Hearts

July 26, 2013 at 9:56 am | Posted in Grief, normal?, Sawyer, twins | 6 Comments
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This week the twins had their check up with the pediatric cardiologist.  They were both rock stars during the EKG.   They both have innocent heart murmurs but otherwise, everything is fine.   Their hearts are normal.  We will continue regular activity and come back for our next check up.

These are the results that I want to hear.  I want both the twins to be healthy and happy.  I try so hard to stifle voice that wants to scream, “But, Sawyer was healthy and happy too, until he wasn’t and then he was dead!!”  I know that I cannot wrap the twins up in bubble wrap.

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The fact that we still do not know why Sawyer died is something I do not let myself think about very often.  I have to tuck it away so that it does not consume me.  However, during the twin’s cardiologist appointment we need to talk about it.  The doctor asked me if there were any updates from the Mayo clinic.  No, no updates.  We still know that Sawyer had a coarctation of his aorta but it was not narrow enough to cause his death.

I know that there is a very good chance that we will never know the cause of Sawyer’s death.  I have accepted this fact but I still do not like it at all.

Where is Sawyer

Last Day of Kindergarten

May 22, 2013 at 10:56 pm | Posted in Jake, Love, Sawyer, twins | 9 Comments
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quote - live - einstein

Today was the last day of kindergarten for the twins.  They have both been telling me for the last several weeks, “Mama, we are ready to go to 1st grade.”  I am so very happy watching them grow up.  This is what I want.  The twins are alive and growing.  So, why am I sad?

I know that I am not supposed to “grow” Jake and Sawyer up.  There is no point in mourning the 7-year-old and the 3-year-old who I will never know.  Logically, I know this is true.  However, somehow between the end of the year parties, musicals, recitals and tournaments my mind finds time to imagine the little boy who should be sitting in my lap watching his older siblings. And, then my mind wanders to the proud older brother who should be sitting next to me watching his younger brother and sister.

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There is no 3-year-old sitting in my lap.  No 7-year-old next to me.  However, I am here in the land of the living.  Evan and I are watching the twins grow while remembering Jake and Sawyer.  Life is bittersweet.  Miraculous and Miserable.

1st grade here we come

Ready or not . . .

The Best Ever Big Brother and Sister

April 14, 2013 at 10:22 pm | Posted in Grief, Jake, life after loss, Love, Sawyer, twins | 8 Comments
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Recently, the twins have started to read.  Gone are the days when Evan and I are the only readers of bed time books.

When I was pregnant with Sawyer I bought the twins “Best Ever Big Brother” and “Best Ever Big Sister.”  I bought the books to help with the adjustment of having a new sibling.  The twins have always known about their big brother Jake but they never met him.

After Sawyer died I thought I had taken the books out of their room and put them away.  I apparently did not because the other night the twins dug up the “best ever” books.

As I was putting away their clean clothes, the twins each read their version of the “best ever” books.  I could not move as my already shattered heart broke just a bit more every time one of twins read the lines meant for Sawyer, “One day you’ll be big like me.”

My tears over hearing those books read overshadowed my pride that the twins are actually reading by themselves.

Once again, I am reminded that I lead a double life.  I am here with the twins and Evan.   Then there is the other part of me who is on planet my baby died with Jake and Sawyer.  I try to keep my double life in balance.  I try my best to stay present with the twins but Jake and Sawyer are always with me too.  Most of the time it works but sometimes the balance just breaks.

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Staying Present

March 18, 2013 at 9:56 pm | Posted in Grief, Jake, Love, normal?, Sawyer, twins | 12 Comments
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Recently, I was reminded once again to live in the present.  I watched an interview with Valerie Harper.  She spoke so honestly about how she is trying to live in the moment and live her life to the fullest despite her terminal brain cancer diagnosis.  In her interview, Harper reminded us all that “None of us gets out alive.  Don’t go to the funeral before the day of the funeral.”

I replayed her interview in my head when I saw a daunting hill on mile 12 of the half  marathon I was running.  My first thought was to jump to the future (at least for a couple of hours to when I was showered and not running).  I tried to focus on the moment.  It was a beautiful day.  Only 1.1 miles to go.  The run was rough but I made it.

I again thought of Valerie Harper as I was helping the twins with their homework.  One of the twins had the assignment to draw a family picture in order from tallest to shortest.

Who is the tallest?  No problem.  “Daddy is the tallest!”

Who is the shortest? Tougher question.  “Mama, who was taller, Jake or Sawyer?”

The “not living in the moment me” would have taken into consideration that Jake should be 7.  He should be taller than the twins and Sawyer (who should be 3).

I pulled myself back to the present reality.  I answered,  “Jake was the shortest.”

My therapist is always reminding me not to grow Jake and Sawyer up.  The loss of Jake and Sawyer as babies is horrible enough without also grieving the loss at every age.  I am still working on this. . .

A's art 2013

Sunshine and Rain (part 2)

February 28, 2013 at 11:24 pm | Posted in Grief, Jake, Love, normal?, Sawyer, twins | 7 Comments
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helen keller quote

Thank you all for the kind words of encouragement.  The rain has stopped and there is some sunshine through the clouds.

When it rains one of the twins usually says “HaShem is crying.”  This week, I decided to ask, “Why do you think HaShem is crying?”  He responded, “I don’t know, mama.  Maybe HaShem is very sad.”

Ever since Jake and then Sawyer died I do feel like the rain is tears.  Sometimes I will confess that I am glad it is raining because it matches my sadness.  And, as an added bonus the raindrops disguise the tears running down my cheeks.

However, the other twin chimed in with her own answer.  “Maybe they are not tears of sadness. Maybe they are tears of happiness.”

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:

Anger

September 24, 2012 at 10:46 pm | Posted in Grief, life lessons, normal?, twins | 7 Comments
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As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world — that is the myth of the atomic age — as in being able to remake ourselves. – Gandhi

Anger.  It is the 2nd stage of grief according to Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.  At the time of Jake’s and Sawyer’s deaths I do not specifically remember feeling anger.  Perhaps there was no room for anger because the stages of denial, bargaining and depression seemed to have trapped me.  However, anger creeps into my life at unexpected times.

I was waiting in line with one of the twins so that she could sit in a fire truck.  We were patiently waiting our turn.

We were in line behind a very cute girl with Down syndrome.  She was not so sure about climbing up the stairs of the fire truck.  The fireman offered to help her but she wanted to do it herself.

I asked the woman with the girl in front of us in line how old she was.  She responded, “She is my daughter’s girl and she is 8.”  I wanted to say something back to her like “You mean she is your granddaughter?”  I remained silent.  Jake would have been 7.  Would he have liked fire trucks?

My little girl began to ask repeatedly, “When is it my turn?” My silence broke to reassure her that, “It is your turn next.”

The woman with the girl, looked at my daughter who at this point was jumping up and down as she continued to whine about her turn, pointed towards her granddaughter and said “This will really teach you patience.”  And there it was – anger.  I was angry at this grandmother.  I have not walked in her shoes.  I do not know the first thing about her life but I was angry.  The voice inside my head wanted to explain to her that I too had a Down syndrome child but he died.  He died before I got the chance to learn that level of patience.  I once again remained silent.

Letter to the Twins’ Kindergarten Teachers

September 4, 2012 at 10:10 pm | Posted in life after loss, Love, normal?, twins | 11 Comments
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Dear Ms. B. and Ms. K.,
We have been having a great year so far. The twins love being in your classes. We completed the Family Tree homework assignment which was due today. I thought I should clarify about a few of the leaves.  The ones which I am specifically referring to are the following:

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I honestly do not know what the twins will say about these leaves when it is their turn to present.  They may say something like “Jake and Sawyer are flowers.”  Or, they could tell the class how they bring stones to Jake and Sawyer.  It is also possible they could tell the class which Halloween costumes they have picked out for Jake and Sawyer.

Jake was their older brother.  He died before the twins were born.  Sawyer was their younger brother.  He died when the twins were 2 1/2 years old.  I do not know if they have any real memories of Sawyer.

The twins will not cry as they excitedly tell you and the rest of their class about their brothers.  They will happily talk and talk about them both.  They will smile as they explain to you how much they wish Jake and Sawyer would grow.

If you have any questions please feel free to let me know (I will try my best but I can not promise that I will not cry).

Thanks again,
The Twins’, Jake’s and Sawyer’s Mom

Family Portrait

August 28, 2012 at 9:58 pm | Posted in life after loss, Love, normal?, twins | 14 Comments
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Here is our family.  One of the twins pulled out her markers after school and this is what she created for me.  In case you are not sure who is pictured here I will explain:
  1. I am on the left side and look as if I have never seen a brush in my life.  However, I do have a nice purple bow in my hair.
  2. Evan is way on the right.  He is very tall.  And thin.  He could also use a good hair brushing.
  3. In the middle are the twins.  She is in pink.  He is in blue.
  4. Also in the middle, and above the twins are our dogs, Buddy and Baby.  They usually have their paws planted on the floor.
  5. At the very bottom of the page are our fish, Fred and Rose.  Fred was recently renamed Lightening Flash Fred.
  6. Which brings us to the circles in the middle. . .The larger of the circles is Jake.  The next largest circle is Sawyer.  The smallest is for the baby .  I did not realize they even knew that I was pregnant.  I was wrong.

Thank you Jake

August 12, 2012 at 9:52 pm | Posted in after death?, Grief, twins, why I write | 12 Comments
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“If there ever comes a day when we can’t be together
keep me in your heart, I’ll stay there forever.”

Winnie the Pooh,  A. A. Milne

Dear Jake,
It was 7 years ago today when I was admitted to the hospital.  The doctors said there was no other option.  You were not ready for this world.  I suppose the world was not ready for you.  Your dad and I were terrified when the doctor told us my contractions were 3 minutes apart.  I could not believe at 26 weeks it could possibly be real.  I did truly believe you would live.  You held on for 2 more days before we actually got to meet you.

I still cannot understand how it is 7 years later.  I do not need a calendar to tell me the time of year.   My tears are much closer to the surface.  The lump in my throat is back.  My irritation and impatience have also risen just below my skin.  My nerves are so raw.  I wish to lock myself away so that I do not snap.  I already have apologized to your daddy.   If only just for a few moments I could be with you and your littlest brother.  I know that it is not possible.  However, this time of year I frequently seem to find myself back on the island of denial.

Your Yahrzeit was this weekend.   (The Yahrzeit falls annually on the Hebrew date of the deceased relative’s death according to the Jewish calendar as opposed to the secular calendar.)  Your dad and I lit a Yahrzeit candle for you.

You have 2 new cousins!  Welcome to the world Eli and Owen!!  I wish you could meet them.  You probably already know this but your sister asked if she could have one of the babies.  She desperately wants a baby brother.  She talks about you and Sawyer almost every day.  This morning she brought me two blankets she found for each of you.  She is so sweet and thoughtful.  I am trying my best to keep it together.

Thank you for chosing us as your parents.  Thank you for the time you were able to spend with us.  Thank you for sending us your baby brother and sister.  They are shielding us from all the rain.

I miss you so much.  I love you to the moon and back baby boy.  I will look for you in my dreams.

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