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.

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.

goodbye my love

I love you so much sweet Sophie – please kiss Kellan for me.

“If you have a dog, you will most likely outlive it; to get a dog is to open yourself to profound joy and, prospectively, to equally profound sadness.”

– Marjorie Garber

Sophia Lee Logue Langa the First.

That’s what her dad calls her. He also gave her a southern accent, and made sure he always called her a lady when she’d cross her legs while laying down. I loved calling her Miss Lee.

Sophie, our little terrier pup, has been the light of our lives for the last 10 years. Tomorrow at 1:30 pm we will have to say goodbye to my love. We were told today after watching her health decline over the last month, that she had full kidney failure.

As much as I want to keep her around, it’s selfish thinking and I know that. In the last week she has become disoriented, confused, and can barely walk or stand at times. I have to let her go. I have to let her rest.

She was 5 when I adopted her, and had been a puppy mill breading dog. She had never tasted a treat before, her hair was long and matted, and she didn’t bark for the first 6 months I had her. For the next 10 years of her life we spoiled, loved, and adored her. She was our princess.

Sophie was our first baby. She was a huge piece of every major life event for us. She had my engagement ring on her collar, and was even in our wedding. I will miss her forever. I hope that Kellan is the first person that greets her. I hope he can’t wait to see her. She will love him, and he will love her.

I’m not sure why this world is so cruel to me this year. It feels like I just can’t breath. Every time I turn a corner, something else happens. I feel like I’m just waiting for the next hit.

I don’t want to lose my ability to have hope in happiness, but it gets hard.

I tell myself often how fortunate we are. We have each other, a wonderful family, and are surrounded by people who love us. But it also makes me think, we have so much more to lose. I am so thankful for what we do have, but I’m also terrified.

Knowing what tomorrow brings makes me sick. I am devastated, I am broken, I am lost.

Who would have thought I’d feel the loss of another child so soon. That is what this is to me. The loss of my child all over again.

My entire heart is shattering.

I have so many things to talk about. So much has been on my mind the last two weeks. And yet, it all seems so pointless to me tonight as I cuddle for the last night with my Sophie. Tonight we fed her McDonald’s chicken nuggets, fries, and ice cream. She loved it.

I know my tears will never dry. But my broken heart will still beat. And my life will continue. The world will continue to move forward and it will feel horrible as I stand and watch.

I’ve been here before. I just didn’t see myself back here so soon. Yet again wishing I could pause the world.

So tomorrow, Tuesday December 17th, at 1:30pm CST, please send love to me, Scott, our family, and our sweet Sophie. Our world will be shattered once again, as this precious dog leaves us.

Sometimes I think people forget that Scott is a grieving dad. People think of me, but not him. Please be gentle with him, he is hurting as well and is just as devastated as I am. He struggles too, and deserves just as much care as me. I wish others would realize that.

So I must go now and lay next to Sophie and give her as much love as I possibly can. I will give her all of the hugs and kisses, and enjoy every moment I have with her.

I love you so much sweet Sophie – please kiss Kellan for me.

thanksgiving

I am forever thankful for you KAL.

“It’s difficult for me to imagine the rest of my life without you. But I suppose I don’t have to imagine it… I just have to live it”

-Ranata Suzuki

Yet again, I don’t want to write. But I need to, because I know it helps me. It’s just hard, because it always makes me cry. And I’m so sick of crying.

Oh well, here we go, tears and all.

2 teenage girls, 15 and 18, died in a car accident this past week. They were from a town about 30 miles from Aberdeen. I instantly felt for their parents, family, and friends. It made me think of my nephew Timmy and the horrific car accident that took his life at 15.

The devastating loss of these 2 young ladies isn’t what I want to talk about though, it’s the ignorant comment I read on the news story about the accident.

“Poor family, during the holidays.”

How in the world is a tragic loss that happens on a random day any easier to deal with than one that happens over the holidays? Do people REALLY think that? Please tell me they don’t.

If you think that losing Kellan on July 4th made it harder, that is FALSE. Every single day is hard. If he died on August 4th, it would not have been any easier.

Please people, let’s not say ignorant things like this. Losing a loved one during the holidays is not any more difficult than losing a loved one on a random day. It all sucks horribly bad. It’s not about the day, it’s about the loss.

Moving on…

The South Dakota snow decided to ruin yet another trip. Casey, her dad, and Olivia were supposed to spend Thanksgiving in Aberdeen. We had so many plans. Casey is a planner. We already had every meal planned, activities organized, and even a best friend photoshoot scheduled.

Nebraska, Iowa, & South Dakota had other plans: 8-11 inches of snow and blizzard like conditions. While I adore her for being willing to try, the weather just wasn’t going to cooperate. There’s no way I wanted her to risk the drive – it just wouldn’t be worth it. But it just sucked.

This is going to sound horrible, but it’s the truth: I am starting to just expect to be let down. For some reason, I’ve been let down a lot the last 5 months. If I prepare myself for it mentally, it seems easier to handle. It is what it is.

I promise I’m not ungrateful. I have watched so much love get spread in the name of my son, and I am forever thankful for it. But it just feels like when I really let myself look forward to something, or trust in someone, they tend to let me down. Maybe it’s always been like this, and I’m just more aware now?

My parent’s 35th wedding anniversary was on Monday. 35 years. It’s hard to believe. In February of 2020, they are finally getting to go on the honeymoon they never took and I am so happy for them. I’m also terrified for them to leave me for a week.

Thanksgiving was uneventful – which was nice. My mom made the meats and desserts, and I made the sides. We enjoyed each other like always – because my parents are the best.

If I’m being honest though, I just don’t want to celebrate anything right now. Who cares about the holidays? Not me. Kellan’s death doesn’t make holidays hard, it just makes life in general hard. My life is just hard.

I’ve never really been a holiday person. I think I’ve always disliked Christmas. I love giving presents year round, and randomly. I’m not really a fan of a holiday when you’re expected to give things to people. I’m a real Grinch….but I still always give gifts. Go figure.

Last weekend at the hockey game, I was laughing with a friend about something. I then randomly looked around at all of the people around me…and I wondered, do they think I’m done grieving because I am laughing?

I read an article the other day that I thought was spot on about this. It talked about the myth that if someone who is grieving seems happy, they must be finished grieving.

I will stop grieving Kellan’s death when I stop loving him, which is never.

My grief will never stop.

Just because someone seems happy in a moment, does not mean they are better. Please remember this.

And if you know someone who is grieving, even a death that was years ago, check in with them. See how they’re doing. Let them know you’re thinking of them. They will appreciate it.

The more we talk about grief, the more we acknowledge the pain, the more we hopefully move forward. Not move on, but forward.

At that same hockey game, a young lady I know through hockey approached me. She shared a story with tears in her eyes about how she was having a hard time at school. She decided to try what I was doing, and do Random Acts of Kindness with #KellanKares cards, to help her through her hard time. She wanted to share with me how much better it made her feel, and the impact it had in not just her life, but the lives of the people she did the acts of kindness for.

And I stood at the game and cried with her. I’m so thankful she shared her story with me. How special that my son gets to impact people in such a strong way. He is truly an angel.

I am forever thankful for you KAL.

i’m trying

I can only hope.

”We need to grieve the ones we have loved and lost in this lifetime — not to sustain our connection to suffering, but to sustain our connection to love.”

-J.W.

I wish I could write how wonderful life is, and how much better things are. But I promised to be honest. At least I’m still writing. If I’m being honest, I don’t want to write. But I need to.

I have been a part of some truly wonderful events in the last week, and I am beyond thankful for them. The most important of them all – my dear friends Audra & Zach’s wedding.

Audra is a sister to me. She has been a huge support system in my life. The love and care she has given me after Kellan died has been indescribable. She has been truly selfless. To be able to not only attend, but officiate her wedding was such an honor to me. It was a beautiful ceremony, and I couldn’t be happier for these two remarkable souls.

I’ve also had some pretty tough things happen lately. Sophie had some medical issues, and I was terrified it was something serious that would take her from me. After a few vet visits, a procedure, and some serious meds – she’s doing better. But seriously…I cannot lose Sophie right now.

My days continue to be up and down. Each day I hear comments that just kill me inside. There hasn’t been one day without a comment. I know the majority of people who say them don’t even know what’s going on in my life, but it still hurts the same.

I think about what I may have said in the past to someone like me. I’m so sorry for the pain I may have caused. I just didn’t know.

I wonder if I will ever have a day without the pain.

I hate feeling bitter. I really do. I walk around this life and see people who get to have multiple children, and I can’t help but struggle with understanding why my son had to die. I don’t want to feel this way, so it sucks even worse. I feel frustrated with myself. I never know when I will feel this way, or why, it just happens. Sometimes I’m bitter, sometimes I’m ok. It just hits me.

I hope I’m not bitter forever.

I have been thinking about a lot of things in the last few weeks. About what makes me happy, what hurts my heart, the people in my life I miss…and those I don’t. How I can try to create happiness in this world while living in my sadness.

I’ve come to realize a few things.

First, we use the term friend much too lightly. I am going to work on this. Just because people are in our lives, and have a similar social circle, does not mean they are our friends. In fact, more than likely, they are not.

I found that when you identify your friends, who understand you and get you through good times & bad, keep them as close as you possibly can. I can feel the love from my friends near and far, and I am so grateful.

I’ve realized my parents and husband are my lifelines. I am unsure how I would survive without them. This is also terrifying – I am scared to lose them constantly.

I have been a more honest and open person, and I’m proud of myself for it. While I know people aren’t always ready for it, if I’m asked how I feel or think, I am honest. I’m not sure others love this, but it feels very freeing.

And lastly, spreading happiness. I will continue to do Random Acts of Kindness, and spread love whenever possible. And when I’m at my lowest, I am going to try my best to hold up my head, and do something to make another person happy. Here are the updated year round #KellanKares cards, for those who would like to join me:

I wish I had more inspiring or uplifting words. Just know, I’m trying. My goal for this week is to put together a list of things I’d like to accomplish by the end of the year. I like goals.

For now, I just watch the world around me continue to move, while mine stands still. Maybe one of these days my world will move at the same speed again.

I can only hope.

things i’ve learned

I will love you for eternity KAL 💙

“Anyone who has lost something they thought was theirs forever finally comes to realize that nothing really belongs to them.” 

Paulo Coelho

The moment after Kellan died, I had so much regret. I had wasted so much energy and thoughts on things that truly did not matter in my life. So I started writing.

I wrote these words from the day Kellan died, until the day we had his private memorial service. I read them at his service.

The other day, I was having a crazy work day, and was emotional. I opened a notebook randomly and found a paper folded in half, placed carefully in the back of the notebook. It was the words I had written & read. What a wonderful reminder of what my son has taught me about life.

I think Kellan knew I needed a reminder of the things I have learned from him. I am going to read this weekly, so I continue to remember. And so I share it with you, in hope that it helps you when you’re having a difficult day.

Things I have learned from my son, Kellan Albert Langer:

Everything does not happen for a reason. 

People are not placed in your life by accident. Every person you cross paths with, even briefly, has a purpose.

Stop wasting energy on things that don’t actually matter.

The issues or annoyances that seem like such a big deal in the moment, aren’t. 

Being angry about things that occur in your life that you cannot control, and letting them control your day to day activities is a complete waste.

Stop being in such a hurry. Enjoy the little things.

On what feels like your worst day, you are still so incredibly lucky to live the life you live. 

You can love someone with your entire soul and physical being without even realizing it.

No matter how much you feel your heart has shattered, it will still continue to beat.

As you walk through this world, you truly never know how much pain a person you pass by is in.

You are so much stronger then you will ever know.

I will love you for eternity KAL 💙

4 months later

Stay Tuned.

“They say time heals all wounds, but that presumes the source of the grief is finite”

― Cassandra Clare

Well, I’m still alive. Sometimes I’m unsure how, but I am. I am still living, breathing, and going through the motions. It’s honestly hard to believe it’s been 4 months. I don’t know how I’ve survived this pain so far, but I’m doing it.

In the last 4 months I have lost more than just a son. I lost a few friends I thought would be in my life forever, I lost my tolerance of ignorance, and I also lost the majority of social media (which has surprisingly been lovely). I’ve learned to live with just being okay, and I’ve learned to live with a shattered heart. I would give the world to have Kellan back with me.

I told my counselor on Friday that I think it was easier when I was sad and numb all of the time. At least I knew how I was going to feel. Now I still think of Kellan nonstop, but there are more moments I can handle it. And then there are moments that I am so pained I can’t breathe. I never know when the pain will strike me. It sucks.

I think about my birthing experience every single day. It’s mentally exhausting sometimes. It haunts me. One of these days I will share my experience. Not today.

In the last week and a half a lot has happened.

The Mothers of Angels walk was on the 26th. Before it started, some wonderful girlfriends of mine from Kansas City sent me the sweetest video. They got together and did a walk for Kellan that morning. I can’t explain how much this meant to me. They took the time to organize and put this together, just for my son. How special. So many pictures were sent to me from my friends in Kansas City, Topeka, and honestly all over the country of kindness and love that was spread over the month. Even from hundreds of miles away, the support I have is so strong.

The walk event was truly incredible, but also very overwhelming. I wasn’t expecting it to be like that. As Scott and I stood there with my parents shortly before the walk started, something very special happened; the Wings staff and players, and even a few of the player’s parents started walking in. We were absolutely blown away and so surprised. Instead of leading the walk with just the 4 of us, we were followed by our huge hockey family.

I will never forget the feeling seeing them walk in to support us.

I ended my month at work with some of the most successful numbers I’ve had in a while. It felt great, especially considering how scared I was to return to work.

On one of the last days of the month, I decided to go to a favorite business of mine to visit. I was a little nervous to see the owner for the first time. You see, her daughter had been pregnant at the same time as me, and had a very difficult pregnancy. I knew she would have a grandchild to talk to me about, and I wasn’t sure I was ready for that. I also knew I was going to have to tell her about Kellan. But I wanted to see her, because she’s a wonderful person that I always enjoy visiting with. I decided I was going.

So as we talked and caught up on all we’d been up to, surprisingly to me, her grandchild and Kellan didn’t come up. I wasn’t going to bring either up, I had learned better. And then she shared with me, her granddaughter had passed away 4 months after being born prematurely. My heart sank. I told her about Kellan, and we shared stories.

I was blown away. I realized that day, yet again, I am not alone. You really have no clue what is happening in someone’s life.

Halloween was way worse than I had anticipated. I was really looking forward to Kellan’s first Halloween. I’ve always loved Halloween, and I would have loved dressing him up. I wanted to make him a hockey player in a penalty box. Or maybe a sloth. Maybe he would have been both and had a costume change mid-day, because let’s be real, my son would have been a little extra.

Scott left town for work, and my parents had to leave town as well. So there I was all alone, on this day I had looked forward to for so many months while pregnant. I knew it was going to suck horribly, but I also knew I could get through it.

I started the day with Random Acts of Kindness. I then did all of the things I would have done on Halloween normally. I got each of our new neighbor kids, and Scott’s co-worker’s kids custom Halloween bags with special treats for them. I then bought lots of Halloween treats for the kids who would visit our new home. I put the treats in a basket with a note that said “Happy Halloween, help yourself” and set it outside.

I have always loved Halloween, and I wasn’t going to not participate because I was sad. I just did what I could. I then sat inside, cooked myself dinner, and tried to avoid the baby pictures on my Snapchat. I cried when I had to.

Life is hard. But I got through it, and I’m proud of myself for that.

I want to end this post with a happy story though, because through my sadness, there is still love. There is still kindness.

Scott and I have been together for about 10 years now, and I’ve been in Marketing the entire time. I always tell him, you haven’t made it until you’re on the front page of the paper – above the fold. So I honestly always joke about it, because in the Marketing/PR world, this was ingrained in my brain.

When Erin from Aberdeen American News approached me about doing a story on #KellanKares, I was so honored. I had lunch with a friend that week, and had told her it would probably be somewhere random in the paper, but I could care less. I was just thrilled they were going to talk about my sweet little boy and his legacy.

When I woke up the Friday before the walk, to my surprise I had an alert on my phone from the newspaper app with the story about Kellan! I opened my app more excited than ever, to find the Kellan story on THE FRONT PAGE ABOVE THE FOLD. My amazing, remarkable, life-changing little boy had made it. In a little over 3 months, he had made such a strong mark in this world, he was front page, above the fold. And I feel beyond blessed that I get to be his mom.

My favorite thing about this story, is how real and true Erin wrote it. She could have easily made it all about the happy parts of #KellanKares, but she shared my reality. I can never thank her enough for telling our truth. Here’s the link to the article – you do have to be a subscriber, but it’s for sure worth the 99 cents for a 24-hour subscription: https://www.aberdeennews.com/news/local/langer-uses-loss-of-her-baby-to-raise-awareness-remembrance/article_1568a511-00cb-5664-a614-298a75e3cdd4.html

And as promised, I created a very special video to showcase the #KellanKares movement. Oh, and to introduce the newest piece to his legacy….(it’s at the end)….

So get ready world, Kellan Albert Langer still has a large mark to make. The Kellan Kares Foundation is coming soon. Stay Tuned.