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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Faith?

November 10, 2014 at 11:40 pm | Posted in Grief, life after loss | 7 Comments
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After Sawyer died a rabbi spoke to me and Evan.  Evan told him that he was very angry.  The rabbi told Evan to go ahead and be angry at G-d, ” because if anyone can handle it, He can.” This made sense to me.

The rabbi went on to tell us a story that did not make too much sense to me at the time.  He told us about a rabbi and his wife who were walking back from their son’s funeral.  The wife asked her husband, “what now, what do we live for?” The husband answered that we live for our living children and to carry on the memory of our son.  Tragically, the next child of this couple dies.  And once again, walking back from the funeral the wife asks her husband, “what now, what do we live for?” The husband gives the same answer, “we live for our living children and to carry on the memories of our sons.”

The story goes on until the couple has walked back from the funerals of all their children. The wife once more asks, “what now, what do we live for?”  The husband says we are to carry on the memories of our children and we are reminders to everyone else in the village to be thankful for what they have.

My initial response to this story was, “why us?  Why do Evan and I have to be the reminders?  Why can’t we just have Sawyer back?”   Over the years my thoughts about this story have changed.  I know that we cannot have Sawyer back.  I know that we will always carry on Jake and Sawyer’s memory.  Evan and I did not choose this journey but here we are – and I may never truly understand why.  I do know Jake and Sawyer do remind us to hug the twins a little tighter and to appreciate what we do have.

“I know God will not give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish He didn’t trust me so much.” Mother Teresa

 

The Happy and The Sad

August 26, 2014 at 8:14 pm | Posted in Grief, Jake, life after loss, Love | 10 Comments
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The happy and the sad are so closely entwined during the month of August that I have whiplash.  Jake’s birthday, my parent’s 50th wedding anniversary!!, more yahrzeits, more birthdays and tomorrow will be Jake’s death day.  I know there are only so many days in a year so birthdays and anniversaries have to overlap at times but August for me has overwhelming extremes.

At 6:14 am tomorrow, it will be 9 years since we last held Jake.  The day after will be the anniversary of his funeral.  And all the days after that will continue to be bittersweet but maybe one day we will hold sweet Jake again.

Family Picture - August 27, 2005

Family Picture – August 27, 2005

 

Washing

January 14, 2014 at 5:08 pm | Posted in Cemetery, Grief, Jake, Sawyer | 4 Comments
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Every time Evan and I leave the cemetery we wash our hands with water.  I know everyone washed their hands when leaving the cemetery after Jake’s funeral and then after Sawyer’s.  The other day I realized I have no idea why we wash our hands, so I decided to look it up.   There seem to be many different theories including the following:

  • Hand washing marks “the departure from the surroundings of death and to signify a renewed attachment with life.”
  • Washing hands symbolizes a “disassociation from death.”
  • Some used to interpret washing hands in order to banish “evil spirits.

The explanation that I like the best is that we wash our hands to signify the “transition from departing the place of death to entering that of life; it is also an attempt mentally to leave behind the realm of the past and re-embrace the present”.  At times, I have to work hard to stay in the present so the physical act of washing hands is a good reminder for me.

Another Yahrzeit

December 10, 2013 at 10:20 pm | Posted in Anniversaries, Grief, Love, Sawyer | 13 Comments
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The word “yahrzeit” means anniversary (of a person’s death) in Yiddish.  The word originated from German  – Jahr, meaning year, and Zeit, meaning time.

Sawyer’s yahrzeit this year is on December 12th which means the candle should be lit the evening before (tomorrow).  I have done my best to lose track of the days, in the hopes that this anniversary would not ever come.  I know that time does not work that way but you can not blame a girl for trying.   It has not been hard to keep busy and forget the date.  I feel like the twins just started 1st grade but somehow Thanksgiving is over and despite my best efforts to stop time it is once again December.

I am extremely thankful for the time we did have with Sawyer and I still try to live in the present but I so wish I could hold him again even if is just for one more moment. . .

Sawyer's Bris 010

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

The King & Queen of July’s Birthday (with a side of bittersweet)

July 30, 2013 at 10:08 pm | Posted in Grief, Jake, normal?, twins | 4 Comments
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A few years ago (not long after they learned to speak) the twins announced that they are the King and Queen of July.  It is after all, their birthday month and we (me and Evan) should never forget to plan accordingly.  The twins did have a fun birthday.  I can not say that they were overjoyed the whole month.  I distinctly remember being told I was “making it the worst July ever” on a few occasions after I asked them to clean up their toys, brush their teeth or take a bath. . .

I am forever grateful for our amazing twins.  I am so lucky that I am their mom and getting the chance to raise them.  Happy, happy birthday to the King and Queen of July!

The bittersweet part of the twins’ birthday was that this year Jake’s yahrzeit fell on the same day.  A Yahrzeit is the Hebrew date of the deceased relative’s death according to the Jewish calendar as opposed to the secular calendar.  We lit a Yahrzeit candle.  We said the mourner’s kaddish.  I tried my best not to think about the almost 8-year-old big brother who should have been running around the birthday party.  I am so very lucky to be Jake’s mom too.

Yesterday

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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Sunshine and Rain (part 2)

February 28, 2013 at 11:24 pm | Posted in Grief, Jake, Love, normal?, Sawyer, twins | 7 Comments
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helen keller quote

Thank you all for the kind words of encouragement.  The rain has stopped and there is some sunshine through the clouds.

When it rains one of the twins usually says “HaShem is crying.”  This week, I decided to ask, “Why do you think HaShem is crying?”  He responded, “I don’t know, mama.  Maybe HaShem is very sad.”

Ever since Jake and then Sawyer died I do feel like the rain is tears.  Sometimes I will confess that I am glad it is raining because it matches my sadness.  And, as an added bonus the raindrops disguise the tears running down my cheeks.

However, the other twin chimed in with her own answer.  “Maybe they are not tears of sadness. Maybe they are tears of happiness.”

Thank you Jake

August 12, 2012 at 9:52 pm | Posted in after death?, Grief, twins, why I write | 12 Comments
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“If there ever comes a day when we can’t be together
keep me in your heart, I’ll stay there forever.”

Winnie the Pooh,  A. A. Milne

Dear Jake,
It was 7 years ago today when I was admitted to the hospital.  The doctors said there was no other option.  You were not ready for this world.  I suppose the world was not ready for you.  Your dad and I were terrified when the doctor told us my contractions were 3 minutes apart.  I could not believe at 26 weeks it could possibly be real.  I did truly believe you would live.  You held on for 2 more days before we actually got to meet you.

I still cannot understand how it is 7 years later.  I do not need a calendar to tell me the time of year.   My tears are much closer to the surface.  The lump in my throat is back.  My irritation and impatience have also risen just below my skin.  My nerves are so raw.  I wish to lock myself away so that I do not snap.  I already have apologized to your daddy.   If only just for a few moments I could be with you and your littlest brother.  I know that it is not possible.  However, this time of year I frequently seem to find myself back on the island of denial.

Your Yahrzeit was this weekend.   (The Yahrzeit falls annually on the Hebrew date of the deceased relative’s death according to the Jewish calendar as opposed to the secular calendar.)  Your dad and I lit a Yahrzeit candle for you.

You have 2 new cousins!  Welcome to the world Eli and Owen!!  I wish you could meet them.  You probably already know this but your sister asked if she could have one of the babies.  She desperately wants a baby brother.  She talks about you and Sawyer almost every day.  This morning she brought me two blankets she found for each of you.  She is so sweet and thoughtful.  I am trying my best to keep it together.

Thank you for chosing us as your parents.  Thank you for the time you were able to spend with us.  Thank you for sending us your baby brother and sister.  They are shielding us from all the rain.

I miss you so much.  I love you to the moon and back baby boy.  I will look for you in my dreams.

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