Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Eight Months

Designed with love by Uncle Patrick

Little buddy,

Eight months have gone by without you. I was in my eighth month of carrying you when we said goodbye. You were with me for 231 days. It is now the conclusion of eight whole months without you, 245 days to be precise. I've been without you longer than I was with you. That's not the way it is supposed to be.

Eight has always been my favorite number, it is my lucky number, therefore I've been determined to make this eight month mark the best milestone date thus far. Since you can't be here with us, we have created a way to allow you to live on. On June 3, a week after your Heaven Date, we will hold the first annual Hudder Putter Classic, rhyming Putter with your nickname Hudder Budder. Uncle Patrick used your actual footprint for your tournament logo. See it's your left foot, the foot we both have our middle toe birthmark. As sad as it makes me that I'll never see you with your Daddy, Uncles and Granddaddy on a golf course, this makes me so very happy to be able to do in your honor. We will be raising money so that other families, with angel babies like you, can receive the care they need when they are sad and need help coping. I won't have your birthday parties to plan, so this is something to organize for you and because of you. Something that will help people. This is your legacy, sweet angel. It was never your purpose, but it will allow you to live on in a different way.

I came to see you the other night, just you, me and the moon. It was the anniversary of the day we told people we were having a boy! Hudson, I cannot tell you how special it was to watch your Daddy's reaction when just the two of us found out. We couldn't wait until later in the evening so as soon as the nurse had the results, she sent me a message to call her whenever we were together. I left work and raced over to your Daddy's office so we could call her and hear the news. In my heart, I knew what she would say, I knew you were our little boy. To hear your Daddy's excitement to learn about his boy, his son - it was one of our happiest moments. Sharing that news with family and friends for the first time, we were so proud and so incredibly full of joy. You gave us that joy, you are our joy.

Seeing your name carved in stone takes my breath away every time. It's a sight I don't think I will ever get used to seeing. Mamas shouldn't have to go visit their babies like this. As I sat there in the dark with the sound of the fountain lapping, I watched a family in the glow of the streetlamp across the street - a mommy, a daddy and a baby in the stroller - walking their dog. I closed my eyes and transported myself to a moment in my mind that it was us there - you, me, Daddy and Georgie. For that moment, there was a peace in my heart. I think about you all the time precious boy. The smile through my tears is my way of telling you that I love you more than anything in this world.

Eight months that my heart has ached, but it is eight months nearer to the time when I will hold you again.

All my love,


Saturday, January 23, 2016

Beauty from Ashes: the One Wing Foundation

The single wing that started it all

My intention for writing and blogging is a three prong approach.
  1. It is incredibly therapeutic for myself. Loss does funny things to a person. I've become more introverted and have felt like I become tongue-tied and flustered when trying to express myself to someone face to face or over the phone about my grief, but I can write about it gracefully and without pause. 
  2. It helps others on their grief journey. To be able to read another person's words and have it feel as though you are reading your own thoughts is actually a really beautiful thing. You feel less alone, you realize you are not crazy, and maybe it helps prepare you (and in some cases, lend hope) for things you haven't felt or experienced yet.
  3. It gives a non-griever insight as to what life is like for a grieving person. By expressing my sadness, my demons, my pain and my struggles it allows me the chance to help you know how to "handle" us/me right now without having to sit down and have that conversation, person after person.

Since I started blogging again in June, it has been the primary way that I have channeled my grief. A lot of my writing comes from a place of sadness and vulnerability, and those are the emotions that I need to express. If Disney Pixar's Inside Out taught us anything, it is that Sadness is an emotion that needs to be experienced, not suppressed.

However, it is also important to talk about the Joy, which lately, is something I've actually been able to experience more of and without guilt! I've met dozens of loss parents through this and we've all had different journeys, yet all very similar. What I mean by that is that we all felt the same things but maybe at different times or at different stages. Loss made me a completely changed person on the inside in regard to how I now approach life, what is important to me and what is not, and how things impact me or make me feel. I turned a corner with my grief in December and the "me" that exists now is the closest I've felt to the "me" from before Hudson died - which is a big feat. I'll never go back to the same person I was before, but I'm starting to appreciate the different person I am now and concentrate on the ways it has made me better while working on the ways it has made me not so better - those unattractive emotions that stem from loss like the depression, insecurities, jealousy, resentment and anger, or "the uglies" as I like to call them.

In addition to writing, I started channeling my grief in a very personal and constructive way and this was something I referenced previously as a post for another time. Well, this is that post for another time. That time is now, it's finally ready to share.

In December, we incorporated the One Wing Foundation. This is a joint effort with another family of loss, and a new relationship in my life that is one of the ripples, as I like to look at them as, from the impact of loss. Our mission is to raise funds and distribute financial assistance to non-profit organizations that provide resources for the medical, physical and grief recovery of bereaved parents who have experienced pregnancy or infant loss in the state of Texas.

How it Began

The week of Hudson's due date, I sat down to lunch with my mom. In mid-July, I was still in a fog but it was before "the uglies" really set in. I was still in Survival Mode. I had a false sense of acceptance, a little prematurely trying to skip over the part I wanted to ignore, and I was trying to create beauty from ashes. I had been dabbling in plans for how we can make a difference that would allow Hudson to live on in some way. That week I had publicized the #ourbudhud campaign because I thought those inspirational photos would not only be really uplifting for us, but it could be something to make others happy too. Then the snowball effect kept happening.

While at lunch, my Mom pulled out a little gift bag and gave me a gold angel wing that fit perfectly in the palm of my hand, like a hand cross. She then showed me a bracelet that she had on, one that she has had for more than 20 years, with the quote we are all angels with one wing, we must embrace each other to fly. In that moment I received something that resonated deeply within me. I shared with her some of the thoughts I was having, how there are two things that our family knows how to do and knows how to do them well: fundraising and golf. I have spent nearly a decade as a fundraising and events professional in the non-profit world. My Mom has had a career in non-profit branding and marketing. My brothers, dad and husband are big time golfers. My husband enjoying it as his main recreational outlet, one brother played at the collegiate level, one brother works for the Texas Golf Association and my Dad's involvement in tournament leadership for the Byron Nelson Golf Classic.

Looking at our family makeup, I felt like there were some puzzle pieces coming together here but I didn't want to create something just to create something. It needed to serve a purpose and one that helped address a gap. There had to be a need. Mom and I talked about what has been most important to us in that first month and a half and it was the grief support we were receiving, but we weren't sure there was a gap yet. I talked to her about my career dreams and ambitions, how I would love to make this my life's work somehow. We talked about the desire to create a foundation that raised money and awareness for local organizations that had programs and resources specific to bereaved families. I have never felt more called to do something that carries so much importance, something so personal.

While pregnant, one of our nicknames for Hudson was Hudder-Budder. Rhyming Budder with Putter, I told her we should have a golf tournament, the Hudder Putter Classic, played in his memory and in honor of all other angel babies. I held that single wing in my hand and that quote was etched into my heart. We brainstormed and it made us happy during a time of sadness, we were continuing to create beauty from ashes.

The following week, one of the blessings God was sending me in the wake of my pain was the final piece for this puzzle. Though our paths had crossed before through mutual friends and philanthropy involvement, I sat face to face for the first time with another mother of loss, one that sadly was no stranger to grief. She had lost her daughter to stillbirth earlier in the year and during her time of grief, had some of her own thoughts of doing something important. Something that would be able to advocate for parents of stillbirth, provide education to the public, and maybe even raise funds for research. Something to continue her daughter Olivia's memory.

Channeling Grief

Throughout the fall, my friendship with this mother of loss grew and we channeled our grief by discussing our desire to find that something. I shared with her that I had been researching local organizations and what their funding needs were. By the end of October, I felt like I had done enough research to justify a need and to help close a gap because there wasn't enough funding for these organizations to reach the number of families or provide the programming or resources they would like to. We decided to join forces and create a Foundation, for Hudson and Olivia, and for all angel babies and their families. By combining our spheres of influence, we could help fill that gap and provide the funding these organizations need in order to better serve families such as our own; funding for families that are currently walking their loss journey and for those that haven't experienced it yet.

I am so thankful for Holly and the friendship with her that has stemmed from our experiences as parents of stillbirth loss. She has helped me navigate this road and together we've been able to channel our grief positively and constructively, finding that something that we could do. Together. For Olivia, for Hudson, for all angel babies and their brave, strong, loving mamas and daddies that miss them more than can ever be put into words. Holly has been one of the loss mamas that has been my second wing and together we've started to fly a little bit.

The planning for the One Wing Foundation's Hudder Putter Golf Classic and Olivia's Auction with a Dinner and Benefit Concert is officially underway, in addition to some other awareness events throughout the year. All funds raised will be distributed to Texas-based organizations that fit within our funding guidelines of providing physical assistance and emotional recovery to bereaved parents, education or research specifically pertaining to pregnancy and infant loss, or assisting families medically and emotionally during pregnancy after loss.

There are so many other pieces to this that I can't wait to share, but those will come in time. We invite you to stay tuned for additional information about these events, along with other ways you can help!

If you know a Texas-based organization that would qualify for this funding, we would love to hear from you. If you are interested in serving as a committee member, volunteer, becoming a member of our Women's Auxiliary, or if you are a Parent of Loss that would be interested in holding a position as a Board Member or your own fundraising event in honor of your child, we invite you to contact us at We invite you to rise above the fog of grief and fly with us.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Paleo Cauliflower Fried Rice

I discovered a new tool this past Sunday on my food processor, one that I have never bothered to use, but one that has changed my life. I used... the shredder disc. I am still a kitchen novice sometimes, too.

The lady that helped me check out at the grocery store earlier that day asked me what was on my menu for the week and she's the one that gave me the idea to use it. I had an a-ha moment like, oooh so that is what it's used for?! I may have giggled in glee as I stuffed the cauliflower florets down the tube in the top and watched as the disc spun, shredding the cauliflower. The result looking like fresh snow powder. It made me really happy. Then I decided to stove top cook a Paleo teriyaki salmon on the griddler and it was a mess, so then I wasn't so happy. I will be utilizing the oven for that next time.

This was ridiculously easy to make and we have been enjoying the leftovers for lunch. If you haven't had riced cauliflower before, you may be like my former self, thinking does it really taste good? The answer to that is yes. I honestly couldn't tell a difference because the cauliflower absorbs the flavors and has a similar-enough texture to rice when shredded. If you want to add meat to a veggie packed dish, salmon was a great choice, or you can also do ground chicken or turkey mixed in, season in a little 5 spice powder. Mmmm, yes. This remake just went on my meal planning list for next week too.  

This is a quick and easy weeknight fix, taking less than 30 minutes in 5 easy steps from chop start to plated finish. It is all the things y'all. It is Paleo, Gluten Free, Primal, Whole 30, Vegan (if you do not add in the meat). Most of all, it is good.

Oh and snaps to my friend Casey for the straight from Japan chopsticks and pretty stick holder!

Yields 4 servings
  • 1 large head of cauliflower, chopped into individual florets
  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1 cup carrots, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • Half of one onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp. of Tamari, divided into 1 tbsp. and 1 tbsp.
  • 1 tbsp. Coconut Aminos (this is found in the Asian Food Aisle with other sauces)
  • Red Pepper Flakes (optional)
  • Green onion (optional)
1.) I used my Cuisinart Food Processor to rice the cauliflower. Take the shredder disc and attach it to the step adapter. Then secure the stem adapter onto the blade shaft.

Secure the top and turn that sucker on. Feed the florets down the shoot and voila!

2.) In a large sauté pan or a wok, heat the oil on medium high heat, then add onions. Cook until translucent.

3.) *OPTIONAL STEP* if you decide to cook this recipe with meat, this is when you would want to add it. I would cook your ground meat for about 8 minutes, continuously stirring and breaking up the chunks.

4.) Add the veggies and 1 tbsp. of tamari then cover. Cook untouched for about 8 minutes.

5.) Add the riced cauliflower to the pan, along with the remainder of the Tamari and the Coconut Aminos. Season with red pepper flakes if you would like a little heat.

Once it is all well tossed and combined, dish out into bowl and garnish with green onion.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Keep Moving Forward

Since December, I've worked really hard on lifting above the fog, finding strength and concentrating on doing the things that bring me joy. It has worked well and I've been, dare I say, happy. However last night as I laid in bed, the sadness that I have been putting off began to wash over me. As I laid there, I realized that Hudson was with me for 33 weeks and it has now been 33 weeks that I have been without him. It is a hard and sad milestone to reach when you have to come to grips that the time without them has surpassed the time with them.

I have the day off today so after blood work this morning (CD21 to see what Progesterone levels are in hopes that clomid did it's job this month and I ovulated), I am catching up with some personal chores and came across the above quote from Martin Luther King, Jr.

All I have to say is yes to this. One-thousand times yes. 

For those needing a little inspiration today, I hope this warms your heart as it has mine. We are all in different places in our walk of life. For those grieving or in pain - run, walk or crawl. Do whatever you can do with the strength you have to keep moving forward. At some point, we will all fly out of it together.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Paleo Make a Meal: Maple-Pecan Crusted Salmon + Garlic-Chive Cauliflower Puree + Sweet and Spicy Roasted Brussel Sprouts

That may be the longest post title I'll ever have.

I don't know about you, but I always appreciate seeing a full meal put together so I'm not hunting and picking sides and mains. When it's a busy week and I have a lot on my plate (pun intended), I like to see the full picture of a meal for ease and convenience. Therefore, I wanted to present this to you in full.

We have a Soy-Mustard Glazed Salmon that is our go to almost every time we make fish because it is just that good. However, I needed something paleo-friendly and so I started hunting around for other salmon recipes. I found a few different variations of Maple-Pecan Crusted Salmon, which I thought would pair well with my cauliflower puree. Looking through those, I took what ingredients I liked and created my own blend. I had originally planned to make a kale salad as a final touch but saw an easy to make Brussels Sprouts pack at Whole Foods that were already seasoned in cayenne pepper and had a maple syrup drizzle. It all paired deliciously together!

Here is a full Make a Meal, with easy to follow steps that will make your prep and cook time no longer than 35 minutes. 

For Salmon - yields 2 servings
  • 2 salmon fillets
  • 1 cup pecans
  • 2 tbsp. pure maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. adobo sauce (if you don't have this, or can't find it, use red pepper flakes to give it some heat)
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
For Cauliflower - yields 4 servings
  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp. chives, chopped
For Brussels Sprouts - yields 4 servings
  • 20 Brussels Sprouts, halved
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1/4 cup Maple Syrup
1. To begin, heat your oven to 425 degrees.

2. Next, place the cauliflower florets in a pot of water, then boil until softened.

3. Toss the BSprouts in the maple syrup and cayenne (or sub red pepper flakes if cayenne is too hot). Spread out on a roasting pan, atop aluminum foil. Roast in the oven for 25 minutes.

4. In a small food processor, combine your pecans, syrup, vinegar, adobo sauce, paprika, garlic and onion powder, pulsing until it has a similar consistency to chunky peanut butter.

5. Spread the pecan mixture over top the salmon and bake for 12 minutes. (I wait until the BSprouts have 12 minutes left to roast)

6. Once the cauliflower can be easily pierced with a fork, drain and place the cooked florets into a large food processor. Add the veggie stock and garlic cloves, season with salt and pepper to your preference. Grind the contents until smooth and creamy. Add the chives and pulse until well mixed throughout the puree. Taste test and add more salt, pepper or garlic if needed.

7. All of this should culminate around the same time. Remove the salmon and roasted BSprouts from the oven then plate your delicious and nutritious Paleo meal!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Paleo Pulled Pork Chili

I was meal planning this morning. After completing the grocery list and sending to Max via email, he came back inside the house after a quick walk with George to say - it's really cold, how about chili tonight? With the brisket chili recipe on my speed dial since November, I decided to change things up this time and revise our meals for the week.

After talking with both my doctor and acupuncturist about a hormonal imbalance (yep, acupuncture started this week. Interesting experience but I think I like it), then the suggestion from a fellow loss mama regarding her experience going Paleo and the link that has with hormones and fertility, I've started following some new Paleo bloggers to learn their ways. My friends Casey and Shelby have been my Yodas in answering all of my so wait, is this Paleo? questions. For this recipe, I took my brisket chili and removed everything from it that made it non-Paleo. Then, I compared the remaining parts of my recipe with PaleOMG's Pulled Pork Chili just to make sure I was safe with all my ingredients.

How does this recipe compare to my Brisket Chili? For starters, I swapped butternut squash for sweet potatoes. Gasp! I know. Not that anything would be wrong with butternut squash, I just opted for a change up. If you google "are sweet potatoes paleo?" you will see that some say yes, others are a hard no - they are in the grey area. I chose to use them because of the nutritional components I'm looking for. I removed the black beans, the beer and added more stock (used veggie instead of beef stock - it's what we already had) and water. PaleOMG had a fun technique with garlic, so I adopted that and used her recipe's suggested tomato sauce + hot sauce to thicken the base. I used all my same spices, and removed the brown sugar. Overall, I would say this is a decent hybrid between her pulled pork chili and my brisket chili with a special bonus, it's totes paleo y'all. I also made this in a dutch oven, rather than how she made it in the crock pot. Cooking times would vary, the crock pot taking 8 hours on low. This takes 4 hours in the oven which is perfect for a day you are home around the house. 


  • 2 lb. pork shoulder roast, fat trimmed
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup salsa 
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1.5 - 2 cups chopped sweet potato (small cubes)
  • 1 can fire roasted tomatoes with green chiles 
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1.5 cup veggie stock
  • 3 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tbsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • Green onion (optional garnish)
  • Avocado (optional garnish)
To start, heat your oven to 275 degrees.

1) In a dutch oven, heat a smidge of coconut or avocado oil on medium high heat.
2) Using a knife, cut a slit in the top of the meet, making a circle, in three places. Then stick a clove of garlic in each hole.
3) Season the roast with salt, pepper. Set the roast in the dutch oven and cover with hot sauce. Continue to brown each side of the pork roast (carefully keeping the garlic inside the meat), above 2 minutes per side.
4) Remove the roast and move to a plate. Add the onions in, scrape up browned bits from the pork and move the onions around in the leftover salsa. Allow them to cook until translucent - about 10 minutes.
5) Place the roast back into the dutch oven, add the cubed sweet potatoes, red bell pepper and fire roasted tomatoes with green chiles and turn down heat to simmer.
6) In a separate bowl, mix the liquids and spices. Whisk until combined.
7) Pour the liquids in the dutch oven, covering the pork and veggies.
8) Set in the oven and cook for 5 hours, or until pork will shred with ease (it should be fall-apart-ready, if the meat is still tough, cook another 30 minutes then test again).
9) Ladle into bowls, garnish with your preferred fixings.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

I Can Still Laugh

I work with an extraordinary woman who wrote a book with this title, using her personal and clinical experiences with individuals who reveal their personal struggles with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Remarkably, every one of them finds ways to minimize the effects of their illness and continue to live exciting, active lives. Their mission is to make themselves – and everyone else around them – forget the notion that life ends with a diagnosis. The brave individuals of these stories are proving that life goes on and all is not lost because, in their words, “I can still laugh.”

In my professional life, I am in Development and Fundraising for a non-profit organization, a brain research center and its translational arm to provide research-based programs to the public. The print above is something I had made for one of my donors. It is for a family that has walked a road of grief after a mother and a wife had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. Because of that, this family has been instrumental in providing the funding to create a support group that our Center is able to offer to families who have experienced the diagnosis of Mild Cognitive Impairment and Alzheimer's. I grew up going to church with the precious young woman who made this for me, a teacher who has this calligraphy print business as well. She took the above picture of the print and posted it to social media on a day that I was weighing my options on my grief battle and could have chosen to stay in bed. Max was traveling, I had felt a little under the weather probably from our holiday travels coupled with the aftermath of hitting the seven month mark without Hudson. I had nothing that would require me to leave the house that day so I was laying in bed planning to surrender to my grief because sometimes you need to.

In the first few months following loss, getting out of bed wasn't the problem. I could wake up and start a new day, but as the day wore on, it became harder to function. Starting in the fall, that reversed and it became hard to want to get out of bed to start a new day. As I worked on lifting out of my grief, waking up in the morning presented me with a choice. I could lay there and have a pep talk with myself, to make the choice of having a good day or I could let my mood/emotions weigh me down. Those who understand grief or depression know what I'm talking about. You can choose to try to have a good day and that choice may prevail and it may not, but you've tried. Other days you are tired. You are exhausted from faking it, from camouflaging your true feelings and sometimes it is so much easier to succumb to the grief. When you surrender to it, you take on a mood that you don't care about what is going on around you, you don't want to make an effort at all. You can be unpleasant. If you don't have to leave the house, you don't. If you do have to be a functioning member of society that day, you go through the motions until you can be back in solitude and the comfort of home.

On this particular morning, I was having an internal debate about what kind of day I was going to have. I was leaning toward the surrender. I laid in bed on my phone, scrolling social media, torturing myself with pictures of little ones enjoying the holidays, and then I saw this picture.

I smiled.

My colleague's book title meant something new to me. There is a future with my firstborn, my son, that I will never have. An entire life that would have been different had he been in it. A life he didn't get to live, meaning a life we didn't get to experience in its rightful form. That is all taken from us, abruptly and without warning. There is an ever-present sadness inside because of it.

However, there's something you need to know. There are good days. Lately, there have been many more consecutive good days than bad. In fact, December was the first month since our loss that I didn't say at the end of it, okay, now I've hit rock bottom, this was my worst month. November was my worst month to date. After hitting the six month mark at the end of November, I knew December had the potential to be even worse because of all things Christmas and the memories from the year before as we started to share with people that we were pregnant, and now we didn't have a baby and we weren't pregnant again despite all attempts. We had a plan for December and I worked hard to lift out as much as I could while still doing what I felt comfortable with in the confines of my own grief, going back to grief counseling to work through the ugly feelings that won't go away. I still had some really tough times, but the good days have started to outnumber the bad.

The truth about my grief is that there has yet to be a day in the last 224 days that I have not cried. And I'm not talking about just a tear here or there, I mean a full-on-make-up-running-snot-everywhere-loud-sob-ugly-cry. But also, there has not been a day in the last 224 days that I have not laughed, or at the very least, smiled. The place I write from is the most vulnerable part of me, one that is always hurting, but it isn't the way I walk through life at all times. When I write, I tap into that for an expression of honesty and raw emotion from the heart of a grieving mother. However, our/my life is not always a state of loom and doom.
As I reflect on the previous year, I think about how just as 2015 started so did our second trimester. We spent last New Year's Eve in Ireland and I taught the bartenders to make a Shirley Temple (or Kiddie Cocktail) that I cheers'd to a new year with surrounded by dear friends. I remember Max and I walking home after the pub and talking about what this new year was going to be like for us, how much excitement we had as expecting parents. We were bracing ourselves for a big life change but this was not the change we had anticipated.

I spent the first half of 2015 happier than ever. It was exciting, it was new, it was hopeful, it was fun. I spent the second half of 2015 in a deep pit of despair.

Now we are in the first week of a new year. For those wrestling with loss, it is never a fresh start, a clean slate or a new beginning. It is just entering a new year of life phases without the one who is missing. New milestones you have to overcome, more hurdles to get over, more reminders of what is lost. Personally, I wasn't ready because I didn't want to leave Hudson behind in 2015. I wanted to leave the catastrophic aftermath of the loss there, the ugly parts of it, but not all of it. So this year I did something I have never done. For the first time that I can recall, I have no plans for the new year. No goals, no resolutions, no plans. We are going to finish what we started in December, the clomid, the testing. I'm on day 3 of an all Paleo diet because of how it is linked to balancing hormones and helping fertility. I am doing acupuncture and continuing with my grief counseling again. However, after this month, it is a blank page and I have no plans for what we will do next. It's not up to me, I am not in control. Coming to grips with that is almost painfully hard for me and against my DNA, but it's also a bit of a relief because I am exhausted of trying to control things that are so blatantly out of my control.

I will have an outlook though. I will have a mantra. I will generalize the way I feel about 2016 and that is that grief cannot take it all away. I can scream to the top of my lungs a big F you to the ugliness of grief, because here's the thing: I can still laugh and I intend to. Here's to making this year about laughter whether you are down in the trenches, crawling out of it, you have made it to the other side or you are watching as someone you love goes through it. I wish you all rich blessings and that you are able to seek happiness in all things, whenever you can, and wherever you are on your life journey.

Here's to making this a year of laughter, from my grieving heart to yours.