Thursday, July 30, 2009

Today I Feel...

Saddened by how the loss of my son has affected every area of my life.

Scared about what tomorrow may bring and whether or not I will have the strength to face it.

Doubtful that my life will ever have any semblance of normalcy again.

Defective because my tubes are tied and I cannot naturally conceive again to give my husband the one thing he wants.

Powerless that I can't bring Calvin back.

Withdrawn from friends and family who have no idea what it feels like to be living suspended above hell.


Today I feel like dying. I think my insides are already there...

There is no hope, and that in itself is devastating.

Like a failure. As a wife, as a mother, as a woman.

That I need someone to reach out and pull me back from the edge, because I feel my life spiralling downward.

Rage that I couldn't stop everything that happened, and that God has let me down.

Like crying, and I have been. All fucking day.

Sunday, July 26, 2009


It's been six years since I married the love of my life. Our wedding, six years ago today was one of the happiest moments of my life. Looking back on that day I remember the butterflies of excited, nervous anticipation as we took our vows and the feeling of exhiliaration once the moment had passed and I knew we were now joined for life. There was nothing to indicate that there would be anything but happiness in the years to come and the excitement of looking forward to our futures. Through everything we've been through together I still love Shane with all my heart. There is no one on earth I'd rather spend the rest of my life with. Today as I look back on my wedding day, it is with a feeling of certainty that Shane and I were meant to be together, that although we have endured much more in six years than any couple should have to endure in a lifetime, I love him for all that he has given me. My only hope is that the next six years of our life is filled with happiness and joy as we grow together out of the sadness that has come while trying to create our family. I have hope for us and above all else, we have love, for each other and for our children Lorelei, Georgia and Calvin. May God Bless our family with peace, good health and happiness for the rest of our lives.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

More Fire, Getting Ready for Possible Evacuation

We just got a call from Shane's mom who heard that the mountain directly behind our house is on fire. We've had lightening all morning and very little rain. Fires are springing up everywhere. There is a new fire in the town of Naramata about fifteen minutes away from us and one in Summerland where Shane's parents live. I'm getting scared. Shane has driven off to find out if it is indeed true and I'm packing up our photo albums and precious mementos. More later....

Update: The lightening storm has seemed to have passed for now, and it looks like things are okay here. I do feel better though having packed up our precious mementos like our baby books, photo albums and some of Calvin's things. That way if we do end up having to get out, it's all ready. I don't think I'll feel at ease until the fire season is over or until we get a large quanity of rain. There are still fires in the valley but none are threatening our home thank God. I will say, when we got the call that Munson Mountain was on fire, we were both thrown into panic mode. Now that we know there is no fire on our hill and that we're ready if need be, I'm not nearly as worried as I was this afternoon. Thanks all for the wishes...Hugging you all!!!

Monday, July 20, 2009

North and South

There are three new fires nearby. Three are burning to the north of us and now there is one burning to the south of us. All three fires are within forty minutes of where I live. We are surrounded by thick smoke now, the air quality is so bad it looks like a blanket of fog has settled in over the valley. Lorelei arrived home safely today thank God, her grandparents took the route to the south to get her back home. Within two hours of her being dropped off, the highway to the south was closed because of a new forest fire. Sometimes I wonder what would happen, where we would go if we couldn't get out of town because the highways were closed. We'd probably have to either fly out or hitch a ride on someone's boat. It's a frightening thought. We came close to evacuation the year of the Okanagan Mountain Park fire, as the fire crept down the hillside towards town, the hospital was the first to be put on evacuation alert. It's scary. I remember the entire town being without power for two days during the fire that year. We sat up at Shane's parents house and watched across the lake as the fire burned down the mountainside. There, in the dark, we felt safe together. I feel an eerie sense of deja vu with this series of forest fires. I'm hoping that they're nowhere near as bad as in 2003, but as of today, there was still 0% containment on the Westbank fire. One of our friends has been evacuated twice now, the everchanging winds pushing the fire in all different directions. The wind has been a nightmare for the firefighters. Last night there were gusts up to 50km/hr and it is so dry here right now that the tiniest ember can spark a whole new fire. I'm worried. I'm worried for our friends and their homes but I'm also worried for us. Shane just put a bid in on a huge project in Westbank last week and we're hoping that the job doesn't burn down. If it does, then the project will have to rebuild and it will be months more before it reaches the finishing stage again. I worry too about what would happen to Calvin's grave if the fire ever came down this way. The thought of the ground where he's buried burning up is terrifying. I guess now, all we can do is pray for rain and hope that the wind dies down for the rest of the week. I'm hoping this isn't an indication of how my summer will be spent. Worrying and inside because of the bad air.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Forest Fire Season

On the weekend of my wedding six years ago, the Okanagan Mountain Park fire started. It was a devastating wildfire that burned out of control for two weeks before it was contained. Shane and I spent that summer cloaked in thick smoke, wiping ash off our windshields every morning to go to work. Yesterday, a wildfire broke out in the town of Westbank, half an hour away from us and within a couple of hours, had jumped the highway and was burning out of control. Several homes were destroyed, alot of Shane and I's friends have been evacuated. Please say a prayer for our friends, that their homes don't burn, for Shane and I so that we get through the summer without being affected by fire and for our daughter who is on vacation with her grandparents. Shane's parents drove through Westbank on the way to Calgary with our daughter on Friday, we called them to let them know the highway was closed in both directions and to take a different route back. I'm worried that with the fire hazard rating being extreme right now and the different fires that are popping up all over the place that something will prevent Lorelei from coming home. As I'm sitting here typing, all I can hear is the sound of water bombers flying overhead, dipping down to collect water from the lake. Please, pray for us in BC.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Baby of Mine

Georgia's milestones are coming fast and furious right now. She has now cut four teeth, started sitting, started crawling and is now standing. It feels like sand slipping from my fingers as I watch her babyhood melt away. I want it to stop. I need her to stay this way for awhile longer so that I can continue to hug and kiss her as often as I want, run my lips through her downy hair, stroke her little body while I'm feeding her and feel her nuzzle into my neck as she's drifting off to sleep. She's so perfectly lovely. Her skin is incredibly soft and there is nothing better than hearing her say mama as she lifts her arms up to reach for me. I'm so in love with this baby. In so many ways my heart is tender towards my youngest girl, she is my last baby, she is the other half of her brother and in alot of ways, she is me. She looks more like me than Lorelei did, in fact other than having my ears and my dad's hands and feet, Lorelei is all Shane. Georgia is so much more me, she looks so very much like me as a baby and she's very mellow and smiley. Her temper is a wonder to behold when she gets there but it takes her a good while to get mad enough to let it show. She has me completely wrapped around every one of her chubby fingers, I would do anything for her. In a way, I feel like I'm beginning to mourn the loss of her babyhood, because it's going by so quickly now. I remember the time when Lorelei became more independent and wanted to do things more her way. She stopped seeking my approval all the time, stopped needing me to the basic things for her that I had always done and it stung a little. It stings now tenfold because unless we adopt or do IVF, Georgia will be my last child. I love having her depend on me to feed her, change her and lift her up. I have enjoyed experiencing things with her that I never got to do with Lorelei. When Lorelei was first born, because she was premature and so tiny, the doctors admonished me to handle her as little as possible. They were afraid that too much stimulation would burn calories and she couldn't afford to lose any more weight than she already had. Georgia was with me from the delivery room on, in fact I held her more in the first few days of her life then I held Lorelei in the first month. My girls are growing so fast and I don't know how to stop time from passing by so quickly. Shane and I discussed how I've been feeling about this tonight and we both agree that I probably wouldn't be feeling so much angst if Calvin were here with us. Our family would be complete and I would be able to enjoy watching our twins achieve their milestones without that feeling of doom that I would never be able to have more children. Because if my son were here, I wouldn't want any more. If he were here with us, instead of mourning the loss of my fertility, I would be celebrating our family and revelling in our babies progress. I miss him so much. I miss the possibility of his life and being able to measure his achievements against his twin's. Now as I watch my Georgia grow all too quickly, all I can do is wonder. Wonder if he would be doing all the things she is doing right now. Wonder if his heart surgery would have held him back developmentally. Wonder if he would prefer me like Georgia does. Sometimes I close my eyes and imagine them playing together, chewing blocks or batting at a dangly toy across from each other. It makes me smile but it also makes me sad. Lorelei is so intune with my feelings alot of the time that she constantly asks me if I wanted a "little girl, little girl, little boy..." because she senses that I don't feel complete without Calvin. She's insecure because I love Georgia, worried that because I love her sister then I can't possibly love her. I do love her. I love her more than anything, but with Lorelei, I accepted her growing up because I knew we would have more babies. It's different with Georgia and very hard to accept, because she is my last child. Oh God, I want more babies....

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Rainbow Baby

There has been lots of talk amongst the blogs lately about rainbow babies, the baby that comes after your loss. I know alot of the other mothers are wanting to have another baby, in fact my blog friends Lea, Sally and Mirne are pregnant as we speak with their rainbow babies. I've been obsessed with having another baby lately. Maybe it's because Georgia is growing so fast and I know she will be our last child. Maybe it's because I'm in mourning over the loss of my fertility after having my tubes tied when the twins were born. I don't know. In a way, Georgia was my rainbow baby. While letting go of Calvin, I still had his beautiful twin sister to care for. It wasn't possible for me to take some time, avoid babies and grieve. I cried my loss while holding her, while nursing her and at night as I rocked her. I have loved this baby more than I ever thought possible with a deeper, more nurturing love than I had with Lorelei. Don't get me wrong, I love Lorelei so much that I would do anything for her, she is my firstborn, my miracle. She was, however, a very non-cuddly, independent baby who became daddy's girl from the get-go, preferring him to me. Georgia on the other hand wants me and only me most of the time. She cries if I walk by her and don't pick her up when she's smiling at me. Her first word was mama, where Lorelei's was dada. I don't want her babyhood to end, she's growing too fast. I want nothing more than a houseful of cribs with chubby content babies sleeping in them. I told Shane that if we ever won the lottery, I would want to travel to India for IVF with about six Indian surrogates. That way, I'm sure we could bring home at least two more babies...It's actually my dream right now to travel to India for the surrogacy programs they offer. It is extremely affordable and it benefits not only the couples struggling to have a baby, but the surrogate and their families as well. That and adoption seem to be our only routes right now. I have also checked into a program in the States that adopts "dumpster babies" out to rescue families. They have adopted out over six hundred unwanted babies to the US and Canada over the last few years. However, because of the Hague treaty signed in 2008, Canadians have a harder time adopting from the US. There is more paperwork, more fees, and more red tape. Overall, to adopt a child from the US costs approximately $30,000.00 and that's without the agency charging a fee. Maybe I'm just greedy. I had my rainbow baby, but I want another. I'm not sure if it will ever happen for us but maybe, just maybe it will.

Monday, July 13, 2009

A Deeper Understanding

I got my reply from Dr. C the other day. I have been unable to post since. His response to receiving Calvin's book was so beautiful and heartfelt that I have been utterly emotional since reading his email. Dr. C said that he intends to read the book cover to cover as soon as he can, but in opening it and seeing the pictures and reading our words, the grief of losing Calvin hit him all over again and was as strong as the day our son died. He said that grief has no memory of a past ache or pain, that something can invoke that grief to rear up as strong and as fresh as it was yesterday. It made total sense to me. Of course it does, that's why I feel like I am getting better than all of a sudden something will happen and I am paralyzed in my emotions and feeling just as fucked up as the day our son died. His insight gave me a deeper understanding to where I am going in this mad journey, that it is small steps forward in victory and then standing still in surrender.

One of my fellow blog friends Catherine talked about fighting it, fighting the grief, the pain, the acceptance. I know exactly what she meant by that post because I am there fighting too. I don't want to accept that my son is dead, somedays I feel like I can't accept it. I can't stand the pain so I get angry at it and angry at myself for crying and feeling sad. I get angry at God and fate and everything around me. I am a warrior facing down my nemesis, looking the pain in the eyes and daring it to take me down again. Of course I would be silly to think that I could defy the sadness and walk away from this whistling a merry tune, that just doesn't happen. Perhaps I should just surrender in those moments and feel every drop of the pain until it dissipates enough for me to carry on again. I think that in reading Dr. C's email, that I have had some light shed on my path, a light that I couldn't previously see. Something that my husband has said for months too is starting to make more sense to me. He said "It's not a matter of acceptance, it's a matter of learning to live with it." I think they are both right. I think that if I continue to battle against acceptance that I will continue to have dark moments in my belief system, moments that won't let me believe that my son is in Heaven with God. I can't accept that God would take my beautiful son away from me, that someone so good and kind could just stand back and watch my baby die. I think if I just surrender to the pain, surrender to learning to live with it that maybe I can allow myself to believe that my son is in a beautiful more perfect place than I could ever imagine. That he is beautifully whole in God's grace and that he will be waiting for me to see him again when it's my turn to die. Truthfully, there have been too many "coincidences" in our journey of grief for me to continue to fight believing. First, there was Dr. C and Dr. S. I wholeheartedly believe that Shane and I were led to them specifically because of our personality types. Shane instantly felt a bond with Dr. S and I felt that bond, that comfort with Dr. C. Then there was Sid, the wonderful retired pastor who performed Calvin's funeral service. When we went to the funeral home to have our first meeting with him to discuss funeral arrangements, the first thing he said to us was "I'm a twin". Because of his own twin connection, he was able to truly give a firsthand account about the bond between twins, and he truly felt for our family because he could relate. He told us about how his brother wasn't doing well and how much it worried him that he could possibly lose him. He hurt for us.

So many beautiful people walked with Shane and I along the road of our grief. Some only a short way, some have walked with us the distance. Each person has contributed something towards our healing in some way. For our short walk with Dr. C, he has made a huge impact in our lives. I have wondered for months now what made this special man tick. How he could genuinely care for his patients, especially when some of them died. I wondered how he could continue to give to the parents of his little patients, how he could continue to have compassion after seeing all that he has seen in his work. I imagined that dealing with illness and death all the time would eventually harden you, how can you continue to have your heart broken day in and day out and still want to come to work and give all of yourself? I found my answer at the bottom of Dr. C's email to us. Dr. C has lost a child too. My heart broke when I read those words. But now I understand what makes him such a great doctor and such a kind man. And now I know for sure that God put him in our lives for a reason, and also us in his life. We walk this journey together but separately, offering what we can to the other. Who knew we'd find beauty in the most painful experience of our lives?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Earth Angel

She sits on the floor chewing her soft Winnie the Pooh block, absentmindedly watching Treehouse whenever a song comes on and catches her attention. She is round and soft, cherub like in her divine plumpness and oh so very kissable. The setting sun shines through the glass patio doors enveloping her in light, casting a soft glow around her fuzzy head. She throws her hands up and looks towards the ceiling and squeals in delight, a huge smile on her cute little face. She is transfixed on something I can't see so I ask her "Do you see him Georgia, do you see your brother?" We've been having moments like this since she was born and since Calvin died. At first I didn't know what to think, I'd be feeding her and all of a sudden she'd be straining to look over my shoulder or up at the ceiling. Then one day Shane asked her if she was looking at Calvin and the look on her face was beyond recognition, as if to say, "'ve figured it out." I've often wondered if the bond between my twins would transcend death, if they would stay connected through eternity. Who really knows what happens in the womb during development with twins? How do we know that there isn't some spiritual connection that grew along with their little bodies as they lay touching each other, cradled together in my belly? I'd like to think that Georgia does see him, that he hovers above her, reaching down as if to touch her, to let her know he is still with her. I know she misses him at times, I know she misses him with a deeper more primal yearning than I do. He is her other half, conceived two days before she was according to the growth measurements in the early days of my pregnancy. He was always there, right from the moment she came to be. Part of me believes he is an angel sent to bring her to us. Georgia my earth angel, Calvin my heavenly angel. Part of me is soothed by the thought that he is watching over her, that he is still around to be in her life if that's the case. Part of me is skeptical, that she's probably seeing shadows or dust. I want it to be him. If I miss him this much, imagine the separation she must feel. I love her so much. I love her because she's my daughter. I love her because she was with him, and is part of him. I love her for both of them, always. So at night, I whisper in her ear, "If you see him, tell him we love him..." Just in case.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Day the Music Died....

A long long time ago
I can still remember
how that music used to make me smile
And I knew if I had my chance
That I could make those people dance
And maybe they'd be happy for a while
But February made me shiver
With every paper I'd deliver
Bad news on the doorstep
I couldn't take one more step
I can't remember if I cried
When I read about his widowed bride
But something touched me deep inside
The day the music died.....Don McLean, American Pie

A long, long, time ago...there was a girl who loved music more than anything else in the world. She couldn't draw, she wasn't a gifted athlete, she wasn't overly popular in school, but she could sing. That girl was me. At one time in my life, music was everything to me, and it was something I didn't have to work on, it came naturally. Some people are artistically inclined, I was musically inclined. I could play the piano by ear, joined band in elementary school when most kids were taking it in grade ten and in my grade twelve year had two choir classes. I dreamed of going to Juilliard and one day singing on Broadway. I loved musicals and Broadway shows, sang every chance I got, went to every audition in highschool for anything that required singing. My friends used to ask me when I was going to do something with my voice and I shrugged them off like it was no big deal to me. My jazz choir teacher compared my voice to the late Karen Carpenter and gave me everything I auditioned for. I once made a music video for Shaw cable during their Drug Awareness campaign years ago and sang the national anthems for the US and Canada two years in a row at a banquet held for drug addicted youth to celebrate their sobriety. My dreams of Juilliard died when I went to live with my father. It was a struggle just to stay in school while I lived with him. Most nights I babysat long into the night to earn money for myself and to take care of my basic needs. My dad was an alcoholic and took custody of me when my mother felt she could no longer care for me because of her MS. Truthfully, all I was to him at the time was an extra couple hundred dollars on his welfare check. Babysitting was a way for me to get out of the house and away from him when he drank. It was a way for me to wash my clothes and eat a meal. Most times he stole my money anyways, but I worked to have clean clothes and something other than hotdogs and Kraft dinner once in awhile. The late nights affected my schooldays alot of the time, but it was far better than staying at home. I pushed my dreams to the backburner and figured I would pick them up again one day when things were more stable in my life. It never happened for me, but I continued my love of music throughout the years, going to concerts, dancing the nights away in the nightclubs, going to musicals and writing songs with my friend Jeff late at night in my apartment. I lived through music. When Lorelei was born I sang to her constantly, making up lullabies, singing her silly songs to make her smile and laugh. I sang to her about everything. She learned to dance at a young age and loved to dance with her daddy and "shake her tailfeathers" to a groovy beat. I realized the other day while I was holding Georgia that I haven't sang in months. I don't think I've sung much since she's been born. I think the music went out of my heart the day my son died. It's surprising to me that something I love so much can disappear from my life so suddenly without thought. I guess these past months I've been preoccupied with Calvin's death so much that alot of the joy that lived in my soul has vanished. I miss the music in my life, I miss the feeling of exhiliaration it brought. I'm saddened that I've been unable to share this vital part of myself with Georgia, that she's missed out on the happier, lighthearted side of her mother. I need to find it again, find myself in all of this. I need to sing and dance and learn to love life again without my son. I miss myself.

Monday, July 6, 2009

In the Mail...

I mailed out my copies of Calvin's memorial book to his doctors today and I'm a little nervous about it. I'm not sure what type of reaction I'll get or if I'll get any at all. I had discussed sending the book previously with Dr. C and Dr. S but it took me so damn long to finish it that I'm sure they've either forgotten it was coming or didn't believe me anymore...LOL. I'm scared. That book contains some of the most private pictures my husband and I own, pictures not even our families have seen. There are pictures of our son as he lay dying in our arms, pictures of him in his casket, pictures of Shane and I the most heartbroken we have ever been in our lives. It's something I feel intensely private about but at the same time because our doctors were such a part of our whole experience, it was something I wanted to share. I also wanted to make sure that neither of them forgot Calvin or how much we loved him. I wanted it to reaffirm for them that this is why they do what they do. Why their work is so important. I wanted them to know how grateful we are to them for all they did for us and for our son and to let them know how much we love them for it. I guess what I'm most afraid of is that my offering of love to them, a raw, honest look into our lives and our most private pain will not mean anything to them, or that they may not know what to say to me (us) about the contents of the book. I'm scared that it might hurt them too, that seeing Calvin like that may bring them both back into the moments where they had to tell us he wouldn't live, that they will have to relive it all over again. It's so fucked up, the way I feel about the doctors, especially Dr. C, I think about him everyday. I'm in awe of him, in total utter admiration of the man, and I don't know him outside of the six days Calvin lived. He made such a difference in my life in those six days, his kindness completely changed my opinion about the medical profession. I think I'm also drawn to him because he knew my son, and I can't say that about anybody really. He spent the most time with Calvin, even more than I did or Shane did and I am so grateful for his devotion in looking after my baby. There were times I wanted to throw myself down at his feet with tears of love and thankfulness for all that he did, all that he sacrificed to try to save our son. I wish I could tell him without it being weird or awkward. Sending him our book was the only way I could think of to honour his place in our experience. I hope that when the doctors get the books, they realize we shared because of how much they meant to us and always will. They're heroes, and will always be in our eyes.


Yesterday, a girlfriend and I decided to drive out of town to another city for a day of shopping and fun. She asked me to bring some music the night before we went and I had every intention of burning a CD but I forgot. When she showed up to pick me up, I remembered that I hadn't burned us a disc to listen to on the way so I decided to check my car for some music. I haven't actually driven my car since I was pregnant, Shane bought me a minivan a couple of days after we had the twins and my Toyota has been parked ever since. Anyhow, as I was rooting through the glovebox of my car, I came across a CD I had bought when I was pregnant. It was a CD of lullabies for babies. I remember listening to it for the first time after I had found out about Calvin's heart defect and the music had made me cry. I wasn't sure at that time whether he would ever get to hear it as he drifted off to sleep and the possibility that he wouldn't was too much for me to bear, so I had shoved it into my glovebox where it sat for almost a year until yesterday. Tonight I played it for Georgia as she was falling asleep and it was beautiful to listen to. There are certain songs I have a hard time listening to, mostly because they were playing in the private room in the ICU as Calvin died. Funny how a moment can change how you feel about something forever. Nevertheless, I am glad I put it in and played it for my baby girl. When I first bought the CD, I had pictured it playing in the twins room as they snuggled down to sleep in their cribs with me watching them sleep by nightlight. So many things have not gone the way I imagined they would be and it's hard to let go of certain dreams. While we were away, my sister in law and her husband had redone Lorelei's bedroom as a nursery for the twins complete with new curtains, paint, and wall decorations. They had moved the cribs across from each other with the change table in between and Susan had painted on the wall..."All because two people loved each other..." It was such a beautiful room done in soft greens and cream. When we first got home and I saw it for the first time set up with both cribs, I knew I couldn't put Georgia in there alone. So she sleeps in our room and has since we moved home but since listening to that CD tonight, it has reawakened a dream for me, to have her in that beautiful room with a soft light and tender music playing her to sleep. The only thing missing is her brother, but I think I want her to have that. I think I'm getting ready to put her in her bedroom now even though I thought at one time that I could never do it. Maybe this is progress...

Saturday, July 4, 2009

I Wish

I wish I could undo the past year. In approximately ten days it will be one year since we learned of Calvin's heart defect in utero. One year ago today I was blissfully unaware that one of my babies had a serious defect and would later die. One year ago I was pregnant and hot and joyfully waiting to find out whether we were having boys, girls or one of each. I wish I could go back to that time and feel the anticipation, the excitement and the wonder of having two babies growing inside me. By July last year I was already huge and still had four months to go, but I was eager and happy and feeling fertile and womanly...

I wish I could go back to the ICU with the knowledge that my time with Calvin was limited. I would have crammed as much life into one week as possible, spent every waking moment with him, even if it meant entrusting Georgia to the care of the nurses in Fir. I wish I could have bathed him, nursed him, kissed him a thousand more times.

I wish more of my friends and family had gotten the chance to meet our son. The hardest thing about losing Calvin in Vancouver was not having the friends there to support us in person. None of the people in my life that I care about, other than Shane's family, came to visit or met our sweet boy. As a result, nobody talks to me about him and it's a lonely, isolated feeling to grieve someone you love so much that noone else has met.

I wish I could sit down with Dr. C over a few pints and pick his brain about his experience with Calvin. More than anything I would like to hear his thoughts and feelings on what happened to Calvin and how it affected him when he realized our son would die. I would also like to ask him what made him go into medicine and how he deals with the heartache of losing some of his patients.

I wish I could have had my mother brought to Children's somehow to meet Calvin before he died. I know it would have been a huge ordeal to have brought her there because we probably would have had to have her brought in by ambulance, as well as having a care attendant with her the whole time. I wish she could remember from day to day who my husband is, what my children's names are and the important things in my life that I have shared with her. I wish she were well.

I wish that I didn't struggle so much with self doubt. I know that somewhere inside of me is a confident, intelligent woman who believes in herself and her abilities. I just don't know where she's been this past year. Sometimes, I am so intimidated by the thought of speaking to people that I avoid social situations altogether rather than having to meet and mingle. I think if I could get back to my pre pregnancy weight, I wouldn't feel as shy and awkward about being social. Somewhere in my head though, there's always the thought that I am being judged and critiqued. I was so worried that my son's doctors were looking at me as some stupid, overweight, hysterical woman that I didn't ask as many questions as I wanted to, didn't want to break down crying in front of them or come off like a lunatic. I'm sure I did anyways...

I wish my daughters could have known my father before he died, even if it was briefly. My dad was awesome when I was a little girl, it was only when I was older and could see through his crap that we became estranged. I also wish that they could have known my mother before she became an empty shell lying in her hospital bed grinding her teeth. My mother was so smart, physically active and just an all around lovely woman when I was younger. She had so much to offer, gave me so much knowledge and love that I know if she were able, she would be the most wonderful grandmother to my girls. I miss her. I miss the mother I had before MS stole her from me.

I wish more than anything that my girls grow up to be secure in themselves. I wish for them to follow their dreams, reach their potential and be happy in all that they do. I don't care if that means being a fulltime mom like me or becoming doctors or lawyers. As long as they find happiness and aren't settling for second best, that's all that matters. I wish for them to know love that is gentle and kind, never abusive or demanding, like the love I have with their father. Having come from an abusive first marriage where I lost any shred of dignity or self esteem I had, into a positive and supportive marriage with Shane, my wish for them is to skip the unhappiness of an unhealthy relationship and to not settle for poor treatment. I wish them to know their worth. Most of all, I wish for them to always know how much they are loved. My girls were my miracles, my happiness in a sea of despair while trying to have a family. They were wanted more than anything and are loved twice as much.

I wish for inner peace for myself. I don't expect the grief to end but I want it to mellow, to not be as strong and consuming. I wish to find lightness in my life, to enjoy the simple things again. I wish to remember Calvin with a smile and a warm feeling in my heart some day, instead of a raging pain that tears me to shreds. I wish that he is at peace and that he knows how much I love him. I wish he would give me a sign that he's okay so that I could be okay in trusting in heaven. I wish God could lead me to my own "Shack" for a weekend to prove to me that things are as I have alway tried to believe. That there is a heaven, that there is eternal life, that there is no suffering and that we will be made whole again. That I will see my son again in time. I wish I could be sure...

Friday, July 3, 2009

The China Doll

I went in for more work on my memorial tattoo today. Truthfully I had been dreading it a bit, the last time I was in the pain was excruciating and because I have been suffering with horrible cramps the last couple of days, I just didn't feel like going. Nevertheless I went. I had thought about taking a couple of Advil before I left the house but in my rush to get down there, I forgot. The first clue that today would be an uncomfortable session was in the position of the table. I looked at Kai, and asked him if I could lift the head of the table up and he replied no, that he needed my back as extended as possible. So, to start things off, I was laying there with my head pointing down at the floor and feet up towards the ceiling. That alone was horrible. All the blood in my body started to rush into my head and I could feel my nose becoming stuffed up. As he started on colouring my tattoo, the pain wasn't too bad at first. By the time we were an hour and a bit in, I started to ask for a break because it was starting to become unbearable. Kai was in "good flow"mode though and wanted to keep working. Closing my eyes and gritting my teeth I tried to stay focused by repeating to myself over and over, "This is to honour Calvin, think about his beautiful face..." Soon though, I started to lose control. Picturing my son's face, feeling the pain, having the pressure of all the blood in my head and dealing with cramps started to get to me. I struggled to hang on. The next thing I knew, hot, fat tears were sliding down my nose and dripping onto the paper protector on the table. I started to shake. Kai must have noticed because he turned off his gun and asked me if I wanted to break now and as I stood up, I began sobbing uncontrollably. Embarassed, I kept apologizing as I quickly got dressed, telling him I just needed some air and that it was the cramps from my period bothering me. I felt and have been feeling fragile lately, like the wrong word or look, or thoughtless remark could break me. I have never felt fragile like this before. I have always considered myself a strong woman, having been through so much in my life that has been painful and always coming out the other side okay. As I paced outside, the word Atonement kept running through my head. Like the pain from the tattoo needle would make up for some of Calvin's pain. Ridiculous notion, but as I paced and sobbed and tried to get myself under control it was all I could think about. The suffering of my beautiful baby. My broken heart. Needing to acknowledge my "invisible" child to the outside world. Making sure he is remembered. Taking some deep breaths I regained control of myself and walked back in, ready for more. I was there four hours in total, the last two hours spent lying on my left side with my left arm curled up underneath me holding my shirt to cover my breasts and my right arm stretched over my head so that he could work on my side. By the time I left I wanted to puke. If I wasn't almost done with it, I would have walked away after today's session and said forget it, I can't do it. Just watching my own blood running down my back and sides today was enough to make me squeamish, never mind the relentless pain that goes along with getting tattoo'ed. Maybe in my own stupid way the pain is my way of "doing" for my son. If I could have given him my own heart, my own blood, my life, I would have. None of it was an option. For me, this is simply one thing to do for him. Too bad I'm turning into a china doll, lately everything threatens to break me. It's like my shattered heart has worn me down physically, spiritually and mentally. I'm a mess right now, I'm lonely for my son and wishing desperately for him to be remembered. And not just by me....

Wistful Admiration

Although Shane and I technically live in a city, we are on the outskirts in orchard country. Our house is a ramshackle hundred year old heritage house on just about four acres. So even though all we have to do is drive down the hill to be in the downtown area, we are just out of it enough to have blissful quiet. We are wonderfully exposed to nature here, and there are all kinds of critters running around making our yard their home. Lately, there has been a herd of about twenty deer or so spending their time between our place and our neighbour's house, grazing in the meadow between. It's not uncommon to find them congregated in the driveway eating weeds, or our juniper bushes and lately they've been coming onto the lawn eating our grass. I don't mind them at all, I didn't get my flowers in this year so I could care less if they want to hang out in the yard. This morning, as I was sipping my morning coffee on the back porch, looking out over Okanagan Lake, I happened to notice a young doe and her fawn standing underneath our maple tree. The baby was nursing and the mama deer stood patiently while her little one fed. It was beautiful. All of a sudden, another little fawn sprang through my lilac bush and it too raced over to nurse. Twins. My heart almost stopped. I felt a lump rising in my throat watching the mother deer nursing both her babies. I wondered what it was like for her, never having had the chance to nurse both my twins. In fact, I never got to nurse Calvin at all. She stood so patiently letting them tustle around to get at her milk, she was almost serene in her beauty. I sat quietly, watching the family feed, with a wistful aching in my chest. I miss nursing. Even though it's been seven months since I last nursed Georgia, the day her brother died, I'm still making milk. Occassionally when she cries, I'll notice my shirt getting damp and I'll feel that familiar tightening in my breasts like my body is calling out to my child. It used to happen frequently when I first stopped nursing, I'd be out in public and the cries or squeals of someone's child would start my boobs leaking like crazy. Oddly enough, my milk came in after I quit pumping, after I quit putting Georgia to my breast because I needed to be on antidepressants. I miss the experience. I miss the fact that I never got to hold Calvin to me skin to skin, that I never had the chance to breastfeed him. Georgia will still root for my nipple when she is super tired and cranky, for months after I quit nursing her I would let her latch for comfort and I would rock her and stroke her little body until she slept. I miss those times, watching the mother deer and her twins this morning brought back that familiar aching, that longing to hold and nurse my babies. I'll never have the chance to do that again and it makes me a little sad.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

I Might Have Known...

My period came today. I might have clued in to the how's and why's I've been so emotional this week. It's so hard to differentiate now, is it PMS or is it grief? Since having the twins, my cycle has been a nightmare I'll admit. Shortly after Calvin and Georgia were born, I developed a massive e.coli infection in my uterus and bladder. In fact, immediately after Calvin died, my bladder quit working and because I was retaining almost a litre of urine, I had to have a catheter put in for fear it would burst. I figured at the time that it was the trauma of holding my son while he died, that my body was just shutting down. It made sense, I had developed a sudden migraine as we left the ICU and by the time we returned upstairs to my room I was vomiting and shaking uncontrollably. When I could no longer pee I assumed it was the grief. Ten days later I was almost rehospitalized when the infection was discovered. It took eight weeks on antibiotics and some pretty heavy duty narcotics to clear up the pain and the infection. Since then, when my period comes, not only is it like someone has turned on a tap, but the emotions that go with it are devastating. I'm not kidding and had almost always shrugged the notion of PMS off before my children were born. Sure, I had the occassional bout of irritability, the odd migraine and extreme carb cravings the week before my period but really, it was such a part of my life it didn't phase me at all. Now it feels like the world is going to end, that everything is so horrible I can't stand it anymore and I'm not sure if my hormones are all messed up or whether it's the grief being magnified by my cycle. Shane just shook his head when I told him my period had come. I should have known was his reply...I wonder if any of you have dealt with the same problems since having your children/baby? Does your cycle intensify your grief? Is there anything you can take to help ease the emotional end of PMS and grief combined? Feedback would be truly appreciated on this one...Love you guys.