Thursday, December 25, 2014

Your Holiday Bill of Rights

The holidays can be hard, especially if there is a child, or anyone really, missing from the picture, so here is your bill of rights for a healthy holiday season. Use these rights to put together a plan of how you will face this difficult time of year for the grieving. I cannot take credit for creating these "rights," it was done for my work newsletter, so I have altered a few to fit the needs of those grieving the loss of their babes through miscarriage or stillbirth.

1) you have the right to take care of yourself: to eat right, exercise regularly, and get enough rest.

2) you have the right to have mixed emotions: happy, sad, frustrated, angry, guilty, afraid, and thankful.

3) you have the right to cry when you are sad, smile when you are happy, and not feel guilty about either.

4) you have the right to say no to any holiday activities- to pace yourself differently. You also have the right to change your mind about a previous commitment.

5) you have the right to share your feelings, or not. You also have the right to choose who you share your feelings with and who you don’t.

6) you have the right to solitude: for planning, thinking, reflection, introspection, prayer, and relaxation.

7) you have the right to remember your baby in a meaningful way and incorporate him/her into your holiday plans and traditions.

8) you have the right to ask for help from friends, family, your church, or other group.

9) you have the right to follow old traditions or make up new ways of celebrating the holidays.

I hope this can help you alleviate a little stress and heart ache during the holidays!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Beginning

The other day I felt rather sabotaged by my grief, I found myself amidst many thoughts I hadn't entertained for a long time, and even some new thoughts that just brought on an overwhelming sadness. Over the summer I began a career as a hospice nurse, my morning started with thoughts of joy at the course my life was taking, supporting grieving families both in my job and in a support group for miscarriage and still birth. I thought back to that tiny babe that I carried for seven weeks, how despite a short life she was able to shape so much of who I am. I thought of the way that her untimely and unexpected death by miscarriage taught me to grieve and support others in grief. I thought of how one of the most devastating events in my life had become one of the most important. I thought of the way that God used a tragic event to show how powerfully He can bring beauty from ashes. Very quickly, though, the peace I was feeling was snatched away, I became sad, I began to cry, I was filled with this grief over questions that I will probably never have the answers to, the one in the forefront of my mind "did she feel scared during her death?" In Hospice we have a policy that no one dies alone, and I began to think of this tiny babe inside of me who had no one to hold her hand as she died, no one to whisper words of comfort in her ear. As I allowed my heart to be consumed with the hopelessness of those thoughts, I was reminded by my Saviour, by Sparrow's Saviour, that she wasn't alone when she died, I was holding her, as I did every second of her life. I was also reminded that there was no fear in her death, I imagined her very simply falling to sleep and awakening in the glorious presence of her Heavenly Father, of her creator, of the one who ordained her very being and life. And I knew that there was no thick, overwhelming silence, that even though I couldn't whisper words of comfort, that she awoke to the songs of centuries of believers who had entered heaven's gates before her. As sad as I felt, and as much as I longed to hold that little girl, I knew that the hopelessness that I was feeling was a lie, that her death wasn't the end, it wasn't the end for her and it wasn't the end for me. For Sparrow, it was the beginning of an eternity spent in the presence of the one who held her entire life in His hands, and for me it was the beginning of a career, or rather a life, dedicated to holding the hands and hearts of the grieving.