too much

I was out of the house all day.

Lesson learned….it was far too long. I feel like I need to re-set my body and mind. Get settled in again with myself….

We went to the cemetery this morning. We picked her plot…the plot..that one day.. . . hopefully sooner rather than later I will share with her.

I  feel like I should delete that sentence. I feel like I am not supposed to feel that way…like it makes me a total crap mom to my other 3 beautiful babies. Like I don’t appreciate them…

…I do..but not enough…probably not the way I should be.

I’m sorry loves.

We like the plot. Its in a area with other newer headstones and good grass. So it doesn’t look like the outside of the haunted CSC_0639mansion ride. I will never ride that again…I used to love halloween…will I hate it now? Its 3 days after her birthday and 3 days after we were told she would die… killed by cancer.

Then there are all the costumes of ghosts and zombies…yards decorated with tombstones. How in the world am I supposed to explain to my boys why all of that is used to be scary?? When for us it symbolizes a connection to our Jennifer.

I think I have the general layout for her headstone too. It has mattered a lot to me to make it just right. This surprised me. I figured I wouldn’t really care about that. But all of it matters..Its something I can finally control again.

.. its also my last tangible connection to her. To her life. 6 years…

Wow. When I think of 6 years…when I remember back to before her it feels so long ago. Like I can hardly remember that time. That’s so scary. I have so many years left to live without her….And how in so many ways those years feel like a lifetime…(did I really just write that? so ironic) that it scares me to imagine how long my lifetime will be…

She is so quickly leaving me. I am trying to remember what it felt like to hold her…to hear her breathe in my ear and feel her kiss on my cheek. Why? Why am I so quickly forgetting?

I wonder if I am still in shock? Have I been in shock for 4 months since we first heard …DIPG….no cure….9 months.. I can’t explain it but it still doesn’t seem real…none of it. But I cry. So hard. An almost constant feeling of unease and thinking about her and what life will be like without her…but I don’t think I realize I am already living life without her.

I just cannot believe she is really gone, 3 weeks tomorrow. That she got a brain tumor. That we never even had a chance to fight…It just went so fast. And I want her back. With every ounce of my being I yearn.

I want her back.

To outsiders I will never again be a mom of 4…2 boys and 2 girls. A perfectly perfect family.

Today being gone all day…I feel like I was in a fight. My whole body aches. I think its from physically holding it together all day. I had no idea I was doing it…until I was home again…and wasn’t.

After the cemetery we drove. To help Charlotte nap. To escape.  Tony decided to take me to Los Altos. Where I grew up. IMG_3961Where we spent so much time with Jennifer her first 18 months of life. We ate at a shopping center that held a lot of memories. So many people came up smiling about baby Charlotte…especially her hair. How are these people just living and smiling?

How is the rest of the world still spinning when my whole world is destroyed? Not just losing her. But losing the mother I was, losing the life I had…we had.

our illusion of safety.

We drove past the house I grew up in before heading back to Gilroy. My boys were at my parents so we went there.

During the drive a friend texted. Her son…a few months older than our Nicholas said Jennifer and another girl..with a name jarringly similar to another little cancer princess who passed away yesterday..came to his room. She was going to get him water. Totally Jennifer. Taking care of a younger child.



…my friend talked to her. Told her to come hug mommy.

Did you hear her sissy? Are you listening? I miss you baby girl…why don’t I feel you too?

And our poor sweet Jonathan. He had an idea for how she could come visit from heaven. I told him he can see her in his dreams and I believe it. That the dead can visit us in our dreams…and he reminded me I had told him once that “its not real its just a dream” So I tried to explain…the unexplainable the best I could…but I failed.

the unabashed joy in his face…as he realized she could come back…DSC_0549

that I had to smash…reminding him that her body didn’t work anymore. It was like telling him she was dead all over again.

**taking care of his baby sister**
**taking care of his baby sister**


And today he reacted to that. He was so overflowing with emotions today. So draining for us. I cant imagine how exhausting it is for him. Because he fights it. And often ends up over compensating for it…

He is struggling for sure. But also working so hard at being an amazing big brother…just like she taught him.

As I write this I realize how lucky I am. …and then I feel worse all over again.


Tony is angry. When he hurts his anger comes up. At night though he holds her nigh nigh. Her first lovie. Going to bed last DSC_0117-1night it almost broke me…my big strong husband…clutching a stuffed duck. Her stuffed duck…



..his dead daughters stuffed duck.






Instead of anger…I start to go numb…you know that feeling when your leg goes asleep, pins and needles…well I think thats what happens to my hurt. It goes to sleep.. I retreat. I become a shell….I guess we are both self protecting and preserving because this is too much to absorb all at once….

but how can it ever not be..

.. .too much?





50 Responses to “too much”

  1. You will feel her Libby. At some point it will happen, you will feel her. Never ever give up on that.
    I read every night when I get home from work and the last few blogs you have sounded so raw. I have no appropriate words but I am one of those that is here, just hoping every day that you might feel a little less pain. I am also one of those mommys who is spending a little more time doing all those little things….floor picnics, puzzles, not saying hurry up because that’s what I learned from you 🙂 You Libby are an amazing inspiration. Thank you

  2. I wish I had some great almost two in the morning words to say…something brilliant that only comes when you can’t sleep. My words are…that I came back to your blog just one last time before I finally headed to bed tonight. To see if you were up too. To see what new focus my prayer for you tonight needed to have…to see another picture of jlk’s smiling face. To let you know, even though we don’t know each other and I live hundreds of miles away, I’m still here for you. And will be.

  3. Libby, she sent you a message via that little boy. Maybe it is not time yet to come to you directly, maybe it would be too much for you, but one day she will visit you. She will be in your dream just like you told Jonathan.
    One step at the time….

  4. of course it is too much! It has been too much since the very beginning. It has and still is, so unreal. I think I’ve told you before that I still feel like it’s just a dream, a nightmare, a mistake. And this is me, so distant to it all. How could it feel real to you? I wish I could publicly write what I’m thinking…but I don’t have the guts…and I also don’t want to say anything that can upset you more…I try to find the right words, but there are no right words. If you are afraid that we will forget and leave, don’t be. If you don’t really care what we, the rest of the world thinks or feels, then don’t. Whatever is that you want me to feel, do, or not do, that is exactly how I feel…and so I am here for you for whatever, however, whenever you need. For when you care, and for when you don’t. But here for you. And so freaking sorry…forever.
    I love you guys.

  5. I believe with every fiber of my being that she is with you every second of the day, Libby. Each and every second. Like Zuzana said, perhaps she knows that sharing in those dreams with you at this point would be far too much for your heart to handle, because she knows your struggle, your overwhelming heartache, and what a painful and almost unbearable task it already is for you just to get out of bed every morning and be forced to keep going. …and just how much harder it might be for you to open your eyes once you’d felt her there again right now. To be fighting a constant urge to stay asleep always, looking for her and chasing that beautiful connection I know your heart is so desperately longing to feel again.

    You’ve written before about a feeling you’d experienced twice, of being held upright, surrounded by something bigger than you, beyond this life, steadying your heart and radiating love…I promise that you will feel it again. And those times that it does happen it will be the right times for her mama, your beautiful Jennifer’s hand-picked times, (I bet she’s started picking them out already and having a ball planning it), and they will be perfect. I can’t wait for you to feel that again, too.

    <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

  6. Oh Libby.
    I can’t even find the words to type. I cannot wrap my mind or heart any of this, and I haven’t ever met you. My brain literally just stops working when Im trying to express anything about everything you say. its just all so completely unimaginable.

    There are no words strong enough to convey how sorry I am that this has happened to you. Or anyone.


  7. You are in my thoughts and prayers everyday. Everything about this is so unfair and I wish you could have had even one more day with your beautiful Jennifer. Whenever I see sparkle in the world, I think of her and her beautiful smile. Be gentle with yourself right now. There is no right feeling or amount of time for anything you are thinking or feeling. What happened to her is a tragedy and you are doing the best you can for your family in an impossible situation. We are all here sending you strength and love and we will continue to do that, everyday.

  8. I am certain that our loved ones who have passed on come to us in dreams and give us signs. My friend who lost her son suddenly in an accident said he has “visited” her dreams twice in the year and a half since his death. But he waited until about 6 months after for the first one, and she believes it is because she couldn’t handle it before then. Jennifer probably knows that if she visited you now, you would want to be sleeping all the time in hopes of it happening again. So, instead, look for signs in other ways. Her saying hi and that she is ok. Your friend’s son, I am sure, got a visit from her and the other little girl, as a sign to you that she is good, and is even playing with a friend!

    I read your blog daily and pray for your family. Today’s prayer is for Tony to have a safe outlet for his anger and hurt, for Jonathan to be comforted, and for you to be lifted up and carried through this horrific time. I also continue to pray for some sort of clarity as to the why in all of this- a phone call or email from her doctors saying they’ve made a breakthrough, the setting up of a foundation, whatever it may be. Lifting you all up constantly.

    1. I also hope you get a copy of her Celebration of Life so that you can watch and remember the feeling of being held up whenever you are feeling at your lowest!

  9. Jennifer will come to you in your dreams….of that, I am certain. You are in my thoughts and prayers. Whatever you feel inside, you are also raw courage!

  10. You don’t know me. I somehow found your website many weeks ago. I just want to tell you how very sorry I am. My heart aches for you, your family and for Jennifer. My words, they seem so short and in no way can convey how deeply, deeply sorry I am. Your beautiful, sweet Jennifer may she always live in your heart and in your dreams. You can’t feel her right now, but you will. I continue to pray for you.

  11. Libby

    Jennifer is everywhere. She is the early morning sun rise and evening sunset. She is at the levy with you.
    She is the humming bird flying. She is there with you. I believe she is trying to be with you constantly so close, so close she loves her mommy.
    Her amazing mommy.

  12. She will come to you Libby. Like a previous poster said- I think she knows in some way that its too early at this point. She is always with you but I believe it’s going to take some time before she shows you a real sign.

  13. I am so sorry this enormous hole has been left your lives. I wish I had better words to express that but I just can’t find them. I have no idea why this happened to such an incredible family. I am just so, so sorry.

    You are right about our loved ones coming to us in our dreams. It has happened to me, and hopefully me sharing this will help you continue to know this is true.

    During a particularly hard night last year during our first miscarriage, I had a vivid dream that I walked into the home I had grown up in and my mom was there. We went into the bedroom I had grown up in, she closed the door and she told me something very important and life changing. It brought me enormous amounts of comfort and peace. But…for the life of me I don’t remember what she actually said. I had a “knowing” that I wouldn’t be allowed to remember the actual words she spoke because of the contents of her message to me. Comfort and peace was the purpose of her visit, and she accomplished that. I know this wasn’t some random dream because I had never experienced anything like it. I am sure it was my mom giving me a glimpse of the good things to come to reassure her grieving daughter that I would someday be a mother too. And it worked, and it looks like she was right. I have no doubt they come to us in our dreams and that they see a bigger picture than we do. I hope Jennifer comes to see you and can bring you some peace and comfort.

    And even when not communicating to us in dreams, they are with us always. Keep watching for the signs, she will make herself known through songs, smells, and moments that will catch you by surprise. Her love for your is eternal and it doesn’t go away just because her spirit was separated from her body. You will continue to feel it around you as she shows it to you, just in new ways than when she was here on earth.

    I know I’ve said it before but just want you to know that I admire you so much. You are an amazing mother who is grieving a loss that no mother should ever have to grieve. I wish I could take the pain from you somehow. We are forever thinking of you and love you always. – liz and kevin <3 <3 <3

  14. Libby, I read and now write to you all the way from the interior of British Columbia, Canada. I know our lives will probably never cross in real life, although I want you to know your life has touched me. It is from your raw, real down to earth posts that I sit and reflect on how to be a better mom and wife. What you are going through is real and freaking sucks!!!!!! No one, not even you and Tony and your 4 beautiful children should ever of had to experience this! I wish for even 1 sec I could rewind the last weeks, months, years and take away this whole journey and rewrite you a new one. I want you to know I do believe in heaven and I certainly with my whole being in families are forever. I know that your family including Jennifer will be together again one day. At this point not soon enough I am sure. Hold on to each other and anything else that will get you through these days. Know we are praying and loving on you from a far. May you have a restful day today whatever that looks like.

  15. I completely agree that she is with you…however, I believe that grief prevents them from being able to approach us. A website that has brought me much comfort/understanding/healing is Maybe it can provide you with a way to reconnect with Jennifer…maybe it can bring you a bit of peace, too.

  16. I hope that you can feel the love surrounding you. Because it is coming big and strong from everywhere. I’m a stranger but I check your blog every morning…have to run into the bathroom at work and sob with you. I’m not an overly religious person but I believe from the depth of my being that those we love remain with us even after they’ve died. Jennifer is with you. Not that this replaces being able to hold and smell your baby girl, but she IS with you.

  17. I cannot do anything about the grief you feel. That will take a long time to scab over enough that it isn’t horrible. But as far as Halloween is concerned, I have a thought. Perhaps look up the traditions that surround “Dia de los Muertos.” It’s a neat festival, and it’s a way to reconcile the gap between “scary” Halloween and love for your boys’ sister.

    Anyway, I’m pretty bad at giving comfort so I’ll just leave it there. I hope peace finds you soon.

  18. I don’t usually comment, but I wanted to say that, I haven’t lost a child, but I have lost a mom, dad, and brother. They have all come to me in a dream. These dreams are different than any other dreams I have. The dreams are so real, that I’m always sad when they end, but I do know it was their way of letting me know they are ok. I have found comfort in that.
    I think of you and your family daily. From the day I heard about Jennifer’s diagnosis, I have prayed for you. It all seems unreal to me, so I can only imagine what you are feeling.

  19. I’m just a stranger to you…connected only by a few shared friends, yet your family is in my thoughts daily. I’ve shared your story and encouraged others to help in any way they can. When I read your blog, I pray that you all will be pulled out of this darkness and find some sort of new happiness. I know it will never be the same, and that it is impossible to imagine life again without Jennifer. But, I trust that God will deliver your family.

  20. You won’t forget her and neither will we. We are here for you. And will always have Love for Jennifer, the bravest girl of all.

  21. Libby, don’t be so hard on yourself. Baby steps, my friend. You are enough. Jennifer and your Family are always in my thoughts and prayers. Sending you huge hugs!

  22. I think this post hurts even more than any previous. How to struggle with this–for yourself, for Jonathan, for the friend who was offered water–it just passes over what we can possibly understand or grasp. And it hurts. So much love to you and sons and Charlotte and esp. Tony clutching her duck at night. I feel like in many ways my heart belongs to your family during this time.

  23. My heart hurts for you and Tony Libby. You share the same grief, but in different ways.. It’s so hard to walk through. It’s like together in it but also really alone. It’s hard to not count down and mourn every moments gone, as a moment lived without her. I’m praying for you all.

  24. Dearest Libby,

    Sometimes being strong means having the strength to allow yourself to grieve. The love you hold in your heart will help you remember her. It may not be in ways you previously believed possible, but the heart does not forget. Believe what you tell your beautiful babies: her precious spirit will visit you in your dreams. It may not be tonight, it may not be next week or next month, but it will happen.

    Sending love and prayers.

  25. I am heartbroken reading this. I hope so much that you can find some sort of peace, help, whatever it might be, to help you each individually. I know that it must be impossible to lift each other up, when you are each hurting so badly. While leaning on each other, is there anyone you can lean on alone? I hope that makes sense.

    Sending love and light to you all. <3 <3 <3

  26. I don’t know if you actually read our comments, but I want to share something with you. I lost my mother five years ago. Now, the death of an 86 year old woman who had lived a full life is not the same as the loss of a six year old, but my mother was my best friend. We had shared the same house for the last 7 years of her life, and I was holding her hands as she died at home in her own bed.
    After her death, I was required to leave our home, and it was sold. I was in a bad place. On weekends, I would just stay in bed all day and cry. During the week, I had to get up and go take care of grandkids, and they saw me cry many times because I wanted my mommy.
    One day, about a year later, I started having dreams about her. They were all variations on a theme…we would be in our home (the house my parents built and lived in for 50 years)and she would come out of the bedroom or kitchen, and I would be surprised and emotional, because I’d thought she was dead.
    It took me several years to figure out that the dreams were my mother’s way of telling me that she WASN’T dead, only her body was gone. Her spirit, her love, was still there, still watching over me, still caring about me.
    I think, in time, Jennifer will come to you. The dreams will be bittersweet, but you’re remember them.
    One last thought…I don’t think you’ve really forgotten how she felt in your arms, or how soft her breath was. Your mind just can’t handle it right now. I lost my faithful companion, my 15 year old dog, over three years ago, and I can still remember the texture of his fur and the sound his paws would make, clicking across the linoleum. It will come.
    It’s all too new and too raw…these things will come..I promise.

  27. No parent should have to go thru what you and your family are! I pray for some comfort to you all that she is watching over you all and wishing she could take your hurt away also, like we all do!! I wish for some peace that she is in Jesus loving arms and in no more pain! You will see her again and until then keep her memory alive for yourselves and her siblings! Hugs for all of you! I’m so very sorry for your loss!

  28. Libby you won’t forget her touch, her smell or laughter she will always be with you in your heart and everything you do, your feeling the way you do because of your close bond you have with her, something a mother and Daugher only know about it’s a special closeness and feeling you get so don’t worry Libby you won’t forget anything because Jennifer won’t let you…

  29. I have been thinking about your little girl Jennifer so much that she came to me in my dreams last night. I remember waking up after thinking I needed to come on here and tell you all about it. Being a new mom to a 6 month old has changed my view on the world and life around me. I want to share my dream with you because I think it’s SO important for you as a mom to hear and you will cherish and wait for that same dream. In this dream last night, Jennifer was this sad little girl, she couldnt speak but I knew for certain somehow in this dream, that she was sad because her daddy and mommy were so sad, upset and heartbroken and she just wanted them to be happy and be with them. I remember reaching out to her like she was my own daughter, holding her and hugging her. Most of this dream was me holding her and rocking in her my arms, it was SO real yet I have never met Jennifer. I can’t even explain why I dreamt of her or how realistic it was to me, I woke up and told my fiance this morning about it. It was amazing, I felt like I comforted her for you, I gave her the biggest hugs and just rocked back and forth. Maybe it was my way of peace too, because this journey has really rocked my world and made me so aware of my own mommy journey. The dream was peaceful and your little angel was okay….I just want you to know. (I’m not some wierd pyschic or anything like that) It was just a surprising dream to me and I really wanted to share with you. I have no words for how you should feel or how to deal, because honestly I just can’t imagine how life is for your family. Just sending prayers and comfort your way.

  30. She is there with you, Libby. You may not feel her yet, but she is there trying her best to help guide you through this. Sending wishes of love, strength and grace

  31. It pains me that you’re wishing yourself a shorter a life. That grief pushes you to feel that way. You will survive- even as things are as hard as they are at this moment, just know that you will survive. Your photos of your children are so beautiful. Charlotte’s smile reminds me of my daughter who is now 9 months old. Jennifer needs you to be with her brothers and sister and daddy. Never lose hope. Jennifer is with you and always will be. The signs will appear when you least expect them.

    Sending you all prayers and love from Sacramento, CA.

  32. Oh Libby.
    You will feel her. It will be when you least expect it. last year on my birthday we were planting a tree in memory of my Mom. I kept feeling like there was someone watching me. Erik was infront of me so I knew it wasn’t him. I looked up and there was a humming bird. It was my Mom, I’m sure. You will feel her when you least expect to feel her. She’s all around you.

    Sending you lots of love and hugs.

  33. Wow! Speechless…I hope one of these days I will be able to “say” something that will ever make me feel like I, a complete stranger, can bring you some kind of comfort. I know I never will, so I remain silent and send letters and just one cards, like pages, and help raise awareness of pediatric cancer!

  34. I read today’s blog and so much of what you’re feeling and fearing really struck a chord with me. It reminded me of the same fears my best friend had after her little brother passed away in 2004 after 6 years of suffering from an illness. One of her biggest fears was forgetting all the little memories she had of her youngest brother. A family friend of ours told her that forgetting was really a gift of mercy from God – to help her function and move forward with her life. Imagine being able to retain every memory vividly, as I’m sure you are desperate to do, but I am certain you would hold on so tight that you would never be able to work towards healing because the memory would be so fresh.
    I can’t even imagine the pain your family is feeling, but I pray that with time, your pain lessens and you are able to enjoy your time with your children and make the best out of what you still have.
    There is a saying we share whenever someone passes away: “Truly, to God we belong, and to Him we will return.”
    You will be reunited with your angel, someday, but for now, you have 3 other little angels who need you.
    Sending you love and prayers for strength.

  35. My only brother died in 1996 at the age of 25 from an accidental fall. We got small signs that he is still out there somewhere, but never directly–always through others.

    He was about to start his 3rd year of law school, and going through a nasty custody battle right now, I could have used a lawyer in the family. He was supposed to be my Best Man, and their Uncle. He’s been gone almost 20 years, and the “if only’s” continue.

    But they do not remain the guiding force in your life. You are never going to OK with this, but it will get easier. If I had been given the choice to love him AND lose him, or never love him at all to avoid the pain, I’d take the pain every single time because who I am 20 year later (and as a parent) has a lot to do with him, and a lot to do with the experience of losing him.

    There will be a time soon when people don’t want to talk about Jennifer around you. They are doing this to protect you, but it will feel like she’s been forgotten. The memories, good and bad, are yours to keep.

    Keep putting your oxygen mask on first, and you will be able to take care of the rest of your babies just fine. As a nasty divorce has taught me, they bounce a easier than the rest of us.

  36. Hi Libby,

    I truly believe with all my heart that she is in a beautiful place right now, being happy, smiling, giggling, just being JLK, I don’t believe that a precious soul gets sad because her loved ones are sad or grieving her.
    I admire and thank you for putting yourself out there, sharing your journey. Even though I read you daily, most of the times I don’t know what to say, still I keep sending you Love and Light constantly during the day.


  37. You and your whole family have been pummeled without stop – every day since last late October. You have all held it together in an impossible situation. You are in shock. Nothing happened as it should have. This should not be happening but it is.

    The only way through it is into it. You are allowed the dark thoughts, but not the actions that would bring harm. Temptation is a form of preview into what you are thinking of without the consequences. It’s OK – the preview, not the action.

    Let the memories and light and celebration of her almost 2,300 days outshine that darkest day and the darkest of times you are in now. It was not enough time for her to be here. But they were beautiful days.

    Deepest sympathy ongoing.

  38. Don’t you feel like you are riding a pendulum? wide swings and it must be disorienting. Libby and Tony, you’ll find your center. it’ll happen, and will likely take a bit of time. hang in. love you guys.

  39. Nellie, that was a beautiful way to explain it. It does seem like a bit of Mercy. And you really won’t forget, it just won’t stay up front every moment.

  40. Oh Libby. I want so much to come over to your house right now and just take care of you and your family. I just want to wrap you all up in my arms and never let you go. I wish I could take away even 1/1000000 of your pain. Thank you so very much for letting us share this heartbreaking journey with you and your family. I believe you (and Jennifer) will do amazing things. I really, truly do.

  41. Those pictures of Jennifer! There is a special light that comes from her. It’s her light that draws us in , the strangers , to follow her family’s story. Libby, your writing is so beautiful , have you thought of maintaining a private journal in which you write ” letters to Jennifer” and you tell her everything as a way to not forget her as you fear you might ? Tell all that is inside you heart and soul, she will hear you because your love for her is so loud and clear. My prayers are with you everyday.

  42. I want words for you. Something, anything, to ease the pain. I wish I could bare the pain for you. I have no words, and although God’s words seem cliche, He keeps giving me these words: Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. I pray that God blesses you with comfort that fills your deep agony. God bless you, Libby and Tony.

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