Settling In

I told Tom yesterday I wanted to write a blog post hoping that in doing so he would keep me accountable to sitting and writing. There is so much I want to write about.

Instead, I found that snuggling up on the couch with him and our little girl was what we all needed. Writing can wait.

This past week has been beautiful in the way life should be. We are settling into a rhythm that feels so familiar in so many ways but one that also brings to the surface a new set of emotions.

Leaving the hospital was very hard, the last time we left the hospital we were saying goodbye and embarking on a journey neither of us wanted. As the nurse took my blood pressure for the final time I was teary trying to calm my heart of the emotions that were taking over.  I didn’t want a reason for them to make me stay a bit longer but I also was very scared about stepping out into the world with a life I was now responsible for ~ so many emotions.

The nurse put her hand on mine knowing of my heartache and told me it was perfect ~ we were free to go.

Since we have been at home I can’t help but feel that Alice is surrounded by so much more than her parents love for her. She is comforted not only by us in this space but also by her Heavenly Father and her sisters that I know sent her to us filled with secrets.

This morning, sitting in the space we have created for Alice to get to know her sisters,  I sat and prayed out loud for her. When I was finished I then talked with my girls (as I do often), asking for them to watch over their sister from Heaven. At that moment Alice opened her eyes and gave me a little smile ~ the kind newborns give after filling their belly with milk and feeling completely comfortable nestled against their mama’s chest. The timing was perfect for my heart ❤  She knew, as her sisters do, what her mama’s heart needs. That little smile was an answer to my prayers and a gift from all of my girls.

The Interim

I’ve avoided this space for a couple weeks ~ not because the words aren’t very present in my mind, but because my list of things to do has been so long that I haven’t found the time ~ something I’m a bit frustrated with because coming to this space is very important to me. I know in the weeks (maybe even months) to come arriving here will be sporadic  at best, but just knowing I have this space means a lot.

This morning I woke up with almost all of my “before the baby arrives checklist” crossed off and thought to myself, today would be a good day to write.

Here I am.

In two weeks (or less!) I will have a little baby in my arms…such a crazy thought. Sometimes I still can’t believe this is where we are, in our 40’s and parents to a little one.  The emotions that come with this fact are overwhelming to say the least. I feel so blessed by this life growing inside me but I will honestly say I don’t think I’ve ever been so scared either.

I’m not scared about being a mom, I have nine years of experience, but I am scared about the emotions that I will feel the moment when she is placed on my chest, when the physical pain of childbirth is washed away and I’m looking at our child for the very first time. I’m scared of what those feelings will bring, both a tremendous amount of joy and a tremendous amount of loss for the children I so long to be face to face with again.

For the past couple of months my PTSD has come in the form of the exact moment on October 20th when I realized Anna was gone. That exact moment when my eyes saw the white sheet being placed, the exact moment when my mind began screaming and the moment my heart completely broke forever. In that instance my life stopped.

Soon I will have a moment which is the exact opposite of the one I had on October 20th, a moment when life will begin as our little girl, breathing, is placed in my arms.

The deep suffering of the loss of the love of my life and the overwhelming Joy of a new soul to care for will collide in that very moment ~ the thought of those emotions coming face to face overwhelms my heart and my mind.

This week my counselor shared with me a blessing written by John O’Donohue. She said as she read it she couldn’t help but think about Tom and I, and our journey. It definitely speaks to my heart and the feelings I have been having lately.

For the Interim Time

When near the end of day, life has drained
Out of light, and it is too soon
For the mind of night to have darkened things,

No place looks like itself, loss of outline
Makes everything look strangely in-between,
Unsure of what has been, or what might come.

In this wan light, even trees seem groundless
In a while it will be night, but nothing
Here seems To believe the relief of the dark.

You are in this time of the interim
Where everything seems withheld.

The path you took to get here has washed out;
The way forward is still concealed to you.

“The old is not old enough to have died away;
The new is still too young to be born.”

You cannot lay claim to anything;
In this place of dusk,
Your eyes are blurred;
And there is no mirror.

Everyone else has lost sight of your heart
And you can see nowhere to put your trust;
You know you have to make your own way through.

As far as you can, hold your confidence.
Do not allow your confusion to squander
This call which is loosening
Your roots in false ground,
That you might come free
From all you have outgrown.

What is being transfigured here is your mind,
And it is difficult and slow to become new.
The more faithfully you can endure here,
The more refined your heart will become
For your arrival in the new dawn.

What is about to happen in our lives does not make me want to run and hide. I know God is working ~ I feel it in my heart and in my mind. He brings me to those deep places of suffering in order to transform me and draw me even closer to Him. I trust Him with every ounce of my being ~ how couldn’t I? Knowing, feeling and seeing the kindness and love that He has poured on me through my life. I have no doubt that there will be something so beautiful that happens in the depths of my own soul the moment I come face to face with our little one, I just wonder how much more my heart can take.

I trust God’s plan.

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


Four More Sleeps

The count down would have started about a week ago. Anna would start asking how many sleeps till I start work and she gets to go to Tami’s ~ her favorite place in all the land <3.

Today I would say four more sleeps; and I would take a deep breath and realize our summer fun was coming to an end.

These were our sad faces on the last day of summer.

These were our sad faces on the last day of summer.

In four more sleeps I’m starting back at work. I have a new job teaching PE at an elementary school in our district, the same elementary school Abigail attended and where we first met. I will be teaching three days a week, grades 1-4. In the past I’ve taught Adapted PE and have traveled to every school in our district teaching kids with disabilities how to play. I loved my old job but always longed for a gym to call my own. I’ve spent the last week cleaning out the equipment room and working on lesson plans. This is a new adventure for me.

I’ve been told going back to work will be good for me by people who would like my pain to end.  My pain, whether I’m working or sitting in my house staring, will never end. I know that people just want to make things better, they can’t imagine so they try to fix it with their words. I’m here to say that after 22 months of living this life I know without a doubt that there is no fix.

I’m going back to work because I love teaching and I don’t want to lose my job. I’ve been blessed to have the past 22 months to focus solely on sharing love and joy, to begin learning how to survive with my children in Heaven and to figure out a new normal in our day-to-day life. I’ve been blessed by this time and I definitely don’t take it for granted.

There is not a day that I will wake and be grateful for “getting through” my loss. My grief will only end when I am in eternity in His presence and in theirs. I am surviving to the best of my ability and some days I do better than others.  Going back to work does not make my life circumstances “better” or mean that I am “ok” with my reality, it just means I’m making a choice to survive rather than hide.

My focus with my students this year will be love and joy (I’m sure that’s not a surprise). I feel blessed that I teach a subject that allows me the freedom to be creative and to teach life lessons. I want my students, all of my students, to walk out of my gym feeling loved and feeling joyful. I want them all to know that, no matter what, kindness is the key for success and being active can be a lot more fun then sitting watching TV or playing video games.

When Anna went to Heaven she was just learning how to read. When Abigail went to Heaven she was beginning skills that were prepping her for middle and high school. More importantly, when my girls went to Heaven they knew, without a doubt, they were loved and cherished. When my girls went to Heaven, we, along with so many others, knew that we were loved and cherished by Anna and Abigail.

It makes sad to think that there are kids out there that don’t know what my girls knew.

My goal this year is to make sure they do.


Some see a gym, I see a big empty canvas. I think there needs to be a big rainbow on the back wall ~ what do you think?

Back Together

taylor swiftI would be downstairs and I could hear the music start from up in Anna’s room loud and clear. A few minutes later the music was drowned out by her singing at the top of her lungs.

“We are never, ever, ever, getting back together
We (WHEE!) are never, ever, ever, getting back together
You go talk to your friends talk to my friends talk to me
But we (WHEE!) are never, ever, ever, getting back together”

Who was my little girl  singing to with such passion in her voice? Who was she never getting back together with and when was she with someone?

I went upstairs and peaked into her room and there she was dancing, singing and being so joyful all while sporting a scarf and a pair of “cool” sunglasses. She had no idea what she was singing just that she liked the rhythm and was able to memorize the lyrics. I smiled, and instead of turning it off, I decided to appreciate Taylor Swift for all of her good values, morals and for what she was doing for my daughter ~ she was bringing Anna joy.

Anna only played her Taylor Swift CD ~ that was her favorite and a gift from her big sister. She would listen to it over and over again, always pushing the back button to repeat her favorite, We are Never Getting Back Together, singing that one the loudest and with the most passion. Sometimes she would venture out of her room and sing her way down the stairs, always waiting for me to come and give her a wink or smile. I think she wanted me to be part of her concert.

I knew that one day Taylor Swift would be coming to town, or close to town, and that her concert would be our first together. I knew she would be so excited to see her live ~ when I close my eyes I can see her expression of joy in finding out she was going and I can see the look of excitement on her face as Taylor walks out on stage for her first number. We would buy t-shirts, a program and sing every song together, word for word. Well, she would sing them word for word and probably correct me when I messed up. The thought of this experience with her always made my heart happy ~ I couldn’t wait.

Anna glasses

The time has come and tomorrow night I’m going to see Taylor Swift in Seattle with some of Anna and Abigail’s friends and their moms. I am so appreciative that they have included Anna and I in this experience even though it will be hard. I will get a t-shirt, a program and maybe even a poster for Anna’s room. With tears in my eyes, I will sing each song, word for word, at the top of my lungs for my girl. I know, without a doubt,  she will be there with me, and although I won’t see her I will feel her joy ~ I know I will.

Experiencing life without my girls is extremely hard but I make the choices I do because in them I feel my girls presence. Often, in grief, we want to shut down and avoid the deep pain of absence. Somedays I don’t want to feel it anymore ~ staying in bed with a pillow of my head sounds so much nicer than facing  yet another day without Anna and Abigail.

I have found though, that in the midst of my deep pain there is another emotion that I feel even more deeply when I choose to open my eyes to Heaven and allow myself to see the possibilities it holds ~ I feel JOY.  If I closed myself off to “life” with my girls then I would never experience the joy they feel in Heaven. I think that is God’s gift to me in the midst of my suffering ~ a glimpse of the unimaginable joy they feel in eternity. So I choose to get out bed and experience life as it would be if my girls were physically here.

I’m going to our first concert together and it’s her favorite ~ Talyor Swift.

When I get to Heaven I know she will thank me for taking her and for not hiding and I will thank her for being there with me ~ always.

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