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!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

25 Days of Giveaways!!

I am very honored to be part of this! Thank you to Tina for putting this together. Have I mentioned how blessed I am to have found such amazing people to share this journey with? I really cannot express how grateful I am to all of them for their creativity and ideas to keep our children's names alive. It truly is a blessing to take part in creating these memories.

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 would like to giveaway a personalized ornament.
All you have to do for the giveaway is leave a comment here with the name and color you would like for the ornament. I will use random.org to choose a winner on Monday December 5th at 9:00pm (CST) so the item can be made and shipped in time for the holidays!

NOTE: ** See how this was made! I will be guest posting the tutorial tomorrow, December 5th, at Small Bird Studios. Check back there each day through December 12th to see other lovely ideas and wonderful ornaments!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

25 Days of Giveaways



I am very honored to be part of this! Thank you to Tina for putting this together.

Have I mentioned how blessed I am to have found such amazing people to share this journey with?

I really cannot express how grateful I am to all of them for their creativity and ideas to keep our children's names alive. It truly is a blessing to take part in creating these memories.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Very Excited!

I am so excited to participate in Fran's '12 days of Christmas with you in Heaven' series! I wasn't sure what to do but then I remembered something I loved making for River last season. I have been preparing a lovely tutorial. I hope you enjoy it when it is posted! Stay tuned! 



Sunday, November 6, 2011

Beauty

Things have been crazy... do I say that alot? I'm pretty sure I do! Well, I don't think that I have followed through on sharing many photos of all of the happenings around here. I wanted to share two that warmed my heart and helped me realize the beauty that has become River's life.

Two and a half years ago today, we said goodbye to him. We held him the last time alive, we kissed him and hugged our sweet boy. Little did we know. It is so hard to believe it has been that long, but it also feels like a lifetime ago. Well, it was, his lifetime anway.

Last weekend, we went to Faith's Lodge and planted the last of the four trees we bought. We were only able to plant one on the Restore the Hope day because there still wasn't enough land cleared. The staff and volunteers at Faith's Lodge planted the other two as land became clear. It was a beautiful fall day in November and Asher wanted to help! It is amazing what a little personality he has and how grown up he is becoming.

Daddy and Brother with River's last tree.
 It wasn't until a friend of mine, whom I first met at this amazing place, pointed out that because of this devastation (referring to both the storm and the grief) I was able to take this beautiful picture. A moment that our family will cherish forever. Faith's Lodge on the hillside shows just how much of the land was damaged. This tree is planted by the garden, for those of you that have been there!

Today we attended the Children's Remembrance Service at North Valley Lutheran Church. This was our third time attending. I can't believe that, three services remembering River (and that's just this one!) Last year I spoke and shared a poem, this year I spoke again and shared my experience finding all of you and shared a quote from a post that I did for Fran's Small Miracles Blog Hop a while back. As we left the service the sun was setting (darn daylight savings time) and it was so beautiful.

I thought of all the children who are so dearly missed.
We spent the last week in Milwaukee for the Wisconsin Library Association. For those of you that don't know (from my changes post), I applied for the director position and got it! It was an incredibly stressful two weeks while the library board interviewed five of us and I waited through three meetings until they decided. That is some of the craziness!

The other craziness has been school, I have completed two classes with an A in both (who knew?) We attended Hope Rocks in September. We got to meet Lynhurst and Rocket Club! Rocket Club's song One More Day is known by many of us. It holds a very special place in our hearts as River is in the video!



It was an honor to meet them, and we shared River with them in person. They were so sweet and very honored to meet parents of the children in their video (there were a number of us there!)

We spent a day in September in Duluth with amazing friends. October included a trip to Madison for the Forever In Our Hearts Remembrance Day, where I got to meet Alissa, see Melissa again and stopped to meet Holly on the way down. It was a beautiful trip, another thing that River has brought to my life.

River's Rally got a new website, we are working on sponsorships for next year already. The Compassionate Friends candle lighting is coming up and then we are to the holiday season, which is something I am not sure I am ready for... I guess we'll deal with that in another post.

I think that catches me up! Thank you all for reading, staying with me during the wild times that happen around here. Spending an entire evening catching up because it takes me so long to post. I love you all! <3

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Comments

So today I FINALLY had a few minutes to catch up on some blog reading... but it won't let me comment on anyone. You will all have to trust that I have read and read and caught up with all that is happening and I want to say I am thinking of you... all of you. Blogger just won't let me!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Spoken Word Blog Round Up

Here it is, my participation in Angie's spoken word blog round up! I was incredibly nervous to do this, but wanted to, especially today, they day River would be two and a half.


That's it! Forgive my pauses and reading from the screen, I am very glad I took part in this. The blog post I read was from March 6th, 2011 if you would like to see the pictures. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Friends and Fundraising

I think that the people that River brought into my life are the best people in the world. They have been there for me, shown me lots of love and most importantly...remembered my little boy.

Well, I have been behind, really really really behind in just about everything. I wanted to take a minute today to remember Julius. His mommy, Tiffany, and I got to meet this summer and we both battle with the loss of our babies to SIDS. She has been wonderful in supporting me. Thank you sweet friend, we are remembering your little boy with you.

Another dear friend's little girl, Ellie, is also on my mind. Tiffany and I also got to meet this summer. I really connect with her honesty and openness when it comes to the feelings. We share a lot about the things we have to deal with mothering an angel. I don't know what I would do without you ladies!

Also, I have been meaning to do this forever! A very kind person contacted me regarding helping her fundraise for the CJ Foundation. I had to get some reassurance since we all know how cruel people can be... but even more so we know there are individuals who prey on grieving families. She was completely willing to give me whatever I needed to help her out. So here goes, visit Amber at www.facebook.com/MiAmoreBoutique and she will donate 25% of her profits to the CJ Foundation until Halloween! I have a copy of a letter from this organization verifying Amber's desire to donate, if you have questions let me know and I can share that with you.

Lastly, I am very excited to go to Madison this weekend for the Forever In Our Hearts Remembrance Day and to see some lovely friends. I couldn't think of a better way to spend October 15th, remembering all of our babies with love. Thank you Alissa and Melissa for putting this together, I can't wait to see you!

Friday, September 30, 2011

October 15th

I have been MIA, because things have been, well, crazy! I am slowly catching up, but October begins tomorrow. As many of you know, this month is important to the babyloss world. October 15th is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day.

I want to ask everyone to go to I Am the Face and make a donation in memory of the children in our lives.

Part of my mission after River died was to help as many people experiencing loss as I could. Making a donation is one way to help me make this happen. I started volunteering for Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope earlier this year because I feel that this organization is making a difference in our community. It is hard to believe that it has been over a year since I shared River's story in hopes that it would help at least one person.

I will share more next week on the other plans I have for October 15th, it involves a trip and spending the day with amazing friends! Remembering all of our babies with so  much love.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Hope Rocks Stars

Today is the last day to place your order! Our children will be recognized by their light shining at the Hope Rocks benefit concert on September 24th. Don't miss out on this awesome way to honor your child.  

River's Run and Ride Rally is excited to be  taking the Sweet Shining Stars project to Hope Rocks, the biggest annual fundraiser Faith's Lodge has. The stars will be available for purchase here:

http://riversrally.wordpress.com/2011/08/14/hope-rocks-stars/

This is a great way to get something hand-crafted in memory of your child, and have it shown at the largest event Faith's Lodge has, all while supporting their mission.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Frustrated

So I said that I would post something with some content and I was hoping for something more positive, but you will have to bear with me, that this post is not exactly along those lines.

I am frustrated. I am trying to make big decisions, and I don't even have the power to do that anymore. I need someone to tell me to do things. I think it is just hesitancy that has manifested itself since River's death, I don't feel confident in anything anymore. Maybe it is because of the all-known "mother's failure" we all feel after our children die? Maybe because I doubt that I made the right choices while he was here, that any choice I make now, seems wrong?

I may have mentioned this before, but I read a friend's post a while back about who she was before losing her daughter...this has stuck with me, and I think it was really already there. My life is defined by "Before River" and "After River." I just wonder if I would even recognize the old me walking down the street? I don't think so. I had many friends, close by... now whether it's a change in lifestyle, or being the downer because River died that a fair number of my current friends are hours away. Oh, how I wish I lived closer to some of you!

The husband has been working more, which leaves me some time to spend with Babe and catch up on other things, but it also leaves time for my mind to wander. To think, about what used to be and what my life has become. Don't get me wrong, most things in life I wouldn't change...I wouldn't trade having River in my life, or the things I have learned because of him, but feeling so alone sometimes, I'd trade in a heartbeat.

I feel so alone and don't have anywhere to go, but here, so thank you to anyone reading, I hate that we feel like this, I hate that so many things have changed, but I love our community, where we really understand each other. Thinking of all of you, sending you lots of love and hope that this loneliness doesn't haunt you like it does me.

I will leave you with, finally a picture from the last few weeks, this was from our chapter of The Compassionate Friends, balloon release. It was storming and raining, but ended up being a beautiful night and after we began cleaning up, there was the tiniest bit of a rainbow. Although I missed getting it on camera, I will never forget how lovely it was!



Friday, August 26, 2011

Changes

I have been really awful at posting anything with substance lately. I will try to do something soon, and share some photographs of our time at Faith's Lodge last week. I am just dealing with a few changes that are actually kind of big, and I have also been working on a few things for our busy September schedule.

My father-in-law is retiring, actually Sunday is his last day as our pastor. That will be a huge difference, as this also means they are moving to their cabin...so instead of being 4 blocks away, they will be 40 minutes away. They have been wonderful, and I appreciate their help and will miss their constant company.

I went back to school, online. So after 8 years, and never taking an online course, I am a full-time student. I completed the first week, and seemed to get the hang of it, but this is only the first course...Good things will come of this, but it's tricky to be a 30 year old student!

My boss announced that she is leaving and for a small public library with 2 full-time and 2 part-time staff, this is a big deal. I have been there 2 years, and now need to address if I am qualified enough to take her position, and if so, do I apply? A director at the above mentioned library wears many hats and has responsibility of the entire operation, so if I could try for the job, should I?

Lastly, our schedule for September:
5th - retirement party next weekend
10th - Duluth day with great friends (we attended college there together)
17th - Faith's Lodge Open house
24th - Hope Rocks (speaking of which, add making stars to the agenda, order yours soon!)
25th - Tee Up Fore Tots Memorial Classic (mostly being planned by my dear friend, Laura in memory of her babies: Braylyn, Evylyn & Mason)
Busy month with busy weekends!

I am trying to think positive, that is the trick, right? All things happen for a reason? My philosphy is that even if things don't work out, I have survived worse! Well, I think I need to get some sleep, my brain has been analyzing these changes all day. I look forward to sharing some of our trip with you, soon!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Giveaway Winner!

I used random.org to generate the winner!

Since I am not at all tech savvy, or simply because I didn't figure out how, I can't show the screenshot...

But, the winner is Crystal Theresa, congratulations!!

Contact me at deanna{at}riversrally{dot}org to arrange your gift!

Thank you again, to all of you wonderful mommies that read my posts, help me on bad days and encourage me on good days. Many hugs to each one of you!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Giveaway Time!

I finally completed the giveaway gift! I made these for the memory boxes for our hospital and they turned out so lovely, I want one of my beautiful readers to have one too!
Here it is:

The winner will be able to choose from Baby Boy or Baby Girl frame, and the poem inside is the "Little Snowdrop" poem. You can remove the poem and insert a 4x6 photograph, if you wish.

All you have to do is leave a comment and I will randomly choose a winner next Friday, August 19th at 12:00pm CST. We will be at Faith's Lodge next week, so it will be a wonderful time to choose a winner from the amazing people that have picked me up when I'm down, and kept me smiling when I am happy.

Good luck, and thank you all for being here, reading and commenting. I never thought that I would have 50 people that want to hear what I have to say. THANK YOU!!!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Another Day

I have a couple of exciting things happening this week, the giveaway finally being one of them. I hope to have this arranged soon, yay!

I just wanted to say thank you to everyone that gave me a little nudge over the last two days regarding my previous post. I appreciate the support I have gotten from everyone so much. Words cannot describe how you helped get me up out of the "bummer" mode. You are all amazing!

Good things to come by week's end. Stay tuned :)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Bummer

This is a non-River related post, for the most part. I am really only putting it here because I feel super bummed. I was told today that I yelled at someone...which I don't recall doing. For privacy reasons I won't say where this happened, but it's the first complaint in 2 years. Well, that should make me feel good, right?

Why is it that I feel the opposite, I feel crappy? I have tried very hard to be positive, have a smile on my face and make everyone feel welcome and comfortable, so I guess that's why this complaint almost made me cry. Ok, it did make me cry. If you've read my story, you know that River has been gone just over 2 years.

I know I should brush this off and that I am doing the best that I can, but it hurts me to know that I made someone feel uncomfortable enough to say something about it. I guess I'd better work harder at keeping this chin of mine up.

Bummer.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Followers

I suddenly hit 50 followers!!! Wow!

I'd been hanging out in the mid-forty range for awhile, and thought about a giveaway...

Which I will do, I just need to finalize my plan for what I will be giving away!
I have a few ideas, and I will try to share something in the next few days.

Thank you to everyone for reading, commenting and supporting me.
Much love and many hugs to you all.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Disaster Relief Effort

Our area was hit with a tremendous storm on Friday July 1st. Our town is fine but a bit further north, there is significant damage after winds of 100 MPH ripped through. My husband's parents cabin was hit hard, but in that area is also Faith's Lodge.

Just before the entrance to Faith's Lodge, Driveway
As many of you know, this organization is a huge part of my life. They are in dire need of financial support to clean up the hundreds of down trees. I fear that until the trees are cleared up, they won't be able to host families that so much need the hope that they provide.

Prior to the storm, Faith's Lodge structure was not visible from this road,
now you can see it with the naked eye. In this picture, (taken with my phone)
you can see the rooftop in the middle.

River's Run & Ride Rally board of directors is possibly hosting a dinner in a few weeks to further our fundraising, but I feel like I need to do something now. 
I'm just devastated by this, so much of our life is devoted to that facility and their mission. I have come up with this immediate fundraising effort: 

This photograph was taken this Sunday after the storm in River's Garden - I couldn't believe the beauty of Mother Nature at our home after seeing the devastation just 30 minutes away.


In an attempt to share this beauty while helping Faith's Lodge, for a donation of $5.00 to River's Run & Ride Rally, I will email you this JPEG as a THANK YOU for your help in this effort. All proceeds from this photograph will go directly to Faith's Lodge toward their clean up expenses. Please put Disaster Relief Effort and your email in the Notes field. 



NOTE: This photograph is in no way directly connected to Faith's Lodge or its employees. 
It is an attempt to help preserve the mission of Faith's Lodge by offering families suffering 
serious illness or loss of a child hope. 

Monday, July 25, 2011

Happenings

I just wanted to post quick. Things have been busy, but well.

We spent 3 days at The Compassionate Friends National Conference in Minneapolis, which was wonderful! I will post more and some pictures at a later date.

The fundraising efforts for Faith's Lodge have been going very well! We raised $1000 from a spaghetti dinner on Friday, the online auction raised just under $400 and the Support Faith's Lodge photo raised just over $100. We are truly blessed to have so much support, that in 3 short weeks since the storm we are able to donate $1500. THANK YOU to all that have donated, I appreciate your support in something that is so important to my family.

I have been working with our team at the hospital on the memory boxes, I finished the birthstone part, and have been working on the picture frames. They are going to be lovely. I will have to share some photos after we get them put together!

I think that's it for now, I just wanted to update after the auction, and tell all of my readers how much I appreciate their support, understanding and listening ears. Will share more details soon!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Restore Hope



This slideshow was created by my husband, in order to capture the devastation of the storm on July 1, 2011. Also, to help those that have never been there see the serene, peaceful setting it provided prior to this storm. Hopefully, with enough support and time, Faith's Lodge will be able to again provide this beautiful setting. It will never look quite the same, but it will continue to be "a place where hope grows."

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Flashbacks

via     
We had a scare on Thursday night, it wasn't as bad as it was in our heads, but it was quite an experience! To back track a little bit, Rainbow Babe had a check-up on Wednesday, he had immunizations and we were given the all clear that he was happy, healthy and doing everything he should be doing... YAY!!!
For those of you that don't know our story very well, River had a check-up the day before he died and was given the all clear that he was happy, healthy and doing everything he should be doing...

Here is where the scare comes in, on Thursday evening, Babe was playing, climbing and being silly as usual. In the midst of this, he slipped off of a chair and hit his head on a ceramic tile floor, hard!  Daddy tried to catch him and got his leg, but it was too late. In the past he has fallen and hit his head, tripped and caught himself {he is a little 15 month old boy}, but this was different. He cried and when he calmed down, his body lost all color... we looked at each other in a state of panic. That color was all too familiar, and we left for the ER. This is where it hit us, that the scenario (check-up one day, ER next) was hard to handle. They asked us if we knew his weight, if he was up-to-date on vaccinations. Well, of course he just had an appointment yesterday! Daddy and I looked at each other and we reminded ourselves to take deep breaths, this was a completely different situation, but too much to bear. I fought tears, and tried to smile so Babe would not get scared and panic.

We were relieved to know that he was just fine, they did x-rays and he did not show any problems, likely a slight concussion and we had to monitor him overnight. As we left the ER all I could do was think, thank goodness they didn't put us in the same room, and thank goodness it was a different doctor.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Triggers

This weekend, was our town's festivities, Fishermen's Party. Overall, it was a pretty good weekend, with a book sale, cheese curds {yum!}, kids games, street dance and parade all being on the agenda.

Everything was so much fun and Babe enjoyed every minute, he was wiped out! So tired that he fell asleep during the parade. He is still too young to get candy or anything, but I thought maybe he'd have fun watching. My husband walks in the parade every year with his karate students and I chose to sit this year out as the little one was so tired. I parked his stroller in a shady area and watched...

Watched until the ambulances went by. Now, I have seen and heard many of these since River died, but sitting there alone, watching them drive by sloooowly, it hit. One of them was in front of my house, one of them rushed River to the hospital, one of them carried EMTs trying to save his life. I teared up and had to take a deep breath. I couldn't look again until I heard the band start playing {which meant the ambulances were gone}.

I was very glad I was sitting alone as I fought crying, luckily for me Babe woke up shortly after and I had to stroll around to calm him down. The karate students were finished by this time and I was able to pretend the "ambulance moment" never happened while enjoying dinner before the hubby had to go work. 

I have realized that it is possible to have very vivid memories that can be at the same time very foggy, while piecing together life after River died.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Small Miracles Blog Hop


I am joining Fran at Small Bird Studios in her lovely Small Miracles Blog Hop. This post is to celebrate hope. I just finished reading Saving Graces by Elizabeth Edwards this weekend, and there was a quote in the first chapter that stuck with me. There were a few quotes I made notes of, but this quote is very fitting for this topic.

"One thing I had learned over the years: hope is precious, and there's no reason to give it up until you absolutely have to."

In the book, this quote was used in reference to her holding out hope that the doctors would not diagnose her with breast cancer, but I feel like these words can apply to so many situations, baby loss being one of them. I always hope for the best, despite the loss of River. I carry his heart in mine, and hope that I can share it with the world. I hope that because he is not here, I can share his story and help others through a devastating time, and let them see life can continue. It may not be the same as it was before River, but I can smile again, I can honor him and give others hope for the future.

"Hope is precious."

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Happy List Saturdays

I can't believe this is only the 2nd time I have done a happy list on Saturday.
Probably because I work most Saturdays and by the time I get home, I have forgotten!

My happy list this week: 

1. My husband, has really taken care of a lot of loose ends this week, I am so grateful he is here to help me keep up. He managed to take care of most everything this week, so in my down time I was able to enjoy our family and go for walks, play in River's Garden and work on my birthstone project.

2. My sons, both of them bring me so much joy. I miss River terribly, but I'm so happy to be his mother and do things to honor his life with us. Rainbow babe undoubtedly makes me smile, ALL of the time. He is developing such a sweet personality. Let me tell you, this kid's hugs are THE best!!! I often think River is hugging us through his arms. 

3. My job - don't get me wrong, I dream of someday not having to go to work 40 hours a week, but I really do love what I do. We are in the middle of the Summer Reading Program and it is so wonderful to see so many local youth so excited to read and win prizes. We have had a great turn out for our programs, and it is really a blessing to be part of such wonderful things for our community.

4. We are going to volunteer at Faith's Lodge tonight. Any visit to this amazing place is worth mentioning.

5. Seeing as it is Father's Day weekend, I should give a mention to my parents. They really support everything I do. Sometimes they say they can't keep up with me, but they never discourage me from anything. My husband's parents are the same and we would not have gotten this far in life if it weren't for their support.

6. My bloggy friends have been amazing!!! Thank you all for reading, for listening, for supporting and just for being you. I am so sorry for the reason most of us connected, but so grateful to have every one of you and your children in my life. 

For now, this completes my happy list today. I really should do this every Saturday as it makes me stop and think about the wonderful things I have in my life. {I think this was Natasha's point in creating this blog hop!?} I'm going to have to try and make the time to get this done :)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Frustrated

Blogger will not let me comment today.
For those of you who know I read... I did today.

It makes me log in again, then I can see my comment and add the security code but when I post it logs me out!! Ugh!

So far I had avoided Blogger issues, until now. So I officially understand what everyone is talking about.

Hopefully it will resolve itself soon and I can go back to commenting :)

Hope that everyone is having better luck than I am.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Busy, Busy

Things are the same old thing here, busy busy.
I will be honest and say that it has been a good week though!

I am working on the River's Garden idea, it will come together someday soon I hope! I am trying to organize flower pictures, upload and edit so I can make sure all the "bits" of this project will come together for all of my BLM friends.

I have become the Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope Postcard Distribution Manager, I asked Kristin about the job and after some time evaluating it, my heart led me to agree. If something pushed me to ask about it, then there is something pushing me to do it, most likely River. I am waiting for everything to arrive in the mail, so very soon I will be responsible for sending out these lovely cards and ensuring so many mothers are aware of Faces. It is an amazing thing that this team does, so I am excited to be part of it!

I have been working with a team at our hospital's OB on memory boxes. It is coming together. We have a list we are working on, the volunteer team for the hospital donated funds to get this project going. The team of ladies at the hospital has been wonderful to work with. One of them is a close friend that lost twins in 2010, so her and I are on a mission! Another team member is a nurse that was on duty the overnight shift when River was born and when I was induced with Asher. She is an amazing nurse and I am glad to have gotten to know her!

I am excited as River's Rally is donating funds and time to create some special gifts for these boxes. I have been working on a birthstone piece that is {so far} turning out lovely! If it goes as planned, this may be something else I will open up to the BLM through this blog... we shall see! We are also putting together bath salts and a candle for the family, and we are hoping to add tea and maybe seeds for gardens... it depends on how far the funds go!

We completed our shopping for Faith's Lodge. Part of the money raised for them this year went to buy supplies. We budgeted $500 to spend and we had a wonderful time shopping and stocking them up. We got everything from toilet paper to journal supplies! We are going there to make dinner this weekend, so hopefully we can unload our trunk soon! It is an honor to donate to this wonderful facility.

This week, I finally ordered books for The Compassionate Friends chapter in Milltown. We received a grant to spend {again $500} on library materials and resources to help our members and local families after the loss of a child. I am a librarian 40 hours a week, so I put alot into this and was able to purchase 34 books on varied types of loss, 1 CD and a cart to house it all! I am sooooo glad to have that off of my to-do list! Now waiting to get it delivered and organized for use!!

I think that covers most of what's been going on in my house this week. I really think I am going to try and blog more often and then {obviously} time gets away from me and it ends up being a weekly update! I hope that my "brilliant ideas" {ha ha!} work out and there will be an update on projects soon!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Right Where I Am: 2 years, 1 month & 2 days

I have decided to take part in the Right Where I Am Project. Mostly I think because I really needed to evaluate everything {and I mean everything} over the last couple of weeks.

I am 2 years, 1 month and 2 days. Where am I?
I miss my son, River, terribly. Some days it can still be unbearable and I am just angry. Other days, I feel ok. Not great, but ok. The fact that I can even say that I am ok and mean it is pretty astounding to me. I never, ever thought 2 years ago that I could feel anything but sorrow.

Despite missing him, I know that he has made me a better person. His dad and I have become such better people only because he was here for 39 weeks and 5 days in pregnancy, and 6 days in our arms. We have a sense of peace about us most times, and even though we are over our heads in projects, we throw ourselves into every minute of it. It is our life with him, and our life without him.

I never thought I would feel any kind of joy again, but I do. It is hard, not to feel guilty sometimes. How can I feel happy without him here? I am happy that I am married to his dad, one of the best people on this earth. I am happy that we have his little brother in our lives. Most of all, I am happy that I am his mother. It is only because of him, that I can get out of bed in the morning, because he helps me. He carries me, through volunteering, and the many things we do to keep his name alive.

Where am I? I guess I am in an ok place. I miss him with all of my heart, but my heart aches a little less for my sweet boy as I carry him in it and share his love with the world.

Breathtaking

So, I still am not as good as I would like to be at sharing special moments or things that make me think of our babies, but I am trying. I have a poor little guy at home, with an ear infection that won't go away, and my husband and I are up to our ears in volunteer work! I hope to catch up soon and get to work on some other ideas I have, I can't wait to get started. In the meantime, I'd like to share a few moments from this week.

We attended the Tri-County chapter of The Compassionate Friends on Monday and they had their annual balloon release. Hubby and I started a chapter locally in January, but this chapter is where we started 2 years ago exactly. We went to their meeting in June 2009, just 4 weeks after River passed. It was so welcoming and so beautiful that we felt like it was the right place for us to be. This photograph is from yesterday's release, it was breathtaking how the sun was shining on those balloons as we watched them float up for at least 20 minutes!


It takes us about an hour to drive home and it couldn't have been a more lovely sky. As we released these balloons and watched this sun set, I thought of every child that is missed so dearly, and all of you, their parents whose hearts are aching so much.


I hope these photos can bring you a small bit of happiness knowing your children are not forgotten.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Better Day

I have a little better outlook today.
Am I still upset? Yes, but I am seeing a little hope again.

I am toying with the idea of starting a project for angel babies, involving River's Garden. It is just too beautiful to not share it with you all. So please give me your feedback.

I am thinking of creating something like this:


We have soooo many lovely flowers throughout the year that I think there would be something for everyone!
I am thinking of starting this project and using it for next year's Rally day... "River's Garden: where there is love, there is life"...something like that? The photos would be printed and displayed at the Rally (much like the stars) next year, May 5th 2012.

So, this is my proposal and it will take some fine tuning, so let me know what you think.
I would create a photo with the child's name, and post it to my blog. The family could receive a JPEG without watermark via email for a donation of $10. What I am needing to fine tune is the request, and how to choose which flowers to use, base this on color choice of parents, favorite flower, or birth flower? (I don't have all 12 flowers unfortunately)

I have been really wanting to offer something to parents, like the so many things I have gotten with River's name on them. Now, I am not a photographer, but I always enjoy the garden photos, and I'm thinking this may be my avenue to explore. Looking forward to hearing back from you, my fellow BLMs on what you all think!

Here's to having hope again!!! :)

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Upset

I have just been incredibly upset lately, and again maybe it is because yesterday was the 30th. Maybe because it marked another month without my little boy in my arms. He would be 25 months old now!
Maybe because this is how Babe gets to play with his big brother:


I am not sure what has gotten me so upset lately, but I need to snap out of it. Despite the grief that has snuck up on me {yet again!} I have so much to be grateful for. I am the mother of these two sweet boys, and for that I am thankful. I just wish that I didn't have to wish so often that things were different.

On that note, I had a wonderful weekend with Babe while Daddy was at work, we played in the sandbox, snuggled and read stories, we drew pictures, played in River's Garden, went for lunch with Great Grandma & Auntie, we even got a strawberry shake!

I wish River were here physically to have been part of all that fun...

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Unanswered Questions

Why? 

There is a question I will never have the answer to.

Why did River die?
Why didn't he get to stay with us, physically?
Why will I never be the person I was before?
Why doesn't anything go as planned?

I have had a pretty bummer weekend...

Maybe it's all of the rain & storms we had over the last 2 days...
Maybe it's because even though I have a goofy little boy here, I miss River indescribably? 
Maybe because my husband has been sick all week, babe got a double ear infection for the first time, and I just feel useless? I can't shake days like this...

Maybe it is because I will never know why.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Love

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“Love is the holding of memories only the heart can see.”

I came across this quote today {while doing some major spring cleaning} and it stuck with me. I often think of River and his life continuing with me, in my heart

The love we have for our children, consists of all of the memories we have, whether they were here with us only in the womb or for a few short hours, days, months or years. We hold on to the memories and love they have given us, in our hearts.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Quick Note

I have had a million things to catch up on this week, and then came down with some sort of allergic reaction on my hands. Nothing contagious which is great, but we did try some medications that put me under the weather for a few days. So, I am playing MAJOR catch-up on getting anything posted about our big event.

I can say this, it was a great turnout and we raised alot of funds to help Faith's Lodge, The Compassionate Friends and River's Uplift Program. I have gotten caught up on sending out the receipts for all of our generous donations in merchandise. I have the stars ready to mail and finally sent out photographs.

While my hands have not completely healed, the new medication has made me less drowsy and I am getting back to normal. I want to share this photograph of our stars shining so beautifully in the glass around the Faith's Lodge model. All of our sweet children were present that day, to celebrate River's birthday with him! I know they had a wonderful day together as our event was amazing.
thank you Kelly for this photograph!

I appreciate everyone's support over the last two weeks as we endured his birthday, his remembrance day, IBLM as well as the traditional Mother's Day. These weeks were filled with a sea of emotions for me and I am truly honored so many people remembered our sweet baby boy and sent me notes, messages and gifts.
I will do my best not to be as MIA as I have been the last week. I have been reading posts, just have not physically been able to post or comment. I am thinking of you all!!

Friday, May 6, 2011

2 Years Ago

Two years ago, I was saying goodbye to my sweet boy. I woke up this morning about the same time that last saw my son alive. 7:44AM,  he was still breathing. 8:20AM, he wasn't & I was on the phone with 911, my husband was doing CPR.

Those memories  overwhelmed me today as I woke up and checked on his little brother. I have a lot to do today to prepare for our big event tomorrow. River left such an impact on me, that I have to keep moving forward, to keep helping others & to share his life with everyone I can.

I want to thank everyone that has given me support in the last few weeks. I have received many emails and cards in the mail, numerous Facebook & blog comments. I don't like the reason we all met, but I'm fortunate you're here.

I will do my best to update later this weekend, this entire week has been devoted to this event. I hope to have a great turnout and a wonderful fundraiser to help those in need!!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

River's 2nd Birthday!

Well, we are officially nearing the end of River's second birthday. It was quite a day! It was a bit emotional, just very hard to believe that I survived another year without him in my arms, or chasing him around the house! I feel a bit exhausted, but I wanted to share a few of the special moments:


We were busy working on things for next weekend's big event, and we had a few of his candles lit this morning. It gave me peace, seeing those candles shining so bright. Next, we went to the office, to meet River's grandmothers to finish up some other things for next weekend...we accomplished a lot today. Thank you sooo much to Grandma Brenda and Grandma Paula for making this a success!


After we finished up there, we went to the cemetery and tied his birthday balloon up, and we began to see the rain (that had been here ALL day) finally break up, just in time for dinner! We had planned a small BBQ gathering and the sun was shining strong by the time we sat down to eat.


We ate our birthday cake (which was cheesecake that his baby brother loved) and we let these balloons go, two beautiful balloons with birthday wishes for him! See the bright glow in the cloud on the right? My mom and I noticed it in both of our pictures, it was just breathtaking.


We rounded out the day, with this beautiful sunset. It was very obvious that River was with us today. We received so many birthday wishes for him as well as so much support, it was amazing and it was so touching to know that so many people remembered him today.


In a few short minutes, International Babylost Mothers Day will arrive in the Midwest, my thoughts and prayers are with so many families, that I know are missing their children. My hope today is that all of them know that I am praying for peace, knowing that their children live in our hearts always. 

Friday, April 29, 2011

This Weekend

This weekend is quite eventful, despite the fact that our "big event" is actually next weekend!

First of all, today is Spring for SIDS day:


Secondly, tomorrow is sweet River's 2nd birthday! I cannot even believe it. 2 years ago, tomorrow at 6:06pm my first child, a handsome little boy was born and my heart grew bigger than I ever thought possible with all of the love he gave me.


River - Thank you sweetheart, for showing me something in 6 short days that most people wait for their whole lives. I hope you have an amazing birthday party. We love and miss you so very, very much!!! Mom, Dad and Baby Brother

Lastly, Sunday is International Babylost Mother's Day:


I really hadn't thought much about all of these dates lining up in a row, but I have been so involved in getting ready for his birthday fundraiser celebration, that it didn't sink in, until now. 

Wishing all of the mother's that are missing their children a peaceful day on Sunday. 
Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Update

I have decided to take star requests until River's 2nd birthday, this Saturday the 30th. So please, let me know if I can create a star for you, in exchange for a $10.00 donation to River's Run and Ride Rally.

Please share this with anyone you know that may not have participated already. I have been honored to create these in memory of our children. Thank you all for your support!!

Monday, April 25, 2011

River's Birthday

River's birthday is coming up, in 5 days.
I cannot believe that this precious boy would be 2 years old.


I also cannot believe that he has been gone for 2 years, just 11 short days from now. I miss him so much. I have been seeing more of him in Asher the last few weeks. It is clearly obvious they are brothers.

For River's birthday, I am ecstatic to have a brand new blog design, thanks to Small Bird Studios! I am just in love with everything about it.

I am working on wrapping up the Sweet Shining Stars project for this year's Rally event. Please let me know if you are still interested, I am buying the last of the supplies this week. It has been an honor to create these stars, thank you all for your support.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Reminder

**UPDATE: APRIL 26TH, 2011. I HAVE DECIDED TO KEEP THIS OPEN UNTIL RIVER'S 2ND BIRTHDAY, APRIL 30TH -- THIS SATURDAY!!**

Just wanted to remind everyone that the deadline to participate in this event is fast approaching!! I have been honored to make these stars for so many families, but if there is anyone that missed it, or would like to still purchase a "Sweet Shining Star" for their child, the last day I will take requests is this Saturday, April 23rd.
**************
1)I will purchase these stars (I think they are roughly 8" in size):

2) For a donation of $10.00 to River's Run and Ride Rally, I will write your child's name on the star of your color choice (blue, silver or pink) and display this at our event.

3) I will email you a picture of the stars hanging together, as well as mail your star to you after our event is over. I am also going to attach the following saying upon mailing: "Perhaps the stars in the sky are loved ones letting us know they are near by guiding us through the night."

All you need to do is make your donation here (click on the donate button in the sidebar) and in the notes field, please include your child's first name, the color star you would like, the email address of where to send the picture and where I should mail the star to upon completion of the event.
I have three goals with this project:
a) to bring smiles to the faces of the families I have met that have lost children, anything with River's name on it makes me so happy.
b) to raise awareness in my community of how losing a child impacts us, I want to visually show them that in a matter of 2 years, we have connected with so many people that are enduring the same loss. I want them to see how many people their donations can help.
c) to raise money for our event, last year we had a matching funds donation and this year we cannot get that again, so we are trying to raise that portion of our proceeds.

So, if you'd like to participate in this, please let me know by April 23rd, 2011. Please share this with anyone you know that would appreciate this idea. I look forward to celebrating your children with River at his 2nd birthday party!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Helping, Healing, Hope

This will be shown at River's Run and Ride Rally's event on May 7th. It was created to show what our mission is. It was made with love and care, to honor children gone too soon. River's Dad, Ben, worked many hours on this video, in hopes to gain awareness of our cause.


Please feel free to share this with anyone that may want to know more about what we do.
We appreciate your support!

Monday, April 18, 2011

River's Park

River's Daddy was on our village board for the last 6 years. About 3 years ago, they were approached by some youth in our community to build a skate park. This has been a growing trend, a place for teens to ride their bikes and skateboards. Our village thought it was a good request and put Ben in charge of it. He was the youngest board member and they thought he would work well with the teens.


They began fundraising right away, selling lollipops, doing car washes, and spaghetti dinners. They began researching plans, Ben learned a lot about what was expected of a park. I spent a lot of time involved in this as well. We contacted local businesses for donations, tried to get grants, and spent hours determining the project's final costs.

The beginning of the park was the concrete slab, this was poured in May of 2009, the same month River passed away. This was an exciting step, because it meant the park was going to happen! There was still fundraising to do, but seeing that step completed was wonderful! It proved to the teens that they had power, they could make this happen.

The fundraising, was completed due to a generous donor in our community and the plans were finalized. A local company, Schaffer Manufacturing, was going to be constructing the ramps, and the fun box, complete with steps and a grind rail. Everything was going smoothly, and project was set to complete the spring of 2010.

It was shortly before Christmas of 2009, I believe that we were approached by our village president and asked if we would consider naming the park after River. The idea was brought to her from some citizens of our community. We were overwhelmed that they wanted to name it after him. We were incredibly honored that this little boy, who was in this world for such a short time had enough impact to make someone suggest this. It was decided by the Milltown village board that the skate park would be called River's Park. I was in tears, knowing that a park River would have grown up playing on was going to be named after him.


Once that was confirmed, we decided that project completion should be as close to River's 1st birthday as we could make it. This began the ideas for River's Run and Ride Rally. We wanted to include the grand opening of the skate park in River's birthday celebration. We did it! The ramps were installed on River's birthday, April 30, 2010. The sign was designed by a great friend, with help from Ben and I on the color and font to use.

This is River's uncle, riding the ramps on opening day!
I was in awe, this was an amazing birthday gift for our little boy. We had a ribbon cutting ceremony and the kids were enjoying the park within minutes. The park is not too far away from our home.We take walks by there frequently. I often think that I need to remind myself that it is real. I am very grateful to our community for giving us this gift, of honoring our son.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Crazy

My husband was watching the movie Astro Boy, the other day.
(via)
Has anyone seen this movie? 

I haven't, but he said it was very interesting.
It is an animated film based on a Japanese series. 

In the movie, a doctor creates a robot replica of his son that was killed. 

There was one part of the movie I wanted to share -- 

The doctor was accused of going crazy, while creating this robot. 
His colleague's response was: 
"If you lose your son and don't go crazy, you aren't a human being."

If the creators of Astro Boy get it, why can't the rest of the world? 

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Happy List Saturdays

This is my first participation in the Happy List Saturdays, although I have been reading everyone's Happy Lists for a while now... finally I am catching up!!

1. This month is River's second birthday and he is off to an amazing start -- I entered 2 giveaways in the last 2 weeks and won!

I received in the mail this week this beautiful Willow Tree "Angel of Freedom"
figurine from Mary, Addison's mommy.


The other drawing I won was from Carly, The Blue Ice Butterfly. 
One of  her sweet daughters drew me out of all of the entries :) 


2. Volunteering at Faith's Lodge -- tonight we are making dinner for 7 couples that have all lost infants. This is something we are honored to do in River's memory. We cherish learning their stories and sharing ours.

3. Sweet Shining Stars project, I have been overwhelmed with love while creating these stars for our sweet babies. I am looking forward to displaying them at our event and then sending them home to their families. This project is still open for requests until April 23.

4. Making journals for Jenna's Journal Drive -- I have two to finish up and they will go in the mail on Monday! I have been so blessed to be a part of this project. It has given me moments of peace and serenity while working on them.

5. River's Garden -- finally, there is spring in Wisconsin!! The snow is gone and there are plants making their way:


6. Getting ready for River's birthday party, River's Run and Ride Rally on May 7th. It's going to be a wonderful event raising money for others trying to figure out life without their child.

7. Lastly the thing that ALWAYS makes me happy, River's precious little brother:


I guess that's a lot of catch up, and a lot of pictures to share. 
Makes up for me being MIA from my blog for a while!
I've been reading, just not posting -- looking forward to seeing everyone's Happy Lists!