Friday, December 28, 2012

A few days late but... Day 25 - Acceptance

Okay so Christmas got ahold of me and took me away from my computer and my focus on wrapping this up.  With the subject of acceptance I began to research just to see what was 'out there'.  I found this and knew that it contained a wonderful message.

But it just didn't feel like the message I wanted to blog about.
I knew what I wanted to write about but just couldn't find the time to do think about it and get it written. Well that's not exactly true because I have had this subject on my heart for days and thought of little else at times...because it is the hardest to write about.  It's been even heavier on my heart since Sunday night when my newest TTTS mommy friend, a fellow Canadian who I actually met online through a real friend, helped to find support via a facebook group and even financial aid through Fetal Hope, who I spoke to about Dr. Ryan and who, when she met Dr. Ryan spoke about me, who I got to know better as she flew half way across Canada to have surgery and who sent messages back and forth with for many weeks.... running on here I know, please bear with me cuz this is another hard one... when my new TTTS mommy friend suddenly went into labour, was flown to Edmonton and sadly, said hello and goodbye to her boys on Dec. 23.  My heart has ached for her and I have had such a hard time accepting this one.  She has already had late term pregnancy loss in her life and this was her last pregnancy no matter what happened.  So acceptance of what is brought to our lives has been pretty heavy on my heart.
I picked this subject, this gift to end my project before I started as I knew I needed to end on a note of peace but also needed to push myself ahead to accept, even more, what my life is, has become.  I had no idea then what would happen only a few days before the end of the project and no idea how challenging it would be...thus why it took me so many days to write.
The thing about acceptance is that it only comes when we are willing to let it....
 It's not easy to take this key and unlock the door to acceptance.  Willing can be defined as 'Acting or ready to act gladly; eagerly compliant:' and I can promise you that being ready to act gladly about losing your child, being eagerly compliant about saying goodbye is next to impossible for most people and is certainly not something that happens with ease.  I am not sure I ever went willingly but I certainly didn't for a great many years.  I am not sure I am even yet at the willingness stage.  I have accepted that this is my life and can see it for the wonderful life it is...a life that would not be possible without that piece of my heart that belongs to Cole, that piece of my 'babies puzzle' that shows his face with and angelic innocence and peace. But somedays...somedays willingness is not as easy.
When I began to plan what I wanted to write about for acceptance I knew the perfect thing to use.  I had already written about it atleast twice....but little did I know how deeply it would affect me to pull this past post up, watch the video and write about it once again.
The scene that speaks to me most about acceptance is from one of my favourite movies, 'Courageous'.  This scene  is one of the hardest ones for me to watch and rewatch from this movie.  I remember being in those shoes, the shoes of a parent who can't make sense of what God is doing in their life, who does not know how to go forward after losing a child, who feels so confused, angry, bitter and frustrated. It is a process...sometimes a long and painful one. The pastor in Courageous puts it like this....

"Adam there needs to be a grieving process, and the Lords the one who carries you through it. It takes time. It takes time for healing. I've heard many people say who've lost a loved one, that in some ways, it's like learning to live with an amputation. You do heal, but you're never the same. I would also say, that those who go through this and trust in the Lord discover a comfort and an intimacy with God that most people never experience.”


This last line is so powerful to me. I remember in the days, weeks and months…okay years after we lost Cole I knew that I was not the same, would never be the same but I slowly began a relationship with the Lord that I didn’t know was possible. I always believed but when I thought about my son sitting in our heavenly Father’s lap, rocking in a chair with Jesus I just felt such comfort. It still took me so very long though to really come to Christ. It’s funny because people will ask my husband and I how long we've been Christians and I just stumble over the answer because it wasn’t like it is for many born again Christians… I didn't confess my sins and invite Him into my life and start from there. I think He was always there, I always knew I had Him in my life. I have spent a lot of time in the last 30 days or so reading and rereading old blog posts and I am shocked, to be honest, at the things I wrote before I was 'born again' in a sense.  I was so close to getting it, to understanding what I needed to do and yet I was so far away too. Before I got pregnant with the twins and took my TTTS journey I  thought I knew God but I had no clue what it meant to really 'know' him.  I think I thought I could do it alone, that I was in control. And I guess in a way I was because I fought Him and his will, I celebrated free will, every chance I got. But when Cole was gone and my heart felt broken I began to look at my life and my faith differently. I knew I needed God in my life but I didn't trust my life to Him I don't think.  But over time it became clearer and clearer and my relationship with Christ began to slowly grow.   I took in bits at a time of a new faith, a new belief, a new relationship with Jesus. And then as I began to explore things in a new church it became crystal clear to me that I needed, desperately, to grow my relationship with God. I felt myself turn to him like he was a friend and I found great comfort in the intimacy of our relationship. 
But having this relationship does not mean that the process becomes easy, it doesn’t mean you don’t question, every single day, why this is your life, why you had to lose, why you have to hurt so bad. Adam’s pastor shares that God “doesn't promise an explanation, but He does promise to walk with us through the pain. And the hard choice for you is whether or not your going to be angry for the time you didn't have..., or grateful for the time that you did have."
I made myself watch this scene twice tonight because I knew that I needed to hear these words...and I needed to cry tonight over the loss of yet another pair of babies to TTTS.  I needed to read the words above and think about this hard choice that I have had to make in order to find acceptance.  Because it is a choice and it is an impossibly hard, at times, choice and it takes such great courage to make that choice to not be angry but to celebrate instead. I dreamed of the things we would have done with our twins, I envisioned all those matching outfits and toys. The dreams of our matching children climbing on a school bus, packing to move to out, graduating from university, standing up as each other’s best friend at their weddings. I had planned so much and then, like my friend Colette, every single thing I planned had been ripped from arms, stolen from my outstretched hands. For both of us, we were so darned close, the dream was within reach... just a few more weeks, a few hundred grams of weight and we would have been safe and clear to deliver safely.  I know  I was so very angry at times. It just seemed so unfair to not have had those dreams come true, to have not made those memories, that time together with my amazing identical twins. I wanted (ok I did) to scream and throw things. I wanted my life back.

But gradually, over time, I became more peaceful. I found hope in the future, in the reuniting I would have with my son. But it wasn’t until I watched the movie Courageous for the second time last winter and was reflecting on many areas of it that I realized that finding that peace and hope was wonderful but it was a peace and hope centered around acceptance of what I had lost. It was never a celebration of joy for what we’d had. 
But what an amazing thing we did have. What an absolute blessing from God. I did this math last winter and I just have to share it again, to show just how blessed by God we were to be part of this unique group... Only 3% of all women have twins. For easy math that’s 30 sets of twins out of 1000 births.  Only 15% of all twin pregnancies are identical… 15% of 3%... hmmmm 15% of 30 is 4.5 out of 1000…though other research says that identicals occur as little as 3 out of 1000 births. That is pretty amazing odds, what a blessed miracle. I am one of so few women to experience the wonderful shock of finding out your body had performed this amazing miracle and split an egg into to two identical little beings. I will never, ever forget those moments….”I have some news for you Mrs. Tummers…there’s two babies in there!!!”. No one can take that moment from me and no one can take the excitement I felt at telling everyone I saw that I was having twins. I didn’t have a lot of time with Cole but I will cherish each and every memory of that time. Each and every ultrasound, each and every flutter and kick. The quick growth my body experienced, the rapid changes. The plans for my babies…what they would wear, where they would sleep, what Halloween costume I’d dress them in. I woke each and every day in wonderment of the miracle that was happening. I remember saying to Geoff atleast once a week…’wow, we’re going to have twins…that is so amazing’. I will cherish the memories of my worries and questions and of the places I turned to for support. But most of all I will cherish the memory of seeing him month after month via ultrasound… kicking, waving, sucking his thumb, hitting and kicking his brother. I will cherish those pictures and I will be forever grateful for the time I had with my son. 
Grief is a journey and that journey has so many twists and turns along the way. I am so very grateful that I have the Lord to lean on as I take this journey and I am so very grateful for all the memories he allowed me to have of the times before grief became a part of everyday life. Moreover, I am so very grateful for the courage He has given me to grieve publicly, to share my heart and soul in hopes that others will find peace, to be able to look back at the whole journey with a smile, a tender heart and great joy. 

Acceptance, for me, is hope, it's joy, it's memories and it's not wishing I could turn back time to change things but rather that I can embrace the memories I have and apply all they've given me to the future

Monday, December 24, 2012

Day 24 - Honour

There are a great many ways to celebrate the gift of honour or honouring.  I decided that I wanted to focus, today on this day before Christmas, on the ways that we honour Cole at Christmas.  I have already shared one way we honour Cole and that is his garden...here's a glimpse and I also posted just a few weeks back of pictures of Cole's stone in candle light.  Yesterday I shared a story about one of those wonderful stones from his garden.
But Christmas is different.  It is so much fresher for me during the holidays.  The day we lost him fell 12 days before Christmas (not the 12 days of Christmas that I ever want to focus on).  I remember driving home from our follow up appointment a week after surgery.  I thought it was the last time I would be at Mt. Sinai (how wrong I was) and though I was filled with sadness at what was lost, I was also filled with joy at the news that Cameron was        
looking very healthy, had a good prognosis.  This mixed sense of feelings, those bittersweet moments were hard and this one left me with a need.  A need to find something to put on our tree in memory of our sweet little angel.  I called my mom to tell her our good news and asked her to find something for us.  Little did I know how hard it would be and how many years I would dedicate to this project and how many people would contribute.  
It would seem that boy angels don't exist...no where could we find a boy tree topper or a boy angel ornament.  We took on a project to put Cole on our tree and this is what we have so far....

A tree topper angel holding a baby boy... just as the angels will hold my baby boy until we are together again.  


Over the years I have had a few sweet friends who have also helped us honour our little boy... 








 Two ornaments from friends. The angels are self explanatory.
The ball has a feather in it and reads
A feather from an angel
Is one we rarely see
But this one is quite different
And as special as can be
This Feather is a reminder
Of a special persons love
Who is now your guardian Angel
Watching and protecting from above




This was the ornament I gave Geoff our first Christmas with Cameron and without Cole...it is hard to consider the first year that he left us as our first Christmas without him since he would not have been here either way. The ornament reads 'Snowflakes are angel kisses from heaven'

Last year I organized an ornament exchange with some other TTTS moms who had lost one of their twins. This was my ornament from my friend Angy
This is the one I got this year from my Canadian TTTS mommy friend, Dianna.
My husband also gave me an ornament our first Christmas without Cole... Just so absolutely perfect for Cole's mommy...

And this page of tributes to honour Cole would not be complete without showing another gift that I received to honour both my boys and their connection.  It's called 'Two Together'...so perfect that a wonderful friend AND a sweet sister in law both gave me these.  I have one set out in our dining room and the other sits with Cole's ashes. 

Day 23 - Compassion

Today I am chosing to focus on compassion.  I could fill the day with stories of compassion that has been shown to me in times of grief.  There are so very many to share.  
I decided to chose to show one story in particular... the story of sign of compassion that was completely unexpected and so heartfelt...by both of us.
One day when Cameron was about 6 months old there was a knock at my door.  I was in the middle of feeding him and having a moment of my own... looking at Cameron when I fed him was often hard for me... seeing him at peace, so calm and so loving often made me miss what I had lost.  
Anyway, I got up to answer the door...trying of course to unlatch the feeding baby and be somewhat discreet.  What greeted me at the door was something that brought instant tears to my eyes and I was filled with such love for the person standing there.  
You see a wonderful neighbour (of sorts... it's a pretty small town so everyone is your neighbour here), actually my hairdresser, stood there with this.....


It was and is the most perfect addition to Cole's garden.  A wonderful to symbol of the care that my baby will always have in the hands of his Father above.  
This gesture was so filled with compassion for obvious reasons but also for others too. 
You see my friend Gerdina is the mom of fraternal twin boys.  She had a hard time getting pregnant with them and was on bedrest and in hospital for part of her pregnancy too.  The week after our loss we were all supposed to go and get our hair cut.  I couldn't do it, I could not handle seeing her and I just hoped she understood.  I asked one of her employees...another neighbour, if she could cut the boys hair at her house and explain to Gerdina why.  I knew she would understand...she's just that kind of person.  
Fast forward about six months.... to the time when we honoured Cole at a memorial service and friends and family brought items for his garden.  In the past when someone on our street lost someone there was a collection taken and often a garden angel was purchased.  That didn't happen for us and I will admit, I was pretty hurt.  It still makes me wonder but I have moved past it.  
And so this gesture of compassion was just so heartfelt to me and I thank my friend for making my day then and making Cole's garden and even more special place. 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Day 22 - Comfort

I am pondered a lot about what to write about when it came to comfort and what a gift it is...and where I get that gift from.  The very first place that comes to mind is home... not where I live now but where I grew up.  There is no place on earth that gives me the same comfort and it's the place I find my mind goes when I am searching for comfort.

I find myself thinking of the song 'The House that Built Me' (click here to listen)

The House that Built Me - Miranda Lambert

I know they say you can’t go home again
I just had to come back one last time
Ma’am I know you don’t know me from Adam
But these handprints on the front steps are mine

Up those stairs in that little back bedroom
Is where I did my homework and I learned to play guitar
I bet you didn’t know under that live oak
My favorite dog is buried in the yard

I thought if I could touch this place or feel it
This brokenness inside me might start healing
Out here it’s like I’m someone else
I thought that maybe I could find myself
If I could just come in I swear I’ll leave
Won’t take nothing but a memory
From the house that built me

Mama cut out pictures of houses for years
From Better Homes and Gardens magazine
Plans were drawn and concrete poured
Nail by nail and board by board
Daddy gave life to mama’s dream

I thought if I could touch this place or feel it
This brokenness inside me might start healing
Out here it’s like I’m someone else
I thought that maybe I could find myself
If I could just come in I swear I’ll leave
Won’t take nothing but a memory
From the house that built me

You leave home and you move on and you do the best you can
I got lost in this old world and forgot who I am

I thought if I could touch this place or feel it
This brokenness inside me might start healing
Out here it’s like I’m someone else
I thought that maybe I could find myself
If I walk around I swear I’ll leave
Won’t take nothing but a memory
From the house that built me


When I thought about writing about this song and I remembered that I had done this once already and went back to look at it http://journeytohopeandhealing.blogspot.ca/2010/06/house-that-built-me.html
I thought for sure that I would find that my feelings about home would be the same but that the reason for the blog would have changed a lot.... I was almost entirely wrong!!!  The only thing that seems to have changed is that I am not so sad about Cole, not missing him so much on an average day...the month of December isn't average in case you are wondering.
This opening bit rings true so much
This song speaks to me on so many levels. There are so many days that I want to just go home, crawl into my old bed in my old room and, to be honest, cry. I just want to go back in time before the world got so difficult, so real and so painful. The problem with doing that is that I wouldn't get the experience the immense joy that my life has brought me thus far either. I do feel so broken somedays and I really do think time at home would help with the healing.
Though I do have to admit that I am not feeling so broken but I do know that time at home always helps with the healing of my heart.  It is filled with wonderful memories and wonderful comforts.  
What I really marvelled at was what I wrote, in June of 2010, more then a year before we began to explore the change we needed to make in our faith life, 14 months before I ever stepped foot into my current church, about my need to return to the house of my father who built me...not Heaven but a return to the connections to faith...
But it isn't the only home that I had then...not the only home I have now. I was pondering the words to this song on my way to work this morning and realized that I think there are many times that I think that I've needed to come home to God's house too. But more than that I think that I just need to go back to God sometimes...
I thought if I could touch this place or feel it
This brokenness inside me might start healing
Out here it’s like I’m someone else
I thought that maybe I could find myself
If I could just come in I swear I’ll leave
Won’t take nothing but a memory
From the house that built me


Wow that is so true about my faith, about me in the last 18 months, about me now. I do feel broken and that I need to start healing and that God can help me find myself. I am not sure who I am anymore. I have changed so very much since I lost Cole. For the better I am sure but even if that is the case...it is still so very hard to find me. I know that God will help me find myself, He will touch me, make me feel Him...he'll give me that memory from the house that built me...his house. 
I want so bad, this week in particular, to not feel so broken, so lost, so, even still, angry at the loss of my son. I want to not miss him each and every day, I want to feel whole again and not this broken self who doesn't understand where she fits in. 
So I open myself up to God and his house...help me with the memories of the good times, of the signs of your love, fix this broken me and show me that this has purpose. 

I understand so much more now about my relationship with Jesus and I am so...well comforted...to know that I have found a place to heal that brokenness inside of me and God has helped me...every step of the way.  I am not angry, I am not full of sadness...I am me and it isn't the me from before... but it's a new and better me and I am 'comforted' by the knowledge of this.  
I also know that having the physical house that built me to give me comfort along the way has truly given me the best foundation to build my own house of comfort on.

Day 21 - Solitude

I just read a piece from another friend who is also doing this Gifts of Christmas Mourning Project and I have to kind of steal, kind of add it in to mine.

Solitude is the state of being alone without being lonely. It is a positive and constructive state of engagement with oneself. Solitude is desirable, a state of being alone where you provide yourself wonderful and sufficient company.

Solitude is a time that can be used for reflection, inner searching or growth or enjoyment of some kind. Deep reading requires solitude, so does experiencing the beauty of nature. Thinking and creativity usually do too.

Solitude suggests peacefulness stemming from a state of inner richness. It is a means of enjoying the quiet and whatever it brings that is satisfying and from which we draw sustenance. It is something we cultivate. Solitude is refreshing; an opportunity to renew ourselves. In other words, it replenishes us.


Solitude is not something I get much of...I don't get enough of it really and today I need it.  I love to write in solitude and that's just not going to happen today (grrrr...) 
I love spending time alone but not lonely.  My favourite thing to do in my solitude moments is to think and reflect...sometimes that is in conversation with God, sometimes it is moments of reflection about the beauty of the world around me or in my life and sometimes it is to think, reflect and plan what I can share about the journey that my life is taking, my faith is taking.  When I am thinking and not writing (cuz the location doesn't always work for writing...especially computer writing LOL) I like to be outdoors, in God's perfect world.  
I thought I would share some pictures of some of my favourite places to enjoy solitude....










In looking at all these pictures I have taken and I realize I have a real theme to my solitude... water...


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Day 20 - Peace

There is a place in you where there is perfect peace.
There is a place in you where nothing is impossible.
There is a place in you where the strength of God abides


Some of what I am posting today, on the Gift of Peace day, is a repost from last year.  So many things have stayed the same...and so many have gotten so much better!!!

Philippians 4:6-7(NLT)
6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus."
I know I have blogged about this before but it really is what gets me through.
It is hard not to worry, it comes naturally, especially to women. I try, daily, not to worry about our things in my life...finances, kids, my marriage, grief, issues in the support groups I help with. It is a struggle but I feel I am succeeding . Last year when this project was almost done I looked at my life and had a hard time believing the sense of peace I had.  And now, a year later, I realize I was no where near as peaceful as I am now.   It's completely, 100% due to my faith in God and the knowledge the Jesus is guidig me to find it.  It , most certainly, exceeds anything I can understand. I have no way to explain how I feel except to say that I know how much I have welcomed Christ into my life and have to give the credit to Him.

John 14:27 (NLT)
27 “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”

There are lots of ways that you could interpret this. When I first looked at it I thought of the gift that it is when we do not worry, when we feel peaceful inside. That really is a gift and this holiday season is likely the best gift I’ve had. The world can’t give us this peace, it has to come from God. I had many friends, especially TTTS mom’s who journeyed this road before me, that helped me find this peace. I had tons of encouragement to raise awareness and funds and that also helped to bring me peace. I have amazing supportive friends who share my faith and support me in so many ways. But the world didn’t control that, God did. He brought those people to me, He pushed me to reach out, He planted the ideas of fundraising in my head.
But that is not all that this passage is telling us. When I began looking into interpretations of this scripture I found some great reading on the gift that ‘peace of mind and heart’ is… “the greatest blessing that God gives us is peace in our heart and the hope of eternal life. These are the things that are real. If we seize the opportunity in our short and uncertain lives to seek true peace and eternal life, then our lives will be valuable and meaningful.”
God gave us this gift, originally, in the form of his Son, Jesus Christ. True peace can only come through Jesus Christ. In other translations, the above scripture puts it in a different form "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid"(Jn 14:27). The true peace from God is not of the world, it surpasses the world. "The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus"(Phil 4:7).
A person is saved by their faith and not by the act that brings them to this saving. There are many stories of people who have been ill, in an accident and even, in the case of many TTTS moms I know, grieving a loss and they reach out to a God they’ve never known, never had a relationship with. They are healed, their life becomes ‘better’, they are more at peace etc. These acts aren’t the miracle, not the gift. The gift is the faith itself. They no longer are worried about their illness or their grief because they know that God is with them and will take care of them.

"Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see" (Heb 11:1).

Once again, I can't make write any better today then I did a year ago or so.  Peace...what a great gift it is!!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Day 19 - Honesty

Honesty is a pretty important thing for most people...I mean how can you trust someone if they aren't honest.  How can you feel good about yourself if you aren't an honest person?
But today that is not the type of honesty I want to focus on.  Today I want to focus on what a gift honesty can be, more specifically, what a gift being honest with someone can be.
About three years ago I received a message from a relative of mine.  Initially I read it and thought 'wow, it is so sweet that she is so concerned about me' but then I turned to feelings of anger...'what right does she have to tell me how to grief, she doesn't get it and hopefully never will'.  And in yet another breath I found myself saying 'this is exactly what I needed to hear'.  A pretty confusing time indeed!
You see this cousin of mine was sharing from her heart about what her journey in grief had been but instead of it being one of sympathy of sorts for me it was one of caution. She opened up and shared some of her deepest feelings on what it was like to be on a different side of loss then I was on and how hard that was on her.....

Waiting for the right time
Hi Jodie,
Each time I read one of your posts, I feel the pain and sorrow that you are experiencing. It is very difficult to join in with the rest of the world when grief has you paralyzed. You have a few more firsts to get through to get to the finish of this first year. As you watch your other son grow, you will continue to feel these moments of sadness.
Today I will speak as the sibling, not a mom. Our journey without my sister has left us with just the shell of who my parents were. I deeply miss them and the traditions that we had prior to her death. Sometimes it is difficult to watch as my parents remain paralyzed by their grief, forgetting that we are with them now-we need them to be present for us. Remember this for your sons. Living in the shadow of dead sibling can take its toll. I have started to take my own sad moments and change them to joy. On her birthday I get a cake and celebrate with my family. Her death day has always been extremely difficult, but my daughter and husband both have birthdays at that time of year, so I feel I have to go through the motions. This past year we had fireworks, which is something my family did yearly up until my sister died. I can't explain the joy it gave me to do something I knew she loved. I never knew what to do with my sorrrow, but it definitely feels better to me now to live as she would have wanted. You may have to reinvent traditions and ways to celebrate your son, but remember there are three other little boys that need their mommy. I would guess that your husband needs you too.
Take care this Christmas, it will probably require a lot of tears, but I hope that you find a moment to smile, laugh and feel joy too.


Wow.... even reading that now brings back a mix of emotions.  It is so hard for those who haven't lost a child to even begin to imagine how it feels. But many of us who lost a child can not relate to losing a sibling in childhood so we can not possibly imagine what it is like to be the sibling left behind.  I had really not given anyone else much thought in my grief process... being selfish is part of grieving too I guess.  Until my cousin sent this I had never thought what it must be like to be my boys and see me cry and hear me talk about Cole a lot.  I would never, ever, hide my grief from them and don't agree with anyone who does but that is because that is what works for me.  But griefing a loss is much different then letting it consume you, changing all your family traditions and showing everyone the hole that is left in your family. Our living children need to remember their sibling with love and affection and not feel like they are living in their shadow. 
I just had this very discussion with some moms in one of the support groups I run on facebook.  Many of them are having their first or second Christmas without one of their twins and they are really struggling.  They don't want to celebrate, many are either just going through the motions or haven't even bothered with that... they aren't doing much at all and have decided not to attend this or do this tradition because all they can picture is what should have been...all they can picture is the two babies/toddlers that should be on Santa's knee or unwrapping presents.  I get that, I have been there and it really sucks.  But the problem with dealing with it that way is that you end up causing exactly what my cousin talks about above to those around you, especially the children in your life. 
I tried to change after this message was sent and did ok at times and horrible at others.  All in all, 3 years later, I would say I am doing pretty good in following her advice.  She still checks in on me and makes comments to remind me of the joy that is always in my life.  And while I appreciate her honesty I will be honest back and say 'please understand that I am just having a day of it... and please let me have that day'... it's okay as long as that day doesn't become endless. 

And so today I just want to say thanks to her and to others for their honesty about my grieving and it's effects on those around me.  I do appreciate it, even when I don't agree or when I know that they are only seeing the bad day out 30 good ones or more.  The gift of honesty is one of the best things you can give someone who is grieving...it helps them to know that you care while validating their loss by the simple recognition of changes they see and the worries they have. 




 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Day 18 Service



The gift of service is something that has been a part of my life since I was old enough to help anywhere.  I taught Sunday school and helped with our hometown fair.  I joined a rural youth organization called Junior Farmers and did so many service projects to better the community and the world.  I ran music programs at Vacation Bible school, I coached sports teams in schools, I am a member of our local Kinette club…I could go on and on but the point is that service has always been a part of my life.  But it has never meant to me what it does now, has never been a focal point of my life like it is now.  I have to admit though, it isn’t all of the world of ‘service’ that does this for me.  Instead it is the service I do for those in the world of TTTS and even more so in the work our family does to raise money for Mt. Sinai Hospital in honour of our boys. 

We left Mt. Sinai on December 14, 2008 saying that we would do what we could to give back to this place that had done so much for us and that we would do what we could to help other families that had gone through what we had.  It took us 18 months to host our first event…I think we needed to heal and find some closure first.   We have now held three fundraising events and done tons of things to raise money… dances, silent auctions, raffles, bake sales, mom to mom shows, movie nights, bbq’s and a 5 K run.  This year our event raised $3610….


While we were at Mt. Sinai last week we spoke to the special events co-ordinator and asked her to give us a grand total of what had been brought in to the foundation on our behalf…. Initially I was thinking the amount that we had raised in our fundraisers…which at this point, appears to be around $11 000.  But what we discovered was that people have been donating on our behalf, in honour of our boys above and beyond what we knew.  The grand total that Mt. Sinai has on record for us donating is…. $14 121!!!! 
We are amazed and we are so happy that we can give this gift of service to a place that gave us the gifts of hope and life!

 Just thought I would share some other photos of the day here....

Checking out the result of Cameron's latest 'wild moment'... a 3 inch gash that was 'glued' back together again...and then comparing it to his hero's scars LOL....







 We made a gift for Dr. Ryan this year...
 I wish I had thought to take pictures of them ahead before I wrapped them ...


But I have a picture of what is inside the ball..
What a great day it was... what a wonderful man he is... Cameron just adores him....

 

Day 16 - The gift of Encouragement



I am so behind the eight ball on this project, MY project.  Oh well…better late then never
I heard a great talk one day on how and why we need to encourage others.  My friend who spoke about this used the poppy as her reference point.
As a poppy grows it forms a seed pocket of sorts and that surrounds its bloom.  
 


As it opens from this pod a popping sound can be heard.  
 It’s seeds fall to earth blow or blow in the wind, spreading new life everywhere.

 
 The poppy slowly unfolds, it’s petals open up.  They are wrinkled and damp. 



Then they slowly rise up to the sun, opening up and stretch out.  The wrinkles fall away and what we are left with is a beautiful delicate flower. 


We are like those poppies.  We all have talents and strengths inside of us.  We need encouragement to open up, reach to the sun and show off our beauty.  As we do this we spread our seeds and create new life of sorts.  We plant seeds of hope and beauty in those around us.   As you are encouraged you give your blossom life.  As you do that you spread your seeds and this nurtures and feeds others. 
Is it always easy for a poppy to bloom…no.  Like all plants, there is a time and season for their growth and sometimes it takes time.  Sometimes they need help…sunlight, moisture, nurturing.  We can be that for others, especially those with the same bloom and beauty as us.  My friend who spoke of this told us a secret…. the nurturing of someone with the same talent as you…the encouragement of that talent…that can be the hardest thing to do.  It means stepping back into the shadows and letting someone else have the glory, have the stage.  It is even harder when their bloom is more beautiful then ours.  But when you look around at the joy that is shared by those who we encourage, as you see those seeds burst from the seed pod and the bloom slowly open and spread it’s petals you know that they have given an amazing gift to others and begun the process all over again.  And you can know that you were a part of that, even if you were in the background and no one knew you were there.  


Day 17 - Appreciation
Appreciation is a wonderful thing.  It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.