For all the Moms and Dads

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For all the Moms and Dads who have a child missing from the “first day of school” photos.

You are not forgotten.

The barrage of photos on my Facebook hit me harder than I imagined they would this year. Please don’t misunderstand. I enjoyed seeing the photos. I even liked and loved many of them! Especially my family and friend’s little ones! I’ve just been wishing in my momma heart that I could have taken one too.

You see, my own son would be in preschool this year. We should haven been buying school clothes, supplies. Picking out a backpack. What would he have chosen? Cars? Dinosaurs? These are the things I ponder when I see the back to school displays. What would he have wanted? What would have been his favorite color? I have ideas in my head of what he might have liked, what clothes he might have worn, but these are just thoughts in my mind… thoughts that aren’t often shared.

Grief is funny in that you can’t predict when it will rear it’s head. When it will drop in suddenly and unannounced. It might be a daily activity you’ve done a million times, but suddenly it triggers a memory and then “oh, it’s you again.” The unwelcome guest who has taken up a permanent residence. Sometime’s it’s just a tugging and other times leaves you breathless with tears, but you can’t ever be ready for when it will strike.

What I’ve learned through my own personal grief is to take this unwelcome resident  and embrace it. Don’t fight it or push it away. It’s not going anywhere after all, so we may as well learn to live together. Because what I’ve found is that sometimes this grief brings up very painful memories. But other times, it brings forth funny memories, happy memories, and memories where there is so much love bursting through, it practically leaves a glow in my heart.

So while this unwelcome guest, turned unwelcome resident, turned almost “partner,” and I had a very rocky start, we’ve learned to live together. I might feel terrible while bawling my eyes out, but I honestly do feel better after. I’ve learned that grief is a form of love, and having an outlet to express that love helps me get through all the other days.

So to all the other Moms and Dads out there who should have a child starting preschool, middle school, high school, college… you are not forgotten.

Sending so much love your way.

 

 

 

 

When you can’t be with the one you love

 

I thought I knew how much I loved Lincoln while he was here. I would’ve done anything for my boy. At Riley all I could think when I saw that sweet little baby in that hospital bed, I would’ve given anything to trade places with him. I absolutely would have died for him so that he could live.

What I didn’t understand at that time was that while he was here, at least I could still show him affection; I could still hold his hand, and kiss his face. I could lay my head down beside his on the little hospital bed because I knew our connection was so much more deeper than him needing to be awake to know I was there; our souls were connected because he was my baby. I knew that if I was close to him he  would know his mommy was there.

I still have so much love for Lincoln in my heart, but there is no release of giving him the love daily. Instead it builds up, builds up and builds up until  it feels like my heart is going to burst. That is part of what makes the pain and grief so incredibly hard. Loss mommies have to find other ways to show their babies love once they’re not there for you to physically give it to them. You have to find a release.

This is why I write. This is why we have our charity Lincoln’s Hope in his memory. This is why we have golf scrambles and walks and sell T-shirts. This is why we do things like visit his grave and set off lanterns and balloons and light candles. Anything we can possibly do to get some relief from the built up love we have in our hearts.

This is also one of the ways I have found some healing. The love that pours out of a grieving parent’s heart is powerful enough to change the world. That is the legacy my son has left behind. A legacy of love. God is using the love that we have for our son to make a difference in the world. Through our love for Lincoln we are able to show others the love that God has for that them.

So while this isn’t the life I would have ever in 1 million years have chosen I am so proud of my son and what he was able to accomplish during his short life. I don’t know how I could be a prouder mom of my first born. He has forever changed my heart, and this world, for the better.

 

When Joy doesn’t mean “Happy”

“Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I will show you how.”
Matt 16:24
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It’s been a rough week in the Huff household to say the least… we finally did something we’ve been dreading, but knew needed to be done. We removed Lincoln’s pack n’ play and swing from the living room. It was hard, and we both cried while we did it, but we both knew it was time. The pack n’ play was still full of Lincoln’s laundry that I had washed the day before we ended up at Riley. The winnie the pooh hooded towel… the little outfit that said “daddy’s best friend” that I had waited to go on sale for weeks at Kohl’s and finally bought that he never even got to wear… it was just too overwhelming. I couldn’t bear to try and sort everything and put it away, so I just stuffed it all in a bag, and put it in his room. I think we just finally reached the point where seeing his empty stuff became more painful than the thought of having to remove them.

I have had several pictures printed and bought frames and hung them up in the living room, and we also have our willow tree items, and other momentos that make us think of Lincoln through out the house that bring us comfort and think of memories with our sweet boy. It’s more comforting to look at those things it seems like at this point.

I still go in his nursery though. It’s difficult to go in there, and I don’t do it everyday, but I always at least look in there daily. His smell is still there. I whisper up a prayer of thanks every time I can still smell my baby, and can feel any sort of closeness to him.

We’re just trying to focus right now on anything that can bring us moments happiness. I always have joy, no matter what because I know I will someday be with Lincoln again, and I serve an awesome Lord that loves me so, so much, that He made it possible for us to be together forever.  But for now, we are here… always having joy, but not always happy. Those moments of true happiness are rare, and I know in my heart they will always be tainted with grief. I’ve accepted that.

It’s so easy to become discouraged, as I see other young families and mom’s with their babies and children… why do they get to have it so easy, and us so hard? How are we going be patient as we wait to come up with funds to try to have more children? We were so excited to find out it would $15,000 instead of $26,000 or more, but $15,000 still is an incredible amount of money.  It’s at these times I just simply have to trust. It’s so hard, but I literally have to make a conscious decision to do so, and say to myself, “I trust in Jesus.” He is better than anyone at making impossible situations possible. We have seen it in our owns lives over and over again. And so we wait, and we trust.

We keep pressing on. Towards what we are passionate about and what we feel that God is calling us to as we seek to help others and share with them the love that has been so graciously given to us.

I want to say thank you to everyone for their prayers and kind words and for donations that have been made to help us on our journey. I was so worried about making the fundraiser, that people would think we were just wanting money and asking for handouts, but my wonderful friends and family really made me understand that this isn’t what it is at all. What we are doing is opening ourselves up and allowing God the opportunity to work. We are just showing up and saying “we trust in you” and believing that He really can do anything.

Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust in him; and he shall bring it to pass.

Psalm 37:5 kjv

The Hope of Christmas

It’s been completely exhausting grieving though the holidays. We both have been coming home from work and pretty much eating dinner, and falling asleep on the couch. It always surprises me how grief presents itself. I thought I was doing pretty good and then I realized it is taking at least 10-12 hours of sleep a night just to function at work. It takes so much energy to keep it together. I always try to give myself opportunities to have a “break down” and express my grief, but sometimes I’m just so sick of crying that I need a few moments of reprieve. We are so thankful for our co-workers and the wonderful support they have been for us through everything. I don’t know how we could be more blessed in this area.

We’re doing everything we can to include our sweet boy as we near Christmas Day. We have a special “angel tree” that is Lincoln’s tree. A dear lady from our church wrote us a letter after Lincoln passed away and shared with us that they had lost a baby around 20 years ago. They have a tree dedicated to their own little boy that they buy an angel ornament for every year. They bought us a willow tree angel ornament so that we could start the tradition as well… Her letter touched me so much and we are absolutely beginning this tradition for Lincoln this year.

I was keeping my eye out for an additional angel ornament for Lincoln’s tree and hadn’t found one yet when I was walking around Kohl’s a few weeks ago. I was feeling really depressed and missing Lincoln sooo much… I was becoming overwhelmed wondering how in the world we are going to get through this Christmas without our little boy. I stopped as I neared the Christmas decorations and said out loud “I can’t do this Jesus, please help me!” A few seconds later I looked over to my right and saw it. The perfect angel ornament for Bubby’s tree. It was an angel holding a seahorse. For those who don’t know, Lincoln’s favorite toy was a seahorse that played classical music . Jeremy’s Papaw gave it to him for Christmas last year. No matter what, that thing always calmed him down; he absolutely loved it. We actually buried him with it because we didn’t want to part him from it. It’s because of this we always associate seahorses with Lincoln’s memory. I knew that God was sending me a message that night.

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We’re just trying to take one day at a time. If I look too far ahead, it just gets too overwhelming. Like “how can we go through an entire lifetime of birthdays and Christmas’ without Lincoln?” We try to be as gentle with ourselves as we can. It’s hard feeling like the Debbie downer party pooper, when the rest of the world is so excited and joyful. I hope that family and friends understand that we love talking about Lincoln… We need to talk about Lincoln. Ask us questions. Say his name. A lot of people have said to others that they are afraid to bring him up to us because they think they will upset us. I promise you I’m already thinking about him. I think about him constantly. There is no way its bringing up a “touchy” subject. We are living this 24/7. We are going to be child loss parents until the day we join Lincoln again, however near or far that day will be.

I like to imagine Lincoln watching us from heaven. It’s a way that I still feel him connected to us. I’m so thankful that we can lean on hope and press forward. We still have a race that we are running, and at the end we will receive the BEST prize we could ever imagine.

Thank you father for the gift of your precious son, so that I can one day be reunited with my own precious son. Fill our hearts with hope and peace that only you can give. Please give Lincoln a kiss from his mommy and let him know how much we love and miss him. I can’t wait to join all of you someday. In the name of Jesus I ask these things. Amen