February 19, 2016 at 2:05 pm | Posted in Grief, hospital, life after loss | 8 Comments
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quote -darkness

On President’s Day I took the twins to a go-kart, bowling, ninja warrior play place.  Everyone had a fantastic time until one of the twins decided that he was a much bigger ninja warrior than he actually is.  He hurt his ankle and I took him and his sister home.

The next day he was still limping and still on winter break.  I decided I should take him to the doctor while he was home and preempt the call I might get from school about his limp.  After seeing the doctor she decided we should go get an x-ray.

At this point in the day it was close to rush hour in Atlanta.  The closest place to have the x-ray is the children’s hospital across the street from our pediatrician’s office.  I drive past the hospital where Sawyer died all the time.  I know that revisiting certain places (like the place where Sawyer was pronounced dead) should be avoided.   I was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder after Jake died and then again after Sawyer died.

I decided PTSD or no PTSD we were going for the x-ray.  And so we did.  One twin went into the x-ray room by himself while I stood with his sister in the hall.  I tried with every ounce of my being to shut out the thoughts of standing in this hospital hall staring at the closed door to the room where Sawyer was taken.

A few minutes later the door opened.  I held onto a hand of each of the twins and left the hospital.

ninja Fletcher

Little boy with just a sprained ankle and a mom who would like to wrap him and his sister in bubble wrap.

the sun and the earth

June 12, 2015 at 7:28 pm | Posted in Grief, life after loss | 4 Comments
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The twins finished school on May 22nd.  Their elementary school is divided into 2 campuses (k-2 is in the primary campus and 3-5 is in the intermediate campus about a mile away).

The pictures below are from their 2nd graduation parade.  They both picked out the same concert t-shirt to wear.

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Evan said that I should not be sad about the twins going to 3rd grade and at the same time be sad that Sawyer is not starting kindergarten.  The twins growing up and finishing 2nd grade is the way life should be unlike Sawyer (and Jake) who are forever frozen in time.

I did cry in the corner a little bit during the parade but for the most part I have not been as emotional as I was at the end of 1st grade and kindergarten.  I am not sure that if it was Evan’s words of wisdom or the fact that one of the twins had a temperature of 103.8 on the last day of school but we have left the primary campus without too many tears.

So far this summer because of life and work the twins have been spending time with a babysitter.  When I got home from work yesterday they were both so excited to tell me that they went to the park and checked on Jake and Sawyer’s trees.  I have not visited the trees to check on them in such a long time.  It made me so happy that the twins thought to do it.

quote - hafiz-sun

Happy Mother’s Day??

May 14, 2013 at 10:14 pm | Posted in Cemetery, Grief, Jake, life after loss, Love, Sawyer | 3 Comments
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As I have already written, Mother’s Day is not my favorite day.  I try to focus on the 4 positive pregnancy tests and the 4 live births.  I also try not dwell on the 2 emergency c- sections, the NICU, the miscarriage and the 2 deaths.  The truth is that all of these events have made me a mother.

I have gone to the cemetery the last seven Mother’s Days.  I know that some people consider this morbid.  For me it is my way of taking care of my children who are not physically with me.  It gives my aching arms something to do (even if it is clipping grass and cleaning headstones).  It brings me some peace.

This year I noticed something different.  There was a sign at the entrance to the cemetery:

Mother's Day Cook out

Maybe the cemetery has a new marketing person.  Or, maybe I have missed the sign in past years.  Either way, it just seems odd to have a Mother’s Day cook out at the cemetery.  And, what would one do with a t-shirt from the cemetery?

Anger

September 24, 2012 at 10:46 pm | Posted in Grief, life lessons, normal?, twins | 7 Comments
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As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world — that is the myth of the atomic age — as in being able to remake ourselves. – Gandhi

Anger.  It is the 2nd stage of grief according to Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.  At the time of Jake’s and Sawyer’s deaths I do not specifically remember feeling anger.  Perhaps there was no room for anger because the stages of denial, bargaining and depression seemed to have trapped me.  However, anger creeps into my life at unexpected times.

I was waiting in line with one of the twins so that she could sit in a fire truck.  We were patiently waiting our turn.

We were in line behind a very cute girl with Down syndrome.  She was not so sure about climbing up the stairs of the fire truck.  The fireman offered to help her but she wanted to do it herself.

I asked the woman with the girl in front of us in line how old she was.  She responded, “She is my daughter’s girl and she is 8.”  I wanted to say something back to her like “You mean she is your granddaughter?”  I remained silent.  Jake would have been 7.  Would he have liked fire trucks?

My little girl began to ask repeatedly, “When is it my turn?” My silence broke to reassure her that, “It is your turn next.”

The woman with the girl, looked at my daughter who at this point was jumping up and down as she continued to whine about her turn, pointed towards her granddaughter and said “This will really teach you patience.”  And there it was – anger.  I was angry at this grandmother.  I have not walked in her shoes.  I do not know the first thing about her life but I was angry.  The voice inside my head wanted to explain to her that I too had a Down syndrome child but he died.  He died before I got the chance to learn that level of patience.  I once again remained silent.

Our Giving Tree

September 18, 2012 at 10:18 pm | Posted in after death?, Grief, Love, normal? | 9 Comments
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The winter after Jake died one of my favorite friend’s mother had a tree planted at a local park in his memory.

Sadly, my friend’s mom died the next year.  I had a tree planted next to Jake’s tree in her memory.  The two trees were planted near a small pond.  In 2009, it rained so much that her tree did not make it.  I was in the process of trying to relocate both trees away from the water when Sawyer was born.  And then before I knew it he had died.

So I bought 2 trees.  A tree to replace my friend’s mom’s tree.  And, a tree in memory of Sawyer.  All 3 trees are now away from the pond and at the edge of a playground.  The first summer after Sawyer died it was really hot.  I would go by as often as I could to water the trees.  It made me feel like I could take care of something for Sawyer and Jake.  All 3 trees made it through the summer but Sawyer’s always seems to be struggling.

I took the twins to the playground last week.  I always check on the trees when we are there.  The twins often help me.

As Sawyer’s sister “helped” with the tree she happened to pull off a small branch.  She asked if she could bring it home to take care of it.  I responded, “sure, why not.” When we got home it was bath time.  She asked if she could take the branch into the bathtub and wash it.   Once again I answered, “sure, why not.”

After the bath she wanted to make pajamas and a blanket for the branch.  And, she did.

The boy with the dragon tattoo (and the blue cast)

July 22, 2012 at 8:36 pm | Posted in life after loss, normal? | 8 Comments
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Thursday I was at work and saw that I missed a call from the twin’s camp.  One of the twins had fallen.  If I had placed a bet it would have been on her. Her mind has always raced far ahead of her body which often causes her to fall.  However, I was wrong.

Here he is before getting an x-ray.  If you look very closely at his hand you can see that it has a dragon tattoo.  Well at least most of a dragon tattoo.  Putting on those temporary tattoos in not one of my strong points.  They somehow are always missing part of the tattoo – in this case it is a dragon body with not so much of a dragon head.

The x-ray showed a small fracture.  Now the headless dragon is covered up by a blue cast. . .

Wonder what the dragon will look like in few weeks?

Once Upon a Playdate

May 10, 2012 at 10:00 pm | Posted in Grief, life after loss, silver lining, twins | 4 Comments
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“Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”  Elizabeth Stone

I was not able to prevent Jake or Sawyer’s deaths.  As their mother, I thought I could/should be able to protect them from anything and everything.  I was wrong.   I try my best to keep the twins as safe as possible.  I know that just like with Jake and Sawyer I will not be able to shelter them from anything and everything.  It is a work in progress . . .

There once was a little boy who would talk on and on about his friend, G.  He thought about having a playdate with her but was not quite sure he was ready for his mom to make the call to set it up.   Then one day G’s mom and the little boy’s mom made a plan to play after school.

After he found out about the plan, the little boy would wake up every morning and anxiously ask, “Is today the day that G is coming over to play?”

Finally the big day arrived.  At school, there was a field trip to a park.  The little boy’s mom was one of the drivers.  On the playground, the little boy ran up to his mom and sadly declared, “G changed her mind and she is not coming over to play today.”  The little boy’s twin sister came running up right behind him and just for emphasis yelled “G is NOT coming over ever.”

The little boy’s mother tried to say comforting things like, “maybe G will change her mind” and “if G does not come over today we will find another day for a playdate.”  The little boy folded his arms over his chest and sadly said, “Mama, this is the worstest day ever.”

The field trip ended and all the children went back to school.   The little boy asked G again if she would come over for the playdate.  She responded that should would never ever come over.

The little boy’s mom tried unsuccessfully to think of an extra special treat for the afternoon.   Pick up time arrived and G hopped into her car.  The little boy unhappily watched her as she climbed into her minivan.   The little boy’s mom as a last-ditch effort went over to G’s car before it drove out of the carpool line.  G smiled at the little boy’s mom.   G climbed out of her car seat and said, “I think I would like to go on that playdate now.”

And they played happily ever after.

Sawyer’s Aunt

April 10, 2012 at 10:26 pm | Posted in Death, Grief | 6 Comments
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On my last post, The Good Cook commented that “It truly does take a village to mourn one lost love.”. We are not alone in our grief. Other family members mourn. Friends mourn. Sawyer and Jake are loved and remembered by many.

Not long after he died, one of Sawyer’s amazing aunts wrote the post below:

This is incredibly sad for me to write.  I hope writing about it helps.

My brother’s baby stopped breathing and died in his sleep, almost two weeks ago.

We were all in terrible shock. Sawyer was a sweet, beautiful little thing, only a month-and-a-half old. We’d just Skyped with my brother and sister-in-law and watched him sleeping contently in his mother’s arms. I’d had the chance to hold him myself over Thanksgiving. Impossible.

And not fair. Especially not for my brother and his wife, who’d already lost their first baby due to medical complications. They then went on to have twins–a boy and a girl–now two-and-a-half–both adorable. But now this.  I can’t imagine having to go through the death of a child once, let alone twice.

I flew as quickly as I could to their place, hoping to support them in any way possible. When I arrived, family was already there helping. Others would arrive soon. There was also a great circle of friends who stopped by to lend a hand and offer condolences.

A neighbor from down the street, came to drop off food and check in on my sister-in-law and brother. She told me she had lost her own daughter to SIDS. She showed me a pendant she wears around her neck always reminding her of her daughter. I was told shocking stories about others who too, had lost children.

I asked her how she was able to handle the grief. She explained she already had other children at the time, and she had to go on living for them. I thought of my brother’s twins and was hopeful that my brother and sister-in-law would be able to do the same.

My niece had been asking where her baby brother had gone. My nephew would run up to his mother, stroke her arm, hug her and say, “I’m so proud of you, Mommy.” She would thank him and try to hold back the tears. Both the twins knew things were out of sorts, and that their little brother wouldn’t be living with them anymore, but at this age, they didn’t fully understand what had happened. A small blessing for now.

We all asked WHY? Why him? Why them? Why now? I thought of what amazing parents they both are. In addition to making sure their twins are well-fed, happy and educated (as educated as 2-year-olds can be) they keep their kids so well protected that I’ve had to ask them to help me get into the bathroom, or turn on the stove because of all the child-proofing they’ve done. It’s clear there’s no lack of love or protection for the children in their house. But no matter how many times we asked why, there were no clear answers, and there likely wouldn’t be for quite a while.

When we finally attended the funeral, on a chilly Atlanta morning, the rabbi conducting the service brought up a question I’m fairly certain none of us had asked.

“As adults we ask, ‘Why?’…What we need to ask is, ‘When?’ “

Ask when? When what?

“Ask WHEN Sawyer is…WHEN is Sawyer,” he said.

I didn’t understand what he meant, but he went on to explain.

Sawyer is when…we’re spending time with family. He’s when…we’re out for a walk on the beach. He’s when…we’re at a ballgame. A bit of him is with us when…we are. Simple.

I understood what he meant.  It brought a small measure of peace.

The sentiment will stay with me always. So will a bit of Sawyer. And I’ll never forget…when.

Things People Say (part 2)

February 6, 2012 at 10:20 pm | Posted in life after loss, life lessons, normal?, twins | 7 Comments
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In my last post I should have included the fact that I am positive I have said, written or done the wrong things at the wrong times.  Almost every time I call my father-in-law, who is a recent widower, I cannot seem to stop myself from starting the conversation with, How are you?” I try to rephrase the question as soon as it comes out of my mouth but it is always too late.

Over the weekend, I found myself in a conversation with a woman who is thinking about starting infertility treatments.  I feel like I have earned a masters (or at least an honorary degree) in infertility.   At first I started to tell her about the injectables, IUIs and the IVFs.  Luckily, my brain kicked in before I opened my mouth.

I thought back to my life before the twins were born.  Jake had died.  There was no “your baby died, now you get a baby free pass” for me and Evan.  Eventually we boarded the infertility rollercoaster.   The sadness and desperation were all-consuming.  Every month seemed like an eternity.

My friend was in pain and did not need to hear about my depths of despair.  So, instead of sharing my war stories I gave her the phone number of my doctor.  Then I told her if she ever felt like talking I would always be here to listen.

There seem to be endless opportunities in life to say the wrong thing.  It is hard to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and separate out your own feelings.  We all have different experiences.  We start from a variety of places.  Who is to judge what is right and what is wrong?  All we can do is try our best.

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.
If you want to be happy, practice compassion.
                                                                      ~Dalai Lama

After I did have the twins one of my favorite friends sent me the link to the video below.  It makes me smile so I thought I would share.

The Things People Say . . .

February 2, 2012 at 9:46 pm | Posted in Grief, life lessons | 12 Comments
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After Jake died people did not know what to say.   There would be a lot of awkward conversations which would start like this:

“He is in a better place.” 

OR,

“He would have had a difficult life.”

Followed by me either not responding at all or starting to cry.

After the twins were born one of the conversations I can recall started with, “Oh how great, you got your boy back.”  

More silence and crying from me.

After Sawyer died there were more statements similar to these –  most of which are not worth repeating, writing down or remembering.  At first, the comments would make me even sadder (which I did not think was possible).  Then the comments made me mad.  Somewhere along the way I decided that people did not mean to hurt me.  They just have no idea what to say.  Sometimes they just say whatever comes to mind first.  Or, they try to relate to Jake and/or Sawyer’s deaths with an experience of their own – or something that happened to their neighbor’s 2nd cousin.

I try to believe that people always have the best intentions no matter what actually comes out of their mouths.

I will confess, at times I have wished for a taser to silence people before they say stupid things. 

Thank you to Tiffany and Mary for posting this video because it pretty much says it all.

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