Featured

a broken heart is real

I will be okay.

“So it’s true, when all is said and done, grief is the price we pay for love.” 

— E.A. Bucchianeri.

Everyone tells me I’m strong. But I don’t feel strong.

Every single day I know I am going to wake up, and I’m thankful I do. I’m just not thankful that I’m waking up to a home without my son. I want him back more then anything. I know that I’m going to wake up though, so I have to continue to live and breathe.

Today I didn’t want to leave the house. I wanted to close my store and lay around all day and do nothing. But what would that have done? Where would that have gotten me? I keep telling myself I can’t allow the situation to give me the excuse to fail. I can’t allow my business and career to fall apart because I lost my child.

People die every single day. It is a horrible reality of life. And life continues. That’s the way it is, and I try to remind myself of that. I am not alone in this and there are people going through the exact same pain I am. It doesn’t make my heart hurt any worse, but it does make me feel less horrible for myself.

I went to the grocery store today. I got us dinner for the next 3 nights. Dinner is the only meal I care to eat. I know that’s not good, but I’m trying. I bought protein shakes to make Scott feel better and I’ll try to drink them in the morning. Everything I eat makes me physically ill.

Back to the grocery store though. As I walk around, it just boggles my mind. I want to scream. The entire world just continues to move while I’m stuck in this horrific nightmare. Every single move I make feels fake. I’m just a robot, programming myself to go through the motions. I just want to collapse and scream, but I don’t.

I have always loved to be around people. Talk to strangers, be surrounded by friends. I just don’t care to do that right now. It takes so much effort to just be “normal”. Every single second I am thinking about my son that I can’t have. Even when I don’t realize I’m thinking of him, I am.

I have truly never felt heartbreak like this. I never even understood it could exist. I read an article the other day (Because it’s all I do now) that talked about actual heartbreak being real. And I believe it. I can feel it. My heart is literally shattered, and I’m not sure when it will be whole again. I know it will mend. I know time will heal it. Not fully but it will mend. I just want time to speed up.

It’s been 2 weeks and 2 days since I last held Kellan in my arms. My beautiful stillborn baby that was absolutely perfect. It’s ironic because it feels like time isn’t moving, because I know time is the only thing that will heal me. Yet it feels like time is flying by and I’m just watching.

I often try to convince myself that losing Kellan at 36 weeks pregnant has got to be easier in some way then if he had been born and I lost him at some point in his life. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I always try to tell myself that.

I have so much guilt. I often think about how much guilt and regret I had when my nephew died, and hate that feeling I have now with my son. I really didn’t enjoy being pregnant because of all of the things I couldn’t do. Now I hate myself for thinking that way, and would give anything to have him back inside me awaiting his arrival. I can’t help but feel like I did something wrong, and I know that I can’t think that way. But who could help it?

I do feel the most level headed and mentally clear then I have for a long time. I just want so badly to have Kellan and I know I can’t. I know I can’t bring him back, and I know I will never understand why. I just wish I could see a clear path to feeling whole again. That’s the logical person in me, wishing to make this horrific process somehow easier.

In my head I want it to be September because I have decided for some reason that I will be doing better by then. I guess we will see if I’m right. Until then, I continue down this journey I would give anything to not be on. I will be okay.

trigger warning

But I am so very thankful.

Somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue.

And dreams that you dare to dream, really do come true.

Israel Kamakawiwoʻole

I have been putting off writing this post for over a week now. I’m not sure why – I just have.

From the beginning of this journey, I have promised to be honest and open. To express my feelings, fears, and raw emotions. And I have kept that promise.

One of the things that has been a huge struggle of mine throughout this journey is jealousy. Seeing others share their happiness, while wondering if mine would ever come. It was hard to see others share their pregnancies. It was even hard for me to hear about other happy stories after loss, because in my mind, I was never sure if I would get that happiness.

Fear of the future is real, and it is a very hard thing to come to terms with. And I’ve found, often it doesn’t necessarily go away, it’s just replaced with a new fear.

One thing I have always appreciated is when others give me a trigger warning. A heads up that what I was about to read or see might hurt me. That way I was able to make a decision if I wanted to continue and be exposed to it.

I started this blog to document my life and journey through grief after losing my son. That hasn’t changed, but some of my content moving forward will shift. So now comes the time for me to extend the same courtesy to those who follow my blog throughout their journey of loss – a trigger warning.

If you do not want to hear about the journey of trying for another child after loss, our time together ends here. And I completely understand, and respect that decision more than I can ever explain. Thank you for following my journey so far, and if you’re ever ready, I’ll be here.

For those who wish to continue with me on this journey…continue to scroll.

The hope of another child after losing your first so tragically is something you cling to. I would also think this feeling is similar for those who are struggling to get pregnant in general. You hope for it and want it so badly, but as time goes on, you start to wonder if it’s even possible. It’s exhausting to think about, and devastating to see those around you experience the joy you want so badly. It’s a weird feeling because you ARE happy for others, but you are also devastated for yourself.

You over-research. You obsess. You become exhausted from it all. Others tell you to just quit thinking about it so much, and it will happen. It’s so much easier said than done.

Then you wonder, what happens when I do finally get pregnant? And you dream about it, and hope for it. And then become scared of it as well. And time continues to pass and hope turns into frustration, frustration into sadness, sadness into anger. It’s a vicious cycle. A mental mind game.

I am incredibly thankful to share with you that Scott and I found out that we are expecting again. As of today we are 16 weeks 2 days. While I am beyond thankful, I had no idea how serious the mental piece of this would be.

I won’t be talking about our pregnancy on social media, and I struggle to even talk about it on this blog. Not because I am fearful (which I am), but because I do not want to cause harm to anyone who might be grieving a loss of their own, or that might be struggling to get pregnant. Knowing that I could cause harm to someone else would absolutely crush me, because I know how it feels. So please know, this is why I choose not to post on social media.

So what do I mean by mental piece? I mean the extreme fear and anxiety one gets while being pregnant again after suffering a loss or after trying to get pregnant for so long. Each day is different, but I think about my fears daily. It’s impossible not to – especially with the added stress of COVID.

This pregnancy so far has not been an easy process. At first I was horribly sick, which lasted for the first 11 weeks. And then, I experienced spotting, which was absolutely terrifying. Thankfully, my doctor is remarkable, and understands my situation. She has walked me through everything step by step and I am very thankful for her.

It’s interesting that I called this post trigger warning, because this pregnancy has caused many triggers for me in my grief process. Walking into the first ultrasound we had was beyond terrifying. I couldn’t help but think about the last one we had ever experienced, hearing that Kellan no longer had a heartbeat.

And then we found out the most incredible news, that we were having twins.

We are so excited, yet so very scared. We already love these sweet babies so much, but we also already know the pain of losing. I know that they are worth it all, and my goal is to work through the mental piece, while taking care of myself physically as well. I am surrounded by amazing people who are always willing to help me with this, and for that I am so appreciative.

I found a great source for daily affirmations for those experiencing pregnancy after loss. I do my best to say them whenever I get anxious. Here is the download link for you if you’d like them:

After we found out about the twins, I knew I wanted to take pictures to document this special moment in our life. This was another terrifying trigger for me. 2 days after we took our maternity photos, Kellan was gone.

I am so proud of myself, and Scott, for returning to that same beautiful field with our photographer Jordyn (2 days before she gave birth to her beautiful baby girl). It was scary for us mentally to go back, worrying that the same thing would happen again, but we did it. And I’m so thankful we did. I’ve shared part of this picture on facebook, but I share the entire photograph with you here.

So where do we go from here? Well, I know there is no “safe zone”. I realize that every single day that I am fortunate to be carrying these babies, and I pray for them every night. I think it was easier to be naive and not know that such a horrible loss was possible, but I don’t have the ability to think like that anymore. I hope if you think of me throughout this process, you’ll send me positive thoughts, prayers, energy, and vibes.

Tomorrow we have a doctor’s appointment. We will have 2 per month until we get closer to their due date in April, and then it will go to 2 appointments weekly. I am thankful for all of the doctors we have working with us, and it does help me rationalize with my crazy worrying mind.

I almost decided not to post this today, and wait until after our appointment tomorrow, “just in case”. But then I realized, that would be just like me not walking into the ultrasound appointment, not walking into the field for the picture, or not sending out postcards to our family and friends. I can’t NOT do things for this pregnancy because I’m scared something bad will happen again.

This is a different pregnancy, different babies, a different story, with a different ending. And just like I have done with everything else in my grief process, I will do the best I can.

I do believe though, this is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done after losing my child. But I am so very thankful.

#kellankares

I plan to spread so much love tomorrow – will you join me?

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is every wasted.”

-Aesop

I have cried often lately – but tears of joy. What a strange feeling to cry tears of joy.

As soon as I opened my account to start this post, and I typed the words #kellankares, I immediately began to cry.

I’m not sure why. I truly can’t put words to it. Tears are flowing, and I keep trying to understand why. Sometimes we just don’t know.

Tomorrow is the official day for Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness. I was fortunate enough to have the City of Aberdeen recognize this day and honor the Mothers of Angels with a proclamation. I am incredibly proud that I was able to do this.

City of Aberdeen Official Proclamation

Leading up to tomorrow, the Podcast I’m on (@thosecoacheswives) did the last 2 episodes on Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness. For the first time in my life, I publicly spoke about what happened with Kellan and my journey the last year. The two episodes were very powerful, and I am so proud that I was able to share my experience and hopefully help others who are going through what I have been through.

If you’d like to listen – we are on iTunes Podcasts and Spotify. I think it truly does give a deeper and more raw truth to my story then I can express through my writing. I’ve embedded them if you’d like to listen:

Episode 5 – The first about my loss
Episode 6 – The description of the year after

One thing I hit on that I think is so important to continue to talk about is the “safe zone”. When a woman gets pregnant – it’s common knowledge to wait until she is 12 weeks along to announce her pregnancy to the world. But why?

THERE IS NO SAFE ZONE. If we haven’t learned this by now, I don’t know what it will take to learn. So why 12 weeks?? And why wait?? So that if you suffer a sad and tragic miscarriage you have to suffer alone knowing what happened to you? So you don’t have to go through the “embarrassment” of revealing to the world that you suffered a loss?

This. Makes. No. Sense.

I wish we could change this stigma. I wish we could give love and support to women and men, and families who lose their children at all stages. It is heart-wrenching and no one should ever feel ashamed for their experience. I hope someday, we can in fact change this.

But tomorrow, tomorrow I will spread love. I will spread kindness. And most importantly I will spread awareness in my son’s memory. And then at 7pm – I will join others all over the world and light a candle for Kellan.

The Wave of Light is a creative concept based on progressive candle lightings all around the world at 7 pm on October 15th. These candles are lit in memory of the babies who have died too soon. If you’d like, feel free to light a candle and share it.

I plan to spread so much love tomorrow – will you join me?

You can download and print your #KellanKares cards easily by clicking the download button below:

love over pain

I am a strong, passionate, loving, grieving mother.

“Real love never fails.”

-Karen Kingsbury

Wow where has 2020 gone. It’s almost October and I haven’t written since July. Since Kellan’s birthday.

2020 has been quite the year. I always hear how terrible everyone thinks it is, but after the 2019 I’ve had – I can handle all that 2020 has brought me. I got this.

So how am I? I am discovering new things about myself all of the time. I am strong, resilient, and honest.

I am finally and truly a good friend again – and that feels incredible. I can once again love others and give to others the way I always had before I lost my son. I was so scared this wouldn’t come back fully – and it did. I love to love others.

I am making the choice to love over pain.

One thing that I am incredibly proud of is that I have been honest and open in my grief. If I can’t handle something, I am honest. When I am ready to conquer things – I do it. I listen to myself and do what I need to take care of my mental health.

In 2020 I have:

  • Met the baby from the baby shower I went to back in October – and let me tell you, she’s wonderful.
  • Worked with the hospital to develop improvements for families who suffer pregnancy and infant loss.
  • Been able to talk to my good friend about her pregnancy and see her precious little boy (the one I didn’t know about until late on – STILL thankful she did this for me).
  • Became a college professor – a lifetime goal of mine!
  • Won the rebranding bid for the City of Aberdeen – creating a lasting legacy in this city I love.
  • Decided to run for, and WIN a City Council race. I am now the only female on the Aberdeen City Council, and I won a three way race!
  • Developed a strong plan for my #KellanKares Foundation – and a way to fund it!
  • Worked incredibly hard to bring my small business & full time job through a Pandemic and reinvented so much about what we do!
  • Adopted another awesome dog – Lola Lee Logue Langer the First
  • Started a Podcast with a remarkable women & my fellow Coach’s wife – (@thosecoacheswives on iTunes and Spotify if you want to check it out!)
  • Spread love & kindness with Random Acts in memory of my precious Kellan.
  • And one of the best things I’ve ever done…..HIRED AN ASSISTANT!

There’s still so much time left in 2020, and so much to do. I promised Scott I’d slow down a little – so yeah, the assistant will be wonderful.

As I reflect back on this time of my life last year, I think of how fortunate I am to be in the mental head space I am in right now. While I think of Kellan every single day, I am also so proud of who I am and what I have done. I know he is proud of me.

The other day I woke up and as I laid in bed reading emails – I heard the high school band playing. It was so loud, I felt like I was right next to them. It dawned on me that I lived in this house last year, and should have heard the band then…but I didn’t remember it.

That same night I heard such loud commotion and asked Scott if our neighbors were having a party. He laughed and said no, it was the high school football game. I couldn’t believe it and asked him if it was that loud last year. He said of course….but I didn’t remember it.

It absolutely shocked me that I had no recollection of these obvious and loud moments. It truly put into perspective for me the depths of where my depression was, and how much I have healed. Our minds are so powerful, and the way they work to protect us is crazy.

I’ve never been so thankful that I could hear the band and the game. I can hear joy again.

I won’t lie, I still struggle in a lot of ways. I still hate the jealous feelings I get, and I’m not sure I will ever get used to having jealous feelings. I still am triggered and pained by things people say to me. Usually they don’t realize it – but it still stabs me. I have gotten much better about bringing awareness around this though.

I am now okay with people calling me strong. I used to always silently say to myself…I’m not strong, I’m crumbling. But I agree now – I am very strong. I think we all are, some of us just don’t know the depths of our strength yet. I will wear that badge of honor proudly. I am a strong grieving mother.

I am also weak. And that’s okay too. We can be both, and I’ve learned that. And I will wear that badge proudly too.

I will tell you one thing that hasn’t changed….I still like bad or shocking news via email or text. It gives me time to process and figure out my feelings before I react. Pretty sure this will never change….

Since Kellan’s death, and through my grief, I have learned to love stronger, to be more passionate, to challenge myself, and to not settle. I have learned to forgive and move forward. I have learned to stand up for myself, even when it’s uncomfortable. And most importantly, to only closely surround yourself with safe people. You can keep others around you, but they don’t need to be close.

I will continue to allow myself to grow in my grief, and own that I am doing the best I can. But I can promise you, I will always truly do the best I can.

I am a strong, passionate, loving, grieving mother.

one year later

I am going to change the world. One act of kindness at a time.

“No matter how long it’s been, there are times when it suddenly becomes harder to breathe.”

Anonymous

I will never forget the moment when our doctor couldn’t find Kellan’s heartbeat.

I will never forget the feeling I felt. The devastating, painful, horrible gut punch.

I will never understand why I am writing a blog post about my son’s death, instead of decorating our home for his first birthday tomorrow.

But that is my life, and something I have come to accept.

I have accomplished so much in the last year, especially in the last few months. I’ve done it all with one goal in mind: to make the world a better place in memory of my son.

I haven’t written in a while, and I wish I hadn’t taken a break. But I will do better.

July 3rd, 2019, at 9:30 AM, I sat in the hospital clinic, thinking I was going to see my son and have a normal 36 week pre-natal appointment.

34 hours hours later, I walked out with a memory box and a broken heart.

It’s fascinating really – because you’d think this weekend would be horrible for me. But it’s not. So far, this weekend is easy. My life is so much better, and has so much more purpose now than it did 1 year ago today.

I am surrounded by so much love.

The month of June though…that month honestly sucked. And I wasn’t expecting that, but I got through it. I navigated the storm, and I am so proud of myself.

I’m amazed at who I’ve become since Kellan’s death, and what I’ve accomplished. Over the next few days, I will explain and reveal more.

For now though, I am going to spread love & kindness, and enjoy my time with those I love. I am going to embrace my life, and be thankful to be surrounded by amazing people who love me unconditionally.

I am going to change the world. One act of kindness at a time.

alone

We will walk through this grief together, one day at a time.

“When we truly realize that we are all alone is when we need others the most. “

Ronald Anthony

It felt like March was 500 days long.

Yet again, I’ve gone too long without writing. So many thoughts have gone through my head, but sometimes it’s just hard to get myself to write.

And then something will happen. Something that pushes me to open my computer and allow myself to cry the words out of me. So here we are.

In the last week or so I was told about two different women having stillborn babies. I don’t know these women personally, but my heart collapsed. I continued to think about them daily.

And then it happened. As I was sitting in my store, trying to figure out how to reinvent my business, I broke down as I thought about those women. The feeling of being alone is absolutely soul crushing.

And I don’t mean alone like physically. I am surrounded by amazing people.

I mean alone in your thoughts. Alone with your mind racing. Thinking about your child that should be here. Thinking about how horrible it feels to live life without them. Thinking about how no one around you can understand how you feel in this moment. How suffocating it feels. How lonely it feels.

My heart ripped thinking of these women who were just starting this journey. I wish I could just sit in a room with them, so they didn’t feel alone.

If you are one of those women, I hope you know – you are not alone. But I know why it feels like you are. And it’s okay to feel that way. I still feel alone. Even in room full of people. Allow yourself to feel however you need to feel.

And if you are a friend of a woman who lost her baby – just know that your friend might feel alone. And sadly, there’s nothing you can do or say to fix that feeling. It’s better if you don’t try to fix it – but just listen when they need you to.

Just listen and love them. That is all you can do. It might seem small, but it is very powerful.

I have seen so much in the last month with my business, my job, and my life. Each day I face, I know pain will come at some point. It’s a reality I’ve come to know. But there is also a lot of happiness in my days now, and for that I am thankful.

I was working in a small town at the beginning of the month and a woman was telling me about her first grand baby. She was so proud, as she showed me a picture of the beautiful baby boy. She told me how blessed she was, and as I fought back tears – I smiled and told her that yes, she was very blessed.

I hope she knows how much I meant those words. She is so very blessed.

It seems as though somehow I am always surrounded by babies and pregnant women. I am proud of myself for how well I handle my emotions. I listen and carry on conversations for as long as my heart can handle. I do my best. That’s all I can do.

Right now the topic is how horrible it will be if their spouse/significant other/family will not be able to be present for the birth of their child due to the pandemic.

Usually the people talking to me have no idea what I have been through, because why would they? I always answer them the same way – to just remember, as long as their baby comes out healthy, that they are incredibly fortunate and nothing else matters. I believe that 100%.

I’m not sure they will ever actually know how fortunate they really are.

Then tonight, I thought about the women giving birth to stillborns during this pandemic and having to be alone. I lost it. In this moment, just thinking about it – I can barely type my words between tears. How devastating. Even after what I’ve been through, I can’t begin to imagine the pain.

It’s a terrible feeling to know I can’t help them.

This world is a crazy place right now. The situations we are facing are exhausting, and beyond scary. But in this, we are not alone. I read something the other day that I found interesting. The discomfort that we are all feeling right now – it’s grief.

We are grieving the changing world, and not knowing when it will ever feel “normal” again. We are grieving our fear of the economy and what could happen with our jobs and businesses. We are grieving our freedom and the things this pandemic has taken from us. We are fearful and anticipating more grief to come.

And the most unique piece of it all – we are doing it together. We are all grieving.

My best advice – from someone who has done a lot of grieving in the last 9 months – is to let yourself grieve. Let yourself feel the different aspects of it, and recognize that like I said before in this post (https://strengthingrief.com/2019/07/30/5-stages-of-grief/) the stages don’t always happen in order.

Go easy on yourself, and don’t feel guilty for being upset. Check in with those you love, because they are grieving with you. And know, that in this crazy time in our world – no matter how alone we feel – there is someone out there who is going through the exact same thing you are. And I hope knowing that helps you feel a little less alone.

We will walk through this grief together, one day at a time.

8 months later

He looks just like the angel he is.

“Know that when you’ve been covered in darkness, you’ve been planted. Reach for the light. You are growing.”

– J. Lynn

I know it’s been a while since I’ve written – and I promise I will do better. It’s been quite the month.

It’s hard to believe it has been 8 months since I last held my sweet Kellan.

34 weeks.

243 days, 12 hours, 34 minutes and 23 seconds.

5844 hours.

350,674 minutes.

21,040,463 seconds.

It feels like forever, yet it still feels like yesterday. When you experience such excruciating pain, the feeling never leaves you. I wish this type of pain on no one.

I am blown away by the growth I have experienced in the last 8 months. Growth in so many ways. I feel stronger. I feel motivated. But I know I am still vulnerable. I still feel pain and think of my son so much it consumes me. I’ve learned how to fight forward through the pain, and channel Kellan as motivation to drive myself. I like to think it makes me a more well-rounded person.

The last time I wrote, I talked about my amazing pregnant friend who cared enough to put me first, and love me in the way I needed. What a life changing experience that was.

The love she showed me unleashed something inside of me. It gave me strength I didn’t know I had. She showed me that people CAN be selfless and empathy IS real. By showing me this kind of love, it opened my heart to happiness for her. The first time I have felt genuine happiness for someone else since losing Kellan.

You know the story of the Grinch’s heart growing 3 sizes? I know it sounds like a silly comparison, but I’m serious – I felt pieces of my heart coming together again. Just like the day I felt my heart shatter from the loss of Kellan, I could literally feel my heart mending. Love is a powerful thing.

I knew I wanted to talk to my friend again soon, but I wanted to make sure I protected both of our hearts. I took some time and after a week or so, I reached out via e-mail. I wanted to see if she was open to navigating this new situation with me. Of course she was, and she made sure I knew that I was in control. So we wrote a couple e-mails, but it didn’t feel right. For the last 7 months, we had talked on the phone so many times when I was on the road. I missed her. I wanted to talk to her. But could I really do it?

So I did some serious work & reflection (I’ll talk more about this process in a future post). I realized that I was questioning myself about every decision I was making, even when I knew in my heart exactly what I needed to do. I was taking time that I didn’t need to triple think decisions. It’s empowering to recognize something like this about yourself.

So I finally picked up the phone and called her. And we talked. Like everything was normal…because it was. And we revisited the last 7 months of our lives, with the added knowledge that she was pregnant the entire time. And I was absolutely fine, just like I knew I would be. I learned to trust myself again.

Her love helped me grow in such a huge way. I am so thankful for this.

This entire situation confirmed something else for me. The friendship I ended 7 months ago was 100% about horrible & selfish behavior, and 0% about a pregnancy. My feelings and reactions towards this former friend were completely warranted and that’s why I can’t find it in my heart to bring her back in my life. She doesn’t belong in it.

The feeling of closure in this situation feels remarkable. When someone shows you who they are, believe them.

So today – 8 months later, I started my first trial with the “in school #KellanKares concept”. At the exact moment Kellan was brought into this world 8 months ago, I was in a 5th grade class spreading a message of love and kindness. We talked about the power of kindness and how we can change the world. I gave the kids my KAL cards, and empowered them to spread kindness to others.

There is no greater feeling than knowing I am making a difference in this world for Kellan.

And I will continue to do what I can to change the world. On Friday, my company Pinned Workshop was awarded the job of rebranding the City of Aberdeen. This job is not only a huge honor for me, but it shows me that I can do anything I put my mind and heart in. My passion for this project is so much bigger than I can describe.

The best part of it all? I will be able to donate a large part of the money earned to begin Kellan’s Foundation. It’s all falling in place and it almost feels surreal. Through my grief and pain, I feel so fortunate. I am so very blessed to be Kellan’s mom.

I made one more huge step in the past month. I finally looked at the pictures of my beautiful son. I’ve decided I want those who read my words to see the precious little boy that inspires all I do. So with tears flowing, I share this very special photo with you.

For the first time, I introduce to you – the most perfect little boy, my love, Kellan Albert Langer.

He looks just like the angel he is.

this is my life

This life we live – it’s so damn hard.

“Tears water our growth.”

William Shakespeare

I just got news tonight that made my head spin. I originally thought after it all happened, I am done with my blog. I am done writing and putting my life out there. I wanted to shut myself off to the world, because I wanted to protect myself and stop being vulnerable. But then I realized – I have to write, because it’s fresh and it’s real. And I want to help others, and I want to be honest with myself. That’s how it should be. I need to share what’s happening in my life.

Bare with me, these feelings are very raw tonight.

For the first time in 7 months, I had planned to go back to Topeka & Kansas City this weekend. Spend time with Olivia, check on my store, and just show myself that it’s ok to be there.

I wasn’t going to message any of my friends or tell them I was coming, I was going to just lay low. And then I thought, why? Why are you hiding? So I decided to slowly see if people might be available to get together over a brunch.

I started with one of my closest friends, one that I talk to weekly at a minimum. The convo was pretty normal and I mentioned brunch. Then it came. The dreaded words. She needed to send me an email.

We already went over this in a past post – my fear of opening emails now. I thought I was prepped and ready to read the news that my dear friend was probably pregnant.

What I read, absolutely blew my mind. My friend, one of the best throughout this 7 months, found out she was pregnant 2 days after I lost Kellan. 2 days. She is about to become a mom in a few short weeks, and I am just finding out tonight.

First thoughts? I’m guessing you’re think WOOOOW. Then next thought – how could she ever keep that from you for so long? Why would she continue with your lives like everything is normal and just not mention anything ever?

I am so so so thankful she didn’t.

I think she is remarkable. I think she is selfless. I am now postivie she is one of the very best friends I will ever have in my life.

And I feel terrible. For the last 7 months of her life, she has kept her joy and happiness off social media. She has listened to me and loved me. She has supported me. She has done all of the things that many couldn’t. And I am absolutely blown away that I have people in my life that are willing to go to that extreme for me.

And I am sad. I am sad that I have missed out on these moments with her. I am so sad that I can’t hear about it, or help her, or guide her, or celebrate with her. I hate that I don’t get to be a part of it all. But I can’t, and she not only knows this, but she respects it.

I am scared. What does this mean for us now? How can I just continue acting like she isn’t pregnant and isn’t having a baby? How do I continue to just talk to her like before, leaving out such a huge part of her life? What if I can’t? I am scared that this is who I will be forever.

A broken person who just can’t. And I feel like I continue to lose and miss out on things, because I just can’t. And it sucks. But I can’t.

Am I hurt she didn’t tell me until now? Absolutely not. Unrealistic Tiffany wishes she never told me, and never would have to. Unrealistic Tiffany wishes she could go about her life and never know people are pregnant. But Real Tiffany – she knows better. I wish life was unrealistic sometimes.

I am forever thankful for my friend’s kindness, compassion, and true love for me. She did something that not just anyone (even one who I thought was my best friend) could do – she did what was best for me, on a huge level.

As I sit here and allow the millions of thoughts run through my head – I would be lying if I didn’t say I am a mess. I can’t help but question why? What did I do in this life to deserve this fate? My son is in a box next to me, when he should be sleeping in his beautiful room down the hall. Everyone around me, no matter where I turn, seem to have zero issues having their babies. Multiple babies. All the damn babies. But mine, my sweet precious Kellan is dead.

I can’t help but wonder what I did to deserve this. And then I’m annoyed, because I know what everyone thinks. “You didn’t do anything Tiff. You didn’t deserve this.” I don’t want to hear that anymore.

The worst part of it all, is that I know my husband, my parents, my friends – all feel helpless. How can you help someone when there are literally zero answers? Zero fixes?

It’s fucking impossible.

So here I am. Feeling thankfulness, devastation, love, jealousy, sadness, and basically any emotion a human could feel. I want to run away, but there’s no where to go. I certainly don’t want to be in Topeka or Kansas City any longer.

When I said the world around me is moving and I’m standing still, I wasn’t making up a metaphor. That is my life, and this is my reality.

And to my friend – I love you. Thank you for loving and caring for me like you did. I would give the world for this to be different. I am genuinely sorry I can’t be there for you, and I hope my honesty in this writing gives you peace. You did the right thing. I hope we can talk again soon, but I don’t know when. I just love you so much – and I’m so sorry.

And I hope to those who read this – if you are dealing with a tough situation with a loved one – you give the same kind of love and compassion, and true empathy like I received. It really makes a difference.

This life we live – it’s so damn hard.

6 months later

And no matter what, I continue to hope for the future.

“Grief is not a disorder, a disease or a sign of weakness. It is an emotional, physical and spiritual necessity, the price you pay for love. The only cure for grief is to grieve.”

Earl Grollman

I have so many thoughts all of the time. So many emotions. Yet I just couldn’t get myself to write. So tonight I picked up my computer and decided it was time.

Saturday, January 4th would have been Kellan’s 6 month birthday. I’m not sure many people remembered, because if I’m being honest – everyone’s life goes on. That’s the reality, and I can’t be upset about that.

Sometimes it’s hard for me to believe that I have lived 6 months in this world without him. My heart aches for him. I feel actual aching pain. I spent January 4th doing Random Acts of Kindness, and spreading love in Aberdeen. It’s all I could do.

It’s been 6 months, 15 days, 10 hours, 20 minutes, 44 seconds since my sweet Kellan lifelessly entered this world and changed me forever.

28 weeks.

199 days, 10 hours, 20 minutes and 44 seconds.

4786 hours.

287,180 minutes.

17,230,844 seconds.

And I miss him the same as the first moment I held him. I just want him back.

I also really want Sophie back. I miss her terribly.

I often wonder if people who have never experienced a tragic loss understand how truly fortunate they are. Or maybe the have no clue that they’ve never actually experienced a tragic loss? Maybe we all define tragedy differently? I will always remember the feeling of losing my nephew in 2016 and realizing how naive I had been throughout my life. Little did I know…it could still be so much worse.

Life is a fascinating thing. I think all of the time about how it all works, and I have to remind myself that I will never understand it. I will never make sense of the craziness. I wish I could so badly.

I often wish I could see into the future, just a little. So I could know what was in store for me. So I could see the light. I just want so badly to know there is happiness coming, and not just because everyone says it will come. I want to know. I want to see it coming. I think that’s me just wanting control over something.

I wish I had powerful words to talk about how much I’ve moved forward in the last 6 months, but I just don’t. I still feel like I’m watching the world spin, while I stand still. I’m trying.

I feel like all I see is happiness around me. It’s exhausting.

I remember telling myself how much better I would feel as time went by. I just needed time to pass. What a silly thing to think. I don’t think I actually feel any better then I did in July – I think I’m just more numb. It is what it is, and I’ve accepted that.

The most important thing I can say about these past 6 months, is that I am living. I am doing my best always. I am learning more about myself, and pushing myself in ways I didn’t know were possible. I promise, I am always trying.

And no matter what, I continue to hope for the future.

farewell 2019

And I welcome the new decade with open arms.

“People grow through experience if they meet life honestly and courageously. This is how character is built.”

– Eleanor Roosevelt

Finally a holiday I love. New Years has always been one of my favorite holidays. I love what it symbolizes. I feel that everyone always has hope. Hope for what the new year might bring.

Most people are either thankful for what the former year brought, or thankful to see it end and a new one beginning. I am thankful for both.

As hard as 2019 was for me, there were also incredible things that happened. I watched my husband hit a milestone that he has been chasing for his entire career, winning the Robertson Cup.

I became a mom to the most beautiful little boy, who changed my life in so many ways. I then became his advocate and started a journey to create his legacy.

I survived and am still surviving tragedy. I continue to fight and battle, and I am proud of myself for that.

I discovered that I have some of the best family and friends a girl could have. New, remarkable people have entered my life and will be there forever. I also discovered that some friendships have harsh endings, and you have to allow the door to close no matter how strange it feels.

I have done a lot of searching on New Year’s Resolutions and Goals for those who are grieving, and I decided to put together my own list. I hope if you are grieving, you will join me in working towards these goals. I am trying to keep it general, so anyone can use this list.

  1. Be honest about how you are feeling, with not only yourself but with others.
  2. Speak your loved ones name, and it’s ok to cry when you speak it.
  3. Live in a way your loved one would have wanted you to.
  4. Support someone else when you can.
  5. Seek or continue receiving professional help.
  6. Start/Continue doing a project memorializing or in memory of your loved one.
  7. Brush off hurtful comments from people who mean well.
  8. Be truly open to the happiness that can come from life. Let go of guilt about having fun or enjoying life.
  9. Archive/organize your photos online.
  10. Give away the belongings you are willing to part with and no longer have a need for.
  11. Journal or blog on a regular basis.
  12. Plan a vacation – even if it’s just a quick weekend one.
  13. Take more walks and enjoy the beauty around you.
  14. Create a book list and read more.
  15. Set aside more time to unplug -turn off your phone and shut down your computer by 8pm a few nights a week.
  16. Find a new hobby that you’ve never done before.
  17. Get enough sleep each night.
  18. Take a few different types of yoga classes.
  19. Spend more time with family and friends.
  20. Do things that make you laugh every day.
  21. Create a memory book of your loved ones.
  22. Get more organized (personal and work) and keep it that way. 
  23. Get out of the house earlier in the morning.
  24. Find out more about nutrition and make positive dietary changes.
  25. Slow down and don’t fall into the myth of “keeping busy” as a way to cope with grief – feel your grief when you need to.
  26. Continue with traditions honoring friends and family who have died.
  27. Give up or minimize unhealthy habits.
  28. Spend time with others affected by the loss – don’t be afraid to talk about your loved one. And don’t be afraid to cry
  29. Make up with any family and/or friends you have been quarreling with since your loved one’s death. Start with the easier ones first, and take your time.
  30. Make the doctor’s appointment you’ve been putting off. You need to.
  31. Create a will or advanced directive – and make sure it’s done correctly.
  32. Laugh at yourself.
  33. Attend a support group or spend time with people who make you feel well supported (online groups count).
  34. Continue to learn more about grief and the process.
  35. Work on learning more about yourself and who you’ve become since your loved ones death.
  36. Do something you want/need to do but have been avoiding because of your grief. (look at pictures, go through clothes, sell or donate items)
  37. Continue to speak your mind, about your grief and about anything else you have been holding in.
  38. Allow yourself to sulk every once in a while – it’s ok. If you can’t do it today, there will be tomorrow.
  39. Stop saying “I’m fine” if it isn’t true.
  40. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or to say no.
  41. Embrace and learn from negative feelings like guilt and regret. Allow yourself to feel the pain.
  42. Try not to compare your grief to others and how they feel.
  43. Try not to judge the way others cope with their own grief – everyone is different.
  44. Recognize your strengths.  How have you grown from your experiences and what have you learned?
  45. Find 2 things each day that you’re grateful for – even if it’s a really bad day.

So there you have it – 45 things I am hoping to do throughout the new year through my grief. Some of them I am already doing, and hope to continue. Quite a few of them are new goals that I hope to reach.

I am going to print this out and mark them off as I go, as well as add notes to it. I love a good checklist.

In my searching, I’ve also come across several goals for supporters. I decided to create my own list. It is not easy to support someone grieving, so if you know someone in that position, you should pass this list on as well.

  1. Reach out when you’re thinking of me (text or email is great) – even if it’s just to say hi or tell me something silly. I love hearing from people, even if I don’t respond. Sometimes I just can’t respond, or I forget. Please don’t hold it against me.
  2. It’s ok to talk about my loved one. Don’t feel like you are going to “make me cry”. Tears are just an external expression of how I am feeling all of the time – and if I cry, it’s because I need to, not because you made me.
  3. You have the capacity to be an amazing person; you do not have the capacity to be an expert on someone else’s pain. We all have a different process and we all grieve differently. Let’s not compare or analyze what each other might be thinking.
  4. While I may laugh and joke, I am still in extreme pain. Please be gentle with me. I need as much love and support as possible. My days take a lot of energy to get through.
  5. Please don’t tell me bad news or big news in person. Even if I seem okay or fine, I still need time to process. I need time alone to think and go through my emotions. Please give me that.
  6. Sometimes things I do or say don’t make sense. Sometimes I get angry, or upset, or passionate. Sometimes I have to bail on our plans or change my mind on attending an event. Just let me feel how I need to in the moment, I can’t help it. And please tell me it’s ok and you understand, because I feel guilty and feel like I’ve let you down. The more I know you understand me, the better I feel about doing what’s best for me.

I leave behind this year with high hopes for 2020. I genuinely hope and pray for an easier year, but I will do my best to be ready to take on whatever challenges I face. I will continue to be grateful for my blessings. I will do everything in my power to grow stronger and change the world each day.

I say goodbye to 2019 with as much love as I possibly can….

And I welcome the new decade with open arms.

run away

One day at a time.

“Work is when you confront the problems you might otherwise be tempted to run away from.”

– Rolf Potts

Somedays I wish I could run away.

Run away to an island with people that have no children. Where I don’t have to be constantly surrounded with pregnancy announcements, pregnancy bumps, baby pictures, and baby happiness. It’s just so exhausting.

Everywhere I turn, it’s there. I will never escape it. It’s never-ending. I wonder if it was always like this, and I just didn’t notice? I’m not sure.

I need to delete snapchat.

One would think that hearing about women who have lost children during pregnancy…and have went on to have healthy children would be be comforting. But I think lately it’s been harder for me to hear those stories. Because I’m not in that point in my life, and what if I don’t get that happy ending? What if I never have another child?

And when people say….don’t think like that…you’ll get your happy ending Tiff. YOU DON’T KNOW THAT. I mean seriously, we also never thought my kid would die when I was 36 weeks pregnant. So how about everyone else just thinks positive thoughts for me – and I’ll keep thinking my scared thoughts. Nothing anyone says to me will change the thoughts in my head right now. I wish it would.

I’m in this limbo phase of my life. It’s shitty.

Tonight I started to get angry. Just thinking about so many things, so many situations. And then I stopped myself. I’m not angry, I’m sad. I’m scared. And when I’m honest with myself I start to breakdown and cry – because I need to and I’ve been holding it in. And I needed to let it out.

It’s so much easier to be angry.

Is it sad that every time I hear from someone unexpectedly, I expect it to be news that will hurt me? I always brace myself before I open the message, ready for the blow. I’ve found that it’s just easier to do this than to be blindsided. I wish I could ignore news that will hurt me. Obviously this is not realistic and I know that. But it would still be nice sometimes.

The last time I wrote, I had to say goodbye to my love – Sophie. She has been gone for 10 days now and I still miss her horribly. Coming home to a house without her is absolutely miserable. Watching her leave this world was so painful. I could genuinely feel my broken heart shatter into a million pieces yet again.

I think losing Sophie was equally as hard as Kellan. I’m not sure people will understand me on this, and that’s ok. But I spent 1/3 of my life with Sophie. My entire adult life after college. She was such a huge part of my life, she was my child. I knew the joy of having her with me, so to lose her was devastating. I understood her death would be hard, but I was not expecting the pain to be so severe. It was soul crushing.

She helped me survive my loss of Kellan. And then I lost her.

The day after we lost Soph, I got a very special delivery to my store. Whoever felt it in their heart to send this to me, thank you. Thank you for this beautiful sign of love.

I had told Scott I wasn’t sure how quickly I could get another dog, and he supported me. But the next day it hit me. While no animal could ever replace Sophie, in order to move forward, we needed another animal in our life to give love to.

And I found Maisey.

Maisey was in Houston, TX at a high kill shelter, 1 day from being euthanized. She got rescued by a shelter in Minnesota, and was being fostered. Her foster mom met us halfway and we picked her up a week ago. She is 1 year old, potty trained, loves to nap, and is such a love. I still miss Sophie more than I can explain, but I know she is so happy that we saved another dog.

Meet Maisey:

Maisey has changed our lives in the last week and I think Kellan and Sophie sent her to us. I hope they are smiling down watching us with her, thankful they put us together.

I know they are.

Christmas was spent with my parents, and we made homemade pasta. Scott surprised me with an amazing new Macbook Pro and I was absolutely blown away. He is the most thoughtful and generous human. I’m not sure how I got so fortunate that he chose me to spend this life with.

I’ve never liked Christmas. I guess I’m just not a fan of a holiday where you’re expected to give gifts. I like giving gifts randomly and out of love – not because I’m supposed to.

I do like that I get to spend time with my family, so I will take that as a win.

I remind myself daily how fortunate I am. I have had some horrible things happen to me in the last 6 months, but I still see how much worse it could always be. I very much recognize that bad things happen to people daily, and it’s not just me. I see the big picture, and I am proud of myself for that. I am thankful for all I have.

But I still wish I could run away, even if it was just for a few hours a week. Sadly, that’s not real life, and I can’t run away.

So I’ll just keep moving forward – and I’ll continue to work on myself. One day at a time.