Featured on The Joyful Mourning Podcast

I am so thankful Ashlee Proffitt allowed me to share our story on her podcast, The Joyful Mourning. Recording it was both terrifying and freeing. It is a true honor to speak to the hearts of other hurting women. If I can use my story to help someone else, the hurts hurt a little less.

If you have not listened yet, you may visit THIS LINK or find The Joyful Morning Podcast on iTunes.

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A Year of Mourning

We survived the year anniversary of June’s passing. Honestly, the day was less emotional than I thought it would be. For that, I am grateful.

Over the past year, I have attended a monthly support group with other bereaved moms. From the very first meeting, I was told the second year would be the hardest. So, I spent the entire first year dreading the anniversary and the scary “second year.” I’m only one month in, but thankfully, it has not been as difficult as I anticipated.

I am 100% positive it is because of the grace of God.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
    and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Psalm 34:18

God has been so kind to me. Of course, the year has not been without great challenges and sadness. My only child is gone. And for the record, it still stings just as much as it did on August 28, 2017.

I have nothing profound about mourning to share with you. I have not figured out how to incorporate grief into the rest of my life - it still takes over when it wants to.

I will take a second to reiterate what I have shared in the past: spend time with your family. Draw close to the Lord. You do not know when your rainy days will come. I pray they never do.

 Special thanks to one of my favorite photographers <3

Special thanks to one of my favorite photographers <3

Top 10 Favorite Wedding Moments of 2017 | Sterling Dawn Events

What. A. Year. 2017, you were an unkind beast to me in so many ways. And yet, with all the difficult things that happened in my life, my couples were a beacon on some of my darkest days. I will never forget these guys and gals - NEVER! It is because of them that I was able to get back to work and feel even a little bit like myself again after losing our June.

If you've been around for any length of time, you know I put a lot of value in meaningful elements to any wedding day. These Top 10 Favorites are the heart and soul of my 2017 wedding season. To all my couples, thank you for letting me join you on this journey!

 Meghan and Zach were supposed to get married outside, but Mother Nature had other plans. Without hesitation, they let me move their ceremony inside Baker Hall at Norfolk Botanical Garden. It was the most intimate and coziest space you could ever want. Despite the last minute change and the weather, nothing stopped them from living in the moment of their new beginning together.  Photo: Valerie Demo

Meghan and Zach were supposed to get married outside, but Mother Nature had other plans. Without hesitation, they let me move their ceremony inside Baker Hall at Norfolk Botanical Garden. It was the most intimate and coziest space you could ever want. Despite the last minute change and the weather, nothing stopped them from living in the moment of their new beginning together.

Photo: Valerie Demo

 Okay, Christos!!! Best first glance I've ever seen. This sweet, sweet groom did not see his bride until the ceremony. It was a touching moment and I am SO THANKFUL it was captured on camera!  Photo: Associate Ashley, Sharon Elizabeth Photography

Okay, Christos!!! Best first glance I've ever seen. This sweet, sweet groom did not see his bride until the ceremony. It was a touching moment and I am SO THANKFUL it was captured on camera!

Photo: Associate Ashley, Sharon Elizabeth Photography

 Cassi and Mike decided to incorporate a branding during their wedding reception. Their first act as husband and wife was to permanently mark their last initial into a piece of wood that now belongs in their home. It might go down as the coolest reception moment ever!&nbsp;  Photo: Wild and Wonderful Photography

Cassi and Mike decided to incorporate a branding during their wedding reception. Their first act as husband and wife was to permanently mark their last initial into a piece of wood that now belongs in their home. It might go down as the coolest reception moment ever! 

Photo: Wild and Wonderful Photography

 Jamie and Bert shared their first dance under twinkle lights and lanterns. Despite looming rain, Jamie insisted on keeping her reception outside, as planned. Best decision ever! This moment was perfection!  Photo: Caitlin Gerres Photography

Jamie and Bert shared their first dance under twinkle lights and lanterns. Despite looming rain, Jamie insisted on keeping her reception outside, as planned. Best decision ever! This moment was perfection!

Photo: Caitlin Gerres Photography

 Jiney and Stephen brought in SubZero Nitro Ice Cream to do a smoke exit! On the steps of The Historic Post Office in Hampton, they made Sterling Dawn Events history!&nbsp;  Photo: Caitlin Gerres Photography

Jiney and Stephen brought in SubZero Nitro Ice Cream to do a smoke exit! On the steps of The Historic Post Office in Hampton, they made Sterling Dawn Events history! 

Photo: Caitlin Gerres Photography

 This is Tracey right after seeing her sister in all her bridal glory. I've known Tracey since she was in elementary school. Knowing how close she and her sister are made this moment even more special.  Photo: Vinluan Photography

This is Tracey right after seeing her sister in all her bridal glory. I've known Tracey since she was in elementary school. Knowing how close she and her sister are made this moment even more special.

Photo: Vinluan Photography

 Brittany and Alan got their plane shot! Both are trained pilots and chose their wedding venue to pay homage to their love of flying. This Silver P51 was the star of the show during their ceremony.  Photo: Vinluan Photography

Brittany and Alan got their plane shot! Both are trained pilots and chose their wedding venue to pay homage to their love of flying. This Silver P51 was the star of the show during their ceremony.

Photo: Vinluan Photography

 Casey and Christos, I apologize for not sharing a "serious" picture of the two of you, but this is my favorite! I love how well he took care of her on their wedding day. They are the cutest!  Photo: Associate Ashley, Sharon Elizabeth Photography

Casey and Christos, I apologize for not sharing a "serious" picture of the two of you, but this is my favorite! I love how well he took care of her on their wedding day. They are the cutest!

Photo: Associate Ashley, Sharon Elizabeth Photography

 Puppies at weddings. DUH! Cassidy and Mike brought their pup, Colin Farrell, to their celebration. He pretty much stole the show anytime he was able to come out and play.  Photo: We Are The Mitchells

Puppies at weddings. DUH! Cassidy and Mike brought their pup, Colin Farrell, to their celebration. He pretty much stole the show anytime he was able to come out and play.

Photo: We Are The Mitchells

 Ending the year with a CHRISTMASTIME wedding is something I've always dreamed would happen for my little business. Then, Jessica had to top everything and wear a Pnina Tornai gown! Seriously, SO BEAUTIFUL!!  Photo: Luke and Ashley Photography

Ending the year with a CHRISTMASTIME wedding is something I've always dreamed would happen for my little business. Then, Jessica had to top everything and wear a Pnina Tornai gown! Seriously, SO BEAUTIFUL!!

Photo: Luke and Ashley Photography

Honestly, it was so difficult to narrow down to a list of 10. Still, thank you to every bride and groom who made this year one to remember! Love to you all!

Cassidy & Mike | We Are The Mitchells | Inn at Warner Hall, Gloucester, VA

On the morning of Cassidy and Mike's wedding, I watched the sunrise. It was the perfect beginning to a perfect day! Brunch was on the menu and coffee flowed like nectar! (Paradise!!)

These two captured my heart the moment we first talked. They are kind, giving, patient, and all these things were evident seeing them interact with their guests. Cassidy incorporated so many personal touches and she was the BEST at communicating everything to me. When a bride gives me a detailed list of decor items, it does my planner heart good and certainly makes the day go more smoothly.

Between working with The Mitchells, That Booth Guy, and DJ Rodney Charles, I'd have to say it was one of the easiest wedding days of the year. I could not be more thankful for the day, knowing the happy couple, and seeing so many genuine people coming together to make it all happen.

Enjoy these lovely images from We Are The Mitchells! Full vendor list below.

Photography & Videography: We Are The Mitchells
Coordination & Floral Design: Sterling Dawn Events
Donuts: Sugar Shack
Caterer: A Sharper Palate Catering & Events
DJ: Rodney Charles, AstroDJ
Venue: Inn at Warner Hall
Photo Booth: That Booth Guy
 

Advice for those who are grieving

I don't have all the answers and will never pretend that I do. In just 3 short months of life without my daughter, I have learned about grief and have tried to implement healthy grieving habits of my own. There is one point of advice I can give to those of you who are still in the fresh aftermath of your loss. 

Get off social media.

When June died, I took 4 weeks off from social media. I posted an update/thank you photo in the middle of it all, but I did not browse. I did not watch Instagram stories, I did not scroll my endless Facebook newsfeed.

It was the best thing for me.

Even if we don't intend to look in on our friends with envy, there is a fine line that is so easy to cross. Imagine losing your child and all you see on social media are crawling babies, baby announcements, people complaining about pregnancy, people complaining about their kids. Or maybe your loss was a broken marriage or ended engagement and all you saw were people posting happy holiday family photos. It probably wouldn't help you out in the long run to see those things when your own wound was so fresh. 

The thing you have to remember is it is no one's fault when they post something about their life online. I cannot control others, what they post or when they post. It's not my job to rain on their happy times or scold them for publicizing their not-so-good ones. What I can control happen to be things like opening an app or scrolling down and down and down.

So, practically speaking, delete the apps from your phone. Take the time you would spend each morning, noon, or night and think about your lost loved one or trying to get through the hurt. Read books. Look at pictures of happy times. Cry. Exercise. Trust me, social media will be there when you return. Your real life friends will still find ways to reach out to you. And really, are all the cat videos, Tasty tutorials, and Buzzfeed articles worth it? (Maybe the cat vids.)

This is just my opinion and what worked for me in my specific situation. But it did a world of good in my life during those immediate days and weeks after my sweet girl went to heaven.

 Photo: Echard Wheeler

Photo: Echard Wheeler