Thursday, May 31, 2007

What Do You Do When Your Heart is Shattered

I just feel completely lost. I think I write these blogs not only to try to relate to people what I've been through and to offer my empathy to those who have been through it themselves, but also to sort out my thoughts so that somehow it might all make sense to me. The fact is, it doesn't, and it never will.

A couple of people who are close to me have made the observation that my self-esteem and self-worth are at rock bottom right now, and they are right. I don't feel like I have anything at all to wake up for most of the time. All I want to do is think about my boys and all of the plans I made for them . . .the things I bought for them . . .their nursery . . .and all of the dreams I had that will never come true. I feel like moving on is abandoning them and all of the hope and joy that I associated with them. I want those feelings back in my life, but without my children, I don't know how to get them.

I think it's also because, as a woman, I strongly felt the most basic natural instinct: to give life. I did that, but not successfully. I failed. Whether or not it was my "fault" doesn't matter. I can find no real reason why this happened, even though I have searched high and low. I just know I have failed. This leaves me at less than zero.

I don't want people's pity. I just want them to help me. I feel like I can't do this on my own. I have tried, believe me, but it's not working. All I can do is remember little Brian, his short, beautiful life . . .and how I thought it was his sacrifice that paved the way for Sawyer, his brother. I never once actually thought Sawyer wouldn't be here today. I hated to see him suffer, yet all through his struggle, I thought that he would "pull through" and start to get healthy. I truly believed I would be bringing home a happy, healthy little boy. I couldn't wait to tell him about his fight in the NICU, how strong he was, and how many times he surprised the strongest cynics. And yet, in the end, what was that struggle for?

I'm still left with questions, hoping that I always did what was the very best for my little boy. I hope I never put my own anguish first . . .my own fear and heartache over watching him struggle so hard.

I hate this. I am so angry, because I can't get it through my head that this actually happened . . .I can't accept it! So many people from all over the world were praying for that little boy, and he deserved a chance! Even his name . . .Sawyer. He had the best name we could give him. It represented all of his strength and fighting spirit. He had all the love any family could give. He captured the hearts of his nurses and doctors. And yet, here we are, over 2 months later, and he is gone. I will be left with questions and worries and fear and anger and doubt for the rest of my life. It will never go away.

The only hope I can find right now is this: if I fight, then I do so in honor of Sawyer. I know that he loves me. I know that he wants me to go on, to be happy one day, and to do it for him and for Brian.

Brian taught us how to love wholeheartedly, purely, and unselfishly. My love for all of the people I meet, for God, and for the beauty upon this earth come from my angel, Brian.

Sawyer taught us to fight and to never, ever give up. Even at the end of his struggle, he didn't want to give up . . .his little body could no longer tolerate the pain, and eventually began to shut down, one system at a time. I whispered in his ear that night that it was okay for him to let go . . .to drift to sleep. I told him that he had fought long enough and hard enough, and he didn't have to fight anymore. I told him the fight was over, and it was time to rest.

I will not rest until he whispers the same thing to me, and I wake to find myself next to him. I may not always be as strong as he was, but I will do my best to go on and lead a meaningful life. It's the least I can do in memory and honor of such a brave boy.

Made by Sonya, a friend on MySpace.

A woman on MySpace made a beautiful slide show, which features Brian and Sawyer. It really touched me. You can see it by clicking on the link. I hope you will all watch it--it's very special.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

My husband and I had fun tonight, which is rare, considering the grief we are going through. I have to admit, it felt good to goof around, and I kept thinking that it would make Sawyer and Brian happy to know their Mom and Dad were enjoying life a little bit.

We ate tacos for dinner. I think I had at least 10. No, I'm serious, I really did. I was starving and they were realllllly good! Then we decided to go for a swim in the pool. It was kinda cold at first, because the water temp is about 80, and it was 80 outside, and the sun was down . . .but actually, after about 5 minutes, it wasn't too bad. We started out just laying on the rafts, but ended up being silly and doing "tricks" and splashing around.

Now we're about to go to bed early and watch the season finale of House and "On the Lot," which is kind of interesting (though I wish they'd leave all the crap parts with the host out of it).

All in all, a very good night.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Today is the 8 week anniversary of Sawyer's birth. 8 weeks ago today, he came into this world so quietly, and with so much love, hope, and faith. I still don't understand it at all.

Sometimes days go by where I almost feel "normal" again. A little more like myself, and a little more like there's still life to be had. But the overwhelming grief is just lurking around the corner, and it's only a matter of time before it creeps up on me and I am surrounded by it once again. I feel sometimes, like this evening, like I can't even walk anymore . . .just the sheer energy of putting one foot in front of the other is too much to ask.

I want to close my eyes all of the time and remember my boys. I am constantly trying to escape from the moment and the people I am with . . .just to drift away into those sweet memories.

Tonight we were watching a movie, and I just kept imagining Sawyer in his bouncer, dressed in one of his many cute, sweet outfits, sleeping peacefully under our careful watch.

Instead, I'm left with memories . . .just a few. Too few. I was remembering just a few minutes ago how his dad and I used to read him goodnight stories every night he was in the hospital. Tonight it is raining, like it was during the last days of his life, and it brought it all back to me like it was still happening. I had to resist the urge to go up to the NICU and find him waiting for me there, eyes open, arms moving around, legs kicking. He was too REAL, and too alive, and too strong to be gone. I truly believed that each day, he'd be there waiting for me to come to him, grabbing my hand and holding on with all his might . . .until the day we could bring him home.

Life is so different from the way I imagined it. 14 months ago, I found out I was pregnant with my first child. I was so happy. Everything I ever dreamed of had come true--I was with the man I loved, and we had conceived our dream baby together. Now, two children and two losses later, we still haven't really even begun to process what has happened to us. All we ever wanted was each other and our boys, and that has been taken from us before we even got a chance.

I've tried all my life to be the best person I could be. Ever since I was a child, I had a very strong conscience and sense of right from wrong. I tried to follow my heart, be kind to others, and serve God. I know I haven't led a perfect life, and I know I've made mistakes, but I did what my parents always taught me to do--I can honestly say I tried my best. So why have I ended up here? My children mean everything to me . . .everything . . .and I can never hold them, or kiss them goodnight, or change them, or bathe them, feed them, dress them . . .all of the things so many people take for granted every single day.

I just want them back.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Pray for Me!

As many of you already know, my husband is beginning his CNA training in less than 2 weeks. I am still unemployed at this time.

I have spent my life searching for the right career. While I have enjoyed most of the jobs I have had, I always found something lacking, either in the job or in me. I loved working at the daycare, but after some difficulties in my life and the loss of my sons, I find it impossible to return to that setting. I have been stressing quite a bit about what I am going to do next.
I decided tonight, for no real reason, to visit the webpage of my Alma Mater, Eureka College. I found that they had a position open for Circulation Supervisor at Melick Library there.

Anyone who knows me knows that I love books, I love Eureka College, and I have always wanted to work with college students, but lacked the finances and time to get my doctorate. The job is absolutely perfect for me. It combines everything I really love and everything I have always wanted to do. I would be supervising 10-12 students, managing the online circulation system, as well as assisting in other areas of the library. How much more perfect could this job be? The kicker is that Jim is doing his CNA training and subsequent work experience in Eureka! It really couldn't be more perfect.

I have already sent my resume and cover letter. PLEASE pray that they call me to interview for this job! I just know it is the perfect job for me . . .I feel it. This is the most positive I have felt about anything in my life since Sawyer passed away. We could really use the new start in life.

Monday, May 21, 2007


I saw my doctor last Wednesday and discussed the possibility of trying again with him, and he was adamant that I should. He said he doesn't have a quitter's attitude and neither do I, and he still believes we could be successful. So, after talking for awhile and getting the remainder of my cerclage removed, he referred me to the neonatologist in Peoria that I had been seeing while pregnant with Sawyer.

Dr. Egley, the neonatologist, told me that he didn't know exactly what was going on with me, and that he couldn't even give me any statistics about my success. However, he said if he had to make a bet, he would still bet on my side. He said personally he has a very good feeling/vibe about my chances, but he knows that's no guarantee and shouldn't be the deciding factor for me trying again. When I said how Jim and I feel, which is that we do want to try, he said that we definitely should then. He said if I was his own daughter asking for his advice, he would tell me to give it at least one more all-out try.

So . . .long story short, I have been referred by him to a specialist at the University of Chicago Medical Center to have a transabdominal cerclage with my next pregnancy. He told me this will be permanent and my baby will have to be delivered C-section. The chances of infection occuring are much slimmer, and the chances of me carrying the baby longer are much better.

I thought I would fill everyone in on where we are at. We are going to try again, but we are going to take a break first to try to get ourselves "back on our feet," both emotionally and financially. I thank God that there is still some hope for us.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

My husband drew this for me for Mother's Day. It is an image of us, obviously, and the kites in the sky represent Brian and Sawyer.

My cousin, Carrie, made this for me for Mother's Day. She drew the picture based on the photograph below of me holding Sawyer's hand a few hours after he was born.

Strange . . .

I just went out for a drive, and guess what song played? "Imagine" by John Lennon. How strange is that? I knew it was the boys sending me their love, and so I told them how much I loved them back.

I realized, too, that I need to go easier on people. A lot of people don't behave the way I would like them to--it's true. They don't give me the things I feel like I need to grieve for my children. Sometimes they act downright ridiculous to try to keep me from being hurt. They tiptoe around, telling lies (or mild untruths) to try to "protect" me. However, I think many people aren't accustomed to dealing with the death of children, so they aren't sure how to handle it. Some people are able to follow my lead, or they have a certain level of emotional depth and can handle the situation better than others. If I want to educate people, I need to do it gently, and with compassion. After all, I might not have known how to treat people who have lost children had I not lost my own. I deleted a blog from earlier, one which was filled with my bitterness and anger towards these people. I got some good responses, which I really do appreciate. But I decided in the end that if I hold on to the feelings of frustration and anger that I have towards these people, I am only hurting myself and I'm not helping them to learn how to behave in this situation.

So . . .I'm going to try to live the way I've always tried to live, by forgiving and trying to help others. I feel like that's what the boys were reminding me of by sending me this song.

by John Lennon

Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Some poems for Mother's Day . . .

The mention of my child's name may bring
tears to my eyes,
but it never fails to bring
music to my ears.
If you are really my friend,
let me hear the beautiful
music of his name.
It soothes my broken heart
and sings to my soul.
~Author Unknown~

There's an elephant in the room.
It is large and squatting, so it is hard to get around it.
Yet, we squeeze by with, "How are you?" and "I'm fine"....
And a thousand other forms of trivial chatter.
We talk about the weather.
We talk about work.
We talk about everything -- except the elephant in the room.
We all know it is there.
We are thinking about the elephant as we talk.
It is constantly on our minds,
For you see, it is a very big elephant.
But we do not talk about the elephant in the room.
Oh, please, say his name.
Oh, please, say it again.
Oh, please, let's talk about the elephant in the room.
For if we talk about his death,
Perhaps we can talk about his life.
Can I say his name and not have you look away?
For if I cannot, you are leaving me
Alone... in a room... With an elephant.
~Terry Kettering~

Friday, May 11, 2007

If we could have a lifetime wish

A dream that would come true,

We'd pray to God with all our hearts

For yesterday and You.

A thousand words can't bring you back

We know because we've tried...

Neither will a thousand tears

We know because we've cried...

You left behind our broken hearts

And happy memories too...

But we never wanted memories

We only wanted You.
Same Old Story

I think people must be getting sick of reading my blogs, but I'm going to write them anyway, even if it's just for me. It helps me gather my thoughts and work things out.

After Brian died, I was devastated, obviously. The tears came almost constantly. However, I thought that I had come to some peace about it because of what I believed he taught us. He taught us about my incompetent cervix so that we knew for the future what to do to prevent another premature birth. He made it possible for us to try again.

Now that Sawyer has died too, I don't understand any of it. Brian's death hurts more than it ever did, and Sawyer's death is so unfair I can't even comprehend it. I am so angry right now. I don't know where to turn. After Brian died, we moved right on ahead with our plans for a family, and I had conceived Sawyer within 12 weeks. Now we're talking about birth control, and even though I know it's what I have to do, I don't want to. The emotional part of me wants to try again right away. I just want to have ONE child to love here on earth with me. It doesn't change or lessen my love for my two boys. I will always love them with all my heart. I just can't see them, or hear them cry, or change them, or hold them, or sing to them, or physically be with them. I don't feel like I have much of a choice about trying again right now . . .logically I know this. But emotionally, I just can't stand the thought of starting birth control. I waited and waited and waited to have my babies, and now here I am, 32 years old with two in Heaven. Taking birth control feels like resignation to me.

I started my period today. What a nice reminder, just before Mother's Day, that I am no longer pregnant, as I should be, and that my boys are gone. I started crying when I saw it. It hurt after Brian died too.

There is no resolution to this blog. Just random thoughts. I want to rage and cry and scream, but I can't do that here, and there's no point anyway, is there? So I just blankly float through the days. I sleep a lot, because it's a way to escape the world. The rest of the time, I feel empty most of the time, and sad or angry the rest, when I allow myself to. I hate the world outside of my own little set of rooms. It's filled with happiness and joy that I am afraid I will never have. Instead, I'm left with a broken heart that no one, no matter how hard they try, could ever fix.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

More song lyrics . . . for Brian and Sawyer . . .

Time Has Told Me
Time has told me
You're a rare, rare find
A troubled cure
For a troubled mind.

And time has told me
Not to ask for more
Someday our ocean
Will find its shore.

So I’ll leave the ways that are making me be
What I really don't want to be
Leave the ways that are making me love
What I really don't want to love.

Time has told me
You came with the dawn
A soul with no footprint
A rose with no thorn.

Your tears they tell me
There's really no way
Of ending your troubles
With things you can say.

And time will tell you
To stay by my side
To keep on trying
'til there's no more to hide.

So leave the ways that are making you be
What you really don't want to be
Leave the ways that are making you love
What you really don't want to love.

Time has told me
You're a rare, rare find
A troubled cure
For a troubled mind.

And time has told me
Not to ask for more
For some day our ocean
Will find its shore.
Beautiful Boys

Yesterday I went and looked at the clothes again. I took out the "Little Hero" outfit and held it for awhile. Even the fact that it said "6 Months" on the tag broke my heart . . .he should have been wearing it when he was that age. I felt like such a source of pain and disappointment to my mother, who bought all of those things . . .even though I know she doesn't feel that way, it still made me feel that way. I wish I could have made my mom and dad's dreams come true for their grandson, I wish I could have made Jim's parents' dreams come true, I wish I could have made our brothers' and sisters' dreams come true . . .mostly I wish I could have made Jim's come true for his second son. He cried the other night and while he was holding me tight, he said, "I wanted you to have our boys so badly, I just wish they could have stayed." I feel like my body has betrayed me and I've failed everyone, including myself. I keep getting angry at the wrong people, mostly Jim, because he's the only person I can be honest about my emotions with. I paste on a fake smile most of the time, because that's what the world seems to expect, and I go about my business . . .but with him, that anger seems to burst forth at the tiniest thing. I love him so much. He is my hero, along with Brian and Sawyer, and I promised him tonight that I would try really hard to find a more positive way to deal with my anger . . .even if it's with him, I won't take it out on him, I will just tell him about it.

We sat and listened to music and watched our Sawyer videos and looked at his pictures and cried for awhile. Then I got the idea to take Jim up to the parking garage, so at about 11:15 pm, we went. When we got there, I said I wanted to turn off the CD that was on and try the radio to see if there was any significant song playing. I know, it sounds silly, but last time I went, I felt like there was a connection with the boys happening, and the song on the radio made that feeling stronger. So we switched off the CD and I flipped through the 5 radio stations that are programmed in the car. There were commercials on the first 4, and then . . .lo and behold . . .the fifth station was playing "Imagine" by John Lennon. For those of you who don't know us as well, he is our favorite singer, and that is our all-time favorite song. We played it for Sawyer all the time when I was carrying him. It was really unbelievable to us that it just happened to be playing as we drove up the ramps to the top level.

At the top, we just sat and talked to the boys for about 1/2 hour. We cried with them, and told them how proud we were of them, and how we never, ever gave up on them, and we never will. We promised we would never forget them, and asked them to let us know they were okay . . .just every once in awhile, remind us that they're safe and loved and happy. We told them to watch over us while we were apart from them, and told them how close we would always be to them, no matter what distance separated us. We reminded them to take care of each other, and mostly just told them over and over how proud we are that they are our sons. We love them no matter who they are or where they are.

This song is for my three beautiful boys . . .Jim, Brian, and Sawyer. I love them with all my heart, and they are my whole world. Without them, I would be nothing.

Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)
by John Lennon

Close your eyes,
Have no fear,
The monster's gone,
He's on the run and your daddy's here.

Beautiful, beautiful,
Beautiful Boy.

Before you go to sleep,
Say a little prayer,

Every day in every way,

It's getting better and better.

Beautiful, beautiful,
Beautiful Boy.

Out on the ocean sailing away,

I can hardly wait
To see you to come of age,
But I guess we'll both
Just have to be patient.
Cause it's a long way to go,
A hard row to hoe
Yes it's a long way to go
But in the meantime,
Before you cross the street,
Take my hand,
Life is what happens to you,
While you're busy making other plans,
Beautiful, beautiful,
Beautiful Boy.




Darling Jim and Brian and Sawyer . . .

Monday, May 07, 2007

Well, I asked for it. I went downstairs to the closet where I knew my mom was keeping all the outfits she had bought for Sawyer. There were probably 25 outfits in there, all so cute, and all bought with Sawyer in mind. I just stared at them, picturing him wearing them. There were even a couple of Christmas outfits. One of them had a fire engine on one side, and on the other a little dog in a firehat, and said "Little Hero." That's Sawyer, isn't it? He really is a little hero. I just wish so badly I could have seen him wear that outfit and be happy and healthy. I wish I'd been able to dress him in all those outfits. I know my mom really believed that he would wear them, and so did I.

I would do anything to get him back.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Memorial Service

Well, we just returned from an Ecumenical Memorial Service that the hospital has for parents who have lost children. It was at Luthy Botanical Garden in Peoria. It was a really beautiful setting for such a beautiful ceremony. There were 3 readings remembering children who passed away recently (2 were Brian and Sawyer), with songs between each one. All of the songs were performed live by a man who played guitar and sang. His wife is a nurse at the NICU. The readings were done by nurses that we requested. Our choices were Emma and Sandy, two nurses who took particularly good care of Sawyer, and to whom we still feel very close. We saw Sawyer's doctor as well, Dr. Susan Ramiro, who came and hugged us right away. She read the names of deceased children when we went outside to bless a butterfly bench that was created for the memorial garden at St. Francis. It is being hosted for the time being in the Children's Garden at Luthy Botanical Gardens, until the new NICU is finished at St. Francis and the memorial garden is set up there. The bench is really cool--very different from what I would have expected, and very much with a child's spirit in mind. After the blessing, there was an amazing butterfly release in honor and memory of our children, who will always be with us.

Dr. Ramiro

Just seeing Emma, Sandy, and Dr. Ramiro started us crying from the time we arrived. They sat and talked to us for a long time, and remembered Sawyer with us. They really miss him, too, and his death has been hard on them. They are really amazing women who have made such a difference in so many lives.

Sandy (left) and Emma

It was a very good day, and we're so glad we were able to go. My mom and dad and sister-in-law Sarah joined us, and they too had a very nice experience. It offered closure, as well as a release for our sorrow and a feeling of hope for the future. Butterflies were the theme, and the woman in charge spoke of how when a butterfly leaves behind the cocoon and flies away, they are not really dying, just becoming something even more beautiful and free . . .just like our children.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Even in my sorrow, I feel special, for I know the true meaning of the word mother. I have reached the ultimate, from the joy of birth to the sorrow of death. I belong to a special group who truly know the meaning of the word mother.

Would I have not accepted the gift if I had known the terrible loss I would feel by having it taken from me? I would still hold out my hands and accept such a precious gift, for to love and to cherish, even for a short while, is worth every tear.

This year on Mothers Day, I'll shed my tears, but let them be as a soft summer's rain. A rain that nourishes the earth, tears that heal and cleanse my heart.

All the work to create this baby,
Summoning his soul from who knows where,
All to end as ashes in a little box.
I cannot stand the endless goneness of him.

-Claudia Putnam

Friday, May 04, 2007

I have been a little upset about Mother's Day coming up. It's hard because I want people to remember that I am still a mother, even if my babies aren't with me. I recently received this poem from a friend who has lost two babies, and it really meant a lot to me. It reminded me that my children are with me, no matter what, and no one can change that. It is still a special day for those who have lost children. I am sending this to you because it's a difficult time and I want to be honest and share my feelings. Sometimes people don't know what to do or say, so they don't say anything. For me, I enjoy talking about my boys and am very grateful when they are mentioned. Anyway, I hope you enjoy this as I did!

Dandelions From Heaven
Mothers Day is coming, and I wanted to send you a sign;
Something you can tell others "Is from an angel of mine."
So I searched the Heavens high and low for that perfect thing,
And lo and behold I found it....and a smile I hope it will bring.
So when you look to the Heavens, and see the yellow stars in the sky,
Just think of me...your angel... in the Heavens way up high.
And just imagine those stars are dandelions up above
Yes! Dandelions are also in Heaven,which you know how much I love.
So on this Mothers Day when you awake and feel blue,
You will notice those yellow stars are no longer in view.
So just look to the meadows and the dandelions you see
Are the ones I've tossed down this Mothers Day from me!
And when you find a dandelion that has turned from yellow to white
You're supposed to make a wish, and then blow with all your might.
For you will be blowing kisses to me in Heaven above,
And I will be catching them and blowing them back, sent with all my love.
Please know that I am with you on this Mothers Day.
And also in the days ahead, God and I will never stray.
We will be with you in the morning when you wake and see the sun;
We will be with you when you say your prayers when the day is done.
God and I will never be very far from your side,
For I can now be everywhere, and God will be your guide.
So remember when you see dandelions, it's your guarantee
For dandelions are free to roam now just like me.
I will always be with you Mom....
Happy Mothers Day
Your Angel in Heaven.

Copyright © May 2001
by Laura/Heavenly Lights Children's Memorial

So . . .I'm Back . . .

I ended up driving up to the parking garage. It's funny . . .it's only 7 stories high, but somehow you feel like you're part of the heavens . . .it feels so far above the river and the roads below. I had a talk with Sawyer and Brian. I know Brian was never there, but he's with Sawyer now, and I could feel their spirits close to my heart. I know they could hear me. I miss them so bad. The world is emptier without them in it.

Weirdly, I had my radio on an oldies station, and the Guess Who song "These Eyes" came on as I was driving up the ramps to the top of the garage. I started listening to the lyrics, and it's so strange, they really struck me. It's kind of a corny old song, but the words hit home tonight.

These Eyes

These eyes cry every night for you.

These arms long to hold you again.

The hurtin's on me,

But I will never be free.

You gave a promise to me and you broke it, you broke it.

These eyes watched you bring my world to an end.

This heart could not accept and pretend.

The hurtin's on me,

But I will never be free.

You took the vow with me.

You spoke it, you spoke it, babe.

These eyes are cryin'

These eyes have seen a lot of loves

But they're never gonna see another one like I had with you.

These eyes are cryin'

These eyes have seen a lot of loves

But they're never gonna see another one like I had with you.

These eyes are cryin'

These eyes have seen a lot of loves

But they're never gonna see another one like I had with you.

These eyes cry every night for you.

These arms, these arms long to hold you, hold you again.

These eyes are cryin'

These eyes have seen a lot of loves

But they're never gonna see another one like I had with you.

These eyes are cryin'

These eyes have seen a lot of loves

But they're never gonna see another one like I had with you.

Deja Vu

You know when a certain smell or atmosphere brings you back to a certain place in your life? You almost feel exactly the same as you did then. Well, that's happening to me tonight.

Every time we went to see Sawyer, at 7:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. they had 45 minute periods where we weren't allowed to be in the NICU. They changed shifts and did reports. When it was time to go, Jim and I would ride up the glass elevator to the top level of the parking lot, where we had parked our car, and sit overlooking the Illinois River, talking about Sawyer and looking out at the stars. It was really beautiful, and it was a lovely, excited feeling of hope and joy about our son. We honestly felt like he was going to make it . . .he was so strong and full of life. We'd just sit and watch the sky, sometimes listen to music . . .we would often take in the CD we were listening to and play Sawyer a song.

Tonight, the weather and the smell in the air brought me right back to those nights. I almost feel like getting in my car and going up to the top level of the parking deck at OSF. In fact, I might just do so. Somehow I feel like I'd be closer to him for a moment.

One evening, just at dusk, we saw two hawks circling just over the NICU. We thought they must be sent from Heaven to watch over our boy. I'd like to see them again, circling through the dim stars in the dull twilight. I'd feel like Sawyer was watching me, telling me it was okay, and that he was with Brian.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


American Heritage Dictionary: Recognition of another's existence, validity, authority, or right. Unabridged: recognition of the existence or truth of something.

Wordnet: a statement acknowledging something or someone.

I'm tired of people not acknowledging my children. When I say THANK YOU . . .thank you for mentioning what happened, thank you for calling them by name, thank you for admitting that they were once here . . .I mean that. I'm tired of some people in my life, people who are supposed to love me, not acknowledging the existence of my sons. When people don't ever mention them, it's like pretending they weren't valid or important enough to admit they were ever even here. When people refer to them as "your babies," it's like they can't admit that my children have names and are real, genuine people, just like everybody else.

The first day Jim returned to work after Sawyer's funeral, a woman said to him, "Come on, smile! It can't be that bad!" And she knew what had happened! She had sent a card of her own and signed a card at work! It can be that bad!

For Jim and I, what happened to Sawyer is still very strongly present every day in our minds. Last night I spent hours thinking about his baby registries, how I picked out everything just for him. I thought about the NICU, and the feelings of hope I had when he was there. I just knew he was going to make it! I joked around that when he was older, he might be a little ornery and spoiled, but how could we help it when he had been so strong and struggled against such odds? I think about sitting in the family room, snacking on crackers, waiting for the shift change to be over. I think about the little lockers they had to lock your stuff up for the day. I should still be there right now!! I should still be going to visit him, and to provide nourishment for him.

For other peope who were there, who were a part of it, it's like it never happened. Maybe a dream, or some distant recollection they have. I can't believe it! Though, as I told Jim, can I really be surprised? The same thing happened after Brian died.

If you ever start to think that you're sparing someone pain by not acknowleding their loved one, or some other stupid cliche like that, STOP! It's sad that I get support and love every single day from people I have never even met, but nothing from some of the people who actually met Sawyer, who came to see him, and who knew him and loved him. How could they hold his hand and not remember what that felt like?

For those of you reading this . . .you aren't the ones I'm talking about, obviously. So I will tell you again, and I will keep saying it: Thank you. Thank you for acknowledging the existence of my sons upon this earth, and the importance of their lives.

I have been thinking lately that if people would just stop worrying about vain things . . .how skinny or tan they are, what kind of shoes or clothes are the "coolest," how much jewelry they have to show off to the world . . .maybe they would be real, just for one moment. Maybe they would feel things as deeply and be impacted as profoundly as I have been, not only by my own grief, but the grief and tragedy of others as well.

Probably not.