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.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008


Losing Hazel is so much a part of who I am and what my life is about right now, that it takes a lot to get me out of my fog. In some ways I’m super-attuned to others’ sadness, but I miss other things around me.

However, the lady next door coming out on her porch and shouting “Gotcha Bitch!” as well as other choice words was enough to shake me out of my own haze for a bit. This neighbor and the new owners of the house across the street have been having a bit of a feud. The next-doors have talked with me about the other people and I’ve been at a friend’s house when the other people have talked with her about the next-doors. I think they have both probably acted inappropriately, and I really hate being caught in the middle.

The others people are intent on “cleaning up the neighborhood” which includes, apparently, getting rid of loose dogs by shooting them with BB guns and trapping neighborhood cats and relocating them to the parking lot of a shopping mall (!!).

The next-doors are intent on living however they want whenever they want, which includes, apparently, listening to music at decibel levels heretofore unexplored, smoking pot, cutting firewood with a (very loud) tile cutter and having huge bonfires in their backyard.

Obviously, living in the city in houses thisclose to each other requires compromise. I’m aware they we are very lucky not to have dealt with anything like this before. But that means I’m clueless now.

When the next-doors came over to explain what’s going on (and, nicely, to apologize for having cussed someone out in front of my children), I encouraged them not to retaliate, and expressed my view that doing so will only make things worse, not better. They agreed that this was probably true.

However, since the other people have called animal control, the health department, the landlord and have threatened to call CPS on the next doors, I’m not sure how long the one sided cease-fire will last.

On a more positive note, we have had some families with young children move onto the street. So far, the kids are enjoying playing together and I’m enjoying watching them. This brings our block’s 0-5 year old children count to 16, I think.

Monday, May 05, 2008

A slideshow

I promise that there will be mourning-free content someday. But not today.

Here is a slideshow I made to share with some friends online. If the pictures repeat back to back, it's just taking time to load.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Sweet Noah

On Friday evening, Chris and I were preparing some things for Hazel's memorial service. We were looking at Hazel's lock of hair, footprints, handprints and bracelet. Noah and Miriam wanted to look at them, too.

I noticed Noah's expression start to change from one of interest to one of sadness and all the sudden he burst into tears, crying, "Hazel" over and over again. Chris and I were stunned, but we held and comforted him while he cried out his grief.

And we cried, too.


We gathered today for Hazel's memorial service. It was heartbreaking, but so loving. Our wonderful friends and family members joined us in our grief and mourning, as they have been doing.

I wanted my baby so badly. She was very wanted, very wished-for, very planned, very, very, very loved. I will miss her every single day for the rest of my life.

I don't want to hurt this much forever, but I do not ever want a day to go by that I don't think of her, either.

Thursday, May 01, 2008


I'm definitely feeling that "how can the world go on???" feeling that I was told about. I feel like leaving random posts on blogs I read saying "My baby died! I'm so glad you have those cute baby things you're making, but don't you realize that my world has changed forever???"

Of course, these random bloggers have no idea what their reader's are going through nor should they, really, that's not how this is all set up.

I ran into a friend of a friend the other day and she was so glad to see me and I didn't know how to have a light conversation--small talk. I wanted to say, "I'm sorry I don't seem happy to see you. My baby just died and I just don't have any happiness left right now." Perhaps I should have?

I know the world is not going to stop for me and my grief. I am so very grateful that I am not carrying it alone. I'm surrounded by people who are grieving with me, who miss Hazel, too, and who are gentle with us as we figure out our new normal.

This prayer is from the Church of Ireland's Book of Common Prayer and I find much comfort in it--A "full knowledge" of Hazel!--I thought I would share it here:

Almighty God, creator and keeper of life,
we acknowledge that our child Hazel is your child,
loved since before the foundation of the world.
Grant us such trust
in the finished work of your Son our Saviour
that we shall look with hope
towards a full knowledge of Hazel,
whose earthly life we have so little shared
but who is now complete with Christ in you.