Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Goodbye 2008, Hello 2009

I have weird feelings about saying goodbye to this year. It's been terrible in a lot of ways, but also pretty amazing. I've watched others deal with a lot of shit, honestly, and do it well. I've learned I can handle more than I thought possible.

As much as I've been telling myself that having experienced The Worst Year of My Life doesn't guarantee that I won't have another terrible year (we carry our grief, we bear our mourning, we wear our black into the new year)...I also (paradoxically?) find myself feeling more than a little sad that I'm entering into a year with no Hazel in it. Does that sound strange? Memories, yes, but not my actual little girl.

We had a wonderfully calm, warm, festive get together tonight with Matthew and Jena and their family. I had a lovely time. "Warm" is the right word. I felt warmed, literally, by the spirits imbibed, but also figuratively, surrounded by friends and family who care. It was good.

At one point, Matthew asked me if I was making any resolutions. Up until then, I hadn't planned to--I never keep them, why make them to begin with? But I've been thinking about it the rest of the evening and now have some general, live-up-to-able, resolutions to share.

1-Be healthier. I've been terrible about my health since Hazel's death. I figure it should be pretty easy to meet this one. Shoot, if I drink a few less cokes and eat a few less sugary treats, I'm good! Really, though, my goal is to start making some healthier choices. To move more. Eat more good stuff, etc.

2-Get more organized. I'm making a list. Adding things from here and here. I'm trying not to get caught up in making my binder look cute and then never actually getting it organized.

2a-Make a list of projects I really plan to complete. And try to complete it. By projects, I mean things like--the doll for Miriam and the cookbook for our church that had been languishing for year. sigh. I do better with a list--so I need to make that list!

3-Play more with my kids. I'm around them a lot. Listen a lot, but they don't "need" me to join in their play because they usually just play together...but I think I may need to join in their play. I need some space to quit worrying about grown up stuff and just play. My brother, Jared, decided not to play "grown up games" with us last week because he really just wanted to hang out with his kiddos and watch them play. I want to want that, too! (How's that for one doozy of a sentence?)

So general resolutions they are. Easy to rationalize away. We'll see how it goes.

Jena said she heard today that July 4th should be the day for resolutions (declarations of independence, yk?), so maybe that will be my chosen to day to check in a reevaluate.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Sad news...

This season, the season of celebrating the birth of the most miraculous, scandalous Baby in history is going to make me think of my own baby who is not with us. My own little stillborn Hazel. We miss her and although I anticipated some grief during this season (Last year, at this time, I was growing big and switched to maternity clothes. Last year, at this time, we announced her coming birth), it's not unbearable.

The season will be nearly unbearable for friends of ours, who will be going to the hospital on Monday to deliver their own stillborn child. If you are a praying person, please pray for them and their other two children. If you've been through this--honestly even if you have perfectly healthy babies--you can imagine what hell they are going through.

Pray peace for these parents as the see their baby. Pray that they will feel peaceful about all the myriad decisions that they need to make (and don't want to have to be making!!)

One thing I've learned is when loss hits you like this, you make the best decisions you can in the moment and then later, when you doubt yourself, you need to remind yourself of that. Over the next few months, while these parents go through their own fresh mourning, I would like for them to not doubt their decisions, but to feel peace in those, at least.

Lord have mercy on us. Christ have mercy on us. Lord have mercy on us.

And bring us peace.

Monday, November 03, 2008


We had a great Hallowe'en this year. Alex and Miriam are both old enough to really get into their own costumes. Noah had definite ideas of what he wanted to be (a knight) and what he wanted as part of his costume (a helmet that went "up and down" and a sword.)

It was fun just hanging out with the kids and planning their costumes. I'm so glad we didn't just buy them something. And can I say that where knights are concerned, duct tape is a wonderful thing?

Miriam said from the get-go that she wanted to be Fancy Nancy. She simply picked out her "most fancy" outfit and chose accessories from the dress up box. I knitted her a boa and she was set.

There was great debate within Noah, that slowly came out as we talked. He kept saying he wanted to be a "mean might" (his "n" sound is nearly always "m"). When I asked why, he said "I want a sword." Miriam explained to him "Good knights carry swords, too, Noah. They just only fight with bad knights." After talking this through a bit, he decided he would be a good knight after all. He also decided that I should be a bad knight, so I'm getting an inkling of what his feelings toward ME must be right now.

Alex vacillated between three things: A superhero of his own creation, an astronaut, an airplane. All of them were great ideas. We even gathered the supplies to make the airplane. I was thrilled when he decided on the superhero, because I thought it was so creative. He was "Weatherman". He could make it rainy or sunny. The only thing he came up with that we couldn't do was draw a sun on one palm and rain drops on the other (b/c I couldn't figure out a way to keep them from smudging and getting all over everything).

It was a warm, sunny evening and I had fun playing with the camera. Miriam was a goof, as usual, Alex was super into his "character" and Noah was practicing smiling a real smile instead of the grimace he usually supplies when asked for a smile.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

April 18, 2008

If you had asked me one year ago if I could be strong enough to get through the stillbirth of my child, I would have said, "No way." My heart aches for Hazel pretty much every day. I look at her pictures every day; I look at her mementos often (They are never enough). I miss her immensely.

But I am living through this.

It took months for the numbness to wear off completely, for me to be able to go to sleep with out the sleepiness brought by Benadryl. Now, just six months after Hazel's sill birth, I am still keenly mourning Hazel, but I am also enjoying my life and my other children. Things seem darker--or a little less bright, but I am still enjoying things. I cry, I wonder why, I wish it had been different, but I do not wallow.

And honestly, I can't belive it. I thought Hazel's death would fell me, would ruin me. But I live, balancing my grief for her, my desire to hold her with my love of life, my husband, my other children.

I do not believe God did this to me. I do not believe my Hazel grew wings or became an angel. I don't proclaim to know what Heaven will be like or how we will be united to her again. But I do believe that God has provided strength, the ability to face this grief, and the courage to trust.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Six months.

Six months ago, April 15th my baby died; my life changed; my family's life changed. Six months ago I still didn't know if the baby I was already grieving was a boy or a girl. (I don't know if I'll ever completely forgive myself for not finding out gender--that one "exciting" decision kept me in mourning limbo for 3 days; I couldn't name my baby; I didn't know for whom I was longing.)

We now speak words we never dreamed, have pain we never imagined. My children relate to things in ways I never wanted. Yesterday. in response to "I love you, my sweet baby" Noah said, "I'm not your baby, Mama, your baby died."

I suppose it's good that this kind of language feels natural and not scary to him, but I feel a mother's deep sadness every time I'm reminded of their strange grief.

This is the time that is supposed to be hardest. The sixth month mark. Half a year. It was one year ago that I got that first faint-faint positive on the pregnancy test. One year ago that I told a friend the nervous-making secret.

I had a dream last week that I was pregnant. I spent half the next day feeling ill and overwhelmed, trying to get my body to understand that it was just a dream. I was a nervous wreck nearly all day because of a dream.

I still can't hold the little babies at church. It makes me ache. It makes me feel selfish and self-indulgent in all the worst ways.

Our lives would be so very different if our baby had lived. One of the most guilt-inducing things about this loss is when I think "wow! I would never have been able to do THIS with a baby". But for every one of those moments there are 10 moments of longing and wishful thinking.

Midnight. No movement.
Lying next to Noah.
Still no sleep there.
An incision.
Still, the numbness.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Etc, Whatever

I am without consistent internet access, thus the serious lack of consistent blogging. I miss it, though.

We've been invited to take part in a memorial walk/ceremony for babies lost this year through miscarraige, still birth and early infant loss. I'm conflicted about what to do. I feel as if I've done enough ceremonies. But, the catch for me is that they are reading the babies' names aloud, if parents wish. I would get to hear her perfect, beloved name.

We can also write a poem or remembrance for our little one, our Hazel. I asked Chris if he wanted to, but he declined, so I've been working on one over the last few days. It's very imperfect. I'm too emotional about losing Hazel to write something dispassionate or observant, so it's just raw, I guess.

We knew how to prepare for you:
Clothes and diapers washed,
Room rearranged,
Siblings excited.

But we don't know how to mourn you:
Memorials? Walks? Tears?
Gardens? Jewelry? Books?
Poetry? Talk? More Talk?

How can we even begin to mourn you?
Your curls, your chubby legs, your stubborn kicks.
But we learn, we cry, we even smile.
We live with your loss,
our sweet baby girl, born still.

Today marks 5 months since Hazel's death, nearly 5 months since her birth day. Getting this invite in the mail has made the last few days very difficult. I'm weepy and on edge again. But we are living, pretty fully I must say, and I suppose part of that is allowing ourselves to feel grief when it comes up.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Feast of Lanterns.

A few of us from church participated in an artist's booth at Feast of Lanterns. I freezer-paper stencils some reclaimed T-shirts and mini-totes. I also made a few Pillowcase Dress/tops. I (finally, after about 8 years of thinking about it) made my first Buckwheat Hull Pillows. (I need to add lavender or other dried goodies/essential oils and make varied sizes). Of course, I have no pictures because I completely forgot the camera!

It was a miserably, miserably hot day. Miserable. BUT, it was great fun to hang out with friends, watch my kiddos play and see the other things people had on display.

Jena and I were happy to find the booth by Candice Hartsough McDonald and Sally Harless. Alas, I had no $$ to spend, but was quite thrilled to discover local artists that I really, really like doing things similar to what I've been drooling over online.

Happy Day.

Monday, August 18, 2008

First Day of School!

My two olders started kindergarten today. Last night I wondered where my tears and nostalgia for baby years were…I found them this morning. I got all choked up when I walked away from their classroom door with just Noah.

They used their backpacks from their Grandparents and wore the outfits picked out for them by Meemaw and Pappy.

This is Miriam when I asked her to take just one more picture:

This is Miriam when I reminded her that Sophia and Nanzi and Peyton would be in her class:

Noah and I went to the store and library. I think Noah enjoyed getting the little kid computer all to himself. He played on it the entire 1.5 hours we were at the library. Noah and I picked the two Kinders up at noon and they had much to tell me. They played and worked on letters and did puzzles made from their names. Alex said, “We have to go back tomorrow, though!”

Here they are with their teacher, Mrs Aldrich:

And they are off and running!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Healthy Apathy.

I'm listening to one of my most favorite Over the Rhine songs Latter Days. Before Chris and I married, I struggled hard with anxiety and indecision. Not about him, not even about getting married; there was just so much going on at the time. When my struggle was the ugliest, Chris would sing songs to me. Etc, Whatever, a song we had in our wedding, was the main song. It contains the lines, "We're gonna be alright, you can close your eyes tonight, 'cause we're gonna be alright".

Chris has always had an incredible ability to Trust. Through those simple lines he was reminding me to trust. Just trust. We're gonna be alright.

After Hazel died, Chris whisper-sang those same lines to me over and over. In the hospital, while we were holding our precious dead child, while we were preparing to leave her forever, while we buried her ashes, while I cried in fear of losing faith.

And, even just 4 months later, I feel, not exactly alright, but a sense of survival. I've made it this far. I'm even happy sometimes.

These lines are written on my heart. I've always felt the truth of them, now I'm living them and I know they are True:

So come on now,
I can almost see
that place
on a distant shore.
And courage is a weapon we must use
to find some life you can’t refuse...
etcetera. Whatever. I guess all I really mean
is we’re gonna be alright.
Yeah, we’re gonna be alright.
You can close your eyes tonight,
‘cause we’re gonna be alright.
All that I can see is your eyes.
Close your eyes.
Close your eyes.
--Etc, Whatever

What a beautiful piece of heartache this has all turned out to be.
Lord knows we’ve learned the hard way all about healthy apathy.
And I use these words pretty loosely.
There’s so much more to life than words.

There is a me you would not recognize, dear. Call it the shadow of myself.
And if the music starts before I get there dance without me. You dance so gracefully.
I really think I’ll be o.k. They’ve taken their toll these latter days.

Nothin’ like sleepin’ on a bed of nails. Nothin’ much here but our broken dreams.
Ah, but baby if all else fails, nothin’ is ever quite what it seems.
And I’m dyin’ inside to leave you with more than just cliches.
--Latter Days

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Welcome, Welcome Zion Liya!

My sister, Janelle, gave birth to her second little one, Zion, on Saturday evening. Janelle's already out running errands and visiting family. She's got the hang of this second child thing! Seriously, though, it sounds as if little Zion is a nice, calm baby, which makes big brother Moses (and probably daddy Adrian) quite happy! I know it makes Janelle happy.

Our good friend Kiyomi had her little girl, Audrey, yesterday, on my wedding anniversary.

Both of these labors went very quickly and smoothly. I can't handle hearing details of birth right now, but I'm thrilled that both Mamas got to have great birth experiences.

All of these lovely little girls make my heart ache. I'm happy, happy for the families, but I ache for my little girl, who should have been around to welcome her friends.

Hazel Irene, we miss you so much. These little girls would have grown up with you, played with you, fought with you, hugged you, painted nails with you. How is it possible that those things will never happen?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

This strange grief...

I've been reading lots of books about grief. Specifically about pregnancy loss, stillbirth or early infant death. One thing that keeps getting mentioned in each book is that most people don't have friends that stand by them. People get freaked out and uncomfortable with grief. This topic--the desertion of friends--has been mentioned in every single book.

I'm so grateful that my experience has been so very different. Sure, I have stories of insensitivity to tell. Sure, I have a couple of friends who I considered incredibly close that are obviously uncomfortable and don't know how to deal with me or my loss. But the vast majority of people know exactly what to do: listen. Hang out with me. If I'm sad, let me be sad. If I'm happy, let me be happy. Don't expect me to be "over it."

My advice to anyone who has grieving friends is this: Listen, and try not to look frightened when the topic comes up.

I'm grateful to each and every one of you who have supported me and my family and who continue to do so. My story (OUR story, because it is our shared story,now) is one of hope, healing and the amazing strength of Christian Community.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Miriam's comments...

On her first sewing project.

"Mom, help me; this is rather a mess."

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Remembering the First.

5 years ago I was cuddling the most beautiful baby in the world! I had no idea what a earth shifting moment having a child would be; I don't think either Chris or I was prepared for the momentous changes in our lives, emotions, responsibilities. But how glad we were! How much we don't regret it! How priviledged we are to be Miriam's parents!

started her first sewing project yesterday.
self-corrects her grammar, but still says "Jophes" for "Joseph".
throws award winning temper tantrums.
gives amazing hugs and kisses.
loves her hair, but hates to brush it or put anything in it.
plans her birthday parties for months in advance.
is so perceptive is freaks me out sometimes.
loves her brothers so much, she defends them when I discipline them...
and then will turn around and pinch them.
can be incredibly self-absorbed (what 5 year olds aren't??), but still notices when others are sad or when others are having a bad day.
has changed my life.

Happy Birthday, my sweet little girl!

Monday, July 21, 2008

I remember

I have been trying to remember that night in bits and pieces, but everytime I let myself think about it too much, I start to feel physically ill. Recently I was able to sit down and let myself remember things, not detailed, but more detailed that I had been willing to remember before. There is still so much--curling up in bed next to Noah and realizing the baby wasn't moving--that I can't think about in detail, because I feel light-headed, dizzy and rather faint (that seems so ridiculously melodramatic, but I promise you it is how I feel).

This is what came out when I just let myself writing, putting down whatever memory came next:

I remember that night. Sitting on the big orange rocker, tears rolling down my face—hoping HOPING *HOPING* that all was well, when I knew it was not. She was not moving. I put the heaviest book I could find (Harry Potter) on my stomach willing, begging her to kick it off, begging her to wake up from whatever sleep she was in. But she did not move.

I remember pushing, prodding my stomach. Picking up my large belly and letting it sort of drop back down, again willing her to awaken.

I remember getting in the car, already in shock, begging God that they would find the hearbeat and I’d be back home in minutes (but knowing it wouldn’t happen). I remember driving myself to the hospital (waking someone up to stay with the kids would be acknowledging what I already knew—that something was terribly, terribly wrong), my belly rubbing against the steering wheel. Again, no response from her.

I remember wishing I didn’t have to park in the garage.

I remember no heartbeat.

I remember them not showing me the ultrasound.

I remember them looking for such a long time—and I knew without them telling me.

I remember the Dr. hugging me, saying, “I’m so sorry.”

I remember crying then.

I remember thinking I was just crying because it's what she expected.

I remember wanting to SCREAM.

I remember consciously fighting that feeling down.

I remember wishing them all away from me so I could phone Chris, my parents, his parents, everyone in the world.

I remember my need to say it out loud over and over, “my baby’s dead, my baby’s dead, my baby’s dead”.

And then I remember never wanting to have to say it again.

I remember walking to my room, hoping no one would see me.

I remember waiting for Chris, for my doctor, for anyone who knew me.

I remember the nurse crying with us.

I remember wondering why I wasn't more upset.

I remember.

Friday, July 18, 2008

What it has taken away.

My joy in meeting new people.

My love of watching little babies, especially little girls. (This is especially of strangers—those babies I know and love I enjoy, even take solace in spending time with—but how I dread meeting new mamas of little girls!)

My joy in remembering the births of my other children. All I can think about is how terrible and heartbreaking birth is now. I can’t even remember Miriam’s birth (my only non-cesarean birth)—my first! My entry into motherhood!—without thinking of my other little girl and her birth.

Memories are tainted with sadness (as above, other memories seem darker—especially of the 7 months before her death).

Thursday, July 17, 2008

What has come.

Awareness, ever increasing, of how much we are loved.

The chance to go away overnight, sans children.

The opportunity to participate in the happenings at church.

The joy of taking my children to splash in the local pool.

The knowledge that I can, in fact, survive the thing I would never let myself imagine.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

3 Months and 1 Day Ago

On April 15th, my baby's heart stopped beating.
On April 18th, I delivered her.

Those days in between are a blurr.
These days since have been terrible, lovely, heartbreaking, heartening, lonely and full.

A friend last night reminded me that what is simply is. Thinking about what should be or what I should be doing will really serve no purpose.

But I still miss her.

Omer, our community's dear friend and member, died last week. There is much rejoicing that his life was 90 years full and that his death was not dragged out for longer than a few rough months. We will miss him.

His memorial service was yesterday. Grief is selfish in its very nature and my grief is no exception. While remembering this loved man, I couldn't help but remember our wished-for child. For a second I wished that she would have lived 90 years, that she would have touched so many lives, that she would have had family and friends gather to remember her with such love. And then...She didn't live 90 years, only 7 short months in my womb, but, BUT, she was loved. She did have friends and family gather to remember her and grieve her loss. She did touch people; her loss touched people. Our grief and how we choose to bear it continues to makes its mark.

Grief is selfish, but I am not alone in my grief.
I am not alone.
We are not alone.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Bees Knees.

This last week has been rough. This weekend, especially. I was exhausted, incredibly emotional...crying at the drop of a hat, getting completely and easily overwhelmed. I know some days, some stretches of days, maybe even some weeks will be like this, but I'm not prepared for it. I seem to hit the rough patches just as I feel I'm getting a handle on things again.

Writing has been good for me. Even though I feel like crawling under a rock and hiding for a while, I think the discipline of writing, even if it's unrelated to Hazel, is good, healing and even rejuvenating.

A month or so ago, I had a conversation with some women online who are doing some interesting homesteading experiments. I shared a bit about what we (Englewood) are doing in the city of Indianapolis. One of the things I find most fascinating is the beekeeping. Our friends Mary and Debbie took a beekeeping course and purchased a hive. The bees are kept on the roof of our church building.

The bees have access to all sorts of plants. We have fruit trees(apples, pears, peaches, cherries) planted throughout the neighborhood. We also have a community garden that has a variety of veggies and flowers. And, of course, all the green grass is accompanied by the bees seem quite content here.

Mary uses the beeswax to make lip balm and hand cream. Debbie and Mary also extract honey from the hives for our use, as well.

Even though we're not a rural community, we are trying to do a little urban homesteading as we're able. Pretty neat, huh?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Back Again

Chris has been out of town for a few days and I've really enjoyed some time away from my addiction--the laptop. I'm figuring out how to balance my use of the little device...

I spend way too much of my time worrying about what others think. What do they think of me? What are they thinking when they make *that* choice? Why hasn’t she said anything about Hazel; I know she knows? Do they think my kids are nice? Do they think my kids are turning out okay? Do they think I’m a good parent?

I am also the sort of person who thinks big—I want to make these clothes, these curtains, this jam, this paper, etc—but often doesn’t follow through with those big thoughts. The jam got made because someone else finally jumpstarted the project. The clothes got finished because I desperately wanted my kids to wear them to my brother’s wedding (oh, that desperation is not so healthy a catalyst).

The combination of these two traits is going to undo me. My children are so very important to me and I think big thoughts about them, too: what things we’ll do, what we’ll read, how people will think of us (positively, of course!), etc. All of this results in way too much though and very little action. I can not parent my kids with tension and desperation and self-centeredness and ugliness. I’ve got to get this (meaning me) under control.

I’m just not sure how to do that.

Get up off the couch. No more internet during the day. (?? ack!) Chris took the laptop with him while he was out of town and we got so much accomplished.

Ease up a bit…quit telling them what to do all the time. (Does it really matter if people think they are mismatched and dirty?)

Let them talk. Quit getting so caught up in my own useless thoughts that I miss what they want to talk about.

I hope those are useful things. Honestly, if any of you who read this have any kind of useful ideas, please share them. I don’t care if you have kids, how old they are or how well you think they’re turning out—I need some help!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Sir (Skinny) Cat.

We've been adopted by an adorable little tabby cat. She (ummmm...we actually don't know which gender, yet) is a lovely, loving, wonderful kitty who has taken to our children quite well. One the day she showed up, Noah was carrying her around upside down and she didn't even complain--amazing!

Every time I ask Alex what he wants to do for the day he says, "Play with the kitty!"
Miriam is in love; Noah is in love; Alex is in love; Chris has always wanted a cat.

I think this one is here to stay. The only decent picture I could get of this active kitten was when it was asleep. Isn't she adorable?

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Soft(?) Pretzels

I made soft pretzels with my children. Sort of. I learned a couple of things (always learning, us parents).

1-Always Always read the entire way through a recipe, even if you think you've been baking long enough to wing it a bit.

2-Don't assume that because your airbake sheet takes forever to bake cookies that it will do the same for your pretzels.

3-Don't assume that natural light begats good pictures.

The results--edible, but not exactly soft, pretzels, grainy pictures, happy kids.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

July. July?!?!?

I can't believe it's July. My two olders start kindergarten in just a little over 6 weeks. Ack! Their grandparents asked if they could visit for a week, too; so we'll have two huge things coming up. They've never been away from me for more than 1 night, except for when Hazel was born and I was in the hospital--and then they came to see me (and Hazel, once she was born) every day.

I also can't believe it's July, because I still feel stuck back in April. My brother getting married in June and passing Hazel's due date has helped me mark time a bit. Sometimes, though, I'm surprised by the realization of how much time has passed--11 weeks. Almost 3 months.

I can't go down this road too far or I won't be able to find my way back. Mostly, I feel peaceful about it now, but I cling to my sadness sometimes, too. It's one of the only things that binds me to Hazel.

Monday, June 30, 2008


I went to a baby shower for a young girl at our church tonight. Babies having babies? Not what I hope for my littles, but not the end of the world, either. She's young, but she's got a lot of help. Sure, it might be better not to be pregnant at 15. Sure, it would be easier for her to have a child 5, even 10 years from now... But she's having one now. So. It's her baby. And it's a boy.

But I wasn't counting on how all those baby boy clothes would make me feel. They were so little, so witty, so full of hope and happiness and joy. And I feel so low on those things right now.

Moments of hope, moments of happiness...yes. I was telling someone this weekend that every good thing I've experienced lately has been tempered by Hazel's loss. This weekend I went by an apple orchard and I got excited about picking apples this fall...and then I felt sad thinking about how this would have been Hazel's first orchard trip; how I would have carried her in the sling and then staged some kind of cute, hokey picture of her in the wagon with apples.

All my bright moments are darker than they would have been.

Will it be like this always? Will they be as bright? Or has this loss, this death changed the levels for me? I remember reading the Anne of Green Gables books. Anne's first child dies soon after birth. Anne's eyes never shine as brightly again, even after her little, healthy Jem is born. Is this how it works? I'm truly not trying to sound melodramatic (I'm aware that I do), I'm honestly wondering. Am I forever dimmed?

Friday, June 27, 2008

Oh, it is not the same. It is just not the same

Losing Hazel was terrible; the worst thing that’s ever happened to me. She was active, already stubborn, she kicked all the time, sometimes so hard that it surprised me. But we didn’t know her; even the most essential things about her. We had chosen not to find out if she was a boy or a girl. When she died, I didn’t even know she was a she. Oh, how I regretted that choice we made 7 months earlier. I wished, during those hours I tried to deliver my sweet, dead baby, that I knew what gender she was, what her name was. Walter? Hazel? Who was dead inside of me?

I know you are not supposed to compare grief. All grief is hard, certainly. But the grief for a run-over dog does not touch mine. On the other side, there is no way my grief is like that of a mother who has lost her 5 year old. But the pain I feel—the temptation to hopelessness—gives me a glimpse into that grief. How much more pain could one handle? I have an almost 5 year old daughter. If I try to imagine what it would be like to lose her, I feel sick. I cannot imagine it.

What is hard right now? Realizing that bad things really do happen. If this one bad thing could happen to me, to us, to our community, what’s to stop it from happening again? How do I hold on to hope in spite of that fear?

My God is not a cheap God; not an easy God, not a “safe” God. I know he suffers with me. I believe he is both mother and father and I believe he knows grief--knows my grief. Why, then, does he allow things like this to happen? I have no idea. None. Not one.

Just for the record, I do not believe he did this to me, to us. Allowance is not the same as cause. And also, I believe that God can bring good out of bad. Does that mean he will fix it? Take away my hurt? Bring Hazel back? Of course not. I will always, always miss my sweet little girl. Will I know what good he brings from this bad? Perhaps not. Perhaps not.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

What's in a name?

Four years ago, before we discovered that the baby I was carrying was a boy, Chris and I dreamed of names for our child. We've never fought over names; never have had trouble picking them out. If a boy, this child would be Noah, named for Chris's beloved, gentle, pacifist grandfather. If a girl, this child would be Hazel Irene, named simply because we loved the first name and because the second name means "peace." I was in love with the name we gave Miriam, as well. She is named for my grandmother and for Anne of Green Gables. I remember being out in public, ridiculously in love with my baby and saying her name to her. I kept thinking, “People will hear me call her Miriam Blythe and say, ‘What a lovely name! What a perfect name!’”--because I thought it was lovely and perfect.

After we found out that our baby was a boy, I let go of the name Hazel for a time...but I dreamed of using it. Our friend, Jena, really felt as if there was a Hazel in our future. I wanted that to be true!! When we discovered this pregnancy, I rekindled my dream of the name; but I wanted a little girl so very badly that I could hardly let myself consider that I might get one. Of course it was more than just because of her name: I wanted Miriam to have a little sister.

Tonight Methodist Hospital had a memorial service for the babies who had died during the past year. It was simple and nice. As Chris said, afterwards, “I’m not really into that religious stuff.” But we have so few things we get to do for Hazel. And, honestly, I just need to be able to use her name sometimes.

I sat in my seat and just whispered her name, “Hazel, Hazel, Hazel.” We lit candles at the end of the service and they said we could speak aloud the name of our child. When it was my turn, and no one else had spoken aloud, I just could not do it. I was too embarrassed, too afraid that I would cry. As soon as the moment passed I regretted it. I keep saying how much I’m mourning even the very name we gave her and here I had a rare chance to speak the name aloud and I passed it up! When we stood to go forward and collect our little Hazel’s shell (a memento from the hospital), I said, aloud, regardless of the possible embarrassment, “We lit our candles in the memory of Hazel. I love her name and just needed to say it out loud.”

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Company in mourning

I have recently discovered the treasure trove that is Facebook and am so very excited to get back in touch with people from all sorts of stages of my life. From elementary school, high school and college, from my childhood church, from our time at Vineyard Central in Cinci, from Common Ground, from our families (so many cousins online!!) and, of course, from our time here at Englewood (which is where we shall remain, Lord willing!)

Finding these friends again, many of whom had heard about Hazel through the grapevine, has been an amazing comfort. As I've said before, Chris and I can tell that others are carrying this burden of grief with us...and that feeling has been confirmed over and over by the truth spoken to us--on facebook! Oh, the irony that these impersonal internets can bring us closer together.

I've been reading a couple of other blogs by mothers who are going through difficult periods in their parenting journey. One is by Angie Smith, whose husband is in the band Selah (of whom I had never heard, honestly, but of whom, it turns out, my mother is a big fan). Their 4th child, a daughter, died a couple of hours after birth. It was an expected death, but one they had hoped would not occur. The other is by another Amity Mama whose greatly anticipated twins arrived 15 weeks early and are struggling through their first weeks of life. These precious, tiny boys are like little newborn mice, hairless and with their eyes still shut--oh, they are precious!

Monday, June 23, 2008


My brother and his family have been visiting for the past few days. It's been really relaxing and wonderful to have them here. Their enthusiasm for things I've learned to take for granted is eye opening for me.

Yesterday we made tie-dye shirts for the kiddos (I'm a firm believer in tie-dye for kids ONLY) and last night I freezer-paper-stenciled the names on. My sister-in-law, Aimee, cut out the stencils for her kids and I did mine.

Aimee's children are younger than mine and not quite up to working with the dye themselves, but Alex, Miriam and Noah each dyed their own shirt. I tied. They dyed.

Today we went to the Children's Museum. Indianapolis has one of the best in the nation. It's really a place at which you could spent days with your kids and still not see/experience it all. Which makes having a membership a very good thing. We go even when we can only stay for an hour or so. It's 10 minutes away (or less) and not too far off the highway.

All the children played hard, got tired out and now are sleeping well. Miriam fell out of bed and was sleeping mostly under it when we checked on her a few minutes ago. That says much for the deepness of her sleep.

Jared and Aimee leave tomorrow. I hate to see them go; this has been very good for all of us.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

I can almost see her.

I can almost see her, my sweet Hazel.
She's 2, maybe 3, with brown, ringleted hair.
She's chubby still, toddling after her siblings.

"Hazel!" I call, "Come back!"

But she keeps going, giggling and determined.

I'm mourning all of her, even her name. That name I dreamed of using for 4 years. I wanted this little girl, dared to dream of her, to hope for her. I do not understand this. I can not.

Today is her due date.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Strawberries, fresh from the field!

On the way out of Lancaster, we stopped at a plain Mennonite farm to get strawberries. The mother was still out picking the berries for sale that day and a little girl ran out to her to get our 4 quarts. We brought home strawberries that were in the garden MINUTES before we purchased them. You just can't find that in the city (at least not for a reasonable price!)

While we were waiting for the berries, the kids got to pet a little pony attached to a cart. The girl that was helping us offered the kids a ride and my two olders got right on the carraige and had a blast! Noah enjoyed watching them, but there was not way his little butt was getting on that carraige. I wish I had gotten a picture, but I didn't want to miss the moments fumbling around for the camera.

I will have more pictures from Aunt Janelle's pool tomorrow.

Monday, June 16, 2008

My baby brother is married!

It was a lovely evening on Friday, June 13th--Perfect for an outdoor wedding. Jon, my youngest sibling and his now-wife Dani picked the perfect day possible, as the next day brought crazy thunderstorms all evening.

This has been a very bittersweet week for us, as we think about what should have been. We should have been holding our sweet baby, but instead we only have pictures and memories and grief.

However, we were able to truly enjoy the wedding all the celebrations surrounding it.

Here is Jon, with Miriam:

My father and mother. I thought my mom looked absolutely lovely:

Dani and her father:

I now pronounce you husband and wife:

Jon and Dani hadn't kissed on the lips since January 1st. They kissed a lot during the wedding celebration!

Some other pictures from the wedding.
My nephew Gavin. Isn't he sweet? He's a litte lover and a talker. I really enjoy being around him:

I made the clothing my children wore. Here's Miriam and her cousin Lyra:

My boys. I made Alex and Noah's shirts.

Jon and Dani with the twins they babysit. These dear, sweet babies are close to my heart. They were born on Christmas day and their mother died on New Year's. They are little girls missing their mother and I'm a mother missing my little girl:

The back of Dani's dress:

Just my kiddos. I loved their outfits. They were all made from Heather Ross fabrics. I love this line. LOVE it:

This is one of my other nephews, Moses. His mama is a stylist and she cut his hair last week. Then Gavin asked her to give him a mohawk, too "pweese". Moses is a spitfire. I don't have to be around him long before I'm laughing away.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

What would have been--and what is.

We leave today to travel to Pennsylvania. This trip would not have occurred if Hazel had lived. I will try to find much joy in witnessing my brother’s wedding and not focus on my own loss.

Noah and his cousin Elmo (really Moe-Moe, or rather, Moses) very much enjoy each other’s company. When Moses realized his mother, my sister, had made up our beds, he went outside to the garage to “wait for Noah.” Noah, on the other hand, having been told we were leaving “tomorrow”, got up from his nap yesterday saying, “It’s morning time!!” with much joy and anticipation.

We will have a wonderful weekend, just because of all the sweet children.

Oh!! And the best news—My brother and his wife are coming out for a long weekend the following week. I’m so very much looking forward to that. My sister-in-law, Aimee, is someone I know I will be able to talk with candidly. She lost her father at a young age, and although our grief is different, she understands grief.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Days of Remembrance

If Hazel had lived and had made it to term, she would be arriving via c/s either tomorrow or Friday. I was walking outside, on this wonderful, cool late spring evening, and it struck me how different this night should have been. I should have been great (and I mean great) with child, Hazel should have been kicking around inside with little room left. I should have been filled with joy and anticipation—wondering what gender the baby would be and what he or she would look like.

Instead, I am faced with this terrible week, knowing that some people think I shouldn’t be so sad anymore (it’s only been 8 weeks!!), that my mother is dealing with so much right now that she can’t help me deal with this (and I can’t help her), that I will never, ever get to hold Hazel again in this life. Even if another baby comes our way, she will not be Hazel.

Early on, I was horrified by the gap Hazel’s death would bring. Even if we had another child eventually, there would be this 5 year gap. I could just imagine having to explain, “we didn’t wait 5 years after Noah, we had a daughter, Hazel, who died.” Just thinking of that gap, that empty space, made me ill.

I also felt an intense desire to “get another baby fast.” I had fantasies about adopting quickly. My sister called me and said, “I have great news!” and I thought, “You have my baby!”

I know now that these intense desires and strange fantasies are normal. Another weird occurrence that happened early on was my aching arms. I couldn’t believe how much they hurt, literally. I came upon this quote in the book Empty Cradle, Broken Heart last night and it explains my feelings exactly:

“The biggest thing I remember was empty arms. My arms just ached. I’ve read about this and it’s hard to believe, but to me there was actually a physical emptiness. I could almost feel my arms cradling, but there wasn’t anything there.”

I don’t want to forget that feeling—how my whole body ached for Hazel, how even my arms missed her, my sweet still baby.

Monday, June 09, 2008

"If I'm drowning.."

within your open sea, save me, save me" --Over the Rhine

I don't know how to put into words what I'm feeling.

People have said how well I'm handling Hazel's death. But I don't feel as if I am. I feel like I'm falling apart. There are times, every few days, when I think, "If I let myself fall into how I'm really feeling right now, I don't know if I'll be able to claw myself back out."

I think there are some people who are expecting me to be over Hazel's death already. After all, she was never born alive; I never nursed her; I never bathed or dressed her.

OH, God! But she was my baby, my precious little girl who I dreamed about for YEARS. How can I just get "over" her? I believe she's in heaven. I believe I'll see her again some day. I believe she's perfect. But it's not enough. She's missing from our family. There will always be a missing part of our family. I will always ache for her. Always. There are people who think I'm being melodramatic, but I truly don't believe I am in this case. I've read enough of what people go through to know what to expect. I've talked to enough mothers who have lost their babies, pre-birth, to know how hard this will be.

The date of my expected c/s is coming up, as well as her due date. I'm as afraid of no-one remembering as I am of people remembering--it's just so very hard. I'm so tense that my back and neck hurt constantly. I don't know how to "fix" those physical symptoms. I thought I was getting sick, until I realized how tensely I'm holding my body all the time. But how do you relieve tension? Seriously? I've never been this tense before.

How can people not realize how hard this is??? Just because she never breathed? Because she was born 2 months early? Because she never lived outside my womb?

Oh, I ache. I ache for her.

Thursday, June 05, 2008


I’ve spent such a large portion of the last 3 days crying, weeping, screaming into pillows or while driving in the car. My voice is hoarse.

I read a great book, a memoir of a mother’s grief after the death of her 6 week old son, her first born. Reading the book, Losing Malcolm, became a trigger for a cathartic night of weeping, looking through Hazel’s things and giving in to how terrible I really feel. The author, Carol Henderson, writes about how she felt this intense need to write to everyone who had written her during her son’s short life. She spent weeks doing so, for one hour a day.

I think I’m going to do some little projects of my own like that.

Shortly before Hazel died, I purchased a sweet BigFooted bunny pattern from Wee Wonderfuls. This was going to be my baby’s birth gift. Each of my children have a Waldorf doll, and I’ve made the ones for Alex and Noah. My plan was to make one for the new baby, but since we didn’t know gender (and I like to match up child’s gender to his or her doll), I wanted to wait until after the baby was born to begin making it. (And OH!! How I longed to the baby to be a girl—I wanted to make such beautiful long, pig tailed hair for the perfect baby doll). I decided to make the sweet Big Footed Bunny for the baby in the meantime.

I’m going to make that bunny. For me. I’m going to spend lots of time carefully picking out fabrics, sewing, and stuffing this sweet bunny.

And then?

I don’t know.

The bunny will not take the place of my baby. I will still always want Hazel.

I’ve read, over and over, that for some reason 6-9 months after your child’s death tends to be the time of the most overwhelming grief. (And then the grief never goes away, it’s your constant companion, forever, just that it isn’t always overwhelming). I can’t even imagine what that might be like, that intense, overwhelming grief. I barely function now.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Vallerina Miriam

Miriam had her first "vallet" recietal this Saturday. It was, of course, pathetically hokey. But it was also (of course), absolutely darling.

Miriam, when she is in her own element, is confident, bossy, and in control. She a little off kilter at her dance class; it's new and she doesn't know the other children. It's interesting to watch her in this setting. She's calm, a bit quieter, and a bit day dream-y.

She loved the class, but she wants to take swimming lessons next. She'd like some of her friends to take the dance class with her next time. Imagine that--back in her element!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008


I'm cycling again. And not the good, get your heart pumping kind. The run to the bathroom and change your outfit kind.

My baby's due date has not even passed and my body is ready to make a new baby. How fair is that? Especially since I really can't have another baby. It seems to me, that since having more children in inadvisable, my body should just stop acting like it can make a baby and give up the ghost.


Monday, June 02, 2008

Mixed Up.

I feel so mixed up lately. So jumbled and out of sorts.
I was terribly impatient with my children today.
I was glad to get a letter from a friend, with a sweet little gift attached.
I was sad to talk with my mom because she sounds sad (although she tries to hide it).

I've been
discipler (sounds better than discipliner or punisher or whatever)

And I feel so very unqualified for any of these tasks.

I can be happy. I can even really, really enjoy myself. But I wonder if I'll ever feel overjoyed again. Perhaps not. Perhaps this limit on happiness, the feeling, is one of my new normals.

Friday, May 30, 2008


Miriam, singing along with Toad the Wet Sprocket's Fear:

"I will not take these things for Grandma."

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Making, Creating, Grieving

I've been sewing a bit lately. I still feel weirdly surrounded by a fog of slowness. I move slowly, think slowly, process slowly, etc. However, as far as crafting goes, I've discovered that it's a good thing. You want that dress to actually fit? Go slow and follow the directions! Epiphany!

I've finished up a couple of languishing projects this week. I also made my friend Kendra's daughter a dress, as modeled below:

I made matching bloomers as well, but for some reason she didn't want to slow down to actually put them on.

Miriam got a new dress and all three kids received new bags. Hopefully I'll have pics of those to share soon, too.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


We're back here again. Sadness. I don't know if yesterday was too much happiness for me to handle right now or what, but I feel sad, sad, sad today.

I was all snappish with the kids last night and annoyed by everyone around me. Was I just tired? Emotionally drained? Who knows.

I miss Hazel so much. There were two little girl babies at church tonight and they were so sweet, lovely and snuggable. I just longed and longed for the possibility of Hazel.

My arms ache tonight.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Amelia Marie

My very, very good friend Jena just gave birth to her second daughter today. I went and saw this precious 9 lb, 15 oz baby and I was HAPPY!!!!!!!!!!

Welcome to the world, sweet Amelia Marie! I can't wait to get to know you better!

Friday, May 23, 2008

I can't breathe

Hazel's death seems so hard right now. I want my baby. I want Hazel.

There is not one place I can go without being reminded of my little one.

There is not one person I can talk to without thinking of my little one.

There is no book to read.

There is no show to watch.

There is no song to hear.

Everything makes me think of Hazel.

It's all "before Hazel died" and "after Hazel died".

I feel as if I'm split in half.

This is going to be so very much harder than I try to convince myself it is.

Every day for the rest of my life I will the mother of a dead child.

I will miss Hazel every single day forever.



Thursday, May 22, 2008


Oh, God! I am jealous. Not of my friends still pregnant. Not of my sister. Not of my friends with new little babies. I am jealous of a 4 year old. A little girl my daughter's age. A little girl in her class. Why?

Because she has a new, precious, beautiful little sister. I'm jealous for my daughter. My daughter who has not even thought of being jealous herself.

I so wanted my little girl to be a big sister. I wanted her to have another girl to grow up with.

But you know what? I just had an epiphany. I love my sister and am very, very close to her. But we both have friends who live closer who share more of our daily lives. My daughter will have good sister-like friends. I know she will.

I feel better now.

(But I'll still cry tonight when I go to bed)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


There is such darkness in the world! This has always been true, but it seems more dark to me now; everything is shaded a bit darker. Before Hazel died, I’d never experienced a death that rocked my foundations. When someone I knew experienced something terrible, I would say, “I can’t even imagine how you’re feeling, but I am so sorry you’re feeling it.” I now have some basis for understanding the horror of inexplicable loss.

The parents and families in Myanmar and China are close to my thoughts right now. I don’t know the kind of terror they experienced, but I can imagine their overwhelming grief. It makes me feel sick, quite literally, if I think about it for too long—Imagine what it’s like for them! They don’t have the luxury of being able to turn the page and read a different article or to click the mouse to read a different blog. This terrible loss, this unbelievable catastrophe, is their new reality.

I suppose, when your heart is broken, it’s easy for the pain of others to become real. Their pain just slips inside the little cracks and breaks and joins with your own. As hard as it is to go through this grief, as much as I wish I still had Hazel inside of me, kicking and hiccupping, I hope that my heart never heals completely. I hope that I never forget what it’s like to experience this loss.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Family Visit

I buried my daughter’s ashes this weekend. While some of my family was here to love us and spoil us and mourn with us, we had a little ceremony and buried our baby.

We sang He’s got the Whole World in his Hands--Oh, my “tiny little baby”--, buried her ashes next to the lilac our friend Patty brought to us in the hospital, and we prayed.

My family’s time with us was amazing and hard. They came to “love on us” and so they did—they painted, drilled, mowed, shoveled, etc. They took time not only to drive 10 hours for only a bit more than 24 hours here, but they cried with us, looked at Hazel’s pictures and other mementos, worked hard and just hung out, talking and even laughing.

It was great to see my kids playing with their kids. It was healing for me to spend time with my family. I didn’t have to act any certain way—they knew I was sad, so I could just be sad.

It’s hard to talk about the weekend, really. It was better than I thought it would be, and harder, as well. We discussed my dad and what he’s going through right now—and my mom and all she’s dealing with as result of Dad’s bad decisions. I felt constantly exhausted, not just because of all the work, but also because of the hyper-emotionality of the weekend. I cried when they left, but I was glad to go to church and be surrounded by friends there.

Monday, May 19, 2008

The weekend

The weekend went well. My sister didn’t stay as long as she planned; the visit was harder on her than she expected. She’s due in August but is not yet as far along as I was when Hazel died. I guess I’m a constant reminder of a mother’s worse nightmare. I’m so sorry that I make people worried just by being present.

I want to write about the weekend, but I just don’t have the energy. I will share stories and pictures tomorrow.

I will say that we felt surrounded by love and prayer as we enjoyed my family’s visit and as we said our final official goodbye to our sweet Hazel. (I know I will be saying goodbye to her for years.)

Sunday, May 18, 2008

One Month

It’s been one month since our little one died.
One month of mourning.
One month of getting up out of bed and doing what needs to be done.
One month of crying every day.
One month of recovering from surgery.
One month of letting go.

But, we are moving forward. I’m getting accustomed to my constant companion, grief.

Two years ago, I met a lady who told me the story of their son, Christopher, who was born still. She told me how her community helped to carry her grief. As she told me the story, I remember thinking that I was amazed she could tell it. I was crying, thinking of what I would have felt in her place. I received a letter from her last week and she told me that even after ten years, there are still times she is overwhelmed by grief.

And I was relieved. This pain is my reminder that Hazel was real, that she was here, that she was truly my daughter. I was relieved to know that I will still carry Hazel’s pain ten years from now, but that I will also be able to function normally. I will not be completely devastated by her death. I will be changed, but not ruined.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Who are the people in your neighborhood?

Our neighbors are either catch and release raccooners...or there's a raccoon graveyard across the street.

That's one furry little creature they brought over to show our children.

Here are our kiddos and their friend Sophia staring in awe at the raccoon.

And finally, Miriam and Noah enraptured by the appearance of the caged coon. They look as if they are willing to just sit and wait for something exciting to happen.

Don't you wish you lived in our neighborhood?

And what kind of urban neighborhood is this?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

How much things have changed

Miriam and Alex playing make believe:

“And I’ll be the one whose mother just had a baby, but it died just a little bit after it was born.”

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Hard and Harder

This whole week has been incredibly hard. I'm sitting here with a knot in my stomach, feeling more and more sick as time goes on.

My sister is coming tonight to stay for nearly a week. I'm so very much looking forward to having her and her son stay with us. Later this week, her husband and 2 of my brothers and their families are coming, as well. I'm overjoyed at the prospect of their arrival...

and I'm terrified.

Because I will show them Hazel's pictures for the first time.

Because I will cry when I see them.

Because I'm afraid I will be jealous of my sister's big, pregnant belly.

Because I know the only reason they are coming is because Hazel died and they want to mourn with us and comfort us.

I want to be able to:

Be happy.

Laugh some good, big belly laughs.

Enjoy their time with us.

I went to Target with Noah yesterday and could barely breath while walking past the infant/toddler clothes. I felt, for a moment, like I was going to hyperventilate and I basically talked myself down from a panic attack. I thought, "I am going to freak out and they are going to have to call my husband to come and get me!" and "I can NOT freak out, I have my son with me!" It worked, I guess, but I did cry my way through the rest of the store, trying not to let Noah think I had completely lost it.

If you are the praying sort and you are reading this, please pray that I can handle this without falling deeper into whatever hole it is I'm stuck in. I have moments everyday when I feel as if I'm going to lose control--moments when I still can't believe this is happening--has happened.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

My Father...

If you are the praying sort, please pray.

Pray that Dad can make better decisions. Pray that Mom can get support she needs.

Monday, May 12, 2008


Today is a hard, hard day. Yesterday was hard, but I expected it to be—it was mother’s day after all. Somehow, today is harder.

I found out a 15 year old at church is pregnant, due in July.

I found out a lovely friend (with whom I had lost touch) is due with her first baby, a little girl, on June 19th, my due date.

My church did the annual “baby dedication”, which they call a “Rock-In” yesterday. Hazel was the youngest baby, who would traditionally be placed in the cradle. Instead, they placed flowers in her memory.

Today, I received those flowers and the tiny pink New Testament inscribed, “In Memory of Hazel Irene Smith.”

These are lovely, kind, life-giving gestures, but how I wish we weren’t doing them! How I wish that my darling little girl was still kicking and hiccupping inside of me! How I wish that I could say, “Oh! We’re due on the same day! How cool!” How I wish I could say, “I will pass down anything you need for your little one.” How I wish that I could rock-in my Hazel NEXT year, as she should have been.

I miss my baby.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Miriam's Song

These were Miriam's words verbatim on the way to the video store:

"I miss Hazel more that I love movies. I miss Hazel more than I hate spankings. I miss Hazel...I miss Hazel...all the way to the moon and back."

I found this heartbreakingly cute...

Friday, May 09, 2008

A Minor Bird

Alex has taken to climbing the pine tree in front of our house. He climbs unbelievably high (“Hey Mom! I can see into Dad’s library!”) and washes his hands after each climb (this is the boy who can not stand to be dirty, after all!)

Tuesday he climbed the tree and a little robin started to chirp at him insistently. Alex said, “Mom, I can see a bird in the tree and it’s not flying away! I see the nest!” I told him to get down, that the bird was warning him that he was too close. Then the little bird hopped out to where I could see her and just looked at me as if to say, “Can you please get your baby out of my tree?”

I got a picture of her, dear bird. Thinking about her throughout the day reminded me of the Robert Frost poem, Minor Bird:

I have wished a bird would fly away,
And not sing by my house all day;

Have clapped my hands at him from the door
When it seemed as if I could bear no more.

The fault must partly have been in me.
The bird was not to blame for his key.

And of course there must be something wrong
In wanting to silence any song.

Of course, as I write this, I’m being accosted by the loud, ridiculous music of my neighbor and I take issue with that last line, despite how lovely the sentiment.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Slightly Psychotic

I feel normal some days and just slightly shy of psychotic other days. I hear news of other people’s babies and I’m genuinely happy for them, but I can’t help but feel sad for my family. Sometimes I just sit and think, “I want my baby.” I talk to Hazel a lot in my head. I tell her how much we love her and how much we looked forward to parenting her. And I assure her that we would have been good parents to her (flawed, of course). I know she’s probably not actually hearing me when I speak to her, but it makes me feel better somehow.

I don’t cry too often in front of the other children anymore, because it seemed to be really bothering them—and they would get really distraught, too. I worry that when they come back in the room and I’ve still got tears running down my face that they will be bothered by that, too. At the same time, death is a part of life and I don’t want to completely hide from them how hard this is.

Here’s a picture of the table from the memorial service. On the table are some pictures of Hazel, her 3D footprints and handprint, a lock of her hair, the little bracelet she wore, a haiku written to me from one of my Mother’s students, and the lovely memory box purchased for me by friends from Amitymama (see link to the left). The service was truly lovely. We had much support both by people who attended (family came from Ohio, northern Indiana and Iowa) and people who couldn’t be there who were praying for us.