Archive | August 2012

Where Do I Belong?

As I look to those who I know, or know of, who have lost children, I see a wide spectrum regarding what they have done publically to remember their child. Some have started foundations, either to bring awareness to the cause of their child’s death, or to carry on a dream their child had, but never got to fulfill. A family from our former church lost a six month old son to the flu, just days before Christmas. They started Ian’s Rainbow Flu Foundation in his memory. Every year they hold a walk to raise money to fight the flu and bring awareness to others about the flu. We participated one year. A family at our current church lost their daughter due to a stray bullet on the 4th of July last year. Someone thought it would be a good idea to shoot their gun in the air to celebrate. What they didn’t think about was where that bullet would land. Blair’s Foster Socks was started in memory of Blair and in honor of her dream to provide foster children with socks. Others that I know have adopted a highway in memory of their child and take the time to keep our roads free of trash. Some participate in walks for organizations, such as the March of Dimes.

Then there are those that do not do anything publically. They haven’t started a foundation or put their child’s name on a plaque. They haven’t raised money or shared their story through a blog. They haven’t added their story of loss to baby loss websites or those sites dedicated to bereaved parents. They continue to remember their child privately within their immediate circle of family and friends.

No matter where those who have lost a child fall on the spectrum, neither is right or wrong. Each family, each person, has done what is best for themselves. What I am trying to figure out is, “Where do I belong on the spectrum?” I have been struggling with this lately, as I have idea after idea of what we can do to honor Kyleigh, to remember her.

I met with a friend a few weeks ago and was talking with her about this exact thing. I told her I feel like I’m at this in between point where the intense sadness and grief has diminished, but I don’t know what to expect next. I have the desire to do something about all of this, but not the energy. When I look at others who have lost someone close, whether it’s a child, parent or sibling, there is usually a clear action to be taken. Those who lose someone to cancer can donate money to the American Cancer Society or run in a Race for the Cure. There are organizations that educate expectant parents about SIDS. There are walks/runs for almost anything you can think of: ovarian cancer, fighting the flu, premature babies, AIDS. And I think this is where I find my struggle. There is nothing established for babies who die during childbirth for no known reason.

As I talked with my friend about this struggle to figure out what to do and where we fit into all of this, she asked me what my goal was. What did I want to come out of any action that I might take? My answer is clear and simple and hasn’t changed from the start … I want people to remember Kyleigh. I don’t want them to forget. She set a clear boundary for my thoughts, and that is, that my job is to make sure my boys do not forget their sister. Rodger and I have a responsibility to keep Kyleigh a part of our immediate family through our words and actions. She told me to start small with them and see where that takes us. I don’t have to put on a big show or raise thousands of dollars. I need to focus on what is right for our family and once we set our routines and traditions to keep Kyleigh’s memory alive within us, the rest will fall into place. She also reminded me that I cannot control what others do and I cannot make other people remember Kyleigh. What I can do is talk about her, give gentle reminders around anniversaries and holidays. Some will respond with kind words of remembrance and some will not.

Since then, we have started doing a few personal things at home to include Kyleigh in our daily lives. The boys know that it’s okay to talk about her and ask questions. We encourage them to do so. I have also taken the time to reflect upon the things that I know others are doing on a regular basis to remember Kyleigh:

-Two friends are making a monthly donation in her name to K-LOVE, a Christian radio station.

-A friend keeps our family picture, as well as Kyleigh’s picture, in her bedroom and prays for us each morning.

-A girl with the birthdate of April 5, is being sponsored by a friend through World Vision.

-Talking about Kyleigh and praying for our family every night from a friend with three young children.

These are just a few of the things that people are doing for us and for Kyleigh. I know there are more out there, some that we know about and some that we do not.

I still have ideas for what I would like to do long term. We have a memorial set up through the Liberty Hospital Foundation in Kyleigh’s name, called Kyleigh’s Gift. At some point, we will get to meet with the head of the LHF and help decide where that money goes. We would love for it to be an ongoing memorial, as we plan to donate money every year in her memory. I hope to share with you soon about what we plan to do through Kyleigh’s Gift, along with other ideas that we have to keep her memory alive.

Kyleigh’s story is just that, Kyleigh’s story, nobody else’s. I’m not going to find somebody with the same story. All I can do is figure out where I fall on the spectrum and do what I need to do for myself and my family to keep Kyleigh alive in our hearts. I hope you join me in this journey to find a way to keep Kyleigh alive in your heart.

 

*My disclaimer: The links provided in this post are just that, links. Click them if you want more information. Leave them alone if you do not want more information. Some are clearly used for examples only, while others are very close to my heart.

**Search for “Kyleigh’s Gift” on Facebook and “Like” the page to receive notifications for future blog entries. 

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Organizing

I have been on an organizing kick lately. We moved almost one year ago and still have things in boxes. Oliver heard the Berenstein Bear book about Helping Those in Need the other day and told me we needed to clean out and donate … he said our house was full of too much “stuff!” I agree. My problem is that I jump from one thing to the next and can’t quite seem to finish cleaning out and organizing one area before moving on to another. Maybe that’s a good thing because now I can go into almost any room of the house, including the garage, and see a little progress.

One area that I am also organizing is on Facebook. I have decided to create a FB Page titled “Kyleigh’s Gift.” This will hopefully be a place where these posts will appear, instead of my personal FB page. I also hope that it will be a way for others to connect through Kyleigh and a place where people will feel comfortable leaving their thoughts and comments. I know that a lot of people read our blog through Facebook and this just seems a logical way to create some organization out of chaos right now.

So this entry is really just a test to see if this works. You can reach the FB page by going to, http://www.facebook.com/kyleighsgift. Sign in or create a Facebook account and then Like “Kyleigh’s Gift” to receive updates.

This entry was posted on August 6, 2012. 1 Comment

4 Months

Today marks 4 months since Kyleigh was born into Heaven. Sometimes I think the anticipation leading up to days like today are worse than the actual day. I was a mess yesterday. Cried at the drop of a hat. We took the boys to a movie in the morning and had a great time. The boys were so excited to see the new Thomas the Train movie on the big screen and we loved hearing Oliver sing along to the songs. We stopped at one of our favorites, Red Robin, for lunch on our way home. Then we got home. And it hit me. The tears started flowing and didn’t hardly stop until God delivered what I needed.

We have been in a major drought this summer. No rain and hotter than usual temperatures. Last night after dinner, Rodger convinced me to step outside with him and the boys. I really wasn’t in the mood, but a cool front was blowing through and it sounded nice to get out without it being 100+ degrees out. As I stepped outside, it started to sprinkle. Not much, but just enough. The sun was still shining and all I could think of was, “Please God, send me a rainbow.” I searched the sky and saw nothing. I told the boys to keep their eyes on the clouds because when there is rain and sunlight at the same time, there is sure to be a rainbow. Of course, the rain did not amount to much more than a few sprinkles every few minutes. I quickly became disappointed because I knew it wasn’t enough to make the beautiful rainbow that I had been hoping for.

The boys wanted to take a walk, so we ventured down the street. As we got to our turn around point, I looked up and saw the smallest sliver of a rainbow. It was just enough to make me smile and make me content in my wish. Nobody saw it but me. The boys were already too far ahead of me to call them back, so I enjoyed the bright colors all to myself. I thanked God and turned towards home. That’s when I saw it. One of the biggest rainbows I have ever seen, right over the top of our house. It literally looked like the rainbow was engulfing our home. It started on the left side and ended on the right. No other house underneath. I’m sure God got a good laugh out of this one. He was making sure I knew who was in charge and that He wasn’t done yet. He was also giving me the reassurance that I needed yesterday. Kyleigh is okay. She is safe in heaven and resting in Jesus’ arms. While we continue to grieve for Kyleigh and miss her terribly, God is holding us in his hands, just like that rainbow was holding our home. There was an immediate sense of peace and calmness that came over me. I asked Rodger to take pictures with his phone and I think we ended up with a few dozen. It was absolutely beautiful.

We ate our dessert on the deck out back and went in shortly after to get the boys ready for bed. As I went in the kitchen to close the blinds, God showed me that He wasn’t done yet! Another wonderful rainbow graced the sky behind our house almost an hour after the first one. The top of the rainbow was covered in clouds, but the left and right sides were clearly visable. By this point in the evening, the sun was beginning to go down and the sky was no longer blue, but pink. The most beautiful pink clouds surrounded the rainbow. The brightest pink that I have seen in the sky in a long time. This time I grabbed my phone and started snapping photos.

God showed me three times last night that Kyleigh is at peace, free of pain and full of joy. Each time was more beautiful then the one before it. All of these rainbows in the sky above our house where only a few sprinkles fell. God knew what I needed yesterday and He provided, just like always.

Happy 4 months in Heaven Kyleigh! We love you!