Sunday, 20 October 2013

Hope Holly Lincoln's 2nd Heart Beats Run

I wanted to thank everyone that donated to Heart Beats this year.  Team Hope Holly Lincoln raised over $20,000 and that doesn't include some company matching that still needs to be added!  We won first place for fundraising and were very proud to support such an incredible organization.  Our team had over 100 members this year and there were people there that I knew and never even saw.  It was a packed event this year and that was extremely moving.  Here is our team before the race began:

In the front row you'll see Lincoln's family on the left with his photo, our family with Hope's photo and Holly's family on the right.  Three tiny babies that brought all these people out to support a great cause!

While we were racing in Calgary, others raced in honour of Hope Holly Lincoln in other parts of the world.  My cousin ran in Pennsylvania, my brother ran in Spain, my friend got a group together in Manitoba, my parents and Nursey walked in Michigan and my sister ran with a group in British Columbia.  How incredible to know that people all over were participating as they could and joining us as we raised awareness for Congenital Heart Disease and supported Heart Beats.

Sharla (Lincoln's mom) and I cried anytime we got near each other.  I was very emotional and little things were tough.  During the race a little girl in front of me lost her balloon.  As it floated up to the sky I heard her mom say, "don't worry, now Tracey can enjoy it."  I pictured myself saying the same thing to Sadie about Hope and was moved to know that these total strangers felt the pain we did.

After the race I was extremely sore, mostly in my left hip.  It was my lucky day, right at the finish line was a chiropractor with his table.  I hopped up and had my hip corrected before I was even off the course.  How perfect is that?  What an amazing answer to prayer for me, it's the only reason I've been able to walk basically pain free today.  

Tomorrow will be our fifth 21st without Hope.  It's difficult to believe it's only been 5 months since she went to be with Jesus.  I feel like she's been gone for so much longer.  I've planned in advance to keep myself busy and to have playmates for Sadie so I won't have time to sit and feel sorry for myself.  I'm hoping next year that the 21's aren't so painful.  

I am now 18 weeks pregnant and knowing that in the next 2 weeks we'll find out if this baby is a girl or a boy is difficult.  I'm looking forward to finding out, but I'm terrified of the reality that will follow.  Hope's drawers remain full of her clothes, her closet is still full of her things and her room is almost exactly as it was when she died.  That room will become the new baby's and I will need to go through all of her things and make room for this child's things.  Having a boy means packing these things away forever.  Having a girl means packing them away for a year, but having the opportunity to use them again.  I believe that a boy would be easier for us over all emotionally, but I naturally want a girl in my longing to have Hope back.  Please pray for us as we find out and process these things.

If it comes to mind, pray for us and our families as we go through another day tomorrow that will make us long for Hope.  I was washing dishes tonight and thinking about the fact that although I miss her so deeply, she doesn't feel the same way.  Heaven is too wonderful to spend time missing your mom, she's content to wait for me there.  I try to remind myself that Jesus has and will always love her more than I am even capable of.  She's in good hands until I get to hold her on my own again.  

Friday, 18 October 2013

A Little Teary...Maybe a Lot!

I wanted to ask for some prayer.  Tomorrow is the Heart Beats run and I'm really looking forward to it. It has also brought a great deal of emotion with it and the tears have been privately free flowing this week.  I've been going through Hope's drawers and her closet again, looking at her pictures and touching her things regularly.  I try to do this while Sadie is busy or away at school, but I sure do miss my little girl this week.

I'm pretty sure that spending a day with heart families and remembering our heart warrior has brought this on.  I'm looking forward to being with everyone, but I'm also terrified of the emotions that will come with it.  My left hip is extremely out this week and I woke up barely able to walk.  I have an appointment this afternoon to help correct this, but I know tomorrow will be a challenge.  Each painful step will be for Hope, Lincoln and all their friends fighting that difficult battle with CHD each day.  Please pray for our team and the other runners, the race begins at 9am Calgary time.

Thank you to everyone who has donated towards the run or to Heart Beats in general.  I set a lofty goal of $5,000 this year.  Just 21 hours away from the race I'm just over $4,000 and at 81% of my goal.  I'm not sure if I'll reach 100% by morning, but I feel so blessed to know that so many care and want to help families like ours in the midst of such a difficult journey.  Heart Beats is truly an incredible organization that offers such practical help to families.  They were a real encouragement to us and it is nothing short of an honour to help them continue in their amazing work.

To join our support team, go to and click on GIVING and then PLEDGE AN ATHLETE.  Then you can type in the name of the person you want to sponsor.  Shawn and I are both participating along with a lot of others some of you likely know.  It all goes to the same place!  Thank you.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

It's hard to sit down and sum up almost a month of my life but I'll try to include the highlights.  Shawn and I had the privilege of spending 2 weeks in Europe on vacation with no kids and no responsibility.  It was a much needed mental break and a true blessing to spend that time reconnecting and falling more in love once again.  We had an amazing trip, enjoyed so many of the places we saw and were able to feel refreshed by the end.  Sadie did well, although she sure missed us. She is already back to her old self and seems fine.

On October 4th while we were away I opened my calendar and saw that at an early time I had written, "Hope is 1.5 years old today!!"  It was hard to see that and know that it was a milestone we never reached and I must have felt confident the day I wrote it.  At least once a day someone on the cruise ship would ask, "Is this your first?"  To which I would respond, "no, our third."  At times it was dropped and life would carry on, other times they would follow with the question, "How old are your other two?"  The only way I can explain the response is that a grieving mother is a bit of a schizophrenic.  One day I'll respond with the truth of our situation, others I won't.  I can't explain why one day is a certain way and another is not.  Sometimes I would say, "we have a 3 year old at home and we had 1 year old that we lost earlier this year."  Other times I would simply say, "We have a 1 and 3 year old."  One day when an older lady followed that response with, "How is your 1 year old sleeping?"  Shawn responded with, "She sleeps incredibly well...pretty much all day."  It was simply a moment that we didn't want to grieve and feel sad.  We wanted to enjoy our dinner and talking about our daughter dying in that moment was not an option.  I honestly feel sorry for the people that ask about my children on my good days, they get more information than they were looking for!

People always say that when it rains it pours.  That has been true of our new house.  We moved in on May 1st of this year and lost Hope just 3 weeks later.  During our first few days here we discovered our brand new washing machine did not work as a part was not connected inside.  Shortly after Hope's death our brand new fridge randomly decide to shut down and we lost all of our food and the electrical board inside needed to be replaced.  Before our trip our bar fridge in the basement stopped working, it was brand new as well.  They had a repair man come out, discovered it was completely shot and refunded our money.  Since the weather has changed we discovered our furnace was not working and our gas fireplace wouldn't start.  Today the repairman came out and got the fireplace started, which is helping warm the house a great deal.  Unfortunately the furnace is truly broken and a part needs to be replaced before it will start again.  How is it possible that so many brand new things are garbage??  If it can go wrong, it has gone wrong for us with our appliances!  I guess it keeps life interesting, it's never boring around here.

Last thanksgiving we celebrated at the Ronald McDonald House.  Hope was in a stable place and we were able to take her out on passes during the day and even had her with us outside of the hospital for Thanksgiving.  It was one of my favourite times with her in Edmonton.  This year we have the pleasure of relaxing with family and not running back and forth to the hospital.  We wish Hope was coming with us and would be able to enjoy some delicious foods in a high chair next to us.  I'm sure the feast in heaven is better than we could create on earth.  I usually find the holidays very difficult, but for some reason I'm not as bothered by it with Thanksgiving.  I think a holiday that is set to remind us of all we have to be thankful for, reminds me that although our little girl is missing, we are still so incredibly blessed and have so much to find joy in.

While Shawn and I were in Athens we were sitting in a square enjoying some delicious Greek frozen yogurt.  I looked up to see an adorable little girl behind a motorcycle.  I pointed her out to Shawn and commented on how sweet she looked hiding behind the bike.  As I watched her more closely I realized that she was actually behind the bike squatting and leaving a little pile for the poor motorcycle owner to find.  It was an incredibly impacting moment as I watched her get up and walk away and realized that Sadie, who was close in age to this girl, would never need to do that.  We could easily take her into a coffee shop and even purchase a drink if that was required to use their bathroom.  Here I sat eating my delicious overpriced treat that I didn't need and she was lacking something I feel is a necessity, toilet paper.  I was reminded of the children around our world but also in our own cities that are in need of so much.  I decided that going forward I wanted to research the places we travelled to on vacation and try to find something we could do to positively impact the area we visited.  Even if I'm only helpful for a few hours, I desire to have less selfish vacations in the future.  I have often wondered if Shawn and I will foster or adopt a child in the future, seeing this beautiful little girl awakened that desire once again. Only the Lord knows what's ahead in that regard.

I look at pictures of Hope daily and continue to miss her deeply.  There are times that when I talk about her I feel strong, but my eyes shed tears uncontrollably.  You don't always get to decide how you truly feel, your heart will show the emotions you try to contain.  As I follow other families with heart children in their journeys, I'm reminded that although some are doing well, so many continue to struggle.  If Hope had gotten the heart we so desired for her, she may have still been stuck in a hospital bed.  She may have still had to endure endless procedures and painful tests.  I continue to believe that God gave Hope the choice, and that she chose to follow him home on May 21st.  I don't blame her for making that decision, I'm only proud of her for making it 13 months before she decided she was finished.