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

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 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?

"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 for any reason or to request a mailing address.


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 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.




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 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 the wee small hours of the morning!

UPDATE Calling the Musically Diverse


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

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 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 - 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 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.

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?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Coming Full Circle

I FINALLY heard from the hospital (backstory here)- , and only because I called back every two weeks for the last six. They, are "not going to accept services at this time". I have left a message for the Childbirth Nurse Supervisor, as I am unclear which services they are saying "no" to. I mean, the proposal was extensive.

Are they saying no to:

  • Handmade Memory boxes created by a bereaved father with donated materials ?

  • A local Share support-group to aide recently grieving parents?
  • If the parents ask, a dedicated worker ready to drive to the hospital at any time of day or night to sit with them and their angel?
  • Someone with a history of grant writing who has already done legwork to see what is available?

  • A local professional photographer I found who is looking forward to volunteering for Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep and serving our community in their time of need?

  • A minimal start-up fee to bring crucial information and respect to newly bereaved parents in the form of pamphlets, staff training, and monthly newsletters.

I guess they are saying "no" to investing any funds to make this happen. I'm not sure I will get a specific answer from them, and to be honest I'm not angry or surprised for that matter. What I am is sad. I'm sad that WE continue to have to fight for our cause.

To fight for recognition that we had a child, even if they aren't in our arms as we leave the hospital.

To cry out for services, even in the first few days after our loss.

To acknowledge that we need the doctors and nurses to respect us with choices and appropriate "loss bags" filled with current resources for reading and viewing.

I have always believed that one person CAN make a difference when a message has been written on their heart. In the wake of this recent election, I KNOW it is true! I recently wrote in an email, "I'm always up for digging in and doing some hard work - but not when the wheel is already there!" That was about thirty minutes ago. Who knew my words would hold such meaning so soon.

Apparently there is some hard work to be done here. The wheel has yet to reach my small southern Vermont landscape. Truly, I understand that I cannot attack each and every goal from the proposal at once. I would find myself in a physical state of nuclear meltdown and I don't even want to think what my family might find on the dinner table!

So, for all of you, here is my intention:

-To attack one important step at a time. To give each focus my all with gentle prodding, kind words and an inspirational outcome.

Ok - I guess I already broke my rule cause here's two things- but hey - I am a classic overachiever!

1. J. will be working in his shop tonight to construct a prototype of the Memory Box. We want to make a couple changes, for example, instead of the tile inlay we would like to have a removable piece of glass so the parents could insert their child's photo, footprint, lock of hair, or just name and date. He may also make it more rectangular so folded letters could fit easily.

With this visual aide, I will be able to appraoch local businesses and box stores with our mission, asking for donation of wood, hardware and tile inlets.

2. Very soon (as soon as I figure it out that is) you will see a donation button on my sidebar. I struggle with asking others to donate their hard-earned money. But, it appears that I have no choice but to tackle this here, within the world of those who know the pain and understand the loss. My first goal is:

To raise enough money to begin a Share Southern Vermont Group

The Goal is $450. It includes:

  • The Share start-up fee for a small hospital

  • Tuition for one person to attend the annual training conference in Missouri

The benefits?

  • Support and Counsel of the National Share Office

  • Monthly Off Site Support Groups for Bereaved Families

  • On Call Service for Emotional Support
  • Continual Maintenance and Updating of Loss Packet Contents

  • 20 % Discount on Materials Purchased from the Share Bereavement Resource Catalog

  • Five Copies of the Bi-Monthly Parent’s Newsletter, Sharing

  • National Listing of Perinatal Loss Support Groups and Resources

  • Self-Explored Support Resources (like the Websites and Reading Lists Provided)

  • Motivates the Patient to Take Control of his or her Grief Journey.

  • Promotes Mental Health into a Second or Third Pregnancy.
  • Community Awareness and Education of our Mission through High School Woodworking and Technical Centers as they Make the Memory Boxes

  • Educational and Counseling Support for Staff
  • Provides Much Needed Compassionate Service Through Community Outreach and Resources

Thank you for reading through this post: braving the frustration, the slightly bitter tone, and the sadness. Thank you for also sharing my hope that this CAN be done. This WILL be done!

If you feel led to pray for me, please do.

If you feel led to donate: THANK YOU!

In love, grief and hope,


Monday, November 3, 2008

Signs And Symbols

The doorbell rang on Halloween night, for about the 40th time, I think. I trudged toward the door, feet hitting the floor a little harder then necessary, sure I knew what was coming. I was expecting yet another throng of teenagers partially dressed in their parent's recycled clothes so they could cash in on the free candy. Or, if not then a pre-school sized group of tiny Tinkerbell's and Diego's running up to the door as their parents stood at the end of the walkway and waited.

I answered the door with a sigh - Then, I stopped short and breathed in sharply. Standing before me was neither over-generalized group, but a mother, a father and very 8-year old looking daughter. Emma - what would you have been for Halloween if you had the chance?

Our interactions were atypical of the "trick-or-treat...don't forget to say thank you's" I had listened to all evening. In fact, we didn't even speak for a minute. We just shared a smile: the mother and I, the father and I, the daughter and I. Emma, what would you look like at 8 years old? Oh - how I wish I knew.

I recognized this family. We live in a small town. But I didn't know their names, only their faces. I felt rooted to my doorstep, sure I was supposed to focus on this encounter with all my energy. Then mom spoke, "Is Bear here or is she out?". I was stunned. She knew Bear. Of course- our kids went to the same school. Just because I didn't know her daughter's name didn't mean she didn't know mine. She doesn't know my other daughter's name. No one I met after 2000 knows Emma's name unless I TELL THEM!

"No. She went with a group of parents and kids from next door. My youngest is sleeping." I replied, still struck by the easy gait of our conversation. She really listened to my words, nodding and making small noises signaling her agreement with my ideas.

"What did she dress up as?" she inquired, really wanting to know. "She didn't" I quickly said.

I could have left it at that. I answered her question, but, surprising myself I continued, wanting her to know more. "We have a different way of looking at Halloween. Our family I mean." I paused, gauging her reaction but she was still genuinely smiling and nodding. I went on, "You see, we have a daughter who passed and, well, when you are born with a sister already in heaven you approach certain holidays from a different standpoint, sometimes, some years anyway."

I thought I must have said too much. I mean, I was blabbering on to a woman I knew from face recognition only. She simply deepened her smile, but the look in her eyes shifted, and I knew. I knew she, too, had felt the loss, the devestation that takes hold in the crevices of your heart when you lose a baby. Her smile said it all.

So, I ask you - Is that all we have? Is that the bat-signal for dbm's? A smile, a nod, and a look in our sad eyes? And does one of us have to be brave enough to say the words before the reconition can be acknowledged?

Reading Missing_One's post tonight really got me thinking about this.

WE are everywhere.
WE, the women who were pregnant, then weren't.
WE the women who carried babies, then lost them, delivered them, held them as they took their last breath, WE are EVERYWHERE.

And yet, we don't recognize each other. We can't. We don't have a colorful display of sorrow so we can find each other in a crowd.

Instead, we take our other children to pre-school, we suffer through subsequent pregnancies fielding the "is this your first" question 10 times a day, we shop at the grocery store, we rent movies, we get hair cuts. WE are just like everyone else, except not.

Although wearing a sign, or a pendant, or - hell I don't know - a flashing neon sign is out of the question, it would be nice to know how to connect, how to respect each other with a small smile and a nod.

The wed have rings.
The un-wed don't have rings.
There is a pink arch for cancer awareness.
There are magnets on cars if your husband or wife is in Iraq.

Where are we? How can we find each other in real life without taking the ultimate chance and saying our truth out loud,

"I lost my baby. My baby is dead."

Question: Do you say it out loud? If so, are you met with smiles and nods or pitying glances? Is is worth it?

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Show and Tell - Halloween Eats!

In leiu of Halloween costumes and fancifully sewn creations (I don't have that skill - but my friends do!) I present to you for Show and Tell...

Cute Food!

These are Rice Krispie Treat Kitty Cats! The Comedian had snack at her preschool on Halloween (of course) - and I decided to do something special. (NOTE: If you attempt this have an assembly line of people or the last to be formed will be too hard for "modification".)

And now for the.... "Scccaaaawwwwyyyy" Food !

These were easy to make and they look relatively tame until you flip the pancakes over on the griddle...then they become "vewwwwy sccaaaawwwwyyy"! (NOTE: The Comedian refused to eat hers.)

Hope you enjoyed your day whatever you did to mark the 31st! And don't forget...Head back over to the Mel's classroom to see what else is in the parade!

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