I confuse myself.

DSC_0109I was watching a show with the teenager getting teased. I had already worked myself into a frenzy about that happening to Jennifer when she started kindergarten. I was so worried about not being there for her so many hours a day. What I wouldn’t give for that now. To be able to deal with her school troubles…and hurt feelings. I tell myself how I would appreciate it.

..I wouldn’t though.

I don’t for my other kids. I found myself later in the evening worrying about my boys getting teased in school. What their issues might be. Then I realized what a hypocrite that makes me.

The past summer. Right before she was diagnosed..I said and thought quite often that it was my perfect time. 4 kids home with me. 5,3,1 and a newborn. I would have frozen that time if I could have. I had no clue how it would be my last truly happy days.


I am starting to feel that way again…like this in some ways is second best. Tony home…and all 3 of my breathing babies here with me. I already think about Jonathan going to school. Waking up to take him…getting them all ready…breakfast rush.  how much I will worry about him being gone. How much I will miss him…and wish this time back.

Will I be mad at myself for drowning in my sorrow? Wasting this time. Not appreciating it properly? Probably but I don’t know how I can force myself.

We had a lot of time with family this weekend. It was good times. I missed her terribly though…so often I watched for her. I  had a longing for her… My tears always seem so close to the surface. My worry for Jonathan and Tony.. . if they are feeling the same makes it hard to wholly focus on having a conversation with anybody. We go though and we try.

I laugh and I make jokes. Tonight I even wrestled and danced.

I often wonder what I look like to others? Do I look how I feel or do I look the way I want the kids to see me? Do people read my words and then see me and doubt what I write?

…are they confused?

Before we got to my brothers yesterday I was crying in the car. And today (sunday)  just minutes before we left I was in her room crying…my hands covering my mouth trying to stifle the sound…Jonathan had been with me, until Tony walked by and I reminded him that “he needed Jonathan” aka get him out of here. We were looking for one last thing and I opened her closet door. Her dresses.. hanging. Completely overwhelmed me.

We had gone through all the boys clothes…moving out the things they had outgrown and replacing them to see what they need for the next season/year.  Going through Jonathan’s old clothes for Nicholas I had memories of her..


I wasn’t expecting that… . In particular his old Christmas jammies. He and Jennifer had matching ones…they loved to wear them at the same time. Twinso she called it. She would have loved to have seen Nicholas wear them now too.

The whole clothing thing started mid day Saturday. For awhile I had been so upset that we couldn’t find most of Jennifer’s old clothes. Especially while she was living. She loved going through the clothes we did have..she got such a kick out of seeing her sister in her old clothes and hearing stories about her in them.  it made me sad that we didn’t have more. Luckily we had some very generous friends that handed down clothes for baby Charlotte.

>>Preschool graduation<<
>>graduation with her teacher<<

These kinds of things make it easy to keep her memory alive. I can tell Nicholas about the jammies when he wears them…tell Charlotte about the dress she is wearing and a memory with Jennifer in it. Talk with Jonathan about when Jennifer graduated from preschool…. that’s pretty straightforward.

How will I do it though when they have all outgown their big sister?

.. how confusing is that sentence .. ?

So on Saturday Tony went to go look for them…and found the bags…0-3 months…3-6…all times that passed…time that she was still here…time lost forever. I was upset. ..Frankly I felt really frustrated by the whole thing. Tony struggled to handle it… knowing in truth he had let me down.  Normally it would have just been a silly little thing. .. .I think though his guilt and my disappointment has been hard to shake.

.. no second chances… no do-overs…Its hard.

My friend took all the bags home with her. To organize for me. In part so I could immediately have clothes for Charlotte from Jennifer…and so I would have something to look forward to. In a year some 2t clothes and then 3t clothes for her from her sissy. Time to remember. .. to talk and share. Something to look forward to.

.. until they are all 6.3.. all (god willing) to have lived longer than her.

they grow up so fast.

. . .only if you are lucky.

Nursing baby Charlotte to sleep I thought about 30 yrs from now. Supposedly my Jennifer will still be gone (though somehow I think I don’t believe it) She would have been just a little older than me now. I guess I know I will survive. Though so changed. Altered. Forever living with that hole.. . with that unending silent sorrow.

Now its loud. Its in your face. Its upfront. Can’t be this way forever though. At some point we will swallow it down. I realized though as I nursed my youngest to sleep.. that the current will always be flowing inside of me.

>>>early on in treatment<<<<


The horror of losing her 5 weeks ago…the torment we are living with I think you can somewhat grasp and relate to. I think thats why others can so easily cry when I talk to them. When I say things stone faced. Because you can imagine being me…imagine this being your child. I remember reading stories like ours. I remember crying for those families…wondering how they do it? Knowing that I never could.

unimaginable…until it is anything but. Until it is.. .

reality. Confusing and disorientating.



I think the long term… the forever… is the piece of this only a bereaved parent can understand. What’s different is the consistency of life without her..without my child.. .for years upon years.

.. .despair. It will lay semi dormant in the pit of my stomach.

Do bereaved parents have a shorter life expectancy? I would think so…I would think it would slowly eat away at a person like…well…like cancer.

Jonathan clocked me yesterday. Hard. Full fist right to the face. He felt awful about it…and for awhile I let him. I heard his cries…his struggles from his room. Where he took himself. His guilt..his own punishment.

Nicholas went in there to get his clothes. I stayed at the door. He hollered for his brother to get out. For us all to leave him alone. I knew then it was time. I scooped him up. he struck out for me again… not in earnest this time though. We talked. I told him about hitting his pillow when the angries came and took over. He said it wouldn’t work. I showed him. I really showed him.

.. he witnessed my honest emotion…I hit the pillow and I voiced what made me mad.

I am mad.

That she is dead. That you are hurting. That daddy is sad. That I can’t fix it..

I am mad.

. .. . i witnessed his pure emotion then and his heartfelt understanding of mine. Not his anger though. His hurt. His confusion. His broken heart. He cried tears no 4yr old should ever have to cry.

Eyes open. tears falling.

yes mommy. yes I get mad like that. Yes mommy yes

After the storm passed over us we were connected. He wanted to stay in his room.. us together and tell me secrets. We did, for a bit but couldn’t stay. That was Saturday morning.. just the start of our weekend.

But in that moment. That time together in his room. We got each other.

We were understood and understanding.


No confusion.

just love.

for each other and for our Jennifer.

DSC_0810 K-2014-01-04-214




48 Responses to “confusion”

  1. Omg Libby. Your words, your feelings , your writing they get right into my heart. The tears pour out…for you, for Johnathan…for all of you. I was just so happy you blogged tonight. I was getting concerned by your silence. Oh, and you are right, your writing allows us to imagine being you, forces us to look deep into our own relationships and demands us to appreciate and be the best parents we can be…because you Libby, remind us there are no real guarantees….thank you Libby!

  2. After we lost our daughter (10yrs this past Valentine’s Day), people kept telling me that it will get easier. While I have finally come to accept it, in my heart I dont believe that is true. Dealing with it doesnt become easier, rather the habit of putting on a brave face becomes routine, and eventually becomes automatic.

    There are still times though, that for no reason at all, the tiniest things will trigger and the pain will come flooding back. All any of us can do is to take comfort in knowing that they are all together in Heaven, all those innocents taken before their time. I imagine our daughter being cradled in our Creator’s arms…knowing she will never feel any pain ever again…and that brings me comfort. Everyone says believers will have a crisis of faith at some point. I never did…I never will. Because to question God’s existance, means considering the possibility of never seeing her again. That is unthinkable.

    Then there are times when I get so angry, not at the loss, but at my hubby and son. It seems as though they dont miss her at all. I remind myself that she was a baby and that our son was only 2yrs old, but I cant help it. If you ever reach a pount where you feel you are the only one still reeling from the pain of your loss, let me assure you now…before it even happens…you are not alone.

    Despite the moments of agony that wash over me from time to time, I am happy now. Happy doesnt mean exactly the same thing as It did before, but It Is a happiness all the same. As foreign as it feels right now, you will also find happiness again. Please dont worry about missing moment. Make them when you can but dont agonize over it if you dont. Your kids will never love you any less for it, I promise.

    Quite a few times you have mentioned the coming years and sending them off to school. Have you considered homeschooling them? From all that you have said, you seem like you would really enjoy it..provided you could get past the worry of messing them up, of missing something important. I struggled with that until after talking with a teacher, she confided that school doesnt really become important until high school and that most kids will pick up the needed basics in daily life, even without formal instruction. That allowed me to step back and really enjoy the time together instead of checking off a list of state standards of what they should know.

    Please keep blogging. You are not alone. There are so many of us that care for your family and are grieving with you…even if we are not a part of your daily lives. If you need anything at all…please do not hesitate to ask!

  3. Hey friend. I just want to tell you keep writing! When you write you are not alone. I am here with you through every step crying along, smiling along , and sobbing along. I can feel evrything you are going through Libby haftey. Haftey in Tygrina (Eritrean language: East African) means my sister. You are now my haftey, because some how this blog was brought to my attention for a good reason. I believe it has connected me with a stranger whom I deeply feel for allowing me to recognize that we are all connected some how some way. I love you haftey & I hope & pray at some point tomorrow you find something that makes you smile. That is all I ask God for. I’m not gonna pray that you feel better or that he heals you. I’m gonna pray that you find one thing that make you smile today.

  4. What a beautiful picture of the kids. The last one of you and Jennifer at the beach at sunset just so much. I am here just a person present and reading. Prayers and love to you and your family.

    Libby I am so sorry she is gone, I wish she was here and all this was just a horrible dream. Too young to be gone, too beautiful a soul not to be here anymore. I believe she is in heaven but I also think her spirit remains around you too. When you speak to her she hears you. I think she has her arms around you and Jonathan when you are crying for her.
    Her spirit lives so strongly all around you.

  5. They will never outgrow her! There will always be opportunities to talk about her and celebrate her. It will be an important part of your new normal. Still reading and praying and hoping for a tiny bit of peace.

  6. Thinking of you this morning, marveling at the hand you have been dealt, and wishing you comfort. So many memories you have and I believe they will all feel different to you at different times as you move through this process. They are treasures, each one of them and I believe they will sustain you through this <3

  7. I’m so glad that you two could have that painful, but so necessary, moment together. Breaks my heart.

    Sending you all love and peace, as always, from NH,

  8. Libby, you’re ability to be in the moment with your kids is amazing. Despite your emotional pain, you move toward them dancing, joking, holding them…amazing.

  9. Libby your patience and love for your children through this tragic time is inspiring. You may feel like you’re not “there”, present in the moment, but your blog always shows just how connected you are to Jonathan, Nicholas and Charlotte. You continue to push through your sadness and anger to make sure they are understand and deal with their own. You are such a compassionate mom, wife, daughter, sister and friend. Jennifer will continue to guide you through, past and beyond. baby steps.

  10. Hi Libby. I have been reading your blogs all along. We have never met. I have grown children and grandchildren and thought I did a great job raising them. Yes, I did, but what I have learned from you is amazing. If only I could do it over again, I would take so many lessons from you. You are doing it right the first time! You are the true meaning of a Mommie. You are so honest with your children and their emotions and so honest in letting them see yours. The fun times, the indoor picnics, the playing at the beach, all so much more important than cleaning house and making everything tidy. You gave Jennifer more during your six wonderful years together and hold onto more beautiful memories than many of us do in twenty, thirty, forty years. Be proud of yourself and the wonderful children you are raising. Today, showing and sharing your emotions with Jonathan and the pillow gave you such a connection. I cannot imagine what you are going through, as every loss is unique, but do know that even strangers recognize your strength, your love, and your complete devotion to your family. In time you will learn to live with your loss and your sadness and smile big smiles at your memories. No, the hurt will never go away. It just gets easier to live with (I know). It is part of you and what makes you. You have so many great memories. You are amazing. My love and admiration to you all.

  11. Love hugs and prayers to you Libby. Jennifer is will be in our hearts forever. She will never ever be forgotten. Even though I have never met you in person I feel like you through your blog and I feel like I know Jennifer too. Im so sorry Libby. I think about Jennifer so much through out the daily. Thankyou for sharing her with us all and continue to share yourself with us too. All my love and prayers to you all.

  12. My heart aches for you, but even more so for your little boy, old enough to understand and miss her, too young to ever have to deal with all that entails.

  13. Libby I love u and ur family very much. I say prayers for u. I am truly sorry for ur pain. As I sit her with mmy only child who is turning nine my fear is what if this could happen to us. This is so sad that children have to suffer from cancer and families are torn to pieces. My prayer is for u to find peace and stay in love always. I love u Libby ur love for ur children touches my heart. Oxox

  14. Those pictures, your words. There is so much love in all of it. I’m so sorry you’re going through this…I can’t say I’m sorry enough. Sending so much love and prayer to you, Jonathan, Tony, Nicholas, and Charlotte.

  15. you must still feel like you are on a roller coaster. Jonathan is lucky to have you guys as parents. It’s so hard to explain to a little one what we can hardly fathom. i love the beating the pillow thing, we sometimes gave the kids tennis rackets to beat on the pillow. but that is kind of opening the door to weapons and sometimes backfired!!

    I think people who know you or have listened to your blog aren’t confused as to your feelings. You have to compartmentalize to some degree to get through the day. It’s hard to make dinner or put a bandaid on or play a game or just be there for your kids otherwise.

    Hang in there kid.

  16. My love to you Libby… I am sorry you are going through this! This is so wrong on so many levels.. But as a family that loves each other so much you will survive through it together and pick each other up together she is with you every step of the way … God bless you xx

  17. I am filled with so much love at the fact that you and Jonathan found a connection and you were able to truly show him – with full emotion- how to express his angries w/o hurting someone else. It took courage to show that vulnerable side of yourself to him and I want to believe that will help him in his own grieving process. I wish I had a magical word to make this easier, but I don’t think there is one. Even though there are days where you can do nothing, you are healing one day at a time. Reading the comments from other readers, shows that what you post is helping so many to understand and to work through their personal healing as well. Thank you for having the courage to continue to share even in your darkest of days. Sending you love and prayers from San Francisco.

  18. We are all but strangers. Souls walking different paths, living different lives. Yet, all feeling this connection to you and your family and to your jennifer. Because of your journey that I’ve followed since day one, I can say, I am so much more present. I hug and kids my boys every chance I get. I see so much of the dark side of loss in my field of work. (911 dispatcher). I take more time now, just to be present. To listen attentively and not distracted.

    I can’t listen to “let her go” without sobbing like a baby and feeling such a deep sense of loss. Not my personal loss. Your loss. The worlds loss. So just know, years will pass, we will all grow but the world, so many seperate souls will never forget her and her amazing brown eyes and beautiful smile. Let her Go will never be heard the sane again by me. That song, is her song.

  19. Just wanted you to know that I am still here, still reading and my family and I are still praying. Every night my 6year old girl prays for your family and we grieve for you too.

  20. I don’t know you personally but I do know you through your blog. I also know you as a sister in Christ. I cry elephant tears as I read your blogs about your sweet precious baby girl. I am so deeply sorry for your pain. I lost my brother 18 months ago without a chance to say goodbye and although I no longer cry everyday, my pain is still raw. Let your heart feel the pain and give it up to God. “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” Phil 4:13
    God bless you and your entire family.

  21. Have you thought of having a quilt made out of her favorite clothing? That way, you will never have to put them away, never stop seeing them, or touching them. Have them there to grab and hold close and comfort you for as long as you want them.

    Even after the kids grow out of them having them there, tangible, to talk about and touch each piece of clothing to be able to connect with the memory attached. I hear many people do this with their babies clothing that they can’t get rid of.

  22. The grow up so fast…only if you are lucky. Struck me. Took my breath away. Stopped me. Convicted me. I couldn’t read anymore til I let u know I won’t forget that sentence. Ever. Now I will continue reading….

  23. They are so lucky to have you, Libby. I look forward to your posts every day and I get choked up every time I read one. Thank you for sharing your life with all of us. xo

  24. The last picture of you and your
    Jennifer…dreamy. Now that is a moment. You are doing a
    great job with Jonathan. Keep going.
    Much love.

  25. The clothes must be so hard because as you’ve described before, Jennifer was such a clotheshorse and changed outfits several times a day…these garments now have such emotional significance. It’s beautiful you can share some with Charlotte…they are still hand-me-downs from the sweet absent hand of Jennifer.

  26. You are so brave and I wish you weren’t having to go through all of this. You are such a wonderful mother and I know your children are going to appreciate all that you are doing for them during this time. Sending you love and prayers.


  27. praying. constantly praying for you and your beautiful family. and crying. again, you are doing an amazing job. you are.

  28. Another lump in my throat as I read your blog. I loved Shirley’s comment about doing things differently if I had a chance to do it over again. I wouldn’t clean so much, I would have played more. I wouldn’t have been so uptight and played more. I would have moved forward after divorce in a different direction and played more. Libby you are taking every moment in and you are so in tune with what Jonathan needs. You’ll move forward but you won’t have regrets and you’ll never forget. I know I will never see glitter the same or a dragon fly. I will notice the colors more. Hugs and prayers to your family.

  29. I am crying, I mean…I pretty much always do when I read your journey, but I am crying that God is amazing enough to channel through you this…totally breathtaking power. It takes strength to get through life but more to get through death. Here you are, with a devestated heart, but your spirit is not broken…you march on, with an incredible balance of love, grief, compassion, and relentless, beautiful mothering.

    You didn’t deserve this suffering! It really upsets me…why do the strong ones get dealt this card? Why not the shitty parents who don’t love their kids? I know that is an awful thing to think but I see your beauty as a mom and it just makes me angry that your beautiful daughter was taken way too soon.

    It really is confusing…you however…you are a heroine.

  30. Yes, I have seen the families of soldiers lost in Afganistan making quilts from their clothing as it was mentioned by the previous post. I thought of this idea when I read your words about looking at her dresses in the closet . Immediately in my mind I thought Jonathan would love to have his own quilt . And of course , you too. That way it would be a comforting , tangible reminder of happy times. As always, my daily prayers and thoughts are with you and your family.

  31. Libby,
    I always long to read your words. Your such an inspirational mother. The pictures you post of your memories and the patience you have with your children make me want to be a better mom. Please never stop writing!

  32. Thank you so much for sharing that moment Libby. It’s exactly as it should have been. I’m so grateful that the two of you shared that moment. <3

  33. I just re-read this and am feeling so heartbroken for Jonathan. For you, for him. Little boys shouldn’t have such deep griefs; it isn’t fair. He should be upset about the smaller failures of childhood: toys that break or waiting for your turn when you’re impatient. I’m wishing strength for both of you, and an always-available pillow to work out the angries.

  34. Reading about the clothes, do you or anyone you know quilt? A quilt made out of various pieces of Jennifer’s clothing is something you will always cherish and can wrap yourself up in with cherished memories. A dear friend of my sister lost her daughter a little over a year ago and has asked that Nancy make a quilt out of pieces of clothing. Sending you lots of love and healing prayers.

  35. Today I understand that you are such a great Mother and person. Your children all of them are in such an honest, loving, home with parents that are being real with every emotion about life as it is today. You are doing such justice to your entire family. Love You, Crystie

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