Friday, October 18, 2013

Capture your grief Day 17: Time

Capture your grief Day 16: Seasons

Steve was so sweet to do a load of laundry while I was out last night, and fold it. It's time to start swapping out Joey's shorts for pants, something that I will never ever do for my daughter. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Capture your grief Day 14: Family

I hate that 2 separate pictures are needed to represent our family. These were both taken on the same day.

Capture your grief Day 13: Book

My sweet sister-in-law gave me this book when she came for the funeral. It was wrapped in a pretty green organza bow and had a card with it. It ended up in a bag from the funeral home with the rest of the cards and things that one gets from the funeral home. I didn't pull it out to even read the card right away, it was just too much.

Several days later, I finally got up the courage to at least open the card, and then look at the book. Once I started reading, I could not put it down. I read and sobbed and read and sobbed. It was very difficult to read, because I knew the pain, and because it was so fresh. But it was wonderful to read, too. Because there was hope. Not the hope that comes from reading about a family that is a year or more out from losing their child, but the hope of Jesus.

I tried reading another book that they hand out at the support group that I went to a couple times, but I could not get beyond the first few pages. Why? Because there was no Jesus there. There was no hope. 

The sermon at church on Sunday was on this exact subject, and Hans did such an awesome job. If you have a hard time understanding the purpose, or the reason these horrible, awful things happen, you can listen  here.

The verses that stick out the most to me are Romans 8:18 "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us." and 2 Corinthians 4:17 "For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all." AMEN!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Capture your grief Day 12: Article

I had read this article before, but didn't realize it was written by the man behind the Return to Zero movie.

I write and talk about how I am feeling often, but there is another person who lost a child, and his voice and feelings deserve to be heard, too. Steve always holds it together for me. He grieves in private, when he's alone, and is strong for me when I am weak. I love him so much.

I found this poem online somewhere, and wanted to share:

A Father's Grief 

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. 

Friday, October 11, 2013

Capture your grief Day 11: Emotional triggers

I was certainly guilty of this before. Now, when I hear or see complaining, it just hurts. I would give anything to be "suffering" through pregnancy. If God chooses to bless us with another biological child, I will cherish every second of it, no matter how uncomfortable it is. We never know how long our children will be with us. Make every moment count.

Capture your grief Day 10: Beliefs

Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."

For God so loved the world that he gave up his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Capture your grief Day 9: Music

                                                                 "Gone Too Soon"

Today could have been the day,
That you blow out your candles,
Make a wish as you close your eyes.

Today could have been the day,
Everybody was laughing,
Instead I just sit here and cry,

Who would you be?
What would you look like,
When you looked at me for the very first time?
Today could have been the next day of the rest of your life.

Not a day goes by,
That I don't think of you,
I'm always asking why this crazy world had to lose,
Such a ray of light we never knew,
Gone too soon, yeah.

Would you have been president
Or a painter, an author, or sing like your mother?
One thing is evident,
Would've given all I had,
Would've loved you like no other.

Who would you be,
What would you look like,
Would you have my smile and her eyes?
Today could have been the next day of the rest of your life.

Not a day goes by,
That I don't think of you,
I'm always asking why this crazy world had to lose,
Such a ray of light we never knew,
Gone too soon, yeah.

Not a day goes by,
I'm always asking why.

Not a day goes by,
That I don't think of you,
I'm always asking why this crazy world had to lose,
Such a beautiful light we never knew,
Gone too soon,
You were gone too soon

Not a day goes by,
That I don't think of you.

Capture your grief Day 8: Color

There isn't one color in particular that reminds me of Harper, but there are color schemes that remind me of her. This is the crib set that I picked out for her so many months ago, in the room that would have been hers.

And this one is the quilt that Aunt Shelley made for her. She didn't know what the crib set looked like when she made it, but it has the same birds, and same lime green accent. I am just amazed how she made the three birds at the top to represent Steve, Joey, and me, and the one representing Harper was separate. It's just so perfect.

Capture your grief Day 7: You now

I don't have a picture for Day 7. I think that's why I am behind on my posts. I wracked my brain trying to come up with something that would symbolize where I am now, photographically. Alas, I am not that artsy.

I don't cry every day, or even every week. I miss my daughter, but I have accepted that she is in heaven, and I will see her when I go there. There are certain situations, however, that I have a difficult time handling. Being around pregnant people who are talking about their pregnancy, blissfully unaware of what has happened to me, and tens of thousands of other women, is one of them. It happened this week at music class. I somehow found myself in a conversation with 2 pregnant women who were asking each other all kinds of questions about their pregnancies. I thought about saying something about my latest pregnancy, then realized they would not want to hear about it, due to the outcome. I felt alone. I felt sad. I wanted to get out of there as fast as I could. I walked away, but didn't leave. As I looked for someone else to go and talk to, there was no one that wasn't with someone else who was pregnant. So I stood with Joey. We stayed for the class, but left immediately after. I cried all the way home.

I am trying to give myself a break, but get back to really being a mom who is present with Joey and who is taking care of all my responsibilities at home. Some days I succeed, some days I don't, but the successful days are starting to outnumber the unsuccessful ones.

I struggle with how or when to say I have 2 children. We go to a parenting class on Sunday morning at church, and someone always asks us, "How old are your kids"? I say, "Joey is 2", and that's all. And I hate it, but I don't think people really do care. They don't want to be uncomfortable. They don't know what to say. When I go to mom's group during the week, we have "conversation tables" with some of the other ladies at church who are in a different study. We always go around and say something about ourselves, and it always involves how many kids we have. I say Joey is 2 and Harper lives in heaven. And there is never any reaction. But, no one really comments on anyone else's introduction, either, so maybe I shouldn't expect anyone to comment on mine.

All in all, I know this: I am forever changed. I will never be the same. The "old Wendy" is gone. More importantly, I am loved by an almighty God who has carried me through the most horrible thing that can ever happen to a parent. I was blessed with a supernatural peace when having to go through laboring and delivering my dead baby. I still don't know how I did it, and did it so calmly. All glory goes to Him.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Capture your grief Day 6: Ritual

Since it has only been just over 3 months, we do not have any special rituals that we do on certain days. What I do try to do, however, is have some quiet time every day, while Joey is napping. I find that if I don't, it makes the day much more difficult. Whether it is reading my Bible, a devotional, a book, or writing in my journal and praying, time alone with God is what I need to get through.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Capture your grief Day 5: Memory

This is a happy memory, from back in April. We were on the news talking about homebirth, and the reporter captured a picture of Joey helping listen to your heart. It was always so strong. I wish I would have recorded it....

Capture your grief Day 4: Legacy

It has been just over 3 months since we said hello and goodbye. The full extent of your legacy is not known, yet, but these are some words that represent what is and will be your legacy. Love you, my sweet girl.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Capture your grief Day 3: Myth

Myth - an idea or story that is believed by many people but is not true.


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Capture your grief Day 2: Identity

Harper Pauline Cottrell

She is named for her Nannah, Dianne Harper Cottrell, and her great-grandmother Pauline Egli.

We named her on the day we found out she was a girl, while we were in the waiting area at the doctor's office.

She was born on June 24, 2013 at 6:00 am, weighing 3 lbs 14 oz.

She looked just like her big brother, Joey.

She is a daughter, little sister, granddaughter, niece and cousin. She is loved.

You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. Psalm 139:15-16

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Capture your grief Day 1: Sunrise

For the month of October, I am participating in the Capture your grief project. You can read more about it here. I will try to do a post for every day, but can't promise I will make all 31 days. Sometimes being a mom of a 2 year old is challenging!
Here is my sunrise picture:
Capturing the sunrise in my backyard is extremely difficult because of our huge oak and pecan trees, and since Joey was still sleeping, it was my only option. But I like how this came out. The brightness is still shining through, and trees can never full obscure the Louisiana sun. Much like grief cannot obscure my God. I very much want to have scripture accompany my pictures this month, as my faith and my God are what has carried me, along with my amazing support system. Psalm 19: 1-6 really spoke to me:

1 The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship. 2 Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known. 3 They speak without a sound or word; their voice is never heard. 4 Yet their message has gone throughout the earth, and their words to all the world. God has made a home in the heavens for the sun. 5 It bursts forth like a radiant bridegroom after his wedding. It rejoices like a great athlete eager to run the race. 6 The sun rises at one end of the heavens and follows its course to the other end. Nothing can hide from its heat.

So much to meditate on in these 6 verses.

In honor of October being pregnancy and infant loss awareness month, I would also like to invite any other mamas or dads of angel babies to share their story here if you do not have your own space to do so. I have found so much support and healing through expressing my grief in writing and making it public. Please send me a message if you would like to share your story. I would be honored to share it.