THE MISSION

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

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

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

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Mood Changers

WORDLESS DISCLAIMER: IF YOU WISH TO REMAIN IN A BAD, GRUMPY, ANXIOUS, AND OTHERWISE SMILELESS MOOD - DO NOT - I REPEAT - DO NOT - LOOK AT THESE PICTURES!



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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Have You Ever...

What? Clicked over for a virtual drinking game?? Well, you are at the wrong blog! Although - I do admit a glass of cab/shiraz to my right. Cheers.

But, while you're here let me ask you this - Have you ever tried to take a good picture of a balloon??
I hadn't - until today. And, believe you me - it's hard! The light, the angles, the glare, the fact that it keeps changing color...but no matter for this balloon is special - and PURPLE!


See?


It came in the mail today with nine hundred-ninety nine friends just like it. And, it lifted my heart to see it's realness.

It's not as if countless posts, a separate blog, a 28 pages non-profit application, generous donations, a five day training in Missouri, our board of directors, the grieving parents we have reached out to, and breathtaking memory boxes hadn't convinced me that Share Southern Vermont, Inc. was real.

They did. Each adding their own layer to the tangibility of our creation. But watching this balloon grow was a transformative experience. For a moment, I was at the grassy opening to a two -mile walk. Tents and tables erected, stocked and ready with all the day's necessities. Throngs of volunteers stood under a banner ready to support, to help, because they understand. The amp was set up and my father stood next to it tuning his guitar as I choked back tears frantically trying to remember my first line. (FYI - that acutally happened to me at my wedding as I readied to sing to my new husband!)

Technically, the process of this balloons creation is a bit boring, consumeristic really.

I contacted the company. They requested artwork. I send something that wasn't 'vector ready quality'. SSV pays another company money to transcribe the image to said digitial quality. SSV then pays more money to get them printed and shipped. Today they arrive at my door.

See - boring.

But, figuratively - this small latex object represents the beginning of our bigness. Just the notion that we planned this 'small' walk in the last 8 weeks blows the small walls of my expanding mind. And, it better represent larger events...for we have one-thousand of these moblie action-awareness party favors.
Balloon, anyone??

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Great Divide

Rivers meet the ocean - that's what they do, without effort they gurgle in one consistent direction until the mouth appears and all become one.

Each river has its own easy assignment. It has no concerns or questions about speed or destination. It's job is easy and when it deposits into that great ocean, well - then it's the ocean's responsibility to deal with misplaced sticks or stubborn boulders.

Lately, I feel as though this is my life with one main exception. I am the ocean. And, the process works backwards.

I feel as if somehow each role I play in this life is one of the feeding rivers, except I cannot just sit back and allow them to rush over me, sustaining my momentum and creating new pathways. No, in this aquatic metaphor, the ocean feeds the rivers working against the current, if you will, like a salmon in search of a mate.

Here are my rivers:

My home: its general cleanliness and state of calm
My family: that they may feel equally important as all the rest of my endeavors
My book: enough said - writing means everything to me
My online family: that connections may strengthen and new ones create
Share Southern Vermont: its conception, the memory walk, and the quest for 501 (c) 3 status
My interpreting career: that I finish my testing process and get to work!
Myself - (and don't be concerned that this is last, be glad it's on the list at all. A few years ago it wouldn't have been) That exercise, meditation, and yoga continue to effect me in such a postive way.

I am the ocean swaying from one small mouth to the other, consciencly choosing which path needs me more today, to be fed, to be lifted up by inspiration, to be given direction with full understanding that something else may fall short.

This is not my optimal lifestyle. This is 'biting off more than one can chew' as they say. However, I do not think this ocean force-feeds rivers phenomona would feel so overwhelming if my endeavours were related, in just the slightest of ways. But each, so independent of the other, requires countless hours of research and training, none of which can be overlayed into the path of another.

Perhaps I am not the ocean. Perhaps I am a boat on that ocean; an indecisive vessel unable to commit to the quest of land, or treasure, or pirating, or searching for my one true love. I spin in endless, untraceable circles within my vast watery abode with no bearing of finality.

No, that cannot be entirely true either, for I know what I envision for that final moment. It is the space in time when all rivers have their marching orders. When each current has been set and flows independent of me, to me, without my constant attention.

When my family feels so settled in their home that we work as a team, sharing every experience, negotiating every conflict to a viable solution.

When Share Southern Vermont has multiple trained volunteers working with families in crisis and running groups.

When my book is published, touching and inspiring others in their time of desperation.

When my weekly schedule is planned out by job site and client, knowing I will be - once again - consistently using my American Sign Language skills.

And Yes - When I feel one with this life, ready to meet any experience that presents itself with perpsective and grace...

That's when the tide will turn.

Eight years ago you couldn't have convinced me that life had the ability to inspire again.
Today, it's bursting with Emma's name and the promise that when I am able to stop, admire, and take a breath; no doubt I'll invent a few more rivers.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Show and Tell - The Cat's Meow

Yeah - they really do! And, they are kinda loud - hungry little buggers at ALL times of the night.

And so, we finally had to tell Sally-Mama that they had to come downstairs if Ms. Comedian was ever going to get a good nights sleep again!

She wasn't thrilled...but we kept like-smelling objects with them. They now reside in the office and so the clickity-clack of my laptop keys melds with the 'meeeeew - meeeeeeoooowww' of confined three week old kittys all.day.long.

It is funny really, considering the yo-yo of animal presence and activity in this house over the past year - click HERE for a rundown, to think that we are crazy about these five kittens - even if they do think we are jailers.

And- they truly think we have unduly confined them. Just watch!

FYI - Butterscotch is a confirmed boy and named after that runaway little devil from my youth. IF we manage to place any of these little felines in homes, the big -B is ours...for the keeping!!!

Sorry for the darkness...bad lighting in their room!
video

Oh - and an UPDATE for those of you who have followed the hatching of the New Year's Chickens...10 hatched, the one sick one - survived, but only 3 are hens! Yup - 7 (um, SEVEN) roosters cock-a-stinking-doodle-doo every morning. Word on the street is three eggs a day...*sigh* - gonna have to do it all over!!!

Check out the other Show and Tell's HERE!

Mine Has...Has Yours? (UPDATED)

So, it turns out that school vacation and ICLW don't really make for a great combo what with kids wanting my undivided attention and all...but PROMISE if have or do leave me a comment I'll be sure to reciprocate!!!**

Anyway - do you remember this recent post of Mel's? Yeah the one with the near midnight euphoria at holding a copy of her very own book - published - and everything!

And, do you also recall her big news that the release date has been moved up - to May 1st!

Well - imagine my surprise when I checked my email about three minutes ago and saw this:

"Greetings from Amazon.com.We thought you'd like to know that we shipped your items, and that this completes your order....

1 Navigating the Land of If:... Shipped via USPS"

Yuppers - it's on its way to my hot little hands!!! And, may potentiall arrive BEFORE May 1st!!

Hey - Mel - Congrats, again. Your hard work, 'fitting your job around the needs of your family' has paid off, big time.

** UPDATED TO ADD THAT I JUST BUSTED THROUGH 50 ICLW POSTS...*WHEW* YOU ALL HAVE SOME EXCITING STUFF GOING ON!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

-Versary, Part 4 - The Finale

HELLO ILCW -THIS IS THE JOURNEY OF MY WRITING CAREER IN SECTIONS. AT TIMES THE STORY FEELS UNREAL TO ME, EVEN NOW. TO CATCH UP:

PART 1 IS HERE
PART 2 IS HERE
PART 3 IS HERE

This is Part Four: The Finale

And that - my friends - is where the fairytale took a sharp right hand turn and slammed into a tree. Have you ever seen an enchanted carriage crippled by branches?? Not pretty.

There was work to be done - a lot of work, to the manuscript that had flowed out of me like sap on a warm day in March. The first 'noted' draft I received from my agent had more red slashed through it, virtual red - but same difference, than I had ever seen. And the 'necessary revisions' on the book proposal?? Too many to recall.

Sure, I hadn't aced every paper I'd ever written. I had seen some 'suggestions for improvement' and even some criticism in the past, but on the whole writing came easy and needed little revision. Heck - I was that gal who wrote unassigned reports...say on, oh - I don't know, canoeing - during her summer vacation ... just because.

I reeled. Staring at my manuscript hacked and slashed was a first. I guess the clock had struck midnight when I wasn't listening.

I am big enought to admit that I mourned my 'failure' for a few days. I moped, just a little - but enough to cause my husband to ask me, "what the heck is wrong?" Getting derailed like that was traumatic, to a degree, but then I snapped to and realized - No! What happened eight and half years ago was traumatic. That was devestating, life altering, and persona changing.

This? Well, it was just a roadblock. A potential for growth. An opportunity to learn something even more about myself and my style as a writer.

Once I picked up the remenance of the broken carriage and collected myself, it was obvious why many writers - and good ones - never get their stuff published. They refuse to budge from their 'best' stuff for anyone. They let their ego get in the way of finding something really spectacular within their minds and their words.

"I will not be one of those writers." I said to my husband those few days later, "I will write and re-write and edit and re-edit this until it truly is my best work." Only then will I go to bat for my story. I will know when I have reached that point.

And I did. But that's not all I did, for as often happens when someone is on the right path during the right time of their life - all forces converge to open lots of doors and make.good.stuff.happen!

Teaming with my agent was a good start - but it wasn't enough. I had to connect with the writing world, hence - writers; and furthermore - readers...

I started this blog, then another, then another...it was adicting, this writing thing - every day creating something that others might actually enjoy reading.

I happened upon a short blurb in the LFCA, announcing an idea for a infertility / loss magazine. That idea has become a tremendous reality - Exhale is thriving and I am so proud to have been one of the first to jump on board!

I talked my husband into starting a non-profit corporation to support other families who lived and will live the tragedy we did years ago. It has completed me in a way I never knew I needed completing.

And still - I wrote, for the book is what pulled me, challenged me to grow and recognize where my grief journey has taken me, and it is not to the side of the road picking up pieces of a wrecked carriage while wearing the same forlorn clothes and expression I did all those years ago.

I entitled this series -Versary, mostly because I didn't have a good prefice to put there. But it makes perfect sense to me now. For each section of this year, a quarterly accomplishment, if you will - signifies something magical for me.

Three Months...was my fairytale in action

Six Months...brought me to the blogworld, the world of magazines and support systems and life long friends based on words and shared experiences.

Nine Months ... taught me that growth isn't always pretty. In fact, it can be pretty ugly before its true beauty is revealed.

Today - a year later - as I pull some of that early work for a sentence here or a topic there, it's inadequacy is obvious. It was beginning work. A good beginning, but a novel start to be sure. Even here, in this blog - my space, I can go back to the start and see a shift in my style.

And the book? Oh has it shifted - but each re-write was a step I had to take. Each edit opened my eyes to new outlines and structures that seamlessly blend what I need to say with what the reader needs to hear.

And the proposal? It's been re-worked a few times too. But I truly believe that the propsal, as it exists now - is the product I have been working towards.

Every journey has it's potholes. They are there for a good reason. I am ready to step up to the plate - and swing - big.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Deception of Appearances

WELCOME ILCW'ERS - BE SURE TO CLICK THE LINK IF YOU WANT TO KNOW ABOUT A GREAT WAY TO HONOR / BOOST THE EGO OF THE MEN IN YOUR LIFE WHO ARE GRIEVING THE LOSS OF THEIR CHILD...

Ok, I'm feeling a little guilty for taunting with the totally rockin' and sure to be a finalist pic of my Knocked Down Hunk from my show and tell post...

So, here's a pic - and NO - it's not my entry!

But it is a clear indicator that appearances can be deceiving. I am an only child, and have long since let go of the, 'if I had a brother or a sister would they have looked anything like me...' line of thinking.

And, as the mother to Bear and Comedian their visual dissimarities seem to somewhat answer the question...somewhat...although I still beat around the mushy rain-logged tennis ball of 'would Emma have looked like one of them...' every once and a while.

But here you have my hubby (left) and his only sibling who not even I would pick out of a five man line-up.

And it makes me think...alot...about creation and life and family and would we have picked them if they hadn't also popped out of our mother's womb, and how chosen friends can become family, and what is the defining balance of Nature vs. Nurture *in our lives...and a host of other wild cosmic questions.

But - those musings are a post for another day. For today...an apologetic offering - so you know who to look for in the KDH contest...of course!!!

*This book a great read - and, for me anyway - invaluable to understanding my children...

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Show and Tell - Hunk-0-Licious

So, I'm guessing most of you know about Exhale by now. And just in case you have been frantically checking your inbox since the 15th, cursing under your breath that the next issue is late, Late, LATE - never fear... it is a DOUBLE ISSUE and will be flying to you on May 1st!

By association you must know about Monica, the totally off-color, hysterically funny, and self proclaimed 'abnormal' editor of the mag.

Well, she has done it again! She's dreamed up contest that could only come from the mind spinning she was doing, no doubt - when she was supposed to be grading papers or something.

And - she even made this tag - with a pink flower on it!



I have GOT to figure out how to do that! The tag part - not the flower part, necessarily. (The PAL Group Weekend Discussion button STILL doesn't exist...that's a passive agressive techy shout out for HELP by the way!)

So what is a Knocked Down Hunk??? Well, in simple terms - it is a man who fathered a lost baby, at any stage of the game...but pretty please, click on the tag icon and read Monica's description for it is sure to make you smile.

AND - it will tell you how to enter YOUR knocked down hunk (KDH).

AND - you will notice at the very bottom of the post that she, much like a school teacher without any volunteers, pointed virtual fingers at a great many of us that she probably assumed would volunteer anyway.

AND - it just so happened that about 45 minutes before I read her post I had unknowingly taken the PERFECT picture of my KDH!

So - In Review... Click Over, Laugh and Blush, then email her YOUR entry!!!

There's my TELL - but I can't SHOW yet. You can click back to see what the rest of the class is showing though...

See you at the polls ladies....

Friday, April 17, 2009

Unexpected Growth

My mother is a gardener. And not just a when-the-mood-strikes planter, but a dedicated, it runs through her veins gardener who puts much thought into the all around landscaping design of the grounds.

Last Fall, my dad, husband and myself put our collective talents: digging, digging deeper and organizing - in case you were wondering - into full effect to help her create the most intricate (seriously I can't remember what kind of flower) design on their front bank. Each kind bloomed at a certain time and was a specific color. The job fell to me to organize each grouping of plants by blooming season and color so the pattern was never interrupted.

Yes, my mother is a gardener.

I am not. Not even close...I know - it's disappointing, but my high school 'If suzie has three yellow apples and Mike has four pears....' skills do occasionally come in handy - at least.

So, last fall when my mother came to our house with some leftover another flower I couldn't possibly tell you the name of and suggested planting them around the base of Emma's bush - I said, "Sure".

"They may or may not come up" she cautioned, "They like direct sun and its hard to know if they will get enough with her bush being so big at this point."

The fact that I shrugged this off seemed totally appropriate on that day. Looking back, especially with the most recent reaction I had to Emma's bush being loved on by her sister - I realize what a success moment that was. Even a couple years ago the idea of something living being put in her earth with the potential, no probability - of dying, would have put me over the edge.

Sometimes we take big steps without even realizing the size of the footprint we left behind.

But, today - when I strolled past Emma's bush and leaned down to remove brown, crunch leaves for the hundreth time (blast you wind!) I noticed something.


For a non-grower the sight of these two shoots (still - have no idea what they are...sorry) send a burst of love through me.

I don't recall how many she planted - but two is enough, especially since they will bloom right next to her angel.




Here's to big steps - to new life - and to possibilities.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

-Versary, Part 3: Finding My Agent

THIS IS THE JOURNEY OF MY WRITING CAREER IN SECTIONS. AT TIMES THE STORY FEELS UNREAL TO ME, EVEN NOW.

TO CATCH UP:

PART 1 IS HERE
PART 2 IS HERE

THIS IS PART THREE:

Sometimes what you think you need isn't what will make the difference.
Sometimes you need to keep your eyes open to other possibilities...


I paced the isle in B.arn.es and N.ob.le for the fifth time, sure that this time the book highlighted on my 'must get to take my next step' list would just pop out at me, miraclously appearing where before nothing had stood.

But, no - nothing, again.

"It's not here" I said alound, accepting the trip as fruitless. Moving slowly now, as the last whisps of frantic steam had just dissapated, I turned - and saw the book. No, not the one I thought I needed, but another with a title speaking directly to my mission...Jeff Herman's Guide To Book Publishers, Editors, & Literary Agents 2008: Who They Are! What They Want! How To Win Them Over!


I carried it to the counter with humble apologizing fingers stroaking it's spine, like a protaganist in the mist of her epiphany my actions said, I'm sorry for not realizing that you were the book, all along.


It was the best money I ever spent and time - for I combed the literary agent section with fervor, then dissected every entry: who the person was, what they liked to represent, how they preferred to be contacted, if they wanted just the query letter or part of the proposal as well. By the end of July, 2008 that book had more astericks, circles, and x's pockmarked throughout it's pages than a well-read bible. But I had done it. I had narrowed my possible agent selections to the top 12 - the ladies I felt would be most receptive to the kind of book I was writing.


And then, I made my favorite thing in the whole world, a spreadsheet; achievement and affirmation running through me with each checkmark I made representing the moment I hit ENTER, effectively sending my request through the phantom ethers that is my email.


I held my breath, unsure it was real. Had I made all this up? Could it truly be possible that three months ago I had an idea, and today I stood with 12 query letters submitted to literary agents and a 100 page proposal ready at a moments notice for those who wanted to read it?


Within 24 hours she responded.


Within weeks I signed the agency agreement.


I found her and she's perfect: honest and direct, dedicated and supportive. Like the glass slipper she fit seamlessly. My Cinderella story rolled on...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A Few Good Signs

It seems Ms. Spring has finally arrived here in the Northeast. I kept noticing things this morning indicating her intention to stay, but I didn't get my hopes up until I found myself doing this:



and this:

What? No! The mere act of doing laundry isn't the shocking part! Well - it could be, but today I'm washing snowpants, and then - putting them away for the season!

And then I saw this:

Buds on my Emma's bush mean she's serious - mother nature I mean. But, just in case you were planning another quick trip...listen up - CANCEL THAT RETURN TRIP TICKET AND STAY PUT!

Happy Spring Everyone - Wherever you are!!!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

SHOW AND TELL: 1st PAL Weekend Forum Discussion - Official Q and A

***PREMPTIVE WARNING: I AM HI-JACKING MY OWN BLOG - SHOW AND TELL STYLE - TO INTRODUCE A PARENTING / PREGNANCY AFTER LOSS GROUP. IF YOU CAN'T READ ABOUT THIS...YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO***

What is PAL? - Parenting or Pregnancy After Loss

Where are the Forums? HERE!

Who Started the Ballroom? Mel, of course...who else?

Why? So our internet support family can stay connected on Saturday and Sunday, when the LFCA doesn't publish.

How do you join? - Just click that yummy looking pomegranate on the sidebar...it will lead you where you need to go.

So, Cara - how are you involved? Hey, thanks for asking!

Well - I started a group - Parenting / Preganancy After Loss - and if you fit that description I really want you to join so we can navigate these complicated waters together. I mean, did you read that conversation I had with Bear the other day? We need each other - for sure!

And that is why I started the PAL Weekend Discussion. What is that? An open discussion thread I will start every Friday night that we can chew and comment on for the weekend. Who knows? We might even land on some philosophical ephiphany that has eluded the elders for generations!

Ok, probably not. But we will be there for those days when you are sure the baby you carry has stopped moving and it is a Sunday and if you call the doctor's answering service - again - they might just *sigh* at you, but you are crying so hard you don't know what to do.

And

The days when your rainbow baby is taking such a long nap that irrational fear is consuming you that he must be a victim of SIDS and if you don't rush in there and check him NOW he will surely die, but then you must just be crazy and he is fine, right? and if you wake him prematurely he will be cranky for the rest of the day - and that will be your fault too.

See?

That's why we need each other.

So: Here's what to do...

1. Click on the red fruit and join the forums.
2. Once you have your own page - click GROUPS on the top menu.
3. Scroll down until you see an image of rainbow. That is us.
4. JOIN!
5. And discuss - ask, wonder, question, worry, celebrate, and ...together we will get through botht the pregnancy and the daunting task of raising a living child after loss.

Oh - and since we are just getting started...the discussion topic remains: Do you let your children see you cry?

And - since this is Emma's space...this post is just an introductory one - once I figure out how to make a pretty little button it will sit quietly on the sidebar. Now, click back over and see what the rest of the class is Showing and Telling- with pictures!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Questions...

Bear is finally asking some hard hitting questions. I posted the conversation on the other blog. If you want to see how it unfolded...click on over.

(pictures of children at the other site - but not in the post)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

-Versary...Part Two

TO READ PART ONE CLICK HERE

...And there it sat, radiating accomplishment which I soaked up like the hot sun beaming through the adjacant window. I allowed it to be enough, for about a week - while my family waded in tide pools and dined out at small cape resturants eating far too much clam chowder.

But the next step? What was that? It was, I quickly discovered, something called a query letter.

A what?

A one page synopsis of the hefty, maximum weight limit for a carry on proposal that still possessed a special glow? One page? I begged page 52 of How To Write A Query Letter, "but ...but..."I stammered, "how could I possibly?"

And then it hit me.

He could help me - that awe-inspiring writer who had unknowingly set me down this road. A few quick clicks and his website sat before me. I leaned back in my chair and took it in, the tanzinite hues, the classic, easy to read writing, and the sub-headings. One called out to me: Writer's Corner it said affirming the seed of belief within me, that yes - 'writer' was a title I owned. It felt homey, like sitting with a mentor who merely smiles as you babble on and on, disecting and solving your own issues - as he, mute, continues smiling and nodding - affirming.

And behold - there it was... a sample query letter, no - his sample query letter. The first one he ever wrote for the first book he ever sold - Th.e Not.ebook. (note: it sold for one million dollars, yeah - his first book *whew*)

I salivated as I read it the first time daydreaming of the words streaming from me without effort, stringing themselves together in a magical way, producing the perfect query letter in one take. Forcing myself to focus I shook the last whisps of fantasy away and slowed down. I analyzed every word as I read it again, and there they were: The hook, the story summary, market, author background and more...IN ONE PAGE!

Each time I re-read the well crafted paragraphs before me my silent mentor said something like this, just write it - then write it again, and again, and again and again until...it feels right. It was then the words jumped out at me, "I wrote sixteen drafts over two weeks". Um, 16? Like ten then six more? Ok.

So back to work I went, writing and re-writing, laying off whole sentences, then words - picking them off one at a time, measuring their meaning against each other as I searched for just the right balance of hook, storyline, author background and market potential.

For me, the magic number was fourteen. I re-read it for well past the fourteenth time, aloud - for that is how I best assess the quality of my work, and just as my wise leader had said - it felt right. There wasn't one phrase, word, or syllable I felt compelled to change.

I had written my first query letter. It was still July...

Watch For -Part 3 How I Found My Agent...coming soon

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

-Versary

One year ago inspiration struck.

Late September I Showed and Tell-ed about it, in the process reccomending a book that I truly feel everyone can take something from. (sorry - you'll have to click over to see :)

What did I take? Well - last April on a drippy Friday night I read the last page, closed the book and uncurled my legs from their frozen, almost-prickling position. This book, this writer, it threw me back, way back. I allowed the tears to stream, expecting to plummet over the far too familiar waterfall. Instead, a surprise emotion appeared in the water. Inspiration attached itself, following the current of tears, leading me gently downstream ...to my computer.

One year ago I began my book, this manuscript that has provided me pause on more than one occasion. But not in the beginning. From the onset my new idea blasted down the track like a steam engine out of control. I was working full time, waitressing, studying for my upcoming interpreter exam, - but I wrote. Oh, how I wrote long hours into the night without a care for time which melted away with the clattering sound of the keys leaving me in a meditative-like state.

Story poured out of me, memory by vision, some - first time recollections finally pushing their way through the filtered barrier built eight years ago. Emma sat with me. I could feel her smile, encouraging me to tell the whole truth, "be authentic" I heard as another day began and my fingers slowed, "this book is for your healing - and others".

And then, there was the research. Book writing was one thing, but book selling was quite another. As the summer approached I became a collector of all books writing related: How to write a book proposal, Finding The Perfect Agent for You, Non-Fiction at it's best...and so on. I devoured library's memoir sections for comparisons. I struggled with the "Author Background" section for it should really be headlined: "Self-Promotion", but I did it. I sifted through statistics for marketing, I presented my most creative ideas for the actual promotion section and rallied my friends to help me think of notable, strong women who had been through a loss and may be willing to review the book.

And there it was - a 100 page book proposal - as thick and heavy as a nice warm blanket resting on my dining room table, in July...

Three months, a third of a pregnancy, and I had the makings of a book...

TO BE CONTINUTED...SOON

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Show and Tell - Handmade Love

My mother is a quilter. This one of the ways she creates love with her hands. We all do, in different ways and her love of quilting has been a lifetime evolution. I remember as a little girl nearing the kitchen and smelling the wafting odor of dye as she prepared wool for her hooked rugs. She taught me to crochet, once-upon-a-moon, and although she did her best to enstill the love of all things needle based with me, alas - it just isn't my creative outlet.


But it is most definately hers. I could tour my house and show you quilts of past: the one she made for me in college that has four distinct corners, personalizing the bed covering with my loves and my traits is my favorite. Our wedding quilt is stunning - it is a spring bed quilt, thin but cozy, nearly enough to convince me to stay under the covers all day long on a fair spring day.


But the quilts she makes for the kids are - far and away - the ones that inspire me most. With each pregnancy she began the quilt early on so that, by the time of delivery the only thing left to do was embroider our sweet girl's name and birthdate.


This is Emma's.


She is buried in it; swaddled in the love that Nana made. The perimeter is bunnies, following - chasing each other around and around quilt. I wanted her buried in this - really I did, but I found myself missing it: it's colors, the bunnies, the fact that is had been hers.


And so, for Christmas my mother made a miniature wall hanging with the leftover fabric.



It hangs on my bedroom wall, to the left of our bed. She is with us all the time - she always is, but this helps. And I often find myself thinking about how putting Emma's name and birthday was supposed to be a joyous time. It would mean that she was here, finally - the first grandchild, a most wanted child.


Instead, Nana, after being called from her classroom and shocked with the news that her grandchild had died, sitting with us all night, holding sweet Emma after her 3:30am delivery - went home to embroider each letter and number in the wee hours of the morning. I imagine each consonant brought a new wave of pain, each vowel another shower of disbelief, each digit a reminder of the day that it all went wrong.


It's hard to see the letters - but they are there: EMMA GRACE.


Forever missed - forever loved - wrapped eternally in love, made at her Nana's hands.


Now, click on over and see what the rest of the class is show and telling.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Nature Personified

I love Emma's burning bush. It represents everything tangible and quantifiable about my missing child.
We measure it September 8th - mark it's growth in her scrapbook as if we were celebrating another three inches on her dark little third grade head.
In the spring, we de-tree it by pulling out the rooting acorns embedded in her dirt.

It 'blooms' every fall, sometimes in the week of her birthday - just like she would have, another year older, another grade of school.

We tend to it as winter approaches - picking up fallen leaves and sticks that litter the inner circle of love J made for her.

I am protective of that space - stepping in front of it when a rouge softball misses its mark to the far left, willing to take a bruise to the shin so that my Emma, the bush - is safe. Any mother would, right?

And so, this evening - this glorious suto-summer like evening (and yes - if you read here consistently that means we went from suto-winter to suto-summer in a miraculous shift somehow bypassing spring at all. I'm told it's coming) anyway - on such a glorious evening when coming inside was a tragic thought after grilling out, eating out, playing afore mentioned softball, and tennis outside, I dragged myself into the kitchen to clean up the last of the dishes. My other three ran through the field, soaking in every last ounce of sunshine willing to grace our day.

Minutes later, I glanced out the window and my heart stopped. The Comedian was touching Emma's bush. It looked so vulnerable, completely bare of any covering: no leaves, no snow, no way to protect itself. She was running the ends of the branches through her fingers over and over and over. I felt this rush of fear, what if she breaks a branch? what if she hurts her sister? - much like I was watching them fight over a pair of well-used, but coveted pants.

I acually opened the door to say something - anything - to get my sweet, would-never-hurt-a-soul daughter to stop touching the naked branches. It was tearing me up. I knew it was irrational. I knew it was ridiculous. It is a bush! A plant. A living piece of nature meant to represent my long gone daughter, but not to embody her in any physical way.

Even so, I had nearly opened my mouth to speak unplanned words when Comedian looked up and met my eyes. She spoke first, "Oh, Hi Mama. I was just talking to Emma. I was just telling she that she's leaves are going to come back and we are going to take a picture of she's leaves."

The tears that hid behind my eyes came simultaneously with my smile.

"Yes we are" I said, "You bet we are." And we held hands as she got ready for bed.
And so, you see - all these years later the irrational thoughts and desperate need for connection, in some way - through any portal, still remains. The difference? I know she's not coming back. I no longer think I can bring her back. Instead, I embrace these things: a bush, a stone angel, a scrapbook, a door opening of it's own accord, a timely song played on the radio...as my daughter.
Irrational - maybe. Necessary - definately.

Connections...Are you an artist??

This forum is the foundation for connections of all kinds.

In this space I spoke of Share.

Sara emailed me and connected me to Charlotte's Mama.

She was a wealth of information and connceted me to this group.

Through the group I found the hood-spa to start our own group and in the process met the very talented Birdie's Mama and put her sweet girl on The Wall of Angels.

Last week I received this email from her.

"Charlotte's Mama and myself are going to be working on a book, a book that will be for the young siblings of babylost parents, a book that talks about the baby who is not there but is talked about and cherished.

However, we are looking for an illustrator, and I would like to find either a babylost Mama or Papa to be that person. If you can, would you mind putting the word out to your SHARE group, or by another means of getting the word out?

I have not had any luck in my calls for such an illustrator, and it seems so important to have the whole book be made by babylost parents."

A book like this is so needed. PLEASE...contact her if you feel like your talent might match their vision.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Me in Prose

Self
Wife
Mother
Friend...TIME

Analyst of child behavior
Disiplinarian
Unconditionally Loving
Determined to raise happy, healthy, well-adjusted kids in spite of the world we live in...TIME

Activist for Change
Writer
Share Chapter Leader
Motivated to Make a Difference
Heartbroken for myself - for others - for countless others...
Working with my Agent...TIME

Sign Language Interpreter
Field work
Travel
Letters of recomendation, Deaf Community- TIME

"A full life is a life led by intrinisic passion. It meets the critera of Fulfilling, Rewarding and Joyful. It matters little what you get back, but only what you give - the mark that you made."
- Me, I say that.

Apparently, regardless of what my bank account ledger says, I lead a full live - a very full one.

Lost Found Connections Abound! It Works - So Let's Use It!

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TO READ MY STORY FROM THE BEGINNING CLICK HERE THEN READ THE 7 COUNTDOWN POSTS TO EMMA'S EIGHTH BIRTHDAY!


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