A Letter- Victoria’s Story

Everyone has their own way of grieving. Some like to write poetry and listen to music, some like to create a memorial, some go through old photo albums filled with pictures, some write, and so much more.

I have several ways I deal with my grief, but my go-to is writing. I have a journal on my laptop where I just write whatever comes to me. I have an actual bound journal that I keep by my bed for thoughts and reflections. Both of these journals help me release what is inside of me and help me to find words when I feel completely lost and speechless.

This week has been a particularly hard week. I should be half-way through my pregnancy with my 4th Angel. I should be finding out if our precious baby was a boy or a girl. I should be planning a gender reveal party and kicking into high-gear with nursery decorating. I should be laughing at how big my belly is getting and how I am starting to get that pregnancy walk. I should be happy.

I sat down last night and wrote a letter to our 4th Angel, and I wanted to share it with you. Perhaps, as you are moving through your own grief, this letter will help you to find your own words and write for comfort and release.

My Angel,

You should be getting so big and strong in my womb- kicking your legs and stretching your arms. I should feel you moving as your Daddy and I push on my belly to watch you roll to go back to sleep. I should be finding out this week if you are a boy or a girl. No matter what though, we would be happy. You are perfect and you are ours.

Even though I never got to meet you or feel a kick, I knew you were there. I felt your presence and cherished every moment. You are still perfect and you are certainly still my child. I long to feel your kick and to see your chubby cheeks on the screen.

Maybe my pregnancy would have been tough- filled with sickness and back pain. I want you to know, I would choose to be sick every day for 40 weeks with glee to hold you in my arms.

My only comfort is knowing you are in Heaven with God. I know he holds you in his arms and you know a happiness unlike any found on Earth. While it comforts me to know you are with God, my heart still breaks because you are not with me. We are all God’s children first, but I still longed to be your Mom and hold you in my arms. I wanted to rock you to sleep, tell you stories, buy you your first bike, see your face light up when you saw the ocean for the first time, and kiss away your tears.

I am only human and I struggle with God’s plan. Being blessed with a child is a gift unlike any other. It is a miracle and an honor to be bestowed with the responsibility of being a Mother. Why take that away? What is the plan? I am trying so hard to walk this journey and not waiver in my faith- but it is not always easy.

I often wonder if you have met my Grandfathers and other family members. I get great comfort out of picturing my Grandfathers holding you tight and telling you all of their crazy stories. You will know everything there is to know about everything if you have met them. They are both great story-tellers. I have this picture of my Grandfathers holding you, wrapped in a soft yellow blanket, and smiling at you as they tell you about me. It brings me so much joy to think of you with them.

I want you to know that my love for you never stops- it only grows. I think of you every day and always will. I know I am blessed to have been chosen as your Mother, if only for a short time, but that doesn’t stop my heart from aching.

I love you for always,

Your Mom.

Happiness Is- Victoria’s Story

“Most folks are as happy as they make up their mind to be”

Abraham Lincoln
There is a lot of truth to this quote. You can only be as happy as you decide to be. I don’t know about you, but some days, it is really hard to decide to be happy. In fact, some days, I don’t want to be happy. I don’t want to force an emotion and a state of mind that I am just not able to occupy.
On days where I just can’t seem to rise above the dark cloud, I turn to my “Happy Box”. My Happy Box got officially created when Heather sent me the most beautiful card. Heather and I hadn’t even met yet, she had just had Hannah’s funeral when she found out I was miscarrying. Our husbands work together and had been discussing Heather’s pregnancy and my issues for several months before Hannah passed, so while I knew about Heather, I had only seen her once in passing. I was so surprised when my husband came home with a card from Heather for me (although, now that I am getting to know Heather, I would not be the least bit surprised- she is truly that thoughtful and kind). While I will not share the exact wording of the card, her words gave me the validation I so desired, gave me a connection to someone who was (heartbreakingly) grieving the loss of a child, and made me remember that I am not alone. 
I had kept items from each pregnancy, though haphazardly stored them in bags or cardboard boxes. When I got Heather’s card, I knew I wanted to keep it close because it was the first thing that had made me smile since the miscarriage. I found a wooden box and put the card in it next to my bed, along with other items from my pregnancies and things that just generally made me smile. I decided I would open the box on days when I was particularly sad or in need of a reminder of how blessed I am.
The box has been an incredible lifesaver for me- I can reminisce, smile, and get lost in a million little things that make me happy- and it has never failed me. I would highly recommend to anyone Mother of Loss that you make a box like this.
Originally, I intended to share photos of each item in my box, but I just feel like some of them are too personal to me. You should have your own things that are unique and special to you. Instead, I will share with you what is in the box, and include several photos.
1) Heather’s card- it reminds me I am never alone and that I have a friend I can turn to
2) My first positive pregnancy test- to some, this might sound a little crazy, but it gives me hope and takes me back to a time when I was carefree and so full of love and hope- and had none of the fear I do now.
3) A picture of Jason and I are on our wedding day- this helps me take myself out of current situation. Sometimes, it is so easy to focus on the here and now, that you forget who you are together as a couple. Looking at our picture, reminds me that together, we can do anything.
4) A picture of my parents and brother- I am so close with my family, but sometimes in a state of sadness, I feel very alone. Looking at their picture helps me remember how blessed I am to have an incredible and supportive family who is behind me every step of the way.
5) A picture of a sunset I took on our deck- one of the things that most relaxes me is sitting on our deck in the nice weather at night. We enjoy the sunset, feel the breeze off of the lake, listen to the wildlife, look at the moon and stars, and also watch the planes- we are directly under the flight path to the Philadelphia airport, so we see all of the planes approaching. There is something so peaceful, simple, and serene about a night like that. Just thinking about it helps me relax.
6) My first ultrasound picture- I am sharing this because it brings me so much joy. I carried 4 beautiful babies, and I actually got to see this baby. This reminds me how beautiful pregnancy is and how blessed I am to be able to get pregnant and experience such a a miracle.
7) A poem called: To the Child in my Heart-
O precious, tiny, sweet little one 

You will always be to me

So perfect, pure, and innocent

Just as you were meant to be.

We dreamed of you and of your life And all that it would be

We waited and longed for you to come 

And join our family.

We never had the chance to play, To laugh, to rock, to wiggle.

We long to hold you, touch you now

And listen to you giggle.

I’ll always be your mother.He’ll always be your dad.

You will always be our child,

The child that we had.

But now you’re gone…but yet you’re here.

We sense you everywhere.
You are our sorrow and our joy.

There’s love in every tear.

Just know our love goes deep and strong.

We’ll forget you never–The child we had, but never had,

And yet will have forever.

Author: C.P. 
8) Some of my favorite Bible verses- here are a few:
Romans 5:1-21

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Matthew 18:14

So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.

Matthew 19:14

But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”

Romans 8:28

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Luke 18:15-17

Now they were 
bringing even infants to him that he might touch them. And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”
9) A smiley face magnet- because sometimes, all I need to smile is seeing that silly smile.
10) The coming home outfit Heather and I purchased together.
11) Seashells- these aren’t just any seashells- they are from our honeymoon in Ocracoke, NC. It is our favorite place to vacation, and we have done so on several vacations. It was on our honeymoon that we made a lot of decisions about our family, and therefore, it holds a dear place in my heart.
12) Letters- I wrote a letter to myself and a letter to each of my babies. My box has all of the letters in envelopes (that remain unsealed so I can read them as I choose). The letter to myself is about staying strong, my reasons to carrying on, reminders of the hope and joy in my life, and most importantly- a list of all of the reasons that we are strong. Each letter to the babies details my pregnancy, my emotions, my love for them, fun tidbits about different milestones, a prayer for each of them, and a memorial of their life. Some people might be a bit put off about the letters, but they are exactly what I need. They may not be for you, and that is okay!
I have many other things in my box- stickers, drawings, cards, poems, pictures, etc- but those are the basics. I add to my box constantly and each time I open it, it is a reminder of how blessed I am and how many wonderful things there are in life to be happy about.
I would encourage any Mother of Loss to create her own box. It has been therapeutic, validating, and my strength when I just can’t muster any.

Why Am I So Angry? – Day 12

Ephesians 4:31

Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger.

1. How have you recently expressed healthy, righteous anger over your loss? Unhealthy anger?

About a month ago my husband and I were both angry over our loss. We got into and argument about something else and it got very emotional. We gave each other space. We each separately just cried out to God, screamed, and just broke down. Our anger didn’t have to do with that argument, but it had everything to do with the loss of Hannah.

I hate the feeling of being angry so I try to just push it to the side. I’m not sure where is goes, but I know I can’t keep it there and let it build up. The anger will come out eventually there’s no question about that. I can’t allow it build up and get worse and worse.

2. What do you feel is behind your anger? Disappointment? Envy? Expectations? Guilt? Physical exhaustion? Fear? Rejection?

All of the above. Just at different times since Hannah was given and fatal diagnosis.

3. Tell God how you feel. Write a letter to Him and share your heart.

Dear God,

I’m not angry directly at you, but I am angry this had to happen. I’m angry my little girl died. I’m angry she wasn’t healed. I’m angry that she was stillborn. I’m angry that since she never took a breath the federal government doesn’t recognize her.

I am also thankful for your love and guidance. I’m thankful you allowed Hannah’s life to touch so many people. I’m thankful that she will receive a birth certificate and be recognized by the state. I’m thankful for the connections and new friends I have made through the loss of Hannah. I am thankful that I can share my story and be a voice for those who cannot speak yet. I’m thankful that Hannah’s life with help countless people through this blog/website and nonprofit.

I know you will not let Hannah be forgotten. I know that you are showing her a love greater than I can even imagine on this earth. I know she is safe in your arms. I know you will use her death to touch and help others who are on this journey of loss or who will be on it in the future.

We want You to be glorified through our personal journey of loss. We want people to know that You didn’t cause their baby to pass away, that there is just sin and evil in this world. We want people to know the love You have for them.

Thank You for always being there and accepting me even at my darkest times. I love You God.

Love Always,
Heather

Happy-Sad Days – Day 9

Malachi 3:6

I the Lord do not change.

1. Take a few moments to reflect on your child. How old would he or she be now? What do you think he or she would be like?

Hannah would be about 2 1/2 months old. I truly believe she would have been a happy baby. That she would have such a beautiful smile. Hannah would have definitely been stubborn like me and her Daddy. But a sweet, sweet baby.

2. Certain dates ay trigger happy-sad emotions about your child. Some people may grieve these dates silently, while others find it helpful to express their grief through planting a tree or giving to a special cause in memory of their child. What is your plan?

I express my grief on certain dates like every month on the 23rd I buy Hannah an outfit and her Daddy buys her flowers, but on the 9th of every month I’ve grieved silently. I plan on expressing my grief.

3. Write a letter to your child in Heaven. Ask questions. Share your feelings.

Dear Hannah,

I miss you and love you so much. My heart aches to have you and my arms ache to hold you. But I know you are in the arms of God. You only know love and happiness. My sweet Hannah, do you know the impact your precious life has had on others? Do you know your short precious life made and is making a huge impact on this world? You have inspired me in so many ways. I Love you Hannah ❤

 
Love always,
Mommy