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As we walk to remember

As we walk to remember

Three years ago, I attended my first Walk to Remember. It had only been two months since I had said goodbye to my infant son, Ethan, and my grief felt so deep, so raw, and so fresh. The previous months leading up to that day had been incredibly painful and isolating in ways I couldn’t quite put into words. When a friend told me about the Walk to Remember, I felt nervous yet excited all at once–I had no idea what to expect, but something inside of me longed to connect with people who understood. I longed to celebrate my little boy and to simply say his name to someone…anyone who would listen. I am so grateful I put my fears aside that day. From the moment I checked in, I felt seen and understood. My walls crumbled down with each person I spoke to. As each baby’s name was spoken and each rose was passed out, I felt less and less alone. While it didn’t take away the grief of losing my son, stepping into this community of like-minded people softened the jagged edges of grief in ways I never expected. I received an indescribable gift on that day—the gift of hearing Ethan’s name, the gift of honoring him, the gift of being surrounded by people who didn’t try to brush him aside or just tell me to “think positive”. I received the gift of meeting other parents and hearing about their babies–the simple gift of “me too”. This event and the community that I’ve found in it have been a comfort to me over the years, as...
Celebrating and Surviving Milestones

Celebrating and Surviving Milestones

From the moment I first held that pregnancy test in my hand, my heart was filled with dreams for my son’s childhood–one that I hoped would be filled with love, laughter, and plenty of family traditions. I envisioned the milestones to come: his first birthday, his first day of school, his high school graduation. My dreams were shattered into a million pieces when our precious firstborn baby was born prematurely and succumbed to a fatal genetic condition at just 93-minutes old. The milestones that I once looked forward to with such joy and excitement were now anticipated with such deep sorrow. Three years later and my heart aches each time kindergarten enrollment begins, and I often find myself blinking back tears as I count down the years until Ethan’s class will start school. The loss of a baby has a way of changing a simple date on the calendar into a point in time that feels so significant and so heavy with a wide spectrum of emotions. How can we face the due dates, the birthdays, and the milestones that now feel so bittersweet? As we approached Ethan’s first birthday, I reached out to my friends within the loss community for ideas of ways to spend the day and received plenty of great ideas for celebrating and surviving milestones.   Throw a bash One of my loss mama friends throws a birthday party for her son each year. Through the years, this tradition has been a great way to celebrate her son’s life with friends both new and old. Some party ideas include a butterfly release, cake and icecream,...
For better or for worse: Love after loss

For better or for worse: Love after loss

For better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health. As I spoke those words back in 2011, I truly meant them from the bottom of my heart. Sure, I knew marriage wouldn’t always be easy and I knew there would be hard days, but this wide-eyed, innocent 20-something had no idea of the depth of what those words would truly mean until years later when stood beside a tiny cemetery plot and buried our infant son. For worse, for poorer, and in the wake of devastating sickness, our innocence was stripped away and things were suddenly so much harder. On the evening our son died, a kind nurse took my hand and warned us that things were about to get hard. She encouraged us to dig our heels down deep, to remember the vows we had meant so fervently those years before, and to fight for one another when things would become difficult–and difficult they did. Loss has a way of changing you. In some ways it made me better, and it other ways it brought all of my imperfections to the surface. It challenged my thinking, shifted my perspectives, and altered pieces of my identity. I grieved the person I was before losing our son and I struggled to figure out who I was. I quickly learned that when two people are simultaneously being shaped through the pain of suffering and loss, things become even more complicated. We were both grieving, changing and growing. I was still trying to get to know this whole new me, all while trying to get to...

Forever Footprints Programs

Support Programs Each day, hour, and even minute, a member of your community experiences a loss of a baby. Sadly, most areas are greatly lacking the support and assistance these parents, siblings, grandparents, and friends need in dealing with their heartache. Forever Footprints is working each day to fill that gap. Through our various programs, we strive to connect these hurting families to support that will offer them understanding and aid as they navigate through the journey ahead of them. Forever Footprints Support Groups The Balancing Life & Loss: Parenting After Loss Group is a free support group that addresses the needs of bereaved parents who, after a tragic loss, need to continue living and parenting their surviving children. The Coping With Loss: Helping Families With The Loss Of A Child Through Miscarriage, Stillbirth, and Early Infancy Group is a free support group for bereaved parents and families who have experienced the loss of a child and need a place to help process their  experience and be able to heal. Education and Support Books Program Our Education and Support Book Program allows us to donate books to families and hospitals. We offer several books specifically for mothers, fathers, grandparents and children or siblings. Journey to Remember Program The Journey to Remember Program is a perinatal comfort care program created to provide a safe and nurturing environment for families who wish to carry to term despite a life-limiting or fatal diagnosis. We provide sensitive care facilitated by a labor and delivery nurse trained in bereavement with personal experience in perinatal loss during the pregnancy, delivery, and follow up bereavement support...