Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Lily Remembered in Dubai

Lily visited the Middle East for the first time! My sweet traveling friend Emmakate remembered her at Jumeirah Beach in Dubai, on the coast of the Persian Gulf. πŸ˜ ❤️ 🌊 ☀️ 🌍 🐚 🐳 🐬 🐟 🐠 🐒



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Visiting Their Spot

A huge piece of my heart is found here in this cemetery in Virginia. And it is here where my heart is always first drawn when I come back into town.

See where the grass is growing in a rectangle by the bench? That's where Bumma is.

It's odd coming here now without her. Most people don't have memories with their grandparents spending hours at the cemetery where they'd one day be laid to rest themselves. I should be seeing her white Buick slowly creeping in to meet me here. We'd visit our baby girls together. I'd sit on the grass in front of Lily's grave and Bumma would sit on the bench that bore her husband's name, her daughter's name, and her own name. She'd face me and listen as I'd pore out my heart to her. And in her ever wise and gentle way, she'd understand me and would speak Jesus into the tender and wounded places. She'd watch me as I'd pull the "weeds" around Lily's stone (even though she'd insist it was grass and think I was silly for wanting things so precisely a certain way). We'd talk about how weird it was to see her name and birthdate on the bench and not to see the other date that would one day need to be etched it. Now we know - April 14, 2017. We'd even take lots of photos through the years. Because I wanted to visit my baby and Bumma wanted to come with me, I have all these memories at the place where I now come to visit Bumma too. And it's weird and sad and special all at once.

I come here and I talk to Lily and Bumma. And I ask Jesus to tell them things for me. And I rejoice that they are not truly here. But their bodies are... and don't you dare tell me it's not painful to say goodbye to the human body because that is how we know our loved ones on Earth. That is how their souls are represented here. And we miss that representation of them. And we are thankful to have a place we can visit with their name, an honor and a testimony that they were here.

Bumma's mountains are here and they seem to be still smiling over her. I will make sure to keep pulling the "weeds" for them both and can just picture Bumma fussing about it even now. Heaven just keeps getting sweeter and sweeter. πŸ’š


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Star Legacy Foundation's Stillbirth Summit ⭐️️

The annual Stillbirth Summit put on by Star Legacy Foundation was held in Minnesota over this past weekend. This is an event focused on stillbirth research and prevention, with the most passionate stillbirth researchers from around the world, who I'm so thankful for! They are needed. It means a lot to me to know people are taking this seriously and realizing that it's not okay that healthy babies are dying for no known reason right around their due dates). I hope to make it myself one year to the Summit.

They honored nearly 1,300 babies who were stillborn with a big sign full of their names that says "we will always remember," as well as gold stars hanging from the ceiling, each with the name and birthdate of a stillborn baby who will always be deeply missed and loved by their families. These names were submitted from around the world.

Thank you so much to Danielle who was able to attend the event and sent me a photo of my Lily Katherine Allen-Ball's name up close on the sign! And I heard that our stars will be mailed to each family as a keepsake. Lily's friend Lillian Judith Joy is right above her on the sign, which makes me smile. Her mommy is a dear friend of mine. It brings tears to my eyes to know my little girl is a part of this and hopefully in the future, stillbirth will be no more. ❤️ ⭐️️  




I enjoyed reading this blog post that was shared on the Star Legacy Foundation Facebook page, from the perspective of someone who attended the Summit.  

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The Gift She Is in Our Lives

Mint Springs // Crozet, Virginia



My Aunt Helen helped me collect rocks to spell out a couple baby names for friends facing difficult milestones.

Also, the other day my mom looked at the clock at 3:16 (Lily's birthday) and she prayed aloud, "thank You for the gift Lily is in our lives." Aunt Helen also thanked the Lord for Lily during her prayer. πŸ˜Œ πŸ’• 🌸

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Lily Remembered at Happy Wanderers

Lily Katherine was remembered by her South African friend Lily-Grace on holiday (I love how they call it that πŸ˜‰ ) at Happy Wanderers at Kelso Beach, South Africa. She also collected some seashells πŸš  for her in her bucket. ❤️ 🌊 ☀️ 🐳 🐬 🐟 🐠 🐒  




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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Lily's "Priceless Images" Drawing

This is my beautiful Lily Katherine drawn by "Priceless Images." He generously draws them as a gift for parents who've lost a child. I've been on a wait list since last March. You can find his page on Facebook if you're interested. I'm planning on keeping mine in Lily's scrapbook. πŸ’•



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Lily Remembered at Ocean Beach

Lily was honored by Tamberly at Ocean Beach in San Diego, California. Her sweet daughter Esther, who was stillborn, just had her 10th birthday this past weekend. ❤️ 🌊 ☀️ 🐚 🐬 🐳 🐟 🐠 🐒 


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Rocking Sweet Lily

This is a photo of Lily I can't remember sharing before.

It was several hours after birth and she had already changed so much physically by this point, so she didn't really look like herself. I think that's why I haven't shared it.

But now I am because I have so few photos and she is beautiful still. And this captures the one and only time I'd ever rock and sing to her. A priceless mother-daughter moment. ❤️  


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Summertime Missin' You

Lily girl πŸ’• ~ I wish you could be here.

To have come to see your mommy in her play last week.

To spend afternoons at the pool. To go to the park and museum, and all the other fun summertime things kids are enjoying.

It doesn't have to a special holiday or occasion for me to feel the ache of your absence. Sometimes it's the day-to-day mundane moments when I simply just wish I could grab your hand, hear your laugh, and for you to be a part of the memory making.

I read an article that said studies show when a mother sleeps on her back in her 3rd trimester, it increases the risk of stillbirth. I can barely stand the thought that I'm missing out on a lifetime of summers with you potentially because of one time unknowingly rolling over onto my back during sleep.


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Monday, June 19, 2017

Lily Remembered at Emerald Isle

Lily Kat was thought of by Kaitlin at Emerald Isle, North Carolina (one of my favorite beaches!). She said she couldn't pass up the chance to put Lily's name in the sand. I love that she wrote Lily Kat. ❤️ πŸ˜Š 🌊 ☀️ 🐚 🐳 🐬 🐠 🐟 🐒 



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"Watching Over You"

"Songwriter John Dolan wrote this song "Watching Over You (Brianna's Song)" <--- {click link to listen} in honor of his niece, Brianna. He felt inspired to write this song in 1999 when Brianna was miscarried. Dolan hopes it can bring comfort to families who have suffered a similar loss."

(Brianna's Song)

You never got to dress me up
in ribbons, bows and lace
Never got to hear me laugh
Or see my smiling face
Never got to brush my hair
Or wash between my toes
Why I had to leave so soon
Only Heaven knows

You never got to hear me cry
Or wipe away my tears
You never got to watch me grow
Or silence all my fears
You never got to see me walk
Or fall and scrape my knee
Heaven knows that sometimes
Things aren't meant to be

Chorus:
Heaven knows I love you
Heaven knows you love me too
I know you did everything
There was for you to do
Don't you worry mommy, daddy
We'll be together soon
I'm looking down from Heaven
And I'm watching over you
I'm waiting here in Heaven
And I'm watching over you

Never got to hear me laugh
Never got to hear me cry
Never got to say hello
Never got to say goodbye

Don't you worry mommy, daddy
We'll be together soon
I'm looking down from Heaven
And I'm watching over you
I'm waiting here in Heaven
And I'm watching over you

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Sunday, June 18, 2017

Lily Remembered on the Outer Banks

Lily was remembered by Josiah in Avon, North Carolina on the Outer Banks. πŸ˜Š 🌊 ☀️ 🐚 🐳 🐬 🐠 🐟 🐒 


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Father's Day

Father's Day makes me think about all that Lily's father is missing out on with her. Talk of a local father-daughter dance has been swirling around and how it aches each time I hear of it.

Lily's daddy's love for his daughter, as well as his anguish over losing her, are both clearly written on his face in this picture. πŸ’”


Lily's hands with her daddy's... she had his hands and feet.


They will always be a part of each other.

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Happy Birthday, Aunt Rachel

My Aunt Rachel Ross would have turned 52 on June 14th. She was born on June 14, 1965. June 14th is Flag Day and Rachel was given the middle name Ross partly after Betsy Ross, who sewed the American flag.

Sadly, Rachel only lived for three months outside of the womb. She died on the operating table at UVA on September 10, 1965 as her doctor attempted to save her tiny, deformed heart.

Rachel was the seventh child of my grandparents, James Kirk and Nancy Virginia Bain. My mom is the eldest of the seven and was nine when Rachel passed, so she clearly remembers that time and has shared her memories with me. She even has a diary she wrote in then. This is the only family picture of all nine of them (baby Rachel in my grandmother's arms and my mom is in the back with the glasses). They are standing in front of Holy Comforter Catholic Church in our home area of Charlottesville, Virginia on the day of Rachel's Christening.


My grandmother attended Compassionate Friends meetings and events until the time of her death at 85-years-old. We had the indescribable bond of knowing what it's like to have a daughter in Heaven. We were always close, but Lily and Rachel brought us closer. Even when I was a young teen, before I ever knew I'd lose my own child, I would go to CF meetings with my Bumma. I see now how God was preparing me for a future only He could see.

My mom said one of the few times she saw my grandfather cry was when Rachel died. Bumma was so brave in how she'd always correct anyone when they mentioned her "six children." She had SEVEN, even if one lived in Heaven.

Each year, I remember my Aunt Rachel on her birthday. Her absence has left a hole in my family. We will always miss her and wonder who she would have become and what other cousins I might have had. I'll always love her and hope future generations will speak of and remember Lily the way I do Rachel.

I usually send a gift to my Bumma on Rachel's birthday. I had already started thinking about what I could get this year. It meant a lot to me to honor Rachel with Bumma. Now Bumma has been with her little girl for two months. This is the first birthday she's getting to spend with her baby! I'm so happy for them both. But it sure is weird to not be able to call Bumma on this day.

You can read more about my Aunt Rachel in a blog post I wrote by clicking HEREπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ ❤️ πŸŽ‚ 🎈

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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Lily's Summer Spot

I was recently able to decorate my sweet girl's special spot for Summer. I tidied up her stone and the weeds around it (Bumma used to get exasperated and say it was "grass" not "weeds" as I'd get upset that it grew so fast and much.. too funny!). The white lilies and little angel statue that my friend Kristen left for Lily are still in good shape from her birthday. I got the new monogrammed "L" flag from Kirkland's! It's one of my favorite flags I've found. I love the Laurel on it, and especially the little bow. πŸŒΏ πŸ’•  



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Lily Remembered at Johns Island

My friend Teresa thought of Lily at Beachwalk on Johns Island in South Carolina. This was her very first visit to the beach! πŸ˜„

When she sent this photo, she wrote the sweetest message along with it: "I was so happy to be able to remember your precious girl when I was at the beach and share your story with those who were with me. Lots of love." ❤️ 🌊 ☀️ 🐚 🐳 🐬 🐟 🐠 🐒 


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No Footprint Too Small

My friend Hannah sent me this. πŸ’•


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Sunday, June 11, 2017

The Smallest Coffins

This quote speaks for itself. It's amazing how so few words can speak so much.


I remember seeing Lily's tiny white coffin and thinking how strange it was that they even have to make them that small. Seems so unnatural. Shouldn't coffins be used for people who have lived long and full lives, with children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren?? Not for babies who never took a single breath.


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Lily Love

My friend Hannah sent me this, using Lily Kat's footprints. πŸ˜ πŸ˜„ πŸ’• πŸŽ€ 


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Stillborn, Still Loved

My new friend Hannah made me this. πŸ’•

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Thursday, June 8, 2017

On Newborn Baby Cries

When you've gone to term in pregnancy and didn't hear your baby's cry, it does something to your soul when you hear other babies cry... ❤️

New life emerging
Is there a more beautiful sound
Gasping, drawing that first breath
A tiny babe's voice is found

Knife to my heart
Sound of a newborn's cry
Sweetness contradicted
In the pain of why

Haunted
By silence and stillness
Soul-piercing, heart-wrenching
Like a perpetual illness

Her perfect heart stopped beating
Catapulting me into this world
A world of forever silence
Dreams for her life unfurled

Her new life emerged
Somehow already having ended
A grieving mother emerged
Previous self apprehended

Silence somehow screams
Resounding through the years
Reminder of life that slipped away
Echoing silent tears


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