Monday, August 20, 2012

Important People

We've all heard it..."I can't imagine my life without you in it". We've all said it...." I can't remember my life before I met you". Most of us have felt this about at least one person who has entered our life whether temporarily during a crisis or permanently as a life-long friend or partner. We consider ourselves lucky to have met them. We believe our lives are better because of them. On special days we take a moment to thank them for entering our meager existence, buy them gifts to say thank you and send them cards letting them know we love and appreciate them. And for most of us we live the other days of the year still loving and appreciating them while sometimes forgetting the initial impact that caused us to love them in the first place. We don't mean to. We don't appreciate them less. Life just gets in the way.

I have been incredibly blessed to have more than one of these people to think about, love, appreciate and be thankful for. Not just on special dates or holidays. Everyday. And while life often does get in the way there is never a day that passes without at least a thought of these people finding its way into my heart. These people are the reason my children still have a mother. They are the reason I was devastated but not defeated. They are quite honestly, along with God-the glue that continues to mend the shattered pieces of the person I once was.

Five years ago in the space occupied by mere seconds an entire future was erased. Two futures. Years of planned dreams and preconceived notions about the two souls who would have owned those futures were erased. So was the person I had been for 39 years 9 months and 25 days. The person who left that doctor's office that day was not the same one that had entered only 90 minutes before. She was different. She was changed. Forever. She would have been destroyed if not for the presence of others, known and unknown at the time who managed to save her from that abyss. This is my thank you to them.

There is the brilliant,amazing and HUMAN doctor who cancels his next appointment, holds your hand, cries because he cannot find a heartbeat no matter how hard he tries and hands you his cell phone to call your mother. This doctor put my needs,my emotions and my pain ahead of everything else that morning. This doctor made two choices that day that I will forever be grateful for. Two choices I believe saved me in that moment and continue to save me now.

To be told your grandchildren have died over the phone cannot be an easy call to endure. But she did it. She did it the same way she does everything else. My mother cried with me, she prayed with me and I believe I heard her heart breaking with mine through the phone line. And then she rearranged her life to drive an hour to the nearest airport, get on a plane and come hold my hand as I delivered two perfect and beautiful little girls. She kept me grounded when I wanted to give in because she knew how important it was to me to be there, awake for each and every agonizing moment of their birth. She greeted her granddaughters the same as all the others-with tears,kisses,soft touches and talking to them.......she called them by name and cooed at their tiny perfect fingers and toes. She compared their features to each other and their siblings. And she stood at my side when I was able to hold them to say my goodbyes. She cried with me then and has cried with me since. She lost something that day,too. She lost her granddaughters, she lost their future and she lost the daughter she had known for so long.

There are things that need taken care of, arrangements to be made that you can't process when you are preparing ( is it even possible to really prepare?) to admit yourself to the hospital to give birth to two babies who you already know will never make a sound and will never leave that place with you. There are little girls who don't understand why mommy is crying so much or why the house seems sad and they need someone to help them escape for the day. Because I was blessed with a co-worker who became an even better and more valuable friend (and had herself experienced child loss) I didn't have to worry about them or their day. She showed up at my house early in the morning, picked up my daughters and took them - all day- for girl time. They shopped. They laughed. They did their nails. Most importantly-they smiled and laughed and forgot for that day that their mommy was in too much pain to be their mommy just then.

When you walk into the labor and delivery area of the hospital you wonder how you'll be treated. You hope the nurses won't be cold and clinical. You pray they'll be compassionate and accommodating. What you don't imagine is a nurse who goes above and beyond any of your greatest hopes. This nurse hugs you when you meet,she cries along with you, she holds your hand when you need it , calls your children by name as they enter the world and takes amazing pictures of them.....especially their tiny baby feet and toes. This nurse makes it her mission to remember all the tiny details when you speak so that she knows which baby to dress in which color before placing them gingerly in your arms. And this nurse stays well after the end of her own shift to print the photos she has taken of your precious angels and hand deliver them to you because she knows how desperately you will cling to those photos when you can no longer cling to their bodies. This nurse does not forget you when you leave her hospital. This nurse helps you survive the most devastating moment of your life and continues to help you survive it as time passes by always remembering your daughters and letting you know that she does so. This nurse becomes family in a way few people can.

In the days and years since leaving that place without my daughters I have met some of the most amazing women. You think in that moment that you're alone. You believe that no other woman has ever had to endure the pain you are enduring. You are broken. You are devastated. You are alone. But you're not. Alone. If you are blessed,as I am-you fall into the most incredible bond of sisterhood with the most incredible,strongest,bravest women you will ever meet. Women you never imagined existed. Women just like you. In the space of time it takes to tell one of these women your story and to listen to hers you forge a bond of sisterhood and friendship deeper than those you have known a lifetime. These women will pick you up when you fall, cry with you and for you, teach you that laughter is not betrayal and most importantly will never forget your loss. They will allow you to talk without judgement. They will give you permission to feel. They will understand your walk because they are on the same journey.

Today is one of those special days to remember. Today I will remember each second of a day five years ago when I lay in the hospital waiting to meet my daughters. Today I will relive every excruciatingly beautiful second of their arrival and departure into the world,into my arms and out of this life. Today,while I celebrate the brief moments of their existence in my life I will remember the people who have since become the reason for my own continued existence. Today.......everyday.....I will thank them for willingly walking into a place few would ever wander and refusing to let its darkness overcome me.

Happy fifth birthday my precious Chloe Danielle and Zoe Grace. You are loved and missed daily by so many.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Dear Diary

The last time August 15th fell on a Wednesday it was 2007. It will happen again tomorrow. In just over an hour to be exact. And like every August since that one I will remember. This year,however....I will remember a little more vividly if that is even possible. Because the days and dates are both aligning this year.....the fifth year since then.

Five years ago on this very night I was struggling to find sleep. The days leading up to this one had been quite stressful and I chalked my insomnia up to the aftermath of that stress. By midnight I decided to berate myself a bit. "You're being silly you know. Nothing is wrong. The girls are back home safe and sound. The boys are all set to go off to college. And in 8 hours you'll get to see the babies moving around and kicking and playing as usual and you'll see......everything is ok. What could be wrong?" Little did I know. And with my little speech to myself I drifted off to sleep. But not before writing, as I often did, in my journal. This is the first time I have read my entries from that time......

" Aug. 14th,2007-Tuesday, 12:08 am
            Is dark a feeling? If it is-I have it. A dark's like a pall lying on my shoulders right now. I've been trying for almost 2 hours now to fall asleep and can't. It's as if something......not sure what......but something important just isn't as it should be. I can't seem to shake it and I know it's silly. Seriously. How blessed am I? 
            Exactly two weeks ago I got to bring my girls back home where they belong. I thought that ordeal would break me. But it didn't. It's almost funny now to think back to the start of it, sitting at the table in the conference room,hyperventilating and thinking that I just might fall apart and never recover. I did. I recovered and became even stronger. And I fought. Hard. But then any mother would fight with her very soul if it meant saving her child. And that's exactly what I did...I fought and thanks to some incredible people and the grace of God I saved my children. And now they're here. With me. 
            I know there is nothing wrong because the absence of the girls was the only dark cloud still hanging over my life. And that's gone now. So I need to take a deep breath....relax.......and give myself permission. Permission to enjoy my life. Finally! I have six amazing,healthy and incredibly children. And they are all here with me. And soon.....I will have eight!! Two more precious little girls that will fill this house with their squeals of joy as they realize just how spoiled they are at the hands of their siblings. 
            Did I mention just how excited Ceara and Cidney are about Chloe and Zoe? They were so cute. They went with me to "meet" them two weeks ago. I had an appointment the day after the girls got home and rather than reschedule I thought it would be a great welcome home to them to take them along and let them see the girls. Their faces were something I will never forget!! The sheer love and instant attachment to their baby sisters was truly radiated from their faces. I cannot wait to watch them when they get to actually hold the girls!! Who am I kidding......I can't wait til I can hold them! head is STILL processing it. Twins. At 40. LOL.
              Anyway......I am rambling because I can't sleep, I feel nervous for some reason only not really nervous. It's an odd feeling and I can't quite explain it. So. Off to bed I go. And I WILL go to sleep. There's no reason not to. In 8 hours I will go to the doctor, as I do every Wednesday. And I will lie on the table and listen to the strong whooshing of their hearts as I do every week. And I will watch them play,flip and kick as I do every week ------ completely in awe of the miracles housed within my body and totally and incomprehensibly in love with them both. "

How many times I have wondered since then.....what if I had trusted my feelings? What if I had called the doctor? What if........but then I know the answer already. The process may have differed...the timeline may have changed.....but the outcome would not have. And so tonight I go to bed.....remembering with bittersweet tears and an aching heart that it was exactly five years ago at this time, on this day that I felt my precious little girls making their presence known inside of me for the last time. And it was at this time on this day five years ago that my perfect,beautiful and incredible little girls and I went to sleep......together.......for the very last time.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Forgotten Notes

I write. A lot. Sometimes I write to people I miss, sometimes to people I don't miss and often I write to myself. Little notes here and there. Snippets of thoughts that collide in my head throughout the day or glances of the turmoil brewing in my heart. Every now and then I come across one of those little forgotten notes as I clean drawers, notebooks, folders and sometimes even my email boxes. Today was one such occasion.
As I sit in the Service Waiting Area for my 90 minute maintenance and oil change (which is now closer to 120 minutes in) I decided to clean out some of the clutter from my email folders. I noticed a (8) next to the Drafts folder. It made me curious as this folder is never used by me for any reason and I don't recall saving anything to it. There were seven older writings of mine.....again-little snippets. Things that made me laugh. Things that made me reflect and recall happenings and goings on. And then - there was this.
Apparently a friend had emailed me on November 28th,2007 to ask how I was feeling. Insignificant date to most, I know. But for me it was the day the doctors had originally set aside to admit me to the hospital, deliver my identical twin daughters and send me home a changed woman. Well, all those things happened just not exactly as planned and much earlier than anticipated. The girls were due the day after Christmas but being mutliples and being born to an "old" mother with Diabetes it was determined they should come early. And they did. Sleeping .
I read the email. I read it a second and third time. And I didn't cry. (Today must be a good day) I smiled. I smiled at the memory of their tiny bodies as I held them close to me.....gingerly as if afraid I would hurt them. I smiled at the memory of their scent as I tried to inhale enough of it to last me a lifetime. And I smiled at the fact that even then, in my most devastated of moments and in the most raw state of emotion I was able to see and understand-and more importantly believe that I had been hand chosen to deliver the purest and most perfect gift to God above. Two angels. Pure. Perfect. Precious.

From:J W (
Sent:Wed 11/28/07 7:15 PM
To: private
I told you in my email how I was feeling today-you must be busy or distracted huh? It's ok...I am doing that the evening has officially set in I am feeling a little more tired and somber I suppose. But I have done well falling apart-just thinking of how things could have been so different for my babies. But knowing this is how they are supposed to be. I was thinking-as sad and devastated and empty as I am at not being able to touch them-how blessed am I that I was handpicked by God to deliver two tiny perfect angels directly into His arms without them ever having to be tarnished by the sins of this world? So many parents think their children are perfect at one time or another-mine actually were. Somehow that is comforting to me today. I gave birth to two children whom I will never have to worry about protecting from all the evil there is,it will never be necessary for me to shield them from the cruel treatment of others and never will I have to mend their broken hearts at the hands of anyone else including myself. Of course there are many other nevers.....the joys I will never experience because they are not here. But I cannot think about those...not today. If I allow myself to think of those nevers I will fall apart...and today I don't want to fall apart. I want to be strong for Chloe and Zoe. I want my daughters to smile on me today and know that I am thinking of them every second that this day brings and doing so with a sense - no matter how small of one-of peace and love for them. "

Their birthday is coming. In less than 4 weeks I will again reflect on the nevers. And again - at least I hope- that I will reflect on the days I WAS blessed with being their mother on this Earth. Even if it was briefly. 

Saturday, June 9, 2012


It's here.....again. Summer. The sunshine. The warmth. The kids running,playing and laughing from sunrise til sunset seven days a week. The call of the pool, the beach, bike trails and any other location imaginable. Again. They're all here. It's no surprise when they arrive because much like the family holiday gatherings they are simply a part of our lives. They belong to us. They arrive on schedule (sometimes seemingly much too early) and often when we need them most. Again. They come.
And so does it. The pain. The grief. The raw emotion. The uncontrollable meltdowns (or "moments" as I like to refer to them). It is an unwelcome guest. And yet it comes. Again. Every year. It hitches itself to the sunshine, the warmth, to the children running and playing . It stows itself away in the joy of the pool, the peacefulness of the beach and the relaxation and beauty of the trails. Again, it comes. It depletes every resource, outstays its welcome and leaves no thank you gift behind. Again.
Each summer I expect its arrival while hoping it will forget to arrive.The moment of arrival is always different. The announcement of its presence is always sudden. The wake is massive. I drown in it. Again and Again. And so it is....again.....this year that it has come. The arrival was sudden and caught me off guard. It was overwhelming and painful.
Standing on the playground.......picking up my children from school.....listening to the laughter and squeals of their joy and anticipation of the summer ahead of them. Smiling at the beautiful daughter of a friend I have come to look forward to seeing daily (and she is slowly warming to me seeing her). Gazing in amazement at the almost newborn baby boy who joined his four older sisters this year. And it hit me. Again.
In a matter of a nanosecond I had lost control. The raw emotion took over. And I was scrambling to leave as quickly as possible. The air was being squeezed from my lungs and breath would not come to refill them. The warmth of the salty water escaping my eyes was spilling over and threatened to become a tsunami. The piercing stab of reality took over. Again. This scene of beauty and joy that I so often find solace and peace in viewing as it renews daily my belief that miracles still happen and children come healthy and happy and loved into the lives of their parents reminded me of the two that didn't. It transported me back to the day when two children came silently into my life and left instantly. It screamed of all I had lost and that which I can never have......again.
And so it is here. Again. And I endure. Again. And I will survive another season of remembrance and will continue to be thankful for what I do have while missing what I don't. And I will celebrate another of their birthdays. Without them. Again.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Fake forgivers

Forgiveness. It's a verb. That means it isn't just a word you say or a term you's something you do. You have to actively follow through with an action to truly forgive. And it isn't easy. But it is doable. Sadly most people know how to say the word but few know how to do the word.
When someone does or says something to us and our reaction is one of pain, anguish, resentment or anger we instantly set up a wall around ourselves regarding that person. Many times we will allow them to maintain a place in our lives but with less true access as before. Often times we instinctively greet that person's presence with an involuntary reaction of coldness and with expectation of repeating the offenses against us. We believe that this person hurt us and will do so again if we don't somehow protect ourselves from another instance. If the offender is anyone other than a cherished love one this is usually the new protocol for our relationship with them. We associate with them but never really allow ourselves to progress any further into the relationship and NEVER allow that shield to drop. If however the offender is a spouse, parent, child or other intimate person who is a part of our very being the stakes are higher.
Usually when someone we truly love hurts us we carry that in a much more intense and open wound. The hurt is different because it often involves other emotions : betrayal, mistrust, etc. Eventually the offender will (at least we hope) seek us out and request something of us. Forgiveness. They will ask for it and expect or at least hope that we harbor enough love for them to grant it and move forward. And many if not most times we very generously oblige. Or do we?
Webster's defines forgiveness as giving up resentment of or claim of requital for an offense; granting relief's a verb. You do it. You don't say it. But most of us simply say it. We don't do it. We are fake forgivers.
Think about many times in the last year of your life has someone said or done something that upset you? In those instances how many times did they ask you to forgive them or offer an apology? And how many times did you in turn "grant" that forgiveness? You hear yourself say the words....."I forgive you." But do you FEEL yourself actually RELIEVING them?? Do you offer true and honest forgiveness or do you cling to the convenient cliche we humans have determined to be part of the deal? " I forgive you but I won't forget".
Can you imagine if God lived by that creed? More importantly what's the point of forgiving if you aren't forgetting? If God, our Supreme Father and King of Kings can and does grant us full and absolute forgiveness for our most heinous offenses upon Him and each other (and He does) then who are we to think our way is better or right? When we go to Him and lay our transgressions at His feet and ask Him to seek our heart of hearts and see our remorse He not only forgives us....He wipes the slate clean. He forgets so fully it's as if our offense NEVER took place. How beautiful is that?
But not us. We don't forgive. We say we do. We claim we have. But we instead carry that offense with us every day. We allow it to taint our relationships with those we profess to love and we throw it in their faces when it seems convenient. "Well, if you hadn't..... or Yes, but remember when you.......". We are fake forgivers. And I for one shudder to think of the consequences in my own eternity if God were a fake forgiver.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Heavy Heart

Today my heart is heavy. I'll explain but most won't understand even then. The reality is my heart is heavy for a man who does not deserve my compassion. Or does he?
Growing up in the church and having a personal relationship with God I know that I am expected to feel love and compassion for all people-even (if not especially) for those I might consider to be my enemy. Living in the human world and being surrounded by the sin and selfishness that abounds there I know that most people, including many Christians do NOT hold that compassion for everyone-least of all those they consider the opposition.
My heart is heavy for my enemy.
He wasn't always an enemy. He was a co-worker who became a friend who became a husband and father. While our marriage didn't last long, our friendship did. In fact,once we were no longer bound by marriage vows and the responsibilities of building a marital home together we became better friends than we had ever been. We spoke daily,shared thoughts,views,feelings,fears and dreams. We discussed and agreed upon every decision needed in regards to our two beautiful daughters. We were,or at least I thought we were-the poster children for the perfect co-parenting divorced population.
And then she happened.
I had already remarried, had another child and was expecting another baby. We were still close friends and he sought my advice about asking a co-worker on a date. He told me how pretty she was, how she made him laugh, how she intrigued him. But he was afraid. What if she didn't like him? What if she laughed at his invitation? I encouraged him by telling him that he was a wonderful father and a great guy (which I truly believed at the time) and that life was much too short to contemplate forever. And so he asked,she accepted and suddenly numerous lives were altered forever.
The man I knew and had become friends with , the man my children and stepson had adored and considered the best father on Earth ceased to exist. He was simply.....gone. In his place was a puppet. She made the rules which he followed. She issued the orders which he carried out. She demanded and he obeyed.
Over the course of the next eight and a half months the lines of communication trickled to a stop. Visits with my children became non-existent. And on December 5, 2005 the real nightmare ( I call it my bad made for tv movie) began. On that day-this man and his new "love" walked into the elementary school our daughters attended, signed them out and disappeared.
Over the course of the next 19 months he would take steps to erase me from the lives of my children. They were brainwashed and told that I no longer wanted them. They were told I had a new family that I loved more and was never coming back to them. They were told I was dead. They were prohibited from speaking about me, their siblings,grandparents and forced to destroy anything they had ever received from any of us. Mail was thrown away before they could see it, gifts were destroyed and phone numbers were constantly being changed and disconnected in an effort to sever the lines of communication.
Thankfully after 19 months of tears and enormous prayer......two teachers, a guardian ad litem, an attorney and an incredible judge ended this Hell we were living. I was given an order to go (with law enforcement) and get my daughters and bring them home. As happy as I was for that I was equally devastated that this would again cause trauma to my children. And it did.
My children missed their daddy. I encouraged them to talk about him. They were never punished or made to feel "bad" for loving and missing him. I supported their attempts to call,write and email him. He was still their father. But he wasn't. The enemy said so. And he followed suit. For months after coming home they reached out to him. Each time they were screamed at,cussed at,accused of lying and hung up on once they were reduced to tears. Finally they stopped calling. But they still missed him. They still cried. They still asked if he would ever love them again.
And then they didn't.
They no longer ask. They no longer cry. They no longer seem to remember that there used to be a man that was their father.
And that man's 40th heart is heavy. Heavy with the sadness of knowing that deep inside they do remember. They do miss him. They do long to have their father,their daddy back. Heavy because today, on that man's birthday  they do not seem to notice. Heavy because to is simply March 9th.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Larger Than Life

I have eight uncles-my mother's brothers. A couple I know well, a couple not so well and one or two I know just through snippets of minute flashes of childhood memories. Brief. Sparse. And fading. One thing "the eight" have in common is that even now I see them through the eyes of a child. A little girl who used to run around her grandmother's backyard as if she had no cares in the world and never would. A child who recalls the giants who would occasionally walk through that yard and into the house and the deep raucous laughter that would usually follow.
 My uncles were always larger than life in my eyes.......big,strong men with deep voices and even deeper laughs. The kind of laugh that was genuine,real,never forced and came from somewhere even deeper than their souls. The kind of laugh that grew from years of doing without and still being able to be thankful for what they had. A laugh that told you they had no regrets or feelings of having missed out on anything in their youth because of their station in life. 
So many times I can remember sitting quietly, straining to hear every single word of their stories. (They told the best ones EVER!) Little did I appreciate at the time that these weren't stories at all but memories of the moments that shaped and molded them into the men they were. Precious glimpses of time past that I was "watching" through their words and that laughter. 
That little girl was so naive. She didn't realize then that these giants were men....mortal men. Men that years later through no fault of their own would begin falling prey to an enemy that even giants cannot seem to escape or defeat. An enemy that chose to encroach on the very fiber of strength that made them giants. Like a parasite this enemy has taken up residence with six of those giants. It has so far defeated two of them. And right now it has its tentacles wrapped around another. 
The little girl in me is still watching.....waiting for that fairytale ending in which the giant defeats the enemy. The happily ever after bringing with it the roar of laughter as only they can bellow. The undeniable sparkle of playfulness and joy that shines in each of their eyes.....but this is not to be that fairytale. Because I am not a little girl and they are not giants. They are men. But in my mind, in my heart and in my eyes......they will always and forever be larger than life.