Today one of my students asked me if my daughters were Anna and Abigail, “you know the girls that died in the leaves.”

My heart instantly hurt. I never say that my daughters died, never. I only say that Anna and Abigail went to Heaven, because that is what happened.

“Yes, Anna and Abigail are my daughters and yes, they went to Heaven.”

A couple of other students started talking about the worst night of my life with details they heard on the news or maybe overheard from their parents. I stopped them and let them know that if they wanted to know about Anna and Abigail and all of their wonderful qualities and gifts I would love to talk to them for hours about it all, but hearing the details from “the tragedy” of my life hurts my heart and I would appreciate it if they wouldn’t talk about it right now. One student decided that he wanted to continue to show the rest how much he knew of the story, my story. I stopped him and asked again politely with tears in my eyes.

He got it.

One girl asked if I was sad.

One student, a girl about Anna’s size, stood up and wrapped her arms around me. I held her tight and said thank you.

These young hearts have so many questions. I can’t make sense of my loss how could we ever expect these little minds to make sense of it all.

All I can do is be honest with them, answer their question and let them know when my pain is too great and I can’t talk about it. I will continue to share stories about my family, my life and our love story in hopes that they see that even in the depths of sorrow there is joy to be found. I will also let them see my raw emotion, because all of us are entitled to feel sad and to show that sadness to the world ~ even their PE teacher.

I shared with the class, “there isn’t a second that goes by that my heart isn’t sad and aching the loss of my daughters, I miss them so much.  Daily I get a choose on what I am going to do with that sadness, today I woke up and decided to choose to come to work and teach you all how to play a really fun game, do you want play?”

They all yelled, “yes!”


Can’t Handle It Alone

Fall 2014

Fall 2014

I woke up this morning and turned on the news…the first thing I heard from the newscasters was that today is the first day of Fall. I yelled to Tom and told him, his response was, “that sucks.”

“I know.”


I see them at the playground, Anna running around the play structure with her best friend and Abigail sitting on the picnic table with her friends. The air is starting to change, the leaves are starting to turn yellow and both girls are wearing things that keep them warm instead of tank tops and shorts.

The smell in the air is that of Fall, our favorite season. Abigail asks about Halloween decorations and whether or not we can really do it up this year and making it super scary. Anna sits at the table drawing pumpkins, hearts and houses ~one picture she entitled “Dream House.”

I find caramel sauce at the grocery store and buy it without hesitation. Apples and caramel are a favorite snack during this time of year. I look at the calendar and mark the weekends we can go to the pumpkin patch, weekends when our family is whole and all sleeping under the same roof. We pray that on those weekends there is good weather.

With the leaves changing colors our street changes shape. There is a rainbow made from the different colors hanging off the limbs that creates a canopy as your drive to our house, we can drive either direction.  Abigail is on the front porch trying to hang the giant spider, one of her favorite decorations. Anna begs to go see the even bigger spider on her teachers house, “you know the one that is eating the person and is on the way to Tami’s house.”

A crock pot meal is cooking and as we enter the house all of our mouths start to water. The house is cozy and we are blessed.

Fall is here and my heart hurts. These memories along with so many others from the Fall of 2013 are my most vivid and are sometimes the memories that hurt the most. I feel like it was just yesterday that Anna ran into the room to show us she could read a page all by herself in her favorite book. She was so excited, we were so excited for her. I long to hear her read the entire book, which I know she would be able to do by now.

Yesterday I sat in the landing, the room between Anna and Abigail’s bedrooms, with my eyes closed just remembering and re-living these moments over and over again. Tears, lots of tears came because when I open my eyes the reality of my life is always the same ~ they’re gone and what I have is only memories of a beautiful Fall day, crisp air, apples with caramel and girls excited about what they will be that year at Halloween, Anna a witch in a purple and black striped stockings and Abigail a zombie bunny.

We are preparing our hearts the best we know how but our favorite season is also our most difficult season and, like everything else, it will come and bring with it so many memories, both beautiful and hard.

I’ve been told often, and I have told others many times in the past, that God only gives us what we can handle. I always thought that was a comforting statement thinking that only the strong can endure great pain or loss.

I know now that this is not a true statement because I can’t handle this ~ no one can handle this or be expected to. I am not strong at all and for that reason I have to rely completely on God to lift me from my chair as I sit and cry, because I don’t see how this gets better. He wants me to rely on my faith in Him and my unconditional love for my girls to help me live this life. He wants me to lean on Him and when I do He holds me ~ He always holds me and reassures me of His love for me and for my family.

When I can’t bear the season that is upon us He reminds me that I have survived 702 days because I have relied on His love, His joy and His grace. I need Him because I can’t handle it alone, no one can.

I close my eyes and He brings me to a moment where my memories are the most vivid and He reassures me that even in the midst of my deep suffering there is joy. He shows me joy in these smiles that I will never forget and will always have!

Fall 2013


Happiness Journal

Today Tom and I spent the day in Portland with our oldest daughter. We had a wonderful time eating good food, walking up Hawthorne and talking about everything and anything.

Spending time with my family makes me very happy <3


We decided about a week before the appointment we were going to find out.  With Fall approaching we were both needing to know some more details so we can connect with our little one. I found out with Anna and I felt that on that day we began our mother/daughter relationship. I wanted the same with this little one even though the surprise on delivery day would have also been nice. We figured there would be a surprise at the ultra-sound or upon delivery….we chose the ultra-sound.

My pregnancy thus far has been seamless so I really haven’t had any reason to worry at all but since we’ve gone through one miscarriage (Feb. 2013) and now the loss of our girls we both were on edge till we saw our little ones heart beating on the screen.

Such a relief.

The technician moved the ultra-sound wand across my growing belly and there was a hand, another hand, hips (Tom thought that it was the face at first) and eventually 2 long legs stretched out, one kicking slightly.

We both were awe of this little miracle.

As the leg moved I felt the movement inside. It was amazing to see our little ones movements and then be so privileged to be the one who could also feel those movements. I always try to explain to Tom exactly how it feels but I know that it’s hard to be the one that just imagines what that would be like. I do feel blessed and honored to be the one carrying our child and I don’t take that lightly…I have a job to do these 9 months and I do it with honor for all of us.

She measured and documented all the specifics the doctors need to determine whether or not we are right on schedule ~ Tom and I both silently prayed that everything is good, the baby is healthy and right where it should be.

A profile of a little nose, small lips and head, “it looks just like you Tom.” We both laughed.

We let her know that we would like to know the sex, she had no idea the implications of this moment for us or truly how deep our hearts were engaged with what she was about to tell us.

Many people in our lives have predicted we are having a boy ~I think they want that for us, something different from what we lost, something that wouldn’t be a constant reminder.

Tom and I have talked a lot about our hopes and dreams and always came to the same conclusion ~ we wanted a healthy baby, boy or girl.

“It’s a girl,” she said very softly.

My first thought was relief, I know girls, I can do girls.

I then heard Tom quietly crying behind me and then the wave of fear came, “how will we do that?”

How will I hold this little girl and not see Anna and Abigail in her eyes, her lips or sweet nose and feel my loss over and over again. How will I hold her and not have my heart break into a million pieces. Little dresses, mix-matched cloths, hair pretties, baby dolls, art projects, dance lessons, a sweet little girl voice yelling Mama and Daddy ~ how will I do this?

As we walked out of the doctor’s office I asked Tom if he was “ok,” he said he just couldn’t stop thinking about Anna and Abigail and how much he missed them. That is why he was crying. I couldn’t stop thinking about them either ~ how were we going to do this?

We decided not to share with anyone for a while but rather let it all sink in, let God work on our hearts and show us His glory by giving us this little girl.

For the past 22 months I have fully trusted God and there is no reason for me not to trust that He knows exactly what He is doing now. He has shown a kindness and love that I never knew was possible. He has stood by us, held us, comforted us, loved us and provided us with a peace that goes beyond understanding.

Starting about a month before Mother’s Day I would sit quietly and beg God to bring me home. I know the truth, I know that Heaven is where my girls are and I desperately wanted to be with them.  I trusted God fully and knew that in His timing I would go home but I figured a little begging may move that along a bit. I was ready because the pain and longing got too great.  I prayed this prayer every morning, “Please God don’t let my time here last forever, I’m ready now.”

On Mother’s Day (I know that His timing wasn’t coincidence) He let me in on His plan, He needed me to stay because their was a soul that needed a mom and I was the lucky one. In that moment, as I stared at the pregnancy test, it all made sense; this little girl was always part of God’s plan for our family, she was a gift and she needed me here, our kids needed me here to take care of their sister and Tom needed me here so we could raise this little one together.

I can’t say for certain that holding this little one won’t break our hearts because of our loss but to be honest, I can’t say that it won’t give our hearts exactly what they need to mend a bit either. This little girl is our family’s blessing and one we will never take lightly.

In December our little girl will arrive and will complete our family. She will be her own person, have a unique smile, twinkle in her eye and have a laugh that is only hers. She will have her own likes and dislikes, she will have her own toys, clothes and will teach us so many things that we don’t already know about being parents. Like us, she will have an intimate relationship with Heaven and her sisters who live there, she will have a sister in college who is building a life for herself and will always be there for her and have a brother who will adore her and let her crawl all over him like a jungle gym.

She is our gift from God and we are blessed!

baby girl