Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Lift My Spirits So That I May Be Of Use

Happy are they who know good and do good.
Their love for the good feeds them continually.
They are like trees planted near the river,
whose roots go deep and wide.
They thrive, bear fruit in season, and
weather drought without wilting.
Those who are not so grounded
will blow around like dry leaves in the wind.
Root yourself in Good, and live. 
Psalms 1

It is amazing how some baby loss mamas decide to honor their baby by giving something of themselves to help others through this continual journey of finding a new normal. I have discovered so many helpful websites and programs and there are too many to cover in one blog post so today I will focus on three women who have all lost a baby and who have helped me immensely the past 6 1/2 months, not to mention the countless mothers they have helped and continue to help find peace. 

Jennifer Stocks~ My Tangible Peace

On October 8th, 2000, Jennifer lost her daughter named Madison Grace to SIDS. She creates beautiful custom sculptures with your babies likeness for an affordable price. Here is an excerpt from her website.
“Now I pour my heart and soul out here because I have learned some things about myself and about the whole grieving process during the past decade. The first thing that I have learned is that there is just not enough information out there for bereaved parents. I'm not talking internet, but more along the line of books, studies, and reports, the things that are out there really only cover the first two years of loss not how to survive your lifetime. 

The second thing that I have discovered is that I have found the tangible piece that I have been searching for. A friend emailed me a forward of Camille Allen's hand sculpted, "Marzipan Babies". Now, with a little more research I've learned that these creations are not made from marzipan, but out of polymer clay.

As of this year (2011) I am proud to announce that I have finished my 671th piece. I still enjoy my quality time spent pushing and sculpting my beige clay.  When it comes to grieving there are no rules or guidelines. What I have learned from my research is that bereaved parents go out seeking pieces or memento's of their deceased children. They search for that tangible piece that will forever keep that child physically close. Although the memories will always be there, it's in that physical, touchable, loss that is the hardest for the parents to cope with. For years I would scan the shelves of stores, craft fairs, whatever, for SOMETHING that would bring a piece of her back to me. Every now and then I would indeed see something and I would buy it but it wouldn't give me the peace that I was so desperately searching for, it only satisfied that desire for a short time. By making these little guys I have found my peace, My Tangible Peace, and I want to share them with whoever is interested.”
She created this beautiful miniature sculpture of Marcus for us in December. I cherish it and I am so thankful she is there to offer this meaningful service.
You can find her here http://www.freewebs.com/mytangiblepeace/ and here http://www.etsy.com/shop/mytangiblepeace

Carly Marie Dudley~ Christian’s Beach
Here is a recent news article about what Carly does, it is much more concise and clean than I could be if I attempted to describe it. She wrote Marcus name in the sand in November, 2011.

By Margaret Price, Wanneroo Times 
Healing hands... Carly Dudley with her husband Sam and children Ocea (2), River (4) and Scarlett (6). Picture: Bruce Hunt

WHEN Carly Dudley began writing the names of deceased children in the sand at local beaches three years ago, little did she know the journey it would take her on.
Now, more than 14,000 names later, Carly’s special “ministry” has generated many other initiatives, which bring comfort to grieving families.
These include “memory boxes” and miscarriage gift packs for King Edward Memorial Hospital, memorial services, a Luminous Light friendship group and a card service for special anniversaries, such as a due date or birthday.
Carly and husband Sam, of Banksia Grove, created Christian’s Seashore in 2008 in memory of their son who was stillborn on Australia Day in 2007.
They also have three daughters, Scarlett (6), River (4) and Ocea (2).
A dream inspired Carly to write “lost babies” names in the sand, usually at sunset, to honour their lives.
An initial three names from the dream quickly became 70 and then 2500 as word of the ministry spread worldwide via the internet.
Carly loads a photograph of each name on her site with words of remembrance from families as far away as the United States, Israel, China and Europe who want to remember a child, including miscarriages, on a “beautiful West Australian beach”.
The couple believe the service has helped their own grieving process while offering comfort to others who may have nowhere else to turn.
“I think what Carly does shows there is still so much beauty in life although you might not feel that way at the time and for a long time after you lose a child,” Sam said.
“She shows there is so much to live for.”
Depending on the weather, Carly spends several hours at Mullaloo Point most nights of the week responding to requests, which flood her website.
“I write an average of 25 names a night,” she said.
Carly said the “massive snowball effect” of initiatives from the ‘names in the sand’ project, such as the Luminous Light friendship group and memorial services, filled a need among bereaved families.
She said Luminous Light was a place for mothers of lost babies and children to “hang out” together, and to assemble packs including blankets, candles, photo-frames and teddy bears for the newly bereaved.
“On August 19 every year, the anniversary of when I started writing names in the sand, we deliver the memory boxes to King Edward hospital,” she said.
“This year we filled the entire chapel with boxes.”

Rebekah Brewer Mitchell~MEND

Rebekah Brewer Mitchell is the founder and president of the MEND (mommies enduring neonatal death) organization which is a ministry that reaches out to women who have lost a baby due to miscarriage, stillbirth, or early infant death.  Her son Jonathan was born and died on June 25th, 1995. One year after losing her son she decided to create a legacy for him by creating MEND to reach out to other women struggling to find a way to live without their children in their arms. 

Since then the organization has put on a walk to remember every year in which a beautiful ceremony is held during the month of October to acknowledge and remember our babies. Families set up booths with the tangible memories they have of their angles and everyone gets a chance to talk about their lost children. Each family who registers for the walk gets an ornament with their babies name, during the ceremony when your babies name is called you get to walk to this beautiful tree and hang your ornament. The walk ends with a breathtaking balloon release where pink balloons are released for baby girls, blue for baby boys and white for unknown gender. Families can write messages on the balloons and you can invite any friends or family who want to come so it is a great way to involve extended family in remembering and honoring your baby.

The walk came for us just three months after we had lost our Marcus and it was so incredibly healing. It was a very emotional day and I have a separate blog post about it if you would like to read more about our particular experience but it was so encouraging to see mommies lifting their subsequent children up to the tree to hang their baby’s ornaments.
The second wonderful event that MEND puts on is the Candlelight Christmas Ceremony. This is a smaller more intimate event where families come to remember their babies during the holidays. Holidays are a very difficult time for most baby loss mamas and Christmas especially. This quiet and peaceful ceremony is a wonderful way to take a step back during the busy holiday season and have a whole night to reflect on your baby’s life. 

For more regular support a MEND support group led by Rebekah meets once a month in Irving as well as several other helpful groups such as a subsequent pregnancy group and an infertility group. Every quarter Rebekah’s husband Byron comes to the meeting to lead the daddy’s group where the men can have a chance to talk about their feelings separate from the main group. On facebook MEND has created a closed group where you can talk with other women going through the same thing on a daily basis. Both the support group and the facebook group have been a tremendous help for Marc and I during this hard time. We went to the first meeting available after Marc died and we have not missed a regular group meeting since. The subsequent pregnancy group is also wonderful since we are pregnant with our second child. Subsequent pregnancies are a scary time and it is so important to have other moms who know what you are going through.
I cannot thank Rebekah enough for all the hard work she has put into the organization she created over the past 16 years. MEND has spread from the DFW area to many other locations as well and continues to touch the lives of everyone who is lucky enough to find their way here after a loss.
Please check out the MEND website for more information about this wonderful organization. http://www.mend.org/support/home.asp

Baby Marc's Stocking Project-Part 2

For Christmas I had emailed all of our friends and family and asked for them to please do one act of kindness in honor of my sweet baby Marcus and to email me a letter with what they did so that we could open them on Christmas morning and be comforted. My mom and I had to take turns reading because we were each getting so emotional.  By the time the letters were finished more than an hour later everyone in the room including the men were in tears. 
If you know you sent something but are not mentioned here please resend me your email if you still have it in your sent box. Something happened and some of my emails got deleted after I read them. I know I have a few people that I am missing here and I would love to print out your emails and save them in my memory box as well as add you to this list.
Thank you so much to everyone who was thoughtful enough to take the time to write us. These letters will be cherished for years to come. I have included everyone who participated and a short excerpt from their letter. I hope no one is upset with me for making these public but I just love to share and these are too great to keep all to myself. 

Tyler Fetter-(baby Marc’s Uncle) Tyler lives on an air force base in Florida, he tried to do lots of little things like stopping to pick up an airmen who needed a ride back to the BX. He also made donations to the angel tree to help young children.

He wrote:”I just want you to know how much I love you and how excited I am for this new life you are now bringing into the world. As happy as it makes me, I know nothing will ever replace Baby Marc, and no one would wish it so. There is no way to measure or weigh a life, but it can be said that it is not the number of years we live, but the mark we leave upon the world. Baby Marc left such a mark in all of us who love him and through us he touches the lives of others. Though it is no fair trade, I truly hope the small things we remember and the little things we do in his name bring you some small comfort when it is the hardest. When I go, I hope to have left the world in a better state than I found it. It’s not right, it should be different, and I can’t even imagine how much pain you face daily from his loss. But in the end, that’s what he has done, and he will live forever in our hearts.”

Walter and Wendy Windrich: (baby Marcs Mimi and Opa), & Tori and Evie Windrich (baby Marc’s Aunties)- baby Marc’s grandparents did so many acts of kindness including helping a woman with her groceries, giving directions to people who were lost and other little everyday acts of kindness. My mom spotted a grandmother with her six month old grand baby and they struck up a conversation. She had the pleasure to tell her about baby Marc, she says that every time she shares her loss with others she hopes they will hug their children a little tighter thanks to his memory.

They also adopted a little boy with the same name as baby Marc and purchased all of his wants and needs from the Salvation Army angel tree.
As a family Tori and Evie decorated lots of Christmas cards and took them to the Conservatory Senior Living Center and handed them out while visiting with the seniors. They were so thankful to have them there!
Evie wrote: 
"Dear Baby Marc, For the few hours you were alive those were the best hours of my life. You will always be in my heart, even though I don't show my emotions well I am still very sad. Just  know all of us still think about you and love you very much!
(then she drew a picture of an actual human heart and drew a space for everyone of us including baby Marc inside.)

Tori wrote: "Since your mommy started the RAOK in your honor, I've been doing some things for you, things that are kind to others that I normally would not do. First off, I did the main Christmas card thin with my family, but I did some little things too. For instance, Evie was watching a movie so I took both dogs out for her and that was not pretty. I've also tried to be kind by not complaining when asked to do something. I helped shape cookies and did until there was no dough left even though I would have rather been on the computer. I know that is not much but I still love you and you are always with me and you will never be gone completely. Jena-I love you so much!"
My mom wrote:”We have heard of people who would pay for others items in line behind them at fast food establishments and we had always talked about it but never did it. This year we went through the drive through at Starbucks and noticed a woman behind us with two small children, when we got to the window we asked the Barista if we could please pay for the woman behind us and tell her Merry Christmas. I watched out the back window as she tried to pay but he refused her card and pointed in our direction. The look of shock on her face was enough to make us feel very happy. I didn’t think that it would be as good of a feeling doing something so small for someone else. I am happy that baby Marc’s memory can be carried on with random acts of kindness.”

Jessica Murray-(baby Marc’s Auntie) Jessica offered to let a girl from work who had a flat tire use her extra tow from her service plan on her car. She offered to help a woman who looked like she was having trouble with her groceries. She was driving on the highway one day and someone was trying to speed up to merge in front of her and she instinctively sped up as well thinking, “This person is not going to get in front of me!” Then she thought about baby Marc and the project and something clicked. She slowed down and let the person in front of her. While she was at Target she was in a hurry and was rushing to the line that seemed the shortest when a lady came from out of nowhere and got in line at the same time. She thought about just stepping up to the line since she was in a hurry but she thought of baby Marc and let the woman go first. The woman went from angry to very grateful in a split second. Jessica says she is going to continue to take a step back and think of baby Marc and the joy he brought us in his short life and realize that there are more important things that getting to the line first or being in front of a pushy car.

She wrote:”Marc has taught me to cherish every moment we have and to focus on what really matters instead of worrying about all the small things. He has made me realize how precious life is and how easily plans can change. He has shown me how strong of a person my big sister is, which makes me feel like I can accomplish anything if I have someone in my life to look up to. Driving home I was thinking about all the people in the world who rush about their day and take little consideration of the people around them. I know because I have been guilty of this as I am sure most people have. Because of baby Marc, I am a better person overall.”

Nora Biggs McMahon-Nora included her whole family in baby Marc’s stocking project and told her children to think of what they wanted to do in honor of him.

            Watch out! Every one of these stories made us cry!
Shiloh-her son Shiloh noticed a Salvation Army bell ringer outside in the cold and was upset that he had to stand out in the cold all day. He asked if he could go to the food court and get the man some hot chocolate and cookies. He brought the man the snack and then offered to ring the bell while the man warmed up and ate, they gave the man a five minute break and the man told them that no one had even said hi to him all day! He told them he had never been offered kindness like that before. On the way home Shiloh said, “I’m pretty sure that baby Marc thought that was awesome. I bet he is smiling, but he probably wants cookies too.” (Seriously now, how can that not make you tear up?)
Sofie-her daughter noticed that one of her classmates at school is very poor. She is a very observant little girl and was bothered that her friend only has one pair of “broken” shoes and she often wears the same clothes more than once a week. When Nora asked Sofie what she wanted to do for baby Marc she would not tell her. Two weeks later on the last day of school, Sofie put 2 pairs of her shoes, 5 shirts, 1 skirt, 2 jeans, and 2 sweaters into a Kroger bag. She put the bag in her backpack and also put a bag full of food from their pantry into her backpack. Finally she put her new Barbie doll that was still in the box into her stuffed pack and took it to school. Nora got a call from Sofie’s teacher later that day asking if she knew that Sofie had brought all this stuff to school. She did not. When she went to the school to get it back she took Sofie in the hall to ask why she had brought all this stuff and began giving her a lecture on why not to take all these things to school when Sofie interrupted and said “Shhh mom, talk quiet, if she knows it was me that brought the stuff it won’t be random.” Nora said “what do you mean?” Sofie said “Mom this is for baby Marc, I am giving this stuff to Shaleeka but she can’t know that it is from me.” Nora explained to the teacher and the teacher was in tears. Sofie later told Nora
“momma, it is supposed to be random; you can’t talk about it anymore. It is just for me and baby Marc to know about so my friend doesn’t feel sad that she can’t give me stuff too.” <3
Brayden-Chose a baby angle from the tree at Fort Campbell and chose to earn the money for the gifts himself. In 18 days he earned $63.50 and spent all of it on his angel baby. He did odd jobs for friends and neighbors like raking leaves, taking out trash and washing cars. He went door to door explaining that he was raising money for the baby he picked from the tree. He told them about baby Marc and that he wanted to make sure his act of kindness was “good enough.” He was excited because they shopped at the PX so they did not have to pay taxes so every penny went to his angel baby.
Nora-Noticed that a woman with three small children was shopping at the grocery store and adding up everything she was putting in her cart with a calculator. She overheard the woman’s phone conversation and the woman was saying that she was getting the food they needed but that would leave nothing left so the kids would just be getting one small present each. Nora was saddened by this because if they just got one which would be from mommy and which would be from Santa. She kept passing her and noticed the woman was putting things back on the shelf, checking coupons every time and looked very sad. Her husband Steven checked out their groceries while Nora purchased a TJ Max gift card and an Applebee’s gift card and secretly told the check out person to swipe her card for the woman’s items. Nora slipped out before the woman could see her and heard the cashier tell the woman that her things had been paid for and watched him give her the gift cards. As she was leaving she saw the woman crying and hugging her oldest child.

Amber Wilson-(baby Marc’s Auntie) Tried to have a more forgiving and loving attitude this Christmas. She has very bad road rage... she let at least 5 cars cut in front of her every day in traffic when she drove home. That adds up to a LOT of people cutting in front of her!!!! But every time she thought of Marcus she would try to be a little nicer. She also paid for dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings for me and Marc and anonymously paid for three soldiers sitting at another table.
She wrote “I love you both very much and all of you babies (especially LK). I hope that 2012 beings happiness and peace. And I can't wait to meet Baby #2 (Olivia)!!!”

Kali Kundomal- Kali is the mommy to an angel, she lives in Roswell, NM child neglect and abuse is prevalent. She purchased baby toys, baby dining ware, sippy cups, toddler learning games, and paint and paint brushes for the organization CASA (court appointed special advocates)and their "Giving Tree" project.

She wrote: “I hope your Christmas is filled with as much joy as possible. I will be praying for peace for you during this holiday season!”

Melissa Autry- Melissa is the mommy of an angel named Lauren. Her family put together little stocking gifts with girl or boy ornaments and placed them on the graves of the babies where their daughter is buried. They delivered 48 gifts to the graves in baby land.

She wrote: “It is so unfortunate that we had to meet this way, I wish it was in a playgroup or our children were in daycare together or something of that nature, but I know that as long as I have supportive people such as you near me, my family will have the strength to go forward with our lives with Lauren in our hearts.”

Nikki Sharnbroich- Have been helping a family who has a father/husband that is losing his battle to cancer, they adopted two families for the holidays, they made it a goal to stop and acknowledge every homeless person they saw...they made kits for their car with socks, gloves, food, hand/foot warmers and some cash that they could easily hand out to them, they bought a grocery store gift card for a family who is living out of their car, donated groceries to the foodbank, etc... 

She wrote: “What an incredible legacy that you have created for your sweet Baby Marc...I have followed your blog and your Facebook page from when you were pregnant and you have been such an inspiration.  I cannot imagine losing one of my children but have lost my dear niece Hayley a few months after her birth, she is always on my mind and has made me and my family all better people.  I have shared your blog with my sister-in-law and you have really helped her...she loves the Baby Marc stocking project.”

Rori Calloway- Rori is the mommy of two twin angels named Sebastian and Liam, she made ornaments for Priscilla in memory of her angel babies Hope and Faith.

Elizabeth & Ray Napolitan- Spent time helping out at the local soup kitchen.

She wrote: “The past year has taught us a lot and not taking things, friends and life for granted is one of them.”

June Lake- Donated a gift to a family in need.

She wrote: “I hope this makes their Christmas a little brighter and yours too. I wish you both a Merry Christmas and wonderful New Year!”

Adrianna Napaluch- Adrianna is the mommy of an angel named Avery; she brought change to the NICU vending machines at MCA.

She wrote: “I hope the thought of this change helping another family with a baby fighting for their life brings you warmth, hope, and healing this holiday without your beautiful son.  Baby Marc, you will always be remembered and loved. I am sorry that we never got to meet. Your mommy is an amazing woman who has helped me so. ”

Carrie Walsingham- Carrie is the mommy of an angel named Ayden, she held open doors for people, returned shopping carts to the store rather than the shopping cart return and helped people with their shopping. She tried to be a more courteous driver and smile rather than yell when others were not so nice.   Each time she was thinking of Marc.  Not sure that any of it was enough to honor him she kept thinking.  So in memory or my sweet baby boy she walked around the grocery store and gave away coupons to other shoppers. Then at the grocery store she attached diaper and formula coupons so that the next person could have them.

She wrote "Today I spent the morning thinking of your sweet boy.  I must say I think of him and you often.  Although we have not met I feel like we have.  Your posts always seem to either reflect what I am feeling or something I have felt in the past, but had no clue how to express. My heart overflows with joy for you and your husband.  My rainbow babies are my greatest blessing and I love being able to tell them about their big brother in heaven." 

Ressa McCray- Rescued an adorable little dog from the Denton Animal Shelter.

She Wrote: “We will be thinking of you guys as you open Baby Marc’s stocking and read all the kind acts. Sounds like the beginning of a wonderful tradition.”

Holly Hungerford-Kresser and Family- Donated $50 to the local chapter of MEND  in Baby Marc's name.

She Wrote: “I continue to think of both of you daily, sometimes hourly, sending you all the prayers and positive thoughts I can muster. Our births are forever linked in my head, especially since I was blessed to see Baby Marc on a sonogram with Jena. His memory has helped me cherish my own children more and to treasure the memory of being pregnant with our unborn child. Thank you for that; I know grieving publicly is difficult, but it helps others. It really does. We wish you the happiest holiday possible in the midst of your loss.”

Deborah Golden- Bought dinner for everyone at work on her shift.

The Hall Family(Mark, Jen, Ava, and Lilah)- In honor of baby Marc, they went as a family to Cooks Children’s Hospital in downtown with Ava's Daisy Scouts Group and donated new toys for children and babies. They also bought books for the Toys for Tots program.

She wrote: “We hope that you will find a little bit of solace in the fact that you have made the world a better place in Marc's memory, proving that something good can come from something tragic. Merry Christmas - Know we are thinking of you!”

Missy Schuchman- Started a nonprofit organization for her angel Landon and they raised enough money this month to purchase a bench for families to sit on when visiting their angel babies in the baby land section of the cemetery where her son is buried. This bench says in memory of ALL angel
babies gone too soon but never forgotten.

She wrote:”I have a list of babies that were on our mind ready for when the bench is placed. Though the bench has not been placed yet and though we have never met face to face; I read your posts on facebook and Marc has touched my heart. Baby Marc is on our list to read to ourselves when the bench is placed. This bench helps families stay close to their babies and his little life is remembered! God bless
you guys and Merry Christmas!”

Sara and Santosh Regmi- Sara is the mother of two sweet angel babies named Skylar and Samira, her and her husband bought toys and necessities for three needy children this year.

She wrote: “God’s peace and love to you both!”

Julie Edwards- Bought toys for a single mother’s little boy, she dedicated them to Baby Marc.

Megan McGinnis- Megan is the mommy to an angel named Madison, she donated blood hoping to give the gift of life so another parent might be spared our hurt and pain.

Amanda Shaw- Amanda lost her firstborn son Aidan Jackson in 2010, her family donated to the organization Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep. This is a wonderful nonprofit organization that provides free professional photography for babies who have passed away after 20 weeks.  www.nowIlaymedowntosleep.org

She wrote: “I am so happy to hear about your little Rainbow. Having our daughter Abbey this year has been very healing. We love her so much and are thankful for everyday that God gives us with her. I hope for you a very uneventful pregnancy. Don't be afraid of loving this baby for everyday that God gives you together. Embrace every moment, every kick. Don't be afraid of buying things or having dreams for this baby or having baby showers. This baby deserves all the love you have to give. BELIEVE that this baby's destiny is to be in your arms....forever. I wish your entire family, you, your husband, baby Marc and your precious Rainbow a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.”
Melissa Bufe-Melissa is the mommy of an angel baby named Hadley, her family bought a Wal-Mart gift card and Christmas card and gave it to the first family that God led them to.
She wrote: “Inside the card we wrote: "This random act of kindness is in memory of precious babies who went to Heaven this year.  Please think of their parents this Christmas.  Merry Christmas and God Bless!" The family was so appreciative and I know they are thinking of you on this beautiful Christmas Day.”

Claire Miller- Purchased presents for a little girl who had to spend this Christmas in the custody of CPS, she had not been able to be placed with a foster family before Christmas. She asked for a few things including a haircut at a salon. She was able to get her everything off her Christmas wish list.

Robyn and Patrick Martin-Included her two children Zachary and Hattie in helping to honor baby Marc this Christmas, they planted a Lambs ear plant for us. She is going to give us the plant when it starts to grow. LOVE IT!

Priscilla Barrientos- Priscilla is the mommy to twin angels named Hope and Faith, their big sister Violet likes to call them Apple and Blueberry she organized a blanket drive to donate to Hope’s Door Women’s Shelter.
She wrote: “In all of Baby Marc's pictures, he's swaddled lovingly in a beautiful blue blanket.  And, the blanket you made for our Iris was definitely a token of love. I realized that the women and children who are driven to this homeless shelter should have access to a nice and cozy warm blanket too.  A little piece of love to be wrapped up in, love to you both this Christmas weekend.”

Emily Click- Emily is the mommy of an angel named Bentley, she helped a lady at her work out by holding her baby for her even though it was very difficult to hold a baby so soon after her son died.

Nolvia Varela- Nolvia is the mommy of beautiful angel Jacob Teran, she wrote Marc this sweet letter. “I am glad to have met your mom, she’s a wonderful woman and you are so lucky to have her and your daddy.  You were too beautiful! I hope your parents and other family members can have a peaceful day today and take care of your baby sibling coming soon!”

Michele Robertson-purchased a drink for a lady at Starbucks and told her that she was doing an act of kindness for our sweet Marcus.

She wrote:”When I got back into my car the song “Angels among Us” came on the radio…baby Marc is an angel…Merry Christmas.”

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Tangible Things

I got my memorial tattoo for baby Marc is August of 2011, the month after he died but I have not had a chance to include the experience on my blog because I did not start blogging until October. I thought about what I wanted for several weeks. I knew from the start that I had to get something tattooed on my body. Losing my son had changed me, I would never be the same and I needed something that would be an outward symbol of these changes and also a beautiful tribute to my sweet babies brief life. I had thought about his feet print or maybe the Celtic motherhood knot but nothing I looked at seemed to inspire me enough. I wanted something that was colorful and beautiful, not just a simple black tattoo and I knew I wanted it on my foot.  I started looking up meanings of different flowers and my friend Stephanie found the meaning of cherry blossoms and I knew immediately that is what I wanted.  I read this part of the description and was instantly in tears.

The cherry blossom tree is known for its short yet brilliant blooming season which ends with an inevitable fall to the ground. The Cherry Blossom meaning and symbolism is translated into the traditional Japanese Samurai spirit, the belief that life is short and beautiful, like the Cherry Blossom Flower's life span.

How perfect! My sweet baby Marc's life was short but so beautiful. The cherry blossoms are only in full bloom for about one or two weeks out of the year, they are celebrated and cherished. It just seemed like such a wonderful symbolism. Not to mention they also have other meanings that went well.

The cherry blossom tree is one of the most popular good luck symbols in Japanese tradition. Cherry blossom meaning in tattoo also signifies overcoming an obstacle in life. The cherry blossom tree meaning in tattoos signifies fertility and nobility. This is because in ancient Japan, people threw parties to showcase their beautiful blooming cherry trees. And the members of the high society graced these occasions. It is said that the cherry blossom showers a person with love and happiness, thus indicating good luck.

I would have my symbol of baby Marc's short life and also a good luck charm for the future. I drew the tattoo myself and found an awesome artist, Hannah from Royal One Tattoo in Fort Worth. My mom and Amber went with me and they also got a portion of the tattoo that I drew in their foot. My sister Jessica lives in Austin and she got a different design but still cherry blossoms on her side in remembrance of baby Marc. I was glad that my friend Amber agreed to go first because I was nervous. I have one small tattoo of a treble clef and music note on my hip but I got that when I was 19 and it took all of 5 minutes. This was going to take about an hour and a half and although I had just delivered Marc naturally I still feel like I am a wimp when it comes to physical pain. As I waited for Amber to get her tattoo I remember sitting by my mom and breaking down. I was happy that I was there doing something to remember baby Marc but it had only been four weeks and all I could think about was what I should be doing instead. I should not be here getting a tattoo, I thought, I should be at home snuggling with my tiny newborn boy. I got it together and took my turn, it really was not that bad of pain but it was no picnic either.

I don't need physical reminders to think of my sweet boy but it is nice to have them around. I have Marc's pictures all over the house, I had a miniature sculpture made of him, I had his name written in the sand and the picture is hanging in my room as well, I have necklace pendants, buttons, a beautiful snow globe with his picture, he has an in progress scrapbook, and a memory box.  It is nice to have these tangible things around to remember him with and it will be wonderful to have his little brothers and sisters grow up with his presence. Every time I look down at my foot and see my beautiful flowers I think of my sweet Marcus. I have five cherry blossoms in every stage of bloom and a one cherry blossom petal falling to symbolize the brevity of life.