The Best Ever Big Brother and Sister

April 14, 2013 at 10:22 pm | Posted in Grief, Jake, life after loss, Love, Sawyer, twins | 8 Comments
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Recently, the twins have started to read.  Gone are the days when Evan and I are the only readers of bed time books.

When I was pregnant with Sawyer I bought the twins “Best Ever Big Brother” and “Best Ever Big Sister.”  I bought the books to help with the adjustment of having a new sibling.  The twins have always known about their big brother Jake but they never met him.

After Sawyer died I thought I had taken the books out of their room and put them away.  I apparently did not because the other night the twins dug up the “best ever” books.

As I was putting away their clean clothes, the twins each read their version of the “best ever” books.  I could not move as my already shattered heart broke just a bit more every time one of twins read the lines meant for Sawyer, “One day you’ll be big like me.”

My tears over hearing those books read overshadowed my pride that the twins are actually reading by themselves.

Once again, I am reminded that I lead a double life.  I am here with the twins and Evan.   Then there is the other part of me who is on planet my baby died with Jake and Sawyer.  I try to keep my double life in balance.  I try my best to stay present with the twins but Jake and Sawyer are always with me too.  Most of the time it works but sometimes the balance just breaks.

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March 30, 2013 at 10:03 pm | Posted in Grief, life after loss, Love, normal? | 15 Comments
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quote - everyone has something

There are times when I am at a loss for words.  People talk to me.  And, I can not respond.  At all.  Here are a few examples:

  1. At work the other day someone asked my opinion about his home computer.  I said my answer depends on who uses the computer.  He went on to talk about his wife, his school age daughter and 5-year-old twins.  I said I have 5-year-old twins too.  Once the words came out of my mouth I wanted to take them back.  I knew his next question before he asked it.

“Are the twins your only 2?”

“They are our only 2 at home.”

“Oh, so does your husband have kids from a previous marriage?”


“Do you have kids from a previous marriage?”


“Then what?”

Silence.  More silence.

  1. I am at the doctor.  A nurse notices the scar tissue from my c-sections.

She asks “How old is your youngest child?”

I do not respond at all.

She tries again,”When was your last c-section?”

Tears silently stream down my face as I say “November 17, 2009.”

The nurse in response to my tears, “You must really not feel well.”

I try to respond but no words come out of my mouth.

  1. I am on a very bumpy flight with the twins (and without Evan).  I am turning green.

An extremely kind stewardess offers me a drink of water and then proceeds to tell me about another mother flying alone with her 4 kids.

She is just trying to make me feel better.

After the stewardess finishes telling us about the air sick mother of 4, the twins start to whisper to each other.

Then they start to loudly whisper to me.  “Tell her about Jake and Sawyer.”

I do not say anything.  I listen as the twins tell the poor sweet stewardess about their dead brothers.

Sometimes I wish I really did know Scotty and he could beam me up.

Dinner Conversations & Divorce

January 30, 2013 at 10:52 pm | Posted in after death?, Grief, life lessons, normal? | 7 Comments
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At dinner the other night the twins started to discuss the fact that some of their classmates live with only one of their parents.  Evan and I tried to explain that sometimes parents do not always live in the same house.  This did not get us very far.

The twins responded in unison, “Why???”

“Why would a child’s parents not live in the same house.”

Good question.  Okay, I tried another angle.

I responded, “You know that daddy’s parents did not live in the same house?  Remember we visit Mom Mom and Pop Pop’s house and Grandmom and Grandpop’s house?”

Quizzical looks from both of them let me know that they were processing this information.  After a moment, he looked at me and said, “Well now that Mom Mom is dead does she live with Grandpop?”

Evan and I looked at each other. Neither of us had a response to give to our son. Luckily, his sister answered. “No silly! Mom Mom lives with Sawyer, Jake and Grandpoppy!”


January 24, 2013 at 11:48 pm | Posted in after death?, Grief, life lessons, normal? | 5 Comments
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Maybe (Taoist story)

There is a Taoist story of an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. “Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically.

“Maybe,” the farmer replied. The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it 3 other wild horses. “How wonderful,” the neighbors exclaimed.

“Maybe,” replied the old man. The next day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune. “Maybe,” answered the farmer. The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out. “Maybe,” said the farmer.

After Sawyer died, one of Evan’s friends came over to see us.  Those days were such a blur that I do not remember his exact words but I will try to give you the basic gist.  He explained that sometimes things happen and we do not see or understand why at the time.  We may never understand why but the fact that Sawyer died could influence someone or something in the future. 

I, of course, responded that I will never understand why. 

He went on to say that some events need to be looked at in different ways.

I again responded that I have examined and reexamined every angle of Sawyer’s death and could not find anything except for earth shattering pain, emptiness and never ending darkness.

However, he continued to make his point in a way that I could actually accept.   He gave the example that when the twins grow up that their experience of Sawyer dying could impact them beyond my initial thoughts of how they would grow up without their baby brother.  They could be perhaps go on to discover a cure for whatever caused Sawyer’s death.  In that moment I grasped the fact that something good could possibly result from Sawyer dying.  Maybe, just maybe.

Lost Girl?

November 2, 2012 at 10:22 pm | Posted in after death?, Grief, life after loss, normal? | 5 Comments
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In my younger (pre-children days) I loved to travel.  My parents took my brother and me on all kinds of exciting adventures.  I was an exchange student in Finland for a summer.  I spent a semester in Madrid.   My first jobs at times required extensive travel.  I was always happy to explore a new city.

In August of 2005, I held Jake,our first son, as he took his last breaths and a part of me died with him.  My love for travel was buried with Jake.   I could no longer be alone in my house let alone a hotel room in a far away city.  Even driving alone in my car was excruciatingly painful for me.

The twins’ birth brought me happiness that I did not think I could/would ever experience again.  However, that part of me that died with Jake was still gone.  Travel now seemed out of the question.  I did not want to let the twins out of my sight.  I was no longer alone in the house or the car.

When Sawyer died so unexpectedly my ability to be alone vanished again.  The 3 hours twice a week when the twins were in preschool seemed like an eternity to me.  For awhile I could not even shower unless other people were in the house.

I do not think I will ever be the person that I was before Jake and Sawyer died.  At times I do wonder if that person who loved to travel and see the world is still out there somewhere. . .

A Walk to Remember

October 14, 2012 at 10:32 pm | Posted in Grief, life after loss, Love, normal? | 9 Comments
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Every day 13 babies will be lost to SIDS and other sudden, unexpected infant deaths.

One horrible day in December 2009 our baby, Sawyer, was one of those 13.  We remember Jake and Sawyer every day but today Evan and I participated in our 7th Walk to Remember.

The first year it was just the two of us.  Jake had died a few months before the walk.  Evan and I could barely talk about our child’s death let alone listen to the other sad stories parents were sharing about their losses.

Today we had the twins with us and we were there for Jake and Sawyer.

I can now talk about Jake and Sawyer.  I listen to others as they tell about their sons and daughters.  I still wish none of us had to live in a world without our child/children.

Tomorrow is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.  As part of the day, everyone is invited to light a candle at 7 pm in all time zones, all over the world.  The idea is that if everyone lights a candle at 7 pm and keeps is burning for at least 1 hour, there will be a continuous wave of light.

Home is where the heart is. . .

September 30, 2012 at 11:02 pm | Posted in after death?, Cemetery, Grief, normal? | 7 Comments
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I think that is how the saying goes. . .but what if your heart has been smashed into a thousand pieces?  Where is your home then?   I want my home to include all of my children.  Jake never left the hospital.  Sawyer did live in our home but not for long enough.

Our next door neighbors are selling their house.   There has been a lot of talk about what people want in a house.  A garage.  A basement.  X number of bedrooms and bathrooms.  The top of my list is actually none of those options.  My biggest concern is how far the house is from the cemetery where Jake and Sawyer are buried.  We currently live 15 minutes away.

I was speaking to another mom at baseball practice and she mentioned that her neighborhood is at the edge of the cemetery.  My mind filled with thoughts of what it would be like to be able to walk over to see Jake and Sawyer.   Would I go more often?  Would I ever go anywhere without going to the cemetery first?  It is so hard to drive by it and not stop.

Today we went and picked out 4 mini pumpkins.  One for each of the twins.  One for Jake.  One for Sawyer.  I was thinking that I would bring them to the cemetery as I have done in past years.  The twins had another idea.  They insisted on bringing the pumpkins to Jake and Sawyer’s room.  Jake never had a room in our current house.  He was born and died 2 years before we moved into our house.   Sawyer did have a room.  It was the room next to the twins’ room.  And, that is where they brought the 2 mini pumpkins.


Boys (& Girls) of Summer

September 10, 2012 at 12:04 am | Posted in after death?, Grief, life after loss, normal? | 6 Comments
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When Evan and I were told it was 100% certain that Jake had trisomy 21 (Down Syndrome), 1 million thoughts raced through my mind.  I doubt I can adequately articulate my exact thoughts and feelings at that moment.  However, when we were “by accident” told that Jake was a boy I remember very clearly the precise thought which entered my mind first.  The realization that Evan might not be able to play little league with our son was the thought which resonated first (and loudest) in my brain.

Jake was born 14 weeks early and only lived for 14 days.  He did not ever leave the NICU.  He never played little league.  His little brother and little sister did join a team this year.  They played in their first little league game over the weekend.

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The team shirts were randomly given out right before the game.  I have always thought that Jake’s lucky number was 14.  So, maybe just maybe he was there today too.

Letter to the Twins’ Kindergarten Teachers

September 4, 2012 at 10:10 pm | Posted in life after loss, Love, normal?, twins | 11 Comments
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Dear Ms. B. and Ms. K.,
We have been having a great year so far. The twins love being in your classes. We completed the Family Tree homework assignment which was due today. I thought I should clarify about a few of the leaves.  The ones which I am specifically referring to are the following:

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I honestly do not know what the twins will say about these leaves when it is their turn to present.  They may say something like “Jake and Sawyer are flowers.”  Or, they could tell the class how they bring stones to Jake and Sawyer.  It is also possible they could tell the class which Halloween costumes they have picked out for Jake and Sawyer.

Jake was their older brother.  He died before the twins were born.  Sawyer was their younger brother.  He died when the twins were 2 1/2 years old.  I do not know if they have any real memories of Sawyer.

The twins will not cry as they excitedly tell you and the rest of their class about their brothers.  They will happily talk and talk about them both.  They will smile as they explain to you how much they wish Jake and Sawyer would grow.

If you have any questions please feel free to let me know (I will try my best but I can not promise that I will not cry).

Thanks again,
The Twins’, Jake’s and Sawyer’s Mom

Family Portrait

August 28, 2012 at 9:58 pm | Posted in life after loss, Love, normal?, twins | 14 Comments
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Here is our family.  One of the twins pulled out her markers after school and this is what she created for me.  In case you are not sure who is pictured here I will explain:
  1. I am on the left side and look as if I have never seen a brush in my life.  However, I do have a nice purple bow in my hair.
  2. Evan is way on the right.  He is very tall.  And thin.  He could also use a good hair brushing.
  3. In the middle are the twins.  She is in pink.  He is in blue.
  4. Also in the middle, and above the twins are our dogs, Buddy and Baby.  They usually have their paws planted on the floor.
  5. At the very bottom of the page are our fish, Fred and Rose.  Fred was recently renamed Lightening Flash Fred.
  6. Which brings us to the circles in the middle. . .The larger of the circles is Jake.  The next largest circle is Sawyer.  The smallest is for the baby .  I did not realize they even knew that I was pregnant.  I was wrong.
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