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):


Anniversaries (again)

September 10, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Posted in Death, father, Grief, mother, mourning, parents | 4 Comments
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The tragedy of 9/11 and its’ anniversary are kinds of grief.   It is of course, an enormous source of grief for all of the families and friends who lost loved ones.  It is also the kind of grief in which you realize that the world as you knew it will not ever be the same.

Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans the week that Jake passed away.   A very close friend of mine took her 5-year-old son in for his check up and the pediatrician found a rare heart condition.   My grandmother had died.  I felt like the world was coming to an end.   So, I asked the rabbi who presided at Jake’s funeral about the possibility that the world was ending.   He replied with an analogy.   He said that it is like when you decide you are going to buy a certain kind of car.   Once you make the decision you start seeing the car every where.   So, my take away from his explanation was now that I was grieving I would start to see grieving every where. . . Turns out you don’t have to look too far for grief in this world.   The record 7.0-magnitude earthquake hit Haiti shortly after Sawyer died.

I know that 9/11, where close to 3,000 people died; Hurricane Katrina, where 1,500-1,700 people died; and the earthquake in Haiti, where almost 230,000 people died are tremendous losses compared to the death of two babies.   But, those babies were mine.   And, my world will never be the same as it was before they had died.

There is not a contest for who has the most grief.   I am not trying to compare my losses to these catastrophic tragedies.   There are not any winners here.  In grief we have all lost.   However, there is still the next day and the day after that.  And one day, there is a point where we will realize that our loved ones are dead but we are still alive.

I posted the above last year at this time.  On the anniversary of 9/11 and every day, my heart, prayers and thoughts go out to not only the victims but to those who they left behind in this world. 


August 30, 2011 at 11:51 am | Posted in silver lining | 7 Comments
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August is a bittersweet rollercoaster for me.  Luckily, it always ends with a happy day.  My grandfather’s birthday.  He is 99!!   I just want to wish him a very happy birthday.

Cosmic Connections & Kindness

August 9, 2011 at 9:54 pm | Posted in Grief, mourning, silver lining, traditions | 7 Comments
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Jake and Sawyer are buried in a cemetery not far from our house.  They are in the Jewish section of the cemetery called Menorah (it is named for the gigantic Menorah in the middle of it).  Evan and I were shown the children’s section when Jake first died.  It did not feel like the right place for Jake – or us.

Menorah is a section for people of all ages but Jake and Sawyer happen to be surrounded by other babies.  The grave above is a little girl who died in August of 2005 (just like Jake).  There are other children to the left and right of Jake and Sawyer’s grave.  I rationalize that hopefully they are all having a cosmic play date.

This section of the cemetery also includes the grave of the mother of my college boyfriend.  In addition, the grave of the mother of our fantastic doula (she helped Evan and I with the twins).  I am not sure if they are part of the cosmic play date but I like knowing they are there.  In another section not too far away from Menorah is the mother of a very close friend. Her proximity to our sons’ grave also brings me comfort.

Sawyer still does not have a headstone so I had arranged the stones over the grave.  Leaving rocks is a Jewish custom to show that someone visited the gravesite.  Stones “are permanent and do not get blown away in the wind.”

The stones prevent the cemetery caretakers from cutting the grass.  Usually, I clip the grass but we had been away.  The grass had become extremely over grown.  I put all of Sawyer’s stones into a bag in hopes that the caretakers would be cutting the grass soon.

The next day I checked our home voicemail and there was a message from the grandfather of one of the little boys buried near Jake and Sawyer.  He wanted to let me know that the stones I had carefully arranged around Sawyer’s part of the grave were gone.  He did not want me to be surprised.

Even cosmic communities have good neighbors.

Kindness is a language the deaf can hear and the blind can see.
– Mark Twain


June 10, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Posted in Grief, mother, mourning, silver lining, traditions, twins | 5 Comments
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When I was young I loved to travel.  I would travel whenever I could for work or fun.  After Jake died my desire to travel was gone.  I wanted to stay home so I could visit the cemetery

I have met a few other people while visiting the cemetery.  One grandfather visits his grandson’s grave every day.  He also takes care of the family plot.  Year round he is out there cleaning the headstone, cutting the grass and maintaining the plot.  Although I no longer go every day, I frequently want to go to the cemetery. 

One day I spoke to the grandfather about visiting the cemetery.  He said that it helps him to take care of the plot and visit every day.  I 100% understand and relate to being drawn to the cemetery.  However,  I wanted to know how he felt if he ever missed a day.  He is from the area and his whole family lives within a few minutes of the cemetery.  He has not missed a day since his grandson died over 3 years ago.  I think it is great that he has found a way to comfort himself.

I on the other hand, have family who lives out-of-state.  I no longer travel often for work but I do take trips to visit family and friends.  Every time I am away I stress about not being able to visit Jake and Sawyer’s grave (as I have written about before they share one plot).

When we were snowed in this past winter I did have fun playing with the twins.


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However, I worried about not being able to check on my other 2 children.  I know that they are not really there but I like to check on the little piece of land in the cemetery.  It gives me a brief sense of being able to take care of Jake and Sawyer. 


I am drawn quietly to his grave to check on him,

Just as I’d have been drawn quietly to his crib.

I trim the grass around his marker,

And dream of trimming bangs from his forehead.

I place flowers in his vase,

And dream of placing kisses on his check.

I hold his memory dear to my heart,

And dream of holding him in my arms.

                                                                Author unknown

I know that frequent visits to the cemetery might sound morbid to some people.  Just like with birthdays I do not think there are any rules in this area.  We all find comfort in different ways.  The path in the journey of grief varies – even if you are grieving the same person (or people).  Visit or do not visit the cemetery.  Do what ever helps you at the time.

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