“A mother instinctively protects her child. A grieving mother instinctively protects her child’s memory.”
I remember the very first time I cried as a flight attendant. It was Mother’s Day. I was in the lounge waiting for my sign in, and it just hit me...tears, out of nowhere. I was not a mother at that time, I was just so sad that I couldn’t be home to celebrate it with my mom. The woman who gave everything to me my whole life, the woman who literally gave me life. My older brothers were out of the house, I was out of the house & out of town, so it was up to my little brother and sister to make sure it was a special day for her. Of course they did...but for the first time ever, I wasn’t a part of heading it up.
My mom is literally an angel. She's a beautiful soul who deserves the whole world. Loving, selfless, forgiving, and service oriented. She was a stay-at-home mom, so I would come home from school or work to a clean & loving home, food to eat, and someone to talk to about my whole day. I never had to worry that my needs wouldn’t be met, or that my thoughts and struggles couldn’t be talked about. There were many nights growing up that I would stay in my parents room on their rocking chair all night, just talking about things that were bothering me...and they would always listen. I never doubted for a second that I was blessed. I knew how loved I was, and I was thankful.
Whatever struggle we had, Mom made it her struggle. Whatever battle we were fighting, Mom made it her battle. When any of us were having a hard time; whether it was a breakup, feeling lonely at school, cyber bullying, etc; I could see the pain and hurt in her eyes. She was always our safe place. She was our Mother. It was her natural instinct to protect us and take care of us. And she did an amazing job at that; she still does.
When I found out I was pregnant with Chloe, my natural instinct was to do all I could to protect her in my womb. I knew I lived my life in a healthy way; I always had. But when I found out there was a human life growing inside of me, I wanted to take it a step further. What could I do to protect her? What could I do to make her completely comfortable? I loved her so much already.
It truly is a mother’s natural instinct to protect her child. During pregnancy, that’s all I wanted to do. Protect Chloe.
During the complications of pregnancy and the grief my mom has watched me go through; that’s all she has wanted to do. Protect me.
When we found out there were some complications with my pregnancy, the first thought I had was; How can I protect my baby from this?
And the first person I called was...my mom.
When I was first placed on bedrest at home, the only thing on my mind was; keeping Chloe comfortable.
The first person who came to my rescue to do all of our housework and fix our meals...my mom.
When my water broke & I was told I was being admitted to the hospital 3.5 hours away from home, my only question was;
“Is this hospital the best place for Chloe to be?”
When the ambulance pulled up to the hospital and I saw Derrick right behind me in our car; the person right behind him pulling up was...
During those 10 weeks in the hospital, my favorite part of every day was hearing her little heartbeat and knowing she was okay.
Chloe is still safe.
During those 10 weeks in the hospital, my mom's favorite part of the week was driving 2.5 hours to spend the whole day cooped up in a hospital room.
She wanted to make sure her daughter (and granddaughter) were still okay.
When Chloe was born and I felt her beautiful presence, I was in a state of pure joy; happiness; love.
I was completely devoted to keeping her safe and protected.
When the doctors explained to me there was nothing they could do to save her, I looked at her with blurred vision and told her how sorry I was. I wasn’t able to protect my daughter. Even though it was the only thing in the world I ever wanted to do, my natural instinct, I couldn’t. I had no control in this world, and all I could do was repeat over and over again; “I’m so sorry…”
As my mom has watched me suffer through this grief, I have also watched her struggle. I can feel her sorrow, too. Her wish that she could save me from this heartache. Her desire to take away my pain. Her natural instinct to protect me from despair. I feel that she is broken because she knows she can’t fix what has happened. She can’t bring Chloe back to life, and she can’t heal my hurting soul. As I said to my daughter in that moment she slipped away; my mother still says to me…”I’m so sorry…” while she is grieving the loss of her granddaughter; and watching her daughter navigate through life after the loss of a child.
In every way, mothers are beautiful. We create life, we carry life, we sustain life, and we love our children more than ourselves. Mothers are a blessing to this world. Especially my mother. I am eternally grateful for her. And I am eternally grateful for Chloe--the beautiful angel girl who made me a mother.
As Mother's Day approaches, it feels as if my heart is being ripped out all over again. There's an emptiness; a hole that I can't fill. This is the hardest Mother’s Day of all. The first Mother’s Day as a mother...but a grieving mother. I can’t protect my daughter anymore; that is in Jesus’ hands. All I can do now, is protect her memory. I know what she stands for. I know who she is. She is a perfect soul, a beautiful reflection of Christ’s love for me. God sent her to us on purpose. To this loving home, that will never forget her. This little girl, although she didn’t get to stay long...is a miracle. She is completely loved. And even though death feels like the end sometimes; it’s not the end. I know we will see her again.
For my mother--The woman who has stayed by my side during the best days and the worst days. The woman who has held me while I cry since the beginning of my time here on earth...& continues to do so. The woman who guides me through my journey of life, love, and loss. The woman who sets a beautiful example to her children every day, in every way. Thank you for loving me and for never letting me down.
4 Lessons Chloe’s Life Taught Me
“We don’t grow when things are easy. We grow when we face challenges.”
How easy it has been these past few years to forget about the needs of others and to become completely consumed in my own life. I’m not saying I was a bad person, just a busy person who had a lot going on and never really stepped outside of myself. I lived in a bubble; almost a fairytale land where nothing ever went wrong and everyone was as happy as I was. I became somewhat selfish. I was kind to others, I accepted others, but I didn't understand how much pain there really was in the world. I was happy, and it didn’t really occur to me that there were people who were truly struggling, and could have benefited from a small act of kindness from me. I grew physically and mentally; but was suffering spiritually.
Chloe’s life, along with these 5 months of grieving her loss, has taught me so many truths about this life. There are so many things you can never learn if you are never completely and truly broken. Every part of me wishes Chloe was still here, and that God would have just taught me these lessons another way. However, I don’t get a say in that...she is already onto her next chapter. Her purpose still remains; Love, Light, Healing, and Faith. I am still here to help her fulfill that purpose. I have decided to write out a list of 4 lessons this experience has taught me.
(Lesson 1) People Struggle Every Day. Be Kind, No Matter What
Just because we are blind to others’ suffering, does not mean it doesn't exist. One of my favorite hymns growing up was always “Lord, I Would Follow Thee.” I know it by heart, and if I was ever asked what my favorite hymn was...this was always my answer.
In the 2nd verse it says;
“Who am I to judge another when I walk imperfectly? In the quiet, heart is hidden. Sorrow that the eye can’t see. Who am I to judge another? Lord, I would follow thee.”
I loved this verse, because it always reminded me to love others no matter what. Judging someone else was not my place. Even Jesus, throughout his perfect life, simply loved everyone. He was never judgemental, never unkind, and He never made anyone feel unworthy of His presence.
After the loss of my daughter, it has taken on a new meaning. “In the quiet, heart is hidden, sorrow that the eye can’t see.” As I came back to work in January, I did have to ‘hide’ my heart. I didn’t show anyone that I was struggling. I shuttled 300 passengers to/from their location daily. I pretended to be happy for the sake of my colleagues. I watched babies come aboard the plane and smiled, when I actually felt like crying. I held baby girls as families settled into their seats; each time wishing I was holding my little girl. I went into the bathroom countless times to cry; and came out smiling as if nothing had happened. I did my job, but I was spacey from time to time. Forgetting little things, as I’m sure that frustrated my crews. But usually, I told them nothing of what was going on in my life. No one could see my pain. I smiled while I was in the public eye. Then I wondered, how many others have I come across that felt they needed to hide their hearts? Sorrow that the eye can’t see...
I began speaking to strangers about their daily struggles. I began to understand that almost everyone is going through something. Child loss, multiple miscarriages, infertility, loss of a spouse or parent, abusive relationships, high risk surgery recovery, terminal illness, divorce, loss of a loved one or friend, loss of a home, financial stresses, anxiety, depression, etc. The more I learned about others, the more I realized; Life is just plain hard. Heartbreaking. Terrible. Sad. Stressful. We, as humans, love so deeply and mourn so completely. We are not here on earth to live an easy life. We are here to be tested, and to grow. We cannot grow without challenges. Truly, some people are challenged with much more than others. But we are promised an insurmountable amount of joy in the end, if we will endure.
One of the most important lessons I’ve learned from Chloe’s life, is that life is hard. You never know what the person next to you could be going through. So in every situation, no matter what, be kind. Love one another, as Jesus loves us. We are all brothers and sisters, and we are all here to help each other. If someone rubs you the wrong way, be kind. You never actually know what they are going through.
(Lesson 2.) There is darkness in the world, but there is also so much LIGHT.
As I sat in my hospital bed for 10 weeks, waiting for the arrival of Chloe; I watched the news, got on Facebook, and read about what was going on in the world. It seemed to me that the Devil was really attacking our planet. There was so much division between us. So much hate. So many disasters. When you turn on the news, rarely do you see any love. It was unsettling to watch what was going on in the world, thinking; why can’t we all just love each other? Wouldn't it be easier that way?
But then, as time went on, I witnessed first hand all of the Christlike love in the world. When my stay in the hospital was made public, I couldn't believe the outpour of love that was extended to our family.
Family, friends, acquaintances, and strangers called, texted, messaged, prayed and came to visit.
I was sent many packages and flowers.
The realty company we had bought our house from, (The Limbird Team) sent $500 worth of gift cards for eating out, which really helped with the food expenses...since we were so far away from home.
A wonderful nurse bought Chloe some adorable little outfits. One of the techs brought me tons of fruit roll ups, because she heard me say I had been craving them. Another nurse handmade Chloe some bibs and headbands.
A girl I went to high school with (Whitley Lind & her family) made the 2.5 hour drive to offer me a free maternity photo shoot and wouldn’t even accept money for gas.
Friends, family, and old neighbors came to visit me. A hospital is the last place I would want to spend my day, but these people made me feel like they truly loved me and wanted to be there for me. My visitors never failed to bring me something, whether it be coloring books, fruit, goodies, or something for Chloe.
Women from church hand knitted Chloe some outfits and hats.
My grandma stocked up my whole room with my favorite snacks, and always sent a poster with a picture, saying how much the family loves me.
After watching all of these people extend a helping hand to me while I was in need, I slowly realized how many opportunities I had missed to help someone in need, when I was well and able. When I had the time and the means.
After the loss of our sweet daughter, the love and service extended to us only increased.
The nurse who was with me the better part of the day, didn’t find out about our loss until the next morning. She came to my room, hugged me, and brought me a beautiful plate that says, “Best Mom Ever.”
After finally arriving home, it seemed that we got a package in the mail or a card every day.
We received so many gifts in her name. Handmade blankets, quilts, personalized necklaces, teddy bears, bracelets, a beautiful framed painting of Jesus holding a baby, handmade signs with poems about our angel. Some of these gifts were from people I had never even met before, or people I had only met in passing once or twice. A woman Derrick worked for once, sent a check in the mail. Our funeral costs were completely paid for, thanks to our family. Our headstone was paid for by a family member as well. We were not prepared for funeral & headstone costs, but because of the love and generosity of these people, we did not have to worry. It was all taken care of.
People from church brought meals for us, and books for us to read. Friends and family came over often to watch out for us and make sure we were okay.
To this day, 5 months later, we still recieve beautiful gifts in honor and remembrance of Chloe. I can’t express enough how thankful I am when someone remembers her life in this way. It never fails to bring a tear to my eye.
A few weeks ago, a wonderful woman (Amy O’Pry) approached me with an idea to keep Chloe’s memory alive through this website. A place for all of the music inspired by her, a place for my thoughts, a place for her purpose to live on. What an amazing gift. She helped me put this whole site together, and it was an extraordinary act of love. This act of kindness is so appreciated; another way to spread Chloe’s message.
Just today, I received an absolutely beautiful necklace that has her picture, her name, and a charm that reads, “my angel.” I cried happy tears as I was full of so much gratitude. Chloe is loved and remembered, always. People are so good. Full of so much love and light. I have come across so many beautiful souls as I navigate through this grief.
So sure, there is some darkness in the world. Sometimes it seems hopeless...but there is also so much beauty, light, and love. I have come to understand Christ’s love for me, through other people. They have been my earth angels.
(Lesson 3) We Can All Be Earth Angels
After witnessing first hand all of the beautiful souls in this world that have helped me whether or not they know me; I have come to understand that I, too, can be an instrument in His hands. I, too, can help someone who is in need. These humans who expressed their love for me during my darkest hours, are my earth angels. They are people, but they are in tune with the Lord’s will, and they are angels.
Before Chloe, if I had ever heard that an acquaintance of mine had gone through something absolutely devastating; I would think to myself, “That must be so hard. I feel so bad.” But that’s as far as my thoughts would go. I always felt that if someone was struggling, they would want their space. The last thing they would want was for me (a stranger) to come up to them, acknowledge their pain, give them a hug, and tell them how sorry I was. It seemed to me, they would want to be left alone. It also seemed to me that small talk would not suffice. I always felt that the best thing, was to give these people their space and let their families and loved ones watch over them. I know now how ignorant that sounds, after going through something devastating myself. But the truth is, I was ignorant. I’m not afraid to admit that. I had never dealt with loss. I had never dealt with pain. I had never felt sorrow or sadness. As I’ve grown, and as I’ve struggled with loss, I’ve come to understand that there’s no greater sound than the sound of Chloe’s name coming from someone’s mouth. There is no greater gift than someone remembering her life in small and simple ways. There’s no greater comfort than a hug when I least expect it.There’s no greater love than the love of Christ. And so many people have shown me that love. I can’t even express how thankful I am.
My earth angels have inspired me to do better, to be better. They have given me hope, comfort, and peace when I least expect it; and when I need it the most. They have shown me that we are truly all brothers and sisters. They have taught me that we can all be earth angels, if we will listen to the promptings given to us. We can help each other. We can change the world. We can overcome the darkness; for there is so much light.
(Lesson 4) We are all so LOVED. Beyond Comprehension.
I don’t think we can ever fully understand the love that Heavenly Father and Jesus have for all of us. It seems overwhelming when you really think about it. How many souls are living on this earth, and how many souls roamed the earth before? How can we all truly be loved by Him? How can He really know us? Our feelings, our thoughts, our pain, our desires.
The other day, I was walking through the ATL airport rubbing shoulders with basically everyone. There were way too many people there. Crowds make me very uncomfortable, they always have. When I got my job as a flight attendant, I had to try to get over that. Crowds are everywhere; especially in airports. Especially in the ATL airport, which is where I’m based. As I was walking through this huge airport, watching hundreds of people pass me and feeling dozens of people breathing on me; noticing crowds at the gates, crowds on the escalators, and crowds on the trams, a very unsettling thought occurred to me.
The ATL airport accommodates over 260,000 passengers DAILY. That’s not including all of the flight attendants, pilots, gate agents, etc. that walk through the airport for work. Imagine we take all of the people who were supposed to fly through ATL today, and put them all in one GIANT room for one whole month.
A whole month sounds like a very long time. Imagine if we all stayed in that one room with all of those people with one goal in mind; to get to know everyone in the room by the time the month was over. There’s no way we’d be able to do it. A year isn’t even long enough to get to know 260,000+ people. I could stay in that room for a lifetime and still not reach that goal. I could try to learn their names, their hobbies, their passions, their beliefs, and their struggles, but it’s a guarantee that I would only be able to retain a few of these people’s stories and information in my brain.
260,000 people is a lot of people. And that’s only the people who traveled in ATL that day.
Then I started thinking, that’s only a small fraction of how many people are alive on this earth today. And we are in the year 2018.
There are over 7 billion people living on this earth RIGHT NOW.
There have been billions in the years before us.
There will be billions in the years after us.
So, how is it possible that God truly knows each and every one of us?
How is it true that our souls are valuable to him?
It doesn’t make sense...it doesn’t seem possible.
Those were the thoughts going through my mind the whole day. Then I found myself becoming distraught about that whole concept. God probably didn’t even know I had lost my daughter. He has greater things to worry about than my happiness.
It was that night that I was struggling (I wrote about the events in my blog “God Hears Our Cries & Answers them.) It was that night that I was crying out to him, asking for some sort of understanding. Something to help me know He was real. Something to help me know He loved me.
It was the next day that I received my answer. I was completely in awe of God, and the reality that he was there with me the night before; as I was crying out to Him. He had heard me. The experience also taught me that not only was he with me that night, He was with me the next day. He was with me always. He is a part of me. And I a part of Him.
Still incredibly hard to comprehend, but I know it’s true. God loves us all. And he hears us all. And he’s with us all. He knows our fears, our struggles, our doubts, our desires. He knows our feelings of sorrow & lonliness. He has an immense amount of compassion for us, and an infinite amount of love for us. So it doesn’t matter that there are billions of other people in the world, and it doesn’t matter that there were billions of people before us. Somehow, he knows and loves us all. Although it’s beyond our comprehension, that doesn’t mean it’s not true. We have much to learn, we are nowhere close to where we should be. It’s okay that we can’t understand it. All that matters, is it’s real.
Singer/Songwriter from Arkansas; with a passion & goal to create real music that speaks to the soul.
For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us.