Love until later

all of it

New. 03/19/2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — heidi4ever @ 7:03 pm

So, 15 years and one day after I thought I’d never receive anything new from him again, something made me go to the highest, darkest corner of my closet. I have a very tiny box of his things, as he died at only 11 days. The thing that I didn’t remember was what this box contained. I found some clothes, unwashed though I can’t smell him there any longer. A few stuffed toys. And an album.

The hyperventilating that ensued forced me to my knees, just now, as no mother should ever have this sort of album. It might be a little known fact that we once put our dead relatives before a camera to capture a memory, and at times this would be the only photo a family had of their infant.

It may sound quite strange, to have pictures of a dead child. To a mom of loss, this may have been offered to you. You may have declined. You may have accepted. When it was offered to me, it felt like an insult. Like a punch in the throat. At 19 years of age, I thought quickly and agreed, but only when I left the room. The thing not on your mind is that there will keep on being photographs. People will age. But not him.

I had a photo album that my first husband kept, and it was filled with Jeremiah. I went about 12 years until my pseudo-grandma passed on a picture of her holding my son. You really have no idea what that does to a person. In the age of instant pictures for the whole world to see, I finally have one more. Eleven days old. Two photographs I can hold in my hands.

Until tonight. His box called to me. On the bottom was a small gift bag. It was stiff, as I guess an old bag would get after 15 years. I opened it and there it was. Fifteen years and 1 day after I held him and his tiny energy left his body…I received an album. With pictures of my son. In a very tiny white casket. A scary…deeply beautiful gift.

I was unprepared for this, this night. I looked through it quickly, trying to deny that this is part of my life. I shut it just as quickly, but went back for a second look, then a third. I remembered things I had suppressed. Man, 15 years is a long time.

Love until later,
Heidi
xoxox

 

The beat goes on 02/16/2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — heidi4ever @ 8:04 pm

Many of you who have followed me have noticed how this month and last have been quite consumed with updates about people who have died. Sometimes this happens, I guess. It just feels like a whole lot of it right now. Tragedies. Every death. It’s amazing how different each service can be. Also amazing how death can make you use the f word. I love the f word.

I sat in these services and I spoke with people and I remembered it being closer to me and how that felt. I remember the fog. I couldn’t really say much to families this weekend, and could only pass on hugs. I know that saying nothing can be better than saying the wrong thing.

It makes you think when you attend a funeral. I saw people I hadn’t seen in years. I ran into people I had no idea knew the same person I did. I looked around and I saw tears of course, but I also saw joy. I heard laughter and song, and mostly I just watched. I watched people unable to do anything but slump forward and cry. I heard a mother-in-law say how it happened so fast and she felt like she was in a never ending nightmare. All I could say was, “The fog.” She looked at me and agreed. It’s OK to stay in the fog. It helps to be in the fog because when you come out, you have to face what’s real.

I like the way that the celebration of a person’s life brings people together. I think of what it must have been like when these friends’ parents had their children. People gathered, no doubt. A celebration. Birthday’s celebrated over many years…or not so many years. Gatherings in celebration. And the final send off, a celebration of a sad sort, many times.

I sat and watched friends remembering so many things. But I know the feeling that comes next. “Now what?” Driving away from the final celebration is such a strange, empty feeling. It’s hard to go home. It’s hard not to go home. It’s hard to see all of the things that surround you and not know what to do with them. Do you leave his toothbrush there or do you move it? It’s so simple and it consumes you. Filling out taxes…things that are so easy for everyone else, and all you can think is that a year from now when filling their name in the appropriate box is that it will be the last time. And yet.

Now.

It begins.

Now begins the writing of the story. You are the greatest memory ever shared. It is hard now, but one day so soon, it will likely be sitting around sharing laughter and memories of you and your story and your spirit. The stories that begin “Remember when…”

The hardest part of writing this is that for one person, at least, this could be a hard thing to achieve. One little girl just lost her mama. She’s six years old, about to be seven, and her mommy won’t be there to celebrate. Depending on your beliefs, you may believe she will undoubtedly be there in spirit. I can absolutely see the spunk she passed on to her little girl!

It hits close to home when the person that died is roughly your age. When your children are the same age, you might think harder about how that could be you and your child and this could be them…and that’s hard. No amount of planning will prepare you for this. And that sucks. Again, four letter words coming to mind.

The village will surely play a huge role in supporting the survivors. Both of the memorials I attended this weekend were for people who gave with everything they had, and it seemed so easy. It would be done quietly and with the sweetest smile. I vow to be more like them.

Love until later,
Heidi
xoxox

 

Funny thing; grief. 02/06/2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — heidi4ever @ 2:36 pm

The further I get into it, the madder I get. I miss my baby, asshole. I’m left having to explain. How can I explain what I don’t know?

My kidlet asked why Madeline can’t have her birthday donut. “Because her dad was a selfish, hurting prick.” Ok, not appropriate for a 4 year old. “Maybe we can eat one for her,” I say instead.

The part that is new to me in years since I’ve had children that are living is I’m going through this, myself. It is new to me. And they suffer. And I have to be the strong one for them. Now, that’s new. It’s hard. It’s hard to hold them up when you’re fighting it, yourself. And so the extrovert has to remove herself and be alone in order to grieve. I grieve for them, too. I grieve for my mom. And my sister. I grieve for all parental units and all siblings, and for the future. I grieve what was, and what could have been. Not all days. Not even most days. This day, I have grief.

Moment of weakness. I’m owning it.

Love until later,
Heidi
xoxox

 

Donuts, cake, tulips

Filed under: Uncategorized — heidi4ever @ 7:40 am

A regular celebration. Erm…not so much, as the star is missing. That makes the whole thing kind of stink. Last night rolling into today was rough. Each year gives me something new and different. This year, I’ve thought a lot about my grandma. She died less than 2 years before Jeremiah was born and died, and less than four years before Madeline’s birth. I’m not sure what it is about this year that’s making me think of her. One thing she was really good at was finding something in us that we were really good at, and encouraging us to pursue it. I’m sitting here feeling guilt because my daughter turns 13 today and I don’t know what she’d be good at. It might be silly or illogical. But those are my thoughts.

So, 13 years ago, I was in the hospital with a crohns disease flare up. I had received a few pints in a blood transfusion, had E Coli, had my gall bladder removed 4 weeks prior, received IV nourishment, and been in the hospital 4 months of my pregnancy. I was 34 weeks pregnant, and a whopping 118 pounds. I needed to not be pregnant anymore. My body retaliated against this little creature I was growing. I was in pain, that night. Rocking on all fours kind of pain. The nurses came in and made me sit back so they could read her heartbeat. As soon as they left, and as soon as the Dr. left after giving me a huge amount of Demerol, I got back up on my knees to rock. It didn’t touch my pain. They came in, then. They flocked in and I heard, “Heidi, we’re going to take your baby now. We’ve got to get this baby out, now.” I looked at this nurse who suddenly became my best friend. I nodded and tried to do everything she said while papers were thrust my direction and I signed my life away.

They told me to count backwards from 100, but I don’t conform, so I said, “goodnight” and went to sleep. They had her out of me within a few minutes. She struggled there for a few. And then she breathed. And I stroked her tiny foot through the little hole in the incubator while my mom (I think?) prayed. The recovery nurse stopped and prayed with us. And they took her on her NICU adventure, where she spent the first weeks of her life.

She had the tiniest, most blonde curls I’ve ever seen in my life. I spent all of my waking minutes with her. And she grew to be a sweet little girl. She loved her babies and stuffed animals. She was eager to please when it came to numbers and letters. She was a quiet girl, other than those crazy giggles. Such a loving personality.

I can remember these things, but really…my heart hurts today. You don’t need to try to fix it. It’s not fixable. I just have to get through it. Things will be better tomorrow. She will still be 13 and I’ll still not have her here for any of it. This is the sad truth.

This year, we celebrate with donuts, cake, and tulips. Though she would have been fine with a Happy Meal.

Love until later,
Madeline’s mama
xoxox

 

Building up 02/05/2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — heidi4ever @ 9:10 am

In the past several years I don’t even notice it’s happening to me until someone points it out to me. It only takes a single person commenting, asking if I’m ok or noticing I’m being short. That’s when I notice the anxiety must have been building as I lead up to the day that should be a joy for any parent. And that’s all it takes for me to bring it down. Rather than excitement building for a birthday, rather than planning a birthday party for a child of mine turning a significant age tomorrow, I dread it. That’s the life of a mom of loss. Sure, I have proud mama moments. I have happy memories of the times we had. But really, it’s an angry time. Certain years are harder than others. This year, Madeline would be turning 13 years old. My Maddie. She’d be rude to me and talk back and slam doors and have her own phone if we’re giving those to 13 year olds these days. She’d be emotional and she’d hate me or love me. But I don’t get that. And I’m sad. And I’m angry. This is a lonely “holiday”. It’s a lonely milestone. As many of you that have lost a child, you hold me up the most. But you’re there. And I’m here. I know in the next days you’ll hold me up and carry some of that weight  and I’m mostly grateful for you because you “get it”. You know it’s unpredictable. You know that a mother’s love is like no other love. The relationship I had with my girl (all my kids) is the most important one. And so most of you (thank God) can’t imagine. Please don’t imagine. Tomorrow will be birthday cake and donuts. PG-13 movies? I’ll do what comes to me. And it will suck. Thank you for being patient with me-those of you who have noticed my anxiety. My mind is a little preoccupied right now.

The Big Awesome wants to get his sister a charm bracelet for her birthday, and wants to have a Nerf gun fight with Jeremiah. I think we’ll go sledding.

Love until later,
Heidi
xoxox

 

So…what have you learned? 01/30/2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — heidi4ever @ 8:24 pm

In absence, there are thoughts. And in thoughts…big fat trouble. Take a year or so. The first year, much happens. Milestones are reached. Basics. Things we take for granted. Big kid steps, and firsts, and learning to move on. But an adult year, well it goes quickly. In fact, so fast that sometimes they blur together and you can’t keep one from another. I can look back and think there is nothing, or I can catch you at a glance and realize that so much happened, I don’t know where to start.

What have I learned? I have reached a place in my life where I am content. Nothing feels unsettled. Nothing is missing. I have realized that my baby making days are likely behind me. I am excited about the future with my living kids. I have learned that I can be OK with this because there is no one with whom I wish to gift with our shared offspring. Also, sleep is good, and I’m OK working with babies and giving them back. I’ve learned to say no. This is big. I’ve learned to learn you, too, which gets really scary when I catch myself being so smart. I’ve learned to watch out. I’ve learned red flags. I’ve learned to trust myself. I’ve learned that when you walk away, sometimes it’s best to walk all the way, and sometimes the path needs revisiting. I’ve learned that when someone spits my femininity at me, AT ME…to accept it because I am what I am. And I am happy with what I am. I am happy with who I’ve become. I’ve realized I’m a cynical romantic. And I am so completely OK with that. Because I’ve learned my worth. Apparently it is strange to hear someone in their 30′s say they are content. Many years have been spent attempting to “get it right” in the significant other department. None of my years were failed. But it is so much more peaceful on this end. I am open to just about everything. I have learned anger. I’ve watched it turn from a controlling feeling to a controlled feeling-one in which became pity in the other direction, and bravery in standing up for myself. I’ve learned that pretty soon, someone will figure you out. One day, maybe someone will figure me out. :) Unlikely. I’ve learned to adapt. I realize the best advice will likely come from the generations before me, and how much is said from those very people. I’ve become one who is able to pull away. Not always. When needed. I’ve studied the behavior behind the action so much that I likely have you figure out by body language, alone. It’s in your step, your sigh, your flicker. I can feel it before I see you. I have learned that texting is frustrating when you cannot say those things to my face. I’ve learned that people want to hear me, people come to me to talk things out or for a creative perspective. I am that, and I own it. I love stories. I love your stories. A break is good. I hate school. Oh, this was not new. Hugs don’t last long enough. Nails take too long to dry. Shaving my legs isn’t optional. I need someone who can keep up. Wisdom from another generation. What would I do with that? Another lesson for another year…

So, when one day feels exactly like the next, these are the things that are actually happening. At least some.

Love until later,
Heidi
xoxox

 

Blink and you’ll miss it 10/20/2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — heidi4ever @ 7:49 pm

So, it happened again. Whether I wanted it to or not, October 20th came and went. This year all of the immediate kids were there. I don’t think it’s been done quite like this before, but I knew it would work itself out. In my own house, I am careful when I let my emotions show to my children. I mean, I get the proud and the happy and the silly and of course, the angry or disappointed. But I’m careful about sad. I don’t want my kids to worry that this is something that is always felt. I also don’t want them to think that sadness is something they should be scared of.

The Big Awesome got ready to go to the cemetery today. He was on top of things as I was still getting ready to go. He came and found me and asked, “So, do you want to talk about some things?” I said that of course I did. He ran down his list of questions. He wanted details of her death. He wanted to know how Madeline’s daddy could have killed her and what it looked like. I didn’t put images in his head, as I don’t think he needs that. He and kidlet were excited to carry a flower each (the two that grew in the entire garden were still waiting for us to take them to her). And we got there and he was fine. It was about this time…

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that the tears began. Oddly, it was about 12:09 pm.

12:09 pm was the exact minute when Madeline took her last breath, ten years ago today, based upon what the SWAT team says. They entered due to an e-mail they received. I will never know what either of the two e-mails he sent said, and I think I am OK with that. Meaning, given the opportunity to read them, I am pretty sure I wouldn’t. What’s done is done. None of it will bring my baby back. It will only bring up anger. I don’t need new anger. I’ve had enough. And when they entered the house, they were met with…well…death. I could feel the area where my daughter had been at 12:09 pm. I wonder whose job it was to carry her away, after it was cleared to do so. I wonder this as it was also someone’s job to carry Jeremiah as well. I wonder what they are thinking when they carry away someone that can be lifted with one arm, as opposed to two or three people. I wonder if their faith in parenting slumps a little. I wonder if they experience anger, or if they shut themselves off and they are just doing their job.

 
Kangaroo Jack was playing on the TV when the SWAT team entered. It was just ending. I haven’t seen the movie. I won’t. And TBA learned that this was the movie she was watching. And he had his own anger. It’s times like today when people try to get a minute with me and quite frankly, I could stay in my bed all day and be the best that I can be, but I get out of bed. I don’t really want to see you. It’s really not meant to offend you, but I am highly unlikely to even answer the phone or messages. If I answered you, it took everything I had. If I answered you cheerfully, it took more than what I had. I get out of bed because I have to. And I get out of bed for these kids. I got out of bed so I could answer questions, and yet I can’t answer his questions. My Mommy hands are empty. I have no answers. Why did he kill her? I don’t know. Maybe he was angry about things? Can’t we go back to last night when he was asking me the easy questions like how does a Mommy get a baby in her belly?
 
Kidlet ran through the cemetery like it was a playground. TBA clung. He clung to his dad so tight, and then he wanted to sit in the car and he declared his need for alone time. And he had it. For about 10 seconds, as I saw his little head go down on his little forearm in such sadness, it took my heart up through my throat and it took me that long to get to him. And when I did, I held on and he just collapsed into me. And an internal Mommy fist shook her fist toward the earth, because as you “know”, Hell is down there. Once again, how many of my children will you hurt? And I’m supposed to forgive and be good and the closer I get to forgiving, the further away I feel. Maybe it won’t come. It’s unsettling to be left with that feeling. I got him settled in his seat and we pulled away and every single time I made eye contact, his eyes welled up. His tears almost spilled over until I told him that today is so sad and it’s OK to feel sad any time he needs to, but there is so much good, too! I said, “TBA, you know how you love chocolate milk? So did she! She always had her cup of chocolate milk with her, only she pronounced it “chalk-it” milk. She would pretend to make hot coffee which was “hot cocky”. She played like Kidlet with joy and a gentle, mothering personality, but not nearly as LOUD as Kidlet!” He was pretty pleased with these distractions as his smile lit up his face and his little giggle made me want to hold him the rest of the day. Or at least until dinner time when he went completely mental!
 
What’s especially good is that I had these pictures that I could show my kids, and in the pictures, they could see those things I said were true. Kidlet commented on how cute she is. Not was. Is. And TBA kept telling Kidlet how old Madeline was in each picture. He was wrong every time, of course. He saw a picture of me holding her when she was a baby. He said every time he saw me that I look different than I do now. I started to say something about how I might in a FEW ways when I realized no, I’m freaking OLD! The first thing he noticed was my OVERALLS! To be fair, I was having a major flare up (Crohn’s Disease) and was 118 pounds when I had Madeline, so I may have dropped down to a hundred or so after her birth, and also I hadn’t learned the beauty of eyebrow waxing. :)
 
There was not a cloud in the sky, parts of today were crisp…and it so very reminded me of the exact day, ten years ago. It was a perfect day. Well. She left on the most beautiful day of the year. And she hobbled away, I told her I loved her. She was so eager to get where she was going that I had to call after her again, and she returned the love. Not a doubt in her mind that things were all right. My heart shrunk at least a fraction of an inch before I returned to the car to drive away.
 
My girl, I see glimpses of you every day. Thank you for giving me the two years, 8 months, and two weeks of living, breathing warmth. And thank you for sharing these glimpses every day. I love you to the moon and back.
 
Love until later,
Mama
xoxox
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And in case you haven’t read it, yet…
 

 
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