Thursday, May 28, 2009

another good bye

You never really know how people will react to the death of a baby. I definitely believe people show their true colors. People you don't expect much of really come through and others you had hoped to lean on are no where to be found. We are so blessed in that many people came through for us, showing their true, beautiful colors. One of those people was my great aunt Marie, my paternal grandmother's sister. She also happened to be my maternal grandmother's good friend as a girl. She sent us a sweet card, a beautiful bouquet to the funeral and also came herself. She cried with us and prayed for us. I was told that she spoke of Keely and her service right up until her own death earlier this week. Last night, we paid our respects and said goodbye in the very same funeral home that we closed Keely's casket in. I'm sure Keely greeted her at the gates.

Rest in peace. You're presence will be missed.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

be still, my heart

As Boston began to drift to sleep tonight, he tells us he'd like Keely to come back to us. As my heart broke into a million little pieces, Sam tells him that she can't come back to us but we're trying to get to her one day. We tell him that with God's help, we'll see her again. Boston then decides he'll build a rocket, wear a mask and fly to Heaven. "I need my sister right now"

Me too, baby. We all do.

in memorial, with great respect

On our way back from Disney yesterday, we stopped at the National Military Cemetery in Chatanooga, TN to try to find a relative's grave. It might be odd, but I find military cemeteries so peaceful and moving. You can't ignore it on Memorial Day weekend. Several times, my eyes welled up with tears to see all of those fallen soldiers, giving their lives for America, all those mothers who buried their sons and daughters, husbands and wives stateside who also paid a price so very high, children who will grow up with their parents' medals and memories alone. In walking along those graves, we found two babies's graves; an eight month old boy and a stillborn girl. The little boy's father was killed in WWII and both were buried there together. Both parents of the little girl served in the Iraq war; the entire family laid to rest there. The precision that the stones are laid out with, the unknown tomb (most likely where my great grandfather's brother is laid to rest, we were unable to find him); it's all so solemn and humbling. In honor of Memorial Day and every day we celebrate as Americans....God Bless our troops and their families.

"After 200 years, two centuries, she still stands strong and true on the granite ridge, and her glow has held steady no matter what storm. And she's still a beacon, still a magnet for all who must have freedom, for all the pilgrims from all the lost places who are hurtling through the darkness, toward home" Ronald Reagan

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

leaving her grave

Sorry for being post-happy today, but somedays, there is just more to say.

I visited Keely's grave this morning and won't be back for 2 weeks. We're going to be on vacation. It's such a strange feeling to know I won't be back for awhile. We were gone for a week in September and that felt weird too. I feel bad. I feel like I'm abandoning her. I know it's just her memorial, her headstone but I'm supposed to take care of it. And I'm leaving it for a bit. I know she isn't there. She'll be with us. I cried leaving this morning. I'm sorry, baby. Mama will be back to care for your flowers.

"O Jesus, blest Redeemer,
Sent from the heart of God,
Hold us who wait before Thee
Near to the heart of God." from one of my favorite hymns, one that was sung at Keely's funeral

really annoying quote...

It's probably equalling annoying that most of my posts have a little quote at the bottom, but whatever...

I search for a new quote to use if I didn't have one in mind already. Upon searching one out for my last post, I ran across the following:

"We've had bad luck with our kids - they've all grown up." ~Christopher Morley

I get it. I get that it sucks for your kids to grow up so fast. I get that the time passes far too quickly. But what I wouldn't give for our "bad luck" to be growing up too quickly, or growing up at all.

It's one of those things you wouldn't think twice about if you weren't bereaved; I know I wouldn't have. In reading the book "The Middle Place" by Kelly Corrigan (highly, highly recommend it, by the way; coming from a girl who doesn't read much of anything other than the Bible or People magazine anymore, that's saying a lot), she spoke some of phrases that made her cringe since her battle with cancer, one of which being something "making you gag". Of course, that's not something I would've ever guessed to be offensive or hurtful to anyone. But after it coming to my attention, it makes total sense and makes me more aware of common phrases that may mean something totally different to someone else. There are a lot of these things now that I notice. It may not offend me but I'll avoid them to ease someone else's burden.

a fly on the wall...

I love overhearing conversations of 3 year it with their toys or other 3 year olds. I was able to be a fly on the wall at the mall playplace yesterday and listen to my oldest son tell his new found friend about our family.

Boston: "yeah, that's my brother Callum, he's a baby."
"I have a sister too, but you can't see her."
"My sister's name is Keely and she's an angel."

Other kid: "Cool! I have a cat. You can't see her. She's at my house."

Later that night, Boston said I make him "super, super happy" and that he makes me "super, super happy". True. So very, very true.

He went on to tell me that Callum, Keely and Daddy make me super, super happy. Again, couldn't be more true.

I love that he can verbalize these things now. I love that Keely's legacy will outlive me, through the love of her brothers. I love that he can talk to me, and others, about Keely without being affected by how society thinks we should talk about her. I love that he always includes her and his brother.

At that same playplace, a lady asked how old my children are.... "My oldest will be 4 this summer and my baby just turned 1". I pause there. I could leave it alone. She didn't ask how many I had and she probably was only referring to my children there. But I couldn't leave it alone. I couldn't not say anything. So I went on " and we had a little girl in between". She smiled and said something about how busy I must be, when I was saved by Sam, fresh from a haircut and ready for us to move on. I was able to mention all of my children without having to explain or get "the look", the look of pity and that's all it takes to make my day. I can promise you this: if I had quit where I paused, it would be haunting me. It's different for everyone and every grieving parent must answer those questions in a way that they feel best about. For me, I know that answer is to include her.

"Children are one third of our population and all of our future." ~Select Panel for the Promotion of Child Health, 1981

Monday, May 11, 2009

some random thoughts...

1. Yesterday was Mother's day. I was spoiled by my sweet boys, brought homemade cookies in bed and beautiful flowers. By chance, we sang one of my favorite hymns in church and had nice picnic style lunch. It was a wonderful day, near perfection. near. I feel so whiney that I can't bring myself to say perfect. I'm so very blessed; both to have my sweet boys here and to have had my sweet girl at all. Life isn't perfect, it wasn't meant to be. I feel guilty that that's apparent. Mother's guilt? Bereaved mother's guilt? Both?

2. Planning and packing for our vacation, I wish there was a little pink suitcase lined up next to Spiderman and Elmo. What lovey might she pack?

3. With every showing, we get closer (in theory) to leaving this home behind. This is where she lived. Lord willing, our family will go on to make memories in the new home we're building. But she was alive here. Her memory will carry on to our "forever" home, but her physicaal life was here and part of me wants to stay. Part of me will stay.

4. The boys are going to release a Princess balloon for Keely while we're at Disney World. I'm happy to include her in our trip and I know she'll be there with us. Boston is convinced she's already been.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

never go alone to the card section...

There's a fantastic Christian bookstore here that I could spend hours and hours browsing in. They have lovely paintings, sculptures and frames plus bibles and Sunday school stuff. I spent a lot of time there after Keely died. The day we watched her heart stop, I asked if I could come back in the next day for another check....just in case. I was hoping against hope that they were wrong; the machine must be broken. The next day, we went back in (with a slew of family) and you know how that story goes. After we left the doctor's office that second day, I requested we go to the Christian bookstore. I don't really remember why I wanted to go but I know no one would've told me no about anything that day. So we went and browsed and browsed. I got a little silver plaque that reads "cradled in the arms of the Lord, wrapped in his joy and love, I wait until we meet again, together in Heaven above". The little plaque set out at her funeral. We got a few other things but that's the thing that sticks out in my mind.

They have a beautiful card section there and unless I'm going for humor, I always go there for greeting cards. I went in last week for my Mom's birthday card and my eyes wandered to the Mother's Day section, specifically the "Difficult Mother's Day" section. In a strange way, I was so happy to see it; so happy to see grief acknowledged and so sad for anyone receiving one because of why but happy for them that someone else realized. In a muddle of emotions, I read every card in that section. Tears welled up but didn't fall. It was therapuetic in a way.

Don't take my original advice. Do go to the card section alone and have few moments to yourself. As grieving mothers, our Mother's Day is always a difficult one as we'll never have all of our children with us physically. Read each card, be heartbroken and be lucky all at once.

"how can life feel so alive and still feel like dying" Mason Jennings