Important Changes

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We are sorry to announce that Carol Cacchione will no longer be managing our group, or available for local events.  Carol will be moving to be closer to her grandson and is looking forward to being his after school caregiver.  Therefore, all Empty Arms correspondence, including donations to the group, should be sent to:

Angela West, 10160 Loomis Lane, Lake City, PA 16423.

I will be updating the brochure and distributing it to the local hospitals with the current contact information.  If anyone needs brochures, or has suggestions of where some may be needed, please contact me at the address above, or call me at 814-774-7064, or email angela@mapsofmastery.com.  As always, this is our blog, and contributions from members are welcome and encouraged!

Carol, we wish you the very best, and will miss you dearly!

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Donation

We are grateful to acknowledge another donation in memory of Robert Day, Grandfather of Tristin Xavier Day, from Susan Jordan of Punxsatawney, PA.

Donations/Flower Project?

We are so grateful for the recent donations that have been coming in!  Postage for the holiday ornaments is our first priority, but we may be able to continue the Mother’s Day flower project as well.  I hope to do a mailing this spring to some local florists to see if we might be able to get some flowers donated.  Please let me know if you are interested in participating in the project next year.  I may be running a poll on the facebook page as well, since turnout was very low last year. This project has been a meaningful part of our group for many years, but it requires members to pick up flowers and place them at their local cemeteries.

Donations have been made in memory of Robert Day, Grandfather of Tristin Xavier Day, from:

Rick & Joy Juliette of Punxsutawney, PA

Dorothy Jane Pisarcik of DeLancey, PA

Student Health Services at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania

The Fraternal Order of Police of Dubois, PA

and Shannon & Bryan Farcus of Athens, OH

Also, a donation from Rose Day in memory of her grandson Tristin Xavier Day on Christmas.

And, a donation from Cynthia A Ferrese in memory of her Granddaughter Angelica E. Booth.

Also, special thanks for Holly Manross and Bud Curry for their donation of stamps that was a huge help in the ornament mailing, in memory of their son Braden.

Ornaments and Donations

Annual ornaments will be going out this week, after our December meeting.  I hope you like this year’s model.  Again, materials were donated in memory of Eleanor Cilladi, who also lost a 9-year-old daughter.

We are sorry to hear of the passing of the grandfather of Tristin Xavier Day, Robert (Bob) Day.  We are so grateful to him and his family for requesting memorials be made to Empty Arms.  https://www.legacy.com/obituaries/punxsutawneyspirit/obituary.aspx?n=robert-d-day&pid=190890028&fhid=28056

Donations in memory of Robert Day have been made by:

Patricia and John Farcus of Walston, PA,

Luanne and Dennis Kendall of Punxsatawney, PA,

and Kathy & Charles Lewis of Erie, PA.

We also want to thank Holly Manross & Bud Curry for their lovely donation of stamps for the mailing!

Wishing you all holidays where the sweetness of your memories and loved ones outweighs the bitterness of your loss.

Donations

Thank you to Bob and Rose Day for their Thanksgiving donation in memory of their grandson, Tristin Xavier Day.

I would also like to thank Jay Cilladi who donated the materials for this year’s ornament in memory of his mother, Eleanor Cilladi, and his sister Maxine Cilladi, who died at age 9.  I’m preparing the ornaments for mailing, and I think they are extra meaningful, having been made with materials that belonged to another loss Mom.

I am still checking to see if St. Vincent’s will be willing to help us with mailing, but am doubtful that they are still able, as the hospital system has changed hands.  If you’d like to help the ornament mission continue, please consider sending a donation for postage, or just a donation of stamps to me at:  Empty Arms, c/o Angela West, 10160 Loomis Lane, Lake City, PA 16423.

Last Things

There’s a football in my gift closet.  I know it’s there.  It’s been there since three years ago when my husband and I both went holiday shopping and, unbeknownst to each other, each bought a football for our nephew.  That’s okay, we thought.  He must really go through them; he puts one on his list every year.  We didn’t know that would be his last Christmas.  How could anyone know it would be his last Christmas?  Last year, the football took me by surprise, when I opened the closet to put in new purchases.  Every time I went in there over the last year, it’s given me an extra jab.  This year, I remembered it before I even bought anything.  I know it’s there.  I keep thinking maybe we should donate it to Toys for Tots.  Do we know another boy who loves football?  One who would really enjoy it?  Is there a better place to put it to use?  But I’m not sure I’m ready to take it out of the closet.  I know it’s silly to let it sit there.  Someone could be using it.  It hurts to know it’s there.  I apologized to my husband ahead of time when I asked him to get the wrapping paper from in there, knowing he would see it, too.  Knowing it would hurt him, too.  But I think it might hurt more if it wasn’t in there.  I don’t want it to leave the house.  Not unless it’s going where it belongs.  I know I can’t give it to the person it belongs to.  I know keeping it isn’t going to make him miraculously available to receive a Christmas present.  And yet.

Last things are hard.  It’s why we keep the ashes instead of burying or scattering them.  It’s why we don’t pack away the baby clothes.  It’s why we put off ordering the tombstone.  It’s why that football may stay in that closet forever.

Three Years

By Amy Kemp Hall

Three years ago today I found out I was pregnant for the first time. The happiness I felt that day was better than I could have ever dreamed. The next 54 days were filled with excitement and planning and announcing to loved ones. Life was so sweet. And then on Christmas night, an ER physician told me my baby had died. Life changed that night, and has never been the same since. I have been blessed with 2 rainbow babies, but I definitely don’t deserve them. How could I have been given these two beautiful girls and still feel sadness every day? And they deserve much more than what they are getting from their mother at this point. My life has been unraveling since losing my baby, and I hate myself a little bit more each day for not being able to put it back together. I never could have imagined how deeply and extensively this loss would impact my life, and the fact that I am letting it impact my girls breaks my heart. I pray someday they will have a mother who can provide them with the joy and happiness they deserve, the same joy and happiness I felt 3 years ago today.

Empty Arms Program

Some of you may have seen the report on the news yesterday about the Empty Arms Program for infant gowns.  While these ladies share our name, they are not directly affiliated with us, and were unaware of our name.  We are thrilled to hear about their mission.  If you are interested in donating a gown or want to learn more about them, you can find them on their facebook page:  www.facebook.com/emptyarmsprogram.  We have also worked with Karen from Small Things Angel Baby Gowns for many years, who has done a wonderful job of keeping our local hospitals supplied with gowns and wraps for even the smallest of our babies.  Karen’s web page is:  https://angelbabygowns.wixsite.com/smallthings?fbclid=IwAR31mwtOGeDXvuhvxQ-C1SQaEt95g88Z9mS_YGzesrCE3R7sbr9tKo4GcCg

Donations & Flower Project

I’m afraid I’ve been behind in posting.  It’s been a long winter, and my migraines have been making life difficult.

Thank you to the following members for your generous donations:

Bob & Rose Day, remembering their grandson Tristin Xavier Day at Easter.

The Devine Family, in memory of Baby Peebles.

An anonymous donor.

I’d like to remind everyone about our annual Mother’s Day Flower Project.  We will meet in the parking lot at Liberty Family Practice on Saturday, May 12th, at noon, to distribute flowers to parents who would like to place them on babies’ graves around the area.  I will also have some bulbs available for those who could not bury their babies.  All are welcome to place flowers, whether your baby was buried or not.

Our May/Mother’s Day meeting will take place this Tuesday, May 8th, at 7:30.

Donations and Holiday Ornaments

Thank you so much to our members who sent donations over the holidays.

In memory of Tristan Xavier Day at Thanksgiving and Christmas, from his grandparents, Bob and Rose Day.

In memory of Angelica E. Booth, from Rick & Cynthia Ferrese.

I hope everyone liked this year’s holiday ornament.  I was pleased with how mine caught the tree lights and sparkled!  If you did not receive one, please update your address by emailing me at angela@mapsofmastery.com.  Every year, I worry about what to do for next year, but every year a new idea seems to present itself right before the current ones are finished.  This year, the idea came along with a donation of materials from a loved one who also lost a child, making it extra special.  I look forward to starting on them soon.

 

I Remember You

Anyone who knows me knows I’m more than a little obsessed with Dr. Who.  It’s not surprising that many of the episodes push my baby loss buttons.  There are episodes about babies being stolen, torn away before your eyes.  There are episodes about the power contained in lives that should have been lived.  Today, on the thirteenth anniversary of what would have been River’s birthday, and the day Aidan was torn away from us, I’m watching an episode about the power of remembering.  About crying without knowing why.  About loving someone so hard that you can bring them back from never existing at all.  If that’s not an episode tailor-made for us, I don’t know what is.

Our babies don’t leave much physical evidence behind.  Most people would never know they existed unless we tell them.  They often don’t get memorials in cemeteries.  There are often no photographs.  Some people would have us think they never really existed at all.  But we remember them.  Our bodies remember them, even years later, enough that sometimes we find ourselves crying without knowing why, before we remember the date on the calendar.  Before we realize consciously what was going on at this moment, so many years ago.  We remember them, and we keep loving them.  If we could love them fiercely enough to bring them back, we would.

Sometimes I wish the powers that work in fictional worlds would work the same way here.  But, whether it can bring you back to me or not, I remember you.