Saturday, December 31, 2011


I saw this on Facebook today and I couldn't have "said" it better myself. :)

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Hurtful vs. Helpful

I got a great resource from Missing Grace when we lost Hannah called, "Hurtful and Helpful Things People Say and Do." In the beginning, it was nice to have so we could anticipate some of the things people might say in an effort to be comforting (although, some of the most hurtful things we heard weren't even on the list). And it was interesting to read through them because I think a lot of things on the hurtful list seem like reasonable things to say until you have experienced a loss. I have probably said one or two of them, not realizing JUST how hurtful they actually are when you're in the middle of grief.
A friend of mine just asked about what to say in a hard situation, and I shared this list with her. And then I thought, "Everyone needs to read this!"

Hurtful and Helpful Things People Say and Do
(Written by facilitators and bereaved parents who are members of GRACE Support Rights Missing GRACE Foundation)

"He/She is in a better place." The parents feel their loving home was a very good place to raise their child and their arms are aching for their baby now.
"It's God's will." Many bereaved parents hold the belief it was not God's will to have their baby die and they feel it's a tragedy that happened in a world where bad things can happen to good people and feel God did not cause it to happen. To say it is God's will may also imply this is God's judgment on the parents.
"God has a plan and it was His perfect plan for this to happen. All things work together for his good." Right now, the situation is not good and it is hard to see that good things could come of this tragedy. Let them discover on their own the blessings that may come over time.
"At least you have other children." The child they lost still had a special place in their life and is gone now and no other child can replace or fill that void.
"At least it wasn't a 'real' baby." (in reference to ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage)
"At least you weren't that far along." The moment they found out they were pregnant with that baby they began to love it, and they wish they had been able to get farther along to deliver their baby.
"At least you didn't get attached." Oh, but they were very attached.
"If it's not perfect, you don't want it." The parent felt their baby was perfect and no matter what health issue it had, they wanted the baby in their lives.
"It's not meant to be."
"Everything happens for a reason." Right now it is hard to make sense of this and find a good reason.
"You can have another one." Maybe they can, but maybe due to issues you are unaware of or they are unaware of they can't have another. Either way that sounds a long way off and it doesn't help now.
To ignore what happened and not say anything at all. To act like things are normal/fine.
"If your baby lived, then maybe he/she would have been bad or unhealthy so God took him/her."
Calling the baby "it." Not referring to the baby by his or her name.
Bringing up the loss of a pet or someone else's death as if to say it is a similar type of pain or experience. Each situation is unique and the grief is personal.
Expressing an attitude that parents should be over their loss by a set time. Bereaved parents don't get over their babies. They take steps forward in grief and find ways to carry on the memory of their child. They have a need to honor and remember their baby throughout life. Life after loss often requires finding a new normal. Strangers can become friends and friends can become strangers. The length of the grieving process is different for everyone.

To say: "I don't know what to say, but I'm so sorry. We are thinking of you and praying.
To acknowledge your own ignorance.
To send cards or forms of acknowledgment on anniversaries and/or out of the blue.
To give delayed acknowledgment vs. none at all.
To say their baby's name and talk about their baby.
To share that you are going to honor and commemorate their baby in some way.
To provide opportunities for parents to talk about their baby and their feelings.
To leave the door open for the parents to join you for events such as parties and showers but not pressure them or guilt them when they decline. Support them in their decisions.
Bring up your own infant loss if you have had one and be available to discuss your pain.
Offer to help them in daily life through the months after a loss: bring meals, clean house, watch other living children, giving the parents a chance to be alone, mow the lawn, shovel snow, run errands, send them for a massage or pampering.

Thursday, December 22, 2011


My dear baby, how we would have loved singing to you.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

I'm crabby

It is NOT the most wonderful time of the year.

Not this year, anyway.

Everything just feels wrong this year. I usually love Christmas and love the weeks leading up to it. Shopping and decorating and baking. But all of those things have felt like chores this year. All I really want to do is crawl up in bed and emerge sometime in April. Think I could get away with that?

I should have a big, round, pregnant belly right now. I pictured myself pregnant at Christmas. And since I have another March baby (Jack), I could actually imagine exactly HOW pregnant I would look and feel.

There should be freaking SNOW on the ground. It looks like September outside, for crying out loud. I'd like at least a little something to clue me into the fact that it's December. (But, of course, once January hits, I'd like the snow to continue to stay away).

I should be mourning the fact that I can't have an alcoholic drink on Christmas Eve, not mourning the fact that I AM able to drink this year.

There should be a baby kicking and flipping inside my body. There should be baby things collecting in our unborn baby's crib, not mementos of our stillborn daughter.

This is going to be a long week.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

My Mimi

Hannah got to meet her great grandmother yesterday! My sweet Mimi, four days shy of her 94th birthday, went home to be with the Lord. She had seven children, 17 grandchildren, and ten great grandchildren. Quite the legacy!

There are so many things I remember about Mimi. She lived in Connecticut, so we only saw her when we traveled there every few years or when she came to Minnesota once in a while. When we visited her in Connecticut, I distinctly remember Frosted Flakes for breakfast and lots of The Price is Right. :)

She also taught me how to swear. Well, maybe not exactly on purpose. ;) But I remember mom blaming Mimi when she heard me swear for the first time. ("Where the hell did you get those shoes?")

Sadly, Mimi dealt with dementia for the last year or so of her life. I haven't seen her since Jack was about 18 months old, but I'm pretty sure she wouldn't have even recognized me if I'd seen her more recently. And for that, I am so thankful that she is in a better place. No more confusion, pain, or frustration.

Psalm 116:15
Precious in the sight of the Lord
is the death of his faithful servants.

Margaret Marie Berube
December 17, 1917 - December 13, 2011

Sunday, December 11, 2011


This is our pastor's sermon from this morning. If you have 40 minutes, I'd highly recommend it. I'm planning on watching it again. And then maybe again. :)

Monday, December 05, 2011

one month

My dear sweet Hannah,

Darling girl. I really wish I was writing this to document your first month here on earth. Instead, I am marking one month since you entered heaven and changed our world forever. And you have taught me so much in that one short month!

You have taught me that even in the midst of our worst nightmare, it wasn't impossible to feel the distinctive peace of God. And it truly was and is the peace that passes all understanding. Because I certainly don't understand how I can feel peace when I have lost you, my precious baby. But that peace has been there from the moment the ultrasound tech left the room and we knew that our lives were about to change forever. Even in the midst of crying and screaming and being really mad that we had to go through this, God was there. And he was the same in the middle of the nightmare as he was before we found out that you'd left us.

You have taught me how very precious my children are, whether or not they are here on this earth where I get to see them and hug them every day. And you've taught me that it is possible to love someone SO MUCH, even when I have never known them alive outside of me. I've always felt an inexplicable love toward my children as soon as I knew they were growing inside of me. How could I love someone so deeply before I had even seen or met them? And then to lay eyes on them after delivery! Being pregnant with you was such a different experience than with Jack and Leah because halfway through, we knew their genders. We decided to keep yours a surprise until delivery. And we WERE so surprised. I guess I thought you were going to be a boy. I didn't realize how much I thought that until you came out--I was so shocked that you were a girl! But now, after a month of knowing and missing you, I can't believe we didn't always know you were a girl. My precious, precious baby girl. :)

I miss you so much, Hannah. I love having pictures and videos of you, but I still want to hold you every day. There is some comfort that we know you're in heaven and we'll see you again, and that you never had to know the pain of this world. But I'd still rather have you here. Your brother and sister and daddy miss you too.

Love you, sweet girl.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Hannah Bear

We decided to take a trip to the Build-a-Bear workshop this afternoon to make a Hannah Bear. :) I wanted to find or make little things to put inside the bear when we stuffed. So Jack drew a few little pictures.

I wrote some verses and her name with its meaning. I also found a heart that I wanted to put inside.
Dan found a verse that he carries around sometimes and wrote a note on the back.

Here's the bear we picked!
And time to stuff her. :)
Putting our treasures inside.
And giving her a "bath."
And plenty of hugs and kisses!
This was an idea I had shortly after we lost Hannah, but I went back and forth about doing it. I'm so glad we did, though! The kids LOVED it and they love having "baby Hannah" in our house.

Thursday, December 01, 2011


"Today was a difficult day.
Tomorrow will be better."
-Kevin Henkes, Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse

I just wish I actually believed that tomorrow was going to be better.
Especially since it's midnight and I'm still awake....