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.
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
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.
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
OR THIS ONE
AND GET ALL THIS TOO!
- 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
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
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
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.
"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
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!
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 ****
Saturday, December 20, 2008
"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.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
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.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
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.
Friday, December 12, 2008
- 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.
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!
TELL ALL YOUR FRIENDS!
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:
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!
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:
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
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.
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
-The bank account is up and running.
Monday, December 8, 2008
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
Friday, December 5, 2008
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
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
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".
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
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
Sometimes life surprises you, doesn't it?
"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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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
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.
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
Their first real love
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
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!"
Think of me as I try to meditate my way through the procedure.
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
- 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.
- 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)
- 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 knows no boundaries.
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
Friday, November 14, 2008
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
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!
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.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
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
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 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
- 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
- To get their 2,000 pictures out from under the bed.
- To start with their most recent photos, so the stories came easily
- 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
1)Am irritated because who knows who did what to whom and how will I negotiate the situation without the details
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?