Monday, January 31, 2011


He jumped on counters and stole food like nobody's business. He ran off and didn't look back, especially in the woods when there were other animals around. He HATED people on bikes.

BUUUTTTT...he LOVED to play with empty water bottles. He was a dedicated running partner. He liked to cuddle, go hiking, go camping, go boating...he enjoyed the ocean, lakes, rivers...anything with water. He liked to eat blueberries off the bush.

There is so much more that I just can't find the words for. We will miss him terribly.

Sunday, January 30, 2011


Chris and I share a bathroom that is sandwiched between our bedroom and the mudroom and has no windows. Obviously, for a bathroom, this is not a big deal at all. This evening, I entered this bathroom to find blankets and pillows all over the floor. So I asked Megan why there were so many blankets and pillows in there. "We were making beds," she said. Of course, I thought, the bathroom...why wouldn't they? "Um...Why were you making beds in the bathroom?" I asked. "Because we were using flashlights and we didn't want to waste the flashlight by making them in the light."

Makes perfect sense!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Onward Ho...

I haven't written in a while for many reasons, but the main one is that I never know what to write after her birthday. What can I say that sums up moving into our 5th year without her while making it clear that we are okay while also making it clear that we miss her while also making it clear that life is good right now even though it shouldn't be because we have this missing one but we are okay.....

See the circular logic? So since I don't like run-on sentences, I just haven't written in a while. If you are babylost, you know what I mean and if you don't know what I mean, you don't need to worry about it--truly.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Happy Birthday Eve

Here I sit, on the cusp of yet another year without my third baby, my little Sophia Anne, and I'm wondering what it would be like with yet another voice to add to our already chaotic life. Would she have thrown a fit out of hunger and exhaustion like Megan did tonight? Would she have been trying to madly memorize all 44 presidents before dinner like Erin was? Would she be singing Puff The Magic Dragon at the absolute top of her lungs like Evan is? What would a little, blond 4-year-old add to our family? I'll never know. And here I am, four years away from the day that shattered my soul in ways I still cannot describe, and I need to be honest. The truth is that the sorrow that nearly killed me 4 years ago now finds itself next to something else in my heart. There is a glimmer there that has been growing steadily with time--the glimmer that other Babylost Mamas had told me about 4 years ago, but I didn't believe that it could ever really be true. It is the glimmer of the fact that happiness is possible without her. As slowly and grudgingly as I have allowed it to come on, there it is. Before I go further, I want to be very clear here--time does NOT heal. It simply doesn't. NOTHING will heal the piece of my heart that is broken forever. Nothing. But time allows a chance for that glimmer to grow a expand into the areas of your heart that are left after it has been irreparably shattered. And that is what is happening to me right now.

So here I sit--and my plate is undeniably full of sadness right now, with my friend's impending death corresponding so closely with my lost one's birthday--focusing on what Sophie has brought into my life. She has taught me patience, compassion, kindness, and empathy in a way that no living baby ever could. She has made me a voice for other Babylost Mamas as I work to spread the word on how to assist someone going through such loss. She has given Chris and I the deep deep down, unbreakable understanding that our marriage, truly, can survive anything. And these are all gifts I could never have ever gotten from someone else.

Of course I'm writing this with the full understanding that at least one person reading this is only a week away from her own shattered dream...and I don't want to do or say anything that could upset her. I remember how angry I got when people told me how much better things got over time (Write that down, people, don't EVER tell a Babylost Mama that things will get better with time.... Just don't.) I remember thinking that I desperately wanted to transport myself to the future where I was promised this land of less pain, but I also desperately wanted to stop time so that I could always be closer to her. I wanted to never forget the feeling of her moving around inside me, the beautiful swell of my belly, the glow of my pregnancy smile...those things were erased with time, you see, and that was something I could not imagine being without. So I don't want to write about the happiness that is "possible with time" without also saying I know what it is like to be so, so, so very conflicted and angry with time. I know what you are feeling, dear friend, and I recognize that I am currently writing with the ability to put myself back there, in your shoes, or not. And I am choosing not to--something you simply don't have the ability to do right now. I recognize that and I also recognize it can cause anger and resentment. I'm so very sorry....

Now, Sophia, as your tree twinkles with lights outside my window, I want you to know, my dear baby girl, how very deeply you are missed and loved. I continue to wonder how I have survived 4 years of being without you, but you have helped make our family whole, and for that, I will always be grateful.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Hard Day

Today was a hard day. I went to visit Amy again and at this point, it is very possible that every visit will be the last one. Who knows if she will rally again (the hospice nurse said that you never, ever underestimate the will of a very stubborn person--and if you know Amy, well...) but the social worker that spoke to me this morning made it clear that we are very close to the end. Amy is tired. She is in pain. It is time for her to let go. Everyone around her has told her it is okay to let go, that it is okay to stop fighting. Everyone, I should say, but me. I hadn't said those words to her. I didn't give her "permission" to die because, honestly, I didn't want to. I know how unbelievably selfish that is. I know. But a part of me wants her to keep fighting--just stay alive long enough for someone, somewhere, to find a cure and just help her. This is all so damned unfair. But after talking to the social worker and the doctor, I knew I had to tell her today. I had to--for her and for me.

So today, after she had showered and gotten cleaned up and was a little be more lucid than she had been the day before (though not by much), I sat by her bed, took her hand in mine and told her how much she has meant to me and my family for the last 20 years. I told her I was sorry that I hadn't told her enough how much she has meant to us. I told her that I couldn't stand seeing her in such pain and that if she felt it was time, then she had to stop fighting. We sobbed together for a very long time. When she could finally talk again, she told me that she was trying very hard not to die near Sophie's birthday. I had to laugh. Here is someone who never, even for an instant, wavered in her support after Sophie died. Someone who is not married, does not have kids, and never even pretended to understand even a little bit what it felt like to lose a child...but always, always, was kind, compassionate, understanding, loving, giving and so so so supportive. Here she is, dying, and her last act on Earth is to try to NOT die on Sophie's birthday, because she doesn't want me hurting anymore than I already am. What do you say to that???

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Dancing in the rain

This morning the kids drew some pictures for me to take to my friend. As I was leaving, the kids described each of their creations so that I might correctly describe them to Amy. Evan drew with lots of colors and told me it was the ABCs.

Erin drew a picture of a bird in a tree holding a leash that was attached to a poodle. "I want Auntie Amy to laugh," she said, "and a bird taking a poodle for a walk is pretty funny!"

Megan handed me her picture of a person surrounded by dots of different sizes. "I want Auntie Amy to always remember what it felt like to dance in the rain."

Oh, from the mouths of babes....

The end is coming too fast. I'm not ready to say good bye, and yet there are no other options available to me. Amy is clearly ready to let go. She is tired, she is in pain....I saw it in her face today. There is nothing else for me to say to her except that I, too, hope she will always remember what it felt like to dance in the rain.

Friday, January 7, 2011

The last goodbye

Is it stupid of me that I didn't think it would be this hard? Yesterday we went to southern Maine to visit my friend who is dying. We brought the girls as well, wanting them to have a chance to say good bye. It was strange, though. They had brought a bunch of stuff that they wanted to show her (new dolls, schoolwork, artwork, etc.) but when we got there, they got busy playing with her stuffed animal pile and looking at her books. Although they said hi and were talking to her a little bit, the girls seemed intimidated by her--scared to touch her. I'm sure this is perfectly normal behavior for a 7 and 5 yo. (Evan was there too, but clearly he doesn't understand what is going on.)

When it was time to go, I was helping the girls use the bathroom before getting back into the car and Erin said, "It seems strange to say goodbye. Are we really not going to see her again?" I could kind of see her brain trying to wrap itself around this very real situation. When I told her that no, she wouldn't see her again, Erin ran into the living room and gave her a big hug. Then she simply waved and went out the door, saying, "Bye! I love you!" Megan followed suit, albeit a bit more slowly. My friend, by this point, was crying and I was trying unsuccessfully to hold it together. Both of us were suddenly struck by the intensity of our feelings. Here she was, sitting in bed, breathing in and out, having been an integral part of my oldest child's life, saying good bye to the little girl she loves so much and is never going to see grow up. The huge, gigantic, immense, unfairness of all of this just boggles my mind.

So then we left--I'll go back down next week, and the week after that and the week after that--for as long as I need to. But yesterday was when the finality of all of this really came through. And, as I have to be honest with myself, I'm not handling it very well. I guess I thought that since we have known for a while now that the end was coming, it would some how make it easier. I guessed wrong.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Catching up with a friend

A friend called me the other day--a friend who I hadn't talked to in a very long time. As we were catching up, she said something about not realizing we were "continuing" with the homeschool "thing." I was a little baffled then realized that the last time we had spoken, homeschooling was a short-term fix for us. It was something I was going to do for Erin to help her transition into "normal" school. See, when she left the Montessori program she was in, she too far ahead academically to go to first grade. Now, for many kids, this would not be a problem--a few extra-credit assignments and they'd be fine. But not Erin. Never one to be bored and quiet about it, Erin would have very quickly risen to the ranks of Troublemaker and that would have rapidly been followed with trips to the principal's office, parent-teacher conferences and, ultimately, I'm sure, a diagnosis of ADHD and medications. I had hoped that doing 6months to one year of homeschooling would get her focused enough to go to regular school with the ability to breathe through her impatience and contain her exuberance. Obviously that isn't what happened.

As we are half-way through our second year of homeschooling and, at present, planning to homeschool Megan alongside Erin next year, my friend clearly began to worry about my kids. "Are you going to do this forever??" she asked, a little shocked. I told her, "You know, the bottom line is that I trust my kids. I trust them to learn what they need to learn and I trust them to know what is right for them. If they decide they want to try school eventually, great. If not, great. They will tell me what is right for them." I could hear that sentence rattling around in her brain. I could hear all the replies she wanted to vocalize that never materialized. I could hear the doubt in her silence. But here's the thing...and anyone who homeschools probably caught the errors in my thinking in the first paragraph (perhaps because you already knew them or perhaps because you used to share my thinking and also changed your minds as well). The error was my idea to "contain her exuberance." I can now look back at that and laugh. Contain it?? Really? Why would I want to do that to my child??

So here we are. Erin's exuberance is FAR from contained...far, far, far from contained. And we wouldn't have it any other way.

(Sorry the picture was was a blizzard and she was out for our first snowshoe adventure of the season!)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

I haven't posted in a while, due to the holiday whirlwind we have been living in! Life is finally slowing down a little as we head into the long winter stretch. January has always been a difficult month for me and since 2007 it has become a particularly hard time. I have a good idea for Sophie's birthday, though, so I'm actually looking forward to it this year--at least, I think I am. We'll see how I feel as it approaches. For now, however, I want to focus on the positive and not let myself get pulled into the hole of sadness that is so easy to get into this time of year. Of course I will let myself be sad when I need to be, but I won't let it consume me, as (truly) it no longer does consume me. Does that sound horrible? Because, to be clear, I still miss her terribly--beyond terribly. I would give just about anything to have her back...but (and?) I am more settled into my life without her than I have been in the past. Wow--the guilt of that statement it amazing. What kind of a mother doesn't sit around and pine for their missing child 24/7????

I know--one who has a reason to get up in the morning--and here they are:

So here we go into 2011! Christmas was amazing and wonderful--full of family and good food and presents. Santa brought the girls the Felicity and Elizabeth American Girl Dolls (the historical ones--from the revolution), so they were in 7th heaven. Erin walked around clutching her doll saying, "I feel so content!" Evan got a cool book with a tractor that drives around a little track and then falls into a pretend pond. He LOVES to wind it up and, as it spins around the track he yells, "SWOW DOWN TAK-TER!!" Megan was delighted by everything--from her new doll to her new charades game...but when asked what her favorite part of the holiday was, she remembered the trolley ride with Grammy and Grampy. She wants that on the agenda again next year.

To start this year off right, we went to Acadia today to ski. Megan hasn't been feeing 100%, so while she skied for a bit, she rode in the sled much of the way. It didn't dampen her spirits, though!

Erin skied the entire way--making snowballs and having a great time. We pushed each other in the snow, raced each other and generally had a great time. She's a fun kid--with fewer teeth than she had yesterday!

Evan rode sitting up in his blue sled much of the way...then he fell asleep so we moved him to the green sled. He was lying down in that sled and Uncle Greg was looking very much like ski patrol pulling an injured baby boy down the mountain. People were definitely looking at us funny!

All in all, a fun day and a fun start to the year! Thank you to Greg and Meg for sharing it with us! We understand that getting to Acadia, finding our starting point and then getting ourselves and three kids dressed appropriately, geared up with boots, skis, poles, hats, gloves, jackets...all borders on comical. We appreciate your willingness to put up with it all!

Happy New Year, everyone!