Sunday, January 30, 2011

Happy Birthday to my dear sister.....

Today is a special day and always has been for me. Today's my sister, Mary Gwen's 44th birthday. I wrote about it last year, from a totally different point of view, as a sister of an angel baby, instead of a mother of one. Yet, for the first time last year, I had looked on the life of my stillborn sister from my parents' point of view, and I ached so much for their loss as parents. I had no clue then how it really felt to be here, in this awful empty place with arms that ache so badly for what you almost had in your reach, and now have to wait a lifetime for.

I certainly know that I have felt the loss of Mary Gwen throughout my life and part of my ache with Gabriel is knowing that my kids will feel that loss too. I hope that they'll always remember him and keep a special place for him in their hearts. I feel that although I don't have Mary Gwen here that I've always been able to know her somehow by remembering her. I can't help but think that there was a reason that I have always had this bond with my sister. I've felt a closeness to her in the last year more than I have in a long time, and that has especially helped in these few months since Gabriel died. I know that she's somehow been here to help me through this.

Tonight we celebrated Mary Gwen's birthday with some ice cream and yummy muffins-thank heavens for a great home teacher that brought them since I've been sick as a dog this weekend. We sang happy birthday to Mary Gwen and then talked about her a bit. I told Alexis that Aunt Mary Gwen died just like Gabriel and asked her if she knew where she was....and Mr. Comic Kade piped in, "She's in Aunt Arteeeca!" We all got a good laugh from that. Silly kid. But it made me pause and think of how truly blessed we are to know where she is and to know God's plan for our entire family. We know exactly where our angel babies are....even if we wish there were with us instead.I love and miss you Mary Gwen!! Happy Birthday!! Take good care of my little Gabriel for me & give him the smooches that I wish I could!!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Glimpses of Me

Last weekend our friends, the Hoens, invited us to their cabin near Heber, with our other friends, the Tongs. We love going to their cabin! We always have a good time...and this time was no different. We had to hike into the cabin and go back out on snowmobiles, which added to the fun of just really feeling like we were away. We ate a bunch of good food, went sledding, snowmobiling, played games late into the night, had FHE together, celebrated the first of our kids to turn the big 1-0 (Donovan), talked, and laughed...a lot...and I needed it. I've just been so down lately. I needed to get away for a bit and enjoy some good times with some of my very best friends. Thanks Hoens & Tongs!!

Fun in the snow...the kids played for hours and hours and hours.

First time on a snowmobile for the kids!

Our fam: The Whole Gang (We love you guys!):So in the midst of all that fun, I was still blue....not the same as I am every day, but still just incredibly sad. If you have to be blue, it's good to have friends that still love you and bring some smiles out though. I just have a lot of the "what ifs" right now, especially since Gabriel's due date. If he had been born...we wouldn't have even been there last weekend-packing a newborn into the cabin is not a great idea. If he had been born, we would be getting to know him, exhausted with lack of sleep (and not the kind I'm having), loving every minute with our sweet, complete family. If he had been born, I can only imagine my happiness. If he had been born, if he had been born, if he had been, there's just so many what ifs that run through my mind on a daily basis. I thought maybe getting through the due date would help me, but I guess I'll always have these what ifs. When this time of year rolls around in ten years, I'll think what if Gabriel was here and we were celebrating his 10th birthday....what would he be like, look like, like to do...etc., etc., etc. For the rest of my life, I'm sure I'll have those what ifs. The prospect of feeling this pain forever, even if it does get better, just seems so daunting and so unbelievably overwhelming.

I thought a lot over the weekend about the last time us three families spent the weekend away together. It's amazing how your world can change so drastically in just 5 1/2 months. Just the week before Gabriel died we all went camping at Fremont State Park and had a blast....and I was so happy then. There was an afternoon on that trip, the day I hit the 16 week mark, that I remember so vividly. It's one of my last vivid memories of being with Gabriel and just relishing in his little movements. Alexis and I had gone down for a nap in the tent and after I awoke to the beautiful hills and soft breeze flowing through the tent and the trees above, I just lay there with my two babies and loved them. Gabriel was squirming around like his crazy little self and I just thought how wonderful it was to be a mother, to be in nature, to be alive. I couldn't wait to meet the little guy who I'd already grown to love so much. I love that memory that I have of that time with Gabriel. I'll always cherish it.Look how genuinely happy we all look in this picture, especially me. That's not a fake the one I've been sporting lately.So here I am, 5 1/2 months later, and I'm completely different than I was that day. My friend, Adrianne, texted me after we got back from the cabin this weekend and told me that it was so good to see glimpses of the old Cyndi throughout the weekend. Wow, the old Cyndi. It's hard to think back about me then. I wonder at times if I'll ever make it back to the old Cyndi again and I know that I won't, not completely. I had no clue then what pain actually meant, as anyone who has never been here could ever know themselves. I so wish no one ever had to feel a pain like this-a pain so devastatingly heartbreaking that it changes you into this person that you don't even recognize yourself. I wish I was the old Cyndi but I'm so thankful for the people that still accept and love this new Cyndi. I know I'm not even remotely fun to be around, but there are still those that accept that and take the time to be around me, to love me, and show me that, even if it's a new me. As for the glimpses of the old Cyndi...I'd be totally down with getting away every weekend and seeing if those come around more often.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


5 months ago today little Gabriel was born....and 5 days ago was his due date, when he could've been born. It doesn't seem possible that I've even made it these 5 months or even the last 5 days. My heart hurts. Oh how I miss my baby boy. I wish he was here and I wish I really understood why he's not....because as much as I know that he's where he's supposed to be, I'll never understand why it has to hurt so very much.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Due Date

So, guess what, I did it! Like I really had a choice, right? But I did it, and I survived it, and in the end it wasn't so awful. I've come to realize that the build-up is part of what is so awful....and it was. I've been so horribly depressed, so filled with dread, over this one day and over getting through the holidays knowing every day could have been his birthday, yet knowing that could've doesn't mean should've because even if I hate it, Gabriel is where he should be.

The night before Gabriel's due date was rough. Oh how I miss my baby and I just felt so completely, totally empty. I had to take Nick to a make-up karate class and sit there, next to two ladies with their adorable brand new baby boys, while one tried to strike up fifty conversations with me, and I really, honestly just wanted to tell her to leave me alone. I'm not usually so unfriendly, but she had the one thing in her arms that continues to shatter my heart into a million pieces...the one thing that is so unreachable for me, and I just didn't need the reminder, especially that day. It sucked. I put on my brave face and tolerated her questions with a wane smile, tried my best to avert my eyes to her face and not her precious baby in her arms...until she finally gave up, thank goodness. I felt bad, because I just couldn't do it that day, and she had no clue why, and probably just thought of me as incredibly rude. I barely made it out of the place without breaking down. It was such an answer to my prayers to have a friend at my home as soon as we pulled up bringing a delicious meal for our family. It was what I needed so badly that night, so thank you, sweet friend.

I went to bed feeling pretty low and pretty sad. We still didn't know what we were going to do to make the day special and it was really weighing on my mind. The next morning, I woke up, and I had an enormous feeling of peace. It was amazing. I took the advice of a friend and started the day out pampering myself by finally using a gift certificate I'd had forever for a massage. The massage therapist asked me if there was a special occasion and when I told her, she responded perfectly. I worry so often about what people will say because so many times, even with people I love, so many have said the wrong thing or just change the subject so they don't have to respond. I was amazed that this girl, not more than 20, and a stranger, just had the right words I needed that morning. They weren't anything profound, but she just showed genuine compassion for my loss. The massage was so relaxing and the peace I had woken up with continued.

Ben took the day off work and we did nothing. Nothing. I can't even remember the last day that we did nothing....quite possibly it may have been before we had kids. I mean, of course, we did take care of our kids...but nothing else. We just relaxed the entire day...and we needed it and we deserved it. After the kids got home from school we had finally come up with an idea to remember Gabriel. We each wrote him a note and then we went and bought some balloons, and headed up the canyon. Oh, how I miss the canyon. I haven't been there too much lately because of the snow and icy roads and such, but in those dark first days when Gabriel died, I went there every single day....and many days since the majesty and beauty of those mountains have brought me so much peace. It was the perfect place for us to go.

We attached our notes to the balloons and then got out into the freezing cold, yet beautiful day and let the balloons go....and watched them take our messages to heaven for Gabriel....and it was the perfect thing to do. The kids absolutely loved it. Doing things to remember their brother brings them such happiness. We watched until those balloons disappeared and it was just nice. Alexis was so sweet as she waved bye-bye to her balloon and blew kisses to heaven for Baby Gabe.Watching those balloons float away brought a sense of closure, I think. As if the symbolism of those balloons floating away somehow represented our earthly life with Gabriel coming to a close. The due date always included him. It was always a part of his life, from the very first moment he was conceived, even if he didn't make it to it...and now with it being gone, his earthly life could have some closure, and he could really move on, in a way. I don't know if that makes any sense, but it does to my heart and I'm glad we found a way to remember and make it special.
We then had a special treat of going out to dinner and then headed home to watch a movie with the kids. We watched Ice Age 2, and I sat and watched my kids laugh their little hearts out....and I felt completely, totally blessed.

There are so many times through this journey of loss that I've just felt so much despair but at the same time so much gratitude for my blessings and it seems so very incompatible to feel both. A dear friend and I talked about it the other's like you know you have so much but there's just that one thing, the one thing you want more than anything to complete that happiness, and it's the one thing you can't have. So, instead of being able to feel the constant gratitude and find any happiness you have these sort of childish tantrums because you just want that one thing and your heart aches so badly for it, and yet you know it's completely unattainable, which leads to even more aching, and unfortunately more tantrums. So those moments, the moments my heart is bursting with gratitude, are the moments I have to fill my mind with, and remember until my arms can be completely filled again. It's moments like those that make me think that maybe this thing called "happiness" can be mine again....maybe not now, but someday.

Thank you so much to our wonderful friends and family who made an effort to remember us on Gabriel's due date. We have definitely learned through this trial just how much we are loved, and that is an amazing and most humbling gift.

Monday, January 3, 2011

How do I do this...again?

So it's here...the week of the due date-Friday, the 7th...finally, as much as I wish it would just go away. But of course it can't. It's just like get to this point and realize with some panic that you have to go through it, no matter what. There's just no way to avoid it. But unlike it, that prize I longed for, wished for, planned on, counted on, needed so very badly, can not be had. So how do I do this? I have no clue.

First, and foremost, I want to thank any of you who fasted for me this Sunday and have prayed for me. Believe me, I've felt the power of your prayers. It is a humbling thing to know that people care enough to fast for you, pray for you, and take the time to put your name in the temple. I have felt so much peace from knowing so many care. I truly appreciate it and love you for it. I know that I still have to do this, but knowing that I have your faith behind me is helping me in ways I can't describe.

In a way I feel like maybe, if I can just get past the due date, that things will start looking up again. There was a time I was feeling better and finding hope despite Gabriel's death and I know it will come again. I can honestly say that I finally got to a point where I knew that this is the way it was supposed to be. It is the plan for Gabriel's life, for our family, and I am still at peace with that. I remember specifically when the physical ache left my heart and instead the peace entered. I'm so thankful that the peace of that hasn't left. I still know. I still feel that peace. Just because the grief hit again like a train doesn't mean that I don't know. Even though I know this is the way it's supposed to be, it would never be the way I want it to be. I'm just not that strong, but who is? I've grown so much through this, in ways I didn't know I could and ways I definitely didn't ever have the desire to. But just because you grow, just because you accept, and just because you find that peace, it doesn't mean that you won't ache too and still feel the loss of the dreams you had before.

I've had so many ask me what we are going to do for Gabriel's due date. I honestly have no clue. What do you do for something like this? It most certainly isn't his birthday and probably wouldn't have even been his birthday in the first place and it's especially not a joyous day, but at the same time, it's a significant day. It's a day I know I'll always remember because that's just me and I feel that especially this year, we need to commemorate it somehow but I don't know how to even begin. We thought about going out of town, but it didn't work out, and it's not like going out of town would have helped us escape it. It's here. It's real and we just have to go through it. I most certainly know it will be hard and it will be painful...but at the same time I don't want it to just be hard and painful. I want it to be good. Gabriel died, but he also lived, and I want to cherish his life, not just ache for it.

I've had so many dear sweet friends offer their help this week...babysitting, meals, etc., etc., and I don't know how to even respond. Will I need those things? Probably. But will I ask for those things? Probably not. I still find it so hard to have to depend on others. It's not me. I've always been the dependable one....and yet, I'm not anymore. Grief sure finds a way to kick you down to the ground and when it does...those things like caring for your children and making a simple meal are just so overwhelming....and even more overwhelming is having to ask for help, and so I won't. I guess in a way, those same guidelines from when I first had to face this still apply, since I'm facing it again, in a different way. So, maybe, if you feel you want to do something, then just do it. Just say...I'm doing this at this time. Or whatever. I don't know. I've found that in situations like these, when I've listened to the spirit, I've somehow known what to do. I've also found that the days when I've needed and pleaded for something so badly, Heavenly Father finds a way to send my earthly angels my way, either with a visit, a text, an e-mail, or whatever. If you can't handle saying anything in person, I understand that, and a message does wonders, especially if you say Gabriel's name. If you're thinking of us, let us know, because we probably need to know, and maybe you're the answer to our prayers right when we need it.

Maybe the best thing that anyone could do for us is to just remember. That's really what I want and need. I just need people to remember me, remember my husband, remember my children, and especially remember my Gabriel. Remember that he is real. He's our son. We held him in our arms and had to do the hardest thing any parent has to do for their child. We had to say goodbye...for this life...and that's huge. Remember that this is when we planned to be so happy with our little son and baby brother, and that we won't get that now, and grieving at the due date is a normal thing. We didn't expect this to be our life right now with this sweet precious son of ours. We have to wait, and even with the promises of having him again, we are human, and the ache of not having him now is strong. We are all disappointed and heartbroken. It will get better, I know. I have great faith in the plan of salvation and in Christ's atonement, but for now it is awful and real, and the fact that you remember that means the world.