More Than Just A Car

Some days are better than others. Today when I got out of bed, I looked at the last photo ever of Bella and I, which was taken 9 months ago, and I was reminded of all that is missing. I was reminded of the last moments I missed out on and the photos I could have taken. There seems to be many reminders this past week of how life must go on.
Last weekend my car was wounded but it turns out that was the last drive we would ever take together. Matilda was more than just a car to me. She was my safe heaven, my refuge, during Bella’s entire life. Her and I spent a lot of time driving because colic is a terrible thing to experience and it was often the only way I could get her to sleep. Some days it was the only ME time I would get. Even after the colic, a drive was still often the only way Bella would nap. So many memories. Daily drives to daycare, how she would take off her shoes and socks and throw them so I would have to search for them every single day. How Hudson taught her to dance in her car seat and I would try to watch them in the rear view mirror as I was driving because I knew that these were precious memories I wanted to hold onto. How I still find “gifts” from her hidden, like her name tag or hair clips. How I still look in the rear view mirror and visualize her sitting in her seat.

I’m not ready to say goodbye to my car. It’s just one more reminder that life continues after loss. One more loss. One more slap in the face. Apparently the Universe doesn’t think I have been through enough yet. 
After the month I’ve had, I’m surprised to still be standing, but I am! Standing stronger than ever because I have survived and continue to fight! How much can one person endure? It all started with Bella’s colic, but I believe that life has unfolded the way it has in order to make me stronger so I could get through the next challenge. I needed this strength in order to survive the unimaginable devastation I’ve been forced to endure, and the losses and cruelty keep coming at me! 
There was a time when my family splitting up was my worst fear. I survived life as a single mother although it was difficult. Every single day was a challenge. Looking back, I didn’t give myself enough credit because the pictures I took show a happy family full of love. We had those happy moments every single day! I believe I still don’t give myself enough credit. I have come a long way. I had a setback last week and my return to work didn’t go very well, but that’s okay because I WILL try again. It’s only considered failing when you give up! And after the month I’ve had, it’s no wonder the transition didn’t go smoothly.
This past month I met with the coroner to review Bella’s report which left me with more questions than answers. Now I have decisions to make with regards to further research and testing, or to let it be and accept that I will never have all the answers. Court and custody issues are draining, but when you are accused of murder in a court of law, that can really affect a person. How could someone ever think I am capable of such a horrible thing? I still can’t believe my name and that word were even uttered in the same sentence. Obviously there are no grounds for the accusation and it was an act of desperation, but that is not something I will ever be able to forget. (* I would like to clarify that the custody issues do not involve my son.) Losing my car, returning to work, being sick, and soooo much more. I am exhausted and in desperate need of a break. I’m not giving up but I need to take a time-out to process it all, reflect, and most importantly, REST! 
“I am not what happens to me. I am what I choose to become.” – Carl Jung 
Life hasn’t been easy, but I refuse to let what has happened to me define me. I am breaking down but I believe it’s the next logical process. I am a Phoenix and I am on fire. It’s only a matter of time before this fire burns out. When things cool off, I’ll be able to rise from the ashes and I will be different, transformed. It is a process and I’m meant to experience it.
Thank you to all the people who have checked in on me this week. Thank you for the kind words, the love and support. Thank you for helping me #StayStrong❤️
Click HERE to watch a special video.

Always Look For Rainbows

The point of life is to learn, and learn I must. Once you suffer the worst imaginable, you have two choices: to hide and exist or to push every boundary that stands in your way. Today I realized that I have changed more than I could have imagined. Tragedies exist but they don’t ruin you unless you allow them to.
Today I learned a few things about myself. After Bella transitioned, I learned how to be strong. The moment my mother found out about Bella, she went into shock and fear took me over. I was so scared that I might lose her too. In that moment I knew that I needed to be strong for her. For my grandmother. For my SON! I needed to be strong so that my family could get through this and not have to worry about ME. I let them down the next day but ever since I woke up from heaven, something in me changed. I understood in that instant sitting in the ER that my son was scared. He just lost his sister and thought he lost his mommy too. In that instant I understood that Hudson would be okay as long as I am. In that moment I knew that I had to be strong. I started blocking the pain and tried leaving it on a shelf. I planned to leave it there until I was ready to feel the pain. I remember the days that I thought the time would never be right to open that box. Today I proved to myself that I can do this! I can comfort the people around me and help them through their pain then let go when I need to.
Last weekend was a big step. We drove to Buffalo in hopes of seeing Prince Charming’s son and ended up bringing him home with us for the week. The night we arrived I had to change Bella’s bed. Her crib was untouched until that moment, exactly as she had left it. It was a difficult thing to do but there is no one else I would have done it for. I knew I loved that little boy unconditionally before I even met him. To have him sleep in Bella’s crib was an honour. I was amazed at how easily I got through the process. I cried and I felt the pain of packing Bella’s soiled sheets away, but I celebrated the little boy we fought so hard to see. I was told I would never be able to put my feelings on a shelf and was told to experience grief as it comes. I don’t believe that to be true at all. I can now say that I am successfully able to grieve when the time is right. It needed to be that way for me so I could protect others.
I was in a car crash today. My mother was with me and we are ok, but my car is not. I tried to swerve to miss a truck that pulled out in front of me on the highway. After the crash, I tried to open my door but it wouldn’t open. My first instinct was to yell at the girl, but I quickly saw how shook up she was and the only words she could speak were “I’m so sorry.” I wanted to hug her and tell her that it’s not a big deal. The insurance would take care of costs. No one was hurt. It could have been so much worse. Instead of getting upset with her, I gave her some calming bath salt (we were on our way back from the bridal show where I was selling some of my home made goods) so I gave her something that would help calm her, and of course an angel card. Why would I want her to feel any worse than she already felt? I’m sure that door wouldn’t open to give me those few extra minutes to cool down. And I’m sure the car accident happened so that something worse didn’t. Karma is a powerful force and sometimes works in inconspicuous ways. 
Lesson of the day: ALWAYS treat others as you would want them to treat you. Karma will come back to you, I promise. And Karma can be BEAUTIFUL as long as that’s what you put out in the universe. Thank you, Bella, for showing me how to slow down, to appreciate the small things and to follow my inner voice. It’s leading me to amazing places I could never dream of, and I know this journey has barely just begun.
Something else I am reminded of daily is that little angel I have watching over me, protecting me. Somehow I know that by staying here today and not going with Tom, we were saved from something terrible. I somehow know I was meant to be in an accident today. I’m thankful my kids weren’t in the car. It could have been so much worse! Always remember that no matter what happens, it could always be so much worse. If I can say that and believe it, anyone can! No matter what happens, always #StayStrong❤️
I posted a photo of my car on my personal Facebook page and of course there is a HUGE rainbow across the photo. I’m sitting at my computer desk and just looked up. Rainbows are everywhere! ☺️🌈❤️

“What was the best thing someone did for you after your loss? Was it a gesture, a gift, a few choice words? What would you do/say for another grieving family?” – Pregnancy and Infant Loss Network
The best thing anyone did for me after Bella transitioned was save my life. My sister and niece performed CPR on me on the way to the hospital while my sister and brother-in-law drove us to meet the ambulance on the highway. They were there to support me as I screamed until I passed out, but I went limp and became unresponsive. They breathed for me when I was unable to. They are the reason I am still here. 
That same family, along with my closest friends, stood up to others on my behalf when anyone would criticize me for how I was grieving. Many judged me for posting a photo on Facebook of me holding my daughters hand after she passed and took the liberty to assume I was “losing my mind.” Regardless of how many people judged me for that post, I treasure that photo and wanted to share it. I was also criticized for the amount of detail I would give in my posts about what happened but it was my way of purging the pain. I had to get it out somehow and since allowing myself to feel the pain almost killed me, I started writing and felt relief from that. The decision to share it was to reach out for support in my weakest moments. I would never directly ask anyone for help but I could write and let others share my pain. This was my way of asking for help and support without having to say the words. Those who supported me did so because they wanted to and not out of obligation.
A few months after Bella’s transition, I was approached by a local band who had written a song for me and wanted to have a small fundraiser. This quickly turned into a “Birthday Bash” fundraiser to honour the 2nd anniversary of Bella’s birth and featured 3 local bands. I was judged and criticized for the fundraiser as

many misinterpreted it as being a “birthday party” (who celebrates the birth of a dead person?). Her father is a graphic designer and created a gorgeous piece of Bella as an angel. This was the poster for the fundraiser and again, people criticized and decided it was “twisted and morbid.” Our idea of Bella being an angel is another way we cope with the loss. The band that approached us about the fundraiser wanted to donate all proceeds to the family, but we didn’t want this so we decided to create a memorial fund so we could build a small memorial for Bella. The party was a huge success and we raised enough for a park bench which will hopefully be purchased this summer. 
My latest controversy is related to vaccines, which is another way I am coping. Despite accusations, I have NEVER suggested that anyone not vaccinate their children but have brought vaccine injuries to the forefront. I have my suspicions about what happened to Bella as she was unwell when she received her last vaccine (pneumococcal conjugate) and the autopsy showed sepsis from pneumonia. I may never be able to prove that they are linked but as a grieving mother, it is something I need to explore. The problem is vaccines are such a controversial topic and people often misunderstand my intentions. Reality is this is how I am grieving and no one has the right to judge me! 
Our entire community was shaken by the sudden loss of my daughter. My posts reached all corners of the earth and people from all over wore pink on the day of her funeral. I had received kind words and gifts from friends and strangers, all of which have helped me heal a little bit at a time. I may not know every person by name or face but know that each one of you have helped me heal in some way. Thank you!
Grief is complicated and greatly misunderstood. The most important thing is that you actually GRIEVE and not suppress it. NO ONE has the right to judge how someone else grieves. To any other grieving families out there, don’t let anyone drag you down any farther than where you’re at. After you suffer a tragedy, you need all the support you can get, not criticism and harsh judgement. Do what you need to do in order to grieve your loss but be aware of healthy vs unhealthy ways of coping. Grief counsellors are there to help ensure you are grieving in a heathy way. Use any supports you have and reach out to others experiencing similar tragedies because we can always learn from each other. Losing a child is not something anyone can understand unless they have suffered the same loss. Let’s help each other #StayStrong❤️

Our reflections can vary from day to day as we see only what we choose to focus on. The roller coaster of grief changes my perception of my reflection sometimes by the hour. Some things I see include pain, scars, strength, and courage. I see a shattered image of a broken woman trying to put the pieces back together but can’t seem to find the perfect fit as the edges are now jagged. Sometimes when I find a piece and place it where it belongs, it falls off again and breaks into a million more pieces.
It’s frustrating because trying to put the puzzle back together is very exhausting. I feel like I’m crawling towards another breaking point struggling to take a breath. As I gasp for air I remind myself that I am human and we all lose our balance at times. It’s the stress of life, which for me is very complicated and it feels like I’m burning the candle at both ends. I’m emotionally exhausted, which is the worst kind of tired because no amount of sleep can help. I am consumed by unanswered questions not knowing if I will ever get answers but no matter how much time and energy it takes, this is something I need to peruse. The process is draining. 
Grief has many faces and shows herself differently in everyone. I have been criticized and accused of some unfathomable things but my reality is that I have way too much on my plate to deal with anyone’s negativity. All I ask for is respect. You have no right to judge me as you have not been through what I have. Your judgement says nothing about me but says a lot about you. Be kind. Always. 
May you find the ability to forgive those who have done you wrong. May you find peace and believe that Karma is in your corner, as she is on my side and will ensure that balance and order are restored in our lives. Karma is getting what you deserve. Do good and you shall receive good things in return. Sometimes you need to be very patient but I promise that good things always come to those who deserve it❤️ and for those that wrong you, sit back and wait for it because they will eventually cause their own demise.
Today marks a turning point in our lives. Today we celebrate Karma and enjoy the good things she had brought to us. Today we #StayStrong❤️

Sharing my grief helps me #StayStrong❤️ but it’s not always easy. Singing is not what I do best but I felt that stepping out of my safe place was something that I needed to do. This is the song that Bella wanted me to sing and she made that known by knocking a pink heart shaped rock off Kim’s piano when she first played it. I had that rock in my hand on stage. I am very blessed to have been a part of such a great show and to have had the opportunity to pour my heart out on stage. Thank you to everyone who was a part of this, especially Tom. You are my gift from Bella, my strength, my safe place. With you I am home❤️
Click HERE to watch the video.