Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Feeling sentimental.

This picture was taken April 2, 2006.  It is the last picture I have of me pregnant with Cora.
There is just a little over a month until Cora's 4th birthday.  April is hard.  I feel like I'm slipping inexorably down into a hole.  I'm standing on a beach, watching a tsunami come and there's no way I can get away from it.  April was the last month of my sweet baby girl's life.

Four years.  Four whole years.  And yet it seems like yesterday.  There are moments of memory that are so very  crystal clear.  But the parts that I really want to remember are the ones that are fuzzy, the ones that time has blurred.

I don't remember how it felt to have her kick, not really.  I don't remember how it felt to hold her little body in my arms.  I don't remember how she smelled.  I remember the emotions though.  I remember reclining in a bathtub, just a few weeks before she was born, because my back hurt so very badly.  I was watching my belly move and she kicked and rolled.  To this day I have no idea whether she liked or disliked the warm water of baths and showers on my belly, but either way it always made her really active.  This particular day I sat there until I was incredibly pruny and the water was rather cold, because I was so in awe of the fact that I had a person inside me, and that person was moving around, kicking my hands when I gently poked at her.

Though this pregnancy story doesn't have a happy ending, I wouldn't trade it for anything.  Having her and losing her is so much better than never having her at all.  I treasure those small snapshots I have of my life with her.  Even if I was so incredibly miserably sick that most of my pregnancy memories include vomit in some way, I was happy.  Cora taught me that joy.  Her death taught me the appreciation of every joyful moment.

So today, yes, I miss her, but I am remembering her with a smile.

Sunday, March 28, 2010


There are times when it just hits you.  I know they say that time makes it better, but I honestly don't think that it does.  Time makes it so you can hold yourself together better.  Time allows you get to know your triggers, so you can anticipate them and steel yourself for those expected moments.

But sometimes, out of nowhere, with no seeming trigger, it just hits.

And after nearly four years, I can say that it still hurts, just like it did that day four years ago.  The shock of it has worn off, but that sharp grief is still there.

I miss her.

I tell others that I like to think of those moments as the moments when she's come to "visit."  It brings me comfort to think of her as being nearby.  It's been 3 years, 10 months, 3 weeks and 5 days.

I just realized how close her birthday is, and I have no clue what to do this year.  And it makes me so sad that I don't have any ideas.

I miss her.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


It's interesting to realize just how far-reaching the affects of Cora's death have been on my life.  Birthdays are kind of a big deal, but before they were a really big deal.  Everything had to be absolutely perfect or it wouldn't be "good."  Not just for my birthday, but for everyone's birthdays.  I would do my best to make sure they got cake and candles and got sung to.  And if I didn't get that on my birthday, well, I was a bit hurt.

Now...the point of it is to just have a good day.  The cake, the candle, the song, the "perfection..."  It just doesn't matter.

Case in point: Today is my birthday, but Friday we had cake with some friends who were in town but would be leaving early Saturday afternoon.  No candles.  No song.  Just ice cream cake while watching a dumb movie and having loads of fun making fun of it.  I cherish that moment.  They were there to celebrate with me, and that's all that mattered.

Before Cora died, though, I would have been hurt that nobody had said "but wait, we need to sing."  I actually wouldn't have even let them forget, I would have told my husband to make sure he put candles on it, etc.  But I was content just to have him cut and serve it and have us eat and enjoy.

So there have been positive outcomes from a terrible situation.  I'm a better person having survived my daughter's death.  I'm more content with things, knowing that they can be imperfect but still good.  So today, on my birthday, I have to be thankful for the gifts that Cora gave me.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


My brother and sister-in-law are expecting a baby in August.  They found out on Monday it's a girl.  I'm excited, I really am, but my excitement is so much different than everyone else's.

I can't help but add "hopefully" to every statement.

Hopefully in August she's come home.  Hopefully, when I go down for my older brother's wedding in September, I'll get to meet her.  Hopefully.  Hopefully.  Hopefully.

I hate it.  I really do.  I wish I could just be happily expectant like everyone else.  I wish I didn't have that "but maybe not" always lingering in the back of my mind.  I would be beyond devastated if something happened to Izzy.  I wish and hope and pray that everything ends the way it's supposed to.  But...I can't expect it to anymore.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

So different now.

I've always loved researching my family history.  I'm a Mormon, it's just a thing we do.  But more than that, I truly love doing it.  It gives me a great sense of self.

Unfortunately, as you go back in time, child death becomes much more common.  Before, it always made me very sad to see that list.  But now...when I see the death of a just hurts.  Sometimes it's physically painful.

I was writing out a family group sheet for one particular family the other day (the pedigree chart is the one that looks like a tree, a central person and then it branching out for the parents of each individual for four or 5 generations, the family group sheet lists the parents with all their children).  I thought there was a mistake because they had two daughters named Evelyn.  Records tend to get a little fuzzy when you're earlier than 1800.  As I looked closer I realized that the first daughter died at 9 months old.  The second daughter was born 6 months later, so she was already pregnant when the first daughter died.  It brought tears to my eyes.  It was a shock because I wasn't really expecting that at first.  This particular woman went on to lose two more before the age of 5.  Out of 10 children, 7 survived to adulthood.

My heart just aches for this woman, more than it would have before I lost my own.  When you know, when you really's just so different.

Monday, March 8, 2010

The comfort of community

I realized yesterday just how incredibly blessed I am.  I am surrounded by women who understand my pain and with whom I feel an incredible bond of sisterhood and community.  I am devastated for each one of them that they know what it is like to be a bereaved mother, but I am so glad to have that.

At church yesterday we talked about our women's group and things we can do for each other to help each other feel like we belong.  The president of the group said that she had talked to several women and they said they felt like they didn't belong and it broke her heart and so we had a group discussion on what we can do to be welcoming.

So I raised my hand to comment...I've felt very alone at church before (before we moved into this particular ward, but it happened).  So I mentioned that whatever the problem, whether it be loss of some sort, or an acute illness (we have several cancer survivors), or divorce or what have you, NOT to remain silent.  There are many times when one doesn't know what to say, but that's okay.  You don't have to be able to FIX the problem, just let them know you care (without pretending the problem doesn't exist).

Afterward I had several women come up and tell me that they definitely agreed with that.  Some I had known had lost children from earlier discussions.  Some I didn't know had.  Some hadn't, but wanted to give me a hug anyway.

I am so blessed by my community situation.  Sometimes when I'm feeling my most alone, I'm surprised by a friendly smile and a sisterly hug and I appreciate it so very very much.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


March has always been a fun month for my family.  There's a lot of Irish heritage on my mother's side, and she has red hair, so she's always been proud of it.  The green takes over the house in March.

My oldest brother has auburn hair, and when he was in 6th grade he was on the short side.  He decided that year that he wanted to dress up as a leprechaun on St. Patrick's day and take a pot of worther's original candies to school.  Mom thought it was a great idea.  He apparently told some kids during his lunch period they could have his "gold" if they caught him.  Pictures of him being chased outside the school made it into the yearbook.

That was one of the things that has made me want a redheaded child.  A girl though.  Not necessarily to dress her like a leprechaun, but redheads have more fun on St. Patrick's Day.  It's my favorite holiday, and I've always wanted to share that with a redhead.

I do share it with my living (blonde) children.  After all, I'm a blonde, so blonde hair doesn't mean that St. Patrick's Day can't be special.  But since Cora's birth, and seeing her beautiful curly red hair, St. Patrick's Day just hasn't been the same.  My concept of a redhead St. Patrick's Day has been the only thing I planned to do with Cora that I haven't been able to do with my other children.  I can't even explain how it would be different, because I don't think I would do anything differently.

I guess it's just one of those broken dreams that I have a million of.