A rush of memory


I’m not really sure where I am right now. I’ve had a strange rush of Facebook memories that have been reminding me of what trajectory my life was once headed. I see pictures of my daughter a year ago and remember how excited she was to give her baby brother hugs inside my womb. I remember Logan kicking my ribs and the constant craving for mint taste and the heartburn I had. 

I long for that easier life. I remember just being ready to meet him and for our life to become a family of 4. 

Life has changed so much in this past year. In ways I never thought before. 

I have heard so many times “you are so brave.” Or “so strong.”

But this wasn’t a challenge I had chosen. I’m not actually any of these things. I’m just trying to get through each day. I don’t want to be a grief role model. I don’t want to. I wanted the normal before grief and a constant ache from the empty feeling in my arms. 

As his birthday is getting closer I feel his name get mentioned less than before. I think it gets easier for him to be the elephant in the room maybe thought about, but not mentioned. I was so desperate to hear his name one day when I ordered my coffee I gave my name as Logan, just to hear someone call it out loud. 

I will never be able to yell his name as he takes forever getting ready or to keep him from running into the street. I won’t have that exasperated name I yell as I’ve told him for the 10th time to pick up his room. It’s a small thing, but it felt so good to hear out loud. I have so many future memories without him, I am still struggling with how to incorporate him into them without him here. 

11 months in heaven 


Today baby boy I thank you for allowing me the opportunity to share your story with a total stranger today. I always dread as the calendar gets closer to the 26th. Just another reminder that time has moved on without you here. My husband can testify I’m usually an emotional mess on the 25th of most months and end up taking a few hours in Logan’s room alone.

This month was so hectic with summer travel I didn’t even realize what day was approaching until late last night preparing for the next workday. I said a prayer and hoped I could get through another 26th without being the girl who cries at work.

My workday was hectic and filled back to back with helping people. It was approaching lunchtime and I had the the thought “I can fit 1 more in before lunch.”

The number I happened to call came to my window and said she was here to provide a statement of paternity for her sons child. As I got further in I learned that her son had passed unexpectedly in a drunk driving accident as a passenger. She talked about how amazing her grandchild was that he had never been able to meet as she was born after he passed. 

We shared with each other about the grief that comes everyday when you lose a child. You look for ways to know your child’s memories aren’t forgotten. You look for new things to parent and teach about your child. There is still guilt and steps you wish you could change to have them back.

After the interview I went and cried with thankfulness that of all days I got to share about Logan on the 26th. The calls and texts on the 26th have slowed down from almost a year ago. I know most people don’t wish a living child a happy 11 month birthday. But most parents would be posting pictures of monthly accomplishments and stats so here’s Logan’s:


Stars in the sky for him: 1

Siblings in heaven: 1

Siblings on Earth: 1

Making Mom realize her dream as a writer:1

Months in heaven: 11

Amount of lives changed by his story: you tell me

Not Where I Thought I’d Be

This has been one of the hardest weeks of my life. This most recent loss is not how I thought I would be introducing our third child to the internet world. We thank everyone who has supported us so much this week. I know many ask what they can do to help. Really I have no answer. In a state of shock I’m still trying to put my own oxygen mask on before helping others. Once I get some more oxygen I’ll let you know.

There’s so many days I wake up and think I can’t believe this is our life. This week has been a rough reminder that this has not been a terrible dream. It continues to be a nightmare from which we cannot awaken.

At the end of April we had found out that we were expecting our 3rd child. We were a complex emotions of happy, scared, nervous, excited. The beginning of this pregnancy was something we didn’t take as lightly as we had before Logan. We had decided right away we would be telling our close family and friends as soon as possible because frankly the ’12 weeks rule’ is the stupidest nonsensical rule.

Looking from the other side of loss I have no idea why people think it’s good to not make others uncomfortable should something happen. When really all it does is leave a couple isolated in grief because no one knew the joy there were expecting to have. It doesn’t matter how early it happens. There is a loss of plans, of hopes and dreams. There are birthdays, graduations, and sports games that will never happen. It’s not just the loss of the pregnancy, it’s the loss of what you hoped a new future with your child would be. 

This gets me to this past week. A week ago Sunday I noticed some bleeding. I prayed for it to be anything except for what we feared. It continued off and on and by Monday night we had decided for our own sanity we needed an ultrasound and went to the hospital. The doctor confirmed our fears that we would soon be losing this pregnancy too. Our child had stopped growing at 6 weeks and had no heartbeat. We were expecting it to have been closer to 10 1/2 weeks and be changed from the first embryo we had seen weeks ago. 


I’m thankful that I have so many loss friends who had told me things to prepare me for my miscarriage. I wanted to scream at the doctor when he told me it would be ‘just like a period!’

Firstly hearing from any man about what women really experience in a period, hormones and the truly wife variations of my own normal cycle is truly laughable. I don’t care how much schooling he’s had. Unless you’ve personally experienced it just shut your mouth! 

Secondly, in typical periods I don’t have mini contractions that have me bed ridden, and eventually pass a placenta and fetus! I imagine most people reading this would say that is not a ‘normal period’ where the utmost beginnings of life are passed! I don’t normally experience my milk coming in like a period, or nausea that kept me closely confined to my bed and bathroom floor for 2 days. 

I should’ve screamed at him to stop perpetuating this lie! A miscarriage Is Not A Period! It is labor and birth and raw and is a loss of so many things! 


I myself will no longer be personally endorsing the ’12 weeks rule.’ It is true those are the most volatile weeks in a woman’s pregnancy. The risk of miscarriage dramatically decreases after this time, but really there is no ‘safe’ time where we’re guaranteed that the baby will be safe. 1 in 5 pregnancies ends in a miscarriage before 20 weeks. 1 in 4 babies die between conception to 1 year. 1 in 160 babies die stillborn or within 48 hours. 

This is not an uncommon experience to be kept in the corner. Although I cannot marvel over the wrinkles, toes and beautiful face of this child I will forever carry my short memories and excitement of their impending arrival. I will mourn the due date which will never come. The unfulfilled dreams for them I cannot share o this earth with them are forever missed. 

The mom with 2 faces 

I wanted to update everyone on some exciting updates with my writing. I have been accepted as a guest post blogger on still standing magazine. If anyone is looking for great resources on child loss and grief this is such a great resource and so many topics. I am so excited in this new writing journey and plan on keeping my own Behind the Willow page the same. This is just another avenue to expand my writing to reach even more people.

The mom with 2 faces

IS THE BUILD UP WORSE THAN THE DAY?

Some times the constant reminder you may have a trigger day coming is worse than the actual day. Some days it’s all around when you least expect it!

I was blessed enough to be born on Mother’s Day and was told for so long that I was the best gift for that day. I made her a “Mom.” It was a day that for so many years I’ve had shared with her. So many family celebrations of having to share my day with my grandmothers, aunts and mom’s. I enjoyed it even more when my first mother’s day as a mother myself happened to fall also on my birthday. It was a wonderful mix of emotions and outpouring of love for my daughter and celebration of this new stage of my own life.

This year these days won’t be celebrated quite the same. There will be a new worry of emotion. I’m working to remind myself that I am not only the noun of mother, someone who has born or adopted a child. I am looking at it as also a verb: something or someone as the recipient for my action. I give love, I give them energy, I give them my thoughts.

I can think of so many inspirational women throughout my life who have helped show me that what mothering truly is. Those Who have shown me grace and are my soul sisters! As I am getting bombarded with email ads for massages endless scented lotions and massages which I will never remember to book, I’ve been trying to think about what would actually make me the most happy in my celebration week of my life and Mother’s Day.

The realization of this year is that time is the only thing of true value that you cannot measure. It is the gift that gives me back the most. I know memories can fade but they  the best gifts I have received from others in these past 9 months. If you are wanting to know how you can help me this Mother’s Day this is my request:

-Show me where you took Logan’s memory today. Show me where you saw him, either in the stars, the wind, the leaves or maybe a rainbow.

-Light a candle for his memory 

-Acknowledge that this will be a difficult day and that your just thinking about me and Logan

-If you can visit with him. I love seeing when he’s had his friends stop by with a pebble or flower.

I think this day I will be surrounding myself with other mama’s whose arms are aching. I’m praying for peace and comfort during this period. I pray our children won’t be forgotten. I pray for understanding relationships and being surrounded by love.

A Fresh Beginning

I love when there happens to be an inexplicable sign from somewhere that there’s beauty we’re not even seeing. I often feel living in the Midwest prairie that I forget that even if I’m not looking at a mountain or ocean it is all a part of God’s Earth.

Through the years I have gotten a lot of joy out of physical accomplishments. I usually run at least one or two 5K’s a year and try for one half marathon or 10K. For some reason in 2016 at 6 months pregnant I had a crazy notion that I should sign up for a 30K series (3 different 10K races in 3 weeks) which started 6 weeks after my predicted due date. I know I was living some crazy dream, because not only was this a crazy soon amount of time after having a baby, but I hadn’t done any running in the last 4 months of my pregnancy! I ended up sleeping through the first two races, still recovering from my stitches and in the deepest grief. By the time the third came around a little after 2 months after we lost Logan my husband convinced me I had to go to the race and at least walk across the start! He knew what running had done for my happiness in the past and wanted to see me there again.

That Sunday race morning was a wet drizzle as we all drove to the start. I think I changed my mind more than a few times while waiting for the start of the race as my husband and daughter had driven further down the route to be my cheerleaders. I’d only run about 2 miles since Logan’s birth. What crazy thing was I thinking? A 10K is 6.2 miles and about 5 miles of this race was on hills! I told myself I can at least make it to the first turn-around where the 5K was. If nothing else I have confidence I can walk 3 miles even if I don’t run. I was convincing myself with every step after that starting line, your only going to do a 5K today, accept it there will be more races.

Then something happened at the first half mile. I was no longer getting pelted with the sharp pellets of rain falling. It just suddenly looked like we were all in a cloud of haze running. Then I turned the corner and the cloud around me was gone and I looked up and saw a rainbow jetting from the sky. I have never felt more that something was put there for me than this moment. I thought back to the story of Noah and the flood and the storm that he saw. The world was “broken.” Everything they knew had been changed. This was the same world I had been living in. Then God gave Noah a rainbow as a sign remembrance for the covenant between God and all of creation. That the waters will calm through our storms.


I did not get a pot of Gold at the end of the rainbow that day, but seeing the pride and smile in my husband and daughter as I crossed the finish line that day. I was not alone I had cheerleaders I couldn’t even see that day who pushed me on. 

The Elephant Never Forgets

There’s maybe more meaning to the saying ‘an elephant never forgets’ than you thought you knew. These animals are gentle giants walking this Earth who have so much teach us.

Did you ever think that there’s a reason to the saying ‘an elephant never forgets’? Elephants are able to remember all of the grazing land and watering holes from across hundreds of miles which it feeds from. They will remember threats such as lions or poachers. Their memory is part of their survival. 

Elephants are one of the most complex animals who are capable of emotions as humans such as joy, love, sadness, grief, compassion and distress. When a mother loses a calf the other mothers and aunts surround her in a circle as she cries. The mother feels this loss and is visible through her depressed mood and sunken eyes. The herd will cover their deceased with branches as an act of dignity. When a herd encounters an elephant skeleton they will contemplate the bones and show respect for the deceased. Their gift of compassion and memory is truly unique and something to learn from.

The elephant is considered by many cultures to be symbolic of wisdom, loyalty, strength, fidelity and longevity. No other animal on land matches the strength of an elephant. In many Asian cultures it’s considered good luck to place an elephant with its trunk up near a front entrance to encourage this strength in the home.

 The more I have learned about these beautiful creatures the more I am amazed at how Gods creatures continue to amaze me. The elephant has become part of our family symbol that we will never forget and we are a herd of remembrance. We may always have an elephant in the room that may not be seen, but his presence is always felt.

When She Believes 

I don’t really have much to say about today other than I’m trying to make a more purposeful time for myself and what I am fulfilled by. I’m looking forward to this time where everything goes through a rebirth. It’s a time for new beginnings and starts. I am making sure that my calendar and check book reflect my priorities.

I’m still not 100% sure how to get towards some of the goals I’ve set but I’m setting a new mantra for myself! 


Why Behind The Willow Trees

One of My Grief Writing Inspirations

untitledI cannot say enough how inspiring Sheryl Sandberg is personally and professionally as a woman teaching other women to Lean In. In May 2015 Dave Goldberg, then CEO of tech company SurveyMonkey, husband of top Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg and father of their two children, passed away unexpectedly while on vacation in Mexico. The way that she has been very open about her grief and teaching empathy in the midst of her own pain has amazed me. Sheryl has shown me that it’s ok to address the elephant. That although the standard time for mourning is over that we have to continue to learn how to live life differently.

Following the end of the 30-day religious mourning period in Judaism known as sheloshim, Sheryl Sandberg posted a note on Facebook, reflecting on her grief and her learnings.

Here are a few of the thoughts she shared publically on her Facebook page which has since gone viral:

_________________________________________________________________

“Real empathy is sometimes not insisting that it will be okay but acknowledging that it is not.” Sandberg says she finally understood that telling people facing challenges that “everything will be okay” is not actually helpful. Sometimes, acknowledging what is happening — the pain — is what people truly need.

“Let’s all move out of the way. Someone’s parent or partner or child might depend on it.” Sandberg was referring to the cars on the road while the ambulance drove her husband to the hospital, but the call for less selfishness can be universally applied.

“I have learned that resilience can be learned.” A friend of Sandberg’s told her about the three elements to resilience: personalization (it’s not your fault), permanence (these feelings won’t last forever), and pervasiveness (this doesn’t have to affect every area of your life).

“One of my favorite cartoons of all time has an elephant in a room answering the phone, saying, ‘It’s the elephant.’ Once I addressed the elephant, we were able to kick him out of the room.” Sandberg realized that people close to her, especially at work, were terrified of saying anything that could hurt her, and the only solution was for everyone to openly ask questions and share their feelings. Addressing that elephant in the room is the only way to move forward.

“Option A is not available. So let’s just kick the shit out of option B.” These wise words came from a friend of Sandberg’s, about acceptance — and making the best of the situation. Goldberg might not be there for their children anymore, but she can commit to making the best from the alternative.

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.

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!

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.

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?”

 

 

 

 

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.

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.

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