Happy Birthday Big Brother.

Finleigh knew this was a day for her brother from the moment she woke up this morning. She has a musical seahorse just like Lincoln’s (he loved it so much he was buried with it) that she sleeps with every night. It stays in her bed during the day, but today she wanted to play the music and carry it around all morning which she has never done before.

There are a few high shelves in Finleigh’s room that have some of Lincoln’s belongings as well as the angel bear that Riley gave me to hold right after Lincoln passed. I carried it all that day and slept with it for awhile. When Finleigh got up from her nap she specifically pointed to it, said “bear?” and wanted Daddy to get it down. We’ve not let her play with that bear because we don’t want anything to happen to it and the shelf is high enough she doesn’t really pay attention to what’s up there. She was adamant to have that bear and proceeded to hug it, carry it around, feed it and have it go potty.

She wanted to bring it with us when we headed to the cemetery and we just couldn’t say no so off we went. Finleigh was so sweet helping decorate for her brother’s birthday placing flowers and setting up the pin wheel.

She has a special connection with her brother ❤️

We finished off the night with a beautiful lantern for our birthday boy.

 

Our day is finally at an end, 6 birthdays celebrated.

I’m so jealous of Grandpa Freddie who made it just in time for your heavenly party baby. I know he gave you all the updates on your little sister and how much we all love and miss you. I know he was so excited to see you. Mommy, Daddy and Sissy can’t wait to celebrate with you in person for the first time someday Bubby! We love you forever!

💚HAPPY 6th BIRTHDAY LINCOLN 💚

For all the Moms and Dads

emptyswing

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Lincoln’s 4th Birthday

Dear Lincoln,

You are the most special little boy Mommy and Daddy could have ever asked for! We visited you and decorated your grave with pretty new flowers for your birthday. Daddy found the big green ones 🙂 We talked to you about your new little sister who is coming, but we know you already know her, our sweet boy.

We had so much fun lighting your lanterns with Aunt Rachel, Uncle MJ, and Grandma. We saw the two shooting stars you sent as soon as all the lanterns were in the air! What a beautiful ending for your birthday, to see the dark sky lit up with symbols of our love for you, and a celebration of your life. We miss you so much Linky… We will all be together as a family again soon. Until then, we will keep celebrating you everyday of our lives.

Love you forever,

Mommy and Daddy

IMG_3071

New flowers for Bubby’s birthday

IMG_3074IMG_3075

Mommy and Aunt Rachel getting the lanterns ready!

IMG_3111

Daddy and Mommy getting ready to launch a lantern!

IMG_3086

Mommy launching her lantern!

IMG_3114

There goes Daddy’s!

IMG_3087

Beautiful!

IMG_3117

We love you Lincoln! Happy 4th Birthday!

IMG_3134

Lincoln’s Memory Tree at Grandma and Grandpa’s house

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.

 

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.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/2ea/67704907/files/2014/12/img_0546.jpg

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/2ea/67704907/files/2014/12/img_0848-0.jpg

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

Memorial Day 2014

Missing Lincoln so much as we move into these beautiful warm days. I remember how I couldn’t wait for warmer weather, and the cute little outfits I would be buying. I specifically wanted to get him a little pair of swimming trunks with a swim shirt…

We visited the cemetery today, and there were so many people there. There were other people in the baby section as well when we were there, and it was sad to know that they have experienced the same deep pain of saying goodbye that we have… I wanted to give them a hug. It was a gorgeous day and there were so many flowers and flags and sunshine, it was so nice for all the visitors.

We went to my parents house for a cookout; very yummy. It really shows that Lincoln is missing when we have our family get together. We try to do something special to honor his memory, and include him in the festivities. Today we planted an Apple tree on my parents property in the country. It was my dad’s idea, and it was so awesome! We are going to add flowers around the base and something with his name.  I’m so happy to have yet another reminder of his impact and sweet memory. I love you Bubby!

 

Positioning the apple tree

Positioning the apple tree

 

Mommy and Daddy with Lincoln's Memory Tree

Mommy and Daddy with Lincoln’s Memory Tree

 

Grandpa with Lincoln's Memory Tree

Grandpa with Lincoln’s Memory Tree