I love the image of smooth stones, and the meaning I found behind it. In this episode I will tell you all about why I chose Smooth Stones as a symbol for all of us. I will also give you some practical tips on how to best work during each of three stages of grief. Our episode begins with the story of Chloe Ella and Gabriel. You don’t want to miss this one.
Free 30 minute coaching session: http://smoothstonescoaching.com/free_mini
Share your baby’s story to be read on the podcast: http://smoothstonescoaching.com/podcast-submissions
stock music by Zingdog/Pond5
Welcome to episode five. We have such an amazing story today from my friend Cassie, talking about her two little angels, and I think I’m just gonna jump straight into what she submitted. So here’s what she told us. She says, hello, my beautiful, sweet, and tender friends. I feel like it’s time to share a few of my takeaways from the loss of our two babies, my little bookend babies, I call them.
Why? Because 2013 was the year I had to give two of my babies back to heaven. Our stillborn daughter, Chloe Ella in January, and our stillborn son Gabriel in December. To say it was a difficult year is an understatement. Here’s what I’ve learned in the last six and a half years. Disclaimer, I’m pretty dang sure I’m still learning.
So here goes. There are so many feelings as I ponder the feelings of gratitude and great heartache. I sometimes think, how could it have happened? Not just once, but twice. My heart is filled yet so empty at the same time. I ponder being able to spend time with our babies after I gave birth to them. I got to dress our little boy and study every little bit of his beautiful mortal body.
The nurses called in support for me when I had my daughter because I was so frozen with heartache and shock I wasn’t processing and had no clue how to handle what was happening. These sweet volunteers came to dress my daughter and helped me start to process the importance of taking time to hold her and breathe in the experience.
Even as painful as it was, they helped me understand that the time I had with her then was ultimately the only time I had left with her. The experience with the loss of our daughter helped me appreciate even more so those special moments I would have with my stillborn son just 11 months later. I am so humbled by the time God granted me with my babies.
I only had but a few hours to prepare as best I could. After we found they had no heartbeat to say goodbye. It was far from easy. My heart hurts so deeply as I said goodbye to both of them. Sometimes it still does. Grief is a price you pay for love. Oh, how I love them. The time I had with them taught me so much as I studied their perfection.
I kiss them and love them so perfectly as any mother would if she knew it was the last time she would see her child. It taught me to never take things for granted that life is fragile and can change at any given moment. That hard, devastating things happen and I could let me, losing my kids, destroy me, or I could find hope somehow some way.
So many things ran through my mind as we prepared for the funerals. I questioned how and why heaven would ask me to give back two of my precious children. I questioned what I was to learn from all of this, questioned who the heck I would be. Now, I knew I’d never be the same. Was I supposed to help others?
If so, who was I supposed to help? My mind came back to an experience I had walking into the hospital to deliver our first stillborn daughter. There were blue and pink footprints on the floor in the hospital labor and delivery foyer. In my mind, it became clear, but not until I saw those footprints for the second time in the same year walking to deliver our stillborn sun, those footprints became a symbol to me.
They became about what I as their mama would do to honor them and keep the memory of them alive, my precious babies. Those footprints represented the steps I would take for them for the rest of my life in their honor, the good I could choose to do instead of setting up camp in my utter grief and heartache and become numb.
I was so amazed at this opportunity and realization that I could choose to be an instrument for good and service to help those around me that experience the same or similar, utter despair. I chose to be my baby’s hands to walk for them every day and do good to shine a light of hope. I chose to help the shattered hearts around me.
I knew my kids would be proud of me. I’m blessed to be the mother of three living children and two angels that remind me just how precious life is. I will always treasure my time with Chloe, Ella, and Gabriel. I know I have been taught about the purest form of love. I will share it with those that need it because of them.
I am humble because of them. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think of them. Because of them. I am brave when I didn’t think I had it in me. I live my life with courage when I thought it was gone. I can choose to share my light with others in their darkness. Despite my own heartbreak. I choose to let the light of hope illuminate my life.
Some days are still dang hard. Grief ebbs and flows, and that’s okay. Those feelings are normal. Don’t ever be ashamed of the different feelings that come. Just don’t stay stuck there. Work through it. It’s a part of the process. Work on healing your heart and mama, please be kind to yourself. You are doing the best you can.
All of my love to all of you, and especially to my sweet Chloe, Ella and Gabriel on Angel wings. Cassie, you are amazing, and I know for sure she is their hands on earth and she does so much good for so many families and people and she has the hugest heart. So thank you so much for sending that in. And any of you that wanna submit your baby’s story, Um, I’ll put a link in the show notes and I would love to hear about your baby.
Today I wanted to talk about why I chose the name Smooth Stones for this podcast, and it’s the name of my coaching practice, my website, all of it. And just give you a little background of where that came from and why I think it’s such a powerful image for those of us who have been through something really hard, especially the loss of a baby.
I’ll go back. It was the spring of 2013 and Lauren had been stillborn and I was still in really deep grief and really struggling to find hope, and there’s this conference at Brigham Young University every year in the spring, and I’d always kind of wanted to go, but just never made it happen. At that point, I thought, well, I don’t have a baby and I really need some time to work on me and figure some things out and find some answers.
And this is a religious conference. There’s all kinds of different classes, different speakers, but it does have a religious overtone. So I really wanted some answers in that way. And so I went. To this huge university campus and I went alone. A lot of people, this is kind of an annual thing, they take all their girlfriends or their mom or their daughters, and there’s a concert, there’s service projects, there’s all kinds of fun stuff.
But I just went by myself and I was really there to find answers and so I, I was even still in that stage of, I. I kind of couldn’t even lift up my eyes, like I just felt like I would cry at any moment. So I just kept my head down and I picked all the classes on trials and on hard things and on overcoming obstacles, and I went and I listened, and I.
I remember people who had been through just really huge challenges who had come out the other side and they had learned so many lessons and they didn’t. Sometimes people kind of skip over that, the really hard parts. They did not. They talked about all of it, and I just really loved it. And I remember going to this one class and hearing this analogy and it stuck with me.
And it’s something that I’ve really held onto all these years and I’ve shared with a lot of people and I think it’s been, it’s just really helpful. So I wanna share it with you, and I hope. It means as much to you as it does to me. Grief is like a rock in your shoe that you can never get out at first.
The rock is sharp and pointed every second of every day. It is cutting into you. It hurts in a way you could never have imagined. You can barely breathe, let alone walk. You hate the rock. You want it to go away. Yet you love the rock because it is a constant reminder of who you have lost. You can’t even envision a life where this hurt goes away.
After a while, the sharp corners start to break off. Your foot begins to toughen up, and you find ways to walk with the stone there. But very often it hits a tender place. Very often it stops you. Very often the pain causes the tears to spill over for even the smallest thing, but you are determined and keep moving forward.
Later the rock becomes smooth, the foot becomes strong. You learn where to position the rock so that it is no longer painful. You can feel it, but it is only a reminder of love. Sure every once in a while it hits a nerve, but you allow the pain and keep walking. You carry the rock with you always knowing that it has directed your path in a way you never thought possible in a way you wouldn’t change because it has made you who you are today.
And that’s why I chose the name Smooth Stones, because you have been through things. You have said goodbye to precious little ones, to dreams and hopes and futures that didn’t come true. But you are also tough and you have big things to contribute to this world. It’s a beautiful analogy, right? And so just spot on and I love it.
So I’m just gonna give you guys a little tip today, no matter what stage you’re in that you can take away and apply. No matter where you are talking about this pointy stage, that first really painful stage, my best advice is to bring in your circle and you can’t see me, which is imagine I’ve got my hands out to the sides, and then bringing it in small right in front of me.
Just bring in that circle. You need to make your world small and manageable. And grief kind of does this for us, right? You’re, you remember how all those little things that used to, you used to care about just like, don’t even matter when you’re in that place. But we also need to really be intentional about keeping it small and this is the part where you have to learn to say no to a lot of things.
I remember I had. A calling at church or my job at church was to take care of all the children, and there was an opportunity where they asked me if I still wanted to continue that job. And normally I would say, of course, like you never asked to walk away from a calling like that. And, but I had to really think.
That I, I couldn’t handle it. Like I wasn’t handling it well. I was having a hard time not crying every week at church and like just dealing with all of the different moving parts that come with like 40 little kids and their teachers and all of it. It was too much and I had to say no, and that wasn’t easy, but it was the right thing to do.
So it’s okay to say no and it’s okay to make. To really focus in on you and your family, and that’s okay. And it also means you let go of some of the things that that used to be important and just really dial in on what is actually necessary. If you’re not able to get up and clean the house, you find a way to do that or you let it go or whatever.
But. Again, this takeaway is just make your world really small and focused. That’s what you wanna do when you’re in that sharp and pointy stage. Okay, my next tip is for that rough middle stage. This is the time when you really want to allow your emotions. You wanna embrace all that grief brings and sit with those emotions.
The thing is they are not gonna go away on their own. Okay? The only way out of it, the only way past it is to go straight through that messy middle cry and scream, and hit something and be angry, be sad. All of those feelings. Let them be there and there is no time limit on this stage. Or on any of them.
But really this is a time where you’re starting to come out of that initial hard stuff and other people, and even yourself, you might be thinking, okay, I should be farther along than this, but there’s no time limit. And if you do that grief work and you allow those emotions, you’re probably gonna naturally notice when you kind of start coming out of it.
This is when we need to embrace all the emotions, so even the joy, the happiness, the humor, the silliness, when it starts coming back, you have to embrace that too and allow yourself to feel those feelings without feeling guilty or any of that. Like let yourself laugh again. I remember the first time I laughed after Lauren died, and it was months later.
And I remember it really distinctly. That’s something that we sometimes just have to allow ’cause it’s okay. It’s okay to feel all our emotions. And then we’re gonna get to this smooth stone stage, and this is where you really are able to incorporate your grief into this new life after loss. Be intentional about your life.
You’re not the same person you were before. You may have different interests completely, or you may fill a pull back to something that you were really into before, something from your past. At this stage, you can learn to become whatever you want. This is a time to set goals to help others. To maybe work on your career goals or a side gig, like something that you wanna do for yourself.
And then a lot of times when we’re in those other stages of grief, our relationships take a little bit of a beating. Maybe there’s people who weren’t there for us where how we thought they should, or we kind of let things go with our partner. Or we weren’t the mom we wanted to be to our kids when we were really struggling, which is a hundred percent fine by the way.
But maybe it’s time that you wanna rebuild some of those relationships, or you wanna grow them and strengthen them. And this is the time when you can do that. You’ve been through something really hard and you’re still here. I love this visual of the smooth stone. And when I think about. You know those beautiful stacked stones on the edge of the ocean, they’ve been washed and tossed and bumped into each other, and all those rough bits have been knocked off, and it’s kind of like us, right?
Those waves of grief that we have allowed to wash over us all this time, that’s gonna make us smooth and beautiful and. Different than we were before. We’re still a rock, but we’re a different rock. If you feel like you’re almost there, you’ve really done a lot of work and you smooth things over, but you got a few rough edges that you’re struggling with, maybe it’s relationships, maybe it’s what do you do next?
Like, who am I without this identity of a baby lost? Mom, let me help you. Move forward and find the path that you want to be on. That is what I love to do. That is why I became a life coach. I would just love to help you. So if that sounds interesting to you, I’ll put a link in the show notes so you can sign up for a free 30 minute mini session.
It’s gonna be so fun. You’re gonna learn a lot and we’re going to. Give you something amazing to take away. So again, I just, I’m really happy that I’m able to be here talking to you, and I hope that this lesson helped today. I will see you next week.
Don’t forget to subscribe, so you never miss an episode.