Harriett R. Taylor

August 18, 2018 at 8:18 pm | Posted in Death, Love | 3 Comments
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In my family, August is pretty packed with birthdays, anniversaries and deathiversaries.  Today along with being Evan’s dad and stepmother’s wedding anniversary it is also the date when my Aunt Harriett died (21 years ago).

Although it has been over 2 decades, I can still feel the pit in my stomach that formed when I was told that she had pancreatic cancer.  I remember my parents were on vacation and I needed to call them to let them know this awful news.  I remember my hands shaking as I held the phone.

I was very lucky to have known Harriett Taylor, let alone to be her niece.  She inspired and helped me in ways that I wish I had been able to tell her during her lifetime.  I decided to go to law school during her judicial swearing-in ceremony.  I started volunteering at soup kitchens and food banks because she set the example of helping the poor and homeless.  She taught me the importance of sending thank you notes.

I remember my aunt’s mother pleading at her hospice bedside to switch places with her.  I learned that it is not possible, no matter how much you bargain, to trade your life for your child’s life.

My Aunt Harriett also taught me a lot about life, love and death.  Her oldest child’s (my cousin) birthday is on August 16 and her youngest child’s birthday is on August 20.  My aunt did not want to die on either of her children’s birthdays and she did not.  I truly believe that she willed herself to die on August 18.

The world is a better place because she was a part of it.

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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.

Sawyer

what i have learned in the 10 years since Jake died

August 31, 2015 at 9:44 pm | Posted in Death, Grief, Jake, life after loss, Love, why I write | 11 Comments
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Dear Jake,
Another August has come and gone – the 10th August since you left this world.  I honestly was not sure that I would make it – 10 years seems like an eternity at times but I still find it so hard to believe that it has been that long since your dad and I last held you.

The first thing that I learned is that I will make it through the days, months and years without you.  I do not like it and it is excruciatingly hard.  But, your dad and I were not given a choice.  We are still alive.

I started writing this blog when you were gone for 5 years.  Five years also seemed impossible.  You would have started kindergarten and your brother Sawyer had died so unexpectedly 8 months earlier.   A therapist and a few friends suggested I try writing.  I thought why not – maybe I can help myself and possibly help others.

I think I had visions that one day I would change the name of the blog to something other than a mourning mom.  It turns out 5 years later I am still a mourning mom.  I have not found a cure for hydrops or premature birth.  In fact, we still do not even know what caused Sawyer’s death.  I have not started a non-profit or a race.  And, I still have days when I cannot stop crying because I miss you and your brother so much.

I wanted to write what I have learned in these 10 years living in this world without you.  I thought I could write one post to sum it all up but it is not quite that easy.  So, this my sweet Jake will just be part 1.   I will write to hopefully help others through their own journey.  And, even if I cannot help others I know that in another 5 years I will look back on these posts to help myself figure out how to survive the 10 year deathiversary of your baby brother.

August 26, 2015 at 11:44 pm | Posted in Anniversaries, Grief, Jake | 3 Comments
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“When you come to the edge of all the light you know and are about to step off into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing that one of two things will happen: there will be something solid to stand on or you will be taught to fly.”   – author unknown (borrowed from the walk to remember program)

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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