March 4, 2013 at 11:07 pm | Posted in after death?, Cemetery, Grief, life after loss | 12 Comments
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Yesterday was the 2 year anniversary of Evan’s mom’s death.  It was also the day of the unveiling of her headstone.  She had asked that this poem be read:

To Those Whom I Love And Those Who Love Me
written by Mary Alice Ramish

When I am gone, release me, let me go
I have so many things to see and do
You must not tie yourself to me with tears
Be happy that I have had so many years

I gave you my love, you can only guess
How much you gave me in happiness
I thank you for the love you each have shown
But now it is time I travelled on alone

So grieve a while for me, if grieve you must
Then let your grief be comforted by trust
It is only for a while that we must part
So bless the memories within your heart

I will not be far away, for life goes on
So if you need me, call and I will come
Though you cannot see or touch me, I will be near
And if you listen with your heart, you will hear
All of my love around you soft and clear

Then, when you must come this way alone
I will greet you with a smile and say welcome home

We placed stones on her grave.  Evan and I had brought stones from Sawyer and Jake’s headstone.

I am so lucky to have had her as my mother-in-law.  I will always be here to tell the twins stories about their amazing Mom Mom.   I know I wrote in my last post that I bargained my life (and Evan’s) but it was never with the intention of leaving the twins.  I was just a desperate mother who wanted the impossible.

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No words

December 18, 2012 at 11:44 pm | Posted in Grief, life lessons, Love, mourning | 6 Comments
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Gandhi peace buttonEvery morning since Friday I have woken up hoping that the senseless deaths in Newtown were a horrific nightmare.  After Jake’s and Sawyer’s deaths I had similar experiences.  The moments before I was fully awake everything seemed alright in the world.  And then an instant later it shattered.  Reality.  And, the world seems as if it is forever broken.

There are so many families left behind.  New members of the club.  Filled with endless questions.   Why?  How?  Guns?  G-d?  There are no answers that will bring them back.  The 20 children will never grow up.  The families will be missing pieces for eternity.

I so wish I had the right words but since I do not, I will again borrow wisdom from Gandhi.


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


August 30, 2012 at 9:10 pm | Posted in life after loss, Love, silver lining, Time | 10 Comments
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If things get better with age, then you are approaching magnificent. –Unknown

August is filled with happy and sad days for me but it always ends with the birthday of my amazing grandfather.  He is 100! today!! In my opinion he has not only approached magnificent but passed it by long ago.  I am so very lucky to have him in my life.

I submitted the birthday application to have the chance for Williard Scott to wish him a Happy Birthday on the Today Show.  Apparently there are a lot of centenarians these days and Williard Scott did not wish him a happy birthday.  So, I will . . .


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.

A Happy Day

August 16, 2012 at 11:42 pm | Posted in life after loss, Love | 13 Comments
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“Today you are you! That is truer than true!
There is no one alive..…who is you-er than you!
Dr. Seuss “Happy Birthday To You!”


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Wish for Wendy, Wings & WTMI

June 4, 2012 at 9:46 pm | Posted in Grief, life after loss, silver lining, twins | 8 Comments
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Way Too Much Information:

We were at the pool the other day and I put our things down on a chair beside a woman with her newborn baby.

Our daughter quickly turned to the woman and with a big smile said, “I really like your baby.”

“Thank you!  How old are you?” responded the very new mother.

“4 and 3/4 . So is my brother – we are twins.  We had 2 babies too but they are dead.”  She shrugged her shoulders and ran off towards the pool.

Silence.  How many times can an already broken heart be broken again?  I shrugged my shoulders and ran after her.


Wish for Wendy:

Andy Lipman never met his older sister Wendy. She died when she was 16 days old from complications from cystic fibrosis.  Andy was born 3 years later, also with cystic fibrosis.

I have written about Cystic fibrosis (CF) in previous postsCharlie, one of my brother’s closest friends, lived over 26 years longer than doctors had originally predicted.  CF is an inherited, chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system of about 30,000 individuals in the United States, and 70,000 people worldwide. In the 1950s, few children with cystic fibrosis lived to attend elementary school.  Today, advances in research and medical care have enhanced and extended the lives of children and adults with CF.  While Andy’s prognosis in 1973 projected that he would not live to become a teen, Andy is an active adult and sports enthusiast with two young children.

In August of 2006 Andy and his family founded the Wish for Wendy Foundation, Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing awareness about living with cystic fibrosis and supporting efforts to find a cure.

As I previously mentioned, I have decided that I am going to add a feature to this blog which focuses on families who are making the world a better place by honoring the memory and lives of their children. If you know of or come across any organizations that would be worth mentioning please let me know.

Sawyer’s Aunt

April 10, 2012 at 10:26 pm | Posted in Death, Grief | 6 Comments
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On my last post, The Good Cook commented that “It truly does take a village to mourn one lost love.”. We are not alone in our grief. Other family members mourn. Friends mourn. Sawyer and Jake are loved and remembered by many.

Not long after he died, one of Sawyer’s amazing aunts wrote the post below:

This is incredibly sad for me to write.  I hope writing about it helps.

My brother’s baby stopped breathing and died in his sleep, almost two weeks ago.

We were all in terrible shock. Sawyer was a sweet, beautiful little thing, only a month-and-a-half old. We’d just Skyped with my brother and sister-in-law and watched him sleeping contently in his mother’s arms. I’d had the chance to hold him myself over Thanksgiving. Impossible.

And not fair. Especially not for my brother and his wife, who’d already lost their first baby due to medical complications. They then went on to have twins–a boy and a girl–now two-and-a-half–both adorable. But now this.  I can’t imagine having to go through the death of a child once, let alone twice.

I flew as quickly as I could to their place, hoping to support them in any way possible. When I arrived, family was already there helping. Others would arrive soon. There was also a great circle of friends who stopped by to lend a hand and offer condolences.

A neighbor from down the street, came to drop off food and check in on my sister-in-law and brother. She told me she had lost her own daughter to SIDS. She showed me a pendant she wears around her neck always reminding her of her daughter. I was told shocking stories about others who too, had lost children.

I asked her how she was able to handle the grief. She explained she already had other children at the time, and she had to go on living for them. I thought of my brother’s twins and was hopeful that my brother and sister-in-law would be able to do the same.

My niece had been asking where her baby brother had gone. My nephew would run up to his mother, stroke her arm, hug her and say, “I’m so proud of you, Mommy.” She would thank him and try to hold back the tears. Both the twins knew things were out of sorts, and that their little brother wouldn’t be living with them anymore, but at this age, they didn’t fully understand what had happened. A small blessing for now.

We all asked WHY? Why him? Why them? Why now? I thought of what amazing parents they both are. In addition to making sure their twins are well-fed, happy and educated (as educated as 2-year-olds can be) they keep their kids so well protected that I’ve had to ask them to help me get into the bathroom, or turn on the stove because of all the child-proofing they’ve done. It’s clear there’s no lack of love or protection for the children in their house. But no matter how many times we asked why, there were no clear answers, and there likely wouldn’t be for quite a while.

When we finally attended the funeral, on a chilly Atlanta morning, the rabbi conducting the service brought up a question I’m fairly certain none of us had asked.

“As adults we ask, ‘Why?’…What we need to ask is, ‘When?’ “

Ask when? When what?

“Ask WHEN Sawyer is…WHEN is Sawyer,” he said.

I didn’t understand what he meant, but he went on to explain.

Sawyer is when…we’re spending time with family. He’s when…we’re out for a walk on the beach. He’s when…we’re at a ballgame. A bit of him is with us when…we are. Simple.

I understood what he meant.  It brought a small measure of peace.

The sentiment will stay with me always. So will a bit of Sawyer. And I’ll never forget…when.

Where are Sawyer & Jake? (part 2)

February 26, 2012 at 9:16 pm | Posted in after death?, Death, Grief, life lessons, Love, normal? | 5 Comments
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In this post I wrote that I believe Jake and Sawyer are in our hearts.  I also believe they are close by.  I do not have any proof.  It is just a feeling (and a hope).  Maybe at times it is more than a feeling.

Last year, in the last few days of Evan’s mother’s life she (Shelley) spoke about people in the room.  She was at home.  Family, friends and hospice were with her.  A few times Shelley mentioned that there was a woman behind her and a little boy on the bench at the end of her bed.

When she was 17, Shelley took care of her sick mother.   Shelley cared for her until she died 2 years later.  Shelley was 19 at the time.  Over 40 years later, Shelley spoke about a woman behind her bed.  I believe that woman was her mother.

Evan’s sister asked questions about the woman and the boy.  Shelley said that the boy seemed like he was around 6.  At the time of Shelley’s death Jake would have been 5 1/2.  I like to think that the boy was Jake.

“It is the secret of the world that all things subsist and do not die, but only retire a little from sight and afterwards return again.  Nothing is dead; men feign themselves dead, and endure mock funerals and mournful obituaries, and there they stand looking out of the window, sound and well, in some new strange disguise.”   – –  Ralph Waldo Emerson

It is all part of my new normal.  The reality I live in now does not include Jake and Sawyer’s physical presence but they are always nearby.  They send me signs – like when I see a praying mantis on the window of my parent’s 8th floor condo or a ladybug in the middle of winter.  I will look for their signs while I wait to hold Jake and Sawyer again.  As an extremely wise bereaved mom wrote, “a lifetime is an impossibly long time to wait to hold my child again.”

Things could always be worse. . .

February 18, 2012 at 9:16 am | Posted in emergency room, Grief, life after loss, Love, mourning, venting | 6 Comments
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The other night I was talking to one of my favorite friends and she asked how everyone at my house was feeling.  I thought about it and cautiously answered, “Everyone is doing pretty well.”  And, I truly thought all was well, until 5 am the next morning.  I woke up to Evan asking me to go get some ice packs.  He had a bloody nose that would not stop.  I won’t go into the gory details but he was a mess.

This had happened once before a few weeks after Sawyer died.   Evan had come home from work and after a few hours he could still not stop the bloody nose.  He shocked me by asking me to call 911.  He was taken to the ER in an ambulance.   The bloody nose eventually stopped.

After Jake died I had this realization that anyone and everyone close to me could slip away at an instant.  Life had a new kind of uncertainty.  I even flipped out when our dog, Buddy, had to be sedated for a dental cleaning.  My very same favorite friend talked me down off the ledge as we waited at the vet.

Life seems so fragile. Maybe it was fragile before Jake and Sawyer died but I was oblivious.  After Evan’s first visit to the ER it was not hard for me to imagine the worst happening.  Only a few weeks before we had buried Sawyer.  Nothing is guaranteed.

After yesterday’s visit to the ER I found myself trying not to let my mind go to the worst places.  As I drove Evan from doctor to doctor I took deep breaths.  I reminded myself of what my grandfather always says when asked how he is feeling, “I could be better but things could always be worse.”

The doctors told us that based on Evan’s blood pressure we were very lucky that it was a bloody nose because there were far worse alternatives.  My mind had already played and replayed the worst of the alternatives.  Now I will do my best to focus on the present.  Unfortunately, Evan and I both know all too well that things could always be worse.  He will get better.

Evan holding Sawyer

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