Monday, April 22, 2013

8 Days Away

So it seems that most of my writing here lately has been around the "big dates." You know, holidays, birthday, remembrance day, etc. This post follows suit. We are 8 days away from our little boy turning 4, that's right four years old. I have a hard time believing that he would be getting ready for preschool, I cannot imagine it. How is that even possible? I think if I search my blog for that statement or the word 'possible' I would probably have a lot of results. It seems I say that a lot.

I just cannot believe that 4 years ago, we were anxiously awaiting his arrival. Wondering if we were having a boy or a girl, would the baby's name be River or Brook? Were we ready? Of course we weren't, I had just gotten clearance to put away the crutches and cam walker a week prior! Nothing was ready! But he was ready two days before his due date and we got to meet our precious little boy.

We wonder to this day if he were really meant to spend the six days with us that he did. He was born with the cord around his neck twice and was not responsive. There was never any indication during labor that he was in distress, but we look back and wonder in awe if the time we did get with him was a true miracle. We feel fortunate that we got to hear him cry and see his beautiful eyes.

The photograph above was taken by a new friend at Faith's Lodge. The Compassionate Friends chapter leaders in our area all gathered there a few weeks ago to learn from each other and collaborate. It was a wonderful time and it was a nice break to remember and share our first born son. We are holding our "River Bear" from Molly Bears or as Asher calls it his "brother bear." I don't know if he understands that his brother's birthday is coming up. We talk about it, but does it really make sense? It sure doesn't to me, so I am not sure that a 3 year old can understand but I know his heart does.

River,
You are always on my mind and in my heart. I am so proud and honored to be your mother. You brought such a gift to the world and I cherish every second that I get to share it. Your love carries on in us and our love for you continues to shine. We miss you every second of every day.

Love you with all of my heart -
xoxoxo Mom

Saturday, April 6, 2013

River's Rocks

The remembrance project for River's Rally 2013 is underway. This year we will personalize a rock and display them at our event.

For $10US we will write your child's name on a rock and then give it to you (if you cannot attend the event add $4.95 for shipping).

Shipping will be combined if purchasing more than one rock. All proceeds benefit River's Rally.

Please note that all stones are unique, no two will look alike. This photograph is just one example. We also recommend that if you will be placing rock outside to seal it beforehand. They will not arrive weatherproofed. 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

It's been a while...

Here we go again... I know that I have not posted here in a long while, not anything with substance anyway.

Well, Asher and I went to church this morning and I sat down with him and I noticed that the offering song was "Shine, Jesus, Shine." Seeing this brought me to tears, as this song was sang at River's Funeral. Another pastor, sang this toward the end of his service, and it was so beautiful. To add to this story, the pastor that sang this at River's funeral is now sharing pastoral duties at our church since my father-in-law retired. She was there today... despite the fact that Asher and I were playing with toys in the nursery I could still here her and I was taken back to May 9th, 2009. It was so beautiful and heartbreaking all at once.

This song was chosen for River's service, because River's grandpa said "on the morning River died, in the middle of all the sadness and darkness, there was a part of a song that kept going through my mind that became a prayer. I heard this melody which I found out later was from the hymn "Shine, Jesus, Shine," and my prayer became flow, Spirit, flow bring in us a comfort, flow, river, flow."

It is so hard to believe that my sweet little boy would be 4 this year. Asher has a way of knowing when I am more deeply missing his brother (if that makes sense), and he always gives me extra hugs and kisses. Normally, he wants to be a "big boy" and do everything on his own. After church today, he wanted to be carried, "carry me, mommy" he said. I know that River too, is carried by me. I will make sure that his life with me continues to flow and shine bright even though I am not able to hold him in my arms, I will carry him in my heart forever.

The lyrics are played in this video:

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Christmas

Can't believe it's time to work on Christmas cards already, where does the time go?


Stationery card
View the entire collection of cards.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Capture Your Grief Part II



I find this much more comforting than "God only gives you what you can handle." Photo by Kelly Bakke/Kix Photography.
Beautiful ring that I won from Nelle & Lizzy! Thank you to everyone that helped me win it. It is one of few pieces of jewelry that has both of my boys.
The skate park in Milltown that was dedicated the day after his 1st birthday. It's hard to believe that he would be almost 4 years old and wanting to play on this park by now.
Water, but especially rivers and waterfalls.
This was taken in September 2012 from my phone on my camera while looking through binoculars!
These are the people in-real-life that have been so supportive. This is our group at the Rocket Club event that we had in April 2012. My parents, siblings, in-laws and husband have pulled me through. There are a few friends that have been there since before River died but not too many. Photo by Kix Photography.
Anything from River's garden. There are not many scents from when he was alive that stick with me but the flowers in his garden provide such comfort.
Deer. Strange but everything we do that has any sort of significance deer show up. This picture was taken in Superior, WI in September two deer swam across the bay of Lake Superior. Honest to goodness I did not know that deer swam!
These are just a few of the BLM's that I have had a chance to meet. Tiffany, Jenna and Natasha. Our photographer was Kristin. I could not get up every day if it weren't for ladies like these. There are so many more that I hope to meet someday!
Our beautiful River candle. We have so many that were given to us as gifts but this is the only one that I made. It's going on 3 years strong.
This was River's 3rd Birthday. We always get cake. We always release balloons. This year, Asher said, "Happy birthday River" when we left. Broke my heart that he will never really know his big brother.
This is the latest family photo with our River Bear. This was done in April, between rainbow babe's 2nd and River's 3rd birthdays...wishing they were both here to be in a family picture. Photo by Kix Photography.
Our project is River's Rally (www.riversrally.org). This picture was taken at the second annual event. We do a few different fundraisers throughout the year but this is the biggest one. It is always the 1st Saturday in May - falling between his birthday and remembrance day. Photo by Kix Photography.

Our project is River's Rally (www.riversrally.org). Charity - There are so many! Probably two that I spend most of my time working on or with (aside from River's Rally) are Faith's Lodge and The Compassionate Friends. This is a wall stone that will be placed inside the entryway at Faith's Lodge. I volunteer with Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope/Grieve Out Loud. I would love to work for/with ALL of them...if I could! 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Capture Your Grief

I am taking part of the fantastic Carly's project: Capture Your Grief. It is a good reason for me to do some writing here this month. October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month and always brings so many emotions as I remember River and all of the other children gone too soon. It also would be the month that River turned 3 and a half years old...nearing 4! I would preparing a child for preschool and that is terribly hard for me to imagine. It seems impossible that it's been almost 4 years.

I will be sharing pictures here periodically throughout the month here are a few for this week:

October 3, 2012

This picture was taken the day after River was born, just 4 days before he died.
This family picture was taken in fall of 2011, River would have been nearing 2.5 years old. We hadn't planned to take a famliy photo but our photographer insisted. River managed to be part of it anyway! My husband is wearing a River's Run and Ride Rally shirt and a Hope Rocks hat ♥ Photo taken by Kix Photography.
Some of you may know the Rocket Club song, One More Day. River's picture is in their video and this is a special item signed by the band (except the drummer). They performed for our organization in April of 2012 (near River's 3rd birthday). It was such a special event for us! PS it was really hard to choose one treasured item.
Memorial garden. It is our way of taking care of something living on this earth in his memory. Some days I think it is out of control craziness but then I remember that he would be a little boy nearing 4 years old...
Self-explanatory

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Summer

Seriously, it has been over a month since my last post? Jeepers. It's not for lack of things to say. We have been very busy with work, school and the normal day-to-day stuff. The library has kept me very busy with summer reading program events. School is going well although I am not at all happy with the professor I have in my philosophy class right now. Our car broke down and left us spending tons on it and with only a truck that had no air conditioning over the hottest week of the summer. The husband has been working a lot since we had to cover paying for the car repairs. We missed our vacation with his family because the car was in the shop for a week...frustrating but we managed to survive it.

It seems so strange to have been so upset over it although we got the crummy news on July 6th. The 3 year and 2 month anniversary of River's death. Really? The car breaking down upset me? Probably not. The fact that I always remember the 6th...guess what tomorrow is? The 3 year and 3 month anniversary. Ugh! I think as we creep closer and closer to River's 4th birthday, I am in denial again. It really cannot be that long, can it? I haven't really been that sad lately, just shaking my head that I should have a little boy nearing preschool. Asher should have a big brother to help him ride his trike, play on his swing and teach him his letters. I wonder if River would be tall and skinny like Asher. Would his personality be as goofy or would he be more mellow? The more Asher becomes his own person, the more I wonder who River would be.

I am grateful for all of the people in my life that remember our little boy. I am blessed to be his mother. I miss him terribly and long to know who he'd be today.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Time

Where does it go? It has been a month and a half since I last posted...and well, things are still crazy! I am looking forward to finally spending a day with my husband and son on Sunday. Just us, the whole day (and lunch with some friends) but not one single thing that we have to do, finally!

My heart hurts right now for a few friends that have experienced another heartbreaking loss. My heart is happy right now for the little blessings brought to other friends recently. How is it possible to be so happy and so sad at the same time?

 I would appreciate anyone that can donating to the fundraiser in the sidebar. Becky and her family have been through so much. She has two sweet babies waiting for her and you can read more here. I would not know Becky or her sweet Liam and Evelynn if it weren't for River.

There are people in my life that I have not been able to meet in person but have come to call very close friends. They support everything I do and that is very much appreciated. They understand the frustration, anger, heartache, smiles, joy and love involved with grief. I am blessed that River brought them into my life.

There is so much more that I just cannot get into words today. Thinking of you all and wishing you hope, peace and happiness. 



Saturday, May 12, 2012

Whirlwind

Things have been all over the place here. I have not had any time to catch up since River's Rally. I will be sending out River's Garden photos this week. My apologies to everyone for not having them out sooner.

River's birthday, his 3rd birthday was the 30th and it took everything I had to get through that day. The week following (leading up to our fundraiser) was long, hectic and emotional. I am really not sure why but this year seemed almost harder than last.

We took a trip to Duluth after the fundraiser and while it was nice to get away, it left little time for accomplishing anything. It was fun and a much needed break with the hubby and munchkin. We are managing at Faith's Lodge this weekend, so that is where I am now. The second time in two years I have been away from our living son, both times it was because I was here. Daddy is with him and I am doing this for River, so I guess that makes it alright in my heart.

I just wanted to say that I have been thinking of so many friends lately. Some are encountering new losses, some are remembering their child's birthday or anniversary. All are waking up tomorrow knowing it is Mother's Day and there is someone missing. Wishing everyone a gentle day whether your babies are here in your arms or carried in your heart.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

3 years ago

Sweet River, 
Three years ago, I was awaiting your arrival and dreaming about our future as a family. Tomorrow you would be three years old. I cannot believe how the time flies! I often try to imagine you as a three year old boy. What would you be doing? What would your favorite foods be? What mischief would you be causing? You are so incredibly loved and missed. You changed my life and I am so grateful for the beauty and love you showed me in such a short time. I am blessed to have you as my son. Thank you so much, little man.
Love,
Mommy

One of your trees at Faith's Lodge. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

River's Garden: Where there is love, there is life.

05/01/2012: ORDERS ARE NOW CLOSED. I will be completing frames for display this weekend and they will ship out the next week to you. THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR SUPPORT!!


04/19/2012: UPDATE: This will be open for orders until April 30, River's 3rd birthday. I want to make sure that we have enough time to print pictures and create the frames.


The remembrance wall for River's Rally 2012 is underway. You will be able to choose an image from River's Garden and have your loved ones name added to it.
The images can be viewed at River's Run and Ride Rally Facebook Page. I am very excited about this year's idea. I am honored to share a little of River's Garden with everyone! Simply choose your image and then come back here to fill out this form.



Sunday, April 8, 2012

It's April

It's April again! It seems that every year, as this month begins there is just a different feeling.

A heavier weight on my chest.
It's a little harder to breathe.
I constantly fight back tears.
Heartache and hesitation.
Nothing seems quite right.

Well, it isn't. This month, River would be three. Can you even believe that, three? How could it have been that long since we held him? How could it have been that long since we kissed his sweet face?

Today brought another Easter without him to find eggs and fill up on goodies. It is so hard to imagine my family with two little boys here on earth. It is so hard to imagine what he would be like. I see his cousins that are so close in age to him and just wonder.

I see his little brother and wonder if they would look alike. How much would they fight like brothers do? Would he still have red hair? I am completely amazed every single day by this little boy I get to hold in my arms every night. He just takes my breath away and I know that his big brother is taking good care of him.

We are busy planning a few events in River's memory and this keeps my mind occupied most of the time. But when there is down time, I just can't help but wonder what he'd be like.

Sweet River,
There isn't a single second that you are not on my mind and in my heart.
Your daddy, brother and I want you to know how much we love you.
We wish we could see your sweet face again and your big beautiful eyes.
We are so proud  to be your parents. Your short life had such an impact on the world. We will carry you with us as long as we live. We miss you tons. 




River Bear, you arrived on a very special day. You were able to come with  us to Faith's Lodge to celebrate your little brother's second birthday. I couldn't believe that was how big you were, the more I held you in my arms, the more it felt like you. Thank you, Molly Bears, for this beautiful keepsake in memory of our little boy. 
Consider making a donation or find out how to sign up for one at Molly Bears!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

River's Garden

I wanted to share a few pictures of River's Garden with everyone. We turned the water on in the garden on his little brother's second birthday, March 23, 2012...which is odd in northern Wisconsin! It has been gorgeous weather here and the garden will be awake before we know it. Last year at this time it was still buried in the snow.

It's strange to me to measure the last three years by this beautiful garden. The year River was born, there was NO garden, in 2010 (his brother's birthday) there were daffodils in full bloom, in 2011 there was still a ton of snow, this year the lilacs are growing like crazy (which also means the weeds are too).

Here are a few photos of the garden:

From the top of the garden, or street view if you are walking by our house.

 I love the river and pond in this angle.
Eventually we won't be able to see the neighbors house across the street.

Don't forget you can order your River's Garden memorial keepsake here:
http://riverdaniel-foreverourangel.blogspot.com/2012/02/rivers-garden-where-there-is-love-there.html

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Can't Keep Up

I may be in a little over my head at the moment...but it is exciting nonetheless!

We have a Silpada jewelry fundraiser coming up on February 10th for River's Rally. If you have any interest in ordering visit our generous representative, Melissa.

I have been busy planning Asher's 2nd birthday party in March, turns out our family will be staying at Faith's Lodge again, such a wonderful place to spend it!

We pinned down all of the details for our Rocket Club event for April. We are SO excited! It hasn't really sunk in yet, but it is going to be a wonderful night! You can find more information on our story with Rocket Club and get tickets on River's Rally website.

Then our 3rd Annual event is on May 5th. Seems like a TON happening! Asher has been in swimming lessons which he loves. He is going to start going to playgroup again next week, I am excited for him. I have been working 40+ hours and starting another class on Monday. I have been attempting to get back into shape, which is frustrating at times...but I am trying!

Things are going very well, I have been blog reading, just have not had time to comment and post here. I will be posting soon with our memory wall idea for this year's annual event. I think you are all going to love it! I am head over heels for this project!

Oh and I somehow missed that this is my 105th post, hard to believe!! 

Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Eve

Here we are at the end of another year, I don't think I have really strong feelings good or bad about embarking upon a new year. 2011 brought many things to us, a few changes (becoming a student and getting a promotion) and another successful year for River's Rally.

2012 is already getting packed full of things to do, plans and dreams we hope to make come true...I hope we continue on this path and are able to make some of these things happen.

I was just reading a dear friend, Melissa's blog, and thought that I would share the following:

New Year's Resolutions for Bereaved Parents
I Resolve:

That I will grieve as much and for as long as I feel like grieving, 
and that I will not let others put a time table on my grief.

That I will grieve in whatever way I feel like grieving, and I will ignore those who try to tell me 
what I should or should not be feeling and how I should or should not be behaving.

That I will cry whenever and wherever I feel like crying, and that I will not hold back my tears just because someone else feels I should be "brave" or "getting better" or "healing by now."

That I will talk about my child as often as I want to, 
and that I will not let others turn me off just because they can't deal with their own feelings.

That I will not expect family and friends to know how I feel, 
 understanding that one who has not lost a child cannot possibly know how I feel.

That I will not blame myself for my child's death, 
and I will constantly remind myself that I did the best job of parenting I could possibly have done. 
 But when feelings of guilt are overwhelming, 
I will remind myself that this is a normal part of the grief process and it will pass.

That I will not be afraid or ashamed to seek professional help, if I feel it is necessary.

That I will commune with my child at least once a day in whatever way feels comfortable and natural to me, and that I won't feel compelled to explain this communion to others or to justify or even discuss it with them.

I will keep the truth in my heart--the truth that my child is always with me in spirit.

That I will try to eat, sleep, and exercise every day in order to give my body strength it will need to help me cope with my grief.

To know that I am not losing my mind and I will remind myself that loss of memory, feelings of disorientation, lack of energy, and a sense of vulnerability are all a normal part of the grief process.

To know that I will heal, even though it will take a long time.

To let myself heal and not feel guilty about not feeling better sooner.

To remind myself that the grief process is circuitous--that is, I will not make steady upward progress. And when I find myself slipping back into the old moods of despair and depression, I will tell myself that "slipping backward" is also a normal part of the mourning process, and that these moods, too, will pass.

To try to be happy about something for some part of every day, knowing that at first, I may have to force myself to think cheerful thoughts so eventually they can become a habit.

I have not been one to make New Year's resolutions in the past, mostly because I would always fail at them if I did, but the above resolutions do ring very true. I am wishing for happiness to all of my dearest friends and family this New Year's Eve. I will be celebrating with a very special little boy in my arms and another one in my heart. 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Again

Well, here we are two days before Christmas, 2011. This week has been tough to put into words. We finally got all of the presents done, wrapped, cookies baked and delivered. Technically, I suppose we are ready for Christmas. Why do I feel like I could crawl under the covers and come out sometime in January?

I have some excitement for Christmas. Asher is almost two and will have a ball opening gifts. Every time we turn on the lights on the tree, he points and says "Wow" in his amazing little voice. He says "tree" every time he sees one in a book. I truly am thrilled for him to enjoy this season.

With that being said, I cannot figure out how it is possible to go from such extreme joy to such sorrow in a matter of seconds? This week I have found myself snuggling with Asher, giving him giant hugs and kisses and being filled with how sweet life can be. Then I go to sleep, or attempt to and cuddle River's blanket and cry. At that moment, I am filled with so much pain that I cannot even begin to describe it.

How can this be our third Christmas without him? How can it be that he and his little brother will never get to rush to open gifts Christmas morning? I have been asked by a few new babyloss families how the first or second Christmas should be and I have decided the following:

*Year one was numbness, we really don't even remember most of it except that it was crummy.
*Year two was shock, just the general feeling that this hadn't really happened to us.
*Year three, this year, I guess I am in disbelief that River is not here to celebrate with us.

It seems to hurt in a different way this year. I miss him tremendously, but unlike the last two years that seem a little foggy, this year is very clear. We will never get to celebrate Christmas with him on Earth. There still  seems to be denial that this is what life is going to be like, forever. Forever, seems unimaginable, I guess that's where the disbelief comes in. Maybe next year will bring more acceptance. Who knows? We only hope that other people remember him and that he is part of our family. His name will be included in our cards and gifts. He will have ornaments on the tree. He will live on in our hearts.

If you are reading this and are not a member of a bereaved family, please remember that it means the world to have our children mentioned. We will likely cry but not for reasons you may think. Remember that we hurt and miss them every day and you talking about them cannot make this worse. Actually, not talking about them makes it worse. We do realize it is uncomfortable for most people but take time to remember that we are uncomfortable every day without them here.

If you are reading this and you are a member of a bereaved family, know that we are thinking of you. We are remembering your children. We hope this holiday season is gentle on you as you cherish whatever amount of time you may have had, no matter how big or small. I have met some of the most amazing people in this journey without River and I am so blessed that he brought so many of you into my life. We are sending you all lots of love and prayers.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Giveaway Winner!!

It was my pleasure to participate in the 25 Days of Giveaways!
The winner using random.org is:

#6 Sarah!
Congratulations! I will be contacting you to work out details and shipping arrangements.

My thoughts are with everyone as we celebrate without our children. I hope everyone has a peaceful holiday season.

Guest Post: 12 Days of Christmas with You in Heaven

I am honored to be a guest at Small Bird Studios today for the 12 Days of Christmas with You in Heaven

Fran's lovely idea to share things that we have done for the holidays to remember our children is amazing! Every year, we make some kind of ornament for the grandparents and aunts and uncles to place on their trees. It is our way of helping them remember River through the holidays.
I hope you will visit Small Bird Studios to see how this was made. Check back there each day through December 12th to see other lovely ideas and wonderful ornaments!