holidays and hope

December 30, 2015 at 10:44 pm | Posted in Anniversaries, Grief, life after loss, Sawyer | 7 Comments
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The anniversary of Sawyer’s death (the Jewish yahrzeit and the English date) were both this past week.  I know that these anniversaries can be tough for me so I try to keep extra busy.   I have been volunteering for an organization called Second Helpings.  Restaurants, grocery stores, corporate dining halls, farmers markets and schools with a surplus of food are connected with shelters and food pantries.   I signed up as a substitute driver for a few shifts over the holidays.  The twins are on vacation from school so they helped too.

It is just basically driving and loading/unloading the food.   The twins sat in the car listening to their books on CD while I navigated from the store to the shelter.  All was going fine until I realized that the drop off location was around the corner from the Atlanta Medical Examiners Office.  After the emergency room this is the building where Sawyer’s body was taken.  Evan and I went there to meet with one of the pathologists a few weeks after the autopsy.  All my attempts to distract myself failed as soon as I saw that building.

I miss Sawyer on the anniversary of his death, on holidays and every day.  I know that this season can be hard for a lot of people.  I wish I could make things easier for everyone but since I can not I send you all hope and hugs.

The only outfit I bought for Sawyer

 

 

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getting through the days

December 22, 2014 at 9:58 pm | Posted in Grief, life after loss, Love, Sawyer | 2 Comments
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quote - different face

Holidays are here and the anniversary of Sawyer’s death is this week no matter how much I will it not to happen.  I cannot change the fact that he is dead.  I want to share a few videos that are helping me get through the days (sometimes even with a smile).

P.S. Neis means miracle.

One of my thoughtful sister in-laws sent me this one last week.  You may have seen it already but I wanted to share just in case you missed it. . .

I hope these make you smile too.

Holiday Hope

December 16, 2014 at 9:36 pm | Posted in life after loss, Love | 4 Comments
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I am not always strong enough to get through the hard days by myself – especially during the holidays.  I look to others to see what they do during these happy/sad celebrations without their child/children.

One of my friends always includes her “angel” on their family holiday card.  Their daughter, like Sawyer, died during this festive season.  It is so bittersweet to read her name on the card but it always reminds me that I am not alone.

Another friend, has created a family tradition to bring unwrapped holiday gifts to all in-patient oncology kids who are in the hospital where her daughter spent her last Thanksgiving and Christmas.

A few years ago one mom was looking at outgrown Christmas dresses and thinking of her little girl who never got to wear them at all.   She decided to create a Holiday Clothing Drive.  She asks people to donate gently used holiday clothes to others in need.

I know that there will be other dark days but I will try to continue to search for hope.

Dear Mother’s Day Angels

May 12, 2014 at 9:24 pm | Posted in Jake, life lessons, Love, Sawyer | 7 Comments
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Dear Jake and Sawyer,
There is not a day that goes by that I do not think of you both, but some days are harder than others.  Mother’s Day is one of those days.  Logically it is just another day.  You are both gone every. single. day.  It is not like the first days, weeks and months after you died when the tears so often streamed down my face without me even realizing.  Now most of the time my tears are tucked farther away.   The sadness and the joy of loving you both is a part of me.

I know I am not alone.  There are so many other mothers in this club with me.  There are motherless mothers, motherless fathers and those who have just lost.  Death is part of life.  And no matter how hard some days can be life goes on.

I like to believe that you both send things my way to make certain days (like Mother’s Day) easier for me.  I wanted to thank you both for quite a few of those things this year.

  • Thank you for your amazing brother and sister.  They make me so very happy, except when they don’t (see 2nd bullet).
  • Thank you especially for helping us find your sister when she ran away the first and SECOND time yesterday.  One time she really had to go to the bathroom and the other time she thought she was being funny.  Neither your dad or I laughed AT ALL.
  • Thank you for making me smile when your dad and I were given a “gift bag” when we visited you at the cemetery.  I guess they had the Mother’s Day cookout last year so the cemetery marketing people this year opted for gift bags. . .

gift bag

  • Thank you for showing me hope on days that are especially hard to find it.  I found another “hope” telephone pole on my running route yesterday!

Hope

 

Fun Friday with Food

December 20, 2013 at 5:44 pm | Posted in Grief, twins | 4 Comments
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Grieving during the holidays is complicated, so I am continuing my search for the happy.  The other week we made some Hanukkah treats (they were practice for making them with each of the twins’ 1st grade classes).  First, we made marshmallow dreidels.

Ingredients

  • marshmallows
  • pretzel sticks
  • Hershey kisses
  • frosting
  1. Unwrap the Hershey kiss.
  2. Spread frosting on the bottom of the marshmallow.
  3. Place the kiss in the frosting.
  4. Push a pretzel stick on the top of the marshmallow (for the dreidel top).
  5. Cover the whole thing with chocolate magic shell and wait for it to dry.

We did not have the patience for the drying so we skipped #5.

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Yesterday we tried to make tiny gingerbread houses for the twin’s teachers.  We found a recipe in Family Fun Magazine:

Ingredients

Houses

  • Graham crackers
  • Sprinkles and sweet decorations, such as, shaped sprinkles or gumdrops – we used Unreal Candy

(we bought pre-made icing but if you want to make icing below is a recipe)

Vanilla Decorating Icing

  • 3 cups  confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons  milk
  • 2 tablespoons  light corn syrup
  • 3/4 teaspoon  vanilla extract

Make a Teensy Gingerbread House

1. With a serrated knife, cut the graham cracker pieces as shown. Tip: To create the pairs, cut one piece, then use it as a guide for the second.

2. To assemble, use Vanilla Decorating Icing (or the store bought icing).

3. Let the icing set, then use more to attach sprinkles and other sweet decorations, and let it set.

4. To place the house on a stick , trim a piece of brownie to fit inside the house. Slide the brownie onto a lollipop stick (we used a candy cane), then carefully slide the house on top.

They turned out pretty well:

IMG_3820

My helpers were much more interested in the eating than the making. . .and everyone was happy.

Looking for the Happy

December 18, 2013 at 9:22 pm | Posted in Grief, life lessons | 5 Comments
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The dark days of December are always accompanied by holiday parties and cheer.  The people of planet earth should be celebrating and happy because as it has already been established, not everyone lives on planet my baby died.

There are more of us than there should be on planet my baby died.  My heart will forever hurt for those lost and left behind in Newtown. I also know that grief is not reserved for those of us who have outlived a child.  There are so many tragedies that some days, it is so difficult if not impossible to find any happy.

A very wise friend once suggested to me that I just try to find one thing I like to do every day and do it.   It does not matter how small the thing is – it could even be taking a shower.  So, yesterday this is what I found to make me happy . . .

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Thanksgivukkah

November 26, 2013 at 10:10 pm | Posted in Grief, Jake, Love, Sawyer | 3 Comments
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This year the 1st day of Hanukkah and Thanksgiving fall on the same day.  Apparently, this only happens once every 79,000 years or something.  So, I am thankful it is happening during my lifetime.  As I have mentioned before, since Jake and then Sawyer have died the holidays can be difficult.  So, by combining 2 of them maybe this year will be easier.

I am so very thankful for family and friends who have stood by us during the best and worst of times of our lives.  I am certain that I would not be able to get through this journey alone.  I will continue to always be very thankful for the time that we did have with Jake and Sawyer.  I try not to dwell on the Hanukkahs and Thanksgivings that we did not have and will never have with them.  Some days are just harder than others.

Happy Hanukkah!  Happy Thanksgiving!  And, Happy Thanksgivukkah to those of you celebrating both!

Thanksgivukkah

All Hallows Eve

November 1, 2013 at 10:51 pm | Posted in Jake, Sawyer | 9 Comments
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October 31st is not only Halloween but it also starts the celebration of the Mexican holiday Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead).  The tradition focuses on celebrating and remembering friends and family who have passed away.  Unlike Halloween, the celebration honors those who have died with food, festivities and an elaborate altar.  The observance is on November 1st and 2nd, which coincides with the Catholic All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day.  November 1st is for celebrating children and infants who have died.  It is called Dia de los Inocentes (Day of the Innocents) or Dia de los Angelitos (Day of the Little Angels).  November 2nd is for remembering all friends and family no matter what their age.  In some beliefs, it is a three-day holiday beginning on October 31st, All Hallows Eve, when some believe the souls of young children arise at midnight.

I have never made an altar but I am very thankful to one of my close friends who includes Jake and Sawyer’s pictures on her altar.  Maybe one day I will try to make an altar.  There is a part of me that wants to make Halloween (along with all days) extra fun and extra special for the twins because I cannot ever do these things for Jake and Sawyer.  No worries, I do know that the twins deserve fun and extra special just because of themselves.

There is a house in our neighborhood that has crazy blow ups for every holiday.  I try to drive the twins by the house often during Halloween.  Here it is during the day:

Daytime - blow up house

Here is the house at night:

blow up house at night

And here we are (minus Evan):

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

Reality Bites

January 8, 2013 at 10:54 pm | Posted in Death, Grief, mourning, normal? | 9 Comments
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quote - reality

Today it has been 1 week since I held my grandfather’s hand as he took his last breaths.  He is no longer suffering.  The funeral is over.  He was 100.  His death was not a shock.  Death is part of life.  I repeat these statements to myself several times a day.   So, why do I still feel like I am walking around in an alternate universe?

Evan, the twins and I have returned to work, school and life in general.

People ask “How were your holidays?”  I want to scream, my grandfather died on New Years Day.  Sawyer died the day after Christmas 3 years ago.  I officially hate the holidays!!!  However, I instead take a deep breath and respond, “Fine, how were yours?”

My thoughts are scattered.  It took me less than 1 day to lose the new insurance card Evan handed to me.  I got lost driving somewhere I go almost every week.

I am figuring out another new normal.

The Circle of Life

January 2, 2013 at 4:44 pm | Posted in Grief, life lessons, Love, mourning | 14 Comments
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Quote - winnie the pooh

I always knew that I would outlive my grandfather.  It is the way that life is supposed to go.  I made peace with my feelings about death in 2005.  After Jake died, defying the circle of life, I quickly came to terms with my own mortality.  I am not going to do anything to speed it up but I know I will die one day.  And, I knew the day would come when my grandfather would die.  No one lives forever.

He died yesterday.  I know that he was 100 and lived a (mostly) beautiful life but the last part of it was so excruciatingly painful for him.  I would have given anything to spare him the suffering he endured.

I am so very lucky that I was able to spend so much time with him.  The twins got to know him. I believe they will have memories of their wonderful great grandfather.

I am hoping and praying that he is now resting in peace with my grandmother.  And maybe, just maybe he will meet and play with his other 2 great grandchildren .

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