Saturday, December 15, 2012

No More Excuses!

It won't leave my mind.
I know what it's like to lose a child. I know what it's like to see blood and the wreckage of a cruel accident on a son...and wonder if he will live, and know that if he does, he will never be the same, and as you watch his lifeless face with the tube shoved down his throat... wonder if he's already dead.

I know what it is like to hold a lifeless baby in your arms.

Wishing that you could do ANYTHING to bring them back. Anything. You beg the universe. You scream and sob and tantrum under the night sky. WHY???? You ask. WHY M Y BABY???? WHY??!!!???

I know what that feels like.

So as I sit here,  a baby girl cozy in my arms with warm milk dribbling down her chin, trying to get my work done at home, as a Medical Biller and Office Manager for my husbands mental health practice, I feel the lump in my throat. I feel the tears burning behind my eyes. I know my work will have to wait.

I know what it feels like to lose a child.  My babies.

I know what it feels like to have a broken heart.

I know what it feels like to have Christmas approach...when all you want, is to have them back the way they were. The way they SHOULD have been.

I know what it feels like to have regrets. To wish you had done something different. Anything.

But you can't.

To the parent's who are hopelessly fingering the gifts they had already bought for the children they loved....wetting the paper with tears...knowing they will never see the sparkle of their daughter's eyes again. Or their son's toothless grin. Knowing last year was the last Christmas of wholeness and smiles and unfettered joy---I know what it feels like. It SUCKS.

I am so sorry for your horrific, unquestionably wrong losses. I am so devastated to not be able to say "Hey guys...I have a get out of jail free card, and you can have it!". I am heartbroken that there is no rewind button. No way to do it over. No way to fix it.

No way to stop the tears.

Ty and I work with people who are dealing with their mental health. They are fighting for their lives...and they are strong. They are addressing their crisis, their anger, their grief and pain and trauma. They are WORKING on themselves. By and large, they are in poverty...and as such, many of them qualify for the meager allowance of services our country concedes is "acceptable." These people are owning their mental health and doing a FANTASTIC job improving their realities. It is not these people I worry about. It is the people not getting help. The people who are uninsured. Or Under-insured. Or insured, and in denial that they need support.  After all..."It's looks good from my backyard!" Yeah....funny. Funny how it's the people who look so normal who want to believe that mental health is an optional issue reserved for "those other people..." or "those other families..."  They live the same denial as the "functional alcoholic."  I call them the "working mentally ill." 

I have billed insurance companies who send back our bills with the explanation that once their client, who pays an ample sum to HAVE insurance, pays a total of $5000.00 in medical bills, they will begin to pay 20% of their mental health care bills. We put clients like that on a waiting list for funding with our Robin Hood Fund, hoping that we can care for them. Ty often sets up appointments anyway...trying to work out a payment plan, and knowing he might never get paid. In many ways, it's not much different than actually billing an insurance company, because they seem to have lots of loopholes to prevent payment, or reduce it to laughable levels. We've discovered that working in mental health is much akin to volunteer work.  Insurance companies don't want to pay, our government doesn't want to pay and our citizens can't afford to pay, or don't want to admit that mental health is a priority until their lives start to crumble...and then, well, maybe they will pay.  Maybe. But even if they pay for themselves, they don't want a neighbor to get a free they vote against mental health funding.  In essence...they vote for another tragedy to occur, and then they wonder why something so horrible as mass murder, keeps happening in this country. 

Mental health matters. It matters as much as getting good food and shelter. It matters as much as education, and probably more than the required vaccinations we make our kids get in order to go to school.

I work in mental health. It is the life-thread of my education. I understand personally what it takes to climb out of the horror of abuse and loss and horrific tragedy. There are 28 families out there who are weeping RIGHT NOW over the loss of their loved ones. The shock and horror is cruelly vibrating through their veins. Millions of children and parents are now worried that schools around the nations may not be safe places to be.

They are afraid.

I am afraid.

And I'm sorry. I'm sorry that we, as a nation, didn't protect our children better. I'm sorry that we, as a nation, didn't take mental health seriously. I'm sorry that we, as a nation, failed to do SOMETHING different. Anything.

Had we done something after ANY of the shootings that have shocked us all over the past several years....this shooting might not have occurred. Had we taken gun control seriously, like so many other 1st world nations, this horrific slaughter might not have occurred. Had we made efforts to improve funding for mental health...this particular mass murder of children might not have occurred.

Let's not wait for a next time. Let's not just make a memorial and walk past it in helpless denial. Let's not just cry and move ahead pretending there is nothing we can do about it. Make your voice heard.

Now is the time.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Her birthday came and went...

In no way was it unnoticed.  There was a six layer rainbow cake...a giant sun balloon...a handmade doll with rainbow 

She loves everything, you know?  When she wants to show she loves...she places her cheek against whatever, whoever, it is.  She wiggles to music.  She squeals with joy.  She places her little hands in ours and happily marches in whatever direction pulls at her fancy. 

When I hold her, I breathe in her smell...and hold it in my memory, begging that it will never be forgotten. 

Because I know what loss feels like.

Every single day.

Every single night.

I hear her quiet breath...and I will it to continue forever.

I see her shining eyes...and I beg that they will never fade.

I see her loving smile...and I pray that her love will not be abused.  Stolen. 

I ask for protection.  Life.  Joy. 

For her. 

For me. 

For all of us.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


Loss.  It's something we all encounter at one, or more, time(s) in our lives.  All different types of loss.  All different.  All the same.  All different.  All the same.

On the mild end of the coin, it could be an earring you loved.  A Frisbee. A cup that belonged to a treasured relative could break. get to the area of loss where love was involved.  You lose a friend.  A boy or girl friend.  Not because they died...but because the love died.  Or faded.  Maybe you lose a pet.  Maybe it was a pet you kinda liked...or loved with all your being.  Maybe you lose a sibling.  A best friend. A partner.  A parent. 

A child.  Several children. 

Maybe, the loss you are experiencing isn't even related to you...but is about someone else suffering a loss you have experienced.  And the pain of their reality becomes your own.

If you are a therapist, perhaps the loss you feel is from watching all the loss of all your clients.  Experiencing their tears as your own. 

It can be crushing.


As human beings, I believe we were meant to live tribally.  We were meant to experience support.  Group compassion.  The loss of a precious member of the tribe, mourned by ALL.  Together.  All the tears of the loss...shared.  

Instead...we are tribe-less.  We must cry ALL the tears of the loss, whatever it is,....alone. 

Our culture tells us to stand strong.  Buck up.  Get a Grip.  Be positive.  Look on the bright side.

Ignore our pain.

Ignore the pain of others.

Walk on.  Away.


There is no time to grieve.

And no one wants to admit they are grieving as well.

"Be strong!"

"Be positive!"

"Visualize something happy!"


"Please, please...forget.  So that I can forget too."

And yet....

the whisper that remembers never leaves.  ever.

We remember the precious pet.  The one that never left your side.  We remember the spouse who, in the dark, kissed like no other.  We remember the brother...who teased and tickled.  We remember the mother, whose sweet smell still wafts in the bathroom.  We remember the hopes and dreams for the child that never was.  Or was...but left too soon.  Much, much too soon. 

They will look at you with a smile and ask, "How are you?"  and a secret place behind their eyes begs you not to really tell them how you are.  How you really ARE. 

"I've been better..."  is a response they are not looking for.  "Fine" a response that is a lie. 

So you simply smile, locking the gates of tear flooded reality. 

Loss.  It touches us all. 

Speak about it.  Share it.  Own it. 

Loss.  We need to be reminded that we are not alone....when we speak of it, we offer support to everyone who has ever lost anything...and that IS everyone. 

Speak of it.  Cry about it.  Laugh in spite of it. 

Yes.  laugh through the tears. 

Because....they would want it that way. 

You know who "they" are. 

Yes.  They would want it that way. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Wanting to give back...

You know...there are those people in our lives who always go out of their way to help others.  We all have them.  Sometimes, it's not just one person...but many who do little, and big, things to make the day brighter.  I've been thinking about this a lot lately.

Cause I'm married to a person like that.

If you've been reading for the past three know all about him.  He's that guy.
The guy who held my hand through oceans of tears.  Who walked with me for hours as I tried to find my breath.  Who cheered me on as I told you my story.  Our story.

The father I always wished I children have.

This is a man who not only spends his nights and weekends loving his family, but who spends his working hours nurturing and protecting the hearts of others who have known the bottom of the barrel.  He typically refers to his clients as his friends.  When I asked him why he does that...he replied "Because I love those people.  They aren't just clients.  They ARE my friends."

That's called being a therapist who cares.  Not just a little.  These people matter to him, like his own brothers and sisters.  Mothers and fathers.  And he gives his soul to all of them.  For that small hour...their problems are the only problems in the world to him.  And his clients know that.  His friends know that.

What most of them don't know is that I hear him crying in the wee hours of the morning.  Crying and praying.  Begging.  He begs that the babies of the world who are being raped will be loved.  He begs that women who are beaten by their partners will be loved.  Will find a safe place to go.  He pleads that men, who are afraid of their own desires, will be brave enough to speak out instead of trying to kill themselves...leaving the people who love them behind.  He sobs...over his own grief.  The grief that he tries to muffle, because he doesn't think I can handle the burden.

I've noticed that he seems sunnier when we have longer days.  I've noticed that the rays of sunshine seem to lift his pain a little.  His eyes seem less burdened.  But...summer is short in Montana.  And winter is long.  As the days already grow shorter, I've felt my chest tighten a bit as I know the glimmer that is surfacing in his eyes again.  It's loss.  Loss of the sunshine.  Loss of the ability to feel it on his face.  Loss of the giving nature he finds in the long days of summer.  Loss of warmth.  Of light.

So...this morning...I heard him crying again.  And I knew it was because of a particular pattern.  Loss.  He's going into his own practice.  Which is exciting to both of us.  Exciting.  And scary.  It will be a good thing.  .  .the best thing for him...and the friends who walk through his door each day.  But...I'd like to give back to him in a way that will show him that the world cares as much about him as he cares about others.  I'd like to show him that the support I have found on line is there for him as well.  I'd like to give him the light he needs to feel joy on his face.  I'd like to give him a place of light in our tiny home.  A sunroom for Ty.  Where he can sit in the morning...even in the winter...and feel warmth on his face, surrounded by greenery and tropical plants.  I'd like to give a portion of what he gives his daily life.  I'd like to ease the pain of loss a little with a gift of abundance.

We can do it together.  You held my hand through our loss.  I know you can hold Ty's as well.  Please click the Go fund me link on the side of this page, or visit here ----> and help me give back to Ty.  There are so few good men in the world.  Ty is one of them.  Let's give him the sun!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

In honor of breastfeeding week...

As I sit here with my almost 11 month old rainbow baby nursing in my arms...I am acutely aware of how quickly time passes us by.  This poem spoke to me today...I know it will speak to you too. 

 Wean Me Gently

by Cathy Cardall

I know I look so big to you,

Maybe I seem too big for the needs I have.

But no matter how big we get,

We still have needs that are important to us.

I know that our relationship is growing and changing,

But I still need you. I need your warmth and closeness,

Especially at the end of the day

When we snuggle up in bed.

Please don't get too busy for us to nurse.

I know you think I can be patient,

Or find something to take the place of a nursing;

A book, a glass of something,

But nothing can take your place when I need you.

Sometimes just cuddling with you,

Having you near me is enough.

I guess I am growing and becoming independent,

But please be there.

This bond we have is so strong and so important to me,

Please don't break it abruptly.

Wean me gently,

Because I am your mother,

And my heart is tender.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Random Acts of Wonderment...

I came into my office this evening and found a box on the computer table that my son's had failed to tell me arrived.  You see, they were rather excited about a game they had ordered that arrived, and I'm sure that anything else in existence slipped their minds.   Even so, I did find the box, and I was pretty curious about it, so I ripped it open while my rainbow girl grabbed happily at the tape that kept sticking to her tiny fingers. 

Inside the box... I found the most beautiful thing. 

It was a hand knit bunny with a rainbow dress.  My Venus girl grabbed at it with a squeal of delight.  She squealed and squealed as the bunny flopped joyfully in her hands.  It was love at first sight!  I dug into the box and found a tiny silver key chain...with the names "Simon and Alexander" printed on the back of an Angel disk. 

The tears trailed into my smiling mouth as I read a beautiful note from a dear friend who I haven't seen in years. 

I watched my rainbow baby clutch at her bunny as her big brothers whooped in amazement over the idea that our friend had MADE that toy with her own skilled fingers.  They declared her talent to be above and beyond anything they had ever dreamed about, and longed wistfully for the ability to make toys and clothes and jewelry like that. 

I kept gulping back tears.  Never in my life would I have dreamed of such a gift for my girl.  It simply was too beautiful to imagine. 

I am struck by the heaps of adoration that others have showered into our lives. 

I am awed by the love.  The compassion.  The miracles. 

The sparkling eyes of my little girl shine with delight, and they remind me of eyes that never looked into mine.  Simon and Alexander...I would have loved to see your eyes sparkle with joy.  There are people in this world who understand that.  There are people who know how deeply I yearn for them. 

Every day.

I wanted to share with my readers around the world this photo of my rainbow girl with her new beloved bunny...  I wanted to tell you all that you are not alone.  There is a sparkle in the universe for us.  It shines with golden light and love. 

Sometimes, it is something we can touch, like a bunny made by a friend. is a feeling. 

A beautiful, wonderful feeling. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Shards of Glass

When my father was a boy, he boiled a glass in a pan and it exploded.  You can still feel shards of glass under the skin.  Shards the doctors were never able to remove. 

You'd never know just from looking at it.  But, if you feel carefully...they are there.

This weekend, I took a walk with my rainbow girly and husband...and of course, my amazing sheep dog.   The boys all opted to stay home with a movie, and we agreed because our teen hasn't been home much lately, being a social butterfly and all...  So, it was a nice chance for them to hang together as brothers.  It was also a nice chance to just talk, without interruption.  In all honesty, we typically don't mind "interuption"...but there are moments when it's nice to talk without having to remember what you said moments ago because someone needs toilet paper, and someone else needs a snack and someone else wonders when they can buy that extra special video game, and someone else wonders if I can pay them for cleaning the porch (yes.) and someone else wonders if someone ELSE can do the dishes (no.)

When we walk with our rainbow girly, sometimes we pass other people.  They smile at her and nod knowingly at us "Oh, you just wait till she's older!  They are sweet NOW, but..." 

They don't know that I've been a practicing mother for 22 years.  They don't know that I have five living children.  They don't know that my twins are dead and that I'd give ANYTHING to have them give me hell in the future.   At least they would BE. 

It's the shards of glass in MY heart...loss.  Razor sharp and uncomfortable to the touch.  Sealed under a scar---forever. 

The part of me that longed for "me time".  The part of me that groaned about endless need.  The part of me that wistfully remembered dreams from my youth---before I became a parent.  A mother.  That part of me...seems insignificant compared to the part of me that yearns to be whole again. 

I yearn for the days before the shards of glass.  Before I knew that my children could die.  Before I knew that I could--and would--find myself sobbing in a super market.  Or any market for that matter.  The days wherein I felt complete, and whole, and...strong.

I walk by smiling people and I wonder what their shards of glass are. 

Or if they have any.

And if they don't...Why? 


As they walk by me, with my beautiful little girl smiling from my arms, do they think I've got it all?  Do they feel that I must not know suffering? 

Do we look like the perfect family of three plus doggie dear? 

It's something to contemplate...that others have shards of glass in their souls too.  That we can't see what those shards are from.  That we don't even know they are there.  And probably never will.

I walk by smiling people and I smile back at them. 

They don't need to know. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


It's really been three years.  Three long years since losing Simon and Alexander that have gone by with the speed of a freight train running over my heart.  Only faster.  And more tortuous.

Three years in the life of a woman.  When I look at the big scale of my life...three years are a drop in the bucket.  I should be grateful. 

IS that little baby girl really me???

That's what I'm told.  I'm told that that grinning little girl with the big brown eyes is me.  Or rather...she was me. 

See, that little girl with the broad smile and eyes brimming with excitement hasn't been hurt yet.  She hasn't been damaged by life yet.  Her parents love her and feel that she is a delight.  She hasn't been ignored, or belitted, or neglected, or shamed.  Yet.

Life hasn't dealt her any abuses.  Yet.

Nor any cruelties.  Yet.

She still drinks her mothers breast milk, designed especially for her, and when she cries, her mama picks her up.

No one has molested her.  No one has berated her.   No one has decided that she is too needy or too talkative or too...bothersome.

No one has decided that her emotions are unwanted.

She has never known loss...nor does she know that she will walk hand in hand with it.  She has NO IDEA what is in her future.  No idea of what is coming her way.  

She is just loved.  Adored even. 

I was a rainbow baby.

It's funny, to look at the picture now, because...I have a rainbow baby too.
And, just like the me in that picture...she is adored.
She has never known pain.  Neglect.  Abuse.
No one has ever given her anything but tenderness and love.
She has been treasured, encouraged, and celebrated.
She is surrounded by a house of adoring brothers, a doting father, and an especially tender mama.

This is my mother and me.

Yeah...we are sideways...but, that's kind of appropriate.  Because see, my world would soon be turned upside down.  My mother would soon get the son she always craved, and I'd be put on the back burner...suddenly too demanding.  Suddenly  Rainbow baby or not....It's never been the same.  I was too much work.  Too sensitive.  Too talkative.  Yeah.  I was apparently too sexy by the time I could walk.  Weird.  

Not only was I too sexy, which is why it was my fault that I was violated while she frequented bars with random jerks...but I was also too thinky.  See, I thought too much about...everything.  We didn't really see eye to eye, my mother and me.  Not because I didn't want to...but because she didn't want to face her own demons.  She didn't want to look at her own mine was a nuisance to her.  When my pain didn't just "go away"...I became the object of disdain.  It was my problem.  Not hers.

This is my rainbow girl and her  The me I am NOW.
We are right side up.

If i have ANYTHING to say about...that is the way she and I will stay.

In love.

In touch.

In eternity.

I was a rainbow baby.  A discarded rainbow baby.  How bizarre to know how deeply I treasure my own girl when I am an un-treasured daughter.  And yet...I know how to be a good mama, cause I didn't have one!  I searched high and low to discover who I am NOW.  I was a rainbow baby.

Somehow that speaks to me.  A rainbow baby giving birth to a rainbow baby...

I look at the pictures of the me that used to be...and I know that the twinkle in my eyes holds an understanding of joy.  That twinkle has re-appeared...and as I look at my daughter, it sparkles in a wonderment that stands in astonishment as I contemplate my past in view of my present...and my future. 

I know that the little girl that I was had no idea how terribly sad life could be...and life was unbearably cruel to her.

And yet, that remained.

That's how I know that photo is of me.  I still have that sparkle.

When I look at my baby girl and her big brothers...I see that I passed it on.
I will take care to ensure their sparkles are cherished.  I know what it feels like to have that sparkle ignored.

That is what tenacity gives us...even though the walls of our lives come crumbling down... we discover our innate right to love and joy in spite of hardship and our sparkle shines on.
And on.

And on.

And...I am very. very. very grateful for that...

Monday, May 21, 2012

Fact and Fiction

I've been writing.  (What's new??) 

But seriously, I really have been writing.  It's almost done.  My baby. 

Somehow, it was brought to my attention that a story must be told.  The question was, how to do it.  I didn't want to expose my tender family too much.  And is our story that was chiming in my ears.  So, I took our reality and made it fiction. 

You'll see us in it.  Fictionalized.  I chose to do that in order to morph things well...and in order to protect myself from raised eyebrows and dubious response. 

It is our story. 

And, it's almost done. 

It's been three years since our loss.  Simon and Alexander are waiting in the wings.  Our rainbow girly is at my breast.  And...the story must out. 

It was meant to be. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Earth Day...

Yesterday was Earth Day.

For those of you who know my story, you know why that day is important to me.  Three years have passed since we lost our twins.  Three years have passed since I discovered that there really is something beautiful to be found after we die.  Three years have passed.

I feel a little bit like a war veteran who has just come home.  I've seen things the "normal" people around me have not seen.  Felt things they haven't felt.  Questioned things they never thought to question. Been through things I hope they never have to go through.

I'm a changed being.  Tender.  A little frayed around the edges.  Bruised.  Scarred.  Maimed.

But I'm here.

I'm here.

Yesterday, we spent the day walking.  Talking.  In the seclusion of river, woods and fields, we found some laughter, shared tears, memories...

We took turns holding our rainbow girl.  How healing is the presence and solid vibrancy of a rainbow baby!  In moments of intensity...heart breaking longing...we would hold her close.  Feel her skin.  Thanking life for giving her to us.  And then, blinking back tears in the knowledge that some of our fellow sisters and brothers of  the loss world have not been given the opportunity to feel that comforting balm.  It pains me so deeply to think that such a painful void would remain empty for so many.

In that...I know I am ever so lucky.

I don't say blessed at the moment, because that would imply that someone decided I was worthy of my girl, while others remain unworthy...and that, to put it solid horse-shit.

I am lucky.

So very very lucky.

I wanted to thank everyone who put Simon and Alexander in their hearts yesterday.  I wanted to thank the people who called...who sent  I wanted to thank the people who took pictures and drew their names in the sand.  Thank you.  It isn't blood that defines family.  It's love.  It's thoughtfulness.  It's holding someone's hand in support.  You are the people who do that for me.  You are my family.

I love you for that.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Slip Sliding Away...

I've been crying a lot this month.  Sobbing actually.  There are lots of reasons for this...all of the reasons linked to the same events.

I'm weeping because they would have been three this month.

I'm wiping my eyes because I could have had twins.

I'm sniffling because I feel guilty for wanting something I can not have.  Ever.

I'm gasping for air because it still hurts that they are gone.

I'm feeling my heart race because the agony of that pain has short circuited my body's electrical patterns.  Maybe permanently. 

I'm holding my face in my hands because I'm supposed to be all better, according to others, now that my lovely rainbow baby is actually HERE at my breast.  And yet....I'm still crying inside.

It's not that I don't feel the soothing balm of rainbow baby loveliness.  It's not that she isn't AMAZING in every way.  It's not that.  It's that I lost my twins.  I think I thought it would stop hurting somehow.  I think I thought I really wouldn't feel the pain so acutely anymore.  I think I thought that after three years....

I'd maybe...forget?

Or maybe I'd...just smile at the memory of people who should have been...but didn't get to BE?

Or perhaps I'd...just....

be stronger.

But I'm not. 

And that has to be okay with me. 

It's April.  It hit me hard today as I walked in the woods with that amazing man who, for whatever reason, still seems to love me like there is never going to be a tomorrow.  Our little miss V. was on my back, gazing at the world around her in a perky little bonnet.  Her big blue eyes competing with the sky for brilliance.  Her sweet milky aroma bringing a smile to my lips.  I held the warm, strong hand that has never left my side for 17 years.  I watched my cutie pie sheepdog lope up ahead to catch the disk flying up ahead of us every few hundred feet.  *my husband has a thing for folf...*  And I saw them....

Purple and yellow flowers.  They are here again.  Because they are here every year at this time. 

Purple and yellow flowers.  All over the woods. 

And I remembered. 

I remembered dying.  I remembered seeing our twins.  Holding them.  Talking to them.  Not wanting to leave them.  I remembered.

My throat closed up. 

I gripped his hand. 

And I said..."They would have been three years old."

He knew what I meant.  We stopped and looked at each other.  I saw him looking at our 7 month old daughter.  Our rainbow.  I saw the tears well in his eyes and took note as the muscle in his jaw set to work. 

There are two people on this earth who miss two people not on this earth more than we can bear.  There is a family in the mountains that remembers it is not complete. 

There is a hole that isn't filled by other babies.  No matter how perfect and wonderful they are.

Our rainbow girl is a new person.  She isn't a replacement.

She isn't a substitute.

She is our wonderful baby girl.  We adore her.  She is lovely and enchanting in every way.

To think she could replace our little twins is ludicrous.  She didn't replace them.  She is her own person.  She should have had twin brothers who were three years old.  Twin brothers who would have made her smile just as her other wonderful brothers do.  It could have been that way. 

It could have been.

Instead,  it isn't.

And that makes me weep every time I see purple and yellow flowers.

Time passes so quickly.  It moves right past us.  When you have lost a child, others want to have that mean that you are "all better".  That you too have moved on.

That isn't how it works.

You remember.

You just try not to let others know you remember.  but, not for you or your well being...for them and their preference to forget what they wish they never knew in the first place.  

What a crazy world.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Fairy Dust and Race Cars...

The moments of my day have changed dramatically in the past few months.  I couldn't help but to realize this as I sat, with a small girl looking attentively at my activity, paintbrush in hand.  The small girl watched as I dipped the brush in a selected color and rubbed it carefully onto a designated spot.  Just so.  Every now and then, she would break into a joyful chattering of delight--much like the sound of a baby pterodactyl.  I would stop, smile on face...beaming at the little bundle on my left leg...and then, continue painting.

What was I painting you ask??


The idea was inspired as a reinforced box appeared in my car after my husband's office moved to a new location.  The box was just perfect and my little miss's brothers zoomed her around in it for over an hour before I saw, in my mind's eye, what it really was.  Her first car.

I imagine her tearing through town...a gleam in her eye.

And the most wonderful part of it all...the most magical that I get to pretend.  With her.  Because she is here.

When you have lost a baby.  Or babies as is the case with me...  You know how precious that reality is.  To have the option of pretending.

In the depths of loss, there is no pretending.  Anything.  You can't pretend your baby is here.  You don't get to fill your hours juggling activities.  The hours tick slowly on.  Without end.  You lose track of days.  Months.  Even years. 

The painful reality is so stark, it leaves no room for imagination.  For silliness.

I remember being silly.  I remember being creative.  I remember not knowing that I didn't know.

I found a picture of the pregnant belly that contained my twins on my cell phone yesterday.  Honestly, I am pretty sure I took it at this same time of the year three years ago.  It was what I looked like right before they were gone.  I took that photo and sent it to my husbands phone right before I set off to teach a psychology class at the University.  I remembered it...because it was the last one I took that year.  

As I painted the little car for my rainbow baby girl, I thought about the fact that I never got to do anything for my twins.  Maybe that's the part that hurts the most.  I didn't get to mother them.  I didn't get to show them how much I would have treasured them.

I held my little girl a little closer as that feeling crept over me, as it often does.  That feeling that knows all too well how lucky I am to have her here.  With me.  In my lap.

I know how fleeting this time is.  Because, even when you get to HAVE your baby in your lap, it's really only the blink of an eye before they are moving out, having their own lives.  Their own babies.
I know how precious these moments are.  The moments of shared smiles and silly box cars.  The moments of wakeful sleep and eager nursings.  The moments where you are the most important person in a child's world.

In a simple life moment, one of those moments that happens before you want it to, she will step out of her box car, and into the real world where I can not insure her safety, or her happiness.

I'll just have these pictures as a reminder of this joyful moment.  The moment wherein she was my baby.

And unlike her twin brothers, she got to be here with me.  Enjoying the blissful world of imagination.

She's here. 

I could never forget how lucky I am in that.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

It's no joke...

April 1st.

I had the momentary desire to pull a prank on my boys today but I couldn't think of anything that would be actually funny.  It occurred to me that, while not ALWAYS true, April fools jokes are more often mean spirited than funny.  The whole idea of tricking someone into thinking something shocking, whether it would be a happy thing or not, is's just not always so funny to the person being tricked.

I sound like a party pooper I guess.

When I woke up this morning, there was the little girl in me that wanted sooooo much to pull a fast one on my family.  To tell them something that would make them gasp...and then, say in a sing-song fashion, "Aprilllll Foooooools!"  But, I couldn't think of anything funny.  I couldn't think of anything silly.

All I could think about was that this is the month.  April.  This is the month that has haunted our lives for the past three years.  April.  This is the month when we lost them.  April.  This was our season of loss.  And it still is.


I rolled over and hugged my rainbow baby close to me.

And I cried.


I thought to myself,  "There is nothing at all funny about loss."

And, I breathed.  I tried to follow her sleepy breathing.  I cuddled against her downy hair.

And I cried some more.  For all the mama's who don't have the rainbows I know they wanted so deeply.  For all the mama's who know loss like the jagged rip I feel acutely this morning.

Who know how painful emptiness can feel.

I see the blue sky creeping out from under storm clouds that left my lawn damp.  The light is starting to peek out in streaming beams.

My cheeks feel taut from the salt tears that soaked them this morning.

I know my boys will each play a trick on me today.  And, I will laugh...and maybe forget for a moment how raw this pain felt in the wee hours before anyone else was awake...and I'll be grateful for all the wonderfulness I am surrounded with...and I'll know I am just about as lucky as anyone has ever been....

And they will still be gone.

They will still only be a whisper.

Their ashes dissolved into soil. 

I think I'll take my rainbow girl to the gully today.  I think I need to spend some time there with her.

It's funny...somehow I believe that she knows Simon and Alexander better than all of us.
Somehow, I believe she will understand.

It's no joke...but, it's funny all the same.  Funny in exactly the way I would expect April 1st to be. 

Friday, March 16, 2012


There is this different place wherein time not only stands still, but also flies by. 

It's a place where a computer virus is met with a shrug.
And where the understanding that the computer will be gone for weeks, is met with a smile.

And months go by in the blink of an eye.

And tiny toes get bigger.

And the thorn in your heart continues to fester...and smile anyway.

Because there are things to smile about that feel better than the pain of loss.

And look out the window, and something reminds you. 

A yellow balloon sails by the window, tied with a purple string.

Two birds land on the porch.

A baby girl nothing.  And probably something.  Probably.

Walking hand in hand with your best friend.  Your lover.  The one who has walked through everything with you...who will walk through everything yet to come.  You walk...and you talk....and only the two of you are aware that there should have been little twins running up ahead.  Almost three years old.  There should have been little chubby twin fingers stroking the soft cheek of a beloved little sister. 

You look into the eyes of an older child...who is drawing a picture with purple and yellow flowers.  Who always adds purple and yellow to every picture.  Who always will.  Probably.

Because...we were changed. 

All of us. 

And as life speeds ahead.  Parts of us all are standing still.


The memories that never were, and that always will be.

In a standstill.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


It's funny how hard it is for some people to say they are sorry.  In fact, some people have all kinds of ways to actually avoid saying it at all.  There are the roundabout pseudo apologies like "IF I have done anything to hurt or offend you, please forgive me."  and "I stand corrected".  Both of which simply say..."I am NOT going to SAY I'm sorry...but I hope you will think I have said it so that I can continue doing everything exactly as I've done before.

Then, there are the apologies which come seriously delayed, after every other possible stall tactic has been tried.  Once one realizes that, really, the ONLY way they can save face for their own selfish reasons is to finally say "I'm sorry"...they say it.  Even if a year has passed.  Or years.  

Of course, there are those who will never say it at all.  For, to admit one has wronged another is a mighty hard thing to do. 

My eldest son struggled with this concept throughout his childhood.  He would do something he shouldn't have done, or accidentally hurt someone...or hurt someone on purpose....and when the subject of apologizing would come up he would say "BUT...I didn't mean to hurt him!"  I would then have to go into the monolog about how even if we don't mean to hurt someone, and especially when we haven't meant to hurt someone, an apology is what we give to the person we have hurt in order to express that we understand that we have hurt someone.

Can you see the concept soaring over my son's head? soared.  It literally had wings that would fly over him and out the window.

It's funny how some personality traits seem to be heritable.  It baffles scientists.  How is it possible for a child to inherit a personality?   Aren't personality traits learned?  Well...yes and no.  Some personality traits are learned.  And others...are heritable.  For example, mental health issues can be passed through family trees.  In my own's also strange the ability to apologize.  

The concept of being to blame for another person's heartache is apparently something that some of us have a hard time with.  I was raised by a father who believed that any suffering I experienced was my own fault through karma and/or perception.  So, if something he said or did or neglected to do caused my heart to was my fault and not his. 

I take issue with this. 

If I say or do something that causes my child pain, I apologize.  I may also explain why I did what I did, or why I said what I said.  I don't negate their feelings.  I don't act like I should not have to apologize, because, I know that when you hurt someone, the most important issue at hand is to repair the damage you have helped to create.  You say you are sorry.  And, you do it in a timely manner. 

I see that personality is heritable because, though my eldest son was raised away from my father, he has the same issues with empathy and compassion and accountability that my father has.  You can see the effects of my consistent teaching, because he shows glimmers of what he was taught, and is now, at the age of 21, able to accept that to make things right, he must be accountable and apologetic when he has said or done something to hurt another.  Even when he didn't mean to.  That's the part that was learned. 

My father has not yet learned this. 

It took him a year to apologize for hurting the feelings of one of my other sons.  A year.  I know that in that year, he basically came to the conclusion that there was no way he could get out of it if he ever wanted to be allowed to move forward.  So, he apologized.  It was looooong overdue. 

He also owes me a big whopping "I'm sorry" as well.  I don't expect to get it....but, maybe he will surprise me.  My suspicion is that he's only good for one douse of humility a year, so...maybe next year he'll be able to come to terms with the concept of being sorry for hurting someone that perhaps he didn't mean to hurt.  Without an apology, I can only assume he is glad he hurt me.  Why else would he resist making amends with his daughter who loves him so deeply? 

It reminds me of an obsure Dr. Suess story called Bartholomew Cubbins and the Oobleck.  In the story, a silly king asks his magicians to make something new fall from the sky.  And...something does fall.  It IS new. is awful.  The oobleck falls and falls, ruining everything around.  The king can not and will not admit that he has made a poor choice...and things get worse and worse.  Finally, the little boy, Bartholomew Cubbins, tells the king that he HAS to say he is sorry because he has really caused the whole village to suffer terribly.  The king finally wails that he is so very very very sorry...and suddenly, the oobleck stops falling.  It simply stops. 

Not being able to say you are sorry is a lot like allowing your village to be covered in Oobleck.  It will keep on falling until you own what you have done to another person.  The next time you suspect you have hurt someone, even when you didn't mean to, talk to them...hold their heart as a precious jewel...say you are so sorry for causing them pain, and explain how you will prevent that from happening again.  In that way, they will see that you mean your apology and understand what you did...

In doing that, you have not only apologized, you have opened the door for forgiveness.  It takes courage to own your actions...but it the effort that is required of any healthy relationship.  It doesn't come natural for us all, but it is a skill that can be learned.  It can be learned.  The first step in learning to do it.