This is Lindsay. My friend Lindsay. Even though I never got to meet her.
You see, Lindsay and I had a few mutual connections. Her sister Mara and I used to work together, and have stayed in touch here and there ever since. And my good friend Justin and Lindsay met living in Durham and instantly hit it off and became good friends. Once, Justin drove Lindsay to Winston so she could spend the weekend with Mara and her family. And upon meeting Justin, Mara recongized him. She finally figured out that it was because of me, and a big round of connections was made.
Pieces were put together, and Lindsay and I "met" through Facebook shortly thereafter. May seem silly, but it's what happened.
The girl was FUN. You could just tell. She was a phenomenal writer and had a blog that I became an instant fan of and I loved to check in and see what all she had to say that day. Her way of saying things could make you think your hardest and laugh your silliest from one moment to the next. She'd pick at me about State and I'd return the favor when it came to Carolina. We always said "We need to meet!" and always said we'd make it happen, eventually. We were both randomly in Austin, TX just last month and tried to meet up, but our plans had us running in different directions during our time there. We even shot for a quick "Nice to meet you!" hug in the airport, but our flight schedules didn't match up, either.
One of our biggest connections was that we both had Crohn's Disease. I've had it since I was little, Lindsay more recently. We would email now and then - rarely, even - to check in on each other. I tried to answer questions here and there and encourage her that there were lights at the end of the various tunnels that she encountered.
Two days ago, Lindsay took her own life. And I have been totally heartbroken. For her family. For her friends. For her.
People are searching everywhere for answers, as they always do in this type of situation. I certainly don't claim to have any, as I had never even actually met her.
I think, though, that having never met her but counting her as a friend speaks to the person she was. Brightening the lives of people everywhere she went, with everything that she did. Even when it came to strangers. Checking on people and encouraging them and making sure they knew that she was in their corner, always. She was just the definition of a good person. And I know without a doubt that she will be so very sorely missed. I'll certainly miss her.
This past weekend was the 6th Annual Walk to Remember for Heartstrings, a pregnancy and infant loss support group that I have been involved with for a few years now. Losing a pregnancy or losing a baby is something that people don't want to talk about, but I can tell you that through the folks I've met through this organization, these folks need to talk about their situations and remember the sweet children that they have lost. There's no easy way to do this, of course, but finding others in the same boat is so vital.
And I'll also tell you that the people I have met through Heartstrings are absolutely, without a doubt, some of the strongest people I have ever met. Their lives are, certainly, changed forever, but they have become even better people because of it. And they love others even more. And support each other fiercely. Fiercely.
When I wanted to start working with Heartstrings, the Executive Director gave me call to make sure I knew what I was getting into. She warned me that, one day when I become pregnant, knowing so much about the stories of these families could make me a nervous wreck. She really wanted me to make sure I was up for the emotional challenges of getting to know and love these families. I'll admit, there are times when it is overwhelming, but I have never wished that I hadn't signed on.
If you know someone who has gone through a loss like this - a miscarriage, an expected or unexpected loss of a baby because of prematurity or illness or anything else - talk to them about it. Yes, it will always seem like such an elephant in the room, but it is SO important to make sure that's not the case. These are their children, and they want to talk about them and remember them.
Heartstrings is a network of support groups and other resources to help these families, and it has done so much to help guide them along in their respective journeys. And I can promise you, what you will gain from walking alongside them will inspire you and change you forever.
I love a tradition. I am a girl born and raised in the South, and my love of traditions is in my blood. I love that I get a "heart" every year on Valentine's Day and an "egg" every year on Easter from my parents, a tradition that my grandfather, GanGan, started with his girls years ago. I love that my mom and her sisters always play the "Sleigh Ride" trio on the piano when we have family Christmas. And you always know they'll have a laugh attack when they get to the part of the sheet music that has been torn and missing for years.
So, I also love to start a tradition. Here's one of my favorites: Every year since Sam was born, I have met the boys and Ann Parke out at the pumpkin patch for pictures and to pick out the perfect pumpkin. A little thing, maybe, but I LOVE it, and I love even more that they will hopefully always remember that it's something that I did with them.
When we went this past weekend and I was looking at the boys through the camera, it dawned on me that this was the 5th straight year we'd gone. And then, for some reason, all I could hear in my head later was "Five Little Pumpkins", the preschool song that I remember both of them singing when they were 2 and 3 or so...
So, why not dig up the pictures from over the years? :)
2006 - This one has been in a frame ever since.
2007 - Wasn't really the year of the "picture together"
Definitely the wildest days for Sam - couldn't catch him!
Several weeks ago I had the chance to meet the Butlers & Cravens over at Old Salem to get some Sunday morning photos of these precious cousins. Don't worry, since these were taken one more has joined the bunch, just meaning we'll have to do them again sometime soon - fine by me! Congratulations to Missy and Archer on the birth of Baby Tee just last week!
Oh, what a sweet family. I've known Maggie (Jack and Anna's mom) for years and years, and it was so fun to spend some time with her crew and her brother's crew all at once. I will say though, that it is awfully tricky to get shots of 4 young kids at once. Whew. :)
What a little sweet pea. Just as happy as she can be and trying to figure out
how she'll keep up with the rest of the pack one day. :)
At this point he was the only little boy in the crowd. And boy does he know that
this means that turning on the charm will take him places. I mean look at that face.
This girl is a hoot. Her little personality is electric and you can tell that
all she's thinking about is what she can get into next. Love it.
She is such a doll. Takes her role as the oldest seriously and has an old
little soul that makes her so very sweet. And the camera totally loves her, to boot.
Thank you Missy, Archer, Maggie, Chris, CeCe, Jack, Patterson and Anna for so much fun!