It's been a while.....

Wow...has it really been 2 1/2 months since I last posted? Well, I do have very good excuses:
1. There was the planning of the 2ND Annual Rainbow of Roses Remembrance Celebration for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness


2. My husband got a new job and we moved two states over!

All of this has happened in the last 2 1/2 months so I think I get a pass for being gone so long. It's been a busy couple of months to be sure. The Remembrance went well. The weather did not turn out the way we had hoped, it was about 45 degrees and drizzling...so 300 floating lanterns on the pond just did not happen. But we had such a great group of volunteers who sprung into action and moved all the candles to the embankment by the pond, it was still a stunning sight to behold. The event itself went well, even though we did not have the turnout we were hoping for, I'm sure due to the weather and the location being outdoors. I suppose that's the risk you run with an outdoor event in October. We had a great band who played wonderful, inspirational music, beautiful poems and letters written by a bereaved grandmother and two surviving triplets who are now 20 years old, and we had a wonderful selection of remembrance jewelry from Heart Gems. Heart Gems even donated a portion of their proceeds to the Foundation! (Thanks Candy!)

All in all, the purpose of the event was not lost and those that came to remember and honor their angels left with a bit of hope and camaraderie being among people who truly understand the devastation of the loss of a child.
Cory Wilkes from Wilkes Photography and Alice Lund from Whitlock Studios both took wonderful photographs that will be turned into a DVD set to music. Both photographers donated their time to take the pictures and Cory is donating her time to create the DVD. We'll have the DVD's for sale (for a tiny fee to cover postage mainly) on the website in January if all goes well. Speaking of the website, it's been a long process but we are making headway. Hopefully, fingers crossed, we can complete it in January. And thanks to our involvement with the Georgia Preemie Health Coalition, we will be able to receive PR services, gratis, for a period of time! Thank you Moore Consulting Group and MedImmune. We really are hoping we can launch some our programs in full force in 2010.

So, on a more personal level...We’ve moved to our new house in Mississippi. Leaving Monroe was hard in a sense because it was where I had all three girls under one roof. I had to leave behind the room that I shared with Zoe, the playroom where they all played together, the room that would have held all three cribs had Zoe lived just a few months longer. I have to continue to trust that physical places do not keep you connected to people you love most deeply. They are kept in your heart, solidly, forever. Much like when the girls were all in the NICU, I had to re-train my mental image of the mother/child bond. Gone were the pictures and movies of women lovingly holding and caressing their newborn child after an arduous labor, instantaneous love connecting mother and baby from that precious moment. I had to learn that the mother/child bond is not created solely out of physical touch. The bond, which lasts forever, is rooted in the very depths of your soul, your love, which you pour out…though most often very privately and silently, in any way possible. Even the tears you cry at their bedsides are full of love, a love so intense that each salty drop contains the fear of losing the very baby you see through the walls of an isolette.

I’ve written before that I don’t necessarily feel Zoe’s presence, it’s more that I am aware of her absence. I don’t walk into my bedroom and think “Zoe’s here.” It’s more that I walk into a friend’s house and know that she isn’t there.

As I was finishing up a shower one Saturday morning in our new house I overheard a conversation between Avery and Richard. It went a little bit like this, and I am paraphrasing:

Avery: “Zoe was in my room this morning.”

Richard: “She was? What was she doing?”

Avery: “she was crying, she said she was trying to find our new house.”

Richard: “Oh, but she found it. Did she say anything else?”

Avery: “She said ‘I love my mommy’”

Richard: “That’s good. Then what happened?”

Avery: “Then she got in my bed and got under covers with me.”

Oh, the tears I cried. How I wished I had known she was there, how I wish I had seen her too, like Avery had. Some may be skeptical, that this is simply a toddler trying to reconcile being in a new home and coming to understand that one of her sisters is not physically present. Don't think I ignore the fact that Avery and Lily both are trying to "figure" things out, but I also I see it differently (and I don’t want to be told to see it any other way), just let me have these moments with my angel. I see it as God speaking through Avery so that I will know that yes, Zoe loves me very much and yes, she will follow us no matter where we go. Geography cannot keep us apart. Our love runs deeper than can be explained even with the most eloquent string of words. Though she is not alive on Earth, I believe she is very much alive in Heaven. No Earthly forces can come between a bond first formed in Heaven.

I miss her so much right now. With the move and the holidays and their birthday and then her angelversary. It is just so much to take on at one time. Every single day I hand it over to the Lord. I lay my grief at His feet. I tell Him I don’t want to hurt Avery and Lily in my grief over Zoe and yet I don’t want to dishonor or forget Zoe by pushing her to the back of my mind. Finding this balance is something only He can help me do, with all my will and mind-power, it cannot be done by me alone. Like everything else that I think I can process and understand and turn over and over in my mind, I need only to give it to Him and have faith that He will provide. He always has and He always will.

He has provided me with an incredibly supportive and loving husband and family who have stepped in to help me out a bit during the next few weeks. My in-laws, my dad, and my mom are all making trips to see us for a few days each, just to give me a little bit of a break so I don't start heading in a downward direction, which would be very easy to do! It's not that I need to run away for a weekend by myself, it's more that I'd like to take a nice long shower that isn't rushed during their naptime. Naptime is when I try to have my quiet time that's just for me, but inevitably it turns in doing laundry, taking the dog out, doing dishes, picking up toys etc. So I am incredibly thankful and blessed to have the family support that I have.

My sister-in-law did a wonderful thing for me recently. At holiday times and milestones where it seems I miss Zoe the most, I always try to think of something I could do or make or write that would honor her that would show her that I love her and haven't forgotten her. I can never seem to think of anything that feels like it is "enough". I have to remember what Jeanine said to me at about this time last year. She said "No matter what you do, what you say, what you write, it will never seem like enough. Release 100 balloons in the sky with a prayer on each one and you'll think you should have released more. It doesn't matter WHAT you do because your love for her IS enough. And you have to trust and believe that it is. Your love for Zoe is enough." I think I need to type that out and place on the wall in front of me. Yes, my love is enough for her....but....I still want to do something.

You may remember, in October of 2008, the Atlanta Speech School memorialized Zoe by placing an angel statue with a plaque dedicating a little garden to her memory. Last year I went to put a poinsettia by her angel and it wasn't there. I later learned it was in storage inside while they awaited a part that would affix the statue to the ground so it couldn't be stolen. In talking to my sister-in-law one day I asked if she would put a little Christmas tree by Zoe's angel this year. She made a tree that is just absolutely perfect! It is most definitely a "Zoe tree". You'll see the picture of it. I was simply overcome with emotion, I can not describe the feeling I had inside my heart when I saw the photos. My heart truly felt warm and full. It was a fullness that I haven't felt in a while, a fullness that I figured I probably wouldn't ever feel again. But just that simple act of remembering my daughter, doing something beautiful for her (and me), and knowing that every single person who walks into the school will see that tree, look at her angel, read the plaque, and if they don't already know about Zoe...they just might ask about her.

I told Richard that the thing I was most scared and sad about with regards to our move was that I would be going somewhere where no one knew Zoe. All my ties to her are in Atlanta. All the people who worked with her and took care of her and came to love her are there, not here. As I cried about this, he said to me "Look at it this way...we're moving to a place where we can tell people about her, tell her story, and ours. More and more people will come to know our angel. So, we won't lose our ties to Zoe, we'll create more." What would I do without him?

I am truly, truly blessed. If I can add one thing it would be this...if you know someone who has lost someone, especially a child, make a point to mention their angel in Heaven this holiday season. It just might be the perfect gift.

Zoe's Christmas Tree

A few of the 300 candles we lit
for angel babies in Heaven


Anonymous said...

absolutely beautiful! And I agree that our angles need to be talked about. I love hearing my baby's name and it doesn't happen often enough!

Mary said...

What a beautiful gift that Avery saw Zoe. I know our survivors see our Angels. I am thinking about beautiful Zoe Rose and sending prayers your way for strength and comfort.

And I agree with Jill our Angels need to be talked about and I love hearing my angels name too, it is so sweet.



Anonymous said...

I totally agree with you that Zoe is speaking to you...such a blessing. Thankful that you have such great support around you.

All time favorite video of Zoe!

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Bible verses that comfort me

"Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord."
~ 2 Corinthians 5:8

"Let the children come to me. Don't stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children....Then he took the children in his arms and placed his hands on their heads and blessed them"
~ Mark10:14 & 10:16

"...those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint"~ Isaiah40:31