November 26, 2012 at 10:48 pm | Posted in Death, Grief, life lessons, normal? | 17 Comments
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Thank you Brooke from by the brooke for writing about the book, Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar.  The book is written by Cheryl Strayed, who was formerly the anonymous online advice columnist, Dear Sugar.  The book is a collection of letters written to Dear Sugar and her responses.

One letter is from a bereaved mother, Stuck.  Stuck’s baby died.  I want to share the wisdom that Sugar so powerfully offers.  The following is part of the advice that Sugar wrote to her:

Dear Stuck,

I’m so sorry that your baby girl died.  So terribly sorry.  I can feel your suffering vibrating right through my computer screen.  This is to be expected.  It is as it should be.  Though we live in a time and place and culture that tries to tell us otherwise, suffering is what happens when truly horrible things happen to us.

Don’t listen to those people who suggest you should be “over” your daughter’s death by now.  The people who squawk the loudest about such things have almost never had to get over anything.  Or at least not anything that was genuinely mind-fuckingly, soul-crushingly life altering.  Some of those people believe they are being helpful by minimizing your pain.  Others are scared of the intensity of your loss and so they use their words to push your grief away.  Many of those people love you and are worthy of your love, but they are not the people who will be helpful to you when it comes to healing the pain of your daughter’s death.

They live on Planet Earth.  You live on Planet My Baby Died.

It seems to me that you feel like you’re all alone there.  You aren’t.  There are women reading this right now who have tears in their eyes.  There are women who have spent their days chanting daughter, daughter or son, son silently to themselves.  Women who have been privately tormented about the things they did or didn’t do that they fear caused the death of their babies.  You need to find those women.  They’re your tribe.

I know because I’ve lived on a few planets that aren’t Planet Earth myself […]

This is how you get unstuck, Stuck.  You reach.  Not so you can walk away from the daughter you loved, but so you can live the life that is yours — the one that includes the sad loss of your daughter, but is not arrested by it.  The one that eventually leads you to a place in which you not only grieve her, but also feel lucky to have had the privilege of loving her.  That place of true healing is a fierce place.  It’s a giant place.  It’s a place of monstrous beauty and endless dark and glimmering light.  And you have to work really, really, really hard to get there, but you can do it. […]

You will never stop loving your daughter.  You will never forget her.  You will always know her name.  But she will always be dead.  Nobody can intervene and make that right and nobody will.  Nobody can take it back with silence or push it away with words.  Nobody will protect you from your suffering.  You can’t cry it away or eat it away or starve it away or walk it away or punch it away or even therapy it away.  It’s just there, and you have to survive it.  You have to endure it.  You have to live through it and love it and move on and be better for it and run as far as you can in the direction of your best and happiest dreams across the bridge that was built by your own desire to heal.  Therapists and friends and other people who live on Planet My Baby Died can help you along the way, but the healing–the genuine healing, the actual real deal down-on-your-knees-in-the-mud-change–is entirely and absolutely up to you. […]


I have been living on Planet My Baby Died for 7 years.  I do not know if there is a separate Planet for when a second child dies.  If so, I have been on that Planet for almost 3 years.  Either way, here I am trying to live.

Life without you

October 26, 2012 at 9:42 pm | Posted in Love, normal? | 4 Comments
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Dear Sawyer,
There are days that I just cannot stop my arms from aching to hold you.  Today was one of those days.  I think of you and miss you every day.  Time is marching on as it always does.  Soon it will be November again.  Another November without you – just like every day since that awful night.

I carry the book of pictures of you that my thoughtful friends gave me.  I hold on to it.  It is not the same as holding you but I am so thankful that I have it.  I cannot look at it often but I always have it with me.  I love you to the moon and back sweet Sawyer.  I will look for you in my dreams.   Love you always.



May 28, 2012 at 10:28 pm | Posted in Grief, life after loss, normal?, pregnancy | 18 Comments
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The doctor who told me that I was most likely having a miscarriage put me on bed rest for a few days.    Bed rest for me equals time where my thoughts can take over any rational part of my brain and run wild.  Bed rest means that I can not resort to my usual defense of keeping so busy that I do not have time to think.

I cried on the couch as I watched the twins play.   I was so lucky that my mom was able to come to town.  I told her that she did not need to come.  I knew by the time I spoke to her that no amount of bed rest was going to help.  She said she wanted to come anyway.  I did not argue.

I thought writing about it in my last post would somehow help.  I reread my post and it turns out that I did not actually write what happened.   So here it is, I had a miscarriage.

I will be fine.  I will continue to get up and live just as I have every day, week, month and now years since Jake and Sawyer have died.

Purple & Sparkly

May 12, 2012 at 10:14 am | Posted in Anniversaries, Grief, Love, silver lining | 10 Comments
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Some time after Jake died one of my favorite friends and college roommate suggested that I read the blog The Sphors Are Multiplying.  Years later and some time after Sawyer died another of my favorite friends suggested that I read another blog, Rockstar Ronan.  At that time I could barely deal with our own sad story let alone read about the deaths of Maddie Sphor and Rockstar Ronan.  I am not sure when but some time along the way I realized that I needed to see/read how other parents survive the deaths of their children.  It helps me to read how they are continuing their lives while always remembering and honoring their children.  I wish no parent had to live in a world without their child/children.  This is not the reality and unfortunately the Club continues to add members.

Today would have been Ronan’s 5th birthday.   I hate that he is not here to celebrate.

Surprise it is Spring

March 18, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Posted in Death, Grief, life after loss, normal? | 9 Comments
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“And when you’re alone, there’s a very good chance you’ll meet things that scare you right out of your pants.  There are some, down the road between hither and yon, that can scare you so much you won’t want to go on.  But on you will go though the weather be foul . . .”
Dr. Seuss

Spring is here.  The days are sunnier.  I feel quite the opposite of sunny.  This journey of life and grief always brings dark dark days.  At times I wish I could just disappear into the darkness.  I cannot.  So, I put on my sunglasses and follow these 2 out into the big world.

The Good News & the Bad News

January 14, 2012 at 9:22 pm | Posted in Cemetery, Grief, normal?, venting | 11 Comments
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I got a call the other day from the very kind woman who works at the cemetery.  She asked me if I wanted to hear the good news or the bad news first.  I feel like any calls from the cemetery are bad news but I went ahead and answered, “The good news.”  I know it does not always seem like it but I still try to be an optimist.

“The good news is that Sawyer’s headstone arrived.”  I did not need for her to tell me the bad news.  I could figure out for myself that the bad news is that Sawyer’s headstone arrived and it is wrong.   She had already begun to tell me that the headstone has already been sent back and they will let us know any updates.

I do not know what one is supposed to do when their sons’ headstones keep coming in wrong.  Do you complain to the customer service department?  Do you write to the better business bureau?  What exactly are the options here? 

Ultimately, I do not know when but I do know that eventually Sawyer’s headstone will be correct.  He is not going anywhere so there is no rush.  He will still be dead no matter what is on his headstone.  I just wish he was with us and there was no need for a headstone at all.

So this is Christmas

December 24, 2011 at 11:58 pm | Posted in Grief, Love | 13 Comments
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This is such a festive time of year.  You can feel the happiness in the air.  I want to wish everyone happy holidays but I may never send another holiday card again.  I try in my own way.  I do not always succeed.

I cannot figure out why anniversaries and holidays are harder.  Every day Jake and Sawyer are gone.  We are Jewish so Christmas should not be difficult except for the fact that it is also the anniversary of Sawyer’s death.  No one is sure what time Sawyer really died.  His death certificate says 4:30 am on December 26th.  I believe he was gone before then but it does not really matter what time or place he died.  It just matters that he did die.  At times I fixate on the details and information I can understand to balance what I will never comprehend.

The last time I held him was at 10:45 pm on Christmas night.  He was on the floor of our bedroom at 2:46 am on December 26th.  The paramedics, the firemen and the police were there.  No one would let me get close to Sawyer.  In the ambulance I could not sit in the back with him.  I sat up front feeling helpless and alone.  Two years later I still feel helpless and alone.

I have hope and even joy but there is always something (someone) missing.

No matter what I do December 26th will come.  I cannot make time stand still.  I do not want to be any farther away from Sawyer than I already am but it will happen.

I wish I could go somewhere far away from our bedroom floor.  I cannot run or hide.  No matter where I go my grief goes too.  I will keep very busy.  I will be the best mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend and person that I can be.  Again, I will not always succeed.  I will have hope.  I will wait until I can hold Sawyer again.

For some moments in life there are no words.
~David Seltzer, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

Irked & Irritated

November 30, 2011 at 10:30 pm | Posted in Cemetery, Grief, Love, venting | 6 Comments
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I wrote about this last month. After doing some research it seems that there are only 2 big companies who make grave markers. I am not sure why this matters because at this point I cannot imagine grave marker shopping but I like to have the information. Information gives me a sense that I have some sort of control. And I clearly do not.

Tomorrow it will be December.  We made the decision to order Sawyer’s headstone in August.  We started the process.  Evan has been sending the emails about the proof.  He copies me.  The proof has Sawyer’s name, date of birth, date of death and 4 short lines of text.  It is frightening that the grave marker editors cannot get this right.

My heart always starts to race when I see the email with the Subject: FW: D 7010691 PONTZ, SAWYER .  In some crazy recess of my brain I think that the email is going to explain to me why he died or better yet that he did not die at all.  The majority of my brain knows that this is just another email about the wording on Sawyer’s headstone.

I know in many ways I am obsessing about the emails from the pathologist and the headstone.  I am just grasping onto the little bits of Sawyer which can still be part of my day-to-day life.

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