Friday, February 4, 2011

{Faces of Loss} february prompt.

If you guys haven't checked out Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope, please do. The button is in my sidebar, or you can click *here*. I've talked about them before. They are AMAZING, and I've been an avid fan and supporter since the day they began. They are a non-profit that just started this year, only a few months after Kristen, the co-director lost her little girl Stevie Joy. Kristen's blog is called Dear Stevie, and you can find it *here*. The concept of FOLFOH is extremely simple - it's just a place for women to share their stories of loss, and to connect with other women who experienced something similar. It's a beautiful thing. I know that a lot of my followers are baby loss mamas who have known about this FOLFOH for a while now, but some of you are not...
One of my favorite favorite things about FOLFOH is that they have a page for friends and family members. If you are a friend or a family member to someone who has recently experienced a loss (or even not recently), I encourage you to check it out. They offer amazing advice on what TO say and what NOT to say to someone who has recently lost a baby, and also ideas for how to help. Don't know anyone who has lost a baby? read it anyway. It WILL happen to someone you know. That sounds awful, right? But it's true. Infant loss happened to my mom, it happened to me, and it happened to Kurt's cousin and his wife, twice. It's way too common guys, and speaking as someone who suffered (and is suffering) through it, we need the people that we are close with to be supportive. 
For every wonderful thing that was done for us after Livie died, someone else said or did something that hurt. Most of those things weren't intentional - people just DO NOT know what they are supposed to say or do. So that's why I'm helpin' ya out. You will be VERY glad, and so will your friend/neighbor/sister/daughter/cousin/classmate... whoever it is that may lose a child someday in the future. They will be happy that you said the right thing, and you will feel good knowing that you made a positive difference.
THIS series is my favorite. It's written by Molly Piper, a woman who lost her little girl, Felicity a few years ago. Please, Please read it. It's so amazing. So there's my little lesson for the day. I wasn't planning on posting about this.

Now... Onto the regularly scheduled post. :)

Faces of Loss hosts a writing challenge each month. Sometimes I participate, and sometimes I don't. Here's February's prompt.
"Valentine's Day is quickly approaching. Write about something special a friend, family member, or other loved one did for you after your baby(ies) died that really touched your heart".
There are several people that deserve to be written about. All of them already know how thankful Kurt and I are for what they did for us. If you're reading this and I don't mention you, please don't think that it's because we aren't grateful. Trust me, we are. I want to write about two specific people, and thank them for their CONTINUOUS love and support - not just one special thing that they did for us, but for all of it.

I have two girls in my life that I consider to be two of my best friends. Catelyn and Abigail. {oh god. I'm crying already}. I met Cate when we were randomly selected to be room mates freshman year of college. Abigail is her life-long friend, who has become my life-long friend. I met her somewhere along the way... I'm not sure when the first time was. Over the last six years we have drifted apart a couple of times, but have always come back together and each time our friendship is stronger than time time before. I love them. 
I was nervous to tell them that I was pregnant. Kurt and I had JUST gotten engaged and we weren't even living together yet. We had received a lot of mixed reactions from family members and other friends, and I wasn't sure what they'd say. I was so pleasantly surprised when they were EXCITED. They threw my baby shower. 
When Livie was born, they came and visited us in the hospital. I so wish they could have met her. Abigail lived in Nashville at the time and happened to be in town for her birthday. She wasn't able to come to the funeral, because she was either back home already or on her way. She was working for a Christian record label in Nashville, and a couple of weeks after the funeral a HUGE box arrived at our apartment door. It was filled with CDs. I don't know how many, but there were TONS. She wrote the sweetest letter about wishing that she and her husband could have been there with us, but she hoped that the CDs would bring us comfort.

That was an amazing, thoughtful gift that was so different than all of the flowers and cards and "traditional" grief gifts that we had been receiving. {Which doesn't mean that all of the other gifts weren't fabulous and heart warming. Trust me, we loved them}.

Months passed, and the world seemed to be moving on while we were still standing still in our grief. One day, I received this message from Cate. {Catelyn, I hope you don't mind me posting this here. :) }
"I want you to know that I am always here to talk about Livie. I don't know how this experience evolves for you, but I am assuming that slowly the messages stop coming on facebook and sometime you might feel that people are forgetting. I never want you to feel this way. I and I'm sure every other close friend and family member has not forgotten. I don't want to bring it up every time we hang out in case you don't feel like talking through it again, but whenever you want to, I am here too! I know that you and Kurt both have been such positive, strong believers through everything which is VERY inspiring, but if there every comes a time that you feel more sad than usual or begin to feel more angry, I would LOVE to remind you of all the positives that Olivia brought.....because as you know, there are a LOT! "
 It was exactly what I needed. For a long period of time, it felt like every time I logged into facebook there was a comment or a message from someone expressing their sadness about what happened, and every time I checked our mailbox there was a card from a family member. I knew in my heart that no one had forgotten and that no one ever would, but sometimes you REALLY need to hear {or read} those words.

Over the last year, both girls have checked in on me religiously, always asking how I'm doing, randomly commenting on pictures of Olivia and bringing her up in regular conversations when I least expect it. 

And this year, on her birthday, Abigail and Jeremy met us at the Cemetery with this plaque. 

I love them So, so much. I can only hope that someday when they are struggling, I can be as good of a friend to them as they have been to me. Those are some big shoes to fill.


Elise said...

That letter your friend sent you was beautiful and exactly what every baby loss mom needs to hear from time to time. So nice that you have such great friends in your life, you are very blessed!

Holly said...

I'm glad you have such good friends that are there to support you no matter what! And FOLFOH is such a great site!

Anonymous said...

You, Kurt and Olivia have been such an inspiration of complete FAITH in me and Jeremy's life. Thank you so much for thanking us in this blog post. Not a day goes by that I don't think of Olivia. We love you guys sooooo much!

Abigail Rose

Lia Larson said...

Betsy, I'm in tears! Great post and I'm glad you have such great friends. I've been thinking of posting something like this myself. When all the cards, emails, facebook posts, etc. started to dwindle away I still had my best friend ask me every day how I was (how I am) doing. Friends like that are few & far between. Thinking of you and little Olivia.

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