Tuesday, December 8, 2009

How I know............

Many people struggle with the concept of God, I did myself, and who can wonder why? God is mind boggleing! How do we wrap our heads around a loving, father figure, all powerful God who breathed the world into existance and counted and named each star personally before placing it gingerly in the sky? How to we begin to understand how this same God breathed life into each of us and knew our names and life stories before we were ever even thought of by our parents on earth? How do we digest that He can forgive anything, ANYTHING, and that he loves us all the same as he did Jesus? Thats a lot to take in.

But I know its true.

I know He is very real, and is love and grace and mercy are absolute.

I know it because I'm living it.

I feel it each and every day when I wake up and when I go to bed.

Many people wonder how I can believe in and trust in God after losing Everett and after having so many prayers go unanswered. What I don't know is how to tell them that for those very reasons I believe in God. Because I lost Everett and had unanswered prayers, I believe in God. Because I felt pain so severe I thought it might kill me. Because I cried so many tears I thought I might dry up inside. Because I felt loneliness so deep I felt hollow inside, I believe in God.

Because he eased my pain.

Dried my tears.

And promised I am never alone.

He is faithful. And since opening my mind and my heart, and telling my brain that I don't need to understand it all, God has blessed me and my family time and time again with his love and mercy and kindness, and second chances, and love in abundance.

I miss my baby, deeply and constantly, and if I could have him back right now you can bet I would jump at the chance to do so.

But I can't.

But I have Elvis, and Avery and Landon.

I have my parents and sisters.

My precious nephew.

Grandmothers.

Cousins and their kids.

My inlaws, so many inlaws, sisters, brothers, parents, and nieces and nephews.

I have friends, online and in real life.

I have God.

I have comfort and love and faith and eventually I'll have Heaven.

How could I not believe.

Yesterday was the two year anniversary of Everett's passing. Being that we were in NYC and very busy, I didn't have time to fall to pieces. From time to time I wanted to. I felt the tears rise up behind my eyes and I felt my heart grow heavy. But I made it from sun up to sun down without falling to pieces and I feel okay about that. There was a time when I NEEDED to crumble and drown myself in tears, but now I have something to hold on to when the sadness comes, because I no longer wonder where Everett is, nor do I worry if I will see him again, because 1 Thessalonians 4:13 says

"And regarding the questions, friends, that has come up about those already dead and burried, we don't want you in the dark any longer. First off, you must not carry on over them like people who have nothing to look forward to [no hope], as if the grave were the last word."


The most precious thing God has given me, aside from comfort and salvation, is hope.

Something to look forward to, that non believers just don't have. I have the hope of a sweet reunion one day, which keeps me going each and every time my heart breaks again and I want to fall to pieces.

I know He is real, and I am so thankful for Him and the blessings he doles out, at not cost to me at all.

Katie

Monday, December 7, 2009

The unhappiest anniversary......

Its been two years since we said goodbye to Everett.

Two years since our world imploded.

Two years since our hearts broke into a million pieces.

And it feels like yesterday.

I can still remember how it felt to leave Sick Kids without Everett, to have to hand him back over to the nurse and leave him, and to know that the next time I saw him, it would be at his funeral.

I can still rememeber picking out what he would wear for his funeral, picking out what he would wear for the very first, and very last time. I can remember sitting across from the funeral director at his desk, with tears flowing so hard and fast I couldn't see through them, like right now.

I can't believe its been two years since I had both my boys together. Two years since my world felt right and made sense. Two years since I felt like I wasn't a statistic or the worst case scenario. Two years since my family was whole.

We're in NYC visiting family today, and I can't decide if the distraction is good or not. I can't decide if its good that I can't dive right into all the hurt and sadness and remembering, because I feel like I should, I feel like I need to. I feel like I need to devote this time to hurting and missing him, but I can't because we're staying with family and supposed to be having fun and making this time special.

I don't want to drag them down.

I don't want Elvis to hurt if he's not already hurting.

I don't want to confuse my kids.

But I want to crawl into a whole and just let it come. And then maybe be done for the day. rather then delay the inevitable and fall apart later.

Two years feels like two minutes.

I still want my baby back more then anything.

Katie

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Nearly two years ago....

The day is fast approaching. This time two years ago, we knew we were in the midst of the fight for Everett's life, and we knew we were losing it. Whether we wanted to admit it or not, we knew any efforts made at this point were last ditch efforts. The writing was on the wall. And the butterfly was on the IV pole.

The pretty, gauzy butterfly dangling from the IV pole. The unspoken signal that this baby wasn't going to make it. They didn't want to say that's what it was, and they didn't need to. "We know to sign the butterfly when we see it" says it all really. And then there was the lady who came to cast his foot, without a word to us from the nurses she was coming, we hadn't asked, but she was summoned none the less, to create a momento for us, because everyone knew his battle was nearly lost.

We knew it, but we couldn't accept it. We knew it was over, and we knew that as soon as we let go, he would go, but we could not face it. Instead we prayed, we retreated to quiet rooms and corridors and bathrooms at Sick Kids and prayed and pleaded that God would heal him, and that we wouldn't have to actually say goodbye. And we whispered in Everett's ear, encouraging words, and desperate words, and I begged him to stay with me, I begged him not to go.

The day before he died, we spent the day with Landon, clinging to the last little bit of hope we had, that he was having a day of rest after another proceedure, and when we returned, we'd have good news, and he will have turned a corner and all would be well.

The next day we sat at his bedside during a routine head ultrasound, and we read the look on the ultrasound technicians face, crystal clear. It was over. "I'll go talk to your Dr. he'll be over to see you". The Dr's face said it too, and he refered us to yet another Dr. who explained to us what we already knew, because we knew what they were looking for. He confirmed to us that Everett had a brain bleed, a side effect of his ECMO, which was saving his life and taking it all at once.

Later that day, we called family to his bedside, and had him baptized, and then we took him off his life support and we held our breath waiting to see if he would breath on his own, or if his heart could do the work itself, and then he died. The Dr's handed him to us as quickly as possible and the earth fell away from our feet. I've never known such pain and such crippling loss. The world stopped making any sort of sense.

Its been two years, but it feels like yesterday. And as this anniversary approaches, suddenly its on us, I have no idea what to do or how to cope. We'll be visiting family in New York City this year, so I'll be away from the familiar, his things, his grave, my bed. And I wonder how I'll cope without having a place to hide and withdraw and break into pieces if need be. I can only pray that God will be with us and give us comfort, and that our family will understand our need for space and sensitivity, and will cut us some slack when we seem like we've lost our heads.

We haven't, our heads are just fine...

We lost our son, and that won't ever be okay.

Katie
'

Monday, November 23, 2009

Seeking answers.....

The instant Everett died, and we held him in our arms, and marveled over his beautiful face and his incredible fight, we wondered why.

Why?

What sort of world do we live in, where seemingly perfect new born babies die from hidden birth defects? What sort of God allows such suffering and heart break? We wondered this intensely then. And when wondering and searching brought forth no answers, we were frustrated, and angry, and turned our backs on God, who we imagined could not, or would not help us and our baby.

When our grief lessened in intensity and our anger waned, a tiny opening was made for Christs love and His peace to enter our lives. And we were immediately comforted. Life was never been the same. We have been changed and for the better and we see our loss and our grief with new eyes.

At the time, we felt abandoned by God. We had made it up in our minds that God had either decided against helping Everett, or that he couldn't help him, and we were lost and angry and in the midst of despair so deep we couldn't see clearly.

And then one day it cleared. And, I can only speak for myself, but I felt driven to find our more about God and His love and comfort and mercy. And as soon as I was receptive to it, I had it. Comfort after months of agony.

We found a great church with a fabulous community and jumped in with both feet and open hearts and the blessings just kept coming.

The pain is still there, and it flares up from time to time, especially at this time of year, but His comfort quickly follows. Because we know this:

Lamentations 3:31-33

31 For men are not cast off
by the Lord forever.

32 Though he brings grief, he will show compassion,
so great is his unfailing love.

33 For he does not willingly bring affliction
or grief to the children of men.

He does not willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men.

He didn't do it.

He didn't want it.

He didn't allow it.

It happened.

And though we won't ever really and truly understand why, the Bible offers up this explanation...

John 9:2-3
2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.

THIS happened, so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.

In Everett's life.

Everett was born with a heart so afflicted it could not be healed by all of our amazing technology, so that God's work could be displayed through his life.

He died so that the good of God could be demonstrated through his life.

Everett's 20 day life, and our heart break, happened so that something God could be done or achieved in God's name.

So, does this then mean that grief is to be my ministry?

I'm living in a perpetual state of grief over Everett and what should have been. It waxes and wanes but the pain is always there. And it happened to him, and to us, so that we could demonstrate God's good works through our experience? If this is true, which I don't doubt it is, then I have a job to do. Everett has done all he can and the rest is up to us. To show the world that it has worked for our good, that comfort came with the pain and that good has followed the bad, and the God has been at work in this.

An interesting ministry indeed.

Katie

Doing something stupid....

I'm remembering.

Two years ago today, both my new born baby boys were happily snuggled into bassinets at OSMH's NICU. If we went back in time and watched this day play out two years ago, we would see Everett's downward spiral. We would see a nurse notice a change in his breathing, we would see her move a little quicker then she had the rest of the day, and take out her stethascope and listen a little harder then usual. We'd see them move Everett from the bassinet to the isolette and see her make a call to the Dr. We'd see him struggle more and more for breath, we'd see his little chest heave and we'd see him use all his accessory muscles to draw sufficient breath. We'd see his color change too, and we'd see nursery staff making accommodations for what they knew what was coming, and we didn't.

We'd see the Dr. arrive and take two terrified parents aside into a quite room and explain what was happening, you'd hear talk of a suspected heart defect (not the one he actually had) and we'd see a helicopter transport team from Sick Kids arrive. You'd see Everett crash, badly. You'd see staff scramble to secure IV lines and you'd see him packed into his little transport device, and then we would be gone.

You'd see a frantic phone call made to supportive grandparents. You'd see a terrified Grandmother trying to be strong for her daughter make another frantic phone call to a sister more then an hour away, making a pleading request for her help. You'd see that sister say goodbye to her husband and kids and bundle up and make the drive to Orillia to help her brother and his wife get to Sick Kids to be with their desperately ill baby. You'd see shattered people in limbo, not knowing what was to come. You'd see tears and you'd hear sobbing and you'd see eyes staring out into space, totally in shock, totally blindsided by what has transpired.

You'd see helpless family members at home in the middle of the night laying awake thinking about Everett and about us and you'd hear praying, both silent and out loud, from believers and non believers alike.

You'd see pacing, and worried faces and nail biting and heart ache, if you went back two years ago today.

And still it would not be as bad as could and would get. You'd see a baby with a chest in tact. You'd see a baby breathing on his own. You'd see a baby with 10 perfect and kissable toes. And this is not what you would see a week later.

Remembering is nearly as painful as experiencing it as it happened.

I hate this time of year because I just feel like I'm walking through the nightmare all over again.

My memories bring me closer to the pain but not to my baby, but I can't help myself at all.

Life all around me is a constant reminder and irritant, just picking at the wound and making it ache all over again.

Katie

Monday, November 16, 2009

Falling into it....

Its 11:07pm. In a little more then 6 hours, my boys will be two years old.

My boys. Not just Landon, but Everett too. But outwardly, we'll be celebrating the birth of Landon, and those who don't know us, or even those who don't realize the depth and the significance of the day, will celebrate Landon alone.

I knew that the hurt was coming. I expected it. And now its here, and I'm falling into it. I decided a long time ago to not fight the hurt, or the grief. It only hurts more, builds up and explodes into something uncontrollable and messy. So, I'm giving into it and letting it be whatever its going to be.

I've been playing the boys birth over and over in my head and its so bizarre to vividly remembering giving birth to two babies, and then looking around at the kids playing in my living room, and just one of those boys is here in my home, playing with his big sister and enjoying his childhood. Of course its amazing that Landon is here with us, considering the fact that they are identical twins, it is miraculous that Landon was born with a completely perfect heart, and we'll celebrate that tomorrow, when we celebrate his birthday. But somehow I'll have to schedule in some time to silently mourn Everett, and his misfortune.

Poor unfortunate boy. One little cell that divided wrong changed the blueprints of his heart and like a row of domino's falling, it all went awry from there. From perfect to tragically flawed in the time it takes for a cell to divide. Poor baby. The Dr's at Sick Kids told us that his defect was probably formed by 9 weeks, by the time we first viewed them on an ultrasound screen, the damage was already done, and no one knew. We couldn't see it, no one knew how badly it was broken. Its hard to not imagine what life would be like if we could have seen it, if we had some advance warning that he was going to be born with a broken heart. Would we have been able to create a better situation for him to be born into? Would we have been able to treat it better and faster? Would we have been able to give him a fighting chance? Its verly likely that we could have, but we won't ever know it now.

I honestly don't know what to do with myself during this three week phase when my grief is amplified to a nearly unbearable intensity. I can't fall apart, I have to mother my other kids and I have to work. I can't stay in bed all day and eat myself into sweet oblivion, I have to be healthy and productive for my kids, and for me. But my mind hops from thought to thought, it flashes pictures of Everett in my head like a movie and sad songs play through my mind over and over. I can't focus, I get antsy at the sight of pregnant women and babies and the mention of the word twins. When someone mentions Landon's birthday, and they don't know any better, I scream in my head that Everett has a birthday too. I want to fall apart in my husbands arms at the end of the day like I always have when missing Everett gets too hard for me to bear, and I can't do that either. So I don't know what I'll do with myself.

Distractions can only go so far. Eventually night comes and my thoughts are free to run wild. I'll think things like "two years ago I was in the hospital with the boys, both were doing so well", and "two years ago right this second, Everett was on a helicopter on his way to Toronto", and like this, "two years ago right now, the Dr's unhooked all of his life support, and handed to us to hold, already gone, and our lives crumbled."

Its a rough anniversary to get through, spanning not one day, but three painful weeks of struggle and defeat, and the most agonizing loss anyone can experience. Saying goodbye to a baby before you ever even brought them home. Saying goodbye to your baby period. And we'll relive it year, after year, after year, until we're reunited by our own deaths.

I've got a fun day planned with Landon, I'll celebrate him, and I'll mean it, with all my heart, because he is a blessing and he pulled me through some very hard times. Having him to love has been a blessing beyond words, but I haven't found the balance yet, I haven't figured out how to celebrate and grieve at the same time. I don't know how to be joyous over their births, and mourn Everett's death, with grace, without making the day unhappy for Landon. I'm sure I'll get the hang of it with birthday's to come, but until then, I'll continue to face these next few weeks with great anxiety and apprehension. I wish it could be easier.

I'm tempted to go by Everett's grave tomorrow. It seems like the thing to do, but in all honesty, I don't want to. I don't like it there. I don't feel better there. It doesn't help me feel closer to him. All it does is make me hurt. It makes me cry. It makes me remember the day we placed him there, and it makes me want to turn and run the other way. I can't stand being so close to his body, knowing its just there beneath my feet, and knowing I'll never see him or hold him again. I can't tolerate knowing he's there and out of reach, and because I think of him like my living, breathing baby, the thought of him beneath my feet is horrific and more then my aching heart can handle. It may seem strange to some, but I couldn't bear the thought of cremation and I can't bear being at his grave, the truth is that I can't bear that he is dead.

I can't believe he is dead...



If you had seen him, heard him, held him, touched, him, you wouldn't believe it either.

Tomorrow is his second birthday. He never even celebrated a 1 month birthday. Tomorrow we'll celebrate the birth of our twins, without ever having known the joy of parenting twins. We'll look into Landon's gorgeous, beaming, energetic, healthy little face and see Everett there, because they were very much identical. I can see it in the pictures above, Landon and Everett would be spitting images and confuse anyone who didn't really know them well enough to tell them apart by anything other then their looks.

Life's too bittersweet sometimes.

Rough days ahead...

Katie

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Oh me of little faith...

When I was born, my life was uncomplicated and happy. I likely made it to the ripe old age of one or so before I realized that life had conflict and problems. It doesn't take us very long to realize that life is not perfect, not even close. We face problems constantly, from the small and manageable, to the large and life altering, the ones that make you laugh to look back on, and the ones that make your stomach hurt to even think about. A life riddled with problems is not the exception to the human experience, but rather its the rule.

There's no rhyme or reason to it. There's no method to how life's problems are divvied up among us. She gets hers, he gets his, I got mine, and none of of us got the issues we got because we deserved them more then someone else. Mary didn't get off easy because she was better then Bob, and Bob didn't get so much more to deal with because he was worse then Steve. That's not how it works. Our life's circumstances are not determined by whether or not we're deserving of them or not, if that were the case, we'd all have horrible, sad and tragic lives. Because none of us are deserving of perefect lives, none of us get them, but undoubtedly some of us get "better" lives then others, if we use suffering as a measuring stick. Some of us suffer so much more, and its easy to wonder why.

Why did that tornado take his house but not his neighbours?

Why did she lose pregnancy after pregnancy, and her co-worker has more kids then she wants or can handle?

Why did his wife die of breast cancer that was detected early and thought to be treatable, and his boss just survived an operation to remove an inoperable tumor?

Why did our baby die from a condition and surgery that many babies have survived before and since?

When we think like this, its easy to get panicked by the seemingly randomness of how suffering is handed out. Its easy to imagine that God isn't in control really, because surely if he were he'd realize how unfair life is, and how unequally the pain in the world is divided among us all. Millions starve in Africa, while millions are obese in North America, can't God see how strange it all seems? Yes. He can.

We make the assumption of believing its supposed to be fair.

Or that suffering should be shared.

That would be nice, in a perfect world.

But we don't live in a perfect world, we live in this one. And this world is full of imperfection, and hurt and sin, and tragedy, and suffering. Its the price we pay, for simply being human, descendants from the first tragically imperfect people. Life is inherently hard.

So he suffers, she doesn't, they hurt, their neighbours don't, they experience loss, and their best friends experience surplus. It's the way it is. But those who suffer are no less blessed then those who live a seemingly blessed life. God doesn't work like that. You can't tell how much God loves you by counting your material blessings, or by taking stock of your losses. He doesn't think like that. He doesn't sit down and plan your life, before you're ever concieved and think, "I really love Karen, so I'm going to give her everything she ever wants, I'll answer every prayer and bless her with many beautiful healthy children and a happy thriving mariage, because thats how much I love her". Conversely, he never says "I'm not going to be very impressed with Joe, I can see that now, so he'll lose his job, and his wife, and his kids will resent him, and I think he deserves that". That simply isn't how its done.

We're all loved the same by Him. He created each of us to love us, but he didn't dole out our suffering or our blessings, they just happen. And as he watches in Heaven, our lives unfold before us, he weeps when we weep, and he celebrates when we celebrate. And he is there. He walks beside us through each triumph and each trial. And this is where we are all truly blessed. The miracle we can all experience, whether our lives are happy and free from strife, or they are pocked with pain and loss, we can all experience His grace, and mercy, and comfort. We can all lean on Him for strength and love and he can grant us the courage and fortitude needed to endure anything, and I mean anything.

The answer to the question, "how much more can I take?" is this, "as much as you get". You can handle anything, and everything, with Him at your side.

You can endure and endure and endure some more, if you lean on Him when it hurts the most.

Nearly two years ago I gave birth to my precious boys. And when I learned that Everett was sick, very sick, I started to pray. We prayed harder then we ever prayed before. For healing, for a miracle, for Everett to recover and for our fears to be put to rest. We prayed that we would not have to experience the pain of losing him.

When we has 20 days old, Everett could take no more. His heart was sick and tired. His lungs were sick and tired. His body was so sick, and so very tired. And when he was 20 days old, leaning over his bedside, I prayed to God to not take him, and I whispered pleading words in Everett's ear and begged for him to not leave me. And when he was 20 days old, he left.

Crumbling into pieces as I left Sick Kids for the last time, with a bag of belongings to remind me of my boy, and a shattered heart and broken soul, I felt angry with and abandoned by God. He didn't answer my prayers, he didn't make him well, and he didn't spare me from my hurt. And in the following months after Everett's death, I was angry. I made it up in my mind that either there was no God at all, or He was unkind, and unfair, and that I didn't need to believe in either of those scenarios. There was no comfort in it.

But as the months went by and I turned by back on God who did me wrong, I felt lonely, and hollow, and pained beyond words. I felt agony that could not be relieved, and one day I heard Him whisper to me, "lean on me". It sounds crazy, but I heard it, over the sound of my own sobbing, I heard a call to come to Him and be comforted. And reluctantly, and with great skeptisim, I did. And I was relieved.

And that was the miracle I never prayed for.

Whether or not I believed that God was there and loved me, I was still grieving and missing my baby. That would have happened to me no matter what. God didn't do it, life did. I was dissapointed because I had misguided faith. My prayers werent' answered because I prayed for the wrong thing. Rather then pray for healing, and for the outcome that I wanted, I should have been praying for the strength and comfort to get through whatever happened, if I had have prayed for that I would have seen immediately that God was there and with us through it all.

Every day since that day, I have had endless amounts of comfort and grace and love available to me. Salve to my wounds. Medicine for my soul. Each and every day. When the pain hits, like it often does, He is there to bring relief, and that is a miracle we can all have if we pray for it.

How much more can I take? I used to wonder this.

I still wonder this.

And now I know this to be true, "If He leads you to it, He will get you through it"

Just ask.

Oh me of little faith, I should have known.

Katie

Goals

On Wednesday Elvis and I are taking a baby step. We're going to move, just the tiniest amount, in the right direction. We're going to see a marriage counselor. The first thing we're going to discuss, is our goals for our marriage, and for our time in counseling. What do we each personally want to see happen. We've been asked to come up with our top three goals.

Here are mine.

Trust.

Communication.

and Reciprocal Love.

I want to be able to trust that what I feel is real, and that its authentic and genuine and reliable. I want to trust that Elvis wants the same things, and that he is working towards the same things I am.

I want to open the lines of communication, for the time being, for the purpose of working out our issues and then, for the rest of our marriage, to prevent any further issues. I want to hear what's in his head and in his heart, I want to hear him say what makes him happy and I want to hear what eats at him. I want to be in the know.

I want love. I want to give it and I want to receive it. I want to be wanted. To be cherished. To be pursued. I want to be the object of his affections. I want to be special and held in high esteem. I don't ever want to be settled for, or seen as runner up, or a consolation prize, I don't want to be viewed as "good enough", or someone who will just do in a pinch. I want to be viewed as a prize. And of course, I want to do the same for him.

Those are my goals. I think they're reasonable. I hope they're achievable. I pray that they're God's goals for us as well.

Living life without a love you've become quite accustomed to feeling, is like being a candle who has had its flame blown out. Its still a candle, but it doesn't shine anymore. Its lacking that glow, that vibrancy, that energy that makes it functional and special and valuable. Living day to day without the love of my husband feels like I've had my flame blown out. I'm still alive, still me, but lacking that vibrancy and energy, and that something special that makes me shine.

My goal is to get that back!

Katie

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Rough days ahead.....

Its no secret that I'm going through some rough times right now, with my marriage and trying to make my new life work. Its a challenge for sure, but I am getting through it, day by day, I wake up and find that I am completely capable of adapting to change and coping with the struggles that life throws my way.

But hard days are coming up. We've got some sad anniversaries heading this way that are sure to irritate old hurts and make it harder to deal with the current ones.

On November 17th I'll celebrate Landon's birth, and remember that it was also Everett's, and it will be terribly bittersweet.

From November 17th to December 7th we'll relive all the struggles Everett faced in our heads, we'll remember where we were and what we were doing on each of these 20 days of his life and we'll cry public and private tears for him.

On December 7th we'll mourn Everett's death, and that day will run through our heads like scenes from a very sad movie. It can't be predicted ahead of time whether we'll pull together or pull apart, but it will be a hard, hard day.

On December 11th we'll remember Everett's funeral, and we'll be sad, and it will show, and we'll spend a lot of extra time thinking about him, and wishing that we didn't know at all what it was like to plan a funeral for your new born baby and bury him. I'll remember how it felt to see Elvis carry Everett's tiny white felt covered casket to his grave site, and how it hurt to watch Elvis and his brother Ernie lower it into the ground. It'll hurt just as much remembering it as it did to see it happen.

Hard days ahead for sure. I love this time of year, because winter is approaching, my kids all celebrate their birthdays and Christmas is on its way. But I hate this time of year as well. Because its all tied up with memories of Everett, who we loved and still love with incredible passion. When he died, he took pieces of all of us and we feel his absence in every moment of every day.

I wonder how I'll manage to keep it all together in these coming weeks, missing Everett and setting aside time to grieve him, privately, while actively trying to rekindle a spark in my relationship with my husband. Tough days ahead.

God grant me strength and serenity in these days ahead, and when I can't possibly cope with it all, pick up the balls that I drop so that nothing is overlooked.

Katie

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

In my place.....

When Elvis and I were first dating, this song was on the radio all the time. It played in the background of many of my strongest and happiest memories of our beginning, and it has always brought me back to those times.

When hearing the lyrics again today, it seems they bear incredible relevance to our current situation, and that this song may once again become a soundtrack to some pivotal events in our marriage.

In My Place, by Coldplay

In my place, in my place
Were lines that I couldn't change
I was lost, oh yeah

I was lost, I was lost
Crossed lines I shouldn't have crossed
I was lost, oh yeah

Yeah, how long must you wait for it?
Yeah, how long must you pay for it?
Yeah, how long must you wait for it?
Oh for it?

I was scared, I was scared
Tired and underprepared
But I wait for it

If you go, if you go
Leave me down here on my own
Then I'll I wait for you

Yeah, how long must you wait for it?
Yeah, how long must you pay for it?
Yeah, how long must you wait for it?
Oh for it?

Singing ooh ooh
Please, please, please
Come back and sing to me
To me, me

Come on and sing it out, now, now
Come on and sing it out to me, me
Come back and sing

In my place, in my place
Were lines that I couldn't change
I was lost, oh yeah
Oh yeah

Katie

Monday, November 9, 2009

Trust

Its easy to trust when things are going your way. Its easy to think that you'll always have it good, when you've got it good and always have, there's no reason to believe you'll ever know anything else. When your life is good, and safe and easy, trust that you'll be okay seems to come naturally, you don't know any better. When you've never had your world shaken up, or shattered, when you've never been so low you can't possibly get any lower, you don't realize such things are even possible.

But what if you're at the bottom looking up? What if your life is filled with strife and hardship? What if loss and grief appear to be the theme of your storyline lately? How do you trust then? And in what do you place your trust in?

I've got trust issues. I've been shaken and shattered and have experienced more loss in the past two years then I expected to experience in a life time, I mean untimely loss, unexpected loss, loss that hits you like a speeding train, life altering loss. It seems that just as soon as I acclimate to one loss, and get comfortable in my new life, I get slammed with another one, and I have to start the process all over. So, I've got trust issues.

But I am learning to overcome them.

I'm learning that properly placed trust isn't a gamble, but a sure bet. It pays off. Trust placed in God is a sure bet. Your life won't be different, or easier, but trusting that God has a plan and that he's working in your hardships, can fill your heart with such peace and resolve that you can march through your struggles with confidence, knowing that He is marching with you, and that you're not lost but right on track and on your way to something He planned for your good.

I'm struggling lately. Its as obvious to the rest of the world as it is to me, that my life is hard right now. A lot of people ask me why I don't give up, why don't I just wash my hands of it all and find a new path, an easier path? Some people think I'm the strongest person they know, and some think I'm the craziest. Some think I'm weak, some think I'm pathetic. Some wish they had the strength to do what I am doing, and some go to bed each night thankful they aren't like me. But I'm doing what I am doing, because at the heart of me, I know it's right. I know its what God wants, and its what I want, and I know in the end, it will be worth it. The pain and the struggle will pay off, and lead to something better. Walking away would simply lead me away, trusting in the path I am on and God who put me there will take me where I am supposed to be.

We live in an instant gratification world. A "me" world. We expect to be happy all the time, and if something doesn't make us happy, we trade up, or walk away. We think we deserve so much, we're entitled to have what we want and to be treated a certain way, and think its appropriate to go seeking something new and exciting when what we have loses its sheen and sparkle. But that isn't biblical, and I know it seems unusual to those who know me best, to hear that I want to do thinks biblical. I want to handle my life and the bumps on my road the way God wants, ways that will make Him proud of me. So I'm going to love without expecting anything in return, and give grace and mercy when they aren't "deserved" by our standards. I'm going to put the happiness of others above my own and I'm going to stick it out when many think I should cut my losses and get out. I'm going to exercise patience and trust. And I'm going to simply stay the course, and keep hope in my heart, and have the courage (by God's grace) to ride this out, to the end, until this path leads me into another.

And I think I can already see a light at the end of this long dark tunnel I've been traveling through. Light is seeping through the cracks and it already seems less hopeless.

Katie

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Why I do what I do...

Last night, before going to bed, I reached into my bedside table and pulled out a book I've been turning to a lot lately, for advice on how to cope with my current marital situation, and how to love my husband through this tough time. I turned to where I last stopped, and started reading again. This chapter is about cherishing your spouse. It discussed two scenarios, the first being a man who has an older car that is having some mechanical difficulties, after a consult from his mechanic, they decide that the car requires far too much work and money to be saved, so he decides instead to buy a new one. The second scenario describes a man who accidentally crushes his hand at work, he races to the hospital and learns that he has multiple broken bones. He then decides, with some frustration, to pay for every treatment required to restore his hand, he pays whatever the cost and over the next few month he painstakingly returns function to his badly injured hand.

The chapter then goes on to explain, that all too often, a struggling, or failing marriage is often treated like the first scenario, and how often times, when marriage gets rough, we're often encouraged to trade in for a "new model." This is so sad, but not untrue. Marriage isn't supposed to be like that though, it should be treated just like the second scenario. The book goes on to discuss how when we marry our spouse becomes a part of us, like our hand, or a leg, we mesh, physically, emotionally and spiritually. We share a home and a bed, and a name, we truly become "one flesh". So, how then can we just separate when times get tough? We wouldn't just cut off our hand because its broken, so why then do we just walk away from our marriage when it is broken?

The chapter goes on to explain how we are to cherish our spouse as they were a part of us, to love them as we love ourselves, and in turn we will feel loved and cherished as well. And this resonated with me, deeply. This is why I do what I do. My marriage is undeniably broken, and now I need to do my very best, pouring my every resource into nursing it back to health, because its my marriage, and Elvis is my husband, and he is truly as valuable to me as my own hand, I can't do without him.

So, I prayed last night once again, for the strength and the courage and the wisdom to love Elvis right today, and to cherish him right today, and then I prayed that Elvis would feel these things and would be inspired, in some small way, to do the same.

It's been 97 days since I got the news that my marriage was on life support, barely alive, and I'm still persevering, and still hopeful, and still trying to nurse it back to health, so surely God has been in it, hearing my prayers and fortifying me with the strength and the will to keep waiting and keep hoping and keep loving.

Katie

Friday, November 6, 2009

No words of my own....

could say what I want to say tonight, better then Joe Purdy's beautiful lyrics!

I'm not what you need

I just want something beautiful
I wanna look in your eyes
I wanna listen to you sing my favorite song and cry
I wanna reach into your oceans
I wanna calm your sea and your storms
I wanna let you take a hold of this sinking ship and lead me home

But I am not what you need
But only so much stronger
But you are such a pleasant fiction to me
So I guess that I'll dream of you a little longer

I wanna pack up and move with you
And never look behind
I wanna take your hand as we chase down the skyline
I wanna tell you my stories
And wake you up in the middle of the night
I want you to tell me I'm wrong
And I just want you to smile at me when I'm right
Find More lyrics at www.sweetslyrics.com

But I am not what you need
But only so much stronger
But you are such a pleasant fiction to me
So I guess that I'll dream of you a little longer
A little longer

Don't wanna take the light from your eyes
It would be nice if I could hold you tight
While we lay in the sand
You could love what's left of this lonely excuse of a (wo)man

But I am not what you need
But only so much stronger
But you are such a pleasant fiction to me
So I guess I'll dream of you a little longer

And I am not what you need
And only so much more
But you are such a pleasant fiction to me
I guess I'll dream that you're here to keep me warm
Keep me warm

I'm totally humbled these days, and that's a good thing. I've not been perfect in any capacity, in any area of my life, I'm just not. Anyone who's going to really love anyone, is going to have to make the choice to love imperfection, because we're all so imperfect and flawed. I'm not what anyone needs, not entirely, I can't be all anyone really needs, because no human is meant to satisfy 100% of someone elses needs, we all have a need that only faith and hope and trust in God can satisfy. People cannot make you whole, or make you happy, not entirely. I am NOT what my husband needs, but I want to be what he wants. I want to be a part of what makes him happy and satisfied and whole, but I can't be it all, and if I'm expected to be everything, then I will continue to disappoint him.

Hopefully, time, as well as intervention from God, will help make a way for me back into my husbands heart, hopefully he'll see that though I am not what he needs, I'd be a great contributor to his life and his happiness, and we could find what we both need, together.

I can't decide tonight if I'm filled with hope or fear, I'm filled with some sort of strong and powerful emotion, and I'm praying that the path I'm on is revealed to me soon, so I can stop feeling so lost.

Katie

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

What else can I do?

A million times a day I think I must be crazy. Absolutely insane. No woman in her right mind would do what I am doing, actively pursuing a man who says he wants he wants out. What sane person opens herself up repeatedly to rejection, an experience that humans collectively try to avoid at all costs? I'm either crazy, or stupid, or both, right? Most people think that way. When they imagine themselves in my shoes, they think "there's no way I'd be so nice", or "I'd move on and find someone new". People urge me to gather up some self respect, some self worth, and look for new love, "better" love. But I don't. I can't.

I can't walk away from us. From him.

He's everywhere, we're everywhere.

I fell in love with him in an instant. Feelings bigger and stronger then I had ever known before. I never wanted to be anywhere but by his side. Apathy and tragedy have put some distance between us, but he's always been my center, and I have always felt that pull toward him. I may have been less focused on being actively by his side, but I never wanted to be by another. And now he's trying to walk away from me, and I can't just sit back and watch him go. I can't.

I've had a long standing history of pursuing Elvis, its second nature. In the beginning I lead and he happily followed me into our relationship, and then he took the lead. And now I think he's lost, and he's going another direction, and I feel like I need to take the lead again, and pray like crazy that he wants to follow me once more. Unlike our beginning, I'm not confidant that he'll follow my lead, I don't know that he wants to be back on the same path as me. I'm shaking in my boots over here, stepping out on to this risky road, full of lots of opportunity for rejection and disappointment. This could go so terribly bad for me. I could end up more hurt and damaged then I already am. I could come out at the end still alone, and bedraggled from the journey. I could lose my husband, and my hope, but by the grace of God I'll keep my faith and know that I did all that I could.

What else can I do?

I promised forever.

I meant it.

Love is a choice. The initial flames of passion die down, the intensity lessens, the excitement wears off and new becomes old. But love is a choice. And where some choose to let it go and chase something new and exciting once more, I am choosing to continue to love. To cherish. To honor.

In sickness and in health.

For better or for worse.

This is most certainly for the worse.

I don't know how this story ends. All I can do is take it day by day. Each morning I wake up and think about how I'm going to love Elvis today. How will I show him love? How will I make sure I don't crowd him? How will I make myself vulnerable without making myself a door mat? How will I keep my self respect while loving a man who walked away from me? How will I honor God's plan for marriage and my own when my husband doesn't share my home anymore?

What else can I do.

Many people wonder, why not just cut your losses and save yourself the pain?

But the only thing that hurts more then loving Elvis with nothing in return, is imagining not loving him at all.

Onward I go.

Katie

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Need some comfort....

For this tortured heart of mine tonight.

I'm feeling absolutely tortured tonight, by loss, and loneliness, and hurt and confusion and despair and guilt and shame..............the list goes on.

Every nerve ending is irritated and my thoughts and random and rapid.

I'm screaming in my head.

I need some comfort for my weary soul tonight, something to say "hush now" and set it to rest a while. These struggles will still be here tomorrow, no sense in going completely crazy today.

How much can one mind handle?

How much can one heart take?

I keep waiting for this life to break me into tiny little shards, but for some reason I stay whole. Then I wonder, if I would just break, if I would just shatter and get it over with already, I wouldn't have to wonder anymore when the breaking point would come, and I wouldn't have to endure another hit, unless life intends to not only break me but grind me in to dust as well.

I feel like I'm watching my life like some dramatic prime time TV show, and I'm that character that everyone loves to think "I'm so glad my life's not like hers!" I'm the scene with the melancholy, sorrowful musical overlay, the tragic heroine who's life is a mess but who keeps getting up for the next knock down. I can practically hear my soundtrack in my head as I walk through my day. I keep waiting for my big break, for the surprise happy ending to today's episode. The knock on the door. The love interest standing there with flowers or some romantic gesture, the long over due embrace and the implied happy future, of course to be continued in the next episode. I keep waiting. That's why I am tortured!

I need to just go to bed.

I need to shut of my brain and forbid it to dream tonight.

No nightmares tonight please brain.

My heart can't take it.

I can't stand to see my worst fears played out in my brain like it were the big screen.

Not tonight.

Tonight I need some rest. For my ragged heart and wounded soul.

We need a soft spot to land.

Some warmth, some security.

A little reprieve before life finds me again.

Katie

Monday, October 26, 2009

Something Wicked This Way Comes...

And by wicked, I mean awesome. Divine even. Heavenly.

I can feel it coming. There's a change in the air. A stillness. A calm. I can feel a spark of something new and exciting. A charge in the atmosphere, God at work. To those who are unsure about their feelings regarding God, it may sound strange, but I can literally feel his work, I can feel his presence in my life right now, and he brought hope with him.

I've been praying a lot lately. For guidance, for direction, and for comfort. It pleases God for us to admit that we need Him, and oh how I need Him. I invited him into my problems, and asked him to take care of them, in His way, in His time, I surrendered my sadness, confusion and grief and trust him to take care of me.

This feeling of serenity, of peace and calm, like the stillness before a storm, feels like His RSVP, he's coming. Change is in the air, I can see the clouds stirring, and something wicked this way comes....

Change often comes in a storm, sometimes violent and frightening, sometimes chaotic and messy, blowing through in a flurry and when its done, nothing is quite the same. God's change is the same. Its not a magic wand, no *poof* and everything is better, his change can be scary, or difficult, or painful, but in the end we're better for it. So I am getting ready for a storm, for I can see it coming, and I am excited for it. I can't wait to see what I can do with what God has planned for me. What will he do with my determination? What will he do with my newly fortified faith? He's given me incredible capability to love and to forgive and persevere, what will he do with them? Its all been set in motion, and there isn't any going back now, so its time to sit back and watch the storm from the safety of my faith in God's love for me.

The air is electric, and I feel energized and alive, full of hope and ready to weather this storm, be it a thunderstorm, tornado, hurricane or tsunami, I'll be watching for the rainbow at the end, God's reward for trusting in Him.

Katie

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Something to cry about....

I was watching a photography "webinar" tonight, about maternity portraits, and this particular instructor is involved with the charitable organization Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep (NILMDTS), where professional photographers provide beautiful portraits to parents of stillborn babies, or babies who die shortly after birth. We never had a NILMDTS shoot with Everett, but it prompted me to go back to his photos and look them over once again, and the significance of his struggle, and of our loss hit me like a tidal wave. All over again. Seeing his life played out in sequence, in photographs we never knew would be our only photographs is unreal. If I had have known I was documenting the only days of his life, I would have done a better job, I would have taken more, I would have tried to capture every inch of his beautiful little body.

These pictures don't do him justice.

He looks big, but he was so little.

You can't tell just how much he looked like Landon.

But they're the only pictures I have, and they're haunting. They show his downward spiral, from healthy to incredibly and desperately ill. As each day passes more staff and more equiptment congregate around his bedside.

When I look at these, life seems to re-prioritize itself, what really matters becomes very apparent. When you realize there's so much we take for granted, including our children, it because very easy to see all the trivial things we take too seriously and get far too wound up about. Saucy kids? Drained bank account? A few extra pounds? A broken marriage? Insignificant. My baby died. My gorgeous, innocent, and much loved baby was born with a horrendous heart defect, lived 20 days of uphill struggle and then he died. That's something to cry about.
















But, his strength, his endurance, his breath taking beauty, the lives he touched, the love he evoked, the memories he's left, the passion he's inspired, the good that has been done in his name, are all reasons to be comforted, and to be grateful to have ever had him at all.

At the heart of it all, the love we have for one another is all that really matters. And nothing is more worthy of your tears then lost or wasted time with your life's most precious people.

Put down that book, that broom, those dishes, that laundry, and go love up your children, who are the most amazing blessing you'll ever know. When the act out, act up, act horrible, even on their worst days, they're still more then you'll ever deserve, little gifts from God to teach you about what life is all about, cherish them accordingly. Life is short, sometimes exaggeratedly short, celebrate each and every second, as cliche as it may sound, as though it were your last together.

If I had have known I was living our last days together, I would have done so much more with it. I would have insisted on holding him more, touching him more, mothering him more, and capturing more of him in pictures, enough images of his sweet face to last a life time.

Katie

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The "Suppose to's"

I've got them bad today.

Blame it on sad country music, but my mind is wandering and my heart is hurting and I can't help but think about what is "supposed" to be.

I'm supposed to be 13 weeks pregnant right now.

I'm supposed to have two little boy tearing my house apart right now while their big sister is at school.

I'm supposed to be waking my husband up soon, and getting some time in with him before he goes into work again tonight.

I'm supposed to be arranging my basement to accommodate an extra bedroom, so I can prepare to give our bedroom to the new baby (who's not coming any longer but is supposed to be!)

I'm supposed to be planning a big family birthday party for the kids, which will now be half the size.

I'm supposed to be planning a family trip to Florida in the new year for our annual trip to Disney.

The "Supposed to's" suck.

Katie

Sunday, October 18, 2009

If we had only done this instead of that....

then things would be so different.

If only.

Those words echo in my mind day and night.

If only.

If only I got two steroid shots instead of one before the boys were born.

If only I went a few weeks longer.

If only he was diagnosed sooner.

If only we delayed surgery until he was bigger.

If only we had the option of a heart transplant rather then fixing the badly broken heart he had.

If only that surgery had gone better, or didn't take so long.

If only he didn't need ECMO.

If only he didn't need it for so long.

If only he didn't get that brain bleed.

If only.

If only I could have read minds.

If only he spoke up sooner, or clearer.

If only he said what was really on his mind.

If only his faith was stronger.

If only he wanted to try.

If only I had the strength to wait him out.

If only.

If only I didn't let the stress get to me.

If only I stayed calm in spite of it all.

If only my blood pressure was stable.

If only I could have done something.

If only.

Haunting words, and always present, I can't help but wonder why my life would look like now, if only something had played out differently in the past. If Everett had lived, if Elvis had stayed, what would I be doing right now? What would be be different? Everything.

If only.

Katie

Monday, October 12, 2009

Never wanted this......

I've always thought of myself as satisfied. I never wanted what I didn't have, and always wanted what I did have. I love life's little pleasures, back to school, the first snowfall of the year, Christmas specials, all the holidays, little birthday parties, family dinners... It doesn't take much to please me and I've always just felt content with what life has handed me.

Then my son died


My husband left me


And I lost a very wanted pregnancy


And suddenly I'm thinking, I never wanted this! And I am not satisfied. I don't like where I am and I very much want what I don't have. I'm struggling to find a sense of satisfaction and contentment again, because feeling this way is unpleasant. But how do I accept what life has given me when it isn't what I wanted? When it isn't simple, or pleasurable?

I was happily married and liked it that way. I had a husband I enjoyed and loved deeply and a marriage that felt comfortable and warm and safe. Now I don't, and I am not happy about that. So how do I accept it for what it is and move on? How do I imagine my future without the man I always envisioned spending my whole life with? How do I imagine some other man in his place? I don't even know where to begin? It feels alien and abhorrent to imagine myself with any other man then the only one I've ever known.

How does one make peace with having a child die? How do you begin to appreciate that it was just part of your life's plan and be satisfied with the way it all had to play out? How do you just accept that God understands and be content with your own limited understanding of life's tragedies? Don't ask me! I fake it, or I talk myself into believing I get it and my heart is healing, but in all honesty. I don't get it, I want my son back and I am not satisfied with how it all played out!

I never wanted to birth three kids and have only two to raise

I never wanted to find out I was pregnant only to find out a week later I wasn't pregnant anymore

I never wanted to be separated, or divorced, or looking for new love

I never wanted to start from scratch

But here I am.

I can't describe myself as contented anymore, or satisfied with all life gave me. I still enjoy the little things, like the first snow fall, which happened yesterday and made my heart feel 8 years old again. I still love back to school and Christmas shopping, but my enjoyment is clouded by worry and stress, loneliness and regret and its hard to just say "Ahh, life, it it was it is and I love it". Rather lately I find myself thinking "Damn! This is life? Is hard and its sad and I don't know what to make of it!"

I hate thinking like that! I have spent a lot of years in a lot of different relationships pointing out the joys of life, the grand scheme, the greater plan, ect.... And now I can't see it for myself anymore. I feel like life is big horse and I got bucked, and I'm sitting on the ground complaining of my sore backside from the fall and terrified to get back on for fear of greater injuries ahead. How many times can I get bucked from my horse before I'm not actually fit to get back on and ride some more? But, if I don't get back on, then the remainder of my life will be spent tending to old injuries and lamenting over past falls, watching others pass me by and wondering where they're going, and what excitement lies ahead for them. Worse yet, what if I'm that person sitting on the sidelines yelling to the other riders "You better just get off now, you'll only fall off and get hurt later if you don't", what if I ruin the ride for other more fearless and bold riders?

Its hard, and its scary, but truth be told, I need to get back in the saddle and try to enjoy all life has to offer again. I need to find my way again, I need to feel happy with what life gave me and find satisfaction in my world again. I need to take pleasure in imaginig a future that looks nothing like I thought it would. Its going to be scary, and I might fall off again, but its no life at all to sit on the sidelines.

Katie

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The little things......

Its been 59 days since my marriage fell to pieces. It feels like just yesterday, but its been as good as two months since I've felt loved by my husband. Its starting to weigh heavily on me, and each day brings a new craving for some marital affection, some tenderness, some warm and dependable shelter from the rest of the cold, cold world. With each dawning day I begin to feel a bit more out in the cold, each new night makes me feel a little more lonely the night before it. Right from the start I missed the big things, his presence, signs of him dwelling here strewn about the house, the security of his income and his contribution to managing our home, but now, 59 days later, I'm being hit by the loss of the little things, and I think they hurt more then the big ones.

Watching Grey's Anatomy the other night (this show always kills me), watching tender moments between couples offering one another consolation over their collective grief, I felt pained, because no one loves me like that anymore, not in that tender, romantic, protective, "just want to make you feel better" kind of way.

Around the house I find I get lonely at dinner time, when there's no one to make dinner for but the kids, who eat pretty basic meals. No one to help get them ready, no one to eat and chat with, no one to pack left overs for their lunch the next day.

At bedtime when I'm finished reading and turning out the lights, sometimes I'm compelled to reach for the phone like I always did when we was working nights, to call him and tell him goodnight and walk around the house while I have him on the phone to do my little security check. I miss that.

No one to watch my favorite shows with, no one to talk about them with when they're done.

No one to curl into a night, after a bad dream, or a good one. No one to wake in the night if I hear a noise.

No one to kill spiders or stomp bugs, no more hero come to my rescue.

No one to rub my forehead when I have a headache, no father in law to do the special "oil treatment".

No one to help with the day to day kid stuff, no one to help me deal with the stress, no one to laugh it off with, no one to point out how funny/cute/amazing the kids are when they do something of interest during the day.

No more using the "When Elvis and I......." starts for sentences, no more "I'll ask my husband"

No more taking part in "Tell me about your wedding" or "Show me your rings" conversations

No counterpart at get togethers at friends, no one to sit next to at the table.

No one to take me to dinner, or the movies, and to hold my hand, or share dessert.

No one to kiss goodnight, or good morning.

No arms around my waist, no hugs, no back rubs, no whispered "have a good day" when he leaves for work in the morning, no calls in the day to see how my day is going.

No more treats from the store "just because"

No more of any of this for me.

They're not such little things after all, they're the culmination of the love and affection and devotion that make up a loving and wonderful marriage, and they are no more. Some days I can cope, and some days I am more lonely then I could ever describe, so lonely I can barely breathe.

Now I pray...

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
Amen.

I pray for serenity, but I also pray for the loneliness to pass, but not so I can live a life absent of loneliness, but that it will be replaced by all those little things once lost, so that my life can be once again filled to the brim with them.

Love

Affection

Warmth

Security

Devotion

Admiration

Friendship

Passion

Trust

That me and my heart will once again be taken care of.

Katie

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The painful cutting of ties....

I'm still wading through the aftermath of my marriage crumbling, in record speed I might add. I'm sifting through the debris, trying to pick up the pieces and make sense of what actually happened. I'm taking my time, because every now and then I stumble across a big piece of debris, a memory or an obstacle that accompanies the death of a marriage, and I need time, time to grieve it, and process it, then pack it away.

Lately, as I sort through the mess that is my life right now, I'm coming across faces, familiar faces of people I've come to know and love over the past seven years. Under each picture is a story and memories that break my heart. These are the faces of family, family I'll never see again, our ties severed in the loss my husband, those faces belong to him, and he's taking them with him when he goes. Sisters, brothers, parents, nieces, nephews, a great big family, not mine anymore. Children I've known since birth, held as babies, and called my own nieces and nephews, will not know Aunt Katie anymore. Sisters I confided in, brothers I could depend on, parents who showed me love along with their son, gone. All of them gone. I'll need a lot of time to process this. I won't ever be at another big family dinner, I'll never be apart of the lively energetic chaos that comes with a big family like this. I feel like I got kicked out of the club, disowned, left at the road side. They were my family and I loved them, and now they're gone, all of them.

I wonder if they know how I'll grieve them like I grieve the other losses in my life? I wonder if they'll think of me at all, like the sister in law, or daugher in law, or Aunt who was, and then just wasn't anymore. Will I be that ex family member "we don't speak about?", will my name be taboo? Will anyone hold on to any positive memories of me? I feel like I'm outside a big family home where a big warm celebration is taking place, and I'm out in the cold with my nose pressed against the window wondering how the heck it came to be that I am on the outside looking in! I sure felt like I was on the inside! I felt the warmth and the love and a sense of belonging, I felt like I belonged, and now I'm a stranger.

Its the weirdest thing. So many memories, places, things, are going to forever remind me of the family I lost.

I'm going to remeber road trips, a particular drive from home to Florida as a new couple with a future sister in law in tow

I'm going to remember Florida, visiting a sister and her family and feeling truly at home

I'm going to remember New York, and New York accents, and spanish rice and chicken stew

I'm going to remember going to visit parents and being served a steady stream of snacks and drinks by a woman who knew no better way to show her love

I'm going to remember candid talks on big leather couches with a sister and brother who I knew would listen and can be trusted

A sister who dropped everything to take us to the hospital when Everett got sick, and stayed long after she needed to, from love and support

A father in laws thick Italian accent, hard to decipher but icrediby endearing

A brother in law with the heart of a child, a fabulous brother in law

Another brother with a strong work ethic and wife I thought of as a friend

A sister who suffered a loss like one I suffered and a felt a strong tie to

A sister with huge heart and a radiating warmth that made her so easy and enjoyable to talk to, a sister who gave me a book and helped bring me to Christ

Chicken cooked in tomato sauce will always make me think of my mother in law

A great big wonderful family, not mine anymore.

I wish I could tell them I had no clue this was going to happen, I wish I could tell them I wish I could have changed it, I wish I could pound on the proverbial door and be let back in.

They'll never know how much I'm going to miss them and how horrible it feels to be on the outside looking in, and to have all my ties to them completely severed.

Just another loss to add to the pile

Katie

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Struggling with the sadness

I'm continually amazed at how it never gets easier, or less painful, to miss Everett.

I get by, through the day to day, by distraction, and blantant denial, but its inevitable that I'll let my guard down and allow myself to feel the pain and be completely laid out by it.

It started yesterday, though I'm not sure what brought it on, and its continuing on today, leaving me feeling constantly on the brink of tears and completely not in control of my heart. The videos I posted yetserday haven't helped. Don't get me wrong, I posted them because he is beautiful and I want the world to know him, and I wan to "see" him, but its bitter sweet. I don't enjoy the videos at all, they tug at my heart and quicken its beat, they bind my stomach in knots and fill my eyes with tears. They transport me back in time, where I was panicked and powerless and confused beyond measure, terrified at how out of control life was, and I feel it all over again. Its not pleasant, but its necessary, for I can't ever forget those feelings that tie me tightly to my son and help me remember better then any photo could. So, I posted some videos on a very low night, when was overwhelmed with loneliness for Everett, to help me remember, and to satisfy my desire to make others remember too. I got what I wanted, but now I pay the price of having opened an old wound, that though was never actually healed, it was closed and bearable.

It never fails to surprise me how fresh and potent my grief still is, it hasn't mellowed at all. Thank goodness it comes in waves and gives me days, weeks, or maybe even months of quiet reprieve before crashing onto my life again.

Now I am also thinking of upcoming birthdays. All three of my children were born within 3 days of each other in November, and that's coming up fast. I regard their upcoming birthdays with excitement and resistance, because I can't tell you how hard it is to celebrate Everett's birth without him. Its impossible. On November 17th I'm going to celebrate the birth of my twin boys, without one, its like a twisted, cruel joke life's playing on me. I have to do my best to make a happy day for Landon and Avery, who will have a joint party due to the close proximity of their celebratory days, but I also have to cope with the re-breaking of my heart. He's not here. He never had a 1st birthday, he never even had a 1 month birthday. What do I do about that?

My instinct is to do something grand in his name, to help others in ways I couldn't ever help him. But since the failing of my gala, I'm weary of that. But something needs to be done, to honor Everett and his life and his battle, and also help me! To help me feel as though I can help someone, or do something, in honor of my baby, who I never got to do a thing for, andwas powerless to help. I can't let his birthday pass without honoring it, but what to do?

Donate to Sick Kids? Maybe, its a good cause for sure?

To Plan Canada? Another amazing cause, it would do such great things in Everett's name!

Samaritans Purse?

Our local hospital? Gift baskets for other bererft parents?

A combination of the above?

I'll have to think on it, and think fast! Time isn't marching on, but rather it seems to be running, because how is it that it can be nearly 2 years since my baby boys were born?

Nearly 2 years old and living life without Everett still has me struggling. Grief on top of grief, on top of grief. Its difficult to find balance when life keeps trying to knock you down.

Katie

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Everett

Not that you need reminding, but this is Everett. This is is how his life unfolded:



This is how he looked and how he sounded...


I'm not sure why it happened tonight, but my heart broke all over for Everett, and I miss him so greatly that I can't gather together the words to describe it. When I watch these videos, and see pictures of his life, I can almost go back in time, and see it and feel it and hear it all over again. I feel feel the fear and the hope and the heart break all over and the grief is as intense as it was when it began.

He was beautiful beyond description and so incredibly wanted and prayed for, and then he was gone. Here we sit nearly two years, still hopelessly caught up in the grieving process, still unable to make sense of it all. We're powerless to change a thing, nothing can make him less gone, and nothing can make us hurt less. Nothing can change what has transpired in the past years, no amount of wishing and willing can make our lives any different. Acceptance is hard. How can I accept this? How does a mother get acclimated to having a discordant amount of children to raise? I should have three, with one on the way, but I have two with none on the way, and no prospects for any future babies just yet. I have two phenomenal children but that doesn't lessen the pain of losing one (or two), I'm forever going to notice Everett's absence.

I know some others will too, for he touched so many hearts.

A very small consolation, if consolation is even possible.

Katie

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me!

Today is my 29th birthday. My very last year of my twenties. I'm spending the day with my gorgeous kids, and the evening with some good friends, what more could I ask for? Well, I could ask for more, but the point is that I really need to be grateful with what I have, and I am.

Today is the perfect day to take stock of all the gifts in my life, and there are so many!

Firstly, I'm alive and healthy!
I live in on a quiet street, in a safe town, in an amazing Country
I have a home, a cute, comfortable place of my own
I've had a great education and a good career
I have amazing children
and fabulous parents, and grandparents
I have beautiful sisters, who are also great friends
I have supportive, kind and amazing friends
I have a great church filled with amazing people
I have talents
I have goals
I have the means to achieve them
and I have hope!

What reasonable person could ask for more?

Not this lady.....




I've learned enough in the past 29 years to know how truly blessed my life is!

Happy Birthday to Me!

Katie

Saturday, September 5, 2009

So this is life..............

Tonight is one of those night where I feel like slave to my thoughts, to my memories. I should be in bed, I should have gone hours ago, and put my weary mind to rest, but here I sit. Parked in front of my computer screen, melancholy music playing, and the faint hum of appliances keeping me company, the house is otherwise still and quiet, the perfect breeding ground for lamentations and wandering thoughts.

Tonight I'm thinking of the past, which is most often the case. I'm thinking of what I've had and what I've lost, and how things could have been, how they should have been. I'm thinking of Everett, and of Elvis, and there's an undeniable ache in my chest and a welling of heat and moisture behind my eyes. Tonight I'm waxing poetic, and philosophic, and I'm eager to make some sense of this mess that has become my life. Joe Purdy, my companion in grief, is providing a thoughtful and heartfelt soundtrack to tonight's soul searching, thanks Joe.

Life appears to be a series of highs and lows, successes and failures, celebrations and mornings. We ride the ups and down's like a roller coaster, sometimes exhilarated with hands in the air, some times terrified and pleading for the operator to stop the ride. In hindsight we can see that the ride wouldn't have been quite as thrilling without the fearful apprehension that comes before the twists and loops, its the unknown and the fear there of that adds the element of excitement and the feeling of being truly alive. Too bad we generally only know this in hindsight. Generally in life, we only enjoy the highs, the predictable joys of life at its best. But the highs wouldn't feel high if the lows weren't so darn low now would they? Damn life's lows for being as necessary as breath.

I tried to go to bed tonight, at a decent hour, determined to make up for some lost sleep, but my book I was reading until fatigue overwhelmed me made me sad, and contemplative. Having been so tired to begin with, my defenses against sad thoughts were weakened, and I allowed myself to think of my husband. Not with anger, or with resentment, but with love and with longing, and I ached to feel the shift of weight in the bed as he climbed in beside me, the tug on the duvet as he settled himself in, even the uneven and noisy shift of his breathing as he drifted from conscious, to semi conscious, to dead to the world. Tonight I miss my husband.

And since I'm indulging in painful longing tonight, I thought of Everett too. I strained to remember the weight of him in the crook of my left arm, the silky dark hair on his head, the tiny cleft of his chin, and my heart nearly stopped beating. I flashed to a photograph of me in the NICU with both babies, one cradled in each arm, displayed proudly to the camera, fatigue and joy adoring my face. This is how it was, and how it should have stayed. The life I wanted. The life I'll never know. Damn life for changing just when it gets comfortable.

The truth is, I don't regognize my life. I don't know the tired and worrisome woman in the mirror, with dark sad eyes that project a muddle of confusion and pleading. Pleading to be rescued from this disaster, saved from this difficult phase of life. I've entered into one of those dips of the roller coaster, I'm in the midst of a big loop, I can't see what lies ahead and I'm one of those riders calling out for the man at the controls to have mercy and stop the ride. But the ride won't stop, and I know it, just like riders on a thrill ride, you're on it to the end, whether you're having fun or not, you just have to trust that the maker of the ride knew what he was doing, and you'll come out safely on the other side. That trust is difficult. Damn faith for being so contrary to human nature but so incredibly vital and important.

Not too long ago I was a happily married woman, a young mother with a glorious baby girl and identical twin boys on the way. I was basking in all my pregnant glory, feeling elated and womanly and proud, feeling vital and important and undeniably pleased with life and my many blessings. Not long ago, my life made sense, I was comfortable in my own skin, I was excited for what was next.

Now I'm strained, weary and unrecognizable. Abandoned, confused and pained with more loses then I ever cared to know. I bask in nothing, but am in constant search of refuge from my life and from myself. I'm calling out to God for comfort and protection from this world, and though I can't hear him, I am thankful that I still have enough faith left to know that he's here. Having been through loss and pain and despair before and having had my faith strengthend for it, I'm not so hopeless now as I could be, and have been. I know that this is life, a big, crazy, brilliant and horrifying ride. I know the highs are fabulous and the lows are devestating, but I also know that at the end that both are vital in making the ride memorable, and real, and relevant.

I should have gone to bed hours ago, just turned out the lights, pulled up the covers and given way to my tired mind, and I would have, if thoughts were as easy to turn off as lights. Waxing poetic and feeling deeply contemplative, I'm in no condition to sleep. Ironically, as tired as I am, and with feelings and thoughts as clear as mud, I'm in no condition to think either.

Perhaps the best thing to be done tonight is indugle in a big dose of B-Flo therapy, it never fails to make my heart beat faster, and skip a beat or two as well!

Katie