Monday, October 8, 2012

Life changing MISS Conference 2012

The MISS Foundation Conference has a way of re-charging your life. Some may think I am crazy for saying that for me going to a conference for parents whose children have died is some sort of a vacation. Not in the sense of relaxation (because believe me you are far from relaxed), but a sense of peace. Peace being surrounded by those who "get it", peace knowing you don't have to say a word and they "get it", and some might be surprised but being able to laugh. Learning about others beautiful children and be honored to know them  I was able to be Mckenna's mommy for 3 very long days, to talk about her and not feel judged. To have people come up to me and tell me that they remember Mckenna and tell their friends and family about the dangers of televisions, to know that Mckenna has touched so many lives is a bittersweet peaceful moment for me. So many children, so many lives lost, so many MISSed.

 This is my second conference and it was far different from my first. My first conference I knew very few people and went there alone. I was asked to speak on the parent panel. The parent panel is when parents get up in front of a room full of fellow bereaved, and professionals and tell their story, where they are now, and how The MISS Foundation has helped them. It was overwhelmingly scary, nerve-wracking and almost impossible. In that moment in time I was getting ready to tell hundreds of people my story and I felt very exposed. Naked in front of strangers. After the panel I was (to my surprise) hugged and thanked me for my bravery. I wanted to run away in that moment and allow myself to break down, but did not feel safe. The one person I felt safe with at that time was busy so I sat at a table alone and pushed down my tears and put on a faint smile. Many came up to me and said how sorry they were, or that they remember hearing about Mckenna in the news. I was touched by the kind words. I only remember bits and pieces of my first conference.

Then the second conference came around and I was excited to go and again be surrounded by those who "get it". I am in a different place than last conference, but it was much more exhausting this time around. I was able to be there as a support person for those newly bereaved, I was able to be present for those overwhelmed, I was able to hug those I only know from FB, or those I met last time. While at conference I put all my other worries aside to be able to just be Mckenna's mom. Not much had changed from the last time and not being able to cry in front of people, but that isn't anything new for me. Conference is an amazing experience and always teaches me so much about myself. It is validating where I am at, why I am doing what I am doing and gives me the confidence to move forward.

Being Mckenna's mommy is my greatest gift in life and I will continue to work towards finding that place in myself I am searching for.

Thank you my fellow MISSters for a beautiful time together. Loved hearing about your children. Love to you all and until we can all get together again. <3