Tuesday, November 16, 2010

What is there to do now..............

But quote Joe Purdy, and his sentiment "hard times, they last too long"

In fact it would seem at times, they are never ending, or that at the very least, they never completely dissapear.

Hard times are still marching on.

Sometimes we forget they're there, but they rest beneath the surface of our temporary peace and serenity, always bound to resurface. Always.

I'd like to tell you friends that in time grief itself passes away, but it simply is not true. Grief is invincible, it never dies, it can't be killed. The very best you can hope for is that you can endure your life with grief riding on your back, and that from time to time it will hop off for a spell and grant you a temporary sensation of relief. But grief I have learned, will always hop back on.

It's been three years since grief moved into my heart, well, nearly three years, just a few short weeks to go now before our anniversary, and I can't report to you all, grief and I are still going strong, our relationship has been consistant and dependable. Grief it seems will never leave me, no matter how much I wish it would.

Three years ago tomorrow, my identical twin sons were born. At 5:33 and 5:40am, pink and wailing with heads capped with dark brown hair and precious little features. Three years ago a dream came true. And in just a few weeks we'll solomnly remember that 20 days after our beautiful sons were born, one died. He spent his entire life struggling, he endured too many medical interventions and procedures to list, and he died. The next day we brought just one baby home, one baby, and grief who would fill up every empty space in our home and our hearts.

There's a part of me who is deeply ashamed of the mixed emotions I've been balancing since December 7th 2007. I've been trying to host joy and anguish in my heart simultaneously for just about three years, and it's an incredibly unnatural sensation to try and be loyal to both. I am joyous for Landon who has brought warmth, love and peace beyond measure into our family and into my badly broken heart. He is a miracle, it is by God's grace alone he is alive and perfect and lighting our lives each day. But at the same time, I cannot pretend that life is all sunshine and roses and rainbows just because I have two very lovely and amazing children I would not change for this world. I cannot deny that I grieve. I cannot deny that I long for the one that God took back. I cannot deny that my heart shattered and splintered and has never been restored. I cannot tell you I do not hurt. It would be disloyal to Everett to deny that his birth and his death have impacted my life like a meteor, leaving a giant crater on my soul.

I can't devote myself to joy entirely.

I can't devote myself to grief entirely.

I am a woman divided.

Counting my blessings.

Counting my losses.

Praising the God who gives, struggling with that I am supposed to also praise him when he takes away.

And I am often ashamed, that I can't figure out how to love and honor both boys with the perfection they deserve.

At 5:33am on November 17th 2007, Everett came into his life. He was 17 inches long and weighed 5 pounds and 4 ounces. Landon joined him seven minutes later, at 5:40am, he was also 17 inches long, he weighed 5 pounds and 6 ounces. They were perfection.

On December 7th 2007, sometime after 8pm, Everett left his life. He was 20 days old. He was 17 inches long and I estimate somewhere in the range of 4 pounds when he left us. He was perfection.

On December 8th 2007, Landon came home alone. He was 17 inches long, weighed 5 pounds and 11 ounces. He was lovely. He was like salve to a burn.

What am I to do now?

What reality to I embrace, what reality do I deny? Can I have them both simultaneously?

Will you understand when I am in tears on the day I celebrate Landon's birth? Will you allow me to celebrate the gift they were together and the joy Landon is now, while at the same time allowing my heart to break over the loss of Everett, who was also a gift and as much a source of joy as his death was a source of pain?

Will you remember on this happy day, now that years have passed, that it's not just Landon's birthday, but rather a season of confusion and hope and fear and desperation, of loss and of grief. Will you be mindful that grief lives here still?

Because I cannot forget.

Even in good times, hard times persist.

Even in joy, pain still exists.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

It's that time of year again......

How bittersweet it is.

In just a few days, the birthday celebrations will begin. First comes Avery, we'll celebrate her turning five years old. Then comes Landon, who will be three, and Everett, who will never be more then 20 days old. It just hit me that past few days, why I had been experiencing an increase in tears, aside from being pregnant, my subconsious has been aware this time was approaching, even if I didn't let myself become aware until just now. Now it's time.

Time to balance sweet celebration with bittersweet memories of birth and death intertwined. Time to remember the joy of the delivery of my beautiful twin babies and to relive the sorrow of saying goodbye to one forever, just 20 short days later. Time to celebrate the lives of two of my children, while mourning the loss of the third. Time to put on a happy face for the party and the public, and cry until my tears dry up in private.

From November 17th to December 11th I walk an emotional tight rope. Reliving the most surreal and unbelievable weeks of my life. Birthing babies, sweet tiny babies with pink skin and dark brown hair and beautiful and unending potential. Then sick baby, small, weak, frail baby. Great big surgery on tiny little sick baby. Blood and tubes and bandanges and nurses and doctors, and terror. Fear unending. Driving. Crying. Pumping. Snuggling healthy babies ,barely touching sick baby, can't pick him up, can't hold him, can't change his diaper, can't help him. Tears. More surgery. More tubes, more blood, more fear. Prayers. Mad, frantic prayers. Denial. Brain bleed. Despair. Meeting death face to face. Goodbye baby.

Time to fake my way through this time of year again. Somehow I always manage to do it. I'm not exactly sure how. My sweet beautiful brown eyed children, boistrous, lively, spirited and smart, they most surely help me through. Just as certain as I have something to mourn, I have something to celebrate. They are the life savers that keep me afloat when my grief threatens to drag me beneath the surface.

Happy Birthday to all my babies.


Friday, August 20, 2010

I am a rambling fool.....

Of all the wounds left unhealed, on my heart and on my soul, many can and will be healed by time.

But there can be no healing for the gaping wound that has been left by the passing of Everett from this life into the next. The most unnatural of wounds, with no known cure, it will forever remain open and exposed, and succeptible to flare ups of pain and tears. And this is perfectly fine with me.

The presence of pain, of sadness and of distress has become familiar, and in a peculiar way, it has become a comfort. Though Everett has no physical presence in our lives, he still has a very real and tangible presence. We feel him daily, by way of our sadness and longing, by way of memories, and by way of pain. It's not entirely melancholy, though I can see how some may see it that way. It is exactly as it was. Beautiful, but painful. Good but bad. Beautiful and ugly. And this is how it still is.

If there can be no Everett in our arms and in our lives, then his memory, and our sadness, and our grief is all there can ever be of him aside from the 20 days he was here to touch and hold and take in.

If this is all there is, then this is good.

And if this is all there is, and this is often sad and pained, then said and pained are good, and I will welcome them as manifestations of Everett come to visit, come to sit by me a while, come to make me feel. And I will welcome the presence of heart ache and the company of tears and cradle them like my baby son long gone to the arms of the Lord. I will treat them like a blessing, like a gift from above, like a small window in time, where the separation between me and Everett is as thin as cellophane, and I can practically feel how it felt to be near him, where I can feel the same emotions I felt on the last day that I held him, and that intense pang of grief will connect us once more.

There can be no healing for this eternal wound. And this is good.

The miracle lies in how time, and how God, and how life have banded together to make grief a beautiful thing, and a positive thing in my world. It could so easily have been a force of destruction. Even more miraculous, grief has born hope. Where my world burned like the surface of the sun and when it was done nothing but ash remained, God worked. God worked and from that ash grew faith and hope so strong that they could not only tolerate, but thrive alongside grief and longing and an inconsolable sadness. Miraculous.

We're always surprised when a storm hits close to home, when it devastates our lives, like these things only happen to other people. We are genuinely shocked then the sky above our own heads blacken and violent winds shake us to our cores. And we cower away and pray that God would have this storm pass us by, and when he doesn't, we shake our fists at the sky and curse him, or renounce Him, declare Him powerless or imaginary, because we had to feel a storm.

Where did that notion arise?

In truth, we all face storms. We're all shaken and rattled by raging winds. And in the end, the sky clears, and the clouds part and across the recently blackened heavens, delicate shades of red and orange, and yellow, and blue, and violet arrange themselves just so among the clouds. And we are appeased. We praise God for the rainbow, but what of the storm? Was he not equally in power then?

When hardships happen, we want to believe they are random. When rainbows dance across the sky we want to believe that God placed them there just for us. In truth, He placed the rainbow, but He also placed the storm.

The trick? To be thankful for both.


Saturday, July 31, 2010


Today we held a fund raiser, in Everett's memory, benefiting the NICU at our local hospital. It was a jewelry party, all proceeds being donated, and it was really successful.

We celebrated with cake.

And it was unexpectedly emotional.

As I stood there divvying up the cake, I felt my eyes readying for tears. I could feel them heat and water and my chin quivered just a bit. At first I didn't understand this tidal wave of emotion, but then it hit me. This is the very first cake I've served with Everett's name on it. He's never had a birthday cake.

He'll never have a birthday cake.

The need to cry stuck with me through the afternoon. And when no one was looking I stole away to the bathroom to cry for all the birthday cakes Everett will never have.

Then I came out and celebrated the money we raised in his memory, and started planning all the good we'll do with it.

I miss my baby so deeply today.


Sunday, July 4, 2010

It's a heartache......

I'm channeling some Bonnie Tyler this afternoon with these song lyrics:

It's a heart ache, nothing but a heart ache,
Hits you when it's too late,
Hits you when you're down.
It's a heart ache, nothing but a heart ache,
Love him 'til your arms break...........

I've been missing Everett a lot lately. Not to say that I've been missing him more then usual, but perhaps more intensely then usual. This happens, the grief ebbs and flows, intensifies then pacifies.

It hurts in a peculiar way some days, when his name sounds foreign to me, because it hasn't been used the way the other kids names have been used, it's been years since we spoke it to him, it's been years since we spoke it and spoke about him in the present tense. That is, it's been years since the name accompanies a presence. The name alone, some days, feel hollow, like an empty promise.

It hurts to see his picture on the wall and to know that he's an important member of our family, he's on of our children, yet we don''t have him to hold, to touch, to raise, to love, and to raise. Again, it feels hollow, it feels empty, and it feels strangely disconnected. The absence of the connection is what hurts. It hurts to feel distant from him, the weight of his body in our arms, the sound of his cry, the feel of his skin under our kiss, the softness of him. That these are just memories is what hurts so much when the grief rises up.

Where have those feelings gone? The ones we hoped would never fade.
We swore we'd always remember how he felt in our arms, how he sounded, how he smelled, how he looked, what it felt like to love him and parent him. But those feelings have faded without our consent. The memories too. The biggest agony I've felt since losing Everett is feeling as though he is becoming a stranger to me. That he is becoming just a memory, he's not the intense presence I always hoped he'd be. That is a pain I did not anticipate.

I'm trying so hard to cling to the feelings that connect us to the time where we had Everett, when he was real and tangible and touchable, and that often means pouring myself into the deepest of grief and resurfacing the most painful memories to bring up real, painful and still deeply connected emotions, clinging to his memory, wanting to be holding him, holding him so hard my arms would feel as though they could break.

Is it possible, that more frightening then a broken heart is a healing one?


Thursday, May 20, 2010

It was what it was....

Today, and probably more often then I realize, someone somewhere in the world looked at a picture of Everett.

They came across it on Facebook, or on my blog, or found our newspaper article online, and their eyes looked upon my son.

Maybe he was sleeping soundly in a sleeper and knit blue cap, all tucked in with blankets at Sick Kids, before surgery.

Maybe he was wide eyed and curious sporting nothing but a diaper and some monitoring wires.

Maybe he was intubated, hooked up to ECMO, sedated and bleeding.

Maybe the saw the picture of he and I holding hands on his very last day here on earth.

Doesn't matter either way.

They saw him.

They saw him in all his tiny delicateness, they saw his fragility and the precarious nature of his battle.

They saw his beauty, the fineness of his features, his future handsomeness already apparent.

They saw his affliction, they saw what he was up against, and they saw his bravery, and what he was fighting.

They saw him lose.

They saw us break.

They saw him, and us.

Somewhere out there, someone saw my son, and they got it. They felt something for him and for us, and it's a strange but good feeling.

They saw the reality.

They saw the untouched photos, and they aren't pretty. It wasn't pretty.

But, it was what it was.

It was sad, and scary, and filled with panic and desperation.

It was painful, for us and for him.

It was bloody, and messy and complicated and uncharted territory.

It was heart breaking.

It was life ending and life changing.

It was tragic.

It was horrible.

And today, and on many other days I am sure, someone saw that.

And I feel somewhat validated, because I spend a great deal of time feeling like the vast majority of people we know, aside from those who saw it first hand, just don't get it. They don't know what it was. Their minds have cleaned it up, prettied it up, made it nice and neat and easy, but it wasn't. It was exactly what it was.

But here's what else it was.

It was life changing, it was love filled, it was hope filled, it was heart breaking but soul saving, it brought us to our knees in pain but led us to prayer, it was perspective changing, it deepened our capacity to love and to care and to feel. It was crawling over hot coals and coming out on the other side scorched, burned, blistered and bleeding but knowing that we did it, and we could do it again if we had to, and we'd do it again in an instant if we had to. It was bad, but it was good.

It's inexplicable.

But, someone today saw a picture of Everett.

And they pondered him.

They thought about him, and his fight, and our loss, and our broken hearts.

They said his name, either out loud or in their heads.

And that is also inexplicable.

It's inexplicably touching.

(I've got nothing on you baby.....)


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I hate hindsight!

It just further drives home the point, that what's done is done.

We have comfort in faith, but no power, no magic.

We have no ability to travel back in time and correct the mistakes we made that are so GLARINGLY obvious today.

Yes, hindsight, I hate you!

It makes my stomach ache, my heart crumble into pieces so fine it's nearly dust. It fills me with anger and resentment and guilt, and sadness.

Hindsight seems to exist only to rub our stupidity and our rash decisions in our faces.

It thumbs its nose at me, taunting "You messed up and there's nothing you can do about it now!". It practically laughs in my face.

Hindsight is a total jerk.

Not sure why I chose tonight to swan dive into grief. Since I already have a pretty distressing and never ending headache, choosing to upset myself and opting to deal with the resulting tears seems pretty foolish, but nothing about grief is rational.

So tonight, though a tiny voice inside of me was pleading "Don't do it! Don't go there!", I went to the place in my computer where my Everett files are stored, and I started reading. I read every post I made on my mommy message board while Everett was fighting for life. And I cried.

Then I read every private message my friends sent me after he passed, and I sobbed.

Then I watched the only video I have of him on my computer. I saw his tiny body, I could practically feel how soft he was. I watched him breath, and squint, and cry and complain, and I marveled at his tiny little intact chest, pre-surgery, and noted how sick it was at all that I was marveling at the sight of an intact chest, but with Everett, we became quite used to a piece of gauze being all there was between our eyes and his heart. I watched him on the screen, alive, pink, precious, doing things babies do, maybe crying to be held, or fed, or complaining in the only way he could that he just didn't feel right, and then I went totally numb inside. The body, and the mind, they protect themselves from pain like this, otherwise I think I might actually have died from my grief years ago.

Next, I moved onto pictures of him. Pictures where he's sick, but not that sick. Sure he's in Toronto, awaiting open heart surgery, but he's breathing on his own with lungs that are healthy and functioning. Sure his heart is badly deformed, but for now, it's pumping, his skin is pink, he's sleeping, bundled on his side, hands bunched by his face, and he's adorable. He looks just like Landon, which both delights me and kills me all at once, because it drives home the fact that whether I feel like it or not, I actually had identical twins, for a while.

The sight of his hands, tucked by his chin, is more painful then I think it should be. It puzzles me, why that hurts so bad to see, but then it strikes me that it hurts because some moments in his brief little baby life, were normal. And that brings us to hindsight.

If hindsight were actually functional in some way, I could appreciate it. If it pointed out our mistakes and then allowed us to fix them, how amazing would that be!?

He had normal. He had a quasi healthy existence during that first week. And we charged in like heroes set on remodeling his heart and saving his life, but instead I think we trampled on his hope and his health, crushing them like flowers into the ground. WHY OH WHY did we steal his chance to be healthy with our impatience and our panic!?! We panicked and plowed ahead full force with a plan of action too radical and too forceful for him, for tiny little brand new him.

His surgery was practically a beating, we only made him sicker, weaker, and more unable to cope with the cross he had to bear.

This is why I hate hindsight.

If it served any purpose at all, I'd go back right now and tell myself what I know now.

Slow down.


Calm down.

Give him time.

Take baby steps.


Wait until he's bigger.

Wait until he's stronger.

Be patient, don't rush to fix him all at once.

Rebuild his heart, step by step.

Start small, and work up.

Give him TIME!

Maybe a smaller surgery at first would have bought him time.

Maybe we could have let him heal and grow before doing a total fix.

Maybe his lungs would not have given out.

Maybe he would have never needed ECMO.

Maybe he would have recovered, and been a poster child for CHD repair.

Maybe he'd be a success story rather then a statistic.

Maybe I'd have three kids in my home right now.

Damn hindsight.

But I don't need hindsight to tell me that things could have been different, if only. I only need a video like this, to show me my baby, how he was, normal precious baby, to let me know how grievously wrong our actions were, and how much our mistakes cost us.

Baby Everett Video

I know, I know, many will tell me that we had no way of knowing what the outcome would be, we didn't cause his death, we didn't make mistakes, I know, I know. But it doesn't change the violation my heart feels I committed. Knowing that logically I did everything I could doesn't negate the guilt and the shame and the pain, it only intensifies the regret.


Friday, April 16, 2010

Feeling compelled.....

...Day in and day out, to have another baby.

It's a constant nagging desire.

A whisper in my ear.

A pull in my heart.

An ache in my stomach.

Day in and day out.

What do I do with that? How do I make that desire come through loud and clear to my husband who's not really on board? How do I convey the gravity of the issue, the out of this world pull it has on me?

How to I explain that it doesn't feel optional to me at all, that it's not something I can "wait and see" about, it's an issue, a NEED that I have to address, and ideally, I'd get to address it soon.

Does it make any sense at all that I feel like I NEED to have another baby? Like it's a desire God placed on my heart, that it's something we're supposed to do, or a gift we're supposed to accept? Does it make me sound terrible if I admit that I think it will further help me heal from my losing Everett and from my miscarriage? Do I sound totally selfish and awful if I say that I think having another pregnancy and baby, and getting to me a mommy once more will feel good, in so many ways, and help smooth over all the things that have felt so bad in my life? Am I horrible?

I don't know how to answer when people say, usually in discouraging tones, "why do you want another", I don't know what an "acceptable" answer would be.

I just do.

I want to be a mommy of a baby again.

I want another child in my home.

I want Avery to share in my excitement, now that she's old enough to get in on the fun, and she wants another baby.

I want Landon to be a big brother.

I want to be pregnant again, and feel a new life grow inside me.

I want to hold a new born in my arms, and nurse them and sleep with them on my chest.

I want a baby in our lives again.

My family is not complete, and never will be, but I feel it calls for another baby, day in and day out.

Why does anyone ever want a baby? Because we want to love them. Because our hearts compel us so. Because we think they're cute. Because we can express our love and hopes for the future in our love for them. Because family is amazing. Because children are amazing.

Because I need to.

I would know if I was done. I would feel it.

And I know that I am not done.

So what now? What does this aching mama do with her growing desire to mama one more? Where do I put it? How do I handle it? I am on fire with want for another pregnancy and baby, what now?

All that can be done is prayer. Prayer for God's will do be done.

Prayer for God t hear my heart call, prayer for his guidance and intervention.

Prayer, that fear would subside and hope override, and that God's will is that our family receives a new addition, and soon!



Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I want something........

I want to fill the hole in my heart

I want to patch the cracks in my sanity

I want to ease the throbbing ache of grief

I want to suppress the sorrow

I want to hold back the tears

I want to build up walls of protection from the world

I want to rip the blinders off those who can't see my grief

I want to climb a mountain and shout Everett's name from it's peak

I want to make a difference and do it in the name of my son, who has already changed so many lives

I want to announce his existence to everyone who asks how many kids I have

I want to build a time machine

I want to fix his broken heart, then bring him home and love him

I want to comfort those who mourn

I want to be comforted

I want to do something with the grief and turmoil inside of me

I want to change my life

I want Everett

I want to see my twin boys side by side again

I want to throw away all my mementos and have the real thing instead

I want for him to never have died

I want to know God's rational some day

I want to understand his plan

I want to feel whole, and know I never will

I want Everett, always


Thursday, April 8, 2010

Once bereft, always bereft....

It's my experience, in the two years, four months and one day that I've been grieving, that you don't graduate from grief. You don't get discharged from it. You don't get promoted out of it. It's a life sentence, or if you will, a brand, seared into you for the remainder of your days. And like a brand, it may start out raging, raw and painful, and with time heal over, settle down, hurt less, but even scar tissue is painful when handled wrong.

Yes, once grieved, always grieved.

This is reasonable since I can't "un-lose" my baby, therefor I should not expect to "un-hurt", or "un-long", or "un-mourn" him.

Even on my very best days, when my life is filled with gratitude and hope and beauty and joy, the scar is there, red and raised and reminding me that nothing is quite right, because he is not here. Not to say that Everett is a scar, or that he is painful to me, because that is not the case. The scar is the grief, the scar is the sadness, the scar is the shattered expectations, the damaged trust, the disbelief.

Two years, four months and one day after the fact, and I am still standing mouth agape, in disbelief in that hospital room in Toronto in my mind. I'm still dumbfounded. The shock is still resonating through me, like the aftershocks following an earthquake, I'm not done experiencing his loss yet, and I fear I have not yet begun to "heal" over yet. My scar is still new. It still hurts. And every time I hear the word "twins", or "NICU", or "heart defect", or "ECMO", it's like someone poking a finger into the wound. It's agony.

I must look healed to those standing on the outside looking in. Because people certainly feel free to talk about their friend who's having twins, or their neighbors baby who just had open heart surgery, or the baby they saw on TV who had to be on life support because of a heart defect. And as bad as it sounds, I want to shove my fingers in my ears and yell "LALALALALALA" as loud as I can. Or even worse I want to tell them to shut up, give a dirty look and storm out of the room. Grief's irrational like that. But please! I am not okay with talking about these things, it's painful, VERY, painful. And the hardest part is that those who don't know, don't know, and it's not their fault. I can't expect them to understand it. I can't expect someone who's never grieved their baby to know what the triggers of grief are. And honestly, they're different from griever to griever.

Yes, once bereft always bereft.

And you know what else this bereft Mama always feels called to do? Fund raise in Everett's name. I feel an overwhelming drive to do big and beautiful things in his name, to give purpose and meaning to his brief life, tangible, comprehendable meaning that is, to make sense of the mere 20 days I had to know him outside the womb. God had a purpose, this I know to the core of me, God had a plan and he executed it flawlessly. God and Everett are right and squared, they understand each other and what went down perfectly. But I got left out. I don't get it. I'm not informed and I don't understand it. So, I'm driven to make sense of it in my own way.

I lost Everett, that caused me grief, my grief made me sensitive, so I sympathize with other bereft parents and want to make them hurt less, so I want to fund raise for them, to make the process easier, in some little way for them. Everett made it possible for other families to hurt less. That=Good. And good, we can all agree, is good.

Grief makes you crazy you know, you can never be quite certain if your new quirky take on life will be interpreted as an insightful and genuine take on life after loss, or just plan strangeness, I'm not even certain myself. Grief also makes you care less, so I won't lose any sleep over whether or not I'm strange or not.

See this boy?

He holds up a mirror for me, and shows me each day what Everett would look like, and it stings like rubbing alchol on a too fresh wound, but it hurts good, like the pain that diminishes an itch, the itch was far worse then the pain itself.

He reminds me of so many truths I needed to know....

Life goes on

God is good

Somethings are not to be understood here on earth

Flowers grow from dirt, and good grows from bad

Everett was, he existed, he's still here in a sense, in our hearts, in our memories, in our dreams, and in Landon's precious face.

And Landon speaks now. He talks up a storm.

He speaks, and he says his brothers name. Almost perfectly. And again, it hurts in the most welcoming way.

Once bereft always bereft.

But thank the Lord that He teaches us to live with it, love through it, and grow by it.


Saturday, March 20, 2010


It happens at the strangest times.

It tip toes up behind me when I least expect it.

Sometimes I just don't see it coming.

And I miss him.


Being at work used to be a big trigger, but not so much lately. And I guess because it hasn't been a problem for so long now, I let my guard down.

Mistake for sure.

It started as soon as I walked through the door. Those doors.

I'm used to entering through them now, the doors outside of the Pediatric wing, but there was a time when stepping foot inside them sent waves of panic rolling through me. And that happened again tonight, for the first time in a long time.

The smell.

The sounds.

The vision of it.

Exactly as it was. And I was transported, for an instant, back to my time there with Everett and Landon. My heart was heavy before my shift even began.

And then infamous "how many kids do you have?" was asked. I have the quick and simple answer, and felt ashamed for it, and my heart grew even heavier.

I took a little walk to get a chocolate bar, and was browsing the bulletin boards, when a picture of a baby with a surgical incision up his sternum caught my eye. "Help save ******'s heart" the sign read, it was a fundraiser for a baby born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome. My heart sank a little deeper.

On my way back to the elevators I passed a sign I pass all the time, a picture of one of our pediatricians leaning into an isolette to examine a tiny baby. Memories came speeding back at me, my heart raced, and sank, and broke.

And now here I am, trapped in a place that holds so many good, and bad memories, feeling more then I want to be feeling, remembering more then I want to remember, and feeling pained and heavy hearted.

It happens, when I least expect it, and at the most inconvenient times.

I miss him.

I miss being full of excitement and anticipation and hope.

I've fully come to grips with the reality of losing Everett. I've made my peace with God and let him comfort me. My faith has grown and deepened, further assuring me of a reunion one day with my lost baby boy.

But something in me craves a special kind of healing.

The desire comes deep from within, or perhaps from beyond me. It's strong and unexplainable. And calls for another chance. Not to "do over", because Everett cannot be "done over", there can be no alternate ending, and there can be no undoing of our experiences. They are ours, they are precious and painful and real and a part of who we are today. But something very deep within me calls for another baby. For another chance to conceive, carry, deliver, and care for another baby created by Elvis and I from great love and faith. It's a scary thought, but my faith in God, and my past experiences with loss have taught me that risk, and trust, are worth it, and that the pay out can be so incredible.

I have a beautiful daughter, two beautiful sons, and a mystery baby in Heaven, and something deep within me feels the call to have another baby.

I feel it even more when I walk through those doors outside the Pediatric wing. And I crave to be there on happier circumstances.

I feel it even more when I see that sign with the Dr. checking in on the new born baby, and I think about having another new born of my own.

I feel it when I see a TV show with a pregnant character, when I see a pregnant woman on the street or in the mall, when I drive by Babies R' Us, when I look at baby pictures of my kids, when I take pictures of someone elses babies, and when I care for old ladies long past their childbearing years and I wonder if they wished they could have had one more.

Grief comes with longing.

Longing for the past, and for the unknown present.

Grief creates desire.

Desire to remember and hold on to memories, desire to heal and be pain free, and desire to be in control of what happens in the future.

Grief brings fear.

Fear of never healing, fear of feeling the scary depths of your own personal pain, and fear of not being able to decide what happens next.

Grief brings love.

Deep, deep love for Everett, and for Avery and for Landon, and for what the future might hold for us all.

Grief is a domino effect.

It starts with just one thought, just one memory, and leads to another and another and another, until where I end up is no where near where I started.

I started off coming to work.

Which kicked off missing Everett.

Which kicked off missing babies.

Which kicked off a maternal longing.

Which kicked off fear of never having any more babies.

Which kicked off fear.

I wish I could kick off grief!

Five more hours of work tonight, and I'm trying to but grief and longing and sadness and fear to bed, for now.

For now I want to surrender it all to God, who knows my heart and knows his plans for me. All my worrying and fear will do no good. He knows what's in store for us. He has has influence on our hearts, and he works all things for our good. So I'll trust him with this. My grief and my longing. And put this post to bed.


Saturday, March 13, 2010

Cross Post....

Once more, my life blog overlaps my grief blog, this post would have been perfectly at home right here, since it is all about grief and Everett, it's hard sometimes to decide what goes where. Here's the link...

This post may break your heart


Friday, March 12, 2010

Last night I had a dream....

I had one of those dreams.

One of those dreams that feels so real, it violates all the defenses you set up to protect yourself from the hurt, and you feel, truly feel, the depths of your grief.

Those of you who have lost a child will know exactly what I mean, but those who haven't can imagine.

I dreamed that Everett and Landon had just been born, but in this scenario, we knew Everett was going to be sick, and that he would die. We were staying in some little apartment within the hospital, and we kept going to the nursery to see the boys, and we kept waiting for Everett to get sick, but he never did. The anticipation was painful, we knew it was coming (somehow), but he kept on doing well, in some cases better then Landon who was perfectly healthy. The longer Everett continued to do well, the more we allowed ourselves to hope that we were wrong, and that he would live. It even occurred to us that we had prematurely changed the boys nursery from a twin nursery to just a room for Landon, and that we may have to change it back because it looked like Everett would be coming home. We imagined him in our lives for years to come, we imagined him at 4 or 5 years of age. The dream was wonderful and horrible all at once. Maybe because no part of me, at the time, realized like we sometimes do, that it was a dream.

Our hearts filled with hope.

And though it was just my subconscious, it felt so intensely real, that I felt real hope, hope which transcended my dream and came into my day with me. Then died. Reality hit me like a tonne of bricks.

Just a dream.

No miracle healing.

The only encounters I will ever have with Everett now in this life, are in dreams like these.

And even though they hurt when I wake, I wish I could have them more often. What a blessing it would be to feel him close to me, to really feel it and not doubt its reality.

It never crossed my mind to do so, but maybe now I'll pray that God will bless me with dreams of Everett, the closest thing I may get to my miracle.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010


...It just occurred to me that I'm going to have to make them one day.

Some day I'll have to tell Landon about Everett.

I'm not sure why that never crossed my mind before.

Maybe it's because Landon's learning how to talk, so we're asking him to try his skills out with our family members names. It felt so strange to ask him to say Everett.

Actually, saying the name Everett out loud, a few times in a row to prompt Landon, felt very strange to me, to say it and to hear it said. We don't speak his name out loud often enough to make it feel common place. Sure we think it, we type it, we write it, but we don't often hear it.

It's a strange sort of painful.

To hear what it would have sounded like to call out his name, it kills me.

I'll never call down the hall "Everett come get your boots on," like I do the other two kids. His name will never be commonly used in the day to day, it will never feel worn in or familiar.

His name, whenever said out loud, will always hurt, it will always feel like a blow to the stomach, it will always make me say "Oh!" when I hear it, "Oh, my other baby", "Oh, my lost baby", "Oh, that's right, he's not here, and never will be."

This grieving business, it's tricky. Hard to master for sure.

Try as I might, I still don't have the swing of it. And something as benign as saying his name out loud can send me reeling.

How on earth will I ever sit Landon down and tell him all about his brother, when he's old enough to understand. How will he feel when he knows his history, his deep connection to his lost brother? Will he feel strange? Sad? Confused? Grieved? Or like a piece of a puzzle fell into place?

I'm dreading it.

Good thing is, pictures are up all over the house, and we talk about him out loud from time to time. Plus our tattoos are great conversation starters, so his existence won't be a big surprise, I hope.

I'm ashamed of myself, for feeling so strange and disconnected with Everett's name, and how it sounds coming from my mouth. I'm his mother, and his name shouldn't sound foreign or alien coming from my lips, but it does.

I picked his name.

I loved his name.

I rubbed and prodded his side of my belly calling out his name trying to get him to react.

I sat over his bedside in the hospital and softly whispered his name.

I tattooed his name on my ankle.

It's branded on my heart.

So how can it sound so strange when spoken.

One of the mysteries of grief I suppose.

His name......

It used to be on the wall, and now its not.

He was supposed to be a part of our lives, in the flesh, to have and hold....

And now he's not.

And now his name, in tattoos and memorial plaques, are the only time we see it written out....

But its in our hearts always.

On our minds constantly.

In our prayers nightly.

And always on the tip of our tongues, but sometimes we just can't bring ourselves to say it out loud, and feel the depth of his goneness, because it hurts more then we have words to describe.

Everett, I miss you.

Everett, I love you.

Everett, you're on my mind 24 hours a day.

Everett, you're beautiful, and every minute of our time together was worth it.

Everett, I cherish every single memory, and every single memento I have of you.

Everett, you're the reason I believe in God, you're the reason I'll go to Heaven, because nothing on earth could keep me from a reunion with you one day.

Love Mama


Monday, February 15, 2010

Cross Post.....

I just blogged in my other blog about grief and about Everett, which I realize would have been very fitting over here as well. Should you not happen to know about my other blog and want to check it out, here's the link to today's post:

Maturing Grief


Sunday, January 24, 2010

It's almost too much to bear.....

Laying on my desk right now, is a composite of nine pictures I printed off last night. Nine little black and white pictures, three of each of my kids. And in the bottom left corner there's a picture of Everett, with his eyes open, watching the camera.

And its almost too much to bear.

The closest thing we'll ever have to looking into his eyes.

And he's perfect and precious and looks just like Landon, but the reality of him has become so faded.

I can barely remember what it was like to be physically near him, to have that proximity, and to look into his actual eyes and not just a photograph.

Its almost more then I can bear.

I witnessed last night how the sight of these very same pictures shut Elvis down from he inside out. He asked for them, new pictures of the kids for his new work binder. All three kids, because Elvis would never leave Everett out, and as they emerged from the printer, I could see his heart break. Maybe it was those eyes, looking right into his. Maybe he felt that pain of remembering what it was like to do that for real, and then he felt the pain of reality, that all we have are pictures and memories that cloud by the day.

And it was almost more then he could bear. He imploded, silently, and put himself to bed quicker and earlier then he normally would. His heart hurt, I could see his sadness in the slump of his shoulders and the glaze over his eyes.

It's mind blowing sometimes, how you can be perfectly functional for days or even weeks at a time, and then suddenly you stumble and get all tangled in your grief all over again. And I just can't believe he's dead. I can't believe one of my babies died. My beautiful identical twin babies, separated by death just 20 days after their birth and three weeks before they were even due to enter this world. Beautiful, loved, wanted, miraculous baby, gone. We didn't have time to enjoy him properly. He never came home. We barely got to hold him. I never got to try and nurse him. Or dress him. I can't even recall if I changed his diaper. And now he's gone.

And its almost too much to bear.


Friday, January 15, 2010

He's not there.............

Since the day we buried Everett, his grave site has been a place of great conflict for me. The moment he was settled in his body's final resting place, and it was certain to all of us that we had truly said goodbye, and that it wasn't some horrible nightmare we could wake from, I wanted to leave it. Its like magnetic attraction in reverse, that grave site repels me. It's the last place on earth I want to be.

Some days, like today, when I'm in my car with time to spare, I think to myself "maybe I'll stop in", but then I catch myself and ask why? Why stop in? What good would it do? Would it make me feel any better? No. Its just what people do when they lose loved ones, and they feel a need to visit them someplace, any place, to make that loss feel a little less concrete. But I guess my heart doesn't work that way. I feel no comfort at all standing at the place we buried my 20 day old son. It feels horrible to stand at his head stone and know that his body rests just six feet below my feet, but I can't see him or hold him ever again.

His grave site isn't him.

Today it is granite and snow and trinkets poking through, its cold and its lonely and its not him.

He's not there. He's not waiting there for me to come to him.

He's not there.

He's in Heaven, of that we can be assured, and he's not worried about us at all.

He doesn't feel more loved by me, or us, depending on how many times we visit his body. He's not keeping score at all. I can send my love up to him a million times a day and yet I suspect he's totally unconcerned by it at all, because he's in Heaven, and he's got the most amazing love around him at all times. I'm willing to bet that his focus is Jesus and not me anyway, until I can join him there, and that I have his permission to love him and grieve him in any way I like, whatever keeps me going until I can see him again.

So I drive by his grave and cast a sideways glance out the window as I pass him, I scan quickly for any changes, any new trinkets I can see from the road, and I keep going. I don't pull in the gate, I don't park by his row, I don't get out and trudge through two feet of snow to his beautiful granite head stone, and I DO NOT fall to my knees and fall to pieces. I don't shed tears to a stone and have conversation with a body that stopped hearing me over two years ago. I don't do it because its not natural for me, and I don't do it because he's not there and he doesn't need me to.

But here's what I do. I pray to God to pass my love onto him, though I don't think Everett needs me to, I need to. And I think about him every time I pass his picture in the hallway, or look at his brother, or see a new baby. I miss him every morning and every night and every minute in between. I blog about him, talk about him, and pray about him whenever the need strikes me. And I think about what it will take to see him again, and I think about how I'm going to make it happen. I puzzle over what our Heavenly reunion will be like and I sometimes cry from frustration because I'm confused about what to expect. But at the end of the day I sleep peaceably because though I don't know what out reunion will be like, I know it will be and that's good enough for me.