Twinflowers' memorial

09/26/2011 at 11:41 am | Posted in Love to Zaria | 7 Comments
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I’ve been struggling to find the right words to describe the memorial Saturday for Abigail and Zaria.

Beautiful. Warm. Peaceful. Painful. Cathartic.

In the middle of the damp woods, at dusk, with a fire blazing, under a cozy shelter. Food, family, friends, kids running and squealing through the trees. Engulfing hugs from Hope and Luke that brought tears to my eyes. Hearing their words, seeing the pain etched into their faces. Squeezing Lily every chance I got.

The most striking part of the memorial was seeing and touching the teeny-tiny baby things. Zaria’s entire diaper fit inside the palm of my hand. Her blood pressure cuff was just big enough to wrap around a couple of my fingers. Her teensy hat, smaller than some of those that belong to Lily’s baby dolls, was big on her head, Hope said. And the footprints. They were most heart-breaking.

I’m so afraid that sharing these feelings is going to somehow hurt my friends, or make them angry. The grief they carry in their hearts is impossible to imagine. And my sadness almost feels selfish.

At the end of the ceremony, we all walked a knotty, muddy path down to the river. Hope, Luke and their children climbed out onto the wet rocks and gently placed beautiful little boats — pieces of tree bark adorned with flowers, baby’s breath, leaves — into the current.

I watched as they floated downstream, punctuating the dark river water with little bursts of red, orange, yellow, white. A living memorial. A blessing.

Love to Abigail and Zaria.

Love to Zaria: grand total + prize winners

09/21/2011 at 12:54 pm | Posted in Love to Zaria | 5 Comments
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More than 300 donors.

30 lovely sponsors.

A bajillion Facebook posts, tweets, blog posts, emails.

$8,372.32 raised for the Love to Zaria fund.

One family grateful beyond words.

And one overwhelmed, humbled blogger.

THANK YOU.

A million times over.

THANK YOU.

Below is the list of prize winners. You all will hear from me soon, with details about how to claim your prizes.

– Lisa P: Svan high chair from Scandinavian Child
– Stephanie G: Touring Tote from Petunia Pickle Bottom
– Blair M.: $100 gift certificate from North American Bear Company
– Maggie A.: $100 gift certificate from Jam Jewelry Designs
– Sarah M., Suzanne L., Susan M., Laura B.: One of four zipper pouches from Charm Design
– Alethea P.: $50 gift certificate from Modern Nursery
– Elizabeth H.: $50 gift certificate from Emma Dear Vintage Goods
– Angela B.: Custom name banner from chock full of …
– Joel C.: Set that includes headband, earrings, ring from Hot Pink and Sequins
– Julia A.: Watercolor flowers pillow from Michelle Smith Designs
– Carla H.: $40 gift certificate from Sweetpea Prints
– Connie S.: New baby gift basket from Epona and Oak
– Katharine G.: $25 gift certificate + vintage apron from Roulette Vintage
– Chelsey S.: $25 gift certificate from Brilliant Handmade
– Melissa H.: Set of personalized stationery from The Blooming Tulip
– Jocelyn R.: Set of notecards from paperbird (available at Epona & Oak)
– Jamie R.: Family 4-pack from Marbles Kids Museum
– Sarah R.: “Kindness Feels Pretty” necklace from ssd jewelry
– Andy M.: Set of gold and silver leaf crosses and heart from Kaye Lambert Sculpture
– Denise B.: Bath and body products from Earth Mama Angel Baby
– Erin C.: $25 gift certificate from It’s a Blessing
– Carrie A.: Serigraph from Studio Laura Loving
– Michelle M.: Custom initial necklace from It’s By Design
– Amanda S.: $100 gift certificate from Silver Satellite Studios Photography
– Erin S.: $50 gift certificate from Zizzies and Izzies
– Rebekah M.: Cuff bracelet from Hothouse Posey
– Lisa M.: $15 gift certificate from Ducky Stuff
– Brian M.: Ticket 4-pack from the Carolina Rollergirls
– Debra Q.: Wrap, blanket and knot hat from Moby Wrap
– Susan S.: Set of 10 notecards from Cards by Jodi

Now for the nitty-gritty. Here’s how the giveaway shook out:

I transferred all of the donors’ names from PayPal into an Excel spreadsheet, and I added extra entries for anyone who left a comment that they had publicized the fundraiser in some way. Then I eliminated anyone who asked not to be included in the drawing. (Then I had a stiff drink and remembered why I did not major in math).

The prizes are recorded in another excel spreadsheet. So I worked my way down the list of prizes, drawing winners at random for each prize. It does worry me that someone with no kids might end up with a fancy high chair, or a man might end up with a ladies’ purse. But I just have to believe that these wonderful prizes will land in the right hands, in some form or fashion.

Hope and Luke and their family are holding a memorial service for the twins this weekend at a beautiful local river park. I cannot wait to wrap my arms around my friends. And if I can get through my tears, I’ll try to write about the experience for you guys. After all, you’ve been with us every step of the way.

Thank you again. And again. And again.

This has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life.

Love to Zaria update: the home stretch

09/12/2011 at 11:41 am | Posted in Love to Zaria | 7 Comments
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$7,355.27

This is how much we’ve raised for Hope and her family.

Can you believe it?

Me neither.

Think about how much this is going to help. With hospital bills. With rent. To alleviate lost income.

The fundraiser ends next Tuesday. Let’s get to $7,500.

I know we can do it.

Even if you aren’t able to donate, please send a quick email to your friends, family, coworkers, church. Post this link to Facebook. It’s staggering how powerful a single Facebook status update can be. Or, send up a prayer for this sweet family.

They held a memorial service for Zaria on Friday at a river park in Nevada, and they’ll arrive home to Raleigh tomorrow. Then begins the hard work of rebuilding. Everything.

Two wonderful new sponsors have joined the fundraiser:

Moby Wrap

Moby Wrap, Blanket and Knot Hat // Moby Wrap

Cards by Jodi

Set of handmade cards // Cards by Jodi (jodi_pelman@hotmail.com)

Thank you, each one of you, for everything you’re doing to help.

There are no words.

Love to Zaria update + new sponsors

09/06/2011 at 10:31 am | Posted in Love to Zaria | 4 Comments
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Oh wow.

I can’t stop saying these words.

In just one week, we’ve raised more than $6,500 for the Love to Zaria fund.

OH. WOW.

Thank you. I can’t begin to describe how much your generosity means to this family and how much it will help them. They’ll be back in North Carolina soon, to find a place to live and get accustomed to a new normal. And your support certainly will help cushion the blow.

Some lovely new sponsors have joined the cause by contributing prizes to the giveaway:

Studio Laura Loving art

"Ed and Wanda's Garden" serigraph // Studio Laura Loving

Custom initial necklace

Custom initial necklace // it's by design

silver satellite studios photography

$100 gift certificate // silver satellite studios photography

fleece soaker

$50 gift certificate // Zizzies and Izzies

hothouse posey jewelry

cuff bracelet (different from pictured) // hothouse posey

girls' twirl skirt

$15 gift certificate // Ducky Stuff

Carolina Rollergirls

Ticket 4-pack // Carolina Rollergirls

This fundraiser runs for two more weeks. Let’s reach $7,500.

I know we can do it!

I am amazed every single time I check the PayPal account. Hundreds of people from all over the map have come together to help a family in need.

Thank you for igniting this awesome wave of support. Let’s keep it going!

From Zaria's papa

09/05/2011 at 10:28 am | Posted in Love to Zaria | 2 Comments
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Good morning and happy Labor Day!

Before Lily and I head out, I want to share a comment from Luke that I just discovered in the blog. I’ll be back later with our fundraising update and some wonderful new prizes.

Thank you, everyone, for your generosity. It continues to overwhelm.

From Luke:

Thank you so much Suzanne for creatively calling in all of this support for our family. While there is at this time a lot of pain and confusion due to the loss of Abigail and Zaria it is such an amazing and humbling experience to read your posts and the comments of so many people who have given of themselves. Even as we sit three thousand miles from our home we feel completely supported not only by our friends and family but also by a huge community of people (mostly complete strangers) who read our story and actively responded from the fullness of their hearts. Thank you…all of you for letting us know that we are not alone.

Love to Zaria update: you won't believe it

09/02/2011 at 2:27 pm | Posted in Love to Zaria | 5 Comments
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We’ve raised more than $5,000 for Hope and her family!!!!

!!!!!!!!!

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

We also have some wonderful new prizes (roller derby anyone?), and I’ll be back Monday to share them with you and post another update.

Happy weekend, friends.

And thank you again, from the bottom of my heart.

A message from Hope

09/01/2011 at 8:53 pm | Posted in Love to Zaria | Leave a comment
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I just spotted this in today’s comments and want to share it with you. From mama Hope:

Suzanne and all of you folks,

thank you so much. yes the dollars will certainly help but reading the comments and feeling the support is huge, so huge for both luke and i.

when checking out suzanne’s blog i am rereading my words, seeing the pictures of zaria and taking in all the blessings. this allows me a chance to sit down and feel and cry. i miss holding that little baby so very much. inside of me there is a deep well that is empty and a strange numbness that is felt. my husband walks around with sadness in his eyes. our kids keep us on our toes with questions and play and love for their sisters and us.

again thank you all so very much

cyber hugs to all of you and we will share physical hugs with you NC folks soon enough

In your words

09/01/2011 at 3:29 pm | Posted in Love to Zaria | 2 Comments
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I am so moved and humbled by the outpouring of love for Hope, Luke and their family.

Especially beautiful are the messages you’re leaving here. I’ve been stockpiling them for the family to read at a later time, and I want to share a few with you.

Here goes:

“We have been pulling and praying for Zaria since July 21st when she arrived early. It has been a rollercoaster ride feeling hopeful one moment and the next heart-broken. I feel so blessed that I got to meet Zaria and witness a beautiful example of how precious life is. It’s been an honor to see what an amazing father and mother Luke and Hope are, and we are so proud of them. My family appreciates any support anyone can offer Luke and Hope and their kiddos, as they are looking at a difficult road ahead re-building their lives.”

***

“I have spent many, many weeks over many years in the NICU with my micro preemies. Thank you for doing this for them. Nothing compounds grief more than financial stress and worrying about how to care for your family while they mourn and try to find their sea legs. It will make a difference like you cannot understand.”

***

“There are simply no words to say to ease the pain…but know that I am praying like mad for this family and their beautiful angels. I will do anything that I can to help this family.”

***

“You have no idea who I am, but I found your story and was moved to tears. I am so very sorry for your losses, and as a mother myself I can’t even imagine the pain you have endured. I have donated to the fundraiser and posted about little Zaria on my own blog, in the hopes of calling more to action for you. Please do take care – you are all in my thoughts and prayers.”

***

“My heart breaks for this family. I lost my own twin girls last October at 22 weeks. Only the love and peace of God can carry us through.”

***

“I will keep you and your family in my prayers. I know how hard it is to lose a child. My son was born early and with multiple health problems and he only lived for 4 hours.”

***

“Thank you for sharing both Zaria’s and Abigail’s story with us. My heart hurts for this couple and their family and friends. I donated in honor of Zaria and Abigail. I’m certain that they were met by two angels.”

***

“This is so heartbreaking. I had to stop my baby boy’s swing and kiss, then catch my 3 year old to give him hugs and kisses and thank God my boys are healthy. What strength Hope and her husband have!”

***

“Having lost my son at 23 weeks last year, I have a taste of what they’re going through – though it is different for everyone and I only lost one baby (two others through miscarriage also but it’s even more intense when you can hold them – at least for me). I will hold them in my heart and share their story. In writing about my journey over the last year and now, working with people who are grieving, this kind of loss never gets easy to hear about. It devastates families every single day in shocking numbers and no one knows what to do or say. Thank you for doing something for them. I hope others in their lives rally too – delivering food, holding space for their tears, holding them. It takes a village to raise a child. It takes a village to mourn one too.”

***

“Prayers for the family and your entire group of friends as you all grieve together. Since I don’t have kids of my own, I can only imagine the heartbreak they feel. I donated, tweeted and fb’d … for freely you have received, freely give.”

Love to Zaria update (or how I'm stunned by overwhelming grace)

09/01/2011 at 6:47 am | Posted in Love to Zaria | 8 Comments
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$3,779.02

That’s how much is in the Love to Zaria fund right now.

I burst into tears when I opened the PayPal account for a quick peek this morning. I just can’t get over the kindness and love and generosity flowing to Hope and her family.

From friends, family, neighbors, old classmates. From mothers, fathers, grandparents and families who have experienced similar grief. From perfect strangers.

THANK YOU. I simply can’t express enough how grateful I am.

The fundraiser also has some lovely new sponsors. Check them out:

kindness feels pretty necklace

"Kindness Feels Pretty" necklace // ssd jewelry

gold leaf crosses and heart

Gold and silver leaf crosses and heart // Kaye Lambert Sculpture

angel baby bath and body products

Angel Baby bath and body products // Earth Mama Angel Baby

beaded bracelet

$25 gift certificate // It's a Blessing

I’m not finished yet, you guys. This giveaway is live for three whole weeks. And I’m pumped.

Let’s go for $5,000.

Can you imagine how much that would help this family? Especially as they face the daunting move back East, the search for a new home, the adjustment to a new “normal.”

Thank you. For donating, blogging, emailing, tweeting, posting to Facebook, calling, texting, clicking the little “like” button at the bottom of these posts.

THANK YOU.

Let’s keep going!

Love to Zaria

Love to Zaria featured sponsor: Scandinavian Child together with Svan of Sweden

08/31/2011 at 4:25 pm | Posted in Love to Zaria | Leave a comment
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Svan high chair

This looks more like modern art than high chair! Isn’t it cool?

The Svan high chair is the featured prize in our Love to Zaria fundraiser.

When I first put out the call for help, Scandinavian Child was one of the very first to respond. And in a big way. I am so grateful for their sponsorship and to Svan of Sweden for such a wonderful prize.

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