thank you so much and a bit of happy

March 1, 2016 at 6:36 pm | Posted in Cemetery, Jake, Love, Sawyer | 3 Comments
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flowers2

Last week I went to the cemetery and someone left flowers for Jake and Sawyer!  I have not been able to figure out who left them but I want to thank you so much for being so thoughtful and for remembering Jake and Sawyer.

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i cannot believe i am writing about this again. . .

June 30, 2014 at 10:50 pm | Posted in after death?, Cemetery, Grief, Jake, life after loss, Sawyer | 6 Comments
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Back in November the very kind cemetery people replaced Jake and Sawyer’s headstones. Jake’s headstone has now been replaced 4 times and Sawyer’s has been replaced 3 times.  All seemed fine with the new ones. . .until a few weeks ago.

It has been raining a lot here in Atlanta so I thought maybe there were just water stains on the nameplates.  I finally asked Evan what he thought about the stains.  He said he would call the cemetery people.  They went to check and the coating/finish is peeling off the nameplates.  I am not sure how to feel about this – it sort of seems like a cruel joke.  Should I cry?  Should I laugh?  Could the nameplates really need to be replaced again?  Or, maybe Jake and Sawyer are just playing tricks or trying to give us something to worry about.

The very kind people at the cemetery are looking into it and will let us know.  I will keep reminding myself that nothing is hurting Jake or Sawyer.  There is no urgency to get this fixed.  It might not be according to my plan but the world will keep spinning.

“I believe that if life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade… And try to find somebody whose life has given them vodka, and have a party.” Ron White

 


Washing

January 14, 2014 at 5:08 pm | Posted in Cemetery, Grief, Jake, Sawyer | 4 Comments
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Every time Evan and I leave the cemetery we wash our hands with water.  I know everyone washed their hands when leaving the cemetery after Jake’s funeral and then after Sawyer’s.  The other day I realized I have no idea why we wash our hands, so I decided to look it up.   There seem to be many different theories including the following:

  • Hand washing marks “the departure from the surroundings of death and to signify a renewed attachment with life.”
  • Washing hands symbolizes a “disassociation from death.”
  • Some used to interpret washing hands in order to banish “evil spirits.

The explanation that I like the best is that we wash our hands to signify the “transition from departing the place of death to entering that of life; it is also an attempt mentally to leave behind the realm of the past and re-embrace the present”.  At times, I have to work hard to stay in the present so the physical act of washing hands is a good reminder for me.

A resolution (not the New Years kind)

January 2, 2014 at 9:14 pm | Posted in Cemetery, Grief | 3 Comments
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I found out that my friend at the cemetery might have made the call to get Jake and Sawyer’s markers fixed.  I saw him the other day and asked him if he had anything to do with the new markers.  He would not say one way or the other, but I said thank you and I gave him a big hug just in case.

He explained to me that the granite that the markers rest on and the markers themselves are made at the same time.  When Sawyer died we buried him next to Jake, but in the same full-sized plot.  There were no issues with the headstone following Sawyer’s funeral because we did not have Sawyer’s marker added until 2 years later.  When we did add Sawyer’s marker the granite had to be replaced to allow for the 2 markers instead of just Jake’s.

The bolts that held the markers to the granite were not an exact fit which apparently is why the markers moved and shifted.  The bolts have all been replaced now.  However, there is a chance that the markers will shift again because the granite and the markers were still made at different times.  If the markers move again, the next fix would be to replace the entire granite and both of the markers (then the granite and both markers will be made at the same time – and should fit together without being able to shift).

Even with all of these logical solutions, I still like the idea that Jake and Sawyer are playing practical jokes on us.

Wishing you all a Happy 2014!

Happy Mother’s Day??

May 14, 2013 at 10:14 pm | Posted in Cemetery, Grief, Jake, life after loss, Love, Sawyer | 3 Comments
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As I have already written, Mother’s Day is not my favorite day.  I try to focus on the 4 positive pregnancy tests and the 4 live births.  I also try not dwell on the 2 emergency c- sections, the NICU, the miscarriage and the 2 deaths.  The truth is that all of these events have made me a mother.

I have gone to the cemetery the last seven Mother’s Days.  I know that some people consider this morbid.  For me it is my way of taking care of my children who are not physically with me.  It gives my aching arms something to do (even if it is clipping grass and cleaning headstones).  It brings me some peace.

This year I noticed something different.  There was a sign at the entrance to the cemetery:

Mother's Day Cook out

Maybe the cemetery has a new marketing person.  Or, maybe I have missed the sign in past years.  Either way, it just seems odd to have a Mother’s Day cook out at the cemetery.  And, what would one do with a t-shirt from the cemetery?

Yesterday

March 4, 2013 at 11:07 pm | Posted in after death?, Cemetery, Grief, life after loss | 12 Comments
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Yesterday was the 2 year anniversary of Evan’s mom’s death.  It was also the day of the unveiling of her headstone.  She had asked that this poem be read:

To Those Whom I Love And Those Who Love Me
written by Mary Alice Ramish

When I am gone, release me, let me go
I have so many things to see and do
You must not tie yourself to me with tears
Be happy that I have had so many years

I gave you my love, you can only guess
How much you gave me in happiness
I thank you for the love you each have shown
But now it is time I travelled on alone

So grieve a while for me, if grieve you must
Then let your grief be comforted by trust
It is only for a while that we must part
So bless the memories within your heart

I will not be far away, for life goes on
So if you need me, call and I will come
Though you cannot see or touch me, I will be near
And if you listen with your heart, you will hear
All of my love around you soft and clear

Then, when you must come this way alone
I will greet you with a smile and say welcome home

We placed stones on her grave.  Evan and I had brought stones from Sawyer and Jake’s headstone.

I am so lucky to have had her as my mother-in-law.  I will always be here to tell the twins stories about their amazing Mom Mom.   I know I wrote in my last post that I bargained my life (and Evan’s) but it was never with the intention of leaving the twins.  I was just a desperate mother who wanted the impossible.

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Home is where the heart is. . .

September 30, 2012 at 11:02 pm | Posted in after death?, Cemetery, Grief, normal? | 7 Comments
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I think that is how the saying goes. . .but what if your heart has been smashed into a thousand pieces?  Where is your home then?   I want my home to include all of my children.  Jake never left the hospital.  Sawyer did live in our home but not for long enough.

Our next door neighbors are selling their house.   There has been a lot of talk about what people want in a house.  A garage.  A basement.  X number of bedrooms and bathrooms.  The top of my list is actually none of those options.  My biggest concern is how far the house is from the cemetery where Jake and Sawyer are buried.  We currently live 15 minutes away.

I was speaking to another mom at baseball practice and she mentioned that her neighborhood is at the edge of the cemetery.  My mind filled with thoughts of what it would be like to be able to walk over to see Jake and Sawyer.   Would I go more often?  Would I ever go anywhere without going to the cemetery first?  It is so hard to drive by it and not stop.

Today we went and picked out 4 mini pumpkins.  One for each of the twins.  One for Jake.  One for Sawyer.  I was thinking that I would bring them to the cemetery as I have done in past years.  The twins had another idea.  They insisted on bringing the pumpkins to Jake and Sawyer’s room.  Jake never had a room in our current house.  He was born and died 2 years before we moved into our house.   Sawyer did have a room.  It was the room next to the twins’ room.  And, that is where they brought the 2 mini pumpkins.

   

Boy with the dragon tattoo & his sister

July 26, 2012 at 10:57 pm | Posted in Cemetery, Grief, life lessons, normal? | 9 Comments
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Thank you for all the well wishes.  The cast has not slowed him down one bit.

Here he is with his toy green teeth chasing the girl with the butterfly tattoo around the house.

Ok, the cast did eventually tire him out. . .

Blue casts can really weigh a boy down

Now that he stopped chasing her she was free to accessorize a bit more.

Tattoo, a Crown & a Ring
What could be better?

They are making the most out of their last days as 4 year olds.  She caught me off guard yesterday when she asked, “Will you take us to go see Sawyer and Jake for our birthday?”

“Yes, sure.  Why?’ I responded while trying to figure out what happened that made a visit to the cemetery pop into her toddler brain. 

“I love them.  You don’t take us to see them often enough.”

She is right.  I have not taken them to see Sawyer and Jake since the spring when she carefully arranged stones for her brothers.  Over the past 5 years Evan and I have made the decisions about when and when not to bring the twins to the cemetery.  Now that they have their own opinions I did not imagine we would be discussing trips to the cemetery.

“In the book of life, the answers aren’t in the back.”  – – Charlie Brown

Odd but Ok

July 20, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Posted in Cemetery, Grief, life after loss, normal? | 6 Comments
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Ever since Sawyer’s unveiling I have been watching the earth move farther and farther away from Jake and Sawyer’s headstone.  Ground settles.  No big deal.  I kept checking.  I thought about bringing some dirt and trying to fill it in.  Stones started to fall into the crack.  The split grew larger and larger.  I decided to ask about it.  I went to the office at the cemetery.  The groundskeeper explained to me that a combination of ground settling and rain can cause headstones to sink.  Not what I wanted to hear.   He asked if I could show him the headstone and then he could determine the best course of action.  Great.  Action is good.  In fact, fix it right now, please.

We drove out to Jake and Sawyer.  I showed him the crack.  He told me that they would lift up the marble and pack it down with more dirt.  Ok.  I asked, “Can we do that right now? ” He replied that he would put in a work order but it would not get done for a week or 2.  I thought about it.  Ok.  Jake and Sawyer are not going anywhere.  There is no urgency.  The more I thought about it the more I realized that I was actually taking care of something for them.  I will never give them a bath, brush their hair or help them get dressed.   Oddly, I felt good about placing the work order to fix the crack between the earth and the headstone.

I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme,
and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end.
Life is about not knowing, having to change,
taking the moment and making the best of it. . .” – Gilda Radner

The Story of the Stones

March 28, 2012 at 10:48 pm | Posted in Cemetery, Grief, normal?, traditions, twins | 9 Comments
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You may have noticed in my last post that Jake and Sawyer’s headstone is covered with stones.  At the unveiling, Jake and Sawyer’s sister carefully arranged all of the stones.   In fact, the twins each painted rocks for the occasion.  She would only paint the smooth stones.  He would only paint the rough ones.

The tradition of leaving rocks on the headstone signifies that someone has visited which honors the deceased person’s memory.  The last scene of Schindler’s List depicts children of Survivors placing stones on Oscar Schindler’s grave. 

There are many theories on the origins of this custom.  A few are the following:

  1. The stones are a kind of calling card left for the deceased.   Stones, unlike flowers, are permanent and do not get blown away in the wind.
  2. Jacob’s sons took a stone and put it on Rachel’s (their mother’s)grave to make up Rachel’s tomb.  In placing stones on the grave one participates in building the tombstone.
  3. A large stone slab was placed on the grave so that it would not be lost.  Rabbi Tam, goes on to explain that there were smaller stones that were set under the sides of the large stone that rests on them so that it will not bear down too heavily on the deceased.
  4. The ritual of placing a stone is a way of expressing our emotions and spiritual needs. Rabbi Andrew Straus explains that “we need physical acts to express these things for us, to make them concrete.”

    “Placing a stone on a grave does just that. It works in several ways:

    1) It is a sign to others who come to the grave when I am not there that they and I are not the only ones who remember. The stones I see on the grave when I come are a reminder to me that others have come to visit the grave. My loved one is remembered by many others and his/her life continues to have an impact on others, even if I do not see them.

    2) When I pick up the stone it sends a message to me. I can still feel my loved one. I can still touch and be touched by him/her. I can still feel the impact that has been made on my life. Their life, love, teachings, values, and morals still make an impression on me. When I put the stone down, it is a reminder to me that I can no longer take this person with me physically. I can only take him/her with me in my heart and my mind and the actions I do because he/she taught me to do them. Their values, morals, ideals live on and continue to impress me – just as the stone has made an impression on my hands – so too their life has made an impression on me that continues.” Rabbi Tom Louchheim

I am sure there are more theories but no matter the origins I like the tradition.  Evan and I collect stones from places we go.  We have our own tradition of kissing the rocks before we place them on the headstone.  We are sending kisses to Jake and Sawyer.  I hope that they are getting them. 

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