This blog is an uncensored look into my soul. I am writing this as part of my healing process, but am leaving it public so others can follow me through my journey.

If you'd like to start from the beginning, click on the beautiful, adorable picture of Hailey on the right hand column.

You can also email me at: haileyshalo@yahoo.com

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Yet Another Christmas

Yet another Christmas has come and gone without my sweet Hailey here.  I'm not sure why, but this year was harder than the last two.  (My first was by far the worst ever.)  But for some reason, I really missed her, an extra lot, this year.  I've gotten pretty used to daily life without her, although she's always on my mind, but I'm not sure I'll ever get used to the roller coaster of emotions that I'm continually on (and will probably be on for the rest of my life on this Earth.)  It's just so weird how some days, weeks, and months go smoothly and relatively unemotional and then all of a sudden it all comes back again.  I would have thought that after 4 1/2 years it would all seem "normal," but it still doesn't.

I hate to admit that in some ways it gets harder.  More and more new people enter my life that don't know about Hailey, which means I have to continually decide whether or not to inform them that I really have 4 children or to just let them continue assuming I only have 3.  It usually depends on the person and situation.  I also am continually seeing other children who are the age she would be now (7 1/2) growing and learning and maturing, while she's not.  I'm always wondering what she would be like and how she would interact with us and her siblings.  I miss her.  

Although I have a lot of faith and know that this was her plan and her time to go, it's still really hard.  I feel cheated in some ways.  I put so much hard work and time and effort and love into raising my sweet little girl...everything I had...only to have her leave me.  And yes, I know spiritually she's here, blah, blah, but that doesn't mean I don't still miss her and selfishly want her here physically.  I want to hug her and kiss her, hear her laugh, cry, sing, and yell, see her smiling face, watch her light up with excitement on her birthday and Christmas morning, see her interacting with her sisters and brothers.  I HATE that I don't get to experience any of those things with her.  

This Christmas was especially hard, I think, because I have some close friends who are still newly grieving and I feel their pain and sadness.  The holidays are a beautiful time of year, but for those of us grieving or celebrating without a loved one they can also be very ugly.  I used to always send out a Christmas card, every year, but I haven't since Hailey died.  And as much as I love getting cards from all my family and friends, I hate to admit that I do feel a little sting seeing such beautiful "complete" family pictures, knowing that I will never have that.  (Please though, keep sending me your cards!!!  I still want them!!!)

Sometimes I wish I could actively grieve outwardly and cry in front of others so they could see how much pain I still feel, yet in many ways I'm also grateful that I grieve better in solitude.  My sadness and pain often manifests itself in other ways, such as moodiness, impatience, being distracted, and sheer exhaustion.  So when you see me acting those ways, know it's not about you...I'm just missing my little girl and don't want to cry in front of you.

On a positive note, I'm also so grateful that I love to laugh and still do even after 4 1/2 looooong years of grieving with many, many more to go.  There are three things that have gotten me through this trial: My faith, the support of my family, friends, and strangers, and laughter!  

Anyways, I just felt the need to get a little venting out since I didn't have much time to write during this holiday season.  So there it is.  I still have so much to be grateful for and for that I'm even grateful! 


This was the picture we put on the last Christmas card I sent before Hailey died. 
(Joey isn't in any of these because he wasn't born yet, which is why I'll never have a complete family photo.)
It was so frustrating to try to get a good pic with everyone looking at the same time, so we ended up just all shutting our eyes! (Of course, Barbie's eyes are still open, so I still didn't win!! HaHa)
  
My 3 beautiful girls.


Hailey was so excited to sit on Santa's lap!
All my other kids were terrified at that age.  She was always so brave. 

Hailey's new Dora p.j.'s!


And her new "big girl" potty!
(Kinda looks like she's actually going!) HA HA 

And of course, lot of LAY's Potato Chips!!!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Great Article On Grief!!!

I've read more articles on grief than I can count.  I find most to be somewhat harsh and/or depressing, which is exactly what grief is.  But today I came across this article that I feel is one of the best I've read.  It's perfect for those of us grieving, as well as those of us who are watching a loved one grieve.  It's not very long and I found it to be very honest, yet positive.  Check it out.  It's definitely worth your 5 minutes.

Navigating The Difficult Path Of Grief

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Article On The Death Of A Child

A friend of mine posted the link to this article on her Facebook page.  The author doesn't hold back! She really says it how it is! I have to say if you read this article that much of it does apply to me, however I have felt very loved and supported throughout my grieving process. Thank you all for continuing to be there for my family and me with your phone calls, notes, texts, Facebook posts and likes, etc, etc. I truly have great people in my life, unfortunately I know many who aren't so lucky.

Click on the title to be directed to the article:

10 Points I Wish Everyone Knew About The Death Of A Child

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Still Here

Yes, I'm still here, although it's been quite a while.  I don't know why tonight I felt so compelled to write, but in a lot of ways I really miss writing.  

All week I've been feeling on edge, frustrated, impatient, angry, and the list goes on.  I couldn't really figure out what my problem was until I was driving in the car tonight listening to my ipod and one of the songs a friend of mine sang at Hailey's funeral came on. (My Heart Sang A Lullaby, by Janice Kapp Perry...only she changed the name in the song and some of the other little details to fit Hailey.)  

As I felt the emotion well up in my chest and stomach, my mind was screaming for me to shut it off but in the end my heart won and I listened as tears started silently streaming down my cheeks.  Luckily it was dark and I only had Ava and Joey with me so they were sitting in the back seat watching a movie, totally oblivious to the sadness that was quickly engulfing me at that moment.  I wanted nothing more than to pull over and sob and just let all those feelings pour out, but I couldn't.  I had to pull myself together before Lexi got in the car so she wouldn't see me like that.  

I did all I could to fake feeling normal the whole way home telling myself that as soon as the kids got in bed I could be alone with my feelings and cry for my little baby girl who I miss so much.  Of course, when we got home all the kids were still hungry, then Joey needed a book, Ava needed me to lay with her, Lexi needed me to help her with her homework, and on and on.  (Sean is out of town.) I felt so guilty and selfish trying to rush them through everything so I could be alone and finally just cry. 

It's so frustrating to still be dealing with grief after 4 1/2 years.  I definitely have many more good days now than bad and I'm great at hiding the pain through smiles and laughter, but without fail one of those awful days (or weeks) will come out of nowhere and blindside me.  I guess it's just a life long, never ending journey that I have no choice but to continue walking.

Luckily most of the people in my life are still very supportive after all this time.  When I'm having those rough days and I call them looking for some love and compassion they're always quick to give it to me.  There are no words to express my gratitude for them because otherwise during weeks like this I'm not sure how I'd survive.

I'm very religious and have a lot of faith, but even so, I still hurt.  I still miss my little girl EVERY single day.  I still want her back.  I still get sad and angry.  My faith gives me hope and does a lot to alleviate those feelings, but it doesn't take them away.  Honestly, I'm just ready for Hailey to come back. 

So when the kids were in bed I shut my door and cried.  I cried for Hailey.  I cried for a friend of mine who lost her little boy in a sledding accident.  I cried for another friend who lost her baby girl waiting for a liver transplant.  I cried for a friend who lost her father and another who lost her mother.  I cried for a friend who just recently lost her son in a car accident.  I cried for another friend who also recently lost her husband in a car accident.  I cried for a friend who lost her fiance to cancer. I cried for every person I could think of that I know, have met, or have just heard about that has lost a loved one to death.  I just cried and cried and...cried.

I guess since this doesn't happen as often now I need to get it all out once its built up.  And I did.

I miss you Hailey.  I miss you so much.

Life Ain't Always Beautiful
(This song makes me cry every time I hear it.  It reminds me of my journey through grief. Click on the title to listen.)

Monday, May 20, 2013

A New Day...A New Resolution

Well, today has been much better than yesterday!  I went to bed last night an emotional wreck and woke up feeling uplifted and peaceful.  I realized that those videos I watched of Hailey changed something inside of me.  Seeing her smiling face, hearing her giggles, and watching her dance made me realize how important it is to enjoy life...even in the down times, as Hailey always did.  That little girl never complained about her physical struggles.  She never let them hold her back for one second.  She held herself to the same standard that any other child her age met.  My little Hailey is truly an inspiration.

By nature, I can be a little uptight.  (Don't forget family and friends, I moderate your comments!)  But in all seriousness, I am well aware of this and really do have to remind myself to mellow out at times.   I like things in my life neat and clean, organized, scheduled, non-chaotic, etc.  Basically, I like to feel in control...of my life, not necessarily others.  This need for "control" became much worse after Hailey passed away because losing her made me feel so out of control, even though I knew there was absolutely nothing I could have done differently.  

Anyways, today is Monday and in my need to keep my life under "control" I usually spend my Monday mornings cleaning the house after having everyone home all weekend, but today felt different.  The weather was beautiful.  All I could think about was seeing Hailey on those videos and it made me crave to do something fun with my kids so I could watch them enjoying life as Hailey did.  So I decided to ditch my daily cleaning ritual (And those of you who know me well know that's huge for me!) and take them to Irvine Park.  If you don't live locally, Irvine Park is a beautiful 500 acre park about 20 minutes from my house.  It has a little zoo, train ride, lake, paddle boats, bikes, horse rides, hiking trails, tons of trees and nature, etc.  I remember taking Lexi, Hailey, and Ava there about a month before she passed away.  (See below for pictures)

Ava and Joey were so excited and we seriously had the best time!  All the animals were out and active and for the first time in a long time I was completely relaxed and at peace with my surroundings.  After the zoo we went on the little train ride and then sat outside and ate lunch.  It couldn't have been a better morning.  (Way better than cleaning.)

Later that afternoon I picked Lexi up from school and had a couple of the neighbor girls over to play, another thing that often stresses me out.  (Not the neighbor girls...just extra kids in general!)  But today, surprisingly enough, it didn't at all.  I thoroughly enjoyed hearing Lexi and Ava in their rooms laughing and chatting with their two little friends.  And during that time, I hung out with Joey and we watched funny animal videos on my computer.

When Sean got home I decided I didn't feel like making dinner either.  So we ended up going out to a little Hawaiian restaurant nearby.  The night was gorgeous so we ate outside.  They have those little water spouts all over where the kids can run in and get wet.  Being me, I originally told them not to get all wet because it was getting late and I didn't have any changes of clothes.  But of course, being kids, they were like flies on crap when it came to the water.  Once again, I thought of Hailey and how if I knew this would be one of my other kids last day here what memory would I want to have?  So I took a deep breath and let them go at it.  It may sound lame to some of you laid back relaxed folks, but it was a big step for meAnd not only did the kids get soaked, but they loved every minute of it.  I couldn't help but sit there feeling a heart full of love and gratitude as I listened to them the giggle and squeal.  After dinner I ran home, grabbed towels and pajamas, came back dried them off, dressed them and counted that as their bath.

After the kids were in bed, I came in my room, got down on my knees and thanked God for the wonderful lesson I learned yesterday through watching my little angel, HaileyEven though she is no longer physically here, her spirit is ever so strong and continues to teach me all the time.  I feel like I owe it to her to make sure her siblings and her parents live a happy life full of love and gratitude.  

 When my time comes to leave this world I don't want my kids to say that their mom had the cleanest, most organized house and car, and that they always went to bed on time, and things were always under control, etc.  I want them to say they had so much fun with their mom and that they made great memories and stayed up extra late and had friends over to play and got dirty and laughed and danced and so on.  So, as of today, I have made that my rest of the year resolution.

 And please, hold me to it.  Ask me anytime if I'm continuing to do so because I'm sure I'm still going to need some reminding.  ;) 

Some pictures of Hailey at Irvine Park:





Some pictures from today:

 

Ava had to "brush a lot of goats."
 



Playing in the water at dinner

How could I not smile at this!
video

Sunday, May 19, 2013

It's Been A While

Wow!  I think this is the longest I've gone without writing a post.  It's been about 5 months.  Of course this has nothing to do with me forgetting about Hailey or not grieving her loss anymore, as a matter of fact, I've actually been feeling her loss quite a bit more lately.  For some reason I've felt much more vulnerable in the past couple of months.  

I think the main reason I haven't posted in a while is because nothing really "new" has happened.  I've been through all the "firsts," "seconds," and now "thirds," without her.  And honestly, it doesn't really get any better.  Maybe a little more "normal," but still not better.  I guess it will never get better.  

For those of you who are around me often, you know that I still talk about Hailey all the time.  Even after almost 4 years she is still, and always will be, an active part of our family.  I will NEVER stop talking about her or thinking about her.  She is actually on my mind just as often, if not sometimes more so, than my children who are still living here with me.  I think about her day and night...every day and every night.  I think about her every time I'm with my other kids and feel that empty spot where she should be.  I think about her when I'm alone and often talk to her and tell her how much I miss her.  I think about her when I get up in the morning, when I go to bed at night, when I take and pick my kids up from school, when I drive by the entrance to the cemetery and don't have a chance to stop in (although I do still visit her several times a week.).  I basically think of her all the time. 

Right now as I type this I will admit that I have tears streaming down my face because I miss her so much.  Sean updated her website (I'll add the link when it's officially finished!) and I was looking it over for him.  As I came to the section titled, Hailey Mayz Video Library, I clicked on the slide show of her life.  My heart raced and my stomach turned because I knew I was already feeling a little weak, but I watched anyways.  Well, it didn't take long for the tears to start trickling down my cheeks.  As I watched the pictures it eventually came to a bunch of different ones that I took about a month before she passed away.  All I could think of as I looked at her smiling face, and the smiling faces of those in the photos with her, was that in those moments I had no idea I only had a month left with my little girl.  Lesson to be learned: We truly never know when our loved ones may be taken from us.  Please, take it from me, who's been there...tell those you love how much they mean to you and how much you love them.  I am so grateful I have no regrets with Hailey.  That was one of the greatest gifts God gave me throughout this entire trial.

The first song in the video is called, In My Daughter's Eyes, by Martina McBride.  As I listened to the lyrics and watched the pictures I have to say that I haven't found a better song yet to describe what Hailey means to me.  Here are the lyrics if you've never heard it:

In my daughter's eyes I am a hero 
I am strong and wise and I know no fear 
But the truth is plain to see 
She was sent to rescue me 
I see who I wanna be in my daughter's eyes 

In my daughter's eyes everyone is equal 

Darkness turns to light and the world is at peace 
It's a miracle God gave to me 
Gives me strength when I am weak 
I find reason to believe in my daughter's eyes 

Chorus:
And when she wraps her hand around my finger 

Oh, it puts a smile in my heart 
Everything becomes a little clearer 
I realize what life is all about 

It's hangin' on when your heart has had enough 

It's giving more when you feel like giving up 
I've seen the light 
It's in my daughter's eyes 

In my daughter's eyes I can see the future

A reflection of who I am and what will be 
An' though she'll grow and someday leave, maybe raise a family 
When I'm gone I hope you see how happy she made me 
For I'll be there in my daughter's eyes

I guess the last couple sentences could be changed to "When she's gone I hope you see how happy she made me. For she'll be there in her mother's eyes."

After the slide show, unbeknownst to me, it went right into a bunch of videos of Hailey.  I tried watching one 20 second video about two years ago and broke down horribly as soon as I heard her voice, so I haven't watched another since then.  But this time, as soon as I saw her moving around and heard her little voice I was like a deer in headlights.  I knew it was going to be heart wrenching for me to watch those videos right then, but I was frozen and literally couldn't turn away.  There was one where I was videoing Hailey and Lexi dancing around in front of the Christmas tree and when I was ending the video Hailey said, "Bye Mommy."  At this point I was bawling my eyes out.  I'll be honest and say I haven't cried that hard in a long time.  I wanted so badly to jump into those videos and snatch her up in my arms and NEVER let her go...NEVER let that time slip by again.  

I think deep down inside I've built this huge wall around those emotions because they truly are almost too painful to think about.  I hate them. I hardly ever think about the day she died or even the first year afterwards (which I probably shouldn't do anyways). Instead, I talk about Hailey when she was alive and her funny antics.  I'm always telling my kids stories about her and about how she's still around us now.  In some weird way it makes me feel like she's still physically alive.  Watching those videos kind of reiterated to me that she's not.  I'll admit that I am now very emotional and vulnerable, which I hate, but in some strange way it feels good to let some of that built up pain out.

On a more positive note, I am so grateful to have those videos so I can see her dancing, smiling, and giggling, and I can hear her little voice (which at times didn't seem so little!).  She seriously sounds EXACTLY like Joey!  I'm also grateful that I can one day, when I feel strong enough, show them to Ava so she can see her little sister as she truly was, not only as I remember her to be.  Ava LOVES Hailey and talks about her ALL the time, so I'm really interested to see her reaction to seeing Hailey dancing around and actually hearing her voice.

I've missed blogging, but as I mentioned above, I haven't had a lot of new experiences to really write about, so I've been toying with the idea of writing Hailey's life story...from birth to death and in between.  I've avoided it until now because I've been afraid of what emotions it will bring up, however I guess this is as good a time as any.  Her story is definitely an interesting tale of ups and downs, heartaches and joys, trials and blessings, frustration and laughter, and the list goes on and on.  As I've thought about my blog and what else I have left to write, I realized that those of you who have never actually met Hailey don't really "know" her.  So keep an eye out for when I finally get that started!!

Also, if you have any personal memories of Hailey, PLEASE, email me either at the address above or my personal email, if you have it.  Many of you out there have memories of Hailey and things she did or said that I don't even know about!  I would LOVE to eventually do a blog entry sharing those stories as well.  (If you'd like me to keep your name anonymous, just specify that too and I will!)

For now, thank you all again for your continued love and support, even after almost 4 years.  I couldn't be any more blessed with the amazing people I have in my life...both those I know personally and those I only know through the internet.  You have made my journey that much easier.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Leaving a Legacy

Last week Sean and I went to a memorial service, called the Angel of Hope Ceremony, at the cemetery where Hailey is buried. It is held every December 6th, rain or shine, in honor of those children who have passed away.  Honestly though, I almost didn't go this year because the last couple years I went I cried my eyes out and left feeling very sad...mainly because of the depressing songs and music they play.  But, in the end I decided to go so I could represent Hailey and stand at her place which I decorated so cute for Christmas.

As I stood there next to Sean listening to the speaker tell his story, I couldn't help but think about what I would say if I ever had the chance to speak.  Of course, it's primarily my religious beliefs and faith that has pulled me through this immense trial, but when speaking at a public event such as this it's usually not "politically correct" to discuss religion.  So then, what else would I say?

As I thought about it, I realized that along with my religious beliefs another thing that has so greatly helped me with my grief is focusing on Hailey's life and leaving her a beautiful legacy.  So, off I went with that thought.  

I decided that if I ever got to speak I would tell the families who have lost a child, especially one so young as to have not had the time to create their own legacy, that they should focus on a memory or memento that they could bring to the world in their loved one's honor.  

It is so important to grieve, but even more important not to get lost in that grief and allow it to consume our lives.  Our children did not die in order to "ruin" our lives, instead they lived in order to enhance and better our lives.  They would be devastated if they saw us and knew that it was because of their death that our lives have also essentially ended.  

Therefore, I feel it's so important to use our grief in a positive way...honoring our child(ren).  The legacy you create for your child does not have to be a huge thing, such as a foundation, clinic, monument, etc.  It can be as simple as a dime.  Almost everyone I know, or who knows of Hailey, will always think of her and smile whenever they see a dime.  That was my first sign after Hailey passed away and has been an integral part of my life ever since.  I have shared that sign with the world and now I often get emails, texts, notes, calls, etc. from people saying they saw a dime that day and thought of Hailey!  I LOVE that!!  I LOVE that something so incredibly simple as a dime can remind people of something so deeply profound as my daughter and the "beau'ful," "amayzing," life she lived!!! 

So please, if you read my blog and have lost a child (or any loved one) I encourage you to find that sign or legacy, whether big or small, and create it into something that represents the beautiful life that your loved one lived.  Then tell everyone!  Make their life matter!  Spread the news everywhere, so that they will be remembered daily.

I hope and pray that the families who lost children (and adults) in the tragedy in Connecticut last week will also do the same.  I hope and pray that they will not take one moment away from the memories of their beautiful children and give it to that evil manEvery moment wasted in anger, rage, or fear is one taken away from their precious child's legacy.  

I will acknowledge that I know it's probably a lot easier for me to say that since my daughter died peacefully in her sleep and not at the hands of such violence, but I will also say that I know what grief is.  I know how it can either make us BITTER or BETTER.  For our loved ones who are no longer here to speak for themselves, please, in their honor, allow their precious lives to make you BETTER...they would want nothing more.

If you click on the links below you'll be able to read a couple of my original blog entries about how dimes came about in Hailey's memory.  (You may need to click on the pictures to see them bigger!)  I also have many other stories about Hailey's dimes (and Lay's trucks - our other sign!) that you can find throughout my blog.

Our First Dime! 

Another Dime Story!