5 months

****I mentioned before we had really really spotty service on our trip so I didn’t blog but took notes on my phone what I was thinking/feeling****

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Our trip was lovely. Truly a escape and so wonderful to be with just the baby and my husband.. but the dark hit hard coming home. I wish I had written when I was there. I think there would have been some positive notes in it.. Like about how it went to work on the business plan for the non-profit… (it went well we had good talks and it was good time spent together) but this now will be the truth I see and feel currently.

 

 

It ain’t pretty.

I am exhausted.. all the time lately. But I need to write. It will likely be very choppy. I feel like I am bursting at the seams.. so I am just going to write. Up alone in a quiet house I will release.

I did a lot of looking through pictures on my computer while we were gone. I looked at me and wondered if I would ever look like that again. I am so changed.. so aged in such a brief amount of time.

I get lost in pictures . .a desperation starts to build. . to take hold of me. I want to absorb the pictures.. to pull them into me and make them become part of me. Its not logical but its palpable.

.. the heavy sits on me. I think. .

NO!

I want her back. The depth of my despair over missing her hits me. The finality. That she is never coming back. That I will never hold her again. Or touch her face. Her face is gone.

cremated. soon to be buried.

.. .a piece of me breaks away.

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I want us back. All of us. Not just her… I want me. I want the spark in my husbands eyes back.. my children’s innocence. I want us.. the old 6 of us.But those people are gone now too. I never did say goodbye.. .

 

We hit 5 months since her diagnosis while we were away. Walking back to the house that morning after breakfast for a moment I looked at Tony and thought “this is nice”.. that didn’t last long, immediately I thought about how we shouldn’t be here right now. We weren’t supposed to have lost her already.

Thats the trade off isn’t it? The “deal” we were given. We got the warning in exchange for the slow ending..

We got time.. .we got knowledge she would die.. we were supposed to have more time to make memories and be together. Almost all of what we did have..3.5 months was spent at Stanford during radiation treatment…Its isn’t fair.

We got shorted 6 months.. 5 good months. I knew I would have to watch her slowly die. Likely suffer.

Thats the trade off .. .

We got screwed. We didn’t get those 5 good months.. and I still had to watch her suffer. Far more than I ever imagined. She lost her speech. Her sight. Her mobility. She wasn’t able to eat.. or even drink.

No laughs. No smiles.

.. no hugs or kisses.

She knew she was dying.

God damnit. God fucking damnit.

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that wasn’t the deal. .

I am eternally grateful for the time I got with her during her radiation treatment. But I was planning on more. For all of us together.. For her and I to have more talks. . to just be mother and daughter… just a bit longer.

Not child being treated for cancer turned child dying from cancer.

 

 

I found myself on that walk in silence yearning not for the lifetime we lost.. just the months.

5 months.

We walked. A lot on this trip. We collected shells to add to her collection and to ours. We also wrote her name each day in the sand. It was there. Briefly. We knew it would be washed away when high tide came. But I enjoyed seeing it and knowing we could have a piece of her with us.. as well as leave a piece of her in that ocean.

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Driving home I told Tony how it was easy to be tricked into comfort… that without all of our oldest 3 with us it didn’t feel so real that one of them is dead. Almost like she was away at college. I was sad.. but not distraught over it.. I could pretend easier. Coming home though I was scared.. what would it be like when the mirage gets exposed?

answer: It sucked. Hard.

We got the boys and then headed to a birthday party. Our first post death event that wasn’t focused on her. I felt like I was drunk.. so out of it. Our boys had a blast running around throwing balls and bouncing balloons.. It was hard for me the whole time.. but hit overload status when I watched 2 little boys that adored my Jennifer, little men that proclaimed plans to marry her.. 2 boys that when she was with them both together looked like she was half on cloud nine half scared she got busted…

2 boys now playing with another little girl.

Oh thats so hard to write.. to expose.. My anguish.

my jealousy.

That should have been her. She should have been there. I am not lying when I say all the kids there around her age would have been clamoring to play with her. And she would have played with them all.. and she would have taken breaks to take care of baby Charlotte for me. I would have reminded her to let her little brothers play too if they wanted.. She would have.

she wasn’t there though. She will never be at a party with us again.

Will I be a grandma at my grandchild’s birthday one day and look around the room.. and feel her void? Will I imagine that it should be her cutting the cake and handing it out? A grandma.. thats so far away in this lifetime of mine.. yet I will go through all days weeks.. years.. .

months

without her.

I bailed. I told Tony I needed a break and I took the baby and went outside. Unfortunately something was lost in translation and Nicholas followed me out the door. So I sat on the side of the building with my youngest 2 .. he looked at me and knew. A terrible new truth I never wanted my 2 yr old to know..

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“You sad Mommy?”

 

Luckily he had to pee so I brought him to Daddy and a friend took Charlotte and I made a real escape. I was barely out the door when the sobs lept out. I walked…and I talked to her. I wanted to break something. Rip apart the world around me the way I was being torn apart from the inside.

Unbeknownst to me a friend followed.. that day it turned out to be a good thing because if she hadn’t called for me I think I would still be walking around in my fury and sorrow.  I released… just for a moment with her.

raw. pure.

I looked in the mirror today and noticed I burst blood vessels above my eyes .. its becoming my new look.

I cant recall much of what was said.. but we walked back and then we said our goodbyes and loaded into the car. One party down.. one more to go.

I’m apparently a bit of a overachiever. We had previously said yes to another party for the same day. A thank you being thrown by the organizers of the recent local fundraiser dinner for the people that helped them. To say I was now extra nervous after what had just happened would be a understatement.

.. I was wrong though.

I dont know if it was the release I had already had.. or that these were all new people. New kids. Or even kids playing in the other room but it wasn’t as hard. We had a good time. The kids had a good time. I worried about the other little girls around Jennifer’s age being there.. in part for me but also for J0nathan. Tony talked with him afterwards.. it did make him a little sad but he liked it. He was actually quite drawn to the other girls around his big sisters age.

Oh now I remember too.. at the first party that little girl was flanked by 3 boys..

Jonathan was the final one.

he also agreed that the first party for some reason was harder than the second one. I am trying so hard to not try to figure out why.. but just go with it. Follow his lead and his needs. Which right now means he needs time with little girls Jennifer’s age.

That thank you party was close to our home so I drove the little ones while Tony and Jonathan walked in the rain . .that would have been her normally. Well except that we wouldn’t be meeting these new people without her being gone… so nothing normal about anything involving the Kranz’s anymore.. . I try to remind myself how happy it would make her to see us building new relationships. She enjoyed meeting new friends.

Hopefully we aren’t too broken to make these new relationships thrive. That they can withstand the onslaught of my sudden spurts of grief.

I am starting to recall a few of my dreams. Not many.. just enough to know my nights are full of what my days are too..

nightmares. Bitter, gritty nightmares.

This explains why I wake up tired. I went for run today still. Came home to little boys who wanted to go for a walk so we strapped Charlotte in a stroller and headed right out. Jonathan wanted to go for the walk but he wanted to control it for some reason.. control who went. Nicholas was just ready to get going so we headed out first while Tony sorted Jonathan out. I need to remember to ask how he did that.. how he got through to him. Maybe it was that the rest of us headed out and didnt continue negotiations.. We try to give him control as often as we can.. so much in his little life is out of control.. but he has to be able to give up a bit of that control once in awhile.. the walk was one of those things.

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I was a bit of a mess today.. just crying any chance I got. The moment I sat still the tears crept in.. Days like today I try to find ways to honor her memory.. or make new memories with the kids. One of her favorite treats was indoor picnics. I would surprise her and Jonathan and lay out a blanket and treats and we would drink sparkling cider out of wine glasses.

 

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Did that today for lunch. Tony and Nicholas’ first time joining us. They were surprised and they loved it. It simultaneously made the void more apparent and made me feel closer to her.

Had to keep moving to keep from curling in a ball.. so I cleaned the kitchen with my fancy new no chemical cleaner that I ordered after seeing it on tv. I cannot. cannot  beleive I have become that person. I was never like that. Now I worry about everything. I looked at the bottle and read that its gluten free..

cue guilt.. that I should have gotten certified gluten free cleaning products while she was alive.

Most dinners I try to do family style now. Her most favorite way to eat. But its a lot of extra work and dishes. So I didnt do it all that often. I figured when they were older I would do it more often.. Not as picky about food and able to cut up what they are served by themselves.

Why did I wait til she was dead for so much?

I’m sorry baby girl. Sorry for not being better for you. Sorry and so sad right now. That you had to die to for me to learn… for me to be this mom for your siblings.

I want it back.

You back.

To live this time. This right now.

..those lost damned 5 months.

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46 Responses to “5 months”

  1. I can’t describe how much I hurt for you Libby. We will never meet but I pray for you daily, think of you constantly and can I be bold enough to say it, love you and your family. All 6 of you. Yes you did get screwed and there’s no way in the universe that what has happened to you is right or fair. So I’m not going to use platitudes about God’s plan or how this will all make sense one day. However I do believe God loves all 6 of you including the one who my deepest hope tells me is being cradled in His arms as I write this, and so my prayer is that His love covers your pain and supports you daily until you see your baby again.

  2. Why does there have to be that trade off? All these new things we learn of ourselves and others, but we have to lose a life before it all becomes clear….. It’s just not fair.
    Thinking if you always. So glad your back!

  3. No matter what, you were a good mother to her. It does suck that you had to learn these lessons through the loss of her, but you were still a good mother to her. We can see it in the pictures, in your descriptions, and in the events you have written about. You have made many of us (me included) better mothers because of what you did for her and what you continue to do for the other three.

    I continue to pray for you all. For healing (though I know never fully healed), grace, and some understanding.

  4. Sending you love and prayers. I’m glad you were able to spend time together and that there was time for you to focus on the nonprofit that we will all be supporting you with.

    Sending you hugs and prayers.

    Vanessa

  5. Just wanted to say that I read your blog everyday.. I think of you, Jennifer, and the rest of your lovely family everyday.
    Tasha xx (Australia)

  6. Your posts often give me goosebumps, especially at the end. Again, I don’t know what to say other then I’m sorry. Even though those words don’t express my sorrow for you enough. I wish I could do more, say more to make you feel better. Although the only thing that will heal you, is Jennifer herself.

    I am glad you were able to get away, I’m so sorry that coming home was so difficult. I think as you manage to get thru different situations, you will learn to expect certain feelings. Keep going, Libby. You are incredible, you are amazing and however, heartbreaking – your kids are learning such valuable life lessons. Just as they are teaching you.

    You are broken and scarred from Jennifer’s passing, but it cannot break your true spirit. That light may seem dim to you, but to me it shines. Allow it to shine without guilt – to keep being kind to yourself.

  7. Big hugs, Libby. I know it may not seem like it from where you are standing, but you are (and always have been) a fantastic mom. You continue to be in my prayers….

  8. Sweet Libby. All that you have done and are doing as a Mother, It’s enough. You care about all of the little details and that is enough for all 4 of them. You care about the big picture too. There are no report cards ( although you are an honor roll Mom to me). I just want to encourage you to slowly accept that you are a good Mom. To take some pressure off of yourself. I am so proud of you for trying the parties and the trip and the picnic. You amaze me….

  9. There are no words. My heart aches for you. It wasnt enough time. It never is. My brother had CF from birth. There was always a “expected” age he’d make it to. It didnt matter when the end came it still was hard. We did it like he wanted-home with all of us and I am so grateful. Hes been gone 9 years this week. He never got to see 16. He never did graduation or college or marriage or children. All things that the rest of us have gotten to. I’ll be honest, some days its odd like someone is missing and some days are busy and it doesnt hit. Reading your blog I see more of how my parents felt. My children know their uncle through stories.
    I feel guilty yet glad. A close girlfriend has a 3 year old girl going through a 3 year treatment for her cancer. I feel mixes of guilt that you would be jealous of her and gladness that its treatable. She was diagnosed in Aug. My husband was diagnosed in oct. Same time as your Jennifer. I read your blog and I think that could have been me. I keep thinking no one gets what 6 monthes has meant in our family. I also dont get what 3.5 monthes has changed in yours. Again there are no real words. I only share pieces of your story. I can promise that you and your family are in our prayers. I am so utterly sorry that you did not get your 5 months or the following 70 years with your sweet girl.

  10. You are a great mother and you were to Jennifer, as well! I read things in your posts that I have never done with my kids. I hate to admit it, but its true. The picnics in the house, for example. I will start now…because of you…because of Jennifer…thinking and praying for you all!

  11. I am so sorry you were robbed. My heart hurts for you and I wish I had the words and power to heal you. Sending hugs and prayers.

  12. God chose YOU to be Jennifer’s mom. He knew everything you would be to her. He knew everything you would do for her, and He knew everything you wouldn’t, or couldn’t, or didn’t think to do. He pre-approved it ALL, knowing you were a PERFECT FIT. As a mother I know that no matter how much I do for my children, I can ALWAYS find ways to make myself feel guilty about the things I never did. We simply can’t do it all. We can only do our best with the info we are given and the knowledge (and energy) we have at the time, and pray that God’s grace fills in the blanks. You, like the rest of us, are bound by human limits which wax and wane daily based on so many things. With or without frequent family style meals for example, Jennifer still had all the fun, and attention, and love, and family she needed. You can certainly tell Jennifer you’re sorry for your shortcomings or the things you’re changing now to “be a better mom”, (and do it if it releases some of the pressure and helps you feel better) but you truly don’t need to say it for her sake. Survivors guilt can be torturous and crushing. I will be praying specifically against the grip of guilt for you.

    Jennifer (and the younger 3) have THE MOM God created specifically for them. Pre-approved. PERFECT FIT. You did it right. All of it.

    So much love for all six of you.

  13. I don’t know you but you break my heart every day. As I read your words, my kids are running and playing and yelling. My oldest even looks a little like your Jennifer. And I’m crying for you. I think I even cry a little for the kind of mom I am. I don’t want to put things off until it’s too late. You’re teaching me lessons that I am so thankful I have today to fix. Tomorrow isn’t promised for any of us and I thank God every single day that my babies are healthy. It can turn so fast. Your words are so real and make me hurt for you all. I do pray that you all keep finding ways to be happy…even if for just little moments at a time. Keep honoring her and loving each other. I admire the way you and your husband work through things. I try to think what my husband and I would do but then I can’t believe I’m putting us in such a situation. Like I’m jinxing us. I hate this for you. And even though it makes me cry, I will keep reading. You capture me with your “realness” and I will keep reading and crying and praying.

  14. I am so sorry for this loss. A child, the worst loss in life. My heart goes out to you for being so brave, sharing your story and your hurt inside. Please know that so many people are with you and love you and your sweet family!!! I hope today is a good day!!

  15. Libby, My heart goes out to you and your sweet family, I read your bloggs everyday, you are such a loving mother with so much love to give, and in all the pictures you post you can see how much Jennifer knew that. You and your family are doing the best you can to get through this unimaginable hard time.
    I do have to say that reading your blogs eveyday helps me in hectic days to stop, breathe and cherish every moment, and take even 10 min out of a busy workday and spend quality time with my two younger children, and i thank you for that.
    Your Precious sweet precious Angel has impacted so many lives and she will never be forgotten.
    So keep blogging For you, For Jennifer, and all of us Readers. Xo

  16. I read your blog daily and although we have never met, I just wanted to let you know that you and your family are often in my thoughts. I finally felt the urge to write and let you know that I’m here and listening. Sending hugs and prayers.

  17. Im so so sorry Libby. I cry for you I cry for Jennifer. I wish there was more I could do for you. I wish with all my heart things were different.

  18. Tears. Praying for “something”…just not sure what. Hoping that God knows what I’m praying for. I suppose it’s comfort….they say He knows what I’m praying for before I actually say the words…even when we don’t know ourselves. Hugs.

  19. Libby, as I read your blog and listen to the song “Brave”, I cant help thinking that the song seems to speak more of you and how you are feeling through all your sorrow. Say what ever you want to say; we are all here to listen, cry with you, feel your pain and send you hugs.
    You are a wonderful mother, a wonderful wife and a wonderful person. Take the time that you need to heal; days, weeks, years…it doesnt matter. There is no time frame to follow for grieving. Take time for you, Tony and the kids and just be… <3

  20. Oh Libby u touch my soul when u write about ur sweet jennifer. I am deeply sorry for ur sadness and u are always in my prayers. Stay strong.

  21. Libby Libby Libby..my heart breaks for you…Think about it…it just is not practical to have family dinners all the time with 4 little kiddos…there was plenty of time for that later ( you did not know)..You are a wonderful Mother and you are feeling guilty of not giving Jennifer the things that she liked..You have taught us all a lesson and to cherish our children more but I still could not have family dinners all the time..I do not know if I will post this …but if I do I am writing with good intentions and trying to make you stop feeling guilty with things that at the end of day do not matter..she was a really happy child all her needs + were met by you and Tony..Do not be too hard on yourself.xx

  22. Remember that you can not be the perfect mom and wife to every person all the time. Those of us with more than one kid constantly make choices to make sure everyone is getting what they need. You come from a big family. You know that. Jennifer has the love of a big family. Way cooler than gluten free cleaning spray.

  23. You were and continue to be a wonderful mother. Allowing your friends and family to see you grieve is a gift. Let others support you like you have done for Jennifer and your family. You did everything in your power to save her and she knows it.

    Continued prayers for all of you. ❤️

  24. I talked about you in my class today. It was “Carpe Diem” day for our poetry class and I talked about you jumping into the tub with your clothes on. You are an extraordinary person.

  25. You are so much more than you give yourself credit for. Day by day, you are making it. Wisdom beyond your years.

  26. One thing I will never do is give you advice through my comments… I’m here to support, to show love for you and Jennifer, to empathize as best I can… but not to give advice. I went back and read through your blog tonight – every one. Every entry was impactful but one part stood out…as you stated tonight that she had to die for you to learn…I don’t think so. You already knew, your children were already your biggest priority, you already appreciated them beyond words – of course you still had to make choices, do laundry, make meals, not do family style for every meal, not say “yes” every time…but you knew and appreciated them with every fibre of your being… these were your words….
    ** I looked around at these parents and I wanted to grab them and scream.
    “Do you know how lucky you are? Appreciate it.”
    I know all too well its impossible to parent like that. To truly live in and enjoy every moment. **
    You are an amazing woman and mother. Your grief overwhelms you, because you are an amazing woman and mother. Just remember your words – “it is impossible to parent like that”. You did the most amazing job for Jennifer, and I know you appreciated every moment, and she left this earth so loved and so cared for. To her, you were the best mommy in the world. Our children are the ultimate evaluators of our jobs as parents (and they are generally harsh critics). So “best mommy in the world” is the highest honour you could ever achieve. Try and be proud of the wonderful job you have done and will continue to do as her mom, and Jonathan, Nicholas and Charlotte’s mom too (because I’m sure they give you the highest honour too).

  27. I pray for you guys nearly every time I read a new blog.. Jennifer is always on my heart. I’m a 17 year old kid, and I swear I’m only 4 at heart. Anyways, I read this post early this morning and have been thinking of you all day. You have mentioned how looking at pictures helps.. And tonight I was thinking of the Lion King when Rafiki tells Simba that his dad is alive because he lives in him (Simba and obviously everyone else who loves him).. And it made me think.. Jennifer lives in you and all the people who love her!!! I’m beyond blessed to remember this little girl (that I never met) through you. You are a very strong and amazing woman/mother. I’ll be praying EXTRA hard.tonight(:

  28. Keep praying for peace and comfort from above. It will come. Have faith in He that giveth and taketh away. Impossible as it may seem, His plan is for a reason. I know this is true. You will wake up with the strength to go on. Maybe not tomorrow or the next, but with FAITH it WILL come. Continued prayers for you and yours, Libby.

  29. I read a posting today from Wendy on Brendan’s Bible Blessings that having a child die is like experiencing a 12.0 earthquake. It is completely devastating at the epicenter-everything is leveled and has to be completely rebuilt, which takes time and lots of energy. Others feel the ripples of it and the “aftershocks.” I am not at the epicenter, or even close to it, of your earthquake. But I have felt it, and continue to feel it, and will continue to do something. I am sorry you were robbed of that time. I think of the song “One More Day” by Diamond Rio whenever I think of your loss. No amount of time would ever have been enough. I am so sorry for your loss. But know this, while I do not know you other than what you have shared on this blog and you do not know me, even if you stopped writing, my heart has been changed. I am in this fight because if it were my kids, I would want people to care.

  30. Oh, Libby. Oh. You were robbed. You absolutely were. And it SUCKS. Every single ounce of it. If there was a way to change the raw deal your family was given…

    And like Katherine H., I aim for support over advice. I have not walked an inch in your shoes, I cannot presume to know the world, the pain, you find yourself in now. But I know that, no matter how roughly you judge yourself now, you were making the absolute best, most loving decisions you could with the information you had at the time you had it. Corralling multiple small children at dinnertime isn’t easy and family style dinner is lovely, but not easy or practical with tiny hands reaching and knocking things over. Throw in special requests and it just makes more sense to present each child with a plate of food, restaurant style. So, no advice, but a plea of support, please be kind to yourself today – your self of a year ago was simply doing the best she could with what she knew.

  31. I wish I had a pair of glasses that when I took them off and handed them to you .. You could still see yourself through my eyes. The person that I know and see. You have always been a amazing mother. Jennifer has the best mother to learn from on how to be so nurturing. You always counted and professed your blessings, on days I forgot to count mine. Your still amazing, and Jennifer is still so proud.

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