April 6, 2016 93 minute read
99 minutes worth of words. This equates to a staggering amount of inspiration and honesty and love that have flooded the internet in honour of Reid to celebrate his first birthday. And guess what? The emails and messages and posts keep coming. But it’s not just the quantity of participants that has us overwhelmed, it’s what these participants are sharing. To those of you who have and will contribute: you are amazing. You are all so brave and real and strong. It is an honour to witness you open up your hearts and spread your light across this world. Thank you for using Reid’s Reads to do it.
So, dear readers, grab a cup of tea, curl up on the couch, and settle in for a liberating hour and a half. Oh, and if you don’t see your contribution here it might be because your profile is set to private (I’m missing about 40 from Instagram!). If you’d like us to share your word please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Without further ado, with so much gratitude and tremendous pride we present Reid’s Reads:
Son. I feel your presence. It surrounds me and it reminds me every day of the life that could have been. But more than that it reminds me of you, and it feels good to know that you are here, looking over your mom and I. Like the moon. Your moon. Whether it’s shining bright, or far off, giving light to someone else’s night, it continues to impact our world in a way that is essential to life as we know it, and so are you.
Presence gets me up in the morning. The drive to make my own presence known in the world. To stop living in a land of ‘what ifs’, and ‘what should have beens’ and come back to reality. To the faces that I see in front of me. Experience them, and experience with them. Because if there is one thing I’ve learned, it’s that nothing is a sure thing, and we are not here forever. This isn’t as scary as it used to be, knowing you are on the other side. But it gives me determination to make my mark. To unplug and look up, to say yes now instead of tomorrow. To wake up from this routine, release my mind from auto pilot and build memories.
But man, do I wish those memories involved you. I see your eyes when I look at your mother, your ears when I talk to my brother. Your heart has been etched on my soul. Happy Birthday, Reid. – Aaron VandenBrink
Today, you are one. Today, you are celebrated beyond measure. Today, you are inspiring us all.
On this day last year, under the blood red glow of that big full moon, I held you in my arms for the very first time. The room was quiet—no violent cries from you or from me, only silent tears that slid down my cheeks. Baby, I’ve never seen such perfection. That day was the greatest and worst of my life, and I’d live it all over again to have your heart beat one more time.
On this day last year, I birthed you, my child, but it was also my own birth into motherhood. Oh, how being your mama has changed me—destroyed me in the most beautiful way. You have opened me up and altered my very core and you have done it with such fire and grace. You have sparked a flame for truthfulness and honesty inside me, one that’s quickly taken over and grown into the gift of veracity. Now, because of you, I’d rather show the world honest tears than a lie of a smile. I’d rather write stories laced with pain than happy ones that only narrate half the truth.
When my own words fail me and grief has taken hold of my heart, I remember that during the some 53 million heartbeats we did get with you the words of Reid’s Reads prevailed. This is still true today, so nothing has changed, not really. You were born still but you were still born. So you are still loved. You are still growing. You are still Reid.
Love you to the moon and back, baby boy. Your legacy is boundless in this world. Your life is endless in our hearts.
Today we are remembering our beloved grandson Reid on the day he was born.
“Hope” has been the light enabling us to endure through the dark tragic loss and the tough year that followed. It is fitting that on his birthday we are choosing to remember him by expressing powerful positive words that reflect the beautiful gifts he brought to us during his brief life. These are the words representing his legacy. – Rick Hansen
My darling grandson Reid, today on the first anniversary of your birth I want to share with you my one word. You have gifted me with a deepened awareness and belief in “Family”. I feel your presence each and every day. You have strengthened and enriched Our Family, and you have expanded Our Family to the far reaches of this earthly world. I thank God for your beautiful pure soul. Till we meet again.
Your loving Gramma
A circle of strength and love,
founded on faith…
joined by love…
kept by God…
Together Forever” – Amanda Hansen
One word, Strength.
A word that has empowered me through this year. A year ago today, my nephew Reid was welcomed into this world. Life works in unexpected ways and having to say goodbye to him was the hardest thing in the world. Reid has taught me to be strong in the toughest of times and love unconditionally. Although his time on this earth was far too short, his legacy will last forever.
Today we remember him and share in words the impact one little boy can have in this world. I love you so much Reid. Happy First Birthday. – Rebecca Hansen
Dear little nephew Reid,
I was awaken exactly one year ago today.
That full moon morning you were born sleeping, you woke me up. The first and last time I held you, you shocked me back to life in your stillness. Oh beautiful Reid, you have awakened the world.
Your crazy aunty misses you so much. And oh how I wish you were here earth side today. I will continue to have dreams about the birthdays with you here, but I will always awaken with a fierce inspiration to live each day with you in my heart. To find you, all I have to do is look up to the moon.
Love you always. Happy birthday little bean. – Alana Hansen
There really are no words and certainly no single word that could truly express the joy your brought us all for nine months, and the ache when you left us. The only peace I get from it is that you never knew one single moment that you were not loved and cherished and still are. I await the day when I will join you and your great grandfather, Patrick. Your loving great grandmother, Alison. My one word is Transcendent. – Alison Reid
My word is FAITH. I’m learning that faith is a choice. Faith in God who loves us. Faith in the power of love and family. Faith in the future. Faith in our ability to live through hard things. Faith that we will meet again. And faith that one day I will be able to hold you tight again, little Reid. I choose FAITH. With great love, Oma. – Annette VandenBrink
A year ago today I held my nephew for the first and sadly for the last time. Grief is messy. Grief is hard. Have GRACE for others. Have GRACE for yourself. – Hanah VandenBrink
Beloved nephew Reid. You are greatly loved, dear to my heart.
I see you take your first steps, run, and jump alongside kids that will one day truly call me uncle. I see you laugh, smile, and cry together with your cousins. Im glad for the glimpses I see of you, but yet feel so robbed. Every child in my life has become truly precious to me.
I look forward to the day we truly meet. Till that day you are and always will BE LOVED.
Proud. Relating to pride. Pride in my nephew. Pride in my family. Pride in myself. I don’t know if I’ve ever been as proud as when Reid was born and my sister sent me a message saying how perfect he was. Miss you Reid. – Levi VandenBrink
Reid has made us GROW in so many ways. I miss you Reid. Love Opa. – Hank VandenBrink
Trust. A word that Reid made me remember and a word I will never forget. To trust in God even when we don’t understand this world. Proverbs 3:3-5 says “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your path straight.” Today is Reid’s first birthday, and although he is not here to celebrate with us, we are going to celebrate that beautiful boy and the huge impact he has had on so many people. Love you Reid. – Angela Baggio
Heal. – Katie Woudstra
Family. “Family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten.” – Trenton Matsuzaki
Today marks one year since I said both hello, and goodbye to you. I went to my favourite little park by my house and sat and thought of you, as I often do. There is no one word that can adequately capture for me how I feel; how your brief life has impacted mine; how your footprints have left a mark on my heart.
Despite the tremendous void of you not being here, I am thankful! Thankful for your life and the great legacy you’ve left behind. Thankful for friends who are really more like family. Thankful for a deeper faith and a hope in the future and all it has to offer. Thankful for a God who is good and has only glorious plans.
Happy Birthday, baby! Auntie loves you. – Micaela Jakeman
Honour. (or honor for all our friends in the US.). Honour their life. It seems so simple to me. Organic. Born of an innate need to remember our son and draw some greater life force from the brief time Bo was on this earth. To acknowledge that he matters. There is no greater way of showing love than honouring their life. For us, that means adventuring for Bo, talking about him openly and often. It means choosing life, seeing the light in lifes joyous and funny moments. It means holding each other tighter and loving that little bit extra. It means granting ourselves permission to feel the pain of Bo’s absence without shame. It means connecting with others in grief and letting them know ‘you’re not alone’. It means raising awareness. It means smiling at the world some days, and hiding from it another. It means looking out for yellow birds and gazing at the moon. It means letting his sister know him, and in turn marvelling as we watch her love for him grow. It means feeling hope. It means love…in all of its forms. He is us….family. We will always honour him.
Today I started the process of making Bo’s cake. His first birthday cake. It’s a tradition I established with Harriet…a handmade cake to celebrate our childrens birthday. Bo deserves no less because he isn’t in our arms…so a little boyish chocolate cake it is. I can’t guarantee there won’t be tears as we sing his birthday song but we will honour him as though he was here and about to smash his chubby little fist into a frosted cake for the first time. Today was the 4th in Australia, and as I baked I thought of Reid and his parents across the other side of the globe. Reid is so loved and missed. Thank you for sharing your son, and inturn giving me the courage to do what comes naturally…share and honour our son. Wishing you both peace and love today and time to just be with your little boy. – Leah McKay
Grief is a skill – as loving well is a skill. I have had the privilege of witnessing you both nurture, cherish, practise and live your grief as a human skill over the past year as you love, grieve and re-member Reid. Thank you for your raw, heart-wrenching transparency shared with others. With much gratitude and love, Aunt Janeta.
Sending out much love to Emma, Aaron, and the Hansen and Vandenbrink families today! Sharing the sorrow of your loss and the joy of Reid’s legacy! You have all shown so much strength and grace and LOVE this past year! – Carolyn JansenVanDoorn
…that hope always triumphs over experience… – Johnny Wong
Today we stand in remembrance and awe of a spectacular life, even in it’s brevity.
Exactly one year ago today, Reid was born, still. His heart had stopped beating before he arrived earthside yet through tragedy and sorrow, God has brought a renewed strength and hope, even through the darkest moments where birth, death, mourning and joy are all intertwined.
Witnessing the way that Reid’s mother, Emma, has loved her boy with faithfulness, tenderness and authenticity, I am moved by the truth that every life matters, and when we are faithful to the call, God will use our story to impact thousands.
Age is not a factor for God to use you. Even the smallest person can make the biggest impact!
So Emma & Aaron, we love you, dear friends. And stand with you in heartache and hope, to celebrate the magnificent life of your precious boy. – Tara Teng
I came across Emma’s IG last year, when she wrote about the loss of her son. I’ve followed her and been inspired by her words ever since. One thing I’ve taken from her, and applied (almost daily) to my life is joy. There can be joy in the midst of pain. There can be joy in the midst of chaos (I have a lot of chaos here). I’ve tried to look for joy in the mundane, the annoying, the stressful. And almost always I can find it. There is joy in my kids messes, their noise. There is joy in my laundry pile (somewhere in there) and joy in my pages long grocery lists. Six kids is a lot, and at times feels like too much(especially because I do it in my own for big chunks at a time). But everyday, I look, and find a little joy. And it all adds up. – Rachel
For the boy and his family who have shown us that to be vulnerable is brave. Bravely living in this moment. – Paula Turner
In honor of Emma and her beautiful boy born sleeping one year ago today I’m sharing my word- because their story has touched my heart deeply. The word that pulls me out of my despair, gives me beauty to focus on, and inspiration to persevere through difficulties. I’ve always been activated by my dreams big and small- to be a professional singer, to be a mother, to travel, to have a beautiful home, to grow a garden, to have lilacs. My dreams occupy my every thought and give me the something I need to keep fighting when I feel weary and empty and lost. When I feel I have nothing left to give, my dreams recharge me. Life would be a very bleak place indeed without them, and the most beautiful thing is that if one of them dissolves because of the harsh circumstances of life, there will always be a new one to take its place, a new hope for life and light that is to come. But whereas hope is an ambiguous thing, dreams are something I can work for. “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” (Eleanor Roosevelt) I believe in the beauty of my dreams, do you? – Jess
Thank you for sharing your heart My word for Reid’s Reads is resilience. – April Bellia
love and solidarity going out to Emma and Aaron on this april 4th. Today i’m more grateful than ever – “rosa” is the word i’m sending out to you – rosa, my girl, that changed my life, became my world, my everything two years ago – Emma and her beautiful Reid made me realise how thankful i have to be every day, every hour, every minute for my healthy and wonderful little girl. Even though we have our ups and downs, our struggles and fights day by day – she is the greatest gift we could ever recieve. Thank you emma for being so brave and strong to share your destiny with the world. Thank you for making me being humble, being grateful for the things we take for granted way too often. And joy i’m sending to you all the way from salzburg-austria to beautiful vancouver. In the end everything will be okay – and if it’s not okay, it’s not the end – Carina Schwab
SKILL. Having been outdoors on this cold and windy day with snow from the night fall lingering in Conway Ontario continuing to keep you in mind. Grief is a skill – as loving well is a skill. I have had the privilege of witnessing you both, Aaron and Emma, nurture, cherish, practise and live your grief as a human skill over the past year – as you live, grieve and re-member your precious son Reid. Thank you for your raw, heart-wrenching transparency shared with others. Sharing in love and grief, much gratitude, Aunt Janeta. – Janeta Kobes
I happened upon Emma’s Instagram on April 5th 2015 late at night while lying in bed unable to sleep. My husband lay sleeping beside me while tears flooded my eyes and soaked my pillow.
We were about to mark a year of trying to get pregnant and 7 months into fertility treatment when I found Emma’s account.
As much as I wanted to push away this pain I was feeling for Emma and her husband I could not. Emma’s words and the image, knocked me off my feet and changed my personal world view, forever: For though Reid was born still, he was still born.
In June last year we decided to try one more treatment cycle at the clinic. If it didn’t work, we were going to take a break for a few months and allow ourselves to refocus. On Fathers Day last June, for the first time ever, that pink line I forever obsessed over for what felt like eternity finally made an appearance and so began our new journey.
Reid taught me to savour every moment of my pregnancy. Every bout of nausea, every ache and pain, every kick and hiccup, my growing belly, every new milestone. He taught me that things can change or be taken away in the blink of an eye and to truly savour every moment. He taught me to never take a single moment for granted. It’s because of Reid that my pregnancy was the most wonderful 9 months, even the not so wonderful times. Reid taught me that although our birth plan did not go as planned, in the slightest, that I needed to stop and savour the experience I was about to have to welcome our son, Beckett, into the world on March 11th because he was coming home to us, happy and healthy and no matter how he arrived the end result was having our son in our arms, to take home and to savour him. Today on Reid’s first birthday, I honour him for giving me this gift and thank you Emma for sharing your beautiful son’s far too short life with us. Because of you, I consciously savour every moment.
Thank you Emma. Thank you Reid. – Ness
Grateful that I get to wake up to and cherish our beautiful daughter every day.grateful that she is healthy..that she is happy..and grateful that she is ours.
Happy birthday Reid – Mary
“The possibility of the dream gives strength”. My word for Reid’s Reads is dream ecause out of loss comes your vision, your goal, your dream Emma will give you strength to create something amazing. I can’t wait to see what it is! – Caroline Roberts
Sweet baby Reid you have taught me strength. Watching your momma’s journey through this experience has shown me strength I didn’t know was possible. Emma you are an incredible momma to a very special baby boy. – Corinne Schelle
In solidarity with Emmaand her angel baby’s first birthday, here’s our contribution for Reid’s Reads. Our word is: HOME because no matter what the circumstances are a mother’s heart will always be HOME and the safest place to treasure and grow our everlasting love for our children. Emma, you opened your heart to the world with your story and made a little bit of Reid come into our home. – Giulia
Thank you for sharing your beautiful story of your precious baby Reid. I’ve been following your story for a year now and it has greatly impacted the mother I am today. I try to live everyday grateful for my little one. Wishing your sweet baby a very special birthday. – L Wensley
Dear precious Reid on your first birthday in heaven, I wanted to tell you how amazing your family is, although I’m sure you already know! My word for you is “inspire”. Your life has inspired your mama and countless others to living their lives to the fullest because you could not. Your 9 months growing inside your beautiful mama inspired her to create an amazing legacy for you. She is so proud and rightfully so! I was lucky enough to meet your mama 9 months ago at Landon’s Legacy Retreat and I chose this image because our last evening together we all wrote our babies names in the sand on the shore of a beautiful lake. It’s a memory I will always hold close to my heart, like you sweet boy. I will always remember and speak your name because your life mattered however brief it may have been. Continue inspiring the world! – Jenna Edwards
To a family I only know through the words of a mother. Someone I have gotten to know over social media, a mothers words that have touched my heart time and again. Making me think about my life and family… My word is ENOUGH, enough of working too much, buying things I don’t need, spending time on things that don’t matter. I have enough, stop and enjoy what you have! Enough, the word I say when I get off track and it brings me back to my kids, family and friends…. Thinking of you today and remembering – Caroline Calvert
Watching your friend surrender her first born child to his Heavenly Father is a powerful thing. It changes you. It changed me.
As Christian parents, we talk a lot about ‘surrendering our children to the Lord’, about how they are HIS kids and we entrust them to HIS care. We pray for them at bedtime and have them dedicated in church on Sunday morning; but there is no greater test to this belief than the day God calls your child home…for some, this comes sooner than others. For Emma and Aaron, this came on April 4, 2015, the day that their beloved son, Reid Richard Vandenbrink, was born still. Since that day, they have been surrendering their son, and they dreams they had for him, to the Lord, and pursuing HIS plan for Reid on earth. Emma and Aaron, you inspire me. Your unconditional love for your son, your dedication to his legacy, your trust in the Lord, and your hope for future set an example for all parents – whether their children reside in Heaven or on Earth.
Reid, you and your parents have reminded me that Charlotte belongs to the Lord, and His plans for her are greater than my own. No amount of striving, planning, or reaching will ever give me complete authority over her life, or mine. I often feel trapped by my type A personality: by the need for control over my surroundings. You have given me the gift of freedom that comes from daily surrender of my life, my plans, my daughter, and my future to the One who had “every moment laid out before a single one had passed” (psalm 139:16). You remind me to treasure the small stuff, to take nothing for granted, and to be present in my own life and relationships. You have changed my life…and I am just one person. Your impact reaches so far beyond me. Though your feet haven’t walked this earth, God has great plans for you here, sweet boy. I love you very much and am celebrating you today.
Happy Birthday, Reid! – Brittany Horner
People to share your pain, loss, joy and life with. Happy birthday Reid – Helen
I was due with Kit about a month after Emma was due with her baby boy Reid. When I read her story I hadn’t had Kit yet, and it was terrifying to think of not being able to bring our baby home. My word for Reid’s Reads is Thankful. Thankful not only for having had two healthy births and children, but even on those tough parenting days, being thankful for what I have and get to experience with these boys of mine – Thea Hill
My word for Reid’s birthday is – CHILD
For as long as I can remember it has been one of my most favorite words. from very young age I knew there was so much magic in it. growing up I played around this word a lot – pretending to be a sister a mother a nanny or a teacher to other kids. I even lied that I had several siblings long before I actually had my first. In my eyes being around a child have always made day to day life more special more interesting and joyful. And it does. A child gives meaning to everything and I am not talking only about our own children. Every child. Their innocence is so humbling it makes you see the big picture, realize what matters in life. And life does revolve around children. Both their presence and absence (no matter in what form or for how long)in our lives make us and change us more than absolutely everything else. Whoever has not experienced that – will. Emma and Aaron I love you for showing how much a child is. – Ames
Happy 1st Birthday Reid! I re-arranged a gallery wall at home for Reid and realised it had quite a few words on it but all of them appropriate! I also noticed a bottle I bought a few months ago with the number 4 on it. At the time, I remember thinking that it was unlike me to choose something which had no significance to me, I just liked the colour of the bottle! And today there it is next to Reid’s name on the 4/4! I wrote the word community as I think it is wonderful that an amazing little boy has set up a beautiful network of support through you Emma. Thanks is another as I add my voice to the parents who cannot help but be infinitely grateful for the presence of their children in all that they do. I had to climb up high to read the Namaste print, bought because of the cafe in India where I met my husband. It reads: “my soul honors your soul. I honor the place in you where the entire universe resides. I honor the light, love, truth, beauty and peace within you because it is also within me. In sharing these things, we are united, we are the same, we are one.” Sending love to all three of you today. – Emily
A year ago today Emma Hansen delivered her beautiful baby boy named Reid. He was stillborn, but born still. I was 7 months pregnant when we heard this news. It touched us very deeply having experienced 3 previous losses ourselves. Hope was what kept me going to try one more time. Negative pregnancy test after negative pregnancy test, hope was there. Loss after loss, hope was there. Emma is living proof that hope exists. Even though Reid’s life was short, his legacy lives on. Sending you so much love and light on this day. – Lana Marie Rose
LOVE. Love is stronger than death. Today a little boy turned one in heaven. His mother asked everyone to post one word in honor of him. Your story little Reid is one of sadness and grief; yet your mother’s love for you is stronger than all the tears she has shed. I came here when my heart was filled with sadness after my own little boy joined you in heaven. Reading your story, your mother’s story, and others brought me peace- to know I was not alone and that it was okay to love an angel as much as I loved mine. That I could have that love and still move through my earthly days. Happy Birthday to a special little boy. I hope my little angel is up there playing with you today and everyday! – Isaac Sewall’s Mama
Dear Reid, you have made an impact on me as well as many other people. I found your mommy when I was in my darkest self. Your mommy helped me put words to my sadness and she inspired me to remember. Remember all the little things and feelings that come with the greatest sorrow. Your mommy has showed me a beautiful way to share my story. You see, my boy Pars is also in heaven, maybe your spirits will meet as I type these sentences. Your mommy wanted us to share a word, and my word is “grateful”. I just want you to know that I am grateful of your mom. Her presence and her words has helped me cope with my grief. She is so good at expressing herself and sharing the story of you. You are a lucky boy to call her your mommy, just as she is a lucky mommy to call you her son. Keep her at peace with herself and help her heal as each year pass. I know you will do that for her, just like I know my baby boy Pars will do for me. Happy one year Reid. Thank you. – Pirilmaria
Dearest Reid: On your first birthday in heaven, I wanted to share with your parents and the world the courage you have helped me find in my new life after my own son was born into heaven, just shortly before you. When my Benny died I couldn’t even put words out there, or even share, the outcome of my pregnancy – I felt alone and ashamed, I let my grief consume me and define me. By God’s grace I happened to find your birth story on your mummy’s blog, even before I realized I would be meeting her at the retreat that was to come. Oh little one, I felt like I knew you through reading your mama’s beautiful words. In my eyes you weren’t just a baby born still, you were (and always will be) first and foremost, beloved son of Emma and Aaron. You touched my heart and made a home in it, right next to my own little one. You taught me not to be a product of my circumstances, and not just see the devastation in Benny’s passing. For the first time I was able to let the beauty in my son’s life outshine the devastation in losing him. You, sweet boy, gave me the courage to speak and use my words to help keep my own son alive, in my heart and also in the hearts of others. So Reid, today on your first birthday in heaven, I send my love and gratitude for the courage you’ve helped me uncover and for being with my little Benny until I can be with him, too. I want to thank you for bringing your amazing, brave, beautiful mama into my life; she has become one of my dearest friends that I will cherish always. Happy 1st birthday beautiful boy, I know there’s one heck of a party for you up there today. Emma and Aaron, thinking of you and sending you so much love on this heartbreaking yet beautiful day. – Jenn Hernandez
One year ago today my friend Emma’s son was born still but he was still born and he is still Loved! In honor of Reid’s 1st birthday my Reid’s Reads word is Love. It is the undying Love that a mother has for her baby and the emense Love that our Father has for us that keeps women like Emma and myself surviving after the loss of our children. It is Love that has bonded us in friendship and Love that will keep our children alive long after we kissed them goodbye. Thankful for Reid, the beautiful product of his parent’s love. – Lissa King
One whole year, 365 days.
Today we honour and celebrate Reid Richard VandenBrink; the boy with the heart of a lion.
My word for you, sweet boy, is: fearless.
It literally means to be without fear, also commonly defined as “without cause to be afraid.” The phrase “do not be afraid” is written in the bible 365 times; that’s a daily reminder from God to live every day being fearless. Even in the absence of your physical presence every single one of these past 365 days, your presence has remained evident, always. Alongside your family, you, Reid, have taught me to be fearless every day. To be fearless in and with my faith, to be fearless in all of my relationships, to be fearless in my profession, and to be fearless with how I live my life.
Just as it is written in Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” It is true, God is with us always, just as we carry you in our hearts, always.
Even though your time on Earth was brief, your legacy will not be.
Happy First Birthday, Reid!
You are fiercely missed, and deeply loved. – Courtney JansenVanDoorn
My word is gratitude … Happy 1st birthday Reid I can’t believe we have made one full rotation around the sun since you were born sleeping. Let me tell you your mom is something special. Her courageous and truthful words have brought together a community where your legacy will live forever. I became a mother only 10months before your birthday and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t stop to think about how lucky I am . Reid you have taught me a lot in just the one year and I imagine there are many more lessons to come. As long as I am living my teacher you’ll be. I couldn’t be more grateful. Grateful of how you pushed me to be present in every moment because you just never know… Grateful for everything I have and the family and friends I am surrounded by ,grateful for my health , Grateful for the way you have changed how I look at everything. Life is too short and yours certainly was,you have touched so many people in such amazing ways it’s really inspiring. Today my thoughts are with your parents Emma and Aaron and extended family as they celebrate you Reid you are one loved boy, it’s hard to pick one word for such an indescribable gift you have given me. – Kristy McQuade
I have been following your story throughout the year. Your story resonated with me because my own son Reid, almost died during labour due to a complete placental abruption. It was extremely traumatic. It was a very close call, but he is here with us today. Why some babies are spared and others are not we will never know.
When you got your doula training and attended your first birth, you (& Reid) gave me the courage to do the hard things and move on with life. This is the only way we will grow. I agreed to attend (and photograph) my first birth since my Reid was born. My friend just had her baby the other day and I’m glad I got that milestone under my belt.
The second thing I took courage to do was we did respite foster care for a newborn baby for week. Foster care has always scared me because I am an extremely sensitive person and it would be heartbreaking to have to give the baby back. In this scenario, our friends are foster parents. They unexpectedly got a newborn baby when they already had a trip planned. I really wanted them to go on their trip so they could get away for a much needed break, so I looked after their baby until they got back.
It ended up going really well. I still don’t think we will do fostering at this time because for one thing it was really hard on my kids when the baby went home, but I am super happy I got approved for respite fostering and I am grateful I will be able to help out foster families for short stints. Foster parents do extremely hard work and need a lot of support! So I am happy to be in this supportive role.
My word is “courage”. Reid has inspired me to be courageous and do two scary things this year and I am excited to see what else this years brings.
Blessings to you during this week as you take time to reflect on Reid.
Dear Emma & Aaron,
My word is ‘saudade’, which is a Portguese and Galician word that means a nostalgic longing to be near again to something or someone distant. Saudade is often described as “the love that remains” or “the love that stays” after someone is gone.
Although Reid may not be with us Earth side, he definitely made his presence known today – a day where we expected rain & were blessed with so much warmth and sunshine. Reid has shown the world how one little boy can bring a community together and, during his brief life, has touched the lives of so many people around the world. There is so much love for Reid that remains, all that love is definitely here to stay – forever.
Happy birthday Reid – Allyssa Christine
Emma Hansen’s Reid was born sleeping one year ago. In his honour, she’s asked the people who have followed her journey to share a word today – “That thing that you were too afraid to proclaim, that you didn’t quite believe, that keeps you going every day. The word that has inspired you to focus on the good, the positive, the true. What motivates you to never give up?” I can’t imagine the pain of losing a baby who kicked and rolled, who had a name and a space and no expectations for anything but. Still, I have followed Emma’s path and watched as it has intermingled with my own, in a way. Loss is loss, as I have been told numerous times, and while I’ve been ‘fortunate’ to lose early pregnancies, not babies carried for months, some of those stinging feelings of grief and disappointment and anger seem like they’re one and the same no matter what stage you’re at.
I tried to think of a ten-dollar word but the one that has been sticking in my mind is SHARE. Because if there has been one thing I have learned in my own past year of highs and lows, it is that sharing brings in the support needed to get through the rough parts. Sharing gives other people hope that they, too, can survive. Sharing lets you spread your burden out so it’s not just on your own shoulders. Sharing demolishes the taboos. Sharing works, even if you sometimes get uncalled-for advice, judgements, and misunderstanding, because on the other side of that, there’s the love and the uplifting and the friendship and the understanding.
Nobody should lose their babies – not Emma, not me, not anyone – and I am pretty damn sure that given the choice we’d all choose a living child over the lessons we’ve learned through loss. But if you’re going through it anyway, there are some hopeful things to find. Share, even when it hurts. Even when it makes you feel painfully vulnerable.
Thank you, Emma, for your own sharing. – Shayla Bradley
My thoughts today are with Emma and her family as they remember their precious boy Reid, born still one year ago. To honour Reid’s memory I’m participating in Reid’s Reads with a word that comes to mind when I think of Emma and all the Mamas I’ve met through Landon’s Legacy Retreat.
My word: LONGING.
I can only imagine that the longing for your child never leaves you. In the midst of my feeble effort to give comfort, the Mamas I’ve met have taught me so so much about love, and courage, and especially empathy.
The book pictured is about a grown man who longs for ‘One More Day’ with his Mother who has passed away…it made me think of the longing the parents who have lost a child must have…AND it made me think of the incredible moment it will be when parent and child are reunited one day. What a beautiful reuinion that will be!
To all my friends missing their Littles, you are thought of daily and prayed for always.
Today in honour of Emma’s little boy, Reid, we come together and share Reid’s Reads. This little boy has inspired so many of us in so many ways, but as a new mom myself, the story of Reid has ignited a deeper meaning for the word: vulnerability.
My ability and desire to be vulnerable has multiplied as I read Reid’s story over and over again and I think of the blessing my own two babes are to me. Our hearts have grown richer by them but at the same time more aware of the gift they are. Reid, you have made me more aware of what it is to be vulnerable, to feel the vulnerability my children bring out in my heart.
Reid, you are a blessing, a sweet boy making a huge impact. You have taught me greatly to take in each and every moment and truly let my heart feel deeply, as scary as being vulnerable can be. We know you are dancing in heaven, rejoicing in the impact Reid’s legacy is making. Thank you Reid, and happy 1st birthday little one! – Julie Christine
Today we celebrate HOPE:
Hope for strength in the hard, impossible times.
Hope when things don’t seem right in our pregnancies and we think everything is fine (when its not).
Hope that one day, hopefully, medicine will be able to detect unknown problems during pregnancy, ones that cause still births and extreme prematurity… like Reid and Bella, born at 25 weeks and a 138 days stay in NICU.
Hope that moms and dads can endure and survive such pain.
Hope that time heals and that pain turns into love, so much love… because we know it does.
Dear Emma, today we think of Reid’s Legacy and how precious life is. Happy birthday Reid.
With love and hope for a bright future,
Rita and Bella
For Dear Emma, my word: sagacity.
What a gift breath is….breathing deep allows me to be in the present…to be ‘open to the gifts and challenges that life brings’….to pause and know it’s not over…there’s more to this story. In honour of Reid’s Reads my word is breathe. – Andrea Hofing
This is for Reid’s Reads! I have followed Emma for about a year, she writes so beautiful and has been so vulnerable in her posts about the her last year after the loss of her precious boy, Reid. Anchor is the word I chose for you, Aaron, and Reid, anchor in your faith and the promise of the Lord! – Mary Peters
TRUST! One year ago today Emma gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. Reid was born sleeping. He has touched many people and has changed many lives. Reid will always be in my heart and I will forever think of him and his family especially on his birthday. Trust is my Reid’s Reads trust isn’t easy when things happen that we don’t understand and something I often struggle with but we need to trust God has a plan. Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding – Proverbs 3:5
Happy Birthday Reid – Crystal Gracec
My word in honour of Reid’s 1st Birthday is Fuerza, which is Spanish for Strength. As I was thinking of a word today in honour of Reid’s day, this word came to me on the side of a bus shelter in Chile, and reminded me of my own strength as a mama. I’ve been inspired by the strength Reid’s mama Emma has shown this year through through her honest words and vulnerability.
Reid’s legacy will live on and has inspired so many. Thank you for sharing your story – Michelle Long
Sending love,care and blessings to Emma Vandenbrink and her husband Aaron on the one year anniversary of their infant son Reid’s passing. There are no words to express the loss and also the love in this moment. The woe I have chosen is ‘believe’ because I am sure that Reid wants us all to believe in a world of new beginnings and promise. Sending love and blessings and faith in a better tomorrow. – Sheila Pace
Celebrating Reid’s birthday by celebrating love. – Nadine
I know Emma through her dad, Rick Hansen. I remember being pregnant around the same time as Emma & I was following Emma’s pregnancy journey. I was in tears when I read Emma’s blog about Reid’s birth in heaven. Alex was born 2.5 months after Reid. For the first seven months Alex was waking up every hour due to severe reflux and the only way to put him back to sleep was nursing him. So we were awake all night. I was reading Emma’s Instagram posts about Reid’s Legacy as I was nursing Alex. Reading her posts gave me strength. What we were going through was not even comparable to what Emma and Aaron was going through. Reid taught us to be grateful for our little miracle. Happy birthday to Reid in heaven. Rest in peace little angel. – Yasaman Best
In Honour of Reid’s 1st Birthday, we choose “FOREVER”.
As Reid Richard Vandenbrink will be forever loved & forever in our hearts. Reid’s legacy will live on forever. We are Holding you close to our hearts today…..all our love. – Georgie and Cindy Moore
You have touched me by your mother’s words and raw emotions poured out for the world to find. I know she has reached many mothers, daughters, fathers, sons, aunts, uncles, and grandparents around the world with her love for you.
Your brief time here has touched an untold number of hearts and continues to daily. Personally, I have been turning more towards my faith when I think of you, your family, and my own family that is no longer of this world. I have Faith that much like you’re watching over your parents and loved ones, my parents and loved ones are doing the same for me. The signs are all around, but I feel it most deeply when I see yellow butterflies, which has been a lot over the last few days.
For Reid’s Reads my word is FAITH. Happy 1st Birthday in Heaven, Reid! Thank you for giving me a stronger Faith in God, and in the next chapter. Your family is often in my thoughts and prayers.
With Love from Austin,
Emma, we shared hallways in high school for four years, but otherwise we don’t really know each other. I followed your journey before Reid’s birth, and no words can describe how his legacy and your strength has moved me, and shaped me as a mother.
It took me a few days to find the right word. But I think I’ve finally found it.
Why do anything in life? Why love, why persevere, why continue on? Because of His promise. “The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18
It’s His promise that gives me purpose, calms my soul, and pushes me on. Even in darkness there is light. Reid is not here on earth now, but we will have eternity with him.
His promises are always true. Love always wins. – @boomdiddyah
To honor your precious baby boy Reid, today I share the word that I have learnt thanks to him and thanks to your story:
I year ago my oldest son was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at only 23 months…. My world shattered, my heart broke into a million pieces…. I told my husband that I was never going to be able to smile again…. I thought I did everything right: super healthy pregnancy and eating habits, yoga, the best vitamins, natural birth, breastfeeding for 20 months, etc etc….. And yet, they diagnosed him with something chronic and hard to manage that can affect so many aspects of his life. I cried myself to sleep so many nights and one day I stumbled upon your IG account and it changed the perspective I had on his diagnosis….. Reid has taught me to be grateful and enjoy him just how he is, to never let myself or anybody define him by his condition, and to ACCEPT it, to stop fighting his diagnosis and move forward…. Believe and have faith that God will help us find the best treatment for him with the least side effects and that he will be able to lead a normal and extraordinary life because he is the most extraordinary little boy.
Reid story has impacted my life and the life of our little family of four and I am forever grateful for that. – @lula78
One year ago Reid came to our world still, but that didn’t stop him from having an impact on our hearts forever. Although we don’t always understand what God’s plan is for our lives and why we have to face challenges, we are comforted by his grace and love for us even in the hardest of times. This past year Emma, Aaron and their families have truly lived out what it means to be faithful. Although it might not always be pretty, as grief never is, they are truly living out Reid’s purpose! Their strength, love, faith, and perseverance is something to be admired.
Peace isn’t something easily found in grief, but it is what keeps us going. The peace that our loved ones are safe and sound, so our hearts can rest. It helps remind us how precious life is and that we should live every moment to its fullest.
Reid, you were not with us long physically, but your spirit will always be with us in our hearts and we are comforted by knowing you are with our Heavenly Father. You have a place in all our hearts and are so loved by your family and all your extended aunties and uncles! Today I ran for you, even when I was hurting I pushed through for you! Happy birthday baby boy! – Rachel Bell
My word for Reid: Moment. We had dreams for you and Lucy to grow up as 2 peas in a pod but everything changed in a moment. So much pain in a moment, so many dreams crushed in a moment, but who knew so much healing could be brought out of a moment. You are one loved boy and your legacy will and has changed lives. You are one loved boy and are missed everyday.
Our love go out to my cousin Aaron and Emma today. I am constantly reminded that we need to make the most of each moment each and everyday. – Dayna Doerksen
Thinking about you and your family today as you remember Reid, a beautiful son, grandson, nephew and friend. – Sharon Lammers
My word for Reid’s Reads is appreciation. It wasn’t an easy decision, and it isn’t always an easy word to live. But ultimately, so many words give grace to the act of appreciation and, for me, one of the things at the heart of appreciation is acknowledgement. So thank you to Emma for sharing your, Aaron’s and Reid’s story. It’s brave, generous, touching, trusting, sad, but also celebratory, honourable and hopeful. It’s the many words people are speaking, all over the world today, in acknowledgment of Reid. I am here in appreciation. – @beqyoga
In support of Amanda Hansen and Emma and families, our one word for Reid’s Reads is BELIEVE. We thought of you and talked of you today on our trek in the magically spiritual land of Sedona and we stood on Devil’s Bridge together with you all in mind. It was pretty scary to walk out onto this precipice, but it seemed fitting to do it together in Reid’s honour, facing it with the strength of family, like you have all done together over the past year. – Lynne Robinson
Move slow and make things. Be mindful. Stop for a photo. Choose quality over quantity. Go the long way. Listen to the whole album. Visit your grandparents. Teach children. Read a long book. Tell a story. Smell the flowers. – Cody Jones
In loving memory of my beautiful, baby cousin Reid and his courageous family – who have taught me that grace, love, and strength can be found even in the dark – I choose the word “light”. – Alivia Veenstra
Blue for all the baby boys we love and lost, blue for how we feel when we remember you, blue for the sky we see above knowing you are in a special place. And blue for the beautiful endless ocean knowing that the love for you is equally endless. – Diana Sorace
Emma your words throughout your posts are real, courageous, soft, hard, painful, powerful and more. Love is for all the words that will keep your journey going stronger. – Lillian Salloum
Since following Emma I have been able to see how going through this grieving process can be done with grace but also that when that’s not an option it’s okay. Our daughter was named Faith in large part because we knew that we needed faith to get us through the hardest year of our lives. Losing our daughter at 24 weeks to a cord accident seemed completely unbelievable and then suffering a 9 week loss a few months ago seemed completely unfair. We have clung to hope and faith and prayed that we will come out better people in the end and will be able to parent children here on earth as well as our angels in heaven. We have FAITH and HOPE that it will all work out. – Sara
Callig practice today inspired by reading all the Reid’s Reads posts. Sending so much love to Emma and Aaron – such bright sources of light in this world. – Erin Bishop
To a courageous family I do not know and to a sweet boy who is loved so well – I began following your story Emma after hearing about your loss through a dear and close friend who also experienced this incredibly hard journey Kat Fitchett and I have been so grateful to read your postings and to feel your heart Emma- both you and Kat and Chett have taught me what it looks like to be courageous in life – courage to express the emotion at present, courage to cry, courage to have joy once again and courage to trust in His goodness still – it takes courage to keep walking hand in hand with grief and joy and little did I know how impactful these lessons would be until we had this sweet little one in September 2015- our sweet Remi surprised us with being born with Down Syndrome – I do not know your loss and I know my grief has been different and yet I am so thankful to you and to Reid for revealing such courage to help others walk a similar journey. blessings to you dear family – may today be as gentle as possible on your hearts – Chelly Keller
About a year ago at 37 weeks pregnant I began to hear of the heartbreaking story of @emmahansen who’s first born son was still born, but born still. After seeing her blog post pop up in my Facebook feed several times and avoiding it for obvious reasons I said a prayer before diving into her words. I could hardly read let alone comprehend her beautiful, perfect post about his birth. It was so close to home, so raw as we waited for our baby.
Today is his first birthday, and in honour of him there is an initiative to post a word based on the impact his story has had on you called #reidsreads
My word to honour Reid is ‘Yes.’
Today we also celebrate the Annunciation of our Lord in the Catholic Church when Mary says yes to being the mother of Jesus. In response to the Angel Gabriel she says “May it be done to me according to your word.”
Saying yes to being a mother before they are even with us physically opens you to possibilities you never dreamed of. You are open to such lofty heights that seem as close to heaven you’ll ever be, and to valleys of despair you hope and pray you never come to.
Emma, I’ve never met you, but I want you to know how much your story has impacted me. I think about you and Reid everyday. I think about how unfair life is, how it doesn’t make any sense what God asks of us sometimes.
I admire you for your yes to be Reid’s mother. For your yes to keep him at the centre of your life. Your yes to love him so fiercely helps me to say yes to my daughter everyday. To say yes to my responsibilities. To say yes to change. To say yes to joy and to heartache, whichever comes my way. – Laura de Fleuriot
It’s been 1 year since my cousin Aaron and his wife Emma lost their son Reid on his due date.
The word broken is a hard one. But a word that God has redeemed for us through Reid’s life and death.
God chooses to break us to show the world himself- his light won’t shine as bright in perfection but in brokeness we get to see God in his fullness.
“We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.
We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed.
We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God.
We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.
Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.”
2 Cor4:7-10 NLT
Thanks Aaron, Emma and both families for choosing to share the story God has given you to tell.
We have not been changed by perfection, but by real, raw, brokeness.
Love kara and regan
This is my way of keeping my mind from having unhealthy thoughts. My life is a journey full of learning experiences. Because of the challenges I’ve gone through, I am more mature and wise. I am very grateful for the “negative” experiences because they’re so good at teaching me some of the most invaluable lessons in life.
One time I was studying psychology with a friend of mine who is a medical student. We came across this term that has always been on mind ever since: “Sublimation.” The best way to understand the meaning of the word is to run a search of the word on Google Images. It basically means channeling the negative urges and impulses that one gets from facing life challenges into positive behaviour. I’m sure we’ve all heard the stories of the CEOs and athletes who grew up in very rough situations or had painful breakups that lead them to become very successful. Those people learned from the hardships that they went through and used that acquired knowledge to make better decisions in their lives.
I try to find the lessons in the different life experiences that I have. If I find myself having thoughts like “what did I do to deserve this bad luck?” I take a step back and remind myself that this is a blessing in disguise. No matter how big the loss is or how hard I’m suffering, it’s a gift to me and I need to do my best to understand it. Asking “what do I need to learn from this?” is a much healthier way to look at life.
I can’t even imagine how hard it is for you Aaron and Emma. You and Reid are a blessing to everyone who knows you. You are a big inspiration. Thank you for everything you’re teaching me. Thanks to Reid for bringing so many people to share their heart-touching words. Reid has already achieved in the very little time he had in this world much more than what a lot of people achieve in their entire life-times. – Mujtabazuh
One word for one year. Love. Throughout all the trials of the past year God’s love has reigned high. I can never be separated from this love that he has for me, the love that drives out fear, because his love is in me. God didn’t create us to live lives afraid, anxious and alone. He created us to live wholeheartedly with him receiving that love that he has for us. While there’s so much that I am afraid of, even when I fail God’s got me and will do great things. “I will never leave you or forsake you.” Joshua 1:5, “So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has also made you an heir.” Galatians 4:7 – Meygan Sytsma
Yesterday was the first birthday of a special baby boy who left the world too soon, like Ryan. His mom’s blog and Instagram were among the first that I stumbled upon in the early days of Ryan’s death. I reached out into the great expanse of the internet, grasping for something to give me hope. To make me feel less alone and isolated. In her words I saw pain and loss. But also hope and light. Her words are real. She speaks truth about loss and the love that still exists despite it. A truth I have always hoped to capture here.
So when she posted that in celebration of her Reid’s first birthday, she wanted people to share one word that her boy has taught us about life and loss (Reid’s Reads), I knew I wanted to participate. I wanted it to be my way of showing her that her journey, and her baby boy, helped me find my way on my own journey with my own sweet baby boy. How to exist in this world without him here with me.
My word is inclusion.
When Ryan died, I thought “That’s it.” That’s the end of this family I’ve spent 9 months treasuring and preparing for. I didn’t realize that beyond his death we could still be a family. We’d be much different than I ever expected, or hoped, or dreamed. But we’d still be a family. Because there’s still so much love there. Maybe more than there had ever been before
Her family showed me that even though Ryan is not physically here anymore, he can still be included in every single part of our lives. He’s a photo and a candle by the tree on Christmas morning. A bouquet of flowers perfectly arranged in the living room. He’s a note in a card on a holiday. A stuffed bunny or dog under a tree in the cemetery. A necklace, a bracelet, adorning me in all moments, giving me courage when I “got back to life,” and still now everywhere I go.
He’s a teddy bear who once snuggled Ryan in the hospital but now cuddles me on the couch. Who gets dressed up for a special occasion Ryan couldn’t be here for.
He is included in all things. Because even in death, he still is so much to us. He’s everything.
Inclusion stretches further than to just us including him in our lives. It means surrounding myself with people who include and acknowledge him too. He’s real. He’s a part of me. And on my journey, it’s been so important for me to be around people who include him too. Who send a note saying he crossed their mind. Who share photos of butterflies and the letter R and say they were visited by him. Who visit with him. Who light a candle, make a donation, say a prayer in the name of our baby boy.
All I ask, is that you let me know. Knowing he is as included in your life, as he is in ours, is the greatest gift.
On Reid’s first birthday, I am reminded that we’re not alone in this journey. Not alone in the lows. Not alone in the highs. Ryan is there. Our friends and family are there. And this community we’ve found, beginning with Reid’s mom, is there.
Thank you, Emma and Reid for this gift. For reminding us Ryan can be included in everything. And for including us in some small way your journey. Happy birthday, to you. – Amanda Russell
Hope; remembering Reid today with you. Mamma, your strength and courage has reminded me that even in difficulty and great sorrow there is hope. I want to acknowledge that I grieve with you, my husband and I found out today from the Olive Clinic that we are sadly miscarrying our first baby. I found this cloud has been hovering over my house all day today.
I just finished standing outside, I found comfort as I noticed although this cloud brought a gentle rain, and the bright sun still continues to shine. Today, I hope with you that with this journey towards parenthood even in the deepest sorrows the sun still shines on us and it will over power any dark cloud.
My profile is private, but I still wanted to let you know I am thinking of you today. I am thinking of your beautiful Reid too. It is so difficult to walk through the path of motherhood without having your baby to hold. You are so courageous, mama. Taking every day as it comes, reading all the signs that help you feel Reid close to you. One year finding Reid in every full moon, but also finding him in every inch of your body. This is the only little comfort I find when I long for the precious baby girl I lost -I close my eyes, place a hand on my chest, take a deep breath and remember she lived within me. She still does. She always will. Sending much love and light your way. – Nadia
This beautiful boy and his family have blessed and inspired us over this past year by inviting us into their story and journey. I know this is more than one word but I thought it was so beautiful and true of Emma and how she has lived and walked out this year. Happy birthday, Reid. – Michelle Tracy
On Reid’s first birthday I wanted to tell him happy birthday! I wanted to share with you my word is PRIDE. I hope today has been gentle on your heart I remember Letleys first birthday so vividly. Sending you so so much love and light. – Bodi
I had full intentions of sharing a word on Reid’s birthday and I pondered it all afternoon. I just couldn’t think of the perfect word and my creative juices just wouldn’t flow yesterday. Suddenly the day was over and I never did share a word for your sweet boy. I guess I couldn’t come up with anything that seemed perfect for me to share, and after all you and your son have shared over the past year and all the moments you inspired me that you will never even know about, I really felt my word needed to be perfect. Sitting here reading your post tonight it came to me. So, I’m sorry it’s a day late and I’m sorry it’s not written out creatively, but my word for Reid is “inspiration.” Until I came across your story a year ago I had no idea that someone I didn’t know could inspire me so deeply. In that moment of reading your story for the very first time I had no idea how much I would lean on your strength in this past year. Enduring a loss through miscarriage knocked me down so hard and I have truly clung on to all of your words, your strength and your unwavering faith. The way you honour your son and the way he has touched so many lives is nothing short of an inspiration. I will always be grateful to you for sharing your story and sharing your sweet little man with all of us. You, your family and your beautiful boy will forever be an inspiration to me. – Shannon Martin
My word is miracle – because what you did by creating another life is truly a miracle. Reid’s impact on the world has also been miraculous and I love reading and hearing about your miraculous journey through grief to unknown depths to a new beautiful place. Thank you for sharing. – Joanne Ross
Remember. For Reid’s Reads. – Linda Dejong
From all of us at the agency our word for Reid’s Reads on this beautiful spring day we send our love to you Emma, Aaron, and your families. – Liz Bell
To my very dear and wonderful friend….. I can only hope for you and your family that the ferocious storm you have weathered this year will now settle into a calming ripple. Giving you the peace and joy that you so deserve. Beautifully written. My word I choose is “ANGEL”….
In the arms of
May you find
Reid is our Angel. He will always shed a light on those he has touched. A beautiful boy. – Sue Grant
Perspective. That’s my one word for Reid’s Reads today, in memory of my nephews 1 year birthday. Perspective is what my family, Emma, Aaron, Amanda, Rick, Alana, and Rebecca has shown me.
You can let a tragedy can define you in all its negativity, or you can take that beautiful silver lining and let it turn your perspective into a positive one. One that makes you stronger, one that makes you grow, one you learn from and one you can take away more from than you ever imagined when first hit with the blow.
A shift in your perspective can mean a shift in your whole world. – Alexis Moore
I am thinking about Reid, you and Aaron today.
The word that comes to mind when I think of Reid is that he is cherished by his Family and all your friends.
Sometimes in our busy lives we lose sight of what is really important. Reid taught me how important it is to love and cherish those closest to us everyday.
You are in my thoughts
Dear Emma and Aaron,
I’m sending you my word by e-mail as I’m not on Instagram (my old fashioned laptop allows me to look at your account but can’t download the app to follow or react).
I’ve chosen “love”.
I’ve been thinking about it for a day or 2 because “love” is also my theme word for this year and I wanted to find something more specific for Reid. But I kept coming back to “love”: the generality of this concept “love” is also its strength.
At the time Reid was born, I myself was recovering from a massive burn-out and heartbreak, both having built up over more than a year. My personal crash came in December 2014, and I am grateful for it. It was a big emergency shut down from my body, mind and soul, saying “stop! take care of yourself!” after I had been ignoring physical and mental warning signs for a long time. Since the beginning I started to love myself fiercely. I don’t know how else to put it, but when I look back, that’s what it was. Automatically, I started to listen AND take into account how I felt. Over the last 1.5 years, my feelings (my sixth sense, my heart, … LOVE) have been my compass to navigate through life again, and it’s better than before because I stay true to what my body and mind want and need. I took a sabbatical and read a lot, getting infused with inspiring people and stories. I stumbled upon your IG by ordering leggings from PranaVidaStyle… Amelia’s story = love, your story= love. Everywhere I’ve been looking, I can see love behind everything.
You two to conceive Reid = love. Reid’s 9 months and the interaction you 3 had = love. The inbearable strength to let Reid go, to hand him over to a greater force, “take care of him till we can see him again” = love. Being so open to life without Reid here, even making the very very best of him, in his memory, for his future brothers or sisters = love. I’m amazed and nurtured to see all that on my silly laptop screen… I can feel your love all the way to Belgium. And in turn, like some weird mathematics law, it multiplies. I become even more aware of love around me and in me: acting on it and reacting to it is becoming my second nature. It feels and seems like love is the flow on which the world thrives.
As for my own life up till now: my body is really healthy again, I’m in the middle of starting up my own bussiness, and very unexpectedly I met an awesome guy 2 weeks ago who (although it’s still early days) seems to love an respect me just as I am.
As for you 2 and your kid up in heaven: lots of LOVE!
Before your birth one year ago, I had very little idea of the staggering facts and figures related to stillborn births, miscarriages, and infertility. Of course I knew they existed, but it wasn’t until your birth that my eyes had been opened to the concept that these tragic events happen more commonly than I though. Had your mama not let your story shine, I would have continued my naive mindset. I thank your mama for sharing your story so that people like me can learn the sometimes distressing outcomes of the fragile lives we are graced with. This is why I chose the word truth. It is through your legacy that I now know the truth; people can’t hide the facts that stillbirths, miscarriages, infertility, etc. happen. In the years to come, I will keep you in my mind and remember the truth you have shared with me. Thank you Reid.
I followed along all day on April 4th as people world wide offered their wisdom through a single word. My word is “tides”. They involve the earth, the sun and moon, a celestial family. They involve highs and lows, as does birth, love, grief. At a full moon, tides are extreme, as emotions are during great loss and great joy. I will never look at a full moon again without thinking of Reid, and his wonderful family and their impact on so many – @grannysask
Just wanted to reach out to you today. I have been thinking about Reid lots this week. I was pregnant with my son when you met yours.
My word is mama, Mama- with every perfect imperfection of mamahood I am a mama. Once you become a mama, you will always be a mama.
Motherhood is so full of extreme highs and extreme lows. And it sounds like this past year You have experienced all the highs and lows of motherhood- I know very differently, but they were still there for you. You got to know your boy over this past year, and he has changed your life just as much as my boy has changed mine.
It’s a funny thing social media. We often times see only the perfection in mothering our babes, as you know,motherhood is less than perfect and I applaud you for sharing with us your experience with the highs and lows of motherhood.
Happy Mother’s Day to you Emma, on the true day you celebrate becoming a mama
This is my word, love. Because Reid has taught and inspired me to love all things around me, and continue loving even with all the things that come in the way. Thank you for sharing your story Emma, because it has taught me more than love. It has taught me about having hope, staying strong, accepting the negatives but also embracing the positives and the future that lies ahead and so, so many more. Happy birthday Reid. Thank you for teaching me everything that you have. All Reid has known in his life is love, and it will always be love. Thank you Emma, for sharing your story and being so strong. Happy birthday Reid, and thanks again.
After 3 miscarriages I began to wonder if our daughter was destined to be an only child. The last one, a missed miscarriage, left me hospitalized and completely devastated. When I got pregnant again I was a bundle of anxiety and nerves. We didn’t tell anyone and we barely spoke about it, it was a waiting game to see if everything would be ok this time. I bought the below “kimoji” with the word HOPEFUL on it and kept it in my jacket pocket. At every blood draw, every ultrasound, every doctors appointment I squeezed it inside my pocket and reminded myself to calm down, and be hopeful and present. I even had it at the hospital when I gave birth to our son (after being induced early due to developing a high risk condition!). It’s still in my purse today, a steady reminder to be hopeful and never give up, except now it’s beside the picture of my two beautiful babies. On this very difficult day, although we’ve never met, I am sending you love, prayers and hopefulness for the future. Without knowing it you and Reid have touched my life in many ways and taught me so much. -Anne-Elizabeth
I prefer to keep my account private however I admire your story and account so much so I thought I would still share a source of my inspiration in remembrance of Reid.
I try to live my life as humble as I can and I admire how much more people can connect with each other when we do allow ourselves to be humble.
Happy 1st Birthday Reid!!
From a reader,
Gratitude- “the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness”
I remember it clearly, the first time I read the story of Reid’s passing. Sitting in the library on a sunny April day, I opened your blog as a break from my studies and began reading. Truthfully, I couldn’t have told you what was going on while I read. Your words painted a beautifully heart aching story. I promptly left the library and went for a run to digest what I had just read. As a ran, my thoughts wondered. I couldn’t even begin to understand the sorrow you must have been feeling.
That summer, I had the immense opportunity to finish my nursing degree off, by completing my preceptorship in paediatric oncology. Your stories, and journey of grief and love were close to my heart as I worked with incredible families and kids struggling to comprehend their journey ahead of them. I frequently found myself wondering how to act, struggling to find the right words to say to parents following a new diagnoses or working with palliative kids. Reflecting on your stories of navigating grief, I found myself feeling more comfortable with families, and just allowing myself to be in the moment with each family and just being present for what ever they needed me for.
I feel deep gratitude that every day families open their hearts to allow me to be a part of their journey in the hospital. Parents surrender themselves and their children to treatment plans and protocols to give their children a fighting chance to survive, and the fact that they let us into their lives to join their journey is an immense honour. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about the difference I can make with theses families and strive to be someone who can positively impact their day, with a smile, a touch or even just sharing silence. This deep gratitude comes back to you, Emma. Families like yours who open their hearts to others, and show the raw reality of life following lose. You are an incredible inspiration not only to families, but to all of us who get the opportunity to work with those families.
So thank you, for being you. For sharing the truth and reality of grief, and the fierce love for your incredible son who continues to inspire me to be the best I can.
Happy Birthday Reid!
When I think of you and your sisters it brings back memories of our childhood and of how simple life used to be. This year I have often felt nostalgic for our summers spent on the “Party Rock,” where our only worries were if we had enough Pringles to last the entire day and what time the water would come up and force us to dry land.
But now, as I know you are aware, life is oh so different. Life pulls us in different directions, life gives us joys and also unimaginable sorrow. Sometimes life is like the tide coming to wash away our carefully built sand castles, it ebbs and flows and as much as we wish we could, we cannot control the tides.
When I found out you were expecting a child, I was so thrilled for you! My sister and I chatted on numerous occasions about how jealous we were that you looked so amazing pregnant and we speculated that those beautiful genes of yours would be passed down to your baby boy. [We were right by the way, your boy is the most beautiful baby we have ever seen.] I was looking forward to watching from a far as your little munchkin grew up. I had visions of him running around Gossip Island in cute little suspenders causing mischief and of course winning 1st place for biggest fish at the annual fishing derby someday.
But we cannot control the tides and sometimes they come crashing in.
Your story has touched me so deeply my friend and your son has taught me so much in just one year. I have learned that childhood friends may drift apart, but they still hold a special place in your heart. I learned to love more deeply and always tell the ones you care about how you feel. But most importantly, your precious boy, Reid, has taught me the word Relinquish. It is a word that is unsettling and uncomfortable, because it is human nature to try to control all aspects of our lives. I am type A all the way. I live to make plans, to dream, to make lists and follow the rules. Life, however, is just like a rolling tide. No matter how hard we try to control the outcomes and carefully write out our to-do lists, sometimes life sweeps you up in it’s changing currents and pulls you in a new direction. We cannot control the tides. So this year Reid has taught me that sometimes it is important to relinquish control, let go of expectations, and tackle life as it comes.
Happy Birthday to Reid, he has touched the hearts of many. #reidsreads
Lots of Love Today and Everyday,
Dear Emma & Aaron,
I do not know you personally and how I came across your IG account Emma, I do not know, but in retrospect I can only say, “it was providence”. Thank you for sharing with such eloquence and honesty the beautiful legacy of your most precious son Reid. Thank you for putting into words what so many (too many) of us parents have gone through in silence.
If I had posted this on IG, this is what I would have written:
One word. How can I possibly choose just one word to share that which “inspires…motivates…helps me focus on the good”? If I must choose one word, then I choose PEACE. Grief can be ugly. It can divide. It can conquer. It can suffocate. Yet in the midst of grief there is always hope. Hope that can never be conquered because He has risen, and with hope, a renewed sense of peace awakens. PEACE knowing that our chid is safe in the arms of Jesus (even though our own arms ache). PEACE in the promise that one day we will meet again in perfection (what a reunion that will be!). PEACE knowing that although we will never understand why – the love, the comfort and the peace that He extends to us can help us get through the darkest of days…weeks…months. PEACE. It can put a smile on my face even as the tears stream down, and although my voice may crack and maybe I can only mouth the words, once again I can sing “When peace like a river attendeth my way, When sorrows like sea billows roll, Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say: It is well, it is well with my soul.”
Happy 1st Birthday in heaven Reid!
Em, my word for #reidsreads is Compassion – the response to the suffering of others that motivates a desire to help. Even though Reid’s presence here earth-side was ever so short, the impact of how he has connected a community of people this year is everlasting. Strangers and loved ones are coming together for you and your family – to grieve, to remember, to honour, to celebrate and most importantly, to love. The love that I and so many others have for you, Aaron and Reid is immeasurable. This loving community will always be with you on this journey of life after loss – as will I. I’m wanting to wish the happiest of birthdays to an incredibly special boy. Auntie Lacey loves and misses you dearly.
For you and Ems.
Hey guys, just wanted to let you know that I love you. Wish I could have been there tonight to celebrate Reid’s birthday with the families.
My word is Hope. A parable in the book of Mark that stood out to me is that of the mustard seed when Jesus is responding to a question about what Heaven is like. Although the context isn’t exactly on point, the idea that the smallest of all garden seeds can become one of the largest of all garden plants, exemplifies the impact Reid’s life is having on so many people. Such a small human being, and such a short time with us, he’s having a greater impact than we could ever have imagined.
I have hope for the future of his legacy, that he will continue to impact lives in the way he already has. I have hope for what our future down here without him holds, but most of all, I have hope, and trust, that he’s up there looking down and smiling on us all each and every day. – Carson
Happy birthday to your very special baby boy Reid. I have followed you for a long time on Instagram (I found you because we had the same wonderful wedding photographer) and your posts always captured my attention.
I had been struggling to get pregnant for a few years when you made the announcement that you were expecting. I remember thinking longingly that it just seemed so easy for everyone else. I watched your updates with a twang of jealousy and a hope that someday that could be me. Amazingly I became pregnant myself 4 months after you shared your news. I continued to follow your journey through pregnancy with joy and watched as a sign of things I could expect down the road myself. I waited eagerly for the news of your little Reid’s arrival. When you shared that he was born still, my heart broke for you. I spent many nights of my pregnancy thinking about Reid and you and how brave and strong you were for sharing your life and his so publicly, and how unfair life is that his had to be so short.
I also gained a new outlook on everything. I relished being pregnant before, but Reid taught me to appreciate everything, always. Every pain, every sleepless night, everything was a gift. Your baby boy has changed my outlook on so much and has taught me to be grateful for everything because nothing is guaranteed. His life has made a huge impact on mine- and I’m sure on many many others that you don’t even know. I know I don’t know you, but I thought since Reid has given me so much, that today, on his birthday, I should share with you how much he has impacted me. Your baby boy is beautiful and he will always be a source of inspiration to me. And so will you. I don’t know how it feels to lose your first born baby who had kicked you, grown with you and lived with you for 40 weeks- but I did lose my first pregnancy very early. And I have struggled with fertility for many years so I can understand a bit of what you’re facing now. From what you are sharing it looks like you are already doing it, but just keep hope. I hope to hear good news from you soon.
I’m not as eloquent with words as you, so I hope despite my crappy writing I have conveyed my thoughts and emotions to you. Happy birthday Reid. My word is: grateful. – Amanda Young
LOVE is the word that fills our heart. When we think of our year and our connection with your beautiful son, Reid, we are reminded of how fortunate all of us are to be able to love and be loved. We have loved you Emma since you were five, together with your wonderful sisters, Alana and Rebecca and your devoted parents, Rick and Amanda. We loved when we witnessed your love for Aaron on your wedding day and your love for your first son, Reid. Reid has brought you the opportunity to experience motheryl love, the deepest of all loves. We are thinking and praying for you on the first anniversary of Reid’s birth and passing. We feel a deep love for you and Aaron and the love that Reid has brought to you, your family and many friends.
May you continue to be surrounded with God’s love for you, Aaron and Reid.May God continue to bless you with the ability to love and be loved. Don, Deirdre and Laura
Emma and her husband Aaron are celebrating Reid’s birthday today.
I felt a need to share my word with you both and honour Reid’s soul when I first read about the way you wanted to celebrate him this year. I chose a card from my deck of spiritual principles and I was surprised but also moved to see that the card was “wisdom”. I feel a wisdom in your words and in the way you have handled this part of your lives. I don’t think I would have had the courage to share my story the way you have. Reading about your love and loss has really touched me- I often want to respond when you post but haven’t yet found the words…
This card talks about a connectedness to a higher power, and reflecting on our life lessons. I see you doing this, and want you to know that by writing and sharing authentically the way you have – you have also opened doors for other people to do the same. Your healing is truly helping others.
I mostly just want to say that I am honoured to be a witness to your love for Reid and your drive to build an amazing legacy around his precious life.
Love and peace to you and your families. – Danica Rad
Offering my support and love for the amazing couple that is Emma and Aaron today. Today we are thinking of Reid and the impact he has had on our family. Miss you Reid.
Was honoured to stand up with you two years ago and be around you, and have learned a lot from and through you in your journey. Love you guys. – Daniel JansenVanDoorn
Happy Birthday sweet precious Reid. Reid I remember when your mother and I first talked about you. So much love. Our stories were unfortunately very similar. The deep love we had for our babes was too. I choose the word JOY to honor all of the beautiful times you and your mother had together. All the joy you brought to everyone’s heart on your precious time here on Earth in your mama’s belly. You were so very wanted and loved sweet Reid. You will forever be remembered and held in the hearts of so many, especially your mommy and daddy. Also it brings joy to my heart to watch how beautifully your mother continues to mother you with such grace, you her precious child. I hope you are filled with joy today as you celebrate with will of our sweet angels today. – Tiffany Casper-Breininger
My word for Reid is TRUST. His life has touched me deeply and helped me to learn to trust deeply. Reid was born when my Brayden was just a mere 7 weeks old. I clung to Brayden and wept and couldn’t help but think, “What if that was my baby?” I love to be in control yet God keeps reminding me in big and small ways that He alone is in control, not me. When I question why money is tight, why I’m so angry and struggling to be a good mom, why life has to be so lonely and hard….I remember that He is the one who directs my path. Today I accompanied a dear friend of mine to a doctor’s appointment as she thought she was having a miscarriage. As I prayed with her and cried with her at the unknown, I chose to put my TRUST in God. Even as the doctor was trying to find the heartbeat for what felt like an eternity and she was squeezing my hand so hard, all I could do was trust and pray. It’s in moments like these that I think of Reid and his amazing parents and how much they have impacted me. Thank you for sharing your journey so openly Emma and Aaron. – Andrea Doornenbal
Aaron I think of you often… My word is embrace. I have learned, through Reid, to embrace the moment, embrace ‘what is’, embrace those that I love. Sending you and Emma many prayers. – Leah Pezer
Today we celebrate a sweet little angel, on what should be his first birthday. Happy first heavenly birthday Reid. I’m honoured to light Aedan’s candle for your precious little boy Emma. I’m sure all our babes are celebrating Reid’s birthday in style.
Watching your journey with Reid has been heart breaking but your love is so beautiful, raw, graceful and pure. A mother’s love never dies. My words for Reid are ‘mother’s love.’ I’m honoured to call you my friend. Lots of love today and everyday Emma and family – Krista Holden
It’s amazing to me how much “Love” Reid has brought to the world. When I think of the lives he has touched through his birth and amazing parents. Their hearts have ached with such sadness and sorrow but Reid’s birth has also shown them so much love! My word is ‘Love’…Happy birthday Reid!! I only hope you know how many people all over the world love you!!
Love you – Shelly Hansen
Peace. – Unknown
My word for Reid is heart. A word that holds a much deeper meaning than an organ that pumps blood. Baby Reid’s heart beat within you and your heart will forever beat for his. It takes heart to grieve. It takes heart to survive. It takes heart to love. And Sophie’s and Reid’s hearts taught us that. Reid’s teeny heart has touched so many other hearts through your own that I’m sure he is shining down and glowing over all of his family. You have a beautiful, kind and sincere heart, mama. Happy Heavenly birthday baby Reid. – Wardy Cotton
This is my word, or I guess – my phrase. It’s been a constant reminder since I first had my body marked with the words I prayed over myself after one of the worst years of my own life. I’ve been praying this for you, and over you, for the past year. I know what it’s like to be all consumed by grief. I remember the days of wondering what the light even feels like, when all around you there is only darkness. But you learn to fight for the light, don’t you?
There is something bittersweet about learning to live in the present, that not everything or everyone is permanent. It’s beautiful because it changes the way we see, think, perceive, and feel about the world. However, it’s also tragic because of what we have often had to face to get to that realization.
Your story over the past year has empowered so many women, men, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, and me. It’s in the darkest moments where I’ve learned to find the light. To fight for the light. To hold onto and seize any ounce of light I can find and treasure it like it’s the most precious gift. That’s because it is. Thank you for sharing your story, and your journey, in finding your light.
If ever you forget the way to go, and lose where you come from, if no one else is standing there beside you – Be Still, and know that He is God. Be Still, and know that he is fighting for you. – Jaeda-Brynn MacPherson
In memory of your precious little Reid – Loreen Seney
Lots of love from Vickie and the Eagle Feather ladies class.
My word is triumphant! Look at all the love! What a wonderful way to honor and celebrate your precious first born nephew, son and grandson Reid! – Davina MacDonald Wuerch
Happy Birthday, handsome, precious Reid.
You are always in my heart, sweet child. I’m sure my girl has found you up in heaven and given you a little birthday kiss.
My word for you, on your first birthday, is LOVE. Love… because that is what I see shining so brightly from the hearts of your momma and dad. – Darcy Smith
Hi Em, I’ve been checking #reidsreads all day and I’m so proud of you, Aaron and Reid, the birthday boy. My word is Persevere – I’m in awe of the grace with which you’ve faced such trying times. I know you recognize Reid’s strength in yourself but I hope you also see that it doesn’t end there. The fire that Reid has ignited in you has given others so much light during their own tough times. Thinking of you as you continue to be present in each moment and live a life you should be proud of. – Eshleen Panatch
Emma, as you have been so open and vulnerable in sharing your story you have inspired me to share a bit of my story and why I also chose the word CHERISH today. This past year has been a tough one. As we welcomed Brayden into our family and were so excited to have 2 little boys, along with that came months of darkness for me. As I struggled to keep my head afloat day to day, I kept being reminded that in my pain and struggle there is also a life to be cherished. That as I struggled with Brayden, I at least had my baby to hold. In many moments as I was trying to console him I would think of you Emma, and be reminded that you would give anything to hear your baby boy cry. You helped me to cherish those dark moments where I felt like I was drowning. You helped lift me up and get me to the other side. I’m learning to take every moment captive and choose to respond differently because of you and how you chose to respond differently. – Andrea
On a day that called for rain, we’ve been given a sunny morning! Sending love, light, sunshine and some BC Beauty on a day that was, one year ago tragic, dark, and a blessing all at the same time. He has connected many with his legacy and has further connected our family and friends through his memory. Thinking of you today on Reid’s Birthday. – Sharli Clayton
The first word that popped into my mind when I read your post about Reid’s Reads was “determined” but then I thought that doesn’t seem like a good word to share so i kept thinking of all these other words, but then April 4th came and went and I still hadn’t shared a word. But “determined” still kept popping up. Reflecting on it, it is the word. It’s your sense of determination and passion to share your story that brings people together. It is also my determination to be strong after two miscarriages and to not give up hope. Thank you to you and Reid for opening up such a tough and painful situation and bringing in some light and love. – @jswongsam
Been thinking about my word and finally today I realized what it was. I met you as a young athlete and have been blessed to be part of your story and as a coach, I always coached to not focus on the finish but just the next point. I was witness to your commitment of love with Aaron VandenBrink and been able to watch you both grow into adults and parents. My word for Reid’s Reads and a part of my heart over the last year is JOURNEY. Not only do I love singing to their songs in the car, our own journey takes us places from being 15 years old to loving, caring wonderful wives, husbands, daughters, sons, coaches, friends, and parents. – Dawna Sales
My Reid’s Reads word is smile. I came across personal grief for the first time with the passing of my Opa. Honestly, his writing on my foot is worn and scribbly and almost easier to read from far away, but I like that no one can really read it but me. He always told me to just keep smiling. He smiled at everything, the type of smile that made others smile too. Since then, I have shaped my young nursing career around supporting those who are grieving. Nursing is so much more then just caring for ‘the patient,’ it’s family centred. During my time in palliative care I set a standard for the type of nurse I want to be, and supporting both patients and their loved ones is a privilege I hold close to my heart. I think of my Opa often when I’m at work, as well as a few others in my life whose experiences have helped me to open my heart and create deeper connections with those I care for. I want to thank you for so beautifully and openly sharing your family’s story, for as I begin a new path in NICU nursing, I’m sure your words will resonate deeply in the eyes of parents who maybe in that moment can’t find the words… its OK, you have for them – Amanda Stewart
My word is “appreciate”. I have learned through your tragic loss and your inspirational words that you can’t take anything for granted. I need to recognize the full worth of everything I do and what other people do. I need to be appreciative of the small things like every sunset, every hug, every time I laugh. These small things make me so happy and you have reminded me to appreciate that moment when I get to experience them.
Thank you Emma and happy birthday baby Reid. – Kelsey Chang
Thinking of you, sweet Emma and baby Reid. My word is CHERISH! XO – Victoria Harwood
My word is “Trust”.
Reid and your story truly taught me to trust in the Lord. I read your story and felt from your words how broken, hurt, and sad you were with Reid’s passing but what affected me the most is how faithful and strong you are. I discovered your blog last year, shortly after Reid’s birth, and it amazes me how I found you at a time where I needed to connect with God again. It was at a time when I was upset with what I was (and still) going through and questioned why God chose me for the path He set forth for me. I was upset for you. I didn’t understand why God chose Reid so soon and that you were going through all this hurt and a truly heartbreaking experience, which doesn’t compare to mine at all, and you turned to your faith and trusted in the Lord.
And here you are today, I am truly amazed at how much Reid had touched so many people around the world and is still teaching others so many wonderful and inspiring things through your story.
Reid taught me we can’t control everything that happens in life for reasons beyond our understanding and just as I am reminded of one of my favourite verses, we need to trust in the Lord with all our hearts and not lean on our own understanding. It’s not for us to know the answer to “why” God chose Reid to be with Him at that time and why other things happen in our life the way God intends for them to, because He knows the plans He has for us. We sometimes don’t know our purpose in life but I know that I learned so much from Reid and you. You both helped me connect with God again and turn to Him instead of being upset and angry at my circumstance. I don’t believe it was a coincidence that I found your story. I think Reid wanted me to find you and I hope you have comfort in knowing that.
Happy heavenly birthday to your sweet boy!
My word is COURAGE.
Both you and Aaron have demonstrated it since the day Reid came into this world. Thinking of you and your family.
To our cousin Amanda’s daughter, Emma and her husband Aaron, I send the word grace. Because grace, and graciousness, come from the depths of our soul when we choose to look at what many may see as tragedy, and find strength, beauty, gratitude, appreciation, inspiration, determination, growth and awakening. When we choose to find the light in every darkness, to good in all adversity, the lessons in loss, the growth in overcoming that which does not destroy us. – Lisa Cumming
I think of you and your family often and especially this week. I am so grateful for your honesty and willingness to share what this journey has been like for you and forever grateful to have met you and Reid. and OK my word is FOREVER! Because Reid reminded me again that I love Isaac forever, even though he passed almost 22 years ago. I think I told you that I was the same age as you were when Reid died. Time ticks on but that love, mumma and papa love, is timeless,it’s forever. Also, the memories and grief are forever and that’s hard and comforting at the same time. This photo was taken at a midwifery conference in Eugene a few months before he died. Isaac cheerfully came along to so many conferences, workshops and even births. Together we welcomed many new babies earth side. That’s something I’ll remember FOREVER. Thankfully, for most of us, the kind of fresh grief that debilitates, doesn’t last forever. But loss changes you forever. For better and worse. I catch glimpses of my old self, the ‘before’ me, in my peripheral vision all the time and I mourn her forever, too. But losing Isaac, as Reid reminded me, has also made me forever more humble, deeper and grateful for what I do get to have and keep in this life. I was shown 2 days before Isaac died, that the soul lives forever but I know I won’t have to wait forever to see him again.
I’ll love you forever
I’ll like you for always,
As long as I’m living
My baby you’ll be. -Munsch
Love, Susie Schulz
Emma and Aaron, I have never met you. A year ago today I heard the news. I was at a family birthday party and I went and hid in their bathroom and wept for you both. So as I prepared to photograph my “word”, my bathroom felt like the best place to be. And again, I wept.
My word is REST.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” Matthew 11:28
Loss stops you in your tracks. It causes (and forces) you to pause in an all too busy world and reassess. To stop and smell the roses, feel the moment and take stock.
God has blessed me. He has blessed me with 4 children to hold here on earth, and before that with 2 more I will have to wait to hold in heaven. Having children to hold here on earth will never replace the ones I can’t.
Every life is precious, however brief. Lessons to learn, love to give and opportunities to grow.
Thank you Emma, Aaron and Reid for sharing your story and giving a voice to a narrative which can be painful to speak of. I have prayed for your both many times this past year and will continue to do so.
One year ago, my dear friend Emma said hello and goodbye to her firstborn son. Reid was born still, but he was still born. My word for Reid’s Reads is fervour.
Early in our pregnancies, Emma and I made plans (what we do best). We would have our babies. I would move to Vancouver. Our days would be filled with playdates and walks along the seawall, children in tow.
We soon discovered there was a rare, high-risk complication with my pregnancy. The death of my baby was a real possibility. I slowly waded through fear and anxiety, grasping for divine peace. Emma and I kept in touch throughout my four weeks in the hospital as I awaited my scheduled C-section. Her optimism and confidence encouraged my weary soul. “Everything will be okay,” she promised.
Then life took an unimaginably cruel turn. Aaron & Emma lost their son. The day before his little body entered this world, his precious soul entered eternity. I was filled with deep grief and the most profound sympathy. Emma courageously delivered Reid on April 4, 2015. I am so proud of her.
Aaron, Emma and Reid filled my thoughts and prayers. I understood the anticipation and expectation of pregnancy. I could only imagine the agony and gut wrenching pain of loss. In the midst of mourning, David and I prepared to welcome our firstborn.
One week after Reid passed away, Grace arrived safely. This photo captures the moment I met my daughter. The moment my prenatal fear melted away. The first milestone I desperately wished Emma and Reid could have also experienced. After this photo was taken, David went with Grace to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Left alone in the recovery room, waves of emotion washed over me. Joy. Fear. Relief. Anger. Indignation. Gratitude. Why is Grace here? Why is Reid gone?
One year later, Emma and I are neighbours. We grab coffees and walk along the seawall. We laugh and we cry. It is hard to watch Grace grow up without her buddy, Reid. But in the midst of the pain, it is a privilege to journey with Emma & Aaron as they navigate grief and cling to hope. Their open hearts and honest words continue to inspire, comfort and encourage many.
Because of Reid, I live with more fervour. Friendship is more genuine. Love for my daughter is more fierce. Faith in the hope of salvation is more crucial.
Emma, I found you shortly after you gave birth to Reid and I am so thankful that I follow you. Reading all of your posts inspire me to be a better mother and they inspire me to be honest and humble.
Jesus is my word because He is the word that comes to my mind when I’ve hit rock bottom, when I’ve had a rough day, when I’ve cried all my tears. He is always waiting for me when the world has shut me out and left me lonely.
Reading your posts about Reid always brings me to a point of love. For you, for Reid, for everybody, for Jesus. I pray that you will always search for Jesus when it’s too hard and the pain is too raw. And i find joy in the fact that He will always be there for you! Thank you for all of your honesty. And thank you for sharing your Reid with everyone. – Miranda Kray
Many emotions come to the fore when the first year of any serious loss or calamity comes around. In subsequent years the pain is somewhat eased, or replaced, or viewed in a different way. It can be that someone does not want to let go, or maybe cannot let go, or find some comfort in their situation, which is the opposite possibility of surrendering and accepting. I believe in “accepting” as far as old age is concerned, and its consequential difficulties. There is no alternative of choice of what comes ones way. Personally, we can look back on a good life, with uncountable benefits, for which we are thankful. What we will have to go through before our end comes, no one knows. We do feel the first heartaches and pains of this already. I believe this pain can be eased when we accept the reality of our situation. We intent to make the best of the possibilities that we have. – Great Opa Kobes.
It has been such a privilege and an honour that you have shared Reid with us through your many blogs. Through your intense human connections, we have felt a sense of oneness, of spirit, of LOVE. Reid has opened our hearts and shared LOVE. – Suzanne Lucas
Emma and Aaron,
In honour of your sweet angel babys’ first birthday, my word is BLESSING. Reid has been a BLESSING to you and your families. Because of him and the way you have shared your journey you have been a BLESSING to so many! – Nancy Smith
I am thinking about you and your sweet Reid today, on his first birthday. The word that comes to mind when I think of your journey is remembrance. When our children leave too soon, we are robbed of a lifetime of memories with them, robbed of a future, but we, as parents, want nothing more than for our babies to be remembered. We cling to what memories we have with them and a lot of times, it is those memories that bring us comfort and help us to get through the toughest of days. The memories you have of your son are beautiful. You remember all of the places you took him when you were pregnant, who you were with, every detail. Your courage to revisit those places in the 9 months following his passing, is inspiring. I just know that Reid is with you and is so happy that you are remembering all of the special times you shared together. Sending you love on this beautiful yet tough day and remembering your sweet boy with you. I just know he is playing with my boys in Heaven (I hope they inherited my baking skills and baked Reid a cake!) – Janine
I loved reading through all the #reidreads post and mentally composed this over the last few days, but am just now passing it on to you. I think reading some of the words from others gave me courage to write this down too. You and Aaron are amazing parents and I’ve been so encouraged your openness and strength and seeing Christ through you guys.
This is the word that I couldn’t shake when thinking of what I’ve learned from Reid, his journey, and your journey. Reid has helped me grow in becoming fearless. In the last year I’ve reflected on how in my type A, controlling nature results in making many decisions from a place of fear, from a place of “what if?” Some of this is likely a result of what’s been my own experience with life and loss. Within the first year after my husband and I were married in we buried my husband’s brother after a very rough go with advanced cancer at a young age. It was a hectic time of newlywed life combined with a first year of grad school for me, and a new job for my husband in addition to having to move out of our first home together within a month after the burial. I don’t meant to share this to compare suffering, or to say how hard things were. I merely share this to offer context for what I learned through Reid. I think as a result of seeing how fragile life can be my faith life and prayers began to come from a place of fear. I would beg God (and still do) to keep my loved ones safe, and healthy. As if my prayers could be my security plan, so that I could still be in control.
Reid showed me that in my own life again that things won’t go the way I want them to. That there are always going to be things out of my control, and things I can’t “fix.” I recently heard a sermon where the phrase “Do not fear” was mentioned. The pastor shared how Jesus is saying this as a command (I wish I could remember which verse was being discussed specifically, but I think Mark 5:36 is similar). Then he asked how many times in the Bible do we hear phrases like “do not fear” or “fear not” or “do not be afraid”? It hit me that Jesus says things like this a lot! And he’s commanding us to believe, to trust, and to NOT FEAR! It was so helpful for me to see how the way I was living my faith and prayers was not what God wanted for me. By fearing what my next suffering my be, or what hardships may come I was depriving myself of the Joy of all the things I have been given right now. I was missing out on the fullness of prayer and faith that comes from a place of gratitude in all things.
Reid has been teaching me to live a Christian life with open hands rather than clenched fearful fists; to pray with hopefulness for the future, and importantly to have gratitude for today. – Caitlyn A Grypma De Jong
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