God’s Timing

2018, faith, Family, grief, loss, Parenting, Toby

I lay in bed last night listening to the rain on the windows of the house. The wind blew so fiercely it felt as though it was something swiping through the air, grabbing, lifting whatever it could – then it was gone. I listened to it for a few moments. It happened two, three, times. It felt like I was having a déjà vu moment. I closed my eyes tightly trying to recenter my thoughts, away from the weather outside, then the rain hit again. When I opened my eyes, it hit me. I hit the home button on my phone and Toby’s smiling face appeared; I scanned to the date – the 23rd.

17 months ago Toby was asleep in his crib. 17 months ago this morning I could have looked at him on the monitor and he would have been right there. 17 months ago I could have walked down the hall ten steps and been standing over him. Today, if I walk 10 steps, everything’s still there – except Toby.

For the past 17 months I have honed my “selective hearing” powers. Although well intended, more often than not, a cliche phrase hurts me, more than someone saying nothing at all.

He’s in a better place.

God needed another angel.

Everything happens for a reason.

God never gives you more than you can handle.

…Yes. Yes, actually he can. He did. I was given more than I could ever possibly handle. Our son was given to us – healthy, beautiful, thriving, sweet, handsome, funny, loving – absolutely perfect. Exactly what we prayed for. Then, after 12 weeks and 5 days on this Earth, in one strong swoop, like the rain/wind last night, he was taken from our arms and given his wings.

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It rained the night of August 24. I remember sitting on our living room couch, staring at the wall, listing to the rain. It was pouring. I literally could not wrap my head around what was even happening. I thought “Why would Heaven be crying? They gained the most beautiful angel this evening. They have Toby – why would they cry?”

I’ve had many different discussions with people over the last 17 months having to do with our control in life. My realization thought 17 months of grieving the death of my son – we have no control.

We can do everything possible. Reroute our days; change our schedules; plan for everything; stress over the ‘What if’s?’ It is not in our control.

Matthew 24:36 says:

But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in Heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

We think that we have time. Time to get healthy. Time to take a trip. Time to move across country. Time to take a job you’d never considered.

We think that we have more time. I’ll call my parents tomorrow. I’ll apologize in a few days. I won’t say something like that next time. I will stick up for them (or myself) next time.

What if there isn’t a next time?

We are on God’s watch. Here on Earth.

During the first few weeks after Toby died I walked around in a fog. I’d replay moments in my mind and guilt would set in – What if I didn’t do enough for him? I’d literally drive myself into a paranoia. Until one day, I was so deep in grief and angry with everything and everyone. I stood in our empty house, at Toby’s crib, with my hands gripped on his bed rail – yelling anything and everything to the Heavens.  “Are you listening? We are good parents and we love our boys with every breath we have.

I sank to the floor, crying, repeating “Why did you take him! I don’t know how to do this without him! I can’t do this without my son!

This dark day forever changed my relationship with God. No, I did not receive an answer from Him. I will not have an answer until the day I stand before his thrown, Toby in my arms. I have accepted that. I have not yet accepted His timing. I have not fully placed my trust in His Plan.

This is what I am working on.

There have been numerous times over the past few months where I’ve veered off course. My light has gone out and I’ve had to stop and re-center my thoughts. Sometimes this takes days. I deal with anger, despair, loneliness, emptiness. It is very heavy and dark. But I fight for the light.

We were having a really hard time a few weeks ago. I cried every day. I withdrew from anything that wasn’t necessary. I felt like I was sucker punched with another round of grief. I was fighting for light. I stood at our kitchen sink looking out the window. The ground was blanketed with snow. The sky was grey and I thought “This looks like my life. I never thought this would be my life – no color.” I blinked and to my amazement, right down on our fence post sat a cardinal. There it was – my light. I’ve held onto that moment for the past few weeks – it’s been my center. I am waiting patiently for the Lord. I am working to be brave and courageous.

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To our sweet Toby – I hope your days in Heaven have been beautiful. For every day that passes, I am one day closer to seeing you again. You are our light and Luke is our rock. I will never have a prouder moment than being your and Luke’s mom. I love you to the moon and back, baby boy.

Xoxo,

Mommy

 

Wait, my daughter, until you learn how the matter turns out.

—Ruth 3:18

Finding Our Footing in 2018

2017, 2018, Creating Change, Family, grief, Joy, loss, Marriage, Parenting, Toby

As I sit in our home on the last day of 2017, my heart is fragile. This holiday season has been hard. The reality of Toby being gone, forever, was ever present over the past few weeks. Where many experienced cheer and love, we felt abandonment and sadness.

It is hard to believe 2017 is nearly over. A full year without our son. No hugs or kisses. No first steps. No presents for Toby under the tree. As we stood in the cold on Christmas Day at the foot of Toby’s grave, I kept thinking to myself – I never could have imagined this is how we’d spend our holidays. Why is this our life? I fought like hell to find all the excitement and happiness I could for the holidays, it exhausted me.

We spent the last few days holed up in our house, doing a whole lot of nothing. Surprisingly, it was refreshing. We watched a lot of movies. We played in the snow with Luke, Murray & Theo. I read a lot – posts, articles, and books. I came across a passage yesterday in my reading that has been on my heart since.

Through this past year, while trying to spread Toby’s joy with as many as possible, I have continued to carry a heavy piece of grief with me. It has darkened my days and tested my relationship with God. I have sat at Toby’s grave; on my knees at the foot of the cross; and continually on my drive to work when I’m alone in the car asking “Why? Why would You take Toby? Why did this happen to our family?” This question has become a staple in my devotionals for our family and our healing. I hear this question in the midst of everyday routines. Well knowing that I will never have an answer, until the day I am standing in Heaven with Toby back in my arms.

Yesterday, I came upon this passage while reading:

“We have no right to ask

When sorrow comes,

Why did this happen to me?

Unless we ask the same question

For every joy that comes our way.”

-Philip S. Bernstein

This passage led me back to something that was given to me, by my mom, a few months ago. It is a song title ‘Glorious Unfolding.’ She had given me the CD to listen to. Instead, we Google’d the song and found the video to go with it. This song is emotional, and I can imagine, it can take on many meanings for those struggling – with anything – with death; with illness; with job loss; with financial insecurity; with family turmoil; with marriage struggles; with stumbles you may have had in the past year.

There’s a message for you in this. Open your heart, quiet your mind, and listen.

Glorious Unfolding – Steven Curtis Chapman

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I have no idea what 2018 holds. This past year held moments of JOY that I do not want to let go of. They were moments from Toby, that I know he delivered to us. I felt it. There were moments of pure excitement and happiness with Luke that I thanked God, repeatedly for.

My one hope for 2018 is that I can loosen the grip on this question to which there is no answer – “Why?” And in trying to do that, help us see more of the Joy that God is placing in our path. I have to believe it is there. There is no other choice.

I know that this will not be easy. Grief is hard. It is ruthless. For grieving parents, the reality of a child dying, never goes away.  But life continues to move forward. Things change.

Our path has changed, our journey has been altered. We must now find our footing on this path and keep climbing. I am not sure where we are going – figuratively or literally. And I know this will not be easy. It will not be without hurt and tears. But I pray that on our climb we find places to rest, recharge, grieve, and enjoy our family – all four of us.

Here we come, 2018, with joy in hand. Be gentle on us.

18 Month Milestone

2017, Family, grief, loss, Lucas, Parenting, Toby

To our sweet boy, who would be 18 months old today: my mind lately is continually trying to visualize what you would look like today?

I look at Lucas from that age and wonder, ‘would your hair be as straight? Or as blonde?’ I doubt it. I think you’d look very much like Daddy with darker hair and eyes. Sleeping is becoming hard again. I feel like it’s my body trying to adjust to a routine that we should be in, but we’re not, because you’re not here. I keep waking up in the middle of the night and then I’m awake for an hour or so. Staring through the crack between the window and the blind, wondering what you’re doing.

The past few evenings I wake up from a dream I’m having, although I don’t know what I’m dreaming about. My eyes seem to be slightly open and there’s flickering light but when I open them, I’m wide awake and it’s pitch black. I’ve convinced myself that it’s you and your angels visiting us in the night. I wish I could open my eyes quick enough to see you.

We’re working on getting the house ready for Christmas. I wish you could see it. Luke loved the lights when he was one. He’d sit and laugh looking at them. Everywhere I go I see fox ornaments. Aunt Megan said the other day “I’m not sure if they’re everywhere or if we just find them because we’re looking.” I feel the same way, but again, I’d like to think they’re little signs from you.

Daddy, Luke and I miss you, Toby. This really isn’t getting any easier. But we are trying. I look at pictures of you smiling and close my eyes, hoping I can still hear you laugh. Your laugh made my heart flutter and it made Daddy laugh, too.

On the way to work this morning, Luke said “We’re going to play baseball and Toby and I are going to win the trophy. No one else.” I’m sure you’ve heard us tell him that he can’t always win and that he’ll always have teammates. But, this morning, I said “Good. I like that plan.” My heart hurts knowing how much he misses you and knowing how much fun you two would have together. If you can, maybe visit Luke in his dreams. I know he’d love to run the bases with you, Toby.

Daddy and I will stand at home plate to high-five our boys as you score the winning runs.

Happy 18 months, baby boy.

I love you.

Mommy

Small Businesses Providing Hope

2017, Creating Change, grief, loss

I wanted to take a moment, in the month of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness, and spotlight a few small businesses that offer some amazing items for families that are grieving.

Some of these I have been a recipient of one or more of their items, some I’ve bought for our own home, and some I am regularly swooning over their amazing talents.

Many of these businesses were created to honor a loss – either of their own child/children, a family member, or someone in their community.

If you know anyone that is grieving this Holiday Season, please consider one of these shops. Their gifts, I know from personal experience, can offer comfort, support and encouragement in a time of year that those in the bereavement community often feel so alone and very sad.

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  1. laurelbox – www.laurelbox.com
  2. Luminous Light Studio – http://luminouslightstudio.com/
  3. A Thread Runs Thru It – www.athreadrunsthruit.etsy.com
  4. Mint + Birch Jewelry – www.mintandbirch.com/collections/forever-mama 
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Luminous Light Studio

I would love to hear from others! What have you received that you’ve really loved or what have you gifted to someone who is grieving that you’ve found to be helpful and appreciated?

 

My Boys Hero

2017, Dan, Family, grief, loss, Parenting

I am sharing this today as a tribute to my boys hero. He loves them unconditionally. He is the best role model and the best teacher. Luke is his shadow and if you’d ask him, “Daddy can do everything better” 😉 but I’m ok with it.

Toby was Dans twin, right down to the hair on his head. He loved to be held by daddy and he laughed and smiled so much in his arms.

Often times, I think Dads get sidelined in the grief journey. But they shouldn’t. They grieve too. They cry too. Their hearts are broken too.

My Faith in God

faith, Family, grief, loss, Marriage, Parenting, Toby

This has been a difficult week for our family. Grief is hard. It’s exhausting. It comes from nowhere. No warning. And it stays, for as long as it likes. You can have a good moment and the next you are crying. That happens with me a lot. Your body can ache from the physical pain of grief, not just pain from your heart.

We pray for strength. We pray for understanding. We pray that Toby sees every tear that we cry, not because we want him to see the pain – there is no pain in Heaven. Our prayers are that he see the love. The love that comes with every break of our hearts and every tear we have shed over the last 14 months.

I am sharing this because we have said from the beginning that we want to educate people on what it is like to be grieving parents. To have our infant son, die. This is what it is like.

 

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Today I read a post from another grieving mother reflecting on what she feels when she visits the cemetery. She talked about experiencing peace and a connection with being there with her child. I envy her perspective. I envy this amazing trust she seems to have in Gods plan.

Today, while it started off well, quickly turned difficult. My arms ache to hold Toby, to hear him laugh with Dan or Luke, to feel his hair and see his bright blue eyes.

I drive home past the cemetery most days and most times I need to stop. But today there is more anger here. I hate that the ground has fresh cut grass – that reminds me of how long it’s been since we buried him. I hate that the leaves are falling – a reminder of a season that I used to love, but now holds my broken heart. I look at his stone and want to pull his name from the marble. I don’t want there to be an end date etched in there. I don’t even want to be here. As I start to descend over the hill to this hand-picked spot, I can’t make it past the last stone before his, before tears stream down my face. Every time.

I want to have faith in God’s plan. I want to have joy in knowing Toby is in Heaven walking in His Kingdom. I want to take heart in knowing that he felt no pain – that his heart will never break, like mine or Dan’s.

But as a grieving mother, sometimes my faith in God is shaky. My vision in his goodness is blurred by days of tears, wishing for my Toby to be back here, on Earth, with us. Sometimes, even falling to my knees to pray, my heart still feels heavy and my arms empty when I get back up.

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Do not be afraid to ask about Toby. Do not be afraid to ask how we are feeling. And also, on a day when we may not want to talk, please understand and do not hold it against us. You do not know what we are struggling with. You do not know the memories that are flashing through our minds. We understand that too. We only pray for patience, consideration and respect.

We are parents of two beautiful boys, who are our world. They are loved unconditionally and they make us very proud.

12 Months in Heaven

2017, Family, grief, loss, Toby

My sweet Toby,

I have dreaded this day. I have tried for a month to get my thoughts together for this day, but every time I’ve sat down to write, only tears come. It isn’t writers block. It’s grief. It’s anger. It’s rage. It’s absolute heartbreak.

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My running partner. {August 18, 2016}

I sat on the back porch last weekend. The sun felt different. The smell of the air gave me chills. There was silence.

I was immediately taken back to the morning of August 25. We hadn’t slept. It stormed that night and I kept going up to check on Luke and then I’d walk to your room, not able to breathe, as I looked at your crib. You weren’t there. Your things were everywhere, but you weren’t.

I sat on the deck, around 6 am, staring into the yard. Murray sat right next to me. He knew.

Later that morning I was sitting at the patio table. It was so quiet. It was never that quiet in our neighborhood, but yet, I heard nothing. The world had gone silent. Our world.

I heard the front door open and then the door to the deck. I looked up at the steps and Uncle Matt stood there. He shook his head looking at me and said “Too quiet here to be alone.” I cried.

I don’t want to be alone, without you. I don’t want to go for a run, without you. I don’t want Daddy to hold Luke’s hand and not be holding you in his other arm. I don’t want Luke to play without you. I don’t want to wake up in the morning and not see your smiling face. I don’t want Luke to count “Mommy and Daddy. Murray and Theo. Lucas and Toby.” and you not be here.

I have searched, for 364 days, for answers. I have searched for a reason. I have searched for any possible sign in my life, in my faith, as to why God could have possibly needed you more; I cannot find one.

Today I pray that your angels will shelter you from the tears that will fall minute by minute. I pray that you will feel all the love for you, my beautiful boy and that you, without a doubt, know that we would NOT change one minute, one hour, one day – not one second of time that you were in our life.

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I pray that you see that everything that Daddy and I do is for you and Luke. Every time we speak your name, Toby, we do it with love and pride because you are our son and your legacy, your story, your joy has touched the lives of so many, in such a short time. I am not perfect. I have not been able to surrender to ‘having no control.’ I carry anger and sadness with me. I pray that you will help me, lessen the grip on those emotions, and hold tight to the joy and memories of the time we had with you.

…”I’ll love you forever. I’ll like you for always. As long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be.”

I love you, Toby.

Xoxo,

Mommy

Month 11: Grief has a mind of its own

2017, Family, grief, loss, Lucas, Toby

Grief has a mind of its own. It has a way of rearing its head at a time that catches you with your guard down. It leaves you alone with your thoughts and deeply sad. Grief over these last four weeks has been quite harsh. Moments which have remained frozen or numb in my mind are starting to resurface and rather than the very familiar sting that comes daily with memories, they hit hard, take away my breath, and bring flashbacks of that nightmare of a day that robbed Toby of his future, robbed us of raising our second little boy and forever changed our lives.

I am a planner. I like to be prepared. I don’t like to be surprised. Caught off guard. Taken out of my comfort zone. The reality of the last 11 months have proven – none of that matters. Life doesn’t care what I have planned.

With my mind continuing to try and plan, prepare, guard the remaining part of my heart that is somehow still beating, I’d convinced myself that I would know the hardest days coming – Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, our first trip away without Toby, Easter, Mother’s Day, May 27 – Toby’s First Birthday, Father’s Day. Each month has not only brought a heart breaking milestone of counting the months that Toby has been gone from our arms, but it has brought a holiday or special day for our family where our beautiful baby boy is missing. Each month I’d make it to the 28th and think “Ok, I don’t know how we did it, but we made it through that heartache. Now what’s next?”

All of that planning, guarding, circumventing, retreating, do you know what it was doing? It was taking all of the heartache, anger, pain, and loneliness and pushing it down. Like a heavy weight pulsing while the giant below grows stronger.

I made it till July 17. My 34th birthday. Then the tiny line that was holding that weight – it snapped.

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July 24, 2016

I woke up last Monday when my alarm went off for work. When I opened my eyes, Toby’s face stared back at me from the frame on my nightstand. My eyes got warm and tears ran down my face. I didn’t want to get out of bed. I wanted to close my eyes and go back to last July 17. I got up and went to pick up Toby from his bed. His big blue eyes wide and his beautiful smile let you know he loved seeing you. God, I want that feeling back. That feeling when you pick up your children and hug them so tight and say “I love you so much.” Hoping they can feel through your bones just how much love is in your heart for them.

We have a hand full of videos of Toby. I can’t watch them too often because they send me into the darkest pit of grief that I struggle to get out of. The one video is from my birthday last year. It’s me, holding Toby, and Luke sitting beside us. They’re singing me Happy Birthday. I’m smiling. Both my boys with me. They are so beautiful. I couldn’t stop watching it on Monday. I couldn’t stop crying. I didn’t even have to close my eyes and I could vividly see moments from one year ago. I knew that I had dressed Toby in a blue collared onsie and Luke had his island shirt on. We went to lunch together and later after dinner had ice cream cake.

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July 17, 2016

By the end of the day Monday the only thing I wanted to do was go to the cemetery. My routine way to and from work passes by cemetery each day, allowing me the opportunity to stop. Monday I needed to be there. I can normally make it to his grave before I start crying, that day, I only made it through the cemetery gates. I could hardly lift my body out of the car. My feet felt cemented to the ground when I tried to walk. I felt like it would be easier to just stumble down the hill.

I sat at the foot of Toby’s grave, my hand running over his name on the stone, and I cried. There was so much sadness exuding my body. My fingers tried to pull his name from the stone. It was in that very moment that the real, raw emotion of being a grieving mother appeared. It caught me completely off guard but I didn’t care. I had been carrying so much of this inside of me, even through my writing, discussions with others, and changes in our daily routines, it didn’t matter what I had done or had been trying to plan for.

The overlap in time since Toby’s birthday has been harder than we expected, if that’s even possible to say. We are continually tripping over landmines – memories that you wish didn’t have to hurt so badly.

It hasn’t just been the nights that are the worse. There have been days where 11 months of searching for Toby have hurt so badly over the past six weeks. There are days when I feel like I’m watching myself. There are times when I look in the mirror and I don’t know the women staring back at me. A local news station ran a story on our family last week – talking about our family’s grief and how we’re trying to use our pain to educate others. I was watching the segment and listening to the words and there was a part of my mind that was thinking “how heartbreaking.” – How does my mind continue to register moments that are so unreal? I still get sick to my stomach when I say “Our son Toby died.” Those words rock me to my core when they are coming out of my mouth.

There was a picture in the segment that was on the screen for a few seconds. I was holding Toby. Sitting in the recliner in our den. I remember taking that picture. I remember that I was going to delete it. We hadn’t slept that night. Toby was wide awake in the chair watching me talk to him. I took our picture and he looked right in the camera. I sat on the floor watching the segment play on the news and all I could do was stare at him. Dan, sitting beside me said, “He’s so beautiful.

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July 2016 – Toby and Mommy

I don’t know where 11 months have gone. I’m afraid I’ve missed so much. I hope Luke knows how much we love him and I hope he knows what an amazing big brother he is to Toby. I worry that we haven’t done enough for him.

I spent some time with him this weekend, just Luke and me. We were taking a walk around our neighborhood Saturday evening, he was chatting about everything. I love to listen to him talk. The things he says amaze me and make me so proud. I was watching him walk and he was stopping at every rain puddle, taking the biggest leap and jumping to make a splash. He would smile and walk to the next one. Out of the blue he said, “Mommy, Toby loves Heaven.” We weren’t even talking about Toby, or Heaven, or the sky, or being sad. He didn’t pause or even look up at me when he said it.

It’s those moments. Those reminders from Luke. Those are the reasons that I got up from Toby’s grave on Monday and went home to my family. To my husband and son and our two boxers who know, feel, see, and hear the pain that we have experience over the past 11 months. To the only house that Toby knew. To the four walls that hold every single second of our beautiful son’s life.

I left the cemetery on Monday and went home. Dan and Luke had cooked dinner for me. We sat down at the dining room table, all the blinds were closed both in that room and the adjoining living room. We said prayers and started to eat. I was looking at my plate and out of the corner of my eye, I caught something on the ceiling in the living room. Dan saw it too. We looked at each other in amazement. I looked at all the windows, trying to find a reason for what was happening. I couldn’t.

I was able to get a few moments on video before it stopped and vanished.

 

To me they look like flapping wings. Do you see it?

We sang ‘happy birthday’ and ate ice cream cake. Just like we did last year.

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July 17, 2017

To my beautiful boy. I find myself searching for you every single day. I think about what it would be like to have both you and Luke in tow with me. I cry every day. Some days from moments that I’m ready for. Others, because I catch your smile or see a mom trying to juggle two boys and it crushes me. I want to feel you in everything I do, Toby. I want to be able to feel the warm sun and hear your soft coos. I am so desperately trying not to lose any part of you in our life. I need you to be here. You are our son. You are Luke’s brother. I don’t want anyone to forget that. I need people to understand that.

I believe that Toby is with us. Every. Single. Day. I believe that he is watching us. Keeping us safe. Sending things to make us smile, or laugh. He laughed a lot with us, even for how small he was. I’d do anything to hear you laugh. I believe you visit Luke and that he can see you and hear you, in ways we can’t even imagine. These thoughts, they help me. But they also frustrate me.

I am scared to death of August. I am scared to death of what the grief and anxiety will do to my mind, to my heart. I am scared of the resurgence of flashbacks and triggers and raw fear that will overtake my conscience. I have found a way to deal with those moments, when I’m standing on the edge and that enormous wave of grief is gaining height and speed, barreling towards me. I have to do something that connects me to Toby. I have to immerse myself in a project. Work on his foundation – The Little Fox. I have to do something with Luke that we would have done together.

This mother of two journey, that is now my life, is difficult. Talking about it helps me. Doing something in your memory helps me more.

I hope you can see that, Toby. I hope you can feel all the love that Mommy and Daddy have for you. We cry because we can’t have you here in our arms. Because you’re not physically here with us. Because this day each month is not getting any easier. Because we’re scared and heartbroken without you.

The Opportunity to Speak

2017, Creating Change, Family, grief, Joy, loss, Lucas, Parenting, Toby

We are overwhelmed with emotion from the last 24 hrs. When we started rallying the troops, nearly seven weeks ago, we had no idea the imprint we could make.

This petition is out there and making strides because of the initial efforts of Barry Kluger and Kelly Farley, and their children who died. We are standing behind this petition and making an effort to try and push for local, state, and national representatives to listen to WHY this is important.

Seven weeks ago I saw an opportunity to use the platform we have been building in Toby’s memory as a way to educate other’s about the lives of grieving parents, by supporting the Farley-Kluger Initiative to amend FMLA.

Two weeks ago, Jennifer Tomazik from WPXI-Channel 11 called. She told me that she had been reading my blog and had been referred to us from a friend who told her about what we were trying to do. She asked if we’d be willing to talk to her – about our family, Toby, and the bill to amend FMLA – because she saw a story that the community and families in our region could relate to, and hopefully help.

This was a big decision for us. Don’t get me wrong, we have been talking and sharing and advocating in support of others, but this opens our lives and our son’s lives to the world. We all know how social media is – it can be a powerful tool. It’s frightening to be so open and so vulnerable.

Over the past 24 hours our phones, email, the blog and social media have been flooded by amazing people who have shared our story, advocated for others to read and sign the petition, and offered their support. It has been remarkable and overwhelming.

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Yesterday when we sat down to talk with Jennifer, that discussion opened wounds wide-open and the emotions for Toby have come flooding back. Dan and I sat together and watched the segment last night, with Luke yelling at the TV “that’s me and Toby!” We’ve read a lot (not all) of the notes and comments that have been sent to us. We’ve cried as we watched Toby’s beautiful face on TV and online and we’ve shaken our heads in amazement as to the amount of people that have taken time out of their day to listen to our story, offer their support for Toby’s death and our family’s grief, and also sign and share the petition.

Again, THANK YOU – to every one of you that have done something. Those words, thank you, will never be enough, but it is your words, support and actions that help us know that what we are doing is making a difference and that Toby’s life, although too short, will make a difference in the lives of others.

Toby Stern

I wanted to give a little update on the Foundation, because there have been some questions and inquiries over the past day. We have spent the last three months talking with other non-profits, professionals that assist in creating non-profits, board members of non-profits and continually soaking up all this information. This is a big decision for us and an educational one, at that. We want to make sure that however we decide to proceed, that we are comfortable with it and that it is reflecting what Dan and I, as Toby’s parents, want the foundation to be and grow into. There are a lot of moving parts at this point and once we are ready, we will gladly share all of that with you. There will be opportunities to help, volunteer, donate, fund-raise, and most importantly share with your networks. The Little Fox | Toby’s Foundation is taking shape and we look forward to its launch in the near future.

I would be remiss if I didn’t take a moment to thank WPXI-Channel 11 and Jennifer Tomazik. Thank you for taking the time to learn about our family, about our circumstance and most importantly about Toby. Your efforts to talk with us and share our message turned into a beautiful tribute to our son and an amazing platform for the Farley-Kluger Initiative. Also, you’ve extended your resources for help on future endeavors and interest in supporting The Little Fox, and for that Dan, Lucas and I are so grateful.

WPXI Visit_July 20 2017

We hope by way of WPXI’s story, more doors will open to connect with the media and interest is peaked to support the efforts of the Farly-Kluger Initiative. We welcome the opportunity to speak with anyone about this grassroots effort and our family’s story.

Before I go, I’d like to ask for three things from our readers:

  1. If you have not signed the petition to amend FMLA, please visit: www.farleykluger.com and do so today.
  2. If you have already signed the petition and would be willing to take 10 minutes to write a letter to your local representative, please visit my blog post from last week here: https://ourhappyplaceandco.com/2017/07/13/next-steps-farley-kluger-initiative/
  3. If you are not doing so already, take a moment and “follow” our website/blog. At the bottom of the website there is a little [+] button; click that and then click the blue “Follow Our Happy Place & Co.”

 

Here is the link to the segment that aired yesterday, July 20, on WPXI-Pittsburgh’s Channel 11.

http://www.wpxi.com/news/top-stories/local-family-petitioning-law-to-include-parents-grieving-loss-of-child/566361587