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My Sweet Angel

My Sweet Angel
4/6/09 4:45 pm 4 lbs 1 oz 17 inches

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Dear Santa

Dear Santa.....
I wrote to you as a child,
and you fulfilled my every wish.
I was wondering now,
If I could add to that list.

You see I lost my Baby to Heaven,
So you don't have to stop for her this year.
But could you add a few more stops,
for Friends that I hold so dear.

Santa they don't ask for much,
but they hurt so bad inside.
Could you find a way to lift their hearts,
during this Christmas Yule-tide.

There will be no comfort for them,
as they nestle in their beds,
no dreams of sugar plums,
dancing in their heads.

Just dreams of their lost Babies,
and memory's they hold so dear,
So Santa could you grant them,
strength for the coming year..... ♥

Author Unknown

Merry Christmas to all the babies in Heaven
And peace to those who love and miss them.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Bereaved Parent's Christmas

'Twas the month before Christmas and I dreaded the days, 
I knew I was facing  the holiday craze. 
The stores were all filled with holiday lights, 
In hopes of drawing customers by day and by night. 
As others were making their holiday plans, 
My heart was breaking - I couldn't understand. 
I had lost my dear child a few years before, 
And I knew what my holiday had in store. 
When out of nowhere, there arose such a sound, 
I sprang to my feet and was looking around, 
Away to the window I flew like a flash, 
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash 
The sight that I saw took my breath away, 
And my tears turned to smiles in the light of the day. 
When what to my wondering eyes should appear, 
But a cluster of butterflies fluttering near. 
With beauty and grace they performed a dance, 
I knew in a moment this wasn't by chance. 
The hope that they gave me was a sign from above, 
That my child was still near me and that I was loved. 
The message they brought was my holiday gift, 
And I cried when I saw them in spite of myself. 
As I knelt closer to get a better view, 
One allowed me to pet it - as if it knew - 
I needed the touch of its fragile wings, 
To help me get through the holiday scene. 
In the days that followed I carried the thought, 
Of the message the butterflies left in my heart - 
That no matter what happens or what days lie ahead, 
Our children are with us - they're not really dead. 
Yes, the message of the butterflies still rings in my ears, 
A message of hope - a message so dear. 
And I imagined they sang as they flew out of sight, 
"To all bereaved parents - We love you tonight!"
Author Unknown

Friday, November 18, 2011

I don't want to upset anyone, but

I've been seeing a lot of people arriving at the end of their pregnancies lately.  Naturally they are excited and uncomfortable.  The end of pregnancy complaining doesn't really bother me. I know for a lot of BLMs it does bother them and that's ok, but for me, I understand the feeling of being done and ready to move on to the next chapter.  What does bother me is the fact that so many people fail to realize (or at least acknowledge) that the next chapter may not be what you are expecting.

I keep seeing all the ticker updates of babies who are 35, 36, 37 weeks and reading mom's plans and excitement, which is great, I am happy for them, but at the same time I want to shake them (or post on their FB wall at least) IMAGINE YOUR BABY DIEING TODAY!  Imagine going into labor thinking now is the time to meet this new little person only to wind up holding a lifeless body and leaving the hospital empty handed.  What a horrible thought, who would ever want to think that for even a second...but maybe if they did, they would have just an ounce of compassion and empathy for what happened to me...I mean REAL compassion and empathy, the kind where your heart hurts.  It's almost impossible to fully comprehend the tragedy of losing a baby if you have not experienced it.  I wouldn't wish it on anyone, but this is the closest way another person could "feel my pain" without actually experiencing it...then maybe people wouldn't be so quick to dismiss it.

Don't get me wrong, I am so very fortunate to have so many wonderful friends who support me, but there seem to be some who just don't get it.  It is these people I want to message and ask them to imagine my situation for a second, but alas, it probably isn't proper and I would just look like more of a nut.  BUT, my hope in posting this is that if another BLM were to come across this having had this same feeling, she will know she isn't alone and she isn't crazy.  I mean after all, that's a lot of what this blog is here for.

In Hope and Healing,
Kelly

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Elise's Honor Event Pictures

The photographer (J Thomas Photography) who not only attended and took pictures for free, but also OFFERED (it didn't even occur to me to contact someone to take pictures at the event) AND donated a portrait session has posted the photos taken at the event HERE.  You do need to "sign in" by providing an e-mail address, but I've never gotten any spam (or any e-mail for that matter) from them, so have no fear and check them out!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Reflections of Oct 15

The day has come and gone.  I want to share the event, but first I want to explain how it came to be.
It's funny how the brain (heart?) is able to remember such things.  I would have to think long and hard about what I did last Wednesday, but I can tell you exactly what I was doing on Oct 15 2009, 2010 and 2011.  I realize it is a "holiday" (for lack of a better term) for me now, but I'm not even sure I could recall Christmas 2010 without much thought and focus.  I guess Elise is lucky in that she gets to have 2 dates special for her.
October 15, 2009 was a Thursday.  I was new to the whole "baby loss" thing and wanted to light a candle for the Wave of Light at 7 pm, but I was alone in my car, driving to Ocean City for the teachers convention.  I remember driving down Rt 113 when I looked at the clock and saw it was a few minutes past 7.  I thought about Elise and even "talked" to her for a bit, but that was it.
October 15, 2010 was a Friday.  This year my entire family was in Ocean City with me (I was nursing a newborn).  I wasn't exactly prepared for the Wave of Light, but I made sure we were at the house at 7 to light a candle.  I found a little flip flop candle holder with a tea light in it and we sat it in the middle of the kitchen table.  We all sat at the table and talked about Elise and other babies that were in heaven.  I think we then went out for Ice Cream.  I remember thinking to myself that it just wasn't enough.  It didn't seem right that we just lit our own candle and remembered alone.  It was that night that I realized Oct 15, 2011 was going to be a Saturday and I wasn't going to let it pass so quietly!  I knew right then and there that I wanted to do something "big" for everyone to share in and be educated about.
I had a picture in my mind of a "bull roast" where people would come together to light candles and remember.  After arriving home from the beach, I was soon bombarded with Halloween and Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I had to put my plan on the back burner til after the new year.  Once January hit, I began researching how to go about hosting this bull roast.  I knew that it would inevitably make money and I had to have somewhere for that money to go.  I scanned several websites looking for exactly who I wanted to raise the money for.  There are actually a lot of baby loss nonprofits out there.  Most of them are small and I considered a few to help them grow and make a real difference.  While on one website, I actually found a fundraising how to booklet download and I felt like I struck gold!  I really had no idea what I was doing or how to go about doing it, I just knew what I WANTED to do!
I went back to the homepage of the organization with the booklet and had to do a double take when I saw that their address was in Reisterstown, Maryland!  I knew this was the organization I wanted to raise money for! In March I contacted First Candle and began the planning for Elise's Honor Pregnancy Loss Remembrance and Awareness Event!  By April I had the location booked, May brought the flyer and the DJ, and June started the fundraising.  So many hours were spent finding the contact info for companies, e-mailing people, writing sponsorship letters, mailing letters and dropping off letters at local businesses.
I received a lot of rejections.  It was hard not to take it personally.  Every response that was "unable to help" was like a punch in the stomach.  Of course I understand the economy is tough and many places get an overwhelming number of requests, but really, what’s a $20 gift certificate going to set you back?  I was glad to at least get the response.  Many (MANY) places just didn’t even bother to respond.  At least a few places seemed to have read my request.  It took the sting out of rejection some when they offered condolences.  I mean part of my reason for doing this was to educate people, so at least I know if they read my request they probably learned something.  I will say that there is one company in particular who I feel let down by…I have spent literally HUNDREDS of dollars there and well, won’t be spending any more.
When all was said and done, I had almost 50 raffle baskets each worth about $100 each from donations.  Raffle ticket and 50/50 ticket sales were over $1000 the night of the event.  Personal donations and corporate cash donations equaled almost $1000.  Admission tickets were pretty much what the venue cost, so no money was made there.  I didn’t spend much on items for the event (candles, raffle tickets, stuff for the kids, etc) so all in all, I believe First Candle will receive about $1700 from the event. 
It felt almost like planning a wedding.  Months and months of preparations and preparing, sleepless nights, anticipation and then in a flash it was all over.  It happened so quickly I barely remember it!
Of course, my children knew we were having an event for Elise.  When we arrived at the restaurant and went inside to set up, my four year old son (who was barely 2 when Elise died) looked around and asked, “Where’s Elise?  I swear these children keep me on my toes.  I stopped what I was doing and sat down with him to explain that Elise wasn’t there; she was in Heaven, where she will always be.  The evening was about remembering and celebrating that she was once here, on Earth with us, in my belly.  I’m still not sure he understands.  I am pretty sure he thinks Elise somehow turned into Ella, I mean they both were in my belly and only Ella came out.
I couldn’t have asked for a better evening.  It was a little cool out, but not cold, not raining so we were able to use the balcony at the restaurant.  About 70 people came out that night; over 50 adults and almost 20 children.  The food was delicious (and we didn’t run out!)  There was a lot of conversation and I believe everyone had a good time.
I am waiting on the photographer to upload the photos he took at the event.  When he does I will update, but this is the link if you would like to sign up to be notified when the pictures are uploaded.  Here are a few that I took with my camera of the candles that were lit for the “Wave of Light” from 7-8.


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Scentsy Fundraiser...1 week only!

25% of anything purchased from this link before Sept 30 goes back to Elise's Honor Event on Oct. 15.
If you have never heard of scentsy , they are a safe, wickless alternative to scented candles.  They are decorative warmers designed to melt scented wax with the heat of a light bulb instead of a traditional wick and flame.  The wax only gets as hot as body temperature and there is no fire.  Not to mention they smell super yummy!  Check it out!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Ticket Liquidator Donation

I've posted before about all the mail I have been receiving as donations to Elise's Event.  Each and every one means the world to me...that someone somewhere read Elise's story and took the time to send me a product of some sort to help raise money for Elise's Memorial Fund at First Candle.  TicketLiquidator in particular touched my heart.  It wasn't the donation item or amount, it was the presentation.  Similar to the warm fuzzy feeling I got when I saw the postcard from the Raven's addressed to Elise, this one brought tears to my eyes.   Someone took the time to not only check out my blog, but to copy Elise's picture and First Candle's logo to include on the certificate.  It is simply stunning...don't you agree?  :)
In addition to the certificate, they also sent a pile of coupons to use on their site...check 'em out at TicketLiquidator.com

Friday, September 16, 2011

I Can Teach My Child

One of my favorite educational (as opposed to baby loss) blogs is by a woman named Jenae, she reminds me a lot of myself and has pretty much created the blog I always envisioned of creating.  I mostly follow it on FaceBook, but once in a while I get some time to actually go read the blog posts and I am always inspired.  When I read that she was going to be starting a series of guest posts titled "Finding Triumph in the Midst of Tragedy"  I just knew I had to share my story...HERE it is!  
Thank you Jenae for allowing me to share my story with your readers and for such an all around amazing educational blog!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Oct 15 @ MacGregor's Restaurant

Food Includes:

Crab Balls, Chicken Tenders, Meatballs, Vegetable Egg Rolls, Spinach Ryeloaf, Brushetta, Cheese Display, Fresh Vegetable Display, Pirates Booty, Desserts, Coffee, Iced Tea, and Soda.

There will be a cash bar for alcohol.




Saturday, September 3, 2011

Raising Awareness

In keeping with the first part of my mission for Elise's Honor Family Event, I want to educate people about stillbirth.  If you have made it to my site, than I have already raised your awareness, but that is not enough.  If you know me personally then you have seen first hand how this tragedy impacts people, but if you don't know me, it is still sort of an enigma...something that only happens to other people.  I think the hardest part for me is that most of the time I am "ok" so it probably looks from the outside that "I am over it"  or maybe people think I am "dwelling" on it, but if you truly take a minute to step back and think about it, I think it is easy to see that none of this is true.  Far too often I hear "I can't imagine" and I think the truth of the matter is people don't WANT to imagine.  Who would want to think about their baby dying?  I'm not suggesting you do, I'm just suggesting you really think about what it must be like to live nearly 9 months, growing, creating, protecting, loving, planning a new life inside of you only to have it taken away in an instant.  So, what about miscarriage, those who experience a miscarriage only "knew" their baby for a few weeks...LET ME TELL YOU SOMETHING, you only need to know for a second that you are pregnant with a baby for your ENTIRE life to change....your daily routines, your plans for the future, your hopes, your dreams, and again all are shattered without warning and there is usually ABSOLUTELY NOTHING you can do about it.  It is completely devastating.
But, I digress... :)
Here are some facts about stillbirth:
  • Stillbirth is defined as the death of a baby at 20 weeks of pregnancy or greater in the United States (other countries use different ages...The World Health Organization defines a stillbirth as the death of a baby after 22 completed weeks of pregnancy, or when the baby weighs at least 500 grams)
  • Babies die in the womb for many reasons, Stillbirth is NOT a cause of death. It is a description of when a baby dies. Rarely are these deaths caused by something a woman did or did not do. 
  • According to the most recent statistics available, the United States has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the world (the highest for Industrialized countries). 
  •  More than 26,000 babies are stillborn every year, with more than half occurring during the last trimester of pregnancy(some statistics say as many as 30,000 babies are stillborn a year in the United States, but there is a lack of consistent standards of stillbirth reporting resulting in the dscrepency.)
  • 4.5 million stillbirths occur each year worldwide according to the World Health Organization (WHO)  12,000 women worldwide deliver a stillborn baby each day.
  • Approximately 1 out of every 115-160 (depending on statistics) deliveries in the United States ends in stillbirth.   
  • Anywhere from 70-90 babies are born still each day in the United States.
  • There are no identifiable risk factors for stillbirth and they cut across all socio-economic classes, races, religions, body types and maternal age groups.  They are completely unpredictable.
  • Most babies lost during pregnancy are completely healthy. 
  • Only 28 states offer a Certificate of Birth Resulting in Stillbirth.  It usually takes YEARS of campaigning to get a bill passed for this.   Maryland was the 5th state to offer CBRS
  • Another 500,000 are lost to miscarriage (death of an infant in-utero before 20 gestational weeks) each year.   
  • 1 in 4 women will be affected by pregnancy loss 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Mail

Needless to say, a lot of mail has been coming to my house...envelopes, boxes, all kinds of stuff, but by far the most exciting piece of mail is simply a confirmation that another piece will follow soon...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

31 Fundraiser

My very good friend, Stacy Parlett, is a consultant for Thirty One and is "hosting" a party with 15% of all the sales going to Elise's Event.  Direct shipping is available and EVERYTHING is 15% off!!!

Follow this link to the "event" and click on "Shop Now"

The direct link to browse the catalog is located HERE

Orders must be placed by Monday, Aug 29!

Happy Shopping and Thank You for your support!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Looking for a PRESENTING Sponsor!

Elise's Honor Pregnancy Loss Awareness and Remembrance Family Event is looking for 1 generous sponsor of $500 cash/check (it can be a combination of people/businesses) to cover the $5 per ticket price increase that goes into effect on Sept 1.  There are some AWESOME incentives for the person/company who does this (not just the gratitude of 100 people touched by pregnancy loss who only have to pay the early registration price for their tickets!). 
There is also something in it for the person who finds this presenting sponsor!

Contact ElisesHonor@yahoo.com for more info!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Media Sponsors

I am trying to publicize Elise's event as much as possible.  It is difficult to know who has been touched by pregnancy loss as people just don't talk about it, so I need as much exposure as possible to find those that need to know about the event and know that they are not alone!

A HUGE thank you to Stacey at Bel Air News and Views for being the first to promote the event!
Check out the story here! 

Another Thanks to Brad at the Bel Air Patch for including our event on his site as well!
Check it out here!

Tim at Harford Neighbor's.net helped me get the event on their website!
Check it out here!

Robyn, from the October 15th website posted our information there as well!
Check it out here!  (scroll down to Maryland)

Mommy Perks posted a link to the event on her FB Page!
Check it out here!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Elise's Honor Event Update!


The link to buy tickets has been up and running for a while now.  I also now have the paper tickets to be given if you would like one (It is not necessary as I have a list of who purchased tickets, but I know some people like to have something tangible!)  Please remember that prices will increase by $5 for adults on Oct. 3 and will only be sold until Oct 6!


Click here to purchase tickets!

I have been so busy working so hard on getting this moving.  It is A LOT of work and has kept me very busy, but I just know in the end it will be worth it!  I am very excited to help bring awareness to the community and togetherness to bereaved families.  October 15 will be a wonderful night for those touched by pregnancy loss!  I have talked to soooo many people and sent sooo many e-mails!  I am getting your story out there, baby girl!  Even if no one donates or attends, your life will educate tons of folks!

I want to give a quick update and shout outs to those who have supported us so far...

Premier Beacon Sponsors:


Guiding Light Sponsors
Stampin Up!
Guidecraft
All American Fun Center


Shining Light Sponsors
Elisabeth Airey 
The Arena Club
Additional Sponsors
Katrina Webb
Project BEAR Inc. (Dola Spering)
Chuck E Cheese Bel Air
Kids First Swim Forest Hill
4 Paws Spa
MinuteMan Press
Bruce Bitners
MD Science Center
Jamie Newson
Tina Bauer
Ginny Williams (They Were Stillborn:  Personal Stories About Stillbirth)
American Visionary Art Museum
Imagination Movers
Laurie Berkner Band
Robert Munsch
Great Clips Forest Hill
Scott and Marisol Outten
Amanda McGraw
Panera Bread
Lorraine Ash (Life Touches Life: A Mother's Story of Stillbirth and Healing)
31 with Stacy Parlett
BJ's Wholesale Club
Klein's/ShopRite Grocery Stores
FUNdamentals
Story People
JRs Original Place for Ribs, Ocean City, MD
Spirit Cruises
Center Stage
Stephanie Cole (Still.  Sweet Pea Project)
Merchant's Tire Bel Air
Applebee's
Build-A-Bear Workshop
Jump On It Family Fun Center
Broom's Bloom Dairy
University of Maryland
MaryBeth Nance (The Delta Doula)
Port Discovery Children's Museum
Churchville Golf and Baseball
Louisa McCants
Bengies Drive-In Theatre
Sight and Sound Theaters
The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore
Outback Steakhouse of Bel Air
Flavor Cupcakery
Adventure Aquarium
Noodles and Company White Marsh
Looney's Pub North
Bel Air Bakery
Let's Dish Baltimore
Bel Air La-Z-Boy
Ski Roundtop
Michelle Myers Walters (I Didn't Miscarry Her...She Died.)
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Mars Supermarkets
Cracker Barrel
DC United
Kodak Company
Pink Calyx Jewlery
Ticket Liquidators
Whitetail Resort
Dutch Wonderland
Canvas on Demand
Watermark Baltimore Harbor Cruises
Parkville Bowling Lanes
Laura Knapp
Courtland Hardware
Lullaby Kisses
Gerrie Woods
Knack for Crafts
Silver Spring Mining Company
Baltimore Orioles
National Aquarium
Wheel of Fortune
Jess Sparwasser 
Washington Capitals
Kristin Smith
Safeway
Kiddie Crusoe
Sherokee Ilse (Empty Arms and Couple Communication After a Baby Dies)
Wild 8 Designs
Liberty Mountain
Christmas Tree Shops/Bed Bath & Beyond
Baltimore Ravens
Goetz Candy Company
Sherwin Williams North East, MD
Pirate Brands Snacks
Fallston Walmart
Tastefully Simple with Jackie McDonald
Maryland State Police
Ouback Canton
Red Lobster Bel Air
Weis Markets


Supporters
Danielle Lowry Suit
Steven Suit
Christy Larkin
Kristi Schwartz
Laura McJilton
Stacy Parlett
Donna Logan


Thank you so much to you all!!!
I am still waiting to hear back and/or receive items from others and will list them next time I update.

If you would like to donate, click here or contact me.
If you would like to help with fundraising efforts for the event by contacting local businesses (your boss, places you frequent, etc) please let me know.  I have a donation letter that you can give out explaining the event and the sponsorship levels available.  First Candle will provide a tax letter for all donations. 

Updated 10/12/11

Monday, May 23, 2011

You're Invited!!!



I am so excited to announce the details for

Elise’s Honor
Raising Awareness and Remembering Babies lost during Pregnancy
through Miscarriage or Stillbirth
Family Event


Saturday, October 15, 2011
530-830 pm

MacGregor’s Restaurant
331 St. John Street, Havre de Grave

Tickets (before Oct 1)
$30 adults, $15 children under 10, Under 3 FREE

Adult ticket prices will increase by $5 in October
Tickets will only be on sale until Oct 7

Food, Drinks, Dessert, Cash Bar,
DJ, Raffles, Auctions, Entertainment
Candle for Wave of Light Ceremony/Presentation

For more information contact
ElisesHonor@yahoo.com


Proceeds Benefit First Candle, Baltimore MD



Tickets are available to purchase online with a credit card through First Candle's website.
Click HERE!
They can also be purchased from me with cash or check.

Every adult ticket purchased has the option of naming a candle 
in honor of a baby lost in pregnancy for the wave of light ceremony. 

If you are unable to attend, but would still like to participate, 
Donations can be made here:
https://www.z2systems.com/np/clients/fc/donation.jsp?campaign=291
For a $10 donation, you can also name a candle to be lit at the event.

Another way to become involved is to help this event gain sponsors 
and collect monetary and tangible donations to be used during the event
for raffles and giveaways.
If you, your business or someone you know would like to support this cause, 
please let me know! 
All donations are tax deductible!

If you are unaware of the significance of October 15th, you can find more information here






Tuesday, May 17, 2011

My Links

On the right of this page is a section called "My Links"  They are all about Elise...her pregnancy journal, her obituary, the montages I've made for her, some of the "goodies" that have been made for her, etc.
Check them out if you get a chance :)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mother's Day...from a mother of 5!

So, I know I joke a lot about these kids driving me crazy and wanting to hide from them and while I do mean it, lol, I am truly and deeply honored to be their mother.  I feel so blessed to have the children that I have and for all the ways they have shaped my life.
First there was Emily...a much wanted pregnancy at age 18 that then rocked my teenage self into a new reality.  She was supposed to "save" our relationship...fix it, or so her father and I thought, but alas that wasn't the case.  We were not meant to be...but Emily sure was!  It was because of her I grew up.  A single mom at 18 living in my mother's basement going to college full time in the fall and spring, then working full time in the summer and winter.  By 20, we were on our own.  Living alone in a pretty crappy apartment, but it was all mine.  I paid for it and took care of it, all on my own.  Just like I did my 1 year old little girl.  Again, while going to school and working.  This time I changed my major to my passion, children...teaching children.  Emily showed me how much I loved little people.  Emily taught me discipline and perseverance and selflessness.  She taught me love and patience and caring.  By the time she turned 6, I had finally finished college and earned my bachelor's degree.  I don't know that I would have done that had she not been born.
Then there was Autumn.  If you know Autumn then you know that she can sure teach you a lot!  She was a tough baby, but I loved every minute of it (well, after the first few months anyway).  She represented the life I had always dreamed of.  I was married, teaching, living in a home we just built and now having my second child.
Everything was going so smoothly, so we thought we'd add to the mix.  I was loving life as a stay at home mom, and I wanted more children to stay home with.  Andrew was the perfect addition.  He brought a sense of balance to the family and tossed some testosterone into such an estrogen filled house!  Of course it did take him almost 3 years to realize that he was in fact a boy.
Shortly after he turned 1, we pushed our luck, by trying for a fourth baby.  Who knew I'd again get pregnant on the first try!  I felt like I could conquer the world.  I already had 3 amazing children, a fourth on the way, and so close to getting my master's degree I could taste it!  Life was moving along perfectly.  Of course it wasn't moving smoothly as times were often tough juggling so much, but it was heading in the right direction and the future looked promising!
I'm sure anyone reading this knows how quickly and forcefully it all crashed in front of my face.  Elise's death affected me so deeply.  It changed me.  I know I will come out a better person for it, but that is still a work in progress.  I am truly thankful for my sweet little angel.  She, too, has taught me so much, given me so much.  I have met some amazing people I never would have come in contact with if it wasn't for her.  I could go on and on for days about all that she has done for me, but that isn't my purpose here.  I have her blog for sharing that.
Finally there's Ella.  Ella was (is) absolutely a gift from God (and Elise)  I feel that she was sent here to slow my life down.  It was spiraling downward and out of control quickly in the summer of 2009 when I found out she was coming.  She too, forced me to stop thinking about myself and focus again on my children.  I needed to get myself together, for these beings that I brought into this world.  She continues to show me everyday why I was put on this earth.
It's funny, my E's and A's, both "sets" of children go together.  Emily, Elise, and Ella really made a noticeable impact on the course of my life, while Autumn and Andrew gave fulfillment and simplicity.  I could not imagine a day without any of them in it.  They most definitely  fit the saying that having a child is to forever have your heart live outside your body.  I love each and every one of my children with every fiber of my being and together, all those fibers make me one strong ass mama!!!

Onto my story about Emily that inspired this long winded, sappy note...

Traveling home from visiting my in-laws in New Jersey for Mother's Day, we decided to stop and eat at Denny's.  Our waitress was pretty new to the job and also a new mommy.  She was very friendly and attentive to the kids.  There was a slight mix up in my food order which was simply a miscommunication on both of our parts, but her boss was less than nice about it to her.  Anyway, we paid our bill and left.  As we got to our van, Emily handed me the tip money I left on the table and said that "she got it".  I was touched that she did that, but almost in tears when I heard the rest of the story...
I asked where she got money to leave a tip and she said that her grandmother gave her some before we left New Jersey.  TWICE as much as I had left as a tip originally!  Emily's response, "she was nice, mom"  I love that girl!  She has such a good heart and I couldn't be more proud to be her mommy.  She made my mother's day, and it wasn't even an effort on her part, just her being her

Monday, May 2, 2011

UGH!

WOW, Like a ton of bricks sadness has swept over me again.  I don't know why, I mean, I know WHY, but I don't know why now.  I've been going about my normal routine and all of a sudden I felt like I was punched in the stomach.  Tears came without warning and I just want to crawl in a hole.  Literally, just a few short hours ago I was happy, enjoying my children and, I don't know, maybe the reality of missing one of them set in.  I miss Elise so much.  I ache for her.  I can't wrap my head around her being gone for 2 years after never really even being here.
April and May are such hard months for me.  The events of those months in 2009 changed me forever.  I try to go on as if I'm OK, but I'm not, really, I'm just not.  Not right now anyway, but what can I do?  Life goes on.  I have 4 children here on earth with me that look to me to take care of them...to feed them, to take them shopping, keep them entertained, etc  I feel like a failure, I am barely able to do these things.  My grief cripples me more often than I care to admit during this time...almost daily...it makes me tired and grumpy and easily annoyed and frustrated and lazy.  Then there's the other life stuff that needs attention...bills, cleaning, laundry, phone calls, school work and so on.  I can't seem to get caught up on any of it and that only serves to deepen the depression I am feeling.  That's not to mention the demons I have to deal with everyday as I try to come to terms with my new "normal".  I don't want to deal with any of it, I want to just curl up in bed and have someone wake me when June arrives.
So, here I sit, hoping that writing it out will somehow get it out so that I can move forward...not on, just forward.  I feel as though I am carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders as I try to walk through quick sand this time of year, but alas, I've been through it before and I know that if I just keep going longer and harder, I will get to slightly more solid ground with slightly less weighing me down.

Reminds me of a song I posted to FaceBook in the summer of 2009:

Rodney Atkins, If You're Going Through Hell

Well you know those times
When you feel like there's a sign there on your back
Says I don't mind if ya kick me
Seems like everybody has
Things go from bad to worse
You'd think they can't get worse than that
And then they do

You step off the straight and narrow
And you don't know where you are
Use the needle of your compass
To sew up your broken heart
Ask directions from a genie
In a bottle of Jim Beam
And she lies to you
That's when you learn the truth

If you're going through hell
Keep on going, don't slow down
If you're scared, don't show it
You might get out
Before the devil even knows you're there

Well I been deep down in that darkness
I been down to my last match
Felt a hundred different demons
Breathing fire down my back
And I knew that if I stumbled
I'd fall right into the trap that they were laying, yeah

But the good news
Is there's angels everywhere out on the street
Holding out a hand to pull you back up on your feet
The one's that you've been dragging for so long
You're on your knees
You might as well be praying
Guess what I'm saying

If your going through hell
Keep on going, don't slow down
If you're scared don't show it
You might get out
Before the devil even knows you're there

Yeah, If you're going through hell
Keep on moving, face that fire
Walk right through it
You might get out
Before the devil even knows you're there

If you're going through hell
Keep on going, don't slow down
If you're scared don't show it
You might get out
Before the devil even knows you're there

Yeah, If you're going through hell
Keep on moving, face that fire
Walk right through it
You might get out
Before the devil even knows you're there
Yeah, you might get out
Before the devil even knows you're there.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Butterflies and raindrops!

For centuries, the world has latched on to the image of the butterfly, using its metamorphosis from a caterpillar as a metaphor for death and rebirth. In brighter terms, it means "Don't worry, be at peace, the great circle of life continues on."
The butterfly exists in four distinct forms.  Some argue that people do as well:  The fertilized egg is planted in our mother's womb.  From our day of birth we are like the caterpillar which can only eat and creep along.  At death we are like the dormant pupa in its chrysalis.  After that, our consciousness emerges from the cast off body, and some see in this the emergence of the butterfly.  Therefore, the butterfly is symbolic of rebirth after death.  
In many countries the soul was represented by a butterfly leaving the body at the time of death.
To Christians, the three stages of the butterfly's metamorphoses are symbolic of the three stages in the life cycle of Christ and the Christian. The caterpillar's non-stop eating and excremating reminds us of normal earthly life where people are often preoccupied with taking care of their physical needs. The chrysalis or cocoon resembles the tomb and the butterfly represents the resurrection into a new and glorious life free of material concerns and restrictions.
Another reassuring fact of butterflies in relation to the death of a loved one is that butterflies do not decay or rot.  Their beautiful colors, if kept dry can remain for many decades.
No matter how it is reached, the butterfly is a symbol of change for the better.



"How does one become a butterfly?", Pooh asked pensively.
"You must want to fly. So much that you're willing to give up being a caterpillar", Piglet replied.
"You mean die?" asked Pooh.
"Yes and no" he answered. "What looks like you die. But really, you live on" 


 
Many years ago (5 or so), my oldest daughter made this butterfly magnet craft for me for mother's day.  It has hung on the side of my refrigerator since without incident.  On April 6, as I was putting something away near there, it fell.  I was so incredibly overcome with happiness at the thought of my sweet Elise sending me a sign.   





Last year, on Elise's first Angelversary I ordered live butterflies and released them with friends and family around the tree that we planted in her honor in our yard.  This year, I ordered a kit from Amazon and "grew" my own.  It was really neat to see these tiny caterpillars grow larger and larger and then become chrysalises before emerging as caterpillars.  I watched them everyday, several times a day.  On April 5, the day before Elise's Angelversary, I saw that 2 butterflies had in fact emerged.  What a glorious sign it was.  By the next day, April 6, all 5 had emerged!


 


I wanted to enjoy the butterflies in our home for a bit and then release them.

Finally, On Monday, April 11 the weather was warm and dry enough to do so.

We took the net to Elise's tree again and each child got to hold and release a butterfly.











This was written by my 14 year old the night after we let the butterflies go:

Call me crazy..

So, Elise, I'm sitting on my roof talking to you last night right? Which has become an unusual but nonetheless weekly thing for me. I'm feeling pretty frustrated because I never got to hold you or see you or know you. I start questioning your very existence, which i know is wrong, being your sister and everything. But I couldn't help it. And contrary to my beliefs, I ask you for a sign, some kind of indication that you're there, and listening to me, and that I'm not as psychotic as I feel. Please, I ask, just something to let me know you're there and you're okay. I sit for 5 seconds, just waiting. And what happens? It starts raining, it took me a minute to realize, but it was a steady little rain. I thought maybe it was just me, imagining things, but I feel 3 little raindrops on the back of my hand, like tear drops falling from the sky. And as soon as I realize what is happening, it stops. As abruptly as it started, it ended. Some may say its coincidence, others might say I'm just imagining things. But Elise, I know it was you, and I can now sit in peace knowing you're really up there and watching over me. Thank you for a little magic, a little hope, and a lot of faith.

                                                                I Love You Baby Sister<3

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

How are you?

I've heard that so much recently, with Elise's Angelversary passing.
I know it is asked with good intentions.
Sometimes just as a pleasantry in conversation, sometimes with pure intent to really know how I'm doing...but how does one answer that?
I've always wondered the correct way to respond, even more so in the last 2 years.
Do I give the ole' "I'm fine" or "Not too bad" or do I really tell the truth?
"Right this minute?  I'm about to burst into tears."
"Just trying to find a way to live without my daughter."
"Wishing I was going to wake up from this nightmare sometime soon"
"Suicidal" (that one is a whole different entry that I have already started writing...luckily it isn't how I've felt in quite a while)

It's funny how things happen when they do.  I started this post a few days ago (along with about 4 others), but didn't "publish" it.  No real reason, just felt it wasn't "done"  Then today, floating around Facebook on some of the many Angel Mommy pages I belong to, was this

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=btHzZFUMPDY

Now, I think my post is done and ready to be published...

or not...

less than 24 hours after publishing this, I came across this:

My mom, she tells a lot of lies
She never did before.
From now until the day she dies
She’ll tell a whole lot more.

She used to tell the truth a lot
But now it doesn’t matter.
I died and went to Heaven
Her life is all a shatter.

Ask my mom how she is
She’ll say, “Yes I’m fine!”
If that’s the truth then tell me
Why does she cry each night?

Ask my mom how she is
She seems to cope so well
She didn’t have a choice you see
Nor the strength to yell.

You think you know the feeling
But this cannot be
For even though you love me
You don’t as much as she.

She will smile and say,
“It’s okay, God has a plan”
But she will turn away and cry 
‘Cause she just can’t understand.

Tell a joke and she will laugh
But she is not okay
She wants to share a joke with me
But it will not be today.

I watch from here in Heaven
Her distress disturbs my peace
Will someone take care of her
Thus take care of me.

Someday she will feel better
“Yes I will” she lies
She knows this will not happen
Until the day she dies.

Ask my mom how she is
She’ll say “Thank you, good”,
She cannot tell how she is
Oh, how I wish she could.

Ask my mom how she is
“I’m well, I’m good and you?”
I’ll shake my head in heaven
It simply isn’t true.

She’ll love me all her life
I loved her all of mine
But if you ask how she is
She’ll lie and say just fine.

Her carnival is over
She’s stepped off the carousel
But to save you feeling badly
She’ll say, "thanks, all is well".

My mom, she’s not gone mad yet
But oh, so very nearly
Don’t ask my mom how she is
Ask how she is really

I am here in Heaven
I cannot hug her from here
If she lies don’t listen

Hug her, hold her near.
On the day we meet again
We’ll smile and I’ll be bold.
I’ll say, “You’re lucky to get in here mom,
with all the lies you told!”.

author unknown.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Half Assed Neglect

Sorry for the language.
I'm in a BAD mood.
I'm grumpy, tired, and ANGRY.
Nothing is getting my full attention.  Everything is being taken care of half assed...neglected...
My kids, my house, my obligations, myself!
I can't focus or concentrate on any one thing for more than a few minutes.
There is just so much that needs to be done and I can't seem to find the energy to do any of it.
What a pity party I'm having...I hate it.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A bereaved big sister



written by my 14 year old in 2010

One year ago today , you were born . Er , stillborn is the more correct term . I think , one year ago at this exact moment , I was in the hospital hoping to meet my baby sister . It all happened so fast , i barely remember it . I just remember being confused , I didn't understand . All of a sudden you were just gone . Without any warning or signs . No one could have expected it . But now , I still can't say I understand , but I can see the peek of sunshine in the darkness . You are watching over me , over everyone . Mommy , Ella , Mr.Mike , Autumn , Andrew , and everyone else . You're keeping us safe from heaven . I'm thankful to know you're safe also . It's been a long , hard year for everyone . And we're all still hurting . Your mom is probably the strongest woman I will ever know , and we all are lucky to have her . I can't wait to meet you baby Elise , It will be a moment worth this lifetime .

L/I/P; Elise Renee Tagliaferri , Gone , But most definitely not forgotten .
And no , that's not a typo , Elise is very much alive in heaven , so i refer to her as living in peace .

Something New

All I have of you is what I had of you.
Obviously, I can't take pictures of you as you grow

I think I might be ready to share something new (to the world) of you.

Looking back through the pictures I do have,
I realized that on the day you entered this world,
Your brother was the age you'd be now.

This video is from the morning of April 6, 2009
It was Spring Break, so your 4 year old sister (slightly older than the age your brother is today) did not have pre-school.
She attended the Mommy and Me Fundamentals class with us that morning.


I remember feeling the contractions during this class.  Wondering if you were really going to make your appearance almost a month early.  I wasn't ready, but I was excited at the thought of meeting you.
As I wrote in your birth story, when we left Fundamentals, We ran some errands...Toys R Us, Barnes and Noble, and Walmart.   Then we went to lunch at the diner.  I had to start swaying through the contractions now coming every 15 minutes or so.  I still wasn't convinced you were coming.  By the time we got home and I tried to put everyone down for a nap, I think I knew in the back of my mind that this was really it.  I had to throw a load of laundry in the washer so you'd have something to wear.  I packed preemie sized  clothes since none of my babies are born "newborn" size.  There was a pink outfit and a white outfit, just in case you were a boy.  You know, it was the first time we found out the sex of our baby before birth, and I was still a little skeptical!
I had suggested putting you in that white outfit for your baptism, but the nurse told me that they had something for you to wear.  That was fine, but looking back, I do wish I would have known I could have bathed you and dressed you.  Why would I know?  Who knows what you can and can't do with a dead baby?  Who thinks to ask these things?
I remember feeling like I was doing something wrong when I was peeking at your body under the blankets.  Your skin was so wrinkled and peeling off, but you were perfect.  Beautiful.  I'd give anything to be able to hold you again.

Dear Elise,

2 years have come and gone since you were in my arms.
I still feel you...sometimes in my womb, sometimes in my arms, always in my heart.
Most days it brings me comfort, even joy
On days like today it's like a punch in the stomach.
I find it hard to breathe, to swallow, to see through the tears.

I look at your baby sister, and I see you.
I wonder if you would have had the same happy disposition she has
Or would you be more like your big sisters :)
I watch her walk and talk and feel so much happiness
But, I'm sad that I didn't get to see you take your first wobbly steps
I never heard you cry or say mama.
You never got to play with your big brother.

At 2 years old, you'd not only be walking, you'd be running!
You'd be saying real words and lots of them I'm sure!
We'd be starting "Mommy School" where you'd learn your colors and shapes,
how to share and take turns.
We'd play pretend and watch TV and talk about the crazy weather
You'd be my shopping buddy

I miss everything about you
I think about you every day...many times a day
I wish you were by my side
But, you're not
You're by the side of God and I know that you are well taken care of
and happy
So that makes me happy and will just have to do
Until we meet again...for the first time

All My Love, My Sweet Angel Elise
Today and Always
Mommy

Bereaved Birthdays

Birthdays are a time for celebration
Not a time for tears
But what happens when the birthdays
No longer mark the years
A birthday marks the moment
A spirit enters earthly life
To share its special love and joy
And learn from earthly strife
Before a spirit comes to us,
It knows when and how it must depart
It chose its path carefully,
We are honored from the start
The sadness we now feel on such a joyous day
Is longing for our loved one's touch
It's natural to feel this way
For even though the birthdays
No longer mark a spirit's stay
Love continues on forever
To touch us everyday I hug my precious memories
Close to my heart
And honor my beloved spirit child
Who chose me from the start
(unknown)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Just another day it was, or so I thought.
April 5, 2009 was a Sunday.  We got up that morning and went to breakfast with the Easter Bunny at the Fire Station.  I remember the bunny making motions about my big belly and eating.  :) 




We ate and went back home.  Later that afternoon it started.  Contractions.  I thought they were real, but they weren't close enough together.  I read somewhere that if you had more than like 3 in an hour you should call your doc.  When I really started to time them, I did, I had exactly 3 and waited for the next hour...this time it took a little over an hour to get 3, so I waited.  Eventually they stopped coming every 20 minutes and moved to every 45 minutes to an hour.  I thought it was strange, but not enough to be concerned.  I went to bed not realizing my life was never going to be the same...

Monday, April 4, 2011

A Baby Grows Her Wings

I remember it clearly, like it was yesterday...cliche', I know, but I do.  Strange thing is, it feels like a lifetime ago all at the same time. 
Saturday, April 4, 2009
I had a playdate scheduled at my house that morning.  My husband was checking car seats for anyone who wanted it and we had an egg hunt in the back yard for the kids.






It was the day after Danielle's birthday, so we had a chocolate cake for her.  Everything was normal.  I remember being tired and uncomfortable, but not much more so than usual.  The rest of the day progressed without incident...lunch, naps, hanging out...but at some point that day something happened to Elise.  I still don't know if it was the cord around her neck that killed her or the knot in it, but one of those took her little life that day. 
I didn't feel any frantic movement or have any sort of intuition that something was wrong.  That part haunts me to this day.  How could I not know?  How could I not realize she stopped moving?  I don't get it.  It is only because of her condition that we know she died on this day.  I t will be another 2 days before I find out and hold my angel for the first and last time.

Meanwhile, I didn't know at the time, but there was another mother delivering her own sleeping angel this morning.  It wasn't until I posted about loosing Elise on a babywearing forum that I frequented that she contacted me offering support and understanding.  Baby Joey, I am so sorry that you did not get to live in our physical world, but I am confident that you know just how special you and your mother both are and how you have both touched my life.  I love you Katherine and I wish we didn't meet the way we did, but I am so glad Elise has Joey to play with in Heaven!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

February 25, 2011

<sigh>

I REALLY want to start a blog for Elise.  I feel so bad that I haven't done it yet.  She deserves one.  I need one...an outlet for so much that I think and feel...a place to "collect" links to other blogs and sites, but I know I just don't have the time to add another "thing" to my day.  And I would just feel HORRIBLE that I couldn't find a few minutes every couple days or so to devote to my sweet angel.  I think that's what scares me the most.  What a terrible situation to be in.

I think I'm just grumpy and sad today...some days are so much harder than others and I never know when or why.  I just want to cry, but I can't, too much to do, no time for that


Woke up late today,
And I still feel the sting of the pain,
But I brushed my teeth anyway.
I got dressed through the mess,
And put a smile on my face.
I got a little bit stronger.
...
I know my heart will never be the same.
But I'm telling myself I'll be okay,
Even on my weakest days,
I get a little bit stronger.
(Sara Evans)

Sometimes, though, I really want to just be able to focus on Elise
But, if there is one thing I have learned being the mother of 4 living children, it's that it doesn't matter what I want or when I need something, someone else needs something and that pulls rank.

<sigh>
it's that dreaded time of year again for me...3 months filled with so much emotion and no time to process any of them.  I just have to keep going, getting things done for everyone else...


((And well, now you see it...my blog for Elise :) <3))

New Year's Resolutions for Bereaved Parents

January 1, 2011

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.

(unknown)

Little Lives Lost

September  5, 2010

Every night I sit on my back porch and from the chair that I sit in I can see this one bright star.  I just noticed it a few nights ago and wasn't actually convinced that it was really a star.  It is so bright and still.  I wasn't sure what else it could be though.  But now I know that it is indeed a star..the star of my sweet Elise...
And with the tragic passing of 14 year old Lauryn Little this week, my heart holds some hope that both of these amazing girls have found each other in heaven.  I remember how fond Lauryn was of Autumn when she was a baby, I just know that she is just as kind and loving to Elise, who herself is no doubt drawn to Lauryn's smile and sunny disposition and stories of her big sisters...
May you both find comfort in each other and in knowing the many lives you touched during your brief stay on earth.  There are more people than either of you know who love you and miss you terribly...finding some peace in the fact that you are both safe in heaven and now have each other.
<3

When you feel Lonely

When a person you love passes away
Look to the night sky on a clear day.
The star that to you, appears to be bright,
Will be your loved one, Looking upon you during the night.
The lights of heaven are what shows through
As your loved one watches all that you do.
When you feel lonely for the one that you love,
Look to the Heavens in the night sky above.


Author unknown

Elise's Angelversary 4/6/10

Readings from her first Angelversary:

On the Wings of Hope
According to an American Indian Legend:
       If anyone desires a wish to come true they must first capture a butterfly and whisper that wish to it.
       Since a butterfly can make no sound, the butterfly can not reveal the wish to anyone but the Great Spirit who hears and sees all.
       In gratitude for giving the beautiful butterfly its freedom, the Great Spirit always grants the wish.
       So, according to legend, by making a wish and giving the butterfly its freedom, the wish will be taken to the heavens and be granted.

 

A Butterfly Release
As you release this butterfly in honor of me,
know that I'm with you and will always be.
Hold a hand, say a prayer,
close your eyes and see me there.
Although you may feel a bit torn apart,
please know that I'll be forever in your heart.
Now fly away butterfly as high as you can go,
I'm right there with you more than you know.
By Jill Haley



Printed page given to those who attended:

Elise Renee Tagliaferri
 Thank you for honoring and remembering our sweet angel with us tonight.
April 6, 2010

Messenger of God
Kathryn Poland

Oh, Little Butterfly,
Messenger of God,
When I see you in the sky
I cannot help but nod.
You bring me respite
From grief and despair
Every time I see you
Sailing through the air.
You renew my faith
In all God's wondrous plan,
And I know it's all in FAITH,
Not in what I understand.


A Symbol of Hope
(Unknown)

A butterfly lights beside us like a sunbeam
And for a brief moment its glory and beauty belong to our world
But then it flies again
And though we wish it could have stayed...
We feel lucky to have seen it.


“What the caterpillar perceives is the end, to the butterfly is just the beginning”

 
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