Saturday, October 23, 2010


Rain is starting to fall, tiny drops that lead to big fat ones that lead to puddles and shiny roads. Fall is here Stevie, one of our favorites. If you were here you would make me buy you yarn so you could start knitting hats and scarves for Christmas. You would be so happy because Pumpkin Lattes would be available at the coffee shops and we could start baking treats in the kitchen.

I bought ugly pumpkins this year the kind that have warts and greeny stripes. I'm not sure how we will carve them but like most years we might not even get around to it and they will stay on the porch for Thanksgiving. Remember when Sarah use to paint them gold for Christmas? I loved that.

November is almost here and with it come the's like that now everything reminds me of something we did, we should be doing, I wish we could do again or I wish never happened. My life is a series of little events (some big ones) all linked together by a chain I can't see but feel deep inside.

Dad now thinks a baby might be a good idea after all the tears, all the roadblocks he put up, all the arguments...he shut down the factory, sent everyone home now he wants to turn the lights back on and save the day. It is too late. He doesn't understand how these things work and it makes me mad, sad, frustrated. He has no concept of time or urgency, to him everything and everyone stands frozen until he decides what he wants and when he wants it. I think he is just afraid I will really leave now that there is nothing left for me to stay for. He can't see I left a long time ago.

I really thought you could come home and if you couldn't maybe you would send someone I needed, that would need me. You know how my heart works, I need to be needed.

I crave family it is what my heart was made for, even my body was created for it. At 45 I can still have a baby, nothing has changed, it has always been easy for me, I have always loved being a mom. I am not sure what I am if I am not. There are other facets but being a mom is the on big shiny one in the middle, on top, most important, all the rest on the sides support it, bring light, help it to shine brighter.

Someone suggested foster care and I love the idea of being that person but I also know I could not let a child I love go. I don't know how to love a child just a little, it's selfish so maybe the job isn't for me, my heart can't do anymore breaking and letting go. I need something to hold onto for a little while.

The store is still here and today I sit quietly at my desk looking out at the rain, watching the cars pass by, drinking tea and thinking about you and how you are hidden all over it. On days like today I can imagine your spirit floating around the shelves, moving in and out of little cupboards and doors like Tinkerbell. You would love the gumballs and flying monkeys, the big orange chair and the funky jewelry. You would want me to order more candy and gifts made by geeks...I wish this was enough but it isn't.

Where are you?

When I got in today a customer had left a gift for me, a small box wrapped in orange ribbon, inside it a lovely necklace she made. She came in a couple weeks ago and we talked, she listened more than I did and I gave her a copy of Pink Sky. She is a writer of children's book who is hiding in corporate America. I wanted to encourage her to follow her passion.

Her story was bigger than I knew and she shared the book with someone she loves who lost a daughter...

The necklace had little floating letters on a chain that said "Everywhere" and on the clasp was a single pink bead.

I needed something good to happen and she made my day. I am overwhelmed with the kindness of people sometimes. She wanted to thank me...she has no idea what a gift it is for me to be able to talk about you, to let one more person know you, know your name, to keep you real.

You were in my dreams last night, you whispered "mom" and I was watching you make a little tunic out of green fabric with pink embroidery, it was simple and sweet and very you. In my dream I wished I paid more attention to every single thing you did. I didn't know how important it all was and how it would be all I had left...those memories.

I would give anything to time travel, even if it was only for a minute, just to touch you, kiss your cheeks, listen to your voice.

I love you so much bunny, so very is so hard to not be near you.

Please be in Heaven, please be waiting for me.


Friday, October 1, 2010

This is a blog about living with loss...well I guess it's about a lot of things and maybe nothing really...

I woke up this morning realizing that I am not me anymore. I don't even look like me. I have days where life seems almost normal but not my normal, like I skipped over into a parallel universe and I am living a life that is almost exactly like mine but not really. I would have liked to stay where Stevie never died but I guess this me would still be here in this hurting place.

For me everything broke when Stevie left. It started cracking when she was diagnosed but I was able to hold us together with hope and make-a-wish trips, I was able to pretend for both of us, for all of us that we just needed this journey to bring us closer to something bigger and at the end of the road would be a healthy kid who endured this gigantic thing and someday it would be her story to tell. I never let myself truly believe that I would be sitting in front of a computer writing my story, well her story, our story.

For those of you who have not lost a child...

I understand that losing a pet, a friend, a grandparent or even an aging parent is difficult, painful and has it's own process, but losing a child is a different animal. I am not saying my grief is more than yours, if you have ever lost someone you love grief is grief but again this breaking is something different it has to do with the order of things, it's primal, it goes against what we are made out of as mothers.

Unfortunately I know a lot of mothers who have a lost a child who have also lost a husband, parent, and or best friend and they say that the loss of a child feels like your own death.

Forgive the drama but anyone who is a parent has had the scary dreams, the worries, the emergency room visits what I am going through is the thing you fear most. We are designed to protect and love our children it is so much a part of who we are that we can not really separate ourselves from them completely even when they have children of thier own.

When your child dies a part of you dies. For some people all of you dies, life is too unbearable. I understand that level of pain, all of us who have lost a child do. If you havn't I am betting that it isn't too hard to imagine.

My point is that life breaks when the your child takes her last breath, you break, and I am not sure you ever really recover from that, I think it's permanant. I know a woman who I connected with when Stevie was having radiation, her 8 year old son did not survive treatment and I watched her die, her skin changed color, her eyes her voice and the way she walked. She lost her ability to dream, to hope, to want anything, her will was destroyed. She now has chronic pain, does not leave the house unless she has to and has become invisable in her home.

There is a spectrum to this as there is with all things, I am broken but I endure because I am designed to. That does not mean I don't crash and burn, I think it's what saves me. I honor my grief. That is hard for some people to understand, they think OK you lost a kid but you have the rest of your life to live, you have other children at some point you get over it and get back to business. They grow tired of this new you that isn't as much fun, that doesn't laugh at the old jokes, that might not find the little things important anymore. You have joined a club they would never want to pay the dues to join. They need you to be you, thier friend but you have changed in a way that they can not understand.

I had an event at my store, it was big and wild and it was a great distraction but I found it hard to be there 100%. I had dinner out with wonderful and interesting people but I felt the need to fade into the background when my default is to be front and center.

Is this growth? Is this new me going to be a better me, a stronger and more certain me or am I turning into my own kind of ghost?

It is all about changes, I have shed my old self and new skin is growing, I am turning into a different person. I am excited and frightened. This new me will have to be strong because I will always carry my daughter inside me, every memory, every morning, every whispered secret, the smell of her, all of her.

I want the old me back, I want my daughter back, I want to time travel back to a place where cancer had not knocked down the door. What I have is this and I am learning to live with broken, learning to accept change, trying very very hard to understand that my grief will always be a part of me but it does not have to be all of me.