Wednesday, June 27, 2012


The words do not always come easily. Sometimes I want to talk about my sons on here. They are so gorgeous and so ALIVE. They breathe and fight and play and jump and I cannot get over the miracle that they are here with me.

Eva's portulaca roses are blooming in her garden. I caress them gently and the softness in each petal reminds me of the softness of her skin. The perfect baby skin that she had. So flawless (except for the scar on her neck) and soft and gorgeous, and pink. The same shade of pink as the pale pink roses.

Not the blue she was when she was dying. Oh no, not the blue, not the gray, not the yellow of a body with no blood or oxygen pumping through it. I want to scream these words as they ricochet around my mind. Not blue. Pink. Pink. Pink!

The boys interrupt my thoughts with crying as someone fell off a bike and scraped a knee. Or someone pushed someone on the trampoline. Or someone didn't get a box of raisins. Sometimes I want to scream that they are alive. Stop fighting and crying, be grateful that your heart beats and your lungs draw breath. In that same moment, the fear, like bile, rises in my mouth that this might be it. This might be their last day and I better hold them close and I better hug them like there is no tomorrow with them because, Lord knows, all of a sudden, there was no tomorrow with Eva and, oh, what I would not do to hold her living body in my arms just one more time.

This is a glimpse of my life. Part grieving mother trying to hold my daughter close by caressing rose petals and, shift, part referee to 3 of the most beautiful boys I know. Who am I really... honestly, sometimes I feel lost in all the worlds I inhabit.

I look at my sons and I know what they would look like dead. I know they would kind of look like themselves, but also wouldn't. I know that I would scream and cry and wish they would sass me one more time...that I could yell at them to stay away from the dugout. Stay away, my son, my son. My fear of one of them drowning is huge. Or that one of them will get cancer, and we will live at the hospital again. Oh, my sons. My sons.

I've lost one child and there is this little niggle in the back of my mind that says I've paid my dues to Death. Death has claimed one of my children so the others must be 'safe'...but I know...I know that there are no dues to Death. The price has already been paid to Death, and my little girl is more alive than I am.

And I know that I cannot keep my children safe. I cannot. They are not really mine to keep safe anyway, and Death may come a-knocking anytime again, and I cannot keep my children safe.

I feel more vulnerable and exposed now than I did before Eva died, because now I know.

Now I know that Death knows where I live.

And that is a difficult thought to go to bed with as I lock my doors and check that my sons are still breathing one last time before trying to find some rest in sleep for another night.

And as I slip from wakefulness to sleep I pray for dreams of Eva. Dreams of the sweetest girl I ever held on earth.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Summer just sucks.

This time last year...this time last year...this time last year...

It's pretty much all I can think about right now...this time last year Eva was in PICU. 5 pediatric cardiologists, crammed into her room, couldn't figure out what was wrong with her. I clearly remember one of them saying 'she looks like the healthiest baby in ICU but she has the most potential'. Trust me, you don't want to have a child with 'potential' in ICU. 'Potential' in ICU talk means potential for disaster. Poor little girl wasn't allowed to eat anything because they thought she would go into cardiac arrest at any time and she wasn't allowed to have anything in her stomach. She had nothing for about a week. Nothing! It is so hard to pump your milk and not be allowed to give it to your hungry daughter. Eva lost 2 pounds that week. She was so little and skinny. She looked like the survivor of a famine. Forgive me if I think summer sucks. It just does. And everyone with their obliviously happy facebook announcements doesn't make me feel a whole lot better. Summer sucks.

I look at my 3 gorgeous boys jumping on the trampoline. So manly already. They are so kind and dote on their little cousin...what would they be like with their littlest sister...they talk about her all the time...but time doesn't mean to them what it means to them time passes and to me I feel like I am back in time. Back in last summer with all the emotion but none of the hope. That hope left me on August 15th 2011. I miss her so much. It is just unbearably overwhelming these days and the sunny summer days are like a slap in the face.

Friday, June 15, 2012

10 months and counting tears.

I need to write today. I need to honour her. I know that writing or not writing on here doesn't mean that I love her any more or any less. But today has been especially hard. And tomorrow will be harder still.

Today is 10 months since she died. She was 10 months old when she died. Today is her 20 month birthday. As I write this it is just about the same time that she died, 10 months ago. Starting tomorrow we will have lived longer without her (not counting when I carried her within) than with her. That simple fact shatters my heart in a whole new way.

How many times can my mother's heart be broken?

I have been so incredibly sad these past few days. The time leading up to Eva's sickness is now upon me and the days leading up to today have been laden with grief, and tears. Oh, the tears. The endless supply of tears from a well within me I never knew existed. 

Dear Sweet Eva,
Mama misses you so much. Your brothers send you special hugs and kisses, via Jesus, every day. You are always part of our family. You are always in our hearts and when one day our hearts beat no longer, we will be with you again. Lord, haste the day.

10 months with her. 10 months, and counting, without.

I will forever miss my little girl that I held in my arms for a scant 10 months.  10 months. It seems like a moment ago that we held our laughing baby and it yet feels like a lifetime ago that I had my little princess here with me. My little princess that embodied so many of our dreams and desires. It was a lifetime. Eva's lifetime.

My little Eva. My little Princess. My little Ruby. Breath of Life and Sweetness itself, our lives are so bereft without you...missing you always, always and forever.

Your Mama xo.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The road to Hope.

Through losing Eva my friend and I both learned a lesson and had a change of heart. Sometimes I feel bitter that my friend learned the same lesson I did but my daughter had to die for both of us to learn the same thing. It's a hard pill to swallow when others benefit from the death of your child.  She gets to keep all her kids, and more, while I learned the same lesson, but lose my daughter, and beyond.

We screwed up, I know that.

I know it. I know it. I know it...but other people screw up and their kids don't die.

We've done what we can here on earth and only God can mend the rest. But waiting on God is HARD. I think I need to do a bible study about waiting on God.  I know I'm not the only one to wait on God, but right now I feel like I'm the one waiting and suffering the most.  I know I'm not, without a doubt. I know there are other people who have waited longer and suffered WAY more than me. I know many of them personally. I know some of them read this blog and to you, dear ones, I tip my hat, and more.

On December 27th 2011, God gave me the verse below. This verse has been my beacon of light and hope for 2012.

Rejoice in your sufferings, because suffering produces perseverance,;perseverance, proven character; proven character, hope (Romans 5:3-5).

Ok, I've suffered. No one can deny that one. I've persevered, I think. Maybe I haven't persevered enough? What is enough perseverance? And do I have proven character? Probably not. What is proven character anyway? If you know, please post a comment. I really would like to know what proven character is...and do I have it? I think about this verse all the time. Suffering, perseverance, proven character, Hope. My journey to Hope. Suffering, perseverance, proven character, Hope. Where are you, Hope?

How much longer my journey is than I ever imagined it to be. I wish I had a map to unfold and follow and see where the road goes as my life unfolds, after Eva. My life is SO not what I thought it would ever be like. Back in the days as a wild Montreal bike messenger, Whistler snowboard instructor, Alberta treeplanter, girl traveller. Back then, I never ever thought I'd be living my life for Jesus and listening to my gorgeous sons play lego in their room while I sit in the living room writing and mourning my sweet daughter.

Walking the weary road, with Jesus by my side, and going through the storms of life clinging to Him.  Thankfully I know that even though I walk in darkness, without a map, He walks beside me, and He knows the Way.

Thank You Jesus, for walking the road with me.

And here in the darkness, I can only pray we are on the road to Hope.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Heaven Days.

Today is Emily's 4th Heaven Day!

Eva's chimes tinkle in the wind outside. They are Eva laughing. Eva laughing in Heaven as she celebrates the day her friend, Emily, got her Heaven Day. I wonder if there is more celebrating in Heaven on your Heaven Day than on your birthday?

Funny that we should go through the years we have alive on earth always celebrating our birthday but also quietly, unknowingly, passing by the silent marker of our coming Heaven Day. As the days pass into weeks into months and into we remember Emily's 4th Heaven Day. I love to think of Emily and Eva together in Heaven. Where Emily's dad and I treeplanted together years ago, who knew we would have the dubious connection here on earth of having daughters in Heaven.  Years ago when we were crazy treeplanters but Joel was way more grounded than I was. He was already living his life for Christ and I was only on the road to Him.

This Thursday coming up is my oldest son, Samuel's, sixth birthday. I remember the days leading up to his birth. I was heavy and anxious and I just wanted this baby out already (he was 10 days late). Whenever the birthday of one of my children rolls around I think back to the time before they were born when I was so anxious to meet them. Now I also look back to all the August 15th's that I have lived through (34 to be exact) and I know that I was spending several of them as a baby and young child, many of them anticipating my September birthday, some of them not looking forward to going back to school, one of them getting ready for a trip to Guatemala, a few of them in other countries, a couple of them treeplanting, one of them as a new mom, holding my 2 month old firstborn son, two of them 7 months pregnant (with Vincent and Eva respectfully). Never in all those August 15th's did I think that one of those days would be the day I held my daughter as she had her dying gasps in my arms. Never did I anticipate that it would be my daughter's Heaven Day. A day of weeping and of celebration.

I often think now as I mark the days on the calendar, which one will be my Heaven Day? Which day am I unknowingly marking as the silent pre-anniversary of my inevitable someday Heaven Day? Of Mike's? Counting down the days to Eva and to Heaven.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Trust God?

If only I could see the future.
 If only I could know the joy to come.
Alas, I am in the darkness and there is no sun.

But do I really want to know the future? If I had known the future the day Eva was born it would have changed what is now the past. My heart would have been broken much sooner than it needed to be.

This pain I know is like no other. There is no escaping it or thinking about something else. There is no ocean vast enough to absorb it all.

And now all that is left is faith. Faith in God. Trust? Trust in God? Do I have enough faith to really trust God? Does He really know the future? Does He have a beautiful tapestry of my life laid out with sunshine and storms and rainbows? Or is Eva's death just meaningless and empty? I have to think not. The God Mike and I serve is not meaningless. He gives and He takes away but He is not meaningless. Trust. Trust? Yes, trust. Trust that He knows what He's doing even when it seems like one giant mistake. Trust? Trust a God that would take my sweet baby from my arms? Yes, trust. Trust that one day I will know the reasons why. Trust that one day we will see the tapestry of our lives unfurled. Trust that one day we will hold our sweet girl in our arms again. Trust that our lives will one day hold joy and hope again. Trust that Hope is coming.

The faith to trust God. I don't know if I have it. I don't know if I have any choice. The alternative is so much worse. A life of questions and fear. A life of not knowing where my baby is. No, and no. Yes to trust. As hard as it is. Yes to trust. Trusting God. Yes to having the faith to trust God. As weak and quivering as my faith is right now. As little as I can believe in healing right now. As much as the darkness engulfs me and the possibility of Hope seems so far away, the faith to trust God is there. Trust? Yes, trust.

God, I know you're listening.
God I do trust You.
 Lord, I believe, help me in my unbelief.
 Lord, I trust, help me in my weakness.

Trust Me.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Right Where I am 2012: 9 months 21days.

A fellow mother of a dead baby started this last year. Of course, last year we still had Eva. I didn't know about Angie's  Right Where I am project and I had no idea the heartache that was just looming over the horizon. After Eva died I often read some of the posts written last year that had the same dates of where I was at. 3 months 6 days, 5 months 4days,7 months, 14 days etc.etc...They were 'good' for me. I hope this can be 'good' for someone else.

Right Where I am: At 9 months 21days I am still grieving hard. I have cried every single day since her death except one. I distinctly remember that there was one day when I didn't cry. I still missed her like crazy but maybe I just had cried so many gallons that there was one day where the well had run dry before more tears could come. Sometimes I wonder if I could measure my tears, how many gallons there really would be. Or does it just feel like gallons...and really is only a litre or two.

It is the beginning of summer here and I'm having a really hard time being outside. I see Eva walking in the grass whenever we are outside. Somehow, it was easier in the darkness of the winter. Like the darkness outside matched the darkness within me. Now everyone is so cheery and so damn happy with the sun and the flowers and even I enjoy the sun sometimes. But it is hard, because the weather no longer matches my mood and I feel left behind, again. It sucks. And also I feel the heaviness of Eva's sickness approaching.  Every day I think back to what I was doing this time last year. And I know that coming soon, this time last year I was in ER with our baby. It's like a cloud of misery that I know is coming and is weighing me down. 

Today, however, it's raining and that's a bit of a relief. When I was a kid I thought that rain was God crying. Now it feels even more  true. God is crying with me. However, there is one good thing about summer and the rain that comes with it too...and that is a small memorial garden we planted for our little girl. A rock with her name on it in the middle with flowers that the kids picked at the greenhouse planted all around. It's a nice place to sit outside and think of my sweetheart. I've never been a real flower fan, preferring to grow useful veggies instead of flowers but this is another gift from Eva: growing beautiful flowers for her. She was always our smiley little sunflower. And now sunflowers are growing in her garden.

I very much feel like the 'other person'. You know who they are...the people bad things happen to. The 'not us' people. As one mama put it...the statistical anomaly that took the bullet so that everyone around me can breathe a sigh of relief. But one thing I've learned in this miserable journey is that bad things happen to everyone, even the me I used to be. I know that if we were ever blessed with another baby I wouldn't naively assume that the baby would live. That the baby would be healthy. Especially wouldn't assume that the baby would live past 10 months. I also have a strange expectation that one of my sons is going to get cancer or something like it. When they get scrapes (as farm boys often do) I always check to make sure they're healing well and there isn't an immune deficiency or something like that. I have become more of a pessimist in that I wonder what bad thing is lurking around the corner, waiting to dig their claws in.

I can tell already that no amount of editing or tweaking is going to make this one of my very best posts, but it is true. And I am not at my very best right now. It fits, in a way. Right Where I am at 9 months 21 days: Trusting God but...Still hurt. Still grieving. Still wishing. Angry and just plain not at my Very Best. I'm pretty sure I'll never be at my Very Best ever again though.

I'm going to go ahead and post this without over-thinking it. This is Right Where I Am. Today. Not yesterday. Not tomorrow. Right Where I am at 9 months 21 days.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

I know God is faithful.

I feel forgotten but I know He remembers.

I feel forsaken but I know He carries me.

I feel broken but I know He is the Healer.

I feel alone but I know He is with me.

I feel bereft but I know He is faithful.

I feel angry but I know He is the comforter.

I feel hatred but I know He loves me.

I feel hurt but I know He is the salve that heals all wounds.

I know God is faithful. I know God is faithful. I know God is faithful. I know He is, even in the broken times. Even in the pain. Even in the darkness. Even in the anger and the grief. I know God is faithful. Sometimes I feel like He is not there but I know that even now, even now He is holding my hand and carrying me over the rocks and through the waves of pain that would dash me to pieces on the shore. I know He is faithful and there will be joy and hope again one day. I know there will be Hope one day.  I know God is faithful and that my heart is in His hands. I know God is faithful.

If you think this sounds like I'm trying to convince myself then you may be a little bit right. And yet, behind it all, in my heart of hearts, I really do know that God is faithful. One day all will be made clear and that day may only be in Heaven or maybe I'll get a taste of it sometime in this lifetime but one day, one sweet day, all will be clear. And I'll know, without the shadow of a doubt, that God is faithful.

It's so easy to say that God is faithful when I'm walking in the light but I need to remember to cling, in the darkness, to what I know is true in the light. And I know that God is faithful.

He is faithful in the darkness and in the light.

He is faithful in sorrow and in joy.

He is faithful in hopelessness and in hope.

He is faithful in tears and in laughter.

He is faithful in mourning and in dancing.

He is faithful always. Always, He is faithful.

Lest I forget, He is faithful in pain, and in healing too.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Flowers for our little flower.

We went to the greenhouse today. The boys and I, and Josie. And my mom, and Holly, and her kids.  We bought pumpkins and onions and mainly we bought flowers for Eva's garden. Samuel picked a white begonia. Theodore picked roses. Josie picked some little white flowers...I can't remember what they are. I picked some sunflowers. We put some seeds in there already but I was worried my seeds wouldn't come up and I absolutely wanted sunflowers in the garden for our little sunflower. And Vincent, Vincent picked a pink begonia then traded it for some little purple flowers, then traded that for some pansies and finally settled on a bright red petunia!

I asked the lady working there if they had forget-me-nots. They didn't. I told her I was making a little memory garden for my daughter. Right away she teared up and said she was sorry for my loss. I showed her a picture of Eva that's on my coffee mug. She admired her. She told me her daughter had also died. Jamie. At 18 years, 8 months and 18 days old. In a car accident, 12 years ago. Even at 18 she still counted the days of her life. She cried with me as she helped the boys and I choose flowers. She said she'd like to say it gets easier after 12 years...but no, however she did say it stings less. She doesn't cry every day, but every day it hurts. I wish all the people who think I'm grieving too much at 9 months out from losing Eva could hear this mama tell them it still hurts at 12 years. Sometimes I want to swear at people. Sometimes I do. But not at the people who I really want to swear at.

We stopped at a playground on the way home and ate lunch. Peanut butter sandwiches and apple slices. We swung on the swings and Holly held her little son on her lap...he snuggled right in. I was so envious. My lap was empty and I wanted to hold Eva so badly. I wanted her to swing on swings this summer. And eat apples. And walk in the grass. I want her in my arms so badly. It's so hard sometimes to see this little boy growing and healthy and eating like crazy. Sometimes it stabs me in the heart to see all that I am missing right in front of my eyes. I love this little boy so much, I really do, but he is not mine. As Holly commented on my last post 'Soccer', today was an especially empty day at the playground, even though there were 7 kids running around. Thank you, Holly, for seeing the emptiness with me.

 When we got home the boys wanted to plant their flowers in Eva's garden right away. So, even though it was naptime, we postponed sleep and planted flowers for our little flower. I had no idea how much the boys would love planting a garden for her. They agonized over the perfect spot for their flowers and if Eva would like the ones they picked for her. I started this garden for me and for Eva but I think it's going to help the boys too. To be able to really do something for her. To water their flowers and make something beautiful for their little sister. Always their little sister.