Sunday, February 26, 2012
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
This thought hit me yesterday as we were out having some fun on President's Day. There were many moments, like always, where I just paused and wondered how different it would be for us to have a little 1 year old tagging along....everything would be a little bit more inconvenient, a little more crazy, and a lot more fun, exciting, and wonderful.
I guess Kade was thinking these same thoughts. As we cuddled last night he told me, "Mom, I really wish Gabriel could have gone with us today." All I could think was "Me too, little boy, me too." I talked to him about how maybe Gabe was with us for some of it. Maybe he was right next to us when we were missing him...maybe he was giving us hugs right as our hearts were hurting for him. I try to tell myself these things when I need them because I know that he is here often, although I wish it was in a different way. Kade is so proud of his baby brother. He told me that he talks about him all of the time at school but that other kids don't believe that he has a baby brother because they've never seen him. I remember having the same kinds of conversations about my sister. It's hard when someone that is so important to you is not recognized by others.
Alexis has been full of so many questions about Gabriel, his life, and his death lately. She has asked me so many questions that just boggle my mind when I think of how old she is. She's so young to be filtering through this thing called death, but it's such a part of her life now. I hope she grows up with a greater understanding for others going through the pain of losing someone special to them. She's also been talking non-stop lately about the baby sister that she thinks she has in heaven. She's always been my little girl that loves babies and would be the best big sister/little mommy. It hurts to know how close we were to having her experience that. She said today, "Mom, why don't we have any babies coming from heaven?" Oh, how I wish I had an answer for her.
So, amid all this hurt, it's still GratiTuesday, so what am I thankful for? I'm thankful for the empathy that I am able to have for my children because I've experienced living my life with a sibling in heaven. It's different because I didn't have to go through the loss of my sister and raw pain when it was still so new to my family. I was born 9 1/2 years after Mary Gwen was stillborn but I know I had a close bond with her in heaven. I've always felt both her absence and her presence in my life. I've gone through all the moments of missing her and wondering how different it would have been to have her here with us on earth. I guess, in a way, I know that is helping me to recognize the pain my kids are experiencing and validate it for them. I know how tough it's going to be for them to always have a brother they don't get to play with, cuddle with, and grow up with, but I also know that they will have a lifetime of special moments with having someone so close to them just across the veil. I know I've felt my sister's hand and influence in my life. I hope that they will be able to have the same kind of relationship with their brother.
We are so blessed to have Gabriel in our family. He's teaching us so many important lessons about the plan of salvation and the importance of eternal families. He is strengthening our faith in God's plan and relying on Him to follow it. For these things, I will always be thankful, even on the days when the ache for myself, my husband, and my sweet little ones, seems so immense. We know who we are, we know God's plan, and we'll follow Him in faith.
Sunday, February 19, 2012
"Please know that it is worth it....then, now, and forever."
Thursday, February 16, 2012
I think I hate Valentine's Day more and more each year and as more and more of my kids get into school. It's so much work & pricey to boot! The school insists you bring Valentine's for everyone in the class and times that by 3 (and Alexis too, even though she only had 5)...that's a lot of Valentine's Uncle Ed! Of course the kids have to then scrutinize each Valentine and deem whether it is appropriate for said friend or if it might be too lovey dovey or such. It's a very complicated process. You also have to have a treat and you have to make a box so that the kids can receive all of these Valentines that have been worked on for so long, only to be quickly discarded once the candy has been ripped off. Plus, as Skylar agrees, Valentine's candy is just kinda yucky. Bring on Easter candy already, right? Plus all the goofy stuffed animals and sappy stuff...not my thing. Okay, see? I've got a point, huh? Valentine's is kind of lame. Anyway, off the soapbox now.
I still love my kids with everything I am and my kids still love Valentine's, so I endure all of this Valentine's hoopla for the sake of seeing their little smiles. So we spent the entire Sunday afternoon making their Valentine boxes and all of Monday filling out Valentine's. Oh, so much work! My kids wanted their boxes to look "way cool." I think we did it!
Skylar made one and then decided she didn't like it so she made another...a BYU one. This girl loves the Cougars! Good job Sky!
Nick was giving out Phineas & Ferb Valentines for his class and so he wanted something to go with that theme, so of course we made Perry. I helped but Nick did most of it himself. Perry looked way cool!
Kade decided he wanted to do the theme thing too so since he had Toy Story Valentines he went with Woody's boot...complete with ANDY scrawled on the bottom. It was so cute!
On Valentine's Day I was lucky enough to get to help out Kade's kindergarten class party. I love kindergartners in love...and mine just happens to be very much in love with a cute little girl in his class. He even made her a special Valentine....but he told me I'm still his number one Valentine. Awww.....
I also got to help out in Skylar's class. I read the most awesome book to them, Zombie in Love. The librarian knew just what would be perfect for 4th graders. It was the perfect amount of mushy. We've seriously read it like 473 thousand times in the last week or so. It's that good.
Later on I got the kids a heart shaped pizza for dinner. I tried to take a picture of them with it. How hard is it to take a normal picture of these crazy four? So hard. Goofballs.
But they are four goofballs that I absolutely completely adore and am willing to go through all the Valentines nonsense for. Seriously....I love my babies. Of course we missed Gabriel too. He's always missed and always loved.
I have to say that I was pretty proud of myself this year. I never get much for Ben...maybe some candy, but this year I found the perfect thing to get him. It's perfectly nerdy and perfect for us. I think he liked it...like liked it liked it. We kept our Valentine's night pretty low key with some take out and a movie at home. Just perfect. I love that Ben of mine!! So, after my Valentine's report, it's time to say what I'm thankful for on this Thankful Thursday (Tuesday was much too crazy to post, by the way). I'm so entirely and always thankful for my six Valentines that I get to call my own.....my wonderful Ben, my smarty girl Skylar, my loving Nickolas, my kooky Kade, my sweetie Alexis, and my precious Gabriel. I'm thankful that they are mine forever and ever and ever and ever. I'm thankful that they love me and that I love them....every single day of the year....and for the rest of eternity. How did a girl ever get so lucky?
Sunday, February 12, 2012
Friday, February 10, 2012
When You Lose a Baby
You don’t know what to expect.
People surround you. For a couple of weeks. Making sure you are not going to kill yourself, refuse to get out of bed, or start rocking a baby doll like the crazy lady they heard about from a friend.
You get lots of sympathy cards, clearly written and designed to be sent to console a daughter losing her father. Not the other way around.
You get free baby formula in the mail. For months and months and months.
And free baby magazines. And free baby coupons.
You secretly envy every pregnant woman. But not without a tinge of guilt, because you know all too well that she might be one in four- expecting her rainbow child.
It seems like the whole world is expecting a baby.
You have baby stuff around your home. Because you never imagined you wouldn’t need it.
You feel jarred. In the grocery store. At a birthday party. At the dinner table. At Christmas. Driving.
The baby you never knew, but lost changes every part of your life. Every. single. part.
You see baby clothes and it brings tears to your eyes.
You get sick and tired of crying. You never knew it was possible to cry this much.
You find yourself angry at God. Angry at yourself. Just angry.
You sware you can feel them kick but they’re gone. They call them phantom kicks. I call them painful, all kinds of painful. But sweet too.
You know, or you have a strong feeling of knowing what your child would have looked like, and been like. You see a child in the store, or on the street. Their hair color, dimples, smile, their personality and suddenly you are reminded of your child. You miss your child even more, if that’s even possible.
Your Babies R’ Us Registry is still active. There is no delete button on their site. The babies r’ us people don’t make a dime on people like us. Why bother right? You have to call them, plead with them to remove your freaking’ registry, because there will be no baby shower. There is an awkward silence. There is sadness. There will be no baby.
You get hospital bills about 3-4 months after you buried your child. You have to pay for the baby you delivered but didn’t bring home.
You find that moment of happiness in life for the first time, but the guilt swallows it up almost immediately.
You remember the size of the casket. The size of the plot. The face of the funeral director. The expression of those that attended the funeral. The feeling of raw pain, like your chest has literally been ripped open.
Somehow you convince yourself that you deserve happiness. Because you really do. But in the happiest, purest moment, there is still that hole that only they were meant to fill.
People compare your pain to their own pain. The loss of their grandmother, husband, their failed marriage, rebellious teenagers. Somehow this comparing leaves you stranded. If they can compare their pain of a situation to the loss of your BABY, they will likely never get it. Babies are not supposed to die. End of story.
You lost a dream. And it almost feels like you imagined their entire existence up. Their name becomes a distant memory on the lips of others.
There is awkwardness when you talk about your child in a crowd. No one knows whether to cry, walk away or pretend you never brought him or her up.
You lose friends. You find new ones.
You can’t believe that women have actually survived this and you never knew about it. Not really, anyway.
You would do anything for another minute with your child.
You cry when others bring up your child, not so much because it hurts but more so because it such a precious and rare gift.
You long for the rewind button, even after many many instances of acceptance.
You want to know what went wrong, and why…
You find a new appreciation for moments in life that make you laugh… you laugh harder and love stronger.
You know that you can die bitter, or die thankful. There is no in between.
You never ever, EVER get over your child. The one you hoped for, prayed for, carried and loved for the weeks and months they were with you.
You learn to live with the pain.
You are better for having known them at all.
Thursday, February 9, 2012
18 months ago today our lives were changed forever when we found out that Gabriel's plans were different than ours and that he had already returned home to our Heavenly Father. It seems like only a moment ago but at the same time a lifetime ago. We miss him every single day but are thankful every single day that he is ours forever and that forever is definitely not fleeting.
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
For my birthday last year my brother gave me a set of talks on CD by Michael Wilcox. I listen to them whenever I'm able to. They've actually helped me in answering some of the great questions of the gospel I've had when going through the trials I have in the last year. One, in particular, is called the Fourth Watch, and I've listened to it so many times that if it was a record, it would be worn thin by now. Michael Wilcox talks about the Savior and how often times when we're going through trials, He is there, He's always there, but He isn't able to step in until we've gone through some of those trials first....sometimes making us wait until the second watch, the third, the fourth...and even beyond...before He can step in and help calm the storm. We wonder why He's not helping us when we are pleading for help and hoping our trials will cease. We often figure that 1-He's not listening, 2-He doesn't care, or 3- We're not worthy of His help. I know that I've felt all of these the last few years many times. I've wondered how much He thinks I'm capable of and why He would continue to give me trials that seem more than I think I am able to bear. The answer to all of this is that He knows me better than I even know myself. He knows I can handle all that I am given. If I couldn't, He would have come during the very first watch. He knows that my ship is tight like a dish.
When the Brother of Jared was preparing to come to the Promised Land he was confronted with how to get his people there while tossing along on the mountainous ocean waves. He was instructed by the Lord to make the ships tight like a dish. Heavenly Father knew what they would face. He could have calmed the waves, He could have calmed the storms that would come, but instead He helped to prepare them for what was coming. Their ships were tight like a dish...and they made it through. I can't help but feel that all of the experiences of my life and the building of my testimony have made it possible for me to get through the storms of the last few years.
Michael Wilcox said, " Even the most negative situations God can turn into good for us if we trust Him." I think I'm finally learning that. I trust Him and I trust that he knows what is best for me, even when it seems unfair or it's incredibly painful. I trust that He has helped me to be strong enough to get through all of the storms that will come my way. I trust that everything will happen as it is supposed to be and that good will come from all of this. The blessings from these trials will be great joys someday and they are so worthy of my patience during the storms.
The last week we've been faced with yet another trial and major disappointment. I'm not ready to share it and I don't know if I will, plus I'm really trying not to complain and instead look for the blessings in my trials. I've waivered back and forth in how I feel about being given one more thing when I feel that I'm at my limit. There are times that I've wondered about those 3 things above, but actually it hasn't been often. I've actually, more than anything, felt at peace. I don't understand why my Savior has left me feeling like I'm in the tenth watch wondering when He will come and calm the storm, but I do know that He's there. He understands more than anyone and He's given me the peace I needed. I know that I can trust Him because He trusts me and knows that my ship is tight like a dish. He knows my testimony of His gospel, His goodness, and His love is strong. I know He's listening. I know He cares. I know that I'm worthy of His blessings. I know that His plan is a good plan and that He has great things in store for our family, whether they happen now or later. I am so entirely thankful for that.
"Sometimes God calms the storm, and sometimes He lets the storm rage and calms His child."
~ John H. Groberg
Thursday, February 2, 2012
I've had a rough couple of days. Thanks to my friends who know what I've been going through and have kept me in their prayers and offered so much love. I'll get through this.
Today I am thankful for the opportunity that I had to go to the temple and do sealings with my hunny. Although my heart hurts, holding his hand in the temple always brings me such peace and comfort. I needed that today and I'm so glad that we had planned to go today before I knew I would need it so much.
I'm also thankful for a priesthood blessing I was given tonight where I received some great words of comfort. I'm so thankful for the priesthood and the blessings of healing and peace that it offers. Everything is going to work out just how it's meant to be.