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

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!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Ava and Hailey

Hailey died when Ava was only 9 months old, so Ava was left with no tangible memories of her big sister.  We have, however, kept Hailey very alive in our family.  We talk about her all the time.  We visit “Hailey’s Place” (the cemetery) several times a week, often decorating her stone and having picnics there.  We have photos of her all over our house.  But even with all these things I’ve always feared that since Ava was so young when Hailey passed away she would never really “know” or “care” about her big sister.

Well, I couldn’t have been more wrong.  One day, about a year ago, Ava was sick so I was lying on the couch with her.  It was quiet and out of the blue she said, “Me see Hailey.”  I assumed she was talking about the huge picture we had of her at the top of our first set of stairs so I casually responded, “I know, I see her beautiful picture too.”  Ava then said, “No, not her picture.  Her, Hailey.”  At this point my heart started racing as I began scanning the room for some ghostlike figure of Hailey standing in the corner.  (As much as I would LOVE to see her again, I will admit that would totally freak me out!)  Anyways, I asked her where she sees Hailey and she said, “At nigh-night time.  She comes and reads me books.”  My heart racing suddenly came to a complete halt and I felt like I couldn’t breathe.  Ava wasn’t even three yet, so I knew she wouldn’t really be able to make something like that up, but on the other hand, I felt a little skeptical and didn’t want to get too excited.  She then told me that Hailey reads her Brown Bear, Brown Bear which was one of Hailey’s favorite books…something I had never told Ava.  I wanted to ask her so many questions, but also didn’t want to feed her information.  I wanted to keep what she was telling me as pure as possible to really try to determine if this was truly happening.  After that small conversation we didn’t speak of it again for quite some time.

I truly believe 100% that Ava sees Hailey at times.  I remember once about 3 months after Hailey had died we went to visit the cemetery and I opened Ava's car door to see her intently staring up at the sky.  There was literally nothing there...not a cloud, plane, bird, nothing.  She would not break her stare even after I said Ava several times and waved my hand in front of her face.  All of sudden she started crying and waved, saying, "Bye Bye."  I got the chills and knew exactly what she was seeing.  There have even been a couple times where Ava has come to me very upset because Hailey hadn't "visited" her in a while.  So, I do know, without a shadow of a doubt, that Hailey is around us and getting to know her little sister even though she isn't physically here.

Now fast-forward many months from that first conversation and there’s Ava talking to me again about how Hailey comes and reads with her at night.  She also told me that Hailey is very happy and lives with Jesus.  Hailey has since become a very important and integral part of Ava’s life.  She talks about her ALL the time.  She points out every Lay’s Potato Chip truck yelling, “Those are Hailey’s chips!”  She knows when we pass by the street the cemetery is on and makes sure to tell me, “That’s Hailey’s Place over there.”  She knows where the clinic is and LOVES to visit there.   She loves to pick out little bags of Lay's potato chips to drop off for Hailey when we go visit her.   And she is constantly asking me if Hailey is going to be there whenever we do things as a family.  She always says, “And Hailey can come too!”  And when I bought two little fish for Joey, Ava insisted on naming the first one Mayz (Hailey's middle name) and the second one, Hailey. 

A couple weeks before Halloween we had a party at our church where people decorate the trunks of their cars and the kids walk around trick-or-treating.  Ava must have asked me 10 times if Hailey was going to be there.  (What does a mother say to that?)  It breaks my heart every time she asked with much excitement, “Is Hailey going come?”  And I had to reply with, “No, probably not this time,” or, “She might, but you probably won’t be able to see her because she’ll be a ghost.” :)  Ava ended up having a blast at the church Halloween party and even yelled, “This is AMAZING,” as she saw all the candy.  Yet, still at the end when I asked her if she had fun she said, “Yes, but I’m kinda sad.”  I said, “Why would you feel sad?”  And then I felt my stomach turn as she whined, “Cause I wish Hailey was here with me.”  I do too Ava.  I wish Hailey was here with me too.

As Ava’s 4th birthday approaches I’ve started planning her birthday party.  She’s so excited about it and after telling her we were going to do a My Little Pony theme, her favorite, I said, “And guess who’s going to be there!”  (I was planning on listing her friends.)  Her face lit up like a lightbulb, she took a big gasp, and yelled, “HAILEY!”  There really are no words to explain how that made me feel.  I honestly don’t even remember how I responded because it caught me by such surprise, but what I do remember is walking into the bathroom a couple seconds later to dab my tear filled eyes.

On one hand, I am so happy that Ava is so interested in her sister and seems to feel such a connection to her.  But on the other, it seriously hurts so much to constantly see the sadness or disappointment in her eyes when her sister isn’t going to be with us.  That being said, I do feel like I’ve done a good job of keeping Hailey alive in our family and making sure that her sister (and soon her brother as he gets older) will always know they have two big sisters who love them very much.  I want them to “know” Hailey and who she was and what she stood for and the aMAYZing legacy she has left for them.  To that, I’d have to give myself a humble pat on the back and say, “Good job, Mommy.”

Some pics of Hailey & Ava:

(Hailey absolutely LOVED Ava!  There was not one second of jealously from Hailey when Ava was born.  She wanted to help with everything and took such good care of Ava.  Ava's first giggle happened when Hailey was playing with her.  They had such a bond that I know still continues beyond this Earth.)

This was Hailey's first time seeing Ava.
(She was so proud and excited!)

I would often find Hailey checking up on Ava.

I also have a picture of Ava reaching out and touching Hailey's head at the viewing on the day of her funeral.  It is so touching, but also something I wasn't sure I could share on my blog as it does show Hailey lying in her casket and may be difficult for some to see.  (Although, she looked absolutely beautiful.)
 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Happy Birthday To Me!

I've only had two dreams about Hailey since she passed away three years ago, that is, until the night before my birthday!  I have prayed and prayed that she would come to me some night in a dream and we could talk and I could ask her three specific questions I've been wanting to know.  (I'll share those another time.)  Anyways, I always get this answer of, "In due time."  I'm not quite sure exactly what that means, but I kind of feel as if the Lord is telling me it's just not the right time yet.  

I have often wondered how I would feel after such a life-like dream and if "talking" to Hailey would cause me to spiral backwards in my grief process.  I still can't watch videos of her, even after all this time.  I've tried a couple times, but as soon as I see her little body alive and moving and hear her voice my heart breaks all over again and the tears start to flow.  It still really hurts.  Maybe I'm just not ready yet for such a dream.  Having to say "goodbye" to her all over again might be too much to bear right now.  I know when the time is right it will happen, so I'll just keep waiting.

On that note, I did get an awesome birthday gift in the form of a dream similar to what I've been praying for.  It went a little like this:  Hailey was in the hospital for some unknown reason and I had been unable to see her for an entire month.  (As most of you know, dreams are often hard to relate in words, so I'll do my best.)  Anyways, I was on my way to finally see her, but felt terrified that she had forgotten me since it had been so long.  Again, I don't know why I was unable to see her for that long, but I remember in my dream it was for some uncontrollable reason.  As I was getting ready to walk in the room I started crying because I thought for sure she was either not going to know who I was or she was going to be angry with me.  However, quite the opposite happened.  When I walked in she was sitting on a man's lap (not quite sure who) and she turned her little head and looked at me and the hugest smile ever, a bigger that real life smile, spread across her face.  She immediately jumped off the man's lap and bolted towards me grabbing me around the waist and hugging me as tightly as she possibly could.  I remember I could barely breathe, but I hugged her back just as hard and worried that I was going to break her.  I also remember feeling like I NEVER, EVER wanted to let her go.  Then suddenly I startled awake and my heart was racing a million miles a minute.  

I immediately wanted to go back to sleep so I could hug her again, but ended up laying awake for a while going over every detail.  Although she never actually spoke any words, I knew deep down inside that she was so happy and hadn't forgotten me for a single moment.  After a few minutes of laying there I felt completely at peace and even happy that I got to "see" her.  I remember feeling excited to know that one day I would get to hug her like that and NEVER have to let her go again!  I seriously live for that day.

I still don't know if it was actually her (spiritually) visiting me or just one of my wishful dreams, but honestly it doesn't really matter to me.  All that matters is that I got a birthday hug from my little angel, she was happy as could be, and so was I!  What better gift could I ask for?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

A Miracle In My Eyes

I have a bin I keep for each one of my children.  I don't like clutter or piles of "stuff" that I don't need and I feel that if I save everything they do then none of it will seem special.  These bins are my way of holding on to a select few things that I feel represent them and their different stages of life.

Hailey's bin consists of a wide variety of things from her life: her very first outfit, a tiny diaper that actually fit her when she was only 4lbs, some of her old medical supplies, little crafts she made, etc.  It sits in my closet and I look through it often.  I love touching the stuff that I know she touched and remembering moments surrounding some of her things.  Amongst these reminders, both happy and painful, is a DVD that I had intentionally pushed all the way to the bottom.

The night before what I now call her Heavenly Birthday (which is the day she died), I pulled that hidden DVD out from the bottom of the bin and held my breath as I pushed it into the side of my computer and watched the screen.  I was nauseous and shaking as the video came up on the screen and as soon as I heard a voice the tears started rolling.  That voice, however, wasn't Hailey's.  It wasn't even the voice of someone in my family.  I honestly don't even know who's voice it was, all I know is that it was a voice!!!!

So what does this voice have to do with a miracle?  Well, that DVD contains the video of Hailey's funeral.  I didn't know if I would actually ever watch it, but I wanted to have it anyways.   It turned out that about a year after she died I was home alone and for some crazy reason I decided to watch it but discovered there was no volume.  Nothing.  I tried for about a half hour to get it to work on my computer, the TV, anywhere I could play a DVD, but I am absolutely certain there was no volume.  Sean, who is very electronically savvy, couldn't get it work either.  He came to the conclusion that the person videoing forgot to turn the microphone on.  I cried my eyes out because it was all I had left of that day. Although I was physically there, mentally and emotionally I was checked out and therefore have almost no memory of anything.  I was hoping to one day  go back and listen to the talks and songs honoring my little girl's life.   In the end I put it back in the bottom of the bin and tried not to think about it.

I don't know what it was about the three year mark of Hailey's death, but I decided a couple months beforehand that I really wanted to watch her funeral on that day.  However, every time I thought about it I would get upset all over again that there was no volume.  So I decided to go to the only person I knew of who could fix it without any problems...my Heavenly Father.  Yes, that's right, I decided to pray about it. At first I felt a little weird praying about a DVD, but I knew I had nothing to lose. I told Him how important it was to me that I have this documentation, but I also understood if He knew better than I did and knew I might not be able to handle watching it.  I told Him I would be okay with any answer I was given, but I had 100% faith that if it was the right thing He could make it work.  I prayed and prayed and prayed for several weeks about it.

The Sunday before Hailey's Heavenly Birthday I was at church and one of my good friends told a story about how she was driving her daughter up to college and they had packed all her stuff in cardboard boxes on the roof of the car.  While driving they hit a horrible storm and everything was soaked.  Her daughter realized she had put all her journals, which she started when she was a very young child, in one of those boxes.  She was devastated that they could all be ruined and decided to pray about it. After hours of praying silently to herself she arrived at her apartment and checked the box to find that all her journals were spared!  My friend also talked about how if something is that important to us then it's also that important to our Heavenly Father.  I remember at that moment saying, "Okay Lord, you know how important this is to me. I've been praying for weeks and I KNOW that you can fix my video just as you protected those journals."

So...back to the night before Hailey's Heavenly Birthday and the voice I heard from that DVD.  I couldn't believe it!  It truly was a miracle!!!  I had tears pouring down my face at the knowledge that our Heavenly Father does love us so much and listens to and answers our prayers.  That was one of the most tangible miracles I had ever experienced.  I KNOW that DVD did not work before my prayers and now it's perfect.

As for watching it...well, I didn't get very far.  The second I saw Hailey's casket being pushed in and Sean and I walking behind it as everyone stood up, I started to sob and couldn't go any further.  I didn't realize how much pain I was in until I saw my face on that video.  I know I was physically there that day, but emotionally and mentally I was completely gone somewhere else.  I'm sure the day will come when I'll have the strength to sit down and watch it all the way through, but for now, I'm just happy knowing that my prayers were answered and a miracle took place.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

A Bereaved Parent's Wish List

A friend of mine just lost her only child, a beautiful son, to cancer a few weeks ago.  As I was thinking of ways to help her through her grief, I remembered something that I had found right after Hailey passed away.  It stated so perfectly how I felt that I had it put on the back of her funeral program.  


As I reread it before forwarding it on to my friend it surprised me how spot on every single statement still is for me, even after almost 3 years, so I thought I'd share with you all as a reminder of what the loss of a child does to the parents left behind:



A Bereaved Parent’s Wish List

1.  I wish my child hadn’t died. I wish I had them back.

2.  I wish you wouldn’t be afraid to speak my child’s name. My child lived and was very important to me. I need to hear that they were important to you also.

3.  If I cry and get emotional when you talk about my child, I wish you knew that it isn’t because you have hurt me. My child’s death is the cause of my tears. You have talked about my child and you allowed me to share my grief. I thank you for both.

4. Being a bereaved parent is not contagious, so I wish you wouldn’t shy away from me. I need you now more than ever.

5. I need diversions, so I do want to hear about you; but I also want you to hear about me.  I might be sad and I might cry, but I wish you would let me talk about my child, my favorite topic of the day.

6. I know that you think of me and pray for me often. I also know that my child’s death pains you, too. I wish you would let me know these things through a phone call, a card or note, or a real big hug.

7. I wish you wouldn’t expect my grief to be over in six months. These first few months are traumatic for me, but I wish you could understand that my grief will never be over. I will suffer the death of my child until the day I die.

8. I am working very hard on my recovery, but I wish you could understand that I will never fully recover. I will always miss my child, and I will always grieve that she is dead.

9. I wish you wouldn’t expect me to “not think about it” or to “be happy.” Neither will happen for a long time, so don’t frustrate yourself.

10. I wish you understood how my life has shattered. I know it is miserable for you to be around me when I’m feeling miserable. Please be patient with me as I am with you.

11. When I say, “I’m doing okay,” I wish you could understand that I don’t “feel” okay and that I struggle daily.

12. I wish you knew that all of the grief reactions I’m having are very normal. Depression, anger, hopelessness, and overwhelming sadness are all to be expected. So, please excuse me when I’m quiet and withdrawn or irritable or cranky.

13. I wish you understood that grief changes people. When my child died, a big part of me died with them. I am not the same person I was before my child died and I will never be that person again.

14 . I wish very much that you could understand …understand my loss and my grief, my silence and my tears, my void and my pain. But, I pray daily that you will never understand.

Anonymous





Monday, July 23, 2012

Happy "6th" Birthday, My Sweet Angel

Hailey's birthday was last Friday, July 20th.  Although I try to tell myself it's just another day, deep down inside I know it's not.  Hailey would have been 6 years old this year.  As I look back on what the last 6 years have meant and how much they have completely changed my life and who I am as a person, I often find it almost difficult to take in.  


Up until about an hour after Hailey was born, Sean and I had no idea that our little baby girl was about to rock our world.  The fact that she was 8 weeks premature didn't even begin to prepare us for what was about to occur in our lives.


Right before I began to write this post I watched the slideshow of photos I put up on the top of my blog.  Tears came spilling down my cheeks as I watched the pictures of her first few days and months of life and the unbelievably miraculous transformation that took place over those 3 years she lived on this Earth.  


If you watch the slide show, you'll notice that even at her worst times, Hailey ALWAYS had a smile on her face.  That little girl absolutely LOVED life and refused to ever let any of her struggles and trials get her down for even one moment.  She taught me more about life in her 3 short years here than I think I had learned combined before she was born.  And even though she's no longer physically here with me, I continue to learn from her everyday.


I KNOW that our loved ones are just as much alive after they have left this Earthly world as they were when they were physically here.  I once explained it to Lexi by telling her that her family members on the East Coast are just as much alive as she is right now, even though she isn't looking at them or talking to them.  They're just busy living life on the other side of the country.  I truly believe that for Hailey as well.  She's just busy living her life in Heaven right now.   Of course the big difference is that we can call or visit our other family members here when we miss them and hear back from them personally, which unfortunately we can't do with Hailey. If someone could invent telephones or Skype in Heaven that would be very much appreciated!  However, for now I know she visits us, interacts with us, hears us and watches over us, etc.  (Not in a creepy kind of way, but through the little signs she sends...a dime after my blog about missing her, a Lay's potato chip truck or yellow jeep driving by when I'm having a rough day, and so on.)


Let me give you a couple examples from her birthday.  For some weird reason I thought I was going to be totally fine that day.  I guess since this is her third birthday in Heaven, I assumed I was maybe getting used to it.  Of course, I was wrong.  


I anticipated that day all month.  What kind of birthday would she have wanted?  What friends would she have invited?  What kinds of presents would she have asked for?  What would she have looked like?  And then...what was I going to do to celebrate her life?  How was I going to make her birthday a happy day for myself and my children?  How was I going to make sure that everyone else remembered it was her birthday?


The night before I ended up getting a horrible headache, probably close to a migraine.  I went to bed super early because the pain was so intense.  The following morning I woke up and it was still there and I remember wondering how I was going to get through the day.  I'm still not sure if I was wondering that because of my raging headache or because it was Hailey's birthday and I wasn't going to get to celebrate it with her.


I finally got out of bed, but struggled all morning.  I couldn't believe how difficult it was and how emotional I felt.  It definitely caught me off guard.  I just wanted to be alone and think and be sad and cry, but having three other young children at home (who were so excited to celebrate their sister's birthday) made my grief a little more difficult to deal with.  In some ways the kids make it easier because I don't have time to wallow in my misery, but on the same token the kids make it difficult because I don't have time to wallow in my misery.


I have to say I was pretty grumpy and snappy all morning.  We decided to take Hailey some balloons, flowers and a huge bag of Lay's potato chips and have a picnic lunch at her place.  As we were driving there I could feel that pit in my stomach churning with emotion and my eyes welling up with tears as I was feeling so sorry for myself.  I finally started praying that I wouldn't break down in front of the kids because they were so excited.  As I looked up, there on the other side of the road a huge Lay's truck drove right by.  My mouth turned upwards into a huge smile, tears rolled down my cheeks, and I knew right then that Hailey was with us.  She knew of my deep pain and her sisters' innocent excitement and was able to pull me out it for their sake.  I knew that she was aware of me and the last thing I wanted was for her to see her mother sad on what would have been her 6th birthday.  I felt like she was telling me to stop feeling sorry for myself because she never felt sorry for herself even one minute...especially now.  Almost immediately I snapped out of it and the day started looking up.


When we were getting ready to leave her place after lunch I was folding up Joey's stroller and out plopped two dimes right at my feet.  Once again I was smiling.


Later that day, the girls and I made cupcakes and they had a great time decorating them all.  We invited some friends and neighbors that were really close to Hailey to have dinner with us back at her place.  It turned out to be an absolutely "beau'ful day," as Hailey would have said.


On our way home, as I drove by a gas station, right there in the parking lot were two Lay's trucks parked side-by-side.  It was such a wonderful way to end a "beau'ful day," in Hailey's honor!  


So, as I mentioned above, I KNOW without a shadow of a doubt that Hailey still lives and is aware of her family and friends.  I know she watches out for those she knows and loves and for those her family knows and loves.  I've heard so many stories from family and friends of times they felt Hailey was there watching over them.  I love her so much and although I can't physically interact with her, I know our spirits interact often.


Some pictures from Hailey's 3rd Birthday 
(The last birthday she celebrated before she passed away.)

Our Family Picture






She LOVED her Lay's!


Some pics from Haileys "6th" Birthday

Our Family Picture



(No, those glasses are not real!)


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Missing My Girl...Part 2

I actually wrote this entry back on June 13th and forgot to publish it, so...without further ado:

In continuation of my last entry, after almost three years without physically seeing or touching or hearing my sweet, little Hailey, my pain is still very deep and my longing for her is even more so.  I miss her more and more everyday and often feel that little knot or somersault in my stomach when I think of her.  


It's so hard to put into words how I currently feel or where I am in my grief process, but I'll do my best.  


The first few days, weeks, months, and even year I was in so much shock and pain it was literally unbelievable.  I never knew pain like that could exist and until now I never realized how much I had shut down.  I thought I was doing great because I was getting up in the morning, taking care of my kids, and tending to the household stuff, but in reality I was checked out emotionally and as much mentally as possible.  I only got out of bed and carried on throughout my day because my children needed me, but aside from doing only what I needed to get by in the day I had nothing more to give.



As I look back now I think that in those first couple of years I was like a child in my understanding of grief.  It's weird to say that I liked the attention I received, because I absolutely did not, but I think I more needed it and craved it because that attention gave me the will to go on.  It encompassed the love and support I so desperately needed.  I read and reread every comment on my blog, Facebook, email, etc. over and over and over again...sometimes I still do.   I also don't think I completely comprehended (or allowed myself to comprehend) the true finality of Hailey's death in this lifetime.  I really think that I was expecting it all to pass by after a couple months and once I completed my test of faith and passed with an A+, Hailey would be right back in my arms again.  


Now as time has passed and we are coming up on three years, the reality and finality of it all is starting to really sink in.  I think the Lord (or our bodies, however you want to look at it) has a way of only allowing us to handle and comprehend so much pain and heartache at any given time.  He truly does know what we can handle and won't give us any more than that.  Apparently, now He thinks I can handle more and as time slowly passes I also feel those raw, painful emotions creeping to the surface little by little.  It kind of reminds me of boiling water.  At first all the bubbles are at the bottom, then slowly a couple will rise at a time, until all of a sudden it's bubbling everywhere.  I'm hoping I don't quite make it to boiling because I really don't want all the grief I've suppressed to come bubbling everywhere all at once!


Anyways, I've slowly started revisiting those first few days and weeks after Hailey's death.  I think about her and talk about her ALL the time, but never the events surrounding her death.  It's always been too painful to think about before, and at times it still is.  So I'll let a bubble or two rise and then turn the burner down for a while until I'm ready to explore a few more.  I've just recently started asking people where they were, what I said, how they found out, and how they reacted to the sudden and unexpected news of Hailey's passing.  I literally have no memory of who I talked to that night and/or what was said.  I don't know why, but I want to know now.  (So if you have a story to share with me please email me at the address at the top of my blog.)  


Eventually I'll be ready to watch the video of her funeral, then videos of her alive, and so on.  I'm just taking it one thing at a time.  As for right now, I feel the most stable mentally, physically, and emotionally that I have felt since Hailey's passing.  I'm trying to savor that and allow myself to really start healing in all those ways.  However, as stable as I feel, the pain is still there aching some days and throbbing others. 

 I don't believe that times heals all wounds, however I do believe it makes them less painful.  I'm sure some of you have heard this analogy before but I feel that the wound of grief is similar to that of a severely broken bone.  Although it will eventually look and act as if it's fully healed, there will always be a little scar or weak spot on the area that was broken.  If overworked or pushed too far it can break much easier than before.  I feel that with the wound of my grief.  The raw break is slowly healing, however there is definitely a permanent scar there.  Sometimes I overdo it a little and the pain comes rushing back and then as I rest it the pain subsides.  I'm sure that's how it will be forever in this lifetime.  Strangely enough, I'm slowly becoming accustomed to it and learning how to live with it and manage it so it doesn't rule my life.  But my sweet Hailey will NEVER be far from my thoughts and will ALWAYS be in my heart.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

It was then that He carried me...


Even after almost three years,  I still refer to my favorite poem, Footprints In The Sand, and know that there are still many times when there is only one set of footprints in that sand as the Lord carries me through.  

I wanted to share an example of one of these times that just happened to me this week.  In our church we often refer to them as "tender mercies," but you can call them anything you wish.  All I know is that they are the times when two sets of footprints become one as the Lord carries us through a burden we can no longer bear ourselves.

Last Saturday Sean and I took the kids to the pool for a few hours to swim.  Ava loves to play in the "cajuzzi," as she calls it, so I went in with her for a bit.  While there we met a mother and her daughter who was about the same age as Ava.  Of course, we got to chatting and she asked me the very dreaded question, "How many children do you have?"  Without even a hesitation, I responded, "Four."  

I will always respond with the number four because that's how many children I have.  But after saying so, my heart skipped a beat and my stomach turned as I tried to change the subject and prayed that she wouldn't ask anymore about my kids.  


A little while later Sean brought Lexi and Joey in with us.  I could sense the wheels turning in the lady's head as she noticed there were only three children with us and so I continued to pray even harder that she wouldn't ask where the fourth was.  In my mind I was going through every possible answer I could give, "She's at a friend's house." "She's not here today." "She died.  What else do you want to know?"  I couldn't get out of there fast enough and luckily the question never came up.

That night I thanked God about a million times for the fact that I didn't have to make up some excuse or go into details about why Hailey wasn't physically there that day.  

Later, as I was thinking about the pool experience, I also got to thinking about Ava's soccer class that we go to every week.  For the first time last week I told her coach I had four kids.  It was as I was leaving so he didn't have time to question me about it, but I could see the wonder in his face since he'd met Lexi and Joey several times, but never met a fourth.  My stomach dropped as I realized that now with Lexi on summer vacation it was going to be even more evident that someone was missing when we all went to Ava's class.  I knew the question would eventually arise and it made me sick to think of having to tell him about Hailey in front of all the other parents.

I knew I would get the sad looks and the "I'm so sorry's" and all the other stuff that goes along with such a revelation and honestly, I just didn't want to have to deal with it.  So again, I prayed about it and told the Lord that I didn't want to have to go through that right now.  As I got into bed that night, I felt this little whisper that said, "Don't worry.  I'll take care of it."  

So this week it turned out that my mom came down for the day and took Ava to her soccer class while I ran errands.  It also turned out that she was the only one there that day, probably because of summer starting.  When she got home something inside me said to ask her if she told him about Hailey.  I don't know why I had the feeling, aside from God whispering it to me, because we never even talked about her telling him.

Well she told me that he just happened to ask her what the tattoo on her foot was.  (It's a tiny 'h' literally the size of your pinky fingernail, so for him to even see it was totally random.)  She ended up telling him all about Hailey, her foundation, the clinic, etc.  Talk about a relief!  I felt as if the weight of the world had been lifted off my shoulders.  I'm usually fine talking about Hailey once her story is out in the open, it's just the initial moment of having to tell someone for the first time that's so hard.

It wasn't until a couple days later that I realized that was one of those 'tender mercies' from the Lord. It was one of those times that there was only one set of footprints in the sand because He knew I couldn't handle having that conversation.  So, as the poem says, "It was then that He carried me."

Thursday, June 14, 2012

A Walk for aMAYZing Kids!!!


As most of you know we have opened a non-profit therapy clinic called aMAYZing Kids in Hailey's honor.  We are so excited that its growing significantly and quickly.  The whole intention of the clinic is to help uninsured or underinsured children receive the therapy they need, however we do also accept insured children.  For more information on the actual clinic you can click on the links at the end of this entry.


For now, my whole point of this blog entry is to invite you all to either come walk with me, or if you're unable to attend, sponsor my virtual team, Team Hailey!!!  I would personally love to meet and thank those of you who have been reading and supporting me.


There are two ways you can participate and help:


1.  Attend the walk
  • Date: Saturday, June 30th
  • Time: 10:00-2:00
  • Place: aMAYZing Kids Clinic (20902 Bake Pkwy #100, Lake Forest, CA 92630)
  • Price: $25/person, under 3 is free
  • Includes: All you can eat BBQ lunch, T-shirt, games & prizes, Penelope the pony, photo ops, and more!!!


Live out of town?  Busy that day?  Too lazy to walk?
No prob!  You can still participate by sponsoring me and my team.


2.  Join my Virtual Team, TEAM HAILEY!



I'm counting on you all to sign up somewhere and support our cause in Hailey's honor!!!  Thank you again for all your continued love and support...It means the world to me.


For More Info On The Clinic