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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Giving from the place of our pain.

Ethan’s life and death have taught me to really listen to myself, my intuition, God, my soul. To really listen. As these thoughts of fear and failure raced through my mind, one of my greatest realizations of the last three years screamed to me. “IT’S NOT ABOUT ME.” My life is really not about me. My life is about loving others, making a difference, and impacting change. My life is not a container with 4 sides, but rather it’s a fluid river that’s ebbing and flowing and desiring forward motion. My spirit years for connection to you, to others. It yearns for meaning, purpose. It yearns for love.

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The Mom After Me.

You are the mom before someone. The dad before someone. The friend, the student, the scientist, the doctor, the teacher, the business person, the author, the someone before someone. Someone will come after you. They will stand on your shoulders. You can make a difference for them. You can stand tall and help make their story better. Even if you cannot make yours better. You get a choice. You always get a choice. I have come to a place in my life where I believe there are no coincidences. Ethan in the hospital for 13 months..no coincidence. Our story...no coincidence. Your story...no coincidence. You hate the outcome of your story? I get it. I do. But you get the choice. Make a change, make a difference. It doesn't have to be in a loud, sweeping way. It can be quiet and small...it's still making a difference. Love the people who tried their best, even if they came up short. Love them into doing something different next time. In the process of all of this...love yourself. You are a beautiful creation. You are created to make a difference. 

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Welcome.

Welcome.

For quite sometime I've wanted to continue writing. I had a hard time giving up writing on Caringbridge, but sensed it was time for something new. So here I am writing again, but in a new home. To be totally honest, I'm not sure what this blog will become. But I know I have a lot to say...a lot to share...so here is where that will happen. Over the past three years I have not shared in writing physically as much as I've written in my head. The last three years of learning to live with the death of Ethan have been...well I'm not sure what word I'd pick. They've been hard and they've been fascinating. 

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