My Girl

My Girl

Friday, October 28, 2016

Dear Faith, it's Daddy

Hey Faith How's Heaven? I can only imagine how beautiful it is. Mommy wishes she could be there with you. She misses you terribly. We talk about you often. Halloween is coming in a few days. Mommy may dress up as what you always wanted to be, a beautiful witch.

I've been working 1/2 days for about a month now trying to reset myself dealing with the PTSD. Mommy doesn't think it's helping, but I do. She wants me to go back to work full time. It all has to do with one of her biggest regret and worry. 

What is that regret and worry?  It’s money and it  actually started off right after you died.  People didn't know what to do so they gave us money to do what we wanted with it. Every time mom looked at banking the money reminded her of you being gone.  She saw it as "death money".  She wanted it gone. Mommy was extremely grateful to everyone who helped us during this time with the money.

We did a lot of good with the money, we were able to pay cash for car we needed to replace. It was weird eating at home without you, so we would go out to eat. We went out to eat a lot. We would tip the servers anywhere from 20%-200% of the bill. We sent friends on a trip so he could see his sister for the first time ever.  We bought Christmas presents for kids and families in need. I replaced our broken dishwasher with a new one. We put shower doors in to replace the curtains. We paid many bills and we bought your headstone. Mommy thinks we blew the money, I don't think so.  

We just didn't put anything in a rainy day fund (savings account). Knowing our family it seems like it's raining more than the sun is out and the money is all gone now. 

It seems like it's the only thing she thinks/worries about. Now that we don't have money it's really been raining, more like a torrential downpour. The heating element in the oven went out, the heat was shut off for a day (Glad that's back on because it's starting to get cold), the dishwasher tube was clogged, the roof over your room leaked and ruined the ceiling, AND now the brakes are going out of the car.  

What will be next? Only God knows.

Your Papa is coming tomorrow to help with the brakes. I'm gonna have your brother,  Trever help him. He is much better at teaching your brothers than he did with me and my brother. Trever will be driving before we know it and I'd like him to know more about cars than I do. Thanks for listening.  I Love you Faith.


Love,
Daddy 

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Sunset to the Unspoken

1. SUNRISE DEDICATION Let us celebrate the beginning of this healing month by waking up early to watch the sunrise wherever we in the world. Step outside into the fresh air and take some time to breathe the sunrise in. Watch all of the colours of your world transform before your eyes.  Spend some time reflecting upon what you want your intention for this month to be. Maybe even come up with a word for your intention so that you can write it down and revisit it each day. 

What do I want this month to be about for me?  My Jamie isn't going to do this with me because his therapist thinks it will bring up triggers for him and she's warned him it could the do the same to me.  It could trigger depression.  Jamie has warned me everyday since Monday to be very, very careful about walking through this month.  I don't know if it will.  I think anything at this point might trigger depression.  Today I am fine.  I don't know what "Word" I want to represent this journey.  I'm not sure what I want to get out of this.  I just know that I'm going to keep plugging away. I truly don't know if I should heed Jamie's warning.  I'm not sure if this sharing is to help me or maybe just to give you all the inside on what I go through.  I do know that I lost a child and I want everyone to remember her ALWAYS and FOREVER!!

So this is my sunrise.  Jamie and I were up all night last night.  We all drove together to take Elijah to school and this is the sunrise I saw when we came back home. I think it is beautiful.


Sunrise outside my porch

So I'm no good at waking up in the morning.  It is not something I enjoy but alas I do it because I must get my family off to their separate places.  My Faithie was not easy to wake up in the morning.  She was so much like her Daddy in this department.  There would be many days she would go crawl into my bed and snuggle with Jamie until I had to force her up for school. Oh the days.  I really miss them.   Since I don't really like waking up I have not been able to do the Sunrise day.  Today was the day and I think it was a perfect Sunrise.
My Princess not wanting to wake up

5. THE UNSPOKEN | Normalizing grief is so important and that I why today I am calling upon those who feel brave enough to speak about the nitty gritty side of grief. Share something about your grief journey that you might feel is strange or not common. It might be something you do to remember your children by or maybe it is something you fear about the future. Often while grieving we have feelings of isolation because we fear judgement that what we are feeling isn’t normal. But it is amazing to see just how many people feel the same way. When others stand up and express how they feel through sharing their experiences, it allows us to say “Hey, I feel that way too!” and the fear of feeling like we are crazy is lifted and in some cases embraced!

Hmm the Unspoken of grief.  What can I say about this? I have been pretty candid over the last 23 months and I think that has helped many people to understand what is going on with Jamie and me and our boys.

Here are some tidbits I may have not shared.  I often want to run away from my boys and hide.  But the very idea of being away from them more than 2 days suffocates me.  

I have been the care taker in our home this past almost 2 years.  My sweet husband is suffering from PTSD with Major Depression.  He tries when he can and is thankfully seeking help weekly to continue to move forward.  He feels so much guilt sometimes because he thinks he killed "My daughter," the my being me, his wife.

I don't want this to come across as conceited or arrogant so please don't judge me on this next statement.  In this house I'm the strong one who continues to push us forward.  It is in my genetic makeup.  I don't want to be the strong to be honest.  I wish it wasn't in me.  I wish I could just cry every single day and hide under my covers.  I wish I looked like a grieving mom.
There are days I cry but not all the time

What does that mean? Look like a grieving mom?  I often feel so incredibly guilty that I can move forward every day.  I feel so much empathy for those other moms who struggle daily to move. They cannot focus on their family but just their grief.  They struggle with the day to day. You can tell by their red rimmed eyes they are struggling to keep the tears from constantly flowing.  My heart wants to wrap my arms around them and squeeze them and take away their pain.  

For some reason I've never been able to grieve like this.  For the first 19 months I was in a state of numbness.  There were days of crying but I was able to work through it.  I don't remember much from that time period.  I just knew I had to be strong.  I'm never going to be that mom who lives in a state of grief, but I wish I could have been at times.  Why would I wish that?  I think so I can feel normal about my journey.  This journey has felt too calm.  

It makes me feel like people think I've just moved on and forgotten.  Or that I am cold because I don't break down.  It is not me. I don't think it ever will be.  To those sweet beautiful moms who struggle one breath and one day at a time.  I love you.

And to me love me and accept that my grief journey will always be different.  Heather Maire also learn to let go of the guilt.   


I'm not always "Strong" but I will keep moving forward.  I have two handsome boys and a gorgeous husband who rely on me.  And I think I would not have it any other way most days.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Support Circles

4. SUPPORT CIRCLES | Have you felt supported in this journey of grief and healing? Maybe it is a friend, family member or organization that has been there for you. Share how they have helped you and let them know how grateful you are. Please feel welcome to post links if you would like to share about a charity or support group.

Our first family photo without our Princess

How do I write about the support that came to us?  When Faithie first passed away we had so much support coming out of our ears.

Our amazing neighbor put together a "GoFundMe" account and meal sign ups for us.  It was beautiful.  Sarah has a special place in my heart forever by the way she allowed God to use her.  When the news media wanted to put their noses into things she spoke for us telling the area we forgave Matthew, "The Kid"  

Over the last 2 years she beautifully showed me she remembered Faithie.  The first was a purple leather bracelet with Faith's name and birthday and heaven date engraved on it.  I love it.  The second time was on Faith's birthday this year.  She had picked some beautiful flowers out of her garden and brought them to me.  She said she remembered Faithie every time she saw the purple flowers bloom.  I know we are not everyday friends but I will always have a place in my heart.  

Our church supported us, or more like our pastor.  He was there every step.  He was there with his wife that night at the hospital.  Adam was there at the funeral home to help us prepare for the worst part.  He encouraged me to go see Faithie at the visitation.  He put together a band and had them play Faith's favorite song "God's Not Dead."  He let us come in at random times just to talk.  I've appreciated his support in the beginning.

My amazing Gardner cousins all showed up for us. Sandee even came with her girlfriend, Amy, from Iowa!  That meant so much to me and Jamie that they came from so far away.  I am not blood related to the Gardners but they have always accepted me as their own.  I've never been the ugly headed step cousins, step niece or step granddaughter.  This family has always been there for each other.  I love every single member of my Gardner family.  We still talk every day on FaceBook.  My aunts check on me lots and I know they will never forget Faithie.
My parents were not really there for me.  I won't go into details but it hurt and still hurts.  

My favorite in laws were there.  They never left our sides.  Jim is the father I never had and Melanie is my 2nd mom.  They were with us for the funeral arrangements.  They stayed with us for that first Christmas.  They even visit us more than before.  In fact we've asked them many times to come live with us part time and Josh and Brooke part time.  That is how awesome of a support they've been.  They don't treat me as just a daughter in law but as a daughter.  Jim and Elijah have really helped heal each other through creating different weapons.  They soak up their grandkids with an amazing love that I wish my parents had with them.  I'm so thankful for their support and how they continue to do so.
Elijah hates kissing and here he is oblivious to his Papa and Mema
My other support that has stuck through thick and thin so far are my 3 girls.  We call ourselves the Fab 4 because well we're just that awesome.  Tish, Jerri, and Cheri took over the role my parents should have been doing.  They protected me from things, helped clean my house, helped clean my preteen's bedroom.  Sorry girls for that.  I cannot imagine how yuck that was.  

The girls stayed with me for 4 days and Jerri even longer.  We messaged each other everyday after we all went our separate ways. There was almost a fight but we worked it out and I would not trade these girls for anyone.  I love them so much and they stayed my friends after some just left.


My brother and Sister in law has been in our system too.  They were able to leave Alaska and come be with us for a month.  Whenever we are together we have a good time.  We also are supporting each other as they lost their son, Gideon, at 12 weeks gestation last October.  Brooke and I are able to be open and honest with our gritty emotions.  I'm thankful for them.  I just wish they lived closer.

So this was and still is my support system.  I have had to learn to let go of some people who were there in the beginning but became "Too Busy" with their lives to stick around. It hurts like as much as my parents not really being there did.  BUT if I keep lamenting on those failed support systems I'll miss the beautiful ones I have right now.  And those are keepers!!

I've also developed a new friendship with Carrie from church.  That has taken me years to do that.  We are now both supports to each other as she has suffered from a miscarriage.  We do lunch once or twice monthly and enjoy each other's company.  I'm thankful God brought someone in my life to replace the ones who walked out.  I need to get a picture of her and me....

Oh and if you're wondering why no Day 1 or Day 3, I couldn't do them.  They were too hard and this project isn't meant to be stressful or hard. So a heads up I might not do every day.



Sunday, October 2, 2016

Capture Your Grief: Day 2

Day 2. WHO THEY ARE | Share about your beautiful children today. Who are they? When were they born? How long did you have them for? What is their name? Share as much or as little as you feel comfortable with.

What is my beautiful daughter's name?  
For the first 8 1/2 months of my pregnancy our daughter's name was Emma Grace.  Before she was born Jamie and I both decided that the name didn't suit our princess anymore.  

Jamie printed off two copies of the top 1000 names for girls in 2002.  He said "Highlight what you like and I'll do the same thing.  Then we will put together a name." After a few minutes Jamie said only one name out loud. We knew it was our Princess' name right away: Faith Elizabeth.  It just fit perfectly. Until the day she left us her name was very fitting of her.

She was also know to us a "Baby Girl," "Princess," "Beautiful," and "Faithie."

When was she born?
Faithie loved where she was, snuggled and safe inside her Momma's womb. Her Daddy, Mommy and Midwife encouraged her to come out at 41weeks 4days.  Through the magic of medicine and many prayers she finally arrived at 2:32 pm.  Faith was my only child to be born vaginally.  I was able to feel her head as she was entering the world.  My eyes instantly filled with tears of joy.  She was immediately placed on my chest unlike her brothers as they were born via C-Section.  I can't explain what took place right there but I knew without a shadow of a doubt I was over joyed at having a girl.  (I was scared at first most of my pregnancy about having a daughter.)  

How long did you have them for?
Faithie lived with us for 10 beautiful, trying, loving, learning filled years.  She died instantly in a car crash.  A young man of 24 didn't see my husband coming and pulled out in front of Jamie and Faithie.  The crash killed her instantly.  Her Daddy survived with a broken collar bone and 2 broken ribs.  He also is suffering from PTSD with major depression.  He feels like he failed his Princess by not saving her.  We wish she had lived longer than 10 years.

Who are they?
Faith was our princess and she knew it.  She knew how loved she was.  When she was 2 she was diagnosed with Autism and started school way before I was ready.  I remember crying her first day of school.  

From school finally learned how to find her voice and was able to conquer speech.  We were so blessed.

Faith was loved in her elementary school.  When we had her visitation so many students from her school came to talk to us and many teachers.  She brought joy.  The students wrote down memories of Faithie and a popular one was how she loved to give out high fives until your hand hurt and encourage you.  

Elijah says "Faithie was a loving person.  She was helpful."
Trever says "She was kind."

TO Jamie she was his princess.  She was always the first one to greet him at the door when he came home from work.  Faith was the first person she carried an actual conversation with on the phone too. It was about 2 years before she passed away.  Jamie was so full of emotion that he told me he pulled off the road and cried tears of joy.

TO me Faithie was my world.  I battled for her constantly and battled with her constantly.  She hung on me all the time and loved me greatly.  When I would leave the house she'd run after me to go.  If I wanted to go somewhere alone I'd have to sneak out of the house.  Oh I wish that was the case today.

Faithie is one of my greatest heroes.  I will always remember and love her. Her Daddy and brothers will too.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Capture Your Grief


This month is Child Loss/ Pregnancy Loss/ Infant Loss awareness.  For many people it is an uncomfortable subject to talk about.  I've heard from so many people words and phrases like, "Sorry" "oh" "I'm afraid to make you cry" and so forth.

Jamie and I have dealt with loss of friendships since Faithie passed away.  It has crushed our spirits many times over.  We wish our friends would have been able to withstand the uncomfortableness of child loss.

This month Jamie and I are going to do this "Capture your Grief".  Today was a Sunrise Dedication.  Here is what we were supposed to do: 

1. SUNRISE DEDICATION Let us celebrate the beginning of this healing month by waking up early to watch the sunrise wherever we in the world. Step outside into the fresh air and take some time to breathe the sunrise in. Watch all of the colours of your world transform before your eyes.  Spend some time reflecting upon what you want your intention for this month to be. Maybe even come up with a word for your intention so that you can write it down and revisit it each day. If there is no visible sunrise in your part of the world because of the weather, that is okay, this is life and mother nature. All that matters is that you take the time out of your day to be with us all in spirit and make space for a new beginning. Take a photograph of your sunrise where you are right now and if you post it online share what State/Country you are in and the time of the sunrise. You can google the sunrise time in your part of the world and set your alarm if you are a sleepy head like me. Send some love out to everyone else in the world who is grieving the death of a child and remember those gone before us who were made to grieve in silence. We honour these people too.

We missed Day One.  I must admit in our lives we have never been very good at wanting to rise in the morning, especially Jamie.  Tomorrow we've decided to start this journey together.  I look forward to it.  I'm hoping it'll bring us even closer and allow each of us to show the other our silent grief. 

What do I mean by silent grief?  I mean we don't always share our tears with each other or our thoughts.  We too sometimes do what others to do us; forget to share because of being afraid to upset the other and make them cry.  

SO that is what I hope gain the most from this....

We may skip a day or two but as long as we do it together....