Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Close Your Eyes and Imagine

Think of~

Your daughter.
Your spouse.
Your sister.
Your brother.
Your best friend.
Your father.
Your mother.
Your son.

What would you do for them?

What if what they needed was beyond your reach, but was within the reach of someone else.
Meet Jackson Pype.

Jackson has been battling medical issues since he was a baby.
He's proven to be an amazing fighter but now at age 16, he is in desperate need of your help.
His parents are in desperate need of your help.
His brothers.
His friends.
His family.
His community.
Needs YOU!

Jackson is in desperate need of a bone marrow transplant and YOU could be the one to save him.
His match is out there. 
It could be YOU. 
YOU could be the one who saves this amazing young man!

To "Be the Match" click HERE.
It is painless and costs nothing~
but what it could give is priceless!


So please.

Think of~
A daughter.
A spouse.
A sister.
A brother.
A best friend.
A father.
A mother.
A son.

Please share this!
It could save Jackson's life~ and the lives of others!

I know many of the readers (like I) know the pain of losing a child.
Think of these parents.
We don't want anyone else to lose a child.
Thank you!

Monday, February 5, 2018

This Is Us.

So here I am firing up my computer because I just got done watching "the" episode.
You know.
This Is Us.
If you're reading this blog there's a good chance you watched that first episode and either turned it off because it was too hard~ or got sucked in for more because well... This is us. People like us.

I remember someone telling me I MUST check out the show and I'm not a huge TV watcher but I thought, OK. And right away there we are- I am watching my life- my story- unfold on the screen.

Mom goes in to deliver babies.
One baby doesn't make it.

This is me.

Recently my teenage daughter (my rainbow) started watching the show with me. With a snow-day after the Super Bowl (yay), we both got to stay up to see the infamous #Crockpot episode.

Of course we bawled like babies~ which probably isn't unique to people like us.

And then came the teaser for next week.

I saw the doctor and I put my hand to my mouth and started crying.

My rainbow didn't watch it from the beginning and she looked at me with questioning eyes. I looked at her~ with tears streaming down my face (and I'll admit a few ugly moments where I was catching my breath) and said... "They lost one of their babies. That's how the series started and that doctor knew. He knew just what to say and it brings back so many, many memories of that night with Joe and Andrew." And she cried and understood because just like this is MY story~ it's also her story. It's OUR story.

I am convinced that this show has a writer that has experienced loss. I wonder if we all (who have lost a child) had a moment with a doctor like that. I remember my doctor calling me and checking in and I remember asking her, "What made you call me to come in that day?" (I was scheduled to be induced two weeks after my due date- not one) and she said to me, "God put you in my head that day." I still think back and can remember those words like they were yesterday. They stuck with me. I was (and am) convinced that Andrew had gotten to heaven and told God, "You've got to get that doctor in so she can save my brother! So she can save my mom!!" and He did it. God put me in her head and got Andrew out when he still looked like a pink sleeping baby and got Joe out~ also wrapped in cord but alive and healthy. My doctor saved him. He saved him. That was MY doctor scene.

For those of you not familiar with the show, that first episode the doctor said:

"I like to think that one day you'll be an old man like me talkin' a young man's ear off explainin' to him how you took the sourest lemon that life has to offer and turned it into something resembling lemonade. If you can do that, then maybe you will still be taking three babies home from this hospital, just maybe not the way you planned."

And that spoke to me.
Early on I remember finding it so hard that I couldn't say I had "babies" (plural).
But eventually I did~ just not the way I had planned.

But those babies have helped me to take the sourest lemon life had to offer and turn it into so much more than anything I could have ever dreamt possible.

Andrew and E are still so much a part of me. So close to every thought.
I know that isn't everyone's story. But this is our story.

This. Is. Us.

*** And a note on that picture~ My beautiful friend snapped it years ago and last November sent it to me again. I was curious at first why she would send me that picture again and then I looked more closely. There were two "new" people in the picture (not new to ME but new to others who didn't always see "us" the way we do).

THIS is us.
How I see us.
And she even got E's pigtails the way I saw them in my dreams.


Friday, September 15, 2017


It's September 15th.

For a week I've found myself regularly thinking... "At this time 14 years ago.."
I am amazed at where I've been.
How far I've come.
And I often say it's #BecauseOfAndrew
And it is~partly.

It's funny~ September 15th.
It was the worst day of my life. It was the best day of my life.

Today I have already been moved by friends who have and are doing acts of kindness #BecauseOfAndrew 
~ But like that day I am reminded of the number 2.
There were two very extreme emotions that day.
Two reasons for streaming tears.
Two amazing little boys that changed me.

So while I remember the boy who broke my heart,
Today I also think of the boy who began healing it.
My reason.

The reason I could find my breath after crying so hard I couldn't breathe.
The reason I could get up after my knees would buckle when it was too hard to stand.
The reason I COULD live.

It was all~ #BecauseOfJonasen

And so begins another September 15th where 
I will remember.
I will grieve.
I will celebrate.
I will cry.
I will smile.
I will try my best to give to others an ounce of what I have been given~

Happy Birthday my Sweet Andrew & Jonasen!
Love you both more than you know!

Friday, May 19, 2017

A Moment of Pause

Sometimes you just need to write.
Slow the train down.
Even when you're a teacher with less than 20 days left in the school year and a million things on your plate left to do.

I don't know if it was because I went to our monthly HUGS meeting tonight.
(Healing and Understanding Grief Support)

I don't know if it's because I learned of another sweet baby who has gone to heaven (unrelated to HUGS).

I don't know if it's because I shared Andrew's story and in doing that~ and talking~ things just pour out and your mind starts to wander and you just feel like you want to share him.

So I did there.
And now I'm doing it here.

A couple weeks ago I was angry with Andrew again. There have been two boys that were picking on his brother. Jonasen of course shrugged it off but I know him. His sensitive heart. His quiet. He wanted to shrug it off but I couldn't. I wanted someone to do something. Andrew should have been there. But he wasn't and it made me angry.

After this had been going on for some time, I finally told someone at the school what was going on. I got Joe's permission of course and we came up with some solutions... maybe moving seats- working on a schedule without them in his classes for next year. Though I asked that person not to talk to the boys, they did because they said they couldn't just let it go (they have a fondness for our quiet Joe too~ as have most who have gotten to know him).  I wanted someone to talk to the boys but I also worried about the repercussions.  I know how cruel 13 year olds can be~ and Joe is an easy target. He's comfortable blending~ being invisible~ he still walks with his shoulders bent and eyes down. Being an artist, musician and runner also make him somewhat of a target with the rowdy, athletic, middle school boy.

When this person spoke to the boys, one of them was in tears. When I heard this I was (not) secretly happy. When Joe was asked if he wanted to know which person was in tears, he told the school person (and later he told me) that he didn't. "Well, I want them to stop but I don't want them to feel bad. I don't want to know that someone else is feeling bad about this. I just wish it would stop."

And in that moment I learned that my 13 year old is much more kind and full of grace than his dear old mom ever has been or ever will be.


I thought to myself~ who is like that?? And as I was telling this story at our meeting I felt like my question was answered. That light bulb went on and I knew.


My Grandpa Jonasen~ whose only son was killed in a car accident at age 27. Who was an incredible musician~ A quiet and sensitive soul~ Who (though an incredibly talented jazz musician) told me once he stopped playing in the bars because he worried that someone would come to see him play and perhaps have too much to drink and he didn't want to be the reason for someone else's pain.

I remember telling THAT story for years and thinking, "Who thinks like that?"
No one.
But my Grandpa Jonasen.
And now my son, Jonasen.

And as I spoke and uncovered what I was feeling and what I was thinking I had to give the back-story to the group and I'll do that again now here (for anyone who may be curious...).

When I was pregnant, we had to come up with 8 names~ firsts and middles for 2 boys or 2 girls. Truth be told the boy names were easy to us. Our first born would always be Jonasen. To carry on the name of my Papa and one of my best friends. It was a last name but I didn't care- we could call him Jonah or Jonas or Joey. My husband had chosen the name Andrew. He LOVED the name Andrew and imagined them talking about "Drew" over the speaker at sporting games. It sounded so good with our last name.

And so when our boys were born~ we had a problem...

Our firstborn was supposed to be Jonasen.
Our firstborn was dead.
Jonasen was supposed to carry on the name.

And so I remember saying to my husband... What do we do? Jonasen is dead. He looked at me, tears streaking his face and said pointing to our second son, "That's Jonasen." Pointing to our first son he said, "That's Andrew." I was heartbroken~ the name he wanted. I pleaded with him... we could name him something else!!!! But even though I said it, I knew his name. "That's Andrew."
Those were the last words my husband spoke for a long, long time- Too suffocated with grief- unable to speak anything beyond his boys' names.

My sweet sensitive soul. My precious, musical Jonasen had a rough go lately and all I kept thinking was~ if ONLY he had someone to stand up to those little punks! If only HE would stand up to those little punks! But that's not how a musical, artistic, old-soul works. That's not how a Jonasen works. They reflect. They ponder. They wait...

I was angry. Andrew could have stood up for his brother. He WOULD have.

And that's when I got to thinking... perhaps we never chose their name at all. Perhaps their names chose them. My sweet sensitive soul is meant to be in this world making it a kinder and nicer place. Andrew (who would have kicked those kids' asses... perhaps) was meant to cheer on his brother from another place. Perhaps he moved the pieces in his own way... played the game.

Perhaps he was the play maker who got to heaven and said, "God. My little brother- he needs to stay. I'm going to take this one for the team. Get him out!" Maybe that's the reason God "put me in her head" that day she called me to be induced just hours after he went to heaven (though none of us were aware at the time). Perhaps he knew (like the doctors did when they were delivered) that HAD we waited that extra week as planned, Jonasen wouldn't have made it either.

Perhaps he was the play maker who told the person at school. You need to stand up for my brother because I can't do it from here but you can. Make them know. Have his back. Do what needs to be done. And he did.

Those boys have been quiet.
They've left Jonasen alone without so much as a sideways glance.

I don't know if any of this is actual truth.
But it's my truth.

Bullies suck.
But having a twin brother whose got your back (no matter where they are) is a pretty kick-ass thing.

I'm not mad anymore, Drew. I love you! Your brother is one pretty amazing 13 year old!
And so are you!

~ Mom

Tuesday, February 21, 2017


My Joey on the right with my best friend's rainbow.

It still happens.
There are still moments when I hold my breath-
close my eyes-
and can't believe I've come this far.

Jonasen is now 13. He's taller than I am and his voice has deepened.
He's still soft-spoken.
He's still a child that seems to find me when I need him~
Just like his brother.

I remember that moment when he was not even a year old~
Andrew's ashes had arrived and when I got them I crumbled.
Sank to the floor.
So deep in my grief and cries that I didn't think I could get out~
But there he was-
He had heard me- 
Crawled over to me- 
His head on me as I cried.
I remember gathering him in my arms-
my lifeline.

Tonight I was thinking of Andrew as I often do.
No longer in that deep grief but a quiet wondering.
I was thinking of him.
And also of his brother Joe-
My twins.
Thinking of how proud I am of Joe and I have to think his brother must be too.
I was just standing there in the kitchen.
Joe came to me (as he sometimes does)
with that single word, (he sometimes says)
And took me in his arms~
my head now resting on his shoulder.

There are still moments when I hold my breath-
Close my eyes-
and can't believe I've come this far.

But I have.
We have.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Because of Andrew

I have lived 13 years without Andrew.
But I have lived 13 years WITH Andrew.

I've yelled at him.
I've screamed at him.
I'm whispered for him.
I've talked to him.
I've loved him.
I've held him here~ just below the skin~ where no one can see 
but I can't forget.

The odd thing about losing a child is- you don't really lose them- they are there~ always~
13 years and I don't talk about Andrew as much as I used to.
Sure~ he comes up occasionally in our house (more than you'd think).
I still attend monthly support group meetings.
I still think of him EVERY day
though I don't always tell everyone about him (like I used to).

But today marks the first day of September.
It's a time I remember him and celebrate him and the friendships he's brought me~
The COUNTLESS lessons he's taught me.
I have lived 13 years without him AND with him. 
I am me
Because of Andrew.

Because of Andrew, I am kinder.
Because of Andrew, I am more patient.
Because of Andrew, I am more forgiving.
Because of Andrew, I am more empathetic.
Because of Andrew, I am more loving.
Because of Andrew, I am more faithful.
Because of Andrew, I am happy.
Because Andrew is part of my story. 
He is my first born son. 
He is the one I find myself talking to in the night. 
The one I have sometimes yelled at, screamed at, whispered to but
And I always will. 

We are all changed by people who come into our lives.
Our family. Our teachers. Our friends.
But what you may not know is you can be changed by someone who never lived.
Maybe today you can be changed by MY son and HIS story.
Maybe today you can think about those little blessings in life that we so often take for granted~
A smile. A compliment. A kind act.
Pause and think about them because of Andrew.

When I didn't think I could make it through the day~ those moments where Andrew was right there under every. single. thought~ it was often those little blessings that gave me pause. Allowed me to exhale and get through.

So today I would like to ask you a favor~
Because of Andrew.

On September 15th, his 13th birthday, can you thank those people who did those small acts for me? Those people who changed my day with a small act of kindness.
Something little that suddenly made me think...
Maybe today isn't going to be so bad after all~

Do it Because of Andrew.
You could bring diapers to a shelter, a toy for a child in the hospital, coffee for a coworker or maybe even a stranger. Leave flowers on someones car. Write a letter to someone you're thinking about. Pick up someone else's tab. Let someone merge into traffic. Smile at as many people as you can!
Because of Andrew.

I think Andrew's biggest gift to the world has been how he grew my heart and let me share that love.
What a gift it would be to him (and to me) to share his gift with someone else.
Because of Andrew.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

What I wish I could tell you...

My Sweet C,

I wish I could tell you that I miss your smile.  
That every time I wake up in the morning, I tiptoe by your room and whisper a silent prayer that today will be the day.  Today you will see your value and find your strength.

I wish I could tell you that it hurts me.
Hearing that you feel sad and that I can't take that away pains me.  To see tears roll down your face and hear you apologize for worrying me hurts me because I can't make it better but I would give anything to be able to.

I wish I could tell you feelings aren't right or wrong, they simply are.
Please don't ever mask your feelings for me because I want to know.  Sharing the weight on your shoulders helps (you AND me).

I wish I could tell you I know this is BIG.
Friendships are important.  They are important through life and learning that someone is not your friend or is not the person you thought they were is hard at any age.  Clarity can hurt but it can also help you see better things ahead.

I wish I could tell you I'm sorry.
Searching my brain for words that will somehow help you is exhausting and frustrating because I am failing miserably.  I sometimes say things I don't want to and I wish I could take back.   To be better is something I'll keep striving for.  I feel like I'm failing miserably and I'm sorry for that.

I wish I could tell you that it will be OK.
Because I know it will.  There have been times when I was 8, 10, 12, 16, 20, 24 and 27 when I thought I would die.  I didn't think I'd make it through and somehow I took a breath in... and out... and in... and time gifted me wisdom. I know it will you too.

I wish I could tell you how beautiful you are.
I love your kind heart, the way you can weave a beautiful story with your words.  I love watching you dance and being able to feel your emotion by just watching you.  I love seeing how effortless you make soccer look and noticing you try to suppress a smile when you score.  I love your quiet observations and your loud laugh.  Everything sweet and flawed about you is perfection to me. It makes you, YOU!

I wish I could tell you it's important to fail.
Not scoring well on a test, forgetting a dance step or falling down in front of everyone will not break you.  It will grow you.  You will be smarter, dance stronger and walk taller than you ever would have imagined.

I wish I could tell you that failing does hurt.
But being able to pick yourself up off the floor will help you see the world from a different view and an important one.  You will see others through an empathetic lens.  A lens I wish the world could look through.

I wish I could tell you I love you more than you will ever know and that you'd understand.
I don't know that this will ever be possible but I'll keep telling you anyway.

I wish I could lead you down every right road and safe path...
But then I would be doing you a great disservice.  For I know that it is in times like these that we truly discover WHO we are and how amazingly strong we are.
You will get through this and I will be here waiting.

Oh how I wish I could tell you how I miss your smile.  Your laugh. Your care-free ways.
But I know that life is a complicated place and you're finding your way.  

I wish I could tell you I'm always with you, because I am.  Part of me is always in you and part of you is always in me.  We are linked forever.

I won't be able to tell you these things until you're back.  Until I see that sparkle again and we can look back on this time, smile through shared tears, and know we made it.

And then I will brace myself for the next time and pray (like I am now) that you'll come out of it a strong and even more amazing person!

Life is hard. Life is beautiful.

Your flawed but trying,