Thursday, March 3, 2016

Angel Bear Blankets

by Christine Russo

While my husband and I were carrying Gianna, we had so many people support us. Strangers were coming to our aid alongside family and friends. Among those supporters were the amazing women of the shawl ministry at St. Patrick's Church in Scottsdale, Arizona.

The shawl ministry is a "group of compassionate knitters and crocheters who are dedicated to providing a tangible sign of the community's prayerful support of you in your time of need. The shawl maker begins with prayers and blessings for the recipient and these intentions are continued throughout the creation of the shawl. Upon completion, a final blessing is offered before the shawl is sent on its way."
Our first shawl we received was purple (now Gianna's color) and had this note attached to it, "As you are covered with this cloak of comfort, blessings of love and healing are entwined. May you feel, through this shawl the warmth of your God's loving embrace." We received it when the pastor at the church anointed us while carrying Gianna. It was a beautiful, private ceremony with only close family present. The second one was a blanket, a beautiful white blanket with sparkles given to us in a kit with what we would need for my husband to baptize our daughter (she was stillborn). Both are two things that have touched Gianna and now remain incredible memento's  of her brief existence. We even swaddled her teddy bear urn with the shawl for months after her death. It was incredibly comforting to smell her on the blanket while holding her bear.

My family goes to this church, but my husband and I were not members at the time. I was recently invited to speak to the group about our whole story (they were only told bits and pieces). I was surprised as how hard it was for me leading up to it. I've written and thought about aspects of her story for what feels like a million times, so why was going through her story from beginning to now so hard for me?! Maybe because G was larger than life? Maybe because in her short time here she touched countless lives (and her legacy CONTINUES to touch lives)? All of our children leave such beautiful legacy's and touch more lives than we all realize.

The women were so touched that they donated several beautiful shawls to me in Gianna's honor to pass on. So that's where you all come in. All of you amazing mama's carrying your precious child, I want to give you this gift from Gianna. A gift that was so lovingly sewn together to give you strength and comfort.  Please contact me through the Facebook page I created in her honor. If you are currently carrying your child with a fatal diagnosis and I'll send you oneπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œ.

You are not alone. You do not have to go through this momentous loss by yourself. Let this shawl be a reminder of that. Wrap it around you and feel the strength wash over your body. Feel the prayers, thoughts, and love envelope you while you walk through the impossible. 

You are one incredible mama πŸ’œ.
~ ~ ~

Christine Russo is a wife to an amazing, supportive husband, and a mommy to Angel Gianna Marie, and her little brother, Romeo. She carried Gianna after receiving a fatal diagnosis halfway into her pregnancy. Through the love and spirit of their special daughter, who means the world to them, they wish to help support other families who have to say goodbye to a piece of their heart.
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