Sunday, June 20, 2010

Luke's Dad...

is strong

is present

is tender

is so proud of his son

prioritizes his family

takes such good care of those he loves and adores

treasures life's simple pleasures and celebrates life's biggest moments

is incredibly thankful for the moments he had to tell Luke how much he loved him

never left our sides for a single second

is incredibly brave and mighty in heart

is an amazing example of the Father's tender love and heart for his children

is a man who whispered words of love, strength, praise, esteem and bravery into his son's sweet ears and over his life

has a little boy in heaven who is the spitting image of his handsome daddy

is absolutely loved, cherished and adored more every day by Luke's mama. 

Happy Father's Day to my incredible husband.  Your path to this day has been filled with difficulties, challenges and heartbreak, yet you have never faltered.  You have shared your strength, your heart, your life, your tears and your smile with Luke and I and so many others along this path.  I know Luke is smiling down on you today and longs to wrap his arms around your neck and tell you how much he loves having you for his daddy.  I celebrate you sweet Joe- every day, but especially today.  You are an amazing father and Luke was so blessed to have you for his daddy.
Happy Father's Day!

Friday, June 18, 2010


These past few weeks have depleted my internal supply of patience, grace, strength, and peace.  I have felt overwhelmed, on the verge of tears, frustrated, impatient and overwhelmed with emotion about everything.  I have experienced deep kindness, powerful encouragement and incredible support from my amazing husband, yet I have completely run my love tank dry.  Things that usually roll off my back have sent me over the edge. I have snapped at people, I have cried at my desk, I have just felt like my protective shell has crumbled a bit and left me holding pieces of it in my hands wondering what happened.

To be fair, it has been a rather big week for me.  I'm essentially doing two full time jobs at work while I cover for a friend of mine out on maternity leave.  I went to my first baby shower since losing Luke and saw the beautiful brand new little guy his overjoyed parents recently adopted and I've been feeling pretty emotionally fragile ever since.  Father's Day is on the horizon and my heart is aching in such a huge way for my beloved Joe on this special day. I'm flooded with emotion and can't seem to remember how to swim.

Being a self-confessed introverted person, I rely on time by myself to recharge, breathe, think, to ponder, to pray, to cry, to cleanse my heart of its worries and troubles. I have not had too much of this lately simply because I have been moving at 100mph these past few weeks both at work and in my personal life.  I have allowed my schedule to fill up with the urgent and the 'want-tos' but not necessarily the important or the 'need tos'...and I can feel the aftershocks and echos of these choices in my soul.  I feel fragile.  I am exhausted.  I feel disconnected from God.  I feel hopeless.  I feel lost.

Last week when I was trying to share with Joe this overwhelming distress I've been wrestling with lately, he gently reminded me of something so simple and so powerful...and when I looked at it from his perspective, so true.  He encouraged me to think about whether I've been running on full speed using my own strength or if I have been relying on God's strength and power to make it through my days.  The answer was obvious- I have been pressing the gas pedal of life to the floor and not putting any Fuel into the tank.

I wonder why I have to seemingly re-learn this lesson over and over and over again:  rest+quiet+time+intention= peace and strength for the important, hope, creativity, freedom and joy...  as opposed to where as I tend to operate.... busy+urgent+accomplishment+no rest for soul=major crash, no energy for anything, no creative energy and lots of tears.  Although I KNOW the reality of these two equations in my heart, sometimes I feel that I get swallowed up by what I perceive to be people's expectations of me and what I feel people expect me to be capable of doing...when in reality I'm really just letting one person down by pushing myself and worrying about what others may think or say if I do or don't do a particular thing...ME. 

A friend of ours named Chris always calls himself a "recovering people pleaser" and every time he says it, I secretly say, "Me too!"  Working on taking care of myself is a constant struggle and requires muscles I'm working on strengthening every day...important over urgent, time with Joe, good work/life balance, time with God, surrounding myself with life-giving people, making sure I have protected time, intentional rest, creative outlets, life-giving hobbies, healthy meals, build in time for exercise... self care is certainly not easy to learn to do, but it is soooo worth it.  It is what I'm going to be working on for the rest of the summer in hopes that I will develop some healthy habits which will fill me not deplete me.

Tonight is Friday and I have the entire weekend in front of me. I have (with the help of my incredible husband) the next 24 hours or so to myself - intentional alone time for me to rest, retreat, restore, refresh, reboot and spend time doing quiet things. I have a long list of ideas of how to fill this time and every single one of them makes me happy.  I'm so grateful to Joe for giving me the time and space to rest and for helping me to work my way through the flood zone of my emotions and for encouraging me to go to the true Source to refill my empty spirit. 

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Luke's Friends

I have millions of fears. Big ones, little ones, fleeting ones, irrational ones, situational ones...  My fears hold me back from what I can become and from where I'm destined to go.  I know this.  I know their M.O. yet I sometimes allow them to hold me prisoner.  They prevent me from improving myself, keep me from risking, stunt the growth of my spirit, and confine my heart's secret dreams.  These fears tell me that they are "keeping me safe," and "protecting me" only, what I know is that sometimes being and feeling "safe" is not always necessarily a good thing.

I'm talking about my fears around starting to meet and spend time with Luke's friends.  You see, eleven of my friends had baby boys starting in November 2009 and ending in February 2010, with Luke being born right in the middle bringing the total to TWELVE baby boys.  I refer to them as Luke's friends because I know he would have grown up with them, gone to school with some of them, played with them, laughed with them... I have really struggled with this aspect of losing Luke because not only did we have to say goodbye to him, but there are eleven little guys within weeks of his age all around us reminding us of what he would be doing these days...They remind me that Luke should be growing bigger too instead of remaining the squishy adorable newborn he is in the photos we treasure.  They remind me afresh of all we are missing.

If I think too long about this, I just want to scream to the heavens how unfair I feel this all is. How much it hurts, how much I miss him and how I never want to feel this much pain ever again.  So I have put off this part of my healing journey...I have locked this part of my heart up these past few months and have not dared to open the door for fear of the emotional tidal wave hiding inside.  My beautiful friends who are the mamas of Luke's friends, have been so amazing and supportive of me as I have understandably avoided looking at or meeting their beloved, precious and long awaited for beautiful babies. I have felt like a horrible friend, but deep down I know I am not.  I know I have just been protecting my fragile heart from further crushing pain.  It has been an act of self preservation to be sure, but now, I believe in order to self preserve for the long term, the season has arrived for me to finally meet these little guys (and a few sweet baby gals too) face to face.

People have encouraged me not to rush in, to be patient and not to push myself, but the truth is, I haven't been rushing.  I have been afraid and avoiding and trying to pretend that as I'm continuing to feel stronger and better every day- that the bulk of the difficult heart-breaking work in this healing journey is behind me.  But until I spend time with these little guys (and those few little gals too), there will always be that barrier of fear between me and babies.  The truth is, I'm so scared that I will just bawl my eyes out all over their beautiful little faces, or that I will just never want to let them go and/or that I will fall back into the abyss of grief I've worked so hard to climb out of...I am deathly afraid of never feeling better and that by pressing on my wound it will never heal.  I'm afraid that my heart will break all over again and that I won't be able to recover, that I will make everyone uncomfortable, that I will realize that I have not really healed at all and that this horrible heartache will never, ever go away or end. That my heart will just be broken forever.

But I'm also afraid that if I don't meet these babies and work on spending time with them, that I will forever be afraid to see babies, hold babies, hear babies, talk about babies, celebrate new babies and that I will not feel free to celebrate my own future babies or be celebrated because of the my own feelings of guilt over my unwillingness to celebrate others' joy and happiness in their journeys to motherhood.  I want to celebrate and be celebrated- freely, knowing that I'm giving, have given and will continue to offer my absolute best that my heart has to offer- without regret and without expectation.  I want freedom from this tether of fear and grief, but I also know that this particular part of the journey will not be easy or quick.

So now that I've decided it is time to begin pushing into this arena of healing, I've been trying to be gentle with my heart because it sure feels like there are suddenly babies all around me.  Crying babies, happy babies at Target, sleeping babies in their carriers, babies in their strollers out for a walk, beautiful little faces on facebook pages, pregnant bellies, new adopted babies, newly born babies...they are everywhere and every single time I hear or see them, my heart breaks in a special Luke-shaped way.  Still.  Every. Single. Time....and I feel like I'm drowning again.

So in effort to honor my heartache while at the same time gradually fighting back against my fears, I have decided to ease into things and have started by looking at the photos of my friend's babies posted on facebook and while that has been extremely difficult, I have also surprised myself because it also feels unexpectedly a little bit freeing for me too. I am able to notice how a once impossible idea now feels a smidge easier and not as scary as it once did for me.   I've also started making "dates" to meet and hold some of Luke's friends for maybe just a few minutes at a time, a little bit here and there, and I'm finding myself in some moments of the day suddenly more afraid not to do this than to actually do it (if that makes any kind of sense at all).

I know I will cry, feel overwhelmed with pain, and of course miss Luke more than ever, but I am just going to try to keep getting back up and doing it again and again until it starts hurting a little bit less and my heart feels a little bit stronger and then a little bit stronger....

My prayer remains that as I work on pushing fear out of my heart, that somehow, some way...hope will find its way in.... 

*To my incredible community of sister friends around me who continue to love, encourage, pray for and help me: you have held my hands and my heart every step of the way...and I love you for your grace, support and patience with me. I would truly be lost without you. - xo thank you

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Unexpected Gifts

....on our fridge...

Last night we attended a wedding.   We loved the photo booth they had there...especially since it re-introduced us to our sweet friend of our biggest prayer warriors, encouragers and supporters in blogland.  We first met her in person the day before Luke's birthday back in January when we all happened to be dining at the same local spot only at different tables.  Needless to say, when Joe and I first met her, our hearts were completely overloaded and preoccupied with receiving the gift of "re-meeting" her last night -literally in the photo booth- was a complete blessing for both Joe and myself as we had a much better appreciation of the gift we were being given.  It was an absolute joy to get to wrap my arms around her and give her the giant hug I've wanted to give her ever since she first reached out to us through our blog.  I was moved to tears to get a glimpse of her beautiful face and to get to tell her in person how much her prayers and encouragement have meant to us over the months. 

That is the thing about this is the most beautiful crazy thing. We know there are so many who read this and we are truly so, so grateful for all of you....for every prayer, every comment, every email....for everything.  You have no idea. Our blog has brought us into contact with some of the most incredible people (you) and we feel so fortunate and thank you for being part of this journey along with us.
And to G- thank you for being brave and risking re-introducing yourself, for all you have shared, for laughing and not being annoyed when we were being complete dorks and taking forever, for letting us come back three times and just frankly, for everything.  We were delighted our paths crossed with yours again. You are truly a gift.

*note: I don't own a scanner, so the above photobooth photos were my photos taken of the photos using my little point and shoot...hence they may seem a little fuzzy and obviously not like the originals are...the ones we got at the wedding were all connected and look great- thanks so much to the happy couple for the lovely evening and fun photo souvenirs!

Friday, June 4, 2010

5 months

Sweetest Luke,

Five months ago today I was holding your tiny hand and kissing your sweet face.  You were crying, you were snuggling and you were here. Your dad and I have seen so many of your clouds in the sky and I still talk to you all the time. I wish you were here, smiling and laughing and that we were watching you grow and introducing you to your many friends who were born around the same time as you.  We love you and miss you terribly. 

your proud mama