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.

Hoping for Milk

April 8, 2014 at 9:48 am | Posted in after death?, Grief, life after loss, Love | 8 Comments
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Some days it is harder than others to find hope.

After Jake was born at 26 weeks with hydrops, I hoped he would be among the 30% of babies who survive these enormous obstacles.  There was no miracle.

The horrible night we brought Sawyer to the emergency room, I hoped for the miracle that it would all be an awful mistake.  There was no miracle.

I hoped for a miracle that would cure the cancer that Evan’s mom had or at least give her back the life she had. There was no miracle.

On Friday a close family friend lost his valiant battle with brain cancer.  In case I have not mentioned it before I hate cancer!!  His family along with all of us who loved him hoped he would win this battle.  He did not.

When there is no more hope for our loved ones to remain with us we often shift to hoping to prevent that anyone else should have to go through this horrible journey.  So, his family has formed a team, Everybody Needs Milk, in the Race for Hope DC.  I hope that one day soon a cure for cancer is found.

This is a telephone pole at the end of my neighborhood running route.   It is a reminder to me that there is hope everywhere (just sometimes we have to look for it harder than others).


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 .


October 8, 2012 at 11:50 pm | Posted in Grief, life lessons, Love, normal? | 9 Comments
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I have written before how I am so very lucky for my grandfather.  I know that he will not live forever.  It was never the plan for him to outlive me.  I know that is not what he would want.  It defies the circle of life that Evan and I have outlived 2 of our children.  Jake and Sawyer were supposed to bury us. 

My grandfather is now in hospice.  Although life is going in the natural order – it is still hard.  I do not want to see my grandfather in pain.  I want to make it easier.  I do not know what to do except what I have always done – love him unconditionally.  And, appreciate how much better the world and my life is because of him.

So sad

March 14, 2011 at 10:36 pm | Posted in Death, Grief, mother, mourning | 17 Comments
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I have tried to write this post several times in the last week.  I cannot seem to find the words but I am going to try.

Evan’s mother lost her battle with cancer.  I was very lucky to have her as a mother-in-law. 

She was an amazing artist

She was an amazing business woman

She was an amazing athlete.  In one 9 month period, right after chemo for the cancer which had returned to her bones, she had 3 holes in one. 

And most importantly, she was an amazing mother, grandmother, wife, sister and friend.  I am so sad that she died.

A few weeks ago Evan and I were talking.  He told me that in a perfect world his mom would be healthy, happy and teaching art to all 4 of our children.  Here she is playing with the twins last summer:

I like to think that Evan’s mom is now with Jake and Sawyer.  Maybe, just maybe she is teaching art to them as I write.

Rainbows, Rite Aid & Readjusting

March 1, 2011 at 10:54 pm | Posted in Grief, silver lining, twins | 8 Comments
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It takes both the sun and the rain to make a beautiful rainbow.

These last few days it is difficult to see the sun.  As I mentioned in this post, we are spending time with Evan’s mom.  The good moments are fewer and farther apart.  I know that life has sun and rain.  I so wish I could write more about sunny times.   Even through the rain the twins can find the sun.  Here they are at Rite Aid:

The twins can also scout out the rainbows.

They spent a long time searching for rainbows in these crystal figurines.  Turns out flashlights combined with just the right amount of sunlight produce a lot of rainbows. 

The oil slick in the parking lot of Rite Aid.  I could have debated it is not truly a rainbow but pollution.  I did not because I have learned that I usually lose those kind of debates with our 3 1/2 year-olds.

The rainbow glasses at Mom Mom and Pop Pop’s house.

I have always hoped for miracles. 

After Jake was born at 26 weeks with hydrops, I hoped he would be among the 30% of babies who survive these enormous obstacles.  There was no miracle.

The horrible night we brought Sawyer to the emergency room, I hoped for the miracle that it would all be an awful mistake.  There was no miracle.

I now know that there will be no miracle that will give Evan’s mom back the life she had.  It is time for me to readjust what I am hoping for.

More Magic Moments

February 24, 2011 at 4:58 pm | Posted in Grief, mother, silver lining | 15 Comments
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As I wrote in this post,  I try to appreciate good moments.  For the past 2 weeks Evan, the twins and I have been at Evan’s mother’s house.  My amazing mother-in-law was diagnosed with breast cancer 18 years ago.   She was on a form of oral chemo through the spring of 2003.  At that time the cancer came back in her bones.  Since 2005 she has had chemo 3 weeks on and 1 week off.  She had beaten all the odds until this year.

We are here spending time with her.  It is not easy but worth it.  Every day there are some good moments.   A rabbi has been coming to the house.  She explained a Hebrew term called “yikar.”  There is no exact translation but it means “treasure” or “gem.”   I try to etch these moments into my memory so that I will always have them.

I cannot help but think of precious moments we had with Jake and Sawyer.  All of Jake’s time with us was in the NICU but there were some good moments.  The days when Jake was doing well and reducing his reliance on the ventilators.  The day that I was able to change Jake’s diaper for the first (and only) time.  I always smile when I think of the one and only time Evan changed Jake.  Jake peed on his dad.

We were lucky enough to have more magic moments with Sawyer.  Among my favorites are bringing him home from the hospital and introducing him to the twins.  Evan’s mom was not able to meet Sawyer.  The weekend that they were supposed to visit was the weekend that the twins got sick.  Her immune system was compromised and we could not take a chance that the twins would get her sick.  The trip was postponed.  Sawyer died before they were able to visit.

One day last week it was unseasonably warm.  Evan’s mom was able to sit on the back deck.  She was able to visit with some friends.  The twins played in the snow and mud.  I will try to focus on the yikar – the treasured moments that we are able to capture.

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