Harriett R. Taylor

August 18, 2018 at 8:18 pm | Posted in Death, Love | 3 Comments
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In my family, August is pretty packed with birthdays, anniversaries and deathiversaries.  Today along with being Evan’s dad and stepmother’s wedding anniversary it is also the date when my Aunt Harriett died (21 years ago).

Although it has been over 2 decades, I can still feel the pit in my stomach that formed when I was told that she had pancreatic cancer.  I remember my parents were on vacation and I needed to call them to let them know this awful news.  I remember my hands shaking as I held the phone.

I was very lucky to have known Harriett Taylor, let alone to be her niece.  She inspired and helped me in ways that I wish I had been able to tell her during her lifetime.  I decided to go to law school during her judicial swearing-in ceremony.  I started volunteering at soup kitchens and food banks because she set the example of helping the poor and homeless.  She taught me the importance of sending thank you notes.

I remember my aunt’s mother pleading at her hospice bedside to switch places with her.  I learned that it is not possible, no matter how much you bargain, to trade your life for your child’s life.

My Aunt Harriett also taught me a lot about life, love and death.  Her oldest child’s (my cousin) birthday is on August 16 and her youngest child’s birthday is on August 20.  My aunt did not want to die on either of her children’s birthdays and she did not.  I truly believe that she willed herself to die on August 18.

The world is a better place because she was a part of it.

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August 14, 2018 at 7:36 pm | Posted in Death, Grief, Jake, Love | 5 Comments
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Happy birthday Jake! I am so very thankful that you were born. Your dad and I miss you every day, but some days are just a bit harder.

What kind of teenager would you be? Would you be testing my and your dad’s patience? What would you look like? Would you have had a bar mitzvah?

There are so many questions that will never be answered. However, I do know that your dad and I love you. We miss you today and always.

Happy birthday sweet baby boy. I will look for you in my dreams.

dreams & denial

September 12, 2016 at 9:30 pm | Posted in after death?, Death, Grief, Jake, life after loss, Love | 8 Comments
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quote-dream

August, as I have written about in the past, is filled with happy as well as hard days.  This year August started out with our dog, Buddy, dying.  I wrote about how I was in denial about his death and wondered how long I could stay there.

On and off throughout the month I was haunted by a dream where I could not find Jake.  I would try to go back to sleep in hopes that I could go back to the dream and find him.  One weekend I slept as much as possible determined to search for and find Jake in my dreams.  It did not work.  If I had the dream about Jake I always awoke without finding him.

Last night I finally found Jake in my dreams – he was with Buddy.  So, to answer my own question about “how long can I stay in denial?” it seems like the answer is about a month.  I sure do miss them both.

“When you come to the edge of all the light you know and are about to step off into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing that one of two things will happen: there will be something solid to stand on or you will be taught to fly.”   – author unknown

 

Mother’s Day (& may the 4th be with you all)

May 4, 2016 at 10:04 pm | Posted in Death, Grief, Jake, life after loss, Love, mother, mourning, Sawyer | 12 Comments
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There is not a day that goes by that I do not think of Jake and Sawyer, but some days are harder than others.  Mother’s Day is one of those days.  Logically it is just another day.  They are both gone every. single. day.  It is not like the first days, weeks and months after they died when the tears so often streamed down my face without me even realizing.  Now most of the time my tears are tucked farther away.   The sadness and the joy of loving Jake and Sawyer is a part of me.

I know I am not alone.  There are so many other mothers in this club with me.  There are mothers who this is their first Mother’s Day without their child (or maybe it is the 2nd or 22nd since their child died).

There are also mothers who have died leaving behind their children.  This is perhaps their children’s first Mother’s Day without their mother (or maybe it is the 2nd or 22nd since their mother died).

There are motherless mothers and motherless fathers. 

There are spouse’s who are filling the role of both parents on Mother’s Day.

Death is part of life.  And no matter how hard some days can be life goes on.

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 know that this day is hard for so many.  There are the other mothers in the club whose arms will also ache to hold their children.  There are others who are missing their mothers, grandmothers or partners.  I send hope and hugs to you all.

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what i have learned in the 10 years since Jake died

August 31, 2015 at 9:44 pm | Posted in Death, Grief, Jake, life after loss, Love, why I write | 11 Comments
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Dear Jake,
Another August has come and gone – the 10th August since you left this world.  I honestly was not sure that I would make it – 10 years seems like an eternity at times but I still find it so hard to believe that it has been that long since your dad and I last held you.

The first thing that I learned is that I will make it through the days, months and years without you.  I do not like it and it is excruciatingly hard.  But, your dad and I were not given a choice.  We are still alive.

I started writing this blog when you were gone for 5 years.  Five years also seemed impossible.  You would have started kindergarten and your brother Sawyer had died so unexpectedly 8 months earlier.   A therapist and a few friends suggested I try writing.  I thought why not – maybe I can help myself and possibly help others.

I think I had visions that one day I would change the name of the blog to something other than a mourning mom.  It turns out 5 years later I am still a mourning mom.  I have not found a cure for hydrops or premature birth.  In fact, we still do not even know what caused Sawyer’s death.  I have not started a non-profit or a race.  And, I still have days when I cannot stop crying because I miss you and your brother so much.

I wanted to write what I have learned in these 10 years living in this world without you.  I thought I could write one post to sum it all up but it is not quite that easy.  So, this my sweet Jake will just be part 1.   I will write to hopefully help others through their own journey.  And, even if I cannot help others I know that in another 5 years I will look back on these posts to help myself figure out how to survive the 10 year deathiversary of your baby brother.

a special project

July 22, 2015 at 10:36 pm | Posted in Death, Grief, hospital, life after loss, Love, NICU | 12 Comments
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The “consult room” – every hospital has one or several.  The “consult room” is where Evan and I held Jake for the last time. It is where we were when the ER doctor told us that Sawyer was dead. They were different “consult rooms,” in different hospitals but they looked the same. Standard issue plastic couch and chair. Generic flowery art. Striped carpet.

No one wishes to be in these rooms.  The hospital where all 4 of our children were born has a Perinatal Bereavement Office where I volunteer at times.  The extraordinary people who work at the office decided that they were going to renovate the consult room in the Special Care Nursery of the NICU.   I was lucky enough to help with this special project.

One of Evan’s mother’s paintings is now on a wall of the newly decorated consult room.  On another wall there is painting by an artist who is the great-aunt of other parents who also used the room when their little girl, Lily, died.  Her parents helped with this special project too.

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This is still a room that I hope none of you have to enter.  I know that realistically there are people who will be in that room holding their precious baby for perhaps the first and last time.  I wish that one day all babies will go home with their parents but until that day I am glad that there is now a warm comforting room where families can spend whatever time they have together.

Evan and I are truly honored by the dedication of this room and that this will be part of Jake and Sawyer’s legacy.

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i hope someone finds a cure for cancer

March 2, 2015 at 9:51 pm | Posted in Death, Grief, life after loss, Love | 9 Comments
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quotes - i hate cancer

Not too long after Sawyer died, the spouses of 2 of my cousins were diagnosed with cancer.  One lost her battle 2 years ago and the other lost her battle this past weekend. Having lived through Jake and Sawyer’s deaths, you would think handling death would somehow be easier (or at least not so damn hard).  I feel like I should have some wise words – or some magic way to protect others from living without their loved ones.  I am just not sure such magic exists.  Rationally, I know that death is part of life and that we will all die at some point but dealing with it is not easy.  Maybe it is not supposed to be easy.  If it were easy than it would mean we did not care for or love the person.

The cousin’s wife who died recently was only in her forties and they have young children.  It is not fair that their children have to grow up without their mother.  I know, no one ever promised that life would be fair – but I wish it could be (even if only for a little while).

quote - love

almost (but not really) fun(ny) Friday & an idea

January 30, 2015 at 5:40 pm | Posted in Death, Grief | 4 Comments
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If you have ever talked to me or read this blog you know that getting Jake and Sawyer’s headstones correct has not been easy.  In fact we have yet to accomplish it.  So this week when the incredibly nice lady from the cemetery called no one should have been surprised that the new headstones arrived and they are not right.  In fact she did not call Evan until she had already sent them back to the manufacturer.  When Evan  called to tell me the news, it made my head hurt but I also kind of felt like laughing . . .which stage of grief have I entered into now?

On a completely unrelated note (or maybe it is related after all because it is all out of my control!)  I feel like the world is falling apart.  The Middle East, school shootings, starving children – all so out of my control (kind of like the headstones – the deaths of Jake and Sawyer).  It makes me feel very helpless.  I want to be able to do something.

Awhile ago Evan thought up/or read about an idea to help the homeless.  Here in Atlanta, we spend A LOT of time driving around.  At stop lights there are often homeless people asking for money.

Evan, the twins and I put together bags with the following items:

Tissues
Band aids
Hand sanitizer
Socks
Peanut butter packs
Granola/protein bars
Water

Evan and I leave the bags in our cars.  When we see a homeless person we give them a bag.

It may not solve the problems in the Middle East or get us any closer to knowing Sawyer’s cause of death but it is at least doing something.

Missing Sawyer (today and always)

December 30, 2014 at 11:18 pm | Posted in Death, Grief, Love, Sawyer | 11 Comments
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quote - I love you to everywhere and back Sawyer,
No matter what calendar I look at or how I calculate it you have now been gone for 5 years.  According to the secular/American calendar Friday was your deathiversary.  The Jewish calendar says that tonight starts your yahrzeit.

I have run out of calendars and calculations that allow me to avoid the 5th anniversary of your death.  Over the years I have tried to outrun my feelings by being ridiculously busy.  I have tried going away and staying home.   It does not make a difference, no matter where I am or how busy I might be you are always with me.  And so are my feelings. . .

I am in disbelief that you are dead and that it has been 5 years since we last held you.  I am angry that you are not here with us.  I am frustrated that we may never know the cause of your death.  I am heartbroken that your father and I can no longer take care of you and watch you grow up with your older brother and sister.

I love you and miss you.

Sawyer

 

December 14

December 12, 2014 at 2:22 pm | Posted in Death, Grief, life after loss, Love | 3 Comments
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quote - hope and light

This Sunday, December 14th, is the 2nd year anniversary of the unthinkable day at Sandy Hook elementary school. Twenty children and 6 educators were shot and killed.

This Sunday is also the Worldwide Candle Lighting created by The Compassionate Friends.  The purpose of the event is to unite “family and friends around the globe in lighting candles for one hour to honor and remember children who have died at any age from any cause.”

At 7 pm around the globe candles will be lit to create “a virtual 24-hour wave of light as it moves from time zone to time zone.”  The Compassionate Friends is an organization which was formed to support families after a child has died.  Its founder, Simon Stephens, states the mission is “about transforming the pain of grief into the elixir of hope.”

WCL+2014

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