her arms

**this is a blessing of a blog for me tonight. Through writing tonight I made some huge connections(so please excuse the jumbled thoughts…and thank you for continuing to ride a long with me***



Sesame street has a word on the street….well that’s my word on the Kranz boulevard.

Its like I cannot absorb that this is all real. That she is really gone..forever. I walk by her clean…and still untouched by her room and its like a slap in the face.

..but at the same time..

IMG_3991Tonight I sat outside while the kids played and Tony and a friend worked on a home improvement project…aka man therapy. I realized how happy my kids were, Charlotte especially since she is always with me, to just be outside. I still am not comfortable outside of these walls and now back fence…its an illusion of control or protection maybe?  I look around and see them happily running and playing…I see the boys trying to figure out how to play together without her as their leader.

and I just miss her.

I notice she is gone. I’m aware both logically and apparently physically, since that familiar sting comes to my eyes.  Yet somehow it just doesn’t penetrate. I look at them and think something is just off with this picture playing out in front of me…I know its her..I know its that my daughter, their sister, that she is missing and that is what is off….

but it still seems like some sort of trickery … a sleight of hand.

I warned the men folk I would cry. A change in our home that she will never get to see. I can’t even explain it..but it really makes me sad. And I feel guilty .. .like any change that was worth doing we should have done it while she was here….and how can we really be moving on…

.. .without her?

Last night I read Jonathan books before bed in her room. And we cried together. About how much we missed her and hoping she can find a way to visit us. As this was happening people were showing up at our house. We had a small gathering of people to help us brain storm some basics for the non-profit. We will be doing that the right way for us and part of that is taking our time and getting feedback…Some of these people we haven’t seen since before she even got sick.

Crying with my son…laying in his bed talking about Jennifer…I wondered how I would deal with seeing/talking with people. I forgot my body seems to have that  technique dialed in. Its automatic. I just change and I am social and funny and functioning…more than just fine….I think it would seem I am doing pretty damn well.  I would guess people are shocked when they talk with me.

I don’t get why I am like this. I have no deep dark reason to be like this…It’s not a conscience effort on my part. Maybe I compartmentalize and can pretend with others around that we are just hanging out and that my  kids are ALL in bed or off playing…maybe it allows me some respite..a way to hide from the truth…I am being honest when I say I don’t know.

I have changed a bit though. I used to only be able to cry with my mom and husband…and now the number has grown. Unfortunately though the only people who I cannot control the grief around is my husband and our living children. The ones that matter the most…the ones that are hurting the most right along with me. They suffer the burden of my ache…

…of my illusion.

Most of what I am going through I feel like its pretty normal. Except this…this makes me feel a little bit crazy.

And a lot fake.

Sometimes people will just leave the room and the heartache pounces on me…and I cry. The longer I go without those releases the more controlling the pounce is. I swear its not on purpose. I am not trying to hold it all in. But when I am with most people we know the hurt stays buried..I think with strangers it can reveal itself. Its sounds ridiculous but it feels like its out of my control when I cry and when I don’t with other people…like my body decides for me.

Today was what Jonathan and I have coined..”a sad sad sissy day” for me. A lot of casual crying. No sobbing messes…I set up my mini office in her room and tried to do a little work on the non-profit.  I couldn’t. So I didn’t….I know there is no rush on it. So I came out with my kids. And together we opened up a ton more sympathy and Just One cards.


When we were done I added them to our mantle. Our completely full mantel. Now cards are getting stacked on the sides. And I told my boys to look at that…look at that physical representation of helping somebody in need. I told them to take a “eyeball” picture. To remember how people are helping us when we are hurting and in need…and that its what I expect from them.

As we opened, thoughts that have been needling in my head for the past few days seemed to begin to sort themselves out. I have been wondering why Jennifer and the other little girl that passed away were together….and I started to make connections as to why that made sense to me. Those tears were quasi happy ones.

DSC_0302I can’t say I feel her…but I do feel like she is trying to make a connection with me. My sister said she felt “a calling” to come to Gilroy 2 days ago…when I needed her.  Let me just say we are not a “felt a calling” kinda people….

It had to be her. World’s best big sister sending me mine.

Thank you baby girl.

I finally got the paperwork I have been waiting on from the insurance company. So I worked on that today. It occupied my mind a bit. Its so much to sort out to be sure we pay the correct amounts. It’s all just maddening to try to sort through. Lucille Packard vs Stanford bills and of course all the insurance lingo. We also had the baby last year so all of that is thrown in there too.. I will get it sorted out. Called a sister in law to help me out..The paperwork I got today was crucial and then I knew what to request from the hospitals. Insurance people haven’t been the greatest but, mercifully, all the hospital people have been and I have been assured we won’t be taken to collections since I am actively working on sorting it out.

Its not a lack of money issue at all, its simply a paperwork issue. Still though its hard to look at these dates and paymentsDSC_0304 for some of the most horrific times in our lives…and not get emotional.

Through some of these phone calls I got a movie on and Jonathan and I snuggled together in the same spot we held Jennifer during her time on hospice. It felt good to feel my sons healthy body in my arms…making new memories for both of us…Its the first time we have watched something in there since she died. I think he was finally ready…

Before all that though I showed the boys the big print outs of Jennifer from her services. I wanted to let them lead if we keep them out, or if they were simply too hard to look at. Nicholas got so excited. Screaming SISSY and dancing around. He was so happy to see her…I wished I had been recording it the dancing around was the best..but I got this a few minutes later. Hi sissy

IMG_3984After awhile he calmed down a bit and just played around…coming back to just look at her and give her a kiss.

Jonathan has decided we can keep it there and move it around the house as needed. At one point in the day I was crying and all 3 (living) …

*I cant even just type 3 without feeling like I am betraying her*

so …lets try this again..the kids were in another room with Tony. I guess I was too loud because I heard Jonathan say he was going to give me a hug, He came in the room and just paused and looked at me…and my 4 yr old son did his best to comfort me. he just looked at me..understanding my hurt and rushed to my arms. Not a word was said…

maybe my message about caring for those in need had an impact.

He also brought me Dumbo and pinkie…and I think Nicholas brought me her stuffed cat….They are amazing examples of how to love..and I hope I am doing the same for them in their moments of grief. ..

I am not so sure though. I worry they are absorbing my talent for crying “alone” not letting other people see my hurt.. I put alone in brackets since during the “sad sad sissy” days they bear witness..Today while the men were working Tony hurt Jonathan’s feelings. Tony did nothing wrong but I had a feeling when Jonathan went inside that he was somehow wounded…something..

*oh wow this is why I love to journal like this…because I just realized I don’t think it was something…rather someONE*

…ok so someone! drove me to follow him in a minute later. I found him crying in his room in front of the picture of Jennifer on the floor in DSC_0288his room. Often Jonathan would go to sissy when we hurt his feelings. Just a little hug from her set things right again. Did he go in for the picture?..or did he go in..

..oh ..how deeply and desperately I hope not. .. .

..for a moment, stuck in his own illusion…

looking for her.

I found him and I hugged him. We talked about missing Jennifer. We talked about how he got his feelings hurt. I am glad I go to be there for him too. I just wish he didn’t feel like he had to go off in his moment of hurt….I hope he wasn’t hiding off with his pain since people we care about were around. I don’t want him to do what I do…because that illusion of being ok…it doesn’t work in your favor. Its a habit I need to break…

Thank you Jennifer Lynn for still being there for your brother…it was my arms physically holding him tonight…

but that was really a beautiful illusion wasn’t it?




49 Responses to “her arms”

  1. I’m here. I’m reading. I’m still praying and sending all of you love and hugs. I wish there was something I could do to ease your pain…

  2. It’s been a couple of days…I feel changes. Your blog brought a smile to my face. That’s real…Jennifer’s spirit is felt. We are still reading, weeping, and praying for you and yours. Much love is being sent. Be brave…let us hear your voice. Thank you

  3. What an incredible picture of the two of them. Really, every picture is incredible. I feel your pain through your words. So much so that my heart physically hurts for your family. I think the most difficult part for us readers is the need to want to write something….but what? Nothing we write will take your pain away. The need to want to do something more….but what. The need to want to give you the biggest tightest hug possible…but we can’t. The need to want to bring Jennifer back to you….I can’t even write it. Libby, with all my heart…if there is anything i can do….

  4. Libby, she is with you guys. I’m praying that she visits in your dreams soon but something tells me she is near you all the time.

    Much love, many hugs, and many more prayers.

  5. Your grief shows them that it is okay to grieve too. I don’t think you are being fake, I think compartmentalizing gives your mind a break. Grief is wacky. I have no doubt Jennifer is watching over you all, always.

  6. I am and will always be here. My heart aches for you. I cry for you amd think about Jennifer, you, Tony, Jonathan, Nicholas and Charlotte every single day. Jennifer will always be with you. She will always show you in some way that she’s there. Jennifer will always be in my heart and so will you and your family. Thankyou for continuing to share your life and Jennifers life with us all. I wish there was more I could do for you. My love and prayers to you all.
    ♡♡♡♡♡♡ Linda

  7. I am here reading. I’m the same way about grief and sadness. I just tuck it away, a defense mechanism I guess. I think I realize the grief can be so sad… I don’t want to make others feel it. Reading your post though I thought I wish she could just feel without worrying who was around to see it. I’m glad you have the blog as a release. Jennifer is with you. Her spirit is with you wherever you are.

  8. Compartmentalizing is our brains way of helping us cope with grief. I remember you mentioning that you and Tony were going to start counseling soon and I hope that will help with some of this. You and he are doing the best you can for your children and Jennifer is with you, giving you her love. We are here for you and I hope you can feel our love and prayers.


  9. I’m not sure exactly what I want to say but I feel compelled to share a couple things with you. I think you feel like you are letting go by “moving on” and vice versa (I don’t even like those terms because it sounds like you are letting go in a way) but just because you continue to live life doesn’t mean you are forgetting you oldest daughter. it is clear you will neve let go or move on without her or live your life without her. And she knows what a wonderful mother you have always been so please don’t feel like you could betray her. Even I, a complete stranger know better. Please don’t be afraid to live. Always praying for you all.

  10. We, your faithful readers, are still here & praying for your whole family.
    You are a wonderful mother & doing the very best you can during a situation no one should have to face. Keep allowing yourself Grace and looking for those connections.

  11. Her arms are around you all constantly!! I am glad you are starting to feel them. I’m truly sorry that there isn’t someone else to sort out the doctor and hospital and insurance garbage for you. No family who looses someone should have to worry about making sure which bills get paid and by whom! I am also continue to be amazed by your parenting skills. You are a wonderful mother, even as you grieve. I pray for peace, for some kind of understanding, and the love continues to surround you all. Your non-profit will be amazing because you are all amazing. I continue to read, to pray, and to be here with you. Thank you again for sharing your journey!

  12. Just wanted to let you know, that we care and we are still here reading your words. You all are in our prayers daily. Sending hugs.

  13. I am with you in spirit as I read your blog each day. Thank you for sharing your feelings and words with all of us. The pictures of your family are amazingly beautiful.
    I drive by your home at least twice a day and shower blessings of comfort and peace on each member of your family. Our spirit never dies and I believe that Jennifer is there with you. May the peace and comfort of God’s arms around each of you let you know that you are not alone and that He cares about you and your family very deeply.

  14. Reading, sending love. I so wish there was more I could say or do for you all. All I can know is that you are amazing and thoughtful and caring.

  15. I just have to comment on how gorgeous all of your children are…..and especially Charlotte with that hair!!! I read your blogs with such a heavy heart, then I see her & I laugh out loud! She has a personality & spirit that shines through intensely….she is so darn cute, I can’t take it. I have a feeling she will be what pulls you out of the horrible past of losing Jennifer & keep you in the moment, although as hard as that may be….what a cutie pie!

  16. My heart breaks- for you, your family and especially Jonathan right now. I cannot imagine what he is going through. Sweet, sweet Jonathan- sweet Nicolas, sweet Charlotte… I am sad its three now, but grateful.

  17. Still praying for you all. Sent up prayers for you last night before I slept. I love the picture of Jennifer and the glitter where it is forming a heart. It is so perfect. The video is precious. Thank you for sharing so much. It gives me the ability to say specific prayers for you and others. I wish I could help more.

  18. Libby

    Your blogs are raw and so full of emotion.
    I understand your hiding to cry, I use to do the same for most of my life and
    never understood why I hid. After four kids
    with lots of ups and downs, I realize I may have hid my emotions to most people accept my husband because It was just uncomfortable and embarrassing. Also I believed
    Mommy is suppose to be their kids pillar of strength or something like that. I wanted to appear strong for my children even when not necessary.
    My favorite place is the shower, my secrete place when
    Life feels overwhelming yes, it is the shower I retreat to.
    I have been reading your every blog, even the ones that show up after midnight, which are most. What I see is a beautiful woman who is bursting at the Seams with love four all four kids.
    I guess what I am saying is as mothers we do the best we can.
    Even in your darkest moments of pain and despair you always have your children needs on the very forefront of our mind. You say you are one way in front of people (everything’s ok) but we here following your blog get to understand the you in a deeper way. I feel like u you and your family more intimately than I know some of my own family members. Please keep blogging as I see it is critical outlet for you to release.

    I keep you and Jennifer in my thoughts daily.

  19. You are a beautiful soul Libby…ALL of your children will appreciate the way you are documenting your grief and giving words to these little ones that cannot articulate it all for themselves. So much (never all…but so much) of their confusion and hurt will be healed through reading your words someday and knowing that even through your own terror you still always had them and their well being as your priority. You are the epitome of a mother and one of the absolute best at that. I am inspired and moved by your grace…

    1. I agree with Renee above, both about your being a beautiful soul, Libby, and about how much intense healing and bittersweet joy these words will someday bring your children when they are old enough to read them and understand them. And how much they mean today to your family, friends, and friends through this blog…and to you yourself.

  20. My heart completely aches for you. I wake up every day and think of your family and again when I go to sleep. I wish there was something we could do to make anything easier for you. So many prayers for you & jlk.

  21. I have 3 grandchildren we are raising right now. Mom just can’t do it. My youngest is 4 years old, Stella. She had a baby doll with no name, so we talked about Jennifer and decided to name her baby doll Jennifer. After your beautiful Jennifer. I pray for you everyday. We talk about Uncle Mike, all the time, who went to heaven on Aug 2nd, 2008. Suddenly, quickly he was gone. He is everywhere in our lives. Never to be forgotten. Jennifer is all around you. She is still with you. You keep doing what you are doing, it’s all “normal”. You are feeling it and that is a good thing, even though so painful. Sending love and prayers to you Libby. GOD Bless.

  22. Libby. . .I will second what Lorraine said. . .today reading your words made me smile! Yes, there was sadness too but more smiles in how I read it anyway. I, too, love all the pictures! As always, sending love, hugs and prayers for all as you continue this journey to peace.

  23. Libby,

    I know it is hard for you to see right now but for those of out here (who have never met you and likely never will) reading your words we can see a healing process beginning to take shape. Just in the last week I see a difference you are still hurting so bad but you are starting to be able to bring out more to your family and little ones than only hurt.

    I am sure this is what Jennifer wants for you she does not want you to only have hurt when you remember her every time – She wants to know that her Memory brings JOY to her brothers and sister and Mommy and Daddy – she wants to have a smile on your face and joy in your heart when you think of her instead of just utter grief (which is absolutely totally appropriate in this stage of your loss or really any stage of your loss)

    When you think of Jennifer remember that she always wanted to heal the boo boos and bring out the smiles when anyone was sad – that is what she is trying to help your family achieve right now I can feel it in your words and see it through your daily situations!!!

    Jennifer will never be far from you she will always be there watching and helping when she can and God is behind those things more than you can ever humanly imagine or comprehend!!! God knows what you need and is allowing all of the times that Jennifer is there with you to happen because truly he is there with you now, then, and forever more – He knew her life’s story before she ever was born and he knew her life’s purpose before she ever breathed the first breath of life, he also knew the reasons for her last breath of life and he knows the why’s and why nots of what her death is doing for many many people people you will never know about. Jennifer had an Amazing Purpose in life and someday you will be able to look back and Go “WOW that was what she did – that is what she accomplished in life and death – That WAS her PURPOSE” Hugs and Prayers to your entire family!!!


  24. I never know what to say but I read your blogs everytime you publish. Just want to give you a big hug and keep up writing and knowing she is there- she is ;).

  25. Hi Libby,

    I work in insurance and can overlook bills and other things to make sure you’re not over-paying. I do that kind of stuff every day. I am friends with Kelly and Heather and heard about your story from them. Let me know if you ever need any help in that area. My work email is bonnie@brauerinsurance.com.

    Keep on writing because we love following you and your family.


  26. I am so happy you have this blog to help in any way it can. Jennifer is will continue to look after you all and guide you. As always, sending hugs and prayers.

  27. Libby,
    I don’t know you, but have been loyally reading daily as so many of us have been and praying so hard for you to find a small bit of peace and serenity in each day. As the universe would have it, our lives have touch points in many ways unknown to me when I began reading your blog and learning the story of your sweet Jennifer and beautiful family. I work at Packard and have for 25 years as a nurse and now an administrator. The social workers report up to me so I know Heidi. I have also worked many years with Heidi’s aunt Mary. Lastly, oneof my dearest friends passed away 2 years ago from breast cancer – her sister in law Marcy is friends with Ann.

    All of this to say, this is a small world. We may all seem like strangers posting replies on your blog but we are not that far away. We are all right here,caring deeply, crying with you, and praying you find a sliver of hope and joy in every new day. It is okay to do that. Jennifer wants you to. I feel a change happening as many of the others have also said. Remember when you couldn’t even LOOK at the room the snuggle couch was in? Now, you are sitting on it with Jonathan to watch a movie. A beautiful testament to Jennifer’s love for all of you. She is welcoming you onto the snuggle couch.

    Hugs and much love and peace to allof you.

  28. Libby,
    I think you are right that it was someONE that sent you in the house. I don’t think your boy went in to hide his feelings, rather I think he went in out of habit looking for JLK and gravitated to her picture. You don’t know me, but I have been following your blog since the beginning. My heart aches for you and your family. I have no idea what you are truly going through but I am praying for all of you Libby. Just keep putting one shaky foot in front of the other. You are working through something no parent should ever have to do and there is no right or wrong way to go about it. Keep looking for moments and signs of Jennifer around you because she is there…I totally believe that!!
    Much love and hugs from Oregon,

  29. My post didn’t go through all the way earlier- anyway I am
    Grateful you have your three to somewhat keep you distracted. They will hurt no doubt- they are hurting- but the boys will help Charlotte know Jennifer through the love they have for her. Just reading how they respond to her picture is precious but painful. I pray everyday for you guys and I’m praying a little harder for Jonathan. Of course him being so close in age to her and being older, I’m sure he will have the toughest time. I just want to wish this all away- wish I could say something to comfort you or Jonathan but this is all going to take time. Just hug him tight and keep doing what you’re doing. I think you are so amazing!

  30. Libby,
    I read this and thought “Wow she is lucky she can pretend to be OK in front of people.” You know that saying don’t cry over spilled milk? I cry over it, I cry over everything. I don’t think you protecting yourself from the grief or embarrassment I think you are protecting the people around you. I don’t know that they could deal with the amount of grief you have been swallowed by! Keep writing if it helps we are all here reading and waiting for news on your family!

  31. Reflecting on how your boys bring you Jennifer’s lovies, you hope that you are doing the same for them in their grief. Yes. They are learning from you. They are reflecting back the kind of love and tenderness that you are giving to them. The connections that you are drawing, the things that you are seeing and the fine grained empathy you have for your kids is absolutely beautiful. I add myself to the many who thank you for sharing your words, your family.

  32. Every time I read your blog I can see that you guys are “doing it”!! It sucks and it sucks some more, but your doing what you have to do to stay strong as a family! You are a great mom! Make no mistake if that! Your babies are there for you and you for them! That’s how it should be.

  33. I also think Jennifer is with all if you trying to comfort you. I was at the mall yesterday and “Eye of the Tiger” came on twice. It brought tears to my eyes after seeing her glitter video. Hugs and prayers Libby. You are doing the best u can and Jonathan comforting you is so sweet and he learned that from you and Jennifer. Please be gentle with yourself. I think sometimes we feel we should act or feel someway and there is no right or wrong way to any thing you are feeling right now. The blogs are so healing.

  34. You amaze me. I can relate to the feelings of holding back greif in front of friends and loved ones. I have come to realize that I tend to hold back and try to make other feel better when the subject of having lost my mother so young comes up. Like I don’t want them to feel uncomfortable or sad or not know what to say or any of the things that might come up for them. It is my instinct to make it okay for them. And I question that instinct definitely but then I also feel like I usually have pretty good instincts and so I follow it. You have amazing instincts. In every part of this, the instincts you have with all 4 of your children and yourself and Tony have been incredible. Those instincts have carried you through. I imagine it could be hard to trust your instincts now that your world has been turned upside down and so much of what gave you comfort and confidence has been shattered. I remember something like that feeling- how do I know how to make good decisions without her? That was something I struggled with. I trust in your instincts. I trust in you following those instincts and if it isn’t right, having a new stronger one come along that redirects you. I hope you continue to have faith in yourself and whether or not you do, I have so much faith and I sending it your way.

  35. I heard once or twice that children feel the supernatural much easier than adults. I’m not sure, but I’m hoping with all my heart he felt and saw Jennifer when his feelings were hurt and that’s why he looked at her picture. Good job mama bear, day by day you’re getting stronger and understanding everything about yourself and this hurt a little more. God has something I’m store for you, big big plans. You’re an inspiration Libby and I don’t know if I could do what you’re doing and I’m only a young adult who hopes to be a mom one day, I can’t even properly relate. If you need free babysitting just to go for a run or even of your in the house and just need a little break,If you need coffee or a meal anytime… Please please call on me. Your sister in Christ
    4087109890 amanda Mumford <3

  36. Today you’ve made me smile and cry, and I thank you for both. Your family is in my thoughts so very often. Compartmentalizing is how we survive the worst of life’s traumas. Maybe you have some very understandable post traumatic stress right now? Awhile back you wrote about being in the car and feeling so removed from the world outside and it reminded me of riding one night where I could pinpoint every detail on houses and yet the world simultaneously flew by so fast it was blurry and dizzying-like riding in a kaleidoscope. But that stress, separation, compartmentalization -they’re just how you personally are moving forward. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

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