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I’m a big fan of Shark Week.

Which is weird, because I am TERRIFIED of sharks. And every episode has my heart in my thoat, my hands sweating, and my muscles tense.

I remember watching one episode where a woman was attacked by a great white shark while she was kayaking near the shore. The shark rammed her from below, flipping her kayak and dumping her in the water. Her husband was far ahead, and was only getting farther away as he continued stroke after stroke, unaware that his wife was battling one of the most feared predators the world has known — an 18-foot great white.

She eventually made it back into her kayak, with a bite to her arm, and paddled to shore where her husband met her. At one point during the attack, he had looked back to check on her, but couldn’t paddle quickly enough to help.

The next day, this woman did something I never would have done.

She got back into the water.

She figured if she didn’t do it right away, she might lose the guts to ever get into the water again. She didn’t want one shark to ruin a sport she loves.

Today that’s where I found myself. Facing the water. And wondering if today I will be swimming with the sharks.

Recently, I got bitten. Doing something I love, in a place that I had considered both safe and sacred.

I was bitten by words. Ignorant, vicious, cruel words that attacked my character, my motives, my purpose, my message, my family, my spiritual walk, my relationships . . . just about everything one could attack.

And let me be the first to admit . . . IT HURT. Bad enough that I really didn’t want to get back in the water again. For the first time, this place has truly made me feel vulnerable. Losing a daughter is painful enough. Having people kick you while you’re down is pain on a whole new level.

The thing is . . . I’m not a quitter. And I might be sensitive — and some might consider that a weakness — but I’m also really strong.

I am strong enough to get back in the water.

But I’m arming myself against the sharks.

From now on, readers’ comments will be filtered through a second party. If a reader attacks me, my family or another reader in any way, that comment will be deleted before I will ever see it.

Also, there will be no more anonymous comments. You will have to register your name if you are going to comment.

If you want to comment, please keep your words helpful, kind, and respectful to me and to all my readers. You might disagree with what I write, but realize that my writing is about my journey and my feelings along the way. My feelings are valid — whether or not you agree.

I stand 100% behind my character, my motives, my grief, my journey and my blog. And so, by the way, does my husband.

 I will never claim to be perfect.

But I do claim to be as honest as I can be. I will do my best to honor the very short life of my daughter. I will stand up for those of us in the club that no one wants to belong in, and share what life is like from our perspective as moms who have lost their babies. I will do my best to help others understand how to support the women in their lives struggling with pregnancy loss. And I will fulfill what I feel like God has called me to do — to grieve out loud and break the silence of loss.

Into the water I go . . .

P.S. To all of you who have called, texted and Facebooked me during the last 24 hours to encourage me . . . thank you. I have visited your words numerous times, drawing from them the confidence and courage to continue my blog. I love each of you very much, and am blessed beyond blessed to count you all as friends.