Friday, January 1, 2016

His Fifth Birthday

Five is huge. It's enormous. The "who he would be" is so far from my knowledge...  I still think about him on a hourly basis. I ponder what he would have wanted for Christmas, what his temperament would be like, what it would feel like to have a little boy call me mummy.

But today I want to write about my gratitude. That's right, it is my deceased son's fifth birthday and I want to tell you how thankful I am.

I am so fucking grateful I had him. That I met him. That I got to be his mama. I would live this same version of life over and over again for the 9 months + 1 week I knew him. Because I love him. It's that simple. That very same way you feel about your living children is EXACTLY how I love him. Death hasn't changed that, though it has made me love him more fiercely because that same love has to transcend both Heaven and Earth for this simple reason: I need him to know.


It's hard to describe what it's like to outlive your child. It's so unnatural and painful and it makes some people so uncomfortable that they spew words that strike like bullets. Losing Jack decimated relationships- those with family and friends, and people who simply said the wrong thing at the wrong time. Or perhaps even more painful, those who said nothing at all. There are no do overs and there are no take backs when it comes to grief. I'm no longer angry, but I do remember in the way you always remember someone who scorned you. I am grateful for the perspective that these five years has given me. 

On the flip side, it has solidified many of my relationships. I will forever be grateful to the people who were there for me in the darkest of hours and those who didn't shy away when I cried so hard I could barely breathe. Who knew just when I need to talk about him, or why particular days of the week or dates on the calendar are especially painful. Those who know pregnancies (both mine and others) brings me just as much anxiety as it does hope. Those who understood that having two beautiful and precocious little girls has given us the chance to parent living children, but will never replace the little one who got away. That was never their purpose.

I have met like-minded women who are walking a similar path. These people are my tribe- my lifeline in the early dates of grief, and those who continue to be my true friends in the years that have followed. I am so grateful for the ties that bind.


Big boy, we love you so much. We miss you. We wish you were here. 
Love Mummy and Daddy, Gracie and Pipes.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Mom Purse

A couple of weeks ago, Scott and I ventured out with both girls in tow to check out new living room furniture. Something about being on maternity leave makes me want to renovate/improve/purchase things to feather my nest. This time is no different. There are countertops to be replaced, millwork to be installed, and new furniture to be purchased.

Because Grace is a terrible two'er, we make it a point to limit trips out of the house until after her nap, and cautiously pack extra "nums", a sippy and some snacks.

We clearly overstayed our welcome at Lazboy when Grace started freaking out about being hungry. Snacks were in the car, soother was no longer satisfying, and she had experienced just about enough of our tirades about the pros and cons of a new sectional. A fit was thrown and it was then I started panicking.

I fumbled through my messy purse, jamming my fingers into an unknown sticky substance (what I suspect to be the innards of a Nutragrain bar), feeling the familiar foil wrapper of a rice crispy treat. As I pulled the snack out, out fell the two "emergency diapers" (a size five and a size two) I carry in my purse just in case. And I smiled to myself after settling the big one down with the treat- I am finally the mythical unicorn I feared I would never be- I am a spare diaper-carrying, treat baring mother.


I still miss him like crazy. There are still days that I wake up and have to actually think about whether I have a baby- and whether it's a he or a she... I think I must spend my subconscious thinking of him because sometimes I feel so close to him. There are still days when I am so jealous of people who get to live ordinary lives, who can read how sad things are for "us" when I share or post something on Facebook, and yet get to close their computer and tuck ALL of their babies in at night.

It makes me so sad and desperate to continue to wish for that life. The one with him in it too.

Because it can't happen, and yet knowing this doesn't really make it any easier.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

His sweet face on a necklace.

It's been more than three years since we lost Jack. Over this time I have bought a few pieces of jewelery baring his name or his initials. I'm into simple jewelry (my earrings and necklace are both solitaires and I rarely remove them- they are my everyday items), with the occasional piece of bling tossed in to keep things interesting. It's been a while since I have ordered anything new, so when I was contacted and offered the chance to order a keepsake piece, I jumped at the chance.

The company, offers a variety of items for sale- from photo keepsakes, memorial pendants, and even cremation jewellery. There really is something available suit everyone's taste.

I spent some time trying to chose between the many offerings before settling on the Gem Circle Pendant in Silver. I decided on my favourite photo of him, knowing it will never grow old to see his beautiful face on a pendant. I sent the photo and asked for a close-up on his delectably chubby face. I asked for a simple engraving on the back, with just his name. 

The package arrived at my home (in Canada) within a few days, which was crazy-fast. It can take a week or two for things to get to me from within the country, so there are definitely bonus points for fast delivery! I walked into my house to discover my husband had already covertly opened it, and he told me I was going to love it. I took a moment to brace myself, and then I cracked open the lovely black velvet box. It was beautiful.

See? Beautiful.
It was so nice to see his angelic little face on something so pretty. The piece I chose has crystals surrounding the engraved photo which made me love it even more- it's feminine without being "too much" . It's really an attractive piece of jewelry- it has a nice weight to it and definitely feels like a quality item. 

The pendant itself is made up of two pieces, the upper portion contains the engraved photo and the lower piece the pendant with the crystal rim and Jack's name engraved on the back.

The polished surface made it difficult to photograph.
It's nearly 1.5 inches in diameter, so it's not small under any circumstances. It's something I don't think I could wear on a daily basis due to it's size, but would be ideal for special occasions (his birthday or "angelversary"), on holidays. If you tend to wear larger statement pieces, this might be just what you're looking for.  I really like the idea of wearing it for family photos, as well. Additionally, I plan on wearing it to the NICU memorial at the hospital in the spring (if spring ever arrives…).

I am so appreciative of the beautiful piece of memorial jewelry I received and highly recommend, should anyone wish to purchase keepsakes in the future.

Friday, March 7, 2014

And then there were three.

Piper Jane arrived safely a few weeks ago.

She has gone from looking just like her sister at birth, to looking like her brother in just over two weeks.
Sometimes, when she's napping on my chest, I would swear it was him. They share the same eye shape and nose. If I glance down at her while nursing, it can be a little jarring to catch sight of her when she so strongly looks like him. It comes and goes though, there remain times where she looks just like her big sister, too. My mother and I joked I had essentially delivered Grace's twin, 22 months late. :/

All three of my babies share the same cupid's bow lips, which is apparently a recessive gene (a topic I find endlessly fascinating).

Parenting two living babies is a juggling act, one I'm not particularly skilled at yet. Piper is co-sleeping with us just as Grace had done, and I swear this is my salvation in getting some quality sleep. Piper wakes to eat every 3-4 hours, with her last feeding concluding about 45 minutes before Grace wakes up meaning I have a good first hour with Grace before Piper is conscious enough to want to be held/rocked/fed again. After that, the day unravels a big and usually concludes after several hissy-fits (both Grace and I!), lots of poopy diapers (just Grace and Piper this time!), and lots of cuddling (all of us this time).

Grace has been pretty great with Pipes so far- she's a little aggressive with her love, and "gentle" is a word we use quite frequently around here. She discovered Piper's feed dangling from my arms the other day and was delighted with tickling her little toes and feet. It was definitely a bit of a Hallmark moment.

I'm not sure this post is coherent, but I've been meaning to update the blog for some time now and it seemed as good a time as any to do it tonight.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

In another life...

In another life, you are unwrapping gifts on your third birthday. Sitting quietly on the floor, as you tear back the paper, carefully putting it beside you so you can focus on the Tonka trucks and tractors. You smile a toothy grin at your momma, clearly thrilled to add to your stash of big boy toys.

You would be arguing with Gracie who wants nothing more than everything you have. She would look up at you, her eyes pleading for you to let her push your truck around, tears welling in her eyes. And maybe, because you're the best big brother ever, you might let her play with you- but only on your terms.

We would let you watch whatever you wanted the morning of your birthday. Dressed in footed pyjamas left over from Christmas, your blond hair shining after your bath. We would read stories to you both, and you would rub your momma's belly the same way your sister does- so excited to meet your new little sister.

In another life, this is what today should be.

That life is not ours.

There will be no trucks or tractors, no big boys clothes.

The house is scattered with pink ride-in cars, a Little People Princess castle, and your dad's shoes your sister insists on wearing around the house. It's all pinks and purples, very little blue. There was no battery-operated car under the tree this year, no little boy waiting to open it.

So much was taken on the day we lost you. Our hopes and dreams for you, the kisses we would have smothered you in

So what remains?

A few memories of cuddles in the dark, or stolen smooches, of stroking your velvet hair.

What remains is our love for you.

The love your sister must sense when we speak about you, or show your pictures to her.

What remains is the longing for the little boy we knew for only a few short days. The desire to raise a son.

The desire, ultimately, to raise you.

We love and miss you every day little boy. Happy third birthday little man.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

I don't think I've ever posted this, but forgive me if I have.

Every holiday season I think the same thing-  that I have a love/hate relationship with the month of December.  On one hand I love the smell of the tree (we just) put up, I love buying gifts for Grace. On the other, I hate, hate, hate how many women are grieving this month. I hate that I want to buy gifts for Jack even though he can never use them. I hate that this time, three years ago, I thought he would be here.

Friggin' December.

There's a radio station in Toronto and beginning in December, it plays Christmas music non-stop through to the new year. I love Christmas songs. One of my favourite has always been "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas". Except as I sing along there's one line in particular that "Gets" me every time.

"Through the years, we all will be together.
If the fates allow".

And I hate it so much, because fate hasn't allowed us all to be together. Because we can never be together, not all of us, not here.

And that makes me cry, still, when I sing along with the lyrics.

It makes me cry to know he won't be here and there will always be one little boy missing from under the tree.

I remember in the beginning, when we first lost Jack, telling Scott my goal for Christmas in the future. That my hope was that one day we would sit around the tree, drinking coffee, and watching our children tear into presents and laugh maniacally. That we would get sticky candy-cane kisses and have chocolate chip pancake mess smeared across our kitchen table in appreciation.

I want so much to have a beautiful Christmas, despite his absence. But we are a week away from his third birthday. We are three years removed from my last truly happy Christmas.

Thinking of my blms and their babies. So much heartache this time of the year.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

If not now, when?

I'll just come out and say it: I'm twenty-five weeks pregnant with Jack and Grace's youngest sibling.

It's a girl. We're going to call her Piper. We think.

I'm both elated at the thought of a sister for Grace and the thought Jack would send us a second girl to torment his dad for the rest of our lives... Tied into that is the thought that this might be out last pregnancy and I may very well be kissing the thought of another boy goodbye.

That's the hard part, the not knowing. The desire to continue to purchase boy things has never left me- Jack's wardrobe, let behind when he passed away, has continued to grow despite my best efforts. I love girl clothes because they're so cute and sweet... But I adore boy clothes because they're bears and monkeys and frogs and all the things I spent 9 months falling in love with when we were expecting Jack.

I am thrilled to have conceived this baby with relative ease, without the use of Clomid this time. I'm hopeful that we'll get the chance to provide Grace with a living sibling. I'm not sure she's going to see it that same way (she is possessive and jealous, so we will see!!!).

This pregnant has been easier, at least psychologically. I think it's the combination of being kept preoccupied by Grace and the idea I have longer working days now that I'm commuting each work day. I don't have as much time to lay there,  I have fewer quiet moments where my mind will wander.

Of course I will always worry that this one won't make it either. It's only natural, I assume, to forever worry now that I know babies don't always live, no matter how much you want them to. No matter what you would trade to ensure that it was so.

I'm hoping the next few months pass quickly, and mid-February arrives with a healthy and living baby.

Jack's going to have two little sisters. I wish he were here to welcome Piper to our family, too.

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