Monday, December 16, 2013

Happy Birthday, Tyler

Yesterday, December 15, was Tyler's 2nd birthday.

For those of you who missed it, 2 years ago, I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy who had a heart that was medically (and I believe, metaphorically) too big for this world. He was kept on life support until it was all too much and five days into this world, he went to Heaven.
You can read the full post on the experience here.
In short, it was amazing. We had the best doctors and even better nurses, who I believe were sent and placed there for us for this event and time in our life--and for Tyler. These women were beautiful inside and out, strong, and compassionate and they helped me get through a time no mother should ever have to experience. I can never, ever express the depth of my gratitude and love for these women or for the UVA hospital--the doctors and staff who were there for us and for our baby. It was a sad time but also a time full of miracles and everywhere I looked, I saw the good.

Since then, I have tried to see that good every single day. It IS there, if you're looking. People are compassionate and giving and life IS exciting and rewarding. My renewed outlook on life centers around two truths: One is the fragility of life. We are not promised tomorrow. We have only today, only this life. And it's up to us to live it fully. To experience NOW. To never wait to say or do what it is we feel and what is important to us. I have had such a blast living that way and done some of the most exciting things I never thought I'd get to do--and I wouldn't have, if I'd continued to have an "I'll do it later" attitude.

One of the biggest so far is the start of my author coaching business, Phoenix, where I can help others do exactly what I've done and that is to create a career of freedom and full-time income doing what I love while still spending plenty of time with the people I love. Some others are: standing on stage at a Zac Brown Band concert to a sold out crowd, meeting Plain White Ts, owning and riding a motorcycle!, Visiting Colorado (on my bucket list) and seeing the mountains for the first time, vacationing in the Dominican Republic and sipping a margarita on a white sandy beach!, standing front and center at an Andy Grammer concert (his music inspires me to press on and achieve my dreams!), visiting New Orleans for the first time, travelling multiple times a year for pleasure, and SO MUCH MORE.

My point is this: do it now. Whatever "it" is--stop waiting. What if "that day" never comes and you die without doing "IT"???

The second thing I've become aware of and centered around is a collective connection we all share with one another. The entire world is a collective consciousness. Have you ever had a great idea that feels inspired by the Universe itself only to hear someone else has started or done something similar shortly after?
Me too.
And I think it's awesome because it's a sign we're all connected. To a higher power and to each other. How cool is that??
In honor of seizing the day, our birthday present to Tyler was the gift of making someone else's life better or making their dream come true, through a Kiva loan.
If you're unfamiliar, Kiva works like this:
You make a loan on Kiva. All Kiva loans are made possible by our Field Partners, who vet, administer, and disburse each loan. Throughout the life of the loan, you will see progress updates from Kiva through your email, and if you come back to the site.As the borrower repays the loan, the money becomes available in your account. This is called your Kiva Credit. You can now use it to fund another loan, donate it to Kiva, or withdraw it to spend on something else.
Who do you loan to? 
There are hundreds of stories and potential borrowers listed on the site. This year, my kids and I chose someone from Senegal. A single mother who will use to money to buy fresh vegetables to resell in her local market. She will use the profits from her business to pay for her children's schooling. 

Basically, this is awesome. 
It helps someone else live a better life NOW and it connects us. 
If you're looking for a way to honor someone or give back in any way, Kiva is it. 

This entire week is a way for me to look back and remember those beautiful five days and be grateful for that time as well as all the time I get now to make my life the best it can possibly be. This is something I can do for Tyler and for myself, to honor him. And through it all, I've had unending support from my reader and author friends and I am SO grateful for every single one of you. I didn't set out to be an example or inspiration, but for those of you that have told me I am that for you, it warms me to know my story--Tyler's story--is able to help in making your life better and to connect us. 

Happy Birthday, Tyler.


  1. Such a touching and inspiring post! I know you didn't set out to be an inspiration, but your light shines so brightly that you naturally are! I'm sure Tyler (and your other kids) is honored to have you as his mommy. Such a great way to honor his life by the way you have been living yours. Touches my heart so deeply!
    Happy birthday, Tyler!
    Much love to you!
    ♥ Ang

  2. You are inspiring. Such a strong woman. I love you! <3

  3. I can't imagine having to heal from a loss such as yours. However, I am truly moved and inspired by how you have let the grace work through you. I love your message of living big, living loud, living in the moment, knowing we are all connected and can help each other do the same. I am blessed to know you. xoxo

  4. Heather, I can in a "mental state" understand what you went through although I can't possibly imagine anything worst than losing your child. They say you see the most exciting and most happiness in the world when giving birth to a child your child, but they although say they're the most horrify and end of the world experience when losing a child. NOTED I'm not a mom or pregnant by that matters but I have a strong mother's sense because of who I am. However I am highly desired to be a mom, with some medical conditions I have some would think "Can you have a child, aren't you worry about it affecting your health?" The answer is simply Yes I can have a child", my immunologist have thought that perhaps when I do get pregnant that my body will reverse its process to what it's normally suppose to do and that very well could happen. But coming into adult age I've realizes some risks of having a child and or having a high-risk pregnancy. During this early year I faced something that I never thought I would have because it was never out of the ordinary or having usual/different signs/symptoms. I saw an OBGYN and he said that I have endomertosis but what I also learn was that it could be cause by a blood thinning med that I take regularly and I have to take it. For years we didn't know that was one of the averse effect especially when it came to a young women starting her cycle for the first time, we really still don't have answer to why it happens or what cause it to happen. I manage the dose and I'm managing the endomertosis in retrospect of eliminating some meds that are high profile saying "do not take if pregnant" or "adverse effects"
    GAH! I know this is SUPER LONG! Now one of my closest friend who we both have the same condition, she is now pregnant and is sharing me with everything because we talked so much about being moms, she felt her little bebe kick for the first time and I can't wait to spoil that kid because that little baby will be her little miracle. Miracles to us is not widely used but we do use it when it seem appropriate, doctors could have told us to not have kids because of risks during pregnancy/before becoming pregnant but they didn't, they're learning as more and more of us ZEBRAS are having kids. :-)

  5. Insightful Heather and heartbreaking. A parent should never have to bury their child(ren). My condolences on your loss and my joy for you in the time you had with Tyler and how he has changed your outlook. I am definitely interested in Kiva and will have to look into that further to share with my kids. Keep up the good work!