Thursday, December 31, 2009

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Monday, December 28, 2009

Best Christmas Present Ever!

Wow--I wanted to blog about this because I have been waiting so long for this to happen. And when it would, I wanted it written down. Unfortunately, like most dreams, I don't have much to write about because I don't remember much of it....except what was most important.
Chase came to me last night. I remember having the dream and then waking up right afterwards and thinking what had just happened. I had such an incredibly warm feeling about the dream and knew it was Chase. I had dreamt about him before, but only his casket or his corpse---nothing that gave me warmth and happiness. But last night, I saw him. Like I said, I don't remember much about the dream but I remember holding him above my head looking up at him and he was just smiling away. His smile was so intriging to me in the dream, I don't know why. How sweet it was, though. I know there was more to the dream because when I woke up afterwards, I remember thinking about it and that it finally came. But then I went back to sleep and didn't think about it again until this morning when I was at the coffee shop with Karly.
We saw a baby come in and I told Karly that the baby was probably Chase's age--which was confirmed after I asked the dad. The baby was born just a couple weeks after Chase actually. So we talked about the baby and Karly asked me if that mom loved that baby as much as she should. Interesting question from a 7-year-old I thought. I asked her why and she said because the baby was crying in the car seat and the mom didn't take him out. I told her I thought the mom looked like a very good mom and sometimes babies cry but that is part of teaching them about patience--even when they are little babies. I laughed and told her that I don't think Chase would have cried very much because while I would have been too busy to pick him up for a moment, either she or Emma would have stepped in and picked him up until I could tend to his needs. I smiled at that thought but Karly cried. I held her hand and she told me how bad she wanted 2 things, well 3 things, she said. "I want to be able to fly (1), and (2) Chase to come back alive and (3), if Chase can't come back alive, I want another baby.
Ditto. All of that. Ditto for me, too, Karly Jo.
Thank you for the visit, sweet boy. You snuck in on me because I thought it would be a long time before I would see you. I love you so much, baby boy. I love you so so much.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Struggle, Part II of ???

I can't believe Christmas is over. Well, the holiday is not over for us, but I just can't believe that this is the end of December. The year seemed to fly which is so weird because so often I don't know if I can make it through the day, or the minute or the second. The pain I felt going to bed on Christmas eve and then on Christmas morning was excruciating. As I lay in bed that night trying to fall asleep, I missed our baby boy so much. I had that dull ache, a nauseating feeling, deep in the pit of my stomach that was emotional and physical all at once. Just sick that he is not here with us. At eight months old, and with 3 older siblings, he would have so much fun watching and learning what to do on this special holiday. We would have had so much fun watching and learning what he could do. I cried myself to sleep eventually that night and woke up in a hurry as the other three yelled at us from their rooms. I rushed around to get the final preparations complete and then watched as they tore open gifts, handed out gifts and played with their new toys. Then I sat down by Chase's tree and read the kids' letters to him, read Karly's present she made for him and just cried. I was so confused. I looked at the three kids and Patric and thought about how happy I was to have them and be a part of their lives and how much joy they give me every day. But then I looked down in my lap at his pictures and could not stop crying because our little boy was not here and he really should be. Of course, it was that "inside", quiet-as-you-can-cry, but the tears were unstoppable. Karly gave me a hug and a smile and I smiled back at her and loved her right back. And I wiped my tears and put on my happy face, but kept crying on the inside.

I was told our first Christmas without him would be the hardest. But I had no idea. I did not expect the huge wave that would hit me. And I didn't allow myself to think that Patric would be having an equally painful time, in his own way, and not the same as mine. The question I don't have the answer to is where do you meet when you no longer grieve in the same way as your spouse, but you are both still in so much pain? After finally realizing this, I don't know how to fix it. How do I comfort him on his journey when I am on the same journey but in a different vehicle? I can't quite reach him the same way as when we were both riding side by side and he can no longer do the same for me, either. I know we are there for each other, but our needs are different now. I don't know how to solve this one, but I think that understanding that this is happening is a start. I can't explain this very well, but I'm just trying to say that I love my husband more than anything. And I know that he is going through the worst tragedy that anyone ever has to go through. There are times that I may be able to comfort him and there are times that I may not know what to do. The compounding factor of this is that I, too, am going through the exact same worst tragedy ever, but dealing/thinking/hurting differently because I am me and he is him. I am so sorry, Patric, for being so caught up in my sorrow and guilt and sadness, that I have somehow looked past yours. I should be the rock for you that you are for me. You know me, and you love me for who I am and I am the luckiest girl in the world for that. Just know that you mean the world to me and I am trying. Trying to cope, trying to live, trying to love all my kids with all my heart the best that I know how. And, with every breath, I love you.


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Tradition

I'm not the best at traditions with our family. Not like I remember growing up when we did the same thing every year for the holidays. I guess you could look at it that I'm keeping every year new and exciting. Nah, I'm just slack at keeping up with traditions. We don't go around looking at lights every year. This year we didn't attend any of the town's annual Christmas events. There are very specific reasons for not attending some of them and the others, I guess it wasn't important enough to me this year or we would have participated. That and things are different. Holiday spirit is so extremely difficult when you are missing someone...and missing a part of you.
One thing I guess we always DO do is cut out cookies and decorate them. I can be proud of doing that every year that the kids can remember so far. As I was getting ready tonight to do this, I remembered very vividly doing this last year. I felt sooo old because I was hugely pregnant. And tired. My feet ached by the time we were through. Cleaning up was a bear. But Chase was there. I know he was part of that. As I got things ready tonight and the kids were so excited to start, I couldn't help but get sad. Listening to them, and all their commotion, I missed Chase so badly. He should have been in the middle of this mess, sitting in his high chair, eating cookie dough for the first time.
But the kids did a great job and had a lot of fun doing it. It's fun to watch them work on each individual masterpiece and put their flare into it. I am so lucky to have them. I can't believe how lucky I am. They are awesome. Here are a couple pictures....I got to decorate a few, even, in between making more frosting, coloring it and making sure the mess didn't get too out of control. Again, I'm exhausted. But in a very different way. Wishing things were different.

Wishing you all sweet dreams and many Christmas blessings,

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Defying the odds

All my life the phrase "defying the odds" meant that you strived for something that not many people were able to achieve or that no one expected you to do/obtain/achieve the things you did. Statistics. It's about those who did and those who didn't and the likelihood of what would or wouldn't happen. To defy the odds was an honor, or a blessing, and was to be regarded as such.
I don't feel the same way anymore. I feel like we defied the odds when we lost Chase. That wasn't what was supposed to happen. So now I am scared. I don't want to mess with any statistics anymore. Because being 1 in 100 is not amazing. It is scary. It might be a blessing, but it could also be tragic. This borders paranoia, which is no way anyone wants to live their life. Some would call it fear. Some might call it caution. Some might just say it's speaking from experience. For me, it definitely makes me think about everything I do, every decision I make. Who it will affect and how it will affect them/us? I feel mortal, indeed. I feel that what happens happens and it's how we deal with it that makes us who we are. And no, I don't want to sit around and worry about the statistics, because I can't change them or put them to my advantage all the time. So I will make my decisions and deal with whatever happens. Whatever it may be.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A quote worth reading

My baby sister (she's not a baby anymore, trust me) sent me an email with a quote in it that I couldn't post to my blog quick enough. I have written about (here) and certainly read a lot about the friendships that quickly or eventually end of those of us who have suffered the losses we have. And what ends the friendships that we had before our losses are the changes that we have gone through and how completely different we become once we begin this journey and the fact that our "old" friends just don't get it, let alone, know how to act around us. When I read this quote, I said, "exACTly" to myself. Because it's those who want and try to fix it for us, or who want so badly to have us go on with our lives and move past the tragedy, who end up leaving us. Let me know what you think:
"When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving much advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a gentle and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares."
~Henri Nouwen

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

For what he is

I had a mother of all roller coaster days today. I had lunch with some great ladies and just by chance the conversation turned to my pictures of Chase. I happened to mention as we headed out the door to our cars that the nurse who was in the operating room for my surgery had taken some pictures of Chase soon after he was born (because our camera was no where to be found) and had supposedly emailed them Patric but we had never seen them. And her phone had gotten stolen by the time I asked for them so apparently there were some phantom pictures of Chase out in cyber space that no one has ever seen that I will never get. My friend immediately speaks up and says, "I think we have them." I have been thinking/searching for these pictures since April to no avail. It's an ever longer story how she ended up with them so just know that I was hit with one of those tidal waves of grief. I was so hopeful that she might have them, but prepared that she wouldn't. I wanted to see them so badly. The earliest images of my newborn son, captured in time. Before I had even got home, she had already texted me that she sent them to my email address. I don't know why, but as I drove home, I felt like I was going to get to see my baby for the first time again. That's what it felt like. But I knew that I didn't really have him. But it was still a sense of anticipation like I was about to get something that I wanted for a real long time, but I would never get what I really wanted.
So all those emotions come back to me. How perfect he looked. How chubby his legs were. My, his nose looks big! How could he have died? He looks too healthy. How could this have happened? Anger rages within the depths of every cell in my body. Pain fills my heart, my head, my gut. He just needed his mama to hold him, it feels like. It hurts so incredibly bad. This wave is way over my head. I'd been keeping my head above the water up until this point.
I struggle with many things. As time keeps on, there's a part of him that feels like is slipping away. Because I know he is no longer a newborn; now he is 8 months old. And I don't know what that looks like on Chase. In these pictures I know he was going to have his own look. I can't imagine what he would look like at 8 months. I can only see him as he looked days old. And I feel like this is jading me. I don't know what I am supposed to think of him like? I read many different ways people imagine a lost child. And I feel that everyone has their own opinion and own belief. But the problem is, I don't know what I believe. And I feel like it is getting in the way. I can't think of my baby the way I want to because I don't have an image. Or the only image I have is frozen in time the day after he was born and is that what he is looks like in heaven? I had read in a book that he will look age appropriate and I will recognize him when I see him in heaven so that was what I was trying to do....imagine him growing up. But I can't. I don't have a picture in my head of that because I never saw it with my eyes to transfer it to my brain. I need something tangible. Or I need to freeze him in time.
Moreso, I need to think of him for what he is. Not what he is not. He is my baby boy, perfect in every way, with a head full of hair, perfect nose, chubby legs and 10 perfect fingers and toes. And he lived with us for three days. He loved us and we loved him, more than anything in this world. He knows that and so do we. He taught us things that we never knew. And we taught him what a family can be and is. That is what Chase is to me. And always will be. No more struggling to conjure up an image of what he must look like to all those who are up there in heaven with him. No more struggling to grasp how he would look as an 8-month-old baby if he were here with me. I have my photos to remember him by and that is how it will remain for me. Frozen in time.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


Okay, I'm sort of in a quandry. It's really not a quandry because being faced with what we have been faced with, the question of whether or not to send out Christmas cards is nothing I'm going to waste much energy over. There are much more important know what I mean.
The question of whether or not to send Christmas cards to our traditional list weighs heavily on 2 things: a) who is on that list and b) what is on the card. I made a card on Snapfish that I thought looked really neat. But I made the card because of where I am at in my grieving. I am to a point where I want people to know about my Chase, people that I have not talked to, some for years, but I keep in touch with once a year through an exchange of holiday photos or cards. Having said that, I don't know how much I want to share and, let's face it, I don't really know that I want to or that I should or that I have anything to celebrate through a Christmas card greeting. Of course I have a lot to celebrate. But how can you celebrate when you are greiving? And sending out a Christmas card is kind of like celebrating the past year, right?
The card has a family snapshot taken earlier today at church, a couple snapshots that represent Chase and one of the kids by Chase's tree. I chose each snapshot for a specific reason, but almost no one receiving the card would be aware of what they symbolize. The card also has a letter on the back that I wrote. It is a generic note about our year, including the birth and loss of Chase and how it has affected us. In my opinion, it is an update with a slight philosophical twist to it. When I finished it, it was exactly what I wanted it to look like and say, but I really didn't know if I wanted to actually send it. I don't know if this makes any sense....
So I showed Patric, because of course, I wasn't going to send anything like this out without consulting him and making sure that I was not doing something he was not comfortable with. His thoughts were much the same as mine, as mentioned above. (I had been working this up in my mind for a few weeks now,while he had just had this placed in his lap.) His question was, probably for the general public, who wants to get a Christmas card that is all about our child who died? And why should or would I explain my child, such an intimate/personal experience, to people we never see? (most of our christmas card list is old, out of town friends and distant family) I totally agree. And what's more, I'm not sure how I'll feel about this when I wake up in the morning. But I wanted to blog about this in hopes that I would get some comments from those who are walking my my shoes. How do you feel about sending Christmas cards? Are you sending them out and if so, are you saying anything about your loss?
After talking to Patric, I realized I could just send a card with just our family snapshot. There is a flower arrangment with an ornament for Chase so, for me, Chase is in the photo. It also would have Chase's name on the card, of course. But I'm not sure if the reason I wanted to send Christmas cards out was to send the letter, too, or not. Maybe it was just healing for me, making the card and I don't need to go any further. And I feel a little bit weird sending out Christmas cards with us wearing smiles when my baby died just 7 months ago. But that is what I mean about where I am at in my grieving. I'm want to send a card, but I don't. I don't think I want to just send a family photo card, though, I think it's all or nothing.
As we well know, there is no rule book on what to do, no etticate and definitely no 'standard protocol' to follow. In cases like these, it's best to turn to those who have been there. So please, any ideas/comments/feelings relating to this hopefully will help me a little.

Giveaway Winner

The winner of the necklace and earings set is Lareina and Mrs. A. is going to get my runner up necklace (which you will love!). Lareina, I don't know how to get a hold of you so please leave me an email with your information so I can get it shipped out. Thank you to everyone who left comments. It was really neat to read about the things/people that inspired you. I connected with some bloggers I had not connected with yet and of course that is always really cool. Thanks to Tina for starting this Giveaway project. It was done for all the right reasons and some amazing things are coming out of it! Now go over to her site and see whose turn it is today.

Friday, December 11, 2009

25 Days of Giveaways....My Turn

Tina, at Living Without Sophia and Ellie, had a great idea for helping babyloss moms get through the holidays with a giveaway every day until Christmas. She has put a lot of time and effort into getting this together and I have to admit, my assigned day snuck up on me. I thought I had until next week.....and I've even been checking the giveaway blogs every day! I am not always with it but I have to admit, this project has helped me through this very difficult holiday season. Checking out other blogs, finding new stories I had not come across yet, reading post after post and relating to every story in this community with at least our outcomes in common, and sometimes more.

My giveaway today is for a necklace and some earings that I made. The necklace has light pink and blue pearls and Swarovski's crystals strung on grey silk with a toggle clasp. One thing that has been very comforting to me has been wearing jewelry that signifies or represents my kids or just Chase in some way. This necklace is called "Inspire". I chose this message because this community has been an inspiration to me. I have struggled with faith a lot since losing Chase and there have been several instances when I have read on a blog someone's idea of faith and it has helped me to see Chase or the circumstances surrounding Chase in a different light. I have been comforted reading how other baby loss moms and dads view their angel babies now and can think of my Chase in a very similar way. I have read others' perceptions of God on some blogs that have made sense to me and have allowed me to think of Chase in a religious sense, not just spiritual. I don't have all the answers and everyone has their own opinions, but this blog in this community is a place I can come and discuss my doubts and concerns and anger and whatever else knowing I won't be judged because there are others with very similar feelings.

Also.....! A runner up will receive a necklace with this 25 x 25mm pendant on brown leather with a lobster clasp. It is the Chinese symbol for faith and has the the English word "faith" on the back. (This is the one I didn't have time to make...I have not received the pendant yet.)

To enter this giveaway, leave me a comment and if you feel like it, tell me who or what has inspired you since the loss of your baby(ies). I will choose the winner tonight from so check back tomorrow to see if it is you! If it is, please email me with your address and I will get them shipped out ASAP. Thanks, in advance, for sharing!

The Mountains & the valleys

My blogger friend, Laura, told us about a website where you can have your blog printed and bound into a book and I have been ready to do that. I need to do it a) before the book gets too big that I won't be able to afford to bind it ;) and b) to put it with my pregnancy journals and stow them away....somewhere...for my girls, should they ever have any interest in this stuff called life that I am experiencing. Anyway, I have been waiting for the perfect post to end this part, called Book I, or something like that.

I guess what comes to mind is how I have changed since Chase died and who it is, exactly, that I am now. The thing is, I'm still not sure. And don't know that I ever will. For when Chase died, he took part of me with him. And just as I feel like I didn't get to know him, there's a part of me that I won't ever get to know.

Of course there is telling in what is not here. I do know some things just merely by what is not in my presense. The first thing is this.....Before Chase died, I had a feeling, or a curiosity, or a premonition, if you will. It had started a long time before April of 2009 and I don't know exactly when, but I had some sort of "feeling", and I don't know a better way to describe it, that something bad was due for our family. I had often thought about the devestations that happen in our world and how lucky, incredibly lucky, we were to not have experienced any such tragedy, to not have cancer or diseases or have someone close and dear to us have to experience that, no natural disasters to take our possessions or damage our outlook on life. Our kids have all of their grandparents and were lucky enough to know several of their great grandparents. And most of all, Patric and I were healthy and fully capable of providing ourselves and our children with enriched lives. I am not an overly obsessed worrier, but I found myself increasingly worrying about something happening to someone close to me. It just seemed like were were playing a game and had escaping all of the bad things that happen to people. We were lucky. And I say that all the while admitting that we had our share of professional and financial troubles. I just felt that as bad as things got in our pocketbooks, we were so lucky to have our health and our family.

Then Chase died. And though a lot of events happened that day and up to that day that gave me the premonition that something bad was forthcoming, I never expected to lose my child. But it happened. It happened to me. It happened to my kids, Patric, our family. We lost a life; forever ripped from our hearts. I would like to say that for this price, I no longer worry that something bad will happen to us again, but I can't. Because I know that life offers no guarantees. Nothing is given to us. We are dealt a hand and we must decide what to do with it. And the only thing I can say is that I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. I might do a few things differently, mainly because I feel love in a different way that I used to. I feel things differently than I used to. I feel differently than I used to. And I guess that is a little bit of who I am now. I know that the mountain that we have come upon in living without Chase has not defined us, rather it has shown us a deeper perspective of who we are. We never thought we could live on, but we are. We. Are. Because such is life and we have to decide how we are going to Live. On. Our kids think and feel differently, too. I can see it in their eyes. I can feel it in their touch. I can hear it in their words. Losing Chase and trusting that they will get to see him again has given them a faith that not very many know. A perspective like this is something that their lives would have been fulfilled not to have known. But as life would have it, they now feel, love, and see things deeper than they did before April 17th. They know how to survive in a way that we never could have taught them. They watched Chase fight and they know that they have it in themselves to fight, too. They know that family means we all stay together and though we might not be able to see Chase, we feel him and we know he is there. And Chase feels us. He feels our love. He has to. How can he not?

So it is with this post that I close this journal and move on to the next one. I can't really call it a Chapter or a Book because I don't feel like have have achieved anything or reached a goal or started anything anew. All I know is this life will go on, our stories will continue and our love will always endure. I won't say that there is always tomorrow, but I do know that our family is definitely more than forever.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Going Back

The girls are working on the church praise dance team performance. They have been working very hard, putting in a lot of time with their teacher (she is wonderful) and the show is next Sunday. I am very excited about watching them....I am always so proud of them and their teacher and what she accomplishes with the team. Anyway, they had a very short "teaser" performance this morning in church to encourage members to come watch. So we went to church.
I haven't been in a while. In fact, the last time I did, was a communion Sunday, and I left about 20 minutes into the service because I started crying and couldn't stop. I wrote about it here. I guess it had been a few months. Patric ran into a church member last week and she asked why we hadn't been coming. He told her we will when we are ready. She asked about me and he told her I have been struggling with, in his words, "the whole church thing". She told him we should come because they were there to help us with that, with everything, with anything.
I feel loved in that church. I love the all it's knotty pine and cabin-like warmth, all it's close-knit, small town feel. But it is so incredibly hard for me to walk in there. It is beautifully decorated for Christmas. All the symbols I used to love and cherish are now staring at me like I'm an outcast. Like I don't fit in with them (the symbols, not the people). They seem foreign to me. I see the white lights on the tree and the lights on the nativity sets and pretty starbursts grow from them...bigger and bigger until I can no longer see through my welled up eyes and tears start to fall. And they fall. And they don't stop.
I knew this would happen. I knew when I went in there, I would cry. Not only because of Chase's funeral, but because whatever would happen in there, whatever the sermon might be, it would relate to me. Some how. It would identify with me and some aspect of my life. Whether I wanted to or not.
So I cried. As quietly and inconspicuously as I could. And Patric held my hand and comforted me. But I was stupid to hope no one would notice. I was dumb to think I was alone. Too many people care about us too deeply. I feel it. And it helps. A little. But it also hurts. The warm looks and the heartfelt words, "it was nice to see you this morning," are so kind and well meant. But it hurts to be there. It hurts to feel love when all I want to do is love the son I can't hold.

Friday, December 4, 2009


We have been busy....with snow. Kids have been home from school on snow days and we have been busy. I just wanted to post some pics real quick. These are my favorite ornaments this year. That's so hard to say because I have so many favorites actually, but these are very important to me right now.

The kids did a great job decorating. We had very few casualties (broken ornaments) and those that did were superglued. Dad did his part in setting up the train; Reese's favorite part. I am so very blessed for these things in my life.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Today sucks. It does and it always will. The part that sucks anyway. It is supposed to be, and started out, an awesome day. 8 inches of snow, no school, fuzzy jammies, a mission to decorate for Christmas. I love having all the lights up and the tree decorated and sitting by the fire snuggled up with Patric or the kids or a warm cup of cocoa. I love it, I do.

But gawd...everywhere I look, it is just so painful. We are rearranging for the tree to fit and the mention of moving a piece of furniture into the bedroom came up. I shrieked inside. I don't want to move ANYthing in my room. It's where the crib is, the changing table, all the stuff I need(ed) for Chase to come home. I thought I was doing okay...but when it came up to move some of that stuff around I realized I am not. I'm not ready for that. The reason we moved the furniture OUT of our room in the first place was to make room for baby. I hate it. It hurts. This season should be so incredibly happy and fun right now. What should be.....
I am cleaning up everywhere getting ready to take stuff to storage so we can bring all the decorations back. I came across a box of clothes. Old clothes the girls grew out of...and then a bag of misc. clothes and stuff. It dawned on me that it was a bag of stuff that the "friends" that came into the house to clean up for me when Chase died had collected and didn't know what to do with so they just put it somewhere. I had put it "away for now" several months ago. Ouch, coming across that was a painful reminder. I picked out the stuff that was never meant to be thrown away and threw away the rest.
I think about Christmas last year and how pregnant I was. I can remember my belly being in the way all the time...I felt so huge. I remember being pregnant so vividly, I could almost feel it.
Today is tough. I think this holiday is going to be very tough. I could cry at the drop of a hat. I find myself talking outloud to Chase now, when no one is around. I am picturing him hovering around the room following me.....I look at my photos and I am so sad. I feel like time is slipping away so quickly and I know he is growing up, changing and I am only going to have a memory of him as a newborn baby. I don't know what he looks like now or how he is changing. Can someone up there just send me a photo every now and then? I want to look at a tangible memory...I am so confused when I try to think for myself what he must look like.
All of this just hurts so bad. I want him here. I want him with us. I want to be happy. I want life to be the way it used to. I miss you Chase. I miss you so much it hurts. Kisses to you sweet boy.