My name is Hannah. I’m a Traditional Catholic, wife to Tom for nearly a decade, mom of 5 littles here on earth, and one very sweet baby girl in heaven. We are navigating life after infant loss since our three day old daughter, Noelle Joan-Marie, went to heaven unexpectedly the day after her baptism. We have four older daughters, the oldest being nearly 8 and the youngest nearly 3. Our little boy is 18 months old and is learning all those terrifying boy tricks like climbing on unstable surfaces, scaling the high places, and “conquering” every day objects like his life depends on it. But he is also the kindest, friendliest, sweetest, little guy so all the heart attacks he gives me are forgiven readily of course! My husband is self-employed and also runs and hosts an online show called What Catholics Believe with our Pastor, Fr. William Jenkins. Tom started a blog years ago dealing with conservative issues and the Traditional Catholic Faith. I shared his most recent post, Dear Noelle, if you would like to read that here. I am a stay-at-home-mom and have done some self-taught wedding and promotional videography on the side since 2017. I consider myself an old soul, though the wisdom that usually comes with that is MIA. Just my luck… haha. I savor a cup or two of coffee every day, love antiques and antique shopping, have a special devotion to St. Therese of Lisieux, and could listen to Holy Week chant every day (and usually do).
Losing our Noelle has not been an easy cross to carry, obviously, but I truly feel that God has been training us, specifically me, for the job of carrying it for a long time. I’ve never been “good” at carrying crosses, heavy or light. I flail, stomp, complain and throw a fit internally, and often ask, “why me?” Tom has read every book there is to read about surrendering to Divine Providence, and has adopted the concept happily. I wish I could say the same for myself, but it just isn’t as natural for me. I’ve read some of the books, and I do try, but my own control-freak nature gets in the way most of the time. I have definitely not been perfect, but God gave me some experiences shortly before Noelle was born and died that I think He strategically placed in my life to help me “get there” in accepting His will, however imperfectly. So far, asking Him, “why” in this situation seems pointless. Although we are suffering, so much good has come from Noelle’s sainthood and we are so grateful. Without us asking, “why”, He gave us answers anyway. More on that another time!
So I guess this blog will be a big, boiling pot of stories, lessons learned, ones I’m still learning, processing my trauma from Noelle’s death, grappling with life after losing her, and everything in between. I have no idea if any of this will ever be public. I just know that I need to get it out of me. So far, getting it out and fulfilling my need to share Noelle with anyone who will listen has come about through my Instagram, @hannahnaegele. I’ve struggled with it, though, for a few reasons. There’s not much room to get out all I would like to. I only have space for a few paragraphs at a time and for along-winded person like me, that’s a no-go. Typing with my thumbs is not fun either. But the most significant reason is that, thinking about our daughter as the Saint in heaven she is, and all the incredible things she’s done for our family and others at the throne of God Himself, Instagram is so unworthy to receive her. Instagram is cheap. Maybe I’m putting too much thought into this, but since Noelle passed away, I have only wanted the very best of the best to honor her. I’ve agonized over her gravestone, her holy cards, every detail of her left here with us. So posting my innermost thoughts about her, things I remember, everything I love about her on Instagram or Facebook, it seems wrong sometimes. Not that WordPress is some holy, sacred place or anything, but it’s not the potential cesspool that Instagram can be. Other times I’m just too eager to share her with those close to me, so I do. There are many moms who share their painful journeys through miscarriage, stillbirth, infant and child loss so beautifully on social media, and I am so grateful for them! Reading what they’ve been through and have thought along the way is incredibly helpful for me. I’m just not sure I’m one of those women. I’m not sure what to do, what I’m doing, how to do it, or when to do it. I just know I’m being led on by my love for Noelle. That’s all I know. There’s a lot of back and forth, emotional whiplash, and decision whiplash in grief I’ve learned. Something that seemed wrong one day, felt totally right a week later. Something I wanted one day, I couldn’t imagine doing the next. I need time to think and process before sharing certain things in public. I would much rather talk face to face with people, but having 5 kids, meaningful conversations with other adults are few and far between. So to the computer I go. The old soul in me would love to go to pen and paper, and I will, but I can’t write fast enough to let the words flow as quickly as I need them to like I can when I type. So, for now, WordPress it is.