Wednesday, December 2, 2015

I wonder....

It's her birthday today. Again. It's the eigth birthday she's had since she left your house. Since you left her life. Since she came home. It's her day. I wonder.....did you remember? Did you wake this morning to even the most fleeting thoughts of her? Did you find yourself at some point....any point....realizing the date and wondering about her? I you remember?
It was seventeen years ago. Today. It was such a long night and we thought she'd never arrive. And then she did. I was starving. You were exhausted. She was perfect. I you remember?
You've missed so much of her life, so much of her growth, so much of HER. You've missed her milestones, her accomplishments, her disapointments, her triumphs.....HER. I you wonder? About.....HER?
She is beautiful. She is brilliant. She is funny. She is sometimes pensive and introverted. She is sometimes obnoxious and raucous. She is always loving, always kind, always emotional. She is surrounded by countless friends who adore her. She is a people magnet. She is audacious. She is mature, amibitious, motivated and driven. And she is your daughter. I wonder.....did you forget?
It's been eight years and two months since she heard your voice. It's been longer since she's seen your face. I wonder....did you tell her you loved her that morning before you walked out the door? Because you haven't told her since that day. I can't help but wonder.......if you do.
We were married. We had two beautiful little girls. You adored them. We got divorced. We still had two beautiful little girls. You still adored them. And we actually liked each other. Until you met her. And then......well......
Your daughters...our daughters.....walked out of your front door eight years and four months ago today. They were terrified. They were confused. They were angry. They walked out your door wishing their daddy- you- would suddenly appear and make everything ok again. Explain things to them. Calm their fears. Ease their rage. They walked into my front door two days later. Still our little girls. Still confused. Still leary of the changes around them. Still worried. About you. Still hoping their call to say it was all ok. To tell them you love them. To say it was all going to work out. I wonder........why didn't you?
Your daughters......our daughters.......became my daughters very quickly. They felt betrayed. They felt abandoned. They felt destroyed. By their daddy. You. They turned to me. I was there. I wonder.......why weren't you?
For eight years I have watched these little girls grow. Into teenagers. Into young women. Into a mother. Into a driven high schooler. I have celebrated with them. I have cried for them. I have wiped tears. I have given hugs. I have listened. I have advised. I have been their staunchest advocate, their loudest cheerleader, their stongest supporter and their safe place to land. I have shared their pain and beamed with pride in their victories. I have never left their side. I wonder........why did you?
Those little girls have grown up. No longer children. No longer afraid. No longer angry. No longer confused. They have become incredible people. They have acheived goals. They have made plans for their futures. They have dreams. Hopes. Wishes. They are strong, independent, vivacious young women. They will succeed and exceed my greatest hopes for their lives. And I consider myself blessed. I consider myself lucky beyond what anyone could deserve. They will include me in that future. They want me beside them. They willingly share themselves with me. I wouldn't miss it for the world. I wonder......will you?
I pray each day that someday, their daddy....the man who used to be their father.......who used to adore them, love them, participate in their lives......will experience an awakening. Have an epiphany. Come to the realization that he needs to make things right. That he'll tell them he's sorry. That he'll own his mistakes. That he'll ask, beg if need be- to be forgiven. Included. Reconnected. That he will reach out as many times as it takes for those two little girls he turned his back on to forgive that pain and rebuild a relationship with the man who used to be their daddy. I wonder......are you man enough?
I wonder......
Will they remember him?

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Another child, another poem

I've posted twice before about poems written by my daughters for their English classes. I love them. It's a very cool assignment that I wish we had done as kids. Well, the tradition continues. Lily brought home the same poem the first week of school. Since she wrote hers as a sixth grader and the other girls were well into high school before writing theirs, I think it would be interesting to have Lily rewrite hers in a few years to see how much her self-awareness might change. In any case-I am reposting the older two girls' poems here along with Lily's. Enjoy!! 

(Ceara-Sept 2011)
Where I'm From

I am from the resevoirs
The winter snow and summer sun
I am from the happy laughing
I am from the dragonflies
The gladiolas in the yard.

I am from The Pumpkin Show and getting out of school
From Grandma Houston and Grandma Lutz
I am from the bedtime songs and simple lullabies
From you look just like your mom and look at those blue eyes
I am from the church songs
The puppet shows and Bible coloring pages

I am from the backs and forths
The ups and downs the all arounds
From the family gatherings
The holidays

I am from my family
Unique in every way
Never one quite like another
but all somewhat the same. 

(Cidney-Jan 2014)
Where I'm From

I am from the camera
from glasses and hair bows
I am from the little blue box on Bryn Mawr
I am from the purple impatiens
and bright pink lilies

I am from blue eyes and attitude
from Susie and Jean
I am from the new Brady Bunch
and childrens' shrieking voices
from know your worth and strive for better
I am from chaos
too busy for everything

I'm from Lima and Corrinne
potato soup and older brothers
from the angel babies born with wings
to "I was here and now I ain't"

I am from fear of the past
wonder for the future
From too many snapshots
and so many keepsakes
From curly hair
and a hospital food basket
This is who I am

(Lily-Aug. 26,2015)
I am from Sponge Bob
from bleach and febreeze
I am from the board games on the floor
It looked cluttered

I am from the roses
The hummingbird
Tiny but Strong

I'm from the athletes and blue eyes
From mom,dad and Grandpa Gene

I'm from the craziness and humor
From "You're beautiful"
And stories of mermaids

I'm from Jesus dying
for me
I'm from Maryland, Germany and Ireland
from Streudel and Soda bread
From The Pilgrim Edward Doty
who helped settle the land
To the 30th President to lead it
The closet
And binders

I'm from siblings
And soccer
And fun

I am so blessed......what incredible girls I have. <3

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Thank you for NOT understanding

In just a little more than a week it will be here. The day. Their day. How is it possible that another 365 days have passed without them? Eight years. Many people think that we bereaved moms are "stuck" in the past or lingering in the moment when we should simply move past it. Here is my challenge for those of you who have never had to sit in a funeral home and make final arrangements for your baby, or in my case-babies. Do you have children? Yes? Reflect on the first eight years of their life. Let yourself recall the elation you felt when they were first placed in your arms, that first touch, the first inhalation of their precious baby scent. Think about each and EVERY first from that moment on.....first bath, first smile, the first time they recognized YOU and it showed on their whole face, the first word, first steps, first boo boo (which you promptly kissed away), their first day of kindergarten when you probably cried like a baby and then cried again when they graduated kindergarten, their first day of first grade and then second......and then imagine that you were absent from EVERY.SINGLE.ONE of those moments. That you didn't get to experience any of those firsts and that there were no photos to help you remember. Because none of those moments happened. Because your precious baby was born without a single breath of life outside of you. Eight years ago. I am not stuck. I walk, each moment of every day with the incredible blessing of six amazing living children, a gorgeous grandbaby and the anticipation of a new grandson in the coming months. I live my life as a mother and grandmother thanking God for every moment of the last 27 years since being handed my very first baby and wondering how I would EVER be the mother he and my other children deserved. And I carry with me every single second of every single day for the last almost eight years the absolute knowledge that two of my children are missing. That I will never get to be the mother either of them deserved. That I will never experience a single solitary first for either of them but I experienced their lasts. The last time they moved inside of me, the last time I heard their heartbeats, the last time I saw their faces, kissed their fingers, touched their tiny baby feet and the last time I placed them into the hands of someone else to take them away.....forever. No. I am not stuck. I am grieving the loss of children, my children and I will grieve that loss until my final breath. If you cannot understand or comprehend that......then you are blessed. Because that means you've never endured the all encompassing loss of your own child. And for your inability to understand my grief-I am grateful. <3 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Why Xavier Wurth didn't have to die and why his mother shoulders blame

On Friday morning at approximately 11:57 a 911 call was made from an apartment in Spencerville, Ohio. The caller stated (rather calmly) that "we just woke up and I think our baby is dead". He tells the operator that he believes the baby choked on his own vomit and is dead. The operator asks if he knows how to do CPR at which point the caller says "do you know how to do CPR,babe?" Again, calmly. No distress in his voice. No anguish. Calm and even as though he were asking if his girlfriend would like fries or salad with her burger. In the background the woman can be heard shrieking that she knows CPR. When help arrived at 229 Wurster Drive they found that baby. In a hallway. Dead.

Here are the facts that have been reported so far. The baby was 17 month old Xavier Wurth. He lived with his mother, 20 year old Alexis Long and her boyfriend (not his father) Christopher Clayton, also 20 years old. First responders found little Xavier in an upstairs hallway, dead from obvious and apparent trauma. His autopsy determined the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the back of his head. Christopher has lived with Xavier and his mother for less than a year. He was arrested, charged with murder and his being held on 5 million dollars bond and on suicide watch in Allen County.
Apparently the details as reported by Christopher are that they had put the baby to bed Thursday evening at 8pm. He stated he was watching Xavier. When he made the 911 call he stated they had just awakened to find the baby dead. This all raises some questions:
If you put the baby to bed at 8pm the night before, why were you just waking up at almost noon and who was caring for this baby while you slept all morning?
If you had just awakened as you stated in the call yet the mother is heard screaming in the 911 call, when did she arrive at home? Was she present the entire time?
The answers aren't necessary for this particular blog post. They are irrelevant in fact. Christopher Clayton is believed to be the person who killed precious little Xavier. He may be to blame for the act of killing this child but Alexis Long shoulders the blame for putting a killer in her child's path. And here is why.

I'm a mother. I have been a mother for 27 years. There was a time when I, like so many other moms out there- was a single mother trying my best to be a good mother to my baby boy. And just like many if not most of those single moms, I was lonely. I was alone. I wanted someone to love me, love my son, be a father. All of that. But,unlike so many of the moms who find themselves burying their children at the hands of their lovers I was NOT willing to sacrifice my child for my own needs,wants or desires.
Now,I've read several articles about this case. Most of them include public comments. The majority of those comments indicate the belief that the mother, Alexis Long should be charged with her son's death right alongside her boyfriend. I couldn't agree more. Of course, there are those who chime in and defend her and claim to know the family intimately. They say that this mother is an excellent mother who loves her son and would never do anything.....ANYTHING to harm him. They're wrong.
I am not doubting her love for Xavier. She might have even been a good,devoted and loving mother to him. BUT.......she absolutely did something to put her son in harm's way. She moved a man into her home and into her son's life without truly knowing who that man was or what he might be capable of.
Ladies.......single moms......Listen up. STOP!!!!! Life stops being about you,your needs,your wants or your desires the SECOND that you become a mother. From that instant on-life and all of your choices and decisions should absolutely revolve around what is best FOR YOUR CHILD. Period. Did you hear me? Let me simplify it for you. YOUR CHILD'S NEEDS AND WELL BEING COME FIRST. Did you get it that time?
So many single moms, especially young single moms are so all consumed with the need to have a man in their life that they completely forget the most important person in their life.....their child. They date on a revolving door basis, often times hooking up with or moving onto the next warm body before the current one is even packed and out the door. Make no mistake,that's what they are.....warm bodies. STOP parading man after man after man into and out of your child's life. STOP entrusting your child's life to these strangers,because they ARE strangers. You do not know them. And they should therefore NOT know your child.
If you want to date. Fine. Date. Find a trustworthy babysitter and go out occasionally to socialize,make friends and possible explore a potential relationship with an upstanding man of high values and morals. (FYI-you won't find him in a drunken stupor at the local club cat-calling you about how hot you are or what a nice rack you have.) If  you hit it DATE. Do you know what that means? Go out with him. OUT. Dinner. Movies. Church. The park. Hiking. The possibilities are endless. None of them involve spreading your legs because "there's chemistry" or "we have sooooooo much in common". None of them....NONE of them involve bringing that man home with you and NONE-hear me clearly....NONE of them include introducing that man to your child. Date. For awhile. Not a week. Not a month. Maybe not even six months. DATE!!!! Find out who this man is OUTSIDE of the bedroom. Find out what he believes in. Have deep,meaningful conversations. Think with your brain (that's what God put it there for,you know) and NOT with the warm and fuzzy feelings you get in your stomach or any other southern region. And THEN.....slowly introduce him to your child. Small doses. Public places. Let them get to know each other the same way you did.....slowly. If you're looking for a true life partner and someone worthy of being a father or father figure to your child this is the only real way to do that. A man doesn't become your child's father after a weekend of hot sex following a chance meeting at a bar. He doesn't become your life partner because he's so cute and makes you feel so giddy that you give him a drawer and he "suddenly seems to always be there anyway so you might as well move in".
Does this method require a lot of time? Yes. Does it take an incredible amount of patience? Sure. Will you need to resist physical urges? Probably. You're human. But you can do it. And in the end.....not only will you reap the benefits - because even if the first time doesn't lead to your "soulmate" it is a step in your own self awareness and will only help you know that much more clearly what it is you want and what it is you won't settle for in a partner........but-you are also much, MUCH less likely to have to bury your child at the hands of  this week's love of your life.
Alexis Long did not protect her child. She did not put Xavier's needs before her own need to have a man in her life. Alexis Long allowed a man she couldn't possibly have known well enough into her home and into the life of her precious little boy. Alexis Long entrusted the care (and therefore the life) of her innocent child to the hands of Christopher Clayton and in doing so delivered her child into the hands of his killer.
Now, I am well aware that my opinion will be wildly unpopular with a lot of people. I anticipate the comments about not knowing what I am talking about.....not knowing what horrible grief this mom must be experiencing......and much more. And that's ok. I can take it. Because as unpopular as my statements might be.....they are true and accurate. How many children have been murdered in the last five years at the hands of the live in boyfriend?? How many more have to die before women wake up and start respecting themselves enough not to be just another hookup for the next hot guy that whistles their way? How many more babies have to be sacrificed before mothers understand that they are delivering their children to slaughter for the sake of a warm spot to sleep next to? It's time to end this horrific cycle of murder and choose your children.
Rest in peace, precious Xavier. I am so sorry that your last moments on this Earth were filled with fear and pain. God Bless you,precious boy.

And for Alexis and both deserve to be charged with and convicted of murder and sentenced accordingly.


I had a moment tonight. Loss moms and dads know exactly what that means. It means that one moment I was fine. Normal. Sane. And in an instant.....without warning or preparation.....I wasn't. In less time than it takes to blink I was reduced to tears and stood there-sobbing in the shower. Unable to control the emotions that had suddenly overwhelmed my spirit and removed all semblances of the normal me. The sane me. The in control me.
I had a moment.
The thing about child loss is that you are permanently prone to these moments. Times when life seems to be going along in a calm manner. Most things make sense. Most things are routine. And then-out of nowhere-BAM! It slaps you. Full force. Right across the face and there is nothing......not a single thing you can do. You succumb. Until it passes. But it never passes -not completely.
Tonight I stood there thinking of things I want to accomplish. Goals I want to set for myself. Milestones I hope to reach. I contemplated which number to set as my first goal. The amount of weight I would like to lose. And the timeframe I want to allow myself to reach that first goal. My daughter's graduation from high school. June 5th. I want to feel better, look better, weigh less by the time my daughter walks across the stage. I had wanted the same thing when my sons graduated high school. But I was.....oh. Wait. I wasn't.
The moment.
Through the body wracking sobs my brain reminded my soul that no....I wasn't heavy when my sons graduated. I wasn't fat. I was pregnant. With THEM. The twins. My daughters. And then they died.
The last time I watched one of my children graduate from high school I was pregnant with two tiny,perfect, healthy baby girls. They were already running out of room and making me uncomfortable. I was already huge by my accounts. And they were already active......kicking me constantly as they wrestled inside of me.
The moment intensified.
They were there. With me. Alive. They were at the graduation ceremonies for both of their oldest brothers. But they won't be attending this graduation with me. They won't ever attend another graduation........not even their own. They've already missed the preschool and kindergarten graduations for Lily, Georgie and themselves. There aren't any cute photos of them at any of those events. There aren't any photos of them at least....not while they were alive. Except the two photos- the ONLY two photos I have of myself pregnant with them. Both taken at the graduations of their brothers.
My moment.
Some people will read this and shake their head. They'll say to themselves in that tone that we loss parents hear so often that I need to stop dwelling on the past. They'll whisper that it isn't healthy to continue dredging up things best left in the past. They'll wonder why I can't just be thankful for the children I have.
They won't understand.
Nor do I want them to. To understand would require them to endure the most excruciatingly painful thing a parent can ever experience. The death of a child. Or in my case, children. I prefer they NEVER understand. But in not being able to understand there is misunderstanding. When we lose a child people mistakenly think that loss is just a moment. It's something that happened to us. Once. It's an event that is short termed and temporary. When you lose a child they think you lose that child at whatever age  the child happens to be and nothing past that.
They're wrong.
The death of a child isn't something that happens to us. It's something we live with every single day. It's not a single moment. It's a lifetime of moments. It's not temporary-it's permanent. It's with us every moment of every day of every year that we continue to live without our child. And I didn't just lose babies. I lost so much more than that. I lost two lives. Two futures. Two chances at all of the moments, all of the hopes, all of the dreams and goals that we as parents establish almost instantly for our children the moment we find out they exist. I lost a lifetime of moments.
And gained a lifetime of MOMENTS instead.