THE MISSION

Welcome Mothers, Fathers, Grandmothers, Grandfathers, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, Friends and anyone else who needs an ear...Please come with an open heart.

This is a place for anyone who has felt the loss of a child. Treat this as a communication haven regardless of how or when you felt your loss. My definition of loss: miscarriage at any stage, still birth regardless of week gestation, infant death at any month, and loss of a child even if your child was all grown up. For me they all hold the same root of devestation. None are more profound or more "easily" dealt with than another.

Please cry if you need to.
Please connect with others who are in your same space.
Please email me if you feel led to
Please comment so we know what you need
Please tell your story

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

And our family grows...

WHAT??
NO! I am not pregnant. What on earth would make you think that? (I do have an uninvited cyst on my left ovary - but that is neither here nor there as it is fluid filled and should "wash away" soon)

So - how is our family growing?

A few months ago, DH starting building this.
In our small town (without zoning) questions came at warp speed, "Are you building a tractor port? Oh, is it a sugar house? Gonna put a hot tub in there? (if only that were true!)"

With a broad smile he answered, "It's a chicken house! I'm hatching chicks."

A quick stop at the local W.A.W.W.E (we are what we eat) organic farm had him proudly brandishing a dozen fertalized egges. "And she gave them to me for FREE!" he reported "She also wished me luck."


Fastforward to yesterday as he turned the eggs with pencils so hand oils don't make contact with the eggshells and filled the water making sure it was just the right temperature to compliment the heat from the lamp. I heard a big sigh.

"What's up?"

"Eh- I just don't know if this is working. Probably not. But, no biggie, right? I didn't pay anything for the eggs."

"When are they supposed to hatch?" I asked

"Tomorrow" he said, still rather dejected.

"New Year's babies, huh? Wow - that will be something."

"Maybe"

This morning we came downstairs to the faint sounds of chirps! They are still in the eggs but they'll be here soon. The girls are so excited and DH is out fashioning a temporary living space until the wiring is completed in the "chicken house". Typical of a parent-to-be to not quite be ready for the babes, yes? (UPDATED - TEMPORARY LIVING SPACE COMPLETE!)
Ahhh - now only six months until we have fresh, organic eggs just outside our door! Come on little chickies. Hatch!

BTW - Bear says they'll hatch at 3pm. The Comedian weighed in at "fifty-o-clock". What do you think?

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

JUST A BLUNT REMINDER!

I wouldn't be sad if my good friend Martha won this totally kick-a$$ prize pack for a mere $10 entry. In fact, I'd be overjoyed because it wouldn't even begin to thank her enough for all the time, energy, love, and friendship she has put into promoting Share Southern Vermont.

And - since she is the ONLY one who bought a ticket, then linked to my blog (and earned herself a FREE entry) - the chances are pretty good she shall be ...da winner! The drawing is tomorrow night ya know!

Unless.....YOU decide you want it more. The chip-in widget is still going - seriously ONE ticket and ONE link evens your odds! And here is a refresher of what you could win!

MEMORY MAKING PACKAGE #1
"TRUE LOVE"
Perfect for any couple getting married or currently in wedded bliss without an album to show it!

PICK THIS ALBUM

OR THIS ONE
AND GET ALL THIS TOO!


INCLUDES:
  • 1 set 12x12 pages1 set mini silver abc/123 stickers
  • 1 photo labeling pencil
  • 1 pack natural correction stickers

  • 1 Simple Expressions quote book

  • 1 Neutral Snap Pack

  • 1 Formal Affair Done-With-One

  • 1 Garden Illusions textured paper pack

  • 1 Elegant Sticker strip and 2 peace/love/joy small sticker sheets

  • 1 Pack Elegent Letter Laser Stickersand

  • 1 Complete "Once Upon A Wedding" Album Kit (including idea book)

ALL TOGETHER THESE ITEMS RETAIL FOR OVER $100.00!

And don't worry...If you don't win the grand prize, you might get this totally must have Side-Kick. (my customers used to tell me it was an "accessory" that you feel guilty buying for yourself...well now you don't have to - you might win it!)

See you in the New Year and COME BACK NEXT MONTH FOR AN ALL BABY PRIZE PACK!

Monday, December 29, 2008

My Third World Is Not A Country

"Mom - fairies are real, you know" Bear said to me on a walk this morning. "Hmmm?" I answered. "Oh yes" she continued, "I went to check on my fairy house and all the food is gone. It was sticks and twigs and no-one would want that kind of food unless they were a fairy - so - now I believe."

Heaven and Earth -- The Seen and the Unseen

I talk about them all the time.
I write about them even more consistently.
They permeate my every thought.

I have three daughters: one in heaven, two on earth.

Two Worlds Collide was a working title for my book. A quick google revealed it was also a sci-fi novel and as much as my life experience may feel like science fiction at times, a book on grief and healing with the same name wouldn't really resonate with the literary public.

Regardless, for eight years I have worked to resolve the infinity sized gap between my two worlds. I have searched for earthly objects to represent the spirit form - grasping at their tangibility with my mortal soul, while crying oceans of tears knowing it would take a lifetime - my lifetime - to really narrow that chasm.

Perspective. It all comes down to the way we choose to see the world. This is what I told myself recently.

My two worlds are like a swinging pendulum in constant motion. There are moments, pinpointed seconds in time, when they collide with such force even I, moving in an opposite direction, cannot miss it. Time stops. Peace resides. All is right with both spheres - for a moment, a mere instant - we are a connected family. This I have made peace with. I no longer create questions or make up answers when these miracle moments come. I sit in them. In fact, my longing for them to stretch into forever is most probably what makes them dissapear. I can see them slip away, and feel the struggle return.

This has been my road, my two-laned highway for so long I don't even need to check lanes before passing. But this week, a third lane appeared. It came out of nowhere. It blind-sighted me with such force that I didn't notice in time. I crashed.

On Christmas Eve night I logged in to check my google reader. Ok there's no keeping secrets from you, is there? I logged in to see if Antigone had begun labor yet. And maybe that is why reading of Emilie's death reduced me to a sobbing mess. But if my all-consuming reaction could have been explained away by a diversion of focus, then I should be able to speak of it or even think of her now without tears. I can't.

I cried while asking for prayer at church for her husband, parents and boys.
I cried while writing my previous post regarding her loss.
I cry, now - writing this.

I know Emilie wasn't my third lane, but she represented it. She is the gorgeous spirit who knocked down the divider so I could finally see the world in triplet. Her death revealed how powerful this blogging community is to me. It cleared the fog allowing me to see past a rectangular computer screen and hear more than the clickety-clack of my partially grown nails on the keys. It brought my thirld world into focus - You.

I feel you. I feel the community. Apart from the occasional world tour or a decoration crisis, you have not seen the inside of my house, but you are here. I walk through my days and thoughts of you walk with me- I wonder if Stellan is breathing easier right now. ~ I hope Hope's Mama's non-traditional Christmas dinner is coming out all right ~ Wow! I wonder how many pre-sale copies of Lollipop's book have flown off the virtual shelf already. mingle with my typical (and boring) daily musings, I should get the mail before I go to town because there might be a check to deposit ~ What the heck am I going to feed my family tonight? ~ When will I get to watch the next episode of Brothers and Sisters? (yes Mel - I'm hooked)

Over the past four months you have become part of me. Your families, your tones of voice (or at least the ones I use when reading your words), your struggles and your rejoicing events walk through my days. But it happened so fast. It was like falling in love and not realizing it until a starry night when you looked into his eyes and nearly fell over.

Reading of Emilie's death knocked me over. I'm up. But I feel compelled to make you a promise - Never again will I underestimate the power of what we have. I cannot see you, but you are part of me. You are my third world.

"Bear" I said, crouching down so we were level - eye to eye - "Of course they ate the food. And I want you to know something. As you grow up - never forget - it is so important to believe without seeing."

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Show and Tell - Sunday School Take Two

Twas the Sunday after Christmas and in the Sunday School room..this was our lesson:

We received with gratitude - We gave with love.

The kids drew a picture of their favorite gift and told why they were so grateful for it.
Then, they drew a second picture of the favorite gift they GAVE and told why it felt so good to give it.

Teaching the real meaning of exchanging gifts felt so good - but I didn't get to participate...so here is mine.

Every year, for the last few, I have said, "During the holiday clearance I am going to buy myself a quilted advent calendar - you know the kind that you can countdown to Christmas without consuming chocolate."

Every year, for the last few, I haven't.

This year, my mother surprised me with a hand quilted pocket advent calendar. It is my favorite gift. I received with gratitude.

I don't have a picture of the favorite gift I gave. It was a mini day calendar for a very close friend to celebrate how our relationship has grown and deepened this year. It felt good to recognize our connection. I gave with love.

What is the rest of the class show and telling?

Thursday, December 25, 2008

A Sad Goodbye

I just came from Emilie's blog. She passed away.

Only days ago I was reading her devestatingly calm, heartbreaking last post filled with acceptance that she was going to die, that she would have to say goodbye to her husband and her boys and hello to her maker.

Tears streamed down my face as I read, unable to imagine the overwhelming conflict of emotions that must have existed within her as she typed. I wished I could see her face, if only to get a sense of how she was really feeling and, if it was at all possible, how best to respond with comforting words.

Now, I am weeping. I am crying like I haven't cried in a very long time - in 8 years in fact. I never knew Emilie. To be honest, I only had the blessed privilidge to begin reading and following her blog last month but the devestation within me is so real. The fact that I never met her face to face, is not a factor for the raw, clenching I feel withing my chest.

I remember this feeling, like the world is closing in and nothing you do or no-where you run will allow you to escape from your heartbreak.

My heart is breaking tonight for her husband Stephen and her two young boys.
My heart hurts knowing their road, once made of love and determination is now forever entwined with grief.

Please head over and give some support.

Alternative Christmas Traditions

"Why is she sleeping so late?" I wondered. It was Bear's first Christmas and I was overjoyed with possibility. Yes, she was a baby - 10 months old - to be exact, but still she NEVER slept this late in the morning. Smiling, I shrugged it off as one of those things babies do because it is the last thing you expect.

"I wish there was a red warning button that could alert us when she was going to sleep this long." I said as I rolled over to greet my husband on Christmas morning. Slight panic struck - Is she ok? Did she roll over onto one of her animals and get stuck? Can she breathe? Is she...

I couldn't finish the sentence. This wasn't the first time I was consumed with irrational thought when Bear's sleep patterns, eating habits, or any minute behavior was the slightest bit off her typical schedule. Typically, I washed it off with a cleansing head shake and a peek at the monitor. But today, I couldn't let it go. As I walked into her room and saw her back rise and fall with even breathing, I let my own out. I placed my hand gently on her back and that is when I realized she had a fever.

And - hence... a family tradition was born. Nearly, every holiday one of our children is sick or injured. Seriously-

  • Bear's first Christmas she suffered a fever of 104.5, projectile vomiting, and a trip to the walk-in clinic.
  • Her third Easter she went for an x-ray. We thought she broke her wrist when trying to put on one of those fancy elbow length gloves that accompany the even fancier dress. An untimely twist and fall to the floor left her hurting.*
  • The Comedian's second Thanksgiving she deemed herself done with her crib. We woke to a BANG. She had climbed out and fell - landing directly on her head. Slight concussion and very lethargic the rest of the day.

Those are the big three, but truly - there seems always to be a cold, cough, slight fever or antibiotic on the major holidays.

Today - is no exception. The Comedian woke up CRANKY and warm. Sure enough - 101. She is sleeping right now (since 10am) in hopes that she might make it through the rest of the day with family.

(sigh) - well - at least we are a consistent family.

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND STAY HEALTHY AND SAFE!

* - she acutually had "nursemaid's elbow". DH said there was a loud POP as the doctor put her elbow back in.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Show and Tell - Bushy Tails!

We are covered in feet of snow. Another foot is falling today. Throughout the week, well - you guessed it ALOT MORE SNOW!

Before the white stuff graced us this year our girls collected hundreds of acorns. They spread them, piled them and buried them - "chickmunk helpers" they called themselves. The wagon overflowed with all their hard work!
Well - a sweet little gray squirrel family of four has moved into our playstructure.


He's trying to escape the camera!

Perched next to the yellow crate that is FULL of acorns.

Just Hanging on the bridge!Looking Right at me!!

(Oh - and quick props to my totally amazing husband for building this structure for our girls and -apparently - for the squirrels!)

But- far and away the best part of this day was The Comedian's little chant. Her preschool class, as it happens, adopted the ...wait for it... Gray Squirrel as their class mascot this year.

So, this is what I hear as I'm snapping pictures...

***** GRAY SQUIRREL - GRAY SQUIRREL - SHAKE YOUR BUSHY TAIL

GRAB A NUT BETWEEN YOUR TOES ... WRINKLE UP YOUR LITTLE NOSE

AND.... SHAKE YOUR BUSHY TAIL ****

What is shaking your bushy tail?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Go Tell It In the Sunday School Room...

I clapped three times to get the kids attention. Twelve little faces turned to me as they clapped back, then silence- waiting for what I was about to say.

"Ok! I'm so excited! Today we are going to start talking about our Christmas play. Remind me" I say with a quizzical look on my face, "Why do we celebrate Christmas?"

Our sunday school class hasn't always been this big. A few years ago, we needed one teacher, one room and homemade lesson plans sufficed to teach the message. Families started to hear of our church and now these twelve represent the middle group, pre-k through kindergarten. We have babies and bigger children as well. We have half a dozen teachers who rotate through a catalog-bought curriculum. We host kick-you-know-what Vacation Bible Schools in the summer and faces we have never seen before walk through the door. Boy - have we grown.

"Presents!" they shouted, nearly in unison.

Ok, maybe we haven't grown so much.

They are kids. I know that. For them, the thrill of Christmas is that elusive red-clothed bearded man and the loot he manages to tote around the world in one day. But, their instinctive response got me thinking...Even if "Because it is the day that Jesus was born!" isn't the first response out of their sweet little mouths, then why isn't a close second? Literally, a second behind the ego-induced reaction?

It's not. I can tell you that with certainty, because after I had gone through a series of looks: shocked, confused, dismayed, then determined, I said "Yes. We do give presents on Christmas, but who was born that day?"

Sadly, only a handful -(ok three) - answered without hesitation.

*********
Teach by example, right? What they see, they will do - yes?

Each week for the last two years this is how our Sunday School class begins. A song. It is an original so just make up your own tune - but it is the words that are important.

..."Good Morning - Good Morning - I'm grateful for this morning.
Good Morning - Good Morning - I'm grateful for my class.

Good Morning - Good Morning - We're grateful for this morning.
Good Morning - Good Morning - Bear is grateful for _________"...

We go around the circle and each child fills in the blank, stating what they are grateful for that week.
*******
I have been approaching this holiday season from a completely different emotional and mental place than usual. I am really moved by the "reason for the season" as some say. I get all warm and fuzzy inside just thinking about spending time with family void of any expectations and without a timeline to meet. I took more pleasure than usual this year getting the tree, selecting decorations and chatting with Bear and The Comedian about each one. They wanted to know all about each of Emma's and I told the stories with gratitude that were ready to hear.

Not surprisingly, I'm unconcerned with receiving gifts. "What would you like this year?" is met with a glazed expression. In the past, I might not have known what I wanted, but I wanted something. Actually, what I wanted was for the person to really observe me, listen to what I wasn't saying, think and search for the perfect surprise gift and present it with a flourish. How greedy. How selfish. How NOT what this season is all about. How very much I sounded like the Sunday School kids. The ironic piece is, I got exactly that. Last year, my husband followed each unspoked direction and I was flabbergasted when the perfect laptop appeared under the tree.

I got mine last year, and so this year - something has shifted. And, yeah - I know, saying you really don't care about getting presents is all noble and stuff, but I'm not done. I don't really want to give any either. And this is the part that really baffles me.

I'm NOT bah-humbuging! If you need a review see section 2 - paragraph 1. I am more connected with the spirit than ever. I am living in the moment, taking every experience for what it is even if it isn't the picture I saw in my head. I am satisfied with my daily life. The conflict here is that, I am a giver by nature. I LOVE to give. It feels good to give, to see people's faces light up when they receive. So, why this year is my givemeter equal to my receivemeter?

I have thought and prayed and meditated and ...I just don't know. The best I can come up with is that once you truly feel that you are blessed just by being where you are and surrounded by people who love you, then the other pieces seem less necessary.

That said - I know I can't - just, not buy things for others. (for the record - the kids gifts are wrapped and ready)
Any thoughts?
UPDATE: SOMEWHERE BETWEEN BRINGING COOKIES TO MY CO-WORKERS AND DRIVING HOME IN THE TWINKLING SNOW MY GIVEMETER STARTED TO RISE!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Nearly Wordless Wednesday!



Emma's Ornament - 2008 "A Wish For Peace"

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Reality Versus Fantasy

I sat up in the hospital bed, my swollen belly leading. Wrapping my arms around the protruding bump, I forced myself to breathe deeply - not because of the mild contractions consistently squeeqing me, a gentle hug from the baby within - but in a hyperventillation response to the questions the nurse had just rattled off.

Minutes earlier, she entered the room wearing scrubs, ironically featuring a host of whimsical little angels. Without prelude she began peppering me with questions. “Have you thought about which funeral home you would like to use? We can coordinate with them. Oh, and do you have an idea what day the funeral will be?”

Without awarding me sufficient time to process her words, let alone attempt a response, she kept firing “Do you want to have a full autopsy performed after the delivery? I can arrange a time for pick up and transport to Burlington”. I was stunned, immobile and effectively rendered mute.

The walls closed in, the gaping hole in the floor widened, beckoning me to jump. Why stay here in this world of tragedy and madness where nurses speak of funerals and autopsies? How could I answer or even think about those things. Why did I need to? It wasn’t necessary. I will feel every part of this delivery. I will use my well-practiced breathing techniques to endure unfathomable quantities of pain. My baby will cry when she arrives. She will live. The miracle will blow them all way.

As I existed somewhere between reality and fantasy, my parents and in-laws, informed the staff, “Any further questions about necessary arrangements will be directed to one of us”.

They met with the director of the funeral home, they arranged for the burial service, they picked the casket, and they paid every penny. My mother-in-law graciously donated her pre-owned plot and my mom went to our local children’s shop to find a burial gown. The owner noticing her obvious dismay helped to pick out the perfect gown, a delicate white dress with embroidered red rosebuds. Beneath the handmade quilt Nana had just finished, her burial would be warm, cozy and full of love.

A newly forged team, the four grandparents planned the reception, contacted the priest, and countless other duties I was never told. As a group they came together to make all these decisions and only when I was ready, did they tell me the parts I wanted to know.

*******
"I read your article in the paper and was touched" my postmaster said Friday as I opened the PO box to check the day's mail. "I'm so glad you started a group. Would you be interested in some homemade baby buntings?"

We talked further. She told me how she connected with a group of women online who make these for families after a loss. She's been making them and sending them out to Ohio where they are distributed to hospitals and funeral homes for infant burials. We talked about how parents are often overwhelmed with grief when told their baby is dead, and the idea of making funeral preparations is beyond their ability.

If not for my parents and in-laws, I cannot say what Emma's funeral would have been or when - for that matter. If not for them - who knows if she would have been respected, let alone loved.

MY SINCERE THANKS WITH ABOUNDING GRATITUDE TO PAM FOR MAKING THESE!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Parenting a child in heaven

I said this to my husband the other day. Well, acutally I said - "It feels so good to be parenting ALL our kids this year."

He looked at me like I had just said I would be going skydiving next week - naked.

"What?" I asked.
"Nothing." He replied

But his nothing said plenty. I sat and thought with my meditation music on the headphones.

He has been so on board with the development of this Share group. He volunteered to make the memory boxes and has even been enjoying it. He has listened to me talk about each step and stage of the set up. It was his idea to go as a family this year to pick Emma's ornament. He talks about her more than he has in the last eight years - in public even.

Have I mis-interpreted his emotional involvement in celebrating Emma this year?

I asked him as much. "Yes." He said, with a sweet smile on his face. "I guess you have."

The fact that I didn't break down into tears is a clear indicator of how much I needed to have this conversation with him.

He went on, "This is your project. This is your mission and I support you completely. You have always had a real connection with Emma. You carried her for nine months. You delivered her and you focused on grieving like it was a job. I have my moments, but they are private and not all that often. I'm celebrating you this year."

I stared at him. I wasn't upset. I finally understood. He loves me. He supports me and through this - he honors Emma, his daughter. I get it - at least for us, Cara and Jeremiah - I get it. Long ago I accepted that we grieve differently. I allowed him his road while I walked mine.

But, three months ago, unconsciously, I thought our roads had merged. That we finally walked, hand in hand, while staring up at the sky in unison toward our angel in heaven. I was wrong. That isn't possible, but I was right about the merge in the road.

Three months ago, my road merged with yours - and you get it. When I say, "It feels good to parent Emma this year" - you totally get it.

Thank you.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Show And Tell - An Angel Tree

Christmas arrived three months after Emma died. I still hadn't resurfaced into the world. As many parents of angel children do - I emotionally boycotted the holiday. It was empty, devoid of cheer. I saw no reason to acknowledge the lifetime rituals and traditions ingrained in me. Just glancing at a storefront trampeled my heart with "Baby's First Christmas" onsies. I went inward.


Annually, my affection for Christmas crept back. As we welcomed another child, and then another - it seemed we were committed to celebrating - for who can deny a small child the delights of a first Christmas?


(random side note: Bear's first Christmas she suffered with a fever of 104.5 and threw up all over the floor of our neighbor's house. We came home -immediately)


However, I had one requirement. The holiday must include Emma, just like every other part of my life. My everyday had been permanantely altered by her absence, so this special day must be equally touched by her presence - her spirit.


We began buying Emma an ornament, every year. Some have her name on them - some have the year, but all have angels. Bear and The Comedian come home from school bearing bright primary colored home-made ornaments. I love them and will proudly display all the products of their brilliant little minds for as long as they bless our home.


But, I love the idea of my angel tree. Someday, when Bear is an architect who dabbles in fashion design on the side and The Comedian is hosting her own talk show, making people laugh every day, they will each take a box with them labeled: ornaments.


I will be left with a box too. Emma's Ornaments it will say. It will hold 25 years of angels, each unique, a representation of how her memory integrates into our family as time passes. I will have an Angel Tree.



Our collection - so far. Some are gifts. Some I chose. But, my favorite, by far, is the green angel below this text. J picked it out last year.



What are you showing and telling this week?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Did you Know??? AND Do You Want???

DID YOU KNOW???
  • How much an organization has to PAY to receive the label "Non-Profit"?

  • The Massive quantities of paperwork and red (chicken-before-the-egg) tape one has to endure to do something good in this world?


AND HOW THEIR REQUIREMENTS OF ME - CAN BENEFIT YOU???

Well- I didn't, that is - until yesterday when I sat with my tax advisor, pouring over the TWENTY-EIGHT page application for non-profit status, and I saw stars. With each page, and moddicum of mental energy spent trying to de-code the language in the document -(I swear there IS an English version of Greek!) - my fatigue grew - and then - we reached the LAST PAGE.

"So," my advisor said - clearly as tired as I was - "Sign here, and attach the $300 user fee payment and ..."

(pause here to imagine my mental state...HINT: the stars were shaped more like dollar signs)

I won't bore you with the ever increasing, over-priced start up budget demanded by each state run and government dictated office.

INSTEAD....

I GOT ME AN IDEA!!!
(THIS IS THE PART THAT PUTS STUFF IN YOUR HOT LITTLE HANDS!)

First, please let me indulge in a brief Caratale story...

Once upon a time, a stay at home mother to her second child - as her first was gently nestled in heaven - began a stay at home business. With a love of all things creative, she became a Creative Memories Consultant. For years she reveled in inspiring others to get their pictures out from under dusty beds and create life-long memories for their families. (and - if she's being honest- the product discount was pretty cool too)

To keep a long Caratale short - when this mother was no longer of the stay-at-home variety, she said goodbye to her fairytale classes (but not her customers as they were now friends)! Yet a quick glance in the closet-of-wonders affirmed - PRODUCT still abounded.

"How will I ever use all this?"
She asked herself....

I WON'T! I SHOULDN'T. YOU SHOULD!

So, without further ado - I present to you SHARE SOUTHERN VERMONT'S MEMORY MAKING MONTHLY FUNDRAISER!!!
(don't attempt to say five times quickly or you might go crosseyed!)

OK - Here's the skinny!

-On the second of the month I will announce the prize package
(and they rock - if I do say so myself!) If you don't know about our cause - click, SSV to read about our community outreach for greiving families.

-Each $10 donation equals an entry ticket.

-Enter as many times as you like. You will receive an email confirmation for the number of tickets you hold that month.

-If you prefer to send a check, your donation must be received by the 29th of the month or it will roll over to the next prize pack.

-The drawing will be on the last day of the month, via random selection by either Bear or The Comedian.

-I will upload the video of the winner's number being picked and offer wild congratulations!

Oh, you say, But there are only 19 days in this month. Will you offer a full prize package?

YOU BET! AND...because I am such a sweet girl (and as the drawing will be on New Year's Eve so I'm feeling extra festive) I have included a single item for a second place winner!

THINK GIFTS!

TELL ALL YOUR FRIENDS!

AND

LINK TO THIS PAGE ON YOUR SIDEBAR USING THE PRIZE-PACK PHOTO AND I'LL THROW IN AN EXTRA TICKET FOR YOU!

MEMORY MAKING PACKAGE #1:
"TRUE LOVE"
Perfect for any couple getting married or currently in wedded bliss without an album to show it!

PICK THIS ALBUM




OR THIS ONE

AND GET ALL THIS TOO!




INCLUDES:
1 set 12x12 pages
1 set mini silver abc/123 stickers
1 photo labeling pencil
1 pack natural correction stickers
1 Simple Expressions quote book
1 Neutral Snap Pack
1 Formal Affair Done-With-One
1 Garden Illusions textured paper pack
1 Elegant Sticker strip and 2 peace/love/joy small sticker sheets
1 Pack Elegent Letter Laser Stickers
and 1 Complete "Once Upon A Wedding" Album Kit (including idea book)

ALL TOGETHER THESE ITEMS RETAIL FOR OVER $100.00!

And don't worry...If you don't win the grand prize, you might get this totally must have Side-Kick. (my customers used to tell me it was an "accessory" that you feel guilty buying for yourself...well now you don't have to - you might win it!)


That was ALOT of information. So, in summary:
1. Donate
2. Tell all your friends
3. Link to my blog, then comment that you did to get a free entry
4. Take a quiet moment for all those who are suffering in their grief this holiday season.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Wanna Save The World?

I did - at 14 years old.

The commerical ran all the time. "Give to the Christian Children's Fund. It only costs .60 cents a day to sponser a child- less than the cost of a cup of coffee." A train rambled across tracks bringing with it the 800 number to call. Pictures of gorgeous but pitiful looking children flashed on the screen, one after the other. Sixty sents a day? I have that and I don't even drink coffee.

My parents said no, I couldn't save the world - not yet.

My euphoria became devestation in an instant. I cried for days - sure a child would die because of me.

-----
I seem to have two writing moods lately.

Introspective and Serene... you know - like the way your body feels calm and flowing after a good meditation or yoga class. The way your heart feels settled with an epiphany that sidled up and startled you with its clarity. The, I-have-made-some-kind-of-peace-with-the-cards-I've-been-dealt and the words just flow onto the page, kind of mood.

OR

Sarcastic and Angry ...you know - the return of questions that I know can't be answered and the overwhelming injustice that babies die in the first place - kind of anger mixed with a sarcastic tone representive in phantom posts that only exist in my mind.

I truly thought I was done with the anger. It has blind-sighted me. I think it might be because I read about my friends losing baby after baby. I read about triplets that die, not all together, but one at a time - days apart - so their poor parents have to live the torture in triplet too. I see a picture of a sweet girl that swallowed a tiny button-battery by accident and lays in the ICU. I hear of countless IUI's and IVF's - and more specifically suffer with you during a two week wait - only to feel your devestation ooze through the screen as a teenager down the road cries into a tissue at her guidance counselor's desk.

See? These are the bitter, angry, frustrated thoughts and emotions that flow through me, well - some of the time anyway. The issue is that when the pendulum swings it rockets back to the "all -is-right -with-the-world, guardian angels and blessings and kum-buy-ah-ness" mindset.

It is exhausting. I feel like an over-used tennis ball in a VERY long match.

But, here's the thing. Even the not so lovely emotions feel right. This road I'm on, even when I trip headfirst into a human sized pothole, is definately the road I'm meant to be on. I seem to be living my emotions vicariously through all of you -and sometimes that is ok - a reminder of what the world is facing and varied perspectives attached to the experiences.

But, I have to be careful not to lose myself. Yes - I'm a creature in constant emotional evolution. I don't want to lose that. In the past, this hasn't mattered so much to me. I was. I grew and changed. Then, I was again - but different. That was all about ME. My world has shifted on its axle and it is very much about YOU now (the collective you that is). I guess I'm a human cocktail - but I haven't determined my perfect mixing ratio. 4 parts me and 2 parts you? 3 parts the world and 3 parts instinct? Ah - hell, just pour me over some rocks and drink me straight.

Starting next month, I will be surrounded by a group of grieving women, each with their own story to share, each on their own intimate and personalized journey, and my job will be to support THEM - to take on their pain, let it wash through me and leave it on the conference room floor. I'm not sure I can. I've never been one to leave the world's troubles behind...they just follow me home and sit in the corner waiting for me to attend to them - or, at the very least, insert them into one of my real life issues creating a melodramatic effect.

So - here is my intention. To listen, to lead, and to cry with these women. To support, to guide towards appropriate resources, to hug and smile. And then, to come home and peek in on two sleeping girls who fill my life with reasons not to hold onto other people's anger, sadness, and heartbreaking indignation.

I'll let you know how that goes. I have always wanted to save the world after all.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

What's In A Number?

Eight was the number for me. Eight years into grieving - Emma's eighth birthday on September 8th or 2008, no less.

Something about that infinity shaped digit put a fire under me to act - and now big things are happening.

Share Southern Vermont is real - with offical paperwork- So much so, that I have an invoice to pay for start up fees! I've never been so excited about a bill in my life. It affirms our group!


-The bank account is up and running.

-The article I wrote is coming out in the local papers today, along with a photo of the memory box.
-And, my interview for the newspaper with a larger readership is slated for Thursday.

With this evolution of our idea happening so quickly, I paused to ask myself... Cara, what made Emma's 8th birthday such a turning point? Why did this year speak to you, when others haven't?

Certainly, I don't have answers. I wish I did. I wish I could send each of you grieving and broken mothers a letter on fancy letterhead in cheerful writing that said, "I know this sucks. I know your insides are broken and eating you up with an overwhelming sadness - but 8 years is the mark. Make it there and your smile will turn upside down."

I can't. In fact, my upside down smile isn't really up - it's more angled. Most of the time lately, I host a smirk. It's not snarky, as Nancy would say. But, aware. Aware of the work that Emma is doing. Alert to her presence here, in this house and within me.

I hoarded her for all these years, afraid that if I disengaged for too long or shared her with others, my daughter would somehow become -less mine. My experience, would somehow - become diminished.

I allowed my emotions to mislead me. And somewhere, on that road to eight, the world finally appeared, opened before me saying, "Welcome, to you and Emma. You can keep her with you as you walk forward. You can share her with others as you trudge on in this life. She will never die as you are alive and doing work in her memory."

I am enternally grateful to those who make this possible. Thank you for allowing Emma to work here, to touch lives. I know this will not always be my exlusive mission in life. But for this year, her year - Sept 08-09 - I am devoted to creating opportunities where there were none.

My darling girl - I love you with all my heart. Thank you for speaking so loudly, that even I - couldn't miss it.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Hearing Silence

When you start a business they say it takes five years to get your financial feet under you, to show a resonable profit and to feel like you can predict your market.

When you own a resturant, you can look back at last years numbers for this weekend to gauge how many staff to have on and how much food to prep.

When you author a blog in September and coast into your first holiday season surrounded by others touched by infertility and loss, you have no idea what to expect...so I ask this question without any statistical foundation or past experience to qualify it.

Is is just me or does it seem like the blogosphere at large is slowing down, going inward this time of year? A few weeks ago I could hardly keep up with the daily posts, and those were just the ones coming up on my reader. Now, I can catch up in a brief spell at the keyboard.

The tone of the posts I am reading are somewhat guarded. The world and all it hoopla surrounding Christmas is difficult to miss - blinders only dim the flashing lights of joy and optimism on every rooftop. Are we all feeling conflicted? To celebrate or not to celebrate...is that the question?

And then, there are the every growing group of wonder-women who are hoping for a BFP under their Christmas tree (or in whatever form your gift giving traditions hold). Your TWW nearly coinsiding with the number of days until Christmas only further murkifies (I know - definately not a word) the way you see this red and green world. For you it all comes down to one or two lines.

So, is that why people are more hesitant to put their thoughts and ideas out there - because we have no idea what to say, let alone think, within this socially prescribed blender of holiday cheer?

It could, of course, be as simple as a time crunch: too much to do in too little time. If that is the case, then chaulk this post up to a writer's need to over analyze.

If, however, my ever dramatic intuitive nature is serving me, and you are feeling blue, perheps even falling into a holdiay depression - then please know that this post is for you. Not to cheer you up - I doubt anyone could do that right now, but to let you know that you are missed.

A philosophical question: If a tree falls in the woods and no-one is there to hear it does it make a sound?

We hear you loud and clear. Your melocholy resonates through the silence. Go inward. Be sad. Miss your babies. Wonder about your future. We are all here, waiting, for when you are ready to return to this forum of words, love and support.

A new year, a new start - another chance to jump up and catch your dreams.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Show and Tell - Decorationphobia?

Is that a condition? Probably not researched and proven, but I have it. Let me tell you a brief story...

Once upon a time a young couple dreamed of buying a house. On Christmas Eve 2001, as they dressed for a party, the phone rang. "What? Really? Wow - Thanks" the wife exclaimed as she put the phone back on the cradle. Turning to her husband she said, "We got the house. They accepted our offer, and on Chiristmas Eve. How perfect."

Sweet, huh? Said house is a old farmhouse built in 1868 coming mostly renovated but still complete with some old charm - aka - drafts, a plaster and lathe kitchen without insulation and knob and tube wiring in that entire zone.

Fastforward seven years and I can tell you that all structural and construction related updates have been made! That great contractor hubby of mine made sure of it. He pulled in the bowing barn with cables and erected a new 19 foot beam througout to hold it. He renovated a dusty old hay loft into a totally liveable apartment that I, sometimes, wish I could escape to. He has built outer buildings, landscaped, constructed bridges, and every summer he has the most fertile garden in town.

BUT...

The inside of the house is another story all together. We lived six blissful years amist white walls, with the exeception of a painted room as each child came along. (mostly yellow..I love yellow) I never decorated. I didn't see the need...ok - that's a lie... I didn't know how!

It is NOT my strength. I don't see finish products in my head. I panic, then leave it half done, and that, even I can see - looks worse.

So, please believe me when I tell you that THIS (with an emergency call to my mother - of course - who made a housecall) is HUGE for me. THANKS MOM!



I love it. I want to keep going. I don't know how. (did you know there are TEN ways to swag this sash? Seriously!) Are their monthly meetings for this sort of thing??
Now, finish laughing at the girl who can do anything but decorate and see what everyone else is Show and Telling!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Virtual Baby Shower For Antigone!!

Antigone - I have said before and I say again, I believe you are found. Hence, I have not written your full screen name for a while. (Antigone-Found just doesn't really work, does it?)

In the past months your writing has entranced me into your world. I watched as you processed so much of your realities while contemplating your future. You seem so ready for this baby. Little P is just blessed, to have a driven, dedicated, focused, intelligent, tallented and loving mother. Please enjoy this day as the blogosphere at large celebrates you, the new you, who rose above and shines as a bright example for all who feel, lost.



You and He - A Never Ending Love.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

What hat do I wear today?

"Thank you so much for choosing (this bank) to begin your Share Southern Vermont account. We looking forward to working with you. By the way, what do you do for a living?"

The question hung in the air for a moment. Bear sat next to me, drawing, creating another five year old masterpiece. I looked at her, then back at the employee, "I am..." Again, I hesitated, so she inquired "Are you a stay at home mom?"

"Y-es." I said, clearly unsure, then quickly added, "And, I am a writer."

Saying this outloud has been a gift I haven't given myself this year. The facts all point to it:
  • I spend most of my days on the computer
  • I spend most of those same days with pajama bottoms passing as clothes.
  • Coffee is always close.
  • I'm mentally deprived if a day goes by without some kind of creative writing exercise.
  • I think in opening sentences, segways and smooth retoric
  • I'm not getting paid for any of it
  • Oh, and yes, there is that column I write for Exhale Magazine and that manuscript my agent is selling.

Certainly sounds like the life of a writer, doesn't it? So why can't I just open my mouth and smile as I say, with pride, with affection for what I do, "I am a writer"?

It could be because I have been, because I am so many things. I am a Teacher of the Deaf. I am an Interpreter for the Deaf. I am starting a Share Southern Vermont group. I am an advocate for grieving families. I am a certified Reading Recovery teacher.

But, this year I am not teaching. I am not interpreting. I am home.

I think my inner struggle for labels is because I am home. Inanimate objects call to me. The laundry yells, "I'm still sitting here in the pile. How long would it take you to throw me in the washer?" The dishes squeak, "We are getting dried out. It will take you twice as long if you wait until later." The dust bunnies? I'm not even going to tell you what they say, it's not blogworthy. So, even as my hand hit the keys in a, click - clack - clickity-clack pattern, my guilt for not attending to the other pieces of my life builds.

Last year I taught full time. I wasn't here. The fact that my body wasn't present in my house all day as laundry, dishes and dust mocked me somehow made it easier to walk back into the house and find it in the same state. Now, I close my eyes and envision clean, crisp rooms that are clutter free and smell fresh every second of the day. But (and here is the good part) I do nothing to maintain the blissful status of our home. I mearly walk through each welcoming room to reach, my brand new ergonomic office chair (on my xmas wish list), crack my knuckles (yup - I really do) and breath deep as I look at the Angel Wall.

And then, I work. I write. Hence, I am a writer. But, I am also a mother. A driver of carpools, a packer of lunches. A rescue van when a child is sick at school, a scheduler and executer of doctors appointments. A cooker of dinner and, yes, a cleaner of the house.

Truth time? I often fantasize a world where I function very much like Carrie from Sex and the City. The world is my oyster, although I have no great love for shoes. Regardless, I would write when the perfect mood struck over a cocktail at an unmentionable hour. I would explore new ideas while walking the streets in a contemplative and introspective state. And, of course, the answer would always come, the last line - with just the right witty pun to leave the reader thinking, chewing for hours on my most recent ideas.

Reality time? That's not going to happen.

I am all the things I said and more. And, I am not balanced. I do not strive for balance for I know it only makes me feel more lopsided when I don't achieve it. I am, however, blessed for all my responsibility, for it allows me to grow into who I am becoming, after the loss of my Emma Grace.

It really bit me, this writing bug. It is part of my being now and I know it is the piece I was missing as I set and achieved every goal, then moved on.

This feels good. It feels right, flooding me with motivation, passion and desire to make a difference.

So, just in case you were about to ask...I AM A WRITER.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

EIN = BANK ACCOUNT = UP AND RUNNING!

Have you seen Swordfish? Good movie. Do you remember the last bank scene when Halle Berre walks into the bank victorious? Looking very sheik? And transferrs some nine billion dollars in equal incraments to a number of accounts?

Well, I look nothing like Halle Berre, but I will be strutting into a bank this afternoon to transfer 9 Billion Dollars, um - I mean... open a bank account with the name, Share Southern Vermont, on the checks!

So, it appears the internet is good for more than just checking email, blogging, shopping and uploading cute pics to Sn.ap.fish to keep my scrapbooking addiction alive.

Last night I went the IRS website. (da-da-da-da) And...In a matter of minutes, I had applied online and been granted an EIN. (Employer Identification Number) for our Share Southern Vermont Group. Ok , I don't truly understand why I need it if we won't be having any paid employees..including me, but the bank said it was necessary because I want people to write donation checks to Share, not to me.

So, a few clicks and... wha-laa! We have an EIN. As of this afternnon SSV will have a bank account. And, those of you who sent checks weeks ago will finally be able to balance your checkbooks! Best of all! When the newspaper article comes out, the final line can say something like, "If you wish to donate to this worthy cause, perhaps in memory of a child or in support of a grieving parent, please send a check made out to Share Southern Vermont to ....x address".

Nifty, huh?

What is that they say? Ah yes...this is all coming together. Or, was it - This is going exactly to plan? No, better not say that for the best laid plans and all.

Thanks to all of you who have helped keep the momentum going for this start up effort. The New Year is going to bring much support for hurting parents in our area!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

This Time Of Year

Thanks to all of you for your beautiful words of support as I prepare for next week. I pray I can be articulate IRL without the benefit of a backspace key.

I'm not prepared with Show and Tell this week...so I offer up a "holiday" post.


"This time of year" are four little words that represent pages of emotions and expereiences for us. By us, I mean those of you struggling to get pregnant and those of you who have lost a baby. Or both. We are all united this time of year by the palpable absence of a person from our lives.

Some of us know who we are missing, her hair color, his perfectly formed face, their feet represented for eternity with ink on an upper arm.

Some of us know only that we are missing, someone...anyone... to fill that part of our heart that aches with need.

Regardless of the manner of our longing, we see the holidays through different lenses. Yes, the carols are beautiful and the streets glowing with white lights bring a smile, but there is an edge to our cheer, an awareness deep within that the blissful serenity we once felt on these anticipation filled days is just a cover for what truly matters - the ability to feel complete. When we felt whole, celebrating was easy - but now, when we will never truly be whole again, celebrating takes mental preparation. In the first few years it is a challenge, a task set before us. And even now, eight years after our first holiday season without Emma, I am forced to remind myself, Cara, not everyone sees this the way you do. In fact, not many - when surrounded by sweet treats, wine, cheerful conversation or eggnog, even recall what happened to us, nor do they want to.


"Wow! How your children have grown!" My sister-in-law's mother exclaimed at the Thanksgiving table. Twelve of us sat around the long rectangular table and I beamed, "Yes, they are amazing aren't they?" I replied. "How old are your kids now?" she asked. "Bear is nearly six and The Comedian will be four" And Emma is eight "Thanks for asking" I said.


No. I didn't add Emma in my list of kids, but I wanted to - desperately. But I knew the face that would meet my small four word sentence. In an instant it would have shifted from a light smile matched with responsive nodding to a still face with wide eyes, marked with shock - shock that I was talking about my dead daughter, amazement that I even brought her up.


Why dampen their celebration? I asked myself on Thursday. But why minimize mine? When I said that I was grateful for ALL my children, I meant Emma too. So, I guess the question is which side of the social fence do we want to fall into? It is a choice. We can take the high road and spare others the shock of a non-response, content in the knowledge that we recognize our lost souls. Or, we can say what we mean with pride and love in our hearts, regardless of what our words mean for others.


Thursday, I took the high road, but by default. "Bear is nearly six and The Comedian will be four." I said, and in the briefest of pauses before I could open my mouth and continue, my sister in law opened hers. "Yes." she blurted, most probably aware what I was about to say, "All our kids are in a row. After the New Year they will be 4, 5, 6, and 7." Yes. They are all in a row. I cried from the inside. Emma is 8. They are 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8.


My first daughter. The first grandchild. Always left out. Always forgotten.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Share Update

The phone rang yesterday. The caller ID showed what appeared to be an out of state number. Telemarketer, I thought.

Sometimes life surprises you, doesn't it?

Beep...
"Hi. My name is ...and I am a reporter for the Rutland Herald. We were contacted by Martha about your plan to start a Share group for families who have suffered the loss of a child. I am writing an article for the paper and would like to speak to you to find out more details. Please call me back at....."

I stared at the machine. I didn't pick up, just listened to him speak of our group in such final terms. That was my faith moment. This IS going to happen! NO. This is happening!

I'll spare you the details and the fifty thousand things that instantly appeared on my to-do list. Here are the pertinant facts:
  • I have an interview scheduled for next week.
  • He is bringing a staff photographer

  • I have much prep to do
Oh - and here is the finished prototype of the updated Memory Box. Imagine your baby's picture in that glass frame. Envision being given this to take home and fill with treasures of your child, forever. That is our goal.
If you are able to Share the love, via comment, email, a donation, or just a prayer for all those who are hurting right now, please do.

You can email me at carajer@tds.net for any reason or to request a mailing address.

PS _ THANK YOU MARTHA FOR YOUR DEDICATION TO A CAUSE ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE COUNTRY. FROM THE EAST COAST TO THE WEST, LETS SPREAD THE MESSAGE!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Contest? A New Header? I'm In!

Lord knows...I need a new header. Do you?

If so check out the Fryday contest from MckMama's Blog! She is a full time mama to four youngin's and still is managing to inspire us to create more hype!

For details, click over.

Show and Tell - An Act of Faith

Faith, hope and love - three beautiful emotions and a great song by Point of Grace!

I have faith our fundraising goal will be met by Christmas!
I have great hope that our Share chapter will be up and running and serving many hurting hearts early in the new year.
I have love for so many who support my process:
  • Carol, the Share co-ordinator from Northhampton who took 90 mintues out of her busy life to talk to me and answer all my questions.
  • Martha, my West Coast Publicist (he-he), who felt led to call all the local newspapers in my area and annouce my mission and further request they cover the story. She's also full of great fundraising ideas!

  • Jane, who I met yesterday (IRL) for a book related meeting, but turns out to be an art therapist and wants to volunteer her time to work with the families, yes kids too, who are in our group.
  • My husband, for all his talent and time creating the memory boxes.

  • All who have donated so this dream can become a reality.

And, of course, love for my Emma Grace for working so boldly in this word and moving me to act.

So for Show and Tell I share that ... I took a leap of faith.
I filled out the application. It will be in the mail tomorrow morning.

If you are here from ILCW or new to the blog and have no idea of what I speak - and would like to, there is red text with a link to the original post on my side bar.


Now, full of faith, hope and love...click back over to see what the rest of the class is showing! And yes - Mel, just in case your grading this week: the application was two pages, my essay answers were seven!

Friday, November 21, 2008

The First Snow

It’s happening. The first snow. Isn’t it funny, that the first of anything is gorgeous, beauty without measure?

The first kick within our womb
The first steps before they take over our world
The first day of Kindergarten
The first recital
The first time you drive a new car
The first kiss
The first success
Their first real love

For me, it’s the first snow. It’s stunning. The snowflakes flip and swirl, landing on the ground with near intention. I can still see the grass, playing peek-a-book under the thin blanket of white. A funnel of perfection, for each flake has a personality all its own. Each is designed independent of the others. One hits my window and I see its angles, it’s pattern and take solace in knowing that it has many brothers and sisters, but none just like it.

Are there identical twins in a snowstorm? I don’t know. But I love knowing that Bear and The Comedian are here, in my arms, in my life, and in my lap as we watch a movie for the twentieth time. And yet, it is overwhelmingly comforting to know that Emma was not them, is not them, and could never be her sisters. And therefore, I cannot torture myself by looking for her in their reflections, actions or words.

They are sisters, born of the same snowstorm, but never the same. They carry their own designs, their own patterns and always will. I don’t know Emma’s design, her hair color, her eye color, or her whims and idiosyncrasies – but I know not to look here, in this world for them. Instead, I feel her. I allow her to exist in my heart and soul. I let her lead me in my actions. Emma designs my purpose.

The first snow is like my first child; peaceful, calm, quiet and soft. Stunning in her perfection.
(For a perfect demonstration of an "opposite sister design", click HERE)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Nails and Dremels (WITH UPDATE)

It is entirely possible I am referring to, Nails and Dremels. I mean, my husband is a contractor after all. And he has both in his workshop.

The sad news is I am actually referring to this kind of nail. (I searched for actual pics of an ingrown toenail but they all grossed me out too much and I have one!)

I have dealt with the pain and frustration of closed toed shoes and occasional infections for almost two years. About 17 months ago I went to the foot doctor and he causally said, "Hmm - That nail will just have to come off." Then, with a semi shrug he proceeded to describe exactly that would happen.

"And it is a really simple procedure. I do the whole thing right here, in that chair you are sitting in. I insert the needle and use this." The tool he garnished without any trace of hesitancy has a sibling named Dremel. (see above link for the visual)

I scheduled the procedure. I left the office. I freaked out. My husband made a bad joke, escaped to his workshop and returned brandishing his own dremel and a devilish grin, "I'll take it off for you!" he said a little too gleefully.

I cancelled the appointment and never went back.

I went back two weeks ago. I want my foot back. I want the ability to wear shoes again that aren't crocks or some version of that allows for the additional space my left foot needs not to attack itself with pain.

The "not a big deal" procedure is tomorrow morning. 9:15am.

As I left the office last time, I clearly remember the dr's face as he triumphantly said, as though handing me a goody bag, "And if you have an automatic, you can even drive yourself home!"

Great. Perfect.

Think of me as I try to meditate my way through the procedure.



UPDATE:

I'M FINE - AND MINUS A TOENAIL! THERE WAS A DIVIDER BETWEEN ME AND THE DOC. ACTUALLY, BROUGHT A CHAPTER WITH ME AND EDITED WHILE HE WHITTELED AWAY!

THANKS FOR ALL YOUR GOOD THOUGHTS.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Creme de la Creme

Mel is at it again! Searching blogs for your personal best, and the best part is ...we choose! This is the time of year to give, to receive and to be humble to a fault...except with the CREME DE LA CREME.

Even still, I am struggling to pick a post. I have a few I really liked and feel "too close" to them to make a decision. So, I open the polls for four days! On Saturday I will take which ever has the most votes...and submit it to the list.

Here are my finalists:
  1. Perfect Moment...Everyday? - A post about time and how we succumb to its dictorial nature within our lives, but truly strive to live in the moment and "just be" on this earth.

  2. Moments - A post tying together they myrid of emotions connected with losing a child, while trying to effectively raise and educate a living child about her sister. (living child mentioned but not pictured)

  3. Signs and Symbols: A post set on Halloween night exploring how and when loss mothers find each other, even within the most unlikely circumstances. It is both a story for the reader and a question to the reader.

Feel free to go back and read the posts, especially if you never have. Or - if the title and brief description brings back a vivid memory for you, then maybe that's all you need to know!

Thanks for taking the time to read and vote. I'm excited to be participating in the CDLC for the first time and would truly like to submit my best work.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Time

Time is fleeting.
Time knows no boundaries.
Time flies.
Time is a manner of perspective.
The Universe loves speed.

It most certainly does.

I feel like I have know all of you forever. I see your screen name and immediately can sense your emotions, recall your baby's names and b/d dates, and am filled with an anticipation to read your next post.

I follow IF'ers who are currently TTC. I cry with you at one pink line. I rejoice with you for two. I pray and worry with you for a healthy pregnancy and a screaming baby.

I found the courage to reach out and ask for help, fundraising help that is, to start my SHARE Southern Vermont group- and you are responding...big time! (Did you look at the ticker today?) In the note I received today, my sweet friend wrote, "Emma is shining upon you. You have truly found your calling." Thank you - for your kind words, for your generous donation and for your strength of heart as you brave this world without your son.

These are deep connections. I don't even know what most of you look like and it doesn't matter. We have connected on the basest of levels. Motherhood, grief, heartbreak, emotion, creativity, purpose, and the deisire to make this world easier for others who suffer. These are indicators of life long friendships.

I started my blog on September 1st.

I have known you for 10 weeks.

I am stunned. 10 weeks: the beginning of a new life, a summer vacation, a good weight loss regiment. And you and I have founded a life-long friendship in 10 weeks. This is the power of God, the power of the Universe, the power of a shared motivation.

I look at my blog, it's sidebar, pictures, and googles of comments - and it feels homey. It is my other home where being a dbm is accepted, embraced and supported - whatever I feel that day.

So, thank you - to each and every one of you, whether you read and cry - or -read and comment (then cry). You are the reason I am here. You are the reason Emma led me here.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Show and Tell - My First "baby"

I was born with maternal juices running through my veins. From the age of 5 I boasted my future as, "a mama with lots of kids and lots of babies". By the age of 9 I was begging, pleading and making deals with the devil for a brother or sister. S/he never came. I am an only child - tragic, I know.

(if you feel the need to comment with a sarcastic tone about how "lucky" you were to have two or three siblings..I'll understand)

Short of a real sibling and being of the babysitting age, Elizabeth, became my first "baby". I took her everywhere! I loved her for so many reasons, but let's face it, eyes with killer lashes that opened and shut...was pretty good for 1984! She went for walks in her stroller, sat on my lap in the pew at church, buckled in the car, and even came to fancy Easter dinners at classy resturants. I had finally stopped fussing, so my parents allowed it, mostly.

Most of my childhood items have disappeared, been donated or thrown away. I still have Elizabeth with her fancy dress, bonnet, diaper with plastic cover, and one homemade bootie made by our neighbor. (Don't scoff - what kind of mother doesn't lose one shoe occasionally?)


Thanks for taking a walk with me down memory lane. Now, Click Over and see what everyone else has to show!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Exhale - Then take a deep breath and...

Scream With Me! Ok - an excited face and a big "WOW" would be fine!

I am starting to think that (cue the dramatic music with a deep voice over)...If you type it - it will happen!

For those of you that read both my blogs, you may have been tickled by the first edition of Thoughtful Thursday : The Comedian's idle stream-of-concsiousness thoughts on... just about anything! If you haven't read it, click over - she's nearly four and hillarious!

Anyhoo...The comment thread included this inquiry: "Can I be president of her fan club?"

To which I responded, "Ok- let's not put the cart before the horse ladies! The Comedian gets her own fan club AFTER I get published!"

Well, Dora, you better get organizing, because I'M GETTING PUBLISHED!!!

Did any of you get it? The title for the post, I mean? YES! I sent in a column proposal and they accepted it immediately. My column is etitled, Life After Loss: Healing Truths To Meditate On I'm so freakin' excited, can you tell?

If you haven't heard about the new magazine yet, then please click over to EXHALE and read their byline - it's priceless to the infertility / loss community.

Thanks for your devoted support and come the New Year...I'll be peeking at you through a column!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Sleep or Write?

I have never been a morning person. Motherhood has not changed that, in fact it has challenged me to the core. I am responsible for my actions and the words I say, before I have my coffee. I am held accountable for the If-then's I utter to encourage teeth brushing or independant backpack preparation.


For the last few years, not only have I been a tempered bear in the mornings, but I have been throughly exhausted by 9pm. I have often heard my father's voice echoing back from 10pm in 1992 as I sat by the window waiting for a friend to pick me up. He sounded truly stunned as he said, "You are going out, leaving, at this time?". "Yup" I answered easily, "Oh - here she is! See you later" and out the door I skipped. Not so long ago, my current self felt like raising an eyebrow or two at that girl.


This is not to say that I could be tempted or even dragged to a bar after hours at my advanced age of 32, but something is definately shifting. I find my most calm moments come after 9pm. My best creative inspriation wakes up and allows words, phrases, and meaningful concepts of all kinds to find a home on the page, hours after the kids are in dreamland.


And yet, I am holding myself back. I cannot allow myself to embrace these creative hours, when all is quiet and everyone slumbers. Just when I am about to get lost, fall into the timewarp of writing, I pull myself back from the edge. I watch the minutes tick like a countdown, If you go to bed now, you will have X number of hours to sleep -that is, unless, The Comedian wakes up and needs you.


Ah- that is what this is all about. My natural rhythms for wakeing, sleeping, and creating were thrown for a big-time loop when sleep deprivation set in. And now, truly - just now, with The Comedian approaching the big FOUR years old, is she sleeping through the night at least 4 out of 7 days a week.


I am finally getting a sembelance of consistent sleep, and my innate desire to stay up late and sleep in is rearing its ugly head. That isn't possible, of course. There are bowls of oatmeal to make and kids to drop off to relative locations by 7:30 in the morning. And then, there is a book to write of course. Well - more specifically there is a book to write, well.


So, I have a choice to make. Sleep or write. I guess this will be a trial and error experience for a few days. If the writing flows...I'll go with it. I'm looking for the innermost parts of myself, and for some reason they only seem willing to come out after hours.

If you find posts appearing at strange hours then you will know, it was me...in the wee small hours of the morning!

UPDATE Calling the Musically Diverse

YOU ALL ROCK -LITERALLY! I LOVE YOUR SELECTIONS AND WILL MIX THEM UP FROM TIME TO TIME SO YOU GET TO HEAR THEM ALL. THANK YOU FOR YOUR HELP!

This post is a cry for help! I LOVE music - all kinds! I love soft and inspirational, a little bit of country, a little bit of classic rock, all kinds of classical, and occasionally I hear a new pop song that really catches my ear.

However, I have to admit that I haven't listened to the radio much in the last year and my TV access has been even more limited, so I am FAR removed from all the recent songs taking over the music world and blogoshpere. (and I seem to forgotten any of the great names or song titles I used to remember)

I love my player at the bottom of this page, but (and you know this if you have read any of my lengthy posts) it vascillates between two songs. I adore those songs, especially Lee Ann Womack's as Emma sent it to me in the days after her death. However, I would love to fill my player with gorgeous tributes to all our children in heaven.

So, here is my plea! PLEASE, comment with your suggestion for an appropriate song to add to the player. They don't all have to be "angelic" or sappy, just fitting as we continue to build our bridges between our earthly life and our children's heavenly sprirts. And - as we search our souls for evidence of who we are becoming after the loss of our child.

THANK YOU!!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Walking A Mile...Well Not Literally

Today was an interesting day. A day testing my ability to live in the moment and "go with the flow". (If you are a consistent reader here...you know that's not my strongest skill)

Today I had the opportunity to walk a mile in an infertile's shoes. Ok, maybe only a couple blocks - but it opened my eyes to your emotions, your choices, your volumes of "what-ifs" and the endless sacrifices you make.

Let me back up. I wasn't feeling very well last weekend. Fever and stomach cramping for 24 hours, followed by a quick recovery and return to, myself. But the lower abdominal pain wouldn't go away. It wasn't "stomach" issues, you know - the conversational substitution for all things icky and bathroom related. I felt the discomfort lower, more uteral, more pelvic. Then came the infection symptoms, kind of, but not entirely. After gallons of cranberry juice and a quick check of the calendar (no ladies - I'm not pg!) I broke down and bought one of those NEW ph tests at the drug store. Cool huh? Test at home, treat over the counter, right? Uh- I failed the test, then went to the doctor anyway.

I walked in with the confidence of a well-qualified interviewee and stated my case. I rattled off all my symptoms and concluded with the "home test kit" just for good measure. I had a UTI and I just needed him to confirm and prescribe - please. (lest I not be polite, I mean this sensitive stuff)

Imagine my surprise when I passed every one of his tests! Every one! No yeast...no UTI...no - nothing. But ladies, let me tell you ...something is going on. If you thought my jaw couldn't drop any further, then just imagine the look on my face when he ordered a pelvic ultrasound.

This is where my out-of-body experience began. I had only ever had an u/s during pregnancy. These ladies have them done all the time, I realized. These women allow any number of technicians to explore their body in hopes the answer to their baby lies hidden is a far recess of the uterine wall.

I drank my 32 ounces of water within 45 minutes like a good little patient, then sat in the waiting room with legs crossed and praying to my good God that I didn't pee, even just a little, until the u/s was over. My friends feel this way all the time. They sit through this discomfort with faith that each and every ounce they endure will bring them the baby of their dreams.

As I lay on the warmed exam table, looking at a fuzzy screen boasting various shades of grey, it hit me. This is what you see. You want so badly to be pregnant, for the world to be black and white - but your world is grey, and varied shades of it at that.

As the woman moved the wand she said, "I'm going to check out your right ovary first". An irrational fear gripped me. Could something actually be wrong with my right ovary? What about the left? No, of course not. To be perfectly honest, I don't even know what she was looking for, what she saw, or what the person who reads the labs will report back to my doctor. And furthermore, I'm not in the least bit concerned. Whatever infection has gripped my innards will be easily fixed with some antibiotics and another three gallons of cranberry juice.

Oh how I wish there was a prescription and an acidic beverage for you. Oh how I wish that you never again had to sit and and look at your swollen bladder on a screen and see only the void that is your baby, yet to be conceived.I don't have the power to take these experiences away, but today I was blessed with the opportunity to look at the events through your eyes.

No, I didn't walk a mile - I probably didn't even get three steps down your path, as I still can't decipher half the anagrams on your blogs. Nonetheless, I am grateful to you. Thank you for making the sacrifices, opening your body, wrestling with your mind, and struggling as your pocketbook empties. Thank you for sacrificing everything for the possibility of bringing a child into this world. Because, you - the ones who fight so hard and give up so much - make the best parents in the whole, wide, world.

I truly hope that you all get to live...happily every after.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

And Now...For the Lighter Side

I have been very introspective lately. I have been inward and attempting to listen to my inner voice as my path, as clear as it is, has me guessing about which bridge to take first. In all my searching, I forgot to listen to someone much more tangible and a few thousand decibals louder than my gut - My Comedian!


She is the laughter in my life. She is the comedic relief a Type -A, easily strung out, goal obsessive person needs. I'm sorry, she is not for hire - but she is on display, once a week at my Parenting After Loss blog - The Bear and The Comedian.


I have started a new weekly post called: THOUGHTFUL THURSDAYS: The Comedian's idle stream-of-concsiousness thoughts on... just about anything!


It's fun!
It's not serious!
And it reminds me to stop, listen and laugh at least once a week.


Please click over if you would like to hear her random thoughts about life. This week I posted her debut a couple days early, and she speaks very profound thoughts about....our dog!


So, mark your calendars! If it's Thursday, click on over and hear what a nearly four-year-old intellectual has to say about...just about anything!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Show And Tell - Memories



This week I have been thinking alot about memories, well memorializing actually. I've posted about the hospital's response, then my reaction and subsequent actions to their response. This led me to sitting quietly in front of the Angel Wall and just thinking about Emma.

So, for Show and Tell this week I bring: Emma's Memorial Shelf

From Left to Right:
  • Her Green and Yellow Bunny I clung to for the first year. It also inspired the paint colors in Bear's nursery.

  • A novelty purchase: The Birthday Date Book. Although I knew it probably held very little accurate information, I read it a million times. It's table of contents boast: Her first desire, Her personality profile, Her color cue, and Her secret wish.

  • The hand carved rose her father made. It still moves me to tears.

  • An old bottle with the name, "Grace" on it.

  • A Christmas ornament her sisters gave her, but the string broke

  • And, an angel - of course.

Thanks for walking through Emma's world, at least - her world here in this home. Now, click back over to see what everyone else is bringing for S & T this week.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Memory Making- Then and Now

I love scrapbooking. I revel in the feeling of taking bits and pieces from our lives and putting them together to tell a story - OUR story! A few years ago, I became a Cr.eat.ive Me.mori.es consultant. It was my job to "teach" scrapbooking. For me, that read, "It is your job to INSPIRE others" to do a number of things:
  1. To get their 2,000 pictures out from under the bed.
  2. To start with their most recent photos, so the stories came easily
  3. But, most importantly, I was responsible for helping others create life long memories.

The one thing I NEVER loved was taking their money. Obviously I paid money for the product and had to make it back, but I found myself donating products to silent auctions, creating scrapbooks for wakes and funerals, and saying, "just take it" more than a successful business woman really should. I would watch my upline drive all over New -England to further her mission and was struck. She had a consistant income as a result of her efforts and those of us below her. She could have sat back, picked up the remote and channel surfed as we were out teaching parties. But she didn't. She continued working hard to grow, harder, I think, than when I first met her.

I feel in a very similar space right now. Once again I feel like I am being called to be with others, grieve with new parents, and inspire them to take their first step on their healing road. And - Once again, I feel a nagging ache in my gut that I had to ask for donations to do it. I am going to leave the ticker up, for now, but am actively looking for alternatives.

As a way to keep myself accountable - to you - the people who cheer me on with love, prayers , suggesstions, and dollars, here is my current to-do list:

  • Make contact with the leader of the Northhampton Share group.
  • Write a state grant to cover some start up expenses and travel costs assoicated with going to the convention in March
  • Search the internet for any wealthy benefactors who are looking to support family's after the death of a child
  • Extend offers to speak to local woman's groups
  • Send Infomational flyers to local home care and hospices
  • Contact the head nurse at the childbirth center and be sure she is still planning on handing out my card to families
  • Finish the Memory Box Prototype and gather mateials. We are planning on donating the boxes regardless. Families deserve it.

Thanks again to all of you (and Kristin I'm still intruiged!) . I just wanted to let you know I have not given up. I will be working hard to make this happen.

Friday, November 7, 2008

A Matter of Perspective...

The Comedian was playing outside with Bear while I was making dinner. All of a sudden I hear top-of-the lungs screaming and feet pounding up the front steps.

MY PERSPECTIVE
1)Am irritated because who knows who did what to whom and how will I negotiate the situation without the details

OR

2) Oh bother, someone is hurt

This is what transpired next:

ME: "Oh Comedian, what's wrong? Are you hurt? What happened out there?"

Comedian: (sobbing, real tears!) "Emma's leaves are GONE!"

Me: "Emma's leaves are gone?"

Comedian: "YES!!! They...all...fell...OFF!!!" (and she was a sobbing mess again)

Me: (switching perspectives as quickly as possible while using my best cover skills to hide my sweet smile) "Oh. Yes sweetie. That is what happens in the winter. They will grow back in the spring. Promise."

Comdian: (suddenly serious, and very angry) "O.K. - But..But..I want a new one!"

Ahh- to see the world through a three years old's eyes. Wouldn't that be refreshing?

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Time Is Both My Best Ally and My Worst Enemy: My Meltdown 8 Years Later