Saturday, December 19, 2009


I fear that when people see me smile they think I am all better.

I fear that each time I laugh I will always feel guilty.

I fear that each time I joke people think I am over the loss of Janessa.

I fear that people think that because Janessa never took a breath of our air that she never really existed.

I fear that because she never took a breath people think her death is easier to deal with than an older child.

I fear that some people think I should be over her death by now.

I fear that some people think I am over it too much already.

I fear that some people think that if they lost their child that they would not be able to continue living as I have.

I fear that some people think that I should keep my grief to myself because it makes others uncomfortable & that my open grief is for attention.

I fear that people will forget Janessa.

I fear that if I become pregnant they will never mention her again.

I fear that if we have another child that people will think everything is better now.

I fear that I will forget special things about her.

I fear that I will always carry this heavy weight of sadness.

I fear that I will never fully enjoy something again because I feel her absence everywhere.

I fear that as each day passes she is slipping further away.

I fear this new life.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Lifted Spirits

As I have blogged before I had become scrooge this holiday season. I am still in that mindset but I am definitely not so far down as I was. This is due to some very caring people who have done some things to life my spirits.

A couple weeks ago a very sweet lady, Kim, who I graduated high school with, asked if she could drop something off for me. I had been in contact with her a lot since losing Janessa. She is one of the many people who shoot me an email or IM to check in with me. She recently became a mom to a beautiful little baby girl so I know she can only imagine being in my shoes. She came by my house one evening & brought me this:

How amazing is that? She used some of the photos I had posted to create the design & those are her little footprints. The design is Janessa’s nursery theme. I was so overwhelmed. I must of choked back tears a handful of times. I kept telling her I would try & not cry. We chatted for a bit & she left.

Here is where she had it made: Captured In Clay by Stacy Funk 1.804.564.5637

I have been blown away by the generosity & warm gestures from people. What amazes me more is that many of them are coming from acquaintances, old friends & even strangers. Kim & I were always friendly but in school we were not close. It takes someone with a huge heart to be so empathetic. The gift she brought for me is one of my favorite items I now have to hold Janessa’s memory. She was also the one who had made a donation to the Dempsey Burdick Memorial Foundation is memory of Janessa. I cannot thank her enough!

A family member, Lisa, awhile back had also brought me a silver necklace. It is a heart with a tear drop on one side & a poem on the other.

“If tears could build a stairway & memories a lane, I’d walk right up to heaven & bring you home again.”

I have always loved that. I tried to get a good pic of it but failed. I have it draped on the crystal cross in her curio case. Here is what I got:

Our sweet friend Felicia created a cyber event on face book for all our family & friends. She asked everyone to choose one ornament on their tree to dedicate in memory of Janessa. They are to take a pic & upload it to the event. At first I thought how wonderful it was that she was thinking of us & trying to do something to help us. I NEVER realized how much each dedicated ornament would lift my spirits. Each one makes me day a little better. She has about thirty something ornaments as of now. It is running through Christmas. Once the event is over I will be making a slideshow. I will post it here when complete.

My dear friend Julie went to see Janessa’s headstone & brought her a little Christmas tree. Isn't it cute?

My mom also brought Janessa a cute little Santa pick to decorate her grave for the holiday. I love it.

My grandmother called me to let me know she dropped off a snowman for her as well.

I cannot explain what it means to know people visit her & think of her. The little gifts left for her are so very nice.

I also went to decorate for Christmas. I decided on a wreath & chose the light green one. Green is her birthstone color. I love how it looks. I attached a Winnie the pooh holding a pink blankey. If she was going to be anything like me as a child (& JJ) she would’ve had a blankey.

I also brought her, her very own Christmas tree & stocking. I decorated the tree with Disney princesses. Every little girl loves to be a princess & I grew up in love with all the Disney movies. I looked forward to watching all the girly Disney movies with her. Jayden refuses to put on anything slightly girly, lol. I was ecstatic to be having a girl. I dreamed of the mommy daughter things we would do together. The princess movies were only one.

I think her plot looks very nice.

I hate that this is my life now. I hate that with every season & holiday I have to think of what to bring to the cemetery instead of what new items or wardrobe she would’ve needed. It kills me. I hate that I will carry this heavy sadness & emptiness with me for the rest of my life. Some days knowing that is just as overwhelming as the moment I wake up each morning & remember she is gone.

Thank you to all who have reached out to us. You have helped me make it through this month more than you could ever know.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

December Never Felt So Wrong

I was visiting Once A Mother's blog earlier & she had the most beautiful song playing. It is called Winter Song. It is by Sara Bareilles & Ingrid Michaelson. It sums up alot of my feelings right now. Here is the video.

It reminded me of another song I wanted to post for everyone. It is also called Winter Song but it is by Sarah Mclachlan. It is beautiful.

I find alot of healing in music. It helps me express some of my emotions that I keep bottled at times.

Here is the other video:

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Diamonds Falling Down

It still amazes me at how many different times a day a person can burst into tears. I seem to cry more than a handful of times each day. Not for long periods because its usually me trying to hide the tears from my niece who I watch everyday or my son when he is home from school. The pain is like a wall that I just bump into as I am doing daily routines.

Its simple things like eating my oatmeal on my couch this morning. I brought it in there because I could look at her picture & be near her things while I ate breakfast. It hit me how I should be feeding her oatmeal by now. I cry.

It doesn't always happen when I purposely go "be near her". I could be doing the laundry & bringing a load upstairs to put away & think to myself how their should be a baby gate at the top of the stairs that would be absolutely annoying to step over. I cry.

Picking up my son at school where I see moms struggling to pull their infants out of their carseats to go inside & get their older child. I hold on tight to my game face, I walk inside & get my son, smile, ask how his day was, get excited that he got to play his favorite game in gym, make sure he buckles up properly in his booster. I cry silently all the way home.

Putting up our Christmas tree & thinking how she could be possibly crawling and getting into everything. What her first ornament would've been, instead of the memorial one I purchased. The pictures that would of been taken. The one that was instead:

I sneak off and cry.

This list could go on & on...

Birthday parties with babies. Shopping with babies. Doctor appointments with babies.

Babies are everywhere. Mine is not.

At every corner of every day lays a reminder that Janessa is not here with us.

It hurts. I cry.

This song represents alot.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Love So Strong

“Imagine a love so strong that saying hello and good-bye in the same day is worth all the sorrow.”

I found this quote today and it really beautifully puts into words how I feel about losing Janessa.

I think some people think that If I could change what happened to us to “never have happened” I would. They think that if I could go back in time and never become pregnant with her to make sure this didn’t happen, that I would. That way we could avoid all the grief and sadness we feel. Truth is I wouldn’t trade in the months I carried my daughter and felt her move and kick inside me or the hours I spent with her for anything in the world. The love I felt for her while she was inside me and when she was in my arms only another parent could understand. Every single day I wish I could have her in my arms again. Each day I love her more and more.

Some people never experience this love we share. Yes share. I can feel Janessa’s love. There are times where for a few brief moments amongst all this gut-wrenching pain I feel peace. Calm. Love. I feel it from head to toe and I know its her. I like to think that wherever she is, her soul, her energy, she is sending us her love.

Why would I want to erase a love so strong?

Monday, November 23, 2009

I Didn't Know My Own Strength

Just finished watching the American Music Awards tonight. Whitney's performance had me completely choked up. It definitely hit close to my heart. Although I am not "through the pain" as one lyric says, the song struck a chord with me & I am sure it will for some of you. I thought I would share it.


Lost touch with my soul
I had no where to turn
I had no where to go
Lost sight of my dream,
Thought it would be the end of me
I thought I’d never make it through
I had no hope to hold on to,
I thought I would break

I didn’t know my own strength

And I crashed down, and I tumbled
But I did not crumble
I got through all the pain

I didn’t know my own strength

Survived my darkest hour
My faith kept me alive
I picked myself back up
Hold my head up high

I was not built to break

I didn’t know my own strength

Found hope in my heart,
I found the light to life
My way out the dark
Found all that I need
Here inside of me
I thought I’d never find my way
I thought I’d never lift that weight
I thought I would break

I didn’t know my own strength

And I crashed down, and I tumbled
But I did not crumble
I got through all the pain

I didn’t know my own strength

Survived my darkest hour
My faith kept me alive
I picked myself back up
Hold my head up high

I was not built to break

I didn’t know my own strength

There were so many times I
Wondered how I’d get through the night I
Thought took all I could take

I didn’t know my own strength

And I crashed down, and I tumbled
But I did not crumble
I got through all the pain

I didn’t know my own strength

Survived my darkest hour
My faith kept me alive
I picked myself back up
Hold my head up high

I was not built to break

I didn’t know my own strength

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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Missed & New "Thank Yous"

I knew when I finally wrote my thank you entry a couple weeks ago that I would mistakenly leave a few people out. My brain is still some what frazzled so I apologized ahead of time.

Again, so sorry.

A few I missed...

To the wonderful ladies who donated flowers & plants to Janessa’s garden, Damarys, Debbie, Alice, Jane.

To my mom who for my birthday took me shopping for all the garden supplies.

To the couple of ladies who messaged me wanting to bring a plant in the spring, thank you.

Janessa’s garden has done a lot of healing for me.

To everyone who brought food the first days after we lost her. My Mom, Zena, Damarys, Alice, Lisa & anyone else who contributed. I was a zombie so my memory fails me. It was appreciated so very much. We ate it all up when our appetite was present. I seriously did not cook dinner for two months. Just couldn’t function. I wish I would’ve known how to ask for help & food then…the boys starved!

To Lea @ Angel Wings Memorial Boutique for sending me a pair of angel wings in memory of Janessa.

Aren’t they cute?

Bree @ My Baby Butterfly Ella, for making Janessa a beautiful butterfly. She used green, the birthstone color of May.

Jessica at Momma of Two Angels for sending up Janessa a balloon on October 15th (National Pregnancy & infant Loss Awareness Day.) I was not in well place & was unable to acknowledge the day. I felt terrible for not doing anything. I received your email the next day & it felt so good that she was remembered that day. That meant so much to us! My husband was taken back by your gesture.

Some new thank yous...

Amy for visiting Janessa. Having you visit her means so much to me. The beautiful crystal cross you brought her is so nice. I left it there for a week but couldn’t bear the thought of something happening to it. I hate that I have to think that way but apparently I do.

I took it home & have it displayed with her picture. I used it on her 6 month anniversary to light a candle for her.

My Mom for bringing her a beautiful “Christmas” angel for her six month anniversary. It is so nice!

Felicia for contacting me in regards to visting Janessa & bringing her something. We love that people go visit her!

Dyanna for making a donation to Every Life Has A Story & for being so supportive!

Kim (Macha) Golinski for being just as supportive & making a donation in memory of Janessa to the Dempsey Burdick Memorial Foundation. It means so much to Jonathan & I.
Holly @ Caring For Carleigh for sending me a pic of Janessa’s name. How lovely is that? She thought of my baby girl & took a moment to remember her!

All of these gestures have me brought me some comfort, THANK YOU ALL.
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Friday, November 20, 2009

Six Months Without You



Six months. A half of a year. Spring, Summer and Fall…without you.

There are days where it is all so fresh and raw and it seems like a few days ago I had you in my arms just breathing you in.

Then there are days where it seems like that was someone else’s life.

I miss you Janessa.

I told a good friend the other day how I am not sure that most people understand that we love you just as much as we love your brother. You may not be here with us but we loved you from the moment we knew you were on the way. We had our new life planned out…your life planned out. You are part of me & daddy & you will forever be a part of our family. It is unfair we cannot share that life.

I have vowed to keep your memory alive. I will continue to do so. You have made an everlasting imprint on us & so many people in the world.

Continue to send me your love sweet angel. I can feel it so strongly some days. I hope you feel ours as well.

Love your Mommy
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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

"From our baby, to yours."

I have the most amazing news!

I am so beside myself with emotions right now. I am just sobbing in joy. Janessa will be getting a headstone due to a generous donation!

I came across a foundation a few months back called The Dempsey Burdick Memorial Headstone Fund. It was created in memory of DEMPSEY SUE BURDICK who was just 31 days old when she died. Her passing was a result of complications associated with open-heart surgery to correct a birth defect. Her death and the subsequent grieving process was the inspiration for the creation of this headstone fund by her parents. Each year, a few families are selected to receive a complimentary headstone as a gift for their angel baby from the Dempsey Burdick Memorial Foundation.

As Kevin would say, "Please accept this small gift from our baby, to yours."

I emailed Dempsey’s father Kevin, and applied for a headstone for Janessa. I wasn’t really too sure what the qualifications were and it if we would be a candidate. He had sent an email back explaining that there was a waiting list and due to the economy, donations were down and requests were up. I left it at that and then was completely consumed with my grief.

Yesterday afternoon I received an email from Kevin telling me things were moving forward this week with Janessa’s headstone and we should start thinking about what we would like on the stone as far as images & wording!

Today I received another email saying that they sent the check to the local monument company today & once the check clears we can go down & choose Janessa’s stone!

Janessa having her own little mark in the world brings me a little bit of peace and comfort.


I sent him an email expressing our gratitude. One day I will find a way to give back to that organization. I already have some ideas floating around in my head.

“In one day, since I posted it, we had an outpouring of new donations as your story really touched a number of people. Those donations will go to help another family, so Janessa has essentially inspired two headstones.” - Kevin

To think that Janessa has already helped another angel baby get their own mark in the world just warms my heart!

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Friday, November 13, 2009

Bah Hum Bug

Is anyone else dreading Christmas? The sight of Christmas lights and decorations make my stomach hurt. I wish I could skip over the holidays this year.

My mind goes to how we would have a seven month old or a 5 month old if she was born when she was due. I dreamt last Christmas when I was pregnant with Janessa how much fun it would to shop for two kids. I was soooo excited! When I found out it was a girl in February I was even more excited because I got to now have a chance to buy all the girly toys. I already started to look up doll houses and would walk through the girl toy aisles at the stores and picture her playing with those items. I would dream about how cute her room would be with all the girly items. I even purchased a play kitchen for her already! LOL isn’t that crazy! It was my favorite toy as a little girl and I had fell in love with a certain one. I found it more than half off at a store andjust had to have it!

It sits in my attic. I planned on setting it up in her room from the start or maybe even saving it for her 2nd Christmas. I plan ahead. Let’s rephrase that….I used to plan ahead. That’s before I knew that babies died. That there is no guarantee in pregnancy. You won’t catch me planning next time around.

My husband is so excited about Christmas. It is mainly because his brother and family are coming up for the holidays. I am also excited to see them, I miss them so very much. I am excited to meet our new little nephew who will be 9 months old then. It will be hard being around a baby when ours is missing. I cannot hide that fact. But we love him and look forward to finally meeting him.

I am not however excited for the holidays. This is not how its suppose to be.

The only thing I have been thinking about is finding the perfect ornament in memory of Janessa for our tree. I am going to start searching this weekend online. I have not found anything in the stores.

Every year I am always excited for the Saturday after Thanksgiving. That is the day we ALWAYS put up our tree and other decorations. I’m not sure I really want to do that. Seriously…I don’t have any interest in any of it. I will however go through the motions for my son. I will put a smile on my face and pull out from the depth of my soul some excitement for him. I will not let my grief ruin his Christmas.

But under my mask I will be wilting.
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Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Secret Garden Meeting - October

So this meeting we would like to talk about where you are.

Where are you at in your grief?

Honestly I have put off doing this month’s meeting because I do not know if I can even answer these questions. I have no idea where I am at in my grief because each day is so very different for me.

Has it been years or just weeks since you lost your baby?

I am almost at the six month mark. That blows my mind. Some days it feels like yesterday she was in my arms. Other days it feels like a lifetime ago. I miss her so very much.

How are you feeling?

I am confused at how I feel. These past six months have been treacherous. I have recently come out of a very very dark place. I am thankful I am not there anymore. I am terrified at any turn of the corner I will be right back there. As far as how I feel…I think I am once again starting to feel that “numb” feeling. I know that the raw gut wrenching stabbing pain in my chest is finally gone. It has been replaced by a dull sting. At a moments notice it can return for a short while but then fades. I feel we have just started to find a new normal….whatever that saying means. Sleep has returned for me. Nightmares have lessened to maybe one a week but that also means I am not dreaming of Janessa.

How do you hope you will feel in the future?

I am so scared to think I am going to carry this sadness for the rest of my life. I am scared that I will not feel pure joy again. How can I? How is that possible? I buried my daughter. She died. When I type those words it still takes my breath away. When I laugh Janessa pops into my mind. Everything we do reminds me how Janessa should be with us. I know things will get better in the future…I have to believe that to keep going.

Have you found any peace at all?

I have accepted that I cannot change what happened. Janessa is gone. I am still having a terrible time coming to terms with the things I could’ve done to save her. Little things I may have overlooked. I am killing myself with guilt. So I guess I would have to say that, No I have not found peace yet. I hope for that one day. I will continue to work towards that.

This post is a mess…sorry.
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Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Secret Garden Meeting - September

I have posted this before but for those not familiar I follow a blog Called "The Secret Garden Meeting."

"The Garden is a place that is only open for bereaved parents. It is our garden, our secret place to come to. A place to remember our children with those who understand us. It is a place to just be, without worry or fear of not being accepted. May you feel safe to share your hearts here in the garden."

Once a month a list of question(s) are posted for us to copy & paste into our blog.

This month we feel that we need to focus on the positive things that have helped us in this journey so far.

What has helped you through out this new life the most?

I am definitely still trying to understand this new life of ours. I am still quite lost.

Here is what has helped me on this path thus far.

  • My son is the number one reason I am still functioning. I am so very thankful we have him. He is amazing.

  • My husband, like I said in my previous post has been my rock & my soft place to fall. I would not be able to go on without him.

  • The internet. I have been on the computer since a few days after leaving the hospital. I overloaded myself with information which took me a very long time to process. I am still trying to adjust to what I have read and learned to some degree.

  • Blogging. This blog has been a great outlet. It has allowed me to release my insane thoughts & feelings. Meeting you ladies & having a support system at anytime of the day has helped me enormously. Without this I may have lost it completely.

  • Every Life Has A Story. Creating ELHAS in memory of Janessa gave me a little bit more purpose in the world when I felt so lost. I take comfort in being able to help fellow bereaved parents. I am blessed to get to know each family I create a video for. It has given me some healing.

  • Music. I have always been a music junkie. This is a whole new level. Music allows me to get down to those feelings I subconsciosly try & supress. When I need to feel near her I put on the latest song that makes me feel close to her. The words of the songs speak the words of my heart.

  • Janessa's garden. Creating a beautiful place in memory of Janessa was something I had to do. It felt so good to do something "for her." I am looking forward to the spring to get back in there and finish creating a place of peace for us to go.

  • I would have to say the number one thing that has helped me is allowing myself all of my emotions. Trying to not put on an act so that everyone thinks I am ok. Even though there are people who probably wish I would just be better by now. I know they are clueless. I feel each emotion that comes. I try not to supress any feelings because I know they will come back ten-fold. I have allowed myself my grief. I have earned that.

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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Thank You

I have tried to write this entry many times. My posts seem to always get side tracked. This is long overdue. I would like to take the time to say thank you to the many people who have played a role in the journey we have been on since losing Janessa. I am going to try & not leave anyone out. If I do please forgive me…my brain is still a bit overloaded. This may be a long post…sorry.

My husband- I love you. I would not be able to get up every morning & push on without you. You have been my rock & my soft place to fall all at the same time. It takes a special man to be able to do that. Because of you I know we will get through this..never over it but through. I am so grateful that our marriage & relationship became stronger through this. Thank you.

JJ - My sweet little boy. Although you will not be reading this now, you may in the future. I want you to know that you have saved me through this time. You have kept me going, living, breathing. You have allowed me to get up every morning & still have purpose. You have kept me loving & enjoying life. You have brought me laughter at the darkest moments of my life. For that I will be forever grateful. Mommy loves you!

Mom- For always being a phone call away. For your never ending support of us. For all the things you do we thank & love you.

Father Leo & Notre Dame staff- Father Leo was the first person besides the hospital staff & Jonathan & I who saw Janessa. He came very quickly to the hospital when the nurse called him that morning. He blessed Janessa & said a prayer. He has continued to call us & check in with us & has kept us close in his prayers. For the first time in my life I have felt prayer. There is no other way we made it through this.

Eli - For flying in the morning Janessa arrived. Your brother needed you in that moment more than he has ever. I know having you there was a huge comfort to him. It meant a lot to me as well. I am sure he will never forget that. You are a great brother.

Hospital visitors - Thank you for coming to meet our baby girl. That meant more than I can write in words. We are so grateful that you came & some of you were able to hold her. We only wish she was to stay with us.

My Mom’s co-workers - Debbie (Zena), Damarys, Ernie, Linda, Sally, David, Alice, AnnMarie, Lisa, Jane, Leona, Sandy. The card & donations were very much appreciated.

Sandra & Victor - The card & collected donations was so thoughtful & appreciated. (Victor)- For the beautiful picture of Janessa’s footprints & for helping with the ELHAS header. Her footprints are one of my most treasured possessions. To everyone who donated please know we thank you & love you all.

Belanger-Bullard Funeral Home - Bill Belanger is probably one of the most generous persons I have met. He came to the hospital to meet with us the day after Janessa was delivered. He handled everything for us. He generously donated his time, services, facility & Janessa’s casket at no charge for us. He is the only funeral home in town that offer free services to parents who have lost a child. For that we will be forever thankful. I have since written him a letter to try & express how grateful we are. He is a blessing. He alleviated a major amount of stress for us during the worst moments of our life.

Funeral attendees - We did not open up Janessa’s funeral to the public. We were unsure we could handle that. We had maybe 40 or so people come to the service at the funeral home. I am so happy they were able to attend. I barely made it through the service. Seeing Jayden the way he was broke the last piece of my heart. I have said before that the weight of the situation was literally suffocating me. There were moments I thought I would lose it. I am sorry we did not have a mass & open up her service. But at the same time I know we probably couldn’t of handled it. We will be doing a memorial service in May for her one year “angelversary” that we plan on having anyone who would like to attend more than welcome to come.

Lisa Maysonet - When I think back to those first few days & weeks you are one of the few who were there. Thank you for stopping in to check on us. We shared some tears & I appreciated your words & your willingness to talk about Janessa. Thank you for the angel & the food you brought. Once the food ran out from the funeral we were too distraught to even go to the store. There was nothing here & your gesture was more than needed! Thank you for your continued messages.

Amy - I want you to know that you are an AMAZING friend. I am so happy that you are in my life. For all the calls & texts to check in on me. You continued from day one not to give up on me. Even after weeks of no response from me you continued. THANK YOU. You probably still do not know what that meant to me. To know that you were thinking of us & our little girl lifted my spirits each time. I was too far down in my grief to respond but you were patient & understanding. I know you try & think what it would be like to be in our shoes & for that I thank you with all my heart. The poem you gave me is the best gift I WILL EVER receive. You are one of the most caring & empathetic people I know. I love you.

Julie- I appreciate knowing you are a phone call away. I am so saddened that we can not share in our in our excitement of us both having newborns. It was not suppose to be this way. We should have babies born within days of each other. I looked forward to spending the summer together with our babies & having play dates & joking about how they would grow up & get married. I am sorry that I find it hard to see Dylan. I know that will change, I do. I will someday be able to look at him & think of Janessa & be at peace. He will help keep her memory alive. At every milestone I will see Janessa. I wish I could take part in his first milestones…I am getting there. Thank you for sharing tears with me. You are a great friend.

Angie - The only other friend I have shed tears with. Thank you for being able to talk about Janessa. Thank you for always thinking of us & her. I know I am impossible to get a hold of so thank you for trying. I miss you guys so much!

Deb - For helping me start Janessa’s garden. I will never forget that. I am looking forward to the spring to get back in there.

Meli - For the many wonderful emails & such kind words. You have brought me moments of comfort.

Stacy - For your many many wonderful words of comfort, thank you.

Blogger Ladies - All my followers on blogger. You all have been a saving grace to me. I know you are there any time of the day. I have met some amazing women. I am sad that it had to be under these circumstances. You all are a blessing to me.

ELHAS supporters - Thank you to everyone who has checked out Every Life Has A Story website & became a fan on Facebook. Thank you to those who have sent there supportive messages and guest book entries. I appreciate that & it keeps me going on days I don’t have anything left. And a special thank you to Dyanna who is by far my biggest supporter of this project. Thank you for all you have done & said to help me. I appreciate it so very very much!

Janessa’s candles - Thank you to each & every one of you who took the time to light a candle in Janessa’s memory. I know its hard for you to imagine how something like that can mean so much to us. I try & save each one I see. If I have missed yours I am sorry. Please light another candle & send a message my way letting me know. I would love to save yours as well for her memory book I plan on starting.

And lastly the person who deserves the most gratitude,

Janessa - My sweet little girl. What you have taught me in the very short amount of time we had you, is what most people cannot learn in a lifetime. I have learned how very precious life is & how in the matter of minutes your life can change forever. You have made me cherish having your brother even more than before. You have made me try & live in the moment more than I used to. You have made me a better mom. You have also brought me & Daddy even closer together than before. I have become a better wife. I am a completely new person. You have changed me forever. You have made me a better person. You have left an imprint on me that I will carry my entire life. There wil not be a day that you will not have had an impact on. I thank you. I love you. I miss you, forever.

I am truly sorry if I missed anyone. I will come back & edit as people pop into my mind.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Abiding Hope

About 2 weeks ago I recieved Janessa's hope collage from Franchesca Cox at Abiding Hope Collages. You can sumit your child's name along with up to 13 words about them. She makes these collages from her heart and at no charge.

Janessa's came out beautiful. Thank you Franchesca!! We love it!

Abiding: Lasting for a long time; enduring; continuing

Friday, October 2, 2009

I Will Carry You

I thought I would post this song for those who may have not heard it yet. I have not come across it on anyone's music player. The words are amazing. It is exactly how I feel about Janessa. It was written by Scott & Angie Smith and is sung by the group Selah.

So take a listen but first grab a tissue.

I Will Carry You

There were photographs I wanted to take
Things I wanted to show you
Sing sweet lullabies, wipe your teary eyes
Who could love you like this?

People say that I am brave but I'm not
Truth is I'm barely hanging on
But there's a greater story
Written long before me
Because he loves you like this

I will carry you
While your heart beats here
Long beyond the empty cradle
Through the coming years

I will carry you all my life
And I will praise the One whose chosen me
To carry you

Such a short time
Such a long road
All this madness
But I know
That the silence
Has brought me to His voice

And he says...
I've shown her photographs of time beginning
Walked her through the parted seas
Angel lullabies, no more teary eyes
Who could love her like this?

I will carry you
While your heart beats here
Long beyond the empty cradle
Through the coming years

I will carry you
All your life
And I will praise the one whose chosen me
To carry you

Monday, September 14, 2009

It's been four months...

My sweet baby girl,

I cannot believe four months have come and gone since I touched your soft skin. How perfect you felt in my arms that day. I remember it as if it were yesterday.

It is already fall. The summer is gone…..the summer we were suppose to take you home.

I have no idea how this much time has passed. I am stuck on that day. Maybe its because I do not want to let you go. No matter how much time passes I will never completely let you go. Or maybe its because this world of grief is consuming me. I feel as though each day I am drowning without you. Sometimes I physically feel that I cannot breathe.

I miss you more than I could ever put down in words. I am lost without you here. This new life without you is almost impossible to adjust to. It is unnatural for a mother to be without her baby. My mind knows you are gone but my heart searches for you every day.

I remember when your brother JJ was 4 months old. I try and picture you at that age. I cannot. All I see is you sound asleep wrapped up in that beautiful hand knitted blanket with your little white hat on. I regret not taking a picture of you without it on. I can still see your very dark brown hair exactly like your brother had when he was born. You had just as much as he did I can only imagine how much hair you would’ve had if you were born 9 weeks later.

I imagine what it would have been like to have you home with us. How much fun it would be to have a baby around again. How exciting it would be for JJ to be a big brother to you. I think how sleep deprived we still may be and how much I would give anything for that right now. I find myself sleeping as much as I can now. Maybe since the nightmares have finally eased up a bit, sleeping is my way of escaping the pain I feel. Yes, I know it is.

I am unsure how I have managed to make it this long without you. JJ reminds me why I keep going each day. I know that you would want me to keep pushing on, so I do.

I am your Mommy. I always will be. I would’ve loved to be a Mommy to you.

I think of you from the minute I wake up until the moment I drift off to sleep. I will miss you everyday for the rest of my life. I will ALWAYS feel your absence. I will forever see an empty spot in each family picture that will be taken. I will feel a void at each holiday and family event. It has already happened. I will do my best to keep your memory alive and at the same time give your brother all of me that is left. For when you left you took a big piece of me with you.

Mommy loves you, forever.
So here is Janessa’s 4 month picture. Nothing like I imagined it be.

This is not suppose to be this way.

Today we sent her some more balloons. JJ had mentioned to his counselor that he wanted to send her the picture he & his Dad had made months ago. It has sat on her changing table this whole time.

I thought today would be the best day to do that. I wrote her a letter and so did my husband.

Here are our balloons.

I never imagined celebrating her 4 month “birthday” this way. I had so much planned out for us as a new family of four….

Today I mourn my daughter. I mourn the life she will never live. I mourn all my dreams for her, for us a family.

Today I mourn our old life and the old “me” and try to figure out who I am now with a part of me in heaven.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Beauty From Pain

I have been watching my niece during the day recently. Having a little girl around is bittersweet. There are moments during the nine hours that I have her that I look at her and I want to just sob. She looks so much like my husband it makes my mind wander to the "what-ifs". We know what Janessa looked like. She looked so much like JJ. But newborns change so much I wonder who she would’ve looked like more. Would she also had JJ’s blue/gray eyes? Would she have kept her very dark brown hair or would it of changed to light brown like JJ’s did? Would her hair of been straight like Mommy’s or beautiful curls like Daddy’s? Would she of had her daddy’s skin tone? And then that leads to a mountain of more “I wonders” …. Some days are pretty cruel. Our niece is definitely a bright little light to have around and although she may trigger some deep dark emotions, she brings me moments of laughter and smiles I so desperately need.

We officially started Janessa’s garden about 11 days ago. My mother’s best friend came by to help. She generously brought some plants from her garden to add to Janessa’s. It is coming along quite well. I am very excited to see it in the spring when all the bulbs we planted bloom. Most of the plants my Mom bought me should come back in the spring as well. I have received plants for the garden by several people and I appreciate that so very much. I plan to put a little dedication tag near each given plant to remember who it was given by. My neighbor has offered to make us a bench. The generosity we have been shown is amazing. For those who have messaged me about donating a plant, bush, statue or other garden item in memory of Janessa, thank you. xo

We are hoping to be finished for the season in the next week or so. Spring will bring a whole new opportunity for ideas in the garden. I will post better pictures when we are done.

JJ also got to help a few days after school and last Saturday and during the weekdays my niece has been able to get her hands dirty in there as well.

Ripping and digging into the earth, planting new life, and channeling my grief and energy into the garden has been very therapeutic and healing for me. I'm looking forward to sharing pictures with you all.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Birthday Gift

My 26th birthday is tomorrow. I am not in a celebrating mood by any means. This past week has been one of the hardest since the beginning but that is all besides the point of this post and for another day....

I was given an early birthday present from one of my closest friends a couple weeks ago. It was one of the most beautiful gifts I have ever received.

My friend Amy wrote me a poem about Janessa for me. I conveyed to her how much I loved it but I don’t think she will ever know how much that poem means to me.

She is a mom. She has a son the same age as my son. I know she feels my pain. I know she tries to imagine what it would be like to lose a child. I know she is one of the few people who “get it” even though she has never herself lost a child. That alone means so much to me.

So Amy, thank you again and that thank you comes from the depth of my soul.

Here is the poem:

I’m so sorry for your loss, it was something so unimaginable,
I feel for you for what it costs, from the bottom of my soul.

I couldn’t imagine being in your shoes, not even for one day,
Because I don’t know what I would do if the Lord took mine away.

As a Mom or a Dad this is what we fear,
To have something taken away that we love so dear.

From the beginning of knowing whether it’s a boy or a girl,
We already have their futures planned to unravel and unfold.

To see them off to kindergarten with their lunchbox in their hands,
To wait for them to come home and see how their day has been.

To watch them go to high school and attend the senior prom,
To see them graduate with honors the proudest Dad and Mom.

Don’t think of Janessa as gone, but away for just a little while,
She’ll be welcoming you one day with her sweet angel smile.

All the pain your feeling now slowly God will mend.
Just know that if you need someone,
You’ll always have a friend.

“I’m Sorry My Friend”

(c) Amy Tucker 2009

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Shopping Trip

I have mentioned in previous posts how shopping has become very painful. It still is. I may hide it well but I HATE SHOPPING. I hate seeing all the little girly items I was once so excited for. I have a hard time seeing little girls shopping with their Moms. I have never been a "BIG" shopper anyways but now I go in and come out as fast as I can. I avoid it at all costs.

I am sure in time the dreaded feeling will subside or atleast I hope it does...

I found this poem that said it all quite well.

The Shopping Trip
Linda Vicory

As I persue the aisles,
of the local store,
I see things more differently,
than I ever have before.

"Daddy's Little Angel",
the embroidered bibs do read.
But, Daddy's angel is in Heaven,
and bibs she does not need.

She does not need a bottle,
a dress or a toy.
Of buying those things for her,
we shall never know the joy.

There are tiny jars of baby food,
that she will never eat
And shiny shoes with buckles,
that will never touch her feet.

As the bikes and trikes taunt me,
from high up on the rack,
Tears will break free from my eyes,
if I dare look back.

I run off to the restroom,
to blow my nose and cry.
I wipe my eyes, swallow hard,
and let out a sigh.

I must go face the paper,
college and wide rule,
That my little angel,
will never use in school.

I hurry past the greeting cards,
that the people chose with care,
And I am reminded,
of the holidays we shall not share.

In the checkout line I bow my head,
and heavy is my heart,
For the family right in front of me
has a newborn in their cart.

Shopping in the local store,
used to be mundane.
Now every aisle's full of items,
which remind me of my pain.

So, quick as I can I give the cashier,
the money from my purse,
And hurry away from those who don't know my pain,
in this foreignly happy universe.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Precious Signs

One evening last week our son took an unexpected and well welcomed nap. I needed some downtime so I sat on my back porch for awhile. It was one of the few moments it was not raining. I sat there as my mind went a mile a minute and had a good cry. I was picturing my little girl’s face when a tiny pure white feather started to float past me. “A feather from her angel wing” I thought. Oh if I could’ve reached out & caught it. A few days before that while sitting on the porch while upset, I looked up to the sky and in the clouds saw a perfectly formed “angel”. I ran into the house to grab my camera but by the time I got out the clouds had shifted ever so slightly and the angel was lost. How beautiful would that picture of been and how nice that would’ve been to have.

We went to the Beach yesterday. Thankfully the weather held out for us. It was beautiful. As I watched our son play in the sand from our blanket I was thinking about everything in general. After a loss when you do simple things like go to the beach you think how that person is missing. Or in our case how we wouldn’t be at the beach if Janessa had arrived when she was due. That’s what was going through my mind when my husband called out for my attention. A pretty yellow/orange butterfly was circling in between us. I watched it for a second before it flew away. "How odd!" we both thought to see a butterfly at the beach. No grass, trees or flowers nearby. “Another sign” I thought. As we got in the car I realized how disconnected again I was from the day. I didn’t even go down to the water or play in the sand with JJ. “Why didn’t I?”, I thought. What did I do the whole day? I realized that I am letting moments slip right past me in my grief. In the end I am now losing even more than what we have already lost. I am going to try & work on that.

We have also started to discuss doing a memorial service for Janessa. A final goodbye now that the “fog” has lifted. We are not positive what we want to do just yet but this week I will be figuring that out. Everyone will be welcome at this service. For her funeral we were in such a fog that we weren’t able to let all of our friends know. We weren’t sure we could handle a big group and honestly at the funeral home I felt so overwhelmed. I was more than grateful to have everyone who came there but the weight of the situation was suffocating me. This time will be different. I will be able to think somewhat clear & incorporate some ideas that will I hope bring us some healing, I will let everyone know the details once it is planned. Thank you to those who have offered your help, I may need some.

I also mentioned that I wanted to find a way to bring some good out of this situation. I wanted to find a way to give back for all the generosity we were shown. I also wanted a way to reach out to Moms & families who have been struck by this type of loss. I decided to create Every Life Has A Story. It’s a website designed to allow me to help other families create a video in memory of the child they lost. I understand that not everyone is familiar with video making programs. I enjoy that, not necessarily the reason behind it but it is something that I know has brought me an immense amount of healing. As a lot of you know I made one a few years after my Dad passed and truly feel that it gave me the closure I needed. I cannot explain how or why except that when you lose a child, especially a baby, you do not have a lot of mementos. I started working on Janessa’s very shortly after I got home from the hospital. Having a memorial video gives you another piece of your baby and every piece you have gives you comfort. I hope to help just one family through their time of healing. It is almost complete.

I would also like to thank everyone who has and those who continue to light the “virtual” candles for Janessa. I have tried to save each one & I am sorry if I missed one or two. Its nice to see them when I check the site each night.

I think I have rambled on enough here. Thank you for reading if you made it this far, lol… I also truly appreciate the kinds words you all leave as comments or private messages.

Once I process everything I will let you know how tomorrow goes…my god I am so nervous!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Wall

You are walking along fine with everyone else and the sun is shining and all is well, then you walk SLAM into a brick wall. And It hurts – it really hurts. It hurts your head and your chest where your heart is and your stomach. And it shocks you as only slamming into a brick wall can. It stops you dead in your tracks. And you stand there thinking, "How did I not see that coming? What the hell happened? How could someone just do that to me?" And you look around and everyone else seems to be walking around the wall. They are carrying on like nothing happened and the sun is still shining for them. They don't even see the wall. They don't even know it's there. And you realize you didn't even know it was there until you hit it – you didn't even know there was a brick wall you could hit – not now, not at this stage. And slowly you pull yourself back together. The pain in your stomach has turned to a sick feeling and your heart still hurts, your mind racing with questions about this brick wall – How, What, Where, Why??? Mostly WHY??? Why on earth would someone make you walk into this wall – why did they have to put it in front of you?

And you can walk again - the pain in your stomach and maybe your legs has lessened. So you slowly make your way around the wall and to the other side. But it doesn't look the same on the other side. It's grayer and emptier. And you know you've left something behind – something very precious and you want it back. So you turn around and there is the brick wall behind you and it seems to hit you with the same force again when you realize you can't go back. It's blocking your path and it will always be there. You pummel your fists on it and cry and shout at it but it's unbreakable and absolute. It won't let you get your precious bundle back – that has to stay on the other side and you must carry on without it. You can't go back to the path you were on before you hit the brick wall – it's impossible. So all you can do is go forward and walk on from it. But it's hard going and your legs don't seem to want to walk away from it. You know when you look over your shoulder it will always be there. It may fade a bit from view but if you look closely you will always be able to see it – even in the distance. Now nothing really seems to hold any importance compared to your lost precious bundle. And you look around you again and see all the people who never hit the brick wall carrying on too. You tell some of them about the brick wall and they sympathize – “it must've hurt” they say. You are looking very well despite this brick wall – you have no cuts or bruises on the outside – because those heal. “So you must be doing ok then now” they say. "But my wounds are on the inside!", you feel like screaming. How can you not know about this brick wall – why was it me who walked into this wall? And then you feel bad – you know you wouldn't really want anyone else to walk into that wall.

Some people are ok – maybe they have seen the wall themselves in the past or came close to it – maybe they are really good friends/family who close their eyes and do try to imagine walking into the wall. They are the ones who help you keep walking away from it. People tell you that you'll never hit this brick wall again – it only appears once in your life. And you want to believe them even though you can't ever be sure. Up ahead it looks like maybe your path does cross back into the sunshine again – the same sunshine that everyone else is basking in. And you can maybe just make out another bundle waiting for you to pick up and carry with you for the rest of your life. And maybe if you are strong and keep moving forward then you'll reach it one day. But it's not the same bundle as before – it can't be. That one is behind the wall. The wall that's always there if you look over your shoulder. And written on it forever more is the message in letters a mile high, that only you can see "My precious baby. Rest in Peace".

Saturday, June 20, 2009

"I'm fine, I'm well, I'm coping"

My Mom, she tells a lot of lies
she never did before.
From now until she dies,
she'll tell a whole lot more.
Ask my Mom how she is
and because she can't explain,
She will tell a little lie
because she can't describe the pain.
Ask my Mom how is she,
She'll say "I'm alright."
If that's the truth, then tell me,
why does she cry each night?
Ask my Mom how is she,
she seems to cope so well.
She didn't have a choice you see
nor the strength to yell.
Ask my Mom how she is,
"I'm fine, I'm well, I'm coping."
For Gods sake Mom,
just tell the truth
just say your heart is broken.
She'll love me all her life,
I loved her all of mine.
But if you ask her how is she
she'll lie and say she's fine.
I am here in Heaven.
I cannot hug from here.
If she lies to you don't listen
,Hug her and 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!"

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

He Lost His Baby Too

Men Don't Cry

It must be very difficult
To be a man in grief,
Since "men don't cry"
and "men are strong"
No tears can bring relief.

It must be very difficult
To stand up to the test
And field the calls and visitors
So she can get some rest.

They always ask if she's all right
And what she's going through.
But seldom take his hand and ask,
"My friend, but how are you?"

He hears her crying in the night
And thinks his heart will break.
He dries her tears and comforts her,
But "stays strong" for her sake.

It must be very difficult
To start each day anew
And try to be so very brave -

He lost his baby too.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Fake it 'til I Make it

Thank you to all who came yesterday to JJ's birthday party. We needed a distraction. We had decided very early on that we would still hold his party. He was looking forward to it and it didn't seem right to cancel it. He has been through a lot more than what I think any six year old should have to deal with. With Janessa's passing, we feel even more grateful to be able to celebrate our son's life on his birthday. We have been blessed with such an amazing little boy. He has really kept me going through all of this. If it wasn't for him I wouldn't get out of bed each morning. My husband has been so strong through his own pain and grief, and without him I could not function. To see him hurting like he is kills me. I hope he knows he doesn't need to be strong.

Yesterday, while we were setting up for the party, our neighbor came out to say hello. He asked how I was doing and I replied, "I am going through the motions." He said, "you can fake it 'til you make it." I realized right then that is what I have been doing. I am not okay. We are not okay.

There were moments at the party (and each day) where I didn't think I would make it through the day. Every smile felt forced and each laugh seemed to hurt. There is not much I will not do for my child so I pulled myself together to host this party for him. I am glad I did, but this is one of the hardest things I have ever done. He keeps telling us how much he loved his party and the other kids seem to have had fun. For that I am grateful. So again, thank you to those who came and helped.

For now I will continue to "fake it 'til I make it" when I need to for my son's sake. But I will not pretend that we are doing well. We are falling apart. There will be moments when I will have to be strong and fake my composure until I make it, but make it to what? That, I have no idea...I know the person I was before is forever gone...

We will have to rebuild ourselves, and our lives.

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