Birthday Benches

August 20, 2015 at 11:36 pm | Posted in Grief, hydrops, Jake, life after loss, Love, NICU | 9 Comments
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Jake never left the hospital.  His short life was spent entirely in the NICU.  The only other places Evan and I went with him were the consult room and a small outdoor balcony off of the NICU.

The three of us

While helping with the special project of updating the consult room I heard that the balcony might need some new benches.  It seemed to make sense to me that for Jake’s 10th birthday we should get the benches for the balcony.  So that is what we did.  We miss you Jake.

quote - roses - Lincoln

Dear Jake

August 14, 2015 at 11:18 pm | Posted in life after loss, Love | 8 Comments
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Happy 10th birthday sweet boy.   Thank you for making me a mother.   I have tried really hard today to focus on how lucky we are to have had you in our lives even for such a short time.   The doctors and the statistics were not in favor of us spending any time on this earth together.  You beat the odds and you were born alive.   Then the doctors told us that you most likely would not live through the night – but again you proved them wrong.   You were such a brave and strong fighter.  Thank you for fighting so hard and for making Evan and me parents for the very first time.

I am trying to be brave and strong too but 10 years is an impossibly long time to live in this world without you.   I miss you today and always.  I hope that wherever you are you know how much you are loved and missed.

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.

image

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.

image

the sun and the earth

June 12, 2015 at 7:28 pm | Posted in Grief, life after loss | 4 Comments
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The twins finished school on May 22nd.  Their elementary school is divided into 2 campuses (k-2 is in the primary campus and 3-5 is in the intermediate campus about a mile away).

The pictures below are from their 2nd graduation parade.  They both picked out the same concert t-shirt to wear.

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Evan said that I should not be sad about the twins going to 3rd grade and at the same time be sad that Sawyer is not starting kindergarten.  The twins growing up and finishing 2nd grade is the way life should be unlike Sawyer (and Jake) who are forever frozen in time.

I did cry in the corner a little bit during the parade but for the most part I have not been as emotional as I was at the end of 1st grade and kindergarten.  I am not sure that if it was Evan’s words of wisdom or the fact that one of the twins had a temperature of 103.8 on the last day of school but we have left the primary campus without too many tears.

So far this summer because of life and work the twins have been spending time with a babysitter.  When I got home from work yesterday they were both so excited to tell me that they went to the park and checked on Jake and Sawyer’s trees.  I have not visited the trees to check on them in such a long time.  It made me so happy that the twins thought to do it.

quote - hafiz-sun

March of Dimes’ March for Babies

May 12, 2015 at 10:15 pm | Posted in life after loss, Love | 4 Comments
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Last weekend we walked and remembered Jake, Sawyer and all the other babies who were not there to march with us.  In the 1950’s the March of Dimes helped to fund the cure for polio – which led to the effective end of the disease.  Who knows maybe some day there will be similar medical breakthroughs that will help to end infant mortality and there will be less flowers in the memorial garden.

March of Dimes 2015 - memorial garden

Thank you so much for again supporting our team this year and in past years.  We appreciate all of your amazing kindness and generosity.

Fine Tuning

April 28, 2015 at 10:35 pm | Posted in Grief, life after loss | 5 Comments
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quote -sails-quote

The other day was kindergarten round-up (the “orientation” for rising kindergarteners).  Sawyer would be have been 5 in November and he should have been there that day getting a tour of the school he should be starting next school year.

I know that I am not supposed to grow him up in my mind but sometimes I find myself wondering anyway.

My therapist suggested that I slightly adjusting my thinking – kind of like those radio dials we used to turn until the station came in more clearly.  For example, one of the twins goes to a doctor in the medical building attached to the hospital where Sawyer died.  One day Evan was going instead of me.  He had not been there yet so he asked me to clarify which building.  There are a lot of medical buildings in that area so I tried my best to explain but was not making any progress.  Finally, I said “remember the turn around where we waited the night Sawyer died?”  He got it – and knew exactly where to go for the appointment.

If I adjust this conversation slightly in the future instead of giving directions that involve “where we waited the night Sawyer died” I can say “where we park for the doctor.”

This August Sawyer would have started kindergarten (it would have been Jake’s 10th birthday and the 10th anniversary of his death but I am not going to think about that today).  Last week was kindergarten round-up.  Sawyer was not there.  He will not be there on the first day of school.   I am trying to adjust my thinking but I am still working on the fine tuning.

my updated new normal

April 2, 2015 at 11:12 pm | Posted in Grief, Love | 5 Comments
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I am still working on my spring resolutions but sometimes while I am busy focusing on the present, the past sneaks in.  I have recently realized that the past is part of my new normal.  People who meet our family now may or might not know that Jake and Sawyer existed.  If they are people who we see regularly or the twins play with I am never quite sure if they know.  The twins could have spoken about their brothers.  Someone else could have told them.  Or maybe they are a neighbor who saw the ambulance and police at our house that awful night that Sawyer died.

I have found myself telling those people – the friends and acquaintances – about our other 2 children.   It feels like the right thing to do.  No more guess work.  No more pretending.   Once I have shared Jake and Sawyer’s story I can be a better mom to all 4 of our children.

quote - Elizabeth Edwards

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.

baby steps

January 28, 2015 at 7:36 pm | Posted in Grief | 13 Comments
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quote - ernest hemingway

The other day I was alone with a baby. I have not been alone with a baby since my days with Sawyer.

Our neighbor’s baby boy had heart surgery the first week of January.  He is home now and doing great.  I offered to help.  The mom asked if i could stay with the baby while she picked up her other sons from preschool.  As she placed the baby in my arms I silently told myself “I can do this.”  I held him the entire time his mom was gone and I watched his every breath.  He might have almost smiled at me.  My neighbor came home, I placed him back in her arms and agreed to come watch him another day. I did it!

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

 

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