21. HONOUR | I think the best way we honor our loved ones who have passed is to keep their memory alive. That is exactly what Dan and I have tried to do since we said goodbye to Emilia. So much of Emilia is in everything we do. It could be a small, trivial act. Something so mundane others barely even notice. For me the easiest way to honor Emilia is to simply just talk about her. Sometimes, however, when I share stories about Emilia with others I feel self conscious. Not because I’m not proud of her or because I’m embarrassed about how things ended up. But because I’m afraid people will judge me. I hope people do not misread my intentions or find me annoying for bringing up her story. The every last thing I want is sympathy. I talk about Emilia because that is one of the only ways I can honor her. I refuse to pretend that she didn’t happen. To refuse her existence would be the fastest way to tarnish her memory. I talk about Emilia because she deserves to be remembered! Emilia is such a huge part of my life and my story andI will love her till the end of time! I will devote the rest of my life trying to find meaningful ways to remember and honor her, while also making a conscious effort to live my own life as beautifully as possible.
22. WORDS | This is my all time favorite quote! I really feel like the words speak for themselves. So please, do read! Take in the words and let them move your own heart in the way it has stirred mine.
“Sometimes in life there are losses. Losses that can never really be replaced. Losing you has been the hardest thing I’ve ever had to live with. I wasn’t ready to say goodbye. I wasn’t ready to let you leave. I would give anything for just one more day, just one more second. But I’ve learned to trust in unconditional love. Because the one profound thing about death is that love never dies. Some bonds cannot be broken. Because even though you’re not physically here, your heart is – it lives on within me. I carry your heart inside mine. I carry it on days when I discover something new. I carry it on days when beauty unfolds in the most unexpected places. I carry it on days when I find courage to heal and to grow. I carry it with me – always. Someday we will meet again – and we will no loner be separated by time or space. But until that day, I’ll find comfort in knowing that you are still with me. Your heart safely tucked inside mine. Some hearts just belong together and nothing will ever change that. I loved you then. I love you now. Always did. Always will. Forever in my mind. Forever in my heart. I will carry you.” – Bryon Anthonys
23. TATTOOS/JEWELRY | Have you ever heard of an Urn necklace? A necklace that holds a small portion of your loved one’s cremains? That is exactly what my Emilia’s necklace is. I hold Emilia close to my heart every single day – from sunrise to sunset. The gem is cradled within a pair of angel wings. The gem is Emilia’s Birthstone – Aquamarine – the official birthstone for March. I love this necklace! I get stopped quite frequently in public by strangers who tell me how much they love my necklace. Little do they know, the necklace actually holds something much more precious inside than the jewelry itself! The backside of the necklace is engraved. It says Emilia 3/15/2017 and has a pair of baby feet laser-etched into the metal. Dan has the exact same necklace, but instead of footprints, he has an infinity sign etched into the metal.
24. ARTWORK | We have tons of artwork that remind us of Emilia, but this one is perhaps one of my most favorites. Feathers and Angel wings are very special to me. The remind me of Emilia and when I saw these pair of wooden Angel wings at Michaels, I knew I had to have them. The aquamarine dots represent Emilia’s birth month, March, as aquamarine is her birthstone. The purple peony that conjoins both wings is one of the flowers from my wedding bouquet arrangement. It is extra special as it is purple which was the color scheme for Emilia’s nursery. The quote displayed on the wall about the wings is 100% true. I want everyone who walks through my doors to know that another little girl lives within the walls of my home. Physically she may not be here, but spiritually she still exists and always will. This piece hangs in our kitchen where we can see it each and everyday.
25. #SAYITOUTLOUD | One of the biggest things I have learned in the past almost five years is that each of us placed here on earth is on our own paths with our own stories. Some chapters are brimming with wonderfully glowing moments that we would proudly share with anyone willing to listen. While other chapters are dark and devastating… the kind of memories you would much prefer never happened and you maybe wish you yourself could come to forget. It’s really easy to sit back and think your life is awful, while growing bitter and resentful of others because you think you have things in life worse. We think we know people, we think we understand them and the situations that happen in their life. But there is so much more to people than what we see on the surface. People can be so quiet about their pain, that you aren’t even aware that they are hurting. I have learned that you can’t judge a book by its cover nor can you judge it when you only have read just a chapter or two of its story. It is easy to fall into that trap of despair where I feel miserable seeing others being happy. The truth is: life is not always greener on the other side and happiness (like any other emotion) is momentary. It’s fleeting. So when you feel happiness, hold onto it in that moment and relish it. Joy and happiness isn’t always guaranteed. But that’s kind of the blessing too… I also have an awareness that bad times don’t stick around forever. What a horrible world we would live in if our life was forever miserable, while watching others always living the best version of their life. Life ebbs and flows and we have to learn to hold on tight when riding out the hard times and to be humble when life is looking grand.
On The flip-side… the notion of telling someone that they have it easier because… (insert scenario), is absolutely ridiculous! I often hear this phrase said when people are offering a condolence and trying to make the grieving individual feel less suffering. “I’m sorry you are hurting. I know such and such who had this happen to them. Can you imagine what they are going through?” This does nothing to support someone who is hurting and only makes them feel like their pain is unvalidated. “Saying someone can’t be sad because someone else may have it worse is just like saying someone can’t be happy because someone else might have it better.” Do you see how this doesn’t add up? I think a problem we all generally have as members of our society is understanding what are own words are truly conveying. How will my words be interpreted and are they actually helpful or will they just add to someone’s grief? It’s inevitable that we will all say something wrong at least once in our life. I’m sure there are several moments that I inserted my foot in my own mouth and didn’t even realize it. The real test is recognizing when we have crossed a line and that we make a point to change our behavior so we aren’t knowingly hurting people in the future.
26. COMMUNITY | I talked about community in a previous post in this challenge when discussing support. I feel like these two prompts really go hand in hand. My greatest support has been attending my local Pregnancy and Infant Loss support group, KC HOPE MINISTRIES. HOPE provides support and healing for those who have lost a baby through miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant loss. HOPE meets once every month in an informal small-group setting and they spend time on topics of interest before opening up for discussion on where each member is currently in their grief since the previous meeting. Topics of discussion include: the grief patter, fear, anger, emptiness, guilt, sadness, depression, difference between men and women’s grief, marital stress, and healing and acceptance. If you are struggling to cope with your loss or just need a strong support system behind you, consider finding a local support group that caters to your specific grief. I don’t know how I would have survived the grief after loss if it had not been for KC HOPE MINISTRIES and the women I have met throughout the years who have helped carry the burdens. https://www.facebook.com/KC-HOPE-Ministries-150410678348598
27. SIGNS | Do you believe in signs from Heaven or from your baby? Have you received any signs?
28. SPECIAL PLACE | Describe your special place where you feel the most connected to your baby.
29. HEALING | What has helped you heal?
30. GROWTH | Do you believe you have grown or are growing as a person since the loss of your precious baby? How? How do you see other people now? How do you see the world? I have changed as a person.
31. SUNSET |