Monday, April 30, 2012

Shopping with my girl.

I took you shopping today, my sweet.

First we dropped off your brothers with a friend. You didn't mind being left alone in the truck for a few minutes while I brought them inside. Then we went to the second-hand store the church runs on Friday mornings. My heart was heavy within me as I caressed you in my pocket while I drank coffee with another mum. The other children there were so demanding. Not you, my sweet. You were quiet as a mouse. I saw a pair of shoes on the shelf. Little shoes that should be just your size. I wanted them. I ached for them. I left them there.  Actually I had donated them to the store a few weeks earlier. They were to have been yours, my dear.

Then we went to pick up some photos. Photos of you, my sweet. It's amazing how good a deal photographers will give you  when the child in the photographs has died. They couldn't find them. Never mind, I'll pick them up another time.  We went on to the grocery store. I bought milk, tomatoes, yogurt, cucumbers... I didn't buy any baby food. We don't need any in our house. You don't eat it anymore, my darling.

Next stop, the mall. This special stop is why I brought you with me, my treasure. This is why you accompanied me shopping today. We stopped in at the little booth that does engraving. The lady there commented on how cute the little rocking horse was that I wanted engraved. She held it up and looked at it. She asked what I wanted engraved on it. I told her it was you she was so casually holding in her hand. You, my sweet, encased in a rocking horse that should have been a piggy bank for a living girl, not an urn for a dead one. You never should have been able to fit inside that little horse. We engraved your name Eva Ruby Christine-October 15 2010 to August 15 2011. Beloved Daughter, Sister, and Granddaughter. There are so few things I can buy for you, so few ways I can mother you.  So, I get your urn engraved. I caress your name etched into the pewter and the tears stream down my face at how beautiful it looks. How beautiful you are, my sweet.

We left the mall and carried on. We had many stops to do today. You didn't cry or fuss about your car seat. I took you out of my pocket when I was driving. Let you get some sunshine. We went out for lunch together. I put you on the table in front of me and I ignored all the people who looked at the tears washing down my face as I ate my lunch with you. I thought about how different it would have been  to have lunch with you if you were breathing. I wouldn't linger over coffee, and what would you be eating my darling? Would you want to hold a french fry in your chubby hand?

We drove back together, along the road we had come. I caressed you again in my pocket, rubbing my thumb along your newly engraved name, and we went to pick up your brothers.  They came tumbling out of the house. Full of joy. I gently showed your little rocking horse to my friend who babysat your brothers.  She didn't know what she was holding as she commented on how surprisingly heavy it was. That's when I told her it was heavy because it was full of ashes. Full of you, my treasure.

I didn't let her hold you long. I jealously reached back for you, and safely ensconced you in my pocket once again.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Pancakes for supper

Pancakes for supper.
Mike made letter pancakes for everyone.
I went to the stove when he was done and silent tears slipped down my cheeks.
There was no letter E.
 It's not that Mike didn't make a letter E for the little girl we miss so much it's that the little girl isn't here to have her letter E.
Vincent (4) saw my tears and told me that the last pancake was for Eva.
 He was making a sheep for Eva.
We put it on a pink plate for Eva. And now, it sits on Eva's shelf, like an offering.
We will eat it in the morning.
All the pancakes are tasteless in my mouth without the sweet little Eva that should be at the table, eating pancakes with us. 

 The more time that passes and the more people I have become compadres in loss with, the more I realize that the simple fact that healthy children exist at all is a pure and simple miracle. The fact that three of the world's healthy children are, for now, mine, is even more of a miracle.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Eva's slippers

When Eva was born my friend Holly gave me some things for Eva to use. One was a little pair of burgundy slippers with tulips on them. They were the cutest things. Eva wore them alot. I loved them. 

When Eva died I kept every.single.thing she ever wore. They're packed in a box but they're there...waiting...for what, I do not know. However this little pair of leather slippers I gave back to Holly. They were hers and I have many things.

Some time ago I stopped in at Holly's house. I helped her kids with their coats. I was rooting around the coat closet and I saw the little slippers on the shelf. I was surprised by their presence and I softly touched them, remembering the little feet that once wore them. I mentioned them to Holly later and she told me her sister (who recently had a baby girl) had asked to borrow them. She told her sister 'no, those are Eva's slippers'.

There are no words to describe how special it is to me that Holly keeps those slippers on the shelf, that Holly loves Eva. There are no words to say how much it means to me that I don't need to remind Holly to remember Eva. Holly knows the special dates and moments without me having to fill in the blanks. I am so grateful to have a friend like Holly who has seen me through my darkest moments.

Eva's slippers

Sunday, April 15, 2012

18 months old today.

Today we drove home. We drove home on the 15th. We drove by Mayerthorpe. We drove by Whitecourt. We inched closer to home and stopped in Fox Creek for awhile.

Exactly 8 months ago we drove this road to Edmonton. We drove through Fox Creek. We stopped in Whitecourt and I nursed Eva on the side of the road, in front of the Dairy Queen. I didn`t know this would be the last time I would nurse her. If I had I would have cherished the moment so much more. We drove on and stopped to get gas in Mayerthorpe. I fed Eva some baby food. The last food she would ever eat was at the UFA in Mayerthorpe.

It was so emotional today to be on this road, but it was good too. We could have waved sad waves to our old, happy selves today as we crossed paths on this road, barreling in opposite directions.

We went on and picked up our remaining children and took them to a Gospel Music Night.

 I asked Mike what time it was. 9pm.

At 9pm, 8 months ago there still was hope that Eva might live. I really didn`t expect her to die at 9 pm.  At 9:10pm they announced that at 9:15pm they would stop. That`s when I screamed. That`s when I understood my baby would die. They called me over to hold her hand and I kept screaming ``Eva, Eva, Eva`` in her ear, hoping that my voice would bring her back. I kept looking at the clock for those last 5 minutes, 4 minutes, 3 minutes, 2 minutes...till my baby was dead. Time of death 9:15. I will never forget the sound of those words. Time of death 9:15.

We made it through another 15th. Today Eva would be 18 months old. A year and a half. We would be getting her picture taken because kids change so much in the early years....

What do you look like today my darling...

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Nonetheless, thankful

I read most of the book One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp quite some time ago (thanks Karen and Marjie).  I began a thankful journal sometime before Christmas.It helped me to see the small things that I am thankful for rather than focussing all the time on my great loss.

Today I stopped by Fawne's blog  She inspired me to share with all of you some of the things I am thankful for. Even in the midst of my sorrow, there is joy.

  • Thankful for a warm little boy snuggled up in bed with me.
  • Thankful that losing Eva has made heaven such a real place for my sons and that they talk about it and desire to go there.
  • Thankful for sharing the gift of an AMAZING winter sunset sky with two small sons clinging to me; holding them up to keep their bare feet off the snow.
  • Thankful for a husband that is a source of strength and comfort.
  • Thankful for pumpkin seeds hot out of the oven.
  • Thankful for paper plates when needed.
  • Thankful for Theodore's squeaky little voice.
  • Thankful for Oma reading stories
  • Thankful for Theodore who said "God made that" as he pointed to a star.
  • Thankful for the joy of getting a Christmas tree amidst the pain of December 15th and four months without Eva.
  • Thankful for Vincent who hugged me so tight the whole Christmas Eve service, and who just wanted Eva to come home for Christmas.
  • Thankful for Samuel who was so happy to get a framed photo of himself and his sister for Christmas Eve.
  • Thankful for Theodore who totes his 'Baby Eva' around and was so excited for all the pictures of Eva on Christmas Eve.
  • Thankful that 2011 is over.
  • Thankful for the hope of a New Year.
  • Thankful for the laughter shared with Paul and Manuela.
  • Thankful for coffee.
  • Thankful for Elliott and Tess playing with my boys.
  • Thankful that I yearn for heaven more than I ever have before.
  • Thankful for the assurance of Jesus and the hope I have of seeing Eva again.
  • Thankful for 3 breathing sons.
  • Thankful for Josie.
  • Thankful for a warm house.

Above is just a small excerpt from my journal.

Today I am specifically:

  • Thankful Mike is working.
  • Thankful the Tyler kids and their mom came over this morning.
  • Thankful for the sun, and children playing outside.
  • Thankful for coffee.
  • Thankful for the 9 months Eva spent in my belly.
  • Thankful for the 10 months I had to hold her and love her outside of my belly.
  • Thankful that I threw sleep training out the window and slept with Eva on the hospital cot as much as possible while I had the chance.
  • Thankful that Eva continues to touch our lives, despite being physically absent from us.
  • Thankful for tears. (Can you imagine not being able to release that kind of emotion).
It is amazing how many little things there are to be thankful for and, all together, they are not that little. They are just taken for granted so much that it is not till we look for them that they appear, like mountains coming out of the mist. The mountains were always there and never left, but the mist obscured them. As these things are always there but the mist of oblivion obscures them.

  • Nonetheless, thankful, in the mist of my huge sorrow.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Joy comes in the morning

Today is Easter Day. It is not the actual day, but it is the day we celebrate the fact that Christ rose from the dead. He is risen indeed. Today is a happy, joyful day. Today we went to the sunrise service at our church. Everyone was smiling and happy. Our Lord has risen, in Him we have a hope and a future.

I was not smiling. I couldn`t sing although I read the words but I choked on them when I tried to sing. So I stopped. It was hard to be there with all those happy people. The Good Friday service, with all it`s sadness was more on my level this year. I felt a kinship with people in the church on Good Friday. Today I feel like an alien once again. I`m sure people who see me and who don`t know about our loss look at me and wonder what the heck is wrong with that woman. She must be awful to live with. She didn`t even smile at me when I smiled at her...sure wouldn`t want to be her husband. And look at her kids, bet it sucks to have her as a mother (side note: it probably does suck to have me as a mom these days). My guess is that even the people we know who do know about the little missing girl are starting to wonder why I`m still crying...after all it`s been almost 8 months now. Em really should be moving on. But it`s Eva that should be moving on. Eva should be almost 18 months old. One and a half years old. She should be walking. Starting to talk. Moving on. Moving on from the baby she was when she died.

There was a pancake breakfast at our church after the sunrise service. There was bacon, french toast, yogurt...My kids had also coloured hard-boiled easter eggs and could not wait to eat them on Easter morning. I sat at the table with my kids and our coloured eggs. Last Easter Eva was with us. I did not have the creativity in me to make eggs with so many little ones, and Eva only 6 months old.  I figured there would be lots of years to make Easter eggs with her and the boys. This year we have coloured eggs.

We did not stay for the main service today. There was a baby dedication happening and I was not putting myself through the emotional hell of seeing a living baby get dedicated. Baby dedications are hard enough but they are doubly painful because we never did dedicate Eva. It is something I really regret. I guess there are all sorts of regrets when you lose a child. Another one of mine is that I didn`t buy an Easter dress for Eva last year. Now she`ll never have one.

As Mike and I were driving home from church I told him it was probably for the best that there was a dedication and we didn`t go to the main service. The breakfast was bad enough, I just can`t stomach all those happy people gathered in one place.  Mike said that Easter is a happy day. If it weren`t for Easter and our risen Lord there would be no hope to see Eva again. Our lives would be a million times worse without the certainty of heaven. Mike is right. Easter is happy. Easter is hope. Joy comes in the morning. Without Easter I don`t know if I would have the strength to even slog through another day.

The weather is beautiful here today. We`ll be having an egg hunt outside. We have the matching Easter baskets out that I bought for all the kids last year. Eva`s is, of course, pink. I put it on her shelf with some pink eggies in it. I`ll be eating them later. I`ll have a shooter of tears to chase them down.

May we remember the light and the hope that Jesus brought to our world so many centuries ago now.

Joy comes in the morning.

Thank you Jesus, for Easter.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Weeping May Endure For A Night

Weeping may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5)

Today we remember that Christ died on the cross so that we may enter into the kingdom of God. In the here and now, over 2000 years since Christ sacrificed Himself for me, you, us, we know the 'end' of the story. We know that joy comes in the morning. We know that there is joy to come when He rises from the dead and goes to prepare a place for us in His Father's house. But for the first century disciples, today was the end. There was no joy to come. Jesus was dead. How could this happen? It was the beginning of the darkest days of their lives...but on the third day He rose again. Joy comes in the morning.

I can't help but compare this to my life right now. I am lost and alone. I am suffocating...trying to breathe while I sometimes feel that I have been forsaken...Weeping may endure for a night...I am in the midst of the darkest time of my life right now. I see no hope from the loss of my child. But this I know and in this I rest my faith. I know that God knows the end of my story and He can see it as clearly as we can look back all those centuries and see that joy comes in the morning. He can see the joy that is to come, even to me. Even when I can't see it coming...even when it's all I can do to scrape myself off the kitchen floor and mop up my tears...even when I am so hurt I can barely see in front of me...even when the wound in my heart and soul is so jagged and severe it hurts simply to breathe...even now...He knows that joy comes in the morning...and I don't know how or when that sweet morning will come. But I do know that one day, one fine day, there will be morning.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

I hate.

Something I hate is that by virtue of my suffering I am inadvertently, yet unceremoniously, kicked out of the places I thought were mine.

I am so angry that people with living children can just go obliviously about their business. I hate that this pain is sometimes eating me alive. I hate that I hate all of this. I just wish Eva was here and that I could participate in the growing-up of my daughter.