Saturday, October 19, 2013

Flavors of Grief

I have been watching "The Young & Restless" TV soap opera this week. Billy and Chloe's very young daughter, Delia was hit by a car and died. Watching Billy and Chloe deal with their grief in the first 12 hours after their daughter's death has brought back so many raw memories to me. These actors really have done an outstanding job of capturing those first hours of shock, disbelief, and wanting to scream and never stop screaming. They are angry. So angry. Thoughts of "what could I have done differently" to prevent this are going on and on through their heads. Grief is cruel and it is forever. Grief has many flavors. The fresh raw flavor of those days and weeks right after the loss. Your body feels like it weighs tons because each movement you make takes so much energy and you have none left in you because grief took it. Crying leaves you exhausted. Loss leaves you exhausted. I have been exhausted this past week. Remembering the details of losses exhausted me. My, "This couldn't happen to me!" thoughts have been exhausting. But it did happen to me. It seems like I have been dealing with grief in one flavor or another for just forever. I went out on the beach the only sunny day we had this week. I rode across the high rise bridge over the sound with the full view of the never-ending ocean facing me. The salty winds were warm and felt good to my face. Part of me thought back to the days of taking this exact ride but as a teenager with the car full of girlfriends and the music over the radio was loud and fun. Grief was the last thing on our minds! Two of us have since heard those words you never want to hear. Little did we know then what life had on the horizon for us. The ocean is like grief. It is massive and so full, especially at high tide. High tide takes over the beach, leaving less room for sand castles. Low tide is more friendly to me. The beach has plenty of room to run and twirl around and play in the sand, building those sand castles that the high tide will wash away. Ebb tide is my favorite. There is a calm then. Everything stays the same for just a short while. There are no highs or lows. Middle ground of peace as I see it. The sun rising over the ocean is so beautiful as are the sunsets. The beauty just fills me with awe. I love the sunrise the most. It brings on a new day of hope, a brightness in your day. This brightness is a flavor of grief you experience after much time has passed. I used to listen to the song (still do) "Don't Let The Sun Catch You Crying" by Jerry & the Pacemakers when I was a teenager in the 1960's. It was part of the "British Invasion" of the '60's. It has some truth for me. Crying is not a bad thing. We need to do our crying to cleanse ourselves. Later on, you will be able to hear the birds singing and get joy from their songs. Just never get too comfortable with your new found calm. There are always storms on the horizons with grief. Some quickly ride over and you get back to your sun and calm. Others just hang around and pound you with its lightening, thunder and downpours of rain. Grief did that to me this week. However, I'm going to pick myself up as I usually do and just keep going. I will continue to ride the waves.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Tasting Heaven

Pure bliss and peace are what I experienced yesterday at sunrise while on the beach at Ocracoke Island.   I was the only person on this wide beach full of white sand and ocean waves washing up!  I could look as far my eyes could see to experience a oneness with nature, God's beauty.  Ocracoke is just about as far as one can go on the Outer Banks of NC, getting there by a 3 hour ferry ride from where I live.  I was overwhelmed with it all, but drank in the two hours I was alone there. 

It was still dark as I rode down the sandy beach road.  Once I arrived, I turned the headlights off the Jeep.  Daybreak was knocking on the horizon.  I took off my flip flops and let my feet sink in the cool morning sand.  I got my camera out of its bag and started shooting.  I felt the spirits of  my angels with me.  I started writing their names in the sand.  I drew hearts.  I started thinking of my children gone too soon as not only individuals, but as my "Fittsie's Angels."  I wrote Fittsie's Angels in the sand.  It felt good because it covered all three of my angels, James Collins, Jr., Abba Gale and Reita Gale.  Not many know about Abba Gale, Reita Gale's twin that I miscarried.  I felt such a release as I wrote her name finally giving her spirit the recognition deserved.  If you haven't read, Heaven Is For Real, then you are missing out!  It is a short read, but will change you.

Way too soon, I realized that I was getting tired!  I found a new respect for those who write our angels names in the sand.  My back started letting me know it was time to go.  Sadly, I left the beach.
I have the memories of yesterday morning to carry with me forever.  I'm peaceful.  Isn't it ironic how I left the motel and drove in the darkness toward the beach.  A few minutes after arriving, daybreak broke out complete peace for me.  God works in His own way and perfect timing!

I am Gale Fitts or Fittsie.  These are pictures of my morning with my angels, my Fittsie's Angels!





                                                               My Angels!

                                     May you all feel the peace I felt yesterday morning <3


Thursday, September 26, 2013


To say that I was blindsided by James Collins, Jr.'s stillbirth at full term is an understatement.  At 24 years of age, I understood none of this except that my guts were ripped out and I could no longer function period.  This was in 1975.  Stillbirth was not talked about.  It was an ugly word.  I felt like I had a Scarlet S on me.  All I ever heard was, don't do this or you shouldn't do that.  I never heard the words, "do remember your baby."  The quietness of not hearing his name or the mention of the horrific birth I had gone through was just erased as a teacher erases the chalkboard at the end of each day.  I was unglued in the most horrible way and found comfort from nowhere on earth.  God was always there for me to cry on His saving grace.

Then I heard a word that just wasn't in my vocabulary.....divorce.  Why was it being said to me that statistics say MOST parents of children who die divorce?  Why were those words being spoken and not words of encouragement?  It would make me so mad when I heard about those stats!  In 1975, there were not many divorces like there are today.  Couples just worked out their problems.  My husband and I were on different pages when it came to grieving.  Why?  Well, because we weren't suppose to be grieving!!!!  After all, we never "knew" our baby.  Our minds should be on having a "replacement baby."  He was scared to bring his grief up to me and grieved up in the top of the storage room at work, where no one could heard his sobs.  I grieved openly and loudly!!!  He was told that if I couldn't hurry up and get over this, I would go mad and never be "normal" again!  So he encouraged me, as hard as it was for him, to move on.  That mad me very angry.  Why didn't anyone understand me?  Neither one of us had been through grief before.  We didn't know how to handle it and it was a big mess.  One thing was for sure though.  Divorce never entered our minds because of our love for each other.  We struggled on.  Once I  was told 6 months into my grief, that because I wasn't returning to "normal" that I should set my husband free.  Divorce him so he could find a normal woman who could give him a live baby.  I can't begin to tell you how I felt.  Not only did I have to deal with my loss of my firstborn, grieving in a situation where grief wasn't allowed, and now this....give my husband his freedom!  He was outraged when I told him what was said to me.  Poor guy, look at what HE was going through!  What an extra burden to put on a young couple!  Honestly, I know the only reason we survived was our deep love.  Bless him because of my being denied the full grieving process, I had many set backs in grief that he had to endure.  Finally, in the 1990's I sought out grief counseling.  It helped some.  The REAL help came from finding the Baby Loss Community last October 2012.  You kind grieving parents took me into your fold.  You allowed me to grieve openly and in turn helped my husband and myself grieve properly for our losses.  We have spent the last year grieving together and shouting out our children's names!  This burden of grief , held inside for so long, exploding into tears unexpectedly at times throughout the past 38 years, has turned into a healthy grief that we can handle together.  Thank you for your support<3

Saturday, September 21, 2013


When I started writing my blog last November, it was for my firstborn son, James Collins, Jr. and for my lastborn child, my daughter, Reita Gale, both who were stillborn.  My heart had ached for my two babies for 37 years.  Their faces were forever etched in my heart and mind.  But along my journey of blogging, my mind and heart kept reminding me also of the Saturday morning in January of 1982.  I had a miscarriage that morning at home alone.  I hadn't seen my doctor yet, but was going to that coming week.  In 1982, you didn't even know you were pregnant until about 8 weeks.  Only then would a doctor see you to confirm it.  I called my doctor as soon as I miscarried.  He was busy at the hospital.  The miscarriage was a big deal to me.  Every pregnancy counted.  He didn't want me to come in to be checked or the miscarriage checked.  If I wanted to know for sure if indeed it was a miscarriage, I was told to put the mass on my bathroom counter, take a butcher knife and cut through the center of the mass.  If I heard a "pop" sound, then it was a miscarriage.  I did it.  Like a murderer, I took that knife and cut the mass into.  I heard that "pop" sound.  That sound was the spine being cut into.  As soon as I heard that sound, I realized what I had done.  I had split my baby into.  That sound will forever be etched into my mind and heart.  Then the next thing I did was flush my baby mass down the toilet.  I'm left with those memories.  Who talks about something like that?  The doctor should have had me bring the mass to the hospital and had it examined there.  Last March, I named that baby I miscarried.  He or she had a soul.  It should be named and recognized.  I named her Abba Gale.  You see, I never had another period.  My pregnancy continued.  I was carrying twins.  Abba Gale's twin is Reita Gale was was stillborn several months later on May 31, 1982.  I'm glad I named my blog, Fittsie's Angels because it includes all three of my angels.  My sweet Abba Gale.  You are forever in my heart and in my mind.  You are loved.  I will stop feeling the guilt of leaving you out of the picture.  I will see you in Heaven.  Mama

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Connecting With Reita Gale

August 19th I participated in Carly Marie's Day of Hope & Prayer Flags.  I have already posted about my prayer flag I made for my firstborn son, James Collins Fitts, Jr.  After I finished his flag, I began to make plans for my only daughter's flag, Reita Gale Fitts.  She was my last born baby.  She was stillborn at 20 weeks on May 31, 1982. My flag reflects my hopes and dreams that were shattered with her death.  I will show you her flag, then tell why I designed it as I did.

                                          Reita Gale Fitts' Prayer Flag of Hope


The border is made from left over satin blanket material left over from one of my grandchildren's blanket  I made.  I chose green for Spring since she was born May 31, 1982.  I used plenty of pink ribbons for all of the ribbons that would have been in her life....ribbons in her hair, Christening gown,  prom dresses, first corsage, her wedding gown and bouquet.  The pearls represent so much.  They are set in waves for my waves of grief over her loss.  They represent her wedding she should be having or would have had by now.  The pink baby feet are from baby blanket material that represents her pitter patter I never heard.  They are enclosed in a heart with a hole in it which is her heart that stopped beating within my body.  I knew instantly when she quit kicking her tiny feet that she had gone to Heaven. The baby blanket material also represents that she was wrapped in a blanket the hospital for us to hold her.  The Reita Gale cross-stitched heart is for the many things I would never get to teach my daughter and share with her.  The hole in the heart represents the hole in my heart that has never healed, gets deeper instead as I realized she will never have the chance to give me grandchildren or cook a Christmas meal together with laughter. The white starfish represents that she was my 5th child.  The Forget-me-nots flowers are the reassurance that she will never be forgotten as long as I live.  Reita Gale had a twin that I miscarried the January before her stillbirth in May. 
Reita Gale's Flag Beside Her Brother's Flag

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Connecting With James Collins, Jr.

August 19th was a day of remembering my first baby through Carly Marie's Project of International Day of Hope & Prayer Flags.  I had only heard about this through mom's blogging about last year's project.  This year I immediately knew that I wanted to participate.  The purpose of this project, at least for me, was to be a time set aside to quietly think of my two angels as I made a flag that represented my feelings and hopes I had dreamed of for each baby that did not live.  This post will focus on my first angel.

Although my firstborn son died 38 years ago in my last days of pregnancy due to a tightened double-knot in his cord, I never have forgotten my hopes and dreams for my first baby.  Part of that dream was to name him, James Collins Fitts, Jr.  I have always loved my husband's name and looked forward to the day when we would have a son to carry it on.  It is a name rich in family history.  That name ended up being the only part of my dream for him that could come true.  Although it was suggested for us not to "waste" the name on our dead son, we gave him all we could, the legacy of his father's name.  We carried out our plan and never one considered it a "waste" of a name.  As I planned my prayer flag for him, I wanted his name to be big and bright on his flag.  James Collins, Jr. was born and died on May 2, 1975.  I always thought May was a good time to have a newborn.  Nature always planned the spring season to be a time for giving birth.  I could take him outside for strolls in his antique pram and show him the blue sky, fresh air, colorful flowers, butterflies, kites in the sky.  He could hear the birds singing their sweet songs.  I looked forward to all of this with him.
As I made his flag, I hoped  to reflect these things.  Here is a picture or two of his flag I made using some of my rainbows baby clothes hand-stitched by his grandmother Fitts.

The blue satin bordering the flag was left over from making my grandson's baby blankets.  The purple background material was left over from making a doll bed bedding for my granddaughter.  The green at the bottom came from an outfit my mother-in-law made for my first rainbow baby.  The heart in the middle has a hole in it, which represents the hole in my heart that will never be filled until I see my son again in Heaven.  Notice how big and bright I made his name!  The right side of the flag represents my grief.  The rain from the cloud are my tears and the flower bent over with the petals falling off represents grief and death.  The kite is for the things we never saw together.  The left side shows a healing phase.  Sunshine rays are peeking from the cloud, a balloon flies, the flower blooms, the bird and ladybug show life.  The dog is being playful showing happy days.  The blue balloon also represents the balloons I design for other parents that have experienced the loss of a child in honor of my son's memory and my daughter's memory.  Her flag will be my next post.

Monday, August 26, 2013

To Each Our Loss

I'm not quite sure how to put this into the right words because we all grieve in different ways and we all have different circumstances to grieve.   In some ways, I am years ahead in my grief.  In other ways, I am not.  We never get over it.  We each learn to live with our loss(es) in our own way.

We all mourn our differences in loss also.  We have those that mourn miscarriages.  I have had a miscarriage.  I think of that baby a lot. I am sure I will see this child in Heaven one day. Some of us have only been able to achieve a  miscarriage.
Think of the infertile couples.  What they would give to have achieved a pregnancy.  They would have the joy of knowing they had a child in Heaven to met one day.  I was told I was infertile due to as disease I had suffered for years with called endometriosis.  Being told you are infertile is just short of a slap in the face.  I mourned not being able to be part of the "pregnancy group."  Being unable to conceive was just so lonely.  I fooled all and beat the odds and did conceive naturally. I thought I was home free. Nope.  Lost my baby to a 9 month stillbirth.  Then there are the first trimester losses, second trimester losses of which I lost my daughter to stillbirth in my second trimester due to a contorted cord accident.  Her twin was my miscarriage in my first trimester.  Now for the third trimester losses.  I've had that also.  I beat so many odds, yet loss three children.  I did get very lucky and blessed to have 2 natural born sons, my 2 rainbows!

  I've met mothers during the past 10 months who have lost their wee ones to being born prematurely, being diagnosed with a fatal disease while in the womb and carrying them to term, mothers waiting in the NICU waiting minute by minute for month after month to see if their premature baby would make it.  Some have not and some have.  "To die or not to die."  Can you imagine the wait to see if you were going to get to use the nursery at home or a coffin at the funeral home?

I've heard the misery of a few mothers who had to endure the trauma of the aftermath of abortion. 

Then I have met dear sweet mothers who have had to watch their child die slowly from childhood cancer.  These children brought such joy to their parents while being brave fighting their disease.  They have memories, some good ones and some nightmarish ones I would imagine.

So much sorrow each person has had to endure.  Some got to have the honor of being a parent to an angel and some never got the honor of being a parent at all.  Each sorrow is different and yet alike because it all ended in grieving a loss.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Should I Dare Say This?

I hope somebody out there understands me.  I am not trying to be picky or mean, really.  I feel really horrible about even bringing this up except that it bothers me.  I have be going over this in my mind and can't come to terms with my problem yet.  I feel so selfish for even having this bother me in the first place. 
You see, two weeks ago my brother's 49 year old son died suddenly from an aneurysm.  I cried when my brother told me because I knew the pain he was feeling ad would be feeling forever.  I just hurt so much for him and his wife and other children.  He lives several hours away from me, so I got up with two of my sisters to ride with to go right away to be with our brother.  We met our other sister there.
Throughout the time we were together, the conversation of course turned to our brother and his wife coping with this loss.  My sisters appeared to have all of the answers or suggested answers as to how things would be.  I suddenly felt very uncomfortable being around them.  I felt like one of them might say, "Well Gale, I'm sure you have some idea what it might be like for them since you lost your son too."  It never entered their minds.  To them, my loss was so insignificant compared to losing a child you had for 49 years.  I know they meant no harm to me.  Also, know two deaths are exactly alike.  However, I DO know what its like to lose a child!  I suddenly, just went very quiet.  I went into a funk.  I couldn't have spoken if someone was going to give me a million bucks to do so.  Later that , night as my twin and I were changing for bed, I said something to her about it.  I told her my feelings had been hurt.  She gave me a look as to say, "Please, not your babies again!"  I moved onto another subject because I knew I was being misunderstood. 
So here is a touchy subject.  What I wouldn't have given to have had James Collins or Reita Gale for 49 years before I had to face grief!  Look at all the wonderful memories and pictures and videos they have of their son?  The church was packed with people standing outside!  What a tribute!  His sister got up and had such wonderful words to share about the wonderful times she had with her brother.  Now I know they are all suffering for their loss.  You and I both know about that.  They might learn to live with this in time, but they will never get over it.  They can find comfort in their memories and speaking with friends who were close to their son.  Friends who miss him also.  They will be allowed to speak freely about their son.  So I ask without expecting any response, if given the choice, would you want your child born dead or have 49 years with your child before death?
I wasn't given the choice nor were they, so I guess an answer isn't important. 
I would like an honest opinion.  Should I have kept this buried inside or blogged about it?

Friday, July 26, 2013

Keeping To Myself Lately

I've been keeping to myself.  I have been enjoying the peacefulness of early morning kayak trips.  Being alone with nature out on the water is very soothing to my soul.  I can think clear thoughts as my vessel glides through the blue water by my own power.  Often I will stop by the island I love to kayak around when I reach the sandy beach I like to claim as my own.  This week I just started writing all the names of our sons and daughters who have gone from us too soon.  As soon as I would finish one name I would start right on another name.  It had just turned to low tide, so I knew the names would be there for several more hours.  I even made one heart out of sand.  I molded and sculpt a perfect heart.  It took some time and energy!  I was pleased with it. When I stood up and looked around me names were everywhere!  Oh, how I wish I had brought my camera with me!  I have been searching the sky for a heart cloud.  Since I haven't found one yet, my sand heart made me happy!  On the way home, I cut through the island on my kayak gliding around sea grass and a narrow path of water deep enough to let me through.  Dragon flies and egrets were plentiful, but no butterflies.  That's okay.  The summer isn't over yet.  I think of you my baby loss friends on many of my trips.  I hope that you are having a kind and productive day.  Some of you are in the evening time, while others aren't even up yet.  I hope you know that despite the pain of losing our children, we are going to be okay.  We are special women you and I.  We have a sisterhood that helps us get by.  Each of us has her own journey to travel.  Some have been blessed with rainbow babies, while others had babies before loss to care for.  Some haven't conceived a living child yet or has a child in the NICU.  Some will decide not to try again for medical reasons or emotional reasons.  I truly feel for those of you that won't have a rainbow baby no matter the reason.  My heart goes out to you.  I am glad we aren't alone, but have each other.  Others try to understand.  They really do.  To me, no one can ever understand us unless they have walked the walk, but I thank them for trying.  We need these people who try to understand us.  How else can we branch out into the world?  We are going to be hurt by well-meaning people.  That is a fact we all know, but don't always understand why.  It happened to me last week.  No one meant for it to happened.  I immediately with drew into my shell much like a turtle protecting itself.  I think that is why I like to escape to the kayak in early morning so I can feel safe.  No one can reach me to cloud up my mind and thoughts.  It is during this time that I feel free to speak my mind out loud towards the sky.

Monday, July 15, 2013

The Elusive Butterfly

Summer is always full of butterflies around here.  I waited all winter to see them fluttering around again this summer, but I haven't seen any this year.  I have looked and waited, but they aren't around me.  It is so disappointing especially after such a winter of awareness and discovery with all of you, my baby loss friends.  Maybe it is all of the rain we have had this summer.  One minute the skies are dark and rain comes.  The next it is sunny, but the clouds of rain are still in the sky despite the sun. Sounds like grief doesn't it?  My heart has been experiencing more sun in it than clouds recently.  There is more understanding of why I had no support system.  There has been forgiveness and relief.
I'd love to see some butterflies reflect my feelings.

I live by the sea.  The skies are open to me everyday.  It doesn't matter if I am inside washing dishes or outside, the skies are wide open in my sight.  I search for heart clouds.  I have never seen one of those either.  The summer isn't over yet.  There will be clouds to always search just as I will always look for signs from my James Collins and Reita Gale.

I look for you too.  For me, after the loss of my babies, my heart has broken for all of our babies gone too soon.  While my life goes on in its direction, I will always keep you and your babies tucked in my thoughts.

I hope before the summer is over, I will see many butterflies some for me and some for you and perhaps a group playing together.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

I Don't Understand Why Women Are Doing This!

Much of me died when James Collins, Jr. was stillborn.  I had no desire to do anything including breathing.  It hurt too much to live. The pain was so physical as well as emotional.  Months dragged by.  One day seemed to last 48 hours instead of the normal 24.  Sleep?  What was that?  I cried so much and I just plain hurt all over.  When would this pain ever stop?  There are no words for how much it hurt.  My baby son was dead and there wasn't anything I could do about it.  I felt so helpless.  I NEEDED a baby to love and care for, so we tried for another baby as soon as the doctor said we could.  This baby would never replace James Collins, but I was ready to have my second child.  Nothing ever happened month after month.  Each disappointment was like James Collins dying all over again.  My body was failing me.  I didn't want to be around pregnant women not because I wasn't happy for them, but because I wanted to be pregnant so badly too.  I had two pregnant sister-in-laws at the time.  Our only other option in 1975 was to adopt.  If that was the route I needed to go to have my baby then alright.  White girls were aborting their babies in the US.  There was a real shortage of these babies for adoption.  On the news every night the talk was about women's right to have abortions.  I tried to get to these women in every way I knew how, because I wanted their baby to raise and give a good home to!  Just don't throw these growing babies away!  Please give me one!  I was so upset that I couldn't get one.  Just one!  Finally, in June of 1976, I did get pregnant, which I didn't know about into July.  My rainbow would be born the next March 22, 1977.  I felt so lucky and blessed when he arrive very safely.

I had friends who had been trying and were not getting pregnant.  They needed these babies to adopt who were being aborted!  I was and still am so against abortion.  However, abortion was popular then.  The "in thing for women's rights."  Well, why everyone was burning their bras, experimenting with drugs, and demonstrating, I didn't.  I was only interested in finishing my education even though James and I married before we graduated from college.  I think the Viet Nam war had a lot to do with this "live and let live movement."  I'm not sure.  But many were not letting the babies live!  With time, it became even more popular!  It was more of a convenience to have an abortion or I don't want mama and daddy to find out.  Just guessing.  The pill was being given out at every college!  Take the pill to prevent pregnancy in the first place so you won't have to have an abortion!  One person's inconvenience is another persons joy!

Today it has become "no big deal" to have a baby out of wedlock.  No one really thinks twice about it.  So this makes me wonder why so many abortions?  Why?  I just don't understand.  I know of one woman who prayed to God to make her son's girlfriend "lose the baby" when the pregnant girlfriend chose not to have an abortion.  Tell me, what kind of person prays to God to take a life?  This grandmother to be, never told a soul she was going to be a grandmother because she kept praying and hoping to the very end that something would be wrong with the baby and it would die or be stillborn  Who does that?  Could a Christian do that?  Was the embarrassment of having a grandchild out of wedlock be so bad that it would be better if the precious baby died or be inflicted with a birth defect?
Better be careful what you pray for.  God has his ways.

No one has the right to make abortion seem like the right thing to do.  Killing a growing baby is never right. Praying asking God to kill what He has created is never right either.  A person with loving feelings never forgets their baby.  If you do or can forget about it and not feel guilty you must believe killing a baby is all right.  There is always another way out, another choice.  Give God a chance to show you.  If you are sorry for having an abortion or encouraging someone to, then just pray for forgiveness and give God a chance to have mercy on your soul and show you His love.  God forgives when we admit our mistakes and sins and sets us free through His son Jesus Christ.  Find His freedom and the glory of His promises to us if we just obey Him!

Monday, July 1, 2013


I am blogging today with photos and a few quotes for my Week 2 of  Project Illuminate.  I've chosen to use clouds to show light, darkness and shades of gray. 

I never thought of using clouds to relate to grief until I received a booklet in the mail from Billy Graham called, CLOUDS.  He sent me this booklet in 1975 after James Collins, Jr. was stillborn.  I still have it by my side.  What a different perspective it gave me on my grieving journey!  Clouds have many different shades, just as our lifelong journey of grief does.

"This thing, this blackness we call grief, menacing as the dark storm cloud
that moves in silent threat, never knowing at what moment it will strike and with what intensity."
Denise O' Andrea

                        "I've never been able to push the clouds away by myself.  Help me, please."
                                                               Rod McKuen

"Be still, sad heart, and cease repining.  Behind the clouds the sun still shining."
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
"I feel like good things can still happen and that the sun is peeking through the clouds."
Mom to 4 and One Angel
"I can see clearly now the rain is gone...
gone are the dark clouds that had me blind..
It's gonna be a bright bright sun shiny day!"
Sung by Johnny Nash
On my grief journey I often encounter dark clouds, but then the sun breaks through and I am reminded that the Lord is my strength.    Malachi 4:2

Saturday, June 29, 2013

My Blog Is Moving to Bloglovin'

You need to find me on Bloglovin' to follow my blog.  Google Reader will no longer carry my blog as of July 1st.  I hope you will continue to follow my blog!


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

How & Why I Had To Forgive

Many of you have asked me about forgiveness.  The answer isn't easy when you are hurting and licking your raw wounds of  obvious betrayal to you. It is hard when the person who hurt you doesn't even realize or will admit what they did.  Let's get real.  No one wants to admit they are wrong.  It is just human nature.  Some are just too wrapped up in themselves to even understand the depth of their wrong doing.  Others, do it deliberately convincing themselves it is for your own good.  Then, there are just the mean people who hurt you and don't ever look back to see their destruction.

After the stillbirth of James Collins, Jr., I was the victim of all of these hurts.  I have forgiven the small hurts and the life-changing hurts.  Not one of  the people who hurt me had experienced the death of a child. No one can ever understand that kind of hurt unless you have been there.  It is even hard to imagine that kind of pain.  There is no do over or second chance.  You have lost that loved one forever, in our case, our son.

My pain was so much more intense in those first raw months due to the fact that not only was I alone, I had to deal with hurtful things said by family, ( mine and James') the very ones I needed most.  This post deals my mother-in-law due to her many big hurts.  My husband was as much a victim as I was.  He was being guided by his trusted mother.  My Scar Opened Up Today tells that story.  It was awful!  It took time for me to forgive her.  I do believe she was a victim of the times and society when handing out her advice.  I didn't see it then.  The pain was too recent.  I also believe she just wanted the whole mess to go away.  She didn't want to deal with a grieving son and daughter-in-law.  Our son was an inconvenience.  If she loved him or grieved him, she hid it very well from us.  She wasn't a support system, but drug us down.  It made an already traumatic experience so much worse!  Did she understand that?  If she did, she never showed that either.  She was silent in her sabotage of our healing.  After I had my rainbow children, we began to get along better.  I included her on so many activities.  She loved our rainbow son very much.  The same went for our second rainbow son.  She was very close to them and that made me happy.  Life was getting much better. Then, our only daughter, Reita Gale, was stillborn at 20 weeks.  I thought she would surely treat this stillbirth differently.  She was in the room when the nurse brought Reita Gale to my room.  She stayed and watched as James and I held our daughter and mourned her.  She chose not to hold her granddaughter.  When the nurse tried to console her over the death of her granddaughter, she just replied that she already had a granddaughter and didn't have the time for another one.  The look on the nurse's face was indescribable.  I made up my mind at that very moment that she would be the one left behind at my daughter's funeral. We had a quiet graveside service with only James and our two rainbows attending.  She never mentioned the funeral or my daughter again. The hate returned.  The words she spoke to the nurse that day were deliberate and just plain despicable.  That was very mean, selfish and destructive.  It erased all of the work I had done on forgiving her from my previous stillbirth.  Not only do we suffer the death of our child, we suffer hurtful actions and words plus the burden of forgiveness falls on us!  It is like pouring alcohol on the open wound!  However, after time, I just took her for who she was warts and all. Don't give me a pat on the back.  All of us fall short.  She did a lot of good, but she couldn't handle stillbirth.  Yes, she was selfish and mean to me at those times.  Yet, there were other times when she was completely wrapped up in my rainbow sons.  As my rainbows grew up, she was proud of them and tried to never miss an event in their lives. I took them to visit her and my father-in-law weekly if not more.  I learned to love her for loving my sons.  I learned to forgive her through love.  In her elder years, she thanked me for being a good mother and a good wife to her son.  She also thanked me for always keeping her informed about what was going on with her grandsons lives.  I often invited her and my father-in-law over for dinner.  They loved playing board games with their grandsons.  It was a blessing to see them interact together.  I don't know when it actually happened, but I forgave her because I grew to love her more and more.  The good out weighed the bad.  Who of us is perfect?  The Lord's Prayer instructs us to forgive others.  He gives us the strength to do so if we ask.  It may not be right away.  Forgiveness is an on going thing.  I have to keep reminding myself that I forgive her, especially when the hurt surfaces.  My mother-in-law died before seeing any of her great-grandchildren born.  I was with her alone in her hospital room when she died.  We talked.  I talked.  She died.  Then the others came in.  She knew long before she died that I loved her.  Did she know that I forgave her?  I don't know because it was a subject off limits to discuss due to her wishes.  Is she with my son and daughter in Heaven already?  I'm not sure because I don't know if that sacred moment is saved for just their Mommy and Daddy.

If you need to forgive someone who has hurt you during your grief, please make a choice to do so as soon as you can.  Harboring hate or anger hurts you more than it does them.  It eats on you.  Their words can't be undone.  Maybe they will talk with you about it.  Even if they won't, for your sake and the sake of your rainbow children, forgive them.  It will be one less burden on you.  Pray about it.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A Letter To My Stillborn Son



    My Baby James Collins, Jr.


     How has thirty-eight years passed by since your birth?  How have I lived without having you physically with me?  It amazes me that I have.  I didn’t want to.  I have missed you so much.  There is a part of me so deeply empty.  It is your space.  It never has been filled by anything or anyone.  I dream of you my sweet son, my James Collins, Jr.  I can still smell the baby powder I used to dust your things with.  I keep baby powder and use it on me, so I can smell you with me.  You know you are my first born.  That is an honor you will always have.  You made me a mother.  I wanted to hold you so much, but no one would let me.  I wanted to be at your funeral, but everyone left without letting me know.  So many people kept our time away from us.  But my sweetheart, you know how we spent those nine months together.  They were the sweetest filled with our secret times together!  You really enjoyed being nestled way up high under my ribs!  That was your special place for nine months.  I guess you were trying to stay as close to my heart as you could.  Did you know your time with me was going to end that second day in May?  I hoped and prayed until the very last.  When you didn’t cry, I thought the doctor could fix it.  Surely God would.  You never did cry.  I was the one who did and for a long time.  I still cry.  I cry for what we have missed together.  I knew you were okay being in Heaven with your Father.  I wasn’t okay, but that wasn’t your fault or mine.  It was just the way it was.  I so badly wanted you back so I could change your diapers, feed you, rock you to sleep, and stroll you outside to hear the birds sing.  I wanted to show you the flowers blooming that spring.  I wanted to lay you in your beautiful white crib and turn on your mobile for you to see.  I still have that mobile in my nightgown drawer.  I pull it out and play it sometimes while I am getting dressed.  I never did get to put you in your crib, but the first day I was alone at home after your birth, I got in it to feel closer to you and I cried for you.  I didn’t know that babies died inside their mommy.  I was a college Summa Cum Laude graduate, tied for the 11th place in my class and I wasn’t smart enough to know that you might die.  Why didn’t I know when I was three months pregnant that you swam around and made two knots in your cord?  All those months I carried you towards life, but that life was not to be with me.  Sometimes I am proud you are in Heaven.  You are in the best place ever!  You got the real deal!  What mother wouldn’t want that for her child?  You never had to live in this dangerous world.  That is some comfort for me. In fact, it is my only comfort.  I wonder often what it is like for you in Heaven.  Do you see me?  I feel like you do.  I remember the night you were so close to me.  It was the first night it rained after you were buried.  Remember?  I cried and wanted to go put a blanket over your grave so you wouldn’t be cold and wet.  You scolded me for worrying about you.  You told me you were with your Father in Heaven.  You wanted me to trust God with your care.  I  have never worried about you since then either.  It’s me.  I just missed doing all of the things a mommy does for her firstborn son.  I was so ready to be a new mother for the first time!  I was so happy and excited about having you, my sweet child.  Everything changed in a moment.  I turned into a sad lonely mommy without her baby to take care of.  Was that bad of me?  Should I have been stronger for you?  I did trust God to take care of you!  God gave me so many mothering instincts that just didn’t disappear because you died.  I didn’t know what to do with those instincts.   I hope you understand why mommy was so sad.  You know, grieving is natural after we lose someone we love so much.  It is very hard to do.  It has been the hardest thing that I have ever done.  I thought I would hurt so deeply forever.  I didn’t know that one day, that fresh grief would dim and not hurt as much.  I have never forgotten you.  I just don’t cry all of the time like I did.  I have told your two brothers all about you.  I still talk about you to them even though they are all grown up.  Do you play with your sister Reita Gale?  How about your other brother or sister?  I call her Abba Gale because the doctor believes she is your sister’s twin.  I have a twin sister, my family has many twins and every one of them are identical, so I just know Reita Gale’s twin is a girl.  You know for sure, don’t you?  I wonder if you are still a baby or did you grow in Heaven.  I think you and your sisters are still babies, but little baby souls since you don’t have your earthly bodies anymore.  Somehow, when I get there, I believe we can hug and cuddle and love each other with kisses and maybe I can rock you.  I’m sure I will recognize you and you me.  Your sisters will be with us and we will be so happy.  Then this empty spot in my heart will be filled.  Maybe this spot isn’t as empty as I thought.  Maybe it does have something in it.  It has hope.  It has love.  My love for you is stored there as well as my hope of one day holding you.  God is going to bring me to you.  It wouldn’t surprise me if you didn’t already know when.  Well, sweet baby of mine, I’m waiting and I’ll be ready.  I have been ready for thirty-eight years.  No one has ever taken your place.  No one ever will.  You are my son, my very firstborn baby.  I cherish you in a very special way because you are my firstborn.  Those nine months we were together will always be close to my heart.  These past thirty-eight years that I have missed you will be worth it when we are together again in Heaven with our Father.  Oh, how much I love you!!!  You are always forever in my heart!


Your Mother
I'm still in darkness of grief.  Your bear is some light as I hold it for comfort.  The light of our reunion is just outside. 
Looking for our light that you are already in.
So lonely for you and wondering how I have made it for 38 unbelievable years without you.
I love watching your pinwheel play in the wind!  I makes me happy!  For now it is the only way I can play with you.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Certificate of Birth Resulting in Stillbirth Arrived!

It's here!  My certificate for James Collins Fitts, Jr finally came in the mail thanks to the help of the MISS Foundation!  What a story of what it took to get it!  Here is the picture!

  Just when I felt every avenue had been explored and I was ready to give up, The MISS Foundation popped up on my computer screen.  Their goal is to help bereaved parents!  I quickly wrote them a message.  Within an hour I heard from North Carolina's MISS volunteer, Daryl Logulla.  As it turns out, Daryl helped to write the legislation to be passed  in NC to give parents their rightful Certificate of Birth  Resulting in Stillbirth.  He knew the law!  He knew I legally had the right to this certificate for my son.  Daryl also got the run around, but  knew the right words to say and what to say.  Within a few weeks, the very person at the NC Department of Vital Statistics that told me I could not get a certificate for my son, called me to say my certificate was on its way to me!  Also, since I had to work so hard to get the Department of Vital Statistics to get their act together, the $36 fee was waived!  She also told me that upon talking to the NC Attorney General, she was told where the files were that had all of the babies born to stillbirth in the 1970's era.  My son's records on file were found at last!  I knew they were there somewhere!  I feel so proud that through my son's death part of his legacy will be opening up hundreds if not thousands of forgotten files needed for other North Carolina parents who lost a child before or during birth can now have the birth not just the death of their baby on file with the state.  This helps to validate that we as mothers actually did go through labor and birth our children, even though they never took a breath on this earth.  They were human beings born not breathing, but born just the same.  They had to be named and a funeral home called.  To have a funeral, you had to of first died.  You can't die unless you were first alive.  Also, as a result of the struggle to find James Collins' records, the NC Department of Vital Statistics has improved its application form to make it easier for parents to get their certificates.  Also, this department has to recognized ANY Fetal Death Certificate issued by the counties of NC with the proper seal.  These new and improved changes came about because I wouldn't give up on my son's rights.  His rights to be counted.  His right to have his name in the Vital Statistics Records.  James Collins Fitts, Jr was here in my womb for nine months.  He was and still is very much loved.  His life counted even though he never lived outside of my body.  I am so proud that because of him, other parents will not have to go through what I did just to get a simple certificate, the Certificate of Birth Resulting in Stillbirth.                                                                      

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

My Scar Opened Up Today

I am back in May of 1975 right now.  The rawness of it bites at the deepest part of my very being.  Can anyone please explain it to me?  I mean how on earth could anyone be so heartless to sneak behind my back and convince my husband that it would be in my best interest if I didn't attend my own son's funeral?  My doctor discharged me from the hospital with full clearance to attend my son's funeral.  Who was she to think she knew better than the doctor?  I will never forget the moment I discovered everyone had left for the funeral leaving me upstairs with two "friends" to distract me.  The primal animal mother instinct in me fought like a wild beast to get out of the bed, get my car keys to drive myself to the funeral.  I tore at the bedding screaming blood curling noises I didn't know I had in me.  I'm feeling it all right now, 38 long years later and it drives me into madness.  My heart is beating so fast and I am in a sweat with ever fiber of me still fighting to undo that horrible deed.  I want to grabbed the clocks of time and go back to that day to be in control.  Now that I am so keenly aware of that plot against me, I would do everything so differently!  I was only 24 years old.  I was so  trusting and vulnerable.  I don't understand how one person could have talked my husband, my parents, my five grown sibblings, and my very best friend into not saying one word to me about the most unsacred of all plots. Were they in fear of her?  Not one tiny little syllable of this plot slipped out!  How does one keep such a dirty secret?  I still can barely conceive the fact that this really happened to me.  It would have been way much kinder to have just put a real knife through  my already bleeding heart and twisted it until I was dead.  Instead, I was emotionally mangled and scarred for life by this action.  Everyone walked on his sacred ground of burial but me.  They got to cry over his casket, but not me, his mother.  I should have been there!  I grieve over not being there.  It was suppose to be part of the grieving process.  I not only lost my son, but his funeral too.  If she were alive today I would slap her face.  Yes, I do get these waves of anger!  I am only human. 
I never did slap her face while she was alive.  I forgave her.  Don't even begin to ask me how.  It was the right thing to do. I never hated her, but I hate her actions and I can't forget them.  I was by her side when she died.  I ended up loving her.  I miss her.  Isn't that really weird?  Time does heal, it healed my relationship with her.  It has never healed what she did.  I am scarred and times like today, that scar opens up.  Then it all comes back to me so clear.

Monday, May 27, 2013

I Need A Miracle

I am angry at the Department of Vital Statistics in Raleigh.  I first brought you this story in March, twice in April, and now today May 27th.  After going to Raleigh, many phone calls a day and resending in a new application with a second certified check, plus my only original copy of James Collins, Jr's  Certificate of Fetal Death issued in May of 1975, I still have no Certificate of Birth Resulting in Stillbirth.  I argued the point that I needed to send in this precious copy that i had kept so safe for 38 years, but they insisted it was necessary, so I did send it, reluctantly. 

I have never receieved any conformation from the Vital Statistics Department that they received my package, although I I know through the post office that they did get it and who signed for it.  We were told that our certificate would be given priorty and the item they needed to get it out was MY original copy of the Fetal Death Certificate.  Well, where is it?

I am in tears.  I am so afraid I'll never get what is rightfully his.  I am afraid they have lost my original certificate and that is why I haven't heard from them.  If anyone reading this has any advice for me, please contact me!

We are calling once more tomorrow.  We are going to Raleigh to the department Wednesday morning.  We are heated.  Why does this process have to cause more grief to the already grieving?
I am ready to take a lawyer's letter with me.  I am going to try to get the MISS Foundation behind us as they have had experience with dealing with this kind of problem.

Even though I am angry, I feel defeated already.  They don't care about my dead son.  They don't know how I feel.  I am not asking for a pity certificate.  I want my lawfully certificate.  It belongs to us. 

I hope James will fight for this for me.  I am depleted.  If you knew me, you would know that this feeling is not at all like me.  I need to be supported.  Hopefully by Wednesday, the fight will be back in me.

The Department of Vital Certificates in Raleigh, NC SUCKS!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

She Made Me Her Mother

  I held her. I touched her tiny nose, and put her hand in mine.  I examined every inch of her 1 lb 4oz body.  She fit inside both of my hands.  She was a shade of red.  Her eyes were closed and her cheeks scrunched towards her mouth as both were expressing pain.  Don't anyone ever tell me a child in their 20th week of gestation doesn't feel pain, because she very clearly did.  But I held her and tried to soothe the pain away.  She had already left this body of hers made up of my DNA and her daddy's.  She was already in Heaven in the presence of her Heavenly Father.  I wonder if she had time to look down at her earthly parents as they caressed her body.  My body had been her home for the past 20 weeks.  Did she remember my heartbeat as I remembered her kicks?  Did she know about my tears and broken heart?  Tell me, how does one hold a tiny miracle like her, plan her funeral, stand by her grave and then go on with life as usual?   Just how can a mother do that?  She was and is my daughter.  I'll always remember the nurse bringing her to my room so James and I could be with her.  I'll never forget how she felt or looked.  She wasn't cold.  She was still warm from my body heat and then the warm blanket.  We did a life time of loving her that Memorial Day Weekend.  I birthed her, held her, memorized her, let my salty tears fall on her body and blanket, then gave her back to a nurse that I never even knew the name of.  I handed my tiny Reita Gale in all reality back to the One who made her perfectly in my womb.  I'll never understand why my daughter that I just knew the entire 20 weeks was really a daughter, was to live within me for 20 short weeks and then go back to Heaven.  God has a reason for everything.  There was one for her.  I don't know what it was or is,  but I do trust God.  I'm sure she is just fine and with her older brother.  Was it so I could see how precious life is even at 20 weeks?  I just can't believe that because of having a stillborn son already.  For the time being, I can say this by fact.  She made me the mother of a daughter.  I have my three sons (one in Heaven) and my one and only daughter, who lives in Heaven.
Everyone!  I am the mother of a daughter!  One blessed day, we shall dance in Heaven together!


Here I am with my rainbow, Taylor, and Reita Gale is obviously growing very well within me.
Burying Reita Gale beside her brother, James Collins Fitts, Jr

Friday, May 24, 2013

I'm Numb Right Now

Reita Gale's Heavenly birthday is next week.  May 31st to be exact.  I think about it but my feelings are on the outside looking at me.  I am half afraid of it coming because from year to year I never know how I will react.  Some years have been better than others.  The weeks before James Collins'
Heavenly birthday earlier this month I was all over the place.  My heart was so heavy I could barely breathe as the day got closer.  Now as I deal with my second child's death anniversary, my stomach is all nervous.  As much as we call this our childrens' angelversary it is also the anniversary of their death.  Dealing with this twice in one month is just so hard.  I mean come on, I just got over the hurdle of one child's death memories and now here the second one's is on the way.  It is like can may just be over already?  To protect myself from the second blow of the month, my body, emotions, and feelings have gone numb.  Dormant.  Mixed in the month are my husband's birthday the day after James Collins, Jr.'s funeral and my precious granddaughter's birthday, tomorrow.  Geez, can you understand how I feel like I am in a washing machine agitating back and forth all month?  Then June comes.  June 3rd brings Reita Gale's funeral.  I just hope my feelings stay numb.  I don't want them alive and raw again.  Then I feel guilt because Reita Gale doesn't get her full attention from me on her day.  One would think that it is just two days out of the year I have to deal with.  No it isn't!  It is the before the day emotions building up.  I hear it from all of you too, so I am glad I know I am not crazy for feeling the way I do.  Then, in my case, as soon as I can breathe again, it starts all over again.  I don't like feeling this way.  She deserves her day.  Her death was a stillbirth like her brother's, but at 20 weeks instead of being a full term baby.  Did it hurt any less?  No!  I was in labor with her and birthed her.  She didn't have the peaceful look on her face as her brother did.  Her face was full of pain.  It was so obvious.  It was the first difference I noticed.  I was able to hold her for hours.  She was like a baby china doll at 1 lb 4 oz.  I couldn't believe just how perfect she was at just 20 weeks.  She was beautiful.  She is my daughter.  Can you believe I have a daughter when most people don't know that?  Can you believe how much this still gets to me after having her 31 years ago?  I don't have any little baby girl things that were hers, like I did for her brother.  I had a whole nursery full of thing for him.  She died before she had a nursery.  I didn't even know she was a girl until her birth.
I am still numb.  Even as I write this I am numb.  Is something wrong with me this time?

Friday, May 17, 2013

My Mother's Day Project Pictures

Here are the pictures from the alternative Mother's Project I held.  As I decided not to release the seven dozen balloons into our environment, I made a big Mother's Day Card with all of our angel's names on it by the Atlantic Ocean on the Southern Outer Banks of North Carolina.  I hope you enjoy the photos.  I hope Mother's Day was kind to each of you remembering your angels.  Hugs....

                                                 My heart goes out to each of you..
                                                              I understand....       
The card from a distance with page one of names.
Page One of Names and Dates
Close up of your Angel's Names....there are several close-ups of page one first
Another close up of page one....
Another close-up of page one of names....
Yes, you are still a Mother!!!
Page One
Page One
Card Two
                                                  Close-up of Card Two Names


Another close-up of Card Two Angel Names
Card Two Close-Up
Card Two Close-Up
Card Two Entire Page
A yacht passes by to watch....
Peace be with each of you....