Friday, July 23, 2010

a God thing!

Ever since Olivia died, I've been noticing lots of signs. Little things that remind me of her in the most unexpected places. I know it's God's way of showing and reminding me that she is with us always.

Usually, these things are small, like the dragonflies. But this one is pretty big. I've known about it for a while, but I did a lot of thinking about it today, and I had been waiting to get some good pictures before blogging about it.

A few months ago, I blogged about how we were having trouble finding a church to be married in, because ours seats thousands of people, and we're having a small wedding. Lots of BIG churches will have a smaller chapel in addition to the worship area for things like weddings and funerals, but unfortunately ours doesn't.
We settled on a church at Boystown. For those of you who don't know, Boystown is a "town" located inside of Omaha that helps at risk youth. It was started in 1917 by a Catholic priest, that was friends with my great grandfather, a Presbyterian minister. It began as a boarding house for homeless boys, and has grown into a huge campus for at-risk youth or kids/teens with behavior problems. The kids live with surrogate parents and several other kids in houses on campus, learn skills, attend school, church, etc. On campus there are 2 churches, a Catholic one, and a Protestant one. We will be married in the Protestant Chapel

After we had chosen and booked the church for our wedding day, I drove through Boystown with my mom to show her the church, because she had only been to the Catholic one in hte past. As we were driving down the little street that goes past the church, we noticed a little garden on the right side (the church is on the left). It is set below the street, so you have to go down some steps to get to it. In the middle of it is a big statue. Mom asked me if I knew what that was, and I told her I had no idea, but it looked like an angel.

To backtrack a little bit... while I was pregnant with Olivia, Kurt and I did a lot of talking about how to involve her in our big day. We knew that she would be much too little to really do anything, but if her dad and I were getting married, then it would be an important day for our entire family, not just for us, and we wanted to include her. She would have been wearing a sweet little dress, and carried down the aisle by my sister or another family member. One of the hardest things about planning our wedding is knowing that it is going to be completely different than if she had lived.

So back to that statue. Here it is...

It's the Angel of Hope. Here's what their website says about it...

"The Christmas Box Angel Statue, or the Angel of Hope, as it is sometimes referred to, was introduced to the world in the book The Christmas Box, a worldwide bestseller and hit television movie by author Richard Paul Evans. In the book, a woman mourns the loss of her child at the base of an angel monument. Though the story is mostly fiction, the angel monument once existed but was lost in the 1984 Salt Lake City flood. A new bronze statue was commissioned by the author in response to reports that grieving parents were seeking out the angel as a place to grieve and heal. The first angel monument was dedicated in Salt Lake City, Utah, on December 6, 1994. Since this time, nearly 100 other angel monuments have been dedicated across the country and many other sites are being planned.
The Angel of Hope statue is made by Ortho and Jared Fairbanks, a father and son team. In its wing is inscribed the word HOPE. The four foot tall bronze statue of a little girl angel with arms reaching outward provides comfort to those who grieve.

It stands as a symbol of hope for all parents and loved ones who have experienced the death of a child, no matter what age."
All around the statue is a sidewalk made of bricks. Bricks can be purchased in memory of a lost child, and are inscribed with their name, dates, and a message. Kurt and I are planning on doing it for Olivia's first birthday.

How perfect, right?
I took a picture of the inscription on the back, but if I make it big enough to read, it's too wide enough to post here. But it says, "This monument was dedicated as a place of reflection and healing to honor the memory of all children who live forever in the hearts of those who love them. In the angel's right wing is the word HOPE".
I don't really believe in coincidences, I believe that God places us where he wants us for a purpose.... and this is just too big of a "coincidence" to be a coincidence

Here's the view of our church from the statue...

Because the Boystown campus is so gorgeous, we've been planning on having our outdoor pictures taken there before our ceremony. I would love it if we could have some taken in the park with the angel in the background. I don't know how that will look, I'll have to talk to our photographer, but I have been trying to come up with a way to have something in one of our wedding photographs that represents Olivia, and I think that would be perfect.

So what are the chances, that out of all of the churches in Omaha (there must be hundreds), and out of all of the parks for a statue to be placed in, that this particular statue and this particular church would be placed right across from eachother, and that we would randomly choose this church to be married in, and discover the statue afterwards?

That, my friends, is a God thing!

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Introducing, Molly!

On Friday, we drove to a farm about an hour outside of Omaha to pick out a puppy. She will be ready to come home with us when she turns 7 weeks on August 10th! We already have one lab, who is 10 years old. He's a lot of fun and the most gentle dog ever, but he's just never been very snuggly. I think it will be so good to have a little one to cuddle with!

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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope

For the first few weeks after Olivia was born, while I was recovering from my c-section, all I did was lay on the couch with my computer on my lap. Kurt was working nights, so while he was gone, I would watch tv and scour the internet for support. I didn't know what I was looking for, I remember googling "infant loss", and "premature babies who die in the NICU", and "preemie loss", and then going down the lists of search results, trying to find something or someone that I could identify with. Eventually, I found a wonderful message board which has basically been serving as my support group for the last seven and a half months. But it took me awhile to find it. I was completely new to the blog world, and didn't really know how to connect with people like I do now. I remember talking to my mom on the phone about how I wish it was easier to find women who were dealing with the same thing I was... because most things on the internet dealing with babies and moms are for moms whose babies are alive, and home with them.

A few weeks ago, I started following a blog called "Dear Stevie... ". It's written by Kristin, a beautiful woman whose daughter Stevie Joy was stillborn on May 8th. Yesterday, Kristin started an amazing project that I'm really excited about. She too, felt lonely after she lost Stevie, and wanted to get her hands on anything and everything she could that was baby-loss related. She found out, just like I did, that if you search in the right places, there are A LOT of us. There are lots of moms who lost their babies, that want to tell the stories of their lost little ones, share them with other women who understand, and begin frienships with those women who just get it.

Kristin's new project, Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope, was designed to bring all of us together. She wanted to create a place where we could all share our stories in one common place, and have the opportunity to communicate with women whose stories we identify with...  without having to spend hours upon hours googling and searching, just to find someone who understands. She is also hoping that Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope will help raise awareness for issues related to pregnancy loss. I love her passion for wanting to help other women feel less alone, and I think this project is something that's certainly needed.

I know there are lots of Baby Loss Mamas that read my blog, and I want to encourage you all to visit Kristin's new blog and share your stories!

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Picture Post

Just a quick post this time – I wanted to share some of my favorite pictures from Catelyn’s wedding last weekend. I thought, after the last few, that we could use a positive post. Aside from everything I wrote about in my last post, it really was the best weekend I’ve had in a long time, and by FAR the best wedding I’ve ever been to. Cate and Bill have been together for eight years (or nine?), and I feel like I’ve been waiting for them to get married ever since I met Catelyn when we moved in to our dorm room in 2005. They are such an amazing couple and complement each other in every way. I can’t WAIT to talk to them when they get back from their honeymoon in Antigua this week! Congratulations, Catelyn and Bill! Love you guys more than you can imagine!

Kurt and I at the rehearsal dinner

My former roommates and fellow bridesmaids (and two of my best friends), Laura and Abigail. I wish we lived closer!

Abigail, Bobbi, Laura and I with the beautiful bride

Beautiful prayer, lead by Abigail just before the ceremony

Kurt and I at the reception

Wedding party doing the "Evolution of Dance" - not the best picture, but I think it's hilarious!

That's all for tonight... I hope everyone's having a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

missing out

Will I ever be able to fully enjoy something again?
That's the question that I've been asking myself over the past few days.

This weekend, one of my best friends in the entire world got married. I was honored to be a bridesmaid, and watch her and her beyond amazing husband exchange their vows. Overall, it was probably one of the best weekends EVER. Kurt and I spent the weekend in Grand Island So that we could be there for the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner on friday night, the wedding on saturday, and brunch on sunday morning. Most of us in the wedding party were roommates in college or lived across the hall from eachother, so it felt like a little reunion. We had an AMAZING time catching up.

But even though it was a busy, busy weekend, with little time to sit and think, Olivia was always in the back of my mind, and I'm sure she was in the back of Kurt's as well. When Cate was planning her wedding, I was pregnant. Kurt and I had talked about how this would more than likely be the first time we left her with one of her sets of grandparents over night. It was supposed to be our first little "getaway". I couldn't help but think, as we were driving down there, that this wasn't how it was supposed to be. Those who know me know that I really, really try not to dwell on the "what ifs" or "should be's"... because it doesn't get you anywhere - she's not coming back. But, as my fellow baby-loss mamas know, there are times when it's just impossible.

Catelyn had three flower girls, and the littlest one was a sweet 4 year old named Mckenna. During the rehearsal, the priest told the girls to find a bridesmaid to be their buddy, so they'd have someone to stand next to during the ceremony. Kenna ran right to me, and held my hand during the rehearsal. As soon as I realized she was running to me, and not one of the other girls, I felt my heart do a summersault. She had dark hair and eyes, which is exactly what I think Livie would have had. I just kept thinking "I bet she would have been sweet and adorable, just like this".  

At the wedding reception, the DJ played a slow song as the last song of the evening. All of the couples were dancing. While I was dancing with Kurt, I saw Kenna's parents slow dancing together, while her dad was holding her, asleep on his shoulder. Even though I knew that if Olivia had lived, we wouldn't have brought her to Cate and Bill's wedding, it's still hard to see young parents doing something sweet with an adorable little girl , that we won't ever get to do... at least not with this baby. How could that not stir up sad feelings?

It's not that I don't want to think about Olivia anymore - she's a part of my life and I want to think about her everyday... I just sort of miss being able to go places and do things with a carefree attitude, with  nothing to worry about because my life was easy. It's just frustrating. Does anyone else feel the same way? I would love to hear that I'm not the only one that can't leave my house without wondering if I'm going to encounter something/someone upsetting while I'm out.

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Saturday, July 3, 2010

Happy Birthday??

My birthday was two weeks ago, on the 19th.

And it was rough. At least the morning was.

I didn't expect for it to be, but it really, really was. I didn't tell anyone though. It was Kurt's mom's birthday as well (weird, right?), and we had a friend staying with us for the college world series. So for the most part, I just sucked it up... but I definitely didn't feel like celebrating anything.

Since Kurt had to work that night, he needed to sleep in so that he'd be able to stay up all night at work without dying. Because of that, I headed to the cemetary by myself.  I'd never gone alone before, and I was kind of looking forward to it. Usually, we go together and stand there for a few minutes... and then we arrange her flowers, and then we leave.
I stopped at the grocery store and picked up some snapdragons and carnations. I blasted my "funeral cd" (I know, I need to think of a better name for it, but it's the music we played at Olivia's service) on my way down there. Since I can't listen to it without crying, I usually don't listen to it while I'm driving.... because usually if I'm driving, I'm on my way somewhere and don't want to look like an emotional wreck. 
Even though it makes me cry, the lyrics to the songs (Glory Baby and Homesick) resonate so deeply with me, and make me feel so good. Everyone has those songs - the ones that the minute you listen to them, you feel like they were written just for you, and even though they're not, at the very least you can feel like whoever wrote the song completely understands your pain. That's what those two songs do for me. Actually, I have several like that, but the CD in my car only has two songs in it.

Anyway, I cried and cried on my way to the cemetary, and then sat in front of Olivia's grave marker and cried even more. A lot more. And it felt so good. The cemetary was completely empty, and it felt nice to be there by myself and feel like I could just let go.

I took my camera along with me, and while I was sitting there taking pictures of the flowers I brought, I remembered the picture of Olivia that I keep on the dash in my car. Speaking of which, I should probably print out a new one soon because the one I have is getting a little bit faded/discolored). I decided to go get it, and take some pictures with it in her flowers. I know that sounds super morbid probably, but it was honestly so therapeutic and I love the way they turned out.

It's really just not fair, you know? No mother should ever have to go visit her own daughter at the cemetary on her own birthday. I hate saying "it's not fair" about anything, because I know that life isn't fair, and I don't like to sound like a three year old throwing a temper tantrum... but really, it's not fair, and there's no other way to put it. It's just. not. fair.
The rest of the day was better than I expected it to be. I left the cemetary feeling so much better, and I know that if I hadn't gone there that I would have been a mess for the rest of the day. We had lunch with my parents and sister at Wheatfields, and then went to the UCLA/Florida game at Rosenblatt.

After Kurt went to work, I went to my friend Dana's house. We talk on the phone often and she manages the tanning place I go to so I see her when I stop in, but its been a long time since we actually got together. We sat on the deck, talked and drank wine until VERY late, and had a great time. I really think it was just what I needed. Also, her fiance, who I haven't seen since before Olivia passed away, acknowledged our loss almost right away (fyi, if you're friends with someone who has suffered a loss, that's the way it should be handled -- DON'T act like things are the way they used to be, because they're not) and told me how sorry he was for not being able to make it to her funeral. I was also excited to see that they still keep the memorial card with Olivia's picture on it on their fridge. It makes me feel good that there are other people who still look at her picture everyday. I am so thankful to have such good friends.

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Thursday, July 1, 2010

Blogging day of silence for Cohen

Please click here to read Cohen's story.

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