I am a wife and mother. I married Travis the summer of 2007 and life really took off. We welcomed our first born, Adrian Reese, June of 2009. We welcomed our second born, Ainslee Ryan, October of 2010 and had a short time with her. She was taken from us in February 2011, just 3 months and 10 days old, from the silent killer called SIDS. 6 months after she passed away, we found out we were expecting our 3rd, due in April of 2012. Our rainbow baby is a girl, sweet Hadlee Hope. We're slowly picking up the pieces and learning how to fit grief and happiness into this crazy thing called life.
One of the hardest parts of grief and losing your own child, is then hearing of other's losses and not only feeling so incredibly sad for them....but also carrying the heavy load of grieving for them as well. I grieve not only for Ainslee, I grieve for the grandchildren I will never get to meet or hold, I grieve for the babies that are miscarried, the babies that are stillborn, the babies with heart defects, the babies who die of cancer, the babies who die of SIDS, the babies who die of any genetic disorder....the babies who are killed.
Tonight my heart is heavy for our sweet Caylee Anthony. I watched the entire trial and felt so let down by feeling there was no real justice for Caylee. Why couldn't the truth come out and it be certain so that this little girl would have her true story told? I look at that little girl and see a little girl that is Adrian's age. How can something so awful happen to this sweet baby girl? My heart feels broken for a baby girl I never knew. And so tonight, I cry for Caylee. I mourn her death as I do my own daughter, as I do all other babies I hear about. I feel so sad I'll never get to hold these babies.
In honor of Caylee, please watch the new song written by Rascal Flatts, my favorite group, in honor of a life gone too soon.
I know I don't know you Caylee, but I miss you and love you.
(SIGH)....So, I haven't been back into the office at Fannie Mae since I got the call from our daycare lady about Ainslee. I've been working from home since and have kept Adrian at home with me here. I feel more in control if I can see his sweet face 24/7. :)
I had a few of my direct managers coming in town this week, this past Monday, and so I thought I'd go ahead and schedule some Fannie Mae manager meetings since I was out that way due to lunch and a team event. So, this past Monday afternoon, I made the long trek up to the 7th floor to do meetings. It wasn't as awful as it would've been had I been in the same Fannie Mae building where I got the call. We have 3 locations around Addison and I was in one of the other locations.
These managers I'm meeting with are not my direct reports, they are Fannie Mae managers. My job is to coordinate with them to fill needed positions, etc. So, they don't know the in's and out's of my life. My first manager meeting came and went and after I did have to go to the restroom to let my emotions go. A couple small things came up during the meeting that just made me think of Ainslee. Halloween was mentioned and how much fun my son was going to have this year due to being 2 and all I could think about was how I spent Ainslee's first and only Halloween in the hospital last year and didn't worry too much about Adrian's Halloween since I knew we'd have this next year. I had Ainslee dressed in her little Halloween outfit, with a bow of course. ;)
After I gathered myself, I felt like the worst was out of the way. My co-worker and I finished making the rounds and were about to head out when I saw a manager that I used to work with a lot. The last time he saw me was when I was 9 months pregnant and about to go out on maternity leave. There were about 3 other men outside his office door, and myself and co-worker standing right inside his office saying hello. The first thing that came out of his mouth was, "So, how's the baby?"
My heart sunk. My eyes welled. I thought I was going to throw up. My lip started to quiver and I just looked at my co-worker...and then back at the manager. He then followed up with, "is she a handfull?" OMG..I had to get something out of my mouth before it got any worse.
" I hate to tell you this but my baby girl died. She died in February...of SIDS."
Hearing those words, telling this man who had no idea of what happened, and then realizing all over again that I'm living in this awful nightmare and having to openly admit it to people who don't know is just awful. I felt sad for him too because I could see the mortified expression on his face and sadness in his eyes. I felt like falling to my knees, but somehow I stayed somewhat composed. It definitely all caught up to me that night.
I'm sure my baby is fine, I'm sure she's more beautiful, I'm sure she's in great care. But she's not here. And so while my baby might be fine, I'm not. I'm the one left to suffer, to be sad, to miss a sweet girl gone too soon.
Angel wings brought you to us from above Instantly we were smitten by your love Nestled nicely in the crook of our necks Smiling sweetly at brother's kissy pecks Listening as you spoke in your own dialects Each day spent with you was one of our best Every moment shared was blisfully blessed
Recalling one hundred three precious days You touched our souls in your own little ways Ainslee, angel, your stay was much too brief Now sweet girl, sleep tight. And know that Mommy, Daddy, and Adrian love you beyond belief.
This was written for Ainslee and is now framed and sits in our kitchen. The sweetest remembrance of a life gone too soon.
Last night we had some friends over for dinner and much needed "friend time." As most of you know, both Travis and I still go to the cemetery every day we are in town. My friend and I finished dinner and decided to head up to the cemetery. I was talking to her about my post discussing strength and my feelings around that post. I explained to her that this can't possibly be my strength that people are in awe of...it's His.
Every day I go to the cemetery, I read Ainslee a story out of this book called "Blessings Every Day." For each day of the year it has a story. I wanted to share yesterday's story which occurred after my "Strong" post.
A Light Load For My yoke is easy, and My load is light. Matthew 11:30
When you're young and your legs are short, you get tired out more quickly than someone taller does. Just when you think you can't walk another step, someone picks you up and carries you. Aren't you glad? Someone bigger and stronger than you doesn't think you are heavy at all. God is the biggest, strongest person in the universe. And he wants us to turn over all our worries and cares to him. Our worries are too heavy for us, but they are a light load for God!
God knows my worries are too heavy for me,
He'll carry them all so that I can be free.
I just thought this was further confirmation that I owe all glory and honor to him for carrying me. Don't be amazed at my strength, but at His.
The funny thing about this bible verse is that on Ainslee's bench that we are putting out at the cemtery also has this same verse. Just another confirmation that God is saying to allow him to carry these burdens. After all, "his yoke is easy, his burden is light." In the next few weeks, we should have her headstone and our Family Bench completed out at the cemetery. I can't wait to share the finished product with everyone. We're headed to church soon and church has such a special meaning for me. This church is where I've baptized both my babies, and it's where my daughter had her funeral. There are a lot of different emotions I go through, and it's not often I can get through the service without breaking down. But I'm thankful to have my husband, my children, and memories to hold onto until we meet again. Have a blessed Sunday!
Since the heaviness began, I have been told this word "strong" to describe me as a person. I decided to look up the word and see what the actual definition of it is.
Strong~ not easily broken, damaged or destroyed
Seriously!? I am completely broken, I am the most damaged I've ever been, and feel absolutely destroyed. Strong can not possibly be the word to describe me in this state. I know it's said by people that feel they see a strong exterior, but internally, I'm just shattered. I am not strong. In fact, I am quite the opposite of strong. I am absolutely and completely weak, fragile. It's awful.
Some people say, they don't know how I do this, how I can constantly live in a life of grief. I'm not sure how it happens either, I definitely wouldn't chose it. I've also heard that other people "couldn't do this"...DO YOU THINK I CAN!? What choice do I have at this point? What makes people think I'm any different from them? I'm not.
I simply have 2 choices at this point:
1. get up every day, be thankful for my husband, my son, and the time with my daughter...
2. or be done with this life.
You can see the route I've chosen. This is a hard, long road. One in which I'd never wish on anyone. And while I feel like it's my job to get a little bit stronger, the word itself, couldn't be more opposite of how I am today. This is not my strength. I HAVE to be simply carried by the Lord. There's not any other way I could do this. If He wasn't carrying me, if He wasn't my strength, I wouldn't be here. He's shown me that my little boy needs me. He's shown me that He chose me to be the mother of Ainslee, that's something I'd never change.
You see...He's shown me that even on my weakest days, He is helping me with His strength, not mine. While my faith has been tested, questioned, and at times in a state of denial....I'm reminded of the strength that exudes through me. Understand friends, it's not my strength...it's His.
John 16:33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
I've really been having a rough time. I feel like it's so difficult to really wrap my head around the fact that she's gone. I'm NEVER going to get her back. I just can't believe this has happened. It's such a surreal thing to happen and it's so excruciating to think of living this life without her. I'm not sure how I'm going to do this, I feel like just breaking into a million pieces. I miss her beyond words can say. I can't believe my baby's gone.
So I came across a site that I had saved the week before Ainslee passed away and it was saved in my favorites on my computer. I clicked on it to see what it was and it was a bow holder to hold all of Ainslee's bows we would end up collecting. It matched her nursery as she has owls in there. It's on etsy. Here's a pic of it.
I just thought it would be perfect for her. I was so excited to collect bows for her for each holiday occasion and put them on her bow holder.
I never got to get this for her, and the collection of bows stopped.
I decided that I wasn't ready to stop collecting bows for her. I wanted bows still for all the holidays and any that I would've normally bought for her. I think this will be something that I can still do to remember her and get the fulfillment of at least trying to get these things for her, even though I know she'll never wear them. So, I think I'm still going to order this cute bow holder for her. And I'm going to collect beautiful, unique, and special bows for the times I feel like I want to do something special for my daughter. I thought about at 4th of July how I really wanted her firecracker bow and didn't get to get it. With her 1st birthday 3 months away, I know that I will want to get her a birthday bow. I sometimes wear a bow of Ainslee's when I want to feel her close or feel like she's with me in a picture. It helps me to heal.
This bow was worn at Adrian's party to remember Ainslee. I remember the day I bought this bow for her. She wore it on her first trip to meet her great grandfather so it has special meaning for me.
I've been really trying to find a way to honor Ainslee and have thought hard about what I will do to continue this beautiful legacy our daughter started. I've always wanted to get into photography and haven't. Now may be the time. I feel like I'd have a lot to learn and a long way to go. I want to hold an annual event in Ainslee's name, possibly an annual Spring for SIDS baseball game at Travis' old high school. Or, if this bow collection I start turns into a love gift that Ainslee could give to other baby girls when they're born, that may be what I need to carry on these sweet memories of our daughter. I pray about it daily. I pray for God to minister to my heart what He wants me to do, what she wants me to do. I will let the two of them guide me and will completely be subservient to their plans. It makes me excited for what the future holds. Wow. I really just said I was excited. I guess there can be "good" moments. It makes me excited for my daughter, that she can still live on.
And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.
Today is 5 months she's been gone. How in the world has it been 5 months since I've held her in my arms?
We're headed out to the lakehouse this weekend and I'm hoping to have some much needed smiles in addition to all these tears. The tears, the sadness, the pain are all so exhausting. My energy levels and patience are not what they used to be. I don't mind getting away occasionally and I think it's probably good for us, but it's so hard to be away from Ainslee's nursery and from the cemetery. Travis and I go to the cemetery every day b/c we feel closer to her if we can go there and make sure that her "spot" is kept just as perfect as possible. We've had so many problems with grave robbers and it's so hard to feel that devastation each time someone decides to take from us AGAIN. I think we've already been taken from enough at this point. I just don't understand the mentality. We've had this happen probably 5 times. I put out her 4th of July flowers in a cute pot with a little American Flag last Friday and on Sunday night, before the 4th, it disappeared. I hate that. There's only so much we can still do for our daughter so these little things that people do to take from us, from her, are so awful. I always just feel so helpless. I couldn't protect her when she was here, and I can't protect her when she's gone.
On a different note, I've got a couple posts to catch up on. My sister had my sweet little nephew last Saturday and I need to post about him and share a couple of his pictures. We're also participating in a golf tournament in August for a little boy here named Holton. He passed of SIDS also. I need to post about that as well soon.
In the meantime, we're off to the lake with Adrian and all our friends. Pray that I'm able to have a relaxing time with people we love while remembering our sweet Angel. I pray that I can feel her presence always, knowing she's constantly with us. I pray that death will not keep us apart. I miss her so.
So....since Ainslee's been gone, there have been songs that really touch me. Either make me so incredibly sad, make me miss Ainslee, make me feel alone, or comforted...a range of emotions. I wanted to share some of these songs that just really touch me, in one way or another.
If I Die Young by: The Band Perry
Lord make me a rainbow, I'll shine down on my mother
She'll know I'm safe with you when she stands under my colors, oh and Life ain't always what you think it ought to be, no Ain't even grey, but she buries her baby
The sharp knife of a short life, well
I've had, just enough time
If I die young, bury me in satin
Lay me down on a, bed of roses
Sink me in the river, at dawn
Send me away with the words of a love song
I Get a Little Bit Stronger by: Sara Evans
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
Love Them Like Jesus by: Casting Crowns
The gifts lie in wait, in a room painted blue
Little blessing from Heaven would be there soon
Hope fades in the night, blue skies turn to grey
As the little one slips away
You’re holding their hand, you’re straining for words
You’re trying to make sense of it all
They’re desperate for hope, darkness clouding their view
They’re looking to you
Just love them like Jesus, carry them to Him
His yoke is easy, His burden is light
You don’t need the answers to all of life’s questions
Just know that He loves them and stay by their side
Love them like Jesus
A Mother's Prayer by: Celine Dion-played at Ainslee's funeral
I pray you'll be my eyes
And watch her where she goes
And help her to be wise
Help me to let go
Every mother's prayer
Every child knows
Lead her to a place
Guide her with your grace
To a place where she'll be safe
I pray she finds your light
And holds it in her heart
As darkness falls each night
Remind her where you are
Every mother's prayer
Every child knows
Need to find a place
Guide her to a place
Give her faith so she'll be safe
Lead her to a place
Guide her with your grace
To a place where she'll be safe
Gosh I miss her. I want her back. I don't want to do this. I don't want to live this life of grief. I want to feel hope, joy, laughter again. I want her here to share that with. These songs just make me sad, but also make me feel comforted because they're our story. Casting Crowns has alway ministered to my heart. They've seen me through some tough times. And once again, they're here for me, God is here for me, in my darkest days. I'm trying every day to get a little bit stronger, but it's sometimes too hard. I do feel so weak. I feel so alone sometimes, so incredibly sad.
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”Matthew 11:28-30
Lord~ Help me. Help me to get stronger. Help me to find hope. Hold my little girl tight and tell her how very much I love her. Since I can't teach her about you, please teach her about me.
I can't help but wonder. I found myself getting consumed with what things would, should, could be like. What would your laugh sound like? What would your favorite food be? What would your first day of Kindergarten be like? What would your first car be? What would your hobbies be? What would you do in college? Who would you become? Who is the man you would've married? Who are the grandchildren I would miss out on? Who would your friends be? What would you wear the day of your senior prom? What would it feel like to go wedding dress shopping with you? Why don't we get to see you on your wedding day? Why can't I see your Daddy walk you down the aisle, and share a first dance? What are we supposed to do without you? How are we supposed to live a life beyond simply existing without you here? Why is this our life now? Why did this happen to you? What would have happened if I just kept you home with me? What if the daycare lady didn't lay you on your side or stomach? Why didn't I listen to my mother's intuition? How can someone so perfect, so happy, so healthy, just stop breathing? Why couldn't you just breath? Why couldn't they help you breath?
I can't help but wonder what you'd think of me.....
I feel like I've completely failed you. I'm your mother, someone who is supposed to protect you, and I don't even feel I could do that. I'd give my life for you, I'd do anything to save you. I knew from the moment I held you that you and I were meant to be...meant to be mother and daughter. I'm so sorry I couldn't save you. I just can't help but wonder.....