first anniversaries

First anniversaries. There are so many. The day I found out I was pregnant, the day we first heard his heartbeat, the first ultrasound, when we found out he was a boy, feeling kicks for the first time, baby showers, etc... It's a lot.

Sometimes I close my eyes and imagine holding Owen against my chest with his face next to mine. The weight and warmth of his body, his fresh baby smell, and the softness of his skin. I ache for it. The advice I got from other parents before Owen was born was to let the nurses take care of things while we were at the hospital. It's your only time to get a break before you go home with your newborn and it's never ending chaos. My advice to parents would be the opposite. Never put your baby down. Enjoy every single moment. The good and the bad. You never know what the future holds. Every moment is precious. I can count the times I held Owen on two hands, I can count the number of times I heard him cry on one, but I lost track of the number of kisses we gave him. It was too many to count. I'm so thankful for that.

Looking at these pictures brings back so many memories. I remember what he smelled like and how soft his arms were. I remember telling him, "Don't worry. Mommy's here, and I'll never leave you... You're gonna be just fine." I loved telling him "Good morning sweet boy!" I said it to him every single morning. I say that to Toby in the mornings now and wish so badly I was still saying it to Owen.

We only have a couple of short videos of Owen. The one I go back to over and over again is his first bath after he was born. I love watching it and remembering how it felt to see our son for the first time before we knew anything was wrong. He was perfect. The nurse showed Brian exactly how to bathe him when we were at home. But we never went home. In a way, I feel robbed. We have so much love for him and no one to give it to. Losing a child is difficult period. But when you lose your first child, you don't have other children to love. You're a parent, but you don't have anyone to hold and love. You don't fit in with other parents- you fit in more with people without children. It can feel isolating. I think it's cruel to be given the gift of life and then have it taken away so quickly. How can a loving God allow that to happen? It's a battle I face at times... My mind knows that God is good and sovereign and that he has a plan... All of those things are true! I know that. But it doesn't help my breaking, hurting heart and the knot I feel in the back of my throat so often.

Sundays are especially difficult because they were Owen's week-old birthdays. He would have been nineteen weeks old today. Every month when it becomes the 23rd, I wonder what he would look like and what he would be doing developmentally. I see other babies and wonder how they are so healthy. A healthy baby is truly a miracle. Maybe it's because I lost a baby, but after Owen died, I have heard of so many other babies being born sick and dying. I hate how common it is. My heart breaks for those parents as I can truly feel the weight of their deep sorrow. Before Owen, I took life for granted. I hope I never will again.

I think about Owen every single day. I still feel like someone is missing all the time. In some ways, living in Charlotte has provided a little relief. I'm not constantly reminded of him every single place I go like I was in Atlanta where I was pregnant and imagined our life happening after he was born. It's still painful to see moms with babies in their arms and families with strollers. Today babies were baptized at church, and it took everything inside me to hold it together until after the service. I know it won't always be this way.

I am continually blessed by friends and strangers every single day. I still receive cards in the mail from the hospital notifying us of donations made in Owen's honor. These cards make me so happy. A close friend gave me a beautiful print with Owen's name on it. It was made by a mother who lost her second child when he was just 5 weeks old. She has a shop where she sells beautiful art in honor of lost babies. She wrote me such a sweet and sincere note that I will forever treasure. I have been inspired by her story and am learning so much from her. I love what this print says at the bottom: Never forgotten. Forever loved.
I'm learning the hard lesson that my identity is found only in Christ. Not in being a parent or a wife or a friend or in my career. I have a heavenly father who loves me and carries me every single day. Never in my life have I had to rely on his strength more than now. If it were up to me, I would have chosen for Owen to live and to continue on a slower path of spiritual and personal growth. But for whatever reason, it did not happen that way. I am grateful for a God big enough to handle my questioning and doubt and confusion. I am grateful for his faithfulness and his gift of life. 


  1. Dear Allison, I continue to pray God's comfort & strength for you and Brian. One gift the Lord has given you is an achingly beautiful way of expressing yourself and drawing others into that. My heart hurts as I read this, and yet i KNOW that God WILL bring something of eternal value out of your pain. He does not waste our tears... May God bless you, and bring unexpected moments of joy into your hearts! ((Hugs!!))

  2. Every time you write, I am deeply moved by your words. It brings me back to that place none of us want to stay or be, that pang of grief. It reminds me to live with others in mind. We don't know who is going through similar losses, similar pain, similar shattered hopes, similar dreams. I don't know if writing is good for you but your words are good for me. You've opened your broken heart for us to hear. You have become the voice for many broken hearted people. Thank you. May God continue holding you and Brian along this journey of life.

  3. What beautiful treasures those photos and videos of Owen are. My heart aches for you, and although we have never met, I am deeply touched by Owen's life. I can relate to your words " you're a parent-but you don't have anyone to hold or love." This is so painfully true. Since you are in Charlotte now, I hope you'll consider going to kindermourn if you feel ready. Going to their "empty arms" group and connecting with other parents in similar situations helped me in ways I didn't know we're possible. I will continue to pray that God strengthens your hearts and holds you in His hands through every chapter. Thank you for writing and sharing your story. Owen is undoubtedly very proud of his parents.

  4. Allison, I'm not sure how, but I landed on your blog last night and read through your journey. I am so very sorry for the loss of your sweet Owen - what a precious little boy! Your strength and heart felt words have been such an encouragement to me. Our little Theodore was stillborn at 39 weeks on June 23rd... he was 9lbs 12oz and perfect from head to toe but he was already with Jesus. We found out when I went into labor that his heart was no longer beating. We are devastated. I do not know how people survive without our God... His promises have carried us this past month. I am thankful that you know Him too. We have the hope of seeing our beautiful sons again one day, and God's hope and grace and peace to carry us and our grief until that time. But oh.... how we wish they were in our arms....

    1. Oh Sarah... My heart breaks for you and your loss of sweet Theodore. I hate that you are also going through this journey of grief. Thank goodness we have hope in the Lord who is bigger than this world. I know our boys are looking down on us from heaven having the time of their lives, waiting for us to join them one day. What a glorious day that will be. Thanks for your sweet comment. My goal in blogging through my grief is that it can be encouraging to someone like you... Just knowing we're not alone is a comfort. xoxo