beating

A month and a day ago…this was me…this was us

Because a month ago right now..I was holding her. Waiting for her to die. I didn’t blog. I think most people knew when IMG_3791there was no new blog a month ago today…that her time was coming… fast

…too fast.

Nursing the baby to bed tonight I remembered…a month ago doing the same thing…wanting so desperately to get back into the room with her. We were scared to move her…cause more seizures. But it really mattered to me that I held her in my arms.

Tony and I worked together…tenderly…nervously…moved her into my arms. ..

…and there my baby and I stayed until they came to take her away.

Today I have felt haunted. Haunted by the what-ifs…the never have beens…

regrets..and fears.

This is so hard on a marriage. We deal so differently..

We fell apart and came together today. New rule he cannot read this blog anymore. It was a out for him…a cheat to know what I am struggling with. But we do best together and communicating..

I write for me..I write to remember and sort my emotions out…to put some sense of order to them. And I write for other people who may be in my shoes at some point. Perhaps it will help them to hear my thoughts..my pain..Perhaps they wont feel so alone..

..so crazy.

Possibly my words can aide their friends and family…I don’t know..but its my hope.

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Today outside I noticed all the blooms sprouting out of our trees. A new season is coming…one without her.

Its been almost a month. It feels like forever…like so long ago..And it feels like yesterday.

And both ways suck.

 

Time is passing. Now I can count in months …not just weeks since the last time I held you. Felt you breathe. Labored…loud raspy breathes.

The clock keeps ticking on..since I last held you. ..held you as you were growing hotter and hotter in my arms til it felt like you were on fire…not all of you though..your feet were getting slowly colder.

I’m scared of this passage of time. I am scared to be out of this intense grieving. Because it keeps me close to you. If I start to heal…then I fear I will be losing more of you.

I’m scared.

As time passes I worry about being left behind. That this sacred time I have now will be gone..

I dont want it to.

Yet…I also cannot wait for time to pass. Its going far too slowly. I just want to be old…and joining her again.

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One of the few nights that Tony and I went out with out the kids Jennifer was missing me. So she got a shirt of mine and put it on to sleep in it. Maybe tonight I will sleep with something more of hers other than pinkie…maybe I will sleep in her room. Like I did one month ago..

Outside today I looked at the slide. She loved to be outside. So we spent a lot of time there. We did a lot because Jennifer liked it. I think we all just liked seeing her happy and followed her lead.

I looked at that slide and willed her to please come back to play on it. I tried to force her back into being. Of course it didn’t work. Everything new we do I want to find a way to bring her with us…make her a part of it. Tony and I talked today about how to do that…

 

The boys were at my parents today. Thankfully. We needed today. To struggle..pull away…pull each other apart just a bit to come together again. Thats when we made the “new blog rule”. We need to miss her our own ways…but we also remembered how very important it is for us to grieve together too. Best friends..

 

Tony got a invite to go on a quick camping /dune buggy trip..he left tonight. I am ok being here alone. Because we fought and cleared the air..and grieved together today. So tonight and tomorrow we can grieve in our own ways..Its hard to be so different. The ways I am open he is private. The ways I am closed he is open.

The important thing for us though is to talk some..trust a lot and believe in each other totally…and when we lose our way we need to yell and swear…right back to each other. I meant my promise...as I know he meant his.

A old friend…made through the trials of infertility wrote to me today. She remembered a conversation years ago…at the end of my pregnancy with Jonathan. I was so worried how I could ever love another child as much as I loved Jennifer…she likened it to my struggles now…

.. .truth.

I do worry that my unrelenting desire to join her..to be with her again…somehow means I love her more…It feels like my love for her then was so big and overwhelming that it was all of me. My sorrow over losing her is the same. It feels like CSC_0433every cell of my body is filled with Jennifer.

Then he was born. And they shared all of me…until Nicholas and Charlotte joined in..And they became me..Every time I was immediately re-created..

having her ripped away…I am exposed and bleeding.

This re-creation will take quite a bit longer. But they will heal me. Just like pregnant with my second…I hoped my love would cover them both..but I wasn’t totally convinced..This time I am just trying to have faith that I will scab and scar up..that her memories will be enough to sustain..And my body will settle into its new form..

.. .battered…scarred…but loving and grateful. ..

I am holding onto the lessons I have already learned in this life..that a mothers heart can not only grow…but repair…

misshapen yet beating.

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58 Responses to “beating”

  1. “You will lose someone you can’t live without,and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly—that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.”
    ― Anne Lamott

    Prayers, love and peace.

  2. And you will heal…in your own time…at your own pace…Following your lead, and when your strenght is gone, you will pull some from her and from each of your children, and from your best friend. You will because your love for them is so strong and you keep your promises…and you promised to be there for all of them… And you have, and you will… <3

  3. Thank u for blogging. As long as u blog, we will always be here to listen. And no matter what, we will always be thinking of you and praying for you. Xoxoxo Libby

  4. Before attending Jennifer’s Celebration of Life I’d never heard one of the song’s that you’d played during her slideshow, “Choose You.” While it was playing I just remember these absolutely overwhelming feelings of love, so much love, and utter devastation taking over, and I almost felt like my throat was closing up. I just couldn’t fathom what it would feel like to be you right then. During any of this. How the hell were you expected to stand up and talk, when your heart is in a million pieces, and so much of you has been ripped away? How is that even possible? And then you spoke, and from the first word that came out you emitted this unbelievable calming force that blanketed the entire room, almost like you were there to guide and support everyone else through this day, when so obviously it should have been the other way around. Your mother’s instinct to calm and comfort, even during your most broken and painful moments, was still in full-force and so evident, even if subconsciously on your part, on this day where it was YOU that needed to be carried, eased, comforted. I was completely blown away.

    A couple of weeks ago, while at work, I started to feel that same overwhelming mixture of emotions begin to bubble up in my chest out of nowhere, almost bringing me to tears, and it actually scared me for a minute until I realized that your song had been playing over our surround sound at work, although very softly. I wasn’t even conscience of the fact that it was playing, like I’d said, I’d never heard it before that day and if someone would have asked me during the weeks in between what it was called, or what some of the lyrics were, I wouldn’t have had a clue. But the very moment I realized what it was I felt like I was right back with everybody in that beautiful, glitter-filled gymnasium, and the love that was emanating from you, your whole family/friends/Glitter Squad, it was all there. Your calm was there. And once again it was so, so very powerful.

    Today I hope you can let us carry you, because we want to. You have created friendships that will be life-long, so many friendships, so many allies, connected through the unbreakable thread that your Jennifer gifted to us all, with you as her voice, and the rest of us, in turn, as your voice. I hope with all of my heart that you know how proud she is of you.

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

  5. As always your words inspire, bring sorrow, bring joy. It’s almost three in the morning-I’ve been preparing things to donate and only have the wee hours to get it done-yet I couldn’t go to sleep until I checked in on you. Hundreds of miles away, yet close to my heart, even though we have never met. I remember you all in prayer and wish I could do more. Jennifer smiles at me from the wonderful picture you share and I feel such happiness and anguish at the same time. I want to something brilliant. The only thing I have at three a.m. is that I imagine Jennifer in your laughter…you said you really laughed the other day and I just imagined that as you laughed she was sparkling all around you because of your laughter. Sending prayers before I sleep…

  6. That should read I want to say something brilliant. I’m not grammatically aware at three in the morning I guess.

  7. I am just so profoundly sorry. I read this a few month back, and it touched my heart.

    STEVEN KALAS: When you lose a child, grieving is a lifelong experience.

    When our first child is born, a loud voice says, “Runners, take your marks!” We hear the
    Starting gun and the race begins. It’s a race we must win at all cost. We have to win. The competition is called, ‘I’ll race you to the grave. I’m currently racing three sons. I really want to win.
    Not everyone wins.

    I’m here at the national meeting of Compassionate Friends, an organization offering support and resources for parents who lose the race. I’m wandering the halls during the “break-out” sessions. In this room are parents whose children died in car accidents. Over there is a room full of parents of murdered children. Parents of cancer victims are at the end of the hall. Miscarriages and stillbirths are grouped together, as are parents who have survived a child’s suicide. And so it goes.
    In a few minutes, I’m going to address Compassionate Friends. This is the toughest audience of my life. I mix with the gathering crowd, and a woman from Delaware glances at my name tag. Her name tag has a photo of her deceased son. My name tag is absent photos.

    “So … you haven’t,.. lost anyone,” she says cautiously.
    “My three sons are yet alive, if that’s what you’re asking me,” I say gently.
    She tries to nod politely, but I can see that I’ve lost credibility in her eyes. She’s wondering who invited this speaker, and what on earth he could ever have to say to her.
    My address is titled “The Myth of Getting Over It.” It’s my attempt to answer the driving questions of grieving parents: When will I get over this? How do I get over this?
    You don’t get over it. Getting over it is an inappropriate goal. An unreasonable hope. The loss of a child changes you. It changes your marriage. It changes the way birds sing. It changes the way the sun raises and sets. You are forever different.
    You don’t want to get over it. Don’t act-surprised. As awful a burden as grief is, you know intuitively that it matters, that it is profoundly important to be grieving. Your grief plays a crucial part in staying connected to your child’s life. To give up your grief would mean losing your child yet again. If I had the power to take your grief away, you’d fight me to keep it. Your grief is awful, but it is also holy. And somewhere inside you, you-know that.
    The goal is not to get over it. The goal is to get on with it.

    Profound grief is like being in a stage play wherein suddenly the stagehands push a huge grand piano into the middle of the set. The piano paralyzes the play. It dominates the stage. No matter where you move, it impedes your sight lines, your blocking, your ability to interact with the other players. You keep banging into it, surprised-each time it’s still there. It takes all your concentration to work around it, this at a time when you have little ability or desire to concentrate on anything.
    The piano changes everything. The entire play must be rewritten around it.
    But over time the piano is pushed to stage left. Then to upper stage left. You are the playwright, and slowly, surely, you begin to find the impetus and wherewithal to stop reacting to the intrusive piano. Instead, you engage it. Instead of writing every scene around the piano, you begin to write the piano into each scene, into the story of your life.
    You learn to play that piano.
    You’re surprised to find that you want to play, that it’s meaningful, even peaceful to play it. At first your songs are filled with pain, bitterness, even despair. But later you find your songs contain beauty, peace, a greater capacity for love and compassion. You and grief–together–begin to compose hope. Who’da thought?
    Your grief becomes an intimate treasure, though the spaces between the grief lengthen. You no longer need to play the piano every day, or even every month. But later, when you’re 84, staring out your kitchen window on a random Tuesday morning, you welcome the sigh, the tears, the wistful plan that moves through your heart and reminds you that your child’s life mattered.
    You wipe the dust off the piano and sit down to play.

    Steven Kalas is a behavioral health consultant and counselor at Clear View Counseling and Wellness Center in Las Vegas.

  8. Keeping you and your family so close in prayer today. I will be here until the day you decide to stop blogging. And even then, I will continue the fight. Your words, so raw and real, have changed me forever. As a mom, as a friend, and as a Christian. I can’t imagine NOT being in this fight against pediatric cancer now. We have never met, but I feel as if I was lead to your blog for a reason. I will continue to pray, continue to raise awareness and funds, and do whatever it takes to make this world a better place for our kids. I see pictures you post of your baby and I hold mine a little tighter because they look so similar. Thank you for your willingness to share. I am still so sorry…I pray you all find a way to honor her and keep her memory alive, whether it be through an annual run, a foundation, or in the daily things you do. <3

  9. Always listening. This one was a rough read, but I become more and more amazed by you. You are doing what you are supposed to be doing but just in such a graceful way. So much love for all six of you!

  10. Always reading, always listening. Your post reminded me of a quote from the movie Fried Green Tomatoes: “A heart can be broken, but it still keeps a-beatin’ just the same”. I’m still praying for you, for Tony, for Jonathan, Nicholas, Charlotte and I’m praying for Jennifer. I believe you’ll see her again, and I know she’s still with you. You’ll always be her mom, no matter what.

  11. It is hard to believe how time has passed so quickly. You are a brave mom who is doing what you can to be there for your children and husband. I am inspired by your strength and hope that this blog continues to help you grieve. We will all be here for what is next and I hope you feel our love and support every minute of every day.

    Vanessa

  12. Libby your not leaving Jennifer or forgetting her because she’s in your heart and in your memories..Thank you for sharing your beautiful daughters memories with us…Were here to help you keep those memories alive. I pray for you every day for strength. Big hugs

  13. Thinking and praying for you. I continue to read your blog to offer support and to read the lovely comments from so many who care. Your words bring truth and show how much your love pervades in everything you do. You may not feel loving – your little actions may not convey what you think they should – but even the small glimpses you share with us show your heart.

    I really liked your friend’s comparison. Something about it resonated with me. I hope that your scars and broke heart heal enough. Enough to go on.

    Hugs.

  14. The word re-creation resonated with me in this blog post. Perhaps the grace you can offer yourself is knowing that you are forever changed and a piece of your heart will always be with Jennifer but LIBBY will resurface. Be reinvented, be recreated. A version you would not recognize a year ago but a version of you that can still offer momma love and support wholeheartedly to your family.

    Many prayers…

  15. Thank you for the courage and willingness to share your grief and all the other emotions that come with losing a child. I lost my son to leukemia just over 2 weeks ago…he was about to turn 14 months old. Your words speak straight to my heart and pain. I cry for my loss…and your loss. For all the moments we won’t have with our child. For the hole they’ve left in our hearts. Praying that peace comes in time…hopefully sooner than later.

    1. There are times I could write something after I read your blog but this time I am left speechless and sad. You are right time is going to fast but no matter what she will always be in your heart. Praying for you and your family especially you and Tony. When you feel like you are drifting apart fright harder to be close again. Love you and your family Libby!!

  16. Your blog is helping others, it’s helping me. I’m in my 40’s but I lost my brother12 days ago. Your words help heal and help me cope.The biggest thing for me is knowing he is not in pain or suffering anymore. They are both running and playing, my brother is riding his jet ski again. May you find peace in your days as I do in mime. Hugs all around.

  17. I so wish I could take away your pain. To wake you up from this terrible nightmare. I’m so sorry and I love you so much.

  18. I too, feel that I was led to your blog for a reason. This was a rough read, but needed. I am still fighting back the tears and I read it five minutes ago. I am in this fight with you against pediatric cancer. If I can help with whatever you all decide to do from here forward, please let me know. Praying…crying…listening…crying some more…praying some more…and I love the pics of Jennifer. So beautiful!

  19. I just want you to know that I am still here, reading and thinking of you, Jennifer and your family. You are helping me to be a more patient mother, and I can’t thank you enough for that. You are helping others and I hope that you find some comfort in that. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

  20. Hi Libby,
    I deeply appreciate that you share the raw truth of losing a child. I am so sorry and my heart is with you you, Jennifer, and your entire family. My experience with childloss is much different, but I have been through the trenches of piecing my brokenself back together. The last few sentences of this blog shook me and I feel compelled to share a few of the quotes that have been so meaningful to me through my journey. In fact, I keep a running list of words in my inspiration journal, for the days when I need them the most. I will be adding your words to my journal.

    “The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places.” (Ernest Hemingway)

    “The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.” (Elisabeth Kubler Ross).

    It took me a long time to feel like the beautiful person that Elisabeth speaks of, and I’m not sure I’m there yet, but it’s a beautiful goal. For much of the past two years I have felt brittle, world-weary, and exhausted from living in the depths of my grief. But, I’m getting there.

    Always reading, always listening.

  21. The calendar sucks right now. I hated that night with no blog. I so hoped it meant that Jennifer was improving and you were enjoying her instead of writing. Libby, thank you for continuing to share. God is using you in all this. One day it will make sense. Continued prayers for your joy, peace, comfort, and healing.

  22. I’ve thought of you so often during these days leading up to the first 12th after Jennifer. It’s so unfair. Unfair too that February was such a short month, so you have to experience this sad anniversary any sooner than normal. Just unfair all around. I’ve read every word you’ve blogged, and like another person said, I’ll be here until the day you decide to stop blogging. Thinking of you every day and sending hugs and strength.

  23. Libby, you write beautifully- heart breakingly beautiful. I wish you could still hold her in your arms. I am sorry you are haunted. I am so so so sorry. Sending you all my support and love.

  24. Your unwavering strength is amazing. Your feelings & thoughts so raw…so real. I believe that Jennifer is watching over you, & couldnt be more proud of her mommy. Prayers for you always.

  25. “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you.” Isaiah 43:2

    My prayer for you is that you will experience God’s perfect peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand.

  26. I read your blog everyday, tears coming to my eyes everyday! My heart breaks for your family & I’m constantly praying for you. Look up “Praying for Phoebe Fair” on Facebook, she lost her daughter to cancer last year & maybe it will give you a little hope that it does get a little easier as time goes by. You’re always in my thoughts and prayers.

  27. You are an amazing writer. Your words are powerful, clear, sad, beautiful. I am sure they are helping others as I hope they are helping you. You and your family are in my prayers.

  28. I am still here praying and thinking about your family daily. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about your sweet Beautiful Jennifer.

  29. “When you are sorrowful,look again in your heart and you shall see that in truth, you are weeping for that which has been your delight.” Kahil Gabran

  30. This is my first comment on your blog although I’ve read every entry since October when a friend linked to it on facebook. You are an amazingly strong person and a wonderful mother. You’ve been very inspiring to me as a mother of 4 as well, and I know that Jennifer is at peace and smiling down on all of you during these difficult days and months. I hope you continue to find peace and calm. I feel like I was meant to find your blog. My husband was diagnosed with lymphoma in February, the same week Jennifer lost her fight. Thank you for giving me the courage to tackle this with the same grace that you have.

  31. This morning as I drove to work passenger’s song “let her go” comes on the radio and it made me think of you guys. How you have been cheated by losing your little girl way too soon and you had to let her go. SO UNFAIR!!! As the tears roll down my face I sit here thinking how unreal it is that it’s already been one month.
    I pray for you and your family everyday. Pray that God heals yours pain. I know you will never be the same but that’s ok. It’s ok to hurt and want her with you, watch her run and play, and love on Jonathan, Nicholas and Charlotte.
    The other day I was thinking about I how God chose you and Tony to be her parents, and wondered why?? Why did he choose you guys knowing his plan for her. Knowing what was going to happen 6 short years after He put her in your arms. How unfair, why such a great couple… I then realized that he choose you two because he saw how strong you were through all your failed IVF attempt and miscarriages. You deserved her, even for 6 short years! He knew that when the time came for Jennifer to join him in heaven that eventually you could work through the pain and move ahead, not because you want to but because you have to. Just move ahead for Jennifer not for anyone else but her because she will want you to. (At least that’s what I believe).
    I’m happy to hear you and Tony are working through everything, trying to cross each bridge as you come to it, figure out who needs what and how to achieve each other’s needs.
    As others have said…as long as you blog I will read it. My daughter made me a bracelet the other day and said it was for Jennifer, I now wear it in remembrance of your precious girl. I believe that if my Emma and Jennifer were to have ever met they would’ve been great friends. The way you described Jennifer in your blog and at her service screams my Emma! If only they would’ve met…
    Take care and may God bless you! One day at a time…that’s all you can do! XOXO

  32. @Sarah, I am so very sorry for your loss. My thoughts & prayers to you.

    @Libby, I am blown away by this – “I am holding onto the lessons I have already learned in this life..that a mothers heart can not only grow…but repair…misshapen, yet beating.”

    Possibly your most profound words on the blog. Filled with lessons for all of us. Sending you love & light!

  33. Libby, you are such a wonderful human being! And one day you will see and feel how much you have inspired us through this blog, by sharing your journey, your pain. Continue letting yourself have all feelings and emotions, be present at the moment, observe and let go. You are never alone. Sending you all my love and light for your highest good.

  34. I believe you could write a book. you are far more eloquent than I could ever be. I thank you for opening up, though i wish you had a different reason.
    praying you feel her peace & presence.

  35. Libby as always I read ur blog. My thoughts and prayers r always with u and ur family. Jennifer is always with u in spirit and nothing will ever take that away so when u are doin new things she is experiencing them with u cuz Jennifer is in ur heart I know its not the same but she is always loving u and being by u. Guiding u in this life.

  36. Sending love and light. Each day…you’re doing it with grace, courage and still putting the wisdom and knowledge out there for change. If you only knew…but thank you.

  37. Parenting has that incredible math: you give 100 percent of your love to each child. How are there so many 100 percents?

    You are an incredible writer and thinker. Thanks for letting us be privy to your thoughts as you move through this most dreaded of experiences. I see in the comments you are already helping someone with a new diagnosis for a loved one. This site is a landmark of your love for Jennifer, but also a touchstone for people who need your words.

  38. Libby, what an amazing person you are. This blog entry is one of the most impactful for me to-date. Full of such a balance of beautiful memories of her, incredible honest and difficult memories, and such inspiring insight. You fill us with emotion. How can it be that you take the words right out of my mouth and the feelings right out of my body when I never even had the joy of knowing your little girl??! I can only assume it is because we are all mothers, bound by the life we create with and for our children. If I am feeling those things on one level, I cannot imagine the level on which you are feeling them. Like you, I too can usually fix or patch things together enough to avoid any crisis, it infuriates me that I cannot undo this! We will stick together, you and your army of Moms. So much love and support.

  39. Everything I read or watch or hear these days causes me think of you and Tony.

    I saw the ads for that new tv series the day before you mentioned it, and I said to my husband, “Don’t they realize how many people they are hurting by making that?” I was thinking of you, angry that you have to deal with such insensitivity.

    Today I read “No one ever told me that grief feels so much like fear.”
    (C. S. Lewis)

    And this…… “Being strong” really means letting yourself have the freedom to grieve, in whatever way you need. You are strong, Libby.

    And this …..”grief is what cultivates the soil of the heart for the seeds of joy.” All this makes me stop and think of you. And pray some more.

  40. We don’t often reply but we read every blog, every post. We pray for your ache and we ache for you. You are an incredible inspiration the way you share your experiences, your life so transparently. So much love our family has for yours Libby.

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