Sawyer and the strawberry

December 28, 2017 at 4:58 pm | Posted in Grief, life after loss, Love, Sawyer | 6 Comments
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December 26th is the date on Sawyer’s death certificate. I am not sure when exactly he died but Evan and I kissed him good night for the last time on December 25th.

No one ever really knows how long we have between birth and death. I am very thankful for the time we did have with Sawyer.

Buddhist story:
“A man traveling across a field encountered a tiger. He fled, the tiger after him. Coming to a precipice, he caught hold of the root of a wild vine and swung himself down over the edge. The tiger sniffed at him from above. Trembling, the man looked down to where, far below, another tiger was waiting to eat him. Only the vine sustained him.

Two mice, one white and one black, little by little started to gnaw away the vine. The man saw a luscious strawberry near him. Grasping the vine with one hand, he plucked the strawberry with the other. How sweet it tasted!”

There are many interpretations of this story.  I like to think of the strawberry as the present.  One of the tigers is birth and the other death.

I wish I had more time to spend with Sawyer.  If I had known that time (and the tiger of death) were present and against us that Christmas night when we kissed him goodnight, I am sure that I would have never stopped kissing him.  Love and miss you sweet Sawyer.


Mother’s Day when your child is dead

May 12, 2017 at 1:14 pm | Posted in Grief, Love | 4 Comments
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There are no rules for Mother’s Day without your child/children.   We miss our children every day but some days are harder than others.  This is one of those days.

  • Remember that you are and always will be a mother.
  • Know you are not alone.  This club has many members.
  • The baby/child loss club is not the only one out there.  There are those without their mothers on Mother’s Day and countless other loss clubs.   Buddha’s story about the mustard seed sums it up perfectly – “in the whole city, in the whole world,  there is not one family, not one person free from the certainty of death.  It is the way of all living things – we must at some time leave one another.”
  • Do one thing (no matter how big or small) for yourself – even if that one thing is crying or showering.
  • Honor/remember your child.
  • Hug your family and friends a bit tighter.
  • Talk about your child.  Say their name (or names).
  • Be kind to yourself.

I hope that you all have the best day possible.


The Other Side

April 26, 2013 at 7:44 am | Posted in after death?, Grief, Jake, Love, normal?, Sawyer | 4 Comments
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One day a young Buddhist on his journey home came to the banks of a wide river. Staring hopelessly at the great obstacle in front of him, he pondered for hours on just how to cross such a wide barrier.

Just as he was about to give up his pursuit to continue his journey, he saw a great teacher on the other side of the river. The young Buddhist yells over to the teacher, “Oh wise one, can you tell me how to get to the other side of this river”?

The teacher ponders for a moment looks up and down the river and yells back, “My son, you are on the other side”.

I have been and might always be on a journey to find the cause of Sawyer’s death.  I have wanted to be in a place where all of my children are living.  Not stuck between my two worlds.

I cannot do anything to bring back Jake or Sawyer.  I am here.  On the other side.  However,  maybe just maybe I can help spare other parents the heartbreak of having to live in a world without their child/children.  So, as we have done every year since Jake died, our family will walk in the March of Dimes, March for Babies this Saturday.

Thank you to all those who supported our team this year and in past years.    We appreciate all of your amazing kindness and generosity.   If you would like to support Jake’s Journey & Sawyer’s Strides please click this link.


January 24, 2013 at 11:48 pm | Posted in after death?, Grief, life lessons, normal? | 5 Comments
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Maybe (Taoist story)

There is a Taoist story of an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. “Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically.

“Maybe,” the farmer replied. The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it 3 other wild horses. “How wonderful,” the neighbors exclaimed.

“Maybe,” replied the old man. The next day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune. “Maybe,” answered the farmer. The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out. “Maybe,” said the farmer.

After Sawyer died, one of Evan’s friends came over to see us.  Those days were such a blur that I do not remember his exact words but I will try to give you the basic gist.  He explained that sometimes things happen and we do not see or understand why at the time.  We may never understand why but the fact that Sawyer died could influence someone or something in the future. 

I, of course, responded that I will never understand why. 

He went on to say that some events need to be looked at in different ways.

I again responded that I have examined and reexamined every angle of Sawyer’s death and could not find anything except for earth shattering pain, emptiness and never ending darkness.

However, he continued to make his point in a way that I could actually accept.   He gave the example that when the twins grow up that their experience of Sawyer dying could impact them beyond my initial thoughts of how they would grow up without their baby brother.  They could be perhaps go on to discover a cure for whatever caused Sawyer’s death.  In that moment I grasped the fact that something good could possibly result from Sawyer dying.  Maybe, just maybe.

Molly Bears and Mixed Blessings

June 16, 2012 at 7:48 pm | Posted in Grief, life after loss, normal?, silver lining, Time, twins | 6 Comments
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Mixed Blessings:

The twins have finished another year of preschool.  This is what I want.  I want them to be healthy.  They should grow up, unlike their brothers who are frozen in time.  So why do I have such mixed emotions as yet another year flies by?   There is so much to look forward to as the twins get older.   Is it the fact that there is nothing to look forward to for Jake and Sawyer?  Or, is it because the twins might be leaving preschool behind and starting kindergarten?

Which brings me to reason #2 I am a mixed-up mom at the moment.  The twins’ birthday is 8 days before school here starts.  They will be among the youngest in their class.  Many of the neighborhood children who I thought would be starting kindergarten with them are going to another year of preschool (or pre kindergarten).    Evan and I have a few options for the twins.  Whatever we decide will work for our family.   In the meantime, I will keep repeating the words of my therapist or Buddha (or maybe both. . .) “everything is exactly the way it should be right now.”

Molly Bears:

Molly Christine died at 34 weeks, on May 30th 2010.  A high school friend gave her parents a weighted teddy bear.  Molly’s mom added rice to the bear so that it was the exact weight of Molly at her time of death/birth.   While nothing will replace Molly it helped her mother to hold the teddy bear.  Her mother began to make Molly Bears for other bereaved parents.  They have received over a thousand orders and so far have created hundreds of bears. Molly Bears are now with families in all 50 states and 13 countries.

Evan and I ordered bears for Jake and Sawyer.  We are looking forward to holding them in our arms.

Out of Control

February 22, 2012 at 9:30 pm | Posted in Grief, life lessons, twins, venting | 6 Comments
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“If everything seems under control, you’re just not going fast enough.”
– – Mario Andretti

Thank you all so much for the well wishes for Evan.  He was cleared to go back to work.  He will have quite a few doctor’s appointments in his future but we are hopeful that his health will be back under control soon.  I have once again been reminded of an important life lesson. I DO NOT HAVE ANY CONTROL.

I am not sure what happens but sometimes I forget. It is like I have amnesia and I actually believe I have a bit of control.  Jake, Sawyer, infertility . . . just to list a few glaring instances where I am not in charge. I will continue to remind myself of the tasks which I can control.   Laundry, the dishes, grocery shopping. . .a few which immediately come to mind. As for the rest, I will have to try my best and go with the flow.

I recently read another Buddha story about an old man who accidentally fell into a river leading to a dangerous waterfall. Onlookers feared for his life. Miraculously, he came out alive and unharmed at the bottom of the falls. People asked him how he managed to survive. “I bent myself into the water, not the water to me. Without thinking, I allowed myself to be shaped by it. Plunging into the swirl, I came out with the swirl. This is how I survived.”

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Memories & Moments

November 10, 2011 at 11:22 pm | Posted in Grief, twins | 8 Comments
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I believe that when older people die there are many places, songs and other things which stir up mixed emotions and memories for those left behind.  There are not a lot of places which remind me of Jake or Sawyer.   Jake never left the hospital.  Sawyer did leave but went home.  Other than home, he went to the pediatrician twice and once we stopped by a good friend’s house on the way home.

I have been back to the hospital and the pediatrician (on many occasions).   I have not been back to the hospital where Sawyer died.  I have to confess that sometimes I drive way out of my way not to even drive by the place.

Today I went back to the place I was the last day I saw Sawyer alive.  Sawyer had stayed home with Evan.  I took the twins to the JCC for a Family Fun Day .  It was Christmas day and it was a no fun day for me.  The twins were running around like little crazy people.  I had to go home to feed Sawyer and the twins would not leave.  I had a major meltdown in the parking lot.  It was not my finest hour.  Have you had any parenting or other types of meltdowns?

As I drove into the parking lot today I noticed that familiar pit in my stomach.   My mind traveled back to that day in 2009.  Sawyer was alive and waiting for me to come home to feed him.  As it turned out it took me so long that day to get the twins home that Evan had to feed Sawyer a bottle.

Today I debated driving right out of the parking lot and leaving.  A mom of one of the twins’ preschool friends wrote a book .  She spoke about it today at a book festival.  I wanted to go hear her speak.  I took a few deep breaths, parked my car and transported myself back to 2011.

Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.  —- Buddha

Whatever we think of the past, we must not be prisoners to it.  —- Barack Obama, speech, Jun. 4, 2009

For time and the world do not stand still.  Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or the present are certain to miss the future.    —- John Kennedy

Burritos, Buddha & Baggage

September 30, 2011 at 11:20 pm | Posted in Grief, mourning, silver lining, twins | 7 Comments
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I have been trying to move past the fact that there may never be an answer to what caused Sawyer’s death.  It is hard to let go.  A moral from one of the twins’ books has been helping me with this process.  The twins’ great grandparents recently gave them a book call Zen Shorts by Jon J. Muth.  Have you ever heard the Buddhist tale about the Monk with the Heavy Load?

One day two traveling monks reached a town and saw a young woman waiting to step out of her sedan chair. There were deep, muddy puddles and she couldn’t step across without getting mud on her silk robes. She impatiently scolded her attendants, who were carrying heavy packages.

The younger monk walked by the young woman without speaking. But the older monk stopped and picked her up on his back, carrying her across the mud. Not only did she not thank the monk, she shoved him out of her way when he put her down and scurried by him.

As the two monks continued on their way, the younger monk was brooding. After a long time, he finally spoke out. “That woman was so rude but you picked her up and carried her! She didn’t even thank you.”

“I set the woman down hours ago,” the older monk responded. “Why are you still carrying her?”

Letting go does not mean forgetting Sawyer or Jake.  It means moving forward.  It will not always be a straight path.  Luckily, I have some little monks with me on this journey.  Here they are in burrito pose (or more commonly known as shavasana):


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