Tag Archives: child loss

Thoughts on Lizy & National Poetry month – Days 19, 20, & 22

Day 21 will come later. I got behind- like way behind. April is like that, with all that April holds. It’s kind of a huge ball of emotion just bouncing along and you never quite know when it’s going to slam into you – and it does, several times.  So, a little about our April before I get to the poems.

It’s been 7 years. Seven years since we made the choice to turn off the machine and let our sweet girl drift into endless sleep. Seven years that sometimes feel like less than seven days. Seven years that have been weirdly normal and painfully different at the same time. Seven years of yearning, seven years of hoping, seven years of growing, seven years of healing. Seven years of our family growing closer together, talking, sharing, learning to cope with and do hard things. Seven years of noticing every pink sunrise, sunset, flower, and tree. The joy has outweighed the sorrow. We know we will see her again someday, though the waiting feels painfully long at times and I wish I could hurry to my end of days (but not miss anything with my other kids- I love and cherish them so).

Healing has happened – like thick scar tissue, it never goes away, but the wound is no longer gaping open with continuous heart rending pain. Now it twinges and grows tight from time to time, but it is always there, a reminder of lessons learned, faith, hope, and testimonies grown. We try to be open and share in the hope our journey helps others who find themselves on similar unfortunate paths.

We have found wonderful ways to keep her memory alive and celebrate her, but I think that deserves it’s own post, so I will write about that soon. I am grateful for these seven years. I am grateful for what I have learned and how close my family has grown to each other and to God.

Now, on to the poems.  I’m far enough behind that I’m not catching up in order, I’m doing what comes to me easiest first. So here you go:

Day #19

Our challenge was to write a Rhyme Royal – a kind of septet. You can read about the rules HERE.

Majestic Paths

by Julia Wagner

Wind, sing me a song through forests of leaves.
Brook, tell me the story of each round stone.
Scent of earth, around me your magic weaves
As I ascend your noble mountain throne.
My soul quickens at each new glory shown-
I yearn to discover your secret parts
And sear your majesty into my heart.

Day #20

Our challenge was to write an acrostic – probably one of the more common poem forms. You can get details HERE. Being so close to Lizy’s birthday, she wound up being the subject of this one.

Angel

by Julia Wagner

Anxious, I await our reunion
Night after night until
Gravity no longer tethers me
Earthbound – at
Last I will hold you once more.

Day #22

I will come back to day 21 later- I want to take some time with that one. So I jumped to day 22 the If-you-were poem form. You can get details on this fun little poem HERE.

Stream of Consciousness

by Julia Wagner

If you were a paper
and I were a pen
I’d write my love upon
your heart again and again.

*PLEASE REMEMBER ~ any poetry found on this blog, written by me, is my personal property and may not be used without my permission, other than sharing it as an example in a lesson or to read it to someone.

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Filed under Child loss, Grief, Lizy, Poetry, Religion

Toenails & Testimonies

We have had a long journey since our Lizy passed away and one of the biggest parts of that journey has been finding positive ways to celebrate her & keep her memory alive and a part of our family.

The year after Lizy died, one of the sweet young women in our ward (congegregation) wanted to help us organize a memorial for her. As we tried to decide on what we could do in her memory we thought back to when our son, Jacob, was born – he has a congenital heart defect and had open heart surgery at two weeks old. We received so many wonderful blessings during that experience – one of which was a beautiful fleece baby blanket that had been donated to the hospital. So, to give back we began making fleece baby blankets to donate to the children’s hospital. Lizy loved participating in that. She loved doing what she could to help others – when she was eight or nine she decided to have a lemonade stand and donate all the proceeds to the Children’s Heart Foundation in honor of her heart hero brother – she earned $75 from that little lemonade stand – and the lemonade was only 25 cents a cup, lol.

It seemed appropriate that we make fleece blankets to donate in her memory. Instead of donating them to a hospital though, we donate them to Fernside, a child grief support center. They give them to kids when they go to the one-time summer camp. A special hug and comfort during the hard days. We have been so blessed by the help our family has received at Fernside and this seemed the perfect way to not only give back, but to help other kids who are struggling with loss.

So, this Sunday, on Lizy’s 19th birthday, we are having our annual Toenails and Testimonies. (Why toenails – well – if you scroll back to some posts from around 2012 you will see why – or you can always ask me if you really want to know – but this post is already verging on long as it is).  A chance to remember her, celebrate her and work on something that will bring peace and comfort to others. That’s what she would have done – and I know that’s what she wants us to do. Create happiness.

I miss her every. single. day.

And I am grateful that she is part of our family. Every. single. day.

if you are interested in attending toenails and testimonies and need more information, you may contact me privately.

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Filed under Child loss, Family, Grief, Lizy, Memory, Miracles

A Chocolate Moment

Today I went to the dentist for the first time in a long time.

I mean a really, really long time…

Like over three years.

I had all sorts of excuses – some rather valid – after all it’s been a wild three years. My biggest hangup is that I hate finding new dentists and it takes me forever – toss in some of the life changing events we had going on and well…. yeah. No dentist.

Anyway, I had to find a new dentist for the kids and so I went with a highly recommended general dentist who was very close to our home, which also meant no more excuses for me.

Anyway, this post isn’t really about the dentist, it’s about the dreaded question.

It’s a typical everyday question and was never dreaded before. But now every time I’m asked,

“How many kids do you have?”

It gives me pause.

There’s just no good way to answer that question. Take today for example.

It was my first trip to the dentist and they know I’ll be bringing my family. So, they ask how many kids. Since I only have 5 who are coming I simply say five and push away the twinge that always hits my heart when I say that number.

Sometimes it’s simple and it ends there, but not today, because I didn’t think about the questions that would naturally come by the dental hygenist.

It went something like this.

“Wow, five kids, that’s a lot, I only have..” and we have some pleasant discussion and she asks the ages, which I rattle off without a problem. Then comes, “How many of each?”

Now I have to pause. Saying three of each comes out so naturally, but I said I only had five kids. Now what do I do? I manage to get out two girls and three boys feeling totally awkward. Of course, she can’t tell and jokes about my pause about needing to think about it, and I joke back inwardly cringing because I feel like I’m lying.

Then she has to take x-rays and has to ask if I’m pregnant or trying to become pregnant. My response was somewhere along the lines of, “Heck no!” lol.

Then she, of course says. “Not going for that sixth one?” In a very friendly joking way. Which would be fine except that… well…

exactly.

It’s too late to explain at this particular moment, all I would do is succeed in making her feel awful and insensitive, and there’s no way she would have known because I didn’t say anything. And now I feel like I completely deceived this woman and there’s this awkwardness that only I can feel. And I know when I bring the kids in, one of them is going to mention Lizy and I’ll have to explain and then I am sure she’ll feel awful and then I’ll feel awful and I should have just said 6 in the first place.

And then I drive home feeling like Peter who denied the Christ three times because I basically just denied the existence of my oldest child.

ugh.

Ugh.

UGH.

The one thing that this has taught me is that, I really, really hate saying I have only five children. I have six children. Lizy was with us almost thirteen years. It just feels weird to me to say five. I feel like I am trying to pretend she wasn’t part of our family. Or that my heart doesn’t ache. Or that I don’t miss her terribly.

So, from now on the answer is always and forever six. The awkward of saying one is an angel is far better than the awkward of today’s experience. Though that awkward was only felt by me. But it’s not worth the guilt and emotional distress to me.

And that, dear friends, was my very weird and awkward morning and first trip to the dentist in years. Sigh. Perhaps it will all straighten itself out in the future, but I kind of dread going back and taking the kids, lol. Which is silly, honestly. In the meantime there is some chocolate sitting on the desk with my name on it.

Yay for chocolate, it is essential to grief survival.

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Re-learning Family Singing Time

The other day Dot and I were off on a Mother/Daughter date, which involved a little shopping, yummy food, and lots of talking. At one point, as we were pulling into a parking lot, Dot glanced at me and said, “Mom, we haven’t been doing very much music at home since Lizy passed away. I miss it.”

I hadn’t really thought about it until she said something, but she was right. Something that had been such a standard in the home had slowly drifted away. I thought of the times – at least a couple times a week – we’d gather around the piano. I’d play, they’d sing or get out the rhythm instruments and make a grand ruckus.

We had tried a few times since Lizy passed away. The first time was a half-hearted effort reminiscent of the sad little scene in “The Sound of Music” where the children are sad that Maria left and they all drift off. It was kinda like that, but without anyone to rally us together.

It seemed like each effort of family singing time ended with girls crying into my shoulders and boys staring wistfully out windows. So, they slipped away.

Until Dot said something. I knew Lizy would be bummed that we weren’t singing like we used to. Heck, I was bummed.

So, today I decided we’d sing around the piano. It had been a while. Maybe it would be easier.

Well, I can’t exactly say we didn’t end in tears, and I can’t exactly say it didn’t put me into a bit of a blue funk, but I can say I thoroughly enjoyed it, and it was just a little easier.

I decided that memories are packed into music so tightly that for our family there is nothing that gets those memories and tears flowing like it. It doesn’t do any good to avoid Lizy’s favorite songs, because inadvertently I stumble across a song that I can just hear her singing in my head along with the girls. That happened today. It was wonderful and heartbreaking all at once.

It’s been over a year. I like to think we’re doing pretty good. But to say it still doesn’t hurt would be a lie. There are still many days where my heart feels like lead no matter how much fun we’re having, how much we’re laughing, how many adventures we go on. It’s just heavy beneath it all.

I don’t say that to whine. But I know so many people expect to “be better” or “back to normal” in a certain time frame, and there just isn’t a time frame on grief. Even after you have invited it to leave and thought you locked the door, it comes back for lengthy stays.

So, what is my point with all this and our music experience today?

Well, it was hard, it was really hard. Especially singing “Holding Hands Around the World” a song the girls sang in primary some years ago – Lizy would belt that song out like no other and I didn’t remember until we were all singing the song and I half-expected/half-heard her singing with us and I could hardly see the music, let alone sing.

But we do hard things. And, as hard as it was – as much as I wanted to erase the pain as I held a sobbing girl in my arms at the end – it was wonderful and it felt good and it was easier than the last time (we actually lasted close to an hour before the tears hit).  So, I can only hope that each time gets a little easier and soon the memories will bring more smiles than tears.

Healing takes time. A lot of time. More than I ever would have thought being on the outside looking in, goodness – more than I thought being on the inside too.  But it will come. And the reason it comes is because we have hope and faith in Jesus Christ and His atonement. That’s what keeps us going. Every day. He makes it possible to get through the heartbreak and do the hard things. He lifts us and carries us on when can’t possibly take another step. I have a testimony of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and His atonement. I have a testimony of His, and our Heavenly Father’s, great love for us. I have felt it. It has buoyed me up when I thought I would drown. I have watched my children with their sweet perfect faith feel his love and share it with me. He is always there, loving, waiting, and hoping we will turn to Him. I love my Savior and  my Heavenly Father, and I know that someday because of all that Christ did for us, I will see Lizy again because our family is eternal.

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Filed under Child loss, Music, Religion

What to say to someone who is grieving

The other day I walked into my bedroom and saw my husband lying on the bed reading my Dad’s book. He closed it and set it aside as I perched on the edge of the bed. I picked it up and ran a hand over the coarse cover.

“I can hear Dad’s voice in my head as I read this,” I said. Sudden emotion took me by surprise. That’s when I realized that since Dad passed away only 2 months after Lizy passed away I never really took the time to grieve or cry for him. I suppose it had to hit some time.

That experience had me thinking about grief. It wasn’t too long ago that I was one of the many who had no clue what to say to someone who had lost a loved one – especially someone who had lost a child. I often wonder with a little horror if I said one of those well-meant phrases that we (those grieving) never want to hear. I probably did – and I am grateful for friends who were patient with me and forgave my unintentional insensitivity.

Truth is that unless you have gone through a similar experience, you really don’t know – what to say or do – unless someone tells you. So, I thought I would share some insight on what those of us who have lost children (and other loved ones) do and don’t want to hear.

What we don’t want:

We don’t want to hear that she is in a better place. If we believe in Heaven – we already know with our minds that is true, if we don’t believe in Heaven I imagine it’s just an insult (I wouldn’t really know – I believe in Heaven). But our hearts rule our minds and every time I heard that phrase I thought, “I am sure Heaven is wonderful, but what better place can there be for a child than in her mother’s & father’s arms.”

We don’t want to hear that it was God’s plan, He needed her for a special work, it was his will, etc – all these things are things that most of us know or believe – we don’t really need to hear it – we are struggling with so many emotions – All the knowledge in the world of where we go after death and that families are eternal and that we’ll see our loved one again may give us plenty of hope, but it will not erase the emotions we go through and the act of missing that loved one. We know that she is doing a very special work and that it was His will she go home to Him… we still miss her lots.

Don’t tell us you know what we feel – unless you have been there – experienced the same kind of loss we have experienced.

Don’t ask what we need – we don’t know, really – our brains are a muddled mess. Simply think of a task and offer to do it. I was so relieved when a friend simply asked, “do you want me to make up the funeral programs.” Another friend simply saw the lawn growing long and began to mow it. Many others saw the disastrous state of my laundry and jumped in. I am grateful for those who asked if they could help – I just couldn’t think enough to reply with a coherent answer. (I still have a scattered & muddled brain sometimes and it’s been 10 months now…)

Don’t give us a timeline on grief – it’s different for everyone and comes and goes.

What we (I) want to hear – I’ll do this in I form – some may feel differently than me, everyone grieves differently….

I want to hear her name. It lets me know you remember her.

I want to hear memories – rather than saying she’s in a better place, tell me you remember her smile, or the way her eyes shined, or the sound of her giggle. I might tear up a little, but I’ll be able to remember too and she’ll feel closer.

A hug says more than words, every time. And it’s ok for you to cry too – it means you loved them too.

I’m sorry for your loss – that’s an ok one to say – especially if accompanied with a memory or a hug.

I love to hear experiences people have had that involve her – in life & in death. If she has touched your life in some way, let us know – especially if you were touched in some way after she passed – it reminds me that good things can come out of tragedy.

I want to know she is remembered and loved by others than just her family.

Be willing to listen and be patient if it seems all we can do is talk about our loved one – we miss them and want to remember them – talking about them is one of the only ways we have to truly feel close to them and like we’re not forgetting them.

I have a good friend who asks me questions about her – things she liked to do, eat, read – I love that. I love that someone wants to know more about one of the most amazing people I ever knew.

Also, don’t be afraid to just talk to us – we are still us and enjoy talking – about anything – Lizy or other. 🙂

I think that is my main list. I don’t know if it’s true for everyone who grieves. It’s true for me, and I believe others feel the same away by at least some of these. When in doubt of what to say, don’t say anything – just give them a hug and let them know you care.  If you have said one of the don’ts in the list – it’s ok – we know it was meant with the best of intentions, we just want to let you know for the future.

I believe in God. I know families can be together forever. I don’t mind hearing sentiments about her mission in Heaven – really I don’t – but more than any of those, I love to know that she is remembered. I can hear those sentiments much easier now than I could 10 months ago, though at times it is still difficult.

I have to remind my self often that if Jesus Christ wept for Lazurus, I can weep for my daughter – and my father and that there is nothing wrong with missing them.

It’s not self pity.

It’s not a lack of faith.

Grief is simply proof that we loved someone with all our hearts.

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Refreshed

I feel refreshed.

This weekend was WONDERFUL.

I’ll write more and post more photos, but for now I’m just going to ramble about how wonderful it was to get away.

The thing with loosing a child is that there is a constant reminder.

You can’t get away from it.

I’m a Mom – that’s my job. It’s the best job in the world. I LOVE being a mom.

I’m a Mom(and wife of course) first and a piano teacher, writer and anything else second.

I go to work in the morning by opening my eyes.

My family is my most wonderful work and there’s someone missing. Not a second goes by where she isn’t in my thoughts and hardly a second goes by where I don’t miss her and notice her absence. She is a part of us. I saw that adorable face every day – more hours than not – for almost 14 years and all of a sudden that adorable face is no longer there.

There’s no distraction from that.

I can’t throw myself into my work as a distraction – my family is my work. SHE is my work.

I can’t throw myself into some fantastic hobby as a distraction – how can I possibly neglect the rest of my amazing family, and my husband? They are my work too.

There’s no easy or simple answer and it’s an uphill battle. And not only do I have to figure out how to deal with my grief and my emotions, but those of my children – and be considerate of my husband.

I found myself craving more and more a chance to get away. A break from life. Something where for the first time in 10 months I could focus on me.

That probably sounds horribly selfish.

But, as a mom we rarely focus on what we want – and that’s as it should be. Our focus is on the children and their emotions and needs. Oh, there are times and moments in the day when we get away and get to focus on ourselves, but not often and not long.  The idea of an escape from the pressures of life sounded wonderful.

And impossible.

But then I realized it may not be so impossible and due to some wonderful caring friends it happened sooner than I ever expected, but I think at the time it was most needed.

I felt like I was crumbling. Barely able to hang on to my sanity and process my own emotions, let alone help five children grapple with theirs. And I felt so very tired – if you recall my tired post. 🙂

This little get away was just the thing to rejuvenate me. For the first time in my life I took a 2 hour long bath! I just relaxed and watched a chick-flick while I soaked. I’ve never been SO self-indulgent. And, because I was away from home with no responsibilities for the weekend, I didn’t feel guilty about it!

For the first time in 10 months (and longer, really) I completely relaxed. It was wonderful having no demands on my time and being able to do the things we (my husband and I) wanted to do.  We were definitely ready to come home and get back into routine, but the break was so wonderful.

Missing Lizy was lessened a bit. Since we were missing (and maybe even not missing, lol) all our kids, it wasn’t so heavy on our hearts.

For the first time since the accident, Paul and I had time to sit down and really talk about it all. What happened, how it happened, how we felt, what we’re feeling now. It was wonderful. It drew us closer together and I think I burned through an entire box of kleenex. And that evening as we drove through the foothills of the smokey mountains, the sunset turned them pink and I had to smile at our little Lizy gift.

And how do I feel today, now that I am home and back into the every day routine of things?

I feel more calm and at peace with things than I have felt in a long, long time.

I feel refreshed, rejuvenated, and renewed.

I feel like I’m ready to tackle real life head on.

It feels good.

It’s been a long time since I have felt this way.

I feel like I have a little of me back – my old self.

And that feels good.

I still miss her dreadfully, the pain is still there.

But, I feel like since I took a break this weekend, I am more able to face it, handle it, cope with it.

While I was away I took it for a stroll and let it be my companion for an hour or so while I talked with Paul.

Now, I feel like it can be put away a little while so I can focus on my many other responsibilities. It’s still there – always will be. But at least for the moment I have a grip on things and don’t feel quite so tired. 😀

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Filed under Child loss, Family, Parenting

Tired

I have come to the realization that I am tired. Exhausted. WORN OUT. Mainly emotionally. I started thinking of all the things I am tired of and making a list. These are things people in my situation think about day in and day out. I don’t want to offend or make anyone back off – you’ll notice there are many opposites such as wanting to be left alone, not wanting to be left alone, etc. I don’t know if I will share it – maybe someone else will be able to relate and realize others go through this, etc.

I am tired of….

crying

this empty ache that will never completely go away

of trying to figure out how to answer people when they ask how many kids we have  – she was part of our lives for 12 years, we can’t just pretend we have 5 kids, but then things get awkward when they ask ages and such.

of feeling like being happy is an effort

of reminding myself to smile – it used to come so naturally

of feeling inadaquate to the task at hand of helping my dear sweet children cope with losing a sister

of never knowing when grief will sabotage me and push me to tears

being this person

not being the person I used to be

being the example

being the friend who lost her  daughter

having red eyes

looking tired

hoping someone says her name

people being afraid to say her name or talk about her

conversations becoming awkward when they realize who we are/we have a daughter who died

feeling like everyone else has moved on with their lives and I’m stuck

wishing there was a pause button so I could deal with this nice and tidy before moving on

trying to respond to cliched (though very well meant) comments

craving her laugh, her smile, her hugs

empty arms

having to snuggle with her blanket to feel close to her

sleepless/fitful nights

not being focused

the pitiful looks that come my way

staring into space

not being able to cry when I feel like I am about to burst

family time being so hard sometimes

having to visit a cemetary

needing/wanting to visit the cemetary

going home to 1 less child and 5 who desperately need me to be brave and keep it together

being reminded of my tragedy

being afraid I will somehow forget all the details of her life, her face, her smile, her walk

being afraid that others will forget

of having to write out my thoughts and feelings in order to release

of having to rely on others

being miserable

living moment to moment

trying to keep busy

looking at kids her age and trying not to cry

having to switch stations on the radio

not being able to watch my favorite movies – or crying my way through them

just trying to make it through the day

wanting to sleep until this goes away

being restless

worrying about future events – reminding myself that I need to let my children be children and not over protect them

watching my loved ones suffer

dreading going to bed at night for fear of the morning

dreading waking up in the morning

not having my normal spunk

not wanting to go to places that remind me

feeling sorrow

having to talk about this for a release

my nervous energy

pacing

feeling cut off

crying when I am alone

avoiding human contact

wanting to hide

feeling guilty (most of the time I can shove it aside, but it is still there)

cloudy and rainy days making me sad

the 7th of the month

feeling this

thinking about this knowing this

trying to make my heart understand

my brain understanding this

losing time to this

wanting to be alone

wanting to be around people

not knowing what I want or how I feel

needing support

wanting to talk

feeling lethargic

wanting to talk about it

not wanting to talk about it

nerves

my nervous habits

being the one who will make a difference

having to give myself permission to be happy

holding my sobbing children trying to find the right words

not being able to find the right words

of being brave

of being an inspiration

replaying events in my mind

not knowing how to help my children/husband

defending my grief – as in it’s normal, not a lack of faith, I’m not self pitying, I just miss her,  etc.

feeling scatterbrained and disorganized

forgetting things

 
of being tired

Now, with all that being said – the crazy thoughts in my head. Those are just things I’m tired of – I don’t feel them all, all the time, they change faster than the Cincinnati weather and my 12-and-a-half-year-old daughter’s moods. I like to think I’m managing to hold my fraying ends together, but  if I seem a little spacey the above might be why. If you have a loved one or friend going through a loss, be patient with them, we appreciate it. 🙂

Lastly, even with this being so incredibly hard, I think often on Joseph Smith and what Heavenly Father told him as he struggled – and he faced things far beyond any that my family has:

“And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.”  (Doctrine & Covenants 122:7)

That’s why we’re here. No matter how hard. We’re here for the experiences. To learn and to grow. To be stretched. To learn to have faith even when we feel faithless or can’t understand why things have to happen the way they do. All these experiences can be for our good if we let them.

And though at times I wonder how on earth I can possibly survive this, how I can muddle my way through with my family intact, I know that we are here for this purpose. We can let this build us and make us stronger. Sometimes it can be hard to see how any of this is for our good, but so much good has come about in  the months after, Lizy has made such a wonderful difference in the lives of others both in life and in death.  No matter how it hurts, there is good in it somewhere and we’ll be together again for all of eternity.

I know Heavenly Father loves me and gives me the strength I need to get through all the tired.

Now……

time to go do all those things I’m tired of! 🙂

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Filed under Child loss, Lizy, Philosophy, Religion

A Perfectly Imperfect Christmas

I woke up Christmas Eve morning, my entire body feeling heavy, like it was difficult to breathe.  My heart felt like it was  broken and trying to pump lead . Some days over the past months are easier than others and that day, it just plain hurt. It had been building over the weekend. The family had been fighting more and I found myself wishing that things could just be easy, for a few minutes if nothing else. In a spot in life where remembering to be happy and to smile can be hard, some days, I just wish for easy. I sat in the bathroom sobbing. All I wanted was to have everything back to how it had been before Lizy died. Sure, life would be far from perfect, but it wouldn’t be impossible.

But, it was Christmas Eve day and dinner had to be made and all the other preparations and I couldn’t let my family down. I struggled through the day. We all did. I think we fought more than we ever had. I cried more than I ever have. Everything felt broken. Nothing seemed to work right. And I caught myself thinking numerous times, “How can we hope to be an eternal family and see Lizy again, if we can’t make it through a few hours without a major fight.” I sobbed, I pounded on my husband’s chest and soaked his shirt with helpless tears and no clue how to fix everything that was broken, because it wasn’t the kind of broken that could be fixed with some duct tape or crazy glue.

I pulled my self together for the fifth or sixth time that day, smeared my tears away and ran a last minute trip to the store, trying to collect myself, knowing that when I got back our adopted grandparents would be there and the festivities would begin. I cried some more in the car and hoped my eyes didn’t look too red. I tried my best to wish the cashier a cheery “Merry Christmas.” I don’t know if I was convincing or not.

Sure enough, as I arrived at the house they were there. I walked in and my heart lightened. It was Christmas Eve. It would be perfect, and even though we couldn’t see her, I knew Lizy would be there.

We ate dinner and acted out the nativity – the kids insisted on Lizy being the angel and we draped the white lab coat (angel costume) around her picture. We made it through, I laughed and had fun – the kids were so cute in their costume and we felt the spirit and Lizy’s presence. Santa came and brought pjs and we tucked the kids into bed.

We spent the next couple hours cleaning up and getting ready for Christmas morning and then, as I stood there and looked at the fully packed stockings and Lizy’s rather lacking one the tears hit again and all the missing came back.

I cried myself to sleep.

I awoke on Christmas in a post-cry haze to the sound of the girls whispering excitedly. The day progressed remarkably smoothe – I was wrapped up in the joy of the children. I didn’t mind the crazyness and the mess. There were a few tense moments,fights and one rather large explosion at one point, but I managed to hold it together some what.

Evening came and we sent the kids off to bed and I stood staring at the fireplace mantel where all the stockings, now empty, hung. All but one. Lizy’s sat on the hearth still waiting to be opened. We brought the kids back down and sat on the floor by the tree. I shook out her stocking and paper after paper tumbled out. Paul and I began to read – our Christmas gifts to Lizy. Most were acts of service or kindness carried out by our family, but some were by others – even a neighbor down the street had dropped some by. We read, and read and read. Often times our voices cracking with emotion.

As we finished, Emily climbed, sobbing, into my lap. “I can’t believe all the service that was done for her.” She choked out. We cried together, all of us – Dot and Dad, Jacob, Em, James, and I. Robert looked on in bewildered 2-year-old innocence. As the tears dried I looked at the family. I knew Lizy was there too. It was perfect – a perfectly imperfect Christmas. And for that one little moment I caught a glimpse of heaven. A glimpse of what it’s all about.

We might fight, we might argue, but we also love. We love deeply and eternally.   Our dear sweet kids have struggled and strived and done hard things – some of the hardest things they may ever have to do. My husband has been my solid rock. My littlest boys have been some of my greatest comfort. Last night as I glanced around at the messy house and the toys and wrappings scattered about all I could remember was the happiness of the day, the gratitude in my heart, and the joy that I had a family and friends who cared so much that they filled Lizy’s stocking with service that took us well over thirty minutes to get through. And that time when I cried, it wasn’t so much tears of sadness and missing Lizy, as it was an overwhelming feeling of gratitude.

I knew Lizy was thrilled and I knew that no matter how hard, how much we fought, how impossible it all felt and seemed, that we would make it through – we’ll have a lot more rough patches to still make it through – but we’ll get there one way or another. I’ll fight for it, our family will fight for it, and we might mess up big in the process, but that’s what this season is all about. A celebration of the birth of the one person who made it all possible – Jesus Christ.  With His help, and only with His help can we do it, – and we will. I know it.

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Filed under Child loss, Family, Lizy, Parenting, Religion

The One Regret

It’s the 5th. In some ways, the 5th is just as hard as the 7th. I have found that keeping busy on those days helps – it helps a lot.

Sunday Jacob wanted to talk about Lizy. It’s rather rare. He usually doesn’t usually say much about how he feels with everything.

I pulled him onto my lap and we put our foreheads together to have a whispered pow wow.

“Remember when Lizy got hurt and Dorothy was screaming her name?”

I winced. It was me screaming Lizy’s name. With everything happening. With the worry of what Dot saw I didn’t think about how he may not of seen everything but he heard it.

He continued. “And then when they were taking her out on the board, I wanted to say goodbye, but I didn’t get to say goodbye.”

My heart broke. Things happened so fast. We had Dot come to the hospital, but not the other children. Em has expressed regret at not saying goodbye either. They said goodbye at the funeral, but it wasn’t the same.

“I’m so sorry.” I whispered. I didn’t have anything better to say. There are no comforting words to such hurt and regret. I hugged him tight.

“Next time, can I say goodbye?”

I kissed his forehead. “I hope we never, ever, have anything like that happen again, but I promise if it does, I will do everything I possibly can to let you say goodbye.”

I meant it. If there were one thing I could change (besides the obvious) it would be that. The only regret about how it all happened. So fast and my mind not thinking properly. I should have brought them all the hospital.

I hope no one else is ever in a similar situation, especially some one I know – but if you are – let them say goodbye if you can. Please. I wish I had. I can’t change it. I can only pray and talk with them, and try not to be hard on myself, because no one thinks straight in those situations.

I love my family. Every single amazing one of them. I love places like Fernside that help us all be able to talk about things and uncover hidden emotions.  I am grateful everyday for the Atonement. I am grateful that no matter how alone I might feel or how hard things might be, He understands. He is there for me. He weeps with me. Through Him I can see Lizy again and through him myself and my family can find peace and comfort until that glorious day we are reunited.

“And he shall go forth suffering  pain and afflictions and temptations of every kind, and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people. And he will take upon him death that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh,  that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.” – Alma 7:11-12

“Each of us will have our own Fridays – those days when the universe itself seems shattered and the shards of our world lie littered about us in pieces. We all will experience those broken times when it seems we can never be put together again. We will all have our Fridays. But I testify to you in the name of the One who conquered death – Sunday will come. In the darkness of our sorrow, Sunday will come. No matter our desperation, no matter our grief, in this life or the next. Sunday will come.”  – Joseph B. Wirthlin

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Filed under Child loss, Parenting

Dad 100 WCGU #59

This week we received a picture prompt. It reminded me immediately of my Dad (though he would never sit at the edge of a precipice like that). He loved the mountains and spent numerous summers living in lookout towers. He love to hike and instilled that love in his family. This post is dedicated to him.

To read other pieces or to participate, click on the logo. 🙂

Dad

The wind runs it’s tendril fingers through my hair

and presses it’s chilled lips upon my cheeks.

I close my eyes and pretend it’s him,

squeezing me tight and whispering

it’s going to be all right,

that I can make it through another day.

A single tear traces a

cool track down my face

and lands with a soft splotch.

The mountains are synonymous with him.

There was never one without the other.

I stand, dusting grainy dirt from

my jeans.

“Give her a hug for me,” I whisper

and know the words are carried to heaven

on the breeze.

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Filed under Child loss, Memory, Miscellaneous, Nature, Poetry, Writing