Thursday, June 28, 2012

The LONG road to healing

There are times when I think we are healing... we are doing SO much better than we were.  Then... like I've mentioned about 1000 times already, we are hit with a wave of emotion and we are bulldozed to the ground.  I've come to believe our daily sanity is truly hanging from a thread and we are walking on egg shells to maintain some sort of normalcy.  This past week has been no different.  Courty has told me everyday, at some random time during her day, that she misses Declan.  It comes totally out of the blue, hitting me like a sledge hammer in the heart.  I can handle my pain, I can deal with my aching heart... but I have a hard time when my children hurt.  I want to protect them and take away their pain, but there is nothing I can say or do that will make the situation different... this isn't fixed with a band-aid... how do you hold a two years olds hurting heart in your hand and make it better.  YOU DON'T! I can't.  We may travel this journey together, but I can't heal her and she can't heal me... I think that is way I often feel so alone on my journey.  All of our healing takes on a look of its own... Noah grieves different than Courty... he is very quiet about it, he doesn't speak of it much.  He will pray for God to tell Declan how much we miss him and love him, but other than that I don't hear much... I see it though.  he cries super easy, he is often an emotional wreak... going from laughing to crying in a matter of seconds.  Courty speaks of Declan every day... she surrounds herself with his blankets and is always giving me things 'for Declan'.  When we go shopping she wants to buy him clothes and toys and anything she sees that she likes... "can we buy that for Declan mommy?" and then when I try to explain to her that Declan doesn't need clothes where he is at, she breaks down crying.... how do you handle that?! I'm doing my best with it... I hold her and often cry with her.  I tell her I miss him to.  I let her tell me that her toy babies are Declan... every time she gives me something for Declan, I tell her that He is going to LOVE it.  I listen to her tell stories about him and encourage her to talk about him as much as she wants.  She's two... she often surprise me or catch me off guard when she tells me she misses Dex, but she is just expressing her feelings. I don't think she knows any different... Then there is dealing with another adult.  We had an odd experience the other night.  A salesman was at our house (completely my fault, I have an inability to say NO) and he was giving us his whole sales pitch and it was good... I really wanted that vacuum! Then he came out with the price ($3000)... are you kidding me!? Anyway, we were explaining to him that we had bills we had to pay, which included our son's headstone... long story short, he made some comment about spending to much on a headstone and that when we got to heaven, our son would thank us.... or something like that. My normally sweet calm husband, was straight out of a movie crazy... he was extremely offended by the comment and had no problem telling this man so... needless to say, we didn't get the vacuum and he very quickly left our house.  I was taken aback by the whole situation and was stunned at Nate's reaction because I just thought he was doing so good... and not struggling like I was.  I realized at that moment how differently men and woman grieve and how wrong I was about how he was doing.  He isn't 'better'... just because he isn't crying on a regular basis or having unpredictable break downs like I have, doesn't mean he is 'better'.   Another example of walking the same journey, but having no idea how to help each other through... they weren't kidding when they said the road to healing wasn't going to be easy! UGH...

Monday, June 25, 2012

What the *#%! is SIDS anyway?

What is SIDS?

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the sudden death of an infant under 1 year of age which remains unexplained after a thorough case investigation, including performance of a complete autopsy, examination of the death scene, and review of the clinical history (Willinger et al., 1991).
SIDS is …
  • the major cause of death in infants from 1 month to 1 year of age, with most deaths occurring between 2 and 4 months
  • sudden and silent—the infant was seemingly healthy
  • a death often associated with sleep and with no signs of suffering
  • a recognized medical disorder
  • determined only after an autopsy, an examination of the death scene, and a review of the infant’s and family’s clinical histories
  • a diagnosis of exclusion
  • an infant death that leaves unanswered questions, causing intense grief
SIDS is not
  • preventable, but the risk can be reduced by placing the baby on his or her back to sleep on a firm surface, by making sure the baby has a smoke-free environment, and by keeping the baby from being overheated
  • suffocation
  • caused by vomiting and choking or by minor illnesses such as colds or infection
  • caused by the diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus (DPT) vaccines or other immunizations
  • contagious
  • child abuse or neglect
  • the cause of every unexpected infant death

** SIDS remains the leading cause of death in the United States among infants between 1 month and 1 year of age and the third leading cause of death overall among infants less than 1 year of age.

** Many medical examiners are refusing to call an infant death SIDS.  Instead, they have begun using the term Sudden Unexplained Infant Death (SUID)... which is what our medical examiner used for Declan. Although, his death certificate says "unexplained"

I find it maddening that we live in one of the greatest countries in the WORLD, where people come from all over to have medical procedures done, yet we don't know what SIDS is or how to STOP it!  Babies shouldn't die for NO REASON!!! 

Busted Heart

'Busted Heart' by for King and Country

This song was recommended to me by a fellow parent who is suffering the loss of her beloved son... they are coming to the 1 year anniversary of his passing... I can't even imagine how hard this month will be for them... although, I suppose I will find out sooner than later.  God's blessing this month T & A, I will be thinking of you!  Thanks for the song, I really like it!

Rejected and Abandoned... maybe not

Once again, I found myself on the emotional roller coaster of grief last night.  Still 18 weeks later, there are moments when the hurt is so bad it's almost unbearable.  Moments when I think, 'this is it... I can't continue!'  There is NO predictability on this journey!  As I went to bed it felt like a huge weight was on my chest... I couldn't control the emotions any longer and I broke down in Nater's arms... but then I felt like I needed to do something, so I would sit up, on the edge of the bed... but I couldn't think of what I wanted or needed to do... it is a yucky feeling... like I have lost my way and I am grasping for something to help pull me up, but I don't know what that something is.  I can't figure out how to help myself when I am feeling like that.  It feels lonely and even though I know where and to Whom I should turn, I seem to fumble with getting there and I rely on myself... which ends in epic failure almost every time!  It is hard to remember when I am feeling rejected and abandoned that I belong to something bigger, SOMEONE more amazing than myself that can handle my feelings and help me through them.  It is during those times when I am at my lowest when I need HIM the most.... when it is the most difficult to reach out.... I really wish I wasn't on this journey, I really wish my son was still here.  I wish everything was different, but it isn't.  I just have to continue on, going through the motions and take the bad times for what they are... bad times, plain and simple.  I will not dwell on them, I will not let them define who I am, I will not allow them to get the best of me... I've got more to live for than the bad times.  I've got two sets of little arms that need hugging, I have two sets of little hands that need holding, I have two sets of little lips that need kissing... I have two little hearts that need me to be strong and need me to be their mommy! Rejected and abandoned.... I don't think so.... even though I have loss greatly, I have more to be thankful for than I don't have... 

 Remind Me Who I Am by Jason Gray
 This song feels so fitting to my life and to the times when I feel like I did last night.  
I wanted to share it.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Look Up

Look Up ... I read this article on Still Standing Magazine and felt like it had to be shared.  The author, Guy, shares his experience after losing his 3 month old daughter, Mia, to SIDS on March 19th, 2012.  To me it is very surreal to read about other people's experiences with SIDS because our stories are almost identical.  The feelings I have, which feel so unique and personal to me, are very similar to how other parents who have lost a child feel.  There is comfort to knowing that I am not crazy, nor am I alone, nor should I feel signaled out.  Please take a moment to read about his journey and even check out his blog if you have time, Holy Ghost Bumps.

Moving Forward...whatever that means

I created a photo book with  photos from Declan's life... it was an emotionally draining project for me.  I took so much pleasure in seeing his smiling face, but at the same time it was difficult because I know I will have no more photos, I will see no new smiles, I will have no more weeks to document in his weekly shots... it's over.  His life is over.  Over.... that is hard to say.... it's difficult for me to digest, to fully take it in.  I will admit that for the first few weeks after Declan passed away I almost felt like something was going to happen to change the situation.  I was not able to accept or fully absorb what was happening. One day I was driving from one of our member districts back to my main office and I had to drive by our house in the process.  As I drove by I glanced over at our place and noticed a big box in front of our door.  I almost did a quick stop right in the middle of the road, I turned around with my heart almost in my throat... I pulled up and discovered it was Noah's birthday present... his large CAT tractor.  The disappointment weighed heavy on my shoulders.  I thought to myself, 'what did I expect? Declan to be in the box?'  That sounds crazy, but I expected something like that... I was hopeful it was a letter from the doctor saying Declan wasn't dead or that they had made a mistake or as silly as it sounds now, that Dex would have been in that box.  Each letter we received from the Children's hospital or the MN SIDS foundation those first few weeks, I tore into with such barbarous excitement because I was expecting something.  I wanted something to be different.  I wanted a different ending... Declan's life didn't end with "happily ever after" and I felt (still do if truth should be known) that he deserved something more.  He deserved to have a family and the chance to LIVE... he deserved more than 12 weeks and 4 days in this world.  In reality, I believe I am just now starting to accept the facts... I am no longer living in denial that he will come back to us in the mail or that magically someone was wrong and he's alive somewhere.   I feel like after Declan died, I was trapped in a big black hole... with a ladder that I couldn't climb at first... and now I feel like I am finally on my way up, with my head peeping out, getting ready to emerge and to start moving forward... whatever that means.  I finished his photo book, all 93 pages of it and I love it.  I cry every time I look at it and I know there will be days when it is more than I can handle... but I remind myself that pain and sorrow is simply the hearts way of acknowledging that it loved...

Sunday, June 17, 2012

What Makes a Dad?

What Makes a Dad?

God took the strength of a mountain, 
The majesty of a tree, 
The warmth of a summer sun, 
The calm of a quiet sea, 
The generous soul of nature, 
The comforting arm of night, 
The wisdom of the ages, 
The power of the eagle's flight, 
The joy of a morning in spring, 
The faith of a mustard seed, 
The patience of eternity, 
The depth of a family need, 
Then God combined these qualities, 
When there was nothing more to add, 
He knew His masterpiece was complete, 
And so, He called it ... Dad 
~ Author Unknown. 

Your first Father's day since losing Declan... a day that should be filled with silly gifts the kids made you, care free thoughts, grilled hot dogs and good quality play time... instead, this day no longer is care free, no longer holds the same meaning it once did.  Yes, you are still a father, but it's different.  Like Mother's day for me, it feels like a cruel trick to remind you of what we have loss.  Just when you think your heart can take no more pain, you must sit through a whole day of remembering that one of your children is no longer with you, to feel like your your not a 'whole' dad anymore, even though it's not true,... I think over the past four months you have proved over and over again that you are more than a 'whole' dad.  You have supported myself, the kids and your family through something so inconceivably difficult.  You have remained strong when it would have been easier to give up.  You have showed an enormous amount of love and compassion to those around you.  You have proved how amazing you are as a father and a husband! Noah, Courty and I are better people because of you.  And our sweet little Declan... you know he is spending the day, right now, signing your praises and remembering all the times you held him, kissed him and showered him with love... not one day of his life went by that he did not feel the power of our love for him! Even though he is not here, he loves you so very much, and so do we!  Happy Father's day babe!

Friday, June 15, 2012

He's everywhere

I read a story about a parent having a conversation with her child who has passed on.  In the story the child tells the mom not to cry, because he is everywhere... in the cool breeze, in the warm rays of sunshine, in the plump raindrops... EVERYWHERE.  When I read the story I didn't get any delusional hopes of seeing Declan floating on my shoulder (although wouldn't that be cool) but it did help me to remember that Declan lives in heaven with God... and God is EVERYWHERE... which I choose to mean, Dex is everywhere.  I couldn't help but smile last night as we drove home from Target. The weather had been temperamental since the kids and I had gotten home, sun shining one moment and the next the thunder was rolling and Courty was running to me, arms out stretched, seeking comfort that only moms can provide and shouting,  "boom boom! mommy, I scared!"  (which I secretly love...cuddle time is always fun!) While we were at Target, the weather continued to be dreary.  It was pouring, we could hear the raining falling on the roof, it was so loud.  It rained the whole time we were checking out....then as we were about to make our way out, it stopped...not even drizzling, just done! We loaded up the car, thankful the rain was over, we took off and within 2 minutes it was raining again.  Nate and I looked at each other and said, that was Declan! Dex is just have to know where to look. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Death's Challenge

As any one would guess, death changes a person's perspective on life.  Death challenges your ideas about the world, about your faith, about your perceptions... looking back on my life pre-death, I can say very confidently that I lived with rose colored glasses on, seeing only what I wanted to see and turning a blind eye to injustices and unfairness.  I didn't question 'the ways of the world'... I lived and presumed that good things happened to good people... done, end of story.  Then death knocked on my door, invited itself in and made itself comfy in my life.  Not to mean I am consumed with death or that I have taken up wearing black, but death has challenged me and made me question my life and my faith in ways I couldn't have imagined 4 months ago.... I'm not, in anyway, saying I am questioning my belief in GOD!  I believe whole heartedly in Him and KNOW that is where my sweet boy is... but I can't help but wonder, 'why did God allow this to happen?'  Are we born with a predetermined amount of days? If we are, it makes me question the purpose of praying for someone who is ill or praying to keep someone alive... because it wouldn't matter... and if someone, by all medical standards should die, lives, then is that a miracle? Did God extend our predetermined date of death?  A miracle to us certainly can't be a miracle to God, right?! He doesn't sit back and say "wow... that was unexpected!"  It's a lot to think about... and I think it goes without saying, but I clearly still believe in praying and I believe in the POWER of prayer... I'm just not sure I believe my prayers will extend someone else life anymore.  I just don't know what to believe... I think of all the parents who have prayed for their children to live.... how many people prayed for Dex to make it, hundreds, if not thousands... I believe 100% of the people who heard Declan was in the hospital, stopped what they were doing and prayed... and if praying for someone to live isn't helpful, what should I pray?! How should I pray?  What 'miracles' can I ask for?  Aside from that confusion, I do believe people's prayers were heard when they prayed for Delcan and my family that day and the weeks that followed... because God supported Nate and I through those dark days... we were HELD in our heavenly Fathers embrace as our hearts were broken and shattered... I believe God answered and continues to answer the prayers for my family... the miracle we experienced clearly wasn't Declan living, but was our broken hearts refusing to give up, our damaged spirits looking to the Heavens, not out of anger but for comfort! Our miracle is knowing that we will rise up from the ashes and be better and stronger than we were before... our miracle is using Declan's life to inspire and help others instead of letting his death permanently make us cynical and negative.  Our miracle is Declan. He was here only a short time... and we are better because of him.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A moment in time

Our lives are filled with 'moments'... moments that you know you will never forget....when we are young it is your first kiss, a broken heart, saying good bye to dear friends as you leave for college, the sinking feeling you get when you fail at something... moments.  As we grow it is graduating college, getting your first job, standing at the alter marrying your best friend, announcing your pregnancy and the sound of your babies new cries.   Moments define people and make us who we are.  After Nate and I had Noah, we realized we had surpassed a moment we didn't even know existed... the moment when you realize there is a definite "pre baby" life and an "after baby" life... when we looked at each other and coined the phrase "BN" (before Noah) referring to situations and activities that, prior to having Noah, were important to us and no longer held any interest to either of us... When bedtime was closer to midnight than 8:30, when fashion was more than making sure I didn't have spit up on my shirt, when make-up got worn daily instead of on "special occasions", when going out for supper happened at 8 pm and lasted four hours instead of at 5 pm and lasted until 6 pm if we were feeling really 'crazy'.  Life certainly changed and would never be the way it had been BN.... but it was wonderful.  Life was full of possibilities and unexpected adventures... instead of being all about 'us' it became, for the first time, about someone else.  Parenting takes away those selfish tendencies and you realized this sweet infant in your arms is more important than you'll ever be.  Aww... those moments are precious.  As I travel down my journey of life, which includes the loss of Declan, but doesn't define who I am... I often think about the moments I had with my youngest.  The moment he was born was heart-stopping... How the two of us gazed into each others eyes after he was placed on my chest was life changing.  Twelve weeks and 3 days of amazing moments that I will remember forever...  Then there is moment I received a call from my daycare provider... Declan wasn't breathing.... a moment that would again divide my life into two... Before Declan passed and After Declan passed.  A moment that has me questioning to this day, 17 weeks later, who I am and who I will become, because I know whomever it is, it is not who I was.... this moment that has challenged me, crushed me, tried to break me and has become one of my most defining moments is a moment many people were affected by.  My memory of that terrible moment is different than anyone else's, but I am  certain you could ask any one of my friends and family about that moment and they would have a story to share.  One moment in time, felt by many.   After such a loss, you are forced to rebuild and reanalyze your life.  You are not given a choice on survival... you get up, you make yourself examine each day and you start to find new moments... some continue to be extremely the moment we decided to put some of Declan's things away, the moment we had to order his headstone, the very moment he was gone longer than he was here (10:16 pm on May 12th)... then there are moments that happen and they aren't so hard, they are worthy of a smile and a laugh... like when Courtlynn picks up small rocks and tells me they are for Declan...when she pulls the flower bud off a plant and gives it to me 'for Declan', when Noah prays for all the babies in the world and that not one more would die of SIDS, hearing Noah talk about when he goes to heaven he will teach Dex how to farm.... those moments are priceless and they make the "After Declan" part of my life worthwhile.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Declan's Dreamers...

Declan's supporter!
My cup runneth over...
Yesterday we 'Walked to Remember'... remember the babies who have passed away for no reason and way before they should have, remember the families that have suffered through the pain of losing their child... we walked to remember Declan. It was my first ever 5k.  I had big plans to run the whole way, but as typical in my life, 'busyness' kept me from training as much as I would have liked. Oh well... Declan had 66 supporters at the walk...66!! How unbelievably awesome!  Nate and I were overwhelmed with gratitude and were once again humbled by the generosity of the human spirit!  It was a bitter sweet day... fun to be together, yet heartbreaking to realize why we were there.  There were tons of people at the Walk and I couldn't help but wonder about their stories.  I couldn't help but wonder about the moment they realized they now had a cause to fight for...a reason to look beyond human nature's selfish tendencies and stand up for a greater good.   That moment when you are taken back by life's unfairness and you want to stand up to someone and shout "You can't do THIS!" I obviously remember my moment very vividly...when I realized I could no longer sit idly but needed to fight for other babies, needed to stand up for Declan's memory and not allow SIDS to win.  I look at Declan's group of supporters and I see 66 people that felt the same... 66 people who didn't need to be at the Walk yesterday, but were...66 people who hauled their families out on a HOT HOT day to stand up for us and for Declan....I see 66 people who have decided to say SIDS suck! I see 66 people who I am thankful for... 66 people who I want to say "I LOVE YOU!" too... 66 people who are willing to keep my son's memory alive.... I see 66 more reasons to prove that there is good in this world and life is worth living! THANK YOU to all of Declan's Dreamers... you amaze me!

The group: Nate, Holle, Noah, Courtlynn, Court, Gayle, Lance, Aileen, Eileen, Cian, Katlyn, Jeff, Lynn, Jenn, Ryan, Matt, Heather, Emily, Heidi, Jayne, Eric, Mallory, Isabella, Hayden, Erica, Andy, Jen, Stacy, Jolene, Gavin, John, Lynne, Wilson, Jaylyn, Carrie, Jeff, Riley, Maddy, Jessie, Dana, Dave, Joe, June, Brent, Ruby, Jessica, Chirs, Cana, Henrick, Sarah, Rocky, Jess, Ben, Stella, Henrick, Bill, Michele, Reed, Lizzy, Ava, Nolan, Mike, Lisa, Jenna, Wade, and last but certainly not least, Jack

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Loss for words...

One thing Nate and I have learned over the past 16 weeks is that people get nervous sometimes when they talk to us, especially if it is the first time we have seen each other since Declan's passing... I understand the awkwardness that people feel.  I think its only natural to be afraid to say something that will offend us or hurt our feelings.  Thankfully, Nate and I are fairly resilient people who, even in our time of grief, are level headed and know that no one is trying to hurt our feelings.  There are comments well meaning people say, in attempts to be helpful that just truly aren't helpful or healing in nature.  I have been thinking of commonly said 'comforter' statement that we have heard or that our group at Grief Share have talked about hearing... I think it's time to be honest and just get it out there that these comments don't provide the comfort you are trying to give... IF you have said this to me, please know I am NOT offended. Really!!  I just want to help people know what to say to someone who has lost a loved one in the future

* "It was God's will" or "It was God's plan" .... this statement makes me feel like I have done something to anger God and then I get mad at him and feel like I have been signaled out by God for not having been a better parent or person in life.  The truth is, I know God has plans and that our life has been determined prior to our birth, but to have you point it out doesn't feel good. 
* "It was meant to be"...  Meant to be by whom? God?  See above comment... 
* "He's in a better place now."... Your absolutely RIGHT, but I want him here with me!  I know heaven is better than here, but again, that knowledge doesn't help take away my pain OR make it ok that he passed away. 
* "Time heals all wounds"... maybe... I don't know if I would use the word 'heals'...maybe I would say time lessens the pain, but the scar will always be there and I will always miss him. 
* "I know how you feel."... nope, you don't. Not unless you have personally lost a child. 
* "At least you have other children"... is an explanation necessary here?  
* "Now you have an angel in heaven"... Truthfully, we don't become angels when we die....and even if we did, I still would rather have him here with me. 
* "God needed another angel."... Again, this makes me angry at God and right now I need Him more than I ever have, so I don't want to be mad at him.  
* "If you need anything, call me."... That is really nice, but I'm not going to call you.  I am not in a healthy state of being right now... You are....  CALL me.  Check in with ME.  If I am calling you, I am admitting I can't do this by myself and frankly, although I can't do it by myself, I like to think I can.  This comment might be really helpful to different people, so take my opinion here with a grain of salt. 
* "Everything happens for a reason" ... no matter the reason, nothing will ever make his passing 'worth it.'  I will never look at my life and say, 'Its a good thing Dex passed away because now I have this..." never! 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Ohana means family...

"Ohana means family. Family means no one gets left behind or forgotten." Sounds easy enough. Sounds like common sense.  However, I am overwhelmed with anxiety at the prospect of getting together with family.   Get togethers are painful reminders of what we have loss... Every celebration a remembrance of something we won't have with our son.  It would be unfair to ask people to continue to grieve with us forever... it would be selfish of me to want someone to remember our pain amidst their joy... right?! But that is where I am at right now... summer is here and I need only glance at my calendar to see we are busy with birthdays, weddings, and reunions.  I want to be excited, but there is one BIG problem...someone in my life is missing.  My family will never be whole again...I will never be whole again.  A gathering of family only seems to magnify the gaping absence of Delcan...because no where else are our children more celebrated, loved and looked upon with smiles and laughter... Grandparents and parents alike beam with pride as they watch the kids play... and everyone has a great time.  Does having a great time mean people have forgot? If no one mentions Dex's name is that a sign they think we should move on? I don't want to steal other people's joy, but the place I am at in my journey is terrified of having people forget or having Dex left behind...even though I know he can never be with us again... I don't know where other people are at... I don't know where other people are thinking we should be in our grief, maybe I'm way off base and everything will be fine... but I am nervous and I don't want to be... I need to do what I need to do for myself to stay healthy...and I need to have faith that everything will be ok... this too shall pass.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Life's precious gifts

"How lucky am I to have something that makes saying good-bye so hard"
Took a quick break from reality this weekend.  Soaked up some sun, drank a few beers, and laughed till it hurt.  It was easy to reflect on life with the gentle breeze on my back and the water tickling my toes...watching my oldest fish from the dock, gaining the life long skill of patience and my sweet Courty splashing around in the water till her lips were blue, gaining the skill of persistence (or stubbornness) while refusing to come out of the water to warm up.  I am thankful for these moments.  I am thankful for the family who loves me, calls me mom and sweetheart, and allows me to be silly.  I am thankful for the ability to have multiple shoulders to cry on and with.  I am thankful for little hugs and kisses.  I am thankful for waking up to a flower caressing my face, with a sweet little girl telling me she picked it for Declan.  I am touched and moved when my Courty tells me she "loves her Declan" and proceeds to give his photo on his head stone a kiss.... I am beyond lucky to have something so wonderfully special in my life.... and I know this wonderfulness, these precious little gifts are what makes losing my baby so hard.  If this life wasn't something special, wasn't worth fighting for then saying Good Bye to Declan would have been easy.... but as it is, I know what we had and I know what we are missing.  I know how much we love him, I know how wonderful he was/is... I know my pain and my suffering are because of that immense love and I am thankful for that.   

Friday, June 1, 2012

Shoulda Woulda Coulda

I can't believe it June 1st already.  Time goes by so fast.... teachers at work are packing up their room and preparing for summer... the kids are getting excited about swimming and camping.  We've got fishing on the brain and upcoming road trips.... fun, fun, fun.  Yet reality is sitting on the side lines of my brain, waiting to weigh in on my excitement....waiting to shatter the fun with the piercing stab of truth that I'm a grieving mother... That fun is short lived...that when fun happens, so does sadness and anger and lets not forget to throw guilt in there too.  Summer was suppose to be a time of family fun with the five of us... little baby swimmers, baby hats and baby swimsuits, fat little arms covered in sunscreen....that is what it was suppose to be.  Those were the plans anyway... but clearly plans have changed.  I am trying to stop torturing myself with the 'shoulda woulda coulda's of my life.  I am trying to move on... I am not deliberately trying to wallow in self pity... but moving on is hard.  Moving on feels like forgetting... and I am not willing to forget in order to move on.  I know time will, as they say, heal these wounds... but for now I am waiting for the healing to come and we are praying daily for that... but while I wait, while the heart ache feels so fresh, I am living in a sea of shoulda, woulda, coulda's, being tossed around by the waves of emotions and longings that fill my days.   As I head to the lake tonight, as I prepare for a weekend of fun, as I prepare for the next three months of sunshine, swimming and family gatherings, I will try to hold my head up high... I will try to stay composed... I will try to take in the glory of this world and be thankful for what I do have.  I will do this, knowing all the while, that a part of me is suffering and will continue to suffer no matter what I do to 'fix' me.  I am broken and I am fine with that.... for now.