Monday, December 17, 2012

My Two Cents

I've not been able to blog lately. And it has nothing to do with a lack of stories or words, but more that there are too many. Too many thoughts and emotions swirling - ones that I use up all my energy trying to understand and sort and contain. When I am done with all the sorting and classifying and compartmentalizing...I am drained. And I think, no one wants to hear that. So, I try to sleep. Trying to rest my weary mind and my almost broken body.

But I am going to break my silence - for some very important people. Some very important children. The are no different than so many other children, no different than any other mother's sons and daughters. They played the same games and sang the same songs....the wrote their letters to Santa. They rode bikes or scooters, fought with siblings, and pouted just the same as all the others.

And now they are gone.

Twelve little girls. Eight little boys. Twenty in all.

I do not know what it is like to lose a child to violence. But I know what it's like to pick a resting place, purchase a tombstone, and slide my hand over a tiny casket...And to feel that heavy place in your heart where your love for that child still lives.

So when I watch the news and hear the debates, it (for me) is not about gun control or school security. It is not about senseless political posturing or knee jerk legislation. Or even about mental health issues.

It's about the families.

Do you remember what I've said before?

Do not turn your face away. Reach out your hand and clasp another. Open your eyes and your heart to those who grieve. Your gift to them is walking with them through their sorrow.  

This is your chance. And mine. To give of our hearts. To offer prayers and support - long after the camera crews are gone. To understand that they will be broken, and that to ignore that brokenness hurts us as much as them. 

It is also our chance to offer love, not anger. To offer understanding, not only to Newtown, but to one another. Practice kindness, my friends. Kindness to yourself and to those who do not agree with you - put aside your arguments and rise above. The discourse will only be elevated if we are part of doing so.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Holiday Madness

There is something about being up at 2:00 AM that makes me productive. I'm not sure if it's the effort to distract myself from the thoughts that woke me up that early or just the fact that the house is quiet...but, there you have it. At 2 AM, I can get a good bit done. Emails, laundry, blog posts...

So with the passing of Halloween and Thanksgiving - and a short break before Christmas - I have just enough time to pass along what's going on here.

I planned a school Halloween party! I know, that's not where you expected me to start. Is it? But, I did. I planned the food, the game, and the craft. Drum roll, please. We made SLIME. One parent called me brave, another said what fun that was, and still another spent the entire party trying to fix everything she perceived as wrong. It was exhausting. I think I spent at least a week recovering, even though I still managed a few posts.

After the first two weeks of November the Holiday Madness sets in for me, though. And I began to feel that shortness of time and money and maybe sanity.  However, my madness is less about busyness and a surfeit of holiday invitations, and more a general and sometimes almost debilitating anxiety.

You see, I don't really remember most of the last few holiday seasons. I see the pictures. I know they happened...I just don't really connect with them.

In 2009, on December 14, I had Kasey. My little girl, born still, just ten days before Christmas. Then, on December 17, we buried her. I wore wind pants from the sports store because I couldn't bear to wear my maternity clothes, and having given birth only three days ago...well, let's just say the skinny jeans weren't happening. On the grayest day that I remember, in the loneliest place, we laid our daughter to rest. And all I really remember is spending that Christmas in my father's rocking chair, crocheting. I didn't really see anyone, not even my own children.

The next year was a trial of endurance. Could I survive this holiday? Could I smile and laugh, and make it special for my children when I hurt so much? What about the children who should be with us?

Well, we all know what happened in 2011, don't we? Not only did we lose our son Isaac on December 8, but the day we came home from the hospital...we found out that we didn't have a job either. I know some of you understand. Contemplating Christmas on top of two crippling blows was a tricky proposition. And all I really remember from that holiday? Trying so hard to make sure that my girls had something semi-normal.

So, the holidays have been hard. There's so much more to it than what I have the time or space for right here and now...but, they are like physical blows sometimes. I'm left clutching my gut, the air having been punched from my lungs. There is all the pain and sorrow that have surrounded our holidays - and then there's the guilt and need to not let that be how my children forever perceive what should be (and is) a joyous time.

Our Thanksgiving was special, with Turkey plates (courtesy of Dancer) and fall harvest napkins (Diva). We ate well, we played together, and we relaxed - we got to be together and that's truly special.

Now our Christmas tree is up! The only thing beneath it is a gift for Dancer and Diva from their great-grandmother, who apparently must Christmas shop in October (for goodness sake!). But, I'm sure that as December marches on, packages both big and small will fill up that space. Mostly for them, I'm sure. We'll bake cookies for Santa and I'll supervise Dancer making another batch of Cranberry Sauce. We will go to church and remember the birth of Christ...and pray for our own miracle.

I guess that we'll do what everyone else does - take the joy where we can. And I will do what I can to stay present and aware, to not lose another precious memory.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Fading Quietly

I looked through our photo albums recently. At the pictures, side by side, that document our family's life. I saw Diva's first real smile, and the fit Dancer threw when we tried to make her wear shoes. Every gummy grin and family snuggle right there - it was amazing.

But it also brought a sense of loss.

Who is that girl? I wondered. When did she....fade?

Because that is what it feels like - like I faded, slowly. Until I am a mere shadow of who I thought I would be, who I was.

With my birthday fast approaching, the feeling comes over me more often. As I watch my friends on Facebook, call and email some, lose track of others...I see how different their lives are and have been from mine.

While they milked every drop of life from the college experience, I got married.

And while they traveled the country, and some the world, I had children.

Then, when they settled in with jobs and started to think about getting married...I started burying children.

All I ever wanted was to have a family. In fact, I was the person (informally) voted most likely to drive a minivan in High School. And to be a soccer mom. I took quite a bit of teasing for that.

Do not misunderstand me. I do not regret my choices. I would not trade my life for theirs. I think that just the disparity of where they are - and where I am - just hits me sometimes. Like the last decade aged me so much more than it did them.That somehow they escaped our twenties with more youthful optimism intact.

I don't know if that will make sense to anyone but me! But, it's true. I don't envy them their trips or parties or lives. I envy that sense of unshakable confidence that they still seem to have. And, I begin to see that it is not shocking that there is little common ground there anymore.

The people who I count among my closest friends, the ones who know me...they are like me. Maybe not in faith, or color, or status - but we find each other and there is a bond. There is a look in their eyes that I recognize, having seen it in the mirror.  I'm not sure what that says about the human experience...maybe just that we need to really see each other. Maybe even really share with one another. That way, we can love one another more fully, with more truth. 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

His Eye Is On The Sparrow

We have been blessed, thus far, with a healthy baby. Every time we check on him his limbs are long and straight...his heart beats. This doesn't truly lessen my dread, or give me confidence. Instead, it is a recipe for day-to-day thankfulness. Thank you God that he is okay today.

But recently we spoke with the doctor. We asked  him, "Is it possible to take him early? If so, how early? When is it safe?"

We asked because they have never been able to tell us what happened. If we make it to a certain point, we thought, will it be possible to take him then? Can we ensure him being here if we are simply willing to accept that he might need a short stay in a hospital or some medical intervention early on?

Our doctor wouldn't commit - he wouldn't say it was okay. He said only if the health of the baby was endangered would something like that be considered....he cited the guidelines the medical community are governed by.

And then someone we know said something very interesting. He pointed out that if we wanted to abort our baby - even at that late stage - we could. But we cannot give him life early because of medical ethics.

How amazing, I thought, that we do not think about this in such terms. We never look at the premature babies, born four or six or even eight weeks early and think about people aborting their children at that stage. That those small helpless human beings are thrown away in our society.

I do not write this to be hurtful or to attempt to make some political or religious point. While those arguments could be made, they are not what I want....

What I want is for us to think. There are many who choose abortion because they are afraid, or alone, or because they think they have no other choice. I cannot imagine their heartbreak, and I hope that those among us who don't agree with their choice come up with ways to help them not have to.

But there are others who view abortion as a convenience, a choice that they have every right to make - and never consider what they destroy. 

My son has parents who love him. He has a name and a place. We are his family. How did we get to the point where it is okay (in some people's minds) to throw him away....because he isn't really a person?

The bible tells us that God knits us together in our mothers' wombs, that He knows the number of hairs on our head...that we are valuable, so very valuable to Him. We are His children.

How can we consider disposible what God deems priceless?


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Free & Brave, Maybe...

When you love someone enough, they become woven into the very fabric of who you are.

But people are not all we love - and they are not all that make us. For me, Texas is woven into my soul. The size, the heat, and the pines. It is a magnificent place - and it has created within me an expanse and a spirit that relishes the larger than life.

But Texas is part of a larger idea. One of the largest ideas.

The United States of America.

Far from perfect, with a history that is dotted with both sin and extravagant goodness, it is a country built unlike any other...and has lifted up people of indeterminate origin or beginnings to unbelievable heights. It has both enslaved and freed people - and has struggled to live up to the ideals upon which it is based. Freedom, Opportunity, Inherent Equality

I am unaffiliated with any political party. I do not identify myself as Republican any more than I would call myself a Democrat - so please do no attack or dispute what I am about to say on such flimsy grounds.


I am afraid that my country, whose greatness I know and love, is changing into something foreign and disappointing to me.

I have watched my country, my people, for years. I have been saddened by our inability to face truths and make hard decisions. I have hurt as I realized that there are few, if any, that I believe care more about our country's welfare than about their own. Because what such attitudes fail to realize is that - if our country fails - so will we. If it fails to grow economically, so will our fortunes. If it fails to keep the rule of law, we lose our security.

And if it withdraws its presence and support in the world community, the countries suddenly jockeying for position on the world stage would sacrifice countless people to secure their place. People that we protect.

It has become popular, it seems, to denigrate the country in which we live. To put down it's origins, to define it only by it's mistakes. To ridicule it. Our country is far from perfect - I could list the features I find most irritating quickly and succinctly. No doubt you could, too.

But, what I do know is this: we are fortunate to live where we do. We are blessed to be able to express our faith and opinions freely. We are obscenely unaware of what we have been given - and what has been entrusted to us.

Consider our country - in it's entirety. Consider what you can contribute to make it a better place, and not what it can do for you.

"If we can but prevent the government from wasting the labours of the people, under the pretence of taking care of them, they must become happy."

~ Thomas Jefferson



Monday, November 5, 2012

Thankfulness

November is a month of thanks - and I've noticed some of my friends doing something interesting...listing what they are thankful for each day. So, I thought I'd participate in a slightly different fashion. I'm going to list a few things here that I am thankful for. Maybe not one for each day...While there is plenty of material for that, it might let too long. Just a little glimpse, then, into what I thank God for every day. 

1. God - for without His love and grace I would be lost.

2. My Husband - his leadership in our home, his kindness to our children, and his love for me are all priceless gifts.

3. Dancer - whose graceful feet and sharp mind have lit up our lives, and our hearts.

4. Diva - with a belly laugh and infectious giggle that never fail to bring a smile to our faces.

5. My Mother - who always understands when I call to rant, rave, or cry. She is always there.

6. My Father - who always told the best bedtime stories when I was a child, and who (I'm sure) still tells them to my children.

7. My Home - which is my family. Where they are is where I'll be, and my heart will always be glad.

8. The Children I've Lost - for they have shown me not only the depths of sorrow, but also the breadth of God's love.

9. God's Word - where I have found comfort, instruction, encouragement, and even admonishment when needed.

10. Each day - which is a gift in and of itself. I do not know how many I have, but I thank God for each one.

11. Music - the music I hear in my home, and in my heart...the music that escapes my mouth. It expresses anguish and joy more fully than words, and is (I'm convinced) one of God's most beautiful blessings.

12. The churches I've known - what they have taught me of fellowship and love, and even the fallibility of us.

13. Friends - true friends, the kind that never waver, never disappear, and never hesitate to hold my feet to the fire.

Love - for without Love, I am nothing. Thankfully, though, my live is full of love - and thus my life is full. Not perfect, but so abundantly full of beautiful, wonderful things that to attempt to list them all is...impossible.

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Hardest Days

Do you know what it's like to dread a day on the calendar? Maybe the day you lost your child...or spouse...or parent? To know that in the days leading up the the day you are not the same - your mind preoccupied with what is, once again, a reminder of what you have lost? There is a feeling that you will know well...you will understand. It is that bracing for the memories, that steeling of your resolve to relive what was.

You know, as do I, that time does help...some. You realize it has been days...then weeks...then maybe even months since you cried. Since you despaired. And one day, you realize you are talking about the one you love with a smile on your face - even if your eyes are full of tears. Until you reach the place where it is OK to feel peace. Where, even if you are sad, you feel simple joy at the love you have for a person long gone.

And who knows how long that takes? For me, it has only been three years since I lost Kasey. Less than a year since I lost Isaac. But again I have people telling me that it is time - it is time to be better.

But the peace they want me to feel is elusive yet. I feel it's edges sometimes, soft and ephemeral. It drifts alongside me, alongside my grief - and brushes up against me. It is much less of a presence than pain. Pain is hard and harsh and heavy. Whereas those fleeting moments of peace feel like freedom.

Maybe the truth is that the pain gets worn. Maybe it gets as tired as I do - and lets itself be chipped away. Like so many other things, what if pain gets weathered and smoothed by both time and my own neglect? I do not bolster or encourage it, letting it come and accepting when it crashes in on me. I do not ignore it, either. It simply is.


Monday, October 22, 2012

Stop the Press!

For those of you less familiar with the Old Testament - a brief synopsis of the book of Job.

Job, a righteous man, is attacked by Satan (with God's knowledge). He loses all his possessions and wealth, all ten of his children, and eventually even his own health.

See? Brief. 

In all of this, however, Job never cursed God or blamed him for his troubles. Thus the phrase the patience of Job comes into existence.

But, for today's musings, I have little interest in Job - and a good deal of interest in his wife.

She is known by exactly two verses, a brief conversation between she and her husband (exceedingly brief really). When they have lost everything and then Job is struck down by physical ailments, she says, "Are you still holding onto your integrity? Curse God and die!"

And Job replies, "You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?"

I have heard countless sermons on Job, and even a few on his wife. And, I'm going to protest pretty much every single one of them right here in blog. Because I think that every sermon I've ever heard on Job's wife has done her a terrible disservice.

Job is a long book! But we hear the entire story portion in exactly two chapters. And what we learn in those two chapters is that on one day Job loses all his wealth, his seven sons, and his three daughters. What I never hear any one speak of is that Job's wife lost all of that, too!

She lost her security, provided by her husband.

And she lost every single one of her children. In a freak accident!

Then, to add insult to injury, her husband falls physically ill and sits by the roadside scraping his sores while seated in ashes.

At some point she loses faith - and that is the moment we capture in the story of Job. That is the moment they preach on - the moment she faltered. Of course Job is held up as perfect, and what woman can compare? Certainly not his wife!

She crumbled. In despair, and anger, and probably not a little fear - Job's wife crumbled. She faltered. She fell.

 But who among us is truly like Job? And, if we're honest, aren't we sometimes more like his wife?

I know that have faltered. I have lost faith, if only for a second. I have cried out, and shaken my fist at God. Was I right? No...but it happened.

I will contend that we all have those moments. The only difference is that ours is not captured for all of posterity. That is not the only snapshot people have of us.That is only one of the reasons I have for feeling a great sympathy for Job's wife. The others you can perhaps guess at.

My final conclusion is this: Job's wife was human. She hurt, and in her hurt she lashed out. End this! her heart cried. End this now!

It is the cry of a mother's heart, a broken heart. So next time we preach on Job, perhaps we should show her compassion - not scorn. 
 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Dancer

Yesterday we celebrated


DANCER!   

We celebrated how she came into our lives and has changed our world. We marveled at how she's grown and who she has become. We wondered what might yet be in store for her.

These are the things we do as parents. 

Each year, when I lay down to sleep on their birthdays...I cry. Just a little. Just enough to mark that one more year has passed, that they have grown in ways I couldn't have imagined the year before. That they are becoming, with every moment, who God made them

And in recent months, Dancer has become fascinated with the story of how she was born. She wants to know what she looked like, what I thought  when I saw her, etc. She seems to love the part of the story where I completely unwrapped her swaddling to count all her fingers and toes. I cried then, too. I cried at how something so arduous and crazy and beautiful could result in this perfect little person I now held in my arms. 

In that moment, I understood perfect love. She cannot damage it, lose it, break it. She is mine - and she is wonderful. 

Praise God for the beautiful blessing of each of my children, the first of whom was Dancer.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Goodbye

October 15, 2012

A day of remembrance.

A day to tell you, once again....all my children are precious. Every single one.

And to tell you that silence will not ease the hurt, mine or anyone's. In fact, the angry part of my grief and sadness wants to shatter the silence - smash it into so many little pieces. So that I, and others like me, can boldly speak of our children, our love...and our loss.

While I feel the day is coming, it is not here yet. I cannot speak freely without that uncomfortable shift and averting of eyes in my companions.

So today, I'll show you what goodbye looks like.




Tonight I will light a single candle - one candle in memory of five children. Tomorrow I will celebrate one of the children I keep with me here. And then, on the 17th, I will check on the baby growing within me now. I will find out if he is with us for one more day, or if he too will be remembered forever as a lost hope.

And every day, not just today, I'll say goodbye. I'll let go, once more, of the pain and the sorrow - and the ache.


Saturday, October 6, 2012

To My Son

A letter to my son, Isaac. Written after he left us. 

Dear Isaac,

You...You are the one that broke us. You are the loss that ended our hope for another child, the one that devastated our family. The others - we hurt and we cried, but we tried to move on. With you, we fell. We fell off the proverbial edge, down into a chasm of grief - and we see no way out. 

How do we be in this place?

You are the one Dancer remembers. You and Kasey. She remembers Kasey because she was the first - her first experience with death. She remembers not only her own bewilderment, but Mommy and Daddy's grief as well. She wanted to comfort us, to make it all better. You she remembers because she wanted to be your big sister. Dancer named you, insistent that if we had a boy his name had to be Isaac. And when we told her you were gone, she wrapped her arms around me and laid her head on the large mound of my tummy. She cried and said, "I would have been a good big sister, Mommy." All I could say was, "I know." 

And now, she doesn't pray. She says she has nothing to pray for. How that hurts my heart. It twists my soul into knots - her inability to ask God for anything after her prayers for you went unanswered. 

I miss you. I held you within me and felt your kicks and rolls. I wanted so badly to hold you, pink cheeked and wailing. I would have given anything for you - anything. And it is so hard not to be angry. There is some comfort in knowing that you will never know the pain and disappointment here - that you do not have the same battles to fight as your sisters. But, it is only some comfort. It does not ease my empty arms. And when I think of you - I know that you do not feel the grief and sadness that I do. 

You do not miss being my child the way I miss being your mother. How could you? Grief and sadness have no place where you have gone. And I wonder where my love for you goes. I ask myself, "Will I ever get to be his mother?" Does Heaven recognize such bonds and love? 

Even that thought hurts. You are in a perfect place of joy - and I am useless to you. You do not miss me. How could you?

I am so afraid that after being denied the chance to hold and love you here - that the same will be true there.

I love you.

Mommy

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Indomitable Spirit that Defeats Chaos

It has been one of those days...and it's only 9:56 AM. But, while the morning is only half over for most, I've been up for 6 hours. That's right, people. Six hours!

The trouble started with all the fire alarms blaring at 4 AM. You can imagine Dancer and Diva's reactions. Yes...cue the terrible screams of doom and the panicked run for Mommy's room. And, as every mommy knows - the terrible screams of doom are the absolute worst way to wake up.

I shot upright in bed, rolled out from under the covers with my eyes still closed, dashed for the door with baseball bat in hand...and got buried under an avalanche of trembling, crying, panicked little girls. I fought my way to the surface and shoved them behind my back. My heart was in my throat and I'm pretty sure my pulse exceeded 100 BPM. Only then did the shrieking of the fire alarms penetrate my sleep deprived mind. But, that's not all folks! Oh, no!

GET THIS....

The house was not on fire. But, the alarm wouldn't shut off.

Fearing something terribly wrong in the attic or walls, I did what any self respecting woman does when faced with a crisis - I called the fire department.

We waited outside on the porch for their arrival, where we continued to hear the alarms shriek. It was 50 degrees, and us in our pajamas. Then - for the final indignity - a massive, humongous, horribly large skunk paraded through our yard. I told the girls to not look at it and not talk too loud. The last thing we needed was a stink bomb!

When the fire department finally arrived, they inspected the fire alarm system. Apparently, it is simply "malfunctioning." In my 4:30 AM brain, all I could muster was a, "Really, that's it?"

They told me to call a repairman (remember it's not even 5 AM yet), and they left. And all I could think was, "I had company and my house was such a mess!" 

The aftermath continues to be interesting. The girls are exhausted, as am I. They won't go anywhere in the house by themselves. In my sleep deprived and jittery state, I am having trouble figuring out just who you call to repair fire alarms....

So we may watch way too many cartoons today, eat sandwiches slapped together without much finesse, and fall into bed exhausted at 7 tonight (if I can keep them up that long). But, until then, we soldier on with school, ballet, reading, etc.

We are warrior princesses people!

Monday, October 1, 2012

October

National Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month was founded by Ronald Reagan in 1988. He spoke of how there is no word - no identifier - for a parent who has lost a child. They are not an orphan, widower, widow, etc...

He dedicated October as a month to recognize these losses, ensure that support systems are in place and utilized, and to inform both bereaved parents and the public about the issue.

Ultimately, October 15 became the day the child loss community claimed. At 7 p.m., across the world, parents light candles for the children they have lost. In some communities, candle lighting ceremonies and balloon releases are organized, so that all those parents can come together. There are, across our nation, Walks to Remember. Parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles - they all come. And they walk through communities and across busy streets in support of each other and in a heartbreaking effort to make the world see them and their children.

And so October is a special month for us - it is a chance to participate (if we can) in the community to which we never thought we'd belong. It is also an opportunity to show you, our friends and family, how important each of these children are.

And last, but certainly not least....October is a month of celebration. Because right in the middle of the month we celebrate the birth of our first child, Dancer. And I'll honor that as well.

So, to kick off National Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month - I'm going to ask for a couple of things.

I'm going to ask you to watch this:  Why the Still Project is Important to Me

I'm going to ask that you please "Like" The STILL Project on Facebook to spread the word about this awesome idea!

And then, I'm going to ask that you be with me through this month, as I look for ways to honor the sons and daughters I've lost as well as celebrate the ones I have with me.


Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Mouths of Babes

Dancer poked me insistently during the Lord's Supper. Eventually realizing that she was just not going to give up, I turned my head and quietly hissed, "What?!"

She pointed to the front of the church, where an artist's charcoal of Jesus on the cross was projected, and asked...

"Why are his eyes open?"

I glanced up and sure enough...Jesus' eyes were open, lifted heavenward.

"Didn't Jesus die on the cross?" she asked in a puzzled voice.

"Yes, baby," I said. "But he was alive when they nailed him up there.

She looked at the picture for a minute and then turned to me. Her eyes had rounded and were full of tears.

And then she whispered, "But, Mommy....why?"

Diva chimed in with, "It was for us, right Mommy? He died for us."

I nodded slowly, and Dancer leaned over to rest her head on my shoulder, still upset.

The whole conversation took only moments, but for the rest of the service my mind was occupied - not with the lesson on Abraham - but with the knowledge that somewhere along the way I became inured to the absolute barbarity of what our Savior endured to offer us the gift of grace.

Somehow, in my readings on the crucifixion.....in the many sermons and cinematic portrayals....in a lifetime of knowing what has been given to me - I lost track of the sacrifice and the pain and the loss in the cross.

I became so conditioned to focus on the resurrection and the joy that brings - that I forgot to let my heart be pierced by what my sin did to my savior.

Acts 2: 36, 37
 
"God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah."

When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?"

Many of you have already responded to Peter's and the apostles' instructions of "repent and be baptized." You have already acknowledged what God has given you. But it cannot hurt even you to be reminded - sometimes unexpectedly - not to lose the heart of the matter.

I did that. I put Him there. My sin, my failings. And He did it anyway...for me. Because He loves me.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The FEAR and The Failing

The other mommies do not understand. They do  not see.

Behind my smiles and laughter - kisses and hugs - how hard it is to let go of my daughter's hand and watch her walk away.

Through the crosswalk and down the sidewalk. To her classroom, her dance class, her friend's house right down the street.

No one sees how hard I work to let her go, to give her the independence she needs...that I want her to have. I need to be confident in her strength and her will...because I cannot always be there.

But that knowledge plays tug-of-war with my heart - a heart that knows the unnaturalness of a child's death - my child's death.

That very unnaturalness is what has intensified this struggle beyond what I felt before. Beyond a mother's natural nervousness and concern as she watches her child's stumbling first steps...or ruefully contemplates sports tryouts or first dates.

My only advantage is I know it is stronger now - I know the reason, the cause. I fight it - I have to think...Am I being overprotective? Is this because I fear losing her? 

Sometimes, I have to take a deep breath and let it go. I think about her in one year or two. Would I be as worried, I ask myself, if she were just a little older? 

I think I master this...mostly. That I succeed...almost all the time.

There are some women who understand. We talk about it - our successes...and failures. When we held them too tight. Or checked on them one time too many at night. Maybe we called our sitter or even the grandparents too soon after leaving the house. It is a compulsion - sometimes far stronger than our ability to resist.

We don't, though, want our failings to be our children's. We try not to let our fear and worry show - because we don't want to infect them with it. Though we know all too well that life is uncertain and the world a dangerous place - we want them to have that same innocence we did before tragedy struck. As much as they can, anyway.




Monday, September 24, 2012

The Blind Leading the Blind

Many people assume that Dancer and Diva are simply unaware of what has happened in our family - that they are unaffected. That could not be farther from the truth. If I have learned anything, it is that children know and understand far more than we give them credit for.

They proved that to me once again a few nights ago. Daddy went to run an errand and they climbed up in my lap (what's left of it). Dancer cuddled on my left and Diva on my right....they hugged, kissed, and stroked "our baby," as they call it.

Dancer took the lead, asking me to talk about "all our babies." She wanted to know what each one looked like, whether they looked more like her or Diva.

And then she told me, "Mommy, I love all our babies, even if they are in heaven with God and Jesus. And I will always remember their names and I will always be their big sister. Always."

Diva chimed in, "Mommy, I'm their big sister too....right?" And I told her, "Yes, baby, of course you are."

We laughed together at the idea that baby Kasey had hair just like Diva's, dark and fluffy. And that baby Kayla was like Dancer...born with nothing but peach fuzz. We talked about how long and skinny Isaac's feet and hands were. They were sad that their brothers and sisters were gone, and they told me how much they wanted this baby to make it. But, as bittersweet as the moment was...it was also beautiful.

Because I have learned that the best way to help them understand (as much as anyone can understand such things) is to let them lead me.

They say some of the most beautiful things...and ask some of the toughest questions. The thing they have the most trouble understanding is the lack of answers. For children, there is the perpetual question of why, and they are never truly satisfied that they have the full explanation. So sometimes, they have to ask the same question periodically. And that, too, is OK.

My philosophy has been to be honest, be willing to listen, and be willing to talk to them...because we cannot afford to hide this. Our family, including Dancer and Diva, has been altered. And one of the worse things I could do is make them (or myself) feel that our children...any of them...are something to be hidden or ignored.


Friday, September 21, 2012

Civilization is Just a Word Here

My dear Mr. Buttersworth has still  not learned - after six loooong years - one of the central tenets of parenting.

Never. EVER. In a million years, even if you are DYING OF CURIOSITY...

Ask those little heathens we call children why they did something.

Especially if you are fairly certain that the answer will:

1. Make absolutely NO SENSE.

2. In NO WAY excuse whatever the heck they just did.

3. Involve convoluted reasoning garaunteed to drive you UP THE WALL.

4. Or contain any version of shoulder shrugging, "I dunno," or "I just wasn't thinking." 

Now, when I point out (frequently) that asking them why is not a good idea, Mr. Buttersworth says:

"But I want them to think about why, so that maybe they'll actually think about whether or not it is a good idea."

I hate to break it to him - and to the world at large - but it's not working.

And, I'll admit, I have to work hard not to ask.

Sometimes I stand there in absolute and total disbelief that what I just witnessed actually occurred.

So I shake my head, bite my tongue until the urge to ask why has passed, and then I deal with the matter at hand.

If there was hitting, kicking, spitting, etc... Deal with that.

If the issue is Diva hiding toys in her underwear....Deal with that.

If crayons, markers, or paint have marked my walls....Grow horns, claws, and a tail and terrorize them.  

But...I never ask why. That is my secret to staying (mostly) sane.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Keeping it Together

I've been quiet. Mostly because what's been on my mind is...frightening. But, I had to remind myself again - it's OK to be honest. To share.  

Because I've been contemplating a very scary statistic.

I've read it in pamphlets, given to me in hospital care packages. In magazine articles and blogs. I've seen it over and over again.

Only 20% of marriages survive the loss of a child.

That means that 80% don't.

80%

What a big number. Much more than half. More than two-thirds. More than three-fourths even.

I've met couples that have survived. And I've met some that haven't.

I can find no judgement in me for those who fell apart. There is a wealth of pain in them. Somehow, in their hurt over the blow dealt them....they simply lost their way to one another.

When life just has to keep going - when you have to go to work, keep paying bills, and just keep going - how much time is there to keep your oneness together?

How much effort would it take? 

Honestly, there is little support in this area. Doctors do not inquire after the state of your marriage when you go in for a checkup. Insurance agencies do not call and ask if they can help you navigate the complicated process of pursuing counseling.

Churches assume you can take care of your own marriage.

Families do their best to stay out of your marriage.

So, what do you do?

When the person next to you hurts just as much as you do....when they have no comfort to offer....

What do you do?

For some of us, we just keep going. We know we are not the same, either one of us. And we try to accept those differences, both in ourselves and our spouse.

We love and fight and laugh together. We cry together. And we pray.

God, please help me keep it together. Please help me not lose this.

We do the best we can.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Our Gift

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 

Romans 12:15

How many times have I read that verse?

How many times have you?

It is easy, is it not? To rejoice with those who rejoice? To pat someone on the back, shake their hand, and laugh with them?

But how hard it is to face true mourning, true grief? There is something inside us that makes us want to turn away - hide our face.  We want it to not be real.

And if we do not truly mourn with them, then we are not truly touched by their sorrow. That, we think, is safer. Safer for our peace of mind and safer for our hearts.

Today is September 11, 2012.

Eleven years ago, I watched as the Twin Towers fell. I saw people sail from windows to escape the flames. I watched in disbelief as the Pentagon was attacked as well. Their faces, covered in soot and etched with horror...I will never forget.

Even at 17, I knew. I knew my generation would not come of age at college or in boardrooms, but at war. And I mourned.

Today, across our country, people are mourning. Real people, real families.....very real tragedies. We must have the courage to mourn with them. To read their stories, to shed a tear for and with them, and put our arms around them.

For there are children who have grown up without one of their parents or grandparents because of that awful day.

And spouses who have saved messages and notes that are the last words of their loved one.

There is a generation of men and women who have spent their entire adulthood fighting and dying half a world away.

There are families who will mourn the loss of loved ones today - not just from 9/11, but from the inexorable march of life...and death.

Some will mourn the loss of a job or house - and the death of dreams for their family.

Others will lose a child, a grief I am all too familiar with.

Who will mourn with these people?

We should.

Those of us called by God, saved by his Grace, filled with his love....we are told to mourn with those who mourn.

Do not turn your face away. Reach out your hand and clasp another. Open your eyes and your heart to those who grieve. Your gift to them is walking with them through their sorrow.  


Friday, September 7, 2012

Dreams Are What We're Made Of

I have a good friend who recently received life changing news. What it was doesn't matter - but what it did to her future and plans does.

It changed them irrevocably.

To what extent, we don't know. But dreams and plans she thought were (in some ways) concrete just...aren't anymore.

As we've talked, I've discovered an empathy for her situation that I didn't know I would have - because I've experienced the lost dreams as well.

When I was pregnant with Kasey, I thought that I knew what that reality would look like. Little girls, sisters....they play and pretend and fight and makeup. They laugh and sing and dress up. They beg mommy for popsicles and snacks, and they have very serious discussions about the most bizarre things. Sometimes I  listen and laugh. Sometimes I listen and my eyes sting - and I want to cry.

The point is - I dreamed every day of what fun they would have and how they would aggravate each other. 

And one day last summer, driving through the middle of town, I saw little boys signing up for pee-wee football. Five, six, or seven - they were tiny in their shoulder pads and jerseys. They played in a vacant lot, tossing a football back and forth while the parents manned the signup tables and laughed and talked together.

I pulled over and cried. Then I called my best friend. 

Because I was suddenly hit with the reality that my sons will never do those things. I will never sign them up for sports or watch them toss a ball back and forth. I will never see them show frogs or crickets to their big sisters...or plot truly diabolical revenge when they feel wronged.


I realized that I had lost unknown dreams. The things I have never experienced, but imagined I would have...with them.

When we lose dreams there is a vacant spot left behind. And there is nothing, really, that fills it up. I still have hopes and dreams for Dancer and Diva. They are a wonder that never ceases. But the mental picture I had of our family, and the dreams I had for each of those lost children are....gone.

Sometimes, if it's something simple - like a job or a degree - you can find a new dream. A better dream. The hard part for me is these are dreams that are not replaceable.

In fact, they are dreams that I have to say goodbye to over and over again.  Some dreams are like that - the loss hits you at odd moments. You realize that somewhere inside was still that want. Or, that you were holding a dream you didn't realize you even had.

We all, I think, have lost some dreams. For Casanova it was understanding that he should probably aspire higher than driving Jimmy Carter's peanut trucks (to be fair, he was 7). For others it might have been realizing that being an astronaut just wasn't in the cards.

I thought my dreams were fairly simple. Losing them though, however simple they seemed, has left a gaping hole. And I'm thinking of all the people I know - all the people I've met - whose dreams are just as shattered...just as lost.

I know that they, too, sometimes wonder who they are and where they're going. Because our dreams, in many ways, define us. And too many of ours are gone.




Monday, September 3, 2012

Not Wrong, Just Different

There is something that has puzzled me in recent years.

Not just puzzled, but...disturbed.

I have seen our churches move towards this idea that.....nothing's wrong.

How difficult it is to raise my children in a world where nothing is wrong! Where people are just different, whatever feels good is OK, and our conscience or heart can be our guide.

And where are our churches?

Right, I'm afraid, in the thick of this.  

So, I'm going to stand up for something I believe in.

There is such a thing as right - and wrong.


The argument I see most often for the stubborn refusal of Christians to call out sin is that God (Jesus) tells us to Love and Not Judge. Words like tolerance and acceptance and humility abound in these discussions.

Now, aside from the fact that these verses are usually taken wildly out of context (especially Romans 10), there is some merit to the argument - just not precisely the one so many are using them for.

God does tell us to love one another! In fact, it is one of the few outright commands we are given in the new testament.

"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another."

                                                     John 13:35

The key here is that we are to love one another as Jesus loves us.

Is God's love free from correction? No, it most certainly is not! 

As any loving parent with their children, he disciplines those he loves.

When Jesus healed people, absolved them of guilt or defect...what did he do? 


To the woman caught in adultery...."go and sin no more."

To the paralyzed man lowered through the roof..."Son, your sins are forgiven."

Did he ignore the sins of the woman at the well? No, he didn't. He taught her, and she became an agent for change in her village.


People want to be loved and liked. I understand that. I am cursed (or blessed, depending) with this desire for everyone to be happy and fulfilled....and like me. But, that does not mean that I can ignore the wrong in people's lives or in our churches.

We are told to be a humble, loving, forgiving people.

But we are also told not to tolerate sin in our midst. We can speak the truth humbly, lovingly, and we can freely give forgiveness when true repentence in present.

We cannot, though, ignore sin because of our own discomfort.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Beauty Surrounds Us

Floye Mae was in her sixties when I was born.

One of my clearest memories is sitting next to her as a small child and carefully tracing the wrinkles on the backs of her hands. Her skin was no longer smooth - it was mapped with lines and spots, every one telling of her age.

But I remember, more than anything, how absolutely beautiful I thought she was. Her wrinkles, to me, were simply part of her. Her eyes were lit from within, and her fingers were still graceful with a crochet needle. Her hair was a pure white, and as young as I was she spoke to me like I was all grown up. She loved me, and I loved her.

I was thinking tonight, not just about Mae, but about all the women I grew up with. I remember them all as so...beautiful.

Their voices raised in praise during worship...

Some had beautiful smiles, or eyes....

One or two had grace

Others had the gift of bringing alive the Bible and making me want to grow in knowledge...

In some I saw incredible strength - a core of steel.

Some sparkled - literally. Great big broaches or earrings in the shapes of parrots and palm trees...

It is my mother's laugh that makes her beautiful to me. The special gift a mother has of making you feel her love in every touch - she has given me that during some of the hardest moments of my life.

They love me, and I love them.

All of these women - and I don't know that any of them would call themselves beautiful. But, it's true. They were, and are...the most beautiful women I've known.

Appreciating their beauty helps me see my own. It helps me see the lines along my hips and the gray hair I found as beautiful. It helps me see that one day, God willing, age will create a map across my body - every child and heartache and joy will be in those lines and spots. Every trip I've taken and home I've made with my family...every prayer I've offered - will light my eyes.

Knowing them has made me unafraid of the future. I do not fear 30, 40, or beyond.  I simply remember Mama Sug, who taught me to make pie crusts. Or Ms. Emma, who smiled and laughed at all her husband's pranks - even when he was old enough to know better. Mae, who taught me to crochet and loved to hear me sing. My grandmother, who truly has a take no prisoners attitude. And so many others. So many other women who showed me how to weather life well.




Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Truth

I am still young enough - and Dancer & Diva still small enough - that I am often asked, "Are you planning on having any more?" 

Or, if my children are not with me, "How many kids do you have?"

If I am visibly pregnant, "Is this your first?"

There is a moment, any time I get those questions...I freeze. Literally. My heart seizes, and the breath whooshes from my lungs. My smile tilts, and my brain ceases to work.

I never feel compelled to hide any of my children, including those I've lost. I feel no obligation to gloss over their existence. 

I don't always share them. Though it has gotten easier in the last few years to see who to share them with. There is something - perhaps it is mother's intuition - that tells me: this person will not turn away
The most hurtful words, though, are from those who deny their very existence. Because they were born still - because they never took a breath outside my body - these people think my babies aren't real. They are not even a footnote

Not worth mourning.

"Oh, it was stillborn!" they say. "Well, at least you didn't get to know it."

The words are not enough, angry enough, to tell you what this makes me feel. To know that some consider my children, conceived in love and birthed in love and grief, to be nothing.  

So, I am sharing some of my words. They are not eloquent. They were born of anguish. They were a prayer. And hopefully, they help someone understand...

Each one of these children, much loved and missed, was a person. A real part of our family. And each one takes pieces of me with them.


One More Moment

Please, Don't Go.
Stay with me a little while
Still and quiet
Beautiful to my eyes

Let your simply being
Comfort me
Give my heart peace
And light joy in my soul

Like something wounded
You came into this world
Warm, but gray
With eyes tightly shut

All those fingers
And long skinny toes
Dark, dark hair
And peace I've never seen

Wonder fills me.
Even as tears
Soak my face
I stroke yours

Too still, Too quiet
You have broken me
Pain covers me…
I will never find all my pieces

Please God, put me back together
I pray…I know He hears me
But He will not give you back
My perfect baby.  My Kasey.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Sweet Side

I love the bible verse about Mary treasuring memories of Jesus, pondering them in her heart.

What mother doesn't understand that? I treasure memories of each of my children. And I ponder...silently, out loud, here.

A few days ago I managed to wake up and get out of bed before anyone else. Trust me, this is a feat of epic proportions. Diva thinks sleeping until 6 AM is late.

I moved quietly around the kitchen, trying to decide what to make for breakfast, when I heard a quiet click and the pad of little feet coming around the corner. And there was Diva, sleep rumpled and soft - holding out her arms for Mommy.

Picking her up, I slipped back into her room and sat down on her bed. With her head on my shoulder and her arms wrapped around my neck, we whispered to one another.

"I love you, Mommy."

"Oh, I love you, baby."

I told her she was beautiful and sweet. I smoothed my hands over her hair and back while I whispered to her how special she was.

It was a precious moment, one I definitely treasure. Because they are increasingly rare.

Every little old lady at the grocery store who pinched their cheeks and told me to, "Enjoy it, they grow up too fast," was right. They do. And the bigger they get, the harder it is for me to scoop them up. Plus, the bigger they get...the less they want me to.

It's a hit to heart. You want them to grow up. You spend your time and effort ensuring they know how to be responsible, independent, etc. But then you want to cry when you realize they are outgrowing the kisses and cuddles that made their infancy, toddler years, and childhood so precious.

So I think what I'll do is simply treasure every hug and kiss and cuddle I can get, and when I'm thinking about throwing their teenage butts out of a moving car...I'll ponder them in my heart.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Retreat! Retreat!

"How did you get here?"

I see that question on people's faces.

I hear it when they ask about foster care, adoption, surrogacy....as if the thought never occurred to us!

I feel it in their silence.  

It is amazing how, in their desire for you to move on and get over what has happened to you, they miss how incredibly hard this whole thing has been. How we have searched and floundered for just the right answers - and how we have come to discover that there just aren't any.

I could recite facts and figures - the percentages the doctors gave us, the amount of money it would take to even consider adoption, the number of times we have researched and debated and  cried.

But, really, how can anyone understand - except those who have been there?

I do not even know how I became that woman. A woman haunted. Pitied by some and avoided by others. A woman whose presence creates an unease in others. 

Even I have asked myself, "how did we get here?".

I certainly did not plan this future when I met my husband at a summer BBQ ten years ago. The day I married him - clouds did not hang over the exchange of our vows ominously. And I could not fathom this being our reality the night Dancer was born and he placed her in my arms. As I unwrapped her swaddling to count her fingers and toes and as I held her to my breast...this was not my intention.

It has felt like a whirlwind, almost like we were caught up and buffeted by a force too powerful for us to conquer. The want and need for another child, the push and pull of the doctors and nurses, the hope.

Ours are not the only prayers being offered. Churches full of people have prayed, friends and family have pleaded with God just as we have. And the hope that God will intervene on our behalf still lives in my heart, even as I try to squash it.

Perhaps that is how we got here - a surfeit of hope.


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Everything New

Even though I hated it, there was a part of me that felt our TEM (truly epic move) was a new beginning. This was a chance to begin something separate and apart from the tragedy that has dotted the last few years. And I felt some...relief.

It was a chance to unburden myself - I could heal and pray and....become someone again. Someone not rolling from one grief to the next, from one hurt to another. I could do more than survive.

"We are finished." we said. Finished listening to the tug in our hearts for more children, finished listening to doctors' theories, and finished praying for something that has become an impossible dream.

And now, we are pregnant again. Unintentionally, unbelievably....I don't even have the words.

I thought about not telling you.

But, I can't help you - and you can't help me - if we're not honest with one another. 

I already know the likely outcome for this child - even though I pray that this one is the one that makes it. I know what physical, emotional, and spiritual pain I will endure...

But, I saw our baby today at the doctor's office.

Beautiful.

Two arms and legs, a beautiful back and fat little tummy...

Absolutely Beautiful.  

There are no words for that either. The twin strands of pain and despair that twisted themselves around my heart today. And who will know - unless I tell them - that you can feel those in complete equality and harmony? That you can thank God in one breath for another day with your child, while begging in the next for just one more? 


Or that you can find yourself with no hope - and every hope - all at once?

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Contains Brief Nudity

Important Note: We just moved here. Keep that in mind.


The conversation between Casanova and myself went something like this:

Diva stripped in the middle of the dance studio today after class.

Hysterical man giggles. 

Why?

I DON'T KNOW!

Where were you?


I wasn't looking. I just turned around and....and there she was, calmly and methodically stripping.

More hysterical man giggles.

Where was everybody else?

They were all filing right past her on their way out the door.....

(Excuse me while I bask in my total and complete humiliation) *face palm*

So...what did you do? 

I lunged, covered her with my dress, and started yanking up her tights....sigh.....I think I scared her.

At this point, Casanova lost what little composure he had and laughed until he cried. I think I may change his name to appropriately reflect the level of aggravation he causes me. Suggestions?   

Now, this isn't the first time Diva's stripped in public. The dance studio in particular seems to be her favorite place to explore her nudist tendencies. I have, apparently, failed to instill the proper amount of horror in her at her lack of modesty. 

Granted, this is not the worst thing that could happen. And, too, I know I have years before it really matters. 

But, really?!! Public nakedness? This is what I'm up against? I'm all for healthy self-esteem, but this carries things a little too far!

I really wish I was one of those moms who thought my kids were perfect. Not that I'm complaining that I have them - hopefully you know me better than that. But, if I thought they were perfect...my days would be quieter - more peaceful. I wouldn't have to worry so much about whether or not I am screwing them up.

And while a little pre-school stripping is not the worst that could happen - there are other scarier things out there. Every mom I know fights the guilt and worry that somehow she has permanently messed up her kids' psyche.  But, as one friend reassured me, "Everybody needs something to talk about in therapy." 


Saturday, August 11, 2012

Growing Pains

I feel....transplanted.

Like the conditions are harsher and I'm not sure...how do I put down roots here?

I get up and go to church. I dress up. I smile....and I pray someone sees past the smile to who I am.

I push and push to get Dancer into a good school - and I do - selling myself as much as her.

I wander around our new grocery store and I keep thinking, "will this place ever feel like mine?"

I feel....tentative.

When did I become so unsettled?

The kids were quick to establish ownership. This is our house, and my room. This is where we shop. That is our church.

I know they aren't completely settled yet. Casanova said exactly what I was thinking this morning at 4:30 AM.

"It's worse than when they were infants. Somebody's up every two hours."  And he wasn't kidding.

At least when they're infants you expect the sleep deprivation. 

I guess more than anything I am bewildered. That's a good word, isn't it?  

Disoriented...confused...

It's not just the weather that's different here. The houses and stores and people are different, too. I sometimes feel like I'm navigating uncharted waters without a map. Hence the bewildered-ness.  And no, that's not really a word. But, I'm trying it out. I can do that...I was an English major.

Even though we moved around a good bit in Texas....it's still Texas!

And there are things I miss.

I miss my friends. I miss knowing that they could drop their kids off, or I mine - with little notice. I miss having someone right down the street that doesn't mind whether I'm smiling, laughing, or crying...they still love me. I miss knowing my place.

How long before I have my place here?

How mercy on me, LORD, for I am faint;
heal me, LORD, for my bones are in agony.
My soul is in deep anguish.
How long, LORD, how long?

Turn, LORD, and deliver me;
save me because of your unfailing love.

Psalm 6: 2-4


Monday, August 6, 2012

Shhhh, it's a Secret.

For three months after we lost Kasey, I couldn't go into a church. I would sit in the parking lot, staring at the church...and I would panic.

Sometimes I would make it inside, only to turn around and leave within minutes.

I just could not do it.

I was finally able to sit through a worship service. But, I have a big secret...

Sometimes, church still hurts.

I am not, I believe, in any danger of ceasing to believe in God. But, I do not always believe in a good God.

"When you are happy, so happy you have no sense of needing Him, so happy you are tempted to feel His claims upon you as an interruption, if you remember yourself and turn to Him with gratitude and praise, you will be - or so it seems - welcomed with opened arms.

But go to Him when your need is desperate, when all other help is in vain, and what do you find? A door slammed in your face, and a sound of bolting and double bolting on the inside. After that, silence. You may as well turn away. The longer you wait, the more emphatic the silence will become."

                                                                                                   C.S. Lewis
 
That is the danger. Not that I will stop believing in God, but that I will begin to hear only the silence, and that it will overwhelm me. That it will sink into my soul and I will not be able to hear Him anymore.

Friday, August 3, 2012

What Not to Say...

There are three (adult) people I talk to every day: my lovely husband, my mother, and a wonderful friend from college. If I go more than a day or two without talking to any one of these people...my world feels just a little off.


Amongst the shared horror stories of raising heathens and debating Bible doctrine, both of which we do on a regular basis, we also like to make up our best "10 Things Not to Say to..." For my friend that blank is army wives. For me it's mothers who have lost children.

And, for the edification of those who want to know...here is some of my list. Because at some point, you will know one of these women...or you will meet one. I want you to be someone they remember with a sense of peace, not sorrow.

1. "You are so strong. I just don't think I could do it."

All variations of this are just wrong. I didn't think I'd ever have to survive one of my children, let alone five! It is not something that any of these mothers plan for, expect, or want to happen. And they are only as strong as they have to be.

We only get up to care for our families, or go to our jobs, or do the grocery shopping because it has to be done. Not because we have some super deep reservoir of strength that outweighs yours.


2. "God just needed another rose for his garden." or the ever popular "God needed another angel."

Again, not helping. I personally do not believe that my children are inanimate objects on some bush in heaven...or that they are angels. Beyond my personal beliefs, though, is this truth....God did not need to take my children for anything.

3. "God's got a plan." and "Someday it will all make sense."

I addressed this briefly in another post - the idea of God's plan. And, do not misunderstand me...I believe there is one. But, in this particular instance - this phrase is not comforting! Because, I can tell you without a shred of doubt: this is never going to make sense to me in this life.

4. "When are you going to get over this?"

I don't think that there is really any explanation needed for that one, but I will provide a note.

You do not ever get over losing a child. You move on, or you heal (mostly), or you learn to live with it...but you do not get over it.

And I have to come to understand that people wanting you to is a measure of their discomfort over your loss.

5. "You're so lucky you only have two (one, three, etc.) Just imagine if you had (fill in the blank)!"


I do not consider myself lucky to have ‘only’ two. And, neither would they. They love their children. Just as I do mine. And they would not consider their lives easier to have lost even one of those precious children.

A Final Note

I believe in the good intentions of most people. Perhaps it is my rose colored glasses, but I do not believe that I am surrounded by people who want to hurt me. But sometimes they do.

In this particular situation there are only a few phrases that really count.

I love you.
I'm praying for you.
I'll call you tomorrow to see how you are. 
What can I do for you?

You can write a card on their child's birthday or due date. You can make the family meals so they don't have to. You can send her a card on Mother's Day or him one on Father's Day.

You can be unafraid to ask how they are - and unafraid to accept an honest answer.


You can let them know they are not alone.