No into a yes

Another day…another layer of grief. Everything  seems to bring the tears now. I have no energy. No drive. The little bit of life I feel goes directly to the kids. Truthfully mostly Jonathan.  I am so thankful Tony is still home. I don’t think I could manage without him.

I said I was preparing for  how hard the re-building would be…I had NO IDEA ..I feel like this new life just doesn’t fit right. Like the the tag is still attached to my new shirt and I can’t seem to find it to rip it off. Something is always off…I am always on the verge of losing it.

I feel completely gutted…

So much of my attention goes to Jonathan. I keep telling him I am sad or angry too…and that he doesn’t have to take care of mommy. He is my little man after all so he wants to fix it. I spend time with them. I try to be a good mom..

 

he wanted me in his selfie
he wanted me in his selfie

But I am just faking it. The minute they are gone and I am alone or just with Charlotte the sad quickly climbs up and overtakes me.

My goal…my forever life goal from all of this is to turn one no a day, into a yes.

Todays was sitting down right then and opening and doing the craft that Nicholas was gifted this afternoon. I wasn’t really in the mood and it seemed like “a lot of work” but I did it.

It should have been a great memory with them. A pat on the back job well done…

I had to turn away a few times during it to wipe away tears. I wish I had done this more with her..I wish her death wasn’t the reason for me to make such a simple goal.

She would have loved to make the silly crafts with us….

I don’t think I loved her more than them.

I knew she would take a piece of me. I just didn’t think it would be so much of me. I really feel like there is none of me left. Just a shell…going through the motions..

of life.

…and I thought caring for a dying child was hard! Trying to live in the aftermath..of cancers destruction…for me..its beyond and its terrifying. Will this be me for the next year? 18  months? forever?

Will people stick around? I don’t know if I could ….I mean c’mon its me and I dont even wanna stick around!

How can one child leave such a big void in my life…that my living children cannot begin to fill? Its not fair..

I love them. So much  .. but then why does she consume me?

Unrelenting.

Even with their smiling loving faces right in front of me. So many people are saying how our story has changed them. That they are savoring moments more…

Why aren’t I?

I don’t want to look back and regret that I was loving them through a tear stained fog. I don’t want to look back with regrets…So I force it.

counting2Charlotte bares the brunt of it. She hears and feels me cry. Luckily she seems to like it…I think it sounds and feels a lot like laughter to her. Maybe all a 9 month old knows is strength of emotion…happy or sad..so they run together…But I do try to take the time to tickle her and look her in the eyes and talk happy talk.

I feel like as a mom to a dead child I should enjoy/laugh/cherish more.

I don’t.

This is my truth right now. Its hard to write. Its hard to put out there. It feels like a betrayal to all 4 of my kids…

I can’t stop the yearn for her.

and I don’t want them to ever suffer in the shadow of their dead sister.

How the hell am I supposed to rebuild this family?

…all I want to do is lay in bed. missing her mischievous smile.

…counting down the days til I die.

counting4

100 Responses to “No into a yes”

  1. Libby,

    Somehow, just try to be kind to yourself. This is your truth for now but not for always. You loved her and she is gone and there is a huge hole. You don’t have to believe it will get better. You are doing exactly what you need to be doing right now. It is ok, you are enough.

    Sending you whatever I can in terms of support and love and trust that you will make it and that this will not be the way it is forever.

    Love,

    Betsy

    1. Hi, I feel you pain. My son is 3 weeks into radiation with this torturous disease. I don’t know what I’m fighting for. I’m grieving the death of a little boy who can still look me in the eyes and say I love you. Like you, I have no energy for my 3 other girls. My heart aches for you, for me, and for our babies who didn’t deserve this. I was not wired to take this kind of blow. I am terrified of this journey now and in the future. If I could hug you now, I would. All I can say is take it 5 min at a time. It’s all I can hadle now and has help me adjust to a never ending tornado of torture.

  2. Honestly I can’t imagine having to bear your burden or go through the feelings you are right now. I know people say that it takes time. And that is true, it changes with time and gets easier in some ways and harder in others. But that doesn’t really matter. Because you are where you are, and you’re feeling what you are feeling and the fact that you are managing to even survive it is incredible. The fact is you have changed people and inspired us to cherish our blessings. That doesn’t mean you automatically have to be able to do that right now as well. It is a lot easier for the rest of us! It just means that you have given us more than we could ever hope to give you in return and the least we can do is stay by your side through the darkness.

  3. I’ve read everything post. You are such a good mom. Im having to watch my son deal with a brain tumor, one that has a high cure rate, I feel lucky for that, it obviously could be worse but seeing your child have such an ugly disease(cancer) is hard to go through.
    Your words are inspiring, raw and so touching. I can really feel from your blog that you are a great mom, you will make it through this.

  4. I wish that I could give you a date that you will feel better, but you know as well as I that I cannot. What I can tell you is that everything is still so new, you just had the services, you still need time to grieve. I know the pain that you are feeling and it will get a bit easier as time goes by and you won’t really realize it, because you will still feel sad but just not as sad, and you will feel bad, but just not as bad and the best part is, you will have the many happy memories of her. You will begin to smile when you think of something funny that you two shared, or something Jennifer did to make everyone laugh. Hang in there, please because you are doing okay, I promise you.

  5. Each of our children we love with our WHOLE hearts and souls – why should it be any different when one of them dies? She did take with her your everything, but its your other children that will remind you who you are again, in time, someday.

    People can never prepare themselves for life after the death of their child.
    Everything you say or do or DONT say or do is okay. No one knows how to get through this alive, so just live moment to moment and do what feels and seems right at the very time it is happening. Don’t worry about the future, just be here NOW when you can. Please, don’t feel guilty : you are learning how to parent your children as a completely different person. Be kind to yourself – Jennifer would want you to be.

    So much love to you.

  6. You are amazing and the Lord gave you exactly the family you have knowing exactly what you would go through. They will always know that their Mom loves them, as much as she loved their big sissy. She will always be a part of your family and in time you will be able to enjoy the special memories that you were blessed with, and celebrate her birthday each year and laugh at all the little silly things she blessed you with….her glitter will still shine from Heaven. Just give yourself permission to grieve and work through this your precious family is still full of love and it will get easier little by little. Take this time to pamper yourself and be okay with the tears so many of us are crying with you . My previous children are that much more precious tonight the ones here and the ones who play with Jennifer at Jesus’s feet. Mine were all lost early to miscarriage, so I do not know how you feel, but I do know that their is no right way to grieve and you need to take the time you need for yourself. Please take that time….it is not only for you but also for those you love. You are daily in my prayers.

  7. I was sharing your story with a friend yesterday and I said I didn’t know how you did it, and that if it were me, I would just be in bed all day sobbing. You are so much stronger than you think. Your babies that are still alive are appreciating what you are doing. It is a blessing and a curse for the younger two to not really understand. Be thankful for the blessing part right now and then you can focus more on Jonathan since he does understand.

    You have such a strong support system that isn’t going anywhere. Be kind to yourself….it hasn’t been that long and the services just happened. Now is the rebuilding time and figuring out how to live again. All you can do is moment by moment.

    I continue to pray for you and fight for your baby’s death to not have been in vain. ♥

  8. Libby, my goodness, you ARE doing a great job. Please know that. You stated that your story has changed us and why aren’t you savoring the moments? But, you ARE savoring those moments. It might not seem like it, but you are, it just feels different for now. You are grieving so it will feel foreign. You are doing what any of us would be. Going through the motions is part of the process and is healthy. I am sure it sucks and feels like such an enormous task, but what you are feeling, doing, thinking – it’s all okay. Please know that.

    I, like a lot of others, checked your blog all weekend. I wanted to “check” to see how you are doing. I know that sounds stupid, because obviously you are hurting, but each time you blog, it helps me to know that you aren’t pushing away and ignoring your feelings, but embracing them. Thank you again for letting us in. We will be here as long as you keep writing. At least I know I will be. As long as you keep posting, I will be here reading. Continuing to think of you daily and sending love.

    You are being a wonderful mother, despite how you are feeling right now. Your love for Jennifer will never dull, the ache will always be there, but eventually you will start to enjoy little things, eventually those little things will turn into bigger things. Be patient with yourself please. You are wonderful, just believe in yourself.

  9. You are doing and feeling exactly like you are supposed to. Our family will continue to pray for all of you………….and those prayers will go on and on for a very long time.

  10. Libby, we can all see (read) you are trying your very best. Your love will be enough. You will rebuild your Family with Jennifer watching over and guiding you all along the way. As always, sending all my love and support.

  11. The time immediately following the service has ways been the hardest for me…because now it’s real, now this is life. During the caring for th, then planning the serive, there is so much noise, people around, and it’s not permanent, every day life. Then suddenly, it’s quiet. Too quiet.

    It will get easier with time. Not easy, but eventually you will be able to take a breath without crying. And your village will stick around. Now you need us most and we are here for you.

  12. Libby

    You are doing enough, be kind and forgiving to yourself.
    There is no text book to tell us how to or what life should look like after
    A death of a loved one. It has been such a short time since Jennifers passing. Be forgiving to yourself and be kind to yourself.
    You are processing and grieving exactly how you Libby are
    Meant to do it. You are an amazing mommy.

    Blessings and prayers

  13. I think you’re doing an amazing job!!!!! You are grieving, Libby. Nothing is normal. Also, we will stick around. I promise you that. Your friends will all stick around. Hugs.

  14. I have followed your journey awhile, observing and not saying anything. What is there to say that would even make a difference? I’ve bawled over your words, pictures, and videos. I feel the pain seeping from the pages. It was a different circumstance but I lost a baby brother and the grief I saw my mother go thru taught me so much about the value of life, the value of my life, and the depth of my mother’s love. I never thought she loved him more because of the depth of her grief. I will carry her strength and lessons with me the rest of my life. I know as your 3 living children grow that this will be the same. Don’t expect miracles with yourself, you’ve lost your beautiful daughter. I can not imagine how I would be grieving and I don’t think anyone knows until they are in the situation and they probably still don’t know from one minute to the next.

  15. Give yourself TIME, Libby. Don’t count down the days until you die. You will live again. I believe that with all my heart. All your kids need is honesty and love.

    I am so sorry that you are going through this horrific experience. I am heartbroken for all of you.

    Treat yourself kindly <3 <3 <3

  16. Libby- tomorrow she will have been gone two weeks. TWO weeks. Give yourself a break mama. You need to grieve. As far as being a taker? That is silly. You have just gone through one of the most traumatic situations I think anyone could go through. My wish for you is you’ll be easier on yourself. Take one day at a time- honestly. Everyone loves you, Tony, and the kids. We want you to be able to be somewhat happy again- we know you will never be whole again- but no one is expecting you just pick up and go on TWO weeks after as if the world didnt just lose such a special girl. Our grief could never ever compare but I think we all still are mourning. Hugs Libby. So much love to you and your family.

  17. You are doing your best Libby, you are trying. You are acknowledging what is happening. You are grieving. It may not feel like it to you, but to us we see what an amazing job you are doing. How well you are doing. How blessed your children are to have you as their mom. sending love and hugs always

  18. It will get easier. I didn’t believe it, but it does. It still guts me, but less often. I felt like I was faking for a long time too. You are mired in grief. You get to lose it in the quiet moments. Don’t beat yourself up for it because it is part of the process. You can’t adjust to the new normal in just a few days – it takes time. Be kind to yourself.

  19. Libby,
    Please be easy on yourself. I hated the phrase “new normal” but it’s true. But it doesn’t come over night. It’s a process and slowly over time you’ll find that you have fewer moments where you have to leave the room in tears and more moments of joy. And that’s ok. It doesn’t mean you’ve forgotten JLK. But, you are so fresh in your loss….it takes time. The fact that you can even fake an art project and smile at your children is amazing. You’ve got a whole village behind you that will give you space as you push and will still be there in the end. I’ve experienced it first hand. Daily prayers for you my friend.

  20. One more thing- my friend, who is a grief counselor, suggested that if you aren’t already, that you (and your family, together or separate) talk to someone to help you work out your grief. No one expects it to be gone already, but it might help get you through the especially rough times.

    One thing that was suggested to me and my husband during a time of grief was to take walks together, just the two of us, without the kids. This was a time when we could really share what we were thinking and feeling without worrying about whether or not the kids would hear. It also was exercise, which helps release the “good chemicals” in the brain. We were told to lean on each other like in the game kids play- you lean with all your might and still, somehow, both people stay upright. Perhaps it will help for you and Tony as well.

  21. Libby, just give yourself a chance. I think the hurt won’t go away, but the intensity will lessen as time goes on. You are doing what you can to make sure Jonathan, Nicholas and Charlotte are loved the way you as their mommy, loves them. I know they see you’re doing your best and they love you and thank you for it all the more. Everything is still fresh and brand new. You are an amazing mom and human being to be doing as you are. Have faith in yourself. You are one of the best moms I’ve ever seen. Lots of hugs and love!

  22. Sweet Libby. It has only been a few weeks. Be kind to yourself. Grieve. It’s OK! Who knows what the “new normal” will look like. NO ONE would expect you to be the same… you are doing the best you can. And your family loves you.

  23. One day at a time Libby. You are doing the best you can and it seems that you are already putting everybody before yourself. You are a great mom. Your children are going to be fine. They will learn to love and remember their sister. They know you love them the same. You are hurt right now and this wound is still very fresh. I will keep you in my thought!! xoxo

  24. I read your posts daily and pray for your family. I often don’t comment because I feel like NOTHING I can say will take your pain away but I feel like I can maybe contribute some perspective to your post today. You see, I am a survivor of sibling loss. We buried my brother tragically 6 years ago. I was his little sister and was left behind with our other little brother. And I watched my mom fall apart… and that is ok. It is natural. You just lost YOUR baby…. and even though you have other babies, having them doesn’t erase the pain of the one you lost. The first year is the hardest. Living through all the “firsts” without her. Holidays, birthdays, date of diagnosis, date of passing… the firsts suck and hurt and feel different and you never think it will feel right again. I just prayed my mom would survive this ache because even though I know she loved us, I know that the ache of losing her child superseded anything else. It’s supposed to. You are grieving the life that you no longer have. The child no longer her with you on earth. But slowly the life will float back into you. A new life, a different one. Not better but different and you will find joy in that new life too. Day by day… you will gradually find yourself finding happiness in the moments. It takes time but my mom, our family, we healed over time and we miss him and we still talk about him all the time, but now our conversations and memories are filled with laughter and happiness and less of sorrow and heartache. It just comes with time. I am always thinking of you and your beautiful family. Your story has forever changed me.

  25. I read you blogs every morning after i drop off my kids at school and cry and cry and cry. I do not know you or your family but my heart breaks for you as a mother. I do not have the right words for you but I can say we all love you and hope you can be at peace. Keep her memory alive with all the happiness she would bring as if she were still physically here. Your little girl is saying, “Mommy don’t cry please, I’m not in pain anymore.” I am keeping you in my prayers

  26. Two weeks probably feels like forever without your daughter but it’s such a short time. If you think about an amputee losing a limb, they don’t just jump out of bed the next day and keep going. It takes time. The wound has to begin to heal and get less tender before they can really regain their balance and start taking baby steps forward. When you lose a piece of your heart, there’s no timeline for recovery and if anyone tries to tell you different, you should probably just punch them in the throat so they’ll stop talking…

  27. Libby I know my situation is MUCH different than yours but after Owen and Avery’s funeral (2 weeks after they died) is when the REALLY ugly came out. It lasted…a while. I didn’t have other children to overcome it for but I had family and my husband and the hope of more children. I did lose friends, pushed love ones away and for that I am now sad but you know what? I did the best I could and SURVIVED. That is all anyone can ask from you right now. SURVIVAL. Taking a it not day to day but breath to breath. You don’t want to hear it will get easier because that feels like a betrayal to Jennifer, but it will get easier. It may take months or even years but the breath to breath will become hour to hour and that will become day to day. And honestly, as a mother who has lost a child, day to day is the most anyone can ever expect.

  28. Libby, you are, hands down, an amazing mom. Please allow yourself to grieve and be kind to yourself. And, don’t ever worry about us leaving. We are here for you.

  29. You will all suffer in the shadow of her absence right now. This is undeniable at least for a while. I hope you feel some comfort in knowing that this will fade with time and your precious boys will be center stage in the family again. Its OK if they are not right now and I don’t think they necessarily want that either. They still have their mommy’s and daddy’s love. Please don’t feel guilty for this. You are feeling crummy enough and rightfully so, but to add guilt to it, that is at least something I pray that you don’t dwell on. You are all grieving together and yes you have to be strong for them but not super-human. Thank you again for taking the time for baring your soul even through all of your pain. I hope it continues to be therapeutic for you. Hugs and prayers

  30. Be gentle on yourself, Libby…. you are in the midst of the worst grief of your life. Unthinkable grief. Non logical grief. You aren’t expected to do anything but BE.

    As you have mentioned, your children’s lives are also forever changed. It’s too much. They are getting just what they need from you and Tony. Please allow yourself some grace to know that your parenting is perfect for today and tomorrow… and the months to come.

    I am amazed by strength and inspired by your words.
    I pray specifically that you allow the gifts of the Holy Spirit, including gifts of grace and peace.

  31. Libby, I am amazed at how much you are already doing. Please don’t add guilt to what you are feeling.

    There is no time table on grief. You have to work through it. If you don’t, it will hurt more and for longer. There WILL be a day that you smile again and mean it. Let that day come when it’s meant to.

    So many of us love you and are sending up prayers for you and your family. We are not going anywhere.

    Thank you for being real with us.

  32. Wow! Such support and encouragement from so many! In some strange way, God is guiding you and your family through this most difficult of unbearable of times. You must cling to Faith…simply NOT an easy thing to do. I believe it’s true that He doesn’t give you more than you can handle. With that said, do and say whatever/ however you feel. You are a good, NO, you are a GREAT person! There really is no right or wrong way to behave. Losing a loved one, especially a child, is never easy. No reason can help with the hurt of this loss. Jennifer will always be in your heart and mind just as Jonathan, Nicholas, and BBy Charlotte. Baby steps, Libby, just little baby steps. You and your family will be forever in my thoughts and prayers!

  33. Libby, it has been a very short time since Jennifer’s passing. You need to grieve and that is what your heart is trying to do while taking care of three other babies. Don’t be so hard on yourself right now. You are an amazing mom trying to get through a horrible situation and you will in time. You will always have a hole in your heart for Jennifer but still enough of your heart for your other beautiful children. Give yourself the time you need to go through the grieving process. Your life will find a new normal and you will be happy again I promise. For now know that you have my prayers. ((Hugs))

  34. Libby- You are so BRAVE and Strong- More than you will ever know. God Bless you for sharing your life, your intimate details. You, Jennifer and your entire family have forever changed my life.
    Hug your babies, they know you are hurting, they are hurting too. Jennifer is whispering in their ears helping them understand.
    We love you and are ALWAYS behind you!
    xoxoxoxooxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxooxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox

  35. Libby- Everything you are feeling sounds completely normal and expected, part of the journey and you will dip back into this even when life eventually does move on in some ways. Like a rolling tide. I hope you will soon find a counselor to talk with to help affirm you and perhaps give you some ideas. And I also hope you will soon think about other ways of self-care which is important for ALL mothers.

  36. Libby,
    Jonathan and Nicholas need you to remember their sister. You can’t embrace every moment like you are a complete family because the truth is you aren’t. But remember haven’t lost her she is there with you in the guise of grief, as long as you remember her and love her she will be there, don’t ever lose your love. It is not the same but I almost died right after giving birth to my son. Because of the loss of blood, the jaundice that they had to take him away for, the constant loss of sleep I went into a deep depression. I couldn’t breast feed him, I felt like I couldn’t take care of him someone could do it better. I didn’t see a way out of the depression. Eventually I made it out but there is this guilt. Guilt because the second my daughter was born I was connected, I got that new mom high that I never got with my son. I make myself feel better by remembering, I tell him stories and I realize I did a pretty good job considering what I was going through. I tell my kids every day that I love them. That is the only thing perfect in a mother, our love for our children. The grief is here to stay, I have heard other parents say it never goes away you just learn to live with it. It doesn’t matter what you guys do, or how the kids grow up, you will always think of Jennifer and how she should be able to do these things. If you have the time read Maya Thompsons blog. She constantly remembers her son, but she fakes happy for her other three kids, and sometimes she really is happy. Ronan has been gone for three years. Her site is Rockstarronan.com

  37. I just don’t even know what to say other than we will always be here for you. We will always stick around. We love you, We love you, We love you.

    There is no wrong or right way to grieve…you are amazing Libby. And Tony. You two are two of the strongest people I know and together you two are a word that is indescribable…I can’t think of the word, it’s just that strong. Like graphene…like the drawing I did on your sidewalk. You are stronger than graphene and your transparency will make the difference…I truly believe that. And when you feel week, know that your village is here for you. And that we all will remain strong for you in times you feel you need to just let go. And remember…even when you are feeling less than strong….you are braver than you think and stronger than you seem.

    we love you, we love you, we love you.

  38. I will not say I’m sorry because there will come a day where you get sick of hearing it. One of my dear friends lost her daughter last oct. I have watched her cry everytime I see her. I hear her say all I know how to do is be a mom (only child). There is a group called compassionate friends. They meet once a month in Santa Cruz. I feel unless you have suffered a loss of a child you don’t truely understand the pain. Check out there website. You can even talk to them anytime. I don’t know if it will help her but it’s worth a try. I wish you peace and strength… There will be a time where you can celebrate her life and memories with a smile.

  39. Sometimes that last week of a person’s life can be misleading. It gives us some moments of such pure love. Who ever dreamed what we thought would be the worst time in our life could actually be the best? The best gift ever? It sets us up for such heartache because we think this sharing of such pure love will get us through when they are gone.

    The time between the passing and the completion of the service can be cruelly misleading too. It can give us the impression that we’re going to be ok because we’re somewhat functional. There are so many details to attend to. It allows us to continue to take care of them and their wishes, even though they are gone.

    You are surrounded by love. It will be there for you whenever you are ready for it.

  40. Dearest Elizabeth,
    Of course, there is no script for this period of time. Please don’t try to figure it out on your own or through the loving thoughts and feelings of those that reply to your blogs. You are physically and emotionally exhausted. I hope that you and Tony seek expert guidance individually and as parents and a couple. You are an amazing individual, mother and wife BUT I hope you take time to express and process your raw emotions And then rest your weary bones. I do hope that you use some of the donated funds to help YOU and your family during the grieving process in the days and months ahead. Love to you and yours.

  41. Libby,

    I know you’re afraid that you are parenting through a tear filled fog, but please remember the key word in that statement — parenting! you’re still doing it! you’re still attentive to your children’s needs. You’re still rescuing Jonathan when he’s on the verge of a break down because you’re paying attention to him. You’re seeing that he’s uncomfortable, sad, and fidgety! You’re attending to him, and remembering that Charlotte needs to be tickled and laughed at, and not just cried into. You’re remember to do crafts with your sweet two year old, who really can’t grasp what’s going on. Your love for each of your children is complete and whole, and that is why you feel like you’ve lost a whole part of you. Jennifer was your first. The one you’d had the most time with. Your precious chosen girl. Has it even reached the four month mark since her diagnosis? You have had SO much to absorb, adjust to, adapt to..and none of it good. And yet, you are still doing it with grace. Dignity. You’ve made a mark on thousands. You and your love for JLK. I think of you daily, and pray for you always. Your whole family. And even if 18 months from now, your blog posts still sound like this, I will still be hear reading them, and encouraging you, because I can not imagine enduring what you’ve been through. My daughter is 19, and she is my heart and soul.

  42. I didn’t leave my bed for two weeks, other than the toilet.
    No shower, no clothes, food brought in by my other children who were 10,9 and 7 at the time. I thought my life wasn’t worth anything and willing to give the rest of it up….to go home. When the visitors and phone calls trickled down I felt so alone, so awkward. You are right….new (clothes) shoes that don’t feel like yours. You know you have to walk in them and that they are a part of you now but they just don’t fit….. you have to break them in.
    You do that by wearing them. Each day they will mold to you ever so slightly, unnoticeable really. Time ….
    Your new life will fit in time…. And your daughter will be there with you. Right now her memory is laden with grief but that slowly dissipates leaving only the good stuff. Think about having a friend pick you up and go for a coffee or movie at least three times a week, no kids. Two hours seems to be tolerable for most MONA’s (mom’s of new angels) and while you don’t think so at the time, IT CAN REALLLY HELP. You will look back in a month and thankful you did. I hope your local friends see this and act on it.

    I apologize for my ramble, I’m not as articulate or elegant in my writing as you…. my grief welled for a moment.

    You are right where you need to be, doing what you need to do. I am amazed at how strong you really are. I wish I could have had your strength for my children during that time.

  43. Everytime I devour your blog I think…I wont cry this time. This isnt my life, my family, my child. But then I realize it is, so easily could be-then I sob my eyes out. You see-youve made a window. Where there never was one previously. Youve allowed us All to look into the nightmare-the what ifs-the things All us mommys worry about in the dark. Youve unleashed the monsters under the bed and the boogeyman in the closet. Yes youve changed my outlook- i will be honest not to a completely positive view. You see cancer is not picky or choosy. Strikes wherever and wheneer it damn well pleases. I’m angry, unsatisfied and motivated. Youve done what decades of comercials have been unable to do. You made it REAL. UGLY, devastating, hopeless. We have to do more so your situation IS that thread that unravels it. I just HATE you lost a child. I have no words of grace. It sucks. It hurts its unbeleivable, unimaginable…idk how youd come back from it. I imagine something happening to my 7 yr old baby girl whom resembles jlk and I get ohysically I’ll. and shes healthy.. But what if… So I guess the point of my response is… Who the hell CAN go on? Who COULD rebuild. I’m sorry… But anyone that says oh, itll get better, don’t worry… Is a stronger or more disconnected woman than me. Its like you pull your words out of my gut when you write. Its exactly how I would feel. Its really uncomfortable. I have decided to take a more active part. A monthly pledge to childrens cancer research. Donating to The fewfamilies in my small community battling childhood cancer. Sadly-money talks… So if we cando our small part I don’t see why every single person that reads your blog cant do theirs. This is all just unacceptable. Our babies are dying. We have to stop it. Make enough noise so they at least start paying more attention. Id say youve done more than enough. We will fight with you and for jennifer.

  44. I always say to my husband that God forbid the day I lose one of my children…I don’t think I could make it, I would need major help, I would not want to keep going. That is why YOU are AMAZING, you hurt but you are going on…that is ENOUGH, that is all you need. Please do not be critical of whether or not you are doing it “right”…just waking up is okay. You are a great mommy, your kids know it, and they know mommy has a broken heart right now…take the time you need to heal. Who can ever replace your precious bab girl? No one, and you will always miss her…and that is ok, and you will definitely survive. I know some people doubt or ask for proof…I am not God, but I have seen, felt and heard what many say is impossible…and with that please know, Jennifer is with you, she is waiting to hold your hand again, to bring you home to her with the Lord. It is different…we can’t hug souls, cannot reach out whenever and feel the warmth of an embrace…but they are there, if we pay attention, somewhere between sleep and awake, and even just awake…they find ways to communicate….and we ALL end up there too. God love you, I pray JLK sends you comfort…she will always love her mommy!

  45. Libby I think all these feelings are normal.I still have some of these feelings almost a year after my loss.I don’t think that we could ever be the same as we were before.A big piece of who we were was taken from us.It will get easier or better whichever the way you describe not crying everyday.I think at this point by what you’ve wrote that you are doing a great job of satisfying the needs of your children.I can’t look back and say that was one of my strong points.Continued prayers for your healing.

  46. I, like so many, are amazed by your strength. I am thankful that you are blogging because you are allowing yourself to be honest with your thoughts. You are not keeping them hidden. You are grieving. Your thoughts and your feelings are what i think anyone would experience or anyone has experienced who has lost a child. The struggles and the pain are real. No one expects you to just get up and go on…because you can’t… a piece of you is missing. You yearning for your daughter is not a betrayal to your other children…it is evidence of the massive amount of love you have towards them.

  47. Libby, you are not doing anything wrong. You LOST a child! How could you possibly just turn off the grief with a switch. I am one of those people who says Jennifer has changed my life and I’m trying to savior each moment, but am I always successful at it? No. I look at my daughter twirling around in her dance class or just acting silly and laughing and I cry for you and your family. I have only met you and JLK once and even I can’t go through the day without something triggering me to think of her and breaking down. How could you, her mother, possibly be expected to function well right now? It’s not possible. Please be kind to yourself and give yourself time to grieve. The kids will be ok, they too are learning the meaning of family, true love and loss (not fair that they have to so early) right now. Praying so much for strength, peace and patience for you.

  48. It amazes me what humans can do, even when streams are flowing down their faces and they stagger on…”
    ― Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

  49. Elizabeth, if you are not already, please consider seeing a grief counselor, take the time, find a good one. I am so sorry for you, I don’t think any of what you are feeling is wrong. Continue to try, every day, for your babies. Hugs from Castro Valley, Ca.

  50. Libby you are just to hard on your self. Will the pain ever go away probably not. Will the pain get easier I am sure it will. Death is something that hurts very bad when you loose someone you love but loosing a 6 year old to a horrible disease in which your hands were tied and nothing could be done that is hell. Just like everyone else I have no clue how you function each and everyday. But you have to because as you said it would not be fair to your other 3. Don’t waste your life waiting to die you have 3 more children to raise that need you and love you. Your children especially Johnathan needs you more than ever. Live one day at a time and get through them. The day will come when you will want to plan family trips and lots of things to do with your children. Jennifer was your first child after struggles of miscarriages and everything you went through to be able to have children. But look God gave you her and 3 more to love, raise and enjoy, Right now nothing seems possible when it comes to planning fun things without Jennifer but I dont think that Jennifer would want you to stop living and not enjoy her brothers and little sister. You have all the right in the world to feel as you do but I know the day will come when the pain is still there but you will be able to go on. You and your family are always in my prayers. Jennifer has touched so many hearts including mine. I am glad that I got to follow your daughter story because it has changed my life and made me more aware of what we need to do to protect more of these little angels from that horrible disease “CANCER”. I will be doing a fundraiser in her honor soon and I intend to keep supporting in her honor for the cure. God Bless and strengthen you and may he carry you and your family during this difficult time.

  51. Continued prayers for peace and strength for you, Libby. I cannot imagine your pain right now, but I have seen your strength and grace first hand. Hugs.

  52. There us no wrong or right way to feel. You are doing the best you can right now. I hope you believe that. My heart aches for you and your family. Im here for you, im here with you. We all are. All my love and prayers Libby. XoXo, Linda Blundo.

  53. Libby – I think you are doing exactly what you personally need to be doing. I think it’s okay to feel all the things you are feeling. And I think that because you are worried and aware that you don’t want to look back with regret, you won’t. I think you’re idea of turn one no into a yes each day is how you are staying current and connected to your living children while still hurting for and loving the one you have lost. We are still here for you and sending you more love and prayers to make it through today and reach tomorrow.

  54. Libby thank you for being real and raw. You need to remember you are being a good mom right now to your children even if you feel like you are not. The fact that you are taking the time to do special things with them & that you even have goals right now in this season is amazing. Know that it is okay to grieve and feel this huge loss. That does not mean you are being a bad mother, it just means that the loss of your firstborn is still so fresh.

    I’ve followed you since your Make A Wish trip and although I wouldn’t say that I pray for tons of people I have never met before I do pray for you, your strength, and your family.

  55. Maybe you don’t rebuild. Your family is missing one of its foundation pieces. You can never replace that. So maybe you just shore it up the best you can, as you are doing so very well though you don’t think you are, and try to build a new and different and happy life in a crooked house. Not quite as stable as before, not quite as strong, missing a huge piece that will always leave a vulnerable spot, but a safe place full of love and honest emotions. A better place than so many children call family or home. A true place.

  56. Thank you for your honesty. Please know you are thought of so many times a day by so many and that you are an inspirationto those who have lost and can’t speak this honesty because of the pain it brings. You are really special. God choose you to be Jennifer s mother.

  57. I wish I knew you in real life so that I could show up at your door and hug you and bring you a coffee. And hug you (or let you be) and sweep your floor and just be with you. You are amazing, and strong, and lovely. And it’s okay think/hope/dream of a day when you’ll hug Jennifer again. I can’t begin to know what you’re feeling, so I can’t offer any words of wisdom. Only that I hope the raw, unbearable pain will someday not hurt so much.

    I wish I knew you in real life. Then I could tell you that I’m not going anywhere. And I’d show up at your door with a hug and a cup of coffee. But either way I’m still not going anywhere. I’m afraid you’re stuck with us: me and a whole huge bunch of other people who will continue to stick with you until forever.

  58. It’s so hard to read how much you’re struggling. Every one of us wishes we could hold you up and help carry the burden of your loss and maybe in some way being your audience does help. Never worry, I don’t think we’ll ever abandon you. Just keep writing.

    Remember that your children will be forgiving of you. That if they put themselves in your shoes when they’re old enough to have empathy they are going to know through your pain and tears how much you loved Jennifer and by extension how much you love them. They know how they themselves are suffering; losing her as well and can be sympathetic to you. They will be thankful for your faking it because even that faking it is a show of love for them.

    Be forgiving of yourself and if you haven’t already I would maybe seek grief counseling. You’ve just gone through a ginormous life change. Counseling might provide you the safe space you need to grieve and be there for your kids. It’s a difficult juggling act for sure and that’s just one more support system that could help.

    You are doing the best you can, give yourself credit for that.

  59. After being a person who has suffered several losses myself I can’t promise you that the pain will disappear and go away, but I can tell you and it is hard to explain is that it will get easier to handle.Eventually. With time one learns to stop fighting it and you learn to cope with it. I know now seem the pain unbearable and that it will last forever this way and the days seem horrible and you think you will not survive to see another day, but eventually those horrible days turn into horrible moments and the happier moments and memories start to come back little by little. You get to the point where the days seem to be happy days and the horrible moments start spacing themselves more and more apart. I hope this makes sense because it is the best way I can explain it. Just try to remain strong Libby even if that seems impossible.

  60. Libby, I have been looking for your words everyday since learning about Jennifer in January. Today’s post makes me want to reach out and try to reach you, hug you, help you. You must have love and patience for yourself. It has only been 13 days. Your life, and daily survival actions you take today, will be so different in a week, a month and a year from now. You owe it to yourself to be forgiving to yourself. You could not be a better mother. If all you can manage is holding your kids then do that, stop trying to be “perfect,” whatever that means. You are their mother. A strong, but brokenhearted woman. How to heal? Time, and faking the “happy” until one day you realize you didn’t have to fake it so hard, and then a time later a little less faking, until one day you’ll say you were happy that day, but ALWAYS with the melancholy running beneath the surface. You are changed, your kids and your husband are changed. Be patient with yourself as you get used to your new life. It will be different but different can be good too, someday. You have created a legion of followers and those that cared about Jennifer without evening knowing her. My life will be forever touched because of hers. I won’t ever forget her, no one who knows you will ever forget her either. Be patient with yourself, please. You deserve the time to feel all of the pain, but please let some light in.

  61. I think the analogy we have about being able to love all our children is wrong…we talk about how our heart grows so it can accommodate new additions, but I thinks it’s more like mixing colors. You have one kid…red….you love them with all your heart. Then you have another…blue. You love them with all your heart and it mixes the colors…purple. Your kids aren’t separate…you are all part of a whole. If one piece leaves, you can’t take the red back out…so you’re left feeling like everything is gone…like you’re just a shell. I guess the good news is, your boys and Charlotte are there to add the color anew…I can only imagine that it will feel very different…like the colors are not quite right…but they’ll combine to make a new color in your heart….this takes one very important thing though…time. You write as if you’ve let years go by since Jennifer passed away, but it’s been much shorter than that. No one knows that better than you. PLEASE be more patient with yourself…no one could possibly absorb and process what you have been through and be anywhere close to “normal” (whatever that is) by now. There is no right way to grieve and you are doing your very best for your children…that’s all anyone can ask of you.

  62. Hi Libby,
    It’s easier to say than to be done, but try not to judge yourself for how you’re feeling, for how you’re trying, you are a great mom.
    Sending you lots of Light for you and your family for the highest good.
    Love and Light…..

  63. Libby, don’t be so hard on yourself. You are doing the best you can — and that’s a LOT. Take heart in the fact that you are an amazing mom, one that inspires so many to be better every single day. You are the rock that holds your family together, and it’s okay for that rock to break down, too. Thinking of you constantly … and hoping our prayers are winging your way.

  64. You are an amazing woman, a strong mother, and a brave soul. You be exactly how you are and how you need in order to get through the passing days. No one expects anything more and your children know that you love them. The fact that you’re trying and getting through the minute is all that matters. We think about you constantly and pray for your family. I wish we could do more for you but just know that you aren’t alone. We are all still here.

  65. Libby, this is all so so new. No, not just her death, but all of it. It feels like a lifetime, but October 28th wasn’t but a handful of moments ago. You’re in shock, and you’re in grief. Try not to expect so much out of yourself right now. Take the time you need. Yearning and aching for her is absolutely to be expected- they’re yearning and aching too. It will slowly start to feel a little less like a raw wound day by day, but you’re still in the thick of it, and that’s the most horrible part. That you’re even trying is enough right now. That’s all that’s to be expected. Your children will forgive you for these moments and will love you all the more for your deep desire to not dwell in personal despair. You will NOT waste their childhood mourning, but it’s okay if you take a season of your life right now to grieve her.

  66. When your child dies, they don’t take only part of you, they take all of you. The old person dies right along with the child. Now you must begin rebuilding. Please understand that this event will become a part of the development in each of your children’s attitudes, perspectives, emotions, and lives. But it will be in a GOOD way. They will feel things on a deeper level. They will have a sense of compassion and empathy that will help and inspire others. That will be Jennifer’s ultimate gift to them. When my little girl saw me crying after her big brother’s death, I, at first, tried to hide it. But she knew. Later I explained to her that my tears are just a testament as to how much I love BOTH of them. God bless you.

  67. The fact that you are thinking, feeling and doing the next right thing makes you my HERO! Almost all the people I’ve told your story to say that they wouldn’t want to live. I don’t think you are alone in what you are feeling, it just feels like you are. I think of you often and daily and am sending lots of love and positive energy. Hugs to you!

  68. Libby, we don’t know one another, I’m a friend of a friend, but your blog, Jennifer’s story, has moved me every day. I’ve put off posting until now, since we’ve never met, but please, please give yourself some time. Just over ten years ago I nearly died twice in 15 days. The experience changed everything about my life, left me with severe ptsd but was NOTHING compared to what you are going through. But, in the beginning, I could talk to one extra person a day (non household member). That was it. If you weren’t the first phone call/visitor, it wasn’t your day. The second person pushed me further than I could go. Of course, over time that expanded to two people…four…My reason for posting is this – you don’t have to do anything but get up every day. Every single thing you do after that is a bonus. I know how hard you are trying with your small children, it tells just what a wonderful mother you are, but they KNOW that you love them. They will not forget that in a day. Please, please be kind to yourself. Your family remains in my thoughts and prayers. (A quick PS-The Center for Living with Dying in San Jose offers several different, quality grief counseling options for you, Tony and even Jonathan. Maybe even Nicholas. Just a thought.)

  69. Libby, there is a saying about only being as happy as your unhappiest child. Well, I do not believe that Jennifer is unhappy because I know she is happily dancing in heaven and giggling with loved ones, there is a sadness left in her absence. Please be kind to yourself. I know. Easy to say. But you are an amazing no and you are being an amazing mom. It’s ok to mourn and cry and be sad. It takes time to get to the rebuilding stage but you will get there. With much love, you will get there.

  70. So much of what your heart is sharing is so familiar to me. My best friend and neighbor lost her 18 year old son, my daughters friend. I walked this road with her. I listened to her girls bedtime prayers and tucked them in when she couldn’t “see” them those first few days. So many of your questions were hers too. I can’t give you answers but I do know that there is love and joy and happiness again. Smiles and giggles, real ones, again. There is “normal” again, kind of. And there is healing. It comes in the little things first and spreads, slowly, and you feel her beside you the whole time. I would encourage those around you to grab the book “Choosing to SEE” by the wife of Christian music artist Steven Curtis Chapman. They lost their young daughter when their son accidentally ran her over. It will give them a raw and beautiful insight into what it is like to loose a child. Oh how I wish I had read it “before”. Praying for you all, your family and your friends. It’s a group effort this grief thing. God bless.

  71. I think you are fierce have the strength of what every mother hopes to achieve. This is your safe space and I feel honored to be allowed to read it, thank you. You are doing things during this time of deep sorrow that are selfless because the love for your family is amazing. I just know you will be a significant part in pulling that string to unraveling the path to a cure. Love and light, Ms. Libby. Your Mama raised you strong.

  72. Libby, you are doing an amazing job! It hurts to see how hard you are on yourself. Through everything I have read you are an amazing, nurturing, and loving mommy. I can’t imagine your pain, but I do know that you are doing the very best you can to be there for your children and that’s all that matters right now.

  73. Libby it is a brave thing to share your open gaping wound of grief with us. I pray that the Lord will continue to surround you will love and support and comfort.!

  74. Libby, I hope you see this in this crazy long list of comments. Your quote “counting down the days until I die” is haunting and so I wanted to share with you something that has comforted me. It is a law of physics. It’s called the conservation of energy. I know this sounds random but bear with me. In this law we know that energy doesn’t disappear. She’s not gone. Her energy is there…with you…always…it has just transformed. Her energy is still here. Check it out on wikipedia. Fact check. But know that energy doesn’t just go away. I know you know this in your heart and I know you long for her physical self. I hope this idea can bring some comfort and peace. She’s here. ~Beth

  75. Libby,
    I am laying here in bed thinking of your heartache. My heart breaks for you. I wish you didn’t have to experience this pain. Praying for so much comfort and love for you at this very moment. I hope one day I can be half the women/mother you are & have been. Your writings have touched and inspired myself and thousands of others. Libby we will never forget Jennifer. She made more of an impact in her sweet time here than most people do in a lifetime. We continue to cry with you and support you from afar. I can tell you have many people in your immediate life that won’t stop loving you and your husband through this darkness. Lastly I know I am premature in saying this but you are a strong brave women and I know not only will you make it through this but God will use your story to touch and helps hundreds of thousands more.

  76. I am from CA but I now live on a small island in the Indian Ocean and you and I have many mutual friends. Posting your story and your truth is so brave and JLK has touched many people, even across the world. Stay honest. I find your being in touch with your raw emotions very inspiring and more attractive than those of us who want to look like “AJ Squared-Away”. You are surrounded by love. Love and beautiful energy to you.

  77. Although we have never met I discovered JLK’s story through another tragic child with cancer Taylon. I read your blog daily and believe you are an amazing mother with tremendous strength even though you may not feel it. Thank you for sharing. Your family is in my prayers daily. God Bless.

  78. Your intuitiveness as a mother has always been striking to me–you see Jonathan hurting and scoop him up and go to be with him alone. You’re a watchful and perceptive mother. It’s not that you’re “faking” it…it’s that you’re mothering. You’re giving them what they need: your attention and as much brightness as you can muster AND your sadness. They need that too. Your open grief is a gift of sorts to your other children. It shows them that they are important to you, because Jennifer is important to you. You love your children, and the loss of one of them is obliterating. Plus it gives them permission to be sad too. I love what someone said above, that the house (your family in a metaphor) is missing a major portion. It gets shored up but never replaced, and you continue to notice and acknowledge it as you live around the missingness.

  79. Time Does not heal All Wounds Losing a child is one the most life altering losses that can happen to a parent. It will get better with time you will learn to put it on the back shelf so that you can enjoy your other children. And you will be Happy again. And you are right your life has changed forever. You will now be a stronger person for your other children. But just remember its TIME that changes that for you a lot of soul searching and thinking. You will learn how Sending you strength and prayers to help you make it through This long journey you are on and hoping you come out the other side as strong as god can make you. I hope you have a lot Family support and friends. And if not look here! i found a lot support on line when i couldn’t turn to my smily because they were going through the same thing. If you can remember that everyone you love can not understand what you are going through that will be half your battle. Its not because they didn’t love your baby. Everyone handles and goes through things differently. It is obvious you are stronger than you think. because you have made it thus far. Lots hugs to you and god bless

  80. Oh Dear Sweet Momma she has only been gone days just days give yourself a free pass in all honestly most likely all 3 of your kids are young enough they won’t remember this year of their life much if at all so don’t be too hard on yourself by the time you get to the years they will really remember you will have some Joy back again you will miss her but you will know how to love them without every single fiber of your being – yearning for her you will still yearn but it will get easier with the months and years that go by she will always be a part of all of you through pictures and stories and memories of those old enough to remember – You are a good Momma and time will help heal your deep gouging wounds the scares will remain you will still see them but they won’t always hurt as much as they do now!!! Let yourself have this time let yourself feel these feelings and little by little it will become a different set of feelings and an easier way to make it through day to day life – Give your hurt over to God every morning give it to him and like the famous Poem you will see only one set of foot prints in the sand those are not your footprints walking alone those are his footprints carrying you when you could not bare to walk this walk of life – give it all to him 20 times a day if you have to and I promise you he will carry you through!!!

  81. I was born in the wake of my older sister’s passing. My parents grieved for her as they brought me home. That has never really changed. I felt their grief constantly even as I grew up. Stories about my first year always involve the memory of my sister and how my life was affected by her death. I have constantly felt her absence ever present for my parents. And the truth is it did affect me. Your kids will be affected by this tragedy. How can they not be? But the point is not to keep your children free from the trials of life, that’s impossible. The point is to let them know that you love them too. I said I have felt the absence of my sister live on in the continual grief of my patents, but I have equally felt the tremendous joy for having me as part of their family. That they could grieve and still love, still smile, still have a reason to get up. Your children know your sad, but they will see that sadness does not have to be all that you are. As you turn one “no” into a “yes”, as you tickle your sweet baby, as you hang pictures, and invite people over; they will learn how much their mom loves them. That she can be torn apart and still make time for them. My prayers are with you and your family.

  82. Libby-
    You must be very gentle with yourself. It is a blessing that the little ones will not remember, really. Pictures of her will bring just smiles from them. You and your son Jonathan will share a very special bond over this. I remember feeling like I was missing an arm and all my intestines for a year, and mine was an “ambiguous” loss because she didn’t die. I was a crappy mom for at least a year, but I loved my son even more than ever before. They know that. They will feel it. Your maternal instincts will become even stronger over time. Don’t beat yourself up. Let everyone help you. There is no shortcut. Sending love and light.

  83. I cannot imagine the pain you are feeling. I would absolutely fall apart in a million pieces. Whatever you are feeling, it is ok. There are no right or wrong ways to feel. I cannot say how I would feel, or cope, or parent, after losing a child, because it has not happened to me, but I feel completely heartbroken for you & your family. No one should go thru this. Your story & the life of your daughter has touched me beyond words & feelings. All I can do is cry. I am so sorry this happened to you, to her, to your family. It has hit me so close to home, I keep thinking “who am I? You don’t know me..” But I really wanted to express how greatly you have touched my soul. Your angel will be forever in my mind. & forever in your memories. I’m sorry you are feeling this. ❤️ I’m praying for peace & strength & comfort.

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