Happy Birthday, to My Son in Heaven

Twelve years ago my husband and I were at our high-risk Neonatal doctor’s office.  Dr. B. looked at me and sighed as he pulled the ultrasound wand away from my pregnant belly. “No more amnio-infusions. There isn’t any more room to put the needles in and your little guy needs to get out of there.”

I stared at him wide-eyed.

“But we are barely thirty-six weeks along. He isn’t big enough. How big does he have to be for them to be ready to do dialysis?” I asked with grave concern.

“Six pounds. Anything less than that and he won’t be able to go to surgery.” He said matter of factly.

“But he’ll die.” I squeaked.

“Yes, he may. We don’t even know if his lungs will be developed. This hasn’t been done before. We have the whole team ready for you, they are excited to meet the baby with no kidneys.” He smiled and patted my hand.

Dr. B. and his office had become like family to us. He came in on his vacations and I could call him whenever I needed him, he did everything he could to help bring our little guy into the world. He knew how hard it was for us to lose our daughter.

We knew early on in our pregnancy that we weren’t guaranteed tomorrow. We were thankful to have made it to thirty-six weeks. We held onto faith that he would survive the delivery. Even after thirty-two weeks of strict bed rest, I just wanted him to stay a little while longer.

We went home to pack our bags feeling excited and terrified. We got his tiny premie outfit in case we had to say goodbye.

Still, we pressed into G-d praying for a miracle for our sweet little Elijah Praise. We knew the Lord was above anything, even the wisest doctor.

I barely slept that night knowing our whole world was about to change and kept on praying.

We got up before dawn and headed up to the hospital, I had on my yellow empire waisted pregnancy shirt. It reminded me of sunshine and gave me hope.

We saw Dr. B. and I instantly felt soothed. They got us ready to take the long walk down the hall. Elijah seemed to know something was up and wiggled around. I just loved his movements and did my best to reassure him everything would be alright.

Elijah Praise was born on September 30th, 2004. He weighed exactly six pounds. G-d had answered our prayers not only in his size but as he belted out his lungs and bleated like a baby sheep. The room was packed with labor and delivery and NICU staff, and everyone cheered as we sobbed.

Dr. B. held him up to me and said, “Six pounds! He is ready to go!”

He was gorgeous and looked perfect. I prayed the diagnosis was all a mistake.

I made my husband promise to stay with Elijah. I didn’t want him to be alone, especially if he passed away. Thirty-two weeks of bed rest had left me in poor condition and I could barely get out of bed.

I ached to be with my boy. I waited in prayer as my husband would call to tell me what he looked like and what all of the medical reports were saying.

Dr. B. later came in and told me, that the reason they had to deliver so soon was he had a knot in his cord. He didn’t want to worry me. I knew that G-d had spared him.

It felt like we had jumped from one roller-coaster to the next.

When I think back to that very special day, Psalm 139:16 (paraphrased) became his anthem, I knew that G-d had already ordained all the days of his life before one of them came to be.

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Remember Me This Way

Our sweet Elijah’s life was a gift. His story now lives on and he is still alive in my heart and as well as in Heaven.  He taught us compassion, empathy, to face our fears, to learn how to pray, to embrace every single moment, and to trust G-d with everything.

My husband and I have a heart for ministry because of his and Aurora’s brief life. We learned that every single child is sacred from the moment that life begins. They feel pain and joy just like you and me.  No matter how long a life is lived here on earth, they make a difference that forever alters history in ways we don’t begin to understand.

Birthdays are hard. Instead of running into my boy’s room and making him his favorite breakfast, we go to the mausoleum and run our hands across the cool marble headstone and sing songs to him that echo through the halls.  As my husband and I stand in the hall with tears in our eyes, our earthly children dance and sing for joy for their brother and sister in Heaven.

I love that they don’t fear death.

I love that they talk about them.

I love that they are as real to them as we are.

I love that they ask questions because they want to hear about them.

But I do have wishes…

I wish I could hold him for five more minutes.

I wish I could run my fingers through his hair and kiss his sweet cheeks and feel his skin.

I just wish I could see who he looks like and see his double dimples and soulful grey-blue eyes just five more minutes.

I miss my boy and I always will.

I don’t share my grief for pity or attention. Rather I am sharing my pearls to those of you who may be facing similar circumstances who feel so alone. Or for those who know someone and you want to understand why they are responding as they do.

I want others to understand that grief isn’t something you get through or get over. Instead, it is something that transforms your life. Our children are forever a part of us in life and in death. In some unique way, it is a sacred treasure that draws you into G-d’s arms and increases our faith, should we choose to believe. It helps us to fix our eyes on His promises and love all the more deeply with compassion that can only be learned by experience.

I am so glad that I get to celebrate my son’s birthday. We remember each blessed day we had with him and are beyond thankful.  The Lord has tenderly reminded me that his life hasn’t ended. Rather, it’s just begun.

I thank G-d that he used our son’s life to show us that He is always with us, to pray with great faith, and to teach us what it is to love with all of our heart no matter the cost.

Happy Birthday, Elijah. You softened my heart. Your bravery, sweetness, and life live on for eternity. You made our lives so much better. Hold your sister’s hand till I get there.

Love,

Mommy

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When You Have Too Much on Your Plate…

I remember going to my first fine dining restaurant. The place was beautifully decorated, gentle jazz piano music played quietly in the room, I felt awkward to be in such a fancy place.

The waiter gave me the menu and I was stunned by the prices. I went to read the description of each dish expecting there to be a plethora of food for how expensive everything was.

Instead, the descriptions were listing only three or four basic ingredients.

I ordered carefully, hoping to find something filling, but it all seemed too simple. I was hungry and wanted to dive into a big plate of deliciousness.

When they brought the food out, (this was before the Food Network) I was taken aback seeing the plate with three tiny portions of food.

 

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All I could think was how hungry I was and that this was not going to be enough. I could easily see what each item was and even though it was small, it looked rather beautiful.

I could easily see what each item was and even though it was small, it did look rather beautiful.

I found myself puzzled on how to attack my food. I couldn’t gobble it down because I couldn’t afford another order to go on the tab.

So I did what I wasn’t used to doing, I ate slowly. I savored each and every bite. The food was simple and exquisite. Because the portions were smaller so we took our time and actually talked. The pace of the night slowed down and it was an experience to remember.

Like Burger King’s old slogan, “Have it your way,” we expect things in life to be fast, our way, and a lot of times we end up feasting on filler that leaves us sick and wanting more. Sure it didn’t cost as much but did we really enjoy things or just move on to the next moment.

I am not just talking about food, but our schedules.

It’s a constant pull to divvy up our precious time.

When did success become about quantity versus quality?

Are we and our kids really getting better by getting more?

Life nowadays feels like an all you can eat buffet. Sports, school, church, house chores, classes, grocery shopping, volunteering, etc… Like a buffet as you heap each spoonful it quickly adds up and when you sit down to eat what you have committed to, it just loses its appeal. With every bite you take, you can’t really appreciate each dish/activity as it all becomes too much, leaving us feeling overwhelmed and burnt out.

After being sick for so long, I had been watching on the sidelines and I couldn’t wait to “load up my plate.” Instead of starting out with a couple of good basic schedule commitments, I loaded up our schedule and didn’t take into account how much energy we would need to exert. Before I knew it, we were burning out. We were racing from one thing to the next, not being able to be fully present in our moments because there was so much to do.

In a world where busy is associated with productive, it’s hard to find that healthy balance. We want to be involved in everything to get the most out of life, but then feel utterly drained and pulled as we hurry from one thing to the next.

In reality, we were all made run our own races. Each person’s pace will look different than another. I have had friends do missionary work where they come back finding out that the poorest of poor people are tightly in community and they feel bad for us because we are a slave to our things,time, and the need for approval. We are trained to do it all on our own rather than slow down and enjoy life and the people around us.

I find myself this summer prayerfully asking, what is it I am called to do?

Where?

With who?

I hate the thought of saying no to other experiences, but I am reminded of the decadent simple meal that I had at that restaurant. It was simple, basic, and  sustaining. I didn’t feel sick afterwards, just refreshed.

So I feel like G-d is giving me a fresh plate and giving me the choices on what I am going to fill up on.

It’s time to simplify and enjoy my life again while asking simple questions.

What will help feed and strengthen us?

What will help bring stress relief?

What joy can we bring to others in the time that we do have?

How can we be readily available for what G-d has called us to do?.

We need to be healthy to help others, even if that means doing less.

Less really is more, because we can fully enjoy our experiences around us rather than be running ourselves ragged.

I don’t want to have it all. I just want what G-d says is best for me. He doesn’t just suggest us to rest, He actually commands us to take a Sabbath each week. He also encourages us to trust that what He has for us is more than enough.

Just some food for thought…

When You are Ready to Throw in the Towel

It’s been a rough go in my body these past few weeks. I have been professing that I am being healed from this chronic illness that has been plaguing my tent for the last five years. I do believe that the Lord is healing me but my healing hasn’t been instantaneous, rather a process. As pain and nausea fill my body, I can’t help but feel my hope dwindling as I want to cry out in defeat.

The enemy whispers into my heart, “You were never healed you foolish woman. If you ask others to pray for you, they will think you want attention, or have little of your so-called faith.”

Chronic illness not only affects me and my family but also every relationship. I have been working tirelessly on being a woman of integrity and trying hard to keep my dates that I had planned. It hurts to have to cancel events I have been looking forward to and know that I have disappointed someone that I adore.

I hate letting people down.

I went up to my pastor for prayer. I seriously started to believe that I was too tired to go on. I felt like a huge burden to my dear family and just wanted to be free from this aching body.

I went up shaking and kept on thinking that I didn’t want to bother them, but I knew I needed to be brave.

As my husband gave them the backstory of what had been going on, his wife stepped forward and grabbed my hand. She looked into my eyes and gave me this passage:

“… until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.” Matthew 11:12 (KJ 2000 Bible)

Now there are many ways to read this scripture, but the way she explained it was those that seek out G-d are going to come into some mighty warfare. Instead of shaming me and asking what sin in my life caused this, she encouraged me with the truth.  She saw my faith.  She explained that the enemy attacks those who are faithful and tries to make them believe that they aren’t worth the fight. But in reality, we have to fight back to take what has been rightfully given to us.

At that moment I went from feeling like a helpless mouse caught in a trap, to a lioness ready to attack. While the enemy constantly bombards me with lies, I am reminded that all that matters is what Jesus himself said at the cross.

Jesus said, “It is finished.” John 19:30 (NLT)

This morning I woke up in great pain and sent out texts asking to pray for me. I was weeping as I felt this fear creep up on me of what I have gone through in the past.  Will I be able to keep homeschooling? Will I be able to eat normal again? Will I be able to stand firm and not be afraid and trust all will be well?

I know my G-d is full of mercy and grace.

He says to me, “When you are weak, I am strong.”

He never shames me for coming to Him worried, tired, and irritable. He loves me just as I am.

While I hate being sick in my body, it is times like this that I am reminded how much I truly need Him. It’s a gift to be reminded that my help comes from Him.  I know when I am feeling great, I tend to think I have everything under control.

It is in the trials and temptations of this world that we get to experience His grace and mercy in ways no human can explain.

I don’t believe He is giving me this pain, but I do believe that He will redeem it.

So when we all are at that point that we can’t take one more step for whatever is taking you down, let us remember that He is our:

Hope.

Peace.

Strength.

Protector.

Provider.

Healer.

Lord, I ask that you lift our pain today whether it be in our bodies or in our mind.

We ask for prayers and the help of others as we walk this difficult road to surrender to your will alone.

Please strengthen my siblings in Christ as only you can.  May you be praised in our tears and in our pain as we put our trust in you Abba Father. Y8CKB0O8C2

When You Are Called into Uncharted Territory

The day my second son was born we were overwhelmed with joy. I had never had a child be healthy, so we almost didn’t know how to be normal parents. I watched his every move and wanted to snuggle him day and night and ride off into the sunset together.

But he had other plans.

Instead, he cried morning, noon, and night.

I repeatedly took him to the doctor and they assured me that he was alright. He was just a fussy guy. My mother’s instinct told me otherwise.

My son is a really a handsome boy and absolutely brilliant. He loved the Solar System and was teaching us things about it, that we never knew.  However, I noticed he wasn’t interested in interacting with children and rarely played as I thought most kids did.

After several visits with the doctor assuring me all was well, I requested to see a specialist. I had wondered if he was on the Spectrum and knew early intervention was key.

We met with the doctor and they had confirmed my suspicions, he was diagnosed with PDD-NOS. Now it would be the general term of being on the Spectrum.

From there I begged our local school system to let in the ECSE program. And at the tiny age of three, he was loaded on the bus and off he went while I cried. I prayed it was the right thing to do, and it was.

While it was hard to let him go, it ended up being a great experience. He went for the social aspect of things along with sensory therapy. He continued on for the next two years and then he was moved to mainstreamed Kindergarten and was thriving.

I am still not sure what happened but once he hit first grade, everything went south.

Part of the reason that we had picked where we lived was for the school system. It would be within walking distance and I could walk with them every day and go back to work.

Unfortunately, through first and second grade we saw a major change in his behavior. He was having meltdowns and seemed riddled with anxiety and anger. My husband and I were clueless as to what changed.

After setting up with private home therapy and meetings with the school’s social worker, speech therapist, teacher, and principal we realized we weren’t getting anywhere.

We met with a doctor and they had suggested putting him on medication but felt it was treating the symptoms, but not the root of the problem.

As I sat there with my head in my hands, I cried out to G-d to show us what to do.

It seemed like in a short period of time, I had met several other women who were homeschooling.

I spoke with a friend who explained that she too was a lot like me.  She found that G-d had been refining her in the area of patience and it forced her to work on her areas of weakness, to be stronger for her kids. As I sat there doing research I felt that I needed to pull my kids from school and step into uncharted territory. G-d was calling me to step out in faith to do what I thought was impossible.

 

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It hasn’t been an easy road, but our kids are thriving. My son is doing exceptionally well and craves the structure of our curriculum with the flexibility of the homeschool environment. Like me, we found that he does much better in quiet environments without heavy distractions.

We had to pull my younger daughter as well. This broke my heart as she loved being with kids her own age. What we didn’t know was how smart she is. She was perfectly happy doing just enough to get by. We have found with our homeschooling curriculum, that the hands-on learning has actually helped her academically and with her confidence.

This post is not one to say that homeschooling is better than traditional, rather it’s about doing what G-d calls us to do, especially when it seems impossible. When we hand things over to Him, He makes a way we would never have thought possible.

This experience has brought our family closer together and helped our kids excel in academics.  It has also brought out great qualities in all of us, that we never knew existed. It hasn’t been an easy journey, but G-d in His grace has walked with us and is refining our hearts each day.

I don’t know if we will do this every year. I am learning to do less of my planning, and do more listening to where He wants us to go.

We are all running our own race, and everyone’s journey looks different.

So if you are facing an impossible situation or have reached a point of frustration in your life and you don’t know what to do, let me encourage you to pray and ask for His wisdom.  You may find that those uncharted territories take you to a place of growth and opportunities you never dreamed you could achieve.

Proverbs 16:9 (NLT) says it the best:

We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.

 

To My Daughter in Heaven, Who Would You be Today?

It’s been fourteen years since we said hello and goodbye to our first born, a daughter.  She celebrated her earthly birthday on June 21st  just before dawn. We were thrilled to finally meet Aurora but knew time was slipping through our fingers. After an hour and a half, she left for her heavenly birthday.  While she must have rejoiced to be welcomed into the arms of our Heavenly Father, I was weeping. I didn’t want to say goodbye.

The great lie that has been told is that after time passes, you will get over the loss. How you could ever stop missing your child, is beyond me. The lives of those who go on before us, are there to help shape us for events to come.  They help us hang onto the hope of a kingdom we have not experienced yet.

Our children ask more and more questions about her as each year passes.  I do my best to try and answer, but there are some questions that I will never have the answers too.

My youngest daughter has been lamenting not having her big sis. She often gets a bit melancholy when she sees sisters playing together and asks if Aurora would have loved her or if they would have looked alike? Would she have been protective of her?

I try to be real and not make saints out of our children who have passed away. I don’t want my kids here on earth to feel that they can’t measure up to the level of perfection of their siblings in Heaven.  I remind them that they would have had their good days and their bad days. We normally giggle at the thought of made up scenarios of what they might have encountered.

As two of my nephews graduated 8th grade, I found myself wondering where Aurora would be in all of this?

Would she like to have her hair long like her sister, or short like mine? Would there be battles over makeup and skirts being too short? Would she love academics or tumbling around on a gym mat? Would she be honing in on what she would like to do for the rest of her life, or be content with the here and now?

Still after all these years,  I pray to G-d to let me see her in my dreams and just be able to observe what she looks like and to see her smile. Five minutes, just five more minutes…

I miss my daughter, and I always will.

I long to hold her in my arms and just hear his say, “Mom…”

I want more stories to share of what I know about her because so much has been left undone.

Still I often ask G-d, who would she be today?

Would she be sweet like her daddy? Or sassy like her Mom?  Would she boy crazy and loud?  Or would she be a quiet bookworm?

What I do have are the treasured memories of my pregnancy with her and her short time in my arms.

I am so thankful to have priceless photographs that have helped us keep her memory alive.

I am thankful for modern technology notifying us of her terminal status, long before she was born. We were able to get to know her long before she was born and prepare to capture her short time on earth.

Many may think when you die, that your life is over and there isn’t more you can contribute. I have found that love transcends all time and boundaries.  Though she was only here a brief moment in time, she has forever changed my heart and how we look at the sacredness of life that begins in the womb.

As her birthday rapidly approaches, I think about who she would be today and smile with tears. In the natural it seems her life has faded into time, but in Christ, she has begun her endless journey of joy.

I miss her for the selfish reasons of wanting to share her crazy antics of being a fourteen-year-old girl. I miss the hugs and conversations that I wish could have taken place. I miss her presence.

And then I realize she wouldn’t be a girl, she would be a young woman….

Since having our children, we have made sure to make Aurora’s Day, one that was fun and filled with beauty. I think she wouldn’t want me holed up in my room and feeling so sad every time I heard her name.

It’s hard because I do find myself wanting to cry, and sometimes I do. But I know that she would want us to remember her and smile.  She was a gift from G-d, not a burden.

So today I want to share the beautiful pictures that I do have of our sweet Aurora. I want to remind others that life is precious and sacred, no matter how brief the visit is here on earth. She made a difference in our lives for the better.

What we saw as death, she has stepped into the real life of living.

Heaven is our home, and our children are there. We are blessed to be her parents not just here, but for all of eternity.

I came across this amazing song written by Angie Smith called, “I Will Carry You.”

She too had learned early in her pregnancy that her daughter had kidney issues and would not be staying for very long. As I read the words she wrote for her daughter, I felt as though she had ripped the words from my soul.

Till then, as the song says, “I will praise the one who has chosen me to carry you.”

 

 

One Insignificant Change Catapults You Into Your Destiny

Often we hear that one good choice can set into motion a ripple effect. Have you ever noticed that one little change can get the ball rolling for a wagon load of joy and hope you would never have expected?

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Sixteen years of memories were on our couches. They were covered in stains from food and sagged so badly, we had to grunt to get ourselves in and out of them. They smelled of years gone by, they were embarrassing to look at and were the bane of my existence.

I have been dealing with chronic head, neck, and back pain for a long time. Each time I meet with a doctor they ask if we have the proper firm seating and mattress. I find myself muttering under my breath, “I am too busy paying you..”

My husband and I have lists of things we need to get and we both agreed a new couch just wasn’t possible. We just wouldn’t have enough and needed to save more.  Happy with our decision we decided to go to the grocery store and forget about couch hunting, when we spotted a furniture sale.

I rolled my eyes, as this place always is having the biggest sale of the year. But, I appeased my husband and got out of the car anyway.

We proceeded to look for charcoal grey couches but just wasn’t finding anything. A woman was lounging on a very spaceship looking white couch. I smiled at her. She still had on her waitress uniform and closed her eyes as she said, “The kids would destroy this thing in minutes.”

I laughed and said, “Who would be stupid enough to buy a white couch with kids? This is a bachelor’s couch.” We both chuckled and went about our way. I looked down at the price and was surprised. I brushed it off and thought only a fool would buy this couch.

As we got into the car, my husband started to talk about the white couch. Being that he rarely says anything about what he likes, I listened to what he had to say.

“Babe, it has neck support. I can’t stop thinking this couch might be awesome for us,” he said.

“It’s white,” I said logically.

“Really, it’s fake leather we could just wipe it down. You could wipe it with a disinfectant wipe! (A man after my own heart) And the price, could you believe it!?”

“Again, it’s white!” I was not budging.

We discussed at length our opinions about who was right.

“Let’s go back and sit on it, and see for yourself.” I reluctantly conceded.

We got back to store and I sat on the stupid white couch. It is horribly modern and we live in a hundred and sixteen-year-old house. We put the shabby, into shabby chic.

I wanted to find anything wrong that I could with it so that we could give up on this crazy find and look for a safe bet. Only when I sat down, it was firm and it had neck support. I felt heaven smile upon us and a choir sang “Hallelujah,” in the sky.

I knew this would be our couch.

I looked down at the price and saw that this would be way less than replacing our two couches. Still, I had to haggle a deal. After much debate, I spoke with the manager and asked them to come down in price with their showroom model of an obviously unwanted white couch.

To my dismay, they said no. Like a good Dave Ramsey family, we walked away.

I prayed for G-d to give me the wisdom about what to do.  I felt I was to be patient and had a peace about it.  I felt I was supposed to call back and give them my number and wait until they brought the price down.

Two days later they called. They offered to finance and I politely declined. I explained what money we had and held my ground. Long story somewhat shortened, we got the couch.

I was thrilled but also sad to see our other couches go. They had been with us before we got married. Brought in fresh with not a stain on them. Now they were worn and battered. Those couches had been with us as we planned our wedding, survived our apartment complex fire, held me during bed rest for two of my pregnancies, cradled me as we wept after the loss of each child, we have raised our kids on them, they comforted me as my body grew sick, frail, to the point of death, and now it was time to let go…

That one insignificant change has catapulted me into moving forward from feeling completely burnt out. I had put down my typewriter and felt like it was time to hang up my dream of being a writer. Not because of the couches, but I just felt stagnant and that one simple change had helped me to look at things with fresh eyes!

Our old house is now having new life breathed into it with paint and changes. What looked mundane and done, now has endless possibilities. Nothing changed, except my perspective.

Yes, it is crazy to have a white couch with young children. However isn’t it just like G-d to take the seemingly impossible and make it possible. How often do we feel like something is just too good for us and that we are going to just mark it up with our tainted hands?

After taking a big break from writing I have found myself believing I can never achieve the dreams that I long for. They are just too far out of my reach and it’s not possible. Who would have thought that G-d would take a white couch to help me realize, it takes is one small step of faith to create a domino effect of his blessings.

I know it’s just a couch and why would that be so life changing? For me it represents risk, rejuvination, and a reminder that G-d listens to my prayers.

I usually hate change, yet it is what helps us take one more step closer to our destiny. It breaks us of fear and opens our eyes to things we haven’t seen before that were there all along.

One insignificant leap…

Take that risk that seems impossible!

Take your dream and pray that G-d would lead you to that next courageous step.

Risk takers are the movers and the shakers of this world and they don’t get anywhere by playing it safe.

What is your dream that seems out of your reach?

Has logic killed your drive?

Life is short,

have faith,

and that white whale can be yours.

 

What small step can you take to put some wind in your sail?  Pray about it, G-d works in mysterious ways!

To the Empty Arms On Mother’s Day

I know that you see Mother’s Day on the calendar and it stings. Whether it’s the loss of a child or of your own mother, this day can be very difficult for many reasons. While children are scouring the stores or the backyard for their latest Mother’s Day finds, your heart is aching.

Maybe you long to be pregnant and you have been praying for two lines to appear on the magic eight ball of pregnancy test sticks. But time after time, only one line appears.

Maybe you have children and your heart longs for another baby to snuggle, but each month that goes by, your hope sinks. You are grateful for your children, but you long for more.

Maybe you were pregnant, but only for a brief time leaving you shell-shocked. Your mind was dreaming of nurseries, maternity wear, and so many unknowns of excitement, just to learn your baby’s heartbeat had stopped. And so did yours.

Maybe you are pregnant and you found out that something isn’t right with your baby. You are coming to grips with a grim diagnosis and you don’t know what the future holds. All you know is that you love your baby and you are begging G-d for his/her life. You are scared but so filled with love. You are praying and hoping that all will be well and you treasure each movement of your child all the more.

Maybe you had a wonderful pregnancy. Your nursery is complete, baby showers were had, and clothing had been washed and ready to go. You were as big as a house, and you were counting down the days to delivery when suddenly there was no movement. Your baby was born asleep.

Maybe you had your baby and your nights had been sleepless. Pictures were taken, diapers had been filled, and clothes were soiled. You were enjoying every moment with snuggles and admiring eyes when one day, your baby didn’t wake up.

Maybe your baby has turned into a toddler, goofball, giggle machine, a tween, or teenager, and something happened. The doctor came into the room as you held your breath in the hopes for good news. He shakes his head and you drop to the floor is guttural sobs. Your world has stopped and the tears can’t stop falling.

Maybe your baby had grown up and has babies of their own. You had been looking forward to watching them grow old. Only you got a phone call that you needed to get to the hospital and watched them helplessly fade before your very eyes.

Maybe your child has strayed away and your relationship is heavily strained. You feel incomplete without them and your heart aches to have the things back the way they were.

Maybe it’s your own mother that you are missing. No matter how old we are, our mothers hold a deep bond in our hearts. We are always our mother’s child and you miss hugging her and listening to her voice. You miss her words of encouragement, the smell of her perfume, and her everlasting love. Maybe she wasn’t perfect, but you were her’s and you miss her sweet embrace.

I know you feel an emptiness that no one else can fill and you ache to have your arms filled once more with those who had brought so much joy and meaning into your life.

I remember after the death of my first daughter we were in church. I had dreaded Mother’s Day as I knew there would be no cards, kisses, or snuggles from the one who had brought wholeness to my heart. I felt lost. Everyone else seemed to have their families bundled around them.  My daughter Aurora was gone and my arms were empty.

They had asked all of the mothers to stand. I was so so confused. Did I stand or was I not a mother anymore? How would I explain my baby’s ashes were in the locket around my neck and not in the nursery.

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My locket necklace with our daughter Aurora’s ashes. Photographed by Mark Nickerson.

My knees were weak and my sweet husband nudged me forward. I found myself half standing and felt like my legs were going to buckle. If I sat, that meant I was denying she had ever existed. If I stood how would I explain…

There are so many of us. They come to me and share their stories in whispers and sobs and they let me know, “I had a child once too….” And they open up stories that have been vaulted up for years.

Or those who lost their mother who say to me, “She has missed out on so much.  I wish she could have seen….”

So on this Mother’s Day, whether you don’t have any children, you have children, but some are missing, or you just miss your own mother, know that you are not alone.

Know that we are wrapping our arms around you as you shed your tears of longing. You are still their mother no matter what.

She will always be your mom, and that will never change.

This is your day. Go ahead and pull out the photo albums and share stories. Maybe do something in honor of that little one that is meaningful to you. Start a tradition that allows the missing to turn from heartache to heart warming.

For us, we go to the cemetery. I like to bring flowers and then rip off the petals and scatter them around as we sing songs to them.

That heartbreak that you feel shows that you are filled with so much love.

I like to think that our loved ones see us and are whispering,

I never went away.

I am with you always,

and we will hold each other again.

As a mother who has lost, my greatest fear is they will be forgotten.

But they won’t.

They are not only in the arms of our loving Father, but they are in our memories and our hearts. No one can take their place. All that love you have for them will be spilled over into so many who may never have known your kind of love.

Your tears are an example that love knows no boundaries and is eternal. That my sweet one is priceless.

To all the ones that we dream about, may we remember them because they forever changed our lives for the better. And we miss them…

Mother’s Day is a time of reflection for all mothers in every walk of life.

Do you know one of these mothers or daughters? It doesn’t matter if this happened years ago or recently, please let her know that her child/mother is remembered.

Say their names.

Ask them how they are doing.

Take a moment to stroll down memory lane with them.

If you can’t think of anything to say, just squeeze their hand and look into their eyes, they’ll know what you mean.

I guarantee you, you will make her day.

Please feel free to share this with anyone that you know who might find some comfort from these words.