November 27, 2011

The Importance of Being Thankful

Hi Friends,

It's been a little while, hasn't it? I'm sorry. There are days when I want to write, but just can't find the words. The days surrounding our first real holiday without our boys were difficult.

I hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving. We spent ours with family, doing a little shopping, some cooking, lots of catching up, and of course, eating.

This Thanksgiving was still different for us. I usually get so excited about the holidays. I love the decorations, the change of seasons, the hustle and bustle, and the spirit and joy that fills the air. This year, however, I haven't truthfully been looking forward to them. My excitement is muted by my heartache. I will be the first to admit that I didn't always see how one could feel sad during the holidays, but now I do. I guess that just goes to show what a joyful life I have been blessed with. Now, admittedly, I just want to get through them. Isn't that terrible? I've never been this way. It's just where we are, and that's okay.

With all of that said, Thanksgiving is about giving thanks for the blessings we have. I count my blessing every single day, but Thanksgiving is an especially good time to reflect on them. Even with ALL of our pain this year, I have so much to be thankful for:

I am thankful for Elijah Thomas and Michael David, the greatest blessings of my life.

I am thankful for my husband, who is my solid rock, my best friend, and my soul mate.

I am thankful for my family, without their support we would not be standing.

I am thankful for my friends, their understanding, their support, and their patience with their friend who can't seem to find her spark yet.

I am thankful for sweet Sadie and her ability to make me smile on days I didn't think I would.

I am thankful for sunny days, sweet dreams, and lazy Saturdays.

I am thankful for God's constant love and understanding through good days and bad. I am thankful for the strength He has given me.

I am thankful for my job, and the opportunity to work with such fantastic ladies.

I am thankful that I have the opportunity to teach and know such amazing kiddos.

I am thankful for my husband's job, even though I may whine and complain when he's away on business trips.

I am thankful we have our home, and a chance to put down roots for our family.

I am thankful for the clothes on our backs and food on our plates.

I am thankful for all of the luxuries we do not need yet we still have.

I am thankful for you, sweet blog friends. You may know me personally, or you may be a stranger across the country, but you have taken it upon yourself to follow along with us on our journey through grief and parenthood. You have prayed for us, thought about us, encouraged us, and shared our story. What remarkable, special people you are.

It's important to give thanks, no matter what you're going through in life. It is important to be thankful not only during the happy times, but also during the sad. There is always something to be thankful for.

November 14, 2011

Hope Floats

"Beginnings are usually scary, endings are usually sad, but it's what's in the middle that counts. So when you find yourself at the beginning, just give hope a chance to float up. And it will."

I am in complete awe. I have tried, but I simply cannot find the words so I will just show pictures. Thank you all so much for touching our lives, lifting our spirits and honoring our boys. It means more to us than you will ever know.

I know Elijah and Michael are smiling down on us always. They, too, can feel your constant love and prayers.

From the bottom of our hearts,

November 11, 2011

Eli & Michael +

It is with a heavy heart that I write this post. I didn't think I'd be here today. By here, I mean on this blog. If anything, I thought I would be updating the blog I started to document our journey to parenthood originally here. In my wildest dreams, I couldn't have even imagined that this blog would exist on November 11, 2011. What I have come to realize is that while this blog is deviates from my original plan, it still documents our journey with our children. Our journey together is never-ending. It didn't end on the day we said goodbye to them, too soon. It doesn't end today, on their due date. Like a circle, it will never end.

40 weeks ago, to the day, I never imagined this is where I would be. In those 40 weeks, I have experienced the greatest joy and deepest sorrow I have ever known. I have both celebrated and questioned. I have felt fulfilled and painfully empty. I have felt worry, anger and despair. I have prayed. I have felt hope and hopelessness. I have laughed. I have cried (oh, how I've cried). I have discovered a love deeper than I knew existed.
I've felt weak and I've felt strong. I have made friends in the wake of sorrow and have realized that I am not alone in my pain. I have suffered, and yet I have praised God for His gifts in my life. I have gained strength from the kindness, love, support and prayers of others.

Today, for the most part, by the grace of God, I felt peaceful. I hesitate to say that because arriving at this date does not, in any way, mean I have made peace with losing our boys. It does not mean I have achieved "closure" or have "moved on", as if that were even an option I'd want to consider. No, being peaceful today and making peace with what happened are quite separate.

 I did feel the love of our babies, God, our family, friends, and strangers all day long. Here, there was not a cloud in the sky. It was truly beautiful. It was windy, which helped me to also feel the presence of our boys. We released eleven balloons, each one with a message to Elijah and Michael from Mommy (me), Daddy (TJ), and Sadie (Big Sister).

TJ and I have been moved to tears by the ways in which so many of you honored our boys today. Truly. I want to thank you all so much for lifting us up today. We feel so loved, and I know that Michael and Eli were smiling down at all of the blue balloons rising up to meet them in Heaven, and felt the thoughts and prayers sent to them, as well. My heart may be aching, but know that your words, thoughts, prayers, love and support are helping it to mend.

Here are some snapshots from our celebration of our babies today. Thank you for sending me your pictures of balloons you released for baby M and baby E. I will share those this weekend once I collect them all. I'll always cherish them.

My Precious Babies,
Did you like the balloons we sent up today? You are very lucky because you have so many people on Earth that love you so much. Most of all, we are the lucky ones to know your souls. Your lives have touched ours more than you'll ever know, but did you know that you are touching other lives, too? You continue to teach Daddy and me lessons everyday, and we are so thankful for that. Eli and Michael, know that we breathe your spirit every second of everyday.There is not one moment that passes in which you are not with us. You are our hearts and our souls. You live through us, and through all of the others who have been blessed by you. Oh, how we wish you were with us today. We will love you with our whole hearts forever and ever and ever. You are our first born sons and we smile knowing that you will always watch over us, protect us and bless our family. Always take care of eachother, too, until I can come and take care of you both again. I pray to God that you feel our love and hear our prayers, and that you know how deeply you are missed and cherished. Words cannot express how much we love you. I will see you in my dreams, my prayers, my thoughts, my heart, my sweet boys.
We love you to the moon and back,
Mommy and Daddy

November 10, 2011

Heaven is for Real

Tomorrow is my due date.

Tomorrow is the day I planned for, hoped for, dreamed for. Tomorrow is the day I learned about in the doctor's office that very first visit. My journey with our children began almost exactly 40 weeks ago. Tomorrow. Tomorrow. Tomorrow.

Where do I even begin? I'll probably have to save a lot of what's inside until tomorrow. It's just too much to let it all out at once.

Let's start with today. Today I am so incredibly humbled. I have received cards, texts,e-mails, phone calls, and hugs that have warmed by broken heart. I have been moved to tears by so many of you who have reached out to me and shared that our story matters. Our babies matter. I am in complete awe of the way you have been moved to release balloons tomorrow for our sons. I have tried to find the words to say, but all I can say is, thank you.
A special friend gave this thoughtful gift to me today:
Have you read this book? I devoured it in one sitting this summer. If you need some inspiration, faith renewal, or strength, please read it. In a nutshell it is the true story of a little boy, Colton, who almost died, went to Heaven, then came back to live and tell about it. He described, in such beautiful detail what Heaven was like. The most touching part that gave me goosebumps was when he talked about his big sister and how he met her in Heaven. His parents had suffered through a devastating miscarriage before Colton was born. They had never told Colton about his big sister in Heaven, and how he was a miracle in their lives after they had lost her. It's incredible and such a gift that he was able to meet her that way.

I didn't know this book was available for kids which is the version my wonderful friend gave me. I now have goosebumps thinking about reading this book to Elijah and Michael's younger siblings, telling them all about their brothers, and how they are watching over us all in Heaven. This book is so special to me in so many ways and I am very grateful to my friend who gave it to me in comfort and remembrance of our babies.

Another sweet friend gave me a hug today and as my eyes welled up with tears she said, "Think about how lucky they are. They never have to feel any pain like we feel on Earth. I don't know why you're feeling it right now,and I'm so sorry you are, but they will never have to feel such sadness." I had never thought about that. I would very much rather have them here on Earth and would give absolutely anything to make that possible. It does make me smile, however, to know that while they are not in my arms, they will never have to feel anything but the deepest love. I only wish it was possible for them to be in my arms to feel that love.

Finally, I made it home and this was sitting in the mailbox from my wonderful sister:

There just aren't words to say. Thank you for continuing to keep us in your thoughts and prayers. We need them. Thank you for reaching out to show your love, support and encouragement. We cherish them. Please keep our boys fresh in your minds and hearts tomorrow. If you are planning on releasing balloons or if you feel moved to do anything else to celebrate their life and legacy, I would be so honored.
Here's what we're planning to do tomorrow to honor Eli and Michael. Stay tuned and I pray that God gives us the strength to face tomorrow.

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