Anna’s President

Anna was two years old when President Obama took office. I remember sitting watching the inauguration with her thinking that she would grow up with Obama as her president. I was pleased with this fact because I knew he was good man, good father and was someone who was going to run our country with integrity.  I also was proud to know that with my vote, along with many others in our country, the first African-American president was elected.

I’m sure, like many, I was emotional watching his very first speech that day and found myself chanting, “yes we can” and dancing around the room with Anna. I knew in my heart that positive change was on the horizon for our country and it felt so good.

A couple of months later, after spending a day with her dad, Anna returned home with a new baby under her arm. Her granny had found it for her and Anna was smitten with her new addition. We sat that afternoon talking about her little one and, as I did with all of her dolls, I asked her what her baby’s name was.

She looked at me with proud mama eyes and then shouted, “Baby Obama.”

I smiled, gave little Baby Obama a kiss on the forehead and welcomed him into our family.

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Anna and Baby Obama

 

I have an unsettling feeling in my gut this week. You know, the one you get when something really good is about to end. I’m not going claim that I know everything about politics or that every decision President Obama made while in office was perfect, he wouldn’t even claim that.  What I will say is, as a mother, I am proud that Barack Obama was my daughter’s president, a man who did lead our country with integrity.  This statement holds a lot a weight in my heart because he is the only president she ever knew.

On Friday night I think I may hold onto Baby Obama and his Aunt Alice for a while and daydream about the day Anna and I danced around our family room singing “yes we can.”  So mI will also continue to believe in the power of love and hold onto the hope that President Obama talked so eloquently about last week during his last speech to our nation.

President Obama was not only Anna’s president but he was mine and he and his wife will forever be role models for me as a parent and as an American.

I’m praying for our country and it’s leadership.

Home on Heaven Day

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Three years ago today my girls went home.

I’m sure for them there was some shock and disbelief, going to Heaven wasn’t part of our family plan ~ not yet anyways. When I close my eyes and think about where my girls are now I can’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of peace through my deep pain ~ my girls are in the presence of God.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:7

In the moment they entered Heaven I know that God opened up His loving arms and held my girls for a very long time ~ He’s still holding them (and us ❤ ). They were now physically separated from Tom, myself and everyone they love and I know that they were probably worried about all of us. I know that there is protection when little ones go to Heaven, protection from seeing our suffering. Anna and Abigail  I know see the whole picture of their love and joy before them – they have a front row seat to God’s glory playing out.

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. Romans 8:18

I daydream about Heaven all the time now.

In my daydreams I think about Anna, my little nurturer. Knowing her heart and her love for little ones I have no doubt that one of her responsibilities in Heaven is to hold new babies as they enter. When I close my eyes I can see her beautiful smile as she looks down at these infants, lost too soon to this world, but taken care of by my girl. That is a perfect job for Anna, her own Heavenly childcare. I also know that she has her sights on her little sister, Alice. I’m waiting for the day that Alice shares her secrets from Anna with me.

As for Abigail, well, I can say that she is probably keeping everyone smiling, performing in some way for everyone around her. Abigail also, I’m sure, is keeping her loved ones here very close. She always wanted her family to be happy and “ok.” If you personally know her and think you hear or feel her presence don’t doubt that one bit…I often hear her whispering,  “take care of my dad, Susan.”

Today, on Anna and Abby’s 3rd Heaven Day, will you close your eyes and daydream about Heaven with me and open up your heart to God’s love and joy? Choosing to trust Him with all of my heart the day my girls entered Heaven, not only has given me strength, but also has opened my eyes to a place that is so beautiful and filled with an abundance of love and joy.

This place, Heaven, is where my girls call home.

Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.   Isaiah 40:31 

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I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.  Genesis 9:13

Thank you all so much for your love, prayers and support. Our family is so fortunate to have such an amazing community, near and far, that have chosen to join us in honoring our girls by loving others.

Love and Joy ❤

 

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.

Heaven Day

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Came out of our house this morning to this ❤

Last night I slept the entire night (which is not normal for me these days) and woke up feeling totally covered in prayer.

Thank you ❤

The anticipation of a day is sometimes the hardest when dates on the calendar have meaning ~ holidays, changing of a season, birthdays and Heaven Day.

Heaven Day ~ a date on the calendar that marks that we are another year closer to our girls.

The past 2 years have flown by…I truly feel like it was just yesterday Abigail was picking out Tom’s clothes for church and Anna and I were making waffles for breakfast. I’m grateful that those memories are still so vivid and that they feel so close.

I was told early on that year 2 was the hardest. We are through year 2 and I can say that it’s all been pretty hard. The longing in my heart for Anna and Abigail will never change and/or ease ~ never. What I can say is that in choosing to love, in choosing to celebrate their lives and take all of the focus off the negative and put it all on how beautiful my girls are (not were), both inside and out, keeps them here with us.

Shortly after they went to Heaven I had a tremendous fear that one day they would just go away. That I would have to say goodbye for good and that I would be expected to move on.  My fear was that someone someday would say, “Susan, it’s time.”

I made a commitment to the girls and to myself  that I would not do that, ever, I promised them that their legacy would be far-reaching and I would do everything I could to hold them tight for as long as we were apart. I am sure that in Heaven, seeing the whole picture, they have no expectations for me. Being their mom, which will never change, I will always take care of them ~ I can’t imagine ever “moving on” from that.

On the morning of Oct. 20, 2013 I was proud of my girls for the young ladies they were becoming. I remember feeling so blessed to have such a beautiful, loving and caring family. I remember daydreaming about what they would do in their lives and who they would become.

This morning, Oct. 20, 2015, I am still proud but in ways I would have never imagined.  Anna and Abigail have shown me what it means to truly love and to do so without expectations. They have been a light and a link to the Hope that we all can have through God.

One day there will be an Oct. 20th when we are all together in Heaven seeing the whole picture and feeling the purest of love and joy there is.

I can’t wait for that day!!!

Thank you all again for your constant love, support and prayers. We truly feel blessed by each and every one of you ❤ heaven day

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.

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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.

WE WILL BE BACK TOGETHER!
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