Thursday, October 17, 2013

Identity crisis...

You know those moments when you are sitting in church and the sermon literally is speaking to YOU... when you look around the church, wondering if anyone is staring at you, because clearly Pastor is talking about you directly!? It almost feels like a personal invasion at first, like you want to stand up and ask, "how did you know?" well I had that moment last night!  I shed tears on and off through out the sermon (yes, I am that girl who openly cries at church) and left with my mind racing and my heart pondering...

The question was/is "who am I?"  Not 'tell me about yourself... what are your likes and dislikes, where do you live' but "Who.... am... I?!"  Since losing Declan, I have struggled with this... I've been experiencing an identity crisis.  What is true is that I am different.  I have a "before" and "after" version of myself.  If someone had asked me who I was 2 years ago I would have confidently answered "I am an educator, a mother, a wife and a friend."   I would have answered that based on where I spent my time and my energy.   I knew who I was... I knew what I was good at and how to live in a manner that complemented that.  I held my head high and felt like I had life figured out.   I was loud, daring, adventurous and dare I say, even kind of funny.  I laughed easy, smiled frequently and thought I was indestructible.

When Declan died all that changed.  I have felt very much like my identity is wrapped up in his death.  For at least the first year, I had nothing else to say about me... I was a grieving mother.  What else was there for anyone to know?! Why would it matter what I did for a job?  Why would anyone need to know if I have other children?  And yes, I am married... but that DOESN'T CHANGE the fact that my child died.  Everything seemed second to that.... I could not see past his death.  I had no room to be anything else...  His death was who I was....

As I sat in church, thinking about how I would answer that question now, I came up blank.  I don't know who I am.  I don't know how to be me and a grieving mother.   I am a work in progress maybe... still trying to figure out how to move through his death without letting his death be me...  but I am treading in unfamiliar territory... not sure what steps I need to take.

But then Pastor said, "Who am I?" is the wrong question to be asking....we should be asking "whose I am?" What makes me special goes beyond WHO I AM... it's WHOSE I am that defines me.   Once I turn my identity to being a child of God, than the pressure to be the perfect grieving mother, the best mother to my living children, the greatest wife is taken away and I realize that I can be content with being 'a work in progress'. Who I am?? In a nutshell... I am a child of God and everything else is second to that.

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine." Isaiah 43:1

* I must give Pastor Heiden credit for being the inspiration for this post.  Beyond my internal struggle in identifying who I am since Declan's death, he helped me put a perspective on this that I hadn't thought about. Thank you Pastor!  :) 

Monday, October 14, 2013

the Wave of light...

In 1998, Ronald Reagan proclaimed October as National Pregnancy and Infant loss awareness month.  October 15th is the day that grieving families and friends who support them are invited to light a candle in remembrance of our children who left our lives too soon.  As we prepare for tomorrow and how we can honor Declan, I invite you to also light a candle at 7pm.  Light it for Declan or light it for another child... it's up to you. But please, help shatter the silence that surrounds pregnancy and infant loss! One in 4 woman will experience the extreme pain of losing a child. 

Today, for us, it also marks the 1 year and 8 month anniversary of Declan's angel date... 

It is so hard to believe he's been gone that long... that my life has been turned upside down and flipped around for that long.  There are days when I would consider myself 'good'.  There are times when I think I am getting my life is some order that I can live with.  There are also times that I feel my world is crumbling at my feet... days when I can't even begin to comprehend what has happened to me.  Then, to be truthful, there are moments that I can't even remember having had him.... I feel ashamed to admit that... how could a mother ever forget her baby?  I have no answer except that time is my ultimate thief... time steals my memories and makes me feel like I am always in such a rush that I don't have "time" to grieve.  

I knew it would happen that I would forget the sound of his voice... what he smelled like.... if only I had caught his perfection in a video, but I know I would watch it over and over... and it would become something more than just a video, like an idol.   

I wish I wasn't living this life... I wish I was not a grieving mother... I wish our family was just like yours.  If only wishes could come true.   BUT... we are living this life the best we can, we try to live each day to it's fullest.  We try to see the beauty that God has surrounded us with...  I try to hold my head up high, embracing this stupid challenge with grace and dignity.  There will come a point in my life when my children look back and start understanding the 'bigness' of our loss and I want them to see that their mother and father rose above the situation to become something better than they were prior to his death. 

A part of me did die with my sweet Declan... but we are working hard at making sure what we rebuild in its place honors his precious memory and will make him proud! 

Please consider joining us tomorrow night at 7pm, lighting a candle in memory of our son and in honor of all families struggling through the loss of their little ones. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


October is Pregnancy and Infant loss awareness month, I've also heard it referred to as SIDS awareness month... either way, I am 'participating' in this....not sure what that means and how I will choose to honor my sweet Boy.... I haven't gotten it all figured out, but I know I will be doing something. 

As part of my journey, I have found great comfort in reading other mother's blogs.  I am comforted by their words and oddly enough, their pain... it helps me to know, I am not alone.  I know of mother's who have no desire to connect with other grieving families, but for me it has been instrumental in my process... I personally see child loss as such a lonely journey... people either don't know what to say to you or how to support you or are overwhelmed with their own emotions and they don't want to "upset" you more.... so finding other mothers who understand what it really is like, helps me.  I enjoy reading a blog called Carly Marie, Project Heal.  She lost her son, Christian in 2007.  She has been sharing her journey with the world through many different projects and one of them is called "Capturing your Grief" and is a photographic challenge to promote healing and personal growth.  So... long story short I will be doing this challenge this month.  To read more about Christian's story and follow Carly Marie, here is her blog link:

Here is my first photo... the sunrise.  It's a little blurry due to how far I had to zoom to really capture these beautiful deer, but the essence remains the same.... A mother deer, with her two babies... enjoying the beans in the field and being at peace with the world.  

The interesting thing about this photo is that I stopped almost in the same place the day Declan died and took a picture of the sunrise.  For many months after he had passed I lost my ability to see God's beauty in my every day life...  my world was bleak and instead of seeing the dancing colors of our magnificent surroundings, I saw grays and muted, dull, lifeless colors... I remember wondering once if I would ever be in awe of nature again or if I was now sentenced to a life of sadness and boringness.   

I have however, recaptured that joy... the joy in the nothingness that is God's splendorous creation.