Please Help Save Lives

February 11, 2018 at 6:52 pm | Posted in Grief, Love | 3 Comments
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Jake and Sawyer’s short lives have taught me many tough lessons.  One, which I already “knew” (but now know with much greater depth and understanding) is how terrible losing a loved one really is, whether it is a child, a parent, a spouse, a grandparent, or anyone who you are close to.  That loss and the grief that comes with it is so powerful and completely life-altering.

A family that I hold dear to my heart experienced an untimely loss of a beloved son, husband, brother and uncle, a man who always showed kindness not just to me and my family, but to everyone he encountered in his own community and in his job as doctor.   His death was so preventable and such an unnecessary tragedy — he was riding his bicycle with a riding group (he was an avid and well-trained rider), when a driver hit him from behind.  The driver was distracted by his cellphone.

We all get distracted by our phones and other devices, but there is no reason for driving while distracted.  Whatever that driver was doing could have waited — or if it was so important, he should have pulled over and handled it.  But when you are driving, you put yourself and everyone around at risk if you do not pay full attention to the road and your driving.

If you are ever asked to “please help save lives,” you are likely to think, “of course, but how?” Well, the family of that wonderful man, and particularly his wife, are trying to make sure that no other family suffers a loss such as they have, and it creates a simple way for you to truly help save lives.  In Georgia, legislation has been proposed to help prevent distracted driving.  House Bill 673 sets up commonsense provisions and rules, and penalties that hopefully would make anyone think twice before allowing themselves to become distracted by their phone or other device while driving.  They are pushing hard to see the legislation become law, and have gotten plenty of local media coverage to try to convince everyone to support this bill.

I am on board and I have contacted my elected officials to tell them to please help save lives — please pass HB 673.  If you are in Georgia, I hope you will contact your legislators in the state house and senate and tell them you support this bill too.  You can Find your Legislator at this link.  And if you live elsewhere, contact your elected officials and tell them they should be doing more to put a stop to distracted driving too.  We have already lost far too many wonderful children, parents, spouses and loved ones to distracted driving.  We can all help save others from knowing what I, and so many others, already know all too well.

 

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Sawyer and the strawberry

December 28, 2017 at 4:58 pm | Posted in Grief, life after loss, Love, Sawyer | 6 Comments
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December 26th is the date on Sawyer’s death certificate. I am not sure when exactly he died but Evan and I kissed him good night for the last time on December 25th.

No one ever really knows how long we have between birth and death. I am very thankful for the time we did have with Sawyer.

Buddhist story:
“A man traveling across a field encountered a tiger. He fled, the tiger after him. Coming to a precipice, he caught hold of the root of a wild vine and swung himself down over the edge. The tiger sniffed at him from above. Trembling, the man looked down to where, far below, another tiger was waiting to eat him. Only the vine sustained him.

Two mice, one white and one black, little by little started to gnaw away the vine. The man saw a luscious strawberry near him. Grasping the vine with one hand, he plucked the strawberry with the other. How sweet it tasted!”

There are many interpretations of this story.  I like to think of the strawberry as the present.  One of the tigers is birth and the other death.

I wish I had more time to spend with Sawyer.  If I had known that time (and the tiger of death) were present and against us that Christmas night when we kissed him goodnight, I am sure that I would have never stopped kissing him.  Love and miss you sweet Sawyer.

Sawyer

gone but never forgotten

November 17, 2017 at 8:18 am | Posted in Grief, Love | 10 Comments
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Sweet Sawyer

Sawyer,
I miss you every single day but today I miss you extra.  Today eight years ago you were born.  It is (or should be) your 8th birthday.  How do I get through your 8th birthday without you?  I am not so sure.  I know I did it last year and the year before, so somehow I will get through today as well.

I am wearing purple for World Prematurity Day.  You were full term but all of your siblings were premature so I think you would be okay sharing your special day with them.  You were born on your scheduled C-section date and we could not wait to meet all 8 lbs of sweet wonderful you!

Wherever you are, I hope you know how much you are loved and missed.   As always, I will look for you in my dreams.

 

Father’s Day

June 18, 2017 at 6:18 pm | Posted in Grief | 6 Comments
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Several years ago I adapted this poem (A Mother’s Day Wish From Heaven) by Jody Seilheimer, for Father’s Day.  Then I came across another (more accurate, I think) poem for a bereaved father.  It was sent by a reader to Kelly Farley, author of a Grieving Dads To the Brink and Back.   Hoping all the fathers out there have the best day possible.

Dear Mr. Hallmark ….. One More Time

Hello there Mr. Hallmark man,

I wrote to you in May

To ask that words of love be shared

With my mom on Mother’s Day.

Just as there is no card for Mom

To let her know I care,

There is no card for my dad, too,

And I have so much to share.

It’s very hard for my loving dad

To know that I’m okay.

To protect me was his job, he feels,

So he thinks he failed some way.

Although I had to leave this world,

While still considered young,

There is no way he ever failed—

There’s no more he could have done.

My dad he tends to question

Those things he cannot see.

I always send him little signs

To say, “Hey, Dad, it’s me!”

I hear him crying in the car,

The shower hides his tears.

He feels he has to be so strong

For those he holds so dear.

My dad he often gets so mad

At what became of me.

He wants so much to understand,

He says, “How could this be?”

I somehow need to let him know,

Though impossible it seems—

For him to live and laugh again

Will fulfill so many dreams.

The card I need to send right now

To a dad as great as mine,

Will thank him for the love he gave

Throughout my brief lifetime.

He’s still the one that I call Dad,

Our bond’s forever strong,

‘Cuz even though he can’t see me,

Our love lives on and on.

Please help me find a way

To tell my dad that when

It comes his time to leave the earth

I’ll be waiting there for him.

And also, Mr. Hallmark man,

Please help him to believe,

That nothing will ever change the fact

That my dad he’ll always be.

Mother’s Day when your child is dead

May 12, 2017 at 1:14 pm | Posted in Grief, Love | 4 Comments
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There are no rules for Mother’s Day without your child/children.   We miss our children every day but some days are harder than others.  This is one of those days.

  • Remember that you are and always will be a mother.
  • Know you are not alone.  This club has many members.
  • The baby/child loss club is not the only one out there.  There are those without their mothers on Mother’s Day and countless other loss clubs.   Buddha’s story about the mustard seed sums it up perfectly – “in the whole city, in the whole world,  there is not one family, not one person free from the certainty of death.  It is the way of all living things – we must at some time leave one another.”
  • Do one thing (no matter how big or small) for yourself – even if that one thing is crying or showering.
  • Honor/remember your child.
  • Hug your family and friends a bit tighter.
  • Talk about your child.  Say their name (or names).
  • Be kind to yourself.

I hope that you all have the best day possible.

 

what to do when reality bites

May 4, 2017 at 8:18 pm | Posted in Grief, silver lining | 4 Comments
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Here is my reality – I will never be able to bring Sawyer and Jake back to life.  I will never hold Sawyer again.

I will never hold Jake again.

I cannot change my reality but I can help others.   I will do anything and everything I can to prevent other children from dying too soon.  I do not want any other families to have to live in a world without their child/children.

This weekend what I will do to try to help is walk. Thank you to all those who supported our March of Dimes, March for Babies team this year and in past years. Thank you also to the hospital for matching funds.  We appreciate all of your kindness and generosity.   If you would like to support Jake’s Journey & Sawyer’s Strides please click this link.

 

 

Hope

April 18, 2017 at 2:18 pm | Posted in life after loss, Love | 4 Comments
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Some days hope is hard to find.  On my running route, I have discovered a few hints that there is always hope.  One time I stumbled upon this sign of hope:

And, on another run I came across this one:

The signs are on telephone poles but that is okay with me.   I will take hope however and wherever I can find it.

On my run the other day, I noticed that one of the signs had been painted.

I like to believe that I can still catch a glimpse of  hope even though it is now harder to find.

 

 

Possibilities and Playing Pokémon

March 20, 2017 at 2:22 pm | Posted in Grief, life after loss | 5 Comments
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Yesterday turned into an unexpected mix of spending time with all 4 of my children.

The day started out with Evan and I dropping off the twins at Sunday school and then going over to the cemetery to visit Jake and Sawyer.

The twins (and I) play Pokémon Go.  The cemetery happens to have a crazy amount of Pokémon stops – which is where the balls to catch Pokémon are collected.  Below is a picture of the cemetery.  The blue squares are all Pokémon stops.

The odd thing to me is that apparently some people come to the cemetery just to play Pokémon.   What might be even more odd is that I like the fact that where Jake and Sawyer are buried is right near a particular Pokémon stop (see below).  I like to think in some cosmic way that Jake and Sawyer are playing the same game that the twins and I are playing.

In addition to playing Pokémon Go, the twins decided that yesterday would be a great day for a Lemonade Stand to remember their brothers.  They set one up at the end of our driveway and raised money and awareness for the March of Dimes.

Would you like to join us in our efforts?  You can just click on this link and then click the “Walk with Me” button to join our Walk Team.  If that is not in the cards (which we know for most of you it is not), consider whether you can support us in our fundraising efforts.  Every dollar counts, and every dollar is matched by the hospital where our kids were born, so $1 donated = $2 to the March of Dimes.  Click on this link and click the “Donate Now” button.  Thanks for your support and any donation you can make!

 

 

 

Happy Halloween

October 31, 2016 at 4:28 pm | Posted in life after loss, Love | 2 Comments
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Happy Halloween from Mudkip (a type of Pokémon) and the Friendly Polka Dotted Monster!

Mudkip and the Friendly Polka Dot Monster

“One joy shatters a hundred griefs.”
– – Chinese Proverb

 

 

land of denial

August 8, 2016 at 9:14 pm | Posted in Grief | 8 Comments
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I am in denial.  Buddy (our older smaller dog) died last week.  I know it is true because I was there and because Evan posted it on Facebook but somehow it still seems unreal.

I should be some sort of grief expert by now.  I am not.  As the twins said, “It is okay mama, Buddy is now playing with Jake, Sawyer, Mom Mom and Grandpoppy.”

Wonder how long I can stay in denial. . .

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