Remaining Steady In The Storm

There is no greater lesson I have learned in my life than “when you go through hard times you find out who you really are and what you are made of.” 

I learned this countless times throughout my childhood where I felt loved but never felt like I quite fit in. I really understood the meaning of this when I lost my mother suddenly when I was 16. And when a year ago I lost my father to cancer and my unborn son to miscarriage in less than a 24 hour period, this quote stood between me and a dark abyss.

Life can be hard. Life can be brutal. Life can be terrifying. But it is in these dark times that we must remember that “this too shall pass”. And just on the other side of now can be a life more beautiful and blessed beyond measure.

~

As the news of the spreading worldwide coronavirus began to snowball over the past few weeks, I found myself trying to remain calm, in a state of information gathering and in a place of preparedness. Yet if I am being honest, of course I became increasingly concerned day by day. By all reports, I am not quite in a population of greatest risk and concern to contract the virus. And if I did unfortunately contract it, by all statistics I am not at highest risk of severe impact (said certainly prayerfully).

I realized what was bringing me the greatest concern was the unknown. How will this affect my everyday? How will it impact my home? How will it impact the lives of my loved ones? Will everyone I know and love be okay? How will it completely change the world around me for now and forever more? So many questions and not a single person in the world has the answers.

~

As tonight’s breaking news updates about the pandemic came in like rapid-fire, despite all my best efforts to remain calm I instantly began to feel like I did when life was hard and I didn’t know what was on the other side of now.

But as I said earlier, one of the greatest lessons I have learned is when you go through hard times you find out who you are and what you are really made of. As I felt my anxiety start to rise tonight, I remembered who I was and all the hard things I had crawled through in my life. Now is not the time to panic. Now is the time to go inward and search for strength because it is there. Now is the time to rely on the person I know I am. I have been through many days in my life where I just couldn’t picture how I could make it through tomorrow, but I somehow did. There is no doubt this will be an uncertain, scary and possibly painful time for myself and us all. And there is no telling how long it will last. But somewhere beyond this time of uncertainty, life can be beautiful and blessed beyond measure.

~

I decided tonight that although I choose to stay aware, informed and as prepared as possible with relation to the current pandemic we are now facing, I will do the things that have time and time again helped me through uncertain times in my life. I will refocus on wellness and how I treat my body. I will double down on my faith in God, it has not failed me. I will refocus on my home, doing what I can to continue to make it my place of safety and refuge. I will commit to reading more often both for personal and professional development. I will recommit to connecting often with family and friends, and thankfully the technology of our times allow us to do so effortlessly. And most importantly I will recite to myself as often as necessary that this too shall pass.

~

I know this virus has already caused much personal pain, destruction, heartache and loss of life. That is not lost on me. It is simply heartbreaking. I will keep those affected very personally in my thoughts and prayers always. I will take the necessary precautions to reduce my chances of being impacted myself and affecting those directly around me. And as I see ways I can support my communities and those less fortunate in these uncertain times, I commit to do so.

~

This is who I am, created from what I have been through, and this is what I am made of.

This is how I will remain steady in this storm.

~ C ~

Welcome 2020

Welcome 2020.

I honestly don’t know how to feel about today.

I do feel beyond relieved that 2019 is over. Quite honestly 2018 and 2019 have been some of the most brutal I’ve had in my life. Every day seemed like a battle and I was exhausted. I have always been an optimist by nature but these past few years have brought me to my knees and made me question everything.

I could recently tell I was just tired of it all and it all caught up with me. I could tell because writing has always been a release for me, but these past few weeks I didn’t have the energy or motivation to even think about it. The emotions of the first holiday season without my dad or our should be 6 month old son crept up on me. The first holiday season without both of my birth parents on this earth was more than I could process. All of the life (and there was plenty of it) that happened to me over that last two years seemed to be weighing me down during this already tough time.

I was tired. I am tired.

But a new year was just around the corner. My entire life I have loved the idea of a new year and all the possibility it brought. It always has such promise and hope, and now more than ever I needed both. And a new decade, even better. So as the new year approached, I found myself anxiously yet cautiously awaiting the strike of midnight. I didn’t know what would come but I desperately needed a new year.

As the minutes of the year came to a close, I found myself with mixed emotions. I was sad because I knew when I left 2019, I would be leaving the last moments with some of the most precious people to me. I was heartbroken thinking of all the hard times. Yet I found myself filling with pride that I had made it through it all. And I felt warmth thinking about all of the loved ones who helped me through it all.

I don’t know what this new year will bring. But I do know I am ready for a new year and I welcome a new decade.

So today I welcome 2020.

~ C ~

Halfway Point

This week is the official halfway point for Autumn.

What a season it has been so far.

It has been more challenging than I ever anticipated or really wanted quite frankly. But even in the chaos (and it has been a true mess) I have found great clarity and have been blessed beyond measure.

I realized that when I fiercely stick to my wellness focus and living in the present, I thrive. But when I allow life to pull me away from those areas of focus, I begin to struggle. When off balance, every little thing that goes on can become traumatic, overwhelming and even seem earth shattering.

In this season of “starting over again“, I realize that we get opportunities to stop, adjust and restart as many times as necessary in life. Even though the season is halfway over, that doesn’t mean all is lost. But rather what a blessing it is that we have a whole other half of a season to get back on track and thrive.

I very much welcome the second half of Autumn.

~ C ~

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day 💙

To most today is just an ordinary Tuesday. To me today means so much more. Today, October 15, 2019 is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. I never imagined October 15th would become a day I cherish like Christmas, New Year’s Day and loved ones birthdays. But for the rest of my life it will be just that.

My husband and I lost our first child when I was 20 weeks pregnant in January. There simply are no words to describe that dark time in our lives. Prior to our own experience with pregnancy loss, I could have never imagined what all it entailed. Whatever preconceived ideas I did have about miscarriage were washed away like a piece of sand in a tsunami once that life altering event forever marked our lives.

Although our son was only in our lives a few short weeks, we loved him like we had known him for an eternity. After his birth as I was holding him for the few short moments I had with him, I just couldn’t take my eyes off him. He was gone but perfect in every way. I saw in him all of the hopes and dreams we had for him. I knew at that moment that I would never get to experience those moments with him on earth but I prayed that he would still get to achieve all those dreams in heaven.

I will never forget the deafening silence that occurred when my son was born, far different from the sweet lullaby that played to mark the birth of all the other babies in the unit. I will never forget having to decide what I wanted to do with our child’s body. I will never forget letting go of our son for the last time. I will never forget the loneliness I felt coming home without him. And that was just the first day without him. I will never forget anything about that day as it forever changed the rest of my life.

I wish I could say navigating life after pregnancy loss has been easy, but it hasn’t been. Pretty much every day of this past year has been awkward and painful. I actually got used to feeling a bit like the grim reaper, since I brought such sadness everywhere I went. But I tried not to focus on that too much. I just did my best to focus on what I could control each day and not worry about the rest.

But all of that brings me to this triumphant today. The fact that I am standing here is a testament to the simple fact that God is so good. It is by his grace, strength and love that I’ve made it through this experience. Each day is still so incredibly hard but I am still standing, which is more than I imagined. Today I still have sadness for our loss but I am also able to hold joy at the same time.

Today I honor Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day for the beautiful and complicated day it is. It honors all the lost sweet little ones and let’s all of their loved ones left behind know that they are not alone. It honors the long journeys we have traveled and encourages us for the journey ahead. And although the day will never replace what we have lost, it’s a kind and gentle reminder that we are not forgotten.

~ C ~

We have been blessed by so many people near and far throughout our loss journey. The prayers and support offered by our family, friends, loved ones and strangers has made all the difference. We are forever thankful.