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New Beginnings

When everything burns to ash, be a phoenix and rise and begin again.

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It is the beginning of the school year and what better time to start afresh? It’s been a crazy, super short summer and frankly an awful year, so rather than wait until 2018, I’m happy to begin a “new year” now at this, the beginning of the new school year. My kids are loving their new teachers and I’ve decided its a great time to start a new blog, learn some new things and share it all with you here.

In the awfulness of 2017, we all got into some bad health and fitness ruts and our bodies were suffering. I had shingles, my husband had a gout attack and I lost 2 teeth. In short, it’s been a physically bad year. After that, we decided to reclaim our health and fitness. We are reclaiming our health as a family by making simple changes – drinking more water, eating more fresh fruits and veggies and less processed foods, being really intentional about what we put in our bodies consistently and fueling our bodies well. We are reclaiming our fitness by exercising on a regular basis, being more active during the day so we can sleep better at night and really trying to get enough sleep. Its not easy, but we are doing our best. We are not only trying to reclaim health and fitness, but wellness and wholeness, too.

Our physical new beginning started months ago when we started making simple, healthful changes. My mental new beginning started July 31 when school started for my kiddos. My blog new beginning is now and I invite you to begin again with me. Let’s get fit and healthy together, beginning now.

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Building Resilience

For a while now, I’ve been contemplating how grief has affected my stamina. I know in my case, it wasn’t just the trauma of losing someone I love, but also the physical trauma of having shingles, birthing a dead baby, planning a funeral for my child when I should have been sleeping and snuggling a newborn and losing two teeth, all within the span of 3 months, and all following on the heels of the loss of my sister. All of these combined exponentially, resulting in my body completely shutting down for several months. I typically refer to this shut down time as having been spent in a “grief fog” and I really can’t remember much of it.

After that, it seemed like anytime I tried to push myself to increase my stamina, I ran the high risk of pushing myself too far and having a reoccurrence of a complete lack of energy. Several days spent sleeping until the late afternoon later, I would slowly start the process of building up my stamina again, all the while wondering what was going on with me.

How did I go from being a person with energy and a busy schedule that I had no trouble maintaining to being someone who could barely get out of bed and considered the day a success if I could manage to function well enough when my kids got off the bus to make dinner and also converse with them? Who have I become? Will I ever have energy again?

To be honest, I haven’t spent much time researching this phenomena. I’ve barely had the energy to live through it. Sometimes I haven’t even had that. Then one day I came upon this article on one of my grief groups on Facebook and it just clicked with me.

“You see, stillbirth isn’t one trauma.  It’s a series of them.  They come one after the other before you’re ready for them like balls hurtling from a pitching machine.  Only you have no bat.  No helmet to protect yourself.”

No protection. No padding. Nothing with which to fight back. Not even a warning because you didn’t step willingly into this situation. Just a constant assault. Labor, or rather labor being induced when you’re a 100% natural labor kind of mom. BAM. The deafening silence. BAM. Telling my daughters their sister had died. BAM. Contacting the funeral home. BAM. The stupid hospital losing her body. BAM. Learning that we would not be able to embalm her because the hospital had lost her body so she would be unable to have a viewing and the funeral would have to happen immediately. BAM. Planning a funeral for my child. BAM. Finding an appropriate outfit for her, dressing her for the only special occasion I would ever dress her for, and bumping into a pregnant friend while looking for just the right outfit to bury my child in. BAM. Having the funeral on her due date. BAM. The hits just kept coming. And they didn’t stop coming after the funeral.

Even though I felt lethargic and foggy, my brain was in overdrive.   My amygdala, the part of my brain that is always on the lookout for pain, catalogues every instance of hurt so I won’t pick a fight with a tiger.  When it detects imminent danger, it releases a chemical called cortisol.  Cortisol elevates your heart rate so blood will race to all the muscles needed to protect yourself or run away from the source of alarm.  The problem is, the amygdala doesn’t distinguish between physical and emotional threats of pain.

When my doctor said my daughter’s heart had stopped, I didn’t believe her. I couldn’t. When I saw the ultrasound, I was in denial. I hoped it was wrong. I asked everyone I knew to pray and to ask everyone they knew to pray. I prayed harder than I’d ever prayed for anything in my life. But when my child was born, not breathing, all my hopes and denials evaporated.

My amygdala registered this as trauma and started firing like a startled porcupine. It fired every time I saw her car seat or walked into the room where all the supplies I had lovingly collected for her were stored. It fired every time I received a sympathy card or someone asked me “how are you?” It fired every time I saw a pregnant woman or heard a baby cry. It fired every time I heard a song that reminded me of Maggie or how I felt about her. It fired every time I saw one of Maggie’s stuffed animals or blankets in my other children’s arms or comforted them when they cried because they missed their sister. It fired every time I saw or heard something that reminded me of her, every time I missed her, every time anyone else around me missed her, every time the silence reminded me of the absence of my child.

Every time it fired, cortisol was pumping blood into my fight or flight zones and there was little energy left for anything but fighting or fleeing, which was unfortunate since the pain I felt could not be fought or fled.

So finally I understand. My body has been spending all its energy attempting to protect me from the emotional threat of pain that it did not have any energy left for anything beyond basic functioning. Whenever I would try to push myself too far or whenever I would encounter a new trauma (first holidays, milestones, seeing pictures of my friend’s baby who was due the same day as mine), my body would try to protect me from the emotional trauma by enabling me to fight it or flee from it, neither of which I was going to do, thereby wasting what little energy I had and leaving me with no energy for anything else.

Perceiving loss and grief as a threat, the amygdala portions of this (limbic) system instructs your body to resist grief. You may experience strong instinctual or physical responses to triggers that remind you of your losses.

My body has not figured out yet that, while remembering Maggie does hurt, it isn’t a hurt that can be fought or fled from. It’s a hurt that stays with me. It’s a hurt that has become a part of me. It’s a hurt that I have to learn to carry and live with, not a hurt that I can hope to conquer or escape. Instead of following my amygdala and resisting grief, I need to resist my amygdala and embrace my grief.

Heading directly into our grief and allowing ourselves to face our painful emotions is the most helpful thing we can do. Talking about our child and the circumstances of the death crying when we need to and talking with someone who will listen non-judgmentally to our anger and guilt is the only way to successfully resolve our grief—and ultimately resolve the stress that is caused by the grief.

I cannot stop the pain from coming. There will always be triggers for me, memories that hurt, days that are tender. I can embrace the pain and grow from it and learn from it. I can express the pain I’m feeling and share my story and my pain and my love for my daughter. I can continue to feel the pain and learn to live with it. I can let it help me become resilient.

Cultivating resilience is unrelated to the clichéd notion of time healing all wounds; overcoming is not the end goal. Instead of moving on, it’s about living with what has happened. A resilient person is emotionally and psychologically flexible enough to allow the effects of a traumatic episode into her life, to “receive the shattering,” as Graham puts it, and use those effects for healing. This means accepting the feelings of despair, but also remaining open to the possibility of love and connection.

I can accept the pain as the connection I have to my child and a bridge to remembering the love I have for her and cross over the pain instead of setting up camp in it and dwelling on it. I can miss her and feel the hurt and then redirect my mind to remembering the joy of feeling her kick and seeing the love my husband and children had for her. I can remember the happy anticipation for her, the building excitement, the longing to hold her. And I can hope that in remembering the good, I (can) replace a little bit of the fight or flight cortisol with a gentler, happier chemical called serotonin. I (can) rewire my grief brain by reminding myself to look for the good. And in doing so, I attempt to offer my amygdala a much needed break from “protecting me from the pain” and replace a stress response hormone with a feel-good response hormone.

Can I really retrain my brain to have a positive response to reminders of my sweet baby? Can I really get my energy and life back? There is certainly science to back up the concept of retraining our thought pathways and responses. How long that will take? I don’t know. I’ve been sharing my feelings and my story via this blog for months now. I share in grief support groups, with my friends and family, with people face to face. I’ve shared from the beginning because I’ve believed from the beginning that a pain this great cannot be wasted. That I am not just comforted to be comfortable, but so that I will be able to offer comfort to others.

So far, sharing has not stopped my body from its automatic fight or flight response, but I will keep sharing, keep reminding myself of the good when the pain comes to visit, and keep looking forward to the day when my brain is retrained to remember that the pain of losing my daughter can’t be fought or fled and my body starts responding accordingly. Until then, I’ll be giving myself grace and accepting my limitations. I just don’t have the energy to do it all. It is not all in my head, but it definitely started there. And until what is in my head catches up to what is in my heart and my body has the time it needs to recover, it’s a limitation I have to live with. That’s my reality right now. Thanks for listening.

My favorite pancakes ever

I’ve been making these pancakes for years. They are a Saturday brunch kind of recipe because they take some time to prepare and I usually only do breakfast foods that take time on Saturday’s. . . But today is an ice day without any ice so it seemed like as good a day as a Saturday.

Sometimes I make these with bananas in them, sometimes I make them with blueberries, but today I’m making them with white chocolate chips. I’m going to serve them with hot chocolate that has white chocolate chips in the bottom and see if the kids can tell any difference between this hot cocoa and normal. I experiment like that sometimes.

I don’t usually give my kids such a sugary breakfast, but today is such a blah day that I wanted breakfast to be fun. Like a breakfast tea party with hot chocolate. Little girls love that kind of thing. And I love my little girls.

I don’t remember where I got this recipe. I tried a bunch of recipes before I found one and I’m fairly certain this is a franken-recipe where I picked things I liked from different recipes and made one I liked. Either way, it’s my favorite pancake recipe and makes golden, fluffy pancakes that my kids ate before I remembered to take a picture of.

This recipe is for a double batch because that’s how much my kids eat when I make them. If you don’t have 4 kids who pretend like they’re starving whenever pancakes appear, you can easily make half of the recipe.

Pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup coconut or olive oil
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup blueberries or white chocolate chips or bananas (optional)

Directions:

  1. Mix milk and vinegar and set aside for 5 minutes.
  2. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Mix wet ingredients into soured milk.
  4. Pour wet into dry, mix until just moistened.
  5. Add toppings and fold in.
  6. Cook on medium heat until edges are bubbling then flip and cook until done.

Note: I like to cook in my nonstick pan with no spray, but you can use spray or oil or butter if you prefer.

Pick a Favorite.

I hear it all the time, that you aren’t supposed to pick favorites. Usually it’s referring to not showing favoritism, but that isn’t how it’s phrased. “You aren’t supposed to pick favorites.”

Well, I disagree. I think you should pick a favorite. And marry them. Here’s my logic:

You don’t get to pick your parents. You don’t get to pick your kids. But you do get to pick your spouse. So pick your favorite and marry them and don’t ever forget they are your favorite.

This guy is my favorite: He is my favorite on good days and bad days. When it’s hot out and when it’s cold. He likes my stupid jokes and says thank you when I burn his dinner. He comes home to a mess and takes charge and has it cleaned up so fast my head spins. He’s my hero, my white knight, my best friend and my wingman.

I love it when he sings, especially when he doesn’t know I’m watching and listening. I know he’s happy when he’s singing and if he’s happy, I’m happy. I’m happy with him even when I’m devastated. Everything is better with him beside me.

He’s not perfect, but he’s perfect for me and he’s my favorite. I tell him often so neither of us forget that.I don’t want to ever forget. I don’t want to ever take him for granted or think that the way the toilet paper is put on the toilet paper holder is a big enough deal to be an issue. I don’t want to ever let anything small become an issue between us.It’s the little things. It’s the little things that make me feel loved and so often it’s the little things that tear people apart. I want the little things to hold us together not tear us apart. People fight over the stupidest things and I don’t want to do that.

So I don’t. I surround myself with chickens and I remember to pick my battles and I fight for my husband not against him. Because I love him and he’s my favorite.

So pick a favorite. Then marry them. And keep them as your favorite. Your marriage and your world will be a much better place if you do.

**Note, the link above about picking battles is a great read and has a great message, but it also has some cursing in it. If cursing bothers you, please don’t click on it.**

What I learned from Job

My husband likes to call the BIBLE our

Basic

Instructions

Before

Leaving

Earth

It is truly a good book, full of good news and it has good advice and wisdom in it, but it is not a manual for every situation. For example, there is no part of the Bible where it specifically speaks to stillbirth or miscarriage. Nowhere does it state the instructions for how to live your life after the loss of a child. That being said, there are several parts of the Bible that I read long before losing my Maggie that I feel speak to my grief and I’d like to share one of them with you today.

The first part of the Bible that comes to mind when I think about loss is the book of Job. Pretty much the entire book is applicable to any situation involving suffering or grief you could find yourself in. The overarching story of the book is about a man named Job who loves God and whose love Satan tests by just making him completely miserable. He had a great life and great wealth. There is a conversation between God and Satan where Satan basically says Job only loves God because of what God has given him and God allows Satan to test that theory. All at once, Job loses all his possessions and his 10 children. He still praises God. He loses his health and his wife tells him to curse God and die and he still does not sin. Then his friends come and sit with him for seven days and seven nights and grieve with him in silence. Job wishes he was never born but does not curse God. Then his friends basically tell him to repent from whatever he has done to deserve losing everything and he says (rightly) that he has done nothing. His friends take turns saying he must have done something to deserve his downfall and he defends himself. Then God speaks to Job and rebukes Job’s friends and God makes Job’s life after this experience better than it had been before.

The book of Job is a little hard to swallow because when we think that “everything that comes to us must first pass through God’s hands” we like to think of good things coming to us and of God weeding out the bad and protecting us from it, but sometimes God allows pain as well. He doesn’t cause it, but He did give us free will and He doesn’t always protect us from the consequences of others’ free will that spills over into our lives and He doesn’t always protect us from the effects of living in a fallen world. I won’t go so far as to call the pain good because pain hurts and sucks, but I will say God can use anything that happens in our life for our good and His glory if we will let him and I think the book of Job is a good example of that.

Job inspires me because he grieved and mourned even to the point of wishing he had never been born, but he never cursed God, never blamed God. It seems so easy to blame God when your whole life goes wrong because God is in control and it seems like if He wanted to He could have prevented it, so I really have a great deal of respect for this man who didn’t do what’s wrong just because it’s easy. A man who didn’t throw away his faith just because life became unbearably painful. Could I lose 10 children and not curse God and die if my husband told me to? I don’t know. And I really don’t want to find out. Losing one baby and miscarrying 2 others was hard enough and those losses were years apart. I can’t even imagine losing 1 more child ever, much less 10 at once.

The story of Job also speaks to me because it shows that bad things happen to good people. I think a lot of the time we expect bad things to happen to bad people, as consequences for their choices. It’s easy to wonder when something bad happens what we did to deserve it and sometimes the answer is nothing. Living in a fallen and imperfect world, sometimes bad things happen and we have to find a way to keep going in spite of it. A way to still see the good in God and the world around us through the painful circumstances we are experiencing. And that is much easier said than done.

Those are my take-aways from Job. I hope they help you in your grieving process, as they’ve helped me.

**Please note that while I have read the Bible in its entirety several times, I am by no means a Biblical scholar so if something in my post does not ring true to you, feel free to question it. Question me, question your pastor, question God. I hope and pray that what I post is true and edifying and encouraging, but I am an imperfect person and I have great capacity for being wrong and misinterpreting things and messing up. I hope none of that is present here and I pray the book of Job encourages you as it has encouraged me. **

Happy Pink Day

How do you explain the bond of a sister? You know each other in ways no one else does. You know the forces that surrounded each other, formed each other, in ways no one else does. You are the keepers of the same memories. You share a burden. You know the secrets. You know the hurts and the struggles. You know the dreams and the hopes. You understand where they come from because you come from there, too. You see each other at the best and the worst, the sweetest and bitterest and love each other anyways. You are not just branches of the same tree, but roots as well.

My sister had a smile that could light up the room. She was graceful and full of energy. She did dance and gymnastics. She modeled. She liked to be the center of attention. She attracted people to her with the light and fire she held. She was mysterious and beautiful.

She knew what she wanted and had a laser focus on it until she got it. She wanted to be a mom from the moment she was born. She wanted to help everyone she met and save all the puppies and dogs. And some cats, too, along the way. And a few rabbits. She was a people person, an animal person, a fantastic mom, a great friend. She cooked and baked and sewed. I have no idea how she did all the things she did. Except she knew she didn’t have forever so she didn’t waste much time sleeping. I’ll always wonder if she would have lived longer if she’d taken more time to rest. But she was JoAnna. She did what she wanted, what she decided was best. She had no regrets.

She always had the fun ideas. Slip and slides. Fairs and festivals. Cow Appreciation Day. Apple orchards. Pumpkin patches. Fun places to take the kids and ways to enjoy life. She had so much more to do and sew and see and experience and give to this world. She lived life to the fullest extent she could as long as she could. It wasn’t long enough.

Today, she’s been gone a year. A year ago right now, I was at the hospital and the nurse was asking me to leave the room so they could clean her up. I wouldn’t know for 2 hours or so that she had been gone at that time.

I still don’t know how to live without her. She’s still the person I want to call and tell my good news to and complain about my struggles to and ask for advice from. I can’t tell you how many times in the past year I’ve wanted to call her. Or how many times I have just to listen to her voice on her voicemail. It still hurts to know I’ll never see her smile or hear her voice again except where it has been recorded. It wasn’t recorded enough. There is no enough.

The past year has been so much harder and bleaker and more painful without her to share it with. I can’t put into words how much I miss her or how much she meant to me. There are no words. She was my sister.

Her favorite color was pink so today my kids all have pink nail polish, pink ribbons in their hair, all the pink accessories they could find. They’re wearing pink because they miss her. And me? I’m going back to sleep, hoping to get rid of my headache and dream of my sister. To know her is to love her and to love her is to miss her.

Happy pink day, y’all. You don’t have to wear pink to celebrate it. Just love the ones you’re with while you can. And if you have a sister, hug her and remember sisters don’t last forever. Time with them is precious. Soak it up.

We can’t be friends

I’m a good friend, but I guess I’m harder to be friends with these days. I don’t always answer my phone. Sometimes it takes me a while to answer a text. Sometimes I don’t want to hang out. Sometimes I want to talk dead baby. Sometimes I want to talk dead sister. Sometimes I don’t want to talk at all. This all makes me sound a little selfish and maybe I am. Grief is selfish sometimes, I think. I’m ok with that. But if you aren’t, we can’t be friends.

I didn’t chose this grief thing anymore than I chose to love my sister and my daughter. I didn’t chose to lose them — I never would have. I can’t help but grieve them. Part of me just can’t let go. Part of me still wants to see them and hold them, call my sister on the phone and pop in on her at her house. I feel their absence all the time. It’s a part of me. I’m just riding the grief train where it goes, feeling my feelings as they come, and processing them as best I can. If you can’t accept that, we can’t be friends.

I’m weak emotionally right now. I don’t have the emotional energy to do much these days. I might miss your birthday. I might not be up to making you a meal if you’re sick. I might not be able to go to your baby shower. I might not be able to hold your baby without crying. I might have a hard time praying for you and your child or hearing you complain about late nights or early morning feedings. I might tell you to be thankful your baby is alive. And if I don’t say it, I might think it loud enough that you can still hear it. That might make me seem like an asshole. If any of these are deal breakers, we can’t be friends.

I’m still crawling through the valley of the shadow of death. I’ve been touched by it. It has left a mark. Somedays it’s still touching me, still marking me. I can’t control that. I feel like a leper or a cancer patient, like my struggle is obvious and blatant. Like I am afflicted and set apart. Like I’m fighting to survive this death sentence that isn’t even mine. Somedays I wonder if I’ll make it. If you can’t deal with this, we can’t be friends. And if I had cancer or leprosy and you couldn’t deal with that, we wouldn’t be able to be friends then, either.

There are some things that are just a part of you, some struggles that define you. Some things you carry with you forever. Some burdens that don’t get any lighter over time, you just become stronger in order to be able to carry them. Or you decrease what you do to compensate for the burden you carry because your available energy is limited by the weight you have on your heart.

I have the best friends. I like to think I am a pretty good friend. I’d hope that my friends would consider me a good friend. You can ask them for a recommendation if you need that. But I don’t. I can tell if we’re friends by the look in your eyes when I say the words “JoAnna” or “Maggie” or “loss” or “death” or “grief”. I can tell by the micro expressions on your face when my presence surprises you. I can tell by your reactions. I can tell by your actions.

My friends check on me. My friends talk to me like I’m a person. (I’m pretty sure I still am.) My friends say my baby’s name and are ok if I talk about her and they are equally ok if I don’t want to. My friends are sensitive to my brand of crazy, my ups and downs, and they are flexible. My friends forgive me when I fail to be a good friend because some days I just can’t. My friends love me even when I think I suck. If you can’t do these things, we can’t be friends.

I know I don’t sound like much of a bargain, but I still think I am. I am loyal and I love deeply. I will pray with you and for you even when it’s hard for me. I will listen to you and encourage you. I will cry with you when you’re sad and hug you when you need a hug. I will do my best to be a great friend.

Sometimes I will fail miserably. Sometimes I will cuss. Sometimes I will cry and despair. Sometimes I won’t have any encouragement to give. Sometimes I will need you to encourage me, pray for me, hug me. Maybe one day I will be stronger and happier and less steeped in grief, but today this is who I am. I won’t be someone else to get new friends. If you can’t accept me the way I am, we can’t be friends.

And if we can’t be friends, that’s ok. I have a lot of friends. I really don’t *need* more. I’m not going to pass on another if a good one comes around. . . So if you can be a friend, we can be friends, but if you can’t I’m good. God has greatly blessed me in the friend department. We can’t be friends if that’s what you want. The ball’s in your court. Can we be friends?

Hospice Angels/ Gigi’s project and other Georgia Child Grief Resources (update)

A couple months ago, I posted about Child Grief Awareness day and the resources available in Georgia to help grieving parents help their kids. I was planning on writing an update blog later regarding the resources I contacted that day. Here are the results I’ve had so far:

  • The Compassionate Friends returned my call and it turns out they do not allow children to come to their candle light vigil. I was going to go with my friend who also suffered a loss last year, but when the day came, I just did not have the emotional strength to go. So I didn’t. They do have a monthly meeting the first Tuesday a month at 7 pm and I would like to go to one in the future, but I haven’t gone yet. I hope to get there early when I do go so that I can explore their library of resources and check out some books for me and my kiddos.
  • I still haven’t gone online on a computer to check out Kate’s club. It’s still on my to do list.
  • My local boys and girls club does not have a “be there” program. They have nothing for grief. They seem like a great club for kids to be a part of so I may consider signing my kids up for it in the future, but they didn’t have what I was looking for for my kiddos now.
  • I have signed my kids up for Experience Camps and am waiting for them to send us something in the mail. Rory is too young to go, but Addy, Evie and Izzy are all old enough so they will be going, Lord willing.
  • I’m waiting for Camp Stars to send me a packet in the mail. I’m really excited about that camp, as the whole family can attend and hopefully we can all benefit from it together.
  • Hope for Grieving Children has support groups for kids and adults at the same time. I’ll be calling back in February to find out when their spring session begins so we can participate with that as a family as well.
  • I spoke to someone at Compassus and a counselor came to speak to all of us. She brought each of the kids a blanket, a penguin and a book. The younger kids got a book of activities for expressing their grief and Addy and I both received a copy of The Grieving Teen: A Guide for Teenagers and their Friends. We’ve both started reading it but haven’t finished It yet. She’s gotten farther than I have. I plan to start reading it again when they go back to school Tuesday. The kids all participated with the counseling session and it really helped me to hear them talk about their grief with someone else. Afterwards, Addy and I went for a long walk and talked. She had felt ignored and forgotten in my grief and I had felt like when we had time to talk she didn’t take advantage of the time we had so we discussed how we could both do a better job of communicating. The lady who met with us will be coming back to meet with us again in about 5 months to see our progress and see if we need more help. And I will be calling Compassus back mid-September to sign my kids up for their one day camp in October.

There you have it. So far, the most useful resource for us has been Compassus. We really just needed someone to break the ice and allow us to feel more comfortable being open and talking about Maggie and JoAnna. Loss is a hard thing to process at any age, but my kids need my help and I needed help to see that. I think we are doing better together now. At least, now I’m aware and I’m trying. Life is full of twists and turns and complications and craziness. If we can learn to grieve together and make it through this intact, I really think we will be able to make it through anything life throws at us. I pray God will help us through this, as he has so far, and I thank him for his help.

If you and your children are grieving, contact your local Compassus office. It looks like they have offices in most of the continental US and they may have referrals for the states they do not operate in. They have been a great resource and help for our family. You don’t have to shepherd your children through grief alone. You don’t have to grieve alone. There are foundations, ministries and resources available. Find them. Let them help you help your kids. You won’t regret it. God bless you and your family, from a mom of grieving kids.