Storms & Seasons Greetings

December 12, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Posted in Grief, life lessons, normal?, silver lining | 10 Comments
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storm

The dark days of December are always accompanied by holiday parties and cheer.  The people of planet earth should be celebrating and happy because as it has already been established not everyone lives on planet my baby died. Last weekend I was visiting planet earth when Evan and I attended his work holiday party.  For the most part we fit right in.  Three different people asked “how many children do you have?”  My response to 2 of them was “we have twins at home.”

I was speaking to a woman who I knew had lost a daughter.  I did not know how or if I would bring it up but then she asked the question.  I told her about all 4 of our children.  I told her about Jake and Sawyer.  She told me about her daughter who had died in 1999.

She shared with me that the month of her daughter’s death is still hard for her.  I am truly sad that it is difficult but her honesty helped me.  The 3 years since Sawyer died seem so long ago in some respects but in others it really does not.  There is no plan to get over or through grief.  It is a journey.  I know exactly when the storms began but I am not sure if they will ever end.

Doctors & Dreams

December 2, 2012 at 9:48 pm | Posted in after death?, Grief, Love, normal? | 10 Comments
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Dream

Dear Sawyer,
Three years ago we had your 2 week check up with the pediatrician.  You did fantastic.  You were gaining weight.  You were eating.  You were sleeping.  All seemed to be going well.  Was there something that we missed?

The doctor told us that you were perfect.  We even scheduled your 2 month check up in January of 2010.  As you know, we did not make it to that appointment.

I try not to imagine what you would be like as a 3-year-old.  I know that I should just mourn the loss of you as a baby.  It only makes it more painful to grieve the losses of all the other stages you sadly never reached.  Good night baby boy.  I love you.  I miss you.  As always, I will look for you in my dreams.

Perfect

Stuck

November 26, 2012 at 10:48 pm | Posted in Death, Grief, life lessons, normal? | 17 Comments
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Thank you Brooke from by the brooke for writing about the book, Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar.  The book is written by Cheryl Strayed, who was formerly the anonymous online advice columnist, Dear Sugar.  The book is a collection of letters written to Dear Sugar and her responses.

One letter is from a bereaved mother, Stuck.  Stuck’s baby died.  I want to share the wisdom that Sugar so powerfully offers.  The following is part of the advice that Sugar wrote to her:

Dear Stuck,

I’m so sorry that your baby girl died.  So terribly sorry.  I can feel your suffering vibrating right through my computer screen.  This is to be expected.  It is as it should be.  Though we live in a time and place and culture that tries to tell us otherwise, suffering is what happens when truly horrible things happen to us.

Don’t listen to those people who suggest you should be “over” your daughter’s death by now.  The people who squawk the loudest about such things have almost never had to get over anything.  Or at least not anything that was genuinely mind-fuckingly, soul-crushingly life altering.  Some of those people believe they are being helpful by minimizing your pain.  Others are scared of the intensity of your loss and so they use their words to push your grief away.  Many of those people love you and are worthy of your love, but they are not the people who will be helpful to you when it comes to healing the pain of your daughter’s death.

They live on Planet Earth.  You live on Planet My Baby Died.

It seems to me that you feel like you’re all alone there.  You aren’t.  There are women reading this right now who have tears in their eyes.  There are women who have spent their days chanting daughter, daughter or son, son silently to themselves.  Women who have been privately tormented about the things they did or didn’t do that they fear caused the death of their babies.  You need to find those women.  They’re your tribe.

I know because I’ve lived on a few planets that aren’t Planet Earth myself […]

This is how you get unstuck, Stuck.  You reach.  Not so you can walk away from the daughter you loved, but so you can live the life that is yours — the one that includes the sad loss of your daughter, but is not arrested by it.  The one that eventually leads you to a place in which you not only grieve her, but also feel lucky to have had the privilege of loving her.  That place of true healing is a fierce place.  It’s a giant place.  It’s a place of monstrous beauty and endless dark and glimmering light.  And you have to work really, really, really hard to get there, but you can do it. […]

You will never stop loving your daughter.  You will never forget her.  You will always know her name.  But she will always be dead.  Nobody can intervene and make that right and nobody will.  Nobody can take it back with silence or push it away with words.  Nobody will protect you from your suffering.  You can’t cry it away or eat it away or starve it away or walk it away or punch it away or even therapy it away.  It’s just there, and you have to survive it.  You have to endure it.  You have to live through it and love it and move on and be better for it and run as far as you can in the direction of your best and happiest dreams across the bridge that was built by your own desire to heal.  Therapists and friends and other people who live on Planet My Baby Died can help you along the way, but the healing–the genuine healing, the actual real deal down-on-your-knees-in-the-mud-change–is entirely and absolutely up to you. […]

Yours,
Sugar

I have been living on Planet My Baby Died for 7 years.  I do not know if there is a separate Planet for when a second child dies.  If so, I have been on that Planet for almost 3 years.  Either way, here I am trying to live.

Thankful 2012

November 22, 2012 at 7:28 am | Posted in Grief, life lessons, Love, normal? | 8 Comments
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I am forever thankful for the people who supported and continue to support Evan and I through the darkest times in our lives.  I have not officially thanked you all but please know that you have our eternal gratitude.  Hope that you all have a very happy Thanksgiving!

Remembering Miracles

November 16, 2012 at 10:02 am | Posted in Grief, life lessons, normal?, silver lining | 3 Comments
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Thank you Samantha Murphy for remembering Jake and Sawyer.  Samantha recently started writing, Remembering Miracles.  She writes to ” keep the memories alive of the children who are now walking as angels in Heaven.”  Her blog is “to honor them, and to share their stories, so that they will live on forever, and never be forgotten. But although they are no longer physically here, their spirits live on, and will never fade as they continue to fight for their cause. So come on. Join the fights. Join the remembrance. What have you got to lose?”

I am honored that she wrote about Sawyer.   Remember Sawyer.

And, she wrote about Jake.  Remember Jake.

Samantha you are so very kind, thoughtful and wise beyond your years.  Thank you again for not letting the memories fade.

November 17

November 14, 2012 at 10:38 pm | Posted in Grief, life after loss, Love, normal? | 14 Comments
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Sawyer,
It is me again.  I keep losing track of days.  Your 3rd birthday would/should be in 3 days.  November 17th is not only your birthday but it is World Prematurity Day.  You were not premature but your big brother Jake was 14 weeks early.  In fact, you were 8 lbs and 1 oz and perfect.  I know that  if you were here you would be okay sharing your birthday with Jake’s cause.

This year is also the first Global Week of Action for child survival.  The 13th-20th of November this campaign will try to “bring people together across the globe to raise their voices against the unacceptable number of children dying before their fifth birthday from preventable causes”.   I do not know if your cause of death was preventable.  I am still hoping to know for sure one day.  I hope that where ever you are you know your dad and I would have done anything to protect you.  I still cannot believe that I could not save you.

I do not know if I cry because I am weak or strong.  I do not care either way.  I just cry and miss you.  Love you always and forever.

Elections & Explanations

November 8, 2012 at 10:22 pm | Posted in after death?, Grief, Love, normal? | 13 Comments
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Dear Sawyer,
Your sister has big plans!  She would change the colors of the rainbow if she were elected president (just in case you cannot read her handwriting).  Hopefully, if she does decide to run for president she will first brush her hair.  I will not list all changes I would make.  But if I did make a list, the first thing would be to find the cure for whatever took you away from us.

I try not to think about it but I still cannot believe that we do not know your cause of death. The first weeks and months after you died I could not think of anything else.  I went over and over in my mind what could have possibly happened.  I looked for more information everywhere.  I thought if there was some logical explanation perhaps I could understand.  No medical explanation has been found.  I have tucked away the search for your cause of death. I will never forget or stop wanting answers.  I just cannot let myself go there very often.  We may never know why your heart just stopped.  Even if we did, it would not bring you back. And, that is what I want most of all.

I still hold out hope that one day the study that you are part of at the Mayo Clinic will find something.  Anything.

Time is moving forward, as it always does.  I am not sure how it is possible but your 3rd birthday will soon be here.  I do not want  it to be another November 17th without you. I know there is no other option for me.  Your birthday will come and go.  We will not watch you eat your birthday cake.  We will not take pictures of you opening gifts.  Or hug you.  .  .

I will now put away that part of me that cannot stop obsessing about your unknown cause of death.  I hope that where ever you are you know how much you are loved and missed.

Lost Girl?

November 2, 2012 at 10:22 pm | Posted in after death?, Grief, life after loss, normal? | 5 Comments
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In my younger (pre-children days) I loved to travel.  My parents took my brother and me on all kinds of exciting adventures.  I was an exchange student in Finland for a summer.  I spent a semester in Madrid.   My first jobs at times required extensive travel.  I was always happy to explore a new city.

In August of 2005, I held Jake,our first son, as he took his last breaths and a part of me died with him.  My love for travel was buried with Jake.   I could no longer be alone in my house let alone a hotel room in a far away city.  Even driving alone in my car was excruciatingly painful for me.

The twins’ birth brought me happiness that I did not think I could/would ever experience again.  However, that part of me that died with Jake was still gone.  Travel now seemed out of the question.  I did not want to let the twins out of my sight.  I was no longer alone in the house or the car.

When Sawyer died so unexpectedly my ability to be alone vanished again.  The 3 hours twice a week when the twins were in preschool seemed like an eternity to me.  For awhile I could not even shower unless other people were in the house.

I do not think I will ever be the person that I was before Jake and Sawyer died.  At times I do wonder if that person who loved to travel and see the world is still out there somewhere. . .

Life without you

October 26, 2012 at 9:42 pm | Posted in Love, normal? | 4 Comments
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Dear Sawyer,
There are days that I just cannot stop my arms from aching to hold you.  Today was one of those days.  I think of you and miss you every day.  Time is marching on as it always does.  Soon it will be November again.  Another November without you – just like every day since that awful night.

I carry the book of pictures of you that my thoughtful friends gave me.  I hold on to it.  It is not the same as holding you but I am so thankful that I have it.  I cannot look at it often but I always have it with me.  I love you to the moon and back sweet Sawyer.  I will look for you in my dreams.   Love you always.

 

Hectic, Hope & Hair

October 20, 2012 at 10:20 pm | Posted in Grief, Love, normal?, twins | 11 Comments
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There always seems to be a lot happening in October.  However, this year seems extra crazy busy.  For example, yesterday the twins had a fun run at school, a baseball game and a kindergarten social.  Busy is good for me.  It keeps me moving forward.  No time (or at least not too much time) to stop and think about the 3rd birthday party we would be planning if Sawyer were still alive.

It turns out that hectic schedules are not so great for the twins.  Getting ready quickly to get to the next event is not either of their strong points.  So yesterday when no one would get dressed for baseball.  After lots of whining and a small melt down or two, I surrendered.  Their team was not going to have to forfeit if the twins were not there.  In fact, they do not even keep score.  Little people do not have to be busy all the time.  Finally, they agreed to get dressed for their school social.  And they had a good time.

Until, they didn’t. . .

Today was supposed to be another busy day.  A school fall festival and a hair cut.  I again did not fight the twins when they refused to get dressed to go to their fall festival.  They played pretend.  I braced myself for the fight I thought I would have with them in order to get them dressed to go out for their hair cuts.

Evan and I were pleasantly surprised when 2 little people got dressed and into the car without a melt down.  The twins were excited for this hair cut.  I had donated my hair last year and unintentionally inspired our daughter to grow her hair.  Here is her hair before:

Here is the hair pull that did not hurt (or put anyone in time out):

And, the after picture:

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