my scarlet letter…

June 28, 2009

june '09 025

if you know this flower … I am sorry.  I am so, so sorry.

for those of you who don’t know, this is the card they put on your door in the hospital when you lose your baby.

the first time I saw it outside the door was when I was up going for a required short walk on friday, I think.  that was the first time I was able to move that far anyway.   I just stared at it….  it made me sad.  of all the doorways down my hallway and the other hallway, mine was the only one with the flower by my name.

when they were wheeling me out on saturday, I saw it again.  I wanted to take it home … one of the small mementos of a very short little life.  I couldn’t stand very easily and for all I can remember I wasn’t thinking all that clearly. 

I have thought of this little card many times since coming home.  I wished I had one so that I could put it on my door at home.  I want to keep one in my purse so I can just hold it up at target.  i want to pin it to my shirt so that when anyone is talking to me, about … oh, I guess it doesn’t really matter what they are talking about, because I am more than likely thinking about luke.  if I had the flower, then they would understand why I looked glazed over, why I started crying, why I seem so disinterested in what their baby is currently doing.

wouldn’t this kind of system work for all our hurts … death of a child, disabled child, financial hardship, broken marriage, physical abuse …  it would help people to be more sympethic to other people’s issues.  we all have them.

thank goodness there is One who does know all our hurts, who is there to comfort us, to understand.  the One who sees our scarlet letters  and loves us through and through.


just one job…

June 27, 2009

something that gabrielle told me shortly after luke died has so stuck with me.  and her faith and simplicity help me remember not to make things so complicated. so here’s that story…

we were leaving a friend’s house the sunday night after the funeral.  i was kind of crying.  gabrielle was holding my  hand and said, ‘mama i don’t want you to be sad anymore.  maybe there was just one job that no one else could do, so God needed luke in heaven.’

…… ……

you know the question.  have you ever really kept track?  you’d need a notebook really, but here’s my best try just off of memory.

5 am… try to find brian’s alarm clock, because he is to delirious to shut it off.  ( a pet peeve of mine)

6 am… uncover and push brian out of bed

8am… wake up and wonder what the heck time it is.  it looks light out, but I’m still so tired.  (apparently from the new muscle relaxer the doctor prescribed for my tension headaches)

8:10am… answer phone thinking ‘who would call me so early’.  my good friend who gets up at 5, that’s who.  talk for a few minutes about upcoming family camp.

8:20am… go to get cole out of bed.  get him untwisted and back into a comfortable position.  he wants to know, ‘who’s that?’.  meaning, who was on the phone.  I tell him.  he goes on to say he loves her, he wants to kiss her and when can we go to her house.  I tell him later.  he isn’t dropping it.  knowing this will last until we call her, I call back so cole can say hi.  she talks to him for a minute and then we talk about little difficulties with children for a minute and then we gotta go.

8:30am… I lay with cole for awhile talking about when we will go play and what we are going to do today.  i pull him over to the side to help him stretch.

8:45am… carry cole out to his ‘thinking chair’.  turn on elmo.

8:50am… get dressed in my exercise clothes.  (this is my new plan for getting my exercise in.  I wear the clothes until I get it done, which is hopefully before I have to leave the house.)

8:55am… get the kids some cereal.  (we have those little boxes that come in a group pack.  I think the first time I ever bought them.)  surprisingly, no arguments.  we’ll see about tomorrow.

9:00am… start feeding cole.  say hi to our helper, talk about what we have to get done today.

9:15am… try to figure out if cole has enough medications for the next week or if I need to get refills today.

9:30am… call my love.  (I always call in the morning)  he’s busy.  we’ll talk later.

okay, let’s forget the timeline or this will take forever.

straighten my bed and punkin’s.  put a load in the dryer.  unload and reload the dishwasher.  carry misc. items to their respective belongers rooms.  walk around eating my yogurt and granola, check email, tell everyone to round up their library books, try to get a timeline of our afternoon together in my head.

load up for the library, get some new books, wonder if dawson actually read for 7 hours this week to get his reading prize, forget the movie we checked out, (I’ll return that later), go home and get lunch packed for cole and cooking for dawson and punkin.  read to punkin, feed everyone, eat some heated up rice while standing in the kitchen, run through mental checklist of what we need before we head out the door again… swimsuit, lunch for cole, camera, that library movie.

load up again, drop off helper, drop off cole at therapy, pick up friend, drop off friend, get to last day of swimming lessons for gabrielle, watch and clap for her as she jumps in and swims back to the side.  YEAH, punkin passes guppies!! back to the house for a bit, eat a cookie, get the kids a snack, check facebook, gather up stuff to go swimming with friends after our next outing.  ohh, throw the ham in the crockpot!june '09 052

load up again, (this about 2:30 now) go to eye appointment and have glasses remade for the third and hopefully last time, exchange curtains (I got the wrong length the first time), back to the house to get the life jackets we forgot, pick up cole, go to friends to go swimming.

whew~  now, let me tell you that most of this day is going smoothly.  while we are busy, I am aware that luke is not with me, but I am doing okay.  I’m having a good day. 

now it is about 4:15.  we get to the pool and I hear a baby cry as we get out of the van … my heart sinks … sure enough, there is a baby.  it is the grandson of this friend who happens to have been born close to luke’s due date.  I just can’t look at him.  I want to get back in the van and go home.  we get in and play for awhile, I manage to keep my back to them … I don’t want to be rude, I don’t want them to think I don’t like them … I just… I don’t even know what to do!  there are other little kids playing too, so it is easy to be distracted … right up until they call for one of the little boys whose name is luke!  they all head out, I feel relieved … and bad … I wish I had more control over these emotions.  we swim some more and then, about 6, it is time to head home.  I wrestle cole into his pajamas, since he doesn’t especially like to get changed, and kind of flusteredly round up the kids to get home.

load up again, pull up to a garage full of neighbors looking at the pool table, say hi to everyone, unload kids, life jackets, towels, lunch bags, snack wrappers and the library movie that didn’t get returned.  ahhhhh!!

talk to neighbor about some serious hurts over the fence, head off to the library so we don’t get a late fee, come home and park the van for the LAST time today.  the kids are eating cheese pizza with brian, i make some fresh salsa (which is sooo awesome, if I do say so myself) and sit down for the first time to eat with brian and cole.  this is about 7:30 now.  dawson and punkin have gone outside to play monster with the neighborhood kids.

pick up kitchen, get dishwasher started, start blogging, stop blogging, read to punkin, get everyone tucked in, straighten living room, back to blog….  it’s therapeutic.

it is now a little after 10 and I am going to sit with brian and watch tv for awhile. 

praise and blessings to all you moms out there … I know you are just as busy or more so.

leaving one behind….

June 23, 2009

here I am again at a decision I don’t want to make, which path to take…


  should we take dawson and punkin on a little camping trip and have cole stay with friends or just stay home or have everyone go or have everyone go and take an aide along too….  actually, none of those answers are the answer I want.  I want able bodied children,  a completely accessible vacation spotsomeonethat will just do everything with and for cole and say ‘go!  don’t worry about us.  we’ll be having more fun than you.’  I don’t know what I want……..

do I really want cole to be able bodied?  well of course.  but … I can’t even imagine what that would be like.  plus, cole helps us to have a proper perspective in this ‘temporary’ world. 

would an accessible place make it better?  well, it makes it easier, but it doesn’t fix it.  I still have a little boy that says ‘me too’ when dawson and punkin are going to go swimming, run along the beach, do crafts or whatever they might be doing, and … well… it just isn’t that easy to help cole do it too.  it is physically hard to assist him (especially as he grows), it is emotionally upsetting because I hurt for him, I hurt for myself and it is spiritually challenging because I think … hasn’t he paid his dues … why can’t You just heal him now?  why can’t You just let him run like the other kids?  haven’t we learned our lesson of whom we should depend on?

would a helper above all helpers make the difference?  no.  again, it makes it alot easier to have someone help carry my burden in the physical sense, but they can’t take away the anguish of a mother that wishes her baby didn’t have to go through life ‘disabled’, the endlessness of a mother’s guilt, the daily breaking of my heart…..

the decision should be simple, but I think it is all the emotions tied up with the decision that makes it hard.  the longing for ‘normalcy’, the not wanting to leave one behind, the not wanting to hold the others back, the not wanting to deal with this anymore, the how do I take care of everyone,  the feeling of, this life never has or never will be ‘fair’.

I turn to HIM …

To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.  Three times I pleaded with the LORD to take it away from me,  But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weakness, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak ….. then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:7-10

I am not a whiner.

June 23, 2009

if you ran into me during the day or evening for that matter, you wouldn’t necessarily know anything was going on in my life.  as I assume it is with most people.  I am not walking around crying or with my head down or telling everyone who will give me a minute how awful my life has been.  it is when I am in the safety of my own home, when I have a moment to ‘vent’ … that is what you see, that is what you get to hear.

if you are a friend of mine or someone who knows me well, I think you all ready know this and would agree.  but on the off chance that you might not know me that well, I just felt I should tell you that.

there is a song by twila paris that describes what I am trying to say.  it is called ‘the warrior is a child’ …

 ‘people say that I’m amazing, strong beyond my years, but they don’t see inside of me, I’m hiding all my tears. …. they don’t know that I go running home when I fall down, they don’t know who picks me up when no one is around…’

I loved this song when my only battle was that of having a disabled child.  now that the battle includes the loss of an infant child, it means even more.

so thanks for listening.  thanks for being my out.  thanks for knowing I’m not a whiner.

White_square_with_question_mark[1]the question I dread.  the one I don’t know how to answer … the one I don’t want  to answer.  surprisingly, it comes up often.  like whenever you meet a new person, when you have a new appointment somewhere, even when you’re waiting in line at various places … target, the elevator, church, the playland at mcdonalds. 

the problem is that I know I have 4, but that is hard to explain.  do I really want to get into it with this person?  do I have time to explain?  do I want to talk about heaven with them?  it is easy to just say 3 and hopefully move on quickly, but … this makes me feel like I am leaving luke out and if one of the other kids is with me, they look at me and say, ‘no mama, there’s four … cole, dawson, gabrielle and luke.’ (this has happened more than once with more than 1 kid.)  what do I do?  what do I say?

I suppose it gives me good oppurtunity to witness to many and profess my faith … but …  sometimes … I don’t want to.  I’m tired, I’m weary, I don’t want to explain or get emotional in the checkout at target.

what would you say?

died at birth…

June 17, 2009

believe it or not, i haven’t heard this description or even thought it myself.  a dear friend said it today. … … …  and there it is. … … …  the way to describe it.  the way to tell people without feeling like i need to do a lot of explaining.  the way to say it that doesn’t take away from luke’s little life.  i can’t believe it has been so complicated.  i didn’t even realize how complicated i was making it until i heard it.  maybe you don’t believe me, but even thinking about how to say it and what to say would about make me physically ill. 

 let me add just abit to that … ‘shortly after birth’.  see, even still, i analyze every word used to describe him or his birth or his life or his death.  i have to say ‘shortly after’ so that no one will be confused about him actually living, about him breathing, about me giving birth … all of that, every detail. 

i can’t really describe the agony in trying to make the most of his little 80 minutes while saying as little as possible to people.  why does this bother me so?  why do i spend so much time thinking about it?  why do i feel like it ‘doesn’t count’ if i don’t make his life as big and as long as possible?  it feels as if he gets ‘dismissed’ otherwise …..

believe it or not, i feel relieved to be able to say … ‘my baby died shortly birth.’

the hurt for others…

June 16, 2009

here’s what seems to really hurt deeply …

when brian holds other peoples babies.  it hurts because i know how much he loves little babies.  i know how good he is with babies.  i know he wants a baby of his own.  i know that he would be an awesome daddy, he has all ready proven himself time and time again.  i know that there is a pretty good chance that i can’t give him what it is that he wants.  i remember how he would rest his head against my side and say, ‘hang on big guy … we’re almost there’….

the way dawson glances at me when there is a baby around.  it hurts because i know how much he wanted to be a big brother.  i know how devastated he was and still is to not have a baby brother when ‘everyone else has a baby’.  i know he would have been a great helper to me and a wonderful big brother.  i know he wanted a brother that he could chase and throw a ball to and other physical things that typical  brothers do.  i remember how he would rub my tummy and talk to luke every night before bed…..

the way cole gets so excited to see and hold babies.  i know how much he loves to hold babies.  he always has.  i know he wants to kiss them on the head and sing little ‘la la la’ songs to them.  i know he wanted a baby brother too, but doesn’t have the ability to put his hurt into words.  i remember him kissing luke so happily on the head at the hospital…

the way gabrielle cries ‘ i just miss luke’ when it is time for bed.  i know she was so excited to be a big sister, to be able to be the little mama to a baby.  i know she thinks about luke all the time because she talks about him everyday.  i know she would have been so proud to show off her little brother as we walked around the block or went to church or out for lunch.  i remember how she would have conversations with him, through my flesh, when we would take showers … how she would pretend growl to scare him …

it sometimes seems that the hurt for them is worse than the hurt for myself.  i don’t want them to be sad.  i don’t want them to want.  i don’t want them to have to wonder what could have been.

again, i take comfort from His word …

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4

my we comfort each other as we have been comforted…  we all need kindness, compassion, a shoulder to cry on, an understanding friend…


June 11, 2009

blog 007

here they are.  2 trouble makers if i ever knew of any.  both with the same determined attitude.  both more leaders than followers, which makes the decision of whether to go swing or play house very difficult.  one minute they are crying about what the other one said and then they are laughing so hard they can barely stand up.  i just shake my head…

it is hard to watch them play and be silly together… to watch them being such good friends just because of the fact that they are related.  it is hard because it is so wonderful for them and yet, now that my brother’s new baby has arrived, the new set of cousins that would have done all the same things and even more … isn’t a set.  it is just one.

many times cathy and i talked and were excited about having babies together.  i was looking forward to the news that they were expecting as soon as i found out i was.  i called and asked many times.  they would have been so close, just a couple months apart.  they would have always been excited to go and see each other, to play with each other. 

 now the plans that should have been are not.  the both of us carrying around our babies, sitting and nursing together as brian and fred take the other kids out and about, talking about sore nipples, sleepless nights,  when to start with cereal, where to buy diapers, how to lose baby weight … all of it … just isn’t there.

now what??  how do we handle this?  where is the etiquette for what to do when you and your sibling were supposed to have babies at the same time, but only 1 baby is safely delivered into this world?  conversations are more awkward, plans are harder to commit to, life just gets a little cloudy as to what to say.  not just for me.  for everyone …  especially cathy, the one holding the healthy baby.

thankfully, cathy has a strong and growing faith too.  she is very kind and considerate, trying very hard to not upset me or say the wrong thing, worrying about my feelings, while i’m at the depths of grief and she is at the heights of joy.  i’m sure she wants to talk about all the things juliet is doing; how she looks, when she wakes during the night, how the nursing is going, all of it.  and i just can’t bring myself to have the conversations …

 it hurts 2 ways.  i want to be there for her.  i want to take the calls.  i want to say, ‘she’ll be fine for a little bit.  let her cry.’   ‘try the football hold.’   ‘keep the lights low and make as little noise as possible during the night, so she doesn’t get to stimulated.’  you know .. all that advice that should be passed between sisters.  ‘i know you’re tired.’   ‘it’s okay to feel down.’   ‘don’t worry about the weight now, it took 9 months to put on … it’ll take awhile to take off.’  i want to be there for her, and yet … it is soo, so hard.  i feel guilty for not being able to pull it together and be that part of her life.  the other part is … i want my baby. 

we are both reading joshua.  the same message keeps repeating itself…

Be strong and courageous.  Do not be terrified, do not be discouraged, for the LORD your GOD will be with you wherever you go.  Joshua 1:9

here HE is with us … cousins that play here and cousins that will have to play in heaven … a mother with child, and a mother without … a family that is sorrowful and yet rejoicing.

i know that it is getting better.  i can tell by looking back and comparing it to present day.   i can go to bed at 10:30 sometimes, i don’t have to stay up until 1:00 in the morning.  i get dressed almost everyday.  i don’t cry more than i do cry.  i wear earrings again.  i answer the phone if it rings.  i can go to the store.  i open the curtains in the morning.  we all sit at the table for supper like we used to.  brian isn’t throwing up in the sink after he gets everyone else, including me, to bed anymore.  the kids stay in there own beds more often than not.  i haven’t had a nightmare in a long time … and yet …

i still can’t sleep sometimes without a little medicinal help.  i drive dawson to school and pick him up again still wearing what i slept in and don’t care in the slightest.   i cry randomly.  i still think outward adornment is very trivial.  i screen calls.  i avoid the baby rows at target if at all possible and try not to go in the mall entrance next to motherhood.  i’d like to leave the curtains shut and just melt away.  i stare at the little wooden high chair in the kitchen.  i know brian still needs some peace and quiet after everyone else is asleep.  i still have a wee one crawling in bed with me during the night because she is sad.  i have dreams of unrest more than terror.


grief seems kind of like a road trip at this point.  like driving across nebraska … we keep going and going and even as we are making progress the scenery hasn’t changed much.  i stare out the window for hours and it all seems the same.  i know in my head that we are closer to the end but in the moment it is hard to see.  i can even sleep for awhile and when i wake up and rub my eyes and ask ‘where are we?’ i still get ‘nebraska’ in some form or another.  one of these days i will see the purple mountains majesty off in the distance.  i’m able to hang on because i know that to be true.


now that june is getting under way, there seems to be a new set of troubles following me around … so that would be 2 little black rain clouds.  instead of wondering where we would be right now if things had gone different with luke I am starting to remember where I was last year at this time.  like, a year ago I was just pregnant with luke.  technically anyway.  you know how they go off the first day of your last period.  a year ago my period was just starting, we were at my brother’s for the weekend to celebrate his birthday.  I remember it well as all my periods are very memorable.  : ( 

anyway … so now I have a sense of dread of all the anniversary dates that will be coming up that I’d rather not remember.  … the trip up north, or the conception tour as brian and I fondly call it … walking out to into our kitchen, early in the morning, with the little pee stick in my hand, to ask cathy, who was standing at the sink still in her jammies,  if she thought that looked like a ‘plus’ to her, while they were here over the 4th of july … talking to my mom on the phone about it as I watered the flowers and was happy to know she was worried about me and my health and yet excited for a new grandbaby …  getting 4 pairs of monkey pajamas at the end of july to surprise the kids with the big news … heading off to camp in august feeling sick and tired … the ultrasound at 20 weeks where we were so excited to find out if it was a boy or a girl, but only found out the baby was measuring  a little small and we need to have a level 2 ultrasound done shortly … finding out it was a boy right before our annual halloween party and my weekend up north with kathleen and jackie … finding out things didn’t look good, and they didn’t expect him to make to thanksgiving … grieving … spending every monday and thursday of november and december at southdale hospital for ultrasounds, doplars, and other screenings …  more greiving … being pregnant over christmas and just hoping beyond all reason that this would be the miracle we wanted, the one we prayed for, the one we deserved, the one that would make so many people see the awesomeness of our God and bring many sons to glory …  being in the hospital after christmas … being wheeled into the operating room on new years eve, while many friends had gathered in the waiting room to pray, and pray and pray … … … … … … … .. .

how will I make it through ???  how do I go through these days with empty arms and a head full of memories and what ifs ???  how do I celebrate all the new babies that were born to dear friends and famliy without my black rain clouds raining on them ???  how do I find joy in all this grief ???


I lift my eyes up to the hills –

where does my help come from?

My help comes from the LORD,

the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip-

he who watches over you will not slumber;

indeed, he who watches over Isreal will neither slumber or sleep.

The LORD watches over you-

the LORD is your shade at your right hand;

the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.

The LORD will keep you from all harm-

he will watch over your life;

the LORD will watch over your coming and going,

 both now and forevermore.

Psalm 121

soapbox[1]where to start……

well first off, i guess i want to say that murder is wrong.  obviously, that is why i am pro-life.  we can’t have people going vigilante whenever they see fit.  this society is just holding on anyway … take away the rules and we’ll all be in alot of trouble.

i feel bad for the family of dr. tiller.  he leaves behind a wife, children and grandchildren.  even though the man has taken the lives of an estimated 60,000 babies in the last 35 years, (that’s about 4 a day, every day) and made millions doing it, it is not the responsibility of a single person to decide his fate.

i pray that the actions of this one crazed man do not harmfully effect the pro-life movement.  most protesters are law abiding and peaceful.  it wouldn’t be fair to group all pro-lifers or conservatives in the same category as the shooter.

even though dr. tiller was shot in his church, i do not believe the man to be a christian.  if he were a true follower of Christ, he wouldn’t be making a living taking the lives of innocents.  i think this makes a very valid, interesting and scary point.  being in a church doesn’t make you any more a believer and follower of Christ than being in a mcdonalds makes you a french fry.  his sheep know his voice and follow him … accordingly … wanting to do his will. 

hopefully the last 2 doctors in the country that are still preforming late term abortions will either step down or be brought to justice.  (legally)  no matter which side of the fence you are on: pro-life, pro-choice, conservative, liberal, left winger or right winger  you have to see how horrendous the act of late term, partial birth abortion is.  this is a life!  fully formed!   you can’t fight for fair treatment of all peoples, like terrorists, and not stand up for those who have no voice at all, the truly helpless.

 this really hits home now as just a few months ago as i was fighting to save my late term baby, someone else was voluntarily having theirs killed.  i’ve held that tiny life in my hands!  how could you possibly kill a baby?!?  how can you throw it away?!?  if you’ve gone this far, just hang on a little bit longer and there will be any number of good families waiting to take the child for you!  i would take them!  i’m just waiting for someone to drop off a baby at my door!!!

i better step down now before i just start to rant.  i’ll be praying for the tiller family, the shooter, all the women who  have had abortions, the prolife movement, the women trying to make this decision  and i think most importantly, all those who would call themselves christians without the actions to back that up.  being a follower of christ is alot more than attending church on sunday.  it is more than a proclaimed faith. 

James 2:14 -26

i’ll step down … for now.