Thursday, October 31, 2013

First Knocked Up Blogger Post - Week 15: Pregnant again, after loss–leaning into excitement

I am excited and nervous to announce my first post as the Knocked Up Blogger for Pregnancy and Newborn Magazine.  This is where you will be able to follow my journey through pregnancy again after loss. To join in my excitement check out the weekly posts here. I'm looking forward to sharing my lessons learned from this experience with all of you.

(Photo Credit to Pregnancy & Newborn Magazine)

Being pregnant with baby No. 2 has been a bittersweet journey.  My first baby, my daughter Nora, was stillborn at 40 weeks, after a PERFECT pregnancy, due to an infection that happened just hours before she was to be born.  It’s been 15 weeks since we found out we were pregnant for the second time, only 9 months after losing Nora.
I can recall standing shoulder to shoulder with my husband this past August, two days before I would miss my period, holding the pregnancy test parallel to our eyes, examining the thin blue lines with nervous anticipation as all expectant couples do.  “That’s not a line.”  Nick said, breaking the silence.  “It’s too faint.”
I replied with, “Yes it is.  Look here, the directions say ANY line is a POSTIVE result.” I explained while pointing to the thin, flimsy instructions in my hand.
He shrugged his shoulders and said, “It’s too early. You haven’t even missed your period yet.”
“I know.” I said as I looked down and walked back to the bathroom as I nonchalantly threw the test in the garbage. The excitement of being pregnant again had left before it had a chance to arrive.  It wasn’t there anymore. The innocence was gone and the emotions of this new pregnancy were now being held hostage by the disappointments of the previous one.
At that moment, I remembered how I creatively told Nick, over a year and half ago that we were pregnant with our first child, wrapping the positive pregnancy test in a green string bow and silently placing it in his hands on the day we moved into our new home. When he looked down at the test, my beautiful, gentle, husband began to cry and muttered the words, “I’m going to be a dad?”  I could only shake my head in agreement with a proud smile.  There was jubilation then.  There was pure innocence.  There was EXCITEMENT.
This time around, we are fighting to find excitement again.  We had planned on being parents to a living baby just 9 months ago and now the prospect of expecting again is a scary adventure, one wrapped in anxiety and the fear of what if?   What if it happens again?  How will I get through this emotionally, mentally, and physically?  Will I come home from the hospital with a baby in my arms instead of a hole in my heart? I hope I do, as the doctors say there isn’t any reason to suspect that another baby will pass away due to a fluke infection like my daughter did.  I have lost my pregnancy innocence as it has been taken from me and I’m not sure how to get it back.
Learning to have faith in the process of pregnancy, to trust fate, and the possibility of a new life this time has been hard to say the least.  Over the past 15 weeks, we waited like any other expectant parents do to get past the first 12 weeks and into the ‘safe zone’ when we can allow ourselves to feel more anticipation, more joy.  But, Nick and I have learned there is no ‘safe zone’, not for us.  That still doesn’t mean that we should push away joy, ignore excitement.  This is a lesson I am learning.

So, to lean into excitement, to connect with pregnancy again, and to have faith that the car seat waiting in the parking garage at the hospital will this time come home full instead of empty, we have started taking belly pictures.  We did this with baby No.1 starting at 8 weeks.  This time Nick suggested we do it differently.  We will keep track with monthly seasonal pictures, like a calendar of a growing baby bump. We will continue to take these baby steps forward in learning how to embrace the possibility of excitement in a new pregnancy after the loss of a previous one.  As Nick likes to say, “While all other pregnant couples are expecting, we are hoping.”  I hope that besides bringing a baby home from the hospital this time, we will also find joy and delightful anticipation in the beauty of pregnancy again.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Letters to Nora - Do You Want to Be a Big Sister?

 October 26th, 2013

Dear Sweet Nora,

I have something to tell you.  I'm not sure how you will take it, as you will have a new role to play. It's one of the hardest jobs there is for a little girl, trust me, I know, I am one.  Your dad and I want to tell you that you are going to be a BIG SISTER!!! What do you think of that?  I hope it makes you happy.  It makes your dad and I happy.  Well, actually we are incredibly scared, confused, terrified, excited, angry and sometimes I am indifferent to the whole idea, mostly because I'm so scared. Don't get me wrong, we want another child, but I really wanted you to know we also did and still do really want YOU!

Don't worry honey, you will always be our first child.  I remember one night after you passed when I was laying in bed next to Nick and I began to cry.  He gently asked, "Honey are you okay?" and I replied, "I was just thinking, first child will never actually get to know what it is like to be the first born.  You know, like I did."  I cried then.  I cry now as I write this.

I really wanted you and me to share that.  Share what it is like to be the oldest. You know, it's special and there is a lot of responsibility that comes with that. But hopefully, honey you can, in some way I just might not understand, some way, you can still be a big sister. I will make sure your younger brother or sister knows about you and how special you are to your dad and I.

The other night I asked your dad if he thinks the new baby will be a boy or girl, he said he doesn't care as long as the baby is alive and healthy.  Then, he paused for a moment, and as I was laying in his arms looking up at him as you probably would have if you were here, he said, "I kind of hope it's a girl.  I don't know...maybe if it were a girl...I know it sounds crazy, but would be like Nora is coming back to us in a way.  I know we can't replace her, but maybe it would feel like that."  I held him tight and gave him a hug for me but also a secret one for you because I know you would like that answer.  Your dad thinks of you all the time as do I.

Just so you know, we are 15 weeks now and with great hesitancy I plan on sharing our past experiences over these past weeks, here on Thursdays for who is interested in your story and new baby's story.  Nora, it's so scary to write about another pregnancy after losing you.

I hope Nora, that you like being a big sister.  I know at times it can be down right awful, but I think in the end you will find great joy in it, like I do.  Honey, there is one thing I want you to know, and that is you will NEVER be replaced in our hearts.

Love Always & Forever,


Saturday, October 26, 2013

Inspirational Bereaved Parent - Guest Post from Rodger & Leann Creators of Kyleigh's Gift Fund

Today I am honored to welcome Rodger and Leann, Kyleigh’s mom and dad.  Both are an INSPIRATION as in memory of their daughter they created the Kyleigh’s Gift fund that is working towards bringing Halo sleep sacks to every newborn at their local hospital along with planning a walk/run for next October 2014.  The legacy of love Rodger and Leann are creating in Kyleigh's name is beautiful.  I hope you enjoy their story as much as I do.  

At the end of what was a healthy, normal pregnancy, we were excited to welcome a new baby into our family of four. What we did not expect was to leave the hospital without our only daughter. Due to complications during delivery, our baby girl passed away at birth. On April 5, 2012, Kyleigh Elizabeth, was born into the arms of Jesus and our lives were changed forever.
As we were planning Kyleigh’s Celebration of Life, we knew that she was given to us for a reason. She was placed on this earth, albeit only inside of her mother’s womb, to make a difference. We decided to start a fund, Kyleigh’s Gift, at the hospital where she and her two brothers were born. “The Weller family created the Kyleigh’s Gift Fund as a way to not only keep Kyleigh’s memory alive, but to recognize the loving care and support that they have and continue to receive from the Birthing Center doctors, nurses and staff.” – The Liberty Hospital Foundation,
The Kyleigh’s Gift fund is currently working on providing Halo sleep sacks to every newborn at Liberty Hospital. We hope to launch this project in January 2014. It is our way of reaching out to all families who deliver at the birthing center and provide a tool to encourage safe sleeping habits. We are doing what we can to prevent other families from going through the unimaginable pain of losing a child at any age and of any cause. We are also in the early stages of planning a run/walk event for October 2014, to not only support the Birthing Center, but to bring awareness of pregnancy and infant loss. While the Kyleigh’s Gift fund is still very much in the early stages, our goal is to ultimately share Kyleigh’s story, honor all babies born and find a meaningful way to support other pregnancy and infant loss bereaved families.
A blog,, and Facebook page by the same name, Kyleigh’s Gift, have also been established in Kyleigh’s memory. We not only share our journey of grief and faith through both of these avenues, but also bring awareness to pregnancy and infant loss. By sharing our daughter’s story and how she has changed our lives, we are healing and hopefully bringing healing to others.

Rodger, a software manager, and Leann, a stay at home mom, have been blessed with five children; two sons, ages 3 and 6, and three babies in heaven, two lost to miscarriage and their daughter, Kyleigh.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Faces of Grief - A Photographic Display of the Experience of Grief after the Loss of a Child

With this piece I put together moments of my grief captured on film from the first moments of my daughter's entrance into this world to 10 months after her death.  

I used color to emphasizes lighter moments, moments when grief was not as strong, but included darkness in every photo to highlight that grief still lives in the soul even months later.  

The placing of the photos is purposeful, to show how grief is deep and darkest at first, traumatic in nature.  Then over time in ebbs and flows, moments of sorrow lift, but also return, moving in and out at different rates, with no rhyme or reason. 

This was an experiment in exploring my grief through art and photography this month as a way to integrate my journey of grief into my larger life story.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

October Grief Project - Creative Expression: Healing Through the Arts

 "Without art, the crudeness of reality would make the world unbearable." 
~George Bernard Shaw

Oscar Wilde once said, "It is through art and through art only that we can realize our perfection; through art and art only that we can shield ourselves from the sordid perils of actual existence." I would go one step further and say that not only does art protect us from the jeopardies of the world, it teaches us, strengthens us, and allows us to participate in all the wonderful and excruciating emotions of our actual existence. We have seen this throughout civilization; artwork of all kinds, paintings, sculptures, poems, plays, etc., through the generations, depicting our deepest depths of grief.

 (The Angel of Grief is an 1894 sculpture and gravestone by William Wetmore Story for him and his wife.) 

(The Sick Child by Edvard Munch as a depiction of the moments before his sisters death at age 15 to tuberculous.)

Why art for grief one might ask?  To some it seems natural and the answer would be 'why not' to others it may seem out of their comfort zone.  But there is something transcendent about art, something in the process of making it, looking at it, dreaming it into life, that is truly powerful.  Art helps us access the experiences that lie beneath grief, it touches and grabs hold of the unspoken emotions that word's often can't find.  If you participate in an art activity to process your grief, you might find that through the paint brush, the pen, or the photo lens, you will come across a sense of healing that your tongue just can't express.

In in the field of psychotherapy, art therapy is a valid and relied upon method of exploring ones grief. "Creative expression often bypasses intellect to allow a greater range of emotions than talk therapy alone can evoke." states Sandra L. Bertma, in her review of The Art of Grief: The Use of Expressive Arts in Grief Support Groups.  Recent neuroscience supports this claim as cognitive neuroscience has shown that while trauma is still fresh, the language center of the brain becomes suppressed, inhibiting our ability to recall memories. Nancy Gershman, in her article in Techniques of Grief Therapy states that "the preferred mood of communication for the emotional brain is the language of sensory images, metaphors, and symbols."  This is where art comes in as a form of accessing the emotional brain for healing through it's language of images instead of spoken words. 

For the month of October, while you haven't been looking (well, I haven't been posting), I have been focusing on using creative expression through the arts to explore and integrate my grief.  So far, this month I have participated in photography to capture my feelings of grief, I tried different painting and collage techniques to explore my emotions through different senses, as well as writing exercises and listening to music to move towards finding a sense of calm within my internal storm of sorrow.

I hope you follow along as in the last few days of October I will be sharing my projects and my experience with each one here on Stillborn and Still Breathing.  I look forward to your comments and sharing of your own experiences with using art to address your grief as I know so many in the community do.  When you see my artwork, remember, I am an amateur at creative expression, but I hope it's process, not necessarily the finished product will help soothe my soul. And if you partake in a creative release, I hope you too can find the gift in the journey of the creation and not judge the outcome as we as humans often like to do.  


Reconceiving Loss provides a place to use creativity to explore grief after pregnancy loss through writing, photography, and yoga exercises.   

Illuminate is a beautiful FREE photography course offered by Beryl Young, fellow loss mom.  She started this course after finding photography as an important step in her healing journey and then wanted to share her knowledge with others.

Art4Healing is a organization that offers web courses for those interested in using art to heal their emotional pain.  I did not find courses centered around grief and loss, but there are some wonderful course that would still address the topic.

Made is a course offered by Beth Morey, fellow loss mom.  Her course would fit those who are of Christian faith looking to explore their new self after loss through creativity.  The course's main focus is on exploring God-centered creativity, but there are many healing components.    

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Inspirational Bereaved Parent - An Interview with Heidi Faith from Still Birthday

Heidi Faith is the creator of Still Birthday, a resource for those who have experienced any type of pregnancy loss.  A mover and shaker, Heidi is a trained social worker and counselor who has put her experience to use in the loss community by becoming a clinical perinatal psycho-spiritual therapist and birth support worker and a doula certified crisis pregnancy counselor.  Through this experience she has created the Still Birthday Doula Certification program that offers birth & bereavement doula training. With this program she helps many women all over the world learn how to be supportive of other women who experience birth and pregnancy loss.

Lindsey: Welcome Heidi! I can’t believe you agreed to interview with me.  I love your website and all that you do for mothers and fathers who have experienced pregnancy loss.  For those of you that don’t know your story, can you briefly tell us about your loss?

Heidi: I went in for a 12 week ultrasound scan. When the ultrasound technician placed the monitor on, I could see my lifeless baby bobbing gently in the waters. Just as sure as I was that my baby was not alive, I was sure that God was going to speak life, breathe life back into my baby. I waited, peering into the screen, thinking "Watch this, ultrasound lady! This is going to be the coolest Facebook post ever!"
Well, the ultrasound screen went black - and so did my heart. My baby was dead, and was going to stay dead. I really was going to have to walk this impossible journey. And, impossible, it was. Every moment in those darkest days, it is impossible. It is the only word in our language that comes close to what grief feels like.

Lindsey: Thank you for sharing and I'm sorry for your loss. 

You say that from the loss of your child, Still Birthday was born.  How did you know when you were ready to pursue helping others and transforming your grief into something healing?

Heidi: While there is a part of me that still has no idea what the future holds for SBD, there was a part of me, from the moment the screen went black, that knew that I had a desire to reach through that darkness to grab the next mother's hand. Just one mother, just the next mother, is all my heart really held at that time. My husband had the same desire, which was very important to my heart, but also has been important to the longevity of Stillbirthday. When you are standing on your roof, shouting at the top of your lungs to everyone who can hear, that they are not alone, why, you'd better make sure that you aren't alone either.

It was a few months after our baby was born, that I feel I was led to just the right, emotionally and spiritually fertile time, and I committed a pretty intensive week of typing with a fury everything I ever knew about birth in the third trimester, and compared it and contrasted it to birth in the second, and the first, trimester. After a week, I published this thing and sent it out into the universe, and simply asked people - mothers, my sister birth professionals - "What do you think of this?" And the response, from week 1, has been phenomenal.

Stillbirthday is little more than validation - a truth speaker. And in the darkness, you long for assurance that your dignity remains and that you are worthy. Worthy of validation, of a shared humanity, of a shared hope, of a shared tear, and of finding - and receiving - healing.

Lindsey: Wow!  That is so powerful.  

I also find it so NEAT that the people I am drawn to interview seem to be those with a background in social work as well as unfortunately, having a personal experience with loss.  With your clinical perinatal psycho-spirituality therapy and birth support work you have created an amazing Birth & Bereavement Doula Certification Program to teach woman how to be a support to those currently experiencing birth and pregnancy loss. 
Can you tell us how your Doula Certification Program came to be?

Heidi: Seasoned birth professionals, from every US state and from all over the world, aligned with stillbirthday and the Principles of Service I set forth. And the questions came in the droves, "How can we learn more?" "How can we do even better?" I hesitated at the beginning of that particular stretch in the journey, because it meant I was transforming from a bereaved mother reaching other bereaved mothers, which is a sacred place, and I was standing at the threshold of becoming a doula trainer. I didn't want to dilute the magnitude, I didn't want to lose the humility, I didn't want to misplace the honor of what I had been given. Stepping into the place where birth & bereavement meet, for other families, there are few words to describe what this means. Kelly Gerken from Sufficient Grace Ministries first called it Sacred Ground, and it is the only expression I have found that describes this place.

But the questions kept coming. And not wanting to do this alone, I rallied a huddle of doulas, midwives, nurses and doctors and asked them to come together to help me create a training to better equip others. What began as the most affordable, most accessible, most comprehensive combination certification program in birth and in bereavement support, only continually strengthens and remains an academically rigorous and emotionally intensive program that shapes strong doulas.

Lindsey: Since part of your job is to teach others how to work with and support bereaved parents in the initial moments of shock and overwhelming grief, what advice do you have for healthcare professionals who provide care to the newly bereaved parent?

Heidi:  This is an important question, but one I want to answer carefully. I'm just a girl. I'm a mother who gave birth to a baby who is not alive. I don't want there to be any misunderstanding regarding my authority to give advice to medical professionals or experts in their own fields. The authority I have to answer this question is in my own motherhood and in my observation of our collective tapestry of experiences, of the feelings shared by stillbirthday mothers. It is by listening to one another, that we strengthen our own message, one that we may desperately want to be heard.

And in answering the question, the advice I have is that there isn't a checklist of tasks to perform for the families enduring loss, but it is extremely important to honor both the birth and the bereavement. It is important to slow down, validate, provide options and supplement resources. Our training explores these concepts and more.

Lindsey: THANK YOU for being an Inspirational Bereaved Parent and giving a special gift to so many women and mothers. Not only do they get to be helped and supported, other women get to transform their grief by giving back through your doula program.  It was a pleasure interviewing you today.  

Heidi: Thank you Lindsey for the opportunity to step outside of SBD for a moment to chat with you. We're all in this together and your work is equally important. Thank you, for honoring me today, not just as a colleague but as a sister on this journey of life after loss.

 You can find Heidi at her resource website StillBirthday and on Facebook.  Among all the amazing work Heidi does she also has found time to write her first book, “The Invisible Pregnancy: Giving Birth to Healing”.  You can find her book on Amazon and her webpage.  If you would like to sign up for her Birth & Bereavement Doula Certificate Program you can do so by clicking here.     

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

October 15 Pregnancy, Infant, & Child Loss Awareness Day - A Wave of Light

Today, October 15th, is Pregnancy, Infant, and Child Loss Awareness day.  In 1988 President Ronald Regan declared the month of October Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness month.  Then in 2002  the dedication of October 15th as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day began.  

Now on October 15th countries all over the world celebrate this day as a way to remember children gone too soon. (I think that we should include ALL children of any age, so in my day of remembrance I include all children who left this world too soon). We do so by observing this day with candle lighting vigils and ceremonies at 7:00 p.m. resulting in the INTERNATIONAL WAVE OF LIGHT.

 This is my first year participating in this special event as a bereaved parent.  I knew I wanted to light a candle for my sweet Nora for this celebration. Then this morning I decided I wanted to surround Nora's light with those of others who children are no longer with us.  

So tonight at 7 p.m., Nick and I put on some soft music, set time aside to be quiet and be present in the moment, the moment of honoring lives of little ones who left us before they got a chance to live their lives to the fullest.  

Tonight we honored the following children and though we may not be able to hold them in our arms we forever hold them in our hearts.   
We Remember Always
1. Nora Norine-Kelly Henke
2. Sebastian
3. Noah
4. Abigail
5. Gracia Lorraine
6. Champ
7. Rowan
8. Jenna Belle
9. Naveh
10. Charles
11. Junebug
12. Moxie
13. Esther Grace
14. Jibrael
15. Ryker Jack
16. Baby Spoerer
17. Anthony Thomas Jr.
18. Malia Elizabeth
19. Nathan Richard
20. Tucker
21. Fletcher
22. Benson
23. Baylee Elliott
24. Abbot Eily Hope
25. Charlotte Annibelle
26. Delilah Victoria Bernal
27. Leilanie Nicole
28. Norah Lynn
29. Luca D'oro Grossini-Concha
30. Neva Kroon
31. Jeter
32. Twin Arellano
33. Twin Arellano
34. littleguillot
35. Emily Madelene
36. Blaze
37. Parker Lee
38. Gavin Alexander
39. Solomon Joseph
40. Yandy/Yaidira
41. Colt Garrison
42. 7 miscarried babies
43. Kaylah Rhyann
44. Kalliope Joy
46. Wyatt
47. Avery Michele
48. Tyler Justin
49. Brock Michael
50. Amelia Mercedes
51. Kamdyn Alyza
52. Claudia Sofia
53. Landon Samuel
54. Ayden Xavier
55. Leo
56. Malana Eve
57. Sarah
58. Baylee Daniella elliott
59. Paxton Michael Launder
60. Coraline Ava
61. Gemma Grace
62. Levi Mathew
63. Violet Ann
64. JR
65. Asa Ryan
66. Zoe Eileen Alonzo
67. Tristan Mack
68. Haven Skylar
69. Andy Jacob
70. Tainara
71. Baby LaCombe x3
72. Thomas Manning
73. Grace Hineraukatouri Tito
74. Sophie Elizabeth
75. Emelie Grace Redstone
76. Wilson Robert
77. Lincoln Michael Gralen
78. Roszaliyn Reigne/Maddax Beau
79. Chase Daniel
80. Milo Guy
81. Baby Everett
82. Lucillia Eve
83. Kaylen Michelle
84. Mackenzie Irelyn Henry
85. Avery Michele
86. Vincent James
87. Lily Anna
89. Cooper Richard
90. Kyleigh Elizabeth
91. 2 miscarriages 5/24/06 & 12/18/08
92. Elizabeth
93. Bennett
94. Michael
95. Emelie Grace Redstone
96. Bowen
97. Amelia
98. 2 first trimester losses
99. Audrey Grace
100. Leyna-Morgan
101. Mamie
102. Missy
103. Tucker Harris Neu
104. Thomas Neu
105. Cora
106. Angel
107. Ave Marie
108. Joseph “Joey” Anthony
109. Aycen Cali Aspinall
110. Sullivan Conner

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Inspirational Bereaved Parent - Guest Post by Abby Lackey

Today we welcome a guest post by a truly inspirational bereaved parent Abby Lackey.  She has created a legacy of love in honor of her son Davis by creating spaces, places, and spreading education about grief to help assist and comfort bereaved parents in their time of need.

Welcome Abby!  Thank you for all that you do.  

A Legacy for Davis

The weekend between the awful ultrasound when we found out our son had died and the day he was born, my much older cousin came to visit me. At a loss for words, he reached into our family history and told me our great aunt had given birth to a stillborn. This brought me a moment of comfort. It was quickly shattered when he said, “What was that baby’s name, again?” Right then, without knowing how, I vowed that I would never let anyone forget my baby’s name. Davis Arnold Lackey, our third child was born an angel on June 21, 2011. 

We chose to forgo a large funeral and instead had a simple cremation. When I realized how expensive it was for just that, I knew then that there were mothers in our community who could never afford it. I was horrified at the thought of a bereaved mother not being able to care for her baby’s body in the way that felt right to her. Out of this, with the $500 we had in our savings account, my husband and I started a fund with the West Tennessee Healthcare Foundation called Heaven’s Cradle in memory of Davis to provide assistance and comfort to bereaved parents. We later expanded the mission statement to include grief training for local healthcare providers. We held our first fundraiser, The Twilight Run 5K and Rooftop Rendezvous Dinner Party, hoping to raise $3,000-$5,000. The event brought in $18,000, but more importantly, it brought together dozens of baby loss families from across West Tennessee and brought a great deal of awareness to stillbirth and infant loss. 

Since that event, the momentum has only continued. We have, in just over a year and a half, built a bereavement room in the postpartum unit of our hospital so that grieving families have a private, comfortable place to spend time with their baby. We have constructed a private waiting room in labor and delivery as well. We have recruited and financially supported Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep photographers, and trained our nursing staff on NILMDTS services. We have created an online support group, the Heaven’s Cradle Sisterhood, and facilitate a mother-to-mother mentor program. In addition, we connect grieving parents with clinical psychologists and counselors who have agreed to partner with us in caring for them. We worked with our local media to run a front page special on grieving mothers for Mothers’ Day to raise awareness. We provide every bereaved mother with clay molds of her baby’s hands and feet, blankets, gowns and a memory box. We are in the process of working with our local hospital to host a conference entitled “When Our Children Die” for healthcare providers, first responders, school officials and others.

What began as a way for us to memorialize our son had become much more. It has brought us healing and it has provided others with comfort. We now have other bereaved parents who are planning fundraisers for Heaven’s Cradle in memory of their children. What an honor it is for us to become part of their journey! It is humbling, exciting, and brings us great peace to see what a beautiful legacy our Davis has left.

Abby Lackey is a wife, mother of four, and communication professor who holds two sons and one daughter in her arms and one sweet son in her heart. You can find more out about Abby and all the great work she does at

Thursday, October 10, 2013


Our life is filled with them.  Sometimes you are at the center of a moment, like when you score the winning shot in the basketball game and your team gathers around congratulating you.  Or at times a moment is just for you and another person, like the first glance shared between two young lovers.  The moment when your eyes meet for the first time and your soul connects without even whispering a word aloud, but one is said between your hearts.

Then there are more notable moments. Moments that change your life. Some for good, some for bad, some for forever.  Good moments, like when you scream "YES!" or in my case "Of course!" in response to the man of your dreams on his knee in the pouring rain on top of the Space Needle, as he finally asks you to marry him.  Bad moments, as we all know so well, when words of pain are pierced into your heart forever by the angel of death disguised as doctors.  Moments that include the words "I'm sorry" and "There is no heartbeat."  Both of these moments, good and bad, change your life forever.

It's in these moments where we live.  It's in these moments where we should do MORE living, because life is a collection of sometimes sweet & scrumptious moments, and sometimes sour and poisonous ones.  But each moment, if we really live in it, allows us to connect more with life.

I want to share with you a moment from this past Sunday.  A moment I was neither a part of, nor shared with another, where I was only a witness to beauty.  A moment that was strangely meant only for me, even though it involved a whole community of people.  I had just kissed my beautiful husband goodbye as I was dropping him off at the starting line of his first marathon, The Twin Cities Marathon.  As I began to walk away, over the PA system the national anthem started to play. I had just turned my back to my husband as it began when I was compelled to glance back one more time to see where he was at, as I wasn't going to see him again for about five hours and hopefully at the finish line.

When I turned around to search for him I thought he would have been further up in line, but to my surprise he was standing in the spot where I had left him, as still as statue, with his hat over his heart and his eyes facing the flag.  People where buzzing around him, running towards the start line, saying goodbye and good luck to their loved ones, or stretching and jumping up and down to stay warm as runners do before a big race.  But not my husband. My husband, my beautiful, honorable, humble, soldier of war, husband was standing there in silence, paying tribute to his country, his flag, and his freedom--all that he served for and believes in.  I snapped this picture of him in that moment.

I write this now with tears running down my face because I'm so proud and full of love for this man and all the respect he shows others and the world by simply holding his hat over his heart.  I know it's a small thing, but even though I was in the process of leaving, I was just drawn to watching this moment with my husband at the center of it. It was if the moment was just for me.  He did not know of my awe for him right then.  Others could not see the love I held for him welling up inside of me.  But, it was one of those moments that I could not pull away from and captured my soul.  It was a moment that reminds me why I love this brilliant man.

There were other moments that day, that moved me to tears.  Like at the finish line when I witnessed a couple holding hands and waving them in the air as they accomplished their goal of completing the race together.  Or when a man collapsed 10 yards in front of the finish line from what appeared to be exhaustion and an injury as he was limping before he fell on his hands and knees.  It was heartbreaking to watch, but if you waited just one more moment, if you could stay with the pain for only a moment, a moment of beauty appeared, as two runners who came in behind him stopped and both on either side of the injured and exhausted runner held him as he limped his way towards the finish. With the help of these two other runners, the man gained strength from what appeared to be their kindness and finished the race on his own two feet.  It was touching.  I sobbed from the sheer beauty of it all.

It seems like moments hit me harder now that Nora has died.  The good and the bad and all of the in between.  It's as if I really didn't FEEL life and the precious gift of each moment until she existed. This is her gift to me.  FEELING life and all it's complexity.  This past Sunday, when Nick crossed the finish line in his "Team Nora" shirt and even his stories of his moments of people cheering him on saying "GO TEAM NORA" none of these moments compare to the moment when I saw my humble, honorable, husband hold a hat over his heart. It's a moment that was mine and mine alone.  A moment for me to embrace and be entranced by the love I feel for such a special man and my love for him somehow spilled out of me and radiated into loving and FEELING all the precious moments of the community and life around me.

It was a beautiful moment. 

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