9.27.2014

It was less than a week. But in that week, you were the happiest, the most content, the most my baby you ever were.

You are part of me that is missing. It's hard to describe it any other way. How do you describe it when part of your soul has left you with a hollow sound echoing in it. The memories feel like a story now, no longer one I can be a part of or even really imagine.

I stare at places I held you and loved you, but there is no whisper of you in those rooms or hallways anymore. You are gone and that means that part of me is gone.

I will forever ache for you, and it will never lessen. I will hide the ache in my heart, but it's always there and I will always be incomplete. I am incomplete because I have loved you so much that you were a puzzle piece in my soul.

I want to imagine life with you, but I imagine it too well on those days that I do. I imagine it so well that it becomes reality, a reality separate from this one that I wish so badly I could be a part of.

Death will be welcome someday, and I know this to be true simply because I will feel that part of my soul fill again. Because you died, I can die bravely, and I know that to be true.

This story continues on, without my favorite chapter.

I wouldn't dare to dream of a world without any of my children in it. I wouldn't dare to dare you to dream of it.

Don't dream of it, in fact.

Don't reflect on how it would feel.

Reflect on this infinity you are in.

Whether it's a week or a day, these infinities are worth the exhaustion and pain and ache. So love, and don't be afraid to love. Love with each part of you, so much that when your love is gone it aches like this.

This pain is worth the love. It's worth it. I promise it is.

8.15.2014

dimples

Every time I wake up, if I open my eyes and look around the rooms in my home I can see us all here. I can see the floors torn apart, and a man with dimples and a grin so contagious it could become an epidemic smiling at me.

I can hear us laughing, something about a hippo, and I knew we had finally both become comfortable around one another. I found that we really were kindred spirits, and I had another Dad on this Earth. And he was fun, and enthusiastic, passionate and he was lovely.

I didn't know that those last days we spent working on the house together would be the last days.

I would have asked him what he meant when he said I didn't see myself clearly. If I would have known I would never know, I would have asked.

If I could see him for one last visit I would take pictures of him with Judah. Their dimples and laughter together and the love.

I would thank him for rocking my second son to sleep every weeknight in the hospital so I could be with my husband and first son. I would thank him for pushing my agenda.

I think he knew how much I was thankful for him, but I wish  I'd said it a few more times.

Our hearts are broken, a bit, and empty, a bit, knowing there will be no more Marty or Geri laughter encompassing a room.

The way they loved, the way they gave, and gave and gave. The way they praised God.

I am at a loss for words, most days.

But today, I will say one more thing.

The world has lost so much, but their legacy will continue on in their children and grandchildren.

I vow my heart to love deeply. To give of myself. I vow to praise God in this storm.

I promise not to forget.

5.06.2014

Five Years! How love has changed.

We were so stupid.
Oh not our choice to get married.
But we obviously didn't know much at that time.
Somehow, I knew Nick was the man for me.
I mean easily he could have secretly been evil and tricked me, because I was looking for love... But he wasn't (thank God).
He really was a prince charming.
He is still.
But of course it's different.
How is it different?

Well.

Back then we didn't know the worst parts of each other. I hope somewhat we still don't (that illusion helps sometimes). We didn't know how we sounded when we were safely angry with one another.
We didn't yell. We hadn't experienced death together. We hadn't held our son together as his breaths ceased. Nick still had his Mother.

We didn't have to think about two little people before ourselves. There was so much we didn't have to worry about. Our faith was not tested. Things were really not that difficult. Our biggest problems were of our own making. (Aren't they always).

We've seen the ugly in each other. We've seen each other under some pretty terrible circumstances.

But we've seen the beauty in one another as well. We've seen the love, the hope, the forgiveness, the aftermath of love, sacrificing ourselves for the betterment of each other and our family.

I've found I married the perfect man for me. I want to grow old with this man. I want to put up with his bad days and I want to fight with him for the rest of my life over things that are so small. I want to laugh with him every day and try to figure out how to be better parents with him.

I want to dream with him and go grocery shopping with him. There is only him for me. He is my best friend. He knows I'm not perfect and he chooses to love me and sacrifice for me.

I know he is not perfect and I try not to rub that in his face when we are in the middle of a big argument. :)

This is my closest friend, my lover, my companion, the man I want to be old and saggy with.

Five years later, I know him for being a man with flaws, but I know him even more as a man who has strengths.

He is an incredibly hard worker. He gives of himself, the best of himself, so that he can be proud of what he has accomplished. He loves God. He loves his family.

He tries so hard to listen and to care even when he is running on empty for time.

He fights for me.

He holds strong.

He is patient.

He is kind.

He is long suffering.

He professes his love for me.

He dances with me.

He sings with me.

He laughs with me.

He adores the things our tiny people do and accomplish with me.

Watching him be a Dad is about the sexiest thing I can imagine seeing someone do. Loving his kids.

I adore this man. Sick or Healthy, Happy or Sad, Broken or Whole.

God completes our marriage, but Nick was a gift to me. I feel that way completely. :)

4.30.2014

Loved.

Last night I was reminded how delicately precious our children's lives are. To those of us who have seen the breath escape our child's lungs and their hearts cease to beat- we know how quickly it all can be over.

I have faith that tomorrow my son and daughter will wake up healthy and alive and whole, but I also know that if they didn't I would be in a world that felt unsurvivable and feel pain beyond myself.

Last night I rocked my son as his temperature reached a dellusional level. I kissed his head and I thought 'If this all ended tonight, would I be proud of the Mom I was to you?'. I then apologized for not always being patient and not recently being slow to anger. I apologized for times where I didn't have a hold of my temper and wasn't the Mom I wanted to be. And then I thanked him for being MY son. I thanked him for loving me despite myself.

I didn't think it was a goodbye, but I thought... If it had been, I would want to have left nothing unsaid that I should have said.

Judah then told me that he wanted doors on his closet in blue.

Because the things he sees are not the same as what I see. He sees me as Mom. Not perfect, but I'm Mom. He doesn't care that I am not proud of all the parenting choices I've made. He doesn't care about that. He cares that he is loved. And he is.

My son knows he's loved. He knows, and believes, and that's why he feels free to be naughty. Because he knows that tomorrow I will love him still and forgive him and be his friend no matter the things he shouldn't have done that he chose to do.

He is learning love. I'm watching him start to understand why he needs to be gentle with those around him and why he needs to try to share with others.

I am so grateful to be a Mom.

God has given me a multitude of blessings because I can see what I wouldn't have seen. I can accept my mistakes and flaws with the knowledge that I have loved my children the best I can.

I know that I will strive to be a good mother and friend, but I also know that when I fail it doesn't make me a failure.

God's grace is sufficient. I am more than a conqueror. I am a Mom.

4.13.2014

Gabe, you had the mushiest little chub body on the planet. I loved it. I loved your rolls and I loved your adorable short legs and arms. I loved your cheeks and I loved your eyes and insane hair.

Maybe I loved them so much that Addie got most of those features. She has the same chubby legs and butt. Her feet are just like yours but bigger now. It's a little strange how much she reminds us of you at times, though uniquely herself, of course.

I've been missing the feeling of you in my arms for two years.

I wish I never put you down.

I adore you. 

4.11.2014

Now I can look back. I look back and I see how my thought patterns were. I was solidly unaware that giving up was an option for most of it.
You can't see, as a young person, what you've never seen before.
And now I've seen it.
I've seen baby after baby die.
I've fallen in love and I've watched breath leave that person.
I've watched children and infants who seem to be experiencing great suffering, holding onto great hope.
I can't call it right or call it wrong, and then I barely considered not fighting.
Now, if it happened now. I would not.
I would hope, I would pray, but I would not put my son through all that for the one percent.
Because now, older, I know that the precious moments I would go through for even a few minutes of painfree love would have been worth it.
To watch him go as peacefully as possible.

There was a point where there were so many holes in my son I was horrified.
I felt like I had no choice but to continue and try and hope and pray that he would be whole and healed.
But you know, when God gives you a child with a sickness so deep, there is another option.

For me, I would not be able to put my son through so much again.
Even if it meant only a few minutes.
Or days.
Or a week.
Or a year.

And I know it would have been impossible.
So maybe, maybe I'm wrong.
Maybe I would have done all the same things even if I were older and knew.
But honestly, who am I to know what I would do if I did it over.

Because all I knew to do was to have faith and to hope and to fight for my little boy.

And I did get some incredible grins that I will never forget.

4.01.2014

Unplugging from Electronics

So four weeks ago, my house was clean. Right now I'd give it about a 5 on a scale of 10. Not scary, but definitely needs improvement. The difference? I looked at facebook for 10 minutes 2x-3x a day for a long while. I missed out on a ton, I felt like my facebook friends thought I abandoned them... but I was still slightly proud of my hard work.

Over the past five days, or maybe month, I've been working REALLY hard on unplugging Judah.

Here comes my terrible Mom confession: Please don't judge harshly if you can help it:

Judah went to sleep watching movies almost (3/4) every night since Gabe died.

Call it bad parenting, but it was just what worked for our exhausted souls at the time. I started to find my horror in the fact recently, and I decided it was time to unplug Judah. The past four days, Judah went to sleep after reading 3 (Just ONE MORE, Mommy, just ONE more) books.

We have read often in our house as it is, but we implemented a schedule. Almost every day we do bath time, jammies, (maybe a movie as a family if it's still early) and then we read and say goodnight. THANK GOD for Frederick, Judah's stuffed animal sidekick, because Frederick can convince Judah of bedtime on the nights when I can't, usually.

His attitude improved already. He is doing imaginative play a lot more without asking to watch a movie, and he's accepting the 'not right now' answer for television.

Maybe it's because I got tired of hearing the Magic School Bus every night, but I am so so thankful for the peace it's seeming to lay out.

Unplugging terrified me, because with Addie's nursing schedule still being rather demanding, I wasn't sure how it would go keeping him in bed.

It turns out, Judah is loving the schedule implement. Even if we are only organized for the night.

He still is missing his Daddy who is working, doing school and homework, and working on our new house every single moment he has off... but you know, Daddy reads books too some nights. Or gives a massage, which Judah loves too.

I'm so proud of my family.

And Adelaide and Judah had their first wagon ride yesterday down the road and back, and Addie laughed the whole time! Kids! lol

3.07.2014

Step One. Putting Grief into a physical action.

This year I am going to work on some healing projects.

I've found that our society has it's own ideas on how to deal with grief, as do many others. Ours is supposed to be a one week ritual, where at the end of the week you bury your loved one and with that you lay to rest the loss. You move on. Speak less of them and try to forget, publicly, how much it will always be a part of you.

I'm not that kind of a griever, I've found. In fact, sometimes I think I might secretly be part of the type of society that wails for a month, wears black for a year and just hurts out loud.

I'm sorry for those who are uncomfortable around it, and I have never intended to try to be a sob story... But If I don't write or think out loud it builds up, and release is a must for someone like me. Thank God for blogs, right?

Anyway...

Step One for me. I'm writing my own story, and starting today I'm finding new ways to accept, befriend and allow my grief to settle in the world around me.

I think this will allow me to move forward in a way. But perhaps it will just edify my soul. My soul needs to do some sort of action list.

Today, I'm going to light a candle. I'm going to talk to God and I'm going to talk to Gabe. I've never done this before, talking to Gabe, because I've always felt... How can a baby, dead or alive, care to hear the boring things that I have to say? But Addie has shown me that talking to a baby is much more important than you might think. They listen, they learn and they hear.

So today I'm lighting a candle for Gabe.

Would you join me?

3.06.2014

The Pursuit in Marriage

I've been reading the Circle Series lately. It's a Christian book series. I'm having a hard time getting through it because there isn't a ton of time for what I want to do as a Mom, but when Addie is nursing and Judah is resting I try to read as fast as possible while still absorbing.

In this book, they touch on a subject that our world tends to try to ignore. The Great Romance, it's called.

Basically they talk about the pursuit of your spouse, although they tend to lean on the man to lead the Romance in the book and not really expect much of the spouse, they hit me hard when I realized how truly complicated love is, but actually how simple it is.

Marriage is hard! It really is! I don't know if anyone told you but sometimes you are going to have to just put your head down and decide to love your spouse where they are at, even if it's not pretty.

After losing a child, your marriage is a little bit more complicated. And then following that, your spouse losing their Mother just one year later... It's even more complicated. You are both on a journey of grief that will at times leave you unrecognizable by any standards you used to know. Add in two small children, one who is three going on 15, and a full time job, full time college...

You are both exhausted, drained, and trying to grasp at anything peaceful and joyful you can. It becomes a fight to find those moments at times... and you find yourself trying to remember... What is romance? How does it fit into all this?

My heart never feels more romanced than when my husband tells me how beautiful I am. Not just the casual 'You look great', but the stop, look into each others eyes and remind each other that you are a beautiful creature. You stop my heart. You give me joy.

And that, once a day, changes me. I know it does because I feel it and I SEE it. My face changes. I look in the mirror and I see myself more beautiful than I did last week, after just a week of this silly process.

And then on the weeks where we get too busy and we forget to stop and remind each other how beautiful we are and how precious we are to one another, I quickly see the retribution. I feel more tired, I get less done, I feel more motivated, and my reflection shows it all. I can't see the beauty in myself.

Women need their spouses to remind them that they are unique, special, beautiful, wanted, loved, needed and above all, accepted.

Men need these things also, but it's less altering for them, I've found, if a day goes by without the same affections. Men need physical touch, more than affirming statements. They need to feel drawn in and loved.

So in reading this, I hope this inspires you a little to pursue your spouse.

Because sometimes I'm only writing to tell myself what to do, but I feel like this can be helpful to more than just myself today. Pursue your spouse.

Tell her she is beautiful, but not just in passing. Stop, hold her, look closely at her and remind her who she is. Do this every day for a week and watch her mood. I promise it will improve.

Lets do this for our spouses and loved ones.
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