Monday, November 29, 2010

Fall, 2010

First of all, our nephew, Israel, nearly died at the end of October and continues to struggle in the can keep track of how he's doing at his Caring Bridge site. My youngest brother, Jon, is Izzy's papa and both Jon and his wife, Dani, would appreciate your prayers.

I can't believe we are already into the Christmas season. With everything going on with Izzy, the fall slipped by us. We did, however, manage to have some good family times.

The kids made candy bags with me. Here's Noah with his:

The kids loved carving pumpkins. Noah didn't want to wait to carve his and did it right after the pumpkin day at school. We had such a warm fall, though, that it didn't last until Hallowe'en.

The kids were super involved in their costumes this year. Miriam planned hers based on the Pom-poms I had gotten her last year. We found clothes to match and then freezer paper stenciled the "H" on the front of her shirt. Many people thought the "H" was for homeschool, but she intended it to be for "Hallowe'en." Alex had very strong opinions about his policeman outfit and it took a very long time to get it just right. We got two badges and used one on an old blue ballcap and one on his shirt. He had a walkie-talkie in his holster (Daddy said no play guns in our neighborhood!) Noah wanted to be a Good Knight again this year, so we recycled a costume from 2 years ago. His sword had broken, though, and he saw one at Dollar Tree, so we used that instead of a handmade one...and of course, we needed the shield to match! Noah won "most original" costume at a neighborhood event we went to; he was quite pleased!

We had a lovely Thanksgiving...more on that on the next post.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Two Years

Two years ago I was holding my lifeless baby and feeling pretty lifeless myself. This past week I attended Calvin's Festival of Faith and Writing. At the session with Ed Dobson and Sara Miles, Miles spoke about the difference between healing and curing. She spoke of a woman, dying from breast cancer, who was estranged from her son. Over the course of her illness, which would eventually take her life, she and her son managed to forgive, repair and restore. Their relationship with completely, fully healed, while she was completely, fully NOT cured.

This resonated with me in such a way that I can hardly speak about it--and writing about it is not much easier. I feel as if I am healing from the loss of Hazel, but I am not cured. I will never be cured of the loss. Her death, the desire to have had the privilege of raising her, will always, ALWAYS, be part of me. And at this point, I wouldn't have it any other way. The first few weeks after her death, the idea that I would carry my grief forever was almost more than I could bear. But I did bear it, thanks to friends, family and a God who understands my grief while still forcing me to walk through it.

But cured or healed, whichever word you choose hardly matters, because I am not yet healed. I catch myself sinking deeper into an unreal life--hiding behind my computer and my books. I hardly do any crafts, baking, fun householdy-type-stuff anymore--shoot, I hardly read anymore. I just waste time, watching the clock and waiting for the time to pass. Not everyday is like this, of course. If I didn't have the homeschool co-op and other responsibilities at church (and friends who lovingly expect me to fulfill my obligations) I think I would already be in a deep state of denial and depression, but still, I am getting a little scared that if I don't give myself a good kick in the ass, I'll be lost and my kids will be grown and I'll be saying, "Wait! I wanted to..."

Sunday, June 14, 2009

A break...

from my moaning.

Just wanted to encourage anyone with children who like dolls to check out the giveaway from Things Moms Like. It's for Karito Kids a sort-of-like-American-Girls-Dolls company.

The dolls are not just American, though, and seem to be fairly free of stereotypes (the American doll is blond...but so is the Australian one). The company also donates 3% of the retail price of the dolls to either housing, schooling, food or health charities.

My only "complaint" is that their faces seem older than the 11 year olds they are supposed to be--a little BRATZ reminiscent.

Miriam has been saving to get an American Girl doll since she found out about them. She was given a very used one and is going to get that one fixed up to start with (she has enough money for that!). It's fun to watch her get so into something, but I'd like her to be aware of more than what she wants and what is fun. Perhaps the Karito dolls are more the way to go.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Marching on...

There's a little one asleep in our living room right now who is about 6 weeks younger than Hazel should be. She's precious and chubby and was snorting a bit as she settled into sleep. Watching her snuggle with Chris was surreal. Our family should include a little just that size! How strange! I can hardly imagine it.

Yet, I can hardly imagine life without Hazel.

One of our friends asked if it's hard to see all the babies turning one. I expected it to be, truly. But it hasn't been--not even a little bit. I miss my baby. I miss that newborn I never got to snuggle. At least for now Hazel is just a tiny, little new baby--not a crawler or babbler or toddler. I kind of hope it stays that way. I'm not sure I can handle a grief that grows along with the age of my dead child.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Over a year.

We made it through last week with many tears, but with the reassurance that we are continuing to "make it." Our grief for Hazel; our awareness of the empty space she left has been woven into our family, into our life, into our day-to-day emotions. We fumbled and fought and grieved and shouted lots of unhelpful things, but we've found our way to a healthy new normal. And for that I'm glad.

This time last year I was overwhelmed all the time with the face that I would NEVER not miss Hazel; that this was one pain that would never heal. That is so true. I have moments when the grief is still that raw, when I can barely breathe, when I'm overcome by jealousy. I still feel as if I'm dancing around depression, sometimes simply incapable of making myself do the things that need to be done.

However, but and even so--I'm also way more likely to get up off the couch and do something, I laugh a lot, I sew and knit a bit, I've been reading fiction again--and signs that I'm balancing out.

This anniversary week hit harder than I expected. I've been so focused on Noah and his treatments, that Hazel was forced in the background (which is how it should be, if you know what I mean--grieving for the dead should not overtake our care of the living!) We found ways to mark the day: weeding her garden, looking through her things, etc...

On Monday, Chris, Noah and I took hats, blankets and a preemie outfit to the hospital to donate in Hazel's memory. My aunt, some friends and I knitted most of the items, but a couple were purchased, as well. We gave over 50 hats, a few blankets, a quilt and a cute preemie outfit. These items will mostly be used for babies who are born still, born straight to heaven, born silent--the rest will be used for NICU babies and other little ones who need a warm hat or a comforting blanket.

The items we were given from the hospital, those few mementos, are all we have to hold of Hazel. The clothes she wore, the hat, the footprints. I hope that the parents whose babies wear these items will feel the love with which they were made.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Last Year,

on this day I was hospitalized with pregnancy complications. Ironically, all was well with the baby. I was sick about leaving my other kids at home, worried about the baby, but not for a minute believing that the baby wouldn't make it. Those thoughts crossed my mind (don't they cross every expectant mother's mind??), but I thought I would soon be home and all would be well.

I've been feeling filled-with-dread sick over this week. I'm trying to just let myself feel what I feel and go with that. But I'm afraid, a little bit, of going off the deep end.

I miss my baby; I miss Hazel.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

And he's four!

Noah's fourth birthday was celebrated officially last Sunday, but he also had a mini-celebration with our family on his actual day. He spent the day getting chemo, but was feeling pretty good that night. Presents and popsicles probably helped with that!

I will continue to post here off and on, especially as the anniversary of Hazel's death and birth is coming close (How I miss my daughter!), but if you want regular updates on us and Noah's treatment, I encourage you to check out his CaringBridge site:
Noah James.