Love until later

all of it

My do it 02/05/2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — heidi4ever @ 9:02 pm

It’s interesting how I have blocked out the three months after Jeremiah’s death, and the year following Madeline’s murder, but there are some things so vivid it feels more recent than it actually is. I retell this story as I cannot be a survivor of child loss, though it is not my story. This is a bit more of their story.

Some of you have read me for years, and you have seen where I’ve been in my grief. You’ve seen where I’ve succumbed to the feelings I’ve been afraid to confront and you’ve seen me jump some hurdles. Each year brings something new. This year what I’m coming into is my little girl turning 14 and what it meant to me when I turned the same age. It might be the first year I really remember, for a lot of reasons. Mostly, I remember happiness that year, unlike the previous few years. I remember finding my voice and standing up for myself. I remember finding my weird for the first time and really embracing it. I know where I got most of my weird (thanks, Mom), and wonder if she would have embraced her weird or abandoned it for whatever she deemed “normal”. I wonder.

February 6th, 2001 started out like most of my pregnancy had. I was in the hospital because I was dealing with so much in my body (E Coli, Gall Bladder had been removed in January, Crohn’s flare up, deficiency so great it required a blood transfusion, malnourishment to the point where I was just over 100 pounds when I finally had her, and an abusive husband). My doctor came in before leaving for the day and said he thought they could move me from IV pain meds to oral pain meds (along with everything I was to be taking) and that I could go home. I said I would love to be on oral meds and go home, but in the four months of my pregnancy spent hospitalized, I knew that it was probably a good idea to put me on observation for the next 24 hours because that is when I always had my setback (thanks to the flare up). He said he could agree to that. The next few hours were a whirlwind.

I was being monitored and started experiencing a pain that was intense. I kept moving onto my hands and knees. The nurses kept coming in and putting me back in the bed on my back (sitting upright). I vomited a few times and the on call doctor came in and said he was going to give me a big bolus of Demerol. I was in a really bad way. It didn’t touch my pain at all. It didn’t even make me tired. I was back up on my hands and knees, rocking and in pain so severe that I couldn’t stop. They tried Morphine at that point. It didn’t calm a thing, but I was able to sit still long enough for them to wrap the monitors back around my tiny baby bump. Alarms started sounding and the medical team raced to my room. My nurse looked at me and said, “Heidi, we’re going to have to take your baby now.” All I could say was, “Thank you.” Eight minutes later they were asking me to count backward from 100. Ever the rebel, I only said, “Goodnight.” And she was born.

When I woke up, the nurse told me that I had a baby girl and she had struggled a little at first but she was OK. She didn’t breathe for roughly the first 10 minutes after her birth. She told me she was going to come into the recovery room where I was for just a minute on her way over to the children’s hospital. When they brought her in, I was allowed to stick my hand in the hole in the side of her incubator. I stroked my tiny four pound baby’s little foot and said my hello. She heard me and wiggled. She had the smallest blonde curls I had ever seen in my life. And she was alive. And she was perfect.

She spent a few weeks in the Newborn ICU (a heifer compared to most of the other preemies). Leaving her after I was released from the hospital was one of the hardest things I had to do as a Mama. I needed her way more than she needed me at that point. I held her for the first time when she was a week old. My mom gave Maddie her first bottle. I pumped so much milk that they ran out of room in the tiny NICU fridge. They weren’t used to women being able to make that much milk, apparently. When I do something, I like to do it all the way.

Today is rough. This week was rough (add a full moon in there). But today, especially. We’re driving to school this morning and A Team comes on the radio and the last line is “Angels die” and the whole van starts crying. I heard a tiny, “Mommy…” from the seat behind mine and my kidlet has tears just streaming down her face. Before she could utter the words, I said, “I know. Baby, I know.” I glance back at The Big Awesome and he asks, “Mom, what-what is it?” Kidlet said, “I really really miss my sister.” I asked her if that song reminded her of Madeline and she said yes. I kicked myself for not turning it off, but love those kids so much for loving what they cannot see-that right there says so much about the faith of a child. They are able to love something that they only hear stories about and feel so strongly about at times that it brings them to tears. I know that this sounds as though I sit around in the past and you might be judging me for transferring my grief off onto my living children-but I know it isn’t that. This isn’t just Jeremiah and Madeline’s story-it’s Kidlet and TBA’s story as well. We don’t live in the time of not speaking of such things anymore. They speak proudly of the siblings they never met. They ask for stories because it’s all that they have. They look forward to birthdays (or maybe birthday cake), and try to find ways to make it really special for her.

Once we got to school, I lost it a little. Learning that I was about to approach one of the special needs children I support in the middle of a meltdown first thing in the day really helped me. I put my all into a few of them today because they were testing me. I was so grateful because it kept me busy and focused on them and controlling or working through behaviors. They did me a favor today, because any minute I got to myself was the longest, most emotional minute. I gave up eating lunch mid bite because I knew their chaos was better for me and if I didn’t get back to it I would have to face reality.

This year I want to hold my living babies closer than in other years. I almost feel scared to be away from what I’ve got tomorrow. My heart is absolutely weeping tonight. I know tomorrow will be harder. I will feel empty and I will feel lonely-despite all of the support. Because that is how it is to be the mother of children who died. It’s a lonely place. People tend to look to me for answers and I won’t have any to give. And that’s just hard.

Another year older, my girl. Fourteen. I’m one old Mama.

Oh, my girl. I do miss you. I miss what you were and what you didn’t get to become. I am thankful for everything you gave me and everything you continue to give me-us. I love you to the moon and back!

Love until later,
Mama
xoxox

 

Exhale 10/20/2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — heidi4ever @ 8:46 pm

The days leading up to these awful days are one slow inhale. Days are filled with anxiety and fear of the emotions. Well, this year, as I said yesterday, I was able to allow the emotions to escape. Actually, I allowed them in. Or…maybe I just allowed them. Or recognized them. Needless to say, this year I made some steps other than hurt.

That being said, tonight I have empty arms and two chunks of my heart devoted to those children who are no longer with me on this earth. My heart is not broken. My heart is so much more full than I can even explain. Where there were cracks, my children are my stitches. Love. That’s just love. Tonight my love focuses a little more on the missing her part. Tonight, I inhale a little more. Tomorrow I exhale.

So grateful for you who helped me not bear this alone. And you know what? I’m grateful I learned how to share because it’s just not easy.

Love until later,
Heidi
xoxox

 

When nothing can change 10/19/2014

Filed under: Gah this is depressing — heidi4ever @ 7:50 pm

I could sit here and eat all of this chocolate peanut butter. I could bypass the venti and go for the trenta. I could wear two boyfriend sweatshirts instead of just one. I could eat more potatoes. I could add bubbles to the bath. I could refill my wine glass, but the flashbacks will still find me. Eleven years and they still catch up to me. It comes down to the fact that I am not in control and that is hard.

Life sure is funny that way. Every day of my Mom life I have been schooled on control. When nothing goes as planned, I tend to go overboard controlling what I can. When I feel chaos around me, I feel as though I have lost control. I don’t really know if I was like that “before” or only since “then”.

This year is weird in that October 17th fell on a Friday. This was the last time I saw her alive. On a Friday. I dropped her off at about 4:30 in the afternoon with her grandma, and she hobbled up the ramp on her cast to her grandma’s front door, barely looking back for an, “I love you, Mommy!” My little girl, charging ahead.

I sit here now thinking about my thirteen year old daughter that I don’t see in the physical sense, but I do see every day in the hearts and eyes of my living children. The Big Awesome has a sweetness in him that reminds me of my Maddie. He has empathy and compassion toward those who have hurt in them. The Kidlet has the joy and innocence that Mad had, despite coming into her diva school days. There is light that burns in them and I saw it in her, too. There is spirit in them and I felt it in her, too. Yes, I have raised them, but they do this without me. I have no control over what goes on in their minds or the words that come out of their mouths (especially that Kidlet).

The farther away each day gets, the more I forget. If I could feel just one thing, it would be those arms wrapped around my neck in the biggest Maddie hug she could muster. If I could smell just one thing, it would be the back of her neck after a bath. If I could touch just one thing, it would be those cheeks on her face. If I could absorb one thing it would be a little bit of her soul. If I could hear one thing it would be her laugh. If I could keep one thing it would be that innocence.

If I could give her something, it would be the knowledge that she is looked up to as a big sister. She is missed by people who never met her (and those who did) and she lives quietly in the hearts of so many people. Her story is incredible, and I could not be more proud to be called Madeline’s Mom. I have no control over what happened to her young life, but I have control over how I live mine. I feel that my life is lived with joy because that is entirely what she brought to me.

So thankful for my support system who is checking in on me one by one as I write this, sending hugs and love and reminding me that I am not alone, despite the loneliness I feel as the minutes countdown to one of the crappiest anniversaries a person can have. Tonight, I give up control and allow my wall to come down a little bit so that I can let some of her escape me.

My girl, my love, my Maddie,

You are loved.

Love until later,
Mom

Madeline and Jeremiah’s story can be found here:

http://www.virtual-memorials.com/main.php?action=view&mem_id=6240

 

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

 

 
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