Project Gabriel support group meeting #2.

Monday night was our second peer support group meeting for Project Gabriel.  It was another really special night  — just like the first one.  I am so thankful to the ladies who came to be open, to love, to support, and to share.  There were wonderful women sitting in that room, and I am so thankful to know them.  I am truly so honored to be a part of this!  It is amazing.

 

The next meeting will be on Monday, June 16th at 7 pm.  Please spread the word for anyone you know who could benefit from this meeting or enjoy the support and community.

 

 

On a Morgan family note, Anni-Jack-a-birthday week has kicked off and is in full swing!  We started off the weekend of festivities by taking Jack to his first baseball game last night.  It was so fun and Tommy caught a ball!  There’s a lot more fun to come, too.

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for the mom who’s lost her child.

you are amazing.adventures

 

 

Dear mom who has more children than anyone can see with you,

 

[Deep breath]

Hi, sweet mama.  How are you feeling this Mother’s Day?  It’s nice to be celebrated as a mom, but it can be so painful when it just brings reminders that part of us is no longer here.  That we are forever changed because a chunk of our heart has passed away.  That our very life as we know it, will never be as we had imagined or thought.

 

I know this day is hard and that it can bring so many emotions with it.  I know we all remember and celebrate in different ways.  I also know that ignoring this day, ignoring the memories and the celebrations of our children — of our motherhood, is so much worse than embracing it in all its forms.  While remembering and talking about the hard parts of our motherhood can be painful, pretending it didn’t happen is just excruciating.  Our children are precious and each of them should be celebrated.  You are a mother — whether you were pregnant for 8 weeks or have children who have children of their own.

 

Be strong today.  Stand tall and remember that you have strength and support from those around you and those who walk this road with you.  Be proud today.  Be proud of your amazing children both here on earth and those who are already in Heaven.  Share their stories and take the opportunity of this day celebrating moms to do what moms do best — brag on their kids.  Be real.  Tell people how you are doing today.  It’s okay if today seems impossibly hard.  It’s okay if today isn’t really that hard.  Share with people who don’t understand what all comes with losing a child.  Tell them how you wouldn’t trade motherhood for anything in the world.  Be brave.  Even though this day isn’t the same for us mamas who know the loss of a child, it doesn’t mean we need to hide out around this time.  Be kind to yourself.  So much of motherhood is demanding.  Do what you need to do today.  Want some quiet time?  Ask for it.  Need some help?  Ask for it.  Want to do something adventurous?  Go for it.  Want to spend the day in your PJs?  Call me, cause I’m in!

This is my prayer for you today — that you will be all of these things.  That you will feel loved.  That you will celebrate the special blessings in your life, even if they were here for way too short a time.  

 

And know that you are not alone.  Ever.  At all.  You may not be surrounded by children, or you may but are still missing the one who isn’t here.  But that doesn’t mean you are alone.  Because even if you have no one beside you, you have all of us mamas who know the ache you know.  Who hurt deeply on this day where we celebrate moms.  Who don’t get to hug and kiss those precious faces that we see each time we close our eyes.  Who take a deep breath before walking into a room of moms and kids, knowing we are “that mom” — the one who lost a child.  Who feel torn between living in a world that is our reality and wondering so often what could have been.  You are not alone.  And you are loved.  So very loved.

 

Mama, you are amazing.  Happy Mother’s Day.  

Gabriel’s first birthday.

May 5th came and went just like that.  On Monday, we celebrated Gabriel’s first birthday.  A year ago he was born, and we held him in our arms and watched as he took breaths and listened as he let out sweet cries.  And we loved all over him, and we kissed his chunky cheeks so much.  And we spent hours just admiring every single thing about him.  It was such joy.

 

He passed away 2 hours later, so the same day that we celebrate his birth, we also celebrate his arrival in Heaven.  Monday was the first anniversary of his arrival in Heaven.  It would have been his first birthday if he had still been alive.  It marked one year since he was born — since I gave birth to our miracle baby.  It’s amazing how quickly this day arrived.  It’s so hard to believe it has been a year since we had him.  This time last year I dreaded being this far out.  I hated thinking about being so distanced from when I held him.  I hated thinking about the memories fading.  How I wouldn’t be able to feel him in my arms any more.

 

And it’s true that the memories have faded.  I can’t remember vividly what it felt like to hold him.  So many things have faded.  But I will never forget that day.  And when I close my eyes I can almost still smell how amazing he smelled that day.  I will always cling to what I can hold on to from our second son.

 

May 5th is a day worth celebrating, and we had a lot to celebrate this year.  I wanted to celebrate Gabriel’s birthday.  I wanted to celebrate that Gabriel is in Heaven, and I wanted to celebrate how far we have come — that we are still here, that we are survivors.  Sunday was more of a pensive day for me because I had Gabriel on a Sunday last year.  I kept remembering how I was in labor and when we went to the hospital and what time he was born.  I thought about that a lot on Sunday.  But on Monday, I just wanted to celebrate!  If Gabriel was alive we would have had a party for him and celebrated his life.  Gabriel was alive and is now in Heaven which gives us so much reason to celebrate.  So we had a really fun day!

 

We went to Dollywood!  I hadn’t been in over ten years, and Tommy and Jack had never been.  So we sun screened up and made the hour drive to have a great day.  And we did!  We had a blast!  It was just so much fun to be together as our little family — the 3 musketeers.  We call ourselves that because we are such a bonded unit and we have been through so much together.  The weather was gorgeous!  A little hot — or a lot hot to me — and so sunny and just perfect.  I was surprised at how many rides Jack could ride.  He LOVED it!  He wasn’t afraid and had so much fun.  The water ride we went on was my favorite, and he loved it, too.  We spent the day at the park having such an awesome day riding rides, carousels, trams, and trains.  Then we headed home.

 

On our way back into town we stopped by the cemetery.  It was beautiful and sunny and just another day at the cemetery.

 

 

It was the perfect way to spend Gabriel’s first birthday.  We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day, and more importantly, we couldn’t have had a better day together as a family.  We miss our precious baby — a lot — and hitting this mark feels like so much time.  It feels like an accomplishment — sort of like a sense of ‘we’ve made it’.  We will still grieve and still miss our G all the time.  But we have come really far, and have continued to stay bonded together through the hard times of last year.

 

One of the biggest parts of Monday was the love we got.  We are so incredibly overwhelmed by the love and support we have. It was so amazing on Monday to be so loved.  We felt completely undeserving of such love and are just so very thankful to all of you who have reached out to us and supported us.  Thank you for the cards, the love, the gifts, the food, the messages, the kind words, the prayers, and for remembering us.  I couldn’t believe how many people remembered our sweet G’s birthday, and that made my mama heart just burst with joy.

 

I used to be so afraid of people forgetting our sweet G, and Monday just showed me that hasn’t happened.  Thank you for loving our family so well.  We are incredibly blessed.  And we are thankful for you.  God has been so gracious to us and brought us through the last year and a half.  And we have seen the hands and feet of Jesus through friends and family.  So thankful for the love that has been poured out on us.  Thank you, sweet friends, for loving us so well.  We love you!

 

Here are some pictures from our G Day…

g day 2 happy first birthday Gabriel!

g day 3 g day 4 g day 5 g day 6 sleep kid on the way home  g day 7 g day 8 g day 9 g day 10 g day 11 g day 12 g day 13 g day 14 g day 15 g day 16 g day 17 g day 18 g day 19 we’re going to Dollywood!  g day

i miss my son.

I miss him.  As Gabriel’s first birthday approaches.  As new life is all around.  As our most joyous month is just over a week away.  As I plan Jack’s 3rd birthday party and realize I will never get that for my second born.  All of these are just little things that are part of life and make me miss him so much.  Last night I sat.  I just sat and listened to this song, after reading my friend’s blog about how that song made her feel about her baby in Heaven.  And as I listened to it and imagined what it must be like for Gabriel in Heaven — which I can’t even imagine — but knowing that he is there, I felt so far away from him.  Some times it does feel like we are only separated for a brief moment.  Our lives here are short in the grand scheme of things and having the hope of knowing that we will see him again one day is an amazing comfort.  And sometimes it feels as if we are only briefly separated.

 

But some days, like today, it seems so far away.  And I feel so far away from my baby.  How I’ll never know so many things about him.  I don’t get to watch his personality develop or see if he is like Jack or so very different.  I won’t have the opportunity to worry about him  — in good and bad ways because that’s what moms do.  I won’t know if he would have been a good or bad eater.  A good sleeper or up all night.  Many of the things moms complain about, I would happily take if it meant time with my son.  I wonder if his very dark brown, very curly newborn hair would have fallen out.  Would his hair be curly at one year?

 

If life went how I planned it, I would have two boys sleeping upstairs in side by side rooms.  I would walk upstairs each night and look in one room, cover Jack back up and kiss his squishy cheeks, then quietly close the door and go to Gabriel’s room.  I would pull the blanket back over him, scoot his pacis back beside him so he could reach them if he needed them, lean far down over that crib rail and kiss his squishy cheeks, then quietly close the door behind me.  I would walk back downstairs to our room and lay down knowing I had a perfect life and a perfect family of 4.

 

But my nights don’t look like that, my life doesn’t look like that, and I don’t have 2 boys sleeping upstairs.  We have the side by side rooms, but one of them is empty.

 

I walk upstairs each night and see the empty room at the top of the stairs that is Gabriel’s room.  I walk past it to go check on Jack every night.  And as I quietly close Jack’s door, I walk back past G’s empty room.  Sometimes I stop in the doorway and just look.  Occasionally I will imagine what life would be like with G in that room.  But most of the time I just accept it for how it is because all I’ve ever known is that room being empty.

 

If my plans had worked out, I would have boys about to turn 3 and 1 next month.  I would have a big boy running, wild, always playing with cars, trucks, and tractors, and I would have a no-longer baby toddling around right after him, I imagine.

 

 

My house feels empty, my arms feel empty, and my heart feels heavy.  Sometimes the pain of loss is so great that it physically hurts.  I know I am being healed, I know God is completing a work in me, and I know He is going to take these ashes that are my life and make them beautiful, but I am still broken.  I still have a broken heart.  And I miss my son.

 

Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy!  
Psalm 126:5  

project Gabriel support group meeting.

adventures of jack and me-2

 

Monday is the first peer support group meeting as a part of Project Gabriel.  It is for mamas who have lost a baby through miscarriage, perinatal, or infant loss.  And any woman who has experienced this is welcome!  This is our first meeting, and I’m hoping for a time of community and for women to just gather and not feel alone.  If you are thinking about coming, please do.  I would love to meet you and know you.  And if you know someone who should come, please pass this on and encourage them to.  It doesn’t matter if it happened last week or 10 years ago.

 

We are meeting on Monday, April 14th at 7 pm at the Chick-fil-A at Homberg Place in Knoxville.  I am so excited for this.  And just really hopeful of what the evening will be.  Thank you for your support and kinds words.  This wouldn’t be happening without all of the support and love from you all.

 

 

thank you.

Wow!  I am so overwhelmed by the love and support yesterday.  Thank you for your encouragement, love, and words of kindness yesterday on Trisomy 18 Awareness Day.  And mostly thank you thank you for all of that about Project Gabriel.  I am so thankful for how you encourage me.  Seriously, I am blessed.  So thank you.  Truly.

 

If you missed my post yesterday, you can read it here.  And if you haven’t headed over to Facebook to like the new Project Gabriel Facebook page, please do.  I want it to reach those who really need it, and having support and people sharing and spreading the word is the best way to do that.  Click here to be taken to the page.  Or you can find it at Facebook.com/ProjectGabriel

 

Thank you!  My heart is overwhelmed with love and just so thankful.

 

If you are new here, thank you for reading.  I am so happy to have you here reading.  I’m off to watch Tennessee in their first [and hopefully not last] game in the NCAA tournament.  Go Vols!

standing on holy ground.

This week is beautiful here in East Tennessee.  Beyond beautiful.  We’re talking 60 degrees, even 70 yesterday.  I went by the cemetery today before I picked Jack up from preschool.  It was a perfect day to go.  The warm weather, mixed with sunshine and partly cloudy skies, with an incredibly strong and present breeze made for an amazing visit.

 

I like to drive through the cemetery with my windows down.  I open the sunroof and roll the windows down, and usually turn my music up really loud.  I’m pretty sure I would have found that inappropriate before – and I do try to be respectful if other people are around and turn down the music – but for me, that’s just part of how I do it.  There is something about feeling the fresh air in the cemetery and listening loudly to music praising God and exclaiming His truths that makes it part of how I grieve – how I handle visiting the cemetery as much as I do.

 

Today was a perfect day to make that drive.  As I drove in and around and up the hill to Babyland, where our sweet G is buried, I took in the beauty of the day and the anticipation of this visit.  I visit a lot, so it’s not like it’s a big deal for me to go.  But today something seemed a little different.  Because I was short on time I left the car running and just hopped out quickly.  My current very favorite song for our lives was playing and was at the perfect point.  I could hear the music as I felt the incredible presence of the wind around me.  And as I stood with my feet over where my baby’s body is buried, my eyes closed, and my hands out, I sang along to this song.  To this exclamation of truth.  And proclaimed it in our hearts and in our lives.  And as I stood there soaking in this incredible moment, feeling the intense presence of God in the strong gusts of wind, I became very aware that I was standing on holy ground.  This plot that belongs to us.  This patch of dirt.  This marker that marks where our son’s earthly body lay to rest.  All of those things I had known of this place became the background to the very holy ground I was standing on.

 

I was suddenly reminded of the Holiness of our God.  Of His power.  Of His presence.  And how He is God over all – the big and the little.  As big as life and death.  And as little as growing the grass around this grave plot.  I was blessed with a holy encounter with our Father today.  One that commanded reverance.  One that reminded me of His power and His presence.  One that I am thankful the Lord allowed me to be a part of.  And one that brought my mama heart deep comfort in knowing that my baby is intimately known by our Creator, just as I am.

 

this hope is an anchor for my soul

 

The song is Anchor by Hillsong.  And it is unbelievable.

a broken heart.

One year ago, with Valentine’s Day looming and the worst news of our life a few weeks behind us, all I could focus on was the heart.  People were decorating with hearts all around, living this normal life, and all I could think of was that my baby had a broken heart – literally.  This child growing inside of me had a heart that was a terrible kind of broken – one that couldn’t be fixed.  And it was every where.  And it was always on my mind. 

 

This year looks different.  I see hearts all around this year and I remember our sweet baby G.  And I also see hope.  Our sweet G has a healed heart now.  He has been made whole and he no longer has a broken heart.  This year I even find myself putting up hearts, wanting to celebrate this day.  It’s amazing the difference when you don’t have a broken heart anymore.  And while my heart might just always be a little bit broken because I lost a child, I can also see the hope that comes with healing.  The hope that comes when you’ve celebrated hard days, held on tight, and are maybe just a little bit better for it.  The hope that comes when you see some more joy alongside the pain.  The hope that sits on each little construction paper heart – because you know each one of those represents something greater – love. 

 

As I reflect on a lot of heart issues of my own this week, I am reminded of my brokenness, my broken heart, but also just how much I have been healed.  Thankful for a week of reminders and the blessing of seeing healing in our lives. 

 

pictures 1929

9 months.

Nine months ago we met our sweet baby G face to face and loved on him while he was here with us.  And then 9 months ago we held him back out to the Lord.  G’s view is amazing now, and he is no longer sick.  Praise be to God. 

 

Gaby 9 months

 

Nikon D3200 880

 

And thank you to my sweet friend, Becca, who made this banner for me to celebrate our baby boy. 

8 months.

It’s hard to believe it’s been 8 months since we met our sweet little baby G.

8 months

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.  For I am the
Lord you God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
Isaiah 43:2-3