our kids

May 20, 2015 at 10:18 pm | Posted in life after loss, Love | 3 Comments
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Over the years one of the twins has drawn different versions of our family portrait.  This is her latest creation that she drew a few weekends ago at the March of Dimes’ March for Babies.

March of Dimes 2015 - art

Her imagination of what Jake and Sawyer would look like makes me happy and so does she and her twin brother.

 

 

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March of Dimes’ March for Babies

May 12, 2015 at 10:15 pm | Posted in life after loss, Love | 4 Comments
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Last weekend we walked and remembered Jake, Sawyer and all the other babies who were not there to march with us.  In the 1950’s the March of Dimes helped to fund the cure for polio – which led to the effective end of the disease.  Who knows maybe some day there will be similar medical breakthroughs that will help to end infant mortality and there will be less flowers in the memorial garden.

March of Dimes 2015 - memorial garden

Thank you so much for again supporting our team this year and in past years.  We appreciate all of your amazing kindness and generosity.

Still Marching

May 6, 2015 at 10:16 pm | Posted in after death?, Grief, life after loss, Love | 1 Comment
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This weekend our family is walking in the March of Dimes’ “March for Babies” just like we have in years past.  Originally our team was named Jake’s Journey.  After Sawyer died we renamed it to Jake’s Journey & Sawyer’s Strides.  This year the walk is on Mother’s Day weekend.  Although I wish we were walking with all of our children, I think this is as close of a perfect way to honor all 4 as possible.

The mission of March of Dimes is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality.  I believe that the March of Dimes is making a difference and saving babies.

I cannot do anything to bring back Jake or Sawyer but maybe, just maybe, I can help spare other parents the heartbreak of having to live in this world without their child/children.

Thank you to all those who supported our team this year and in past years.  Thank you also to the Northside Hospital for matching funds.  We appreciate all of your kindness and generosity.   Please consider supporting Jake’s Journey & Sawyer’s Strides and click here.

May the fourth be with you

May 4, 2014 at 11:48 pm | Posted in Grief | 4 Comments
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Today is the unofficial holiday, “Star Wars Day“.  I did not exactly feel the force with me today but last week during the March of Dimes walk I really do think I felt it.  I looked around at the crowds and every one there had been impacted by the premature birth of a child.  Our stories may all be different but we have all loved, hoped and in some cases lost.   There were survivors walking among us but many of us walk in memory of our loved ones.

I saw people I have seen walk in years past.  Still walking, like we do, in memory of our lost loved ones. My heart broke for all the new faces I saw last week.  Every year I look into their eyes and wish I could take away the pain.  Hopefully in years to come there will be more survivors.

We will continue to walk if not for ourselves than for them . . .

Hoping for Healthier Babies

April 28, 2014 at 8:28 pm | Posted in Grief, Jake, life lessons, Sawyer | 5 Comments
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Thank you to all of our friends and family for supporting Jake’s Journey and Sawyer’s Strides in the 2014 March of Dimes “March for Babies!”   We appreciate you all so much.  Special thanks to our super talented sister-in-law for designing a new logo for the t-shirts.

Jake and Sawyer‘s deaths were due to circumstances beyond our control. I cannot describe in words how horribly helpless it feels as a parent to watch your child die and not be able to do a thing to prevent it.   The March of Dimes gives us a chance to do something to hopefully prevent another child from dying.  Maybe, just maybe, another family will be spared from having to try to figure out how to live in this world without their child/children.

Evan was the chairperson of the North Atlanta walk this year.   As the twins explained “their daddy got to the park early to put out the chairs!”  Although he did not actually put out any chairs, we are so proud of him for all he did and continues to do in the fight for healthier babies.

Thank you again for supporting our team this year and in past years.   We are grateful for your amazing kindness and generosity – we could not make it through this journey alone.

Jake’s Journey & Sawyer’s Strides

April 22, 2014 at 7:22 pm | Posted in after death?, Grief, Jake, life lessons, Love, Sawyer | 5 Comments
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No matter how far the distance you have traveled nor the failures that have gathered, hope would still meet you anywhere.

~ Dodinsky ~

Our family has walked in the March of Dimes’ “March for Babiesevery year since Jake died.  Originally our team was named Jake’s Journey.  After Sawyer died we renamed it to Jake’s Journey & Sawyer’s Strides.  We will be walking again this weekend.

The mission of March of Dimes is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality.  I believe that the March of Dimes is making a difference and saving babies.

I cannot do anything to bring back Jake or Sawyer but maybe, just maybe, I can help spare other parents the heartbreak of having to live in this world without their child/children.

Thank you to all those who supported our 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.

Tomorrow

November 16, 2013 at 10:40 pm | Posted in Grief, Sawyer | 8 Comments
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The March of Dimes along with other parent groups and organizations in countries around the world dedicate tomorrow to raise awareness about premature birth and how it can be prevented.  It is World Prematurity day.  Hopefully, awareness and support will lead to more healthy babies.  No family should have to live in a world without their child/children.

Tomorrow is also the would be/should be/never will be 4th birthday of our sweet Sawyer.  While he was not premature, there are still no words to describe how much my arms ache to hold this little boy. . .

sweet Sawyer

Spreading Awareness

October 6, 2013 at 9:14 pm | Posted in life after loss, Love, silver lining, why I write | 9 Comments
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This past weekend, I walked in one day of the Atlanta 2-Day Walk for Breast Cancer and in the Atlanta Walk to Remember.

In addition to walking, Evan has been talking as well.  Last week he went to Capitol Hill with a group from the March of Dimes.  They spoke to members of Congress about the importance of newborn screening and funding prematurity studies.

This week, Evan spoke at the Atlanta Walk to Remember.  Below is his speech:

“Dad and Father”

I am the father of four children,
but I am “Dad” to only two kids.

Our six-year-old twins call me “Dad” or “Daddy”
– or sometimes other silly things, or things I won’t mention here.

Our first child, Jake, never left the hospital
and lived only 2 weeks.
He was born 14 weeks early
and with other ultimately unsolvable medical complications.

Our fourth child, Sawyer, was born happy and healthy
and came home with us.
But six weeks later, with no warning,
and for no reason that has yet been fully figured out,
his heart stopped working.

Neither Jake nor Sawyer ever got to call me anything.

My family and I grieve the deaths and loss of our boys,
as you all grieve the loss of your children and little loved-ones.

As their father, I grieve the loss of Jake and Sawyer’s childhoods,
the big moments that they were supposed to have but never will.
I grieve the loss of their chance to grow up, to flourish,
to become teenagers, young men, husbands and “Dads” themselves.
I grieve the lost ball games and trips and adventures we’ll never have.
I grieve all the missed hugs and high-fives.
I grieve even the cranky wake-ups and bedtime fits we know so well from our twins,
but never got to experience with Jake or Sawyer.

I grieve all the truly heart-warming bedtime snuggles
that will never happen with Jake or Sawyer.
Beyond all those missed tender moments,
I also grieve the loss of my belief that horrible things won’t happen to me or my loved ones.
I am all too aware now that they can happen to anyone – as they have happened to all of us.

It’s all I can do most of the time
to just hope nothing like losing Jake and Sawyer ever happens again.
As a father, I also grieve the loss of my once unshakable belief
that I could always protect my wife Lanie and all our children
from such terrible pain and anguish; that I can “fix” their problems;
that I can always make everything all better.

I know that I cannot make Jake or Sawyer all better or bring them back.
I’m not sure that grief is something a father can ever overcome.
Of course, I have learned that you do not overcome or get past grief.
You just go through it.
I hate that my family has to go through it too,
but thank heavens I have an incredible wife and wonderful kids
to travel along with me as I go down that path.

So I guess I will always grieve the loss of never being called “Dad” –
not even once – by Jake or Sawyer.

But that doesn’t mean I am not their father.
I am and always will be a proud father of all my kids,
no matter what they call me
or what they were never able to call me.

And, I am so very proud of Jake, Sawyer and the twins’ dad and father.

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Thank you!

April 28, 2013 at 8:54 pm | Posted in Grief, Jake, life after loss, Love, Sawyer | 9 Comments
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Yesterday was the March of Dimes – March for Babies.  We warmed up:

March of Dimes 2013 - batman March of Dimes 2013 - warm up

We ran:

March of Dimes - 2013 - runner girl

We rested:

March of Dimes 2013 - resting

And most importantly, we remembered Jake, Sawyer and all the other babies who were not there to march with us:

March of Dimes 2013 - team

Thank you again for supporting our team this year and in past years.    We appreciate all of your amazing kindness and generosity.

The Other Side

April 26, 2013 at 7:44 am | Posted in after death?, Grief, Jake, Love, normal?, Sawyer | 4 Comments
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One day a young Buddhist on his journey home came to the banks of a wide river. Staring hopelessly at the great obstacle in front of him, he pondered for hours on just how to cross such a wide barrier.

Just as he was about to give up his pursuit to continue his journey, he saw a great teacher on the other side of the river. The young Buddhist yells over to the teacher, “Oh wise one, can you tell me how to get to the other side of this river”?

The teacher ponders for a moment looks up and down the river and yells back, “My son, you are on the other side”.

I have been and might always be on a journey to find the cause of Sawyer’s death.  I have wanted to be in a place where all of my children are living.  Not stuck between my two worlds.

I cannot do anything to bring back Jake or Sawyer.  I am here.  On the other side.  However,  maybe just maybe I can help spare other parents the heartbreak of having to live in a world without their child/children.  So, as we have done every year since Jake died, our family will walk in the March of Dimes, March for Babies this Saturday.

Thank you to all those who supported our team this year and in past years.    We appreciate all of your amazing kindness and generosity.   If you would like to support Jake’s Journey & Sawyer’s Strides please click this link.

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