Prayers

I’m using this platform to openly ask for prayers.

We’re facing the choices of burial in the coming days. Where, when, how. I’m struggling. Please pray for peace during this time and for my husband and I to find an answer directed by Him through prayer – as He provided for so many of those answers for the funeral without question.

I’m also struggling off and on with panic attacks in the evening. I fear PTSD returning as it did after my daughter’s birth. I’m working through things with hopes of avoiding the intense therapy I needed in the past. Please pray for God to continue to provide healing and ways for me to process all of this.

I’ve been continually blessed with people popping up from all over the world who relate to this journey and have lived this loss in their own way – very much due to the blog. I’ve struggled with knowing if I should continue to share here or not so I take it one moment at a time I suppose.

Thank you for your prayers and continued support/understanding. Please know that every gesture, no matter how small, is a huge deal to us even if we don’t have the strength to personally acknowledge it.

Soon

Mother’s Day – 2012

Found myself sobbing through this song at church this morning. This song first made me cry several years ago when my cousin’s wife was nearing the end of her fight with cancer. I knew it would be “soon” for her and since that time it’s been a hard song for me to listen to. The thought of her being separated from her husband and children was unbearable for me. The question “why?” constantly in my head.

Today I found myself thinking different thoughts rotating around the same “why?”… why can’t I go to them? Why were they taken? But more so – why can’t I go to them? Will it be soon? In the reality of eternity – my timeline, no matter how long, really should feel like “soon”. I wouldn’t wish away my time here with my amazing husband and the one child that God’s blessed me with here on earth. Never. I would never wish to leave them instead. But the yearning in my heart for Heaven isn’t changing. The lyrics of this song speak of seeing Jesus – and although my heart longs for that day – the lyrics also remind me of the moment that I will finally be able to see my children as well. “I will be with the One I love, With unveiled face I’ll see Him” … yes, Jesus, but also them. My “soul will be satisfied” instead of constantly looking to that day and hoping.

Never in my life have I looked at death as comfort until now.

So on mother’s day, a day I knew would be hard, I try to find thanks for the children He’s given even if He’s taken them back to His own arms too soon. I try to focus on the “soon” in my future no matter how long that may be. I try to be the best Mom I can be to the gift He’s given me to raise here and now.

Soon and very soon
My King is coming
Robed in righteousness
And crowned with love
When I see Him
I shall be made like Him
Soon and very soon

Soon and very soon
I’ll be going To the place
He has prepared for me
There my sin erased
My shame forgotten
Soon and very soon

I will be with the One I love
With unveiled face I’ll see Him
There my soul will be satisfied
Soon and very soon

Soon and very soon
See the procession
The angels and the elders
‘Round the throne At His feet I
‘ll lay my crowns My worship
Soon and very soon

Though I have not seen Him
My heart knows Him well
Jesus Christ the Lamb
The Lord of heaven

Corduroy and Conversation

Many of you know that my best friend as a child was furry, brown and about 1.5 feet tall. His name is Corduroy. Hopefully you know the books that he’s famous for. He was my companion through every trial and tear of joy or sadness. I spent every night with him wrapped tightly in my arms.

Corduroy came to college. He was packed away in a hope chest when I got married. And then, when Nora was born, he sat on the shelf in her room keeping watch. It’s hard for me to believe that it’s taken 3 years to introduce him to my daughter. I’ll admit it, I’m protective… of the bear. ha! It’s true.

A few months ago I gave Nora the 3rd book in the Corduroy series (I own the first two which are mysteriously missing). She had no interest in it. She wouldn’t even let me flip through it. Odd. Today we were at the library and as I was flipping through the books I came upon Corduroy. So I scooped it up and brought it home with hopes my girl would want to read. And she did. And it made my heart smile.

We scrounged her shelf and found the book from her birthday and I introduced Nora to my best friend on the shelf. He sat next to us on the bed as we read the stories again. How could I say no to that request?

I tucked her into bed and as we started to say our prayers she stopped me mid-sentence: “Mommy? Can I be a sister again some day?”
“Nora, you are a sister, and I pray God will make you a sister again”
“I miss the babies Mommy”
“I miss them too Nora” … tears stream down my face … she hugs me and my tears transfer to her cheek
“Are you sad Mommy?”
“Yes Nora”
“It’s ok Mommy. I’ll help you find the babies. I’ll help you find them”
“They’re not lost Nora. I miss them but we know they’re in Heaven and we’ll see them again some day”
“Okay Mommy, here, have a bear!” … she hands me Corduroy and gives me a huge hug with my good friend … and I burst out laughing
“Was that funny Mommy?”
“Yes Nora – you made Mommy feel better. Thank you”

Somehow even today – it comes down to a bear – and a beautiful little girl – to remind me of the blessings in my life.

Precious Names – Silent

{3 months ago today we lost our angels}

Every parent experiences the joy and challenge of picking out a name for their child. Try picking out three at once! It doesn’t seem like it should be a monumental task considering tons of people have more than three children. But trying to come up with names that don’t sound too alike or don’t have too many of the same letters – or don’t sound like the dog and cats is a challenge indeed. Either I liked one that he didn’t or vice versa. One evening we were contemplating names (New Year’s Eve actually) and Nate responded to my suggestion, “It’s not my first choice” … I paused and replied, “Is it your third choice?!” That soon became our go-to question/joke when debating names.

We had one name figured from the start it seems, Elliot. I’m not sure where it came from really but we both liked it – our boy name. Elliot has a special connection for me because it combines two very special names. My Great Grandma Eleanor (Nora is named after her as am I and my mom). Elliot also “says” the name Leigh when you say it. El-LEIGH-ot. Leigh is Papa Joe’s (Nate’s Dad) middle name. Elliot’s name honors all of his grandparents in this way.

The girl names were a challenge as well. This came as a surprise since we had a huge list of names that we both liked still left from when we were naming our daughter, Nora. Somehow none of them seemed quite right or were too similar to the boy names we were liking. So we kept going through them. It seemed every time we watched something on TV we looked through the credits to see if something new popped up.

Eventually we settled on one girl name, Alexis. I’ve always loved the name Alex for a boy but I loved the idea of this version for a girl. We wanted to use it as her full name with the option of calling her Lexi as we loved that too. We even debated naming her with that shortened option all together but in those last moments of decision Alexis just fit best. We realized we’d never be able to have a nickname. Her middle name was after Mommy’s middle name which is the only family connection for her.

And then there was our second baby girl name. For a long time we never knew if we had two girls and a boy or two boys and a girl. We weren’t sure how long to battle over the choice. We had some we liked and that seemed good enough for the time. We had “plenty of time” to make that decision.

Then came our 20 week ultrasound where we learned that Baby A had spina bifida and a host of other problems. Life sort of stood still. We were being prepared by the doctors that she might not survive. Our lives seemed upside down and it was hard to focus on a name for this baby when it seemed we’d so quickly have to give her up. I remember talking about this with my own mother and her words will never leave me, “She’s still your daughter.” Somehow the word “daughter” made her more real to me and yet I had no name for her. Soon after, life stopped moving completely as I was admitted to the hospital and we weren’t sure what was happening.

The more important task seemed focusing on resting and staying still and keeping pressure off of my cervix. I was no longer with Nate for leisurely conversations regarding what our daughter’s name would be. We now knew for sure that we had two girls and a boy. That made the choice easy with a name for each boy and girl from the top of the list – but still no choice for Baby A.

So here comes the honest part that I wrestle with still. Baby A wasn’t named until a few short hours before she was born. When we knew that she was coming – and would not survive – we were faced with the reality that this girl must have a name – and now. Nate and I had a few moments alone to discuss things and we both came to the same choice, Alice. It went along with our favorite middle name. It was set. And we knew it was a name we’d never be saying to our child on Earth. We struggled with the name Alice for a long time earlier in our name debates. My great-aunt was like a grandmother to me and her name was Alice, a very special woman who I imagine giggling with my girl in Heaven. The hard part – she wrote a book with an entire chapter dedicated to how she hated her name! So – do I name my child after her knowing that? ha! I guess we did. Nate came home one day long ago loving the name Ali – and we had discussed that as a nickname for Alice. Ali and Lexi fit well together. So when we had to make the quick choice – it fit and it just was right at the moment.

Middle names. They’re another tough one at times. We quickly came to a first choice for a boy middle name, Nathan (after Daddy). Our girl middle name was also an easy first choice with Mae (after Great Grandma Sally as well as a Great Great Grandma on my maternal grandfather’s side). We imagined Alexis Mae but when we named Alice it seemed to fit best for her.

So now we needed another middle name for Alexis. For a long time I had the name “Hope” in my head as a middle name but Nate wasn’t sure about it. My aunt Linda passed away a few short weeks before my children and my mom gave a beautiful message at her funeral. Linda’s best friend was her dog Hope and when mom read the definition of the word it just stuck with me. It did seem odd to consider the name since it currently resides with a dog but the word itself was the very thing I was clinging to with my situation. Somehow it never crossed my mind on that day and Marie just sort of came out and that’s what it was. My middle name. By this time it was evident that she would also not survive and there was not time for discussion. Like Alice’s name – it just was.

I struggle daily with their names. Every single thing associated with them I struggle with. Writing them. Seeing them. Saying them. Hearing another child with their name. Knowing I’ll never sing happy birthday to them. If I have to say them out loud I stutter. After so many months picking the perfect name for a child I can’t hold – they physically hurt me. I’m praying with time that gets easier but for now – they hurt. I look to the day that I can hold them in my arms again and find joy in saying their names. And I pray that Aunt Alice is pleased that another little girl has her name. I imagine she wears it well.

Hoping to write more some day about WHO those little names were to me and wishing that when the credits roll at the end of a movie I could stop reading them.