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Archive for December, 2007

This is how our life turned out. My husband and my son Tanner will forever share a birthday on September 28th. The day started out incredibly exciting and ended with the birth of our first angel. I am so glad that I wrote this poem shortly after his birth because I don’t wish to forget one minute of Tannertime.

I hope that every family of an angel can remember the little details. Most are painful memories and can never be repeated because these moments belong only to them. They are special to us and to our angels. This is one poem that is placed in our family scrapbook.

SEPTEMBER 28, 2003 

6 LONG MONTHS

2 PINK LINES

EXCITEMENT, JOY, GOOSEBUMPS

JUNGLE NURSERY

1ST KICKS-MAY 29, 2003

BABY SHOWERS

CONTRACTIONS

TODD’S BIRTHDAY PRESENT

TAKE A SHOWER

CALL DOCTOR

EXCITEMENT, JOY, GOOSEBUMPS

WAITING ROOM

SMALL EXAMINING ROOM

BRIGHT, WHITE FLUORESCENT LIGHTS

FETAL DOPPLER

SILENCE

TODD

OXYGEN MASK

3 NURSES

NO WORDS

SONOGRAM

EXPRESSIONLESS

TODD ASKS

NO, NO, NO

TODD AND I, EV, PARENTS, CARRIE AND RON

NO, NO, NO

SWALLOW HEART

WHISPER, “GOD IS GOOD”

WHITE ROSE ON DOOR

12 HOURS

NURSE TRACY

BABY TANNER

SILENCE

TEARS, LOVE, EMPTINESS

BEAUTIFUL BABY BOY

OUR SON

5 POUNDS 4 OUNCES, 21 INCHES LONG

TANNER LEE WILLIAMS

 Peace Love and Hugs from Above   www.justacloudaway.com

Diana

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Our fourth year Tanner (our stillborn son) has spent Christmas with Jesus. Ever since the first Christmas we have attended a Memory Tree Service provided by Haven and Hope and Healing. http://www.havenofhopeandhealing.org/This is the same support group that helped me walk out of the darkness after Tanner came to us quietly sleeping. I can’t imagine not going to this event because it is now a tradition. By no means it is an event that is full of joy, however it is a time to truly think about our children that are no longer here and safely in the hands of Jesus.

The event is supportive in every way. There are new people and there are people I have known for the 4 years of attending. We have an opportunity to walk up to the Christmas Tree and say a few words about our deceased children, before placing an ornament. It is not easy. This year I was determined to say what was on my mind if it took me 15 minutes to say it. My 3 year old living child would not have known Jesus like he does today if Tanner had not died. It is the honest truth. I am so thankful for my sweet little angel. He has blessed me in so many ways and I love him in such a special way.

These types of events are not light-hearted and I can’t imagine them ever being that way. They are our chance to honor Tanner, to express how he has touched our lives, to support other families who have recently lost their babies, to spread pregnancy and infant loss awareness, for fellowship, keep traditions going, and to remind us that this place is just a stepping stone.

My children in heaven are just a cloud away and we will all be together again www.justacloudaway.com

Peace Love and Hugs from Above

Diana

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 The color white feels so right when designing a garden for a baby angel. Whether your baby passed early in pregnancy or as an infant, a garden of beauty can be created to honor little angels gone too soon. 

When I see white flowers I think pure, sweet, angelic, innocent and uncomplicated. The color white is prevalent in life changing events and bridges the past to the future.  People who have endured near death experiences claim to be surrounded by warm, white lights. We wear white to weddings, to christen our babies and white shirts are worn to funerals by many. White has a true respect and dignity by various cultures.  White flowers not only have meaningful properties, they are the only color that is highly visible at dusk and in the moonlight.  The moonlit or white garden has a classic beauty that transcends time. If your baby passed before their gender was determined, white would be suitable for both. Maybe the early evening hours are significant and reminiscent of your angel. It could have been the time you told your family you were pregnant, when your baby was the most active, or the time you said nighty night to your sweet child.  Whether or not the time of day has relevance, a moonlit garden is more likely to be enjoyed because of work schedules. If you have an existing garden for your angel, I highly recommend adding some white blooms within.   

White flowers display incredible contrast with the dark, lustrous green foliage of certain plants.  This contrast automatically attracts your eyes while brightening a dark space.  Here are some plants that offer this contrast in a shady location; gardenia, otto luyken laurel, hills of snow hydrangea, immortality iris, and winters cupid camellia. Some suggestions for full sun areas are; annual periwinkle, swamp hibiscus, daisy and Diana rose of sharon. 

Not all flower blooms are the same in shape and you may want to explore the different forms that could be significant to you and your baby. The white bleeding heart perennial has heart-shaped blooms that line the stem and the white balloon flower looks as if it could fly into the clouds. There are several white blooms shaped like snowballs; yoshino cherry tree, album rhododendron, hills of snow hydrangea, and snowball viburnum. There are several flower blooms that are bell-shaped which will add a very unique element to the garden. Some of the plant varieties are; pieris, lily of the valley, enkianthus, rabbiteye blueberry, and japanese snowbell tree. A few flowers are shaped like small bottle brushes including; otto luyken laurel, itea and monroe’s white liriope. Other plants have a fringe-type flower with strap-like petals like the fringe tree, white chinese loropetalum and cleome.  

White flowers not only add beauty but also sweet fragrance. This could be one of your favorite scents to breathe in while reflecting upon your child. Some highly intoxicating flowers for sunny areas are; daffodils, crinium, garden phlox, dianthus, oriental lily, hyacinth, peony, sweetbay magnolia, sweet alyssum, petunia, gingerlily and snowball viburnum. Some shade-loving plants are; himalayan sweet box, itea, winter daphne, hollyleaf osmanthus, camellias, and fortune osmanthus. 

You can also include the sense of audio in your baby’s garden. Blown by a gentle breeze, the sound of grass can be very soothing. Ornamental grasses add a fine and delicate texture to the garden and wonderful contrast beside course textured plants. The white, feathery plumes usually stand a bit higher than the strap-like foliage and can be seen from a distance. Grasses are usually drought tolerant, grow in full sun and very easy to maintain. Some good choices are; pampas grass, quaking grass, switch grass and maiden grass. If you have a structure like a fence, vine pole or pergola, you may want to select a vine- like plant to cascade or climb along it. There are several plants to choose from, including; climbing iceberg or sally holmes rose, climbing hydrangea, silver lace vine, armand clematis, alba plena lady bank’s rose, moonflower, hybrid henryi clematis, sweet autumn clematis, perennial sweet pea vine, star jasmine and  white japanese wisteria. 

No matter if your loved one was your precious angel baby or your grandmother, white is soothing and comforting. Adding white blooms will contribute to the overall beauty of your memory garden for you and your loved ones.

Diana Gardner-Williams is the mother of 3 year old son, 2 early pregnancy losses and 1 stillbirth. Nearly 3 years after loosing her stillborn son Tanner, Diana set out to provide a creative outlet for parents to acknowledge and preserve the legacy of their “angel babies”.  Diana is owner and founder of Just a Cloud Away Inc. www.justacloudaway.com support website providing specialty remembrance kits, memory garden tutorials, keepsake crafts and inspirational articles and ideas to help families grieving the loss of their baby.

Diana is also Professional Landscape Designer who has a passion for developing Memory Gardens to help those grieving the loss of a loved one. Diana also speaks on topics of pregnancy and infant loss, memory and reflective gardens, garden design and scrapbooking loss. 

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Proclamation 7477-national breast cancer awareness month, 2001: October 3, 2001; By the President of the United States of America – Brief Article – Transcript

A Proclamation

This October, as we mark the 12th observance of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we renew our commitment to the struggle against breast cancer and salute the courage of Americans living with this serious disease. The effects of breast cancer have touched many of us, whether through personal diagnosis or the diagnosis of a family member or friend.

We may know someone who has survived breast cancer due to early detection and improved treatment. Unfortunately, we also know that a cure cannot come soon enough. This year, approximately 192,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. By increasing awareness about the importance of early detection and accelerating the use of recent innovative advances in medical research, we can reduce the incidence of breast cancer in our Nation.

Until a cure is found, health care professionals agree that regular mammograms are essential to ensuring the early detection of breast cancer. The good news is that the message about early detection is being heard. In 1998, almost 70 percent of women age 40 and older had a mammogram in the last two years. And this year, Medicare coverage was expanded to include digital mammograms, offering women another approach for early detection.

As the primary agency in the United States for cancer research, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) leads the research efforts to find a cure for this disease. Our goal is a future free of breast cancer. We will achieve this goal by developing new treatments and therapies and by better understanding what causes breast cancer. The NCI will spend an estimated $463.8 million on breast cancer research this year. That figure will increase to an estimated $510 million next year; and overall National Institutes of Health (NIH) expenditures on breast cancer research are slated to reach $630 million for Fiscal Year 2002. My Administration supports an increase in spending for the NIH, of which NCI is a part, and has proposed that, by 2003, funding for NIH be twice what it was in 1998.

I urge all Americans at risk for breast cancer to use appropriate screenings that can detect it at its initial stages. Until we find a cure, early detection is our most essential tool in fighting this disease. Recent medical successes allow us to say that the war on breast cancer will succeed.

Now, Therefore, I, George W. Bush, President of the United States of America, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim October 2001, as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I call upon government officials, businesses, communities, health care professionals, educators, volunteers, and all the people of the United States to publicly reaffirm our Nation’s strong and continuing commitment to controlling and curing breast cancer.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this third day of October, in the year of our Lord two thousand one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-sixth.

George W. Bush

[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 8:45 a.m., October 5,2001]

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month is shared with another cause, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I have uploaded information on both because these are 2 causes that have touched my family. Unfortunately many people are unaware of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness. So many pink ribbons are worn in October and I too wear one in support of my sweet cousin who beat Breast Cancer!!!! I also wear a pink and blue ribbons honoring my children in heaven. It our job as parents of angels, to educate the public of our cause and the silent grief many parents endure.

Mid October is the perfect time to send a “Thinking of You” card to a family touched by breast cancer and a family of an angel.

Peace Love and Hugs from Above         www.justacloudaway.com

Diana                                                        

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  October 25, 1988 By the President of the United States of America A Proclamation Each year, approximately a million pregnancies in the United States end in miscarriage, stillbirth, or the death of the newborn child. National observance of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, 1988, offers us the opportunity to increase our understanding of the great tragedy involved in the deaths of unborn and newborn babies. It also enables us to consider how, as individuals and communities, we can meet the needs of bereaved parents and family members and work to prevent causes of these problems. Health care professionals recognize that trends of recent years, such as smaller family size and the postponement of childbearing, adds another dimension of poignance to the grief of parents who have lost infants. More than 700 local, national, and international support groups are supplying programs and strategies designed to help parents cope with their loss. Parents who have suffered their own losses, health care professionals, and specially trained hospital staff members are helping newly bereaved parents deal constructively with loss. Compassionate Americans are also assisting women who suffer bereavement, guilt, and emotional and physical trauma that accompany post-abortion syndrome. We can and must do a much better job of encouraging adoption as an alternative to abortion; of helping the single parents who wish to raise their babies; and of offering friendship and temporal support to the courageous women and girls who give their children the gifts of life and loving adoptive parents. We can be truly grateful for the devotion and concern provided by all of these citizens, and we should offer them our cooperation and support as well. The Congress, by Senate Joint Resolution 314, has designated the month of October 1988 as “Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month” and authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation in observance of this month. Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim the month of October 1988 as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. I call upon the people of the United States to observe this month with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities. In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-fifth day of October, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-eight, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirteenth. Ronald Reagan [Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 11:13 a.m., October 26, 1988]

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Yesterday was the day before Christmas Eve and a little hectic. My 3 year old son was so excited about everything happening around him that I just could not believe what he did.

We had some last minute shopping to do after church and before his nap, so it was rush, rush, rush. As we were leaving the grocery store we noticed several helium balloons at the end of the check out line. My son noticed them too:) There was also a sign that said “FREE”. So we grabbed one and headed to the car. While we were driving home he told us that he was going to give it to Tanner (our first stillborn child). I really could not believe my ears. In all of this chaos he was thinking of his brother in heaven.

We arrived home and he sent the balloon off to Tanner. He later told us that when Tanner is finished with it he could give it back. “Yes indeed honey, Tanner will give it back when he is finished.”

My living son has no idea what a memory he made for me at that moment. Christmas 2007 Tanner received a balloon from his little brother who only knows that he is an angel living with Jesus.

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Creating a Memory Garden

 When a loved one passes, the road to healing is usually a long and challenging one.  When you feel the time is right, planting a memory garden can provide healing and remembrance as a tribute to a deceased loved one. People generally send flowers and plants to funeral homes, which are symbolic of new life. In retrospect, first, a hole is dug, and then a plant is placed.  Tending to the garden with water and sun and nurturing for its survival are key.  When the time is right, a beautiful bloom emerges. Since, healing comes from within, a memory garden allows you time to feel your environment and accept life’s natural progression.   People are often more depressed during the winter months, days are shorter and darkness seems eternal.  This is the time that the earth needs to rest in order to produce an explosion of color, fragrance, and new life that comes with spring.  

 Here are some ideas to get you started      

 Set aside uninterrupted time to think about your space  

Make a list of characteristics of your loved one  

Write down a list of plants, bags of soil, mulch along with any other pieces you would need for your garden  

 You can work on your garden at any time once you have some basic materials       

When do you want most of the plants to bloom? (at the time of your loved one’s passing to lift your spirits) 

Location of the garden     

Sunny or Shady Spot     

Accessibility     

Exposure to the wind      

Will the garden be visible from your home?      

Can the garden be incorporated into existing landscape?       

How much time do you want to spend on maintenance?       

 Do you want perennials or seasonal annuals?      

Could you relocate this garden to another house?     

 Getting Started 

Clean the site of weeds and debris       

 Bring in rich soil -Your plants will live longer and have a better chance of surviving drought.      

Planting should take place in the early Spring or Fall       

Mulch should be at 3” depth      

Water, water water (Make sure to water at a depth of 1” every third day until roots have been established) 

Other options if you don’t have space for a garden, you can be creative and place plants on a  deck, porch patio or balcony.  Be creative and place plants in something other then a planter.  Also, incorporating statuaries, memorabilia. 

Pots -cinderblocks-  bird bath-bird house-wagon- kitchen pots and pans-old boot- watering can. 

 In honoring a baby:     

Consider a small garden that incorporates blue, pink or white flowers.        Use flowers that produce small flower heads like forget-me-nots, babies breath or crocus bulbs. What was the theme of the nursery? What were the baby’s favorite songs?  What were your dreams for him/her?

 If honoring a golfer:

 Plant an area strictly of dwarf mondo grass, which represents golf green

Create a sand trap using pea gravel 

 If honoring a music lover: 

 outdoor speakers   

rain chimes

When planting grasses, the movement  of wind on the blades of grass create a beautiful sound 

 If honoring a spouse ·       

 Plant a rose garden

Incorporate a wood structure for a climbing rose

Plant shrub roses at the base     

Tree roses and miniature roses could be planted in pots.    

 The perimeter of the garden could be in the shape of a heart 

In honoring a boater/fishermen 

In an area of your garden, which is wet, place an old rusty anchor as a focal point. 

 Plant water loving plants like yellow flag iris, red twig dogwoods, bald cypress or weeping willow trees. 

 Incorporate large bounders for seating. 

Some plants have specific meanings 

Forget-me-nots mean memories      

Rosemary means remembrance    

Oak Tree means liberty       

Daisies- innocence     

 Lily means purity   

Allspice shrub means compassion 

Some plants incorporate a word in their name.      

 Royal star magnolias     

Star of Bethlehem bulbs

 Blue star ammonia 

Planting Pointers 

Remember not only are the blooms of ornamental value.  Plants and their leaves have unique shapes, color and touch. 

 Eastern redbud trees and sweetheart ivy are heart shaped

Sweet gum trees are star-shaped

Ginkgo trees are fan shaped

Leaf-lambs ear have a very soft texture

Rosemary is fine and soft

Yucca plant is very coarse

 Burning bush, nandina, barberry and burgundy are red plants

 Maple trees are yellow fall color

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    Just a Cloud Away, Inc. is an Online Support Site for those grieving pregnancy and infant loss. The site provides Remembrance Kits, Memory Garden Tutorials, Keepsake Crafts, Helpful Ideas and Articles for the bereaved and those supporting them. 

Just a Cloud Away Remembrance Kits: 

♥ Give as a Sympathy Gift on Christmas, an anniversary or significant date

♥ Document the child’s life-no matter how brief

♥ Create a tribute as a family with your own memorabilia and words

♥ Create a new family portrait on the heaven and earth page-including all

♥ Create a personalized birth certificate for your baby

♥ Components of the kit allow you to compose a beautiful tribute even without having a photograph

♥ The Remembrance Kit can be framed, used in decoupage, placed into a scrapbook or constructing a memory box

♥ Use the kit to gently introduce the concept of death to other siblings

 ♥ Have another family member or friend create a tribute in the perspective of aunt, gramma, or friend 

Just a Cloud Away Remembrance Kits are sold at www.justacloudaway.com or available through Diana Gardner-Williams for $15 plus s/h and tax. The kits make a thoughtful gift for babies who have made the journey by SIDS, stillbirth, miscarriage, ectopic or molar pregnancy, selective reduction, accidents, abortion, and other tragedies.   

In the USA each year, 2 Million pregnancies don’t see their 1st birthdays

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sympathy-basket-c.jpgSympathy Gifts assembled in a basket can take away some of the pressure in finding the one appropriate gift for bereaved families of pregnancy and infant loss. The baskets can provide items that are helpful, comforting and supportive for the grieving families. Whether their baby was stillborn, passed of SIDS or miscarried, you can provide hope, love and support in a basket for their healing journey.

Do not think you have to send a sympathy gift or basket the moment the tragedy occurs. Many people are doing so already. You may want to take a little time to gather gifts that you feel are appropriate for pregnancy or infant loss. Your sympathy basket has no time frame. Usually 3-6 months after their loss, people around them are continuing with the routines of everyday life. This is also a difficult time for the bereaved and may even brighten their day by receiving gifts months after their child has died.  This is showing you care about them as well as the life of their baby that ended too soon.

Sympathy gifts included within the baskets could be something practical, memorial keepsakes or items completely unrelated that would appeal to the personality, hobby or style of the bereaved. Having a mix of these gifts will provide families alternative outlets to channel their grief over the loss of their precious baby. These are all sympathy gifts because you have in mind the relationship between the family and the baby at heart. This relationship has changed form and new traditions will evolve from the gifts received by families suffering this terrible loss. Sample baskets for men and women are found here http://justacloudaway.com/nav-sidebar-ideas/basket.html

It is a very good idea to add practical products within a sympathy basket. This will alleviate the pressure of having to get dressed and enter into public to buy necessary items. There are always babies and pregnant women at grocery, department or hardware stores that may upset the mother for quite some time. Add paper plates, napkins, plastic silverware, paper towels or tissues. The first days following the death of their baby are filled with tears, stress and chaos. These supplies will eliminate the need to wash dishes, providing more time to be spent on comforting, talking and other important matters. Other practical gifts for your basket are stamps, stationary, and envelopes. You could even write a note stating that you could mow or shovel their property for the next month. If you are not local, purchase a month long contract from a company nearby. Another gift that inevitably helps is money. Most likely the parents have taken unexpected time off from work and a few extra dollars could help out tremendously.

Memorial keepsakes are a very good idea when assembling your sympathy basket. There are numerous products available to bereaved families of pregnancy and infant loss. Jewelry, remembrance kits- http://justacloudaway.com/kits/index.html, virtual memorials, frames, ornaments, stars, journals, memory trees, stepping stones, books and statuary. If there is a support group that helped the parents through this difficult time, make a donation in memory of their child. If the parents belong to a church, have a service said in memory of their baby. These remembrance gifts are the personal touches of your baskets and can provide such comfort at a time when life feels so empty and cold.

There is nothing wrong with including items not related to the loss of their baby like a trade magazine subscription or purchasing a craft or hobby kit. Adding gifts that specifically appeal to the bereaved parents provides an opportunity to engage in hobbies, crafts and activities that may bring joy to their lives.

There will be times when the words on a sympathy card or written in a book will upset or offend families grieving the loss of their baby. Offering a sympathy basket with several gifts of different characteristics will lessen the effects of the one gift that just didn’t offer the comfort you intended. Make sure when writing the special little note to include their baby’s name somewhere in the card. If they didn’t name the baby, somehow acknowledge that they are parents, they have a baby and they love their little angel.

A few memorials created by parents of angels are shared on this page, at

http://justacloudaway.com/nav-sidebar-ideas/gallery/index.html

 

Peace Love and Hugs from Above  www.justacloudaway.com

Diana

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“The Voice of Hope was Silent” 

We arrived at our favorite mountain cabin on Christmas Eve of 2003. This particular accommodation provided a kitchenette, loft, cable TV, and indoor Jacuzzi tub. The back deck overlooked a steep, wooded hill with a pleasantly loud, rushing creek barely visible through the trees. The evergreen shrubs flanking the entrance of the cabin twinkled with multicolor lights and a holiday mug filled with candy was centered on our kitchen table welcoming us. Since we usually spent Christmas with our family, we were unaware of the charming decorations provided by the owners at this time of year. So why were we here? The fact that our beautiful baby boy was born quiet and still brought us to the cabin in the mountains. This was where we would spend our first Christmas without our baby.

My name is Diana Gardner-Williams and I am originally from Buffalo, NY. I moved to North Carolina to study Landscape Architecture and decided to make my home here. The weather was more conducive to my career choice. I also met my wonderful husband Todd and we married in 2000. It wasn’t until 2002 that we decided to expand our family. I had originally planned to try for a baby in May, but then decided to try in August. I have always been a very planned and organized individual and thought having birthday parties in spring would be ideal. There would be an explosion of flowers, no mosquitoes, and the weather would be tolerable. Finally, after 6 long months of charting and taking my temperature, we saw two pink lines. It was apparent that I could not plan when my baby would be born. Our child was scheduled for a fall arrival, another favorite season of mine.

It was a very exciting time for us because several of our friends were also pregnant. The excitement faded for a while because my morning sickness lasted into the night. I never threw up, although maybe hurling my cookies would have lessened the discomfort. Constant nausea made me unpleasant to be around. It wasn’t until week 12 that the morning sickness passed and I was scheduled to see the doctor. At the appointment I was able to see the little heartbeat for the first time, and wow, it was amazing. That little organ was created by us only 3 months ago! The baby and me were given a good report and were scheduled to see the doctor in 2 more months, hopefully to find out the sex.

My girlfriend and her husband owned their own sonogram machine, so I knew we would find out the sex beforehand. Todd and I anxiously drove to their office when I was 15 weeks along to see our little baby. Unfortunately we couldn’t see the sex, but we did see a very active child. The entire 30 minutes was on tape, and I couldn’t wait to show family members what a beautiful child we had.

My husband came with me to the doctor’s appointment where we would find out if the little one would wear blue or pink. I was very nervous because both my mother and mother-in-law expressed their hopes for a little girl. We claimed we didn’t care either way, but secretly I was hoping for a boy. We stared at the monitor like 2 kids staring at a glass candy jar. We could see that something was in there that we wanted, but the packaging camouflaged what it really was. Then she pointed toward the screen to a white, opaque section. It was a penis. There is was, so tiny, and the affirmation we were waiting for. We were thrilled, blue, blue, and more blue. Tanner would be my parent’s third grandson and my mother-in-law’s first grandbaby. I knew that they were somewhat disappointed, but would love him regardless.

It seemed like the entire pregnancy was moving from one aliment to the next. The first three months it was the nausea, and then it was the round ligament stretching and finally the severe backaches. Towards the last few weeks I endured horrible indigestion and probably bruised ribs from Tanner’s kicks. Truthfully, I did not enjoy my pregnancy and I couldn’t wait to have him out. I would later find out that I had stage 4 arthritis in my knees and carrying extra weight added to the stress. I would definitely take a rest from being pregnant after Tanner was born so my body could somewhat heal.

Tanner was due to arrive October 14th. However, on my husband’s birthday I started having contractions that were closer together. I had bought Todd a gift and decided to let him open it in case this is the day Tanner would come. The contractions now were less than 2 minutes apart, so I had Todd call the doctor for guidance. We were instructed to come in for a check. I called my best friend Evelyn to come over and join us at the hospital. My bags had been packed for 2 months and everything in its place, so we easily slipped out of the house in a timely fashion at 2am. I was so excited and felt in my heart that Tanner would be born on Todd’s birthday.

The hospital was incredibly quiet and still as we checked in. We were quickly led to a small examining room to check the progress of labor. I undressed and lay on the table while Todd stood by my side like a proud father to be. My cervix was still closed, but obviously having contractions. The ultrasound technician rolled her machine beside me and poured the cold lubricant on my belly. For some reason there were more nurses in the room now, and the technician just stared at the monitor expressionless. Another nurse put an oxygen mask on my face and I was horrified. Finally someone said that the baby is probably hiding and giving me oxygen might increase his activity. That never happened. After seeing panic in my eyes, Todd asked if Tanner was moving. The technician kept her eyes on the monitor and said simply, “No, I’m sorry.”

At that moment I entered into another world that was so unfamiliar to me. This was a place that I had no control over and I could not plan my next move. I had never felt this much pain, loneliness, or the need to grasp for air like this in my life. Could this be real? We held him, kissed him and loved him, where is he? We would never be the same. We did expand our family, but instead of having a living son, we had a beautiful angel named Tanner.

We were inundated with information on how to survive the first year. Most of the bereavement books and literature suggested taking time for ourselves and gracefully declining family gatherings until we were more comfortable. That is exactly what we decided to do. Thanksgiving was spent at a friend’s home and for Christmas, the two of us drove to our favorite mountain cabin in Spruce Pine.

I packed candles, a lullaby cd, pictures of Tanner, and everything else reminiscent of him to create a shrine. I just wanted to think and feel everything about him during our stay. My eyes were so sore and red from crying so much.

Todd suggested that we get some fresh air and drive into the city of Ashville and shop. On our way to town I expressed to Todd that I was upset that so many of our friends and family members felt that they had been contacted by Tanner. The bear that played Ave Maria, the street sign “Tanner Williams,” the parent yelling for Tanner at the park. Being his parents, I couldn’t understand why we weren’t given any signs from him. I told Todd that I wanted my big sign.

tan-street-w.jpg

We spent several hours in town and the weather was gorgeous. I remember the quaint shops and brick-laid alleys that added to its charm. The sun sets very fast in the mountains, so we headed back to our cabin around 5. While staring out of the window of our car, something caught my eye. My heart started to flutter and the palms of my hands were dripping with sweat. I was briefly in shock and had to snap out of it fast to tell Todd to pull over and stop. There it was so high in the sky that I could not possibly miss it. It was a billboard said “TANNER.” The hair on the back of my neck stood on its end and Todd sat quietly gazing at the sign. I quickly searched for the camera to take a picture, just in case it disappeared in a flash. After sitting on the side of the road for 10 minutes, we slowly drove off.

tanner-sign-2-w.jpg

We were meant to see that billboard at that precise time in our lives. The sequence of events played in perfect harmony. We were there because of Tanner and he blessed us with one of the biggest signs available to man. Seeing the billboard gave us so much hope and joy to keep going.  Feeling his presence at just the right time spoke worlds to me. Our son being born quiet and still, put life into a much different perspective for me. I now view our time here as just a stepping-stone. I truly believe we will all be together again and Tanner’s beautiful song will keep playing for me until I can hold him forever.

Peace Love and Hugs from Above

http://www.justacloudaway.com

Diana

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