Monday, June 13, 2016

Happy Birthday, Papaw Charlie

I was all too aware that today my grandfather was born 87 years ago today, before my phone and computer reminded me. Two days ago, surrounded by his family, he celebrated a new kind of birthday- into Heaven. We've known for months that it was coming, but it doesn't matter how long you "know," It's never enough time. It's never easy.

I've had the privilege of hearing my papaw tell the stories of his lifetime. It's a project I'd started years ago and life had just gotten busy, as life tends to do. I still had so many questions to ask and stories to hear. 

When I got home Saturday, I listened to the stations on Pandora I'd created when talking with Papaw about some of his favorite music in his early years. I will always treasure that day. He became so animated, singing along with his favorites, and his face lighting up with a bigger smile than I'd seen on him for quite a while. He told me about trips to the Grand Ol' Opry and Renfro Valley, and so much more. 

Papaw: Way back before we quit traveling, we’d take off and go to Nashville. We went to Renfro Valley a lot of times too. Old John Lair started it. We were there before he died. They took it over commercial now, but for a long time, they had the old originals. They wouldn’t allow anything on the stage but guitars and fiddles. They had two or three good country women singers and some good men singers. John and Jessie wore those big overalls and they played… it was a good show. Roy Acuff was one of my favorites [at the Grand Ol’ Opry].

Teri: which one tried to date mom? Was it Roy Acuff or Chet Atkins?Norma Atkins… remember Glady’s sister, Norma? She was related to Chett Atkins, and they had mom a date fixed up with him one time. But mom had already met you and started dating you and wouldn’t go with him.

Papaw: They tell me now, after I’m 80 some years old…*laughs* Me and Doris saw several country music shows. We’d take off and go. I had a set-up for a while, I had a camp trailer. I could call KOA campground in Nashville and reserve my camping spot and my tickets. When I’d go down there, my tickets would be laying on the counter, and we’d go to the Grand Ol’ Opry. We didn’t even have to move the trailer, they’d pick us up on a bus and take us to the Grand Ol’ Opry and back to the trailer. Then, we could visit - the owners had a record shop. It was about a mile from there. It made a pretty good night. That Grand Ol’ Opry house now- that Opry house is really something. It’s a big, modern… you’d be surprised.

I am still working on transcribing some of the recordings I have of Papaw's stories, but had so hoped to have his book finished while he was here to see it. I'd asked him once before what he would write if he ever wrote a book. He told me he would write his story. It's a good one! I feel like I only have a small portion, though. I am actually hoping to have stories submitted by others, too. If you have a story to share, please visit here.

In Papaw's last few moments, my mind turned to these pictures of me running to him as a child. I imagine there was a similar scene in Heaven when he met my baby girl for the first time.

Heaven is going to be so wonderful.


Charles Edward Rose,  6/13/29 - 6/11/16
Charles Edward Rose, 86, of Raceland Kentucky went home to be with his Savior at his home while surrounded by his family on Saturday, June 11, in the 2016 year of our Lord. Charles was born June 13, 1929 in Worthington, Kentucky the firstborn son of the late George and Arizona Brown Rose.
He was preceded in death by his first wife, Doris Bentley, (daughter of Hilliard and Agnes Davis Bentley) Surviving from that union are 3 daughters, Cheryl Rose Akers (the late Jack Akers) of Ashland, Teressa “Teri” Rose Harris (Rev. James Harris) of Argillite KY, Mellessa “Mel” Rose Thomas (Robert “Gene” Thomas) Jacksonville FL and 1 son, Charles A “Buck” Rose (Phoebe) of Greenup KY.
He is survived by his wife, Frances Ruth Martin Rose
2 brothersGeorge Rose Jr. (the late Lula Hubbard Rose) of Wurtland, KentuckyWilliam “Bill” Leslie Rose (Avanelle Hannah Rose) of Worthington, Kentucky
He is also survived by3 step-daughtersJoyce Lynn Cantrell (Kenny) of Argillite, KentuckyGracie Rhonda Zieglien (Daniel) of Owensville KYBetty Frances Caudill (Ralph Caudill) Raceland, Kentucky
2 step-sons
Robert Wayne Stepp (Velvet) Argillite KentuckyHarold Eugene Stepp (Lisa) Wurtland Kentucky
9 grandchildren
James L Watson II (Monica) Mohave NevadaLillian Patricia Addison (Gary) Elkhorn, NebraskaCharles Robert “Bobby” Thomas (Christina) Jacksonville FloridaWilliam Michael Thomas (Lindsey) Jacksonville FloridaAmy Renee’ Harris, Argillite KentuckyJames Andrew “Andy” Harris (Bethany) Argillite, KentuckyKeri Ann Harris Kitchen (Aaron) Grayson KentuckyRoger Dale Rose (Shellie) Greenup KentuckyJames Patrick Rose (Janel) Greenup Kentucky
10 step-grandchildren, 15 great grandchildren and 9 step-great grandchildren
We remember Charles Alan Rose he is deceased but not forgotten.
Funeral services will be conducted at 10:00am Tuesday, June 14, 2016 at Reed Funeral Home in Greenup Kentucky by Rev. James W. Harris. Burial will be in Bellefonte Memorial Gardens in Flatwoods. Kentucky.
Visitation will be 6:00 – 9:00 pm Monday and one hour before the service on Tuesday.Masonic Rites will be officiated at 8pm Monday during the visitation by Flatwoods Smith Lodge #775. Also Monday there will be a brief, Memorial service held at 5 pm to minister to young children of the family, who are mourning his loss.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Bittersweet, Like Easter

Every Easter, my thoughts turn back to my first post at After The Rainn and the roller coaster of emotions I was experiencing that Easter season 5 years ago.

Every Easter, I think of the bittersweet nature of what we are celebrating.

"My spirit is willing but my body is weak."

That thought repeats in my head, and I'm reminded how easily I become weak. I've said before that there is that part of me that will always be a bit weary here on earth, no matter how much rest I have. My tolerance for stress and painful life events is different than it once was. It doesn't take nearly as much, and that all-too-familiar feeling of weariness wraps around me again. Maybe it's a bit like an old bathrobe. I don't know about you, but I think it's hard to feel too energetic while wearing a bathrobe. There's just something about it that makes me want to curl up under the covers and not accomplish much of anything.

Granted, much has changed in the past five years, and I've done a lot of growing and healing during that time. Even so, when life throws a curve ball, I feel myself reaching for that robe. It's oddly comfortable because it's so familiar, even though it's not pleasant.

Maybe it's comfortable because I am reminded how near Heaven is, and I'm reminded of the intense peace I felt the day Carys went home there. I never feel like I can adequately put into words what an experience that was. Heaven felt so real, and so close. It hasn't gone anywhere, and sometimes we are reminded of that.

It's always bittersweet. Like Easter.

Everywhere we look, we see bright colors, candies, chocolate, toys, flowers, new clothes..... it all looks so fresh and new. Not all of the Easter story was fresh and new and happy. It was painful... physically and emotionally. We can't ignore that part, or we miss the value of empty tomb.

Christ died- for us. He died in our place. He died a very painful, agonizing death on a cross, and He didn't have to. If only I had words to express my gratitude....

The joys of this life wouldn't be as appreciated without the heartaches. The bitter balances out the sweet and helps us have gratitude.

This Easter, I once again ask for prayers of peace for my family. My grandfather is under the care of hospice. It's hard to know what to say, other than that I'm thankful for God's promises. I'm thankful for the promise of Heaven, where whatever happens on this earth will be drowned out by peace and love straight from the source, Himself.

What a day, that will be!

Saturday, February 20, 2016

I'm Okay... really!

It's been so long since I posted on this particular blog that I nearly forgot where to click to add a post. In all fairness, I have been using wordpress for other blogs for quite some time.

I went to visit my girl today and took her some flowers that Pax chose for her.

I have also been doing lots of cleaning and organizing, and came across a note pad from sometime in 2011, shortly after the twins were born. As I flipped through it, I found the following:

Obviously, these thoughts didn't make it to the blog at the time.

There was a period of time that I felt like I was lying every time I said,  "I'm okay." I justified it to myself by saying, "well, in some ways, I'm okay... I mean... what does it really MEAN to say I'm okay, anyway? It's all relative...."

Still, I didn't really feel okay. I also didn't want to worry those around me who cared, or seem like I was just seeking sympathy or pity.

I was struggling. Clearly.

I know the comment about clients "who are too selfish to parent" seems very harsh... that's where I was at the time. I didn't mean  it harshly, it was just written out of hurt. I was working with clients who would tell me that they weren't doing what they needed to do to regain custody of their children. I worked to try to encourage and motivate, but seriously... it hurt.

God had different plans for me than He did them, though.

God always has a loving plan... even when it hurts.

I'm not really sure why I'm sharing this now... maybe someone else can relate to not feeling "okay." Maybe someone needs to feel less alone, and have some hope that even though things may not feel okay now, they can improve.

I'm truly "okay" now. I miss my girl, of course, and I am forever changed, but I'm out of the grief fog and moving on, taking her memory with me.

Matthew 11:28
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

2nd Annual Ready... Set... Glo! 5k/1 mile walk

The second annual Carys Rainn Memorial Ready...Set... Glo! 5k was held Friday, June 26th. With those who preregistered and those who registered Friday night, we had a total of 198 participants. It was quite a few less than last year, but with the severe weather we had, we're pretty pleased with the turnout.

Speaking of severe weather, this is the text I received while doing the 1 mile walk in the torrential downpour that was happening. 

Needless to say, we were all soaked, but somehow it was still a good time. A walk/run in the rain in memory of our Carys Rainn.

"I sure am thinking of Carys," Pax had commented when I was explaining what it meant that it was a memorial 5k. We were all thinking of Carys.

Paxton was thrilled to be up past his bedtime, to be the first stroller across the line (for the walk- but according to him, he won the race), and to get to help passing out water with his sweet cousin Mason.

All in all, there were some factors of the evening that weren't ideal, but it was still a success. Everything we do through the foundation helps raise awareness and opens the door for grieving parents to talk about their little ones in Heaven. What a privilege we have!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

"I am four!!" and A Rainbow for Each Year

How on earth have four years passed?

Paxton has been very excited to be turning four and no longer considered a toddler according to age cut-offs at the library's story time. "I'm four. (pause) I'm four!!"

I think of my girl often, but these days, there are generally much fewer tears, and more anticipation of Heaven. I didn't expect this year to hit me hard.

Even so, I have had my moments. Last night, it seemed like a video played in my head on repeat of the night before the twins were born and all the raw emotion I've shared about in other blog posts. Paxton even picked up the frame with the picture of us holding him and his sister in the NICU and was commenting on it- he never does that. 

There have been reminders everywhere I look. Other little girls her age, the yellow Easter dress at the front of the store a while back, every milestone Paxton reaches... I miss my girl. I miss getting to experience all those milestones with her too. 

At the same time, even though I miss her and tears fall- I'm genuinely okay. I long for Heaven, but I have peace and grace for the moment. 

I took the boys to story time at the library, and the whole time we were out today, I watched the sky. It's been so rainy, and the sun kept peeking out, so I thought I'd have to see a rainbow at some point... but I didn't. I stopped at the cemetery coming back into town and smiled as tears came to my eyes seeing all the little purple and yellow flowers again. They'd made me smile when we chose the plot for Carys, and I remember picking a few to take with me. 

It was only a brief visit. Aaron called while I was there, not knowing I'd stopped. I appreciated hearing his voice on the other end.

As I was about to turn onto the main road to leave the cemetery, a few raindrops hit the window. Then, my phone rang. It was a local florist asking if I would be home for a delivery.  After I hung up, I saw the time and realized that I'd been at the cemetery at 3:34- Carys' official time of.... entry into Heaven. :)
 When the delivery arrived, my dear friend Kelly (Andrew's mom, from Andrew's Angels!) had sent a balloon and puppy to Paxton and these pretty yellow flowers in memory of Carys. Paxton fell asleep snuggled up with Gus, his new puppy (which quickly joined the litter of puppies that have already taken up residence in his bed).

When I signed into facebook, I noticed the trending topics and that a QUADRUPLE RAINBOW had been sighted in Long Island.

Pretty incredible, right? Quadruple Rainbow?? I didn't even know that was a thing! Two friends shared the link on my page.

 (and notice that another friend shared the link about our foundation's 2nd annual 5k and it showed up in the news feed right below)

The point of all of this play-by-play post is that God knows what we need when we need it. The pain of loss has really stung this year, but throughout the whole day, I have had friends and family sending me messages, commenting on my facebook wall, etc., acknowledging the birth of BOTH of my babies. I'm sure all of the baby loss moms will especially understand how appreciated and validating that is. I'm not the only one who remembers her. She really was here and really did make an impact.

Even more, though, today is a reminder that God meets our needs, whether physical, spiritual, or emotional. He knew our hearts and arms are aching, and He sent loved ones our way to remind us that our grief matters, even four years later.

***God always has a loving plan. For more information about what is going on through The Carys Rainn Foundation, Inc., visit and be sure to sign up for our mailing list so you know when we make new announcements!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

3 Lbs and 1 Word

3 lbs

When I was still pregnant with the twins, I purchased a couple of little sound recorders to go in teddy bears. I recorded Paxton and Carys' heartbeats at one of our appointments and recorded Carys' onto one of the recorders. I'd intended to put it in a Teddy Bear and just hadn't found the right bear and the time to do it. Today, I did. 

In some of my old things a few months ago, I'd found a cute little teddy bear that was just the right size. Almost exactly the same length as Carys. I dressed the bear in a too-big outfit that had been purchased for Carys and it affectionately became known as "The Carys Bear." It even made an appearance in recent family photos and photos of the boys.

After trying a couple different methods last night and today, I was able to weight the bear so it weighs right at 3 lbs - Carys' birthweight. 

It's so strange how good that 3 lbs feels to hold. Maybe it's just been the season. The anniversaries of diagnosis were in December and this time of year brings back some very difficult emotions. I've been missing Carys more than "normal." At church last Sunday, I watched as Paxton ran and played with a little girl his age and laughed to myself about how cute they looked playing together. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, it hit me that he doesn't have that with his sister. 

While I know that it is pointless to dwell on the what-if's, there are some moments that hit me out of the blue and just about bring me to my knees. That was one. I had to leave the room for a while to pull myself together. 

Grief is funny like that. There I was, feeling happy, peaceful, and enjoying the moment when the intense, familiar feelings of grief ambushed me. Ambushed. Quite the appropriate word for it. I still feel happy, and still have peace, but I've had more of those moments than normal over the past month or so, leading to progress on "The Carys Bear." 

I'd have thought that holding her weight would have prompted an ambush, but instead, it makes me smile. It feels good. As strange as that may sound. Hearing her heartbeat is comforting. It's been nearly 4 years, but she was here, and I am so grateful for that. She most definitely was here.


1 Word

It is always comforting to me to create things. I've been thoroughly enjoying crafting Christmas gifts, items for etsy, things for Paxton (the little clay Olaf for his "frozen" tree was one of my recent favorites)... and the Carys bear. 

I think there's something to that! God is a very creative being. He also created us in His own image. Wouldn't that mean that we each have some creativity inside of us? For some, it may be art, others music, or writing. Some cook, and some generate ideas. I truly believe everyone has the innate desire to create something, even if they have difficulty finding their niche. 

With that said, the word "Create" is my one word for the year. Last year, it was anticipate, and it was fitting for the year. 

What is your one word for 2015?

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Unsettled and Nostalgic

I woke up to the sounds of rainfall and a chill in the air. Something felt ominous. I couldn't remember exactly what I'd dreamed, but I felt unsettled and nostalgic. Later in the morning, Paxton asked to watch Cars. It was the first movie he really watched that he'd wanted to watch over and over (and over and over) when he was smaller. Hearing the familiar movie soundtrack only strengthened my strange emotions and I found myself just wanting to scoop him up and hold him close to me.

Thankfully, he was a willing recipient of cuddles this morning and was cheerful as he snuggled back against me, smiling.

He's getting so big. It seems as if he's grown several inches just in the past week or more. He talks nonstop and uses a vocabulary that is much bigger than his age. He's witty and entertaining. He's growing up so fast, along with "his" baby, who will be a year old this month.

Where does time go?

After a while, it dawned on me. October is six months after their birthday. That first October after Paxton and Carys were born saw me at my lowest. I'd resigned from my supervisor position and transferred to a different position that didn't feel like a good fit. I had significant work-related anxiety and I was having difficulty coping with it. It seemed like everyone else was moving on before I was ready to do the same, and though no one said it, I got the impression that others were no longer as interested in hearing me talk about Carys and our story. I was still functioning from within the grief fog.

It felt like I was kicking and screaming trying to hold on to a time when my baby girl still felt near, while the progression of time kept pulling me farther and farther away.

Three and a half years.

So many things have changed in three years. I now work from home, being a full-time mommy, working for the non-profit, working in direct sales, and various other projects so I can be with our boys. I generally feel happier and more at peace than I have in a long time - but I still miss her. My arms ache to hold her. I long for pigtails and pretty little dresses. I long to feel her little arms wrapped around my neck and to hear her giggle while playing with her brothers.

I don't often allow myself to go there. It hurts to play the "what would it be like if..." game. Some days, it just still hits hard, and I find myself longing for Heaven even more than normal.

Heaven is going to be so wonderful. I can't wait to feel those little arms around me and kiss those sweet little cheeks again.

Revelation 21:4New International Version (NIV)

‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’[a] or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”