Sunday, May 31, 2009

Seven Things...

It would seem that my fellow babylost mama and blogger Lea has nominated me for a Kreativ Blogger Award and because of her nomination I need to talk about seven things I love and tag seven people who's blogs I love to here goes:

1. My husband Shane. He is the most wonderfully kind man I have ever known. He has loved me unconditionally through some extremely trying times and has never stopped being good to me. He shaves my legs, he carries all the heavy things, he puts out the garbage and does all the manly man things around the house. He is sensitive and funny and tender and sweet and he is the one and only man I have ever had in my life who I trust completely because he seldom lets me down. He has laughed with me over silly things and he has cried with me when our world fell apart and our son died. There is no one on earth I would rather spend my life with than him.

2. My children, Lorelei, Georgia, and Calvin. My clock started ticking in my late twenties. I never really had thought about having children until I was about twenty-seven or twenty-eight. I married when I was twenty-eight to my first husband and we were separated eighteen months later. When Shane and I met, my clock was in overdrive and I told him within the first four weeks that I wanted a long-term relationship and kids so if he wasn't in it for the long haul I needed to know right away. Lo and behold he stayed and our journey to create a family began. We struggled through multiple pregnancy losses and finally had our first daughter Lorelei in 2005. I had never known how powerful parental love could be until we had our first child and for the first time in my life, I felt that walk through fire kind of love, the love that means you would sacrifice anything and everything for your child. I loved Lorelei so intensely I feared having other children because I didn't think I could love another child the way I love her. I was so wrong. I fell in love with Calvin and Georgia as soon as I knew I was pregnant with them. As my pregnancy progressed and the first hint of problems with Calvin's heart arose, I loved them even more. The day my twins were born was one of the best days of my life, it seems like minutes ago we were in the operating room and Calvin was being placed on my chest for our first meeting. The moment I looked into his eyes I knew I would do anything for him. I met Georgia last and it was her who has been my salvation in losing my son. Georgia has accepted not only the love I have for her, but the love I have for her twin brother who I can no longer hold in my arms. I love her for both of them, she in turn loves me back. We are extremely bonded. I thank God for my children, they have redefined the meaning of love for me.

3. Books. I love a good book although in the last fifteen years my life has not permitted me to read as much as I have in the past. There is nothing better to me than a Sunday afternoon with peace and quiet and a facinating read. I started my love affair with reading early with some of my favorite childhood memories being trips to the library with my mother. We would pick out eight or ten books, more often than not Dr. Seuss, and in the evenings after supper she would sit with me on the couch and read. When I was a teenager I would literally drown myself in Danielle Steele romances imagining the day when my tall, dark, and handsome man would whisk me away to some romantic land where we would live happily ever after. These days I mostly read books on grief and it helps to know I am not insane according to the experts on grieving...

4. Music. I love to sing, I love to dance, I love to close my eyes and listen. I appreciate all types of music. Depending on my mood I can be found listening to anything from Metallica to Mozart. Sometimes I go to sleep listening to music when I can't shut off my head and it helps to relax and soothe me when I'm anxious or upset. I dance with my children to music, I sing in the car. Shane and I have made love listening to our favorite "in the mood" tunes and music is with me whenever we travel any distance in the car. Music brings up emotion in me that I can't explain. It has made me feel pumped up, energized, happy, relaxed, sad, makes me feel alive.

5. Water. I love the oceans, lakes, rivers. I love being near water. For seven years I lived on Skaha Lake in a beautiful outdated old house. We had our own dock and boat launch and on hot summer nights I would slip down into the backyard and sit on the dock with my feet in the water listening to the sound of the waves, feeling the cool swirl around my toes. I have always been drawn to water. Growing up in Ontario by Lake Erie, my family always had boats. When I was five, we would canoe in cottage country, spending hours navigating little waterways, paddling through reeds and bullrushes. I revelled in the scenery, listening to birds and insects buzzing in the warm summer air. A year later my parents bought a sailboat and we'd spend weekends sailing Lake St. Clair often travelling across the border and spending the night on the boat, the gentle waves rocking us to sleep. The sailboat gave way to a cabin cruiser and more time on the water, all of my parents friends boated, it seemed not just a recreation but a way of life. Since then, the smell of the ocean, the sound of water brings back some of the happiest memories of my childhood when there was peace and joy in my family. I find that simply being near water relaxes me and makes me feel good and on days when I am unhappy a stroll along the beach restores my calm and clears my head.

6. Sleep, oh how I love to sleep. I have always had a love affair with slumber and as soon as I was old enough to not be so excited about Christmas morning that I was awake at five am, I started sleeping in, realizing that goodness, the presents would wait. As a teen, I often felt sleep deprived and on the weekends would sleep as long as humanly possible without wetting the bed. Many school mornings my dear friend Lisa would walk to my house and literally pry me out of bed with a crowbar to get me going. I swear that it's only because of her that I ever made it to homeroom most days. My love affair with sleep has been consistent through the years, only interupted by the odd bout of insomnia that has me stomping my foot in frustration that I am being deprived of my beloved rest. My husband is a morning person. I am not. He has learned through many an exasperating morning that the best thing for us both is for him to get up with the girls whenever possible, and to wake me an hour or so later with a steaming hot cup of cappucino. *Also one of the reasons Shane is number 1 on my list....

7. I love order. If you were to step foot into my house today you would not for one minute believe me. My house is chaos. I hate it and feel frustrated by it alot of the time but I have learned to live with it not being up to my standards. An extremely active toddler, a six month old baby and a very messy husband leave me cleaning and tidying all day behind everyone. It makes me nuts to have to do it everyday, all day, to get it to where I like it. I started to notice I was angry alot so I just stopped. I pick up when I need to now or when it's so messy I feel like ripping my hair out by the roots one by one, otherwise, I mostly make sure our laundry is done and that things are somewhat accessible. Truly it sounds like a cop out, I don't know how women can manage cooking, cleaning and taking care of the children all day long and having their houses look perfect because I haven't managed without feeling like an underpaid maid. I crave order in my life like an addict craves heroin. I like to know where everything is. I like my bills to be paid on time and my house clean. I like everything to be put back into it's place and for things to be neat and tidy. I love routine. I like to have the girls in bed at a certain time and have their meals ready at the same time everyday. Order gives me a sense of security, like I'm in control of my life and that things are going as they should. I like being on time, for people I have plans with to be on time, I like to feel the sense of accomplishment when my husband asks me where his health socks are and I can produce them because I know exactly where they are. I love the sense of sanity order brings to my life and I can tell when things aren't going well by the state of not only my house but my bankbook...Ummm, no one come over without calling first, K?!! LOL

And now, for your reading pleasure, I nominate the following seven blogs for a Kreativ Blogger Award:

Kickyboots Amanda

Truncus Arteriosus Jesse

Sweet Salty Kate

Nie Nie Stephanie

All the Little Ponies Bir

Burble Barb

LaLa Land Lindsay

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Praying for Healing

My relationship with God hasn't been that great since my son died. In the days following Calvin's birth leading up to his surgery I prayed more than I had in years. When my son died, I prayed to God to bring us peace, to lead me to acceptance and I prayed for my marriage to stay together. About a month later I became so enraged at God for taking our son that I started to question everything I had believed in growing up. I started to doubt God's existence. I doubted God's goodness. I doubted whether I would ever see my son again because I couldn't be sure heaven existed. I have struggled between wanting to believe and hating Him. Today I sat down and had my first conversation with God that I've had in months. I prayed for healing, for my heart in all it's sadness. I prayed for my husband and our family. I prayed to be a better mother and wife, to live each day to it's fullest, and to let the small things that anger me go. I asked Him to help me heal my body, to eat healthier, to stop smoking, to get off painkillers. I prayed for a better relationship with Him, to help me trust and believe. I also asked God to take care of my son, to make my dad a better grandfather in heaven than he was a father here on earth. I prayed that my son know the love of all the people who have touched my life, who I have loved, and that have passed on to live in heaven. I asked God to let Calvin visit me in my dreams, to let me know he is okay. I prayed to be more family oriented, more involved in family activities even if it means facing my fears and becoming uncomfortable. I prayed that we find better ways to raise money for Children's Hospital and to have success in our fundraising so that maybe another family's child will live. I prayed to God to help me find the ways to express my gratitude to family and friends for all that they have done for me. Sometimes I find it so difficult to put a voice to my feelings, to let people know just how much they mean to me. I prayed to be more motivated and to live a less cluttered lifestyle and to be okay without having everything I want. I prayed for us to live smarter financially and for Shane to become more active in his business again. I prayed to God for His help in loving myself again, to let go of the self-loathing and guilt I pack around and to believe that I am worthy of a happy family and a man who loves me. I prayed for my girls, that they grow up healthy and sure of themselves so that they may follow their dreams. I pray my girls always know they are loved. I haven't prayed in so long I'm sure God was surprised at the length of conversation I had with Him today. I pray He was listening.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Looking Inward

It's been a few days since I blogged and although not much has really happened in my life, there have been a few things that have made me sit up and take notice. First of all, I'm starting to realize just how unhealthy I am and have been for months. During the last few months of my pregnancy with the twins, I was unable to do even basic things for myself due to severe back pain and pubic symphasis dysfunction. The weight of the babies on my belly was too much for me to even stand for more than five minutes at a time without feeling pain. Since that time, I have barely cooked. Shane did most of the meal planning in those last few months, much of which revolved around eating out so that he didn't have to cook. When Calvin died, I lost interest in food altogether and couldn't concentrate on even the most menial of tasks. The housework suffered, I didn't cook, I rarely left our bedroom other than to care for our girls in the following three months. Although I am no longer holed up in the bedroom and I am taking care of basic housework like laundry and dishes, I can't seem to find the motivation to cook or to really clean. There have been many days where Shane has asked what we're doing for dinner and my main priority is to make sure Lorelei is fed and after that I don't care. As a result, most of our meals have been either processed, prepackaged food or fast food. I don't feel well. I feel sluggish, unmotivated and heavy. I gained eight pounds of water weight over night a few days ago because I felt dehydrated and drank three bottles of water. I think my body is starting to rebel against my lack of care and I really need to do something about it. Not only that, but I'm unhappy with the way I look which makes me feel crappy on the inside. A woman I know to see asked me the other day if I was pregnant again. I was horrified and then angry. With a smile on my face I said as sweetly as I could muster "No, but thanks for asking." I could tell she felt bad but I didn't care. She made me feel not so great in that moment so her embarassment is well deserved. I don't get the lack of sensitivity or tact of some people. I think if I was pregnant, and wanted to share, I would tell people. If I don't mention it, than obviously it's none of your business. I'm feeling a little defensive about things, and I guess most of it comes from the shame of knowing that I have not been so kind to myself since my son died. There has been this aching empty feeling inside that I have tried to fill with food, drugs, shopping, sleep and whatever escape in the moment I can find. It's not working. I'm just feeling crappy about myself, about the food I eat, the money I spend, the drugs I take that I no longer need. Part of me wanted to die when Calvin died, maybe that's why I haven't cared to take care of myself since. However, sitting and talking with Shane after a bad movie watching experience the other night, opened my eyes to some things. One of those things is that I want to live to see both my girls marry and have children of their own. I want nothing more than to see my beautiful babies into adulthood, to see them succeed in life and be happy. I won't be able to do that if I keep up living the way I have been. I'm either going to get cancer, have a heart attack or die of an overdose in my sleep. I can't imagine how hurt the girls would be if I wasn't here to take care of them, to celebrate their first bras, prom, graduation and marriage and kids. I know how devastating it's been for me to be without Calvin, sometimes he's all I can think about. I want to change my life, it's going to be difficult at first but I think with small steps it will become easier.

*About our disastrous movie watching experience. We watched Marley and Me. Not the greatest movie to watch if you've recently lost a pet, which we did a few months ago. Also not the best movie if you've experienced the pain of miscarriage...That movie, while good, opened up a huge can of worms for me and my feelings and I spent yet another evening crying where I should have been enjoying myself.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Gone Fishin'

Shane took Lorelei fishing for the first time today. I guess a couple of days ago when he was watching the golf channel, a commercial came on showing a little girl and her dad. The commercial said something along the lines of "Take me fishing, because it'll be my wedding sooner than you think". So, realizing how precious our time is with the kid while they're still little, Shane decided to go fishing. I'm glad for him and for Lorelei. When I was little, my parents were divorced and my dad was supposed to take me every second Saturday. Nine times out of ten, he wouldn't show up. I remember waiting by the window for him to drive up, and waiting, and waiting....then I'd get upset. He wouldn't call and the next time he did actually show up, he never mentioned why he hadn't been there the time before. Needless to say, my relationship with my dad was pretty much always strained. I always felt let down by him and after awhile, I started to see through his excuses. I love the fact that Shane is an attentive dad. I know he is missing Calvin alot right now, he actually slipped up when he was mentioning getting in some father/daughter time and said father/son. It made me sad for him. So, while he's out with Lorelei, Georgia and I get some good one on one time together. It's awesome. I wonder how things would have been if I had Calvin here too, if I would be able to handle two babies at the same time. I wonder if I'd be so stressed that I'd make Shane stay home...sometimes I envy the fact that he feels free to just get up and do whatever he wants. I always feel like I have to ask him to watch the girls if I want to go out, I never just go. Maybe I've just "created" that situation in my head, but I wonder how he'd react if I grabbed my car keys and headed for the door with a "just got some running around to do" thrown over my shoulder as I left. Maybe I should give it a whirl and see how it goes over. LOL Yeah right...In the meantime, Georgia and I are hanging out, she's rolling all over her crib, trying to crawl and I thought I'd take a few minutes and blog. So, that's my post for the creativity seems to have gone fishin' too....

Thursday, May 14, 2009


We ordered Calvin's marker today. Originally, I wanted to go with granite, I thought it looked nicer than bronze but after much discussion with the funeral director, we chose the bronze. Apparently granite only has a life-span of about fifty years after which it will then have to be replaced. I'll be eighty-eight in fifty years if I live that long and I don't want the responsibility of replacing Calvin's marker to fall on the girls. So, bronze it is. We were told that in two hundred years, it will still be legible like the day it was cast and the cost difference wasn't too much more. I'm so relieved. It's been weighing on my mind so much lately, the stress of not having a marker, what to put on it, how to tell the world how much our son was loved. Now it's taken care of and I feel an overwhelming sense of relief and peace with what we have chosen. Once the marker is laid, I will upload a picture onto my blog.

Other than that, the girls have colds and poor Georgia was up every twenty minutes or so last night until four this morning. We haven't had a night like that since she was a newborn. Could it be that a tooth is coming in? We'll have to wait and see. All I know is that I got very little sleep last night and today I have a roaring headache. As a result, this is all I'm going to post for now. Hugs to everyone.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Another Angel Got Her Wings

I just want to share with you who read my blog the story of Kayleigh, the beautiful one pound miracle who has spent the last eleven months fighting for her life. Kayleigh lost her fight and grew her angel wings yesterday. I'm so sad for her family. I've been following her blog for some time now and her family's love and strength have been inspirational. I can only hope that Calvin was waiting at the gates of Heaven to welcome her and to lead her to play with all of the lost angels in God's playground. Please say a prayer for the Freeman family. No one should have to know the pain of losing a child. Please take a moment to follow the link and check out Kayleigh's story of love and hope.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Thirty-Eight Reasons

It's been a busy couple of days. Friday, I spent three hours under the tattoo needle, getting some work done on my still unfinished memorial tattoo. Three hours. It was excruciating. Kai, the tattoo artist, finally decided I had had enough when I started moaning and dropping f-bombs like a burly trucker. Saturday, I turned thirty-eight and we celebrated by attending a fund-raiser for Children's Hospital in Calvin's honor hosted by Shane's good friend Shannon. It was good. Shannon surprised me with a birthday cake with only twenty candles...(man, I wish), and we had a great time just kibitzing and making money. Sunday, of course was Mother's Day. I was spoiled rotten by Shane and my girls. In fact, I ate chocolates for breakfast....sometimes I love being an adult and getting to do what I want...LOL. Anyhow, I thought I would mark the occasion by listing thirty-eight reasons why I am grateful, bear with me.

1. I am married to the most wonderful man. He treats me well, is considerate and kind, and he is committed to our family and to making our marriage work. I love him more than anything.

2. My girls. Thank you for making me a mother and for loving me despite my faults, flaws and imperfections. You're both so beautiful and I'm proud to be your mother.

3. The support of family. Although at times I think our family could be doing more for us, really, Shane and I have gotten some incredible support over the years, not just during the difficult times either. Thanks for being there for us, whether it's with a hug, a sympathetic ear, or the gift of toilet paper when we've run out...LOL. We love you.

4. Friends. I can't tell you all how much you mean to me. Truly. Whether we have known each other for twenty years or whether we've never met in "actual" life, I am grateful to all the friends who have made me laugh, cheered me up, cheered me on, cried with me or have just "been". Thanks for being in my life. I love you.

5. Universal healthcare. Something so many of us take for granted. I am so thankful that we had universal healthcare when the twins were born. I can't imagine going hundeds of thousands of dollars into debt because Calvin was sick and needed surgery. I'm so grateful to our healthcare system for giving everyone access to good medical care regardless of ability to pay.

6. Being Canadian. We're laid back to the point of apathy sometimes. We say "eh". We drink alot of beer and watch alot of hockey. We are a very tolerant country and have lent a hand to many in need. I'm proud to be a Canadian. So take off, ya hosers....LOL.

7. A nation of affluence. We are by many standards, an affluent nation. We have a high standard of living. We live in houses with electricity and running water. We eat everyday and drive our cars to work or school. We have social programs to lend a hand when we are not doing well. We are a rich country and have so much to be grateful for although in this "must have" generation, we tend to take much of it for granted.

8. Freedom of speech and religion. Need I say more?

9. Access to information. I can't even imagine life without my computer, without the internet at my fingertips. It is so much easier these days than even twenty years ago to find information, to research a topic, to stay in touch. Hurray for the information highway.

10. Modern conveniences. Can you imagine having to wash your clothes by hand? Or to cook a whole meal without your microwave or oven? I'm so thankful for "modern conveniences" such as disposable diapers, tampax, toilet paper, washing machines and dishwashers...I can't imagine life without them.

11. Want. Not having it all leaves you wanting. Wanting isn't such a bad thing when you think about it. I can't imagine having everything I've ever wanted. Life would be so boring and without purpose.

12. Literacy. I'm so grateful I can read. It's hard to believe there are millions of adults and children in the world who can't. Being able to follow a recipe, read a warning label, share a book with my children are such valuable things. I'm so lucky I have the gift of literacy.

13. Clean air. I'm so glad I can go outside without a particle mask on, that I can breathe the clean air and not worry about the effects of pollution on my lungs. Having had asthma for years, I am so grateful to live somewhere where the air is clean, where every breath isn't a struggle.

14. Nature. I live in God's country, in the beautiful Okanagan Valley in British Columbia. We have deer, pheasants and eagles in our backyard everyday. The scenery is soothing, I'm so glad to live where it's green and not in the concrete jungle.

15. Doctors. I am so grateful for people who choose to heal others. Having had an extremely complicated pregnancy and a very sick baby, having people to help us made all the difference. Thank you to all the medical professionals who sacrifice for others everyday. You humble me.

16. Good health. Yes, I am overweight and I do have some medical issues. Overall, my health is good, my lifestyle is uncompromised by poor health. I am mobile, independent and able. For that I am truly grateful.

17. The optimists. You know, the people in life who see the good instead of the bad. The glass half full people. Everyone needs an "optimist" in their life who can point out the positive when you are swimming in the "negatives". Being a "glass half empty" girl, I have relied on many "optimists" who have kept me from sinking into a deep pit of despair when things didn't exactly go "my way".

18. Music. Music soothes the savage beast, calms the spirit, ignites passion. I love music of all types and genres. I love to sing and dance and tap my toes to the beat. Music is such a vital part of me, of my life...

19. Imagination. I couldn't "imagine" life without it...How boring would life be if you couldn't close your eyes and conjure up another scenario, another life, a happier ending to a sad one? Many times I have imagined myself in different places, with different people, doing different things. It has saved me from dying a slow death from boredom. It has also saved me from my sadness a thousand times....what a wonderful gift.

20. Cleanliness. Even the slobbiest of us (which I confess is me more than just occasionally), are basically clean. We drink clean water, we bathe, we wash our clothes and generally don't have to share our dwellings with farm animals. Our medical instruments are sterile, we've learned how to control infection by hand washing. We are a clean living society for the most part. Thankfully none of our children will have to grow up in a shack on a garbage dump somewhere which is a painful reality for many.

21. Choice. We have the power to choose, to control our own destinies to some degree. What a huge gift. Can you imagine life without being able to make your own choices, to walk your own path?

22. Laughter, the best medicine. I'm so grateful for the people and things that make me laugh. There is nothing better than a good gut-shaking laugh. It improves circulation, releases endorphins, lowers blood pressure. It feels good. We should all spend at least ten minutes everyday laughing.

23. Hugs and Kisses. I love hugs and kisses, both giving and receiving. There is nothing better than a hug when you're down, a kiss when you're lonely. We need affection, we need to give it, we need to get it. What better way to show affection than to give a hug or a kiss?

24. Solitude. I crave space at times. I need quiet time of my own to sort my thoughts, make plans, relax and de-stress or just to daydream. We all need personal space. I've learned that solitude after having kids is not an easy thing. Sometimes it's only when everyone has gone to sleep that I get the time I need to just "be". Although I wouldn't want to be alone all the time, I do enjoy the few moments I get all by myself.

25. A good massage. I've learned to appreciate the benefits of a good massage over the years. It's relaxing, it helps with chronic pain, and being touched by someone else is beneficial, even if it's someone you're paying to touch you. Everyone needs to have a really good massage to appreciate the benefits. It's a luxury I treat myself to at least once a month now, for the relaxation and the time to just lay there quietly listening to music while my masseuse works away the tension.

26. A good cup of coffee. Need I say more?

27. A voice. Close your eyes and imagine what life would be like if you couldn't speak. Think about the everyday situations in your life, the times when you are holding your children, soothing them with your voice and telling them you love them. Think about the times you are frustrated and it feels like the person you are speaking with isn't listening to you. Imagine not being able to put a voice to your frustration or feelings. How sad. I'm so grateful that I can say thank you, I love you...

28. Pain. Pain makes you appreciate not being in pain, both physically and emotionally. I have lived through excruciating pain emotionally. I am grateful for those moments that have shaped me into someone who can empathize, who can cry, and someone who now looks at life through different eyes. Pain has made me appreciate all the good things in my life.

29. Sleep. I don't get enough between late nights with the kids and insomnia. I truly appreciate the times I am able to sleep a deep, solid sleep, enough to recharge my batteries and leave me feeling rested. I also am grateful for the days when Shane allows me to sleep in and gets up with the kids to give me that extra bit of time. Sleep has always been something I love to do and never seem to get enough of.

30. Selflessness. There are so many selfless people in the world, people who give of themselves and of their time to help others. We needed help when we were faced with our son's illness. So many people put in time hunting down resources for us, dropping us a line to let us know they were thinking of us. I am so grateful to all of you who went the extra mile for us when we truly needed it. Thank you. I'm hoping with what we're doing with Calvin's Memorial Fund that we can give back some of that which was given to us.

31. Warmth. We have the ability to stay warm 365 days a year, even in sub zero temperatures. Thank goodness.

32. Expression. As humans, we find creative ways to express ourselves be it through art, dance, the written word, or song. Thank goodness we have the ability to not only voice our feelings but the ability to express who we are through other outlets. Think of your hobbies, of the things you love to do. I love to write, although I am far from perfect, I feel I am able to put a voice to my feelings through the written word and it has been such a gift of release for me.

33. Emotion. What of all the things in life that stir our emotions? Have you ever been moved by a piece of art, or a play, or by watching a baby interact with it's parents? Think of all the things that make you laugh and cry and go Awww, isn't that cute? What a gift we were given with emotion. The ability to feel love, to feel anger, to feel sadness, to feel joy. Life would be meaningless without it.

34. Spirituality. Most of us have a belief in some sort of higher being. Whether it be God, or Buddha, or Mohammed, or Allah. Spirituality has been a reoccurring gift in my life. I have received peace and serenity and a sense of acceptance through my relationship with God. He has lifted me when I am down, and I have been grateful to Him through the times He has carried me when I could not do it alone. I am in a constant state of spiritual growth, somedays I believe more than others, but it is an everchanging constant in my life that has been with me as long as I remember.

35. Exposure to culture. I love being exposed to other cultures. I love the fact that Canada is a melting pot of different people with different ways of life. Think about how your life would change if we weren't exposed to other cultures. Say good-bye to Chinese food or pizza. Forget about driving those uber-efficient import cars or watching a foreign film. We as a society often forget the gifts we are given from other cultures. Too many get caught up in stereotypical beliefs about races, forgetting that everyone has something to contribute. The next time you think something negative about another race, think about what that country has given you instead.

36. The sun. I love the sun. It's warmth makes me feel good, feel energized. Sunshine lifts my spirits, makes things grow. I am so grateful we are heading into sunnier days, warmer times. I am absolutely without regret that we are about to kiss winter good-bye for a few months and enjoy short sleeves, longer days and natural heat. Yay for the sun!!!

37. The ocean/lakes/rivers. I love the smell of the ocean, of clean water. I love feeling the mist of spray on my face as the wind passes over the water. Think of what a huge source of life the ocean is. I had never seen a whale before I moved to British Columbia, never seen a starfish. The ocean moisturizes our air, gives us rain and is home to some of our food. I love it. I never get tired of being at the ocean or around water. It makes me feel alive.

38. Calvin. His little life, despite it's shortness has changed me. Loving him and losing him has made me more compassionate, more open and willing to share myself. I will never regret his life, despite the fact that it came with the price of pain for us. Every minute he had was precious. Every moment I held him was magical. I miss him so much and I wish with all my being that he was here with us, but I will never regret letting him go when we did. It was time and it was what was right for him. I know God held my hand as I signed the papers releasing Calvin from his pain and that He was waiting there with us to take Calvin to live in heaven. I am so grateful for my son, for teaching us about the beauty of life and death, for making me appreciate the things I have. I will love him and he will be part of our family forever.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Six Months

On Sunday it will be six months since the day our twins were born. I can hardly believe it. I wish I could push rewind and go back to those moments in the delivery room, it was one of the happiest days of my life. Although Calvin was born second, we got to hold him first because he was about to be rushed off to the NICU for assessment and to determine what exactly was wrong with his little heart. As he was placed on my chest, I remember looking into his beautiful little face, his eyes staring intently at me, I began to weep. I couldn't believe this gorgeous little boy was mine. I had spent the last seventeen weeks of my pregnancy on eggshells, scared to love him, scared to get too attached because I was so worried something would happen to him and my heart would be broken. The moment I looked into his eyes, I knew I would love him forever. He was perfectly pink and looked deceptively healthy. In an hour we would know otherwise but in this moment all my worries seemed to fade away and it was just the three of us caught up in the beauty of it all. In those first minutes Calvin was outside my body, I loved him more than some people love in a lifetime. All too soon he was whisked away and Georgia was placed in my arms. Double the love, I thought I'd burst with joy. Georgia stayed with me from that moment on, into the recovery room for a few hours, then to the NICU to see Calvin, then up to my room. Apart from my son, I lavished as much love on Georgia as I possibly could, holding her more than I had ever held a baby in the first hours of it's life. The experience was new and undeniably beautiful. Lorelei's birth had been a traumatic one and I hadn't even seen her until twenty-four hours after her emergency birth. Lorelei had also been a nursery baby, a preemie, and I was only allowed to hold her for feedings for fear of too much stimulation. The birth of the twins, although I was separated from Calvin, was a far better experience. Not only did I get to nurse Georgia within hours of her birth, but because she never left my arms, I truly felt like she was my baby. I love her so much, the bond we formed in her early days is deep and sometimes when she's upset all I have to do is pick her up and she is soothed. I miss that I didn't have that with Calvin, however, I'm glad Shane had it with him. Shane spent so much of his time downstairs with our son, first in the NICU then in the PICU cuddling him, singing to him, holding him close and loving him for both of us. I'm so glad my son knew love from his father, I'm so grateful Shane had that time with him. It helps me to remember all the love Calvin got from his dad when I'm feeling blue about not having had enough time with him. Our son is loved as much now as the day he was born despite the fact that I have been without him now for almost six months. A moment here on earth, an eternity in our hearts.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

If Today Was Your Last Day

My best friend gave me the best advice
He said each day's a gift and not a given right
Leave no stone unturned, leave your fears behind
And try to take the path less traveled by
That first step you take is the longest stride

If today was your last day and tomorrow was too late
Could you say goodbye to yesterday?
Would you live each moment like your last?
Leave old pictures in the past
Donate every dime you have?
If today was your last day

Against the grain should be a way of life
What's worth the prize is always worth the fight
Every second counts 'cause there's no second try
So live like you'll never live it twice
Don't take the free ride in your own life

If today was your last day and tomorrow was too late
Could you say goodbye to yesterday?
Would you live each moment like your last?
Leave old pictures in the past
Donate every dime you have?
Would you call old friends you never see?
Reminisce of memories
Would you forgive your enemies?
Would you find that one you're dreamin' of?
Swear up and down to God above
That you finally fall in love
If today was your last day

If today was your last day
Would you make your mark by mending a broken heart?
You know it's never too late to shoot for the stars
Regardless of who you are
So do whatever it takes
'Cause you can't rewind a moment in this life
Let nothin' stand in your way
Cause the hands of time are never on your side

If today was your last day and tomorrow was too late
Could you say goodbye to yesterday?
Would you live each moment like your last?
Leave old pictures in the past
Donate every dime you have?
Would you call old friends you never see?
Reminisce of memories
Would you forgive your enemies?
Would you find that one you're dreamin' of?
Swear up and down to God above
That you finally fall in love
If today was your last day -Nickelback

This song has been speaking to my heart lately. The lyrics are so true, especially for me. I've been having conflicting feelings about some of my life choices, especially since losing Calvin. I guess maybe it's because I've encountered so many people who have chosen to do great things with their lives, really make a difference. I am beyond a feeling of admiration for Calvin's doctors, especially Dr. C. who I think about everytime I think of my son. Yesterday when I was having trouble sleeping, I went and sat out on the porch for awhile, alone in my thoughts. I was thinking about Calvin, about Dr. C. and how wonderful he was for my little boy and my thoughts started to drift to what a remarkable person he must be. I know nothing of Dr. C.'s life outside of the six days he spent with our son, but of that time and the things he did for Calvin and for Shane and I, I feel I know his heart. The fact that he sacrifices so much of his life to help critically ill children speaks volumes of his character. I know he sat for hours with Calvin, long past any requirement or sense of "obligation", and I know that hours of his spare time, his family time, were sacrificed to be with our son. I am extremely grateful. I am also humbled by his goodness, his chosen path and the dedication to his profession. I feel overwhelmingly grateful for anyone who chooses to "heal" others. My life in all it's tedium seems so insignificant in the scheme of things compared to the people who achieve greatness by helping others. When I listen to this song, I feel like I am wasting away my days, not living up to my potential and I wonder what I need to do to achieve a significance in life, what I need to do to make a difference. I'm sure if today was my last day, I would be full of regret for the things I haven't done, for all the wasted time and opportunities. There are so many people I need to settle things with, so many I need to express my gratitude and love for, it's always been easier to think that "I'll do it tomorrow". Of all people, having lost my son in six short days, you'd think I might be on this one a little bit better than I have been. Just in case today's my last day..."Thank you Dr. C, I love you more than you will ever know..."

Monday, May 4, 2009

Princess Lorelei

Isn't she gorgeous? My first born Lorelei. For awhile I was afraid I wouldn't be able to love any subsequent children as much as I love her. I'm pretty sure that's why the terrible twos are given to us parents. These difficult years give us room to love our other children, to remind us just how precious babyhood really is. Lorelei is going to be four in a few months and she is torn between wanting to be my baby again and asserting herself as a big, independent girl. She has given me so much in her few years. She has taught me about love, selflessness and patience. The patience has been important as of late, the sibling rivalry she feels for Georgia comes out in funny, sometimes hurtful ways. A couple of days ago as I was playing with Georgia on the floor, Lorelei came and squished herself into my lap, getting in between me and her sister. " Mom, I want to tell you something..." "Georgia is a really nice baby, but her has to go back now." "Back where?" I asked her. "Her needs to go back to the doctors, I don't want her here anymore...". I was torn between laughing and a feeling of sadness. "No, I think we'll keep her," I said. "Well maybe we can give her to God and get Calvin back," came the reply. "No honey, Georgia is not going to God, she is going to stay here with us and be your sister." "Oh alright, I guess so..."said Lorelei. Sheesh, I'm thinking, in a way I admire her openness and honesty, but it bothers me that she thinks we can give her to God and get Calvin back. How do you make a three year old understand the permanence of death? How do I reassure my firstborn of her importance and place in our family? The last year has been such a time of upheaval for her, I know there are days she feels insecure. If I could change the experience of losing Calvin for her, I would. I would do it just so that she could have a few more years to grow and enjoy her childhood without being touched by the experience of pain and loss. It's hard enough for an adult to understand why these things happen. For children it's a complete mystery, especially when they have no concept of God or heaven or where people go or what happens to them when they die. I wish I could have protected her from it all. I feel saddened that I couldn't.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

How You Remind Me

Everything reminds me of Calvin, of what we've lost. We watched the movie Seven Pounds with Will Smith on Friday night. Neither Shane or I knew what it was about and the movie cover gave no clue as to the storyline. The movie was recommended by the friendly folks at Blockbuster so, Shane grabbed it having enjoyed just about everything Will Smith has been in before. As the movie ended, we were both crying, my crying turned into sobbing and I couldn't stop. My heart broke all over again. I am having a hard time accepting that I will never be normal again, that my life will never be as carefree as it used to be. I wonder if I will ever be able to watch the news, or a movie, or read a book without feeling the heartbreak of losing Calvin over and over again. Life has taken on a new meaning for us, our pain seems to have stripped off the layers of apathy we've accumulated over the years having been exposed to the everyday horrors of life. My soul is raw. Shane can no longer watch the news, television in general is bothering him. The only thing on our set these days is Treehouse and sports. How did we as a society become so desensitized to death? While I was pregnant with the twins, Caylee Anthony was big news and I remember watching CNN clucking to myself, what a shame...Now, any story of that nature has me convulsing with heaving sobs and huge tears. It leaves me wondering if everything in life will remind me in some way of our boy, and whether or not I'll be able to cope. I can't fathom walking through my days having everything make me cry. On one hand, I'm glad that I'm no longer numb to the horrors, for too long now I've quietly accepted the darker side of humanity, on the other hand, I feel like the world could slowly drive me insane. Am I ever going to be okay about not feeling normal again???

Friday, May 1, 2009

Scheduling Nightmare

I think I've finally lost it. Usually, I'm pretty organized in fact, downright anal about scheduling. I make appointments, I plan my day, and always know what I'm doing. I must have gapped out sometime last week under all the stress of Mother's Day and getting Calvin's marker. I have been needing to write a simple letter to the grocery store in order to get a donation of hotdogs and hamburgers for our scavenger hunt coming up on next weekend and for some reason the " I have lots of time" thing got stuck and all of a sudden I'm panicked about it. So, I go to write the letter and guess what, our copy of Microsoft Office expired yesterday. It was a trial version apparently. Now my letterhead is stuck in Microsoft limbo and unless we go buy the full version or spend the six hundred or so bucks to download it, my Memorial Fund letterhead is inaccessible. Not only that, but relying purely on memory, I made a whole shwack of appointments that I'm not sure I can keep. Originally, I had made a doctor's appointment for Monday, but Amanda and Betty are probably coming over that day to see us (and Lorelei's actually not in daycare that day), so I switched it to Tuesday. Trouble is, I forgot I booked an appointment for Calvin's marker at the funeral home on Tuesday and Georgia's six month shots are that day too. I also booked an appointment to have the van serviced sometime this coming week only I didn't write down what day or time. Thursday I have therapy and a dentist's appointment, Friday I go in for the second session under the tattoo needle for my memorial tattoo. Saturday is my birthday and the scavenger hunt. I think I'll call in sick for everything. I can't believe I actually did this to myself. Not only that, but Shane is going out of town to work this week which absolutely figures because now I have to drag the kids to all my appointments or arrange daycare. Bah. So much for being organized. I'm not sure what happened to me but honestly, I can't for the life of me figure out what I was thinking making all those appointments without writing anything down. I could care less about cancelling therapy if I need to for a week, but Georgia's shots and the Memorial Fund stuff are pretty important. Time to get a Blackberry perhaps?

Family Time

Despite the fact that Shane hasn't worked since before Calvin and Georgia were born except to do some billing and paperwork, we have spent little family time together. Today as we were lounging around the house, I asked Shane if he wanted to take Lorelei to McDonald's for lunch and to play in the PlayPlace. He thought it was a good idea so I suggested we stop by and pick up Lorelei's little daycare playmate Tanner and bring him with us. It was good. The kids sat nicely together at the restaurant and managed to eat most of their fries before the wait got too much for them and we took them to play. Tanner is a cute little boy, blonde haired and blue eyed and as I watched him and Lorelei sitting side by side eating their lunch, I had a pang of angst. He looks like he could be her brother. As I watched them run around having a great time together, an older woman who assumed he was also our child commented on how cute they were and wondered if the baby would be blonde haired and blue eyed also. I pulled back the hood on Georgia's carseat to show that she has dark hair like me although Shane and I are fairly sure her eyes will stay blue. Suddenly the rip in the fabric of our family became painfully obvious to me. Lorelei will never have the pleasure of chasing her brother around, Shane will never know the pride of watching his son conquer his fears and play rough and tumble with other little boys. The shadow of sadness over our happy time out was brief, I refused to get into my head about Calvin when my little girl was having such obvious fun. For an hour or two, I almost felt like we were a normal family and it was nice. I think we need to do stuff like this more often.