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 man. Every 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!