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.

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Hope is a 4 letter word

January 22, 2016 at 4:44 pm | Posted in Grief, life lessons, Love | 12 Comments
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quote - love - mlk

In 2015 we had a failed adoption.

Evan and I thought about adoption since we started talking about trying to have more children after Jake died.  We started infertility at that time too.   We were so lucky, fortunate and blessed to have had the twins and Sawyer with the help of lots of medical professionals.

In 2013 we revisited and moved forward with the adoption process.  There were a lot of rejections along the way but in August 2014 we were picked by a birth mother.  She was young, homeless and stated that the birth father’s whereabouts were unknown.  Evan and I met with her once for lunch.  On a separate occasion I was able to go to a doctor’s appointment with her.

On New Year’s Eve day we got a call that she was in labor.  Evan came home from work.  We told the twins and started to pack the car.  I took our dogs to be boarded with the vet. By the time I got home we had gotten another call telling us not to leave quite yet.   The birth mother started to have second thoughts and a potential father had entered the picture.

The baby was born on 12/31/2014.  Evan and I spent the next few days on a horrible roller coaster waiting for the birth mother’s decision.  A few days into 2015 we were told that she had decided to parent the baby.

Over the last year I have gone from sadness to anger (with lots of emotions I cannot identify in between).  I have rationalized that we helped this baby and his mother but he is not ours.  He is being raised by his mother, who, with help from us, is no longer homeless.  Hoping 2016 brings good things for everyone.

 

holidays and hope

December 30, 2015 at 10:44 pm | Posted in Anniversaries, Grief, life after loss, Sawyer | 7 Comments
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The anniversary of Sawyer’s death (the Jewish yahrzeit and the English date) were both this past week.  I know that these anniversaries can be tough for me so I try to keep extra busy.   I have been volunteering for an organization called Second Helpings.  Restaurants, grocery stores, corporate dining halls, farmers markets and schools with a surplus of food are connected with shelters and food pantries.   I signed up as a substitute driver for a few shifts over the holidays.  The twins are on vacation from school so they helped too.

It is just basically driving and loading/unloading the food.   The twins sat in the car listening to their books on CD while I navigated from the store to the shelter.  All was going fine until I realized that the drop off location was around the corner from the Atlanta Medical Examiners Office.  After the emergency room this is the building where Sawyer’s body was taken.  Evan and I went there to meet with one of the pathologists a few weeks after the autopsy.  All my attempts to distract myself failed as soon as I saw that building.

I miss Sawyer on the anniversary of his death, on holidays and every day.  I know that this season can be hard for a lot of people.  I wish I could make things easier for everyone but since I can not I send you all hope and hugs.

The only outfit I bought for Sawyer

 

 

unplugged

December 18, 2015 at 5:14 pm | Posted in Grief | 7 Comments
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unplug

So, I have been trying to unplug Evan.  He spent part of the other week in the hospital due to pneumonia and breathing complications.   His doctor admitted him from the office but Evan waited 8 hours for a room at the hospital.  Hour 7 when a guy started smoking an e-cigarette in the waiting room I started to think I would just take Evan home.  Finally, they called Evan’s name and an orderly wheeled him towards his room.  When we started going through the maternity ward Evan asked the guy if there was any other way to get to his room.   The guy responded “no” and I was not sure if I was going to start crying or laughing.

Evan spent a few days in the hospital and I did not take any babies while passing through the maternity ward to visit him.  Evan is better and back to work.  Evan and the twins have gotten sick before – I know that sickness (and hopefully getting better) is part of life.  I am just not as good at handling it – maybe if Jake and Sawyer had not died I would be better with these situations.   I will never know.

Hearts

November 10, 2015 at 7:22 pm | Posted in Grief, life after loss, Love, twins | 7 Comments
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Today the twins had their check up with the pediatric cardiologist.  They were both rock stars during the tests.  Their hearts are structurally normal.  Everything is fine.  We will continue regular activity and come back for our next check up.

These are the results that I want to hear but I would be lying if I said that was all I want to hear.  I know that it is not realistic, but I want someone to explain to me the cause of Sawyer’s death.  I want there to be a medical answer – something I can protect the twins from ever getting.  I want to understand but I know it is very possible that will never happen.

In the meantime, the doctors want to continue to monitor the twins hearts while they are still growing.   Medical discoveries are being made every day.  Maybe one day the channelopathy (or whatever caused Sawyer’s death) will be found.

All I know for sure is that I will continue to love the twins and protect them the best that we can.  And their brothers will continue to live on in all of our hearts forever.

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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 Celebration of Life

July 8, 2015 at 12:00 am | Posted in Grief, life after loss | 8 Comments
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We spend 
precious hours 
fearing the inevitable.
It would be wise
to use that time
adoring our families,
cherishing our friends,
and living our lives. 
Dr. Maya Angelou

My amazing cousin’s mother (who was also my cousin) wrote this poem in a comment to one of my posts last year.  She peacefully passed away a few days ago after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in May.  She did not want a funeral and followed the “honor me not by mourning my death but by celebrating my life” philosophy.

So on Monday, there was not a funeral but a memorial service/celebration of her life.   My amazing cousin and my mom spoke – it was a beautiful tribute.

We decided that the twins should come to the celebration.  They were not exactly at the service but they were running in circles in the entry way of the funeral home.  As I left the service they both stopped running and came to hug me.  One said “Mama, we will behave if you stop crying.”   The other one said “Mama, you have to focus on the positive things.” As we drove away I stopped crying and I tried to explain to them that I am sad, I might cry again but I would try to focus on the positive.

“We all have life storms, and when we get the rough times and we recover from them, we should celebrate that we got through it. No matter how bad it may seem, there’s always something beautiful that you can find.”  Mattie Stepanek

 

Fabulous Friday

June 26, 2015 at 4:44 pm | Posted in life after loss, Love | 3 Comments
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I am trying to stick to my spring resolution of looking for happiness.  It is not always easy but I did not have to look very far today because when I went to write this post this is what I saw on WordPress:

hurray

How fantastic is it that the Supreme Court ruled today to legalize gay marriage nationwide?! And it is great that WordPress is helping to celebrate the good news.

Other, more local, happy moments I found are the following:

  •  I am always joking that I wish I could wrap the twins up in bubble wrap to protect them from the world.  Well, the other weekend they wrapped themselves up. . .

Bubble Wrap

 

  • Did you know that there are shirts with built-in chest protectors?  I learned about them this week.  The twins went to baseball camp and came home asking for shirts to protect their hearts.  How could I not get them?

Heart Protectors

Hope that you all have a fabulous weekend!

I still hate cancer

June 18, 2015 at 11:18 pm | Posted in Grief, life after loss | 3 Comments
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I am once again silent and stuck. I am hoping that writing helps.  My amazing cousin’s mom was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer and her heart is failing.

My amazing cousin’s mom and my mom are first cousins.  I am heartbroken for my cousins, my mom and the fact that I feel so helpless.

quote - love never fails

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

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