Surprise it is Spring

March 18, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Posted in Death, Grief, life after loss, normal? | 9 Comments
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“And when you’re alone, there’s a very good chance you’ll meet things that scare you right out of your pants.  There are some, down the road between hither and yon, that can scare you so much you won’t want to go on.  But on you will go though the weather be foul . . .”
Dr. Seuss

Spring is here.  The days are sunnier.  I feel quite the opposite of sunny.  This journey of life and grief always brings dark dark days.  At times I wish I could just disappear into the darkness.  I cannot.  So, I put on my sunglasses and follow these 2 out into the big world.

Where are Sawyer & Jake? (part 2)

February 26, 2012 at 9:16 pm | Posted in after death?, Death, Grief, life lessons, Love, normal? | 5 Comments
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In this post I wrote that I believe Jake and Sawyer are in our hearts.  I also believe they are close by.  I do not have any proof.  It is just a feeling (and a hope).  Maybe at times it is more than a feeling.

Last year, in the last few days of Evan’s mother’s life she (Shelley) spoke about people in the room.  She was at home.  Family, friends and hospice were with her.  A few times Shelley mentioned that there was a woman behind her and a little boy on the bench at the end of her bed.

When she was 17, Shelley took care of her sick mother.   Shelley cared for her until she died 2 years later.  Shelley was 19 at the time.  Over 40 years later, Shelley spoke about a woman behind her bed.  I believe that woman was her mother.

Evan’s sister asked questions about the woman and the boy.  Shelley said that the boy seemed like he was around 6.  At the time of Shelley’s death Jake would have been 5 1/2.  I like to think that the boy was Jake.

“It is the secret of the world that all things subsist and do not die, but only retire a little from sight and afterwards return again.  Nothing is dead; men feign themselves dead, and endure mock funerals and mournful obituaries, and there they stand looking out of the window, sound and well, in some new strange disguise.”   – –  Ralph Waldo Emerson

It is all part of my new normal.  The reality I live in now does not include Jake and Sawyer’s physical presence but they are always nearby.  They send me signs – like when I see a praying mantis on the window of my parent’s 8th floor condo or a ladybug in the middle of winter.  I will look for their signs while I wait to hold Jake and Sawyer again.  As an extremely wise bereaved mom wrote, “a lifetime is an impossibly long time to wait to hold my child again.”


February 10, 2012 at 8:46 am | Posted in Cemetery, Death, Grief, life after loss, parents, traditions | 7 Comments

The day has arrived, as I knew it would – Sawyer’s headstone is here. And it is 100% correct. Although I will never think that it is right that we have 2 headstones for our children in the first place.

 “The difference between fiction and reality? Fiction has to make sense.”  – Tom Clancy

Evan met me at the cemetery and we discussed what we should do next. Planning an unveiling is not going to be on anyone’s top 10 fun things to do list – but we are going to give it a try. I want so badly to be planning a play date for Sawyer –  not this. I know that we do not have to do it. There are no rules saying that we must have an unveiling.

I know in my gut that I will regret it if we do not have the unveiling. We will not plan birthday parties, play dates, gym classes, summer camps – the list is so very long of the things we will not plan and do for Sawyer. This we can do.

     When you look back on your life, you’ll regret the things
you didn’t do more than the ones you did.  -H. Jackson Brown, Jr.  

The Club

November 28, 2011 at 9:06 pm | Posted in Death, Grief, mourning, parents | 12 Comments
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There is a club that Evan and I have joined.  Not many people talk about it although many have written about it.  There are no dues for this club – at least not monetary ones.  I have no idea how large the club is in numbers.  There are no rules.  No board members.  Unlike most clubs no one actually wants to join this one.

It is a club whose only members are parents who have outlived their children.

Evan and I first joined in 2005 when Jake died.  There are acronyms like “BLM” (baby loss mother) and “BLF” (baby loss father) that I now find to be very common terms.  Membership in this club has taught me that there are no rules to living when your child has died.  You have to do whatever it takes to get you through the day and to survive.  The tools that I used to rely on to live no longer always help me.

I realize now that this club is made up of parents from every religion, class and country.  There is a good chance that some of your neighbors belong to this club.  I thought we already had a lifetime membership but our places in the club were once again secured when Sawyer died.

“Do not judge bereaved parents.
They come in many forms.
They are breathing, but they are dying.
They may look young, but inside they have become ancient.

They smile, but their hearts sob.
They walk, they talk, they cook, they clean, they work,
they are,
but they ARE NOT, all at once.
They are here, but part of them is elsewhere for eternity.”
                                                                                                –Author Unknown

Trick or Treat & Too Tired

November 2, 2011 at 11:50 pm | Posted in Death, Grief, silver lining, twins | 8 Comments
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It was a game day decision for the twins.  They decided over a month before Halloween that they were going to be a rocket and a unicorn.  This decision was prompted by the fact that I could not get them to leave Target without these costumes.  I was too tired that day to fight with them.  I am often tired.  I am sure that most, if not all parents are sleep deprived to some extent.   I know exhaustion is linked to depression.  In my alternate universe where Jake and Sawyer did not die would I be so tired?

I took the easy way out.  I opted to avoid a double meltdown and bought the costumes.

As I expected they changed their minds quite a few times before the big day.

The Viking and the Dress Up with the Umbrella were ruled out because they belong to our good friends who live in Colorado.

The crazy hair was ruled out because I cannot recreate that or anything closely resembling that hair do.

The others each were vetoed for some other reason.  And, we ended up back at the rocket and the unicorn. (Just in case you are wondering, that is pumpkin bowling in the last picture).

The extremely tired Cat in the Hat rallied for Halloween long enough to follow the rocket and the unicorn to a few houses for trick or treating.  Then the rocket offered to go home and help pass out candy.  Overall, it was a successful night.  No major meltdowns and no one turned into a pumpkin.

A Band & A Baby

October 18, 2011 at 8:10 pm | Posted in Death, Grief, mourning, silver lining | 3 Comments
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I joined a band.  Not the musical kind of band but a different kind.  The mission of Band Back Together is below or click on the link to read more about it:

Our Mission

Band Back Together is a group weblog that provides educational resources as well as a safe, moderated, supportive environment to share stories of survival. Through the power of real stories written by real people, we can work together to destigmatize mental illness, abuse, rape, baby loss and other traumas so that we may learn, grow, and heal.

All are welcome.

Not sure what I am doing in the band but I will figure it out. . . .

I also wanted to welcome my new nephew, Ethan, to the world!  I cannot wait to meet him.  And introduce him to his big cousins.

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Life & Light

October 15, 2011 at 11:18 am | Posted in Death, Grief, mourning, silver lining | 3 Comments
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“Instead of cursing the darkness, light a candle”
– –  Benjamin Franklin

Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day.  It is a day to promote and support the education and awareness for grieving parents.  Today and every day I miss Jake and Sawyer but tonight at 7 pm we will light candles.  This year I will once again hope that the light from all the candles will make the darkness of the unknown a little brighter.

As we honor  and remember the short lives of Jake and Sawyer today.  I would also like to honor the long life of Evan’s wonderful and amazing grandfather (aka GGP), Si Picker (if you click on the link skip down to the section titled “Naked with Brad Pitt”).  If you do not click on the link I will give you the cliff notes version.  Si Picker around the age of 60 became an actor.  One of the films that he was in was called Johnny Suede with a very young Brad Pitt.  Pitt was having a dream sequence in which GGP was sitting naked on a bar stool.

I know that death is part of life.  GGP’s death is the natural order life – it is still so sad.

“Love is stronger than death even though it can’t stop death
from happening, but no matter how hard death tries it can’t separate people
from love. It can’t take away our memories either.
In the end, life is stronger than death.”
– – Anonymous

Spam, Signed & Sealed

October 8, 2011 at 9:18 pm | Posted in Death, Grief, traditions, twins | 8 Comments
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If I have ever emailed you since the late 90’s you may have recently received suspicious emails from my address.  Let me apologize for any emails offering secrets of happiness or descriptions of sexual adventures.  I promise if I knew the secrets to happiness I would let you all know immediately.  Not sure what to write about the sexual adventures but please don’t open the link.  However, it appears my email account (which I have had for almost 15 years) was hacked.  I have changed my password.  Hopefully,  I will soon be spam free which coincides perfectly with my clean slate from the High Holidays. 

The days between Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and Yom Kippur are known at the Days of Awe.   These days are for introspection and reflection on the sins from the past year.  Names are written into the book of  life.  On Yom Kippur, the books is sealed.  In the High Holidays since Jake and Sawyer have died, I have thought about the fact that they did not have any sins.  So why were their names not inscribed in the book of life?  I know there is no answer to this question but I had to write it anyway.  I will not go down the path my mind usually takes.  This is the path of guilt where I have thoughts about my sins being the reason that Jake and Sawyer were not written into the book of life.  Must remember that my guilt is in the river. 


At the rising of the sun and at its going down
We remember them.

At the blowing of the wind and in the chill of winter
We remember them.

At the opening of the buds and in the rebirth of spring
We remember them.

At the blueness of the skies and in the warmth of summer
We remember them.

At the rustling of the leaves and in the beauty of autumn
We remember them.

At the beginning of the year and when it ends
We remember them.

As long as we live, they too will live, for they are now a part of us as
We remember them.

When we are weary and in need of strength
We remember them.

When we are lost and sick at heart
We remember them.

When we have joy we crave to share
We remember them.

When we have decisions that are difficult to make
We remember them.

When we have achievements that are based on theirs
We remember them.

As long as we live, they too will live, for they are now a part of us as
We remember them.

By Sylvan Kamens and Rabbi Jack Reimer

Anniversaries (again)

September 10, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Posted in Death, father, Grief, mother, mourning, parents | 4 Comments
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The tragedy of 9/11 and its’ anniversary are kinds of grief.   It is of course, an enormous source of grief for all of the families and friends who lost loved ones.  It is also the kind of grief in which you realize that the world as you knew it will not ever be the same.

Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans the week that Jake passed away.   A very close friend of mine took her 5-year-old son in for his check up and the pediatrician found a rare heart condition.   My grandmother had died.  I felt like the world was coming to an end.   So, I asked the rabbi who presided at Jake’s funeral about the possibility that the world was ending.   He replied with an analogy.   He said that it is like when you decide you are going to buy a certain kind of car.   Once you make the decision you start seeing the car every where.   So, my take away from his explanation was now that I was grieving I would start to see grieving every where. . . Turns out you don’t have to look too far for grief in this world.   The record 7.0-magnitude earthquake hit Haiti shortly after Sawyer died.

I know that 9/11, where close to 3,000 people died; Hurricane Katrina, where 1,500-1,700 people died; and the earthquake in Haiti, where almost 230,000 people died are tremendous losses compared to the death of two babies.   But, those babies were mine.   And, my world will never be the same as it was before they had died.

There is not a contest for who has the most grief.   I am not trying to compare my losses to these catastrophic tragedies.   There are not any winners here.  In grief we have all lost.   However, there is still the next day and the day after that.  And one day, there is a point where we will realize that our loved ones are dead but we are still alive.

I posted the above last year at this time.  On the anniversary of 9/11 and every day, my heart, prayers and thoughts go out to not only the victims but to those who they left behind in this world. 

Just Jake

August 14, 2011 at 4:34 pm | Posted in Death, Grief, hospital, mourning, parents, silver lining | 21 Comments
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Dear Jake,
I cannot believe that you would have been 6 years old today.  In some ways it seems like so long ago since I held you and in some ways it feels like last week.  I have so much to thank you for and I do not think I have ever told you.

First, I would like to thank you for choosing us to be your parents.   I remember running downstairs after taking the pregnancy test and seeing the positive result.  I could not wait to tell your dad.  I was completely filled with joy.  I have not been truly happy since that day.  Do not take this the wrong way, I have been happy.  It is just a different kind of happy and it is often bittersweet.  That wonderful March day I was just so blissfully unaware of the tragedies that life could and would bring.

Second, you made me understand how short and precious life really is.  You showed me in your brief time with me how pure and simple love can be.

Lastly (at least for now), I want to thank you for the strength you have given me.  It is difficult for me to explain but the night your youngest brother Sawyer died you are who was with me.  In the emergency room, you are the one who held me up in the hallway.  I am sure without you I would not have been able to stand let alone walk.  I kept telling myself if I could live in a world without you, I could and would somehow find a way to live without Sawyer.

I wish that we were having a birthday party with you today.  We are not.  Perhaps you are having a cosmic celebration with your little brother, your Mom Mom and your great-grandmother.   Whatever you are doing please know how much I love and miss you.

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