Sunday, October 21, 2018
I stopped writing. I am not %100 sure why. But I think perhaps it is because nothing changed, or maybe things got worse. And instead of writing being cathartic I became aware of how my insides sounded to others. I never did start writing for others, but it morphed into that and then somehow, I could not write for myself anymore. So here we are, close to six years later and it still could have been this evening. I can still smell the hospital, see the tears running down our nurse’s face. I can hear the music playing on Chris phone and I remember the sweatshirt my brother was wearing while I watched him take the Star Wars decals off the hospital wall for the last time. I see the tear roll down his face and his voice catch when he asked me if he could keep one of Christian’s toys. I see the darkness of the hallway and the morgue gurney waiting to take Christian away. I can feel how tight his hand was around mine when Chris picked him up from me for the last time. I can see Nanny and Papa hug and shed tears together, I remember the look of pity on the nurse’s face when I said good bye for the last time. I see the metal hospital carts full of Christians things being pushed out to the car and I can still smell the indoor parking lot and the sound the overhead doors make when they open. Everything about that day, and many before it, are burned in my brain. They will never go away. I am haunted by these days and no amount of therapy, sleeping pills, or distraction makes quiet.
The reality of life that we live now is sad because it’s a secret. We don’t tell because we know most people would not understand. I mean come on. Six years?! The most dreaded question in mine and Chris’ day, “how are you doing?” Do we tell the truth? Do you have time to sit here and I will cry for a bit?
Grief morphed into depression and depression morphed into something I can’t explain. And now, just now, we begin the task of pulling ourselves out of this hole. I read a study that was conducted by researchers on marriage after the death of a child. They likened it to our family being like a ball of string. And when a child dies, the whole ball must be unraveled, and that string removed. Then somehow, if possible, the ball of string must be wound back up again. The trouble is it was never meant to be unwound. There are no directions as to how to put it back together and somehow no matter how you do it, it just doesn’t seem right. The ball is never the same without that string. It still functions as a ball of string, it looks like a ball of string, but each strand that used to come into contact with that missing string feels unbalanced and out of sync. They may not even know why they don’t feel right, but something is missing. And the strings can only be wound back together if they ready. For many families the strings are never able to be a ball again. When Christian left our ball of string the depth and complexity of each maneuver his string took touched so many different parts of our family that I know it will take a lifetime to repair. But this I am sure of. Our strings will become a ball again. Even if it means we have to unravel time after time to get it right. Each string must do their own work to discoverer how they fit in the ball, how they will function when they can no longer depending on that missing string.
This is the new journey to make our family complete again. I have no idea what it looks like. I have no idea where it will take us. I know that hearts can be mended and even in our grief God orchestrates our days. He knows what is coming and His plans are great. This blog is going to morph like our family. I have no new pictures of Christian to post. I have no updates on hospital, chemo, counts, blood transfusions, surgeries, recovery and NG tubes. But we still have a whole family. A beautiful family. Like a caterpillar we will transform and become something beautiful after the struggle. Welcome to our messy ball of string.
Sunday, January 8, 2017
Almost 1,460 days since you left me. 34,040 hours since I held your hand, felt your kiss on my check heard your voice in my ear, “good morning mommy!” ; “Your such a silly monkey butt”. Thousands of hours have passed since you left, many trips around the sun. yet it was just yesterday for my heart. Even thought time passes, quickly in most instances, my heart stopped moving the day you died. My mind knows better, my body certainly knows time has passed but my heart didn’t get the memo. It still lives back in January of 2013, it waits for you to be healed, to open your eyes and tell me you are all better now. We can get rid of the tubes, the wires, the medicine and go home and be a real family, like other families. And each day I need to remind my heart you are gone and life is changed, forever. This part of grief is so lonely. Daddy and I were just talking the other night about how hard it is to explain to people the pain we feel on a constant basis – your body and mind eventually gets numb but one word or thought or smell and instantly you experience it all over again.
|Your last few days - you loved those blue popsicles!!! I wonder how big they are in heaven?|
How do I survive without you? Tenth avenue north just put out a new song called, “I have this hope” and it seals it up in one sentence. Regardless of the situation, whether it is full of the joy of a miraculous healing, the sight of a new born baby being born, or the heart wrenching moments of a boys last breaths – I have hope in Jesus Christ. I know this isn’t the end. This consumerist time on earth is shallow and eternity with you and our saviour is only a breath away. I have this hope that my life and its circumstances are always being kneaded and molded for good. Life is heartbreaking and full of uncertainty. It is pretty much a guarantee that we are going to be disappointed by life at many junctures, but surrendering the circumstances to God just makes sense. Instead of constantly fighting life and being angry for what has been thrown in front of you (taken away from you), surrender your circumstances to God, it brings a peace that cannot be described. When we lose the bitterness, the anger and the fear we are free to experience life as it is meant to be lived – full of abandon. Liberated to love, regardless of opinion and position. Full of hope for what love can do. Recently I was reminded that satan’s full time job is to try and steal our joy. By creating fear in your hearts, by inserting moments of doubt and worry we become imprisoned by “what MIGHT be”. You can be free from this "fear prison" by accepting that God will take any crappy situation we face and make it good, somehow. I promise that this is the truth. I have lived it and He will make all things new and beautiful if you will allow Him to lead you and lift you up.
|Kids are always the best at living a Joy Full Life!!!!|
Understanding this doesn’t make me miss you less; nothing could make the pain void. But I am not angry anymore and I have peace about life and what has happened to our family. I still experience moments of fear and uncertainty, but with my awesome friends who are so full of wisdom and love I am reminded that God is good, even when my circumstances are not. I met an elderly gentleman the other night who shared with me that they lost their 8 yr old son many many years ago. I asked if things ever get any easier, and I was reminded as to the freshness of the wound your death caused when I could barely get the words out of my mouth without my chin trembling and chest tightening. He said, “time does heal wounds but the scar always remains”. I can’t wait to hold you again. I love you so much Christian.
|Becoming a Jedi Knight|
I asked Evelyn what she would say if she could write you a letter. She wanted me to tell you that she loves you and misses you so much. She wishes she an older brother still to play with. She wants to be able to lay in bed and cuddle with you and “fluff you” like her kitty fluffs her. She says it doesn’t matter if we forget the details of your being (your sound, or smell) as long as we say your name and continue to remember you. She is so wise. I pray you come and visit her in her sleep. Tell her how much you love her and how great heaven is and that you are safe and good. Ryan says he is going to fight Darth Maul for you next weekend on your heaven day and he hopes you will be proud of him. He is scared but says he is going to do it for you. I love you sweet pea……..
This Christmas was especially difficult as I spent time with a beautiful family while they were preparing to say goodbye to their sweet little angel. Hamoudi you captured my heart with your sweet soul and huge ears. I pray you and Christian have become friends and play in the streets of Gold. I know your family is heartbroken and I pray you visit them in their dreams and minister to their broken souls. Love you Hamoudi.
|Hamoudi and Evelyn playing at camp kindle|
Wednesday, September 28, 2016
Lately the topic of fear has been on my heart. I feel like I am supposed to write something about it, except I am no expert in fear. Although I have learned quite a bit about not letting fear rule your life and make choices for you. This weekend I listened to our pastor talk about joy. And he asked what the opposite of joy was. The standard response, I am sure, was sadness but I knew that couldn’t be true as I live with a smattering of sadness in all my days, in all moments of my day. I will always be sad because I will never stop loving Christian. I will never love him less or “get over him being gone”. His love cannot be quantified so my sorrow is its equal. Yet I have learned in the past few years that you can have a deep bubbling joy inside your soul while you are experiencing sadness. Then Pastor Kyle said this; “the opposite of joy is fear”. And it slapped me across the face how true the statement was the second it left his lips. Fear in our lives steals joy, steals opportunity to create joy, find joy and experience joy – because we are so consumed with fear.
People may think I am weird now but there are not very many things that I am afraid of anymore. I am certainly not afraid of death, I am not afraid to fail, to look stupid, or to make mistakes. What could happen to me that would be worse than what we have already being thru? And we survived. Walking Christian’s journey with the Godly counsel we had in Pastor Doug and Loralie taught me so many things that are just now coming to the forefront of my mind. I would maybe say that I am afraid of leaving my kids behind if I were to die suddenly. But then I can hear Pastor Doug in my ear saying, “how can you possibly assume that you know better than God what is best for your kids?” If I am to follow my two-question rule; those being, #1 Do I believe that God is always good? And #2 Do I trust God?, then the sovereignty of God should settle the anxiety and fears in my heart. It doesn’t mean that we will not experience heartache or that life is guaranteed to be wonderful – in fact the bible guarantees just the opposite. John 16:33 says; “In this life you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world”. If we trust God’s sovereignty for our lives then we can trust each and every thing that comes towards us, both good and bad. Not, “oh my goodness why is this happening to me?” but instead, “God what you are doing here? What am I supposed to learning?”
|PUTTING BIRTHDAY BALLOONS ON YOUR BENCH|
This morning while I was listening to a talk radio show the guest speaker talked about how God allows us to get the basement of our lives. He will allow us to walk to the basement door, open it, and descend the steps in the deep, dark, cold basement. And the visual of that statement will bring all sorts of pictorials that exude fear. It’s not a place you want to go, and certainly not a place you want to stay. Your fears are there, your anxieties live there, your hurts, your secrets all live in the basement. But we don’t sit down there alone. God walks with us down into the basement and stays with us, holding our hands, our heads and even cradling us in his lap until those fears have His light shed on them and they no longer have power over you. My biggest fear as a mom was losing a child to cancer. I am not kidding. When I first got married I remember thinking, “I hope one of my kids doesn’t get cancer”. And here I am, a mom with a sweet boy in heaven due to cancer. It was my worst nightmare, and I was certain that it should have killed me. I stayed in the basement with my fears for the whole two years that Christian was sick. I waited in the dark for the boogey man to jump out of the closet and kill me. But I didn’t die. It was painful beyond belief, it still is. I am still sad, I still cry and I still wish everyday I could hold my boy. But the one difference in my life now is that fear no longer has a hold over me. When we took freedom session thru church a few years ago I remember one of the questions the leader asking was, “what is the worst thing that could happen?” and then keep asking your self that question until you get to Jesus hanging on the cross, bleeding for us and rising three days later. “O death, where is your sting?” The worst thing that can happen is earthly. You might hurt, bleed, cry, scream and question. But there is nothing that can happen to you here that can take away your God, your salvation, and your hope in your future with him. There is always HOPE, even when it seems like there is nothing left to hope for; I promise, there is hope.
I didn’t sit in that basement alone, I was there with God, my new best friend, I was there with my friends from church, with my husband. We all faced the fear together and soon I realized it didn’t have any power over me. I wasn’t scared anymore for my son to die, maybe because he was already gone, but mostly because I understood where he was, and that one day I will see him again. I have hope. When you have hope and faith in Jesus Christ there is no fear. There is still sadness and sorrow because my mind only understands earthly consequences. When I walk thru heaven’s gates and see how God orchestrated our lives I will laugh at my self for all my anxieties and worries in life. When I let go of the fear and anger I was finally able to see all the blessings that God has showered on us, on our marriage, in our friendships and mostly in my heart.
So I just wanted you to encourage to face your attacker named “fear”, turn around and look at him and ask him “what’s the worst that can happen”, and when the worst happens you will find that God is there waiting for you, holding a light to your fear. You will survive and be stronger and braver and better than you ever imagined you could be.
|EVY'S BREAKFAST IN BED FOR ME - SUCH A HUGE HEART!|
|JOSH LOOKING LIKE HIS BROTHER!|
Hello my sweet pea, I am sorry it has taken me so long to write to you. Another school year has started. Evy is in grade 2 and Ryan started grade 1. They just flew into their classes like summer had never happened. They love being at daddy’s school, at your school. They help out with breakfast club in the morning and play so well together when they walk home from the bus. I think its official that Ryan will be a math wiz - he sees numbers so well. You guys would have a grand time with his love of board games, he even taught himself to play chess. I don’t dare play him incase he beats me! I love spending my days with Joshua. He is so sweet and kind, his heart is after yours. He loves to kiss me multiple times in the morning to wake me up, kind of like a dog but less sloppy! I love it, what an amazing alarm clock! He speaks so well now and throws out sentences I didn’t’ know he could conjure. Him and Ryan spend hours playing “trashys” and army dudes. They are the best of friends. Ryan loves to tell me before he falls asleep how much he loves me and I tell him I love him more and he says, “that’s not possible”. He asked me tonight if we would play this game forever. And I said of course. But I would always love him more. Life moves on and your picture is always at the forefront of my mind. September is hard and as we roll into October and “make a wish” time, then my birthday when you relapsed and Christmas when you got so sick and New Years when we went to the hospital for the very last time. I feel tired just thinking about it. The thoughts are always on my mind, and a song or a smell or a tv show comes up and I smile and think of you and I know you think of me too. I love you so much Christian. All the ways to the death star and back.
Saturday, July 2, 2016
|HAPPY CANADA DAY!|
It has been too long. When I feel a pull on my heart to write you a letter I suddenly feel empty and tired. What could I write that I have not already said to you? Well that is crap and I know better. So many great things have happened in last few months; just watching little Joshy grow and learn has been a miracle in itself. I feel inspired now that I am back in Nova Scotia. I have gone to your bench almost everyday and every time I come down from the ladder I go over and blow you a kiss. Your bench reminds me to keep pushing, not to give in to my fatigue and weariness. In walking and running through the woods, smelling the air and hearing the sounds of the waterfalls and creeks, seeing a random deer cross my path, feeling completely enveloped in God’s amazing creation, I feel the veil lifted from my eyes and I can see the way God intended the earth to look. A tiny glimpse into His vision of paradise; the feel and smell. And the words “no filter” came to my mind.
|My beloved Jacobs ladder|
“God’s plans for your life far exceed the circumstances of the day“ – Louie Giglio.
We feel frustrated, sad, angered, betrayed by our circumstances. But they are just that, circumstances. We always have a option to choose joy, to remind ourselves of the blessings that we do have despite our surroundings….or perhaps the trial you find yourself in is intended to be your blessing in disguise. I often think of Christian laying in his hospital bed, very close to death. I think of Chris and I and how those few weeks transpired for us. I could easily say there were the worst three weeks of my life, watching my son slowly getting sicker and sicker, falling deeper into his coma, his skin turning a horrid shade of yellow/green, his abdomen growing by the hour until adult diapers were all that would fit around him. But instead I chose to remind myself of the friends who dared to come and visit us in the children’s palliative care room, the love that ebbed and flowed in our hospital room as friends poured into us and we poured into them. I chose to think of the medications that medical staff administered to help ease his pain and keep him comfortable. I think of the music and prayers we shared with friends and in isolation with the Lord. I think of the gifts that people sent to keep our other children’s spirits lifted and bring a welcomed distraction to the day. I think of the wonderful trusting friendships we deepened with our nursing staff as they cared for Christian like he was their family. It was a matter of perspective and regardless of the situation you find yourself in you can chose to seek out the little sparkles of diamonds and glitter in the day. Because they are there – you need to look beyond the veil. Beyond the dark filtered glasses we have become accustom to wearing.
|The view from your bench|
In our lives, after months, years and decades of “life” the filters we let govern our perceptions preclude us from truly seeing the glitter, the daily gifts from our God. I understand that we are incapable of truly seeing earth for the paradise God meant it to be. But the bible also promises us that we will see glimpses of paradise. And I think they happen more often than we realize.
Christian, today in Victoria Park, I can tell you I saw, felt, smelt and heard paradise. And I have never felt so close to you…..I got a small glimpse of the glory you must live amongst, and I can’t wait to meet you there. The sound water makes when it rolls over a stone, the feel of moss on the forest floor, the roots of a two hundred year old tree, the belly laugh from Joshua when I tickle his tummy, the freckles on Evelyn’s nose, the sound of the waves rolling up onto the sand, the sunset on the horizon, a tidal wave rolling down a river.
My heart is broken; this will never change, but I have learned that broken can be beautiful and broken has forced me to seek out joy in places I didn’t know existed. I have an intense desire to know heaven, to know where you live. And I find it in the most amazing places. Today Ryan asked me where heaven was. I said I wasn’t sure but that God created earth to be paradise so when we see something with beauty that takes our breath away – it is a special glimpse of paradise right here on earth. We just need to seek it out and sit in it and relish in the love of God and the gifts He has abundantly provided for us.
Evelyn successfully finished grade one and Ryan won everyone’s hearts in kindergarten. Evelyn has such an amazing heart and loves to make friends and play with all the kids in her class. She is a wonderful artist and loves to create stories (mostly about cats!) Last night she decided to you tube videos of how to draw and created an amazing picture of Destiny from “Finding Dory”. She often says and does things in the day that blow my mind. We had a tough night a few weeks ago when the topic of the children in third world countries who have to go to bed hungry or without mom and dad or both. Hours of tears and sobs (on Evelyn’s part) turned into her deciding to do 100 shoe boxes for the kids so they will know someone loves them. Her heart is too big for her body.
|Loving Aunty Rhonda's house|
Ryan started tennis lessons today and he is such a little light. I love to watch his spirit as he pranced around the tennis court. Every now and then his little giggle comes out – especially when they play fruit ninja and he gets hit with a tennis ball bomb! He is spirited and determined and stubborn and loves fiercely…. Joshua is my little dude. He hugs and kisses like no other little man and I couldn’t make it through the day without one. He loves it when we argue about who gets more kisses and cuddles, mommy or daddy. And he assures us that each of us will get the necessary amount of love. He has inherited your love of golf and loves to go out on the course with daddy and “hit some balls”. He is patient and smart and sweet. The other morning, as he slowly woke, he roamed around the bed flapping his arms about and stretching his legs (his normal waking routine) then he got still and I assumed he had fallen back to sleep. I peeked over at him and he was staring off into the corner of the bedroom and I watched for a long time to see how long he could go without blinking, finally I whispered, “Joshua what are you looking at?”, and he whispered back, “Christian”. I know you are near my beautiful boy and I will love you to the ends of the earth. Then I will love you all over again when we meet in paradise.
|Brule beach 2012|
Saturday, December 19, 2015
|A Christmas morning kiss for Daddy|
Hello turkey pants,
Its Christmas time and I find myself sitting between the fire and the tree but not feeling extremely festive. Not sure what is up this year but seems as though the Christmas spirit has been doused. I feel some days as though I am watching the world go around me like I am in a fish bowl. It seems like I am moving so slowly and the people are spinning around me out of control. I enjoy not feeling rushed or hurried like I “must” do a million and one “Christmas” things, events, crafts and cookies. The spirit of Christmas is just about baby Jesus and to me; it is as simple as that. I think about the birth of Christ because I know it was the moment in history that allows me the hope and dream of the day I will see you again. I love the glow of the lights on the tree and the smiles and excitement of the kids, I love getting together with our friends and anticipating that last day of school. However this time of year is also a reminder of you and the struggles you had before you died, the pain you felt and the limitations you lived with. I can’t think about Christmas and not think about your last Christmas Eve candle light service at church, you wore your blue pj’s and lay with your head in my lap the whole time. I can still see the faces of the people around me, they had tears in their eyes for us and I know their hearts were breaking us. I can’t help but think about the Christmas before that when we almost didn’t make if home from the hospital because you were so weak and little. I will never have another Christmas when those memories will not permeate my thoughts. And I think it has changed me for the better. I have no desire to run around and complete the crazy to do list. I just want to be with Evelyn, Ryan and Joshua and see their smiling excited faces. I want to enjoy our warm and comfortable home with Chris and my family. I want to enjoy the peace that we live amongst and the blessings that we don't even count as blessings.
|One less tooth!|
Christian you would be so proud of how smart and big the kids are getting. Ryan is growing so much (despite his deplorable appetite!) and he is ready to move into your size 5 clothes….but am I ready? Evelyn lost her first tooth and is learning so much in grade one. She did amazing in her school Christmas concert as a mouse. I smiled as I watched her but held back the tears knowing that you could have been onstage with her as en elf. I try not to go to the places of what could or should be… but I would be lying if I said I didn’t. Tonight the kids sang at church, the advent tonight was Joy and the kids did an awesome job singing (ok well Ryan did great but Evy stood with her fingers in her ears because the boy behind her was yelling too loud). Once again wondering how joyful it would have been to see all of you guys on stage together… Ryan beat a new level of Lego Star Wars today and got R2D2. You would have been proud. Daddy is out right now watching the new Star Wars movie, I am sure he is thinking of you. Star Wars Star Wars EVERYWHERE.... it means you are never ever far from my mind. I think it means you are never far from anyones mind who knew you.
|Happiest little elf ever...|
Today with the advent being joy your daddy and I talked about the difference between happiness and joy. The fleeting feelings of happiness that come with a lovely cup a joe, a great song, a warm bed, a hot bath or a good movie, they don’t compare to the bubbling of joy in your soul. Weirdly enough I have come to realize that I can have this underlying joy in my soul and still feel deep sadness – all at the same time. I have joy because I know God is in control of my life and He will put everything that happens to me to good use. I have joy because I know that one day I will walk into heaven and see you again and feel whole. I have joy in the birth of Christ, our savior who came and gave us hope. I have joy because we are so blessed in our life to know God and feel His love for us, and I know His love for you in heaven. And over top of this joy I have a deep deep sadness that never seems to diminish - only because my love for you will never ever fade.
|Sleepy time - i think Josh needs a hair cut|
Tonight Ryan and Evelyn and I watched your videos in bed tonight before we feel asleep. They laughed at your silly antics and little snorts. I pray they dream of you and perhaps you could meet them there. I pray you stay close to them and they would always feel their big brother close, protecting them. Merry Christmas sweet pea. I love you all the way to the Hoth and back.
|Josh and Ryan being silly at the mall trying on "old lady" hats!|
Saturday, November 7, 2015
I heard these words tonight, “nothing is lost forever…in this world there is a kind of painful progress longing for what we have left behind and dreaming of what is ahead”. After hearing these words I had a vision of myself struggling to get back to the life I once had, clawing at open space trying to return to the un-returnable. And I wondered how do we learn to live in the moment? How do we live in a time and space where we are not desperately trying to alter our circumstances to what we once had or what we think our future should hold? How do we learn to embrace all that we are given today? It is a fatal flaw that each of us posses. Trying so desperately to return to what we had in the past, trying to re-create what was once amazing to us. And the rest of the time we dream of what will be, what we want to be. And I wonder if this is where peace is lost? I have endured some of the most atrocious scenarios that my brain could have conjured when I was planning my life. None of these things were apart of my plan. I don’t have the answer to these questions. Yet in a moment the answer to my prayer for peace and joy in my life was answered in the last three minutes of a movie. Joy is today, in Evelyn’s face and honest brown eyes. Joy is in Joshua’s belly laugh and putting his pants on his head to play peek-a-boo. Joy is hearing Ryan talk about how much he loved his night time hot tub with papa. Joy is looking up at the Rocky Mountains and being surrounded by God’s glory. Joy is putting my arms around my husband’s chest and smelling him and feeling his strength and love. Joy is today.
When we cling to the past and fight change we lose the ability to see what is right in front of our face, we can not see the beautiful mess that God has given us to live in. We claw and we fight for what we think we want, what we believe is best for us but in doing so we lose the joy of living in right now and right here. Dear Lord please guide my daily steps so that my sadness about losing Christian does not take my focus away from today. God grant me supernatural senses so that each moment with my children is magnified and the glory of my days is too bright to ignore. I pray for peace about the future knowing it is in your hands. And I pray for peace about my past knowing that was also in your hands. Dear Lord please show me how I can find joy with Christian today, I do not want to claw for him…I don’t want to beg for a different future. I simply want to sink into today with delight and peace.
Tuesday, October 27, 2015
|Keeping Christian alive with a little light sabre duel!|
Hello my little sweet pea….the nights are getting darker and colder. I am sitting here by the fire with a blanket on my legs and thinking that its been so long since I have written you a letter. I don’t even think that people are reading the blog anymore, but it doesn’t matter to me. This is about you and me and having a way to tell you how much I love and miss you. I cherish having a way to look back and see what Evelyn, Ryan and Joshua did with their days. What made me smile and what made me think. It seems to permeate my mind these days how swift the years have been since you left. How fast the next three years will be? All of a sudden the kids will all be in school and I am home alone. What will I have missed if I don’t take the time today to cherish it?
|Trying to see who is the silliest...|
|Fun with uncle Peder|
Sweet Ryan. Tonight I lay in bed with Ryan waiting for him to fall asleep, he doesn’t want to wear shirts to bed anymore (I think he wants to be like his daddy) and he has a little tummy that hangs over his pants and he is so proud of it. “Wiggly wiggly” Evy says as she rubs it back and forth and they have a good belly laugh about it. He throws his arms around my neck and tells me he loves me one million, one trillion, a hundred, seventy two times to heaven and back. I think its safe to say that they love me a lot. And they love you too. You are now the reference for how much somebody loves somebody else. “Well I love you up to Christian and back!” It makes me smile and sad all at the same time. He has the sweetest little lisp and I want to just eat his face! He can almost build your hero factory guys as well as you did, he spends hours sitting on the floor in his bedroom trying to figure out the instructions on his own. He is so determined and smart, with the memory of an elephant. While talking about Halloween today he tells me that papa Norm will be around to help hand out candy (it was supposed to be a secret he was coming for a visit!) and I asked how he knew that? He says, “MOM, papa always comes for Halloween so he should make it here”. God bless his little heart. He loves playing with Gavin or any older boys that will allow him to tag along, this always breaks my heart as I think about how awesome of an older brother you would have been, I can only imagine the games you would have played together and I feel sad that he longs for that. Evelyn and Ryan get along so well and they relish each others company, they love to be together at night when its bedtime and I know they bring comfort to each other in the dark.
Evelyn is in grade 1 and I almost cannot believe how tall and artistic and creative she is. Her heart is so big and it longs for love and acceptance and friendship. She makes the most amazing craft creations from pieces of paper and sticks. The other day she whipped up a kite out of tree branches, scotch tape and one of daddy’s old skate laces. Then she ran around the park pulling it behind her like it was the best kite in the world. She is constantly cutting and creating and thinking up new things to make – I think she will for sure be an architect or furniture maker or an inventor. “Oh the places you will go”. She drives me crazy with her messy bedrooms and hair brain ways, but that is what makes her so special. She talks about you a lot these days, she asks me about the hospital and what kind of medicine and needles you had to have. She asks about the games you liked to play and is always quick to point out any new star wars toy she sees. I think maybe she misses you more than I do. She seems so emotionally fragile and cries as soon as she feels that she has disappointed or hurt anyone. I want grab her in my arms and tell her that you are safe and watching out for her and tell her to cry her heart out - she will feel better afterwards. I am so excited to see how much she loves God and is bringing Him into our conversations and decision making. She knows He is in control and taking care of us and is taking good care of you. Every now and then she asks if there isn’t a way that we could go up to heaven and just see you for a quick minute and then come right back. We try to explain to tell her the glory you are amongst but obviously our words fall short.
|Evelyn's amazing kite3|
Little Joshua is my heart filler. He wakes up in the morning and rolls over with his eyes still closed and says, “Hey mom” and throws a big kiss right on my lips. He runs his fingers across my face and under my chin and it makes me want to cry because I know that is you. He has so many words, well sentences really – he loves to crawl up to the stool and sit beside the big kids while he eats his dinner, doing the food dance the whole time. He is just happy about life (as long as you don’t take the ipad away) and he brings me so much joy. He loves airplanes, diggers, trains and ducks and all things snowman. He loves to work his stick handling while playing hockey with Ryan in the living room. He smokes the golf ball and loves to try and hit anything you pitch to him with his little Boston bat. Right now him and Ryan love to punch each other with the boxing gloves and wrestle on the ground.
|A shark ate his head! Gotta love Target!|
As always you are my heart. And as such, parts of my days are always in heaven. My life continues to move forward even though most days it feels a bit stagnant. I honestly am dumbfounded when I think about how long you have been gone. I wake in the morning and the sun has come up and the days begin whether I want them to or not. Some days I feel like I might have myself fooled about how the days are going. But as always I trust in God to keep lifting me up and pushing me forward. He gently shows me the way to go and I feel encouraged knowing that you are always with Him, and because you are, I know you are also with me. I have been thinking about you a lot these past few weeks, trying to remember the sound of your voice and the smell of your skin. I was trying to remember the good days and leave the bad ones behind. I am still struggling to discover what my new normal looks like but I think that the new person I have molded into is ok. She loves her kids and wants to be apart of their days. She longs to show them love and encourage them to trust in God and include Him in their days, in their problems no matter how small. She is semi brave about encouraging others but would love to opportunity to speak into more people’s lives. I would love to talk about you and how you inspire me to be better and to keep pushing. To not let the little things bother me, to not even let the big things bother me, and to just keep smiling and enjoying my precious days. I love you so much Christian. You are my heart. For my whole life. Until I run thru heaven’s gates and sweep you in my arms and hug you 40 years worth of hugs. I love you….
|Can't get enough of the Joshua kisses|
Wednesday, September 9, 2015
|Daddy and Christians last birthday celebration|
Dear Sweet Christian,
Birthdays, birthdays and more birthdays, today is your daddy’s birthday (which I am certain you have already visited him and given him a hug and one of your sweet kisses where you run your hand down our cheek or hold our chin in your hand) and of course an important piece of our family is missing from the celebration. While we were in Nova Scotia Ryan turned 5, which I still cannot believe, and Joshua turned 2. Josh’s birthday is a bit of a shock to me, as his birthday will always represent the amount of time you have been gone from us. On August 6th I quietly think of Baby Jackie and the few short hours on earth that he spent in his daddies hands.
|Daddy giving josh a few golf tips|
I think about your daddy and I am in awe of all that he has endured since meeting me and I often wonder, if he knew then what he knows now, would he have chosen differently? We have had a lot of pain and sorrow and frustration – which essentially started a few weeks after our wedding when we discovered that Baby Jackie was not going to survive. And since that point we have been flailing around in a whirlwind (which I will readily admit have created most of the time) spending the majority of our days reacting to our circumstances. Wedding, death of a baby Jackie, grief, Christian born, 17 months later Evelyn born, 15 months later Ryan born and four months after that a cancer diagnosis, your cancer diagnosis. You fought for two hard years but eventually we had to let you go, only to find out we would have another baby. Sweet Joshua who saved me in so many ways. Mix in there Daddy finishing his university, moving into no less than four different houses, three different cities and a new career, well I am not holding back when I say I am glad he didn’t kick me to the curb!!!
Among the chaos we seem to be surrounded by, there is love, a deep soul crushing love that only comes from knowing and overcoming heartache, loss, grief, disappointment, frustration and setbacks. We have learned to love fiercely and live with our eyes wide open. We have been brought to our knees and had the skin worn clear to the bones… but that is not the end of the story. In fact it is the beginning of our beautiful love story. Between daddy, God and me. Once we were confined to our knees we learned what HOPE was. HOPE when there was nothing left. HOPE when all you wanted to do was die and crawl into a deep hole and never emerge. HOPE in a life that God created especially for us. HOPE in God who loves us and is refining us into His precious creation. I am still sad, and full of grief. I spend hours arguing with God about what happened and asking Him to change His mind (still). But I also feel excited about the life God has created for us. I am excited about our amazing family and how Evelyn, Ryan and Joshua are so special and equipped with amazing gifts of love and understanding. I have learned that I can be full of Joy (a deep bubbling joy that lays below the surface of your being and affects how you perceive the world and your response to situations) and still be sad beyond compare. There will never be a day when I am not sad because there will never be a day that I will not miss you. Not until we run into each other’s arms in heaven.
|Evy pretending she is snoopy|
Evelyn, Ryan and Joshua fill my days with amazing smiles and laughter. But had it not been for your journey I would have looked thru their smiles and been deaf to their laughter. You taught me to love, to relish in the good times, to sit peaceful when I was lost, to breath deep in the amazing moments of life and pray I don’t forget them. Thank you for teaching me and allowing me to learn and grow from your suffering.
September is well underway and we spend the next 30 days recognizing childhood cancer awareness month. As well as back to school, lots of new exciting beginnings and of course your birthday. 8 years old. Every now and then I allow myself to go to the place and wonder what life would look like with you around still. Three kids walking hand in hand to the school bus: Kindergarten, grade 1 and grade 2. I don’t allow myself to sit here very long… it’s a hard place to be. I still have a hard time looking at the back to school pictures, the cute outfits and new backpacks. The excitement and nervousness of a new year – it doesn’t make a lot of sense because we also have those pictures and those moments. But I know regardless of the years that come and go there will always be something missing, just like my heart, a piece that cannot be replace, refilled or reinvented. We just find a new way to live with the void. I love you monkey butt….see you on Hoth, don’t forget your winter coat.
|Girls day in Cape Breton|
Friday, July 24, 2015
|Your first time up Jacob's ladder 2009|
Hello sweet boy,
On a random Sunday evening I am finally giving in and writing you a letter, like the call you have been meaning to make but you just can’t seem to pick up the phone. I spent the day with my feet in the Atlantic; I rubbed the sand of Brule beach on my legs and watched the kids playing in the sea. Josh wants to throw the ball for Maddie and Evelyn writes your name with angel wings in the sand. We had a girls night and finished off the day with a hot tub and a coffee, pretty much two of my favorite things. Now I sit in my room and look out the window and contemplate what to say, The smell of the country air is so peaceful to me… crisp and cold and soon the stars will fill the sky and its like not like anything I have seen for a long time, last night I could even see the milky way across the sky. I looked up at the big sky with infinite stars and wondered which one was yours.
|Josh's first trip up one of the famous stair cases|
I finally roll over in bed, hit the “word” document button and while I am waiting for the computer to load I see out the window the most amazing glowing red sun I have ever experienced; it turned the whole sky pink and any questions about God’s amazing creation is gone. While in the hot tub tonight Evy and I starred into each other’s eyes and tried to find all the different colors, she has the most beautiful eyes with a blue outer ring and gorgeous green centre with gold flecks…. I don’t remember her eyes being this beautiful. Topped off with the sweet freckles around her nose from the sun I feel like I am possibly the most blessed mother on earth. Joshua is hard to describe with words – he is stubborn, emotional, loving, smart and funny all rolled into a 25-pound ball. He gently rubs my arms at night while we sleep, he throws his hands around my neck and leans in for the sloppiest, noisiest kiss imaginable. Two minutes later he will sulk away and cross his arms if he doesn’t agree with the way Mommy and Daddy are parenting him. He cries when you sing him any song with a slow, soft melody as if he has all these emotions inside him just waiting to explode. I would love to see the “inside out” of this toddler’s brain. And Ryan, well Christian you would be so proud of him! He has started taking tennis lessons and is a natural. Any type of sport with a racket, stick or bat he is fierce and competitive. But just like you, his heart is as soft as his blue nicey as we argue about who loves who more. Just like we used to do….
|Hello Mr. Grumpy pants|
|Loved watching Evy at swim lesson, "Go Evy go!"|
Mommy and Daddy are doing ok. I know you can see us, I know you know we are trying. We are doing our best to talk more and be understanding of what each other needs. I know your greatest desire is that your daddy and I would love each other fiercely and protectively; that we would give love away just as Jesus has called us to. I still struggle on a daily basis to keep fighting, but its hard and lonely. Grieving the death of a child is like nothing I could have ever feared or imagined. It has put me into this foreign place that is uncomfortable and I don’t understand but regrettably, I am here and so I will do my best to be the faithful servant I have been called to be. I have felt a constant nudge in my back to keep writing but I hesitate because it seems to me that nothing really changes. And I was worried that if I kept writing the same old stories about how much I missed you and how much my heart hurts people would be having thoughts about me “getting over it” or “moving on for your other children” so I hesitate to put my thoughts on paper. Now it seems to me that it doesn’t matter any more what popular culture thinks about my lamenting or my constant state of grief, it is what is it and God has called me to be honest about it.
|Reminds me of someone I once cuddled.....|
Lately a word has been running thru my head non-stop and it keeps coming back to me over and over and I cannot deny it anymore. Unmasked. God is calling me to come to Him just as I am. Broken. Sad. Unmotivated. Loved. Hopeful. Ugly. Weary. Displaying for all to see; these intense emotions, wrapped up in a neat little package but with no bow or pretty paper to disguise the contents. This is just me and I am different now and I don’t have the energy to put on the fake mask and pretend everything is ok, I have just taken to hiding. My list of “safe people” is short; some days I am the only person on the list. This is me being honest. I don’t have anything else new to say – you know I love you and miss you to pieces. I randomly burst into tears and experience moments of intense pain when you come my way. I feel so much peace here in Nova Scotia. Victoria Park warms my heart and fuels my soul. The raw and rugged beauty, the smell of evergreens, the damp grass, the moss on tree stumps, the lush green ferns and the crunch below my running shoes remind me how great God’s creation is. I am such a small part, my loss is a spit in the wind and these days I miss you will amount to nothing when we meet again. Till then…. I will meet you on Tatoinne in my dreams.
|Ryan and Evelyn exploring the park|