Today You Are Five

by Kathy on September 17, 2014 · 0 comments

in Abby, Birthdays, Family, Happiness, Life, Love, Memories, Milestones

Abby's First Day of SchoolIt’s your “five birthday!”

You have been telling us how excited you are for it, since you turned four last year.

And what a year it has been…

So many adventures, fun family vacations, trying new things and learning about your world.

You are in Junior Kindergarten now and seem to enjoy going to school every morning, five days a week.

Our MinionsIt is your last year at The Beverly Castle Academy preschool and the last year our family will have a child there, which is one of many bittersweet milestones associated with you (and your brother) growing up.

You love to play dress up, as much as ever, and are really into My Little Ponies.

You take a creative movement class weekly at the Dance Gallery with Miss Jamie, for the third year in a row, and are getting more confident in your abilities.

Sean and you are in a musical together (for the first time) at the Beverly Arts Center this Fall and are loving getting to share the experience of attending practices together. Most of the time the two of you get a long well and I am so glad that you have each other, as siblings. You are starting to take on more and more of Sean’s quirky sayings and ways of telling stories, which is amusing.

Even though you never got to meet her, you continue talk about your sister Molly and help us to honor her life and memory. It means a lot to me, that you care about Molly and how/what she is doing in Heaven.

You love to have playdates with your girlfriends E and P and especially look forward to your twice weekly playdates with J (once at our house and once at his).

Molly and her sibs 2014Spending time with family, especially your grandparents and cousins, is also high on your list of favorite things to do. Whether we are spending time at Grandma and Grandpa Benson’s cottage in Michigan, visiting Grandma and Grandpa Axe in Evanston/or they are visiting here, getting together with your Milwaukee cousins or your local cousins, for a family party or sleepover, you always seem to be having so much fun!

You ask a lot of questions, as you are so curious about everything, which I think is awesome! Sometimes I am more in the mood to answer them, than other times, but try to remind myself what a precious age you are at and how important it is to take time with you to help you understand what is happening around you.

Selfie of Abby and MeYou are still often shy when you meet people for the first time and that’s okay.

You get upset when you don’t get your way and we are working on the tantrums, helping you to understand that screaming and crying is not the best way to ask for what you want. However, I am guilty of being inconsistent with the rules and consequences, which I am sure does not help you to get the idea.

You have still never told me that you love me, but I know when you say “garbage-a” that is what you mean. I never thought when you began jokingly responding to me telling you that “I love you,” years ago, that it would stick. But even though I don’t know when I might every hear you say those words, you show me every day, with the way to want to be near me, have my attention, cuddle, giggle and play together.

I am so grateful for another wonderful year of having you as my daughter. I wish you a very happy 5th birthday and am having so much fun celebrating with you today! I look forward to this next year in your life and know it will be another awesome one!





I can still smell the soap on my hands as I type this.

It’s one of many triggers I experience every time I go there.

But it’s worth it.

The soap in the dispensers everywhere at Christ Medical Center smells the same.

Whether you are visiting a patient, you are the patient, you just had a baby, you just lost a baby, you are attending a support group meeting, or for any other reason… If you go to the bathroom and wash your hands there, they will smell the same.

It’s the third Monday of the month and thus I was there for Caring Connection, our perinatal bereavement support group.

I have gone there monthly for eight years. I have certainly missed months over the years. But it has continued to a be a safe haven for me, a place where I can go to tell my story, and to speak their names (Molly and Babies Benson).

At Caring Connection there is no right or wrong way to feel and we help each other to heal.

Eight years later, I am stronger.

Eight years later, I am there to pay it forward.

Eight years later, I am still learning new things on my journey as a bereaved parent.

Tonight, one of our members, Jim (who gave me his permission to use his name and part of his story), shared about a turning point in his grief journey, as a bereaved father.

Jim and his wife Kristina’s third child, their beloved daughter Kelsey, was stillborn in August 2010.

Jim told us how one day he realized that, even though they have gone on to have two more beautiful and healthy, living children, he is going to be the father of a child who died for the rest of his life.

Grief isn’t something he was going to get through, or get over, rather it is something he needs to learn to accept.

It never ends.

Being a bereaved dad will always be a part of Jim’s life.

And Jim chooses to try to make Kelsey proud of him, with how he lives his life.

I believe that he makes his baby girl very proud.

Being a bereaved mom will always be a part of my life too.

And I love the idea of trying to make Molly and Babies Benson proud of me, in addition to our living children (Sean and Abby), with how I live my life.

If you are reading this and have lost a child (at any age), a spouse, or another loved one left this world too soon, I hope that this brings you some validation, peace, and comfort.

Wherever you are on your grief journey, please know that you are not alone. There are others who are grieving too and slowly learning to accept their new reality.

I will leave you with a quote that Jim also shared with us tonight. He told us that it is one of his wife Kristina’s favorites.

Though I love quotes and have collected them for years, I somehow never heard this one until tonight. Itt really captures how I feel about being a bereaved mother. I hope it helps those who don’t understand to get some insight into why it is so important for us to keep our children’s memories alive.

“When a baby is born, a mother’s instinct is to protect them.
When a baby dies, a mother’s instinct is to protect their memory.”
~ Anonymous


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