Tribute to An Angel

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					                A Resource for Baby Loss and Subsequent Pregnancy
                                   Winter 2008
                                                   was unbelievably intelligent, strong, in
                                                   every sense of the word, and full of
      Tribute to An Angel                          determination (trust me; if she had to do
             By Dianne Joseph                      something, she made sure she got it
                                                   done!)     She had the most infectious
After being told by my doctor that I could         laughter, beaming eyes, radiant smile and
not fall pregnant, finding out that I was          captivating beauty. We were truly blessed
indeed pregnant was a both a delightful            and happy. We saw God’s love for us
surprise, and miracle. What was even               manifested in our amazing daughter.
more       astounding     was     when     my
gynecologist said to us that I was already 7       On 22 August 2007, Kristin became ill. She
months pregnant. So not only were we               had developed a fever, a normal fever,
going to have a beautiful baby girl, but she       which we were trying to treat. Despite the
was going to be here in just 2 months time.        discomfort, she was still a happy, playful
This left us with very little time to prepare      little girl who didn’t let this virus affect her.
for her arrival. It was a whirlwind 2 months,      Her fever wouldn’t break so we started her
filled with disbelief and utter excitement, all    on antibiotics on Friday, 24 August 2007.
the while filled with prayers that she would       On Saturday evening, she became
be a healthy baby, as I had been blissfully        delirious and then comatose. She was
unaware of her for the last 7 months. Our          rushed to hospital where several tests
“Miracle Baby”, in every sense of the word.        were done on her. On Sunday afternoon,
                                                   she was diagnosed with a very rare
Before we knew it, there she was. On 21            disease        called      A.D.E.M.       (Acute
December 2005 at 8pm, little Kristin               Disseminated Encephalomyelitis), which is
Zaneta Joseph entered this world,                  basically an inflammation of the white
weighing in at 3.2kg and measuring 56cm            matter in her brain. The doctor’s could not
tall. She was without doubt the most               tell us if she would be ok, but I had made
beautiful, perfect baby that we had ever           up my mind that she was going to recover.
seen, and we could not believe that this           This was our baby, and there was just no
little angelic being was ours. What was            other option. We prayed long and hard, as
slightly amusing was when people saw her           did all our families and friends for her
and they would look at us with surprise,           recovery.
confusion and a slight frown
and say: “But she’s so                                       Sadly however, despite the
beautiful?”    interpreted:”How                              wonderful     efforts    of     the
could you 2 possibly create                                  neurosurgeon and medical staff,
something so beautiful?”                                     our baby girl passed away at
                                                             5:00    a.m.    on     Wednesday
Before Kristin, we thought we                                morning, 29 August 2007, at just
were so happy, and knew what                                 20 months old. She put up a
love was. But when Kristin came she                brave fight. We weren’t even aware of how
taught us that we had an even greater              hard she tried to fight her illness until the
capacity to love than we had ever                  neurosurgeon told us how surprised he
dreamed.     She changed our lives                 was that she had survived for as long as
completely. She filled us with utter bliss,        she did. There is no explanation as to how
love and joy and touched the lives of              this disease comes about, and there was
EVERYONE who encountered her. She                  nothing we could have done to foresee or

                                 Angel Whispers Winter 2008                                       1
prevent it, which leaves us with so many
unanswered questions, and also regret
                                                                 Winter Healing
because there was nothing that we could                          Opportunities…
have done to save our baby. It is so sad,
yet ironic, that it was the most amazing
part of her body that became infected, and
                                                        Angel Whispers Healing Hands
ultimately caused her death: her brain.               We will be having a healing hands day
                                                      coming up in January. It will be a
In spite of the heartache, we thank God for           potpourri of creativity: a mixture of
choosing us to be parents to Kristin. It was          memory box painting, scrapbooking
an absolute honor, joy and privilege and              and making keepsakes for our care
she will always be our little baby girl. As           packages. No experience necessary!!
painful as it was to lose her, we would               Join us for a few laughs and treats.
never trade the short time we had with her,           Date TBA; please check out the
for anything else. She taught us how to               website for an update or call Cindy at
love, more than we knew we were capable               780-449-1732.
of. She taught us how simple, and
important, it was to be happy, patient &
grateful. She showed us how to endure
                                                                 ParentCare presents
hardships, and with optimism, even though
they don’t always turn out the way we want            A Christmas Candlelight Ceremony
them to, and that something beautiful                 To remember our babies who were lost
would somehow come out of it, even if we              during pregnancy or shortly after birth.
can’t see it now. She constantly showed us                  Thursday, December 18, 2008
that if something needs to be done, do it              The Chapel at the Misercordia Hospital
NOW! We made so many plans for Kristin                                 7:30 p.m.
and we thought we had all the time in the             Please RSVP by calling 780-988-3747.
world to fulfill all of her, and our, dreams,         Your message should include your
but sadly, that was not for us to decide. We
                                                      baby’s name and preference for candle
never realized that she would fulfill her
purpose here on earth so quickly.                     color (white, blue, pink). You may also
                                                      call Patti for more information at 780-
Life is now extremely difficult, but God’s            735-4506.
grace, the love we are surrounded with,
and most especially, the memory of
Kristin’s life, and her enthusiasm for it,                Trinity Baptist Church presents
keep us going. We constantly remember
that if she could endure all that she did, in
                                                                 A Heartfelt
her short but priceless life, then we can                 Baby Loss Memorial Service
certainly endure anything that comes our              Coinciding with Valentine’s Day; further
way.                                                  details will be posted on our website.
                                                             Saturday, February 15, 2009
We love and miss you, sweet angel, and                          Trinity Baptist Church
we long for the day when we can be                                  Sherwood Park
together again.                                         (Just east of Hwy 21 on Baseline Rd.)
                                                                       6:30 p.m.
 We are honored to reprint Kristin’s moving story,
 sent to us all the way from South Africa. You can
                                                      You may also contact the church in the
       visit her beautiful memorial website at        New Year for further details 780-464-

                                    Angel Whispers Winter 2008                              2
      Our Wish to You                              Bereavement Training
This is our wish to you this holiday               Families First Society, in conjunction with
season:                                            CALC (Community Adult Learning Council)
                                                   are      proud     to   offer   Bereavement
                                                   Certification Training this winter.      This
                                                   training is for anyone working or planning
on difficult days,                                 to work with individuals or families who
         smiles                                    have experienced loss (not necessarily the
        when sadness intrudes,                     loss of a child). This certification normally
                 rainbows                          costs $350.00, but because CALC is
                                                   sponsoring the training, we are able to
                 to follow the clouds,
                                                   offer it for only $50.00. Space is limited to
laughter                                           15, and registration is available on a first
to kiss your lips,                                 come, first serve basis. Here are the
         sunsets                                   details:
        to warm your heart,                          Two Saturdays; January 10 & 17, 2009
                                                         9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. each day
                 h u gs                               Riverside Hall in Fort Saskatchewan
                 when spirits sag,                        10215-104 Street (River Road)
beauty                                             Each participant will receive:
for your eyes to see,                                  • 12 hours Professional Training
         friendships                                   • Certificate of Completion from the
         to brighten your being,                            Edmonton Bereavement Centre
                                                       • Selected Issues Text
                 confidence                            • Catalogue of Grief Support Books
                 for when you doubt,                        and Materials
faith                                              Deadline for Registration: December 28,
so that you can believe,                           2008. For more information or to receive a
         courage                                   registration form, please call Cindy at 780-
                                                   449-1732 or Patti at 780-998-5595.
        to know yourself,
                 to accept the truth,                         Angel Bears
to complete your life.                             We are selling our angel bear
                                                   ornaments again this year!        These
                                                   adorable keepsakes are available for a
Hugs from Families First Society of Fort           nominal fee of $5.00 for the 2 in. and
Saskatchewan and the volunteers at                 $10.00 for the 5 in. bears (plus
Angel Whispers.                                    shipping/handling if required). To order
                                                   your precious angel bear, please call
                                                   Cindy at 780-449-1732. They are also
                                                   available at the Families First Office at
               Love’s the thing.                   10302A-99 Ave. in Fort Saskatchewan
               The rest is tinsel.                 (780-998-5595)         All
                                                   proceeds go to Angel
                                                   Whispers. They make
                         ~Pam Brown~               great teachers gifts!!

                                 Angel Whispers Winter 2008                                   3
Dear Angel Whispers,                                           Fingerprints
                                                                  By Tom Krause
Nicholas Craig Applin would have had
his 5th birthday this year. He would                    Your fingerprints are on my heart.
have started grade one in September                   Even though I never held your hand—
with the many friends I am sure he                                 You touched me.
would have had. Because he wasn’t                     Even though I never heard you speak—
with us long we can only imagine what                               You taught me.
he would be like today.                                      You taught me about love.
                                                           You taught me about caring.
Something we don’t have to imagine is                     You taught me about courage.
                                                            You taught me about faith.
the love we felt for him the day he was
                                                         You taught me about happiness.
born and the love we still have for him                    You taught me about sorrow.
in our hearts. The best way for us to                You brought me closer to my loved ones.
monument the adoration of Nicholas is                    You brought me closer to myself.
to support the very program that helped                      In the time I cared for you
our family down our path of healing.                          My whole life changed—
Angel Whispers helped us to help                            never to be the same again.
Nicholas’ mom and dad, Cathy and                         Because of you I somehow know
Craig. Without the help of you all,                               I will be stronger.
those difficult days would have been               Because of you I will be more prepared to live.
that much harder to bear. We can                           All this from tiny fingerprints
                                                               That touched my heart.
never thank you enough for the good
                                                       Because of this you will live forever
that you do in helping others who are                   In my soul—never to be forgotten
struggling through similar fates. Please                       I will always love you.
accept our donation in memory of                                  You are my child.
Nicholas Craig Applin, the angel who
changed our lives forever. We hope it                          Reprinted in memory of
can be used to help others who need                          Brayden Leonard Homeniuk
you as we did. Bless you all!!                                  (June 3-July 14, 2006)
                                                   It is his mommy, Michelle’s favorite poem.
From Guy, Christina & Kelsea Baines.

This beautiful note was written by Christina,
who is Aunty to Angel Nicholas Craig Applin.
Thank you Christina for your kind words. They
                                                     Visit us on Facebook!!
mean the world to all of us!! In honour of your
contribution, we will be sending out a handful     Did you know Angel Whispers is listed as a
of care packages with Nicholas Craig Applin        cause on Facebook? It is a fast and easy
written on the cover.         Happy Birthday       way for us to send out meeting reminders
Nicholas!                                          and notifications about our healing hands
                                                   workshops, as well as what is new in our
                                                   community. You are also able to make a
                                                   donation to our program in memory of your
                                                   baby through facebook.        If you are
      Love comforteth like                         interested in joining our cause on
      sunshine after rain.                         facebook, please visit:
        ~William Shakespeare~

                                 Angel Whispers Winter 2008                                      4
                      A Huge Thank You!
 The staff and volunteers at Angel Whispers and Families First Society would like to thank
 everyone who attended Walk to Remember. It was a wonderful way to remember our precious
 little ones. Altogether, families donated 186 snuggly bears for bereaved families, and just over
 $15,000.00 was raised to support Angel Whispers!!! Thank you to everyone for your
 generosity!!! These funds will go along way to supporting grieving families in our community.

 We want to draw attention to the generous sponsors and volunteers who helped make Walk to
 Remember an incredible success.

Cine Audio Visual                                              Hole’s Greenhouses and Gardens
Derrick Exhibit                                                              Imaginitive Icings
Fer Design                                                                        Matrix Hotel

                   Jocelyn & Chris Your                       Marnie Kuhlman
                   Maureen Diebel                           Michelle Homeniuk
                   Carrie Schrock                                   Kim Wismer
                   Tracy Quirion                                      Kate Inglis
                   Patti Walker                                  Cherish Walsh
                   Lori-Ann Huot                         Lehang & Travis Unger
                   Melissa Kondro                         And all the family and
                   Terralynn Verge                  friends who helped out that
                   Shannon Rayfield                                         day!!

  Angel Whispers was proud to be part of this inaugural event and we wish Jocelyn and Chris
  Your continued success in next year's Walk to Remember!

                                  Angel Whispers Winter 2008                                        5
                     “High above, on cloud’s soft bed, the angels shake their wings…
                    To shed the shroud of wint’ry sleep that peaceful dreaming brings.
                           A quiet hush of gossamer floats gently all around…
                       As snowy down from angel wings falls softly to the ground.”
                                             ~Torrey Miller~
 Kristen LeeAnn Reagan                        Baby Pariseau                         Brooklyn Huot
December 1, 2005 to March                   December 10, 2001                     December 23, 2002
        10, 2006
                                            Baby Arianna Black                    James Cort Kruebbe
      John Hamrell                             December 11                        December 23, 2005
     December 1, 2006
                                            Jacob Alton Couch                    Taylor Berube-Thomas
   Timothy Wayne Justice                    December 13, 2000                     December 25, 2006
     December 1, 1976
                                           Parker & Colton Hill                     Emily Fedirko
    Hunter Lester Perks                     December 15, 2003                     December 25, 2007
     December 1, 2005
                                           Makenna Hope cline                     Evynn Renee Pratt
       Aly Morales                         December 15, 2007                      December 27, 2003
     December 1, 2006
                                           Connor Dallas Logan                      Liam Liddlow
    Breanna Helen Sara                          Graham                            December 27, 2005
         Edgerly                            December 16, 2005
     December 2, 1999                                                             Sydney Jean Novak
                                          Taeya Athanasia Steele                  December 27, 2007
       Baby Pados                         December 16-19, 2007
     December 2, 2003                                                           Jeremy Bennet Keirstead
                                             Micalynne Faith                       December 29, 2000
     Aly Morales-Reyes                         Edmondson
     December 2, 2006                       December 18, 1999                    Noah Robert Brenner
                                                                                  December 29, 2007
 Christian Thomas Charles                Kaedin Wayne Newberry
           Garcia                          December 18, 2004                        Baby Hedley
Dec. 3, 2004 to Feb. 19, 2005               to March 1, 2005                      December 29, 2001

     Theresse Hamrell                       Lily Gwen Powell                        Baby Wheeler
     December 3, 2004                       December 19, 2006                     December 30, 2003

     Kylie Rose Fugiel                     Angel Baby Schaffner                   Caleb Xavier Wildey
     December 3, 2007                       December 20, 2007                     December 30, 2004

       Baby Rosales                       Annabelle Marie Gomez                  Jacob Michael Tarkoff
     December 4, 2006                       December 20, 2006                     December 30, 2005

    Keltie Elizabeth Berg                  James Bryan Conley                     Rylan Yawn-Kelm
     December 5, 2007                      December 20, 2005                      December 30, 2006
                                         “Forever My Little Bun”
  Carter Alexander Rentz                                                       Jenna Mae & Abbey Grace
    December 6, 2007                       Kristin Zaneta Joseph                 Wickenheiser-McNally
                                           December 21, 2005 to                   December 31, 2002
     Max Everett White                        August 29, 2007
     December 7, 2007                                                        Hope Margaret Ellen Newman
                                            Kareem Almjarkash                    December 31, 2007
    Callen Mitchell Dolt                    December 21, 2005
     December 8, 2005                                                              Daulton Anderson
                                         Angel Elizabeth Denniston                  January 1999
       Owen Watts                           December 21, 2007
     December 8, 2005                                                         Kaitlyn Gillian Cunningham
                                              Baby Kleinke                          January 2, 1992
                                            December 22, 1972

                                  Angel Whispers Winter 2008                                               6
        Lucy Moore                    William Becket Hostetter       Noah Roland Emil Brandt
      January 3, 2003                    January 12, 2006               January 24, 2007

      Baby Windover                      Lily Gertrude Reid          Abigail Elizabeth Brandt
      January 3, 2006                    January 12, 2007               January 24, 2007

    Joely Jane Schaffner                    Angel Baby                 Baby Sophie Jennifer
      January 3, 2008                     January 13, 2005              January 25, 1996

   Angelo Ronald Hipolito               Katrina Rose Aylott                David Klinck
      January 4, 2006                    January 13, 2003                January 26, 2006

      Matthew Galan                      Jeziah Hayden Neff           Ashley Rose Czarnecki
      January 4, 2006                     January 13, 2008              January 28, 2005

    Katilyn Annette Price           Zak Timothy Brody Thiessen         Chloe Lynne Canada
      January 4, 2005                    January 16, 2008               January 28, 2007

     Philip Karl Mostert                   Baby Pakpahan                   Baby Kharal
     January 4-10, 2007                   January 17, 2007             Due January 29, 2009
    “Our Noble Warrior”
                                      William Patrick Cailliau        Noah Emanuel Helfgott-
       Baby Kreiger                      January 17, 2008                    Waters
      January 5, 2000                                                   January 29, 2004
                                     Angelic’ Marie Lafountain
   Noah Daniel Westaway                  January 18, 2004             Michael Curtis Nuthack
      January 5, 2002                                                   January 29, 2007
                                        Keyin Jory Robbins
   Madison Clare Palmer                  January 19, 2007                  Andrew Mile
     January 6, 2001                                                     January 30, 2006
                                         Connor Lee Frentz
    McKenna Myiah Van                    January 20, 2006                Jacob John Heit
         Galder                                                     January 30 to April 3, 2008
     January 6, 2007                       Matthew Stabile
                                          January 22, 2004                 Baby Eaton
Baby Hector Vincent Alvarado-                                             February 2007
         Asmussen                       Emily Ann Hansgen
      January 6, 2007                    January 22, 2005              Matthew Rae Willnow
                                                                        February 1, 2001
       Faith Edwards                Claire Elizabeth Dschankilic
      January 7, 2007                    January 22, 2005                 Brody Gahan
                                                                         February 1, 2008
      Kaleb McKinney                  Justin Patrick Mulligan
      January 8, 2004                          Brick                    Levi Louis Roushar
                                         January 22, 2007                February 1, 2008
     Hazel Lynn Moran
      January 8, 2006               Baby “Charlie” McLaughlin          Garrett Ian Bowater
                                         January 23, 2001               February 2, 2001
Bethany Margaret Ellen Hope
         Newman                          Miller Neely Hart               Emylie MacKay
      January 8, 2008                    January 23, 2005                February 2, 2002

       Leah Shumba                         Brennan vanTol          Kaleb Quintin Wesley Blaylock
      January 8, 2008                     January 23, 2008               February 2, 2008

    Clare Elizabeth Riley                  Baby Bodker 3               Samuel Liam Cooper
     January 10, 2008                     January 24, 2005              February 3-5, 2007

     Kayla Jordan Batke               Jessica Kirsten Schilling-           Aspen Lewin
      January 11, 2006                         Heron                     February 6, 2006
                                          January 24, 2002
        Jordan Choy                                                     Andyn Lane Hanson
      January 11, 2001                                                   February 7, 2007

                                Angel Whispers Winter 2008                                        7
       Pookie Gatner                                                     Jessica Nicole Wright
      February 7, 2008                       Jacob Robert Schimek         February 23, 2006
                                               February 12, 2004
   James (Jimmy) Russell                                                 Dalton Michael Lout
          Milliner                           Kayson Tyler Osborne         February 23, 2001
     February 8, 1999                         February 13, 2008
                                                                          The Valentine Twins
       Baby Sullivan 1                      Ethan Charles Donalson         February 24, 2006
      February 8, 2007                         February 13, 2008
                                                                           Jillian Wagner
   Jakob Wesley Solverson                    Jalen Matthew Lindsay        February 25, 2002
      February 8, 2008                         February 14, 2002
                                                                         Caleb Joseph Hogue
         Lee Eaton                          Kimberlea Johanna Eash        February 25, 2004
      February 9, 2007                      February 16 to June 20,
                                                     1971               Juan Pablo Manzanares
  Aluante La’Qun Thomas                                                   February 25, 2006
     February 10, 2008                        Damynick Alekzandar
                                                   Robinson              Savanah Marie Niles
        Baby Berg                              February 16, 2007          February 25, 2008
     February 10, 2008
                                                 Jamie Withall          Gabriella Faith Verwer
      Brayden Jasper                           February 18, 2002          February 26, 2006
     February 11, 2006
                                              Abigail Marie Repke        Sadie Rayne Brooklyn
    Baby Jae Jae Willnow                       February 18, 2006             McKay Unka
     February 11, 2000                                                    February 27, 2007
                                                Colby Lee Jones
     Seth Robert Leyte                         February 18, 2005               Jill Tees
     February 11, 2007                                                  Miscarried Feb 27, 2007
                                                 Sage Fuentes            Due October 2, 2007
     Danielle Ann Nobili                       February 19, 2005
     February 11, 2007                                                   Olivia Eileen McLean
                                               “Junior” Romhany           February 28, 2002
     Star McCorriston                          February 19, 2008
     February 11, 2008                                                    Marina Romhany
                                           Sarah Faith Marie Piercey      February 28, 2003
 Andrew Scott Riley Lawson                    Feburary 22, 2007
    February 12, 2005

 Please call or email us if you would like to submit
 your baby’s name to be remembered. We hope it
    brings some comfort and we really value your
 feedback. If we have forgotten to remember your
baby on this page, or have misspelled your angel’s
                       name, please let us know….

          Our Other Newly Discovered Angels…
         Baby W.                                 April 15, 2008
       March 1, 2008                                                         Baby Caan 1
                                                 Baby Caan 3                 May 3, 2006
   Kelsey Elizabeth Ward                         April 17, 2007
      March 27, 2008                                                         Isabella Fear
                                               Zarli Anne Stokes             May 16, 2008
Jada Mia Briand Livingstone                    Due April 22, 2003
       April 5, 2008                                                    Aedan Douglas Rundle
                                              Shaelynn Megan Fox            May 18, 2008
  Jonas Bennett Geislinger                     April 23-30, 2004
   April 6 to May 3, 2008                                                   Adam Fedirko
                                              Graham John Moan              May 24, 2006
    Adam Will Hofmeyer                       April 27 to July 8, 2008

                                   Angel Whispers Winter 2008                                     8
    Jayden Isaiah Farmer               Clarence Harold Patrick
        June 3, 2004                         Waytowich                       Junior Massey
                                           August 1, 2008                  September 18, 2008
     Rebekah Cora Stokes
      Due June 22, 1993                    Frankie Taylor                     Baby Caan 2
                                           August 7, 2007                  September 19, 2006
Madalynn Mary Leona Tweedy
       June 23, 2008                     Michael Ray Lopez               Sprout Seifrit Thompson
                                          August 8, 2006                   September 19, 2008
          Our Baby
        June 26, 2008                   Hope Alexis Bradley            Noah John Anderson-Phillips
                                         September 3, 2008                 September 29, 2008
Hunter Joe Alain Robert Bedard
         July 9, 2008                      Baby Chandler                    Sonya Marie Loss
                                         September 12, 2008                 October 20, 2006
    Kylah & Aleksa Steele
        July 9, 2008                       Bryga Triplets                    Isaiah Cardozo
                                         September 16, 2008                 October 30, 2008
    Aaliyah Angelic Mayo
        July 18, 2008                  Aerlyn Elizabeth Craven          Nicholas Chase Nernberg
                                         September 16, 2008                 October 31, 2008
     Nevaeh Marie Mayo
        July 18, 2008                                                     James Michael Fugiel
                                       Richard Charles Stokes              November 23, 2007
                                       Due September 17, 2007

      Special Deliveries                                         THANK YOU!!
      We are excited to announce:
                                                       Thank you to Terralynn and Rod Verge
           Eliana Rae Schutz
    was born on September 2, 2008                      for donating memorial bracelets for our
    to proud parents Steve & Carrie,                   care packages in memory of Kristopher
          weighing 5 lbs., 4 oz.                       Owen Randolph Verge. We know how
We know Eliana’s big sister, Jordan Bell, is           much this means for families to have
      singing joyfully from heaven!                    this loving memento!

        Joaquin Antonio Lafuente                       Thank you to the Baine family for their
        was born on August 5, 2008                     generous donation in memory of
 to his proud family Marcelo, Erin & Sofia,            Nicholas Craig Applin, born with angel
            weighing 7 lbs., 11 oz.
                                                       wings on October 28, 2002.
      Joaquin’s special guardian angel
 is big sister Beatriz, who is watching over
             her from up above!                        Special thank you to the Strathcona
                                                       County Health Centre for allowing us to
             AJ Lucas Fox                              use their meeting space.
       was born on April 27, 2008
     to proud parents Angela & Jeff
          and big sister Jaeden,
         weighing 7 lbs., 8 ½ oz.
                                                       I noticed how beautiful the
        and measuring 21 in. long
   We know AJ’s big sister, Shaelynn, is
                                                          sky was the other day
      singing joyfully from heaven!                      and then I realized it is
  Congratulations and best wishes to                    because you are up there.

                                 Angel Whispers Winter 2008                                          9
   Coping with the Holidays                  But    like   most     other    anxious
                                             experiences, the time leading up to the
            By Cindy Haugen                  event was worse than the day itself.
Christmas has always been a time for         On Christmas morning, I began to find
family. But when you feel like a part of     solace in the symbolism of the season,
your family is missing, it can be a          and I found a lot of comfort in our little
particularly difficult time of year.         blue teddy angel. I felt as though Bret
Although it has been thirteen years          was there with us. Losing Bret made
now, I vividly remember our first            me cherish my son and husband even
Christmas after Bret died. He was            more. It turned out to be one of the
born with angel wings in August 1995,        most meaningful Christmas seasons I
but his original due date was                had ever experienced.
November          30.
Therefore, we had                                The most important tip for handling
planned on having                                the holidays after a major loss is to
a new baby with                                  be gentle with yourself, and do what
whom to celebrate                                feels the most comfortable. Here
Christmas with that                              are some other suggestions:
year.           That                             • Acknowledge that Christmas is
Christmas,          I                                coming. As much as you may
worried that my                                      want to avoid it, you can’t.
emptiness      would                             • Try not to “float” into Christmas.
swallow me.                                       Be deliberate in choosing what you
                                                  would like to do.
In the past, I relished our tradition of     •    Avoid thinking about what you
opening up a nice bottle of wine,                 “should” do. You need to do what
cranking up the Christmas carols on               is right for you instead of feeling
the stereo, and helping our son put as            obligated. Decide to do what you
many lights and ornaments on the tree             can manage and let your friends
as we could without toppling it over.             and family know. There are no
That Christmas, we continued our                  “right” or “wrong” ways to celebrate
tradition for our son’s sake, but my              the holidays.
heart just wasn’t in it. Everything took     •    Make Christmas a “season” rather
on      new    meaning      that   year.          than a day. Trying to do too much
Remembering that it was baby Jesus’               on Christmas Eve and Christmas
birthday just reminded me of the baby             Day will put too much pressure on
I lost. The angel we always put on top            you.
of the tree gained new significance—I        •    Don’t take on too much. Decide on
prayed an angel like that one would be            your priorities, including baking,
watching over my baby. Shortly after              decorating, sending greeting cards,
Bret died, we were touched to find a              or having a large family dinner. Are
teddy angel ornament that was                     these things that really need to be
dressed in blue. That Christmas, it               done? If so, perhaps others can
was the last ornament we put on the               assist you.
tree, and many tears flowed that night       •    Set times for the things you really
as we ached for our baby boy to be                want to do. If you don’t schedule it,
with us. I dreaded Christmas day, not             it probably won’t happen.
wanting to revisit my pain.                  •    If you plan to shop, create a list
                                                  ahead of time so it is ready for

                           Angel Whispers Winter 2008                               10
  when you feel up to it. Or you may         • Attend       a    special  candlelight
  consider catalogue shopping.                 ceremony or church service. (A list
• Realize that Christmas won’t be the          of services is included in this
  same. Honor your feelings and                newsletter and on our website.)
  don’t pretend you are happy if you         • Take care of yourself. Create a
  are not. The holidays may increase           balance by making time for
  your feelings of sadness. It’s okay.         socializing and time alone. Get
  Share your feelings with your                plenty of rest, because the holidays
  supportive family and friends.               can be very draining. Exercise, eat
• Try     altering   your    Christmas         well and take care of yourself
  traditions, and create new ones, if          spiritually.
  that feels comfortable. Or you can         • Remember that time and love from
  just change the schedule of your             a relaxed you is the best gift for
  traditions. For example, if you are          your family and friends.
  accustomed having a large dinner           • Having fun will not dishonor your
  on Christmas Day, perhaps have it            baby. After all you have been
  on another day instead.                      through        you   deserve    some
• Honor your baby. For example, you            happiness. Allow yourself and your
  may hang a special tree ornament,            family to take pleasure in the
  or burn a special candle in his/her          holidays.
  memory.       Another suggestion is        And as hard as it may be, keep in
  hanging a stocking in which family         mind that you will come to enjoy
  members can put notes expressing           Christmas again in the future.
  their thoughts and feelings. You
  may also donate a gift to charity in
  memory of your baby, or the money
  that you would have spent
  purchasing gifts for your little one.
  Remembering is healing.

                                                I Will Light Candles This
          Your memory,                                  Christmas
          like a diamond                                by Howard Thurman
            in my hand,
         will always shine                       I will light Candles this Christmas;
                                                 Candles of joy despite all sadness,
       among the brightest                     Candles of hope where despair keeps
       stars in the heavens,                                     watch,
                                              Candles of courage for fears ever present,
        and will forever be
            tucked away                      Candles of peace for tempest-tossed days,
            in my heart.                      Candles of grace to ease heavy burdens,
                                               Candles of love to inspire all my living,
                                               Candles that will burn all the year long.
           ~Patsy Gaut~
Written in memory of Orion Shrock, born
to fly on May 12, 2008 to loving mommy
       and daddy Kevin and Carrie.

                           Angel Whispers Winter 2008                                 11
   What is Angel Whispers?                          Angel Whispers Drop-in Groups
Angel Whispers is a free, confidential service     PLEASE CALL AHEAD TO ONE OF OUR
for parents who have experienced the loss          VOLUNTEERS TO REGISTER.
of a baby shortly after birth or during
pregnancy. Angel Whispers operates under                 BABY LOSS SUPPORT GROUPS
the umbrella of Families First Society of Fort     For families who have lost a baby during
Saskatchewan; meetings are facilitated by          pregnancy or shortly after birth.          All
parents    and counselors        who     have      meetings are from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.
experienced the loss of a baby.           The      In Sherwood Park at the Strathcona County
following services are included:                   Health Center on the corner of Brower Drive
♦ Telephone support and referrals.                 & Baseline Road on the following evenings:
♦ Individual support and email support.                       Sunday, December 7, 2008
♦ International Care Packages.                                 Sunday, January 4, 2009
♦ This quarterly newsletter.                                  Sunday, February 1, 2009
♦ Resource library.                                             Sunday, March 1, 2009
♦ Two monthly drop-in groups.                      In Fort Saskatchewan at the Families First
♦ Healing Hands Group.                             office (10302A-99 Ave); downtown Main
♦ Birth certificate keepsakes.                     Street across from the 7-11, on the following
♦ Website.                                         evenings:
                                                             Monday, December 15, 2008
For more information, please contact the                      Monday, January 19, 2009
people listed below.                                         Monday, February 16, 2009
                                                               Monday, March 16, 2009

         How to Reach Us:
               (780) 449-1732                              PREGNANCY AFTER LOSS
   Fort Saskatchewan Families First Society                   SUPPORT GROUP
                  Box 3285                         For families who are joyfully & anxiously
           Fort Saskatchewan, AB                   pregnant again after losing a baby. From
                  T8L 2T3
                                                   7:00 to 9:00 p.m. In Sherwood Park at the
               Melissa Kondro
                                                   Strathcona County Health Center on the
           (780) 998-5595 ext. 222                 corner of Brower Drive & Baseline Road on
               (780) 998-0310                      the following evenings:
                                  Sunday, December 14, 2008
                                                              Sunday, January 11, 2009
                 Lori-Ann Huot                                Sunday, February 8, 2009
                (780) 464-0849                                 Sunday, March 8, 2009

                 Kim Wismer
               (780) 467-7814
                                                     Visit the memorial stars on
             Michelle Homeniuk
               (780) 472-1504                               our website at:
                Cindy Haugen
               (780) 449-1732

                  This newsletter is made          To receive our newsletter via
                  possible by Families First       email notification, please send
                  Society of Fort                  your email address to:

                                 Angel Whispers Winter 2008                                   12