Saturday, October 27, 2012


Last Thursday, I was running errands with Linley. We were on a hunt for some Halloween accessories and found ourselves in Micheals craft store. I quickly gathered all I would need and we began walking to the check out.

Then there was the clearance aisle.

Which I am physically unable to pass by so we wandered around and I reminded myself that I had no clue how to decorate cakes despite cool tools being 85% off or that I probably would not be scrapbooking, like, ever. Then Linley saw this huge faux green diamond. If there is anything my 7 year old digs, it's bling. She gets that from my sister...definitely not this lady. And it was "a fabulous deal" at .79 so I kissed her sweet little head and splurged like only a tired mommy can.

After she was settled into her booster she was just in awe of the awesomeness of this gift. Over and over she talked about how smooth it was, how shiny things looked when she looked through it and finally she said "mommy, when I look through this beautiful diamond it makes my yellow jacket sting hurt less".

Those little words struck me so.

I know pain now. It is both emotional and physical. It can keep me so bottled up that I will surely burst from the massiveness of it all. Linleys yellow jacket sting is painful and even so, just by looking at something of beauty she is distracted enough to have that pain lessen a bit.

My Linley is my very own green faux diamond. She is the thing I can be so distracted by that I can momentarily forget the depth of pain. Never for long...but just enough to be reminded that beauty and good and happiness continues. And now this little bean that rolls in my womb will be a second jewel to lay my weary eyes on. I'd give anything to have my three jewels holding hands but this is the life we have been dealt and I chose daily to look at this sweet seven year old jewel to encourage me when the sting of death becomes overwhelming.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Bittersweet; doesn't work for me.

Someone asked me the other day if this pregnancy, in the aftermath of Pipers death, was Bittersweet.

That pretty much caused me to mull that word over and over. Bittersweet. I wasn't sure why it didn't quite fit the image and feelings and experienced we have had or are having. Why it left my mouth twisted or my stomach unsettled...but it did. Each time it's mentioned.

So I mulled. I thought. For twelve weeks I have cried because I need a way, or a word to verbalize how all this strikes me because nothing, nothing quite causes a few emotions like holding a daughter while they die and then finding you are having another child one year later. But Bittersweet doesn't cut it...doesn't touch it.

Then I had an image of those wooden puzzles you do with kids. You know the ones with different types of vehicles or of the different sizes of circles; small, medium, large etc. Bear with me, I've been a mommy, a babysitter, a preschool teacher and a nanny...wooden puzzles are my thing. And you know that the choo choo train isnt going to fit in the dump truck spot. It's not going to happen. But sometimes you get stuck with the puzzle with those different size circle shapes. And the small wooden circle isn't going to bump up against lots of points and angles and such like the vehicles will, it's going to sit in the midst of the size large circle...but it won't be suffice. It will not fill up the space needed to be correct and that my friends is why Bittersweet doesn't work for me. Why it tastes sour on my tongue. It doesn't move me. Why I chose not to use it.

It is not suffice to fill up the magnitude of minimizes the sweet part of expecting and it minimizes the bitter part of losing Piper. When verbalized, it simply sits in the correct space but won't fill it out. It's too needs to be Agonizing-Jubilation or Devastating-Elation or Miserable-Happiness. Those work. Perhaps not quite as pretty to say but much more apt to be used, my friends.

Those fit the range of emotions. The depth of sadness or despair of losing Piper in direct correlation with the excitement and joy that comes with expecting #3 (and raising Linley).

Perhaps that sounds too complex but the reality is that my life now is a terrific mess of complex emotions. One word, Bittersweet, will not work. It's too small...perhaps in the right line of thought but grossly insufficient.

So no, this pregnancy (and the role of raising Linley) is not Bittersweet. It's excitement unleashed to be allowed the blessing of new life. And it's heart crushing sadness that requires me to do so without Piper in the picture.




Not ever, ever, ever Bittersweet.

Not ever so trivial.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Getting our Fall on

When one is pregnant and mainly nauseated or snoring on the couch, it pays to have another pregnant friend in which to rely on for survival.

Or to rely on for maintaining a sense of tradition or fun or experiences for our daughters. Because you better bet your biscuits this mommy isn't doing much of anything lately to advance Linley's life experiences. But if you get me and my best friend and our girls and send us north to pick apples and find fall fun with the promise of apple cider slushies and funnel cake and a few giggles...well, yep, we are in it.

We went to Ellijay, about 2 hours away and it was worth all the fears of puking I saw on Miriam's green face as we saw the beautiful north georgia foliage. She has a 9 and 5 year old, while my Linley falls right between them at 7. It's never forgotten that my Piper should have been the 4 th little girl in our party. We are both expecting this spring and are both napping a lot.

This is why we rely on each other to get out of town and create memories with these sweet little faces. There was a jumping pillow, a huge slide, apple picking, a horse and wagon ride, a playground, a zip line and pedal cars.

By the time we spent 3 hours there and were almost sufficiently filled up on apple cider slushies and apple donut samples...we almost needed a chauffeur to haul our tired bodies back to the city.

It was lovely and it was memorable and we probably will be ever the more tired next year doing it with these 3 sweet faces plus a 6month old and a 9 month old.

Thursday, October 11, 2012


About 30 minutes from my current home is another home that once my small family resided in.

This home was the last home I felt unconquerable in. The last home I slept without fits and the last home in which I had two healthy daughters. In this home, I picked figs with Linley for snacks, I planted mint and dahlias and confederate jasmine on my pregnant knees. It was here I have pictures of my belly swelling and my four year old daughter painting the rocks we would find. Where I brought my second born home from the hospital and rocked her to sleep. Where I prepared sliding contest for Linley and her friends across the old antique hardwood floors with pillows and blankets. At night we would leave our windows down and listen to the cars pass us by and feel kept. And hopeful for this new season and the growing relationship of two sisters and the redemption of a marriage gone awry.

The last night I slept there was simple. Small talk of Piper and her appointment the next day to check out her fever and the diaper rash she continued to have. Chatting over dishes, I imagine. Laying out pre-school clothes for Linley and filling up diaper bags. Chad offering to take the morning off and to go with me to the accepting.

The next night was spent in a room at Athens Regional. Test were run, Chad and I traded off waking with the wee one and Linley slept happily with her Nana. All was still well, in our minds.

The next day all was rocked.

And the simplicity of fig trees and white rockers and doing evening dishes by hand was long gone.

Never to be retrieved again.

That home never housed one of us again. Our heads never found peace in the pink and yellow and orange and red walls that I had so (over eagerly) painted with Chad and my dad.

Today I drove to that town for the first time since Piper has died. I realized that I had not gone to that area since Piper had died about 15 minutes into the drive. At that time tears began to fall and I sobbed the whole way there.

I did my sobbing and then I did my shopping at the gardening outlet where I picked up some crocus and tulips bulbs for spring and some pansies for immediate gratification. And then I drove. A little aimlessly, though I think my heart knew the plan. A left here and right there and next thing I know I was passing the little home of my past.

It looks much the same. I know who lives there now and she would happily let me in, if I were to want to walk the floors and touch the walls again. But the walls are surely her own colors now and the floors haven't seen my daughters tread in many, many months.

This home was important to me. It held a beautiful possibility for us. It both saw my marriage crumble and saw it redeemed. It saw me cry for the wanting of a sibling for Linley and it saw me walk in the door with the perfectly created Piper. It housed parties and children and laughter and a crazy mess load of dishes to hand wash each night. I bumped against the walls with Pipers glider as I soothed her to sleep and it heard me sing "the blessing song" to Linleys sleepy self.

This home is impossible for me to move back into. Physically yes, but mainly emotionally...I can never get back to that place of earnest optimism. We have been tainted by our grief and our experiences and our loss.

When I drove by today...I sobbed.

I drove by 9 times before I felt the tears let up and I finally took a left and went back to this new home I have. The pain stays...the memories sustain...there is always the hope for tomorrow...for this new life in me and for the 7 year old who holds my hand...for the spouse who holds me as I weep and who weeps when I hold him.

But that little home will always remind me that once, we had it all.