Birthdays in Heaven

Well, it’s here! The day that changed our lives forever. We were not expecting I would go into preterm labor at 23 weeks 3 days and lose Emma 5 minutes after being born, and then Oliver 12 days later… yet here we are. 365 days later- and 365 days more experienced with handling grief and life at the same time.

I’ve dreaded this day and yet yearned for it to come. What would I emotionally be like? Would I spend the day curled on the couch crying? Not so far- instead, I found myself this week walking through the grief cycle once more as every single day I could vividly remember what I was doing last year on that day. No one told me grief could do that to you so strongly.

Tuesday it started with crying.

Wednesday was the day of denial and then immense anger at what was lost and the experiences I’ve had to go through. It crashed into depression that evening, but Thursday morning rose right back into anger again.

By Thursday evening I had moved back into the acceptance stage, where I have spent since. This week however, felt like an emotional rollercoaster of the last 12 months.

Despite that, I have learned many things these last 12 months. That time, how ever slow it seemed at the beginning, has changed my own perspective, personality, and spirituality.

This week, as I rollercoastered through the grief cycle, I had the opportunity to reflect on myself more than anything. I found, not only do we grieve the loss of Emma and Oliver, but we often grieve the loss of the person we once were.

I miss the woman I once was. The one who would laugh without a care. The one who wasn’t so serious ALL the time. The one who enjoyed things for the sake of doing them. The one who didn’t have a heavy weight of loss surrounding her.

However, she is gone, just as much as the babies she buried. In her place however, is is a woman I am beginning to like more than the one I once was. I like her more as she is one who has learned, and is still learning, how to survive and live life despite the grief she feels. She is more aware of the pain others go through, more willing to mourn with them, and to serve those around her. She now loves more deeply, speaks more sincerely, and more fully enjoys the moments she has to spend with loved ones. Despite her loss, she is more complete.

It’s amazing the changes children bring upon their mother- even when they are gone.

So today, as we celebrate the births and little lives of our sweet Emma and feisty Oliver, I am immensely grateful for our Savior who has not only been the one to help us through this year, but the one who makes eternity with our loved ones possible!

I think it very fitting our babies’ birthday are in the month we celebrate the coming of our Savior into the world. What an amazing reminder of why Christ came and why Heavenly Father would send his Only Begotten Son to be born in a world that can be so wicked and cruel. Christ came to atone for our sins, and in doing so, has felt everything anyone has ever felt. He not only knows us so perfectly, but he knows how to comfort our heartache and sorrow.

I am forever thankful to know, that through Christ, the pains and grief we feel here are not forever. We will get to see and hold, and raise, Emma and Oliver again. This time of separation now, is but a minuscule amount of time in the Eternities to come. What a gift God gave us, to have a Savior to make it all possible!

So as we celebrate our two angels this day, I feel them close as always. I thank my Heavenly Father for blessing us with the opportunity to be their parents and for the changes they have brought upon me. I will end now with a poem I wrote last night, in celebration of the births of Emma and Oliver.

Birthdays in Heaven

I thought of you today,

Like so many times before.

I wondered what you’re doing,

And it made me miss you more.

Birthdays in heaven

Are they just as special there?

I figure that they must be

Because so many people care.

There may not be gifts,

Or chocolate cake and ice cream.

But that doesn’t mean

Your parents still can’t dream.

We dream of the day we can hold you

In our arms once more.

To hug you tight and never let go

Just thinking about it makes our hearts soar!

Until that day arrives,

We will think of you each day.

And celebrate your little lives

And the impact that you made.

You’ve changed our lives forever,

Left your mark so clear and strong.

You’ve changed us so indefinitely

Even though you weren’t here long.

Though we cannot see you,

We feel you with us still.

We never have stopped loving you,

And we never ever will.

So here is to more birthdays,

Now and in eternity to come.

We shall celebrate you always,

Love, your dad and mom!

♥️Happy 1st Birthday Sweet Emma! We love you!♥️
♥️Happy 1st Birthday Oliver Baby! We love you!♥️

Cupcake photo credit to Brooke Lark on Unsplash.

Thanksgiving Blessings

Happy Thanksgiving!

For the past few days I have been contemplating what I am especially grateful for. The time between last Thanksgiving to now hasn’t been all sunshine, but I can guarantee it will be a year I remember forever.

It is amazing how grief changes your perspective on what is truly important in life. I have so many things to be grateful for, and so many blessings that have been sent our way- especially this past year. So without further ado…

I am so grateful for Jacob! There is no one I would rather spend eternity with! His constant love and example of faith during trials are one of the many things that have kept me going! I am also grateful for the priesthood he honors and holds, and the many priesthood blessings he has given me this last year! I don’t know what I would do without him! Love you babe!

I am grateful for loving parents who have supported me in everything in life, and still do. I am thankful for their Christlike examples of love for their fellowmen. I am thankful for the time they spent teaching me about my Savior at a young age, how they took me to church, and helped build my testimony from a young age. Their examples and teachings are one of the many things that has helped me become the woman I am today. Thanks mom and dad!

I grateful for my mother and father-in law and the love they have to give as well! I am grateful to them for raising their son to be the faith filled man he is. I am also grateful to them for all their support- especially during and since the loss of Emma and Oliver.

I am grateful for family and the friends who have become like family. Those who not only checked in on us right after losing Emma and Oliver, but those who continue to check in on us almost a year later and understand when we are “still” emotionally burned out for parties or get togethers. Thanks for understanding and still loving us anyways!

I am grateful for our ward. The love and support you guys have given us are immeasurable and so treasured! From food being dropped off, to funeral luncheons, to just notes, cards, and asking us how we are doing… we truly love each and every one of you! I tell people all the time that we live in the best ward- it feels less like a bunch of people who just happen to attend the same church, and more like a family reunion each week (not the lame kind you dread attending but the ones people actually look forward to!) Coming back to church after losing Emma and Oliver was bittersweet emotionally, but the love we felt coming back was so needed! I know the reason we live where we do is so we could get to know each and every one of you- and we don’t plan on leaving any time soon!

I am thankful for my work! Not just the opportunity to work with children (I love teaching 2nd Graders) but the opportunity to work with such a great faculty and staff! The support that was given to us before, during, and after losing Emma and Oliver is something I will treasure forever!

And, of course, I am thankful for my children! I am thankful for them coming to our family, even though it was for the briefest moments of time. I am grateful Emma lived for 5 minutes and especially grateful for the 12 days Oliver lived. Those days seem something of a dream but I am so thankful we got to know Oliver and his personality during that time! I am ever so grateful that I get to be their mother and for the changes they have made in me- they have all been for the better!

And last, but certainly not least, this last year I have developed more gratitude for our Savior Jesus Christ and our loving Heavenly Father! I am grateful for the deeper relationship I have with both of them and for the love and blessings they send our way. I am grateful that through the Atonement, our sins can be forgiven and our burdens made light. I am grateful for eternal families and the plan of salvation, and knowing that this life is not the end. Because of Christ, I will get to see and hold Emma and Oliver again, as well as those who have gone before! There are no words to describe how truly blessed we are because of the Savior!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Photo by Kit Turk on unsplash.

Tabernacle to Temple

Yesterday Jacob and I had the wonderful opportunity to go with some friends to the Provo City Center Temple for the first time. Walking towards the temple, I was struck by the beauty of the building. The gorgeous brick and beautiful stained glass windows took my breath away. As we walked into the temple, the woodwork and stained glass windows that continued inside on every door were outstanding! I have been in many temples, but not one I felt so awestruck about.

Every time I walk into a temple I feel the same feeling of peace that you feel after coming home after a long day. They truly are there Lord’s House, and the spirit abides there so strongly. However, walking into the temple yesterday, I have never felt that feeling so intensely. I had the thought, “if I could choose what my mansion in Heaven will look like… it would be this!”

The building now known as the Provo City Center Temple was not always a temple-it used to be a tabernacle. In December of 2010 the tabernacle caught fire and, after the flames were put out, all that was left was the main structure of the building. Instead of demolishing it, it was rebuilt and refurbished to be a beautiful temple.

As I was walking through the temple, I had a reoccurring thought and a connection to the temple I feel like I should share.

This building, that was a dedicated building to the Lord, burned down. Heavenly Father allowed the building to burn down, knowing the sadness and grief that would come with that fire. However, He also knew what blessings would come from that fire. He knew a temple needed to be there. He knew when that building was originally being built, it would eventually burn down and become a temple.

The shell of the temple is very similar, but the inside, and the purpose, has significantly changed- and it has become more holy. I feel this on a personal level every day.

How often has the Lord allowed our “spiritual tabernacle” to burn down? How often has our “spiritual tabernacle” had to be refurbished? How often has He allowed us to suffer things to bring to pass a greater purpose? How has that brought us to more holier purposes?

So just like this temple, this beautiful House of the Lord, I too, have had my tabernacle burned, until only the bare minimum remains. Yet, brick by brick, and piece by piece, I feel my spirit changed for the better.

Do I know the purpose? The reason? What the outcome will be? No- But I do know there will be growing pains, refurbishing, redecorating, and edifying along the way. That I can count on and I just await the day I can see the outcome!

If you would like to learn more about temples and their purpose, you can click here to be taken to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints webpage on temples.