Tuesday, March 18, 2014

When You Find it Hard to Forgive

When it comes to forgiving others, I definitely am familiar with the struggle that can occur inside.

Anyone who has become familiar with events in my life knows that I have many different experiences that would test my ability to forgive. In this post, it is my hope to share with you some of the things that happened to me that caused me great pain.

However, this post is not about those who caused the pain, but how I was able to forgive them. My answer may surprise some people due to its simplicity, but, it is how I was able to come to terms with my negative life events, and heal layer after layer.

Because I have forgiven people, I am not going to name anyone. I am simply going to list the wrongs that I have suffered in my life.

  • Physical Abuse as a child
  • Sexual Abuse as a child
  • Emotional Abuse as a child
  • Witnessing Abuse of others
  • Attempted Rape (when I was 17)
  • Ridicule and Rejection by police, church members, and co-workers for attempted rape
  • Taking Sexual Advantage when I was in and out of consciousness due to a car accident
  • Attempted murder
  • Broken Covenants
  • Physical Abuse of my child
  • Molestation of my child
  • False Judgements
  • Abandonment
  • Infidelity
  • Physical Abuse as an adult
  • Sexual Abuse as an adult
  • Theft
  • Purposeful Deception/Manipulation
  • Unrighteous Dominion/Control
Through the years, I have come in contact with a lot of people who misunderstand forgiveness. Forgiveness is for me. It helps me let go of the fear, anger and bitterness, so that I can heal. 

Forgiving someone does not mean that we subject ourselves to them or their issues anymore. 

We do not continue to extend trust to someone who has been untrustworthy just because we forgive them. 

I was able to forgive because of my faith in and love for Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ has said that of us it is required to forgive all men. The Bible mentions forgiving someone who has trespassed against us seventy times seven. 

When you have been abused or have gone through the things that I have, it can seem crazy at first to even try to forgive someone. It is important that we recognize that forgiving someone does not mean that we justify or accept their bad behavior. That is something completely different. 

The definition of forgiveness is: a conscious and deliberate decision to release feelings of vengeance or resentment towards someone. 

One of my favorite talks on forgiveness, talks about an entire community forgiving what many would say is unforgivable. But yet, they did it so perfectly. 

My path to finding forgiveness started out logical. It was a decision that I made. And it was based on the simple truth that Jesus already paid for the sins of those who had trespassed against me. I pondered upon my desire to be forgiven of my sins. And the Lord has told us if we want forgiveness, then we must forgive others. I wondered why that was. 

After a lot of thought, I realized that the Savior has already paid a very high price for the sins of all mankind. If I refuse to accept his sacrifice on behalf of those who have hurt me, it is like me saying that what he did was not good enough. I am demanding more from him and others. I am denying the power of the atonement. 

If I have faith in Jesus Christ, I believe that he will make all things right. This does not mean that we do not hold mankind accountable to the laws that they have broken here on earth. I believe that we need to do that, so that they have an opportunity to repent as well. Sometimes repentance comes when someone hits rock bottom. 

When I accepted Christ's love for all of us, and the reality that his sacrifice did pay for all sins, I was able to forgive. After all, he forgives the 'unforgiveable' in me. Each of us are going to make mistakes. We are all going to fall short. But, we can find healing and wholeness, when we give our pain and burdens to the Lord. They are his anyway. He already bought and paid for them at a really high price. We don't need to withhold what is already his from him. 

I hope that if you are struggling with forgiving someone, that you will remember what the Savior has done for you, and for those that hurt you. The atonement is for both our sins, as well as the pain that we suffer from the sins of others. Turning to him helps us to be able to focus on the love that he offered us, rather than increase our bitterness by never choosing to let those negative feelings go.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

When You Question The Value of a Man

Today I hear so many women saying that they don't need a man. They state that they can get by on their own. In the sense of survival, sure, they can get by. However, I don't want to just get by. I want to fully live.

Looking at current statistics, half of marriages are ending in divorce today. And another glaring trend is a decline in people getting married at all. A lot of people are living with each other for a short time, making babies together, and then splitting up. Some are not even together, they are just hooking up for a night or two, and then parting ways. Even in this situation, they still often become parents.

Because I have had the childhood, and even some of the adulthood that I have had, I know that the value of a good man is priceless. Did I grow up in a perfect home? No,  I did not. I don't think that there really is such a thing. But, because of what I did not have, I realized the value of having it.

It is not my intention to embarrass anyone in my family or who have been in my family with this post. It is my intention to share why I feel the way I do about men. It is also my intention to reveal more of what shaped me to be the person that I am today. As well as talk about how things are still shaping me now. I run the risk of upsetting certain people, but I am taking that risk, because this is about my truth and speaking it.

Being a Child in Divorce

Chances are that about 50% of the people who will read this post will have been through divorce as a child. They will know already how it feels to be in this situation, so I am addressing those who have not been. However, I also know that a lot of children have parents who make sure that they do not feel like they are in the middle, so they have had a very different experience than I have.

My parents were divorced when I was three. There was a lot of tension between them while they were married, and after reading a lot of letters that they had written to each other over the years, I felt that they had made the right decision for them.

Both of them were experiencing a lot of pain, and there were situations that many people would not be able to forgive. I understood. I told myself that they are two different people. They disagree on some things that would make a marriage difficult. They were toxic for each other.

Whenever I was around them, they would tell me how horrible the other parent was. I was told stories about why they were divorced. While these stories may have been true, I was a child. I was being torn apart and told that I needed to choose a side.

Each parent would try to convince me that I needed to live with them and let them have custody of me at different times in my life. At one point, I felt that it was not about loving me at all, but about not having to pay the other parent child support.

I struggled early on with not having my father around. I would make up stories to tell my mom when she picked me up from pre-school about how my dad came to see me and spent the day with me. Of course, it was other girls that were seeing their fathers that I was taking about. I rarely got to see mine.

Eventually, I did try living with my father when I was 17, and the emotional pain that this caused, was intense. I ended up feeling like a burden to both of my parents. This led to other dumb choices on my part. If this was all there was to tell, then maybe my story would not have been too bad to live through, but this was only the beginning.

Both of my parents remarried. My mother remarried when I was 5 years old, and we relocated to Wyoming. The marriage only lasted for 4 months, and one of my adorable sisters came from this union. While this marriage was short, I had one of the best birthday parties that I remember having. There was a lot of good in it, that I wanted to have in my own marriage and life someday. We had family home evening, scripture and prayer, and I was happier than I ever remember being.

I loved being able to see rabbits in my yard, and go with my step dad to watch the antelope run in the valley below. I won a Halloween costume contest, and have many fond memories. However, I will be honest. I resented him for years for ending that marriage.

About three years ago, he came to me and apologized. He understood why I was angry. He too felt that if he would have stuck things out, that I would not have had the childhood I did. He is still a kind and gentle man that I truly look up to. I feel that my sister is lucky to have him as her father. She has had a very different experience than I did. And I am happy that is the case for her.

Eventually, my mom remarried. My father was still enlarging his family with his second wife. This time, the man my mom married was not nice. The five years that she was married to him I lived in Idaho and New Mexico, and they left some of the deepest scars that I have.

I felt that my mom must not have loved me to stay married to that man. Three of my amazing sisters came from this marriage. I honestly still struggle when I reflect on my life with him. I am certain that my sisters do not remember the things that my brothers and I do. And, because they are enjoying their lives, and he is still alive, I am not going to mention everything in detail. But, I will mention what is commonly known.

He was abusive. This is when I learned to never cry. Crying was a weakness. If I cried, he only felt more empowered and things got worse. If I was tough and had no emotions, he left me alone much faster.

 My brothers suffered a lot more than I. He was more physical with them. He would deny us food if we did not have everything that he wanted done. My mother would often sneak a piece of bread into us when he wasn't looking. I would often worry about my brothers and sisters having enough food, so I tried to eat less.

 He was very mean to my cute little sister from my mom's second marriage. I still cry when I think about it. I felt so helpless. I wanted to help her, and my sisters, but I knew exactly how strong he was.

He had left bruises on my arms more than once, and shoved me into things cutting open my leg. He threatened to kill me twice. Once he chased me into the street by my elementary school into oncoming traffic. My 6th grade teacher happened to be in one of the cars and tried to protect me.

Another time, he took me out to the side of the house and pulled out a gun and placed it against my head. Some neighbors saw this happen, and that is why when we left, his gun was taken away for a time. I already learned very early on not to mess with him.

My brothers started to create plans on how to get rid of him. They were tired of being kicked awake and screamed at. They didn't want to be his martial arts practice dummies anymore. I knew that he was hurting his own children. He would put a glass over their mouth to try to quiet their screams. When my mother discovered that what I was saying was true, that he was sexually abusing his own daughters, she left him.

We left all we owned behind and left in the middle of the night. When my grandmother passed away, my mother was given the picture I drew when we arrived at my grandmother's house. It has an eagle soaring over the mountains with the sun just rising. It says, "Free at Last. Thank God Almighty."

When I was 16, my mom remarried again. This marriage lasted ten years. He had some interesting quirks, and he was self abusive. He would often hit himself and pull his hair when he got upset. The way he acted really scared me, and that is why I went to live with my father.

I lived with my father for only 9 months. There is a lot I could write about just that part of my life, but I will say that it was very difficult. It was hard to adjust to different rules, I struggled with my mom feeling that I did not love her, and I struggled with feeling like an outsider in my father's family. I love my step mom and brothers and sisters, but I never really got to feel like part of the family, and that is still the case today.

Going Through Divorce as a Parent

I got married at 19, so I was only in the home for 3 years of my mom's marriage. I never really connected with her husband other than with music.

He was a stranger to me most of the time. After their marriage ended, my mom remarried, and that marriage lasted about 3 years. The situation was about the same. I never connected much with my step dad. I had already had shut that door.

I went through divorce after being married 14 years. (I will write about that another time.) I stayed in that marriage because I did not want to be my mother. For me, divorce was failing at that time. The reality is, the marriage should have never taken place, but I wanted to escape. I thought I could live "happily ever after" by getting out of my mother's house.

A short while later, I remarried. That marriage lasted 2 years. (Also will write about that later). It was devastating on  many levels. I felt that I had become my mother anyway. I learned some hard lessons about judging others, which I want to share, that I will post later as well.

I have now been married for almost a year. When we were married, I was told that I would experience marriage for the first time, and that I needed to look at this marriage as if it was my first and only marriage. The sealer (the man who married us) has been right so far. My experiences have been completely different. My husband has focused a great deal on helping me to heal. He is kind and thoughtful.

We have struggled, just like any blended family does. I am grateful that he is my husband. I am
grateful that he is part of my life. I know that the progress and healing that has occurred recently has a lot to do with the way, and how much he loves me. I have never ever had someone take care of all my needs the way that he does. And it is through him, that I have come to believe that there are good men out there. They are all around us, and they are valuable.

It is my hope, that my children will be influenced for the better by him. Since we have been married, their grades have improved tremendously, they have begun to blossom as well, and they are excelling in so many different areas. Spiritually, physically, artistically, and so many other ways. As I watch him help raise and discipline the children, I see the childhood I wish that I would have had. And somehow, it helps me continue to heal to see him love them. He helps them with their homework, repairs their computers, helps with their chores, focuses on their needs, it is just a beautiful thing.

Even before he came along, I knew the importance of a father. I knew that having a man involved in my life mattered. Boys need a good man to train them how to be good, hardworking men and how to treat women in their lives; girls need a good man to show them how they should expect to be treated; that they are always loved, so that they do not seek approval and acceptance outside of themselves.

When I lived in Missouri, I wrote a song to deal with all of the emotions that I felt about my childhood involving fathers not being there. That it seemed like they were always leaving. It was when I was 14, that I realized that I had a Father in Heaven who loved me ALL the time no matter what! And that he was not going to ever leave me. It is my relationship with HIM that has gotten me through everything in my life. It is because of him, that I am who I am today. He took every single trial and tribulation and used it for my good. And for that I am grateful.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

When Being Molested is Part of Your Life Story

Until this moment, there are very few people that know about my childhood. I am the kind of person that usually has a very tight, inner circle of people that I actually will trust and talk to about what I really think and feel.

I have been able to enjoy having a lot of great friends and acquaintances in my life, but I have not let too many people in at all. In fact, I usually would be the person that everyone else brings their troubles and worries to. This doesn't bother me, I enjoy it. I love being able to help others overcome their pain and disappointment in life.

Over the last several months, I have been striving to be more open about who I am, what shaped me into who I am today, and what I really think about things. I hate conflict, and will go along to get along to avoid it. However, I have reached a point where I just want to be me. I want to be myself. I do not care if who I am offends people right now. I just need to do this for me, so that I can continue to grow and progress in this life.

Right now, I feel that it is important that I talk about the things that I have hidden throughout my life. The pain that I have experienced. Prior to now, I have written a booklet that I self published that mentions some things. I am currently working on a novel, that goes into my experiences a lot more, but those experiences are not clearly stated like they happened. They are written in a fairytale/fantasy world way.

A few days ago, I realized that I was still hiding. I was writing about things, but I was not really revealing things. I determined to have more courage. To tell my stories. To reveal those things that I kept as secrets. Recently, I have had many friends and associates talk openly about abuse that has happened to them. One of them has been working through things very openly and on social media.
Utah Wolf Productions

I personally am sharing my stories to help others. I do not want those who are being abused to stay quiet. I want those who are still healing to find people that they can turn to, to talk about it. I want them to hold the people who abused them accountable. And then, I want them to find forgiveness, for themselves. That is why I am sharing one of my stories of sexual abuse. When I feel moved to write, I will share more of them.

There is a small little brown brick house in Orem, Utah. Whenever I am visiting that area, I still drive by it sometimes. It is easy for me to spot. It is a dark brown brick, and has the house number 69 on it made from old wood.

I have many memories there. Some that are good, some that built faith, but many that caused me pain. In one of my books that I started to write and never published, I referred to it as the "Monster House." I had memories of a private school teacher leaving bruises on my arms while I lived there. I remember having several pets die in the short time I lived there as well. I nearly choked a couple of times as well. I stumbled on some stray cat's frozen dead kittens in the garage one morning. It was one of the saddest memories that I had there. Looking back, I understand that at 4 years old, this was a lot to go through. But, there is one thing and one thing only that determined what I called it, and that was being molested.

My parents had been divorced over a year. I was living with my mother and two younger brothers. My mother dated a lot. One particular night, she decided that she was going to go out. I do not know if I just went to bed early, or if she left after we were asleep, but I was not aware that she was gone..

I was lying warm and cozy in my bed. I suddenly felt an uncomfortable feeling, and I woke up. I noticed that the hall light was on, and both of my brothers were laying on the floor in the hallway outside my door.  I felt a different presence in the house. I was filled with fear. I heard creeping footsteps coming down the hall. I instinctively knew that they were not my mother's. Her step was much lighter than those were.

I saw a dark shadow fill the doorway. I was terrified. I could not see any features at all. I could just tell that it was an older boy. I was not sure why he was there. I did not dare call out for my mother. I simply decided to pretend to be asleep and hoped that he would go away.

He didn't. Instead, he came right up to my bed. He pulled down my covers a little ways. I held my breath. I thought that if I pretended to be dead, that he would just leave me alone. It was then that he slid his hand into my panties. He touched me for a short while. I immediately thought about what to do. I wanted to get away, but did not know how. I decided to pretend to be waking up. I started to moan and make sounds. I quickly rolled over and shoved myself between my mattress and the wall. I kept going down the side of the bed, until I knew that I was unreachable. He left the room.

I was so shocked, I did not know what to do. I did not tell my mother or discuss it with anyone. A few days later, while I was at my grandmother's house playing on the floor with my brothers, she said to my mother, "Something is wrong with Charity." My mother decided to take me in the other room and ask me if something was wrong. I told her. I honestly do not remember how much I told her, but I remember that I let her know that I had been molested by the male babysitter that had come to the house.

My mother was not sure what to do. At that time, abuse was not talked about much. She did go to our church leader and talk about it. However, she was told that I probably made it up. She never went to the police, and that was the end of what was done about it. I do not blame anyone for the lack of support or therapy, they had no idea what to do. I do not know if my mother knows the name of the older boy who did this or not, but even if I knew his name, I would not smear it in the mud right now. This is not that kind of post.
Little Me Before Being Sexually Abused

For years, I felt that something was 'wrong' with me. I believed that I was 'broken'. I felt unworthy of love, and I trusted very little. Other experiences of abuse also occurred after this, which caused me to become even more silent and withdrawn. Those who feel they know me well are shocked to learn anything about my past, or my childhood. They can't believe that I could go through all I have, and be the person that I am. And while it definitely is the most painful types of experiences to go through, I have accepted that I am who I am because of it. And I like who I am today. However, it took a long and painful journey to get to this point.

If you have been abused in anyway, there are some things that I want to say to you:

  • It is NOT your fault.
  • There is NOTHING wrong with YOU.
  • You are NOT broken, you just need to HEAL.
  • You DO NOT just need to survive, you can still live.
  • Learn to TRUST again. (not the abuser, but others)
  • TELL Someone (No matter how long it has been since it happened)
  • SEEK Professional help
  • FIND a support system 
  • Your LIFE is not over.
  • You are NOT dirty
  • You are STILL you
  • You can OVERCOME the side effects.
  • You are Worthy of Love
  • You are Loved
  • Learn to Love Yourself Again

I am not going to go into all the ways that being molested affected me in this post. I am sure that it will come out bit by bit as I continue to share my life story with you. However, I want to also say that knowing these things I mentioned above can limit the negative side effects. It is important to reach a point of wholeness so that you can enjoy your life fully. 

Being molested did take away my innocence at that age. I did not have that care free attitude inside that most kids do who are not molested. The world became a dark and scary place for me early in my life. However, I determined as an adult, that I was not going to let him rob me of the rest of my life. It was not until I was in my late teens that I realized decisions I made and struggles that I had that were rooted in this one experience. And that is why I share this with you now. If I can help one person find healing sooner, then it is worth it.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Dealing With Grief After The Death of Your Child

It was November of 1997. I was working as an assistant manager in the local grocery store deli. I had already worked that morning, but the manager was out of town, and the employee who was supposed to work that day had not shown up for her shift. I was called in to relieve the other employee who had also been there all morning with me. I was already exhausted.

 Even though I was about 5 months along in my pregnancy, I had just barely gotten over horrendous morning sickness. My morning sickness had been so violent that at times the blood vessels in my throat would break and blood would come up with the vomit. I had been miserable. However, because I was feeling so much better, I decided to return to work, and was quickly promoted to assistant manager. I was not really happy about going back into work, but I believed in fulfilling my duty, so I went.

 On my way in, I was struck by a man that was running out the in door. He had shoplifted and was trying to outrun security. All I remember is his giant, shiny, silver belt buckle before he hit me. He was much taller than I. When he hit me, everything went black and blurry. I felt disoriented. Once I had gathered my senses, I hurried on to the back of the store to the deli.

 As I was rushing down an aisle, I collided with a cart being pushed by a little old lady. It hit me right in the abdomen. I immediately felt nauseous. I did not know what to do. I felt like I started bleeding. I went back to the counter and I relieved the other employee. Only being 20 years old, and never this far along before, I had no idea what pregnancy danger signs were. I started cramping. I panicked, but decided to call my mom. She came and tried to console me. And at that moment, I realized that this was my son that I was talking about. I decided I needed to go home. I was told that I would be fired. I said that I did not care and left.

 I went home, my mother gave me some herbs to help stop miscarriage. The cramping stopped, and I went on bed rest. I stayed on bed rest for the next two weeks. During this time, I kept telling my husband and my mother that I thought something was wrong. I did not feel the baby move anymore. I asked questions about what if the baby was dead etc. I had an ultrasound scheduled, so I determined to see the doctor then.

 When my husband and I arrived for the ultrasound, I went through the regular check in procedure. I was told that white blood cells had been found in my urine. I was not sure what that meant at the time. I waited to be seen by the technician. As soon as she started the ultrasound, I knew that my son was dead. It was obvious to me. I could see that he had no heartbeat and that is mouth was open. The technician said she needed to go and get the doctor.

While she was gone, I tried to break the news to my husband. I tried to tell him that our son was dead. He did not believe me. He thought I was being paranoid. So, when the doctor broke the news to him, he completely broke down. My focus turned to comforting him. That is just how I was at the time. I felt like I had to be the strong one. I had to be tough and be the rock that he needed. I knew that my battle was far from over. I would still have to go through labor. I knew that I was going to have to face a lot of things.

I am very pro life, so when the doctor suggested inducing labor immediately, I was scared. I was concerned about whether or not he was really dead. It was surreal for me. I questioned if maybe I just saw him dead because that is what I expected. I wondered if somehow his heart could start beating again. The last thing I wanted to do was kill my own son. I spoke with several family members and my mother questioned the doctor about my concerns. Once I came to terms with what I was going to have to do, I agreed to go to the hospital and be induced. After all, he had been dead over 2 weeks, and I did not want to end up dying myself.

On Dec. 9, 1997 I went to my local hospital. The first nurse told me that she would stay by me and help me. I told her that I knew that the baby was breech. She told me not to worry about that, that she would help turn him when that time came. After getting my IV started, the nurse returned and told me that my doctor's office had called in a nurse just for me, and that they were going to move me to an area of the hospital that was more quiet and private. At first, this sounded like a very kind thing to do for me.

I had no idea, that the nurse that was coming in for me was going to make this painful experience even harder for me. Somehow, in my young life, I had gotten the impression that a real woman doesn't cry during labor. She is tough and just does what she needs to do. I had a lot of questions and concerns, but I did not voice any of them, because I felt like I had no idea what I was doing, and I thought about everyone else's needs at the time.

My father, mother, step mother, brothers, and paternal grandparents were there, along with my husband. I really wanted to just be alone and cry about what was happening, but I never said a word about that. The nurse came in a started my pitocin. She also gave me a vaginal suppository to speed up the softening and thinning of my cervix. The contractions did not feel that much different to me than cramping had since I hit puberty. I have endometriosis, so at times the pain would be so great, that I had to get injections at the ER just to make the cramping tolerable. It usually knocked me out.

I felt like the cramping I had experienced for years somehow prepared me for this moment. My father kept track of the length of the contractions and how far apart they were. Things started happening very rapidly. The doctor was on his way to the hospital still, so the nurse was trying to slow things down. She would come into my room, and try to push my legs shut and tell me to try not to labor. This made me furious. I felt like she did not care about me at all. She constantly kept leaving the room. She did not explain where she was going.

I knew that my son was going to need to be delivered soon. Just as I started to feel intense pressure balling up in my uterus, my water broke. I told everyone in the room. My father, brothers, and grandparents left the room and went to wait in the hallway. Just as I felt that anxious feeling that the baby was coming, I heard a woman start screaming. I heard what sounded like a vacuum or loud suction being used. She started screaming about wanting to be able to walk out of the hospital when she left, and that she didn't want them to hurt her baby. This terrified me. I felt even more panic than I did before. I hid my emotions, like I always did. I am sure that no one in that room knew what was going on inside my head.

I told my mother that I think that he is starting to come out. She and my stepmother came to my aid. My mother told me that he was breech. She and my stepmother worked together to deliver everything except for his head. Right then the nurse came in and my stepmother excused herself. I was told that she had not expected my baby to look like a baby, and it was a bit much for her.

 At this point, I just wanted to hit the nurse. I wanted a fly swatter to hit her with. I have no idea why I that was my weapon of choice. As she got between my legs to assess what to do next, her bushy hair was in just the right spot that I could have grabbed it and gave it quite a tug. And I wanted to! I wanted to pull her hair. I had felt abandoned by her, and she was the last person that I wanted to have in my room.

I felt another contraction, and I started to push. The nurse told me to push, and I said to her, "I am you idiot." Which shocked even me. Once my son was born, she quickly whisked him away. My mother pulled the sheet over me, and everyone came back into my room, except my grandparents, they had left. Shortly after that, the doctor arrived. He told everyone that we were just waiting for me to deliver the after birth. I explained to him that I already had. He was surprised, came over to lift the sheet, and grabbed the placenta. He then proceeded to give everyone an education about where the baby was and how everything worked.

I was a little surprised at this, but was exhausted, so I decided I just did not care anymore. After everyone left, the nurses brought my my son. He looked like a miniature adult. He did not have all that cute baby fat. He looked like a small man. I was shocked by this. But at the same time, I was amazed that he was so perfectly formed. I noticed that he had trauma to his head, which I knew that was how he died. However, the doctors did not want to believe that my accident at work had killed him. They tried to test me for German Measles, a negative RH factor and whatever else, and of course, all those tests came back as not the way he died.

When one of the nurses was showing me my son, she accidentally pulled part of his nose off. She asked me if I wanted to hold him. I was not sure what was "OK" to do, or how I should feel. I was scared, and so I told her no. They gave me medication to help me sleep and I slept through the night.

In the morning, other family came, including my in laws (at the time). A volunteer came and brought me a little hat, baby blanket, angel pin, and talked to me about my son. They asked me if I wanted to bury him. I wanted to. My in laws told me that it was too expensive. That he was really small, so it was not worth it to bury him. I felt pressured to do what they wanted, and so I agreed to let him be incinerated at the hospital. I regret not burying my son. Not taking the time to hold him.

With how others were responding to his death, I was afraid to feel anything. I want anything. Many people acted like it was no big deal, that he was not a baby. It made things all the more painful. When I was asked if I was going to name him by the hospital staff, I hesitated. At this point, I felt like I shouldn't name him because of those acting like nothing had just happened. As I was pondering about this, I heard a whisper. "His name is Ammon." I told the nurse that his name is Ammon.

As I gathered my things to leave the hospital, I took a moment to look at my reflection in the mirror by the door. I was shocked to see that I looked somewhat angelic. I made a mental note to never again judge someone by their appearance. We never know what they may have just been through.

 I struggled with Ammon's death. I had miscarried right before this pregnancy, and I was certain I was not going to have any children. All my life, all I wanted to be when I grew up was a mother. I was devastated. I had a friend who had been baptized the same day as I contact me and tell me that she had her son die as well about six months before mine. I found great comfort in the information that she had to share with me, and books that she told me to read.

I got an angel statue to remember Ammon by, and everywhere I moved I planted a rose bush for him and put the angel by it. When my youngest was born in 2001, someone stole that angel right off my front porch. I took time to create a baby book for him, and did anything that came to mind to help me cope and grieve privately. Even after I had children, I struggled with going to church on Mother's Day. I hated Halloween. All the references to death just really depressed me.

I held a lot of pain, grief and disappointment in for years. Eventually, I opened up and talked about it more.

 After a few years, I wrote a song to help me get through it. I had experienced several miscarriages after his death, and I wanted to work through the feelings about all of them.

I posted it online, and discovered other women going through the same thing found comfort in it. People who found it share with people that they cared about who were grieving. I decided last year to make it a lyric video and share it on YouTube so that other grieving parents could find it.

Doing this has helped me heal more than anything. It gives me a greater purpose for my pain. Talking about my son, remembering him every year, and sharing his song to help others has helped me. Grief is a very personal process, it is going to be different for everyone. It is my hope, that if you are reading this because you are grieving, that my song will help you too.