Friday, December 21, 2012

10 Years Ago

10 years ago today, Todd asked me to be his wife.

In case you werent sure, I said yes. Lol! We got married 5 months later.

The day we got engaged was a breathtaking  day. The best day of my life up until that point.
We were in college, I was 20, he was 19. We had been dating only a few months, but I knew. I knew from out first date that I would marry him. He knew on our second date I was the woman God had set aside for him.

God truly orchestrated our love story.

He asked me to be his wife at an Aeros hockey game. On the big screen in front of a LOT of people.  It was perfect for me. Baseball is my favorite sport, and hockey is my second favorite. Todd didnt want to wait until baseball season to propose so we got engaged at the hockey game. We had gone out to eat at a really nice Italian restaurant and I thought me might ask me there (I knew we were getting engaged that night, I just didnt know when or how). but then I knew he wouldn't because he is very romantic and very creative. To this day, he is still very romantic. The whole night he made me drive and he would just direct me where to go. It was fun not knowing where we were going and him just saying "ok, at the next light turn left." or whatever. We got to the hockey game and it seriously never crossed my mind that he would ask me there! We were sitting in the front row, ice side, almost in the center of the ice. During the 2nd period of the game, I hear "Please turn your attention to Section ___ (I dont remember what section we were in), Stormy, Todd has a question he wants to ask you." And I look down and he is on one knee. All the people in our section are cheering. And most of the crowd is  too. Todd asked me "Stormy, will you marry me?" And I said "YES!" And I snatched the ring box out of his hand and hugged him so tight and kissed him a bunch!  The team mascot came up and gave me a dozen roses.Someone in the crowd yelled "What did she say?!" And I yelled back "I said Yes!" It was hilarious!

Todd put the ring on my finger. His hands were shaking, as were mine. I couldn't wait to become his wife. The ring was perfect, (Todd and I both picked it out.) I couldnt stop staring at Todd and the ring on my finger. It was as if the whole world got silent, and there was just me and him. Everything else disappeared, my whole world was right in front of me.

I loved him so much on that day. He would literally take my breath away. He still does.

A decade later and I love him so much more than I can even imagine.

Our love back then was truly beautiful. It was everything you could think of new love being, and then some.Todd wrote me love notes all the time and would leave them for me in my mailbox on campus. He surprised me often with romantic and fun things to do together. He We were, and still are, best friends. It was real and deep and fun and filled with joy and laughter. And so much more. He was the man I was committed to. The one God set apart for me. He was the man that I wanted to spend my entire life with. He was selfless, giving, caring and compassionate. He loved God above all else and me second. He wanted a life for us where we would seek Jesus every day.  He made me laugh and we were silly together. We could talk about anything..  really was my best friend.

But now, our love is so much more. I loved him so much back then, but I would take what we have today over what we had then. We are still passionate and our love is still deep and filled with joy. Todd still leaves me notes and still is romantic. He tell me every day that he loves me. And he shows me every single day. He is still selfless, giving, caring, compassionate and loving. He is strong and silent. He still seeks God above all else. He loves Jesus first and then me and the kids. He still makes me laugh. But it is so much more.

He is my soul mate, my husband and the father of my children.

We have walked through the valley of darkness together. And we have come out stronger. Closer to Jesus and close to each other. Our love for each other is richer because we have experienced the death of our child and we, as a couple, held tightly to God and to each other.

Our relationship is so much stronger than it was before Gideon passed away. We have always had a great relationship. We have always talked about everything, prayed together, laughed and cried together. But when he died, it opened up something in both of us. It made our love for each other even deeper than before. We have walked through the valley of darkness with each other and have come out closer. It hasnt been easy, he and i grieve so differently, right after Gideon died, we were on totally different pages in our grief that it was like we were speaking a completely different language but we stuck together and we have kept our communication going. He is truly my best friend. As I watched him grieve our son, it made me realize what an amazing man God has placed in my life. It made me realize that he is the strongest yet most sensitive man I have ever met. He talks about Gideon all the time and listens to me when I talk about him. He is always there for me, for the great days and for the horrible days. And I will always be there for him. Like, I said, we loved each other before and were very close, but we are so much closer now. We are close in a way that only comes when you have walked through tragedy together. It is rich, and deep and full of complete love for each other.
Our love is more than I can even describe. We have walked the journey of grief. He is the only one who knows what its like to lose Gideon the way I do because we are his parents. We have shown each other our raw and deep emotions. We have wept on each other. We have many moments where we just look at each other and it is as if we have a whole conversations using no words.. My love for him changed dramatically when I saw him holding the precious body of our Gideon and when I saw his extreme joy the moment Silas was born. He has seen me at my lowest and I have seen his. Just as I have seen his highest and he has seen mine. And I love him more.

There are no words to truly describe our love. This kind of love only happens when you have walked the road we have walked.

I love you, Todd. More than words can express. Thank you for asking me to marry you 10 years ago today (a whole decade! And 1/3 of my life!!! Wow!).  You are an incredible husband and daddy to our boys. I wouldn't want to walk through this life with any one else. You are my heart.

Our wedding anniversary (May 17th) is now shared with the birth of precious Gideon and so our anniversary will always be split between celebrating our marriage and his life, so I wanted to take today, on the 10th anniversary of  mine and Todd's engagement to focus on just my husband and where God had brought us over the past 10 years. And tonight we will go out and celebrate the day that I said YES! :)

This is "Dancing Through the Minefields" and I send this song to the love of my life, my wonderful husband.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

He is

Todd and I wrote a poem that I read at the MEND Candlelight Christmas Ceremony. This ceremony is a time to remember each of our children in Heaven as we each get up and say our children's names and light a candle to remember them. This candlelight ceremony is a beautiful, quiet time to focus on God and remember the amazing miracle of His birth. We take the time to turn our eyes to the Lord so that even though the pain of losing our children is always there, we can draw close to the comfort of God. 

He is
          You orchestrated the moment my child’s life began
          What a beautiful baby you created inside me
          From you all of life flows
Knowing One,
          You counted all the hairs on my child’s head
          You were there when my baby was ushered into Heaven
          You have seen the pain in my heart
Wonderful Counselor,
          You have been the ears of my grief
Prince of Peace,
          You give me serenity in the midst of agony
          Inside your walls there is safety and comfort
          I know that you are always with me
          You mend the desperate soul
          Without your help, where would I be?
          Your love is extravagant and infinite.
Everlasting Father,
          Wrapped in your love, my child rests in your arms.
          Because of you, I will see my child again.

By: Todd and Stormy Mitchell

My candle lit to remember all the babies who have gone before us, for our tiny Avery and our sweet little love Gideon. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Illuminate Week 4

My assignment is late this week. It was supposed to be due on sunday, but we have been busy the last week or so. But, better late than never. I am in a hurry to write this, so I may ramble...(and there are probably a lot of errors. Sorry!)
In class, this week we were to think about where we want to be in a year, where our life will be one year from today. Sometime when we grieve it is hard to look ahead even one day, so we are to try to look ahead and think about where we see our lives in a year. So this assignment we are to focus on what we want to change over the next year. For our photography assignment we were to pick a word that would represent our next year. We were to take pictures of objects that look like the letters in the word and then make a mosaic of that word.

My word for the next year is...Can you see it?


Over the next year, I want to start to dream again.

When Gideon went to heaven, all my dreams for my life vanished. I no longer wanted anything. At all. I just wanted to be in the past, to be with my son.

"But there are dreams that cannot be, and there are storms we cannot weather. I had a dream my life would be so different from his hell I'm living. So different now from what it seemed...Now life has killed the dream I dreamed."- I Dreamed a Dream, Les Miserables

I think these lyrics encapsulate how I felt. I stopped dreaming for myself. Life killed my dreams. When my son died, so did my dreams. I stopped desiring anything for myself. There were things I wanted, I wanted more children. I wanted Todd to finish Grad school. But, that was about it. No real dreams for myself.

I stopped dreaming big.

Before Gideon passed away, if I had a dream, I would go for it. I wanted to go to college and graduate, I did it. I wanted to get married to the man of my dreams, I did that. I wanted to go and graduate from Grad school, I did that. I wanted to get healthy, and I did that. I wanted to work in a professional theatre. I did it. I dreamed of taking fun vacations with my husband. And we did (as finances allowed). I wanted to have children. Now...that was a little more tricky. That was out of my hands and it was totally in God's hands. But I pushed as hard and I could, we got tested and did everything we could afford and emotionally handle to try to have a baby. But I went for it. And eventually, we were successful. I got pregnant with our miracle, Gideon.

I dream big and I go for it...until May 15th, 2011, when I heard the words "I am so sorry."...And life killed the dream I dreamed.

All the dreams I had before died Gideon went away. They were no more. I was a different person and so my old dreams became moot. 

However, I had one more dream for our life, I wanted to give Gideon a baby sibling. It was the only big dream I had for our life. And we were blessed to be able to do that much quicker than expected and when I got pregnant with him, I began to have dreams for Silas. I hoped and dreamed of the day when he would make his arrival into the world. ...And I still dreamed for Todd to finish Grad school, pass his exam and get licensed by the state as a Counselor (which he did! woohoo!!).

I mostly focused on the here and now. For the first 16 months after Gideon went to Heaven, I focused on today or tomorrow. I focused on what God had for me that day. I focused on what God was speaking to my heart for that hour, or today or tomorrow. I kept my eyes focused on the here and now and found joy again and sought the Lord. But I would only see my life with the next month or so in mind.  I had some dreams, but I kept them on the back burner, because I just couldnt put the energy into dreams that big.  I focused on others in my life, focused on Silas as he was growing inside of me, focused on being excited about his upcoming arrival. I focused on him after he was born and focused on my little family. I kept my eyes turned to the Lord and made it one day or one week at a time. I spent a lot of time thinking about the past and thinking about the life I had with Gideon. I spent many hours thinking of the hours when he was inside me or the times he was in my arms. I thought (and still do) think about Gideon in Eternity and I await the day when I can see him again.

I had to choose to dream, it didn't come naturally to me anymore.

But, as I knew then, and I know now, there are so many good things in my life. So much to look forward to.

I look ahead to the days of raising Silas. Of everything he is going to accomplish. Of getting to actively be his mommy. I look forward to seeing as Todd grows his career and helps many people. I look forward to seeing all my nieces and nephews grow. I look ahead to spending time with Todd and taking vacations as a family. I look toward the times as I get to serve God and worship at His feet.

I look forward to dreaming again.

Big dreams.

"The only thing that will stop you from fulfilling your dreams, is you." -Tom Bradley

For the next year, I want to dream for myself again. I still have dreams for Silas and dreams for Todd. I still have dreams for others, but I want to dream for me.  I want to, over the next year, to imagine and dream of the big things again. Not just today and tomorrow, and not just next month, but for the rest of this earthly life. What does God want for me for now? What do I want to go after? Where do I want to be in one year from today?

"To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe."-Anatole France

In one year from now, I want to have the ministry God has given me the heart for started and have it going strong. It is called "Gideon's Warriors." We are going to meet the needs of some of the baby loss parents in our local community. We are going to provide care packages for the mommies and daddies while in the hospital and give them resources and items for the weeks after they say goodbye to their baby. We also want to provide clothes and diapers for the babies to be dressed in. And I want to be able to give whatever items the hospital needs to make the horrible experience of having a baby die as easy as possible for the family. It is my heart to help the parents to see hope and to see the hope of Jesus and His love. That is just one of my ideas for the ministry. I have lots of ideas for Gideon's Warriors for the years to come, maybe some of them will happen and maybe some won't.

I am dreaming again.

I also want to get my certification and become a Life Coach that specializes in Grief. I am hoping that in the next year we have the resources for me to be able to take classes and be on my way to being certified. I want to be there for others as they walk this road of grief and to help them through the roughest times and to give them the tools to move forward with their life, but never leaving their loved one behind. It is my heart to give people hope in the future on this earth and a future in Heaven.

More dreams...

And for the next year, I dream of smaller scale things, like taking vacations with Todd and Silas. Like taking Silas to the zoo for the first time or his first time to ride on a carousel and a Ferris wheel. I want to see him experience life and watch it through his eyes. Over the next year, I want to keep working on photography and learning more about it and hopefully take some pictures that dont stink. haha. I want to learn more about editing pictures. I want to learn to sew better.  I want to start singing again. I sing in church and at home (all the time, I probably annoy my hubby. haha), but I want to sing in the capacity I used to sing. I want to learn how to play the ukelele. I want to start writing a 2 different books. I want to start on a children's book and Todd and I want to write a book together.

I have dreams. In spite of my grief and maybe because of it. I know I dream again because I love my God and love my Gideon.

 "Hope is a waking dream."- Aristotle

and maybe in a year, we will be trying for or expecting a baby brother or sister for  Gideon  and Silas...maybe...

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Illuminate Week 3

This is week 3 of my Illuminate photography class and our project this week is about perspective. When you are grieving sometimes it is hard to get out of your house, honestly some days it is hard to get out of bed. So for our photography assignment, we were supposed to pick a starting point, then walk a certain distance and take pictures from all different perspectives; looking up, looking down, looking close and far away, etc. Then for our blog, we are to look at our situation from a different perspective than maybe what we are used to. Even in light of the death of our babies, we are focusing on being grateful, which is hard to do, especially in the darker days of grief. I decided to make a list of 100 things I am grateful for.                                                

This is at the cemetery where Gideon is buried. I parked  in the same spot where we parked for his funeral (which is not where I usually park) Then I walked 100 steps and found myself about 20 feet from Gideon's place. This is his headstone and urn, with his flowers for the fall. For the perspective on this picture, I got down on my knees to be close to the ground, like I do when I visit Gideon's place.
This is at the cemetery, after I took the 100 steps, standing in the same place where I took the picture of Gideon's headston and urn, but this time I am looking up at the sky through the branches of a tree.

100 things I'm grateful for...
1) Jesus and his love for us.
2) His sacrifice so we could have a relationship with Him
3) Because of that we get the promise of Eternal life
4) Todd
5) Gideon
6) Silas
7) My parents
8) My siblings (and sibling-in-laws)
9) My other family
10) My best friends
11) My other wonderful friends
12) MEND
13) Hot tea
14) Driving on a cool day with the windows down
15)The love I have for my children and husband
16) Music...I could talk about music for days. I love it.
17) The Beatles music
18) Jenny & Tyler's music
19) Worship at my church
20) NKOTB! (Dont judge me, they are awesome!!)
21) I've gotten to see them in concert twice in the past few years
22) My church
23) My friends at church
24)  Fall, Spring and Winter weather in Houston area
25) Christmas time
26) Getting to be pregnant with Gideon during Christmas time
27)  And getting to be pregnant with him during Halloween, Thanksgiving, New Years Valentine's day, Easter and Mother's day.
28) That Gideon gets to be in Heaven
29) Thats Silas gets to be here with me
30) The moment when I saw both my boys for the first time
31) Hearing Silas cry when he was born and seeing his eyes open
32) Seeing how both our boys look like both of us and therefore, each other
33) Snuggling Silas
34) Hearing him laugh
35) Watching Todd with Silas
36) Seeing the man Todd has become since Gideon went to Heaven
37) Having a place to go and sit and visit Gideon at his final earthly resting place
38) Getting snow cones after I visit him at his place
39) Red velvet flavored snow cones..well, just snow cones. Yum.
40) Red velvet flavored ice cream
41) Ice cream in general. Delicious!!
42) Icees.
43) Fettuccine Alfredo, pizza and hamburgers
44) Cheesecake....ok, I think I am done listing food! Can you tell I love food??
45) Being with Todd and our bestfriends
46) inside jokes
47) sleeping in late
48) using chapstick on my lips! (its my addiction!)
49) Talking to a friend who I havent talked to in a while and it feels totally natural
50) Watching my nieces and nephews play

This is 100 steps from my bedroom. I walked across the house and down our driveway. This if my perspective from my straight on, at my own eye level, but zoomed in to frame in the gate... I have a lot of good memories walking down this road. 

After I walked 100 steps from my bedroom and took the picture of the gate and road, I took this photo looking down at my feet. Its amazing how many different perspectives you get just standing in one place.

51) Playing board games with my family
52) Listening to loud music as I am driving and singing at the top of my lungs and looking like a crazy person
53) feeling totally comfortable with Todd and being able to sit in silence and just BE.
54) Having a husband who is my best friend
55) The sound of rainfall on the roof
56) taking a shower after a long day
57) wearing makeup
58) having my hair cut
59) baking cookies and decorating cakes
60) eating cookies and cakes (wait, am I back on food again.. Sorry.)
61) shopping for clothes
62) shoes....i love shoes
63) having lots of pairs of glasses, I figure since I need glasses, I might as well have a lot of cute pairs!
64) Talking with my siblings, its nice when your siblings are your friends
65) having a close relationship with my parents
66) that I had really awesome grandparents...who are in heaven with Gideon.
67) facebook, its been a good way to keep in touch with old friends
68) Musicals and plays, reading them and going to see them
69) Seeing Silas experience everything for the first time; riding on an airplane, visiting the beach, visiting different states, etc.
70) The smell of wintertime
71) my favorite tv shows; Charmed, Scrubs, Monk, House, How I Met Your Mother, Big Bang Theory, Cosby Show, etc.
72) Seeing a good movie at the movie theatre.
73) the whole theatre experience and theatre in general
74) the whole dining experience at a good restaurant...( I am back to food...I must be hungry or something)
75) traveling and getting to experience something new
76) getting to travel to  Maui Hawaii, Cozumel Mex, Niagara Falls Canada, New York, Tennessee, Colorado, New Mexico, Montana, Florida...and many states and cities in between...and ALL over the great state of Texas
77) getting to live in Texas. I love this state. I am one of those "too proud of Texas" people. I LOVE it here.
78) a good book.
79) my favorite books; I really love reading, so I will only list a few of the books that I enjoy..The Bible, The Chronicles of Narnia, Wicked, The Harry Potter series, The Great Divorce, A Grief Observed...actually everything I have read by CS Lewis...and all of Gregory Maguire's books, 1984, Brave New World, Dante's Inferno, Les Miserables, Catcher in the Rye...ok, I will stop listing books, I could go on and on...I think I could talk more about books than I have food. hahaha
80) the smell of my perfume
81) the way both of my boys smelled right after they were born
82) sitting down after a long day of standing
83) classic rock, 80's and 90's music
84) getting to go to museums and see things from other times or places or awesome art
85) a good burp. hahaha
86) a big glass of water, Dr. Pepper and Icewine
87)  the Bible study that I have been doing the past year.
88) when the Holy Spirit speaks so clearly into my heart.
89) reading a good play...I could list a lot of those, but I will spare you all...
90) getting to see a good play.
91) having a good picture taken of me. haha.
92) the pictures I have of Gideon
93) the photography class I'm taking
94) air conditioning, indoor plumbing ...and an on-demand generator
95) the right to vote.
96) the right to worship in a free country.
97) rollercoaster rides!
98) baseball and hockey
99) the compassion God has given me for others who are grieving
100) the opportunity to help comfort others the way God has comforted me.

I could go on..and on...Even in the midst of pain, I have so much to be grateful for. So many blessings from the Lord. Thank you God, that in our darkest days, you are right beside us. 

"Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire." Hebrews 12: 28-29
I walked 100 more steps after I took the picture of my feet and ended up on our road. It turned into a gloomy kind of afternoon. So this is my perspective from the side of the road. Again, this perspective is from my eye level, but zoomed all the way out.

This is 100 steps back from the gate picture, this is right by our house. I ended up standing right near this flower bush, so I zoomed in and got a picture with a close perspective, I like how you can see the water droplets on the flower.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Illuminate Week 2

This is my week 2 for my Illuminate photography class. This week we are studying light in pictures and how to use the light to convey our emotions. We are examining our emotions and how the world looks to us on this journey of grief. And we are looking at what the light or darkness mean to us as we live in a world without our babies 

I heard the words "I am so sorry" come out of the nurse's mouth. 

And my world went into complete darkness.

Though in hindsight, it was never totally dark because the light of God was always there. However, I couldn't see it, I couldn't see Him. Not at first. All I could see was complete blackness. My world went from a bright beautiful light of hope and joy into a dominating blackness. I had to walk into the dark. I had no choice. There was no other path for me. Life as I knew it ceased to be. And it was required of me that I live in a reality where there is always some darkness. I now live in a world where babies die, where my baby died.  It will never be fully light again.

 "Before I go to the place of no return to the land of gloom and utter darkness, to the land of deepest night, of utter darkness and disorder, where even the light is like darkness.” Job 10:21-22

  As I began to really look into the darkness, I could see a small amount of light.  Even in the beginning, even in the first few days after Gideon died. The light was a very small glimmer in an expanse of darkness. But it was enough to keep me going, enough for me to keep breathing. In.Out. In again. Look towards the small amount of light. Breathe in. And out. Look toward the Light. Towards Jesus. In John 8 Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” Jesus is the light that I walk in. And as I walked the road of grief, I could start to clearly see Jesus again. 

When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.” - Charles A. Beard

I walked in this new darkness and as time progressed, more light entered my life.I didnt want it to, but it did. Most times, I didn't notice it happening. As I mourned the loss of my Gideon, each day it became easier to breathe, to see the light. To see Jesus. I could slowly see the the sun coming back into my life. Because I have Jesus as my Savior, I am never in complete darkness. I began to journey out of the complete darkness, and into the light of peace and joy. However, I was changed forever. I would never see the world again without shadows. There will always be a shadows, a shadow in the place where my son should be.  Honestly, some days I have to choose to see the light and not focus on the dark. Even though sometimes, especially in the early days of my grief, I wanted to stay in the blackness. Even now, 16 months later, there are days when I exist in the blackest of the dark.

 You, Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light. Psalm 18:28

 However, I have come to realize that I can still remember Gideon and honor his life without sitting in complete darkness. I can even grieve him and still be in the light of Jesus. Gideon's life has brought sunshine to my life. His existence gives me an extravagant joy and I am extremely proud to be his mom and proud of all that his life accomplishes on this earth. I can see the light his existence has brought to my life, the blessing that his life has given me. I remember him and smile. And I love him every single minute of the day. And I know he has Eternal life in Jesus and that is a source of greatest light imaginable.

But, unfortunately in this world, our light will always be tainted by darkness for we live in a shadow of the Light of Eternity.

Because Jesus is Light. In Him there is no darkness when we get to see Him in Eternity. In Heaven there is no darkness, no sadness no pain. When we get to be with Him and with our babies, we will be in complete light. Because He is the source light. There will be no shadows because His light permeates everywhere. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever. Revelation 22:5

   God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.-1 John1:5

I see the light now because I focus on Jesus and focus on His joy. He lights my world, he gives me the sun to light my path and He shows me His peace and I can be happy, even without my firstborn son. I see the blessings God has given me in this world and I can see how he turns my darkness into light. I experience the love I have in my husband and in our miracle, Silas. Todd and Silas are the source of most of the happiness I have in this world. They are truly my sunshine. I see the fun and laughter he gives me with my siblings, parents and friends. I can feel the compassion he has given me for others who are hurting. In my heart I experience joy when I worship Him...And all of these things are good. Very good. Each of the gifts I am given, provide a source of light in the shadows of this fallen world. And to quote my favorite group the Beatles, "Little darling, it seems like years since its been here...Here comes the sun...Here comes the sun and I say, its all right."

“It is better to light one small candle than to curse the darkness.” Eleanor Roosevelt


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Illuminate Week 1

This is my first assignment for my Illuminate photography class. If you want to read a little bit about the class, you can read about it here.  Each week we have a writing assignment and a photography assignment. This weeks pictures were self portraits. These pictures represent where I am in my grief journey as I live without our Gideon. This week we are to write letters to our babies in Heaven, I have written to both our Gideon and Avery. I decided that I am going to write with no editing, I am just going to write it as it flows from my heart, it might be a little random....So, here goes....

To my little Avery,
I am so sorry that I don't write to you more. I miss you. I always do. You came and left us so quickly. When I see your cousins, Ezekiel and Olivia playing, I picture you with them. You would be 3 and a half if you had been born full term. You would be just a little older than both of them. I wonder if you would be the leader of the pack, or would you let Olivia lead and Zeke tackle you to the ground? Or would you do the tackling? I don't wonder as much as I used to though. I know you are with Jesus and that is the best thing a mommy could ask for. Your daddy and I wanted you so much. But as quickly as you came to us, you were gone. We lost you through miscarriage and that broke our hearts. We spent lots of time at the doctors office getting procedures, and mommy had to get shots for 2 weeks out of every month to make my body ovulate (I even let your daddy give me the shots every day! He was actually really good at it!). I had to take very powerful medication to ovulate and we had to do a procedure to have the best chances of conceiving. The month we got pregnant with you, as your daddy stood by me and I was getting a procedure done, I felt peace. In the next couple weeks, I normally was a nervous wreck, God gave me an enormous amount of peace. Two weeks later, we got a call that we were pregnant. That weekend we told our family we were pregnant with you and Daddy and I went on a weekend vacation to Dallas. We went to the Zoo and had delicious food and toured the city. I remember feeling very tired and being dizzy. Those were my only 2 pregnancy symptoms with you. I told my very good friends about you the next week. But too few days later, as we were continuing to get blood work to make sure you were ok, they called and told me that my numbers were dropping. You hadn't made it. You had been fine, you were growing...but you stopped. You quickly came and quickly went away. Even though we never got a chance to really know you, we love you. I never got to see you, or hold you in my arms, but you were very wanted and greatly loved. You are our oldest child. Your daddy and I believe you are a girl. We gave you the name Avery. It was a name I always really liked, and I thought it would work for a boy or a girl. I like that it ends in a "y" and had 2 syllables like my name. In my mind, your middle name has always been Lynn. That is my middle name and it is also your great-grandpa's middle name. I am sure you know him in Heaven though. I am sure he was there to welcome you when you got home. I know he would have been excited to see you, he always loved his grandchildren. About a year after you went to heaven, your daddy and I sat down and made a memory box for you. We put in it the onesies I made for your daddy to tell him I was pregnant with you, a copy of the letter I made for your Nana & Granddaddy to tell them I was pregnant with you. I also have in it a pregnancy test that I took! And I picture of me while I was pregnant with you. We only have a few items from your short life, but I cherish them. I keep your memory box in your baby brother's room.  About a year after you left us, I had a strong image of you. You were about 2 years old, with blonde curly hair, wearing a tutu running towards me. We were right in the bank of a river and you ran from the edge of the water and you ran straight into my arms. I cant wait until I am in Heaven with you and get to wrap my arms around you for the first time. I love you, Avery. Your daddy and I miss you. Tell your brother we love him and give your cousins hugs from us & tell Grandma and Grandpa I miss them.

With all my heart,

 To my sweet Gideon,
Tomorrow it will be 16 months since I held you in my arms. At times, it feels like yesterday. Where has the time gone? Some days I feel like I am in another dimension where time flows differently than it does here. Some moments fly by very quickly, and other moments drag by very slowly. Those first 6 months after you went to Heaven were tortuously slow. I woke up most days in tears and would cry myself to sleep. I still do some nights. I think of the moments when I held you in my arms and tears fall from my eyes because I miss you so. I used to dream of you often, there were many nights when I would dream of you and I could see you smiling, or you were in my arms, or I could hear your voice. I love those dreams. I can recall so many details of those dreams...Though, its been a long time since I dreamed of you and your face; many months. I talk about you in my dreams, but, I do not dream of you as alive.. Maybe because the reality that you are not here has finally totally sunk in. I want to dream of you again, maybe sometime soon, God will give me a dream of you. I hope so. Though nothing will ever be good enough, no dream. The only thing that will be good enough is when I get to be with you in Heaven, with Jesus.
My heart shattered into a billion pieces when you left us, and God is the only one who can mend my heart. He holds my heart together, without Him I do not know where I would be.
 I think of you every day and I wish you were still here. I wish you were with me every single minute of the day. I wish that you were here to see your little brother and to pick on him. However, I am also so glad you are with Jesus and I know you are safe in His arms. I miss your kicks inside of me and the way it felt to be pregnant with you. Every single day my heart desires to be with you. I speak your name every day, your daddy and I talk about you, your aunts and uncle and Nana & Granddaddy speak of you frequently. I tell your little brother about you.
I can smile when I talk about you, and laugh when I tell the stories of my pregnancy with you, like when I cried at the song "Centerfield" or how much I craved Icees!!! You loved Icees, when I would drink them, you would kick, kick, kick!! I bet when you were older, you would have wanted to drink them all the time!! You and I would have shared Icees all the time! :)
 I miss your beautiful curly hair. I miss the color of it. When I see little boys with your hair color, it always stops me in my tracks. Part of me wants to run up to them and hug them. I saw a little boy a couple of weeks ago with curly hair that matched your hair color. He was just a little older than you would have been. I tried not to stare at him. But I couldnt help it. Part of me wanted to take a picture of just his hair because it looks so much like what I think yours would have. Its been a while since I looked at the clippings we have of your hair. I love looking at them, but it pains me so much because I wish you were still here. Your hair clippings are the only piece of your physical body I have left on this earth, it contains your DNA. And it is so very special to me.
After your sister went to Heaven, Daddy and I tried one more round of fertility treatment. When it didnt work, we decided to give it a break. We felt like God wanted us to stop, and it was very expensive. We felt in our hearts that the Lord would give us a miracle. And we prayed. For 2 and a half years we prayed. We had a healing prayer service and were prayed over for about a year before we got pregnant with you. One week before you were conceived, the Lord spoke to me and said "The child I give you, will bring many to me." And I was so shocked. Because I never really expected to get pregnant. At that time, I had begun to prepare myself for a life without children. And one week later, on Oct 8th, you were conceived. (Which is on my grandmas birthday. It was her prayer and hope that your daddy and I would have children before she died. She was able to see me pregnant with you before she went to be with Jesus, just 3 weeks before you met Him.). We found out we were expecting you on Oct 23, 2010. That was the day your Aunt Kat and Uncle Jason got married. That day was truly one of the happiest days of my life. I still have the pregnancy test I took with you.  You gave us hope. You were our miracle from God. Your life defies all odds. In Feb, right after Valentines day, we found out you were a boy and we were ecstatic! We named you Gideon. Gideon Zeller Mitchell. Gideon after the Old Testament warrior and Zeller after my maiden last name. We cherished every day we got with you. We loved on you and told you how much you were loved each day. I honestly believe that you knew how much you were loved and wanted. You would always kick when your Daddy had his hand on my stomach. He loves you so much.
We made many memories with you. In those 33 weeks, we experienced so many things together as a family. We celebrated every day we had with you. I had never been happier than I was when you were with us. I never smiled more or laughed more. Your daddy dreamed of the days when he would teach you about football and golf. And I dreamed of taking you to the zoo and getting to homeschool you. I dreamed of the days when we could take you to museums and to the park and play on the jungle gym and the swings. We would have had such fun together!!

But on May 15, 2011, you went to be with Jesus. And 2 days later, on May 17 (Mine and your daddy's 8th wedding anniversary), you were born and we held you and loved on you. We kissed your face and looked over every inch of you. Gosh, you were beautiful. It amazed me and still amazes me that God created you perfectly. That God, your daddy and I created you.  You were so gorgeous. I can recall exactly how you felt in my arms and how it felt on my lips to kiss your face.
When you went to heaven when I was 33 weeks pregnant, it left a hole in the family. There are only 13 granchildren walking around, when there should be 14. Your Aunt Kelsey, had your cousin Malachi just a few months before you were born and your Aunt Summer was due to have your cousin, Andrew just a couple months after your due date.  I imagined my whole pregnancy that you and your 2 cousins would be like the 3 musketeers. That you would be 3 peas in a pod. But there are only 2 peas in that pod left. I see your two cousins running around laughing, playing and learning and I wonder what you would be like. I honestly believe you would have been very laid back. That you would have let everything roll off your back and would have been a peacemaker. You would have had a silly sense of humor and you would have been patient. When I see your baby brother, I see you in his features. And I love that Silas looks like you. I love that you two are different but that you really look like brothers. As I watch your brother grow, I can see firsthand how much I missed out on not getting to see you grow up.
But, my sweet boy, I can just see you in Heaven right now. Laughing and dancing in the presence of God. That is good. I often think about the image God gave me of you in Heaven, as a grown man, laughing and so joyful. I think about the days when there will be no more tears and pain and we will be with Him forever. I think about you with him, you never feel any pain, you never hurt or cry, you never get rejected, you always feel complete love, joy and peace.
You make me want to be closer to God, to be a better mom, wife, daughter, aunt and friend.  You inspire me. Your life makes me realize that we have such a short time on this earth, that we must make an impact here for God in the time we are given. You did that in your life, you showed people that miracles can happen and in your earthly death, you brought people closer to God. And that is what I want to do. I want to be able to show people the love of Christ and I realize that I have a short time on this earth to do that. Through your life and earthly death, God has taught me compassion, grace and patience. In situations where I used to get frustrated, I can now laugh in those situations. You give my life beauty in ways that I never saw before.
You have given me a heart for those who are hurting. When I see someone hurting, I want to reach out to them and give them comfort the way that God gives me comfort as I miss you. You have inspired me to reach out to help those grieving. You give me so much.

I thank God every day for your life and I thank Him that He has a plan to give me a hope and a future.
I love you, Gideon, my first born son, my heart. Through all the pain and agony over the last 16 months, the strongest feeling I have is love. Love for you, love for Jesus, love for your daddy and your brother. Love. Love. Love. I love you. My love for you grows stronger every day.

I miss you. I hold you in my heart every day, my little love.

Until we meet again,

Thursday, September 6, 2012


A picture is worth a thousand words.  And I want to capture the pictures I see around me daily.

I am starting a photography class online for moms who have had a baby die. And I am very excited about taking this class. I have wanted to learn more about photography for a long time, however I never had the motivation or the inspiration before to draw from. I do now. Gideon gives me that inspiration. Since Gideon went to heaven, I now have a different perspective on life. I view things differently. Literally. I actually see the things around me differently than I did before. I notice the small things in more detail. I appreciate the beauty around me. I notice people around me in more detail. I have new eyes. I want to capture the things I now see with a camera.

And hopefully along the way, I can take pictures that don't look horrible. Hahah.

This class is called Illuminate. It s a photo healing class. It is meant to use photography, blogging and journaling as a means to help these broken hearts of a mommy without her child. It is a way to visually catalog our path from brokenness to a mended heart. To show our hearts as we walk this journey of joy and heartache. Its about healing through photography. I know that God is going to use the next 4 weeks to continue to show Himself to me.

I will be taking this class with 10 other women and a wonderful teacher who is a fantastic photographer.  I was blessed by an anonymous woman who offered to pay for this class for me. I was not able to afford the fee for the class and someone paid for it! What a blessing. This woman has no idea how much this means to me. Thank you God for this opportunity. I will do my best in this class and learn everything I can so I can make sure to get the most I can out of this sweet gift; this class. 

I hope you all enjoy the next 4 weeks of my pictures and blogging. I will be posting my class assignments here, as well as other pictures that I take through this process..

Click here for more information on Illuminate.

Monday, July 16, 2012

There are no words for this

Sometimes there are no words for what your heart is feeling.

Last night I was praying after I laid down in bed. I put our little Silas in his crib, turned on his Angel Care monitor which makes me feel more at ease, I brushed my teeth and laid next to Todd in bed. I had been feeling very emotional all day. I have days like this, where I miss Gideon more than usual. Where my heart aches.  Most days, I have adjusted to this "new normal." I laugh, I smile, I love and I live. Always remembering Gideon and incorporating the lessons he taught me into my daily life. Yesterday, I hurt more than usual. As I laid in bed, I began praying.

I prayed for God to lead me each day, for His will to be done in my life. I focused on Him and rested in His presence. I prayed for a friend who may be having a miscarriage, I prayed for other friends who lost their son last year and are having fertility issues again. And I prayed for Silas, that he would grow to be a man of God. I prayed that Todd and I would be the kind of parents God wants us to be. And I thought of Gideon. I said to God; "I dont know if it works this way, but can you please tell Gideon how much I love him. Hug him for me. Tell him that I love him." And I began to cry. And emptiness surrounded my heart. My life has a void in it, that can never be filled, it is where Gideon should be.

My heart is encapsulated by intertwined and contradictory emotions. They flow quickly through my heart. Joy, pain, confusion, hope, despair, excitement, uncertainty, assurance, sorrow, love. In addition to these feelings, I experience emotions that I have no words for. Many times, I cannot explain what my heart is trying to say. I can use a million words, and I probably have, but none of them really explain how I feel. Because there are no words for this.

There are no words that exist for the emotions that my heart is experiencing.

So last night as I laid in the darkness with tears in my eyes, my heart cried out to God. Not in words. Just my heart reaching out to His heart. I could say nothing, because there are no words. My tears and heart cried to him. And I clearly heard His voice speak to my heart.

"I know."

That was all he said. Those two simple words truly spoke volumes to my spirit.

He knows. He can give words to my heart. He knows my feelings even though I haven't the words to speak. When there are no words for this, He knows. And He understands. If no one else in the world understands my heart, He does. And I don't even have to speak for Him to understand. I never have to say a word. He knows the deepest parts of my heart. Thank You, Lord, for knowing me fully and for loving me and understanding me when I cannot explain.

"And I don't know what to say, to properly convey
The lines of this earth, the lines of your face
I am small and unsure, but more and more I learn
There are no words; there are no words
There are no words for this"

 This song, Skyline Hill,  is by the group Jenny & Tyler, their music has meant so much to me throughout our  journey with infertility and the loss of Gideon. And the words of this are just really resonating with me today in light of what I have been feeling.

You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise, you perceive m thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely.- Psalm 139:1-4

Monday, May 21, 2012

Gideon's Video

I love you so much, my sweet Gideon.

I made this video for Gideon's 1st birthday. We had a get together,  a birthday party, with our family and close friends to celebrate the life of our precious first born son.  I made this video for his party in memory of our sweet boy to show the beauty of his life. God used and is using Gideon's life to advance His kingdom. In every life, no matter how brief, God has a purpose. Even if that person dies while still in the womb, or they die at 100, their life has meaning. 

Gideon is so loved and so missed. But I know he is being held by the Father. And that is good. And one day, we will be resurrected and we will live with Jesus forever.

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raise Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance--an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond reach of change and decay. And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.- 1 Peter 1:3-5

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Happy 1st Birthday, Gideon

Happy 1st birthday in Heaven, Gideon! 

525,600 minutes in a year. That is how long we have lived without Gideon.

8,760 hours in a year. That's how long it has been since we said goodbye.

365 days in a year. That is how long it has been since we held him in our arms and kissed his beautiful face.

But for 365 days, or 8,760 hours, or 525,600 minutes; that is how long he has been with Jesus. He never died. Not really. Those who are in eternity with Jesus never die. They Live. They truly Live.

For one year I have been without him, and I love him more and more each day. I still miss him. So much.

One year. Wow. I almost can't believe it has been that long. I am not sure what to say. I don't know how to wrap up all that I am feeling in just a few words. I am not sure there really are adequate words to describe my heart. I dont know if there are words that exist that can describe how a mother feels about her child. Especially when that mom has a child in heaven.

After 12 months, I still want Gideon here with us, I love him so much and I miss him constantly. Today is one of the hardest days I have had since the first few weeks after he died. How can I describe how I feel? How do you live without one of the people you love most? Todd and I have cried buckets of tears in the past few days. I was looking at his pictures yesterday and it was like I was there again, my heart began to feel extreme feelings of anguish again. The deep agony of losing him. I miss him. So much. I miss his curly strawberry blonde hair. (I am so glad I have clippings of his hair I can go and look at) I miss the way his hair felt under my hand. I miss the way it felt to kiss his beautiful forehead. I miss him in my arms. I miss his kicks inside of me. I miss the 1 year old he would be. I miss the little boy he would be becoming. I miss the first steps and him learning to talk? Would he laugh like me? Would he smile like Todd? Would he be laid back or more excitable? I miss my 1 year old. I am sitting here with tears streaming down my face with a piercing pain in my heart. I love that boy so much. In addition to this pain, I also feel proud, proud that he is my son. I feel grateful for the 33 weeks we got with him. I feel thankful that I am his mommy. I smile when I think that he made me crave Icees and Italian food. (I am going to drink an Icee today for the first time in a year in memory of him). I feel joy that he is in heaven. I am so eternally grateful that I get to be his mommy. And I do feel peace from the Holy Spirit today. I know the only reason I feel any amount of peace and joy is because of the Lord. I am so thankful for His peace. And I am thankful that Gideon's life had purpose and that God used him in so many ways. But, I wish he was still here. Part of my heart is with him in Heaven. As much as I want him here, I would never want to take him away from the presence of the Lord. My heart is constantly missing him and loving him. It is constantly feeling some pain and always feeling joy.

Over the last year, I have changed in so many ways. More than I can even count. God has used the life of our Gideon to transform me into a new person. I am more patient. I am more compassionate. My heart is more accepting of love and I am more open emotionally. I do not laugh as freely, but when I do laugh, my heart is in it. I cry more. I love more deeply. I give love easier. I love Jesus more. I actually want Jesus to come back. I am more thankful.

In the past 365 days, I have learned a lot from the Lord. More than I can even say. I have learned that he truly makes beauty from ashes. His grace extends further than I can even comprehend. He truly is good, no matter what our circumstances. He is faithful. He will always comfort us in our time of need. He is the giver of ultimate joy. His timing is perfect. He is the giver of peace. He is patient with us when we have questions. He may not answer us the way we want him to, but He always answers. He gifts us with salvation. And because of His sacrifice I will get to be in Eternity with Him and with Gideon. And those things are just the tip of the iceberg. I do not think I can list all of the ways the Lord has shown Himself to me in the last year.

Over the last year, we have been blessed in ways we never expected. Despite the horrific pain I still feel. The Lord has given us the deepest blessings and great joys. I am going to list just a few of them here (in no particular order).
1) Our relationship with the Lord is so much close and richer than it was before.  He truly is my lifeline. He is the main focus in my life and my he fills my heart. I could write about this for a long time, so I will save that for a later blog.
2) One of the greatest blessings is the love we have for Gideon. It grows and changes every day and the love we have for him reaches into the deepest parts of our hearts. And that love is truly beautiful.
3)A huge unexpected blessing from this year is the gift of our second son, Silas. We love him so very much. He is such a special little boy. He was born on April 16th and he weighed 7lbs 2oz and was 19 and a half inches long! (I will have to blog about his birth story at some point!). He was born one month and one day before Gideon's first birthday. He looks so much like his big brother and for that I am truly thankful. He is one of the greatest blessings in my life. I have been given 2 wonderful and amazing boys. Both of whom, I know, will make a huge impact for the Lord. I cannot wait to see Silas grow and to see what kind of man he becomes.
4) This year (just last weekend), Todd graduated with his Masters degree in Psychology (please pray he finds a good internship, he is still in the process of trying to find one that works for our family). I am so proud of him and God gave him so much perseverance through the past year. He worked extremely hard to finish school despite the grief and difficult days.
5) This year, God has given me wonderful friends. I have met and gotten to know some of the strongest and most beautiful women. They are mommies to children in Heaven and they have the most amazing hearts.  Some of these ladies I have met through the support group I go to called, MEND. And some of the other women I have met online. I have also gotten to help a friend whose son passed and we have become wonderful friends. These lovely mommies have become some of my closest friends. I am so honored to know them. I hate how we all became friends, I hate that our children have passed away. But I am so thankful for their friendship. Its amazing that they truly understand what I am going through and we are able to help each other. I truly love their children and they love mine. I cant wait to meet their kids when I get to eternity!
6)In the past year, I have seen how amazing my friends are, my friends from before Gideon died. They have been so supportive and have loved us unconditionally. They never expect me to "get over it" and always are there for me when I need to talk about Gideon. They will talk about him too. They do not shy away from talking about him, because they love him. They miss Gideon. They pray for us and make us laugh when we need it, but will also cry with us. I am so blessed to have these friends in my life.
7)  Another blessing that has come in the past year is that God has given me a specific vision for a ministry to help other women who have experienced what I have gone through. He has just begun to open the doors for this. I do not know what this will look like exactly, and how it will manifest, but I will follow where God leads. And I know this will be a way for me to comfort others the way Christ comforted me (2 Corinthians 1:4).
8) So many people have prayed for us this past year, and given us cards and written us letters and sent us gifts to remember Gideon. Each one of those I hold so dear to my heart. It blesses my heart every time one of my friends says to me "I miss him too" or "I love him too" or "He is so beautiful." Each time someone remembers our son, it touches my heart.
9) A great blessing over the last 12 months is that my relationship with Todd is so much richer and deeper. He and I are even closer than we were before. Todd has always been my best friend but our bond is stronger. Our commitment to each other, to be together with each other through the good times and the bad has been tested this year. But, we have stood together, have endured and have thrived! Thank you Lord for my husband. And today is mine and Todd's 9th anniversary! I cant believe we have been married 9 years! Because of our love, we have amazing and beautiful children. I am a better woman because of you, Todd.  
10) My relationship with my family is closer than ever. We are more open and talk about our feelings more. We have an even stronger bond than before. My family is truly wonderful. They really love Gideon and miss him with all their hearts. They have a void in their lives where he should be. They let me talk about him every single day and they talk about him too. They always include him and count him. And each one of them has been changed because of Gideon. I know that no matter what, my family will be there for us and will love us. And they always make me laugh and even if I am having a hard day, they can make me smile.

In the past year, God has surprised me with many things. And this one is the most recent and I wanted to share what an amazing blessing occurred. There is a non-profit called Molly Bears.  They are a organization started to help mommies and daddies who have lost babies. They hand make bears, designed special for each child, that are weighted the same as the child who died. So if your baby weighed 6lbs, that is how much the bear would weigh. A mommy and daddy, when they get their bear, will be able to feel the weight of their child in their arms again. Wow. People volunteer and make each one of these bears with love. They do this based all on donations, there is a waiting list of thousands of parents and the wait time is about a year. So if you signed up today, you would have to wait a year for a bear. I never signed up for a Molly Bear before because  I didn't want to take away someone else's chance to get a bear. Well, just a couple weeks ago I got an email from a beautiful woman who has read this blog and she is a mommy who lost her child. She also makes bears for Molly Bears. She told me that she felt like God wanted her to make a bear for Gideon! She wanted me to be able to have it for his birthday. I couldn't believe it! I wept with joy in my heart. I was so touched and  felt so blessed by God! I was shocked,  thankful and I was speechless. Which, if you know me, you know that doesn't happen very often.I couldn't believe that would have a bear the same weight as our sweet Gideon. He was 2lbs 11oz when he was born. I have not felt that weight in my arms since he was here.

The bear arrived on May 12th, which is 3 days before the anniversary of finding out Gideon didn't have a heartbeat and 5 days before his birthday. I opened the box and saw one of the cutest bears I have ever seen in my life!! I loved it! It has a beach theme and includes the color orange. Both of those remind us of our Gideon. I lifted the bear from the box and tears fell down my face. I carefully put the bear in my arms, my breath caught in my throat. I closed my eyes and let the weight of the bear rest in my arms. I imagined Gideon there, in my arms again. It was so much like how he felt. I had almost forgotten his weight. But when I held that beautiful bear, I could remember so clearly how Gideon's weight felt as I held him. It felt right. It felt like it does when you come home from a vacation. You remember your house and you remember the smells and the way it looks. But when you walk through the door, you see your house and all your things and you just feel right. You are home. That is how it felt to hold this bear. Like I was coming home. Todd held him and didn't speak. I could see the emotion behind his eyes.
I have cuddled this bear many times in the last few days and it has been so helpful to me. I miss Gideon SO much more these days, since its his birthday. And holding a bear that weighs the same as him has helped this mommy so much. It has given me something tangible to hold onto, since I cannot hold onto my precious son. I held the bear and held our Silas at the same time yesterday and my heart was flooded with emotions. Tears rolled down my cheeks as I held a 9 and a half pound baby and this 2lb 11oz bear. My arms were full. It was amazing.  It was as if I had both my sons, like they were both with me in those moments. I know that will not happen, not really, until I get to Eternity. But this bear is giving me a little glimpse of what our reunion will be like, when I get to fold my arms around my children again. I can just imagine it now, us running to each other, smiling and laughing with joy.  Me and Todd with our 3 children in a big huddle, all hugging and singing praises to the Lord. What a day that will be!

Here is Silas dressed in his Little Brother outfit with Gideon's bear. Big brother and little brother are hanging out together! I love it!

Over the last 52 weeks, one of the biggest blessings in my life since Gideon went to Heaven is the support group I go to, MEND. Every 2 months MEND sends out a newsletter. And each newsletter has a theme to it, the May/June newsletter deals with Mother's Day and Father's Day. And every newsletter, if your child's birthday is in those 2 months, you can write a birthday tribute to your child or children. So for the May/June Newsletter, I wrote one for Gideon. I think this, in a small way, wraps up how my heart feels.

525,600 minutes without you, our precious Gideon. But that means we are 525,600 minutes closer to when we can be with you again and we can finally be with Jesus!

"So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice and no one will take away your joy."- John 16:22

Monday, April 9, 2012


We have finished Silas' nursery!

He has a little place to call his own for when he arrives. But I have to be honest with you, getting his room ready was not easy for me emotionally. It wasn't all joy and excitement, like it is for most mommies. It wasn't all smiles and laughs. That was there. I did smile and I do. But it is bittersweet. Like everything in life since Gideon died, like everything with this pregnancy with Silas. I am excited about getting Silas' room together, but I miss Gideon. I am happy that we are creating a little place for Silas, but I am sad because I never got to do that for Gideon. I enjoy feeling Silas inside of me, but I wish Gideon was here to put his hands on my belly and feel him too. Its a constant battle between joy and sorrow. That is just my life now. Every joyful moment, every smile, every laugh, has sadness behind it. There is a hole in our life. That hole is where Gideon should be. Always.

Without pain and sorrow, joy cannot be fully appreciated.

Getting Silas' room together started by getting everything that we bought, or had bought for us, for Gideon out of storage. We have some of Gideon's things, things that are only his, in our room and they are close to us at all times. Like the outfit and hat he wore, and the blanket he was wrapped in, the bear he has pictures with and the first outfit we bought him that he never got to wear, the blanket my parents made for him and other items like that. Those things are just Gideon's. They belong to him and him alone. It is like part of him is connected to those items. They hold a special place in my heart and I could never see his little siblings using those things as their own.

But, we have some other things that belonged to Gideon, that I want him to share with his little brother. I like the idea that Silas and Gideon get to share things. I have big siblings and a little sibling and we had to share our things all the time. And so it is nice to me that Gideon gets to share some of his things with Silas. It is sweet that the big brother gets to share with his little brother even though he isn't physically with us. And honestly, it seemed a waste of money to not use the same items for Silas that we got for Gideon. And if Gideon had lived, he would have shared these things with his little brother.

After we got the items from storage, I started to go through them all. We packed up everything not too long after Gideon passed because it was so extremely hard for me to walk into the nursery every day and see all of these beautiful items that we got at his baby shower the day before he died. All of these unopened packages, and these cute little baby boy bags. So, it had been months since I had seen most of these items, and once I opened the boxes, all of these emotions flooded my heart. My breath caught in my throat and I fought back tears. I see all of the clothes we had for Gideon. All of the toys. All of the nursery decorations. All of the broken dreams.

As I removed the stickers and tags from the clothes, I broke down crying. Tears were streaming down my face as I was picturing Gideon wearing all of these clothes, I tried to imagine what he would have looked like wearing each outfit. How it would have felt dressing him. How the colors would have looked with his strawberry blonde hair. I gasped as I realized that if Gideon was alive today, he would have already outgrown every single outfit I was holding in my hands.

And I lost it.

I started bawling. My breath came out in sobs. I just want my Gideon here! I wish he was in my arms, not just in my heart, but in my arms!! I miss him so much! My heart aches for him. My arms crave to wrap around him and I want to kiss his face. I want to hear his voice, his cry, his squeals of delight and his grunts in annoyance. I want our oldest son with me!

The pain that is always there, that is always in my heart, came raging to the surface.

Eventually my sobs became softer and quieter. They turned into silent tears and eventually they stopped.

In my heart, I thought about the place where Gideon lives today. I thought about how he experiences joy beyond all comprehension. I thought about him being with Jesus. I thought about the fact that Gideon hasn't missed out on anything, he is with Him! So even though it breaks my heart to be without Gideon on this earth, I know where lives today.

I was able to get back to my work after I broke down, get back to getting the room ready for Silas. As I pulled out the bedding, my heart stopped for a moment. That was the special bedding I wanted just for Gideon. His own little beach. We wanted a Hawaiian themed room for him. And for many reasons, we associate beaches with Gideon. When I see that beach-themed bedding now, in Silas' room, it reminds me that one day Gideon will walk on the beaches when the New Earth is created. So, I am excited that Silas gets to use his bedding!! And every day I see it I will think of Gideon and think of the day when we will be reunited.

We never got Gideon a dresser or crib. We were actually planning on going to buy both of those items on the Monday following his baby shower. That Monday was the day after we found out he died. That day, I was in the hospital laboring, waiting for him to arrive. We got Silas a dresser that I really like and a crib that I love. Its perfect for our Mr. Silas.

Since I have been on bed rest for the last week (due to having high blood pressure), I have had to get a lot of help to finish Silas' room, my sweet hubby has been so wonderful to help me every step of the way, Todd assembled the dresser and the crib! I think that daddy's like to put together furniture for their babies. Its something in their genetics. And I have been blessed that my mom has been around to help assemble his room. Its been hard not to be able to do a lot because I have had this extremely strong desire, this need, to finish his room for him. It is overwhelming. It is more than just "nesting." It goes deeper than that.

I felt I HAD to finish his room. I need to give him a place at our home.

I never got to do this for Gideon, he died the weekend before I was planning on putting his room together. I have such a strong desire to create a nursery because in a way, I am doing this for both of my boys. It is one more "mommy" thing I can do for Gideon, something I can finish for him. And one of the many things I will get to do for Silas. Also, if Gideon had lived, he and Silas would be sharing this room. So, in my heart, it is for both of them.

I am so very excited to have his room finished!!!

His bed and his cute Hawaiian themed bedding with an Astros monkey hanging on the side.
 And he has a little sock monkey! In my family we call them "funk monks." All the kids have them, and I had one growing up. 

Silas' name on the wall, with a picture of his big brother, Gideon, on his dresser. So they are always near each other.

The bed in the room, with Gideon's blanket at the foot of it. My parents made that blanket for Gideon and I usually use it, it makes me feel closer to him, but I want Silas to use it too.

This is the blanket my mom and I made for Silas. I love it!

This is a blanket that my sister had made for our little Silas. This is one of the most special blankets I have, and this is why....When Gideon died, we had a friend knit him a hat and a blanket to be buried in. He didn't fit into any preemie clothes (since he was 2lbs 11oz) and nothing seemed right for him. Nothing seemed like it "fit" him. So a dear woman knitted a cute little hat and a beautiful blue blanket for him to be wrapped and laid to rest in. Well, our friend made a small square replica of the blanket she made for Gideon for me and Todd, for my parents and for each of my siblings. So we would all have a little blanket to remind us of him. My oldest sister had a beautiful friend of hers turn her square of Gideon's blanket into a big blanket for Silas to be wrapped in. The small medium blue square in the middle of this blanket is the exact same as the blanket Gideon is wrapped up in. 
So every time Silas is wrapped in this blanket it is like a piece of his big brother is with him. And every time I see it, I will think of both of my precious boys. It means more to me than I can even express.

As we got Silas' room together, it really reminded me that no matter where we hang out hat, no matter where we live, no matter where we have our house, this is not our home. Since Gideon died, I am constantly reminded that our home is not in this temporal place, our ultimate home is in Eternity. And though we all have a purpose to serve here on this earth, our eyes should be fixed on Jesus. This is not our home.

So we are always confident, even though we know that as long as we live in these bodies, we are not home with the Lord.  For we live by believing and not by seeing. Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earth bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord. 2 Corinthians 5:6-8