are you reading this?

Let me first start by sharing that Wes from Coast Range Cross Fit is in the games this weekend.. we would be cheering him on.. and in awe of all the athletes anyways.. but him wearing a Unravel Pediatric Cancer shirt gave a little extra boost!

Such a full day.

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**so perfectly imperfect**

It started off with a friend coming over to talk Unravel stuff.. Since I felt like she was doing me a favor I wasn’t the mom I should have been.. the mom I want to be to the boys. Instead of getting off my lazy ass and getting them batteries for the bubble machine I kept just telling them to go off and play..

Two reasons that was hard for me.. First it made me hyper aware she is gone. I thought I had done such a good job raising kids content to go off and play on their own. But since the leader is gone its like they don’t know how to anymore. Second.. I clearly thought in my head I will just do it later. I know better than anybody….

later isn’t always an option.

lesson learned. I will not do that again. As soon as my (wonderful) friend left we did a easy craft.. next time I will have something set up for them to do to keep them happy. They should always be priority number one.

We ended up outside listening to music and having a dance party. Jonathan asked for “girl on fire” . Its his Jennifer song.. the one he chose for the picture video montage at her services. He asks for it a lot in the car but I tell him I cant choose what is on the radio. I realized that at home I can choose what we play. So we did that and Brave.. and then I wanted to see her video.

Me and my 3 youngest went inside to watch her it. Nicholas in typical 2yr old fashion just yells wanting to see himself. Charlotte still looks up when she hears her sisters voice and laugh .. and Jonathan.. he watches.

he yearns.

just like me.

At one point I was standing and watching.. maybe swaying and singing a little to the song. He almost tackled me.. the force of his emotions barreling into me. It only took me a moment to realize what was happening..it was the same way he was at Camp Okizu. .

real tears.

full of such sorrow and heart break.

fierce.

He doesn’t know what to do with it … he doesn’t know how to let it out or not let it out.. it just takes over him.

tears a 4 yr old isn’t capable of understanding. .. it must be scary for him.

I held him then.. and I cried too… truthfully .. tears this 34 yr old isn’t capable of understanding.

Of despair for my two oldest.. the one in my arms and the one who died in them..

I told him how proud I was of him.. that he needed me and he came to me. That it was the right thing to do. That it is ok to hurt that deep.. to miss that much.. That’s my biggest message to both my boys.. that whatever they feel is ok.. happy… sad.. mad.. its all ok as long as they find the right way to deal with it. That family leans on each other.. He knows that … at 4 he has already held me as I cry. Been strong enough to support me. What a man he will **please God please God please** be.

They had some play-doh time and after some colors were mixed he said it looked like a heart. I told him it was just like my heart.. combination of colors.. early on after she died.. maybe even before a friend wrote talking about how she doesn’t think our hearts grow with a new child its more like adding in another color and mixing it around. So all of our kids have all of hearts. I want my living loves to always know even though she has my whole heart..they do too. The play-doh was a good visual of that idea..

Tony worked late so we ate sitting on top of the counters for fun .. Nicholas went potty and came back and wanted to put his pants on himself. He did it. But didn’t care about my kudos.. he ran to Jonathan wanting to be congratulated. I was ready to sharply whisper “say good job” ..

I didn’t have to.

In that moment it flooded back.. the way it was with her. They all just wanted approval from her and she was always so willing to give it out. The way he put down his crayon and looked at his little brother..and in a put on high pitched voice.”Good job Nicholas.”

I remembered.  her . us . them .

The boys have been bickering.. his toe is on my chair kinda problems.. something that is uncharted territory for me. I have IMG_0392been working on a simple reward system for them. Do something nice for a sibling I draw a smily face on your arm.. both boys playing well together get a heart, (so they can only both get a heart) and extra good sibling acts earns a star. ..They are actually eating it up!

I walked around the bar to Jonathan and grabbed a pen and drew a smiley face for him.. and whispered to him how he proud I was.. how he was doing for Nicholas exactly what Jennifer had done for him. Just like us.. going there.. to the deep pain of missing her.. the feeling there are no words for seemed to make way for the best of him to emerge.

We decided to go for a walk. Nicholas got both of their shoes without being asked.. for those hours tonight I felt like us again. . imperfect in so many ways.. but my kids taking care of each other. At one point I cried. Nicholas with his now trademarked statement of

“you sad mommy”

How good it felt to grab his chubby face and say no.. I’m happy … you made me happy.. he followed up with..

“not Jonathan” .. he is still 2 after all so even in the brightest moments he’s competitive like me!! and can always make me IMG_4629laugh.

I snapped a pic of them out front ready for our walk..

and I remembered the last walk we had before we knew the clock was ticking.. might even have been our last family walk ever.  I had a glass of wine on our jammie walk.. I remember it had been a “long hard day”.. I was trying to turn it around.. How I miss that innocence. .thinking I had any clue what constituted hard. IMG_2225

Our walk was more of the same.. the way they spoke to each other.. ran together shouting “running time” and “freeze”. It was like for this evening we were whole, full, …almost us again.

It felt simultaneously good and comfortable/hard and painful. To be so close to the family we once were I could almost touch it.. .. winding down my night now I am not sure how exactly I feel about all of it … to be so reminded of what was once so familiar..  Like how the cold hits so hard when you you get out of a warm bath. .. but if you go back in it’s never really the same.

it feels like she is being ripped away again.. or maybe its me.. just too terrified to let her in. Do I push her away? If I can’t have all of her I will accept none of her? I want to believe she was here helping them.. guiding them.. but I am so scared to. JLK reading to her brothers

Did you learn to really read honey? Are you reading over my shoulder every night as I cry and type?

I love you Jennifer. I miss you so very much. I am glad you are out of pain… really I am .. I just really really miss you baby girl.

I love you.

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44 Responses to “are you reading this?”

  1. I forget exactly what I was doing today, but whatever it was I started thinking of you and Jennifer. It’s really hard to imagine that the little beauty queen is not here anymore, so I would say I am sure she is here.

    I see how you want to take every single moment and concentrate on your kids so you have those memories, but there is no guilt in letting them play by themselves. As much as it is scary it is good to let them be self efficient. You don’t ever need to beat yourself up because one thing has shown through in all of your writing: As much as you struggled as she was dying, and as much as you struggle now after her body is gone, your kids are happy. Happy kids show you you are doing exactly the right thing. I have gone back over some of your posts the see you in the morning one got me. It’s hard to believe I have followed you through a lifetime of pain all in a few short months. Keep on keeping on Libby your doing a great job!

  2. Imperfectly perfect. I LOVE that picture of the 6 of you.

    I have not been where you are, but as a sibling who lost a sibling, I can tell you this is a glimpse of what everyone calls “the new normal.” It is simultaneously happy/fun and sad/glaringly obvious that a vital piece is missing. We had my brother’s college graduation this week. The “whole” family was there…whole minus one. It was the same as at my wedding. Whole, minus one. It’s a new kind of happy. That’s the only way I can really put it into words. As happy as it can get, given the circumstances. A new definition. I am glad to see your family is experiencing it, even if for just a few moments each day.

    I’d like to think she does read. She can do anything and everything. Don’t be afraid to look for signs. Every once in a while I get a sign from my brother. Always brief, fleeting, and makes me wonder if it was….but they happen when I really need them, and I can’t doubt that it IS him and it IS for a reason.

    Continued love and prayers for all 6 of you.

  3. I’m amazed at your ability to be in the moment with your kids and aware of the dynamics. I thought I was analytical! You are so present for your children and wanting to support and enrich their lives. They are truly blessed to have you for a mom.
    I think it’s good that the kids have their down time where they entertain themselves. I’ve been surprised what mine will invent or imagine when I’m not in the mix.
    You’re doing such a good job thinking of ways to encourage working together, supporting each other as a family. I love the happy face, heart and star idea. What a great way to catch them doing the right things! I might have to borrow that idea and the one about going for a walk in their pajamas or sitting on the kitchen counters for a meal.(Well maybe the last one is a little too crazy for me 😉 Its the little things that make for fun and memories.
    I think reading your blog has helped me to be more spontaneous and to say yes a little more with my kids. Its given me more perspective.

    And yes, we’re out here reading this. Always listening, praying and hoping for some way to encourage or help make this less painful. Most of the time at a loss for words. But we care, we love, and we’re cheering you on!

  4. Libby I believe Jennifer is always right there with you in everything and every where you go. She’s a whisper in your ear a tickle in your heart as long as you believe and keep her memories she’ll always be there. When little things happen and she comes to your mind remember she’s really there that’s her way of letting you know she’s there with you. Big hugs and angel kisses

  5. Still reading. Still admiring you and hurting for you and your family, Jonathan especially. I think you are a great mom as well. I wish so much she wasn’t gone. The stories about her make me smile and its obvious why you all miss her. Sending you much love.

  6. Libby, yes I am here reading every word. I will never leave… Im in this for the long haul. My heart breaks for you, for Jonathan. Such raw pain no one should have to go through. I miss JLK so much and I never met her personally. I am so glad Wes is wearing an Unravel t-shirt. Spreading the Glitter. Go Team Unravel! Go team Glitter! You such an amazing mother. Such an inspiration. You dont know me Libby but I got nothing but love for you, for your family. God Bless you

  7. She was a beautiful little girl/Now a beautiful Angel. You don’t know me and I don’t know you but I feel like I do. I read your blogs. All of them. You are such a strong young lady! Keep blogging because you have many followers who need to know that you and your family will be OK. I am one of them. You are amazing!

  8. wow, you are amazing – not many people can pull themselves apart every day and put it all back together again to try and do it better. Thank you for the reminder to try!

    Go Wes! That is so cool to see him wear the Unravel Pediatric Cancer Shirt while working so hard!

  9. Libby you are such an incredible mom, even while sorting through your deepest pain you are navigating with such a high level of strength and grace and most of all unhindered love for your family. I have the highest level of respect for you and look forward to seeing what you are going to do – I am still so heartbreangly sorry for your loss of JLK but through sharing your experience we are all able to love her too! Sending you hugs and love and prayers for peace. I hope you feel her and find her everywhere you go!

  10. Still reading? Absolutely! Along with sending love and prayers every single day. You know. . .I haven’t posted for awhile as felt I had nothing new to say but today, while the post is as eloquent and heart wrenching and sad and I have tears, I also had smiles as I heard a lot of positives as to how you are all coping. Don’t know just what it was, but feel better for all of you right now. No, I know the loss will always be there, but today I just felt more hope and peace for you as a family! Sending love and prayers. . .again!

  11. I love these photos. My heart still aches for you but so happy you are finding happiness. Sending hugs xxoo

  12. Hi Libby,
    I read your title as if you were asking Jennifer if SHE was reading your blog. I didn’t think you needed reassurance that we, some who know you and some that don’t, are hanging on to every blog you write. You have changed all of us in good ways. I thank you for that. Thank you for unselfishly sharing your life with us. I think Jennifer IS reading, and I think she is encouraging you to continue blogging. Hugs…

  13. I am here, and I am reading. Everyday. My thoughts and prayers are continually with you and your family. I am in constant awe of your strength, and of what a fantastic mom you are. I am here, reading…

  14. I have to believe that she is reading. And just as proud of and filled with love for you all as she always has been.

  15. Hey Libby,
    Just reminding you that this is a new you. It can be both full and empty. It is not the same. It is OK to enjoy it and not to want it at the same time. It is OK to be full of love and full of sad.

    I came across something kinda interesting today — I make video games and am going to a conference with this company: http://thatdragoncancer.com . The game is not out yet, but it is an incredible story. They lost their son this year and also recently added to their family. I am sure you need another cancer story like a hole in the head, but I like the channel they have chosen to tell their story. As you work on unravel, I thought you would maybe see something here that is different.

    hugs.

  16. Libby, you are such an amazing mother. I think about of Jennifer, your beaaamazing Jennifer every single day. I will always be here. If ever yoy need anything at all I am here. Even though I do not know you and have never met you I will always be here for you. I hope to have the privelage of meeting you and your beautiful family someday. All my love to all 6 of you. ♡♡♡♡♡♡

  17. I!
    Want you to know that, I think you are the bravest woman, mother, human that I have ever known “read about” .
    My daughter Bailie, 16 wonderful years old is loosing her battle against her 3rd cancer diagnosis! Her sarcoma has metastasized into her lungs and we have months left with her.
    I started reading your blog when things were just beginning to be grim, only because…1: you have a wonderful story and 2: I didn’t want to feel so alone in our journey. The cancers are different but, take our babies just the same.
    I don’t have a lot, I have a 21 year old son who defines himself as Bailie’s brother, a stepdaughter who doesn’t know any different and friends/family who would do whatever, whenever if necessary.
    Bailie seems well. We just took a huge trip to Paris! Her wishes always come true, I’m sure you understand. I think day and night about what things will be like and then refer back to you, a mother who had lost her child to such a monster. I wonder if I will be as strong, as sad, as hopeful. I struggle with trying not to grieve before it’s necessary.
    Ugh! I want to forget, but she is 16! Fully aware of her fate. Knowing that with everyday she lives, she can easily have 10 more of suffering. It’s so un-predictable in a predictable medical kind of way. I admire your strength and pray for you and your family daily. If I can offer anything, it is this. I know, whole heartedly ( is that a word ) that we as mothers will be with our little peanuts again. In some weird, spiritual, bigger worldly way, we HAVE to be with them again, soul mates. That’s what I like to think. You inspire me. Please, be well and if it means anything, I love you and your family as if you were my own❤️

    1. I am so sorry you and your family is in the same horrible cancer boat .. so many thoughts and prayers to you and yours

  18. I love the picture of all 6 of you…when I was reading this post- “Somewhere over the Rainbow” started on the radio and made me smile:). Prayers for angel hugs and kisses.

  19. Yep…still here reading every day and riding this difficult journey with you. My husband keeps asking why I continue to read and shed tears for someone I don’t even know. So many just feel so connected to you without physically meeting you. I thank you for allowing all of us that don’t physically know you in.
    I’ve seen multiple dragonflies this weekend and instantly think of your Jennifer. Much love and strength Libby, you are incredible.

  20. Wow… wow…forever wow….everything you write resonates with me. Having just emerged from one of those “tough” days, it gives me perspective to think it wasn’t hard, not at all. Thank you for your insights, your thoughts, your goodness.

  21. I am reading, we all are reading and i am sure even sweet little Jennifer is able to “read” what you are feeling and how much you are missing her. Sending so much love and prayers always

  22. So grateful to hear about some moments of peace today! even if they were followed by guilt and tears – they were still there! little victories!! Being a mom and wife is the hardest job ever. At my baby shower last weekend a friend shared about how we want to be “that” perfect mom and deal with everything, well, perfectly and with class! BUT, we are God’s children and, i believe, that just like you, he wants to reach down and draw smiley faces, hearts and stars on our hands when we listen to him, serve others with joy, and come to him with our pain! Thank you for sharing ~ love you and your family!

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