Teddy Bear Tins

September 23, 2009

Ups and Downs

That's been my year. Ups and downs, in insane succession. In 2006 I hit a ton of milestones all in a row - graduated college, got my first "real" job, moved to my first apartment, got married, bought my first house. That was a major year. And I remember at the end of it thinking how much I'd have to do the next year just to measure up to what had already been accomplished. 2006 was a better year than 2009 has been. I'd like to believe that life gets better every year, but I think I'd be kidding myself if I thought that. Some will be up, some will be down.

In many ways I feel like when Aiden died, I did an about-face on my path to the future and started walking right back in the opposite direction. Now I don't know where I am. Why is that? I was there that day, with them. Until late afternoon I was the only one with them. I was in it, in the thick of it, physically and emotionally. But I wasn't IN it like they were, I'm not Aiden's mother or father, I'm "just" his aunt. Why does it affect me like it does? Does this mean it's that much worse for them? I can't even imagine what that would be like.

I've said before that grief is a funny thing. I think in the past month I have been grieving more than I was the previous few months. I thought I was done with the worst of it? What's going on?

And then there it is. A hope for the future, when I realize that I AM grieving. That I feel like absolute crap for a reason, not because life in general is just bad. That this will happen, it's part of the process. That maybe 2010 will be better than 2009, and maybe I can bring more of the good from this past year with me than I do of the bad. Because there have been ups, they're just hard to see from the bottom of the downs.

God bless the mommies and daddies of angel babies. No one should ever suffer what they do.

September 18, 2009

New Look!

It's still a bit of a work in progress, but thanks to an anniversary gift from my hubs, the blog has a new look! With how clueless I am about CSS coding, I'm impressed at how simple it was to get the nice scrapbooking look for this blog that I had hoped to. I'm still working on all the static links, but once those are up I'm ready to publish! :)

My hope is that this site will make it even easier for me to spread the word about Teddy Bear Tins and find volunteer artists. The pace has been a bit slow here lately, but really I think that is just because I've been too busy to seek people out actively. Moving house and long hours at work are keeping me more than occupied. But at least on the moving front I think we'll finish this month. Then my evenings will be evenings again, instead of painting- and cleaning-fests!

I've also really been wanting to write down Aiden's story for people to read. It's been on my mind for a few weeks, but I've been too conflicted about what tone it needs to take. My mood lately has been changing so quickly, I'm still grieving, that it's hard for me to look forward to what it will be like when the grief is less raw and some peace has been found. On another blog during my daily peruse I found a Bible verse that someone had posted, and I think this is where I'd like to go with this for today:

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jer. 29:11

I need to trust that there is goodness somewhere and that there is hope for the future.

September 2, 2009

Chugging Along...

It's been a busy month! I don't know if I mentioned it, but that house we put an offer on... we got it! So now hubs and I are busily readying our new home and moving. If nothing else it certainly keeps us busy as taking care of two homes (we won't sell our old one for about a year until the market comes back) has proven to be probably more than twice the work. But we love every minute of it. :)

And in the midst of the craziness, Teddy Bear Tins continues on. I keep detailed records of every tin and every volunteer (seriously, I'm OCD), so I know that at this point 48 tins have been lovingly crafted by people spread across the east coast of the United States, and more are being worked as I type this. Of these, 24 have already been donated, along with a huge box of cuddly little teddy bears. My mom has a meeting with our second hospital this week to work through all the details of what they will need, and the remaining 24 completed tins will go to them shortly afterward. I can't believe I'm already considering contacting a third hospital!

This weekend hubs and I are taking a break from the moving to head up to see his family at their cabin in Pennsylvania. I'm looking forward to spending the weekend working on this website, hoping to get it more functional and running so that I can publish more widely. I want this to be a tool for spreading the word and hopefully finding more volunteer artists across the world.

The Neonatal Bereavement Coordinator from Christiana Hospital contacted me to ask if she could send thank you's to the volunteers who painted their tins... Teddy Bear Tins, and supporting these grieving families in general, is so important! It's hard to explain what it means, but I think that as these volunteers give of themselves and their time that they too are feeling the gratitude of these families.