Despite all that we’ve been through the past few months, I’ve tried to make a more conscious effort to stop and take a moment to be thankful for the incredible blessings in our lives. This isn’t something that I’d ever been very good at, previous to now. And to say that it comes easily every day would be a lie. It’s during my most difficult moments that God places it on my heart to remember my blessings. The list is endless, I won’t even begin to share it all, as to avoid leaving something or someone off. I have a purpose here… I want to recognize two very special blessings in particular.
A couple of months ago, not long after I shared the news of our precious Ethan publicly, a LONG time family friend- Shari Ezell- sent me a message. First, she shared with me a memory of the last time she’d spent time with my dad. Because her words hit me so intensely, I’ll share them exactly (Shari, if you’re reading this, I REALLY hope you’re OK with it… but it was so impactful for me). “And I wasn’t going to say anything… because I was sworn to secrecy… but sometimes I think the need to tell out weighs that oath… hope you understand and agree. But Kevin and I were at Ron and Mary’s one evening not too long before he passed. We walked in and your dad had his big old massive ear to ear smile… his Katie was going to give him his 9th grandchild!! I thought Mary was gonna slug him cause you didn’t want anyone to know yet. Your dad dropped it… but boy that smile never once dimmer that evening!!! And I swore I’d never tell anyone (and I didn’t… until now). But I know your dad loves you, KC and Jenn more than anything. But man… his grandkids took it to a whole new level!!! I don’t really believe in accidents in life… each event places us where we need to be. Sometimes for us, sometimes for someone else. And more often than not we will never know the reason. But I can’t shake the feeling since reading your post that God is giving you this beautiful little soul, a baby your dad will be able to hold close to his heart until he can hold you again and you your baby. I truly hate you have to feel the loss of a child. But I wonder if this is God’s way of ensuring you that your dad is still truly happy and ok… because nothing made him happier than his grandkids…”
Her words stay with me on a daily basis. In all honesty, thinking about the joy that my son will bring to my daddy in heaven (as though he needs any more) is the only thing that gets me out of bed some mornings. He will have a small piece of his greatest joys… and although it certainly doesn’t numb the heartache, it certainly helps ease it a tad. The child was never ours to begin with, and the Lord has great plans for him. Which leads me to Shari’s idea… she asked, in an effort to help us celebrate our baby’s life, if she could throw me a baby shower. I was absolutely honored and completely grateful that she would be willing to take on such a task. But she knows about the risk of losing a child, and has been scared for her own child’s life more than once. Her idea was/is to throw a shower to celebrate Ethan, but to help provide support for families in our area with special needs children. She has found families, is discovering their specific needs, and we will register for items that will help these children thrive. If that is not something to be thankful for… I don’t know what is. My son is going to make a difference in the lives of these children. Because he of his life, other baby’s lives will be bettered… and I am honored and humbled by this. Shari, in case I haven’t said it yet (shame on me if I haven’t)… thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.
The other blessing I wanted to mention was an organization that was suggested to me by a now-friend, Shannon, who lost her baby girl 7 years ago to the same heartbreaking diagnosis. The organization is called Be Not Afraid and they are similar to a perinatal hospice but with a few differences. The women scooped me up and took me in immediately after Shannon gave them my name. They are here, to walk with us through every step of our journey. They’ve connected me with other peers who have been through similar situations, they’ve met with me, spent hours on the phone just letting me talk and talking with me… they will help me come up my birth plan, and everything in between and afterwards. I’m so grateful to have been connected with them because they have and will continue to help us carry the burdens that are to come in the following months. They give me ways to hope and think positively about what is to come, rather than to fear and be anxious about it. All of this said, there is still another purpose to me sharing this blessing with you. In addition to Breast Cancer Awareness Month, many of you may know that October is also Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. Being that Be Not Afraid is a non-profit organization, they survive solely off of donations. My hope is that some of you may be lead to share in the gift that they offer, to allow this organization to continue providing love and support to families who chose to carry their babies as long as they could. Your donation would be honoring the lives of these babies; past, present, and future. The link below will lead you to their fundraiser page. The second link is to their website if you’d like to learn more about what they do and who they’ve helped.
I thank you so much for your prayers, love, support, and time! You all are another blessing to me, that I am thankful for every day. God Bless!!!