Walking to Remember – Together

September 30, 2015 at 10:36 pm | Posted in Grief, life after loss | 4 Comments
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One of the difficult and important lessons that I learned after Jake’s death is that I cannot do this alone.  After Jake died, Evan and I were told about support groups.  At the time, I could barely come to terms with the fact that Jake was dead and I was not.  The thought of going to a group where everyone told their own tragic story of their child’s death seemed unimaginable to me.

Then one excruciatingly dark day in January of 2006, I realized that I needed to know how other parents got up every morning and live in a world without their child/children.  Evan and I decided that it was time to go to a support group.

Every year since Jake (and then Sawyer) died we have walked in the Atlanta Walk to Remember.   It is an event to connect parents and families together to express grief and remember our babies, and to raise awareness.  It is not a fundraiser.

It is just a time to remember our lost babies together.

This year the walk will be held on October 4th.  For more information and/or to register for the walk click here:

Atlanta Walk to Remember

a special project

July 22, 2015 at 10:36 pm | Posted in Death, Grief, hospital, life after loss, Love, NICU | 12 Comments
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The “consult room” – every hospital has one or several.  The “consult room” is where Evan and I held Jake for the last time. It is where we were when the ER doctor told us that Sawyer was dead. They were different “consult rooms,” in different hospitals but they looked the same. Standard issue plastic couch and chair. Generic flowery art. Striped carpet.

No one wishes to be in these rooms.  The hospital where all 4 of our children were born has a Perinatal Bereavement Office where I volunteer at times.  The extraordinary people who work at the office decided that they were going to renovate the consult room in the Special Care Nursery of the NICU.   I was lucky enough to help with this special project.

One of Evan’s mother’s paintings is now on a wall of the newly decorated consult room.  On another wall there is painting by an artist who is the great-aunt of other parents who also used the room when their little girl, Lily, died.  Her parents helped with this special project too.

image

This is still a room that I hope none of you have to enter.  I know that realistically there are people who will be in that room holding their precious baby for perhaps the first and last time.  I wish that one day all babies will go home with their parents but until that day I am glad that there is now a warm comforting room where families can spend whatever time they have together.

Evan and I are truly honored by the dedication of this room and that this will be part of Jake and Sawyer’s legacy.

image

Fine Tuning

April 28, 2015 at 10:35 pm | Posted in Grief, life after loss | 5 Comments
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quote -sails-quote

The other day was kindergarten round-up (the “orientation” for rising kindergarteners).  Sawyer would be have been 5 in November and he should have been there that day getting a tour of the school he should be starting next school year.

I know that I am not supposed to grow him up in my mind but sometimes I find myself wondering anyway.

My therapist suggested that I slightly adjusting my thinking – kind of like those radio dials we used to turn until the station came in more clearly.  For example, one of the twins goes to a doctor in the medical building attached to the hospital where Sawyer died.  One day Evan was going instead of me.  He had not been there yet so he asked me to clarify which building.  There are a lot of medical buildings in that area so I tried my best to explain but was not making any progress.  Finally, I said “remember the turn around where we waited the night Sawyer died?”  He got it – and knew exactly where to go for the appointment.

If I adjust this conversation slightly in the future instead of giving directions that involve “where we waited the night Sawyer died” I can say “where we park for the doctor.”

This August Sawyer would have started kindergarten (it would have been Jake’s 10th birthday and the 10th anniversary of his death but I am not going to think about that today).  Last week was kindergarten round-up.  Sawyer was not there.  He will not be there on the first day of school.   I am trying to adjust my thinking but I am still working on the fine tuning.

Missing Sawyer (today and always)

December 30, 2014 at 11:18 pm | Posted in Death, Grief, Love, Sawyer | 11 Comments
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quote - I love you to everywhere and back Sawyer,
No matter what calendar I look at or how I calculate it you have now been gone for 5 years.  According to the secular/American calendar Friday was your deathiversary.  The Jewish calendar says that tonight starts your yahrzeit.

I have run out of calendars and calculations that allow me to avoid the 5th anniversary of your death.  Over the years I have tried to outrun my feelings by being ridiculously busy.  I have tried going away and staying home.   It does not make a difference, no matter where I am or how busy I might be you are always with me.  And so are my feelings. . .

I am in disbelief that you are dead and that it has been 5 years since we last held you.  I am angry that you are not here with us.  I am frustrated that we may never know the cause of your death.  I am heartbroken that your father and I can no longer take care of you and watch you grow up with your older brother and sister.

I love you and miss you.

Sawyer

 

Five

November 16, 2014 at 10:54 pm | Posted in Grief, Love | 10 Comments
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Dear Sawyer,
Tomorrow would/should be your 5th birthday. Five years ago tonight we were all anxiously waiting to meet you. Your Nanny and Pop came to take care of your big brother and sister while your daddy and I went to the hospital.

I still cannot believe that you are not here with us.  Some mornings I wake up and hope that it all has just been a horrific nightmare.  However, you are gone and this is our reality.  You are forever frozen at 6 weeks old. There are no new pictures to post. I know that I am so lucky to have the ones that we did take.  I just wish there were more.

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I miss you so much.  Happy birthday sweet Sawyer!  As always, I will look for you in my dreams.

 

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

 

October – Pregnancy and Infant Loss Month

October 12, 2014 at 9:08 pm | Posted in Grief, traditions | 4 Comments
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October, in addition to being Breast Cancer Awareness month, is also Pregnancy and Infant Loss Month.  In 1988, President Ronald Reagan issued a Presidential Proclamation making it a national event.  This year the Governor of Georgia also wrote an official proclamation making October Pregnancy and Infant Loss Month.

Across the world there are many walks to remember.   Families and friends walk to remember their little loved ones.  The walk also symbolically joins people who are working towards raising awareness of perinatal loss and care.

The year before Jake died, 10 years ago, three bereaved mothers in Atlanta started the Atlanta Walk to Remember.  Last weekend we walked for the 9th time.  Originally, Evan and I walked to remember Jake.  In 2007, we were lucky enough to walk while pushing the twins in their stroller.  Starting in 2010, the 4 of us have walked together every year to remember Jake and Sawyer.   The walk this year had the  biggest turn out yet.  It was in a new location and it was a very special day.

This was also the first year that one of the twins had an activity conflicting with the walk.  One of the twins had a flag football game.  Evan and I decided to talk to him about it and give him a choice.  I was a bit surprised, but maybe I should not have been –  he decided to go to the walk.  He said “I can play in the game next week.”

Each week in his 2nd grade class they write the “Weekend News.”  Here is his from last week:

weekend news

In case you cannot read this, it says “My dad’s a[u]nt came over.  I went to the walk to rem[em]ber. With my spicey monky.  I went [to] the walk to rem[em]ber bec[a]use two of my brothers died.  I had a good walk.”  And so did we.

 

The Bad News and The Good News

September 8, 2014 at 10:45 pm | Posted in Grief | 7 Comments
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The BAD news –  – Jake and Sawyer’s nameplates/headstones are officially rusting (not sure if rusting is the right word but see the picture below).  We spoke to the cemetery people and apparently the manufacturers did not put the correct finish on (or, they completely forgot the finish).  So, this is what it looks like at the moment:

rusting

Do you see the border rusting (or peeling away)?  The letters are starting to go too.  It makes me crazy.  We spoke to the nice people at the cemetery today.  They are going to fix it. The nameplates/headstones and the granite will all be replaced AGAIN.

The GOOD news – –  As part of their Fall collection, Method brought back Rice Milk & Mallow (the scent that reminds us of Sawyer).  And instead of just letting us find it in the store, they sent us all of this!

METHOD IS THE BEST!!

METHOD IS THE BEST!!

how do you live in a world without your child/children?

June 28, 2014 at 8:28 pm | Posted in Death, Grief, life after loss, Love | 5 Comments
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I honestly do not know.  I feel like after Jake and then Sawyer died I should have some words of wisdom.  . .but I don’t.

I find myself looking at other parents.  Wondering what it would be like to watch all of your children grow up.  I know that everyone has their own tragedies – they are different but difficult all the same.  I know that I am lucky to have the privilege of being a parent to each of my children and to have held them (even if for only a short time).

Time does not make it better – just different.

I do not believe that Jake and Sawyer are in “a better place.”  I do not know where they are but I wish it were with us.

I know that there is not a path to “get over” the death of your child/children.  It is not the same for everyone.   Some of us do not talk about our children at all.  Some of us advocate for a cure for their cause of death.  Some of us write about them.  All of us want our children to be remembered.

quote - teach the world about my child

 

Do you think the twins have been talking to ABC?

January 20, 2014 at 10:36 pm | Posted in after death?, Grief | 6 Comments
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The other week the twins were playing pretend.  They were discussing their pretend characters and how they were born, lived and then died.  They both then agreed that if they truly believed in the “spirits” of the dead characters they would come back to life.  There was some further discussion that if we believed in Jake, Sawyer,  Mom Mom and Grandpoppy’s “spirits” then they too could come back to life.  I tried to explain that life/death does not work that way (no matter how much I really want it to be different).  They disagreed and I decided rationalizing with 6 year olds might not get me very far on this topic.

A few days ago, I saw a preview for the new show Resurrection on ABC.  The lead in is “Imagine the impossible.”  In case you have not seen the preview, the cliff notes version is that deceased people are somehow returned to their families.  A boy, who died at the age of 8, is returned to his parents 30 years later.

The twins and ABC have come up with a show that does imagine the impossible.  Every person who has lost a loved one has at some point hoped beyond hope that person would be magically be returned to them.  So, now the big question is to watch or not to watch?

2 of ABC's future writers?

2 of ABC’s future writers?

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