-filled thought and cling to it. Thoughts about your tragedy do invade many peaceful moments ... it is hard to quell those longings to hold your precious baby in your arms, but it's also true that meditating on these painful thoughts does not make you feel well. If it is indeed wellness you seek, heed my advice, friend!
  • Find at least one person who has walked a mile in your shoes and who has learned to live a full and joy-filled life (ahem ... my contact info is printed on this blog ... but there are others!)
  • Find a purpose for living that is larger than your immediate family. There is a hurting world outside of your four walls, step out there, look around and help a person or group in need. You'll be amazed at how deeply your broken heart will be affected - for the better!
  • Write. Write every fear, emotion, and reaction. Write about everything or nothing. Here's a previous post about how writing and words  heal.
  • Check out my YouTube video on the signs and symptoms  of depression.
As a side note, here's an article I found today that talks about some surprising signs that often go unnoticed.


Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day

Mark your calendars ... it is that time of year again. Please join parents of stolen angels from all over the globe as we acknowledge our children who were gone too soon.  I've been busy planning a remembrance ceremony for this area. We've reserved a local chapel, lined up a guest speaker, and contacted the media ... programs are printed, food is ordered and this event is a wonderful way for parents to publicly remember their precious babies and connect with other parents at the same time.

Check this listing to find a ceremony in your area or use this guide to plan your own!  If you're stuck home that day, please light a candle and say a prayer for those who have loved and lost an *angel* ...