Here

Today we went to the cemetery. To pick the place for our daughter to be buried.

*spoiler alert*

We didn’t.

But we looked around and got a idea of our options. We each have strong feelings about a few things, so we are working on merging them together…so far..so good. In some ways being there energized me. I have a memorial stone or plaque to plan for her..

but that enthusiasm was short lived.

IMG_2287Afterwards we drove to a restaurant to eat a late breakfast. I used to go there on Tuesdays when Jennifer went to school. I guess we really only went 6 or so times since she had barely just started kindergarten.. My friend and I started the tradition on kids eat free day..something to look forward to and not miss her too much..

.oh how I miss that innocence. That feeling that I thought I couldn’t handle her being in school for a full day…I should be complaining about getting up early to take her to school and trying to figure out creative lunches…We should be complaining about the lack of places to eat that have gluten free food….Those complaints…all my complaints…once seemed so important. I would give anything…ANYTHING to have them again.

It reminds me of our struggle to become parents…for those that don’t know it was filled with 5 pregnancy losses and 5 IVFs and failed adoption attempts before we finally became mommy and daddy to her….and then our other 3. Once I became I mom I truly cherished it. Always. I wanted to join the ranks totally…and be able to complain. And I did, but maybe a bit more subdued.

I feel like that again now.

But I wonder if it will ever happen? When Jonathan goes to school (I am already so worried for that day for soo many reasons) will I be able to be even remotely like other moms? Will I feel frustrated about packing his lunches? Or will I feel sadness doing it for only one child…my not supposed to be oldest…?

So in the parking lot walking in. My chest started to tighten and my breathe came fast…Tony took me back to the car..forgiving me as I cried. On the drive home I told him I wanted to go the beach. So we did. IMG_3901

It was a good drive together. Just us and Charlotte. We talked about a lot. Things that are hard to talk about with the boys around. We sat and looked at the ocean. Together, yet alone in our grief. And in public. Crying…so unlike me. But I am allowing it to happen…hoping one day…letting the bad out will allow the good back in.

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I thought today that I feel like I am living in jello. That every moment is so hard and deliberate and exhausting. And that I cant really see 2 feet in front of me.

New people are reaching out. I am meeting so many new people…part of a club I never wanted to join. The cost of membership far too high.

A dad who lost his 8 yr old nearly 11 yrs ago to DIPG read Jennifer’s obituary. And another mother that lost her son 20 months ago. He told me it gets better. But grief sometimes stops him in his tracks still at unexpected times…and she..well I think she is still in the thick of it.

I am thankful…so grateful for the people reaching out and stepping in..

but

I want my old life back. My family…my perfect little family of 6.

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The one I had just a few months ago. Right before she started kinder. When I was rocking a sleeping  3 month old watching my other 3 dance around talking on the phone about wanting to freeze time because my life was so perfect…

and she was here.

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32 Responses to “Here”

  1. I see there are so many hard things yet to do, grappling with decisions you never wanted to make. I am so sorry, and my heart tugs towards you constantly. The photo of Jennifer leaping fearlessly into the water was an amazing one to end with.

  2. Wow! I am speechless…having for children myself, I can not even imagine…the pain you are feeling…I am so sorry. I’m praying for you-for all of you. I just lost my dad to cancer. He was 59. That was awful to watch, but a child? No! I can’t even find the right words to express my sympathy. Jennifer was a beautiful child. Your blogs are very touching. Thank you so very much for sharing with us…

  3. I know what mean this club is not one I ever wanted to be part of either.It was always my five.Thats who I was.A mom to five.The whole school thing can be hard at times,I used to go more to volunteer when my daughter was alive.I find it hard to look at the playground with all those kids and wonder why mine was picked out of the bunch.When I have to go to school activities it is hard to remember who I am there for I want to be there for her.The first back to school night wasn’t good,had a breakdown and had to leave.I remember picking out the cemetery plot well actually her sisters made the ultimate decision,the one with the single daisy growing on it.I love my daughters memorial stone,it has all pictures drawn by her as the background.It was difficult to decide what pictures to put of her, I love all pictures of her how do I just pick three.Wish we were in some kind of fun club together.
    Hopefully one day this club will no longer be taking new members.Continued prayers.

  4. I hate cancer. This post made me feel like again, this isn’t fair. You had such little time with her. I see her pictures and it stabs me in the heart. I just can’t imagine life now for you, tony and the kids. But when i think of you-you are such a wonderful inspiring woman and especially mother that I am just angry for you. I hate that you have to worry about all of these things… Hugs Libby.

  5. Again your words leave me speechless. I did not know you struggled with all of those other things. The sense of loss for that I feel…feels deeper. Still keeping you in my prayers since that is all I can do. Thank you for sharing your life with all of us. With me.

  6. Cry, let it all out, it will help. This is your right to grieve, Don’t worry what others think. Sending you everyday all my love and support. xooxoxoxoxoxooxoxooxooxooxooxox

  7. Libby I just saw this poem on Facebook. To me it sounds perfect, I hope it does to you as well. She is all around you, all day everyday. Your baby angel kissing you softly.

    I stood by your bed last night, I came to have a peep.
    I could see that you were crying, You found it hard to sleep.
    I whined to you softly as you brushed away a tear,
    “It’s me, I haven’t left you, I’m well, I’m fine, I’m here.”

    I was close to you at breakfast, I watched you pour the tea,
    You were thinking of the many times, your hands reached down to me.
    I was with you at the shops today, Your arms were getting sore.
    I longed to take your parcels, I wish I could do more.

    I was with you at my grave today, You tend it with such care.
    I want to re-assure you, that I’m not lying there.
    I walked with you towards the house, as you fumbled for your key.
    I gently put my hand on you, I smiled and said ” it’s me.”

    You looked so very tired, and sank into a chair.
    I tried so hard to let you know, that I was standing there.
    It’s possible for me, to be so near you everyday.
    To say to you with certainty, “I never went away.”
    You sat there very quietly, then smiled, I think you knew…
    In the stillness of that evening, I was very close to you.

    The day is over… I smile and watch you yawning
    and say “good-night, God bless, I’ll see you in the morning.”
    And when the time is right for you to cross the brief divide,
    I’ll rush across to greet you and we’ll stand, side by side.
    I have so many things to show you, there is so much for you to see.

    Be patient, live your journey out…then come home to be with me.
    Author ~ unknown

    xoxoxoxooxoxoxooxoxooxoxoxooox

  8. I continue to pray for you all! I am thrilled that you are able to leave your house..even if it means crying in public! It’s OK! Even though it makes NO difference what so ever, I was a little uncertain as to whether you had adopted Jennifer or any of your children. they ARE your children regardless, I may have missed you posting about their births, but to me even if you adopted Jennifer, YOU were chose to be this precious girls mother and father! GOD knew you would be the perfect parents for her. He had a plan…we may not understand now, we may never to accept
    His plan…but I DO believe one day we will have an understanding…. For now you continue putting one foot in front of the other and share that love Jennifer PUT in your heart with your living children!

  9. So angry for you. Continuing to pray for healing and peace and understanding, whatever that may be. I am glad you and Tony got a chance to talk about the “grown up things,” but so wish you didn’t have to. ♥

  10. Dearest Libby,
    My heart aches for you and your family. Do you ever stop to think that sweet Jennifer is watching you try to make these decisions? Do you think that she smiles and giggles when you play with her baby sister, Charlotte, in the ocean? Is her spirit riding a wave or frolicking in the ocean? Is she holding your hand helping to guide you through this seemingly endless path of pain and suffering? You bet she is! And she is the only one that knows the answers to the “why’s” of her early departure into our Heavenly Father’s arms. One thing I know…you and Jennifer have sensitized many of us to the shortness of life. You and Jennifer have helped us slow down and savor the small moments that seemed insignificant. YOU, Libby, have done amazing things for the world! How huge is that? But, I also know that you are wondering “why” did it have to be “MY” child? Speechless and sorry that there is no answer right now. Jennifer’s spirit abounds…you are loved.

  11. Thank you for that poem, Kristen. I have copied it to give to others.

    Dearest Libby, I haven’t been posting, even though I wait for and read every word you write. It’s unthinkable to me that I have graciously been allowed to share in Jennifer’s suffering, and not continue to walk through ALL of this journey with you. I am here, and I care. And I pray…..

    “When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your heart as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.”

  12. Hi Libby,

    Seems strange to call you something so personal since we have never met. Must be even stranger still to get replies from people you’ve never met. But I’ve been thinking about you and your family still. What struck me is that in today’s society we have no ability to have an outward sign of mourning. In past days, you would wear black for a year, wear a black armband, maybe have a black wreath on your door. Now we have nothing to show the outward sign of what we are feeling on the inside. If you had that, maybe the clerk at the grocery store would bag up your groceries without having to ask, or maybe someone ahead of you in line at Starbucks would get your coffee. But we don’t have that. We just walk around wanting to scream at people, “don’t you know…I am MOURNING!!”. So if you dared, you could carry Charlotte but wear your front baby carrier with Pinkie in it. When someone asks you innocently enough, “Why do you have a stuffed animal in your baby carrier?” you can say you are mourning the loss of your six year old daughter! How unfair the world is! I know I would bag your groceries or buy you your coffee if I saw you out in public! Anything to make your day a little easier…Too bad I live in San Jose. Still thinking about you and your family…and hopeful that things one day may be easier.

  13. Words cannot express how my heart aches for you and your family. You are an amazing person to share with all of us what you have. Your blog brings me to tears everytime with the raw emotion and honesty. Some have posted poems – I am posting the lyrics to a beautiful Faith Hill song that helped to comfort me when I lost my mom. I truly believe they are always with us and we just have to watch for the signs. Stay strong and thank you.

    Thought I saw you today
    You were standing in the sun then you turned away
    And I knew it couldn’t be but my heart believed
    Oh it seems like there’s something everyday
    How could you be so far away
    When you’re still here
    When I need you you’re not hard to find
    You’re still here
    I can see you in my baby’s eyes
    And I laugh and cry
    You’re still here
    I had a dream last night
    That you came to me on silver wings of light
    I flew away with you in the painted sky
    And I woke up wondering what was real
    Is it what you see and touch or what you feel
    Cause you’re still here
    Oh you’re everywhere we’ve ever been
    You’re still here
    I heard you in a stranger’s laugh
    And I hung around to hear him laugh again
    Just once again

  14. Love the jumping in the pool pic. What a precious girl.
    Reminds me that Jennifer will be forever flying.
    I love the poem Kristen has written out for you-hope you read it.

    Sending love to you and your family.

    P.S Charlotte-what a doll-enjoying her time on the beach.

    xxxxxx

  15. The picture of you in that blue dress is amazing. Keep smiling your beautiful smile for your kiddos. Thinking about you!!!!

  16. We are crying right along side of you. We are also fighting right along side of you. I am honored to be a member of this “new Team” and as always, sending hugs, love and prayers.

  17. Hi… You don’t know me. We have never met. My friend Michele Bannister is friends with one of your family members. She told me about you and your family and I have been reading about you. I am amazed by your courage. My dear friend lost her little boy a few years ago in ski accident. I have tried hard to be there for her but everyday I know her heart is aching. She too has so much courage. I will pray for you. Your hurting heart and for your entire family. peace, regina rosenzweig

  18. Libby, I know nothing I say will make anything easier, but you continue to be in my prayers. I am surprised by how suddenly something will make me think of Jennifer and I catch my breath and fight back the tears with you… Sending you lots of love…

  19. Libby, you are an amazing mom who is trying to figure out how to wake up and go on for your family, everyday. You are allowed the tears, the heartache and the anger. I wish that there was something that all of our collective prayers and love could have done to give Jennifer a miracle. Instead, please let our love and prayers be here to give you comfort and warmth when you feel empty or hopeless. You are an amazing mother and wife. You and Tony will support each other through this and we will be here for you both. Please don’t be so hard on yourself.

    Sending you my prayers, love and support.

    Vanessa

  20. Hi Libby,
    I was so moved to hear that the Holy Spirit revealed himself to you several times through all of this loss. I have lost many people in my life (5 people -2 of which were my best friends lost to breast cancer) I have seen evidence too many times to let me know that they live on and are without a doubt with Christ. Keep asking God to send the Holy Spirit down to you again and show you evidence of his existence. You will see crazy clues everywhere such as glitter when you least expect it, etc.
    On another note, you truly have skills not only with writing but in the way you have carried out this blog. I am not sure if you have ever heard of Blurb.com ? It was meant for you!!! You can take the gorgeous pictures off of your computer and put them into books on blurb. You do not want to lose them on your computer. Blurb is a professional yet reasonable book company that allows you to make books, but , also allows you to publish ANYTHING you created. I believe it is free to publish on their website. They are gorgeous books unlike anything I have ever seen. Your other children would probably love to have a hard bound book of their sister and you could do plenty of other books towards cancer research and your experience for other parents, etc. It is great having all these pics on our hard drives, but more powerful when tangible in our hands so check it out.
    I know you are deep in grief at this time and I pray for you to continue to cry and let the pain out so you can begin to heal. I pray you can give yourself plenty of time to come out of survival mode that you have been in for so many months. Drink lots of water and be good to yourself Libby.

  21. I love you. I ache for your family. I think about you and this heartbreak every day. Libby, I know about how to be a better human from your words, living a loss I can’t understand. I grieve for you, for Jennifer and for the you that was and won’t ever be again. I pray and pray and pray. Since this path you are on started and you were brave enough to share it, rarely for myself anymore.

  22. Dearest Libby, Oh honey, I know your pain so well. I am in this horrible club also. You be gentle with yourself. Don’t judge yourself. Let yourself feel whatever you need to at the moment. There is no name for those of us who have lost a child. I can remember after everybody left, the services were over and real life began again the grief was unbearable for so long. I wanted to yell don’t you know our son died. I thought what is wrong with these people. My world was forever changed. I know GOD has a plan. His life ended when it was supposed to. So quickly he was gone. 5 1/2 years later and there are still times it stops me in my tracks. Know that your sweet Jennifer is with you always. I pray for you everyday. I know there will come a day and your pain will be lighter but right now isn’t the time. Everything you are feeling is so “normal”. There is a little book on grief I read everyday. It’s called “Healing After Loss” by Martha Whitmore Hickman. It has daily meditations for working thru grief. Just one little passage to read each day. It helped me so much. If I had your address I would mail you a copy. Have someone get you this book. It will help you understand all the different emotions you are having are real and normal. May GOD bring your family love, peace and healing.

  23. Your family is always in my thought. This sucks.

    On the burial site- I don’t know your standing on cremation. But have you thought of having her turned into a diamond that you can wear and keep by your heart at all times. It’s a beautiful option, but not for everyone.

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