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.

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