On becoming a motherless daughter

It is always worse at night. The house is quiet, Lainey is sleeping and my mind explodes. It’s been 44 days now that I have been motherless and it feels like only 44 minutes. It feels like my sister-in-law just woke us up by pounding on the door that night. Adam was at the front door before I was and I heard her say it. ‘Cheryl is dead’. I fell to my knees right there in the kitchen. Nothing has been the same since. The reality is that she had been long gone by then. We had been without our Mama for 13 hours already and didn’t.even.know.it. How can that be? How can you not know the instant that part of you is gone? They said it was instant. Painless. I am thankful for this but horrified that she was alone. My Mother died alone. She died over my lunch hour. I ate lunch like nothing was happening, when the reality was completely opposite of that. How can that be? Adam, Lainey and I went out to dinner that night at a mexican restaurant that Lainey and I ate at with Grandma just the week before. I wish I was with her instead. I wish my brother wasn’t the one to find her. We turn the ringer on our cell phones down at night. We didn’t hear his call. We weren’t there for him. We didn’t answer. The weeping was instant and hasn’t stopped since. The next day my eyes burned from having cried for so long. The skin on my forehead was tender and felt bruised-perhaps because my face was in a different position for so many hours while crying.

This is all I can write now. When we lost our babies, I wrote because it helped me to feel better. I’m hoping this will do the same. I have so much sadness trapped inside that if perhaps I get it out somehow, the weeping will stop.

celebrating the lost babies

First….a 42 second video for you to watch. Sorry that I couldn’t figure out how to embed it into this post-you’ll have to click on the link to watch it.

WATCH VIDEO HERE

She asked us if we wanted to be invited to the memorial celebrating all of the babies lost that year. She was a member of the pastoral staff that came to pray with us before surgery after we lost our fourth baby, Lainey Lynne’. My first response was “well, what about last year? What about Noelle?”. Our baby’s were sent to the University of Nebraska Medical Center for testing but were brought back and buried with all of the other babies lost at this hospital. The hospital does this annually and celebrates the hope of life that once was by having a memorial service at the grave site. Somehow, we didn’t receive our invitation in 2014. But, we did several weeks ago for this year’s memorial.

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We had the perfect dress for Lainey to wear to celebrate her sisters and brought two gerber daisies, my Nana’s favorite flower. The memorial was right at the edge of what they call “baby land” in the cemetery. There were wind chimes hanging from shepherds hooks at so many of the baby headstones and it was breezy-you can hear it in the video….a delicate lullaby that plays 24 hours per day for all of the babies in baby-land. They sang a few songs and although done by a Catholic priest, the service was essentially nondenominational.

There was a somewhat nondescript headstone there that you can tell has been there for quite some time. Little toys, flowers and other what-nots have weathered the elements and lay at the base of it. This is where everyone was standing….After they sang, the priest asked everyone in attendance to come forward towards the burial site. I can honestly say that prior to him saying this we didn’t even see it. It was covered with sod. The place where all of our babies rest was barely visible. I don’t know what I expected but seeing that patch of earth that I knew was disrupted (for at least Lainey Lynne’) was upsetting. Noelle had to have been nearby as this whole plot is where they bury these babies every year. For the first time in months, tears ran down my face for a different reason than happiness. It was like all of that grief we went through just flooded back into me full-force. Adam was holding Lainey and she began to fuss every so slightly so he left my side to walk with her. We had decided before we came that we definitely wanted to go to this as a family but if she cried he would go to the car with her as undoubtedly there would be other parents there that are not as blessed as we are. Hearing a child cry is such a beautiful sound when you never got the chance to hear it.

The priest asked the parents that were there to acknowledge the lives lost by saying their baby’s names out loud. No one said anything. Adam nudged me. I said both girl’s names. Noelle-and-Lainey. Several parents were crying when they said their baby’s name aloud. Every name was beautiful. As they said during the service, each life that was lost took a little bit of hope with it. I know we had none. Hope, that is. So much was restored to us on January 22, 2015. Praise God for this!

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They then invited all of the parents to take a pink rose and move it from the vase on the left to the vase on the right with the baby’s breath, which was to be left at the grave site after the service. Everyone was also given a rose when we left.

We are so thankful for this experience. It was just another step in the right direction of the grief process. Having a “place” to go, a “place” to perhaps bring a flower to our babys is priceless and just knowing where they lay means more than I can put into words.

Thank you, thank you to Good Samaritan Hospital for giving us this gift.

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I guess we’re grown-ups now

So, this happened…..

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And, I cried while we signed them. Yes, I am most definitely one of those types (as if you didn’t know!).

One of the first things we thought of after Lainey was born was guardianship and being sure she is taken care of financially in the event something happens to Adam and I. It was no longer just our cats and dogs at home….It was kind of scary at the beginning until the papers were signed. In fact we discussed what our wishes were in front of my Mother and Brother both when she was only 9 days old to be sure that they knew from the get-go so Lainey would be as protected as possible.

For awhile we (sort of) felt invincible, as if nothing bad could happen to us after God gave us such a humongous gift! I hate to compare it to winning the lottery but it felt similar only a trillion times better. And, if something did happen, well….He will certainly take care of things! I want to be completely clear that God CAN and WILL take care of us at ALL times…but, we are also obligated to make smart decisions. We all are, actually. We need to protect our little ones…

So, as I said…I cried. There was something so (final) about this whole process. It was as if I could flash-forward to Lainey sifting through our belongings some day. It felt really odd when the attorney mentioned that when Lainey turns of age we can change our healthcare power of attorney’s over to her. The reality is that I just know that I will blink and will be looking back at this ol’ blog of mine and read this post and she’ll be “of age”! Life moves that fast.  There are already things that Lainey is no longer doing that we miss and wish we could see just “one more time”. And, so parenthood has began…

no more grandmothers

The world lost a beautiful woman today. Adam’s Grandmama went to join the Lord. I am so thankful we got to see her in March. I told Adam at that time that I thought it was the last time we would see her as I didn’t think she was doing well medically. I told Grandmama before we left that she needed to take care of herself as she was our last Grandmother! A short ten weeks later and she is gone. In this past short 3 years we have lost my grandparents and both of Adam’s grandmothers. We love you, Grandmama.

 

My nurse, my friend

Today we are traveling. We just finished driving through the deserted brown plains they call Wyoming and have our sights set on a small town south of Boise, Idaho. Oddly, though I LOVE to travel and see new places and explore, I hate the process of getting there. Driving, riding, flying. I am impatient-an immediate gratification type of girl. I get bored, bored, bored. But today is different. Today I am honored to be able to ride these 1,000 miles. I am happy to sit in this SUV for 13 hours. You see, my Husband is sitting next to me. I can touch him, talk to him, look at him, kiss him.

Today, we have a good friend who cannot do this.

We lost a good friend unexpectedly a few days ago. Phil and Deniece have been friends of ours since 2001 when Deniece was my very first nurse EVER in Great Falls, Montana. Theirs is a friendship that although we never see them our hearts still swell when we talk about our memories of time spent with them.

Deniece and Phil have two beautiful children. Phelicia, who attends the Univ of Alaska and little Logan, an 8 year old that still deserves to have his Daddy around. Deniece and Phil are awesome parents. Adam and I always talk about how we want to do things similarly to them. They were always looking for adventures to take the kids on. Short weekend jaunts to check out little nearby towns, barely-known little restaurants, zoos, fairs, parks. You name it and they would find it. Phil was in the Air Force and put in his time-I mean, literally put in his time. In fact, just this past year he was able to retire with full benefits but still stayed on working at the base on the side but had accomplished their goal….to retire with the Air Force. Their goal was to do this and then “really” settle down. They bought their first home last summer. A gorgeous one! Six months later, Deniece is now widowed.

I have yet to find out the details but I know it was quick and involved his liver and kidneys. I know Phelicia was home and with her family when it happened. I know it isn’t fair. I know that both Adam and I have been weeping. We weep for Deniece and their beautiful children.

So I don’t care if it is a 2,000 mile trip, bring it on. Our friends are worth every last mile and more.  

Farewell, Phil….thank you for the memories and thank you for taking care of your wonderful family. We’ll see you again one day…