Saturday, May 30, 2009

Patsy says it best.....

I fall to pieces
Each time I see you again
I fall to pieces
How can I be just your friend?

You want me to act like we've never kissed
You want to forget; pretend we've never met
And I've tried and I've tried, but I haven't yet...
You walk by, and I fall to pieces

I fall to pieces
Each time someone speaks your name (speaks your name)
I fall to pieces
Time only adds to the flame

You tell me to find someone else to love
Someone who'll love me too (love me too)
The way you used to do (used to do)

But each time I go out with someone new,
You walk by, and I fall to pieces
You walk by, and I fall to pieces

Just substitute, in place of "walk by", "see your picture", "hear your name", "hear the word twins", "your brother does something cute", "your sister talks to your picture", "someone asks me how many kids I have", and so on.....

Of course, I don't try to pretend I'm just his friend, and I never try to forget, but you get the idea, something happens when I think I'm doing good at picking up and carrying on, something trips me up and, well, I fall to pieces.

I fall to pieces.

Last night was the worst night I've had in a long, long while. I can't say why, it just happens sometimes, but last night I came completely undone. This morning I had the headache and water balloon eye lids to show for it. I can't say I feel any better having fallen to pieces, but it needed to be done, and even though it takes its toll, I know I'll do it again.

I've been singing this song for the past few days, maybe it brought it on, maybe it was my subconscious warning me that these feelings were stirring, maybe its just a pretty song, but these words have been on my lips often throughout the day.

I fall to pieces
Each time someone speaks your name (speaks your name)
I fall to pieces
Time only adds to the flame

Time only adds to the flame....

How true it is.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, I've got it....

If there was any doubt, there isn't now.

Tonight I promised myself I'd be productive, and I'd work on some gala stuff after the kids went to bed. Some of you know, and some of you may not know, that we're hosting a fund raising gala for the Hospital for Sick Children (Sick Kids) in June, in memory of Everett. We've been planning it for a year now, and in these final weeks leading up to it, the work is piling up.

So, tonight I pledged to start working on the slide show, compiling facts and pictures to use as the introduction to our event. I went to the Sick Kids website and started browsing, and noticed that they had pictures of their many lovely murals to view. I clicked, because I figured they'd make a great addition to our slide show, they're cheery, animated and really, really cute, they're part of what makes the hospital so warm and friendly to little kids.

As soon as clicked and enlarged the first mural image, I felt my heart rate quicken.

Then my breaths became deeper and faster.

And after seeing this one, this very, very familiar image, my eyes welled up with tears....

Definite anxiety attack approaching, I closed the website down and immediately headed to my refrigerator, and did what I always do when my emotions get high, I ate.

We walked past this mural over and over when visiting Everett in the CCCU (Cardiac Critical Care Unit), we waited in hallways while Dr's did rounds and stared at these murals, but I never realized how much they became a part of our experience until I saw them again. Seeing them triggered so many memories and emotions, it really surprised me, and saddened me.

I wonder if I'll ever be able to walk into Sick Kids again and not crumble to pieces. Will I ever be able to volunteer there, or work there, or visit some one there without having a massive anxiety attack? I react to the NICU at our hospital too. Walking through the doors of the pediatric floor, or the nursery makes my heart beat faster and my eyes water. I get jumpier by the minute while I'm there, even when I try not to think about it, memories find their way into the foreground of my thoughts. What happens when we have another baby? The obstetric floor is likely to have the same effect, I'm bound to replay Everett and Landon's delivery over in my mind when I'm surrounded by similar surroundings and equipment. And will I ever be able to work there? I really would love to be an obstetric nurse, but can I overcome this post traumatic stress and do it? I have no idea.

A simple mural has side tracked my entire plans for this evening. I no longer feel motivated to work on my gala, I don't want to think about Sick Kids tonight, I don't want to feel or remember, or cry tonight. Elvis is working, and I'm already alone with my thoughts, so maybe its best I don't go down that road, voluntarily that is.

This gala is supposed to be a good thing, honoring Everett and doing something big and fabulous in his name, helping other sick children and their families. I'm proud to be doing it, and excited to see the fruits of all this hard work, but if I am being honest, and thats the whole point of this blog, I can't wait until its over. It hurts more then I expected it would, the process has been really painful and exhausting and I am not sure I've got it in me to do it again, though its a noble thought.

In future years I am sure we'll continue to fund raise in Everett's name, for Sick Kids and for other charities that touch our hearts, but maybe not on this scale. Once is enough, we'll kick off Everett's legacy with a bang, and from then on I think I'll be more mindful to be gentle with my heart and my memories and remember that commemoration means re-living, and re-living means re-grieving, which hurts.

Maybe tonight, rather then work on something that's irritating already tender and frazzled (my emotions namely), I'll instead work on being gentle with my heart, and not trying so hard to make the world know my baby, and learn about why I'm so bereft. I need to focus more on my own experiences with Everett and less on making the world miss him too. Maybe memorializing and honoring isn't as healing as I thought it would be, but Ive made commitments now that we intend to follow through on, but I can see me now walking up to that stage on gala night....

Heart beating fast....

Breathing too deep and too quick....


Eyes filling up with tears.....

Telling the room full of friends, family and strangers all the reasons why they should help us support Sick Kids and telling them all about Everett and touching their hearts and maybe making them shed a tear to two...

then walking straight to the door, to the hallway or bathroom and completely losing it.

Sure we're doing something great, and we're happy to do it, but I'm already anticipating how much its going to hurt.

Its going to hurt a lot.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Well thats not right..

This afternoon, while rocking Landon in his room before his nap, my eyes wandered around the room, and landed on the little Willow Tree statues resting on the top shelf of his hutch. Two tiny babies sitting side by side, bought by us to commemorate our twins after Everett passed, to remind us when we need it that we really did have twins. These little guys kill me. They're so cute, and perfectly carved and look just like Landon does and Everett would have. They're dark haired (though faceless as all Willow Tree figurines are) and are shaped like little one year olds, they're both wearing little cream sleepers, they're precious, but looking at them hurts. They're reminders of what we had and what we lost, and they provide little glimpses of what it might look like if both our boys were here with us, sitting together and playing, the way we wish it could be.

So, this afternoon while getting Landon ready for his nap, I studied these little figurines, and I'm not sure why I decided to do it, but after I laid Landon down, I grabbed them off the shelf and took them with me to the living room. I propped them up on the coffee table on a sheet of white paper and decided to take a few pictures of these little babies, since they're so cute after all, and I'm compelled by them.

As I snapped away however, I started to feel sad and strange, taking pictures of these little twin figurines started to feel a little weird, because I started to think, "this is what it would be like to take the boys pictures together", "this is what I would do if they were both here", "Ah, so this is what a picture of both my boys would look like". It started to feel sad, and morbid, and they made me hurt even more. I did however edit the pictures like I normally would, and got a few really nice ones, I think if you didn't know our story, or the context I'd be viewing them in, most people would think they're just sweet pictures.

However, if you know me, or you've heard our story, I'm sure you'll look at these pictures and understand exactly why they're painful, if you've lost a baby, or one of your twins, you'll understand exactly why it feels morbid to have taken these pictures at all. You can imagine my thought process as I posed these little babies together and took their pictures...

How it was, when I was pregnant and just after the boys were born, they were together and happy.....

How it should be (same as above, together and happy), just exactly what I wish I could see......

And sadly, how it is, one baby home with us, and one a vivid memory, a strong emotional presence, but not accessible, tangible, or touchable...........

Gaah! These little guys kill me! These simple little unassuming figurines are devastating little reminders of the saddest chapter of our lives, of the biggest hurdle we ever had to overcome, and of the biggest scar we bear and try to hide from the rest of the world. They remind me that I don't see the world the same as everyone else, those who haven't lost a baby or experienced something similar. I see reminders, not babies in twin strollers that roll past us in the mall. I see loss, not an ultrasound picture when someone announces they are expecting twins. I see ECMO and IV's and nurses when someone updates that the Dr. has ruled their baby's heard murmur completely benign. I see worst case scenarios when others are getting miracles.

My outlook on life and the world we live in so differently now that my life as been tainted by loss. Even when I think I'm coping pretty well and life is feeling pretty normal again, I go and take pictures of twin baby figurines and remind myself that I'm just not the same, and maybe just not right.


Like a bee to flowers....

I find myself completely drawn to my children. There's this inexplicable pull between us, I want nothing more some days then to be by their side, it suits me just fine to do nothing but watch my kids just be, just breath, just exist.

They're kind of like little batteries, they give me energy and power and keep me going. They refresh me and make me feel alive. Without them, life makes less sense, has less purpose and in general appears so much duller. Man, do I ever love my children!

I don't think I ever knew what kind of mother I hoped to be, until I had my kids and found out just how astonishingly deep my love for them is. Now I know that kind of mother I hope to me, when my kids are grown and are describing me to people, I want them to use words like "warm" and "devoted" and "loving" and "fun". If they want to throw in words like "beautiful" and "best mom ever", thats okay with me too! I want to be my kids safe place, I want to be "home" to them, I want them to feel good about themselves and about life when they're around me. When they're grown with kids of their own, independent and making their mark on the world, I want them to know that their mother still adores them, still enjoys every second she's with them, will still love them and comfort them whenever they need it, I want them to know I want to always be "Mama", even when we're all old and gray.

So, I've got big mothering aspirations, and its going to take a lot of work to be the kind of mother I want to be, but I'm up to the challenge, because, well, look at these kids........

....they absolutely deserve a childhood they can look back fondly upon and a Mama they can always rely upon, and more love then they ever imagined possible.


Saturday, May 23, 2009

My Cherry Tree

There's a tree in my front yard, that is so amazingly beautiful, I think I would have bought my house based on that tree alone. I've been waiting and waiting for this tree to finally bloom, spring has come to all the rest but our tree has been holding out. But in the last few days, it finally has come to life and its amazing. At this moment, as I type, I keep looking over my shoulder out the window to admire the cloud of deep pink flowers it has become. It smells great too, the breeze keeps carrying in wafts of its gorgeous flowery smell to me, I love this tree, a lot. But, its a cherry tree, and like all cherry trees, this period of incredibly beauty is very brief. Soon, the flowers will wilt and the petals will fall to the ground and the for the rest of the year my amazing tree is just a tree, with dark leaves and kinky, winding branches. It buds, it flowers, it becomes captivating and beautiful, then its beauty fades away. Such is life right? Precisely.

My cherry tree inspired me when it came time to get a tattoo to memorialize Everett. We had felt very strongly that getting tattoos for him was something we needed to do, to make him present always, and to keep him and his precious little life always in the front of our memories. But, how would we personalize these tattoos, to make them really relevant and convey just how much Everett touched us, and who he was. We decided on getting his foot prints, and as I designed my tattoo, I chose have his feet being showered in falling cherry blossoms. Very fitting I think. Cherry blossoms remind us of the fragility and transience of life. Everett's life is a perfect example of this. He was born, he was beautiful and breath taking and then he was gone. His life was like a cherry blossom, amazing, awe inspiring, and painfully short.

Here's my tattoo, little life sized feet, and gently falling cherry blossoms and petals. Picture them falling from the tree to the ground, their brief time to shine is over, but everyone always remembers how beautiful cherry blossoms are. People are drawn to them, they visit orchards filled with flowering cherry trees, artists paint them, photographers take pictures of them, tattoo artists have tattooed many with their small and lovely flowers. It would appear that cherry blossoms are universally beautiful and widely loved. So, I don't mind likening my baby to them one bit.

Here are some pictures I took of my tree yesterday. I took dozens, up close, far away, any way you look at it, they're just plain beautiful. I may frame one or two of these to hang on a wall. Maybe they'll keep us mindful that life is short and sweet, its beautiful while we have it, but soon enough, its gone (like anyone living in MY house needs reminding of how fleeting life is).

Also, maybe they can remind us of something else, about seasons of life. Sure, cherry blossoms wilt and die and fall to the ground, the tree becomes plain and average, and in the winter its darn right ugly with sharp black branches in awkward angles, but, spring comes again. After the harsh winter passes, spring brings buds back to this tree, and before we know it, its full of amazing blooms, thick and clustered and plentiful. Just like my gorgeous cherry tree, life has seasons of ugly and average, of discontent and pain, but, sure enough, spring comes again and beauty fills our lives, happiness, joy and contentment come back around. Life cycles through these seasons over and over, some are longer then others, some shorter, but we can always rest assured that winters of grief and discontent will be replaced with springtimes full of blessings and joy, we just need to be patient and wait.


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Garden

I took the kids out to the backyard today, to enjoy some of the sunshine and warm weather, and found Everett's garden was thriving and full of life, yay! We weren't at all certain that we had the gardening skills to maintain a garden, but it looks like we're not half bad at it! The plants are still in their early stages of awakening, they aren't much to look at, but I found myself on my hands and knees looking at his garden stone in a whole new way. It could be the artist in me searching for some sort of design in everything, or maybe its because I've been so lost in thought and emotion lately with Everett's gala coming up so soon, but I've been looking for something to jump out at me lately, and this is what I've found today. Pretty isn't it?

Tears, memories and thoughts of Heaven, doesn't that just sum up where my heads at these days? It totally does. Avery's been talking about Heaven lately too, she absolutely doesn't get it, but bless her for giving it so much thought. She wants to go there, she knows her brother lives there, but it just kills me when she suggests, as though it were in the realm of possibility, that we should drive there after Landon's nap. She cocks her head to the side and innocently asks me if thats something I'd be interested in doing, and its all I can do to not crumble to the floor. If she only knew! Trying to explain the logistics of Heaven to a three year old is tough, because I don't want to talk to her about how you really get there, about death and its inevitability, but she knows a little about that already, which sucks. So, I tell her we'll all be there one day, hopefully not for 90 or so years for her, and there's no hurry, Heaven can wait. I love her so much for wanting to pop in and see her brother, I love that she thinks of him so often, but it hurts sometimes to hear her talk about him.

Anyway, enough of that, I'm trying to remain upbeat tonight. Since Elvis is at work and I've been having trouble sleeping lately anyway, no sense in going to bed crying, thats a sure way to get a migraine.

So, we played outside today, took pictures of Everett's garden, and played. I sat in the grass and watched Avery and Landon enjoy our backyard and tried to just be completely happy and satisfied with what I have and the path I'm on. Its hard, definitely harder some days then others, but when you've got this in your backyard.....

.....happiness invariably finds its way into the mix!


Thank you Joe Purdy....

For saying just what I wanted to say but so much better. If I didn't know any better, I'd think he wrote this song just for me.

Just Can't Seem to Get it Right Today

Just can't seem to get it right today,
Just can't seem to get it right today,
Just can't seem to get it right today,
I guess I'm gonna give up,
Oh, I guess I'm gonna give up.

It's nearly been a year since he's been gone,
We still sing his goodbye songs,
And she knows, she should move on,
But she just can't let him go,
No, she just can't let him go.

I'm sorry if I made you made you wanna cry,
Sorry if I made you wanna cry,
You should know, I never meant to hide,
I just hate bringin' you down,
Oh, I just hate bringin' you down.

Just can't seem to get it right today,
Just can't seem to get it right today,
Just can't seem to get it right today,
I guess I'm gonna give up,
Oh, I guess I'm gonna give up.

I dropped my paintbrush in the dirt,
Still numb by just how much I hurt,
I cut my hand, wait for it to work,
I just couldn't bring him back,
No, I just couldn't bring him back.

I just can't seem to get it right today,
Oh, I just can't seem to get it right today,
I just can't seem to get it right today,
I guess I'm gonna give up,
Oh, I guess I'm gonna give up,
Oh, I guess I'm gonna give up,
Oh, I guess I'm gonna give up,
Oh, I guess I'm gonna give up,
Oh, I guess I'm gonna give up,
Oh lord, I said I guess I'm gonna give up,
Oh lord, I said I guess I'm gonna give up.

Now, I'll clarify what I'm going to give up, because the song sounds like its sort of hopeless, but it isn't. I'm going to give up trying to get it right, trying to make everything work out perfect, trying to please everyone, trying to understand everyone, trying to make everyone understand me. I just can't seem to get it right because it can't be done, so Lord, I'm going to give up. I'm going to give it up and rely on the only one who can get everything right all the time, He'll get it right if I trust him, and I do. God has done so much for me from the time Everett passed until now, He's at work in my life and I know He can be trusted. So, thats what I am going to do, I'm going to stop trying to do it all myself, stop trying to get it right and just give it up.

I'm sorry if I made anyone want to cry, by trying to force them to see my pain through my eyes, its impossible for me to show someone just how bad I hurt and how deep I grieve, no one else can possibly know, no matter how hard I try and show them. I'm going to stop trying. I'm going to stop going to others to comfort me in my pain, hoping they'll understand and being disappointed when they can't, I'll leave that to God, blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted!


Monday, May 18, 2009

Just can't seem to move on today...

My thoughts are stuck on Everett today, thats okay, it happens. Thankfully both Avery and Landon are both cooperating today and taking a nap at the same time, allowing me some badly needed time to think and feel and sort through all the different things going on in my head.

This picture was taken on December 7th 2007, the day Everett died. This is the kind of vision that holds my thoughts captive, I've seen so many things, heart wrenching things, they're impossible to forget. This is one of them. They aren't pretty, some of them are darn right upsetting, but they're real, they happened, they are our experiences with Everett and it serves no purpose to gloss over the bad, or touch up these images to make them "easier" to look at. It shouldn't have to be easy, looking at these pictures, or recalling these memories hurts, its supposed to hurt, thats how we make sure we give Everett and his memories and his legacy the reverence that is deserved. Glossing over the "ugly" would be insulting to him, and would diminish the significance of what he endured and what we endured with him.

For those who don't know, here's a re-cap of what Everett's 20 days included:
Intubation (more then once)
Umbilical lines
A PICC line (And a failed attempt)
Dozens of medications
CAPD (peritoneal dialysis)
Two open heart surgeries
A cardiac catheterization
Numerous head ultrasounds
Blood work
EMCO (a form of life support)
Blood transfusion after blood trasnfusion
9 days with an open sternum
and more........

His entire life was a battle to live, and we spent all but six days of our time with him (the first six days were blissful oblivion) praying and begging for some miracle to keep him living and with us. You just can't make an experience like this "easier" to take in, or "prettier" to look at. It is the definition of pain, loss, sadness, grief, ache, and despair. We've learned to see the baby beyond the tubes and wires and mess, when we look at pictures like this we see Everett and our time with him. We don't see "ugly" or "sad", we see our experience, and a very important, life altering experience. Sometimes we want to share these pictures with others, we want to show them how it really was, for those who weren't there on the front lines with them, for those who don't "get it", we want to show them the REAL experience of loving and losing Everett. It would be my hope, that after seeing the painfully honest, real and ugly side of what we experienced, a lot more people would understand why we're so damaged today. Maybe seeing the tubes and the wires and the pain would help some people to realize why we're still reeling, still recovering and still hurting over what we went through. We've got battle scars! We fought and lost and we're forever wounded, and will never fully heal.

The above picture is the last time I held my baby's hand while he was alive. Shortly after I took it he looked me in the eye, I wish I had a picture of that. For 14 days we battled for Everett, prayed and stood vigilant at his side, trying to will him to pull through as if he had any say in the matter. Is it any wonder that we are still so badly broken, or why we want to keep his memory alive and well? Memories are all that we have left. Thank God there are so many, and some good ones too, and dozens of beautiful pictures to boot. Without these Everett would be truly lost, gone the day his body gave out. With these we're able to take him with us, bringing his memory and our love for him forward into each new day. We won't ever forget, and we aren't going to let anyone else forget either!


Just look at those eyes! A continuation of "Going it alone?", and a litte bit of a rant.

For those who don't know, this is my son Everett, he was a beautiful, perfect baby boy, but life is unfair and he died. But just look at those eyes. Wasn't he stunning, and aware! He was so aware and always staring thoughtfully at our faces, its one of the things about his character that really showed itself strongly, given he only had 20 days to tell us who he was and let us learn all about him.

And for those of you who do know, but maybe need reminding. This is my son Everett, he was perfect and beautiful, but life is unfair and he died. But, he's still my son. I still have three children and he's still beautiful. Look at those eyes! Who could look at those dark brown eyes and not have a picture of him imprinted in your memory, and on your heart forever?

Grief can manifest itself in many different ways, and can be different from day to day. Sometimes grief shows itself in me through anger, or through distancing myself, sometimes the only way I can deal with the pain of losing Everett is to retreat to my thoughts and draw myself away from everyone else, because sometimes I just can't make sense of how the rest of the world carry on without him, when its all I can do to some days to just get out of bed. If you've ever looked at me and thought that you don't understand why I'm behaving so cooly, so badly, so sternly, so stoically, I don't blame you, sometimes I don't understand myself either. Conversely, I don't understand why you (you in the general sense) sometimes act so nonchalant, so normal, so unaffected, so "okay", I don't understand why the death of this gorgeous, perfect, amazing little baby didn't shatter your heart like it did mine, I don't know how you're still breathing when each day there are times I can barely catch my breath from thinking of him. I don't understand how he doesn't cross your mind a million times a day, I don't know why that song on the radio that breaks my heart and makes me cry doesn't make you stop and think of him and cause a tear or two.

If you don't "get it", thats fine, maybe its something you have to experience first hand to really get. But, if you don't get it then don't pretend you get it, and let me guide you on how to make sense of this. See it through my eyes rather then make assumptions on how to deal with something we've already acknowledged you don't "get". And lastly, don't let your confusion or my grief make you angry or frustrated, on the bright side, you're only dealing with the crazy lady who lost her baby, at least you aren't the crazy lady who lost her baby, let that be of some consolation to you and help you deal with me with some sensitivity and understanding.


Going it alone?

A strange thing happened the other day, a very common place event became a gigantic reminder that the rest of this world doesn't see life the way we do, we being those grieving Everett. In fact, a very common type of family gathering became a big reminder that we're going it alone when it comes to missing Everett and holding a place for him in our family and our daily lives. This isn't the strange part though, the strange part is that when we tried to make the people involved see it through our eyes, they were upset, angry even, like they were insulted or somehow wronged! I'm so confused by this, but have come to the conclusion that I can't spend any unnecessary time thinking about how I can make others see my side of things, because it nearly never works and it causes me to feel angry on top of sad and thats a bad combination of emotions to go through your day with, especially with a three year old and one year old to care for.

But, I hate that is Us vs. Them, the people who get it and the people we expected to get it and don't. Its lonely. It hurts to know that many of your inner circle don't understand and worse yet, don't even consider Everett any more. And its really sad to know that we can't bring it to their attention and explain how we feel without a backlash from them, without rebuttals and counter arguments. I never wanted to argue, I just wanted my baby to be remembered.

Anyway, its done now. I'm trying my hardest to not dwell on this, to move on and be civil and just understand that maybe they simply cannot understand where I come from on this matter, and I guess its a good thing that they don't know, because knowing would mean that they have experienced the pain of losing a child and I wouldn't wish that on anyone.

And, on a brighter note, there are a handful of beautiful people in my life, placed there no doubt by God who knew I'd need them, that just "get it", they understand. Be it by proximity to us as we lost him, or as we first (and most painfully) grieved him, or just by their sensitive and intuitive natures, they understand us and are sensitive to us on all "Everett matters" sometimes before we know that we need them to be! I am grateful for those people who are there without needing to be asked and who go out of their way to honor and remember Everett!

My heart is filled with love for them, which is doing a beautiful job of diminishing the anger I was feeling when I started this post!


Friday, May 15, 2009

Post traumatic stress syndrome and Grey's Anatomy

I think I am going to have to break up with Grey's Anatomy, as much as I have enjoyed it in the past, and I really, really have, it seems to do nothing for me now but cause me actual physical pain. I think I may have a touch of post traumatic stress syndrome surfacing here, its probably been there all along, but I feel like I've been feeling it a bit more intensely lately, and medical drama shows bring it to the surface.

Last nights season finale was full of drama and emotion, exactly what a finale should be, but all I was able to see was surgeons, hospitals, dying patients, grief stricken families, hope fading.....You get the picture right? I wasn't a viewer just watching a show, it was getting to me way more then it should have been, and my tears weren't just normal "Oh thats so sad" tears, they were "all my worst memories are resurfacing and its killing me" tears, not healthy. So, maybe no more Grey's for me, or Private Practice, or TLC medical shows like Mystery Diagnosis. Maybe I'll just stick to Disney movies and Tree House, thats the new plan, lets see how that works out.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Its the litte things...

Isn't it funny how things can be going well, feeling comfortable, in the sense that at that moment I'm not in any sort of pain, physical or otherwise, when something small can set of a chain of emotions and suddenly, I hurt.

Its so bizarre and happens usually without any warning, one minute I'm fine and the next minute my heart is breaking all over again. Just a minute ago I was reading a post on someone's blog, someone they know is sick, the works "open heart surgery" were tossed around as a possible way to treat them, my eyes were hesitant to read any further. Do I really want to know whats next? I already have flashes of surgeons, nurses, tubes, blood, nervous family in a waiting room, no thanks, thats enough for me, reading time is over! Three words, open-heart-surgery have the power to make my stomach ache and my eyes well up with tears, it hurt just to see them, granted, not as much as it hurts to see the word "twins" but it still brought back some uncomfortable emotions.

I'm still sent reeling at the sight of twins, the sound of the word on someones lips, and the excitement on expecting parents faces when they announce there's not one but two babies. Its agony, and jealousy and bitterness all rolled up in one new and horrible emotion. What used to make me so happy and proud and excited now makes me so angry and desperate and lost, I can't be happy for those who are getting the chance to have what I lost, and I don't like that about myself, I hope to change it sometime in the near future, I'm working on it.

Someone wonderful I know is having twins. I really, really like her, and she deserves to have beautiful, thriving babies, as many as God will give her. When she announced that twins were a possibility, I braced myself, I tried to prepare myself for her inevitable announcement, and you know what, it helped! Her big announcement didn't come out of no where, I saw it coming, I had time to think about it and prepare my heart for the jealousy and the sadness and the memories and I was actually able to feel an emotion close to happy for her. I feel horrible in admitting that some wonderful women I know got surprise twins, and their announcement to the world was a surprise as well, and whether or not I heard it by word of mouth or through the wonderful social network that is the internet, I was surprised, under prepared and completely devastated by their news. It isn't rational, or reasonable to feel this way, I'm aware of that, but then again, grief is filled with irrational and unreasonable emotions and thoughts, this is all just a part of grief for me.

Twin strollers
Heart defects
Baby boys
Infant death
The news
My children

These are all things that can turn a normal day into a sadness filled "Everett" day. It seems that every medical TV drama these days has a baby on ECMO, a mother delivering a baby that won't survive, a child dying from some sort of disease or birth defect. The news is filled with tragedy, malls are filled with parents pushing their babies in their twin strollers, Dr's office lobbies are full with expecting parents, some expecting twins, some telling me their expecting twins. My own children sometimes is all it takes, one talks to her angel brother's pictures, one is his genetic match, a carbon copy, some days my daughter asks Everett's picture on the wall to play, sometimes my son looks in a mirror and for a split second I allow myself to imagine his reflection is his brother, and I get a glimpse of how life would look if I never lost him. Little things cause so much hurt, and the whole rest of the world has no idea that something they've innocently done or said has inflicted any sort of pain on us, they have no way of knowing. The logical part of me knows they mean no harm, the reasonable part of me knows I cannot blame them, and I don't, really.

There's no one to blame for this, loss happens, so do reminders of loss. Just as miracles happen, so do worst case scenarios, and with those two options, you have to be one or the other, you can't be both, we had the misfortune of being a worst case scenario, but no one is at fault. Little things will always pop up, reminders are around each and every corner, and I have to reform the way I think about those reminders. The change has to come from me, because the joy filled expecting mother cannot be asked to tone down her excitement over the news that she's having twins, thats not reasonable, and its not fair. I need to learn to be happy for other people being given the blessing I had, and lost, for my own sanity and for my healing, I need to change my attitude.

Thankfully, with God's help, I am changing. I learn something new every day, some Christian book or piece of scripture frames something up differently for me, and I look at those "little things" in new ways and then react to them differently next time they come up. I am slowly changing my outlook, I'm still so bereft over the loss of my son, I still wish I had known the joys of raising my twin boys together, I'm still a bit sad when someone else announces they're having twins, but I can deal with it better now, time and faith have dulled the edges of my reactions, and I am thankful for that.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

It feels like yesterday.......

It still feels fresh and new, the ache and the pain that came along with the loss of a child. Its been nearly a year and a half since our son Everett died and we brought his identical twin brother Landon home without him, but it feels like just yesterday that we had to learn to cope in this new and unexpected life we were given.

A lot has happened from then to now, far too much to summarize, its been a real roller coaster of events and emotions that brought us from heart break to broken but healing. But, here we are, broken, but healing, coping and adapting and carrying on in a world that is forever lacking and makes no sense.

Losing Everett shook our world up like a snow globe, and nothing is as it was before, everything is changed, some things changed immediately while some changes took time, some changes hurt immensely while some happened without us noticing. None the less, we've been changed. The biggest and most noticeable change that we've underwent since losing Everett is in our faith, where we had superficial, maybe even artificial faith before, real, living, growing faith has now taken its place. It wasn't an easy change, or a painless change, but it has been a vital and exciting change, that has greatly helped me to cope with the daily struggle of losing one of my children.

So, it would seem that in losing Everett and feeling the deepest pain anyone can ever feel, I found God, or maybe, God found me. I am deeply comforted in knowing that God noticed our loss, and grieved our baby along side us, and was saddened at the end of Everett's much too short life. Matthew 10:29 says "But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it". Everett was a sparrow, fallen and noticed, and now we are like fallen sparrows too, fallen but noticed, this single verse can summarize how it was we came to faith. Because after the anger lifted (and there was so much anger at God) I was able to see that God knew, and understood, and noticed all of what happened to us, and that he cared, and was saddened too. Once God was no longer the enemy or someone I laid the blame on, I was able to accept comfort from him, comfort I desperately needed, and comforted I was, and am.

This blog cannot start at the start, too much has happened from then to now, so I'll start where I am right now, growing in faith, coping with loss, raising my children and watching God's plan for our lives unfold. I'm trying to be bolder and braver in my faith, until now I have been private about it, uncertain of how it will be received, but I'm trying to change that, change is what this blog is all about.