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

42072e5a0e8f86b56eee4d919cf7d173

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.

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.”

img_0073