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A Life of Love

I have served in youth ministry for a number of years. Last year, I came to a point where I realized that although we will no longer be bringing home any more babies, God has given me more children than I know what to do with. My high schoolers are amazing young people. In a short time I have had the privilege to meet and build relationships with many kids, and I care for each and every one.  One girl in particular was especially close. Mary. Full of spunk and always asking me if I had time to chat after our small group time. Jamey knew that I would never make it back from youth group 'on time' because either she or another girl would share their lives with me and I just loved to listen.  When Gabriel died, Mary pushed me in ways that many adults wouldn't have thought to even try. She constantly challenged my faith and my thinking, sometimes to the point where I would even ask her to just hush for a moment so I could get my thoughts out. She could talk forever, she always m
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A New Way to Celebrate

"But He could have saved my boys.  He could have . I'm so angry He didn't. I'm going to have to work through that with God, and I'm going to need time to do it. This isn't a quick fix, and there is no band-aid big enough to patch this damage. This cut is so deep it's going to take some major reconstructive surgery." I wrote that nearly two years ago. Two years. I wasn't wrong. There has been no quick fix. There was no band-aid. I'm still working through this with God. I still need time. I'll likely be working on this grief until it's my turn to leave this world. What I can  say is the waves have settled a bit; the intensity of the grief not quite so severe. I don't talk about them as much anymore. I no longer desire to go back to the hospital and cradle their cold bodies. We're done having children....even that  thought isn't as painful as it was just a year ago. Sam's birthday is April 30th. Gabriel

Something You Probably Don't Know...

I had a doctor make a promise to me in January of 2018. A promise that now, looking back, I should have known she couldn't keep if it came down to it. Today I got a phone call and a voicemail while out shopping with my kids. We had planned a fun day out and had just gotten started. I clicked the little voicemail icon as the kids tugged on my legs. "Hello, this is your insurance company. We are calling to tell you that a decision has been made on your final appeal. The decision...the decision has been upheld." My heart sank. I sat down on a small bench listening to the entire message as tears began to form. I spoke softly to Mira and Edward, Hey guys, could you sit down next to me for just a moment, please? I need to take a minute.  They didn't notice the tears, but they did manage to sit still while I took a deep breath. In January of 2018, our world stopped when we learned that we would lose yet another child to a fatal prenatal diagnosis. Mere minutes

Even if Not...

I noticed only recently something about myself. Something awful. Something hard. I take so many pictures and videos of my kids. What? That's not awful. Or hard. So let me add this: I take so many pictures and videos of my kids because I fear I won't have enough when the day comes we have to bury them. I hate that. Hate it. I look at their faces as we sing our Happy Birthdays and open presents. I make cute signs and dress them up for the beginning of the school year. And then I click click click all the while, wondering, how hard is this going to be when they're gone? The thought is never an if . It's a when . I hate that. Hate it. I'm not negative, pessimistic, or morbid. I'm typically a joyful optimist. A joyful optimist who has buried two children. A paradox. One that brings me such joy I can hardly contain the love I have for the people in my life. My love goes deeper than I could have ever thought possible... because my loss has g

The Hardest Part

One year ago today I had my very last prenatal checkup. I saw both my maternal-fetal medicine specialist and my ob/gyn. My blood pressure was great. Gabriel was still there and moving. There was no indication that within 24 hours my liver would start to fail. I didn't know that April 13th, 2018 would be the last time I ever saw my baby on an ultrasound. It would be the last time I heard his heartbeat. I didn't know that the next morning a pain would begin. The next day I would meet my sweet little 2-month-old nephew. I wouldn't be able to eat because I just wasn't feeling well. I would stay up late with the pain, sipping water and waiting for it to pass. The next night would be spent in the ER, not knowing we would be meeting Gabriel face to face just 10 hours later. One year ago was the beginning of goodbye to this teeny boy. And I had no idea. Wednesday morning. It's time to get ready to leave. Except it's 3:00am. I keep waking up, worried tha

Heart Shudders

All morning since I opened my eyes my heart keeps fluttering. It feels like tiny doses of adrenaline are being pumped straight inside and causing it to bounce around. This will likely continue for a little while. Gabriel's birthday is next Monday. Our baby boy. One year old. I should have pictures of him at 3 months smiling. 6 months eating solids. 9 months crawling. He should be almost walking by now, trying to chase after his big sister and brother. Instead, he is dust. Inside a box that collects dust. So much dust. My heart shudders because it has a longing to be with him; with all four of them. Caught in a battle of beating and wanting to stop. Stuck in the in-between. So I feel the fluttering. I think of all the ways I 'could' or 'should' honor him at this one year anniversary. I compare myself with other loss moms who do such beautiful remembrances; those who have words of honey to describe their journey. Mine have been bitter and resentful. Mine have

Just a Little More Time

I can only think of one word to describe how I feel right now. Agony . On May 1st, 2018 I wrote in a notebook: A new month. I feel like the boys are gone with April and I have another year until I can really grieve again. My body must have been waiting. Tomorrow is April 1st and I feel it all. I haven't cried in months. I talk about the boys regularly and I do not cry for them or for me. I surprise myself in the way I tell their story, our story, without my eyes even welling. I cried for the first time today in a very long time. I hid my face from Jamey, not wanting him to see the deep sorrow I feel. I want to pretend it's not there. That I'm not sad. I don't want to cry for my boys. My body fights me on this and forces me to feel every feeling. I'm afraid the feelings will swallow me whole. And some days I'd be fine if they did. I don't know what I want. I want to be near to people and I want nothing to do with them. I want to be coddled and hel