Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

I can't believe it's been three weeks since I last posted.  Geez this month went fast.  It was hard to get in the Christmas mood.  But it finally came...and then, low and behold, it's snowing tonight.  I love it.   Probably not much but at least it's white outside.  And cold.  The magic of Christmas....

It's been tough getting in the Christmas spirit also because the ages of the girls.  Karly is pretty challenging right now (like her mom) and Emma has had a hard time with believing in anything, let alone Santa.  The age of doubt.  Doesn't that last for a while, huh?  I tried to do a couple special things for her because of this.  I'm going to write on my blog to her as well about this ...

I started this post a couple hours ago.  I'm going to wrap it up, much shorter than I had anticipated.  I have a letter to write to Chase yet as well.  It's snowing outside.  I think I'm all ready for Christmas.  Truth is, I'll never be ready.  Because it's not what I ever wanted it to be.  In ways, its much more.  in ways, there's still a big hole.  I'll always have someone missing in this picture.  But I know in my heart he is with us; he's here in this room with is on Christmas morning.  And soon, one day, I will hold him in my arms again.  I love and miss you dearly sweet boy.

My Grandma and my aunt at my cousin's wedding this last weekend.

My family

Got some sugar!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

It's that time again.  Seems like it comes faster every year.  I really would love to slow time down.  Some days.  Others I enjoy the ride.

One of my favorite times of the year....decorating the Christmas tree.  I love seeing the ornaments as they come out of the boxes.  Finding a place for each one.  Letting the kids do their own ornaments.

One of my least favorite times of the year...decorating Chase's tree.  This is the third time I've done it and it doesn't get easier.  It's painful.  Just as it was the first year.  Maybe not quite that bad.  But not any less than it was last  year.  
It's beautiful.  Just as it is every year.  But what it honors brings tears to my eyes, pain to my heart and brokenness to my soul.  And I can't imagine not having it there.  

We are busy.   School, sports, story time, shopping, and whatever else we can fit in to our day.  I love being in a big city because of the things we get to do.  Like the light parade last weekend.
And fun 5k races.

My girls are growing up and the holidays are fun in a whole new way.  I'm learning every day about parenting and it never ceases to amaze me that I still don't know it all.  Just when I thought it would get easier, it gets harder.   Middle school is hard.  And now I know that from a student and from a mom perspective and appreciate the latter so much more now that I'm here.  Guiding my middle school daughter should be easy but it turns out that some things I don't know the answer to and it is then I must go with my gut....flying by the seat of my pants as usual.  She is amazing and so full of thought.  Too much thought but at her age, how could she know that.   We are both learning right now and I love it.  I hope she's learning how to make mistakes and learn from them and then move on...because I've certainly shown her this.  One thing I know for sure is she's strong.  Stronger than I ever wanted her to be.  But her questions.....her questions are so hard sometimes.  I hope we can find the answers together...

More pictures and events to come before I close this book out.  Hopefully a couple more posts anyway!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Just keep swimming

Swim meet today. Emma waiting while Kar swims a pentathlon. Then us chicks are hitting the mall. I love doing this with the girls...when we have a purpose. I wonder who will last the longest.... I want to get them new dresses. Fun!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

A race weekend

This was the weekend for the Race for Fetal Hope in Denver which I had signed up for several months ago.   I wanted to run this 5k race for me, Chase and all the babies that got help from and would someday need help from this foundation.  I haven't exactly been training by definition.  But these days, training means getting whatever I can in whenever I can and it's not as always consistent or scheduled as I would like, but it's productive and for this reason, I like to challenge myself by running races.  I really liked the idea of running a race for an organization like this and when I registered, I ordered customized bibs for the event with Chase's picture on it in memory of him--a special keepsake for my memory box. I ordered 3 with the possibility that I might decide to register the girls for the run, too, depending on our schedule.  A couple weeks ago, then, I decided to register for the Turkey Trot 10k because I had a pretty good time on one of my runs and thought I might actually be able to catch some old times of mine.  This race was scheduled the day before the Fetal Hope run.  I thought it would be a good chance for me to run a 10k and if I was up for it, I'd still give it my all for the 5k, and if not, I'd run/walk it with the girls or possibly not go at all because we had a scheduling conflict on Sunday (Reese's SuperBowl).

Fast forward to Friday and I finally registered the girls for the Fetal Hope run on Sunday, still planning on running the Turkey Trot on Saturday, competitively.  Saturday morning was cold, but Owen only woke up once in the middle of the night, so things looked good for me getting to the race on time.  I felt good physically, cleaned out digestively (yay!) and thus  was very stoked for the race when I got there. Lined up, couldn't hear anything from the race announcers so I just followed the crown and off we went!  I felt pretty good for the first mile.  I noticed there were a lot of younger runners (like 6-9 year olds) and I did also notice a lot of light green bibs while mine was light orange, but still did not think anything was awry.  Everyone was running pretty fast and I didn't see the competitive runners but I figured they were way ahead of me already anyway.  My mile 2 pace was right on, as well and I felt awesome.  Thinking things were good.  Then, it was over.  We wrapped around teh school and there was the finish line and my race, that I thought was a 10k, was only a 2mi and it was over.  I didn't even sprint at the finish because I thought I still has 4 miles left.  

Hmmmm.  Not a super bright move on my part.  But you know what.  There was nothing I could do about it.  APparently the 10k runners lined up and went the other direction from the start of the 2 mile race where I had lined up.   Oh.Well.  I wasn't even breathing hard when it was over.  In fact, I was tempted to keep running just because I was warmed up and feeling pretty good.  But I didn't.  I went to my car and headed home.  Only to be rewarded in my headphones by the voice of Lance Armstrong, congratulating me on the fastest mile I have ever run at 6.4 something.  Little did he know I was in my car for the last half of that mile.  Ha!  I hadn't even shut off my watch yet!  I decided to turn into Einstein's Bagels and grab me a bagel and a latte.  Something I was looking forward to after my 10k, but decided to binge anyway.  

The funny part to this story is that when I got the results later that evening, I opened up the email curious as to what the 10k times were for the race.  However, the 2 mi popped on my screen first and there was my name--I won my age division for the 2mile.  The irony.  Even though I could care less about a 2 mile race, I got first place and my age group was the most populated age group in both the 2 mi and 10k female races.  It barely felt like I got a workout that day, but I decided that I would try my best at the 5k in the morning (today) and see how I did.....

Now to today--Sunday.  It snowed most of the day yesterday and was pretty cold this morning when we woke up.  But we were pumped to participate so we dressed warm and headed downtown.  We picked up our bibs and shirts and pinned on our Chase bibs with the race bib to the shirts we got.  After hanging out in the warm car for a while, we made our way to the start line and listened to music and waited for start instructions.  They were going to start us in two waves--the first being the fast runners (8:45 pace or less) and the rest waiting a few minutes before they started.  There were over 1500 Girls on the Run participants so the start was pretty busy.  Later I would regret it, but I sent the girls back to the second wave start line while I stayed up at the front to run with the faster runners.  As the start time neared, the announcer talked about the organization and how it started and what it meant to him, the person who started the whole thing with his wife when they were pregnant with twins who were diagnosed with TTTS and told would die in utero.  Their girls are now 9 and active and healthy.   He spoke of some other twins that were present today who were celebrating their 3rd birthdays, some others that were 8 years old now.  Then he said there were some people running for loved ones and said "The Pearson family is here running for their baby brother".  He said another family and then said, "And there are several others here running for angels, as well." The tears in my eyes had been welling up and as soon as I heard our name, I started bawling.  I was right up at the front of the start line, all by myself, but with several hundreds of people and standing right near the speaker as well.  No one knew me and I had my sunglasses on so my tears were flowing very freely.  And it was just bizarre.  I had suddenly really regretted not standing next to the girls and hoped they heard our name mentioned.  I felt like Chase was talking to me through him.  I felt so alone lost in the middle of a sea of people listening to a loudspeaker that was speaking directly to me.  It sounded like he said our name randomly, but so very purposefully.  It didn't mean anything to ANYONE except me and the girls, and like I said, I didn't even know if the girls heard it.  I felt Chase's presence right then.  But not like he was right there with me or on my shoulders or something.  Just like he was watching.  I cried until there was 15 seconds left to start.  I don't know if anyone saw me but it was so loud that I didn't worry about anyone hearing me.  My bib with his picture was on my back so I know everyone behind me saw it and I kept thinking about that the whole time I was running.  Each time I passed someone or someone passed me, I knew they saw my bib.  Strangely, I didn't see anyone else with personalized bibs like we had made, but I know there were other teams running for loved ones.  Most of the runners were the Girls on the Run organization and then the runners at the start with me were I'd say pretty competitive, so somewhere in between there were people running specifically for this cause.  

I'd say I ran the first mile on emotion.  I didn't know my feet were so cold until the gun went off and I took my first step and couldn't feel my feet.  Brrr.  The feeling came back by the second mile and I tried to keep my pace up.  THe last mile I picked up my pace and sprinted the end.  As soon as I crossed the finish I started looking for the girls to catch up with them.  When I finally did, I asked them if they heard the announcer and they did not.  :o(  I was really bummed.  And then I felt even more like Chase was talking to me, letting me know he was there.  It was really strange and it's hard to explain but whenever there is any sort of connection to him, I'll take it and embrace it.  I have no expectations when it comes to getting signs from him because I will never know.  I signed up for this race with Chase in the forefront of my mind but I didn't expect to feel him with me or get any sign from him.  I just felt it would honor him and that it was a great cause to support.  That's not to say that I don't hope for signs though.  So when something like this happens, I go with my gut and what it feels like at the moment.  And right then and there, it was amazing.  Incredible.  Emotional.  Magical.  And most of all...Private.  

So I ended up 3rd in my age group out of over 300 women (most were probably with Girls on the Run but still!)  The girls and I had a quick bite before we headed home. It felt good to be with them, doing something healthy together for an important cause.  I couldn't have asked for a better morning.  

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Would you want to know?

I have many times in my life believed the old adage, "Ignorance is Bliss."  That is, in my parenting life. I felt that through my first pregnancy, my first trials as a parent, breastfeeding, bathing, doing all the things with a new baby and learning all the tricks.  I did a lot of preparing, went to lamaze classes and read books, but I knew it was all going to be on me when that baby was placed in my arms and I was led by my instincts first and foremost.  When I felt I needed to take the baby to the doctor, I didn't hesitate or stew about it, I went.  Just the same--I listened to my body when I was pregnant or nursing and when I felt something was wrong, I had it checked out or if I didn't feel right while exercising, I stopped.  Then I built on my experiences and my knowledge base grew.  Heck, by now I should nearly be an expert on this thing of parenting, right?  I guess it depends on who ya talk to in this house, lol!

Losing Chase changed my thinking on that old saying, though.  And unfortunately, it has affected my kids in a way that have only begun to surface.  A lot of times, yes, I wish I never knew about all those things that can go wrong during pregnancy and birth.  And life.  But, I also know that if I would have known, or just not even "expected" everything to go perfect as usual, I could have easily made the outcome different that day that Chase was born.  And trust--I never would have put so much blind trust into my doctor, if I would have known about abruptions and things like that.  And I can go back and kick myself all I want as I do every day and will for the rest of my life.  But it doesn't change the fact that we have options---ignorance or education.

I recently met a young woman who is the age I was when I first started having kids and she is so close to starting her family it's like looking in a mirror.  And as I tell her about my kids and answer her questions about having babies and being ready and all that, I hold back my story about Chase because I normally don't tell expectant moms or younger what happened for fear of scaring them and in turn causing stress during their pregnancy.  It's not my privilege to decide whether they should endure their pregnancy knowing what can go terribly wrong and to be at least a little prepared for that alternative or that they enjoy their pregnancy in pure bliss because they don't know what there is to be scared about.  I certainly enjoyed my first four pregnancies that way.  And I am so glad that I did.  And I am so sorry that I did.

So I don't know.  I hate the fact that babies can die.  But I hate that life happens this way sometimes, too.  But I love life, just as much.  As sad as I am, I am that happy, too.  It all comes together.  I don't know that I would call it harmony, but it is a balance.  It's not always an equal balance, some days are definitely harder than others.  But I've learned that it happens.  And we can either be prepared for it, or we can be free for a while and then blindsided later.  It's our choice.  And I know that I'm not going to make that choice for anyone but me.

Sunday, November 4, 2012


We had an awesome Halloween.  It was so much fun with Owen at this age.  He looked so cute in his little zebra costume and by the end of the night had mastered "Tik-oooh-teet!", "Tankoo", and "Happy-ween!"  He tried to keep up with big sis and big bro and this resulted in a spill right before we got back to the house so we had a nice mark on the side of his head from falling on a step, but thanks to the large mounds of candy everywhere, he soon forgot about it.  Reese and Kar felt much more comfortable this year in our neighborhood and it was fun to take them to so many different houses and meet so many nice people that really enjoyed seeing the kids come to their door.  The zig-zagged down the street and made out like banshees.  (word?)  Emma stayed home to hand out candy in her cool Katniss costume until we got home and told her she had to go check out the haunted garage decorations down the street. Her and Patric thought they were pretty cool.

When the night was done I hated taking Owen's zebra costume off.  He loved it and I can't say enough about how cute it was.  I remember Reese wearing it but he didn't enjoy it near as much as Owen did and we didn't trick-or-treat much where we used to live.  I never got to see Chase in the zebra outfit so I really relished every minute of this evening.   And to have it all be sad.  I'm glad it was so much fun.  It is a memory we will cherish forever.  

Friday, October 19, 2012

Destination: Maui!

We took a family trip last week--padded our fall break at school with a few extra days and ended up in Maui, for the first time as a family.  The kids worked very hard the days leading up to get their homework done in advance and pack their bags and clean their rooms so by the time Thursday rolled around they were all revved up and we could't get to the airport fast enough!

Everything from the check-in, to the security, to the train ride to the terminal, to boarding the plane was an adventure as it was the first time in several years since the big kids had flown.  It was fun and I was very proud of them for being such good travelers.  I was a bit of a flake myself as I had too many kids and too many bags to worry about. (when I didn't need to because they were keeping track of it themselves!) This resulted in me leaving behind my DSLR camera and lenses on the plane in LA.  Needless to say I was freaked out about it and there was absolutely nothing I could do before our flight left LA.   My heart had sunk as I was very excited about getting some great family photos and playing around with my camera on this trip.  But Karly had her camera and we all had our phones so I had to decide if I was going to move on or sulk the entire trip and there was no way I was going to not enjoy this as much as I could.  I was very lucky to even get the camera back in the end but that's when persistence pays off and it showed up Friday.  Whew!

Enough about my screwup, which turned out to save another screwup...and then to nearly be trumped by an even bigger screwup that we were spared by the skin of our teeth.  Anyway!  The trip was a blast.  I actually made a couple other mistakes, too, but they were fixed and we were able to enjoy a luau, a dinner cruise, waterfalls, some beautiful sunsets and a lot of sun, sand and pool time.  I don't think there was much else we could have asked for and we can't stop talking about "next time" we go back.

I was a little emotional as the trip neared.  This was a trip we had longed for (especially me) ever since I was pregnant with Emma and had visited the resort we had booked for the first time.  As bad as I wanted to take the kids to this awesome place, I was sad that we were doing it without Chase.  I remember thinking after Chase died that there would always be at least a little sadness in anything we did, no matter how wonderful, fun, beautiful, or amazing it was.  Because we would be missing a member of our family.  And that feeling surfaced as the trip got closer.   But I am used to having this perspective now.  Just as I am with having our rainbow baby, too.  The resort had some really neat pools and play areas for babies/toddlers and I loved using them.  I couldn't help but think if we didn't have Owen how heavy my heart would feel just walking past these pools....with no reason to be there.  Owen was a lot of work and had to be watched closely in the water but I cherished every moment with him.  I loved that I had to figure out how and where to get him to sleep and had a reason to play in the beach pool made for toddlers.  I loved chasing after him and watching him roll in the sand and run from the ocean waves and trying to teach him to not throw sand and watching him crush the sand castles we built and point out airplanes and the fish.....the list goes on.  I loved every second of it.  Because as much as I loved all that, I missed doing all of that with Chase.  I couldn't help but think how much fun Owen and Chase would be having playing together....but I was so thankful to at least have Owen.  Just as thankful that I am to have Emma, Karly and Reese.  Being surrounded by so much beauty and the vastness of the ocean makes me feel so appreciative.

So I wrote Chase's name on the beach.  A lot.  And watched the waves take it away time and time again.  I talked to him.  I know he was with us.  I just wish it was in the flesh.  It would have been so much better.  

The kids were awesome and they had so much fun.  It was definitely a dream come true being able to share this with them and do this trip as a family.  I told Patric I don't think I could have enjoyed myself at this resort if the kids weren't with us.  He felt the same way.  It's something we will be talking about for a long time.  I'm already working on a scrap book for the trip.  yes, I have plenty of pictures even without my DSLR.  And we are slowly getting back into the grove of things....and remembering that flip-flop season is over!

Friday, October 5, 2012


This month is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month and I've been participating in CarlyMarie's Capture Your Grief 2012 project.  It's been a little more challenging and emotional than I had anticipated.  And time consuming.  But it has been therapeutic and comforting.  You can post your photo on Instagram and/or Facebook and it has been so emotional to read the posts.  I don't even touch the surface of all who are sharing but I am still moved.  I am touched by the things that people post particular to the place they are in their journey.  I am also affected by the men that post, maybe because they have a FB account and it's that easy to do.  They are not necessarily blogging type dads but they put their feelings out there nonetheless, when given the medium.  Seeing them hurt  and share their feelings is emotional.  Also I'm moved by those that have just joined this community from recent losses.  It reminds me of the way I felt and how much I still feel that way in some respects.  Proving that the pain never does go away.  I have been very emotional about finding Chase's things to photograph and have seen some things I haven't looked at in a very long time.  The tears that come with this have been healing in some ways, too.  

I have also been reading some blogs of moms who have lost or are losing their young children to cancer.  It's painful to read but, like pregnancy and infant loss, it's not talked about because it's an uncomfortable topic and until people start talking about it enough, the care and treatment for children with cancer will not get better.  It is amazing what some people can accomplish on this earth when their anger is channeled into creating good out of evil.  These moms truly are making a difference.   I know Ronan and Ty are so lucky to have the moms they do.  Amazing women.

We have our trip planned in the middle of this month so I will actually be on a beach for the 15th, just not Christian's.  But I will anxiously be awaiting the photos Carly will be posting.  Here is a photo of the flag I made for Chase.

I am so glad I sent my flag in early because I actually got a personal email from her saying she got it, which I was very grateful for because when I mailed it I pretty much just crossed my fingers!  Oh, and she also sent me this photo for Chase.  
Anyway, I saw some pictures of other flags she had already received and was quite humbled, to say the least.  I told her this and she let made me feel very good about my flag.  I have to say, the best thing about this was that I finally got to work on a project for Chase--like a school project for the other kids.  I had my time set aside only for Chase.  I had to get it in the mail pretty quickly by the time I found out about the project so I just used things I had around the house.  To me, each piece of it means something, though to anyone else, it might look plain.  I wanted it simple, but my resources were scrap pieces of material and ribbons.  The yellow fabric I chose, though, was fabric I had bought when Emma was a baby.  It has Winnie the Pooh sewn into it and I never got around to using it for whatever I had bought it for.  Until now.  Chase will be represented on Christian's Beach October 15th and I know he will like having his own flag!  I can't wait to catch that sunrise myself.   More pictures to follow.  Until then, check in on my Capture Your Grief photos here.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Playin' in the Mud

This was a 5k last weekend I did with my sisters and we ran around a cornfield and trudged through mid and jumped or climbed over obstacles. It was so much fun! I did everything but total submersion in the mud puddles--like a kid. Made me miss my kids actually--like they ever woulda thought their mom would do something like this. They just rolled their eyes at the pictures. I think they were jealous.

Friday, September 14, 2012


With Taylor's new song I have stumbled upon this blog and am at a loss for words.  Maya lost her little one just days before his fourth birthday to a terrible cancer, neuroblastoma.  I can't imagine the pain she is going through. I can try, and I have a strong base of how she is hurting, but not exactly.  As time keeps passing, I find myself struggling to picture Chase, what he looks like.  I can see him running around, but I can never get an exact picture of his face and I find myself wishing I had this.  Yet when we lost Chase, there was a part of me that told myself the pain would have been so much greater if we had had to let him go later.  Now I feel robbed.  Cheated.  I never got to see what my baby would look like as a toddler and that's what I miss right now.  I yearn for his features.  I can see his body amidst us...but I can't detail in my mind his cheeks and nose and hairline and those things that make him similar to and different from his siblings.  And I really miss that right now.

Maya is over a year in her journey and is now expecting another little one whom they weren't originally planning on until they lost Ronan.  And she is very busy with the foundation they have created in Ronan's name to honor him and to help other children with this disease.  In one of her posts, she mentioned her perfect world before Ronan's cancer was diagnosed and of course she got a comment from someone criticizing her for having a vision of a "perfect" because this person claimed there was no such thing.  So Maya has the most perfect response to that and it resonated with me because it is the way that I felt when we were pregnant with Chase.  Financially we were far from perfect but life, as we knew it, was perfect.  This is how Maya explains it and I couldn't agree more.
 "Perfection is real, perfection can have many different meanings. Perfection to me means not taking a thing for granted and living with the most love in your heart that you are capable of. It means stopping at nothing to get it until your heart is fulfilled ..."

Maya Thompson, Ronan's mom

Thank you, Maya, for sharing this and for sharing your most beautiful little boy with us, too.  My heart goes out to you and your family.


It's a big day for us.  Patric and I are working--busiest weekend of the year for us.  We left the three older ones behind and brought Owen and I know Chase is here with us, too.  And it's tough.  Every year we have had done this, by Wednesday of this week, our family is tired.  Tired of being apart.  It's taxing on us, every year.  And only the last two years have actually been so much apart that we've been in different states.  Before that, we were apart being us at work and them at the house just minutes away.  Didn't matter.  It was still apart and they were ready, as were we, for this week to be over and get back to our normal regimen.  So being in different states makes it especially hard.   Three more days and we get a little bit of it back...then another day and we've got it.  But I miss 'em.  So bad.  I have had the extreme blessing of always being home with my kids, just as they have been extremely blessed to stay home with me so we've been lucky.  I know that.

But it doesn't mean the emotions are not running high.  And then sister drama on top of it.  Not the time to get into it.  I just want my kids back.  I want them in my arms.  I feel like a mama bear who can't get to her cubs and I want to cry out.  I don't need to fight.  I just want 'em back.  I just wish I could get my sweet boy back that easy, too.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Things I love...

The sound of pitter-patter feet running through the of my favorite sounds in the whole wide word. Of.All.Time.

Telling my 18-month-old rainbow "No" and he says, "peeeeze".  Oh my god.  One of the cutest things EVer.

The sound of blaring music from my teen and pre-teen daughters' rooms and them singing into the mic with all their heart.  Affirms my decision to let them sing at Chase's funeral.  I'll never regret that.

Popping in on my 10-year-old daughter before bed and sittting on her bed while she tells me a story or something about school or just whatever is on her mind.  I love that.

Lying on the floor...on our tummies...looking at a book, or playing a game.  Together.

Smelling a new fragrance and my kids giving their opinions.  Especially in Bath & Body Works or the fabric softener isle of the grocery store.

Maple almond butter.

Sassy looks and surprise faces and eye-rolling.

Picking up my 12-year-old from school and hearing her talk about her day....before her brother and sister join in on the madness when we pick them up.

Owen coming over for me to kiss his boo-boos.

Looking down at his little arms reaching up to me to pick him up.

...That I'm the most important girl in my 7-year-old boy's world right now.

Staying home.

Listening and watching my kids play with each other.

Seeing or hearing or smelling something for the first time with Owen.

...That I am Chase's mommy, too.  And that I can see him running around with these guys, in the middle of our chaos.  Some days I really can.

These are all now.  This is what life is for me right now.  And there are some days that I catch myself and time stops.  Just for a moment.  And I realize that these things won't be my life forever.  And right before I'm ready to yell, "no more running in the house!" I stop and listen and really listen to the sound. Because it's loud and it's obnoxious and I could certainly use some peace and quiet but I know that one day, I'll miss this.  I don't have time for it and there are things I need to get done, but it'll be over soon and I'll wish I had these reasons for not accomplishing simple tasks.  Distractions...I love these distractions and I live in them.  And are they distractions or merely what I am really supposed to be doing.  Because these are way more important than an empty dishwasher or a clean kitchen or folded laundry.

I am very very blessed.  And I love these things...and miss my little boy with eternal heartache as much as I love this life I am living.

Friday, August 10, 2012

I can't imagine....

As anyone who has lost a baby knows, not a day goes by that I don't think of my little one flying above us.  I think of him hundreds of times a day.  Some thoughts are triggered by things I see, a little boy his age or a rainbow.   Some thoughts just pop into my head randomly, sometimes about the trauma that occurred during his birth, sometimes the image that is burned into my brain of him when I saw him in the NICU the first time, sometimes what I would imagine him looking like now or his personalities.  And then there are the thoughts that are melded together with Owen that I think of each and every day. Each time I change a diaper, each time I snuggle with him in bed, each time I lay him down or pick him up or read a book or go on a bike ride, the list goes on.  Just simply holding him in my arms.....I think of how I longed to do this with Chase so badly.  I used to hate changing poopy diapers or cleaning up spit up.  Then I lost Chase and I wished so dearly the privilege to do even these dirty jobs, but things I would never do with Chase.  I snuggled in with Owen this morning when he woke up and the feel of his arms around my neck, his hand on my cheek, his fingers in my hair.....I just breathe it in.  I am so thankful for this and to be able to do this with Owen.  I can't imagine my life if we hadn't had our rainbow baby.  I can't imagine having this taken away with Chase and then on top of that never having the chance to do it again with another child.   There is an astounding sadness in this thought for me....even though I thought I had gotten to a point before I became pregnant with Owen that if we didn't have any more kids, I was fine with it.  I just can't imagine that anymore...

Having Owen has helped me heal in so many ways.  It does not, nor will it ever, take away the pain of losing Chase and not being able to enjoy these moments with him because in reality, when I'm holding Owen, I'm thinking how Chase would be laying here with us, not that I'm doing this with Owen instead of Chase.  But it does certainly numb the pain a great deal of the time.  The scar is still there.  A scar from a wound that shattered my soul.  A wound that changed who I am.  Having Owen to love and hug and kiss and hold, has helped in so many ways continue to shape this part of me.  I am so lucky to have this.  I can feel this in the depths of my soul, as well.  I am so incredibly lucky to be able to pick up my son and carry him around on my hip and kiss him and play with him and do all the things that I do with him.  I am so incredibly blessed.  And I am grateful.  And thankful.  And fortunate.  There are not enough words in the dictionary to describe this feeling I have when I hold my rainbow.  And I could not imagine my life without him.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Five Minute Friday: Here

Linking up with Lisa Jo on this Friday--trying to find time to blog around here isn't easy.  But I enjoy it, when it gets done.  And hardly ever regret spending the time on it!

Which leads me to this Friday's post.  As always, 1) writing unedited, no going back, no over thinking (ha!), 2) encouraging other's to join me in this and 3) definitely visiting the blogger before me on Lisa Jo's list, encouraging and supporting them as well.  That is the funnest part!



Grabbing a few minutes at my desk, making phone calls, soliciting advertisements (yuck), running our family business....always to be interrupted by my life.  The part I love most about our family business...that it is family.  Patric always seems to keep things professional.  I'm always the one that a child can be heard in the background, the occasional cry, sometimes a sibling quarrel even.  I try.  I really do.  I run to a closet or outside -- wherever quite might be found -- to finish a call, if necessary.  But mostly, people understand.  That family business are run by families and the sounds of small children are common.  But thankfully Patric runs this business mostly.  I would never get everything done by myself.  I guess that's what babysitters are for.   I'd rather save babysitters for dates with my husband.

Now.  Living in the moment.  We're hitting the road here shortly.  Again.  End of the summer means squeezing in those last visits and trips so I'm taking the boys to my sister's.  Because I can.  There's nothing stopping me.  The girls are with grandma right now, Patric will bring them home next week.  Why not?  Five hours in the car, maybe?  Not hardly.  That's nothin.  I don't get much time to spend with my sister.  So when I have the chance to visit for a couple days, I have to take it.  I don't know what tomorrow will bring.  Or next week or next year.  We've lived in places far enough away that a five hour drive is a privilege.  Because next year it may be 10 and, well, I couldn't just hop in the car for a 10 hour drive with kids!

So for now, this is what I got.  Enjoy it.  Embrace it.  Live it. Feel it.  Love it.  And this I will.


Monday, July 23, 2012

A little to catch up on...

I don't really have time to write this post right now but I'm going to see how far I get.  Because I know very well that if I don't stop myself in midair, I will never have time to do small things like updating my memory-keepers.

I'll start with the camping trip that I posted about last.  It was a blast.  Camping these days is hardly like camping as I remember growing up.  Roughing it no longer means sleeping with just a sleeping bag and the tarp-like tent floor between you and the earth.   For us, it meant no running water and no toilet.  Thank God we had comfortable beds and air-conditioning and electricity!  Because how did we ever function on "vacation" under those sleeping conditions?  THere is no way I could sleep like that anymore!  And the rest of my family that we camped with had all of our luxuries (from our one-room cabin) plus running water and toilets in their campers.  So like everything else, camping has changed.  But the games haven't.  We still played tag in the water, jumped off rafts and tubes, and swam in water we that we peed in.  Making memories just like we did when I was a kid.  Spending time with family and learning things about nature (like finding a baby rattlesnake by our cabin!) that can not be duplicated.  I'm so blessed to have these memories and share them with the people that mean the most to me!

And I have to save the triathlon and concert for another post....

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Family Camping Trip 2012 Trailer from Christy Pearson on Vimeo.

This was fun to make.  We got back from camping this weekend.  Had a blast.  Lots of memories.  Time well spent.  Not nearly as relaxing to come  home as after my last vacation.....  oh well!

If you like this, and have an extra 10 minutes of your day, and would like to see some EXCELLENT wipeouts on the tube, go to my Videos page and watch the Family Camping Trip 2012 video.  Thanks for watching!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Five Minute Friday: Risk

Linking up with The Gypsy Mama today to participate in this week's word:  Risk.  This is where we get to write what comes to mind; unedited. For just five minutes.



Life is full of risks.  We take some, we pass on some, and we live with the choices we make.  Ten years ago I would have said my greatest risks were deciding to be a stay-at-home mom and taking the financial plunge to allow me to work from home.  I got a return on my investment.  Tenfold.  That was one of the smartest decisions I ever made and though it was risky leaving a full-time job with benefits, I have never looked back wishing I had done it differently.

I would not consider myself a gambler, at all actually.  But I have married a man who yearns for calculated risk and considers risks not taken as opportunities lost rather than resisting temptations.  Together we have come a long way.  We've had our peaks and valleys and ridden through a lot of bumps, a LOT of bumps, along the way.  We've diverted our paths and our journey has changed in ways we never conceived.  These have all made me who I am and made us who we are.

These are traits I already see in our little ones.  I hope more than anything, they seek us out when facing some of their risks.  We can't make any tough decisions for them.  But we can make them see things a little clearer.


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A dream I dream

I've been dreaming a lot lately--remembering bits and pieces when I wake up anyway.  Something I haven't done for years.  And a couple days ago I had a dream that I'd like to think was Chase, though I'm not really sure.

I don't remember much of it just the part about Chase.  If I had written it down immediately, I would have remembered more, but I didn't--I was just focused on that little piece as it happened right before I woke up.

Like I said, there's not much to it.  But Patric and I were together.  We were looking into a bunch of bushes or little trees somewhere--I have no idea where we were.  And I saw a little boy.  We might have even said his name, I don't remember, but the little boy came out of the trees and gave me the biggest, tightest hug you can imagine.  And boy did I return it!  The only reason I can't say for sure if it was Chase or not was because this little boy was bigger than a three year old.  He was, however, about the size of some little boys I had recently seen in a show and made a very prominent connection to Chase.

I don't know.  But the hug.  The embrace.  It felt like a welcome home embrace.  Maybe not welcome home, but it definitely was an "I miss you sooooooo much" hug.  And it was right before I woke up in the morning.  So it brought a few tears throughout the day as I thought about that dream a lot.  Still do.  I know he comes to me.  I know he's watching over us and he's with us all the time.  But I know he's a part of other people's lives, too.  He's helping taking care of a lot of people.  Some I may not even know. Yet.

I miss you sweet boy.  I love you. And I can't wait for that hug.  I can almost feel it already.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Things People Say

I had a post about this early on my grief journey.  Things people said that hurt, whether it was intentional or not, or just  not thought about before they said it.

Today I was at my dentist appointment where I had dental surgery last November getting a routine checkup.  The hygienist was super sweet, very kind and very gentle (if that's even possible in a dentist office).  We had the typical surface-type conversations, with most of it being on her end as I could not really speak if I wanted to.  She finished with the painful part--ultrasonic yuck--and polished and then flossed.  As she was flossing and talking about the surgery I had had done, she commented that she has, in fact, heard from some female patients that dental surgery was worse than labor.  I nodded my head in agreement and then she said, "at least at the end of labor you get this beautiful baby to hold in your arms and on top of that an endorphin-high feeling!  You don't get that after dental surgery!"

The words cut straight through my soul.  I knew she meant well.  But in reality, she didn't know what the hell she  meant.  Or said.  Obviously she had never experienced or known anyone that has experienced loss.  I thought about correcting her and then thought twice.  I figured informing her about the pain of infant loss wasn't worth making her feel terribly rotten for what she said.  But then again, maybe I could have enlightened her.  Opened her eyes to a new world, if anything, of what NOT to say to a patient, even though you never thought it could be that way.  Babies.  It's all happiness. Bliss. Pure.  Bright.  That's what some people think, anyway.

I probably would have said those words at one point in my life.  Maybe I have even, I don't know.  But the thing is nothing's guaranteed. Nothing.  No matter how hard it is when you are going through it, no matter how hard you work at it, no matter how "worth-it" it's supposed to be.  Sometimes it just doesn't go that way.  So, no, labor can sometimes be just like dental surgery.  A lot of pain, maybe even traumatic, and you walk out of the office with nothing to show for what you went through.

ETA:   I wasn't angry with her.  I'm used to this.  There are a LOT of things that people say AND that I don't say anymore, that take on a new meaning (or the original meaning in the literal sense) when you've lost a child.  Like I said, she was a very sweet woman.  But it doesn't mean the words still didn't make my heart ache.  It's life as we know it on this journey.  Just something I wanted to blog about because it was on my mind a lot.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Five Minute Friday......Expectations

Oh, my.  It's as if Miss Lisa Jo is picking her FMF topics according to my life.  I checked her out on Friday to see what the word is.  And since I'm still trying to "get better" at writing these posts, I walked away from my laptop and thought about the word for a while.  Well, I live my life like "If you give a mouse a cookie...." and moved on to 14 other things Friday and never came back to this blog.  However.  Miss LisaJo spoke to me again Friday night.  About 2am to be exact.  Well, it started then, but I didn't realize what my problem was until I got up about 7am and then realized that this stupid little eating me up right now.  Today.  You see, I turned 40 today.  I haven't embraced this day.  The last week I have been trying to avoid it as much as possible.  But it has come, regardless of my intentions.  And it has been a horrible, sulking/tearful kind of day.  Because of my expectations.  So I am now going to begin my post.  Partly because thus ends the explanation for me....and partly because I only have five minutes left to write anyways.



Ten years ago I had expectations.  I was loving that I was starting my 30s.  We were starting our family.  I was a healthy, active, fit mom.  I was staying in shape.  I was living life....loving it.  I secretly planned it out.  We were going to be done having kids by the time I was 35.  By 40, I'd have all the kids in school and, who knows, maybe really into running or triathlons, maybe even competing.  Maybe even competing in swimming.  Ha!  Everything went as planned the first three years of that decade.

Then we took a turn.  We tried and failed, tried and failed and then I was pregnant at 35, expecting the baby when i was 36.  That's okay, I'm still exercising while pregnant, still fit.  I'm a year behind.  Then tragedy.  My life fell apart.  My heart broken.  My existence questioned.  Then I was extremely lucky enough to get pregnant again.  At 37, having the baby when I was 38.  This was pushing it, right?

Baby #5 was hard.  Has been very hard.  My life has not been the way I had planned it would be.  I'm struggling, some days more than others.  Not to raise my family, but to be who I wanted to be.  I'm not living up to my own expectations.  And this has been disappointing.

For this reason, I hate turning 40.  I'm not giving up.  But I'm fighting it.  Not embracing it.  I have set new goals.  Changed my view a little bit. I still have the same picture.  The focus has just changed.  And I have had to figure out what my new expectations are exactly.  I'll get there.  I expect to, anyway.


I have so much more to write.  Will have to save for another post.  Linking up with Gypsy Mama today.  Please join in!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Five Minute Friday: See

Linking up with Gypsy Mama today.  Five minutes of writing; unedited, unscripted, real...with this word:



I see my babies.   Especially  my girls.  In whatever they do.  They fight just like they were 3 and 5, but they are 10 and 12 now.  They play just like they were 3 and 5.  They talk, sometimes, just like they were 3 and 5.  It makes me giggle.  A little more dramatic, a little bit older concepts.  But same tone and same hand gestures and body language.  I love it.

Pain.  I look at pictures and I could tell you whether the picture was taken before Chase died or after, just by the eyes and the mouth.  Our smiles are not the same.  Our eyes are not the same.  And everything behind it, too.  The smiles are back, but they are different now.  The pictures immediately after Chase's death are painful to look at.  I didn't take very many for several weeks after.  The few I did, though, show great pain in them.  A very deep sadness.  Even in my littlest one.  Just turned four, the blank, dull expressions speak volumes to me now.

Beauty.  I see beauty with much more profoundness now.  I appreciate the beauty, where it originated, where it is and where it is going.  A sunset, a rainbow, a storm.  Each has it's own perfect beauty.

When I look at something, I see it so much better now.  And ironically, my eyesight is getting worse!  But I really look these days.  I see past the surface....or at least try to.


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Smiling inside

My girls are at volleyball clinic right now and I get to watch them today. Watching them learn the skills in this game and doing it together is so cool. There's a Subaru commercial where the dad is talking to his little girl probly three or four years old in the drivers seat of his car about how to drive. Then he tosses her the keys and all of a sudden she is 16 as she backs out of the driveway and takes off. That's how I feel all the time almost. In whatever they do, when I look at them. I see them as a 5 and 3-year-old. Their personalities in many ways have not changed a bit. So when I see Emma trying to learn to serve the volleyball and asking the coach for advice or when I see the coach teaching a skill and see Karly gawking off at another court, I see my little girls and smile to myself. I love it. This is so cool watching them grow and learn. I can't imagine living life without this feeling. I'm thinking though that I will always see them as my little girls, just like the car commercial.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Right Where I Am: Three years, one month, one week

Angie started this project last year.  I'm participating this year....Thank you Angie.  BTW, hope you do a VLOG again--I wouldn't miss it this time, I promise!

I miss my little man.  Constantly.  Not a day goes by when I don't think of him.  Sometimes I feel like I miss him more each day.  Sometimes I feel like it gets "easier".  The reminders, the triggers, are all the time. E.V.E.R.Y.D.A.Y.  I was at the park the other day with one of the kids' classes and was on the toddler playground with Owen.  Following him around everywhere, practically, because he's that kid.  He'd take a step off the top of the ladder just to see what happens, I'm afraid.  Or maybe I'm just afraid.  Anyway, a mom was helping her little boy up the slide and we exchanged ages of the boys and small comments about their outgoing personalities.  She said something along the lines of, "he's the youngest of three boys so he is going to have all kinds of bumps and bruises keeping up with and learning from his older brothers."  My brain stopped for a second. I had never thought of it that way.  Owen is the youngest of three boys, too.  I smiled to myself and agreed with the mom.  And a tinge of sadness settled in my heart.  The things Owen could be learning from Chase right now....

My uncle is/was deathly ill.  He's a heart transplant patient from over a decade ago, has recently had a kidney transplant (because that's what you get to look forward to when you get a new heart eventually) and unfortunately got a really bad infection in his system a week ago.  He was on the verge of death.  I was sad because I know my uncle pretty well.  I mean I grew up with him, even though I haven't spent much time with him in the last 15 years.  His health declined and my mom was talking about the issues they are dealing with.  Talking about what happens if he doesn't make it through his next surgery or the next one.  I was sad for him, until one day I found myself going through pictures of Chase I came across.  And the tears poured.  My thought was that he would get to see Chase soon.  That thought was comforting, but made me miss my boy even more.

So these are a couple instances as of late, but they happen all the time.  I am a happy mom.  I love my kids more than anything and can't wait until they get home from school.  I am so excited for summer.  But the cloud is always there.  No matter how sunny it is outside.  It's just how I live.  I heard someone say, "it was my worst mother's day ever."  And, though I was sorry for them, I thought of my worst mother's day ever--less than a month after Chase died.  I wish it wasn't like that.

I look at other 3-year-olds and try to see my boy.  I look at Owen, and see Chase just 20 months older than him and I imagine what he would look like, act like, sound like.  I miss him.  As much as I ever did.  But I am happy.  A happiness that took me a while to find again.  I can talk about him to strangers without crying.  I try to include him whenever anyone asks how many children I have, but not always.  And I never look at anyone without knowing that they have a story behind their shell, as well.  No matter how happy, how sad, how mean or how nice they are.  This I can thank Chase for.

I see my grief as a plateau kind of.  I have moments here and there of greater sadness and of course the holidays are bigger peaks.  But I am thankful that my kids and my husband and my whole family talk about him so much that his name isn't unspoken.  He's a part of our family.  Just as my grief is a part of my life.  It will never go away completely.

Linking up with Angie at Still life with Circles.  Thank you friend!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Five Minute Friday: Real

I just want to start out by saying I spent some time over at The Gypsy Mama earlier this week and was lucky enough to read this post.  It was like getting that extra shot when you really need it--like the raise at Christmas time, the compliment when you are feeling ugly, the salty after you've eaten the sweet, the cheer when you are finishing the race.  I bookmarked go back to when I need that again.  

I'm going to do 5 Minute Friday again...missed last week and I wish I hadn't.  I still want to go back and do that one some time.  Here goes my unedited, raw feeling fun this week (btw, my 5 minutes doesn't include the 15 it took to find and choose a photo!):


Sometimes balloons really do reach heaven.

Love.  Human error.  Forgiveness.  Not perfect. These are all real to me.    

The soft skin of my baby's little feet.  Running around the house.  Pitter patter like music to my ears.

Puberty.  My oldest is growing up.  We have adult like conversations.   The looks she gives me.  The knowing looks.

Hormones.  My second oldest is moody.  Just like I was.  And am.

Pure.  My boy--just turned 7.  Not a baby anymore.  Loves me and the only one in the family who doesn't like to upset me.  He really regrets it if he does anyway.  

Family--my sister won't talk to me.  Do we get to an age where our sisters are secondary?  When our kids are old enough to have those adult conversations, do we not need our sisters anymore?  Or does it just take more work?

Future--worrying about what lies ahead.  Is it worth it?  I'm nearly 40 and really I just go with the flow.  Truly.

Questions.  You have to ask them to figure out what is real.  Evaluate.  

Blue skies.  Sound of the lawnmower.  Images of summer in my head.  Picnics with Patric and the kids.  Butterflies.  Clouds.  REAL.


Okay, that is much harder than you think.  I'm not very good at this activity yet, but i figure practice will only help.  I'm learning to think about it before I actually start typing.  Maybe that's not how best to do it but I'll try anyway.  I just love topics to make you think and that don't give you any borders or guidelines. It's kinda like life.  It's overwhelming what there is you can think about and write about.  But you have to pick something and go with it.  Or just let it flow from your fingers and wing it!  Now off to read someone else's post! 

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Sent to Heaven

Owen walked around with a balloon all day from my nieces birthday party last night and when we finally took it off of him, I guess he was done with it, Karly took it. And went to work. She wrote on it and drew pictures and went around asking everyone if they wanted to send a message to Chase. When she was ready, she released it and we all watched the balloon go. It was pretty impressive. It was a dark blue balloon in an almost cloudless sky and the balloon went straight up from us. We watched the balloon for about 20 minutes. We watched it shrink to smaller than a pinhead, floating in a impressively straight path. There were no trees, no clouds, nothing to obstruct our view of it the entire flight. It was like watching it go straight up to heaven. I could almost see it float into Chase's hands. It is so cool that Owen could share his balloon with his brother. So it is in my eyes anyway...

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Making Memories of their own

The kids left me today.  Took off for, oh, I don't know, probably 15 minutes before I knew where they were.  They left, told me where they were going which I was okay with and I went on with my work.  Then decided to check on them after getting Owen down and they were not where they said they'd be.  
I hollered a few times.  
I rode around on my bike, not too far from the house.  
I went back up where they told me and hollered again.
And then finally I hear, "yeah, mom, we're coming!"
A big sigh.  And then they tell me where they were.  
They miss Pearsolonia more than ever.  It's their old hideout where we used to live.  It was basically a dirt hill behind our house but their enchanting hideaway nonetheless.  They have many memories of it.  
And then I realize these memories....they are theirs.  I remember when all their memories had me in them. But not anymore.  They are busy.  Busy making their own memories and I'm no where in sight even.  I can hear it, "remember that one time when mom had no idea where we were? That was when we found Chase-a-topia!"  Reese showed up with shells of some crawdad-looking thing and enough excitement in his voice to tell me this was an important voyage.  It was a perfect opportunity for a lecture on informing mom of your whereabouts at all times....but also a lightbulb moment for me, too.  They are creative little creatures, my kids.  Give them the world to explore and it is amazing what they will find.  And Chase is never far from those memories.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Before and After

I feel like that is how my life is always going to be labeled.  I am a huge picture and home video person (freak, if you ask my husband) and I really enjoy going back every now and then and looking at old memories and occasionally making something out of them either for myself or for gifts.  My husband complains that I am "looking back" too often because he thinks it makes me sad to see how fast time flies and how the kids have grown up so fast.  I counter this complaint by claiming that my husband is too busy "looking ahead" and constantly planning for the future.  Hopefully someday we'll meet somewhere in the middle and both be content with the present, right?  Sounds pretty sad, but it's not.  We're really a happy family.  It's just that we're each different in our own way and have a different perspective on the same thing.  Isn't that what it's like when you're married with children?

Anyway, back to my fettish with the past.  It's not that looking at these old photos and movies makes me sad.  I think the whole point of it is why I enjoy looking at them.  

First of all, they remind me of Before.  It's not only a younger me and prettier me, it's a completely different person, on all accounts, that I see in those pictures.  That person was happy and blissful.  She didn't know what it was like to have a hole in her heart.  She only knew how much love her heart could hold and was constantly astounded by how much more love she kept giving and receiving.  The girls and Reese were so much fun!  I love raising kids--I love all the phases--but the pre-school age phases were (and are) so much fun for me.  Mostly because I'm a stay-at-home mom I guess and I get the privilege of spending so much time with them at these ages.  I have always been deeply deeply grateful for this opportunity.  And all those memories of them remind me of that feeling.  

But I had so much fun with the kids.  Emma and her imagination would just crack me up and I got quite a few moments captured on video of her tea parties, acting like a princess and dramatizing her life with her sister (oh dear!).  Karly was always so bull-headed (still is) and I laugh and laugh at the memories of her reacting to our orders or playing with her sister or dressing up her brother.  I haven't gone through too many of Reese yet but I know I have them as well.  The kids were so much fun.  And I knew they were fun--I enjoyed them at those ages.  But it seems like now, as I am older, I really appreciate how much fun they were and are.  I do with Owen--I really enjoy him right now.  I enjoy him so much more now than I would have if he were a "Before" baby because, in reality, he is a lot more challenging than his brother and sisters were.  I'll get to that later but I just want to say that watching the videos reminds me how much fun our kids have made our lives.  And I think that's all good.  Right?  It's not sad.  Do I sound sad?  I don't think so.  I hope not.  Because I'm not.  I'm starting to embrace ME getting older so it's refreshing and rewarding to realize this and feel gratitude for our kids, rather than how much trouble and how difficult they make life.  (Because that's true, too, isn't it?!--this post isn't about that, though!)

What I also consider when I look at the old videos, though, is how we are all different people now.  This is the After part.  It's not that we're sad.  We are a bit sadder, yes, because we miss Chase in our lives, but we are also happy.  Extremely happy.  We have so much going on in our lives.  Our kids are awesome.  I could never say that enough.  I am so completely lucky to be the mom to these kids.  I love being their mom. Don't get me wrong, there are days when you could look at me and say, " get to be their mom???" and I'd look at you under a pretty strong scowl.  But all in all, I love this job.  I love our kids more than life itself.  I can't measure the love I have for them.  It's beyond measure.  They are so cool.  Life is so cool.  Have I gone overboard yet?  Because I'm just giddy with all the love I have in my heart.  

Never to be forgotten the hole.  And that hole brings sadness.  The cloud on every sunny day.  But clouds are pretty.  They are happy, too.  They are reminders for some of us on this earth and that's just how we live.  Not everyone does and those who don't can't fully understand this.  But that's how we live our lives.  It makes us different from who we once were.  The people in the After pictures are different and sometimes no one can tell.  But we can.  Every picture I look at, no matter how big the smiles, I see the difference.  I see the After part in everyone of our faces, our eyes, our lips.  

So is that sad?  When I see the happiness we have in our hearts in the Before pictures and see the happiness in our hearts with the clouds in the After pictures?  No I don't think it's sad.  I think it's just a realization.  A realization of this journey we are on.  Now, I will say, some of it has to do with life in general.  We are older now.  We have different concerns, stressors and priorities.  I can tell you that I was much more concerned about getting my daily exercise in those old videos--comments I made or seeing how fit I was.  But the can I (WE) be happy like that again?  My husband and I have different definitions of happiness, collectively, now.  We're older.  I can tell you if I took a video right now of both of us, I can probably look at my video from Christmas, the air probably doesn't seem as blissful as it did from the Christmas video of '05.  I'm so laid back in that video I look like I'm on something.  And I wasn't.  I swear.  (lol!)  I'm glad I can see that, though.  It's something I can be aware of and work on.  As I get older....just to be happy more.  Not be so stressed out trying to get kids to the next thing on time or whatever it is.  The reason????  Because this is what they are going to remember.  Right now.  (the older ones anyway.)  They don't remember how cool, calm and collected (and skinny) I was back then, so it doesn't even matter!  Right now is what they'll I the mom, right now, I want them to remember?  Always workin' on that one!

I love being older.  I love having this perspective on life.  I know what I need to work on.  Right now I know I need to work on my relationship with my husband.  I am dying to go on a trip with the two of us--we need time AWAY alone.  We do time here alone but it's not the same.  It'll happen.  I am also working on being the best mom.  For the first year of Owen's life I was a little disappointed that I was not as good of a mom to him as I was the others.  I was way more high-anxiety with him, for obvious reasons, but still I wasn't as laid back when he was a newborn.  I felt cheated, in a way, that when God took Chase, he also took away my mothering capabilities.  That I would never again be the same mom and Owen would miss out.  He'd get the stressed out mom his entire life.  The one always worried, waiting for the other shoe to drop, the one worried she'd lose him, too, one day.  But I'm not feeling that way as much anymore.  I am really enjoying Owen.  Lack of sleep and all, I really breathe in every moment I get with him.  I can be in any mood any time and if Owen needs me, I put on a happy face, a calming voice and pick him up and love on him.  The older kids see that, too.  Emma told me the other day that whenever I get mad, if I see Owen, I get over it much quicker or forget about whatever it was that made me mad.  I play with Owen much more than I did the others, except maybe Emma.  I just give Owen a lot more of my time and I'm beginning to feel, just very recently, that maybe Owen is going to get the best of me, instead of the worst of me.  Maybe that's something Chase has been working on...and I'm finally getting it.  

Anyhoo.  This post is a bunch of stuff.  Ended up being a lot of what was on my mind.  I love watching the old movies.  Always will.  The kids will hate it when they get married, I'll have the best videos of them to share with everyone for their rehearsal dinners.   I'm still working on my photo album for '11 so I have an excuse to keep going through last years photos.  Some days I"m still learning who the After me is.  It takes a while to really get to know someone new, you know.  

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


I'm going to bed.  And I'm getting Owen out of his crib.  And putting him in bed with me.  I'm going to sleep with him next to me, touching my skin.  Because I can.  And because three years ago tonight, I had to go to bed without my baby next to me, but a brand new baby blanket instead.  Because I had to.  And it was a feeling I will never, ever, Ever forget.   I still sleep with that blanket, though it's not new anymore, next to my cheek exactly like I did that tragic, heart-wrenching night.

Thank you Owen, for being here.  Thank you Chase, for sending him to us.  Thank you God, for all my children.  And my husband.  Thank you.

Good night sweet boy.  Godspeed,  sweet dreams.


This day

Three years ago.  I remember waking up around 6 this morning.   A little surprised I slept for what seemed like way too long.  My sister walked in the room, maybe that's why I woke up, I don't remember exactly.  And she told us.  She gave us the news. We were waiting/praying/wishing/hoping for Chase to pee.  It seemed almost elementary.   That's all we needed.  Well, at the time, that's what we really needed to have happen for things to improve.  If he didn't pee, it meant things were not getting better and most likely were getting worse...way worse.  With the eminent end eluding us.

No pee.

I knew.  Right then.  I knew we'd be saying good-bye to him.   That the end was near.  But I was still in a state of shock from the beginning of the whole thing.  For the last three days I'd been in shock.  So I cried, but quickly pulled myself together.  I took a shower, and cried some more.  Quickly got dressed and dried my hair.  And got ready to walk over to the NICU.  Crying intermittently and then shutting the tears off.  I have asked myself so many times, how could I do that?  Just shut it off so quickly.  Not cry like a mess the entire time.  The pain was so great.  Surely it was great enough to sustain a constant flow of tears.  For the rest of my life.  Wasn't it?  My milk was coming in that morning.  Perfect timing, I thought.  My boobs were getting fuller and fuller.  As soon as I got up to the NICU, I had to ask the nurse for nursing pads.  And I also put another tshirt on.  Maybe I was crying from my heart--that's what it felt like.

The kids were coming over from the hotel after eating breakfast and spending some time with grandma, who had just arrived the night before.  We didn't know exactly all that was happening that day.  Just that the kids would come visit their brother again at some point.  We'd probably be in meetings with the doctors and staff during the day listening to what was being done to our son, likely prognoses, answering questions we had.  A procedure was being done on Chase in the morning to determine if his brain was still okay and checking his kidneys, too, I think.  I'm not sure, but we didn't want to be there during the procedure so we waited outside his room while the equipment was brought in to evaluate him.

Finally it was over.  And the prognosis was not good.  He was having the beginnings of seizures indicating brain damage.  And of course the kidneys were failing because he was not peeing.  That's the simplest way I can explain it, anyway.  It's all a blur really.  I knew it was time to get the kids in to see him, though.  Something told me we needed them to be there now.  So mom brought them over and it was around lunch time or after that they got there.  Reese was not feeling well.  He was warm and sleepy.  He knew, too.  Three years old.  His brother was protecting him.  Reese fell asleep for the rest of Chase's life.  I didn't know what to do.  I was out of sorts.  Do we wake him up?  The kids are going to hold Chase and Reese should get the chance to hold him, too.  But he was three.  I knew if we woke him up, he would be crabby, like any three year old who so dearly needed a nap.  But this was a very important moment.  I wanted someone to tell me what to do.  We let him sleep.  We took a picture with all of us, Patric holding Reese as he slept.  The girls held Chase.  Karly first, as she had asked as soon as we had announced the pregnancy to the kids that she be the first to hold him.   We granted her wish.  She was the first out of all of us to hold him.  She was so happy to hold him, too.  The tubes, the bloody marks from medical leads and tape, the faint blue vessels showing on his arms and cheeks.  None of it seemed to matter because she was finally holding him.  That was all she wanted.  And she got it.  For a brief moment.  Then Emma held him.  Looking so proud and so worried all at the same time.  Trying/wanting/wishing she could protect her baby brother and take away all the hurt.  Then I held him.  For the first time.  I still can feel the weight of his body in my arms.  All bundled up in the blanket, stiff, motionless, bloated, full of so much fluid.  It didn't feel like him.  I wanted to hold him but didn't want to all at the same time.  Like the balloon in my print.....Reaching for him and letting go simultaneously.  I knew he wasn't in this body, he was more like above us.  But this was the only chance I was going to get to hold him.  E.V.E.R.  I had to.  I wanted to.  I was so scared.  My heart was just mutilated.  I was so sad.  I was in disbelief and shock.  Composed.  How could I be composed?

They took out more tubes as I was holding him.  I was so confused.  I had no idea what was going on.  Was I supposed to know?  He made some gurgling sounds.  I let Patric hold him.  I wanted Patric to hold him.  I was too scared.  I didn't know what was happening.  I didn't want to know.  I left his room and cried.  I sat down at a nurse's desk and I cried and cried and cried.  I wanted time to stop.  I wanted it to go on forever.  I wanted Chase.  I wanted to be alone.  I wanted this all to never have happened.  I wanted him to get better and go home.  I was in conflict.  A conflict I would live in for the rest of my life.  Until that moment.  When I see my son again.  When I get to hold him.  When I get to feel him, hear him, smell him.  And I tell him how I feel about him.  How much, how deeply, how intensely I love him.  With all my heart.  With the heart of a mother who knows what it is like to have to let her son go.  Because that's the only thing she knew to do.

Oh god I miss you Chase.  I miss you so much.  I want to see you so badly it hurts.  And it will hurt forever.  Especially on this day, April 17th.  The day I said goodbye.

I have to write this too......I finished this post and clicked something.  Owen was grabbing at me as I typed the last half of this post.  I needed to type.  So I got up, tended to him, and came back and typed.  I had words on my mind at my fingertips that I had never had before.  Ever.  Some of this I have never written down anywhere.  Finally, I got it done.  I finished the last word and clicked as OWen was pulling at my arm.  And it was gone.  The whole post was gone.  I cried.  I cried the cry I was feeling each time I sat down to add to this post.  The cathartic cry.  I lost the post  I lost my boy.  My rainbow is here with me.  It's all okay.  But it's so sad.  I still lost in the end.  But I wasn't mad.  Just sad.  I can hold Owen.  I can't Chase.  
There was no place I could find what I had written on my computer.  Then I remembered blogger saves your unpublished drafts.  So it was all okay.  But I thought it was gone.  And it was okay.  I probably wouldn't rewrite it.  But would if I really needed to.  Because I have what I need.  My baby is here.  And he needs me.  So I must go to him now.  Because my angel is here, too.  And I need him.