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I won an AWARD because my son DIED...

That is what it sounds like in my head. I would not have even been at the event if River was alive.

The Women Today Magazine & the Duluth News Tribune hosted an event called, “The Rosie Awards”-named after the famous Rosie the Riveter. There were 47 nominees for the 7 awards. Plus, over 150 people in the ball room celebrating the accomplishments of strong women.

So, as much as it is very humbling to have been nominated & then “winning”, it’s bittersweet. Nobody wins here. It's not a congratulations kinda "win". The work I am doing is just talking about and for my son---just like any other parent would do for their kid...but, he is dead.

Once again, the “AND” is apparent in my life. I can’t just be happy. I can’t just have joy. I can't accept a "congratulations" & not cringe. I also have to be sad too. It’s just the way my life is now. It’s the “after” life.

After the ceremony, most people were quick to leave. But, some lingered on the outside edge of the audience & caught me on my way back up to the stage for a group photo. I heard 3 different stories of their children dying in that short trek.

1.) Her daughter died 2 days after birth.

2.) His son died 38 days after birth.

3.) Her twins died. They were a boy & a girl.

I needed to acknowledge them all & give them time to talk. I had to take that all in as I’m in their club-it’s what we do. And, I still had to get on that stage & smile for a photo.

That’s what living an “AND” life is. It’s getting your heart ripped out & then trying to find some gratitude of being alive.

I accept this award in honor of my son, River Meriwether.

I will continue to share his name, raise funds to make sure his name is associated with great things, give my time & donations to St. Luke’s, work on erasing the stigma of having a dead child/children for all families, and be the best mama to his brother, Gus, that I can be!

The flowers (Woodland Marketplace) & vase (Nummi Jewelers) are beautiful. And, the scarf from Country Acres Wild Rags is awesome too! They are perfect tangible memories of this stepping stone on my journey in this new "after" life.

Thank you to my husband, Mark, for nominating me & writing a beautiful letter that brought the audience to tears.

Thank you to the Women Today Magazine. Thank you to the ladies/judges who read the nomination letter & decided that what I have done so far to keep River's legacy alive deserved an award.

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