Friday, November 8, 2013

These Haunted Arms

November arrives, and brings with it so much excitement and anticipation.  The years first snowfalls delight children, and adults who feel like children and the promise of Christmas coming soon.  For my family, November is a month of celebration, of birthdays for Avery and Landon, my mom and niece Anna, and for Everett.  Don't forget Everett.  Of course we never could, never would.  But strangely, come November, a new and much higher degree of awareness of Everett washes over me.  November ushers in so much happiness, but it also ushers in the grieving season.  All my Everett senses are heightened.  Suddenly, I can feel him. 

The first snows that stick to the cars and the grass bring flash backs to looking out the window at Sick Kids, it's snowing, and I'm thinking, maybe he'll be home at our local NICU for Christmas.  Those birthday candles Landon picked out for his cake, the ones shaped like Lego bricks, I'm wondering what candles would Everett want on his birthday cake.  On his 6th birthday cake.  Six years have vanished before my eyes.  Time passed so astonishingly fast, how time has distanced me from him, and how miraculous it is that come November, I am right there again at his bedside.  I walk in the doors at work, the dialysis doors that are right next to the pediatrics entry, labor and delivery is straight ahead, the air smells different in this part of the hospital, and something as simple as a breath of that smell, and I'm standing at the payphone just inside these doors, and I'm talking to my dad and I'm bawling about his heart, Everett's heart, and I'm telling him how sick he is.  Or I'm standing by the nursing station while the team from Sick Kids stabilizes Everett for transfer, and Elvis is there and he's inconsolable, he's crying so hard he is breathless, he's terrified and I'm holding him.  It takes only the scent of the hospital linens this time of year, and it's November 2007.

At the time, in the thick of it, Sick Kids felt like an awful place to be.  After Everett passed away I walked away from Sick Kids and I vowed I never wanted to set foot in it again.  I was overcome with anger and grief and I never wanted to be reminded of that place and that battle that defeated my son.  As time went on, those feelings that repelled me faded and in 2011 I found myself at Sick Kids once more, accompanying a friend who worked there.  She left us there in that same lobby as she went to conduct some work business, and I sat in those same tables Elvis and I ate at while we were there with him.  I looked up at his floor, the hallway that led to his wing, I watched people ride up and down the elevators we rode it, I listened to the familiar fountains, I used the same washroom, saw the same murals.  To my eyes, to my ears, to my nose, it was EXACTLY the same.  It could have been November/December 2007.  Everett could have been upstairs waiting for me.  He could have been alive.  I could have had hope.  Everything was exactly as it was then.  And instead of being overcome with the guilt I expected would arrive, I felt unexpectedly content.  Happy almost.  Happy to pretend for that very short time that I was back then, I felt closer to Everett then I had in a very, very long time.  It felt, dare I say it, good.  I went to the gift shop where we bought our Bravery Bead necklaces, our symbols of solidarity and love for Everett, and bought a matching bracelet, and put it on my wrist, and felt something tying now to then.  And I walked out of that building with a hesitancy I didn't expect, the closer I got to the doors, to the parking lot, to the street, the greater the pull to go back got.  I wanted to stay.  I could have stayed all day.  Leaving felt like leaving him, all over again.  Lately I've been thinking I want to go back.  I want to sit in that little food court.  I want to walk down that hallway to the Tim Hortons and the little vending machines that give out miniature Care Bears figurines.   I want to go to that gift shop and buy some piece of jewelry.  Bolder still, I want to ride up those elevators, I want to walk down that hallway, and I want to enter that waiting room just outside his wing.  I want to sit on those couches we waited on endlessly and I want to just feel.  I want to feel whatever emotions come my way.  I want to pretend that Everett is through those double doors, the last room on the left in his hallway, the bed in the back left corner, he had a nurse named Stephanie I believe, and she was Scottish.  He laid in open bed with a warmer above it, he had a flannel sheet folded beneath him with sea turtles on it, his lamb we bought him (and one for Landon too) was in the upper left corner of his bed, by his head at the start, his feet near the end.  I want to pretend I'm crouched down at his bedside, or perched on one of those awkward white metal stools, and hold his hand, and touch is cheeks, and emplore him once more, "please don't go".  I can't be sure if it happened or if I just wanted it to happen, but the day he died, when we were huddled at his bedside making these huge decisions about his life, I held his hand and he looked at me, just one eye opened, but he looked at me.  I hope he really did, I hope that moment was the incredibly meaningful deep connecting moment I've remembered it as.

November arrives and suddenly my memories light up and Everett is suddenly quite alive in my head, so vivid these memories can be that my even my senses feel uncertain of what's real.

I can hear the sounds of his monitors alarming, I can hear his little bleating cry.

I can smell the hospital smells.

I can see him laying there in various stages of his life.

All these senses bring me back to his life.

But my arms, these haunted arms, only remember the weight of his body in death. Heavy from fluid and the excess blankets he was wrapped in, unyeilding, and cold.  These haunted arms, desperate to recall what it felt like when he was placed in my arms wailing and pink, and only for a split second after his birth.  Whisked away and intubated right away, unable to be held for a few days more, then suddenly so sick, on a helicopter ride to Toronto, held only once or twice, we shuttled from our NICU where Landon was to Sick Kids to see Everett, who was then intubated again, unholdable, then operated on.  An open sternum for the last two weeks of his life, unholdable.  On the day he passed away the Dr's worked fast hoping to place him in my arms alive, they were too late.  The longest period of time I ever held my Everett was when he was newly gone.  I held him close, I cradled him, I kissed him, I studied his face, his puffy little face, his hair, where they shaved a spot for a IV, then a sensor left a funny little bald spot. And the weight of him, not really him at all, the weight of what we did to him, that's what my arms remember.

Sunday we'll celebrate Landon and Avery's birthday's, 6 and 8 years old.  Landon will blow out his candles and open his gifts and my heart will celebrate him, my smile will be genuine, because Landon delights and amazes me.  I'm awestruck over that little boy.  None of it will be for show.  The love and appreciation I have for my living children is consuming, it fuels me.  But the grief, the haunted arms, the longing heart, the memories that are so strong and so calling, they're very real too, especially this time of year.  The memories from this time of year, six years ago, of Everett, of his life and of his death, though they may be at times quite macabre, are also quite welcome.

Everett can haunt me any day.

Grieving season is as welcome as Christmas.  It brings him close enough to see, to hear, to smell, to feel.   That alone is a blessing.

(This entry is also posted in my new blog, From Self Destruction to Reconstruction).

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The tale of two truths...

It can be perplexing, to try to understand why someone is the way they are.  When we can't make sense of someone else's behavior, when it doesn't mesh with our own beliefs, when it isn't what we think we would if it were us in their situation, we get uncomfortable, and we label that mystifying behavior as unusal, harmful...wrong.  We prickle against what we can't understand, because the unknown is daunting, even in the lives and emotions of other people.

It's not escaped my awareness, that people don't understand me, at least when it comes to the dissolvement of my marriage and my lingering loyalty.  They don't understand how I can hold on to my affection, my devotion, my love, for Elvis in the face of the hurt and the loss.  Looking through their eyes, I know its nonsensical, to them I've been betrayed, hurt, and humiliated, and when they take stock of the emotions they think they would feel, they find anger, resentment and bitterness.  "Where is her rage?!" they ask themselves.  Maybe the even wonder "where is her dignity?", or pride, or sense of self preservation.  They hear about my loss, they see my emotion, they know the details and they see my reaction and they think one of two things about me, I'm either lying about how I feel, putting on a mask to protect myself from feeling the depth of my pain, or I'm a damn fool.   I am not a fool, and I'm not hiding behind a strong face.

People roll their eyes at me when I tell them that I still like, no love, my husband, even though our marriage is over.  They are exasperated.  They pity me and they're angry at me and they think to them selves that if I'm stupid enough to put myself through the trouble of trying to maintain a relationship with him, then I deserve the pain I get.  I can see it in their eyes, they don't understand me, and like that, they've dropped me into a category of people they don't know how to deal with, this category reads "Handle with care: strange, dangerous, crazy people inside."

People don't know how to deal with those they don't understand.

Here is why you don't understand me, it comes down to a tale of two truths.

"Love is not enough", and "love is all there is."

These two truths exist, simultaneously, in one moment, in one situation.

My marriage, it was not acceptionally bad, it was not terribly unique, neither are our lives.  Our troubles were not huge, our issues not shocking.  We were two people who lost their balance, and lets be honest, living a happy life with another person is a precious balancing act, balancing the needs and emotions of two people while standing on a tight rope while catching every curve ball life throws our way, its no wonder so many fall.  But, because we're human, because we're self protecting at the core of us, because we keep score, because we're fearful, even with emense love, sometimes you can't put back to right what has been wronged.  Love is not enough to repair a shattered trust.

But, then again, when I allow myself to wax philosophical, when I'm pondering what really matters in life, and I strip away the "fluff", at the core of it all, love is all there really is, it's the only thing that matters.  At the end of my days I'm sure to recount the love I felt from others, and the ones I gave my love to.  And on the grand scheme of my life I know that my hurts will seem scattered and few among the years and the love will be the common thread that sews all the days together.

People hurt people.  We do it often.  We start young.

Kids throw stones and call each other names.

Teenagers reject each other.

Girlfriends dump boyfriends and vice versa.

We lie to each other.

We take from each other.

We break each others things.

We break each others hearts.

We all do it.

And you see, that is my point.  People want me to feel outraged and wronged and they want me to be indignant.  They want me to hold Elvis accountable for his supposid crimes against me, they want me to abandon him, they want me to want him to suffer.  They think it would be rewarding, vindicating even, to see him experience consequences to his actions.  That would lessen my pain, no?


Call me crazy (I know some have), but I'm not that shocked by the circumstances of our unraveling.  And though I certainly felt hurt, and betrayal, and grief, I'm not terribly mad at Elvis, and I absolutely don't wish him suffering, or pain, or consequences so great that they "teach him".  And I wonder sometimes if what people think is lunacy in me, is really just insight.  I think I've always been pretty insightful.  And you see, Elvis is NOT the villan in my life story.  He's not the tragic ending in this chapter of my life.  He's not a transient character that is being written out of my plot.  And his instance, this hiccup, in his life, and in mine, this shared sadness we've experienced that ultimately caused us to fall off our tightrope, it doesn't define him.  It's not who he is.  It comes down to choices, he made some, I made some, I can't even call them bad, they're just choices, and often times the choices we make are like those "choose your own adventure" books we read as kids.  I made some, he made some, neither of us necessarily knew what the outcomes of those choices would be.  We didn't know in the moment if they would bring us together, or lead us off track.  We did the best with what we could and we crossed our fingers and hoped for the best.  No body WANTS their life to get off kilter.

Sad truth is, our marriage skidded off road, it didn't make it.

However, I'm still alive.  So is Elvis.  So are our children.

The untying of our "knot" was not the deletion of our history.

Each and every minute together remains on permanent record in our history,

Each fight is stored right alongside each loving kiss, each celebration, each birth.  Every single sadness resides in our memories beside every triumph, every passionate moment, every joy.

We didn't cease to exist to each other because some fateful choices made it impossible to live together.

We are not strangers.  We're not enemies.  And though love was not enough to build us back up, love is all there really is when you strip it all down the bare bones.  There isn't really any other choice for me, but to hold him in my heart and give him my love.  He DOES deserve it.  He is a very special and important person, and if you think I'm wrong then you are very short sighted.  He is not any different then anyone else, he's no worse then any of us.  He's got a heart and a soul and a past that weighs on his present.  He wants to live a good life, he wants to be a good man, and like you and me, he doesn't always know how.  He doesn't have all the answers.  Sometimes he dissapoints people, sometimes he dissapoints himself.  Just like me,  just like you.

But I've known him for a little over 10 years.  God, who is the author of all our stories, has written him into my life, he is of great importance, his signifigance is not to be overlooked.  He has always been and will always be a part of my destiny, whether he is to be my husband or not, our love story is a special one.  You don't undertsand it, I get it, but that doesn't mean I'm wrong.

Two truths, seemingly contradictory, can exist in one circumstance.

Love is not enough.  This is true, love cannot work miracles.

But then again, maybe it can.

Because love is all there is, it's all that matters to us when our days are done.

Love gives courage.

Love makes us selfless.

Love promts understanding, and forgiveness.

Love gives us insight, often mistaken for blindness.

Love is all there is at the core of a happy life.  Love means that your life can be hard, and sad and maybe even tragic, and you can still find the good in it.

So, don't ask me to turn my back on him.  I can't do it, and I wouldn't if I could.

You may cringe when I say this, it may offend your sensibilities, I may lose your respect, but, truth is, I need him still, and I want him in my life, and I love him, quite dearly.  He's my first love, my childrens father, my partner in crime for the past 10 years of my life, and my friend.  Why should I have to live without him, just because somethings went awry and our circumstances changed.

I'm pretty sick of the "be strong", "suck it up", "get tough" attitudes.  I'm tired of being told to put up walls to protect myself, I'm tired of being told told to put away my emotions and face my new life like a soldier.  Why are we so afraid of vulnerability? Why can't we let ourselves just experience life as it comes, and why do we view acceptance and vulnerability in others as weakness?

I've tried it both ways, and I've never felt more real, more human, or more peaceful then when I'm vulnerable, maleable and open to what life will bring, trusting that all my chapters, past, present and future, are writing a beautiful, breathtaking and meaningful story, and all I have to do is live it.

Understand me now?


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

In uncharted territory...

Anyone who knows me, especially in the last five years, knows I'm not a stranger to trials, or pain.  So, it's not that I'm unfamiliar with hardship, so its not that I find myself up to my eyeballs in difficult emotions and struggles that has me feeling so unsettled, its that I don't seem to know how to get back on track.

I'm lost.

I'm well and truly lost this time.

My son died, and I found my way back on track.

My marriage hit a snag, I got my groove back.

Two miscarriages, I stumbled, I got back up.

But now, my marriage is over.  And suddenly its like I can't see.

And its not that I don't know what to do without him.  It's not that I don't want to break up, it's not that I want to work things out.  We're well beyond that and I know that this is the best thing for us all.  But I've been with him for 10 years, and so much of my life has been lived along side someone else.

I never lived alone.  I was never an adult and on my own really.  I met Elvis when I was 21 years old and threw myself into him.  I went from my parents house to our house, and never looked back.  I put all my eggs in one basket I guess you could say.

I don't regret one single day in the past 10 years.   They were priceless.  And we have four fantastic children who make every single heartache completely worthwhile.

So why am I so disabled by this change?  Why can't I get my bearings again.  Why do I feel so absolutely insane, indecicive, manic, panicked, lonely, fearful, and confused? 

I can't get back up, I can't choose a direction, I can't move on...

Because I don't know myself.

I don't know who I am.

My home isn't MY home.

My vehicle isn't MY vehicle.

My life is a tangled mess of what was "Ours".

"We" are everywhere. 

I'm a Mrs. on paper, but not in reality.

I belong to the Peca family in name, but not really.

Who AM I?! 

I think I used to be an artist, but not anymore.

I think I'd like to be a photographer, but I'm not sure.

Maybe an author, but I can't write a cohesive sentance let alone the novel I dream of.

Am I soft and demure like I sometimes feel, or am I edgy and strong like my increasing amount of tattoos would suggest.

Do I want long flowing curls or do I want to chop all my hair off again.

Do I want another relationship or am I better off alone.

Afterall, I don't know me, heck, I don't think I even really like me, how can I expect anyone else to?

My marriage is over.  And I've been rendered absolutley senseless.

Its like I'm on the ground starting up at the sky with the wind knocked out of me, and every time I go to get up I flinch at the pain, the fear of the unknown, at the daunting task of simply getting up and finding out what life holds for me now, without a marriage to define me and a partner to accompany me.  Its overwhelming.  So I've just stayed down.

Thing is, I want to get back up, the fear is diminshing and curiosity is creeping in.  What does life hold?  What's it look like now, after the tornado of change has whipped through, what's the landscape look like for me now?

I just don't know how to embrace MY new life, when I don't know how to just be me, because I don't know me.

I guess I need to start making my home MINE. 

And learning more about what I like, what I want, what I need.

And go from there.


Sunday, April 22, 2012

It isn't natural....

It isn't a natural thing, to birth a child, then live his life without him.

It isn't normal to pack away your hopes and dreams for your child, along with this few, but precious belongings, because his life was far too short, and painfully lived.

It isn't okay that he died.

And it isn't okay that a lot of other things unraveled in the aftermath.  

But it it exactly what it is. 

And it's been over four years now since I delivered Everett and Landon, and only weeks later said goodbye to Everett and brough Landon home.  But that event was just the begining, it was the stone thrown in the pond, the ripples continue on and on.  Losing Everett set us on a path we could not have ever imagined, not in our wildest dreams, every single aspect of our lives changed with is life and with his death.  And while it's been painful at times, and confusing, I know that it's all been for a purpose, and dare I say, it's been for our good.

Now, there are people on the outside of this experience, maybe they watched it happen, maybe they felt one or two of the ripples in their own pond, but it didn't happen to them and they don't really understand how it is.  How could they? It happened to me and most days I don't understand one single thing thats happening in my life.  But anyway, these people, they like to think they know how grief should look like and what we should be doing with our lives and our broken hearts in the aftermath of losing an incredibly beloved child.  They don't have a clue. 

They see the external aspects of our lives now.  They see us carrying on.  We had to carry on, what choice was there?  We had to raise our children and live our lives and I think given what we went through, we took those broken pieces and did our best with them, and what we made wasn't half bad.  But what they don't see is the internal damage.  They don't see the cracks and fractures that run to the core of us.  They go so deep.  And though we rebuilt ourselves to some resemblance of our former selves, the selves that never grieved over a lost son, we're not the same at all.  Nothing is as it was.  No wonder we couldn't maintain what we used to be.

Try as we might, life set us on a dramatic and unexpected course, and being that we're just human, we didn't always know what to do with ourselves or each other.  We did what we thought was best, and we had the very best intentions, but it's hard you know, to mend a broken heart of your own, while trying to tend to your children and also worry about the needs and demands of another.  It's not that you don't want to try, it's that you don't realize you're not already meeting everyone's needs.  I know there are people out there who stand in judgement of us, for letting our marriage fall apart.  We didn't do it on purpose, neither of us willfully neglected the other.  There was no spite involved.  What you have witnessed, you people standing on the outside looking in, is two people who tried very hard, under the weight of grief and sadness and obligation and strain, to put back together and maintain what used to be, not knowing that what used to be was gone for good and we needed to be building something completely new.  But hindsight is 20/20, and we can't go back and change the past.  And here were are now, 4 years and 4 months later, and we're changed beyond recognition.  Our lives are full, our lives are blessed, our lives our complicated, so much more then you can tell by just looking at us.  And we're still doing our very best to make the most of the hand we were dealt.

It' isn't easy you know.  It isn't natural, to go through what we went through.  To hold you child after he took his last breath.  To take his only outfit to the funeral home for him to be buried in.   To lay his felty white casket in the groud.  There isn't anything quite like this kind of heart break.  Saying goodbye to a baby you never got to parent and love the way you planned, it causes a sort of damage to your heart that you just can't describe or explain.  Its more like a crush injury then a fracture, so many tiny pieces, not a hope of ever really returning it to proper function.  So, it doesn't come as any surprise to me, with heart ache like this, that we lost our focus on our marriage, it's not that we didn't care, it's that we couldn't care.  Our own pain overshadowed everything else, it was all we could do to try to be normal and try to heal, and as we healed and the pain lessened, we had learned a new normal that didn't adequately consider the needs of the other, but it was normal and again, we had good intentions, we just didn't know we were so badly off course. 

Neither of us meant it to happen, it's just another tragedy in our lives that we'll learn from and we'll rebuild again.  Don't hold it against us, and don't think you can understand fully, don't judge.  We're still hurting, from old and new afflictions, be gentle with us.  We did the best that we could.

Some things don't work out like they should (Thanks Joe Purdy for the perfect words).


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Once upon a time....

Once upon a time, I never knew what it meant to grieve.

Once upon a time I had never lost a thing that was of real value to me.

Once upon a time I was blissfully and ignorantly happy, unaware of all the loss and grief my future held.

But that was then.

Life has brought me numerous blessings, it would be ungrateful not to awknowledge how full and amazing my life truly is.  But, it would be a lie to deny that the world has also brought me blow after blow, and loss after loss, it would be a lie to say I'm not feeling grief and agony along with that joy and gratitude.

Tomorrow is the four year anniversary of Everett's last day on earth.  It marks four years since experienced a truly unanswered prayer, four years since we said goodbye and walked out of Sick Kids with empty arms and shattered hearts.

Its been a rough four years, I can't deny it.  Its been a time filled with sadness and guilt and grief and longing and pain, all mixed it with joy and love and healing and blessings of course.  It's been a rollercoaster of emotions.  And I've grieved Everett at will over these four years, whenver the need struck me, I'd cry, blog, and grieve as the pain came, so as to not hold anything in, so as to not let it fester and become more grief then I could process.  I miss him with every single beat of my heart, and I am constantly aware of his absence in my life, and I know he would be just amazing, like his brother and sisters, but that's not my reality, it's not his either.

All I can think to do now, with this grief and with this pain, and with these memories, is to share it with the world, and to do good things in honor of Everett, so his brief but very special life continues to have meaning, and he can continue to touch hearts and make an impact on others.

He was so incredibly special.  So tiny and delicate, so wonderfully made.

He was precious and loved and an absolute amazement, for such a small and unhealthy little boy, he fought so very hard for his time with us.  He fought and held on and gave us 20 days of faith building love and memories.  I wanted more, but those 20 days were an incredible gift, I know it could have been much, much less.

I can't predict what tomorrow will bring, if it will hold tears or peace for me, I expect it will be a combination of the two, but I'm hoping to be able to remember with a calmness of heart and with gratitude, because Everett changed me in ways I never knew possible.

Indeed life is hard, but its also very beautiful.  Some of the most amazing blessings in life are brief, gone before you know it, but that makes them no less miraculous, and no less life altering.  He's in my heart and on my mind always, and I think I can credit much of my strength in the healing /grieving process to him, who is my inspiration, for there was never a stronger or more inspiring boy.

Love you always Everett.  Always.  -  XO, Mama


Sunday, October 30, 2011


Every "I wish"

Every "I'm so sorry"

Every "If I could only go back"

They're futile.  They're pointless.  They only serve to punish myself.

I wish I could hold him again, I wish I could change it all, I wish we had done it differently, I wish he never died.

I'm so sorry, Everett, I'm so sorry we messed up, I'm so sorry you paid for it.  I'm so sorry we failed you, I'm so sorry you're not here, I'm so sorry I couldn't fix it.

If I could only go back, I'd do it all differently, if I could only go back I'd tell them to take cautious, slower approach, I'd tell them to give you time.  If I could only go back, I'd hold you more and kiss you more and tell you more how much you mean to us.  If I could only go back, maybe I could save you.

Wishes don't come true.

I'm sorry doesn't change a thing.

And I can't go back.

And where does that leave me? Grieving and in pain, with nothing to do but cry out in pain, and in prayer, and let God do what he's been doing since we first lost Everett, hold me up. 

God please, hold me up, when I'm swallowed up in the futility of it all, when my grief is consuming me, hold me up.


A grieving season...

Leaves are falling, there's a chill in the air, and fall is in full swing.

Halloween is coming, and soon we'll be counting down to Christmas.  This has always been one of my favorite times of year, where fall ushers in a season of celebration and joy, from Thanksgiving through to Christmas, the weeks are packed with fun.  But, nearly four years ago, a change ocurred, which dramatically altered the season.

Now its a thanksgiving season.

It's a trick-or-treating season.

It's a kids birthday party season.

and it's a grieving season.

It was November 17th 2007 when I delivered my much anticipated twin baby boys, this marked the seasons start.  It ends on December 11th 2011, the day we burried one of them.  Each and every year, our hearts react the to coming of the season, where similar events and situations spark memories and emotions and bring them to the surface in an incredibly vivid and tender, even painful way.  This is not meant to imply that we don't grieve all year round, but this grieving season is when it all hits home.

It goes like this.

November 17th, we celebrate the birth of our amazing twin sons, we remember the awe and the joy and their delictate perfection.

November 29th, this is the anniversary of the day Everett had his first open heart surgery.

December 5th, the anniversary of his second open heart surgery.

December 7th, we remember the day our world shattered and fell to the ground, the day Everett died.

December 11th, we remember his funeral, the day we held him in our arms last, the very last day our eyes could look upon him, and for many of our family and friends, the only day their eyes would ever look up on him.

And every day since has been a day of remembering, falling apart, building up, looking for comfort, looking for a reason, grieving, and starting over. 

Sitting here, nearly four years after the birth of my boys, I can tell you that, at this minute, I'm okay.  I've been rebuilt and healed enough at this point that most days are okay.  I miss Everett always, there's a tiny place in my heart that calls out for him always, and there are tiny stings of grief each day.  But if you saw me, you'd think I'm pretty well healed.  But grief is a funny creature, and it comes and goes, like the tide ebbs and flows, like the seasons, it always comes back around again.  November is almost upon us and I'm already trying to mentally prepare myself to handle being simultaneously happy and bereft.  Because I'll celebrate the birth of three of my children this month, and I'll also be welcoming a new baby niece, and I'll be mourning Everett, and recalling the details of his birth and his death at the same time.

I'll light birthday candles for Landon and watch him blow them out, and I'll be grieving all the birthdays Everett will never have.

I'll wrap up Avery and Landon's birthday gifts and cry over the fact that I'll never get to pick out that something special I just knew Everett would love.

I'll watch others celebreate my living kids and my heart will hurt because I'll look into their eyes and wont see a hint of sadness or grief there, and I'll know they aren't thinking of Everett at all.  To them, life without him, it's normal, and I'll grieve harder knowing I'm doing it mostly alone.  I know they loved him, I know they wanted him to live, but they don't feel it like we do, they don't get it, nor should they.

While I'm waiting for the first snow to fall and awaken that child like wonder in me, I'm waiting for the first pangs of sadness to arrive and awaken the memories that sit just beneath the surface.  I'm waiting to feel it again, to really feel those emotions once more,  and in them, feel closer then ever to Everett.

My tears bring me closer.

My pain brings me closer.

My breaking heart brings me closer.

So close to how I felt back then, when it was happening, so close I can almost see him, almost feel him.

And that is the joy in the grieving season.