Saturday, April 12, 2008

This is a poem that, oddly, I had printed out and even had one of my speech students read for competition years ago, before I married Jim or lost the boys. It's strange to me that I was so moved by these words, even then.

by Svea Barrett

There are things I can't seem to hold, things always slipping from me,
like messages for you, lists of errands, pens and chalk, all the broken
dishes and spilled cups of coffee -- just this morning a fresh cup,
steaming, spread across the blacktop in Duncan Donuts' parking lot.

And that time, the last time we drove in silence down to Philly again,
to Children's Hospital, where they cut and hold babies' hearts
every day. The doctor I didn't like met us at the door before we could
even wash our hands or put on those masks and stiff, green gowns.

"Be prepared." His voice was flat. "He looks bad today. His kidneys are failing.
He's very bloated." I tried to leave but he held my arm. "I'm serious. Be prepared."
My teeth drew blood from somewhere deep inside the dryness of my mouth.
My jaws and armpits clenched. Your hand clamped onto my shoulder.

Inside I stroked our son's stretched skin and winced for him.
I feared my slightest touch would explode us both all over the hospital floor.
I whispered once into his swollen ear, and we slipped out to sit on that
hard wooden bench in the hall, not speaking, all our words long gone.

We sat 'til there was nothing left to do but drive back home.
You had to work, and our other twin waited for me.
I didn't know then that mothers often ask to
hold them, even after they're gone.

He just slipped out of my reach, like everything else does lately,
except for this memory slipped around my neck and holding tight.
Another opportunity missed, like so many chances for us to talk,
since it became clear things would not be turning out the way you planned.

This morning the tiny bar of soap on the shower floor dissolved
and disappeared before I could try to hold its slippery roundness and
finish washing. I stand and shiver, cooling water slides through my hair
and thighs, but I'm not clean. I'm still not even close to being clean.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

March 31, 2007 ~ April 11, 2007

Sawyer, you left us in the wee hours of the morning, quietly and peacefully, with complete courage. Our beautiful boy, we love you. We are so lost without you, yet we celebrate the wonder and miracle of you. We are so proud you are our son.

The songs on our playlist are all dedicated to Sawyer. For various reasons, they all bring him instantly to mind. Some of them we played for him, some were played at his funeral, and some of them are songs that are inseperable from his little life. We were listening to Regina Spektor almost constantly during the two weeks before he was born, and then while he was alive. If we get into the car and play her CDs, we are instantly and heartbreakingly transported to those moments in time. It feels like I am pregnant again, full of hope . . .or on my way to St. Francis to check into the antenatal unit . . .or driving up to visit Sawyer in the NICU. Many of the songs are almost completely perfect to describe Sawyer and his life . . .like Blackbird, or Love . . .and others have an ambiance that just "feels" like him. Some have a line that just grabs our hearts and brings us closer to our son. We hope you will take some time to listen.

And did you get what you wanted from this life, even so?
I did.
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself beloved on the earth.

~Raymond Carver

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

For My Love

Our anniversary was on Monday, April 7. A lot has happened to us in two years of marriage, but we're still holding on to each other through all this stormy weather.

Jim . . .thank you for being you, for loving me, and for saving me every day. I will never let go of you . . .

Here's to better days ahead.

First Day of My Life
by Bright Eyes

This is the first day of my life
I swear I was born right in the doorway
I went out in the rain suddenly everything changed
They're spreading blankets on the beach

Yours is the first face that I saw
I think I was blind before I met you
Now I don’t know where I am
I don’t know where I’ve been
But I know where I want to go

And so I thought I’d let you know
That these things take forever
I especially am slow
But I realize that I need you
And I wondered if I could come home

Remember the time you drove all night
Just to meet me in the morning
And I thought it was strange you said everything changed
You felt as if you'd just woke up

And you said “this is the first day of my life
I’m glad I didn’t die before I met you
But now I don’t care I could go anywhere with you
And I’d probably be happy”

So if you want to be with me
With these things there’s no telling
We just have to wait and see
But I’d rather be working for a paycheck
Than waiting to win the lottery

Besides maybe this time is different
I mean I really think you like me

Tiger in the Night
by Katie Melua

You are the tiger burning bright
Deep in the forest of my night
You are the one who keeps me strong in this world

You sleep by the silent cooling streams
Down in the darkness of my dreams
All of my life I never knew
You were the dream I'd see come true
You are the tiger burning bright

I was the one who looked so hard I could not see.
Now I could never live without the love you give to me.

I lived like a wild and lonely soul,
Lost in a dream beyond control.
You were the one who brought me home down to earth.

For you are the tiger burning bright
Deep in the forest of my night
All of my life I never knew
You were the dream I'd see come true
You are the tiger burning bright

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Sawyer's First Birthday

To celebrate Sawyer's birthday and remember him in the most positive way possible, we did several special things.

To begin with, we made little treat bags full of candy. I attached cards to each one. The pictures didn't turn out that great, but they will give you the general idea.

I passed out the treats at work, and then Jim and I delivered them to some close friends and family members.

After that, we headed to the NICU. We took a huge bag of candy filled with several of the cards. Strangely enough, the first person to come out of the NICU and see us standing there was Dr. Ramiro, his primary doctor. She came over and talked with us. When we told her it was Sawyer's birthday she got teared up, and of course, I did too. We got ready to leave, and I was walking down the hallway crying, when suddenly I heard this little squeal of my name. It was Emma, the nurse who was very close to Sawyer. She came to his funeral, and she was awarded the Daisy based on our nomination. She was so excited to see us, and she cried too. She told us that whenever she's training new students, she takes them to the collage of Sawyer and shows his pictures and the letter we wrote. She said it has helped to give her a lot of comfort and perspective, and she wants to show others his story to inspire them. She said it is good to know that even if the story isn't the typical "success" that we all hope for, it doesn't mean it was a "failure" either. From the letter that we wrote to the staff, she learned how successful it was that Sawyer had love all his life, and how grateful we were for their constant help, diligence, and support. She also said she realized how much their jobs mean, not just to the babies, but also to their families. It was soooo great to see her. She is and always will be very special to us.

After that, we stopped by the store to pick out a birthday card. We found the perfect one . . .absolutely perfect.

We also bought some baby tulips for his grave.

And some cupcakes--one for each of the boys.

We went to the cemetery, but since the winds were SO crazy you couldn't even walk in a straight line, we decided to bring back his stuff the next day. We talked to him (and his brother too, of course) for awhile, and then came back home. Then on Tuesday we took all of his stuff to his grave. Jim also bought a little birdhouse that we are going to paint and plant something in, which we will take when the weather is nicer.

Several people remembered Sawyer and us with nice gifts and cards.

These candles are in memory of the boys from my friend, Tressa:

This is from my grandmother:
This is from my friend Jami:
This is from my parents:
This is from Jim's parents, made by Jim's mother:

We are so grateful to all of you, not just those mentioned here, but everyone who sent emails, cards, notes, and lit candles for Sawyer. It is so important to us that he is remembered, but at the same time, it is also nice to feel so much love and support from so many. Peace and love . . .