Monday, October 29, 2012

There are pillows in heaven.

My father in law had heart surgery several years ago. He was given a heart shaped pillow to hold when he coughed after the surgery.

This same man is also the grandfather of my children and he made beautiful pillows for our boys. Individually created with each individual grandson in mind. He came over and gave them to the boys. He also had a package for little J. My heart was already feeling tender when I knew there would be no gift for Eva. Of course there is no gift for Eva. But it hurts anyway...and when little J opened her gift it was also a pillow. A heart shaped pillow from his heart surgery years ago. That just sent me over the edge because I know, without a doubt, that had Eva lived, that pillow would have been hers. Hearts have been special to us since her heart surgeries.  More meaningful since she died of a broken heart weeks after her own heart surgery.

I haven't had really bad days in a while so I guess I was due for one because that pillow sent me over the edge and down into the pit of despair and grief for the entire day. I had to leave the room and I went and cried and cried on my bed. Vincent (5) came into my room and cuddled up with me and asked me why I was sad. I said it was because Eva wasn't here to have a pillow. "Don't worry, mommy, there are pillows in heaven" he said "there is everything there as there is on earth but not the sun or the moon". How I love my sensitive little manly boy. So tough and tender. And I'm sure there are pillows in heaven. I don't grieve Eva's lack of pillows. I just want her to have a pillow here with me.

It sounds so simple. Eva's not here to have a pillow. But it breaks my heart over and over again that she isn't here to have a pillow. That she isn't here to smile and laugh at me. That she isn't here to grow up and tease her brothers. That she just isnt' here.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

My invisible daughter.

I am often surprised by who reads my blog, and who doesn't. People who I think 'should' read it don't and others who I thought wouldn't, do.

I posted on my blog about Baby Hope about a month before I mentioned it on facebook, and then it was pretty low-key. So those IRL people who read my blog knew about Baby Hope before anyone else. Although, it wasn't planned that way, it was interesting to see who read and who didn't.  I'm not hurt anymore, like I used to be, when I would tell someone about this blog and they wouldn't read it. Now it's pffft, whatever.

But I guess there's still a part of me that is irritated that they can so easily leave the sadness. That they can just forget about it whenever they want, or pop in and read a couple of posts, dose themselves with grief and then pop back out to their shiny, perfect (or not so perfect) lives.

I've noticed that my IRL readership has dropped off. Those people who read when it was a dead-baby novelty. But maybe the grief isn't as exciting and fresh anymore. Maybe it's just boring, you know. The baby is still dead. And she will never be coming back (if she did-that would sure boost my numbers, I'm sure).

I have also noticed, that my online readership has gone up. People who are finding my blog through other sites and have come meandering over here to find that I am still here. Writing, over a year later. That the grief is still there. But it's softer. Not so harsh and ragged. I can breathe. And I guess it's encouraging in a way that I found other blogs in my early days. And there are also people who read now who are further along their path than I am. Those that have lost a child several years ago. Those whose blogs I find comforting and also maddening. WHY are there so many dead children? And WHY didn't I know about this until my own child died? WHY is our society so silent about our invisible children?

And speaking of invisible. I really like that term. My invisible daughter.

Yesterday at Costco a lady commented on the 4 children with me and were they all mine? Yes. And were the two in the cart twins? No. 8 months apart.  Oh really! And how I must be so busy. I hemmed and hawed because, well, I'm not busy enough. There is one missing. I have another one. I have an invisible daughter.  I want to scream that sometimes. Eva is missing! missing! missing! That is when Samuel informed her of everything. That little J wasn't really ours until she was adopted and that we actually had 6 kids. 6 kids! (as she counted the four with me). Where were the others? Then Samuel stopped. He doesn't like to talk about Eva being dead to strangers and I won't push him. But, no worries, Theodore picked it up from there. There is Baby Hope in mommy's belly and Eva in heaven. Oh.

Right now I have 4 visible children (including little J) and 2 invisible children (including Hope).  I like that better than what I have been saying. Living children. Because Eva is alive. She is more alive then you or I am. More alive than my boys running through the halls. But she is not visible to me. The substance that I long to hold and hug and kiss and admire is not there but Eva is still there, just invisible. And one fine day she will be visible to me again. And how I long for that day.

I love you my beautiful invisible daughter. Until the day I set my eyes on you again. I will always love you.

Friday, October 19, 2012

A gift?

Paramedics and doctors tried to resuscitate Eva for 45 minutes before she was 'officially' declared dead.

I was with her for every single one of those 45 minutes. They stopped at 45 minutes because that is the limit for severe brain damage. And after she died I wished and wished and wished that I could have her back. I would take any amount of brain damage. I would do anything to hold her living, breathing body in my arms.

But what if they had been able to resuscitate her and she had been severely brain damaged. I know of parents, personally, who had to choose to remove life-support from the children they loved. What would I have done if faced with that horrible 'choice'. If she had never been able to take a breath on her own. If I never saw that sparkle in her eyes ever again?

I don't know what my choice would have been. Would I have chosen to remove life-support? Would I have chosen to keep her breathing with machines and no sparkle? I don't know. I never will know the answer to that question because I didn't have to live it.

But sometimes, sometimes...I wonder if there was grace in the way she died. So quickly. So suddenly. So perfectly.

And sometimes when I take my boys to swimming lessons I see children with severe difficulties.  I see children that are loved but I wonder if 15 years from now as I pushed Eva in a wheelchair to her tailored-aquatic-program where she could be weightless in the water for a while and I could have a break sitting on the side of the pool...would I think back to August 15th 2011 and wish that she had died that day instead of being trapped in this body with no sparkle in her eyes?

I don't know what I would wish for. I am not living it.

All I am saying here is that sometimes we look so much at the 'what could have beens' that we really want (like all my living children all together happy and healthy) that we don't look at the 'what could have beens' that we might not want (like Eva brain damaged and overweight in a wheelchair, with bad teeth).  It's not pretty these thoughts. Not pretty at all. And I hate even imagining this kind of possibility for Eva.

I'd rather imagine the happy ending I wished I had like her pulling through and being a miracle. A miracle with sparkly eyes and a huge smile. A walking, talking, swimming in regular swim classes miracle. But the truth is that the other is also a possible 'could have been' after 45 minutes of CPR. 

What would she have been like? The truth is I won't ever know. What is she like now? The truth is she is a beautiful child of God and she is beautiful in heaven. And, as much as my heart breaks for missing her...sometimes I wonder if her death was a gift. I feel almost sacrilegous writing this. Because how can the death of my child be a gift? (A word of caution here to my readers: never, never, never suggest to a bereaved parent that the death of their child is a gift-don't even suggest it to me even if you read this blog- because it's one thing to question it myself as I search for a glimmer of meaning in her death and it's wholly and completely another for someone else who doesn't understand the depth of my longing and grief to suggest it is a gift).

Of course, the best alternative would be for Eva to never have needed CPR at all but that is another path for another life. A parallel 'Life of Em' so to speak where my children are all alive and getting into mischief. A life, I know, that is possible, with God. But not the life given to me *sigh*.

But I do know of one gift that Eva has given me already, through her death, and that is the gift of Hope.
16 wks 3days of Hope.
We love Hope already and are grateful for the gift that s/he is already to our family.
We hope to meet Hope in April 2013.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

My mum is a survivor

There are words in this poem that are true. I found it beautiful to read and maybe some other mums might find it comforting too.

My Mum Is A Survivor

My Mum is a survivor,
or so I've heard it said,
But I can hear her crying at night
when all others are in bed.

I watch her lay awake at night
and go to hold her hand.
She doesn't know I'm with her
to help her understand.

But like the sands on the Beach,
they never wash away...
I watch over my surviving Mum,
who thinks of me each day.

She wears a smile for others....
a smile of disguise!
But through Heaven's door
I see tears flowing from her eyes.

My Mum tries to cope with death,
to keep my memory alive.
But anyone who knows her
knows it's her way to survive.

I know that doesn't help her...
or ease the burden she bears.
So if you get a chance, go visit her...
and show her that you care.

For no matter what she says...
no matter what she feels...
My surviving Mum has a broken heart
that time won't ever heal.

author unknown (if you know who to credit please let me know and I will credit the author- thanks!)

Monday, October 15, 2012

Eva's second birthday.

Today we celebrated your birthday here on earth little princess.

The day wasn't so bad. We even had joy today. We ate angel food cake. The kids opened presents and we had a couple of visitors. The worst part of today is exactly that it wasn't so bad. I just wish it was full of JOY only.

The oblivious joy at you turning two years old.

How was your party in Heaven my dear?  What is the cake like there?  Or is the celebration bigger on your heaven day?

We put a pinwheel by your trees this morning. We sang you happy birthday. We ate cake. We opened presents. We had balloons. The only thing missing was you my sweetheart.

...and for those who were wondering. The newborn/birthday gift for Eva and I is a small white and pink newborn bracelet.

I put it on the mould we have of your hand. It fits perfctly and is gorgeous. I wish I had put it on your living wrist.

Fewer tears this year than last year when I couldn't even stop crying as the boys sang you happy birthday. But I didn't make your cake again. I can't make angel food cake and, besides, it would have been too salty anyway, from me tears.

I miss you always my darling girl.

Sunday, October 14, 2012


In the days leading up to my children's birthdays I always seem to reflect on the days leading up to their actual births.  I remember how heavy I felt and how I eagerly anticipated meeting my child.

Today is the day before Eva's birthday and I do the same with her. She was 12 days late and kept us all waiting on our little princess.  I would have been induced on the Saturday but she came of her own accord on Friday.

Today I went shopping by myself. I bought a little growing up girl for her. I can't believe this is the second one I've bought. I can't believe that this is the second birthday we will be celebrating without her. 

I also bought an angel food cake. This is just what I happened to buy, in the deliriousness of last year, but angel food cake seems appropriate for our precious girl in Heaven. And as I walked out of the same store as I walked out of last year holding this angel food cake for my dead girl. I put it in the truck and I broke down sobbing. How I wish that instead of buying angel food cake I was working on a homemade cake for her. A flower or a butterfly or a ladybug or whatever. Something colourful and fun for my little two year old.

Instead I am buying angel food cake.

I wanted to have presents at her party too and there are only so many presents you can buy a child who doesn't need or want anything at all.  So I bought stuff for the boys and sunflower hairclips for little J. I took so long deciding what small thing to get them all because my eyes kept going over to the girly toys I wished I was perusing instead, in anticipation of Eva's birthday. 

I also had one large regret over something I never bought for Eva when she was a newborn. And, so, because she never grows, I've decided to get her one for her second birthday but also as a newborn gift. Strange I know. But, trust me, nothing is stranger than birthday shopping for your dead child. And because birthdays need surprises I won't be telling you what it is I bought for my little princess (and me, really) for the celebration of her birthday tomorrow.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Thanksgiving road

Up here in Canada we just celebrated Thanksgiving weekend. My mom, Mike's bro and wife, another friend visiting from Germany, and Mike's mom and dad as well as our kids were here for dinner tonight. It was a nice time with family. It was good. Really good.

The kids made 'thankful pumpkins'. We also wrote out on the chalkboard things we were thankful for. It was a preciour time and I'm thankful we had that time together.

Mike's dad often visits us and is usually melancholy or sad. This is why: Mike's mom has very advanced Parkinson's disease and recently moved into a care facility. This has left Mike's dad lonely without his life partner of the last 50 years. Today was a happy day for him. He brought his bride with him to Thanksgiving dinner at our house. I could tell he was just so happy to have his wife and both sons and most of the grandkids around him at the same time.  We took a picture of Grandpa and Grandma and the grandkids (Samuel held a photo of Eva).

I thought how amazing it would be if I could have just one day with my Eva. I watched my father in law's happy face and I thought about how I would be just beaming if Eva could join us too.

I was also told today about some negative aspects of my personality.  It is just such a piss off how people can be so nicey-nice to my face but then be such gossipers behind my back.

Most of the time I'm glad my friends and family read this blog (not always, but they do). Once in awhile I wish I knew it was just bereaved parents who read it. Bereaved parents who totally get how all-encompassing the missing of my child is.  That I can't just stop mentioning her. That missing her won't 'wear off'.  That I don't even want it to wear off. That lighting a candle for her at Thanksgiving dinner is never going to stop. That if it bothers them for me to talk about my daughter who is dead, well, how much worse is it for me. Because, for me, it never never never goes away. She's always dead and I'm always here without her.

It never stops.

So you, with your opinions about me, keep em to yourself until you've held your dead child in your arms. And if that day, God forbid, ever comes then I'll hold your hand as you weep. I'll listen to your rage, anger, bitterness, grief, regrets...and how no one understands you anymore. Because I've walked that road.

And unless you've travelled the road I'm walking on ahead of me, or with me, or behind me then, please, don't even attempt to tell me you know how my shoes feel.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Vincent's 5th birthday.

Yesterday my second son turned 5. Not only did Eva never have a first birthday, she never celebrated Vincent's birthday with him.

Vincent was 3 when Eva died. Now he is 5. I hate how my kids are growing, growing up, up and away from my girl. She is always a baby to them. Even though she should be turning a happy two on the 15th of this month (and for a double whammy there, the 15th is also pregnancy and infant loss day, oh joy).

I miss her so much. Not only do I miss the baby she was but I miss the almost-two-year old she should be. I miss seeing her smile in wonder at balloons. I miss seeing her push a bowling ball down the lane at her brother's birthday party yesterday. I even miss potty training her. I miss the mom I used to be who could laugh all the time. Now I cry every day for the sweetheart that is not with me. When I was making Vincent's cake (a turtle) I wondered what kind of cake I would have made for Eva. A flower or a ladybug, probably. Samuel said this morning that we should have a butterfly cake for Eva's birthday. He's right.

At Vincent's party all the kids got a balloon in their favourite colour. I also bought a pink one for Eva. When we left the bowling alley Samuel wanted to send his balloon to Eva. We let it go and up, up, up it flew. As I watched it go Samuel said that it wouldn't really go to heaven. It would pop when it got really high *sigh*. But as I tried to follow it with my eyes as it got smaller and smaller and more and more unreachable it was painfully obvious to me how far away it was going and how there could be no way I could just jump up and grab the string. Tethering it to earth once more.

I so often wish things were different. Some days more than others.

And here I am the day after Vincent's golden birthday (5 on the 5th). And so often yesterday I couldn't help but think that a golden birthday is another thing that Eva won't get to have.

15 on the 15th.

I can only imagine the beauty she would be.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


It's been a pretty good week here in our part of the world, considering. On Wednesday I went to a prayer meeting and met with Jesus in a way I haven't before and it stuck with me for the rest of the week. On Friday I went to an Above Rubies Retreat with my friend, Holly. We had a long drive together and a good weekend as we learned alot and had a time of rest as well.

But, still, there was something niggling at the back of my mind and I wondered, not for the first time why it bothers me so much when people who are not bereaved parents talk to me about healing or recovering. Yet, when a bereaved parent talks about healing or recovering I know what they're saying, and it's just fine with me.

And recently, I think I've figured it out.

As far as I can tell, the words 'recovery' and 'healing' in the mouth of a bereaved parent is a different word than in the mouths of people with all their living children. It's simply a different language. And unless you've travelled to the country of Devastation then you cannot ever speak the language...and, well, trust me, you do not want to travel to that country.

And why is this worth a blog post you wonder...

Well, partly because I am recovering.  I am having more bearable moments than terrible, awful ones. I am able to grocery shop for thanksgiving dinner (and even know of things I am thankful for). I am able to chat to people that I meet, and they would never know that I am missing my daughter with every heartbeat, as I talk turkey and sweet potatoes with them. 

But when the conversation turns to how big other people's kids have gotten and how hard it is to keep track of all the kids, well, then I have to go. And, sorry, but neither is a Happy Thanksgiving on my plate, or my lips.

And as a little side dish of sad cuteness in our home-I had a friend over with her baby son for lunch.

Theodore said to her 'we have two babies in our family-one in my mommy's belly and one in Heaven'.

Thankfully this friend already knew about both Hope and Eva.