October is a busy month for my family. We celebrate many birthdays, and also take the time to remember a few loved ones that have passed on. Yesterday was the anniversary of my great-grandfather's death and today is my late grandfather's birthday.
My grandfather lost his battle to cancer when I was extremely young, although I am thankful that I was old enough to remember a few things. I remember some visits and holidays, but most of my memories begin after he was sick. My Dad spent a lot of time travelling back and forth to the hospital out of town to be at his bedside and provide some relief for my grandmother and aunt. I remember spending the Christmas before his death with all of my cousins and family members in the hospital lobby. I was way too young to realize what was really happening, but I remember having fun with my sister and cousins that day. I remember the funeral, and I believe that this was my first experience with a loss of a family member.
My great-grandfather was also a very special man. I was a teenager when he passed away, so I have more vivid memories of time at his house. My great-grandparents were very special people to us, especially my Mom. Mom moved around a lot as a child, and always knew that her grandparents would always be in the same place. They were her place of consistency, something she held dear to her heart. Losing my great-grandparents were the first time I remember seeing my mother truly grieve.
My family has done a fabulous job keeping our lost loved ones alive through our daily lives. Laughing about stories, fixing their special recipes, passing on names. My middle name, Russell, was also the middle name of my Dad, my late grandfather, and my great-grandfather. I carry a piece of 3 very special men in my life simply in my name. I'm not sure if I will ever pass Russell on to one of my children, but I do have intentions of passing on a family name. Today, I remember my family.
Today is also Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. I have read some of your stories of miscarriages and infant loss, and today I remember your lost little ones. If you would like to, MckMama has written a beautiful post about her experience with nearly losing a child, and has prompted those of you that have lost children to share your story in the comments of her post. She is taking today to remember the children that are already in Heaven, and wanting to say a special prayer for each of you while you remember your special child. There are already an unbelieveable amount of stories posted, and these women are comforting each other today. If you feel led to do so, head over to her blog and share your story as well as offer some empathy to others.
Most of you know that I am not a mother yet, but I do hope to be someday. However, I remember a scary, snowy morning when we feared the worst with sweet Riley. My sister woke up one morning to an experience that sent us all rushing to the hospital for an exam and ultrasound. It was not my child, but the love I have for my sweet Riley is indescribable. I can't imagine the fear my sister went through that day. Luckily, things were just fine, and my entire family was able to watch the ultrasound to hear the heartbeat and announce that "Jellybean" was going to be a girl! My sister and whole family were blessed that day, but there are many Mommies out there that have not ended up so lucky. Know that I am thinking of you today, and praying for continuous healing for the loss of your child.