Tags: death of a baby, life, loss of a child, new normal, perspective, siblings
Today’s 1st grade homework assignment for one of the twins was about cultural diversity. The questions asked about backgrounds, customs and families. I was helping her with the assignment. We discussed the questions and her answers. “Where are you from?” Where were you born?” She quickly answered and wrote down, “Atlanta, Georgia.” All was going smoothly until, we got to the question asking, “How many brothers and sisters do you have?”
I have written before about being asked “How many children do you have?” “How many brothers and sisters do you have?” is the bereaved sibling’s version of this question. They are both such common and polite questions but the answers for some of us are so complicated. When people ask me how many children I have these days I usually say something like “I have 2 children at home.” I then try to change the subject. Or, the other day I caught myself saying “excuse me for a moment” and I left the conversation all together. I always remember Jake and Sawyer but I do not always talk about them. But maybe it does not have to be so difficult.
At first she did not immediately answer the question “How many brothers and sisters do you have?” Instead, she looked at me thoughtfully and asked, “Mama, how many brothers do I have?” Before I could say anything she said “I know!!” and she began to write . . .
When she finished writing she went over to her one brother and gave him a hug. And, then I hugged them both.
Tags: death of a child, loss of a child, love, ways to honor the memory of your child
I will always remember Jake and Sawyer. How they looked. How they smelled. Their sounds, and the touch of their skin.
Over the years since Jake and then Sawyer have died, we’ve always looked for ways to remember them by trying to build more memories of them. Maybe it is because we only had weeks with each of them. Maybe it is because it is a way to keep them a more active parts of our lives. Maybe it is because that is what we do when we loved ones are no longer present in our lives.
We’ve done things that have made sense to us to remember Jake and Sawyer. I’ve also come across suggestions (some of which we have taken, some of which we haven’t done) from other resources about ways parents can remember their children who have died. Some of those ideas include:
- Create a baby album with all your keepsakes in it. (This might take different shapes or forms depending on what keepsakes you have.)
- Make a collage frame, remembrance or shadow box with pictures, mementos and other things that remind you of your child.
- Plant flowers or a tree in your child’s memory, perhaps in a place you like to visit or that you associate with your child.
- Participate in walks or runs in your community.
- Buy memorial bricks (local parks often offer this as a fundraiser).
- Name a star after your baby.
- Light candles.
- Volunteer or work on a special project in your child’s memory.
- Donate to a child who would be the same age as your child would be.
Do you have any other ideas to share?
Tags: baby loss, death of a baby, international star registry, loss of a child, new normal, siblings, stars, ways to honor the memory of your child
When Jake died the hospital gave us a packet of information to take home. I remember trying to read it through my tears and being unable to make out most of the words. When I got to the page on “Ways to Honor Your Child” I got a tissue, wiped my eyes and read. One of the ways was to name a star. Before I knew it I was on the phone buying a star for Jake:
The star date is his birthday and it is in the constellation of Leo (Jake’s zodiac sign). We have the star certificate with all of Jake’s other belongings. I think before now the only other person I told that I bought a star was Evan. Buying the star made me feel a bit better for the moment. It was something I could do for Jake. Funny how time changes some things. . .
After Sawyer died I did not buy a star. The thought of buying another star did not make me feel better. Recently, I came across Jake’s star certificate and decided that I did want a star for Sawyer after all.
I tried to order it online and then finally called. I wanted Sawyer’s star date to be his birthday, just like Jake’s. The star registry only goes back 2 years – which meant 2012, 2013 or this year. There is no 2009 option. I chose this year – for Sawyer’s 5th birthday.
Sibling rivalry is an issue at times in our house with the twins. I will never know if Sawyer would be unhappy that Jake had a star and he did not but the second star bought to avoid any worries. It made me feel a bit better and it was something I could do for Sawyer.
Tags: Atlanta snow, baby loss, death of a baby, Frozen, ice, loss of a child, new normal, perspective
“Everything is Awesome” has replaced “Let it Go” and “Do You Want to Build a Snowman“at our house. The snow and ice are gone. We were really lucky and never lost power. However, we did follow the advice of the robocall from our mayor and stay home. The twins watched I am not sure how many hours of television but I know it was a lot. It does not bother me the way I thought it would (before being a parent when I had all these big ideas about what kind of parent I would be. . .). Originally, I was going to be one of those parents that did not let their kids watch too much TV but Sawyer’s death quickly changed that. It seemed much better for the twins to watch Elmo than to watch their mom crying endlessly. So, on went the TV.
We did make it out of the house yesterday for some sledding.
Today it was almost 60 degrees in Atlanta. Everything melted, we turned off the TV and went outside.
Happy Valentines Day from our house to yours!
Tags: Atlanta + Snow = Disaster, Atlanta snow, baby loss, death of a baby, hope, loss of a child, new normal, thoughts, twins
The week before Sawyer was born Evan and I realized that we would have 2 1/2-year-old twins at home during the winter with a newborn. We had not planned to send them to preschool until they were 3.
The twins plus winter plus a newborn at home. All of a sudden 2 1/2 seemed like the perfect preschool age. I called around and there were not many preschools with 2 open spots. We were super lucky and found a school for the twins. The school started the first week of January – Sawyer had died the week before and I did not want to let the twins out of my sight (but that is a different story. . . ).
I did give my name and information to a few other schools. I get emails from them now and then. I have successfully unsubscribed from most but there is one that I cannot get off the list. I usually just delete the emails without opening/reading them but for some reason I read this one. This week my 4-year-old and I were invited to Mommy & Me at 10 am on Wednesday.
There is no unsubscribe button!! What is the etiquette here? Writing an email that my 4-year-old and I will not be there because he is dead does not seem appropriate. Luckily, I got the email today that the Mommy & Me will most likely be cancelled “due to inclement weather”.
Is Atlanta unprepared?! Nope. Not this time. It was 50 degrees and clear today but the Atlanta forecast is for snow. So, school for the twins is cancelled tomorrow. And, Wednesday. The twins and I will be home with plenty of time for me delete those preschool emails.
Tags: amazing, family, fsh muscular dystrophy, hope, life, new normal, perspective
I would like to introduce you all to my amazing younger cousin. She is my hero.
Originally posted on plugging along:
This is my life. It’s all that I know. Friends have said they think I’m so brave for just living my life, when I’m just living my life the best I can… just as they are.
The truth is I’m scared.
When I initially decided to start a blog, I intended to make it humorous by discussing the more amusing aspects of my life than the dark ones, but sometimes all I see is darkness. I can’t take a single step without being scared that I will tumble and smash my teeth into the floor. I sometimes feel like I’m spiraling downhill with no end in sight.
Tags: Atlanta + Snow = Disaster, Atlanta snow, hope, new normal
The weather in Atlanta has gotten warmer (in fact, today it was 70 degrees!!). We checked on our little snow family daily.
Tags: Atlanta + Snow = Disaster, Atlanta snow, baby loss, death of a baby, family, gratitude, loss of a child, new normal, perspective, Snowjam 2014
You might have heard about or are living through Atlanta’s snowstorm. Tuesday Evan and I both left work around 1 pm. After 30 minutes I had not left the parking lot. My stress level did not subside at all when finally I did leave the parking lot, because cars were not moving. . . not even a little bit. I quickly realized that I was not going to make it to pick up the twins from school at 2:30. I called Evan. My call did not go through. Bummer. Luckily, Evan called me and said he was in traffic but moving. He would drive towards school too. He was able to make it near the school within 2 hours. He parked and walked the rest of the way to get the twins.
By 4 pm Evan and the twins were all safely home. I for the most part stopped stressing about my never-ending commute. I had almost a full tank of gas, no kids or dogs in the car with me and I was moving (sometimes). My college days had prepared me for the no bathroom situation. I finally made it home after 6 hours. A friend who could not make it to her house arrived about an hour after I got home.
We were super lucky compared to lots of others. And, our friend made it home on Wednesday with no problem!
One of the twins has been a bit sick so he was not going outside. His sister, on the other hand, wanted to play in the snow! Meanwhile, he wanted to take pictures. He took a few pictures before realizing he should move his fingers. . .:
First, she wanted to build a snowman. After all, we have listened to the Frozen sound track 47,000 times in the last month.
Next, she wanted to build another snowman.
And, then she wanted to build a whole snow family.
In case you do not recognize us let me help you:
- Evan is the tall one in the blue hat with sunglasses
- I am wearing a cool pink hat our niece gave us
- the twins are the middle-sized snow people (she is wearing a hand me down hat from our niece and he is wearing a cool Star Wars hat from our nephew)
- Buddy and Baby (our dogs) are each wearing black and white polka dots
- Sawyer is wearing the brown hat (it is another Star Wars hat from our nephew)
- Jake is in between Baby and Sawyer
School just got cancelled for Friday too. It is supposed to be in the 60′s by the weekend. So, if you are looking for us we will be the one’s at home watching our snow family melt.
Tags: loss of a child, new normal, thoughts, tragedy
In a few different posts I have written about what people have said to Evan and I after Jake and then Sawyer‘s deaths. There seem to be endless opportunities in life to say the wrong thing. It is hard to put yourself in another person’s shoes and separate out your own feelings. We all have different experiences. We start from a variety of places. Who is to judge what is right and what is wrong? All we can do is try our best.
My mom recently sent me an article called The Art of Presence by David Brooks. It is about a family who has suffered enormous tragedy in their lives (including the death of one of their daughters). The family gives very practical advice such as:
- Be a builder. I had not read/heard this analogy before and I like it so, I am going to share:
“Firefighters drop everything and arrive at the moment of crisis. Builders are there for years and years, walking alongside as the victims live out in the world. Very few people are capable of performing both roles.”
A few other pieces of advice I have heard about but are also worth sharing (I may have also written about these before . . .):
- Do be there.
Even if you do not know what to say it does not matter. Just show up.
- Do not compare, ever.
There is no comparison contest with bereaved parents. Everyone has lost.
- Bring soup.
Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.
The Dali Lama
- Do not say you will get over it.
Grief changes over time but in my experience there is no “healing” from the loss of your child.
- Do not say it is all for the best or try to make sense out of it.
The death of a child is not for the best and there is no making sense of it for any parent.
Tags: baby loss, dark days, dogs, happy, hope, loss of a child, new normal, thoughts
I am struggling to find a happy place today. So, I thought I would try to cheer myself up by sharing some things that did bring a smile to my face this week:
- Seeds of Happiness – They are simple, small clay smiley faces. The twins have yet to give them to anyone but they do have a big time playing with them:
“Mark Borella, a sculptor, created small smiley faces from left-over lumps of clay. He gave these to his friends whose young son was dying of cancer. He told them: “I know there is nothing I can say or do to make you feel better so I thought I would bring you some smiles to help you get your smile back. ”
He called them Seeds of Happiness. And his hope is that sharing the smiles continues to grow as their customers plant Seeds around the world.
- Keeping our dogs warm in the Star Wars coats we found this week:
It is possible that Buddy and Baby are not smiling about their new coats . . .
The movie is all about happiness and what makes people happy. The movement “is a 28 day program that brings happiness to the center of our lives.” I need to end this post so that I can go sign up.
Happy Friday and I hope that you all have a good weekend!