Eight things you can do this Christmas Week to honor your child and care for yourself.

This is a hard time of year for those of us who live with the death of our children. We often fumble for ways to be present in this Holiday Season. We know a seat will be empty at Christmas dinner and that there is a spot under the tree where some other presents would be. At the same time wedesire to feel joy and to engage in the magic of the season with our other children and with our family. The dance between joy and pain, fullness and emptiness..it continues. And is magnified this time of year. 

Today I'm sharing 8 things you can do THIS WEEK to honor your child and to take care of yourself. 

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Happy Birthday Ethan.

Your arrival into my life, into our family was and is the most transformational gift. You gave us many gifts, but the greatest one is you taught us to love deeper and wider and bigger than we ever would have. Because of you Ethan, our lives are expansive. We’ve met the most incredible people, the most dedicated nurses and doctors, the most beautiful children. The intricacies of our experiences I could have never imagined. You taught me to swing open my chest and just love. You taught me to accept what comes. To take it in and to own it. You showed me it’s worthy to expend myself, to sacrifice, to give my all to someone. You knocked on the door of my heart and I let you in. I jumped in and gave you my whole heart. You and I are soul mates. From the very beginning we had a connection, a bond that felt centuries old. You showed me a love deeper than the deepest oceans, a love that survives death, a love that extends to eternity. A love that never, never, never ends.

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Choose Brave.

But instead of crying in my car after loading up my Target purchases, I sat there and took a deep breath. I smiled at my kids then headed for Starbucks to treat myself for begin a brave mama. Sometimes just the little, normal things require us to be brave. I’m so thankful that my Ethan taught me how to be brave. This time around I’m challenging myself to see more gifts, and less limitations. I’m leaning into my role as a teacher. Instead of feeling defeated, I’m reminding myself of all the incredible ways Ethan touched our family and our community. Bodey will be no different. He will shine. He will teach and I will help him be the best Bodey he can be, just like I helped Ethan. I’m reminding myself to hold my head high, and to be proud of the life I have, instead of the life I planned for. Not easy, but worth the challenge. I’ve come to know that I’m here to learn, grow and teach. Some days I’m brave, some days I am not. And both are okay.

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