Music Monday (What Kind Of Day Has It Been?)

Some days it’s just easier to start a day with a song. It’s good to remember that life is wondrous and beautiful. I think it reminds you that following your heart will get you to a new place of Love. That we never imagined we’d end up here, but we followed our hearts and has led us to this place.

The question “What kind of day has it been?” is one Aaron Sorkin asks on almost everyone of his shows. It’s a question that I’ve been trying to be more mindful of asking. What can I look at from today that was the high point? Not everyday has more highs than goods, but taking time to reexamine each day has become increasingly important to me. We were reminded in church this morning that we are not guaranteed tomorrow. That is a lesson I continue to learn and attempt to appreciate each moment of each day.

 

 

Just missing every part of you 

Some days it’s just the littlest piter patter of these feet that I miss.

The Security Blanket 

I know I’m 30, so I should really be past having a security blanket with me. 

Security Blanket

It’s now the most precious thing that our family can wrap each other in. It’s the matching set to the one Logan has with him. It’s a little mascara and tear stained, but man what that blanket can withstand is pretty amazing! It’s wrapped in love and comfort. It’s put up with screams and sobs that are so painful no one can understand what words were coming from my mouth. It is remembrance which is what security means to me right now. 

Never EVER ask a woman this question!

PSA of what you should never ask of a woman!

Don’t ever ask!I just want everyone to hear in case no one else had given you the education there are a few questions which you should never ever ask a woman!My least favorite included:

  • “How many months are you?”
  • “You haven’t had that baby yet?”
  • “Are you having twins?”
  • “Are you pregnant?”

I’m here’s to give a PSA to anyone who will listen. Don’t ever ask any question of a woman related to this? Chances are you aren’t funny or original. It is as if a woman should only be remarked on for her ability to bear children and it seems like oftentimes our other accomplishments and accolades never get this same attention. 

The worst of these comes when you ask it and the woman isn’t pregnant! It is insulting for the woman who now feels fat and the asker feel embarrassed! 

For me it’s an even worse reminder that I no longer have Logan with me all the time. That I wish I could go back and still have Logan with me everywhere. It’s a reminder that I have no newborn at home and therefore no excuse of not going to the gym. Reminder of how I have made decisions neglecting my body in favor of my grief. 

I’m sure that this PSA won’t reach everyone and I’ll be asked it again. I’m trying to think of a better response than “I’M NOT PREGNANT!!!!” Until then I’m just going to hope some other mama’s will pass the word on to keep your questions to yourself!

No Ruler to Measure Grief

So many people who have contacted me since I started writing with their own stories. These are stories of old wounds, vulnerability and reopened scars and the memories that haunt us at night. They usually start with a disclaimer “it doesn’t compare to what has happened to you” or “I wasn’t as far as you were.”

These disclaimers make me think that at some point our society decided that we need to rank measures of loss. That for some reason some hurt was worth more than another hurt. We try to minimize our hurt and be a martyr. I’ve learned that to rank a loss is just cruel. The worst thing that could happen did and that’s all that matters. The weight of your loss is not transferrable and not measurable. If it’s heavy for you it should be acknowledged and that’s really all that matters.

I want to thank the many people who have opened up and shared stories of their scars. They are all special and unique and part of what bind us together. We all have struggles and are all trying to persevere.

There is enough suffering to go around and it can be overwhelming. We don’t need to put comparisons or disclaimers on our emotions.

Some of best advice in those darkest first months was to try to talk to myself like I was talking to my best friend. She let me acknowledge I was in the trenches and to remind myself to be kind while I was trying to fight a war with myself.

If your waiting for a permission slip to feel complicated things all at once here it goes. Remember your allowed to be happy about good things while your sad about good things. Your allowed to be proud of every mountain you have climbed. You are not obligated to justify your feelings. Especially feelings of grief. You are not obligated to minimize your loss.

We are all here to bear witness to one another. To lend a hand when we see someone slipping. I hope that you know this is not a competition of who has it worse. No one really wants to win that competition.

Remember to be to yourself. To talk to yourself as if you were your own best friend and not the guilt tripping enemy you maybe listening to in your head. I’ve found that grief is a complication of emotions of sadness mixed with happy mixed with another sadness about feeling happy. Remember your not crazy, it’s just grief. And anyone who thinks grief is a smooth transition of checkmarks is probably living in some crazy sub-universe!

Mention of a name 


I love having family and friends who are so open about telling me that they miss Logan too! Please know that each time it makes my heart so happy. Although I might cry missing him too, it makes me so happy to hear his name every time! 

Why I Write 

If we haven’t already met, hi I’m Sara! I’m writing this blog for my son Logan. His time in this world was a brief 14 1/2 hours, but so much love was shared during his short time here. I write to families who have experienced grief, and to those who support them on their journeys.

I write about what has brought me joy and what I wish others would understand about the complexities in my mind as I navigate new normal. Ideally, I’m writing in this public manner because I was tired of whining in my journal about wishing more people would understand my thoughts after. I want people to not walk on egg shells around me. I want people to know what has helped and what still hurts. Some of my writings are for me to get the day off my chest. While others come after I think now I have the perfect thing I wish I would’ve said at the time. There are many times where it’s easier to write it down and send it into cyberspace than to try to think of the right words in the moment.

I hope that you feel free to share any of my writings if they are helpful to you. I want to thank each of you for taking the time to read any of my posts and getting to know me and my family.

Sara

I wonder if the mailman thinks my baby is still alive…

 

With both my pregnancies I signed up for the baby tracking apps. The ones which tell you your baby is now the size of a blueberry, raspberry, cauliflower and whichever random closeish sized fruit or vegetable is comparable. I loved getting the weekly updates and thinking how amazing it was that life was changing so dramatically within me.

I would meticulously log my daily vitamin intake, water intake, minutes spent walking. I was obsessed with doing the best I possibly could for myself and the life inside of me. In this obsessive tracking, I had forgotten how much of my pregnancy data was not just me and my care providers. It was being logged into some crazy database where every company seems to know that I was expecting and that I should have a little nugget arriving from every google search and baby item purchased in anticipation of birth.

The cruelty is that the same day Logan was born I deleted the pregnancy tracking app after Logan’s because there was no magic button to say “STOP REMINDING ME ABOUT MY GROWING BABY!” I so wish I could hit erase and somehow be magically taken off every list for new baby items as quickly as I was put on their lists.

A few weeks after Logan’s arrival we received a box with a congratulatory card from a formula company with a bunch of samples and coupons for diapers. The samples and coupon cards still haven’t stopped 8 months later.

Probably the most shocking was the random customer survey from the hospital who called wanting to know:

‘What could’ve made our stay more enjoyable?’

Really that was a pretty ironic question. Really the hospital could’ve had the crappiest towels, food, and only cold running water and I wouldn’t have cared if it meant Logan was coming home. What would’ve made it more enjoyable is having a baby who opened his eyes and cried after he was born. What would’ve made it more enjoyable is not seeing the panic in my husband’s eyes when I woke from the anesthesia and hearing how sick my baby was.

The random baby survey conversations become very short as I cut them off and say. “My baby died” and hang up the phone before waiting for the awkward pause and the fumbling words from the poor customer service agent who didn’t know. (well, maybe all except the hospital one, probably should’ve had those records!)

We’re only on the brink of my children’s generation which has every moment of their lives documented for the world. It’s no longer just the close family and friends who get notified when I post that my daughter learned how to sing a new song, or that she went on an airplane ride. It is becoming more abundant that our likes and family composition is being used by marketers in ways I had no idea because I was so used to being surrounded by it that it didn’t bother me. After having to try to change all my ad preferences away from babies I realized no part of the internet was safe. Heck I couldn’t even watch shows on HULU without seeing Pampers ads.

Will I be getting coupons for pull-ups and school supplies? Reminders of memories that we would never get to have.

I wish for a magical erase button from all the world that can’t seem to get the memo our son died. I no longer need your expected arrival information. I don’t need tips about sleeping through the night with a newborn. Although, if you have tips on how to sleep through the night when you’re in grief thinking about the baby who should be keeping you up I’ll take it.

Your Irreplaceable

Time will not change that. Time does not heal all wounds, it allows for a different perspective.

No matter what stage in life our children are not replaceable. No matter how many others I hold in my arms they will not be the one I lost.

I’ve talked to other loss mama’s about how we could all write books of the stupid ‘helpful” things we’ve heard since our loss. One of the top is: “Your young you can always have more.”

It truly aches hearing that.

It assumes that children are interchangeable.

This is usually not meant to be said in a hurtful manner. It’s thought to be look on the bright side. But really it is just minimizing the loss.

Would you say to your grandparent who just lost their partner of 50 years “Don’t worry you can always get married again?”

NO! That would sound completely insincere. You know that although they could get remarried it doesn’t mean that time is forgotten with their loss.

Although our time was shorter than we had wanted with Logan. Having a living child or any possible future children do not replace his place in our family.

The moment that those 2 pink lines show up your life is changed. You make plans before the child is fully formed. You alter your life choices and prepare space in your heart and home for the future you hope for.

Time will not change that. Time does not heal all wounds, it allows for a different perspective.

No matter what stage in life our children are not replaceable. No matter how many others I hold in my arms they will not be the one I lost.

I have heard other loss moms judging me by reminding me to be thankful for my living children. Which I am. But that does not mean I do not mourn the one who is not here.

I’m asking for a stop in the mommy wars.

We are all broken. You may have good intentions. I do not think anyone who has said this has said it purposefully trying to be hurtful. I just ask you to remember: children are irreplaceable.

No matter how long their stay was on this earth, there will never be another exactly like them.

A long overdue thank you

I had every intention of writing this thank you months ago, but going back to the hospital in my mind is a place I can’t go often. It’s something I carefully have trained my mind to avoid to stay functional. In order to properly say this I needed to:

I know that you did not go into your calling for birth to have nights like when Logan so forcefully entered on July 26th. That you thought Labor and Delivery was caring for babies who were crying and healthy.

I remember hearing people telling my mom you are so lucky to get to be around babies at work. I can remember her cautious  answer was, ‘most of the time.’

I read a OB who had been quoted that the Labor and Delivery ward is 95% of the time the happiest place in the hospital, but the 5% that remains is the saddes part of the hospital.

I cannot express my appreciation for your compassion and love that you shared with Logan and us. Compassion is not some checklist they taught you in medical school and it truly made us have the best hours with Logan.

To the ER nurse who rushed me in and stood with my husband through uncertain pain. The neonatologist with tears in her eyes. The midwives who told me ‘it’s not your fault.’ The L&D nurses who knew I wouldn’t want to eat and brought me endless cups of ice water and jello. The pernatologist who drove to another hospital looking for more keepsake items to remember Logan. For timing vital checks so we could sleep because we were so numb.

I know days like his are not what you probably thought of when you went into your professions. I’m sure people unknowingly say your job must be so happy. I know you probably give an answer similar to my mom’s that most of the time it is.

Please try not to become hardened by days like his. I know there is probably another family who will go through loss and need your same compassion.

Please remember to close that hospital door because to a loss mom the sound of a newborn crying and happy birthday are needles into an already shattered heart. Remember that her walking out of that hospital without her baby was the last thing she wanted to have happen.

The walk to her car without her baby while passing other rooms with crying babies or the nursery will probably be crushing her and an extra hug may not hurt right then.

I know you probably went home and hugged those you love. I’m so grateful for your love. You gave us both space and comfort. If there can ever be a time for me to pay it forward I will do my best to live up to the status you have set.

Thank you for your support. Thank you for being able to serve in the the saddest part of the hospital when the world only thinks of the 95% of happy days. You deserve recognition for your hardest days on the job.

With gratitude,

Sara (Logan’s mommy 07/26/2016)

 

 

The “If Only” of Mama Guilt

This guilt is a different monster. It is filled with questions like “If Only…”

“You failed to keep your baby alive”

“I had one job.”

“Why did I survive?”

“You failed your child.”

If Only...
IF ONLY….

When I had my first child I thought I had done my homework like so many first time moms. I read all the healthy pregnancy books, first year baby books. I had the aps that told me what fruit or vegetable my little  munchkin was the size of each week.

Then reality hit. I had a baby screaming in my arms and realized that I hadn’t ever changed a diaper much less held a child so small and been expected to keep it alive. What the hospital and all the books failed to really tell me about that was in addition to my baby I was leaving the hospital with a big welcome to motherhood bag of guilt.

Guilt over reanalyzing every choice made for your child. Guilt that I used the TV as a baby-sitter, disposable diapers, daycare choices and being a working mom.

I thought I had figured out how to let it go with my second pregnancy. I had come to the realization that we are not the always clean house put together family. Accepted that my child will probably eat more fast-food, watch more TV than maybe on my ideal wish list.

What I was not prepared for was not taking my child home and the guilt that followed. This guilt is a different monster. It is filled with questions like “If Only…”

“You failed to keep your baby alive”

“I had one job.”

“Why did I survive?”

“You failed your child.”

There’s enough guilt that we put on ourselves that we have to work though. If I can give any advise to those supporting those in grief. It’s lay off any guilt trips. Believe me we have enough of one going on within ourselves.

I need to hear from my husband and other moms that “You did not fail! Not even a little!”

I know that I cannot always be an attentive mom to both my child in heaven and the one here on Earth at the same time. There is always one that is being neglected. It’s a balancing act that has no permanent solution.

The best that I can do is to let go of those questions. I am the best mother that I can be at this time.

I have to let go of thinking my thoughts were so powerful that they wished for any of this. I have made the right decisions for my family.

The only question left is “Am I choosing to forgive myself today and let go?”

 

 

 

 

Would You Like To Tell Me About Your Family

Instead of asking ‘How many kids do you have?’ Consider what will you say if they don’t have any, or what if they came here to not talk about kids. Ask them instead ‘would you like to tell me about your family?’

I used to get so much enjoyment from a day of pampering. A day for me to Just relax and enjoy. Most recently I have found myself having an almost breakdown before having to psyche myself up before entering the salon.

The reason is simple. I know I am putting myself in a situation where I will be asked THE QUESTION.

‘So do you have kids?’

I can’t explain with enough accuracy the gut wrench that is this question. Do I say 1 on Earth and not mention my 1 in heaven?

Do I rock their world and say a 1 day old who died and a 3 year old who loves to talk about him, even at sometimes uncomfortable times.

My most recent time I said a 3 year old and baby hoping to leave it at that. Of course it was eventually asked about him and had to tell about his passing. Which mostly leaves the unassuming person totally shocked and feeling guilty.

For the record I never feel guilty for talking about Logan. He is a part of our family who we talk about every day. What makes me mad is how strangers will never ask me what his name was and how the conversation basically ends there.

Through my journey into motherhood I have met so many other types of mothers who all have their own thoughts on this question.

The mom who has no living child, but fought so hard to try to become one through every attempt surgery and miscarriage. The one who went through everything for her baby girl to have an unfair ruling and custody lost. The mom’s who aren’t sure if they should just say look at the alive child and feel guilt ridden for neglecting the loss.

I beg for all of us with complicated answers to this awful question, please ask us:

‘Would you like to tell me about your family?’

Please allow us to tell you on our terms.

Neverland-That Place Between Awake and Asleep

It was a place between asleep and awake that reminds me of Peter Pan. A place where he’s waiting and will be with me.

Since this I can go to sleep with the hope that someone else will visit me and tell me about whose caring for Logan and hear that he’s ok.

This post has been on my mind to write for a while. This actually happened last October and I had felt hesitant about sharing it publicly because it was so moving for me. After sharing it with a friend pushed me to try to share this because there’s some other adult children who were lost and their parents might like to hear about it too.

To also preface this story after we lost Logan I was having an incredibly hard time going to sleep and would wake up about 2-3 times a night and be unable to fall back asleep and watched hours of Netflix’s trying to take my mind off why I couldn’t sleep. In October we went on a visit to see my mom and step-dad in Arkansas. I’m sure Logan saw his Mama suffering and thought he needed to try to do something. So here goes my Neverland dream:

The dream started with me and Kevin in a really long weaving line. I think we were waiting in line to go into some building. The line made a switchback and suddenly I was standing in line next to Justin. (Justin was a friend of a friend I had known back in college. Justin was one of the most genuine and kind people I have had the pleasure of knowing. In February 2012 he and a friend were on a trip to Houston. They were driving back to their hotel and a drunk driver going the wrong way on the interstate hit their car head on. Justin and his friend Shelia were killed in the accident.)

I saw Justin and he was standing next to Shelia, whom I had never met in my life on Earth. I gave Justin a big hug. In my dream I knew it was weird that he was there because he had passed. I gave him a hug and wanted to talk to him and he was gone. Then Shelia gave me a hug. While embraced with her she picked up my necklace with Logan’s picture on it. She asked me what this was for. I told her this was Logan, but he’s passed away. She said ‘I know and he wants you to know that he’s ok. He’s just not strong enough to come back yet.’ 

Then suddenly she drifted away and I was embraced in a hug with Allie and Kevin. I woke up in a slow floating feeling. I can remember fighting to not wake up that I wanted to go back to the dream and ask Shelia so many more questions.

It was a place between asleep and awake that reminds me of Peter Pan. A place where he’s waiting and will be with me. 

I’m sure that Justin was there so that I would recognize Shelia. I know his pain is over. I know that there are so many more people caring for Logan than I can even think of. I know even though I want to ask for babysitting references for him, he’s got the best references of all.

Since this time sleep has become so much easier for me. I can go to sleep with hopes of another Logan dream. With the hope that someone else will visit and tell me about what he’s doing and that he still thinks of those who love him on Earth.

I Will Always Wonder Who You Would Have Been

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I couldn’t help thinking as I drove my daughter to school today how this day should have been so different. This should have been Logan’s first day of daycare. I should have spent this last week freaking out if I had enough milk for him while I was away at work. Are the teachers I’ve trusted with him going to be meeting his needs just as I have been over these past 5 months? This fall and holiday season were supposed to be mommy/son bonding time. We were supposed to have had so much time with just the 2 of us. The thought of who you would have been is a question I will always wonder and never get to know on this side of heaven.

I am thankful for those who wonder with me. Those who help remember that I am a mother of 2 even though they can only see 1. Today I am lost in wonder. The wonder of what my reunion with Logan will one day be. Will he be the baby that I will finally be able to hold again, or a grown man? One day I will have answers to my wondering. Until then I will continue to be amazed at how life continues to slowly move on, but how so many lives are forever changed from the brief moment Logan was with us. Even the smallest things can have the greatest impact.

When The Waves Hit

Until this wave I had forgotten how grief can physically hurt! How your arms long for something that you can no longer hold! Grief can tear you up until you are raw!

#infantloss #lifeafterloss #oneinfour #writingisthereapy

Most of the time I feel pretty together. There’s many times now where I can put the memories aside and focus on the present. A feeling of being both present and also my mind on Logan has become my new way of thought. I feel I’ve prepared myself for the dark days when I know they’re coming. For the holiday celebrations and making time for myself to have my time alone. I feel like overall I’m getting better at managing my life with grief as a partner.

Every so often there’s a wave that will come out and even though I think I’m ready for the grief it seems to almost swallow me whole.

The other day at church I felt this wave as I watched a family walk up with their baby to be baptized. It wasn’t the ceremony that got me, it was actually seeing the baptism gown. I was hit with a wave so hard I felt that I couldn’t run fast enough to get away from myself. The sudden memory of Logan in the same gown that myself and my daughter had worn. The memories of him cuddled in his blanket in his casket instead of a bassinet.

Until this wave I had forgotten how grief can physically hurt! How your arms long for something that you can no longer hold! Grief can tear you up until you are raw!

There’s times can come crashing down reminding you of what you don’t have. How overwhelming the sense of anxiety is when you’re in the thick of it.

I know times like this are now a regular part of my life.

That in between the waves, there is life. That some days I’ll see it coming and others where the day will wash over you. I may have some more learning to do from these waves.

I know that without my support I would allow myself to get swallowed. To be surrounded by those who understand why some moments I have to walk away and not have to explain has allowed me to allow myself to surrender to some of the waves that hit.

This week was a reminder to me that sometimes I still don’t know as much as I think I do.

In order to heal you’ve got to feel.

Finding Love

I’ve learned that there will not be a time that I won’t be remembering or grieving, but it won’t always be a tsunami. Grief comes in waves and sometimes you swim around it and sometimes you go under, but I have learned that through God I will always be able to come up.

The only advice I remember really grasping onto is to talk to yourself as if you were your best friend. Be kind to yourself. That some days one breath at a time is good enough.

I know before I had experienced loss I had friends who had gone through grief of parents death and I had been a faltering mess. I’m sure I said some really not so helpful things most likely starting with “At least..” I can’t say how much I wish I could take back any of these words. The only thing I feel that I have truly learned over the last 204 days is that there is nothing that is least about grief. I didn’t realize this until I was standing at my sons funeral being comforted by “At least he didn’t suffer,” or “he’s in a better place.” Really there is no better place than our home for him, and no I don’t actually know that he didn’t suffer. Technically he lost oxygen for too long and probably became unconscious but I can’t imagine his fight to get more oxygen him not suffering but as he was a baby how can he explain that?

I have learned that overall everyone really does mean well. Even when it’s the wrong words and they stumble. They want to love you and they feel sorry for your pain. I have learned that there are only a few who truly are willing to get in the trenches of the pain with you. Those who don’t think you’re crazy for just wanting to sit down and cry with together. Those who answer the texts at 3 AM when sleep is too much. Those who say I don’t have a solution or magical words. Those that say they just don’t know what to say.

I’m sure most people don’t understand this type of grief. Most people my age have maybe lost a pet or a grandparent whose passing was expected. I think everyone thinks it is sad and understands that. I don’t think that people understand that it is not something that you can just get over. For them it is probably forgotten about after two weeks.

Those who haven’t experienced child loss will be spared from your thoughts of looking at babies the same age as your missing one. They probably are wondering why your staring when you’re lost in grief thinking is When you hear someone shouting his name for their own child and your heart stops beating. You feel like you’ve been punched in the gut and reminded all over again that it is not your child they are calling.

They don’t see all of the childcare forms asking how many kids are you registering. How this will make you think this should be for two.

There is so much love that has surrounded us and so many lives that have been touched by Logans short time with us. There are times I’m so grateful for these reminders that for a moment he was mine and I was his. There are other moments when I’m angry that I’m left with reminders rather than him. How I would trade all of these for him just to be with me for a moment again.

I have learned that no amount of sadness will be able to bring him back, just the same as my happiness does not erase him from my heart.

I’ve learned that the stages of grief chart is a total lie! That grief is messy and unorganized and cannot be put into a neat little box. Some days you move forward some days you’re the same.

I’ve learned that there will not be a time that I won’t be remembering or grieving, but it won’t always be a tsunami. Grief comes in waves and sometimes you swim around it and sometimes you go under, but I have learned that through God I will always be able to come up.

The only advice I remember really grasping onto is to talk to yourself as if you were your best friend. Be kind to yourself. That some days one breath at a time is good enough.

I’ve learned that grief has helped strengthen our marriage. That as we have learned as we grieve differently we recognize this need in each other. I have learned that God has not failed me. God is with me in pain and joy. There is an eventual reunion, although I want God’s time and my time to be the same. There is a deeper love I have found through grief.

#ThanksForTheLasagna

lasagna

If you haven’t seen the movie ‘We Bought a Zoo’ the 2011 film with Matt Damon I’ll give you a short run down. Damon’s wife passes away and looking for a fresh start he buys a dilapidated zoo and works to reopen it with some quirky staff members. There’s this scene shortly after his wife passes away that it shows him opening the door and thanking the many people who show up all bringing him lasagna. I’m wondering if this was meant to be satirical or if someone in the writers room had actually had experience with this. From my own personal experience it seemed a little close to home. That everyone really does have 1 dish they bring and it’s usually lasagna. Now, I love lasagna and carbs, but there was so much lasagna.

One night we were so excited when someone came with a bowl of cut up fruit and enchiladas. We had been overwhelmed with meals and left overs during the first weeks I had yet to make it to the grocery store, but someone thoughtfully picked us up some breakfast things and my daughters favorite snacks. Another great gift we were given was paper plates, plastic silverware, napkins and toilet paper. When your grieving you usually have several extra people in your house and you will be so thankful to not have to worry about someone cleaning your dishes or putting them away. I know people mean well in cleaning for me but it still stressed me out later trying to look where things got put away.

I have to say the people who just showed up at my house with food, cleaned, took my kid were the best. My therapist has told me several times that the burden lies on the griever with what you want people to do. I had a few people who did not wait for directions they knew my daughter needed to burn off some energy and that we needed a break from the constant needs of a 3 year old.

It’s also important to show up and also ask the griever if you are planning on cleaning. That stack of papers may not look important, but it might be the last thing the deceased was organizing. Seemingly unceremonious things become sacred memories for the survivor. I can’t always explain the logic, I wouldn’t let anyone wash my sports bra I was wearing when I went into labor. It’s finally washed and now folded in with Logan’s box, because to me it’s now too special to bring myself to wear again.

When you initially speak to someone walking a road of grief please don’t emphasize that ‘time will make it better’, ‘that their loved one is in a better place’, or ‘at least you have…’ Not only are these things cliché but they also emphasize that you are separated from this place where your loved one is. That the only place you want to be is with the one you have lost. There is no at least that will change that. Today is not the day of your splendid reunion, it is a time reminding you of your long separation. It is way too much honesty to absorb in these darkest of days. Overall be mindful. I wish I had been brave enough to tell some people just to leave the food at my door. Making small talk with those who I barely knew was at times excruciating. I knew they were probably wanting to get out of the situation as much as I was. If it is at all possible don’t linger. You can even arrange a time to drop it off and text the person.

Please continue to bring comfort food, desert, and wine. And bring it in a disposable container that doesn’t needed to be coordinated to be returned. Remind them that they are loved and that you will walk beside them. Now when I have that cheesy bubbling joy of lasagna I am reminded of all my friends who brought me their signature dishes. The love that they poured out for me when they didn’t know what else to do. I hope I will learn to be able to nurture others the way I have been so lovingly nurtured. I am forever grateful for all the lasagna, but in the future I will be finding a new signature dish to bring when called.

Learning From the Dragonfly

I’m trying to remember that although it’s another milestone that I’m further away from you here I’m 1 day closer to our future lives together. The thought of our future heavenly reunion gives me comfort. When we were first inundated with cards there was one with a poem that has stood out to me. It’s a poem of the dragonfly. Before they become dragonfly’s they are beetles in the water. One by one the beetles feel an urge to climb up the stem leaving the others. The ones remaining never knew what happened to the others once they leave. They don’t understand that they are seeing a whole new world above the water. Once they leave they cannot explain that they are ok until they friends are able to make the same journey.

Today is another 26th. A day on the month of every calendar that always catches my breath. Another month has passed without you. Another 30 days have gone by and I am slowly getting further from the last time I held you in my arms. This should have been your 6 month birthday. I’m sure you would’ve hit milestones of rolling over, sitting up and smiling up at me. I wonder if we would be going through the terrors of teething yet. If we would be bragging over you sleeping for 4 straight hours yet? How I wish that we were dealing with your sleep issues rather than our own nightmares. The awful feeling of waking at 2 in the morning. The house is quiet and I lay in my bed the last place I felt you kicking and healthy. The place where you should’ve been the safest and I should’ve been able to protect you. I’ve been trying to reclaim this spot in my memory as a happy place. Not a place of where you last kicked, but a place where I also felt you first kick. This place in our home where we gave you hugs before you were of this world. Where we spoke of our love and hope for you. Where we talked to you about your family, about your dogs, decided your names, watched family movies, sang songs and read books to you and your sister. For your sister’s 6 month birthday I remember going out and celebrating with ice cream and allowing her to try a bite. We celebrated with ice cream all piled into our bed together last night. Speaking of you and giving our Logan bear hugs.

I’m trying to remember that although it’s another milestone that I’m further away from you here I’m 1 day closer to our future lives together. The thought of our future heavenly reunion gives me comfort. When we were first inundated with cards there was one with a poem that has stood out to me. It’s a poem of the dragonfly. Before they become dragonfly’s they are beetles in the water. One by one the beetles feel an urge to climb up the stem leaving the others. The ones remaining never knew what happened to the others once they leave. They don’t understand that they are seeing a whole new world above the water. Once they leave they cannot explain that they are ok until they friends are able to make the same journey. I love this explanation of a journey to heaven. Especially because dragonflies have been inhabiting the earth for 300 million years. They have overcome insurmountable hardship and yet they are still around today. The dragonfly literally has to change from a beetle to a dragonfly to survive. I am trying to understand my own change. That I must adapt to you being gone from my arms. I understand there’s no real way to explain heaven until we see it, but still won’t stop me from wishing I had a window seat just to check in once in a while.

I know he is in a place of peace. The 14 and a half hours of his life remain the time that I have felt the physical presence of the holy spirit washing over me. I have never felt the Earth stand still like it did that hot July day. Before Logan passed we had him baptized in those special hours surrounded by God’s grace. The knowledge that grace works in our lives before we are aware of it, bringing us to faith. That Jesus encouraged the children to come to him and that there was never a stage too early to learn of the kingdom of heaven, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these” (Mark 10:14).

Today I am taking time to declare how much you are missed beyond words and loved beyond measure. Logan you are soaring with the dragonflies in a world superior to what I know now. Your life is fulfilled and not ended. That one day I will gain my wings to join you in this joyous heavenly life. I love you to the moon and back!

Why Behind the Willow Trees

The history of the willow

I decided to call my writing behind the Willow Trees because when we were in the hospital room, our room had a label of a small post-it sized picture of a willow tree. This was supposed to signify to not only nurses and doctors, but the custodians, food prep and other staff that although this room is normally a labor and delivery happy room, today it is not. There will be no crying baby when you enter this room. You will instead be seeing crying family members making memories of their too short time together all as a family.

I am sure for many of the staff they would take a deep breath try their best to just get in get what they had to do for their job in our room and leave as quickly as possible. To try to not linger thinking about what this day was like for the family on the other side. I know from personal experience with so many of the staff who have stayed in contact with me that they were personally touched by what they found from our family on the other side of this door. They helped us bathe him, they cried with us mourning our tragedy. They prepared memories of and whatever they could find to give us. I have a feeling their special love is why I now have 4 extra-large water bottles, uncountable number of breastfeeding support items and all the extra tissues they could scrounge together.

I wanted to let others see a deeper look into our family on the other side of the Willow Tree. That when you open this door this is the family you will find, we are broken and hurt but we are growing through this. Willow trees are capable of bending to outrageous poses without snapping and one of its most valuable traits is in its flexibility. The message of the willow tree is to adjust with life rather than fighting it, surrendering to the process. It reminds us to surrender to our innermost selves and gain a deeper understanding of our subconscious. It is a tree that can survive in challenging conditions. It’s symbolic meaning is that even through great loss we have the ability to grow and potential for something new. The image of the willow tree is our path to stability, hope and healing.

The tree is also symbolic as we have it placed on Logan’s headstone. In the book the giving tree the tree gave the boy everything she had so that the boy would be happy. The tree loved him more than she loved herself. She sacrificed her own self for the boys happiness. This is the story of parenting. That you wish you could give everything to watch your child thrive and be happy. Just as in the book your relationship and needs of your child will change, but you continue to do what you can. We will adjust as the tree and grow around our pain. We have continued potential for greatness and a deeper love through this pain. As the book says, “and the tree was happy.”

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