Give Thanks in All Circumstances.

My husband and I started teaching Sunday school this year, and last week was our first week.  We were not as prepared as we should have been, but it went alright!  This week I was bound and determined to be prepared and be FUN!  Who wants to teach a bunch of BORED 5th and 6th graders?  So now that we teach at 9:30, which used to be our usual service we attended, we attend 8:00 service before teaching.  Today, we entered the building at the Education side, so we could drop off our teaching materials in the room (see I was totally more prepared!) on our way over to service int he sanctuary.  After dropping off our stuff, we heading down the hall way.  I glanced aimlessly at one of the bulletin boards and read “Remember to give thanks in ALL circumstances.”  How can that be, I thought?  What about our recent circumstances?  How could I possibly have been expected to give thanks while my baby was dying?  What an incredibly hard thing to imagine.  Then I thought, as we continued our walk to the sanctuary, about all the things I was thankful for during the last 9 months.  Didn’t I thank God for allowing our families to surround us in our time of need?  Didn’t I thank him for all of our wonderful neighbors, our church family and our co-workers and all of their support.  I’m sure I thanked him for strength and courage, and will to get out of bed in the morning.  Our little girl did not die alone in her crib.  She was revived, though her tiny brain had no chance after a long hour with no oxygen, so that she could die in our arms, listening to sound of her Momma sing to her.  Surely, I thanked Him for this.  What about the most important thing of all?  We know, because of Him, our little girl is Paradise forever, waiting for us, because we too will some day live forever in Heaven.  I must have thanked Him for this a thousand times by now.  So, it may have seemed to me so cruel to be expected to give thanks at such a tragic time, but was really that difficult?  Absolutely not.  Clearly, I am not thankful my little girl died.  The tragedy will always be sad, I will never be grateful for having experienced this.  The poster did not say, however, to give thanks FOR all circumstances, it said IN all circumstances.  Though it may seem impossible to give thanks at times of tragedy and sorrow, there is always something to be thankful for.  This my friends is a powerful lesson.  People often doubt that there is a God, because surely our God can not be present if terrible things are happening.  I would ask these people to look a little closer at their circumstances.  For God did not take my little girl from me.  Death did that.  God did not cause me pain and anguish.  Death did that.  I know that He was there, because if he hadn’t been there, I wouldn’t be here now.  He provided me with a family who loves me.  He brought us to Ohio in 2008, where we bought a home in a neighborhood that has become our second family.  He brought us to St. James Lutheran Church.  He could not save Kaiya, for Death had already knocked upon her door, but He did allow us time to hold her, and say goodbye.  He has been there every step of the way, sending angels disguised as sisters and friends and neighbors, to carry me through my journey, when the pain was so heavy I couldn’t stand on my own two feet.  It isn’t easy to have Faith in God, when we live in the world we do.  Believe me, I know.  I spent days angry at God, yelling at him for taking my baby and leaving me behind to suffer.  This, though, made me realize that I MUST believe in Him, if I am yelling at Him.  Clearly I know he is there, if I think he can hear me.  So, although we may not always understand God’s plan, and we may not like the fact that he cannot save our loved ones from tragedy and death, He is there.  You don’t have to go to Church every Sunday to know Him.  Look in the eyes of your loved  ones, listen to the whisper of the wind, watch a flower bloom, listen to a new-born baby cry.  You will see Him.  You will hear Him.  He is there. There is ALWAYS something to give thanks for.  No matter your circumstance.  Although, I’m certain I’ve always known this, it took a simple little poster, on a Sunday School bulletin board, to make me realize it.   Even now, as I close this entry, I realize I have almost forgotten the most important thing of all.  I am thankful Kaiya Rae is mine and that I got to spend 5 wonderful months, raising the most beautiful baby I have ever known.

I miss you with pain of a thousand burning suns.  I love you to Pluto and back, forever and always.  Kaiya Rae, you are the light in my life, my shining star, my every breath.

Love,

KaiyaRae’s Momma

Charity Golf Classic

It has been a while my blog friends!  Our grief journey continues, and we continue to be super involed in finding a cure for SIDS. On August 15th, 2011 we held the first annual Kaiya’s Kids for SIDS Charity Golf Classic.  It was no easy feat!  The event almost didn’t happen because 2 weeks before the event only 5 people had registered.  We rallied together, and we made it happen.  In 2 weeks we changed the course, lowered the price and got 26 golfers registered and addtional 10 for just dinner.  It was very successful event, raising almost $3000 for SIDS! Thank you to all the wonderful people who donated time, money, and products!  We had some really great auction items, and super prizes and giveaways.  Most importantly thank you to all of our golfers, with no golfers, you can’t have a Golf Tournament. Last, but certainly not least, thank you to our wonderful contacts at First Candle for all the help and support.  It has taken me a while to get this blog up, we’ve been busy and well lets face it, I can be a little lazy and preoccupied sometimes.  But here it is at last.  Enjoy the pictures and start thinking about attending next years event!

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I love and miss you every day Miss Kaiya Rae.  Continue to shine upon us from Heaven today and always.

Love,

KaiyaRae’s Momma

Sometimes it’s hard to believe

Sometime’s I have a hard time believeing it.  I really had a baby.  She was actually here and she was beautiful.  Wait, or was it a dream?  Sometime’s I wonder if life with her was just a good dream, and I woke up one day, and realized she wasn’t real. 

I walk past her room and flashes of memories flood in.  I sat there with her in that rocking chair.  I walked and bounced and sang all the same time, back and forth, night after night in that little room with her.  I brushed her hair there.  I changed her diapers there.  I picked out her clothes and dressed her there.  I scooped her up from that crib every moring. “Yup she was real”, I think, as I sit on the floor in her room. The routine is always the same.  I sit for a bit.  Then I stand up and I touch the soft, fuzzy cover on her changing table, pick up the clothes still sitting in the dirty laundry pile next to it, and promply put them back again.  If I wash them, I might forget she was really here to wear them.  Maybe next week I will wash them.  Maybe I will never wash them.  I walk to her dresser and touch her Piglet Lovie, and place my hand upon the plaster mold of hers.  Then, knowing the truth, but hoping I’m wrong, I check her crib just one more time, hoping to find her sleeping peacefully.  On a good day, I kiss my hand and lay upon the place where she used to sleep, tell her I miss her and leave her room, returning to life with out her.  On a bad day, I return to the floor, and start over.  On a really bad day the spot on the floor is puddled with tears and Karl must lift me off of it before I drown.  I haven’t had one of those in quite some time.  I guess that means I’m doing well, but some days I would rather be crazy.  Being crazy would be so much easier.  I wonder if it is too late to carry around a baby doll and pretend it’s Kaiya?  I guess I’m past that stage.  Perhaps I will have to settle for crying on her floor. 

I miss you with the power of a thousand suns Kaiya Rae. 

Love,

KaiyaRae’s Momma

My life in a song

The following song was originally written by Luke Laird, Hillary Lindsey, and Hillary Scott and is sung by Sarah Evans.  I have re-written some of the lyrics to fit the song to my life, my loss and my current stage of being at peace with Kaiya’s passing and learning to live again.

Lyrics in Italics have been changed by me. 

Woke up late today, and I still feel the sting of the pain.
I brushed my teeth anyway, got dressed through the mess and put a smile on my face.
I got a little bit stronger.

Riding in the car to work, and I’m trying to ignore the hurt.
So I turned on the radio, Stupid song made me think of you,
I listened to it for minute, but then I changed it.
I’m getting a little bit stronger, just a little bit stronger.

And I’m done hoping that we can bring you back,
I’m done with how it feels, spinning my wheels
Trying to figure out, what went wrong.
And ohhh
I’m done thinking, that this could ever change.
I know my heart will never be the same,
but I’m telling myself I’ll be okay.
Even on my weakest days, I get a little bit stronger.

Doesn’t happen over night, but you turn around and a weeks gone by,
And you realize you haven’t cried.
I’m not missing you an hour or a second or another minute less, but.
I’m busy getting stronger.

And I’m done hoping that we can bring you back,
I’m done with how it feels, spinning my wheels
Trying to figure out, what went wrong.
And ohhh
I’m done thinking, that this could ever change.
I know my heart will never be the same,
but I’m telling myself I’ll be okay.
Even on my weakest days, I get a little bit stronger.

Getting along without you baby,
Trying to live again without you baby,
Moving on, but I miss you baby,
I’m getting stronger every day baby.

And I’m done hoping that we can bring you back,
I’m done with how it feels, spinning my wheels
Trying to figure out, what went wrong.
And ohhh
I’m done thinking, that this could ever change.
I know my heart will never be the same,
but I’m telling myself I’ll be okay.
Even on my weakest days, I get a little bit stronger.

I’m just a little bit stronger.
A little bit, a little bit, a little bit stronger.
I get a little bit stronger.

It isn’t easy to stop wondering why, and wishing to go back in time and change it.  The thoughts often creep into my head still, and I must push them away.  I have realized this is just the way it is.  I cannot buy a time machine, and even if I could, how would I change something, when we don’t even know what happened in the first place.  She is gone.  I am stronger because of her.  I am moving on because I have to.  I don’t miss her any less.  I am no less angry, sad or devestated that my baby died.  It just gets easier to live with a smile on my face, as each day passes.  I remind myself that my weakest days are the days in which she is nearer to me than ever.  These are the days that make me even stronger. 

I love you dearly Miss Kaiya Rae.  Forever and Always. It is through you, I find the strength to live again.

Love,

KaiyaRae’s Momma

The most beautiful place I wish I never had to go to.

Kaiya’s birthday was more than a week ago now.  She turned ONE in Heaven, with the angels and Jesus.  While we remain here, celebrating her birth, mourning her death, and continuing to wonder why.  We celebrated her birthday with some close friends, some new friends, people who loved her and some that never met her.  It was a sweet, simple, and bittersweet celebration.

We made her birthday a week-long event and left early Saturday morning for Chicago, and ultimately, Faith’s Lodge. According to their website: “Faith’s Lodge provides a place where parents and families facing the serious illness or death of a child can retreat to reflect on the past, renew strength for the present, and build hope for the future.”  They put it perfectly.  It is a place like no other.  It is located in “Middle of No Where” Wisconsin, just outside of Webster, WI population 386.   It is surrounded by trees/woods, lakes and nature.  The lodge is a beautiful building, filled with 8 suites, a library, a craft room, the eagle’s nest, a sun room, full kitchen, and more.  It is like a 5 star vacation resort in the woods, especially for grieving families.  You can participate in as little or as much as you wish, and it is the kind of place that you get out of it, what you put into it.  While there we made crafts in memory of our sweet Kaiya Rae.  Some examples include painting a bird house, making a bracelet with her name on it, a wooden quote plaque, a journal and painting her heart stone for the bridge of hope.  The path through the woods is called “The Path of Inspiration” and is lined with inspirational quotes about love, loss, grief, hope and faith.  It leads to Faith’s Garden and the Bridge of Hope.  Along the path near the bridge, amongst the trees and flowers and weeds, lay hundreds of heart stones, each one symbolizing a life lost too soon.  Some are babies who never took a breath, some like Kaiya lived only for weeks or months, some are young children lost to disease, some in accidents, and even suicide.  One would think a path like this would be sad and depressing.  It is far from it.  For parents like us it symbolizes hope, faith and love.  Hope for a future with more happiness, and only a little bit of sadness.  Mostly, it is a special feeling only a parent like us needs to feel.  We are not alone.  We are normal.  Others have gone before us and continue to live full, happy lives, while still remembering and mourning the loss of their child.  The most important part about Faith’s Lodge is meeting other parents, just like us.  Parents who know exactly how it feels to ache to hold their baby one more time, to hear her laugh, to see him walk.  To have conversations about babies who no longer live with us, about visiting their graves, celebrating their birthdays and all the new normal things in our lives, that make other people so very uncomfortable.  There is an extreme, indescribable, feeling of comfort in having friends who “get it”.  I think that is one of the most important parts of the grief journey.  It is extremely important to have supportive family and friends, but it is so very important to have friends who have been through what you have and just get it, like no one else can.  This wonderful, peaceful, healing place provides all this and more.  I can’t say that anyone who goes there will suddenly accept the death of their child and be “all better.”  It will never be “all better”, but I did leave with a sense of peace about moving on with out her.  We placed Kaiya’s Heart stone next to a single flower, growing up among the weeds.  I said and prayer, and “let her go.”  I will never forget her, she will always be mine.  I can continue to live my life and still honor her every day as I go.  I cannot change what happened.  She is gone.  That will never change.  There will always be some days that are harder than others.  I will always wonder why.  But I will never wonder “how can I live with out her?” because now I know that I can.  I wish I didn’t have to, but I have no other choice, and I am at peace with that.  I will always cry for her, but I will always smile when I remember her too.  My journey is far from over, but I have come so very far. Welcome to Faith’s Lodge.  The most beautiful place I wish never had to go to.  A place where hope grows.  The place where I found peace.

I will always miss you baby girl.  I will carry you in my heart always. May I always hear you in the laughter of every child, the whisper of the wind, and piter pater of the rain.  May I always see you in every little ladybug, every beautiful butterfly and every colorful rainbow.  May you continue to visit me in my dreams, peacefully and happy.  May the devil never show you to me angry and morphed again.  You are beautiful and I love you.

Love Always,

KaiyaRae’s Momma

How did we get here?

One year.  This Friday, June 17th, 2011 at 4:00pm Kaiya Rae will be 1 whole year old.  One year filled with every emotion possible.  One year filled with so many tears.  Tears of joy, tears of pain, tears of anger, tears of sadness, tears, tears, tears.  How did we get here?  How did a whole year go by already?  Just yesterday she was lying in a hospital bed while we all prayed for a miracle, and just a day before that I was lying in one praying for her to be here soon so I could hold her for the first time.  Why does it always seem like life stands still when we want it to move faster, and is gone in a blur when we wish it would slow down so we could enjoy it?  How on Earth did we go from this:

to this
in the blink of an eye, and what happened to everything else in between?

I have said it before, and I will say it again.  I am forever changed.  I am not the same person I was before you came into my life miss Kaiya Rae, and I am not the same person I was with you in it.  Your presence changed me, your absence has changed me yet again.  My sole purpose in life is to carry on the legacy of a 5 month old baby who had more power and grace than I could ever dream of having with in myself.

How did we get here?  How did we get to June 13th, 2011?  Wasn’t I just begging my husband to be ready to try for our first baby?  In a blink she was here, in another she was gone.  Somehow, through it all, I am still breathing.  You may not know it, sweet angel, but you haven’t only changed momma and daddy, you have changed the world.  The moment you were born, the whole world was changed, forever.  We celebrate you today and always.  We love you Kaiya Rae.

Love,

KaiyaRae’s Momma


All American Girl

Happy Memorial Day blog followers.  I can’t help but wonder what today would be like if she were here.  Dressing her up in cute little red-white-and-blue dresses, putting her curls up in pigtails with red and white bows.  I can’t help but picture her toddling around on chubby little legs, getting into everything.  Lathering sunscreen on her baby skin.  I miss my sweet little, wonderful, perfect, all American girl.  Last year I was at a picnic at the neighbors, lathering up with organic bug repellent, smelling like a walking citronella candle, trying to avoid harming her with DEET and other chemicals as she continued to grow inside me.  Counting down the days until she arrived.  Now I wish I could go back, keep her in there longer, keep her safe.  I used to only wonder and dream what it would be like to be a mommy.  Now I am one, and I still sit and wonder what it would be like.  I don’t have much else to say today, other than I miss her.  I always miss her, and I always will.

Love always,

KaiyaRae’s Momma

My Sister

“My sister looks at me with kindness.  She holds me and we cry together.  With her I can let go and sob.  Then when our tears are spent, she says something that makes us both laugh.  I find comfort in her arms, if only for a little while.” ~ From “An Empty Cradle, A Full Heart”.

I have a love for my big sister that cannot be explained.  We haven’t always been the best of friends.  Undoubtedly our childhood fights could rival the best of sibling quarrels.  She is a mere 7 years older than me.  She didn’t ask for a baby sister.  She asked for a puppy.  She got me.  She once convinced me to get into the toilet, in an attempt to flush me away.  I don’t remember it, but I hear this story and remind her of it often.  While I spent my childhood trying to be her, she spent hers begging my mother to get me away from her.  I was just a baby.  An annoying, little, copycat sister.  But I was, and always will be, her baby sister.  No matter how much we fought, how much I annoyed her, or how many of her things I ruined; My sister has always been there for me, and I for her. She has spent countless hours through out our lives teasing me to no end.  Yet, I have looked up to her, admired her, and would drop everything to run to her if she needed me.  We have been there for each other through broken dates, failed auditions and heart breaks.  We have held each others hands through funerals as we buried 3 grandparents.  We have cried, and we have laughed.  But nothing could have prepared either of us for this.  When Kaiya was in the hospital, my husband left the room to make a few phone calls.  He called my parents and his.  He called our pastor.  I’m not sure how many other calls he made, or who he talked to.  I sat by my babies side and prayed.  I thought of no one but my little girl.  He came to me a bit later and said “Both our parents are on the road.  Your sister is on the way to the airport and her plane will be here in a few hours.”  Through thick and thin.  She dropped everything and ran to the airport, to be with me.

She arrived with a bag that had been packed by her boyfriend as she rushed to finish at work.  We joke to this day about her “1000” pairs of clean under wear, and only 2 shirts and a pair of pants to wear over them.  She stood by my side, unwavering in strength, for over 2 weeks.  I needed her, and she was there.  She held me in her arms when I cried.  She fed me when I didn’t know I was hungry.  She made me laugh when I was ready to.

I am thankful for my entire family.  I am thankful my brother was able to attend his niece’s funeral and carry her casket.  I am thankful for the 2 most, wonderful and generous parents any child could ask for.  I am thankful for a wonderful, caring, loving husband who I am so very proud to call mine.  I am thankful for his family for being there for us both, and welcoming me as one of their own.  I can’t imagine my life with out any of them in it.  I love them all more than they could ever know.  But I honestly do not know what would have done, with out my sister by my side.

Thank you, Mindy, for being you.  And thanks for learning to love your bratty, little, baby sister.  I can’t imagine a life with out my Mimi.

A friend loves at all times, and kinfolk are born to share adversity. – Proverbs 17:17

Love Always,

KaiyaRae’s Momma

Mother’s Day, The final chapter

Welcome to Kaiya Rae’s Memorial Garden: 

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What a difficult and amazing journey. Thank you everyone who helped or brought flowers or decorations!

I love you so much Kaiya Rae   Missing you always

KaiyaRae’s Momma

Mother’s Day, Part 3: I am a mother, too.

I am a Mother, Too♥

You are a mother

With children in tow

It is obvious to all

and everybody knows

You hold your babies,

and kiss them goodnight

Never too long

Are they out of your sight

I am a mother, too

though it is not plain to see

For I can no longer

Hold tight to my baby

I am a mother, too

For I have given birth

And though my baby is gone

I must still walk this Earth

I have carried deep within me

A growing child, blessed

Bore her from my body

Had her placed upon my chest

I too have held, and have rocked her

And kissed her cheeks good night

Never knowing, one day

For her life we would fight

I would lay down my own life

To save her, if I could

For death stole my child

But, not my motherhood

I am a mother, too

Though it doesn’t always show

I am a mother, too

Though I can no longer watch her grow

So as you walk beside

Your living miracles today

Remember moms like me

Who must miss theirs every day

KaiyaRae’s Momma

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