Thursday, May 29, 2014


It was the looking back in wonderment of the time that was . . . disbelieving that all those days unfolded into years and those years signifying a time that had passed. And anyone who has lived some can fully grasp the understanding of how the days . . . the years . . . can rush and crawl all in the same breath.

It was the asking . . . the needing to know . . . would you do it all over again?

It was a hushed question in the stillness.

It was a hushed question I had asked myself many times months ago.

Would I do it all over again? If someone had told me everything that would happen - the good and the bad - if I took the steps in the direction that would lead me here, would I do it all over again?

When the pain cut fresh and sharp my answer was an anguished, regrettable no.

When the grief gave me nothing to see but endless black, I would have given anything for the pain to not have been and so my answer was one where the head shook as tears fell.

When the clouds started to part and light glimmered through, my response changed.

I had an overwhelming need to know what he would have done had he known.

Would he still have chosen me if he knew the pain and struggle that would come in doing so?

Would the good times make it worth it?

Would he do it all over again?

I wouldn't have believed them.

Because who when they are young and starting to really live their life believes that things will be hard?

We promise for better or for worse but who believes the worse will happen? I've learned that the promise isn't for the better. The promise is for the hard. If it isn't for the promise, what else is there left to cling to? Who believes that they will be the ones to sit across from a doctor and be told that the probability of having a child is extraordinarily slim? Who believes that marriage will become incredibly hard and you're left wondering if its really even worth it? Who believes that instead of going to their daughter's dance recitals, they will visit the graveyard instead?

Who would have believed them?

I'm so thankful for his response. His response lit up a dark corner of my mind and reminded me of the naivete and fairy tale dreams I used to possess and entertain.

Who would have believed them?

And isn't it better that we didn't know? In the bliss of not knowing there were dreams that got the chance to live and dance and there was faith that got un-caged and soared.


Sunday, December 15, 2013

Ask What . . .

My fists had pounded that table with each anguished why that cried.

Why? Why? Why?

Why! Why! Why!

Those arms that ached with the heaviness of emptiness was a visceral pain.

All that pain gets clinched up, the emotions ball up and then out they come with a pounding of a fist, a guttural cry of why.

My husband so gently took that clinched, pounding fist, covered it with his open hand and said, "I know your need to want to know why. Trust me, I do. But that may be a question that never gets answered. At some point, we need to turn that 'why' into a 'what'. What are we going to do with this? What are we going to make of it?"

Slowly, those why's reduced themselves one by one as the days ticked on.

Slowly, the smiles started out weighing the tears.

Slowly, you start living again not because you have to but because you want to.

And slowly, the 'what' starts unfolding, naturally, just as the moon unfolds itself to the light.

There is a love that reveals itself when you give birth to life. It's a true, organic, all the way through kind of love that never dies.

Love in and of itself is a mystery full round but there is a mystery that lies within, there is a need . . . a longing to care for your baby that you no longer get to hold.

Even when your baby dies you are a mother who aches to mother.

That first Christmas was rough and hard and seared all the way through. The mother in me refused to stop mothering. We continued with traditions. We bought ornaments for all three of our girls and hung them on the tree. Christmas stockings were still stuffed.

The 'what' slowly started revealing itself.

There was a need to fill those two stockings to two little girls. What do you do with material things that the ones they are intended for are not here?

The 'what' slowly started revealing itself.

The second Christmas, we started thinking broader.

The ache to mother two little girls I don't get to hold never dies, it continues to grow.

That ache to love has been stretched right through, pulled tight and over to ache to love others. To care for other mothers and fathers who ache over their babies.

The ache to love revealed the 'what'.

And so, EV's Christmas Stockings, out of cries over death, was breathed into being.

EV's Christmas Stockings provided a stocking to each baby in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Riley Children's Hospital.

Some people have said what I have done is "amazing" or "awesome".

I don't deserve those praises.

What I have done was born from pure selfishness for the memories of my daughters to keep on living. I don't want people to forget two little girls who made such an impact on my world.

It's my mother's selfish love that made me do what I did.

It's that desire . . . that longing to care for and love two girls whom I physically can't. So that desire has been placed on others who need to be cared for, loved for and remembered.

I thought I was the one giving. I thought I was the one bestowing the blessings.

There is no way to describe the appreciation and gratitude one has when they receive something completely unexpected.

I received more than I gave. I was blessed more than I blessed.

It was a very emotional day for me. That morning, as I gathered all the Christmas stockings, I cried. After months of working, I was finally still enough to absorb the weight of it and my emotions overcame me.

I called my husband upstairs and had him look at all 65 stockings and through tears I said, "look what they have done! Look what our two little girls have done!" 

I would never have dreamed that Emmerson and Vivienne would be able to touch so many. They were only here for a short while but look at what they have been able to do.

Trust me, if I could, I would change it all to have them here. Nothing will ever take that away. After all, I'm still a mother who longs to mother all four of my children.

But, wow! Look what they have done!

We will probably never have our answer as to why but now, we know, what we can do with what we have been given. And that is simply to love . . .  

I have found the paradox that if I love until it hurts, then there is no hurt, but only more love. 
~ Mother Teresa ~


Saturday, November 16, 2013

You Surprised Me

Those muscles fibers pulled tight in the middle of the night and I thought if I sipped water, repositioned, let the magic of water relax as it flowed, those fibers would let go.

For twelve hours I tried to believe it to mean something different. Because sometimes the obvious isn't so obvious. Sometimes the obvious sits in silent whispers, just still enough to leave room for doubt.

I wasn't ready to let go. I knew it was too early to let go.

I needed to hold on.

My fears raged for seven months straight. Those tightened muscles that medicine had a hard time relaxing confirmed my fears that I would have to let go . . . again . . . in a way that no mother should ever have to let go.

I needed to hold on tighter just a little more.

For four weeks, those fibers pulled tight enough and often enough and just enough to keep my fears dancing.

But you surprised me.

Those fibers tightened once more, with more time that had gone by and at the right time, those fibers tightened and I needed to let go. One slow breath at a time.

I let go and you entered our world.

You entered with lungs full of life. A sweet surprise . . . a sweet sound that interrupted the deafening silence of doubt that raged deep within me.

Four seasons have come and gone. Time has a way of letting go to let more be. Infant grunts and sighs let go for smiles and coos to full on belly laughs. Lying still in arms to rolling over to pulling up and moving on.

You surprised me.

I didn't think my broken heart was capable of filling up once again. But you came and it over flowed.

You surprised me.

My cup runneth over and my heart spills through.

By nature, I want to hold on. It's a mother's reflexive response. I want to hold on because it is so hard to let go.

A full year has come and gone. You have transformed a little body into a giant personality.

My heart fills up and overflows.

My soul needs to sit in the reverence of the bittersweetness of motherhood.

Motherhood is full of laundry, dirty dishes, washing dirt off feet, reminding them for the hundreth time to say please and thank you but what wears a mother out and fills her up all at once, more than anything else, is trying to perfect the art of holding on and letting go.

Motherhood is full of muscles pulling tight but the pain ensues when we let out those long slow breaths. Those breaths we learned to breathe in and out to ease the pain of childbirth are the very breaths that hurt after.

We were designed to hold on to that which we desire to keep. But that's an illusion. We have to let go so we have something to hold on to.

I need to grieve the newborn onesies that have been folded, the blankets that swaddled and the sweet scent of new on you.

I need to inhale deep and then let it go so more of you can be. So I can breathe in worn out knees in your jeans, building forts with those blankets that swaddled and the scent of dirt, mischeviousness and you exploring the new.

I need to let go so you can be.

I may grieve the time that has gone by but I know I can only grieve because it was. I am grateful that I had it at all.


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

When Your Baby Dies

When you lose a baby . . .

You don't lose a baby.

You lose your car keys, one sock to complete a pair, a tube of lip gloss. You don't lose a baby.

Your baby dies.

When your baby dies you lose a huge chunk of yourself. A gaping hole lives inside of you.

You don't know if you can smile again or if you even will ever want to.

It feels as if your muscles are suffering from amnesia. It's hard to remember how to smile . . . how to laugh. You forget what its like to move without feeling like you are trying to walk on the bottom of the ocean floor.

When your baby dies, you feel that you have too. You wish it had been you instead and you just can't understand why its wasn't. You have lived, they never really got to and where's the sense and nature in that?

When your baby dies because your body went into pre-term labor, how do you ever trust your body again? It betrayed you in a way it never should. How do you ever trust it again?

When your baby dies, there is a distinct line drawn. A line that separates your life into two parts - a before and an after. A line that has separated you into two - the person who you once were and the person you are now . . . whoever that is.

When your baby dies, you wish you could go back to the before, if just for a day so you could hold onto that lightness, joy and innocence a little bit tighter in the hopes you could remember everything about it for your life in the after.

When your baby dies you wonder how you will go on. You wonder if you will ever again possess the desire to go on at all.

When your baby dies, you are scared that the grief will become you. And you are scared that it won't. Because if it does, that means life is forever colored in shades of black. If it doesn't, you are scared that it means you have forgotten your baby.

When your baby dies and you smile again and not in a forced manner to falsely assure others that you are "fine" but truly smile and it registered that you did, it instantly throws you back and you wonder if that means you have forgotten. And that is the worse because if you forget, everyone else will too.

When your baby dies, you wrestle with everything you believed before. You don't want to believe in a God that allowed you to bury your child. You believe in the hope of heaven so you can't deny the God who created it.

When your baby dies, you wrestle. You struggle. You fear. You grieve.

When your baby dies, your heart still contracts and your lungs still take in air. And you eventually learn that the contractions and the breathing in and breathing out don't betray that your baby lived. It's a way to live . . . to speak . . . to remember . . . to honor them.



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