Love, Light, Strength & Purpose

Happy birthday Delilah Evangeline. You continue to be an unparalled force of nature in my life and the driving influence behind all that i have learned and accomplished these last six years.

LOVE – All of this starts and ends with love. If you strip everything down, I do what I do because its a way to honor my love for you and to make sure that love is known to others who never have chance to meet you.

LIGHT – You are my sun and my moon, the guidance in times of joy and places of darkness.  I am always captivated by the way little coincidences don’t seem so coincidental anymore when I look at the path I’ve been navigating since you left.

STRENGTH – I continue to find strength in you and have been able to provide strength to others who need it to endure overwhelming heartbreak.

PURPOSE – I can’t say (and never will) that there was a purpose for you dying, not in a real way.  I mean, there is a logical medical reason, but there is not a universal acceptance that will make sense that can explain reasoning for the loss of one so wanted, and so loved. Awful things happen to those who never deserved it, and that has been one of the most difficult things to wrap my head around as I searched for an explanation.  But my experience with grief and loss has opened up a world of intriguing information and passion that I would likely not have found otherwise.  You are behind everything I do; sometimes in a very lucid way, and sometimes so subtly that I don’t realize it until in hindsight.

It’s these reasons that I started the Tangerine Owl Project in your memory.  Its for these reasons that it continues to evolve, because little girl, you are the essence of it all. Sharing you with the world is an honor and a privilege that I am thankful for every moment.

With love, always.

Poppy’s Dream – MMBWGL

Today I had the opportunity to take part in something so beautiful and meaningful, it filled my heart and soul.

I serve on the bereavement committee for the Mother’s Milk Bank of the Western Great Lakes (www.milkbankwgl.org).   Together, we look for ways to acknowledge and honor mamas who have donated their milk after a loss. Those of you who know me know that I donated Delilah’s milk after she died, I didn’t see any reason not to.  I know that other mothers struggle with the idea of milk that was meant to sustain their child going to someone else.  It can be a painful thought and only mothers can make the choice that is right for them.

That said, for many bereaved moms, donating milk has been a tangible way to connect with their baby.  They find hope and peace knowing that their child can provide for another child in need.

Most often, donor milk is used for NICU babies who aren’t able to get milk from their own mothers for a variety of reasons, and IT IS CRITICAL to their survival.  Donor milk from mothers of preemies, is even more rare, and provides a different makeup of essential nutrients than normal full-term babies mother’s breast milk.  Donating Milk saves lives.

We reveled in that yesterday at the unveiling of Poppy’s Dream, a gorgeous tile mural at the milk bank that accompanies personalized stars with the names & birthdates of donor babies. We held a ceremony for the unveiling, and had an unprecedented attendance from donor families. It was a mix of emotions for those who attended as they reflected on their experience. I was asked to share Delilah’s story, and again was reminded of how meaningful she has been to others who were able to thrive and grow with her milk.  This mural serves as a reminder to the staff of why the milk bank exists, and its a stunning representation of the delicate balance in life, and the good that can come from bad.

It is an honor to serve on the bereavement committee for MMBWGL and allowed me a bit of space to be present with my thoughts on Delilah (who was also recognized in the candlelighting ceremony).  And what better timing as her birthday is tomorrow…..

There goes the universe working in mysterious ways again.

 

SACRED

All over the world mothers of pregnancy and infant loss united in a project put into the works by Stephanie Paige Cole & Pia Dorer.  A project months in the making for us who submitted our photos (and much much longer than that for the Stephanie & Pia), the film was released late yesterday for the world to view. In 7 minutes it has managed to encapsulate the intangible. Please take a look here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EphBe_Xmck8&feature=youtu.be

These brilliant women and their collaborators put together a remarkable film full of imagery and hopefulness. The word Inspiration quite frankly feels like an understatement….. this is a visual dialogue on just how many of us have walked in these shoes worldwide, and what we are left with when we look at it in these terms, is stunning. The Sacred Project film is now a part of history and I am moved beyond words at the finished film. It speaks volumes.

Please watch and SHARE this project with your world, because its one of the most simple and loving ways we can influence change.  My deepest heartfelt thank you to everyone involved for bringing this to life.

More than one

lose it all quote

This is worded so perfectly, I couldn’t help but share.  It’s from Stephanie Cole’s book Still: a collection of honest artwork & writings from the heart of a grieving mother. www.sweetpeaproject.org/book

My heart sighs at just how truly profound and un-ending our losses as parents are when a child dies.  Sometimes I’m able to ignore dwelling on the nagging empty space that my heart holds for D. When I allow my mind to wander,  its these types of things that I grow angry about. I know we’re suppose to be happy about the fact that we got to spend any time at all with our little wonders (if we had the chance), but that doesn’t negate the fact that we have still all lost these opportunities to watch our children grown and experience the world and the wonders of life. It’s never singular; we continue to lose, over and over again.

You Should Be Here

You should be here because we love you.  Isn’t that enough?

You should be here because we need you.  Though we may never outright admit to it.

You should be here because life is supposed to be better when you surround yourself with those who care about you.  But sometimes things still suck just as much.

You should be here, but you’re not.  Whether by chance or choice doesn’t matter. 

You are standing still and our world keep spinning. Catch up if you can.

Or am I still trying to catch up to you?

Winning at life? Give yourself a little credit…

I saw this article here on lifehack.org and thought I would share, because sometimes we all feel like we’re not growing and going places and that can be hard.  Give yourself a little credit! I know that I’ve made a lot of progress over the last 5 years, but I’m still working on some of them… The point is to appreciate how you have grown and if you want to make your life “better” then pick one of these things and make it an active task to work on this week/month/year.

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20 Signs You’re Succeeding In Life, Even If You Don’t Feel You Are

1. Your relationships are less dramatic than they used to be.

Drama is not maturity. As we age, we should develop maturity. So maybe your relationships were drama-filled in your past, but if you have moved beyond that, then you are successful.

2. You are not afraid to ask for help and support any more.

Asking for help does not equal weakness. In fact, it is a strength. No person has ever succeeded in isolation. It takes teamwork to accomplish goals. Asking or help is a sign that you have grown as a person.

3. You have raised your standards.

You don’t tolerate bad behavior any more – from other people, or even yourself. You hold people accountable for their actions. You don’t spend time with the “energy vampires” in your life anymore.

4. You let go of things that don’t make you feel good.

No, this is not narcissistic even though it might seem like it. Self-love is success. Love yourself enough to say ‘no’ to anything that doesn’t make you happy, doesn’t serve your purpose, or drags you down.

5. You have moments where you appreciate who you see in the mirror.

Ideally, you should appreciate who you see in the mirror at every moment. But even if that doesn’t happen, if you do it more than you used to, then that is success. Love yourself. You are awesome.

6. You have learned that setbacks and failure are part of self-growth.

Not everyone can have success 100% of the time. That’s just not realistic. Life is about victories and losses. So look at your setbacks as stepping stones to something better. In reality, there really is no such thing as as setback. It’s all just part of a wondrous journey.

7. You have a support system that includes people who would do anything for you.

If you have figured out the people who “have your back” and recognized the ones who only pretend that they do, then you have succeeded. This is a painful realization, but once you learn to see the signs of betrayal, you can stay away from those people.

8. You don’t complain much.

Because you know there really is nothing to complain about. Unless you really have gone through some horrific life experience and had unimaginable losses, most of what we all experience on a day-to-day basis is just mundane. And successful people know that. And they live in a space of gratitude.

9. You can celebrate others’ successes.

Just because other people succeed, that doesn’t make you a failure. Applaud the people who rise to the top. The more positive energy you give to other people’s victories, the more you will create your own.

10. You have passions that you pursue.

You are not stagnant. You know you have something wonderful to contribute to the world. You have unique talents and gifts. Not only do you know that, you pursue it.

11. You have things to look forward to.

If you don’t have exciting things going on in your life that you are eagerly anticipating, then you are slowly dying inside. Successful people create goals that they are passionate about pursuing. They let this excitement drive their life.

12. You have goals that have come true.

Even though “failures” are a part of life, you have stuck to your goals and dreams long enough to make them come to fruition. You have  some tastes of victory. It fuels you.

13. You have empathy for others.

A person without empathy is dead inside. Empathy equals spreading love and positive energy into the world. Successful people know this. They love others as if they are family.

14. You love deeply and open yourself up to be loved by others.

Love is risky, and sometimes scary for people. It’s the one thing we all strive for, but it’s also intimately tied to the one thing we fear the most – rejection. If you open your heart enough to love and be loved, then you are successful.

15. You refuse to be be a victim.

You know that life doesn’t always happen to you. Many times, you are a co-creator of your life experiences. Successful people know this and refuse to be kept down by life experiences. The rise up and conquer anyway.

16. You don’t care what other people think.

You know you can’t please everyone. You know that the standards with which society judges people is many times unrealistic. So you just keep true to yourself and love the person you are.

17. You always look on the bright side.

Life can be full of disappointments – if you choose to see them that way. Otherwise, they are learning opportunities. No negative experience is ever wasted as long as you learn from it.

18. You accept what you can’t change.

Let’s face it – there many things you can’t change in life. All you can change is how you view what happens. If you can change your negative perspective on situations to a positive one, then you are successful.

19. You change what you can.

And let’s face it again – there are many things you can change in life. Successful people don’t sit around accepting the negatives that are changeable. They get out there and do something about it!!

20. You are happy.

To me, this is the ultimate definition of success. It doesn’t matter what the balance is in your bank account, how big your house is,  or how many fancy vacations you take. If you are happy, then you are succeeding in life.

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So there it is.  Are you winning?  Are you setting some new goals?  Either way, you’re doing something, and that’s on the road to where you want to be as a human being.  So much more than fame & fortune isn’t it?