Thursday, December 29, 2011

Good-bye 2011

I really should be organizing my house right now because Andrew is sleeping and Jake is supposed to be sleeping but I hear his cars, but I just want a moment to myself.

I cannot believe 2011 is coming to a close. I am so ready for this year to end. It's been bittersweet, obviously, and I have felt so aged so fast. It's really hard to wrap myself around all of what 2011 brought. There have been so really good moments entwined with some bad and I guess that rings true for everyone. A lot can happen in 365 days. But this year has been especially personal for me and I would like to share some of the highlights.

First trips. Florida was tiring, fun, warm and sandy. The boys hated the beach, loved Mustangs and hunted Easter eggs. Ryan experienced a tornado and went above and beyond helping in Missouri.
Jake turned 2-and still loves to eat.
Another little boy was added to the mix. A great blessing and a fun birth
I became a Mom of 3 for forever
A special 4th of July. Daniel picked out the best firework of the night. He was so proud of the rocket.
B4D. Lots..and lots...and lots! of books donated in honor of Daniel.
New ink.
My baptism on 9/11/11. An emotional day for sure but the best time in my life to affirm my faith in God.
Enjoying a special day with Jake and Andrew. The weather was perfect for friends and pumpkins. It was a nice reminder of what I have to be thankful for.
Remembering a very special little boy. All the people who have rallied around us and honored Daniel has been soul changing.
Cousins were reunited.
We honored a great big brother and formed a new brotherly bond.

A first Christmas.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A counseling session

To say my first counseling session was cathartic is putting it mildly. After the session, I felt more in tune with myself and was even happy walking into my house. Even though we just chipped at the surface, it was a great foundation to build on. Things I learned about me and my grief:

*I'm not crazy. This torrid wave of emotions is totally normal. Society today wants us to cleanly finish one grief process before moving to the next and that's not normal. I'm in denial, anger, and bargaining everyday, multiple times a day. Even though it still makes me sick to my stomach to jump around so much, I feel like I can get a better handle on things.
*I've been too hard on myself. I try and put up a brave front for people around me, and it just hurts me more. Im grieving, people. I lost my first son and it makes me cry and it hurts. If you see me distant, or tearful or moody deal with it-or walk away. I need this time.
*Society isn't a fan of grief. We have a get on and get over it attitude. But how can you get over losing a huge chunk of your heart? This is precisely why I have this blog; to share my experiences and share my walk with God in all of this. People don't talk about losing a child, but it happens and there aren't a lot of places to go to get confirmation that what you may be experiencing is normal.
*I'm embarrassed by what happened. I feel like people may have a situational sorry for me. 'Oh, that's how your son died? OK, I'm not as sorry now'. I feel like my character as a Mom is being judged. Maybe that's all in my head? I don't know, so I don't say exactly what happened. Plus, some people just don't need to know.
*I have got a looong way to go before I ever feel slightly normal again. I'm slowly accepting that.
*I'm looking forward to my next session. Counseling may not be for everyone, but I'm a talker and here is someone who isn't going to judge me, or make me feel guilty for crying (seriously, I've been holding back tears from others for so long that I had to remind myself it was ok to cry in front of my counselor because he won't care) and has a perspective on what is going on inside of my head. And is someone who can give me spiritual advice in addition.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Alright, God. Here we go, the week I've been dreading. I'm going to need you- a lot. We had a good talk and a good cry yesterday. That peace I prayed for? I totally feel it today. Thank you. The people I asked for to help me? Thank you for placing me in their hearts. I finally listened and made the appointment to speak to a counselor. This is the perfect week to finally do it. But, of course, you already knew that. I'm under no illusion that I'm going to make it through this week without crying-already cried multiple times today-or dreading the holiday and Daniel's birthday. But I know I can make this week what I want of it; I could literally break myself with sadness or I can cry when I need to and treasure the blessings you're giving me this season. I'm looking straight up to you, Lord, because looking anywhere else isn't helping and I'm really starting to dislike myself. So, let's do this, God. I'm ready.

Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil...Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Ephesians 6:11,14-17

A birthday

This week was much like the week you were born. The weather was mild and rainy. I was thankful for that because I did not want to drive in the snow in labor! Your birth day feels like only yesterday, and in a sense, 4 years ago isn't that long at all. I remember going the whole day in early labor and not even realizing it because who knew you could labor in your thighs? I surely didn't. Looking back, I would have laughed had my water actually broken in Bass Pro and not at home. Your Daddy and I spent the day eating lunch with Grandpa, picking out dishes from Grandma to Grandpa in Bass Pro and relaxing at home. You see, were figured we would be going to the hospital the next morning and not the evening of the 21st. But our new little life began the moment I sat up from the couch and felt a pop-and then a gush :)

Everything happened quickly and calmly even if I felt anything but calm. I sat on a pillow the entire car ride (we had just gotten a new car a few weeks before!) and your Daddy stopped for a candy bar. OK, not really, but he isn't one to miss a chance at comic relief and looking back, I'm grateful for that pause. Once we got to the hospital, it was like a real life Christmas story; there wasn't any room available! I stood there soaked and was so grateful when a nurse came up the elevator and found a mostly clean room for us. While I changed, the bed was cleaned. From there on out, it was a wait. Your Grandpa and Grandma and Rachel met us up there and later, Grandma Chris. We didn't get much sleep, after all, who could sleep when we were so excited? Around 5:30 I started pushing and at 6:23 am, December 22nd 2007 you were born. I only got to hold you for a second because you came out so stunned and needed extra attention. But you're a fighter and perked right back up and it wasn't long before we all got to meet you.

Honestly, at that point, I was scared out of my mind. I was a Momma for the first time and little babies don't come with manuals. Every moment we were living was new and I just hoped for the best. I think we faired pretty well. We learned from each other and you taught me a whole new meaning of love.

Your first birthday was quite a celebration. You were one and going to be a big brother to boot! You got a ton of toys and a "yummy" egg free, nut free cake. I don't blame you for only eating the icing. You were such a character and entertained us all that day. You quickly learned that raising your hands to the side and going "uhoh" was sure to get laughs and played the part up.

The year you turned two was so much fun. The weather was mild and you had little buddies come join in on the fun. We celebrated in a Sponge Bob theme. I still don't see why Sponge Bob appealed to you, but you liked seeing the decorations. Grandma Nancy was able to share in your special day and we had a better cake this time! Cooked eggs were ok (raw eggs we would learn later still didn't agree with you) and you got to eat chocolate cake. This year was the year your Daddy and I were sure that you would love opening presents, but you still didn't want anything to do with them. Your lack of nap probably had something to do with that. Daddy and I got you your first 4 wheeler and you had so much fun riding that around.

We celebrated in a Imagination Movers themed birthday when you turned three. To say you were obsessed with the Mover's is putting it mildly. Your birthday this year was a low key event of just family and in addition to turning three, you were also going to be a big brother again! This was also the year of the major sibling fight between you and Jake. Who knew a Little People farmhouse could get you kids riled up? You had recently transitioned to a big boy bed and you got new Toy Story bedding to top it off. I think I was more excited to make up your bed than you!

This year's birthday is a hard one and I wish I had more to share with you. In honor of you, we're eating Mac and Cheese and Oreo cheesecake. For lunch everyday you would ask for Mac and Cheese; it was your top favorite meal. Your favorite cookie was a Oreo. Or, rather, your favorite part of the cookie was the icing. Remember when Daddy went for an Oreo and all the icing had been licked out and the cookie placed back in the package? This year you'll get a special police car and a balloon to decorate your spot. I know you'll see tears today, bud, but remember that with those tears we have happy memories too. You hold a very, very special place in our hearts and we're thankful to be able to spend a day with those that love you. I imagine you're having one of the most fun birthdays of all today and getting to celebrate with even more people that love you in Heaven.

Happy 4th birthday, Daniel. We love you so much.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

My special gift


Happy 6 months to you! Gosh, I can't even believe it's been six months. You have been such a blessing to me. If Daniel was my sensitive child and Jake is my comic relief, then you are my child that can weather anything. From excessive vomiting, preterm contractions, tornadoes, sadness, Jake :), you've taken it all in stride and are just one of the happiest babies. Your past 6 months have been anything but calm and you've taken it all and made some pretty special moments for us.

It's not by coincidence that you're here today. We were, in fact, trying to prevent another baby but God saw our bigger picture and blessed us with you; and if it wasn't for you-and Jake-my days would be much less happy. We have a very special bond and I can feel it every time you look at me. It's almost like you can look into my soul. You lift your head back when you're sitting on my lap and stare straight into my eyes and time stands still for just a moment.

Your laughter-screaming-is infectious. You blow the best raspberries ever and absolutely adore your brother. Even when he is trying to squash you. One of my favorite times with the two of you is watching you in the bathtub. You egg Jake on so much and just laugh at his reaction to you. You refuse to roll over but love to sit up and examine everything. I see a lot of Daniel in you when you do that. The jumperoo and our walking table are two of your favorite toys and you smile so big when you're in them. I see a lot of Jake in you when you do that. You haven't taken a food yet that hasn't agreed with your palate. Your refection is your best friend and you're still toothless!

You are a very special addition to this family. If these next 6 months bring me as much joy being with you as the past 6 months, my heart will be happy.
Happy 6 months, Sillers!

Monday, December 12, 2011


This past week I've thought about blogging a lot. To be honest, it's been a really crappy week-2 weeks. Bad since my last post. I've been sleep deprived, challenged at work, hurt, angry, emotional and cold (winter is here) And every time I've sat down to type something (mostly to complain about how life is unfair) I have invariably been pulled away so it's left a lot of time for me to think instead of write. Now, I see the blessing in all of that.

I've had the chance to really look inside of myself and question myself and wonder where my life is going in all of this. I've had the chance to wonder how Ryan and I are going to make Christmas and the chance to talk to him about it. I've had the chance to cry, yell, laugh, love and miss. I've lashed out at God and have gotten angry at my whole situation.

But, you know what stopped me in my tracks this week? What really turned my focus around? A flower. A flower that wouldn't have meant much otherwise if it hadn't been sitting in a pot of mostly dead mum leaves. Frankly, I was shocked it even bloomed. And the more I stared at the flower, the more I could relate to it. Struggling to find that little piece of light and warmth left in an otherwise cold and hostile environment. Growing and changing despite it's circumstances. Overcoming. Trusting that it could bloom in spite of it's odds. Man, what a metaphor for my life.

What everything has boiled down to these past 2 weeks is trust. And how much I have lacked it. I need to trust that God is at work in my life. Trust that, given my circumstances, good will arise in spite of all of this. Trust that God has placed specific people in my life to help. Trust in my husband and that he can handle all of this hot mess over here (specifically, me)

I enter this new week better prepared and hopefully better spirited. I'm a big ol' work in progress but I at least feel like I have a grasp on something tangible.

The Sovereign Lord is my strength!
He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon new heights
Habukkuk 3:19

Monday, November 28, 2011

Not for the faint of heart. Heck, I don't even want to read it again.

Do you know how hard it is to peek in on my children every night and constantly remind myself that instead of checking in on 3, I only get to check in on 2? It's a fresh dose of reality every night.

I got to watch my niece today for my brother and sister in law. And while that was so much fun (she is such a clever and endearing little girl. She helped put away groceries and helped me sweep) it was also a reminder that I should be taking care of 3 kids everyday.

I've been thinking about Christmas a lot. Looking at toys for the boys, I find myself wanting to reach for toys Daniel would have wanted. I get to place presents under the tree this year...and at a grave. Not fair.

I've realized that I have put off talking with my Christian counselor for way too long. I can feel the enemy starting to edge his way in and it's making me doubt myself as a Mother and a Christian. It's hard to cry out in thanksgiving to our Lord when all I want to do is cry. I've got a ton of people rallying around me, and it feels like I'm building a wall around myself.

I'm not angry at God (which isn't the norm, I suppose). On one hand, I accept....maybe accept? that Daniel's life and legacy came down to July 19th because I can see the changes in my life and others; but on the other hand, it hurts so darn much and just isn't fair. I'm not supposed to outlive my children.

I have a love/hate relationship with pictures. Seeing his face, his smile, remembering his laugh, it's good and bad.

I think I'm becoming an insomniac.

It feels better typing this out. But can you believe that this isn't even all of what I think about?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thankful Thanksgiving

This year and the upcoming holidays mean a lot more to me this year than in years past. My whole outlook on life has changed. And for as much hurt as my heart has felt this year, it has felt that much more good.

This year I am thankful for:

...all the years I got to make memories with Daniel
...a husband that needs me and is there for me
...all 3 of my sons family. Even though we're all spread apart, the connection we have is strong and there is nothing we wouldn't do for one another faith. It's been stretched and tested but remains strong-probably stronger Mom and Dad. You've trained me up and because of the two of you, I can endure anything because of the love and support you give me
...Rachel. You've been such a rock for me home. Even though it is a desire for Ryan and I to leave, we have a roof over our head church. A year ago this may not have entered my list, but the compassion and faith and solidarity you have shown my family and myself is beyond anything I could have imagined coworkers-and Ryan's
...Karen. I'm thankful my children have a safe and fun place to stay, and with someone who loves them as much as we do
...Books for Daniel
....Park Pets for Daniel
...Daniel's spot. I'm thankful for the beauty of his resting place dog. Even though he gets on my nerves, it is nice to have him home with me when Ryan isn't

Saturday, November 19, 2011

This is going to be a rambler

We took family pictures yesterday. Honestly, how I got Ryan to agree is still beyond me but I rolled with it. Aside from candid family pictures during birthday parties and the like, this was our first real family photo. It makes me sad to think Daniel wasn't in them. I'm sure it's going to make me sad every time we have another family photo session. I compensated his absence by wearing my Daniel necklace; it made it feel like his presence was there a little.

During the shoot, Jess wanted a picture of just me to add the the collection of photos she had already taken. Afterwards, I realized what had been bothering me about taking a single shot of myself. I felt exposed. It was a good picture of me [ she let me take a peek after] but I felt so alone in it. It felt awkward. Thinking back, I cannot remember a picture of just myself since 2004. For so long I have been Ryan's wife and Daniel, Jake and Andrew's Mom and I feel comfortable in those roles; I feel secure. Do I want to establish myself into something else? I'm not sure; I don't think I do because I love my persona as a wife and mom, that really has always been my life long ambition, but why was I so uncomfortable with just me?

Aside from that existentialist approach to me, the shoot was fun. Jake was a riot and Ryan went with the flow [God bless him]. Im excited to see the final product. Jess is phenomenal.

Today marks 4 months since Daniel passed away. I've been so caught up in thinking of how it's going to be during his birthday and the holidays that today completely took me off guard. I realized only after I felt on edge with everyone, what was truly bothering me. It hit me hard. I wasn't prepared for the depth of my emotion or my extreme ache of missing his little body cradled next to me, of missing his voice saying, "Mommy". I want to hear that so bad.

I've been a mess all day and have felt so edgy but here in the silence of my home, I've been meditating on my feelings and talking to God. He's allowed me to cry out to him in sadness, in bitterness, He's not fighting me to control myself, but He's sweetly and gently reminding me though scripture to follow Him, to trust him. He knows I'm hurting, He's not going to downplay my pain by any means, but He is going to raise me up when I am done. And He's going to remind me-again-that He has me, He has Daniel and He has my family.

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls"
Matthew 11: 28-29

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Not a single day goes by that we don't think of you and wish you were back here with us. But since you can't be here, we're sending you a flicker of our love your way. Your brother mentioned something this evening before bed. Sometimes I like to sit there and listen to him talk unprompted because I secretly wish he will give me some clue if he ever dreams of you or sees you. Tonight, he said "Daniel sorry". Baby, I don't ever want you to think what happened is bad. I know you see us cry and I know you see us sad but I want you to know we all have a time to live here and a time to be with Jesus and your time was just sooner than we expected, but that will never mean we're angry at you or at what happened. Sometimes it's confusing for Mommy and Daddy to understand why but we know God is patient with us while we ask our questions and sort through what we're feeling. We also know in our heart of hearts that you're in Heaven whole and happy and we would never ask for any more than that. And through our tears we will honor your life and always share how much you mean to us because you are our special blonde haired, silly, inquisitive little boy. Sometimes we will have sad days and sometimes we will have happy days but everyday we will love you.

Friday, November 11, 2011

It is absolutely so freeing to drive with the windows down on a winding road and listen to The Band Perry-while singing {slightly} off key. My own personal Heaven here on Earth.


*We've been teaching Jake left and right and all the names of his family and he is so darn cute when he says "Andrew Thomas" . He also calls Uncle Rob "Grom" so it was only natural that when he said Daniel's name, Daniel Robert, it came out "Daniel Grom". I laughed so hard

*Andrew has started growing so fast now! We just started him on a few solids and I don't think he's ever going to look back

*We met with our realtors this week and were slowly getting ready. I'm in task mode right now so I'm not fully processing what this move is going to mean, and I'm ok with that because frankly, I just don't want to open up those feelings right now

*I can only say it truly is a God send to have our specific team helping with our house. They are perfect for us right now

*I'm chopping my hair off-much to Ryan's dismay. Which is why I am doing it when he's sleeping. Ha!

*I'm seeing Breaking Dawn next week, and yes, I will openly admit to how excited I am

*I've been trying to make a point to read my Bible or spend some time in prayer before getting on Facebook. I don't do it a 100% of the time and I'm working on that

*I went into Hallmark to get Andrew's first Christmas ornament and heard all the Christmas music and started thinking this Christmas-and all others-are going to be so different. I missed Daniel A LOT that day

*I also realized Daniel is taking care of us even from above and watching over our family

*I've been teaching Jake that Jesus and Daniel live in his heart and they live in my heart. I pray everyday he gets a little more understanding and I pray I get lots of direction to train him up to be a spiritual boy and man

*Andrew gets quiet when I start talking about Daniel. It's kind of nice

*We gave Lance to another home. It was hard but it was best. He went to a really awesome family

*I thought I was obsessed with craigslist until I started selling things on there. Whole new level of obsession, people.

And ladies and gents, this was all in one week! It's been busy, my mind hasn't wandered a lot but it's felt full filling and tedious at the same time. Go ahead and try to figure that one out. Hope you all have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

One of the hardest parts of moving on is putting away the past. It seems so shameful that Daniel's life has been reduced to a box and placed tenderly away. I know a lot of you may think and possibly comment that Daniel's life can remain alive in my memories and I can honor him daily with my actions, and while this may be so very true, the sad part is that in moving on, I have to clean up the past.

We are in the process of gingerly thinking and patiently planning on moving. Throughout the week I have been rearranging and cleaning the house in preparation of the very first steps to putting the house on the market. I look around and think that all of my babies have been brought home here, Ryan and I started our life here, we've shared first Christmas's with all the kids here, we've cried and laughed and screamed here. Some days I worry that this isn't the path we're supposed to be traveling, but I've been praying fervently that if this wasn't a decision that was in the best interest of our family, God would make it known and shut down all paths except His.

And while it hurts to pack and sort and remember and store and reduce memories to storage, I can only hope that by moving on we are following Him and making new memories to ease the old. If that even makes any sense.

*As I was posting this blog, I got a text from a dear friend that had the words "God is good". Amazing that He can speak to me when I question the decisions that need to be made. Some may read this and think coincidence and some may read this and think God is gracious and good and some may read this and not give it another thought but after all that has happened to me and in my life, I can only read this and think sad things may happen and it may hurt but He is good and loving and continually with me.*

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween 2011

Andrew's first, Jake's third, first one without Daniel. I'm going to be frank, the entire day of Halloween my heart just wasn't in to it. I honestly don't think it had much to do with the fact Daniel wasn't going to be there enjoying the candy and the garage doors, I think I just didn't want to leave my warm home. But Ryan in all his worldly parenting wisdom said it wasn't about me, it was about Jake-and getting as many Reese's peanut butter cups are we could for himself. So, an hour before we put on costumes I started pretending with Jake and practicing what we would need to do and say when we got to the houses, and started bribing him to put on his costume. Not above bribery by any means; just check out my Halloween pictures :) Once we got going and once Jake caught on to the idea that saying trick or treat and giving a cute, Mickey smile equated to more candy, he was game and it was a race to the next house. Overall, it was a pretty good time and I chastised myself for ever thinking it was going to be a bust. Seeing Jake's cute little Mickey Mouse nose and his excitement over the police car passing out chips and the ambulance passing out candy and stopping to examine most cars in the driveways (seriously, what it with my children and garages and cars?) it was well worth fighting the cold. He got some good loot, I have candy to last me into 2012, and both kids slept in till 8:30. Happy Halloween to me!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Chili Cook Off 2011

First of all:

Thank you for coming out today to help us raise money for Daniel's Park Pets. Daniel absolutely loved going to the park and playing on the swings-especially the swings! I think we ran more energy out during park time then he did! Eise Park is one of the parks we frequented a lot and one that Karen would take all the kids to. Your help today is bringing us so much closer to our goal of providing climbable park pets for all the kids to enjoy when they come to the park, and helping us honor such a terrific and special little boy. Your generosity, kindness, and friendship has sustained us all and we are honored and blessed to spend this day with you.
Thank you so much again!

Today was an absolute success on a lot of levels. Total we raised 1,600 dollars to go towards the park pets! When I heard the complete count I was absolutely stunned. The generosity of everyone is completely humbling. I don't think there will ever be enough 'thank yous' to cover just how thankful we are that a community can come together for one another like ours.

Most importantly, to me, today was about the fun we had. Going in to today, I was unsure about how I would feel. For each time we do do something related to Daniel, a little piece of me is sad because of the reasoning on why we are doing anything. And I knew beforehand the paramedics who responded to our call were going to be there to show their support. And while I am eternally grateful for their help and kindness, I know what they saw, they know what I saw and it isn't something that can be wiped away very easily. But, today, oh today was so nice. Yes, I did grow a little teary eyed when I was introduced to one of the paramedics but she was so genuine it didn't feel completely awkward. But overall, people were laughing, eating and just having a good old fashioned good time. The kids all got to play together and run around like crazy, Jake only had 2 mini meltdowns, Andrew was an absolute doll, the washers tournament lasted for hours and there was so much chili and baked goods! We got to see the MHFD and MHPD and we got to share in our memories of Daniel. And it was good.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I'm having a really bad day. It feels like I cannot escape. Everything, absolutely everything, reminds me that he's not here, that I can't change it and life is moving on while I feel so still. I'm angry and sad that people are happy and I can't be, I'm angry that every book I pick up and try to read has some kind of death in it even when I absolutely don't think it could contain it, I hate that we still have to pick a marker out for his spot, that Christmas and his birthday are coming and I don't get him here with me, that I have to work tonight and I don't know if I'll be able to stand being there but I have to go because I have to work. I hate that I have to work so hard at being happy for others around me when all I really want to do is scream and hide. I hate that I pray so hard to see him in 1 dream just so I can hold him again and I don't know why God won't answer me. I hate that I am now a woman that has lost a child and can hardly focus on anything other than that. I hate sadness and feeling like this all the time.

I'm going for a walk.

Monday, October 24, 2011

A whole new level of grieving

I was talking to my Mother in law yesterday about the upcoming Chili cook off for Daniel's Park Pets and we ended up talking about Daniel and Ryan and her and me and all of us intertwined in this season of loss. Outside of God, my very best friend and my mom I haven't really spoken to a lot of people about what I truly feel. Yesterday opened my eyes to another's grief and hurt. I've been so consumed over losing my son that I'm just now really seeing the loss of a grandson, a nephew and a cousin. It's like new hurt is pouring in because I want to fix it all and make it better and it just isn't going to work like that. Each one of us is grieving differently and we're all on different levels and sometimes it's hard for me to remember that. This is all so new to me. For the first time in my life, I am experiencing loss on a really personal level. I guess I should be thankful for 25 years of growing up to be able to handle emotions of this magnitude? I don't know.

Some days I think I have it together and can manage to conduct myself like a "normal" person and then a flashback of that evening hits, or I have a conversation with someone, or a particular song comes on the radio, or I catch a certain smell, or see a special T.V. show of Daniel's and I just go into a tailspin and I'm not good for much of anything for a while. The whole month of December I'm dreading. Christmas and what would have been his 4th birthday are not going to be good days and I've accepted that I'm going to head into those with a heavy heart. It's the unknowns that really throw me for a loop, though. Sometimes I think of what it would be like to have 1 day when I don't cry or remember the accident and then I think, if that was erased for a day, then my good memories of Daniel wouldn't exist for that day either and ultimately, I know I can get past the bad memories because I have so many more good memories.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Daniel's hands

A day after Daniel passed away Ryan and I were out getting much needed supplies from Target and washing the car. I was sitting numbly in the passenger seat during the carwash, still in complete shock, when all of a sudden I looked up at my windshield and noticed a handprint on the glass. All I could do was stare at it. I knew for a fact it was Daniel's. He was constantly wanting to climb into the front of the car and touch everything. That was one of my first signs that God and Daniel were with us and were always going to be with us. And I cannot let it go. My windshield desperately needs to be cleaned and I cannot do it. I love those hands of his. I need that handprint right now. My time in my car is everything to me and having his handprint beside me gives me courage to make it one more day, to be thankful for what God has still graced me with, and a gentle reminder that even though I cannot see it always, I know it's there and it's a comfort. (Kind of reminds you of something else, doesn't it?)

Daniel's hands told so much about him. Whenever he would get nervous or antsy he would start to curl his fingers up. His battles with eczema would flare up on his fingers and he would absently scratch at them. Whenever we held hands I would always "squeeze, squeeze" and he would squeeze back. That was my signal for "I love you". He could stick his little fingers into any childproof doorknob cover and open it. Most of the adults that came to our house couldn't even work the covers. He could use those hands and work my iPod touch (and throw it in the mop water) or maneuver Ryan's iPhone. He picked up on that so fast. Whenever I was pregnant with Andrew he would take his hands and place them on my belly and talk to "baby Andrew". Whenever he got really animated about something he would raise his hands and shake his head. I find Jake doing the same thing now :)

During our family visitation before the funeral, his hands were one of the last things I looked at before we stepped away. They were laying so peaceful on his lap and he was cradling a tiny cross. I committed those hands to memory because they were so much a part of him. I miss those hands and I miss him so much. I thank God daily for the knowledge that I am saved by Him and because of that love, I can rest assured that one day I will be able to hold those little hands again. And that, dear friends, is a thought that comforts my mother heart.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


I went to a beautiful wedding of a coworker this past weekend. It was a great testament to love and forever. It was also a wonderful reprieve from-well, everything. I got the chance to release stress, laugh and spend some time with my brother. (When did he grow up?!) I was given little nuggets of happiness throughout the evening and even managed genuine smiles; as opposed to the ones I wear when I leave the sanctuary of my home. I felt a little more me and I've missed that me. I pray she gets to stay around a little longer because Daniel never did like to see me sad.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


A few weeks ago I was entertaining the idea of working in pediatric hospice. Really, it was more of a curiosity of what was offered. I googled and came across two programs offered in St. Louis. What I found was something I never would have even considered. A perinatal palliative care program is offered through one of the programs. The concept of a group of professionals working with a family that is carrying a baby who is known to not make it through the pregnancy or through birth really stuck with me. Perinatal death almost feels like a taboo subject. People are afraid to talk or think about little infants passing away so early. And it's unfair to the families of those that will experience it. So often it feels like Moms and Dads that come in to deliver are shell shocked and have no idea what to experience or what to do once their baby is born. My heart breaks for those families.

This morning I had a preliminary interview for a volunteer position with the Wings program. Initially, the rep for Wings knew I was interested in pediatric hospice, but once we started talking about how I came across the program, I mentioned my real interest was in perinatal palliative care. The response I got from the rep blew me away. Apparently, this is a program that hasn't really taken off because there hasn't been that person to help. She almost acted shocked that I would consider volunteering to help the program. But her shock quickly gave way to excitement over the fact someone wanted to help. All along I was thinking, "how could I not want to help"? This subject is dear to my heart because of work.

As I left the building, I was nervous and excited and in awe. In awe because just this morning I had prayed that God would lead me in this venture. I prayed I could do something but also keep my family in priority. I prayed that He would use me to the best of my ability. And look where it's taking me. When I had returned to work, I had entertained the idea of looking for a new job but nothing ever seemed like a good fit. And lately I've been realizing that maybe my time as a Labor and Delivery nurse isn't done yet. Maybe this new venture in conjunction with my job is where I am supposed to be going. The possibility gives me goosebumps.

Friday, October 7, 2011


Had a moment-a long moment- when all I wanted to do is question why today. Why Daniel? Why us? Why couldn't he have been spared? Why do I have to answer "how many children do you have" at work multiple times a night? Why were these children spared and not mine? Why did You do this? And of all places where I could have broken down, it was Lifeway bookstore. Surrounded by the comforts and reminders of God's grace and love. But maybe that is why I questioned why...Because I was surrounded by His grace. Because He wanted me to be comfortable enough to throw these questions at him. Because He wanted me to be raw and open-so He could show me this. I was looking for a children's Bible for Jake (and found a really cute, rhyming Bible that he is going to love) and came across it. Ironic that I found it in a Children's Bible:

"Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet, I want your will to be done, not mine. Then an angel appeared from Heaven and strengthened Him."

Luke 22:42-43

It took me actually sitting down at home to grasp the entire truth of it; literally I had to write down what I was feeling for it to dawn on me. And it all goes back to God perspective. (Thanks Kevin for having this in Sunday School) If Daniel hadn't passed away, everything would be exactly the same. I'm not saying before was bad, but now is...different, not lukewarm. (And all I can do is explain how I feel about the new normal. These are purely only my thoughts.) But now, we have so many people rallying together, working together. People who may have never met. I'm reexamining my relationship with a lot of people and making it better; and I didn't even know it needed better in the first place. And I'm becoming closer to a lot of great people. I'm more patient. I'm more sad but stronger because of it. I'm taking more time out for God and taking time out in general to just be in the moment and not constantly running around. (Ryan would still say otherwise; he hates watching TV with me because I do multitask, but I promise I do just sit more) I'm not as afraid to be more vocal about loving God. And that is just me personally. I can see changes in others too but it's not for me to comment on, but they're good changes.

Daniel leaving Earth is hard. So hard. But Daniel's legacy and his love is still here and working on so many. My will and want is obvious; I want him in my arms, but all of these changes in myself and others wouldn't necessarily be happening. It's a lot to think about and have sink in for sure. I mean, I have days when I just can't completely grasp all of it, but look what happens when I do give myself over, He shows He's here. It's wild.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


These past few days have felt like a vacation-a vacation away from my constant heart ache. I got to spend an amazing Saturday with my very best friend and her family and my boys at this amazing pumpkin patch in Arthur, Illinois. It was the perfect Fall day. I got to see the Amish out and about and living their lives (and for those that know me, you know I love me some Amish-and their bread) I found out Jake loves chickens...and bees...and hay mazes...and apple cider. Andrew can sleep practically anywhere and still wake up happy and God certainly does have a creative imagination when it comes to making gourds and squash and pumpkins. Rach and I can sit in silence or she can fall asleep next to me in the car ride back and it isn't awkward at all because she and I are just that close. And I certainly know Daniel was watching over us that day because in the midst of petting the animals, I heard a train whistle. The only of the day.

And who knew that cleaning up dog poop with Ryan could make me laugh so hard? Or that Jake has this new dance that is absolutely hysterical? Seriously, going to have to video tape it. And when did he grow up into a little boy? And seeing Daniel's spot and all the love that surrounds him. (Ok, that is a little bittersweet and made me cry but it's a reminder of all the great people that love us) And Andrew's smile. Oh my goodness, his smile. It could melt even the coldest of hearts. He is just so special.

I've been trying so hard to really see the bigger picture in all of this-God's perspective and not my own over Daniel's death and I think these past few days have been a small bit of God's grace. It's ok to live again because life is truly special and has so many wonderful moments that I can take with me as memories.

Friday, September 30, 2011

72 days

Last night while I watching T.V. with Ryan in bed I realized for the first time in 72 days, I hadn't cried. It was so odd. Of course Daniel was never far from my mind; in fact we were all watching X Factor last night and it made me wonder if Daniel would have been a singer..or just what he would have been into in general. But I didn't cry. I really don't know what to make of this. Should I be happy? Does this mean I'm moving on to some semblance of a "normal" life and I can concentrate on other things instead of focusing solely on Daniel's absence? I'm almost afraid to move on because I fear I'll be moving away from him. But isn't this what I've prayed about? To be able to think of Daniel and not cry? To focus on my remaining children and my husband and be there mentally and not just physically? I think what I'm really feeling is that if I'm not sad over Daniel's death then I'm not preserving his memory or showing that I miss him. Consciously I know that he would never want to see my sad, he never liked to see me sad, and I am preserving his memory in everything that I do, but it all goes back to my main point, I fear I'm moving away from him.
You know, sometimes I have this morbid thought whenever I visit his spot that I just want to dig and dig and pull him out and hug him. I miss that so much. And how he always noticed when I cleaned the house. He was my sensitive baby.
I don't know. Each day brings more to think about and digest and this is a big one for me. It feels like I've got to figure myself out all over again.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Slept with crabby today, bud. He sits on my nightstand now. And I fight Jake for it often. It was in no way like sharing the bed with you when Daddy was working nights, but it was nice to wrap my arms around something of yours. I love you.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


I can't shake the feeling that I've been a little disconnected from life lately. I have a suspicion it's because of working nights. It just feels like large chunks of time have disappeared. I feel a little in limbo-and it's really hard to explain; on here and to myself. But it's like I am living my life in snapshots. Some parts are really in focus but a lot is blurred by my fatigue. I've got to figure out how to change this because it's really making me uneasy. And I cannot change my status or stop working nights because as much as it messes with me, it's really the best option right now for the family. I've been playing around with working all in a row or breaking up my days, so we'll see what really is best.

I haven't been as sad as previously but I really think it's because I haven't had to chance to really even think. It feels like all I have been doing is working and sleeping and work has been so busy that my focus is on my patients even in the down time-when there is down time. I'm not sure yet if that is a good or bad thing. I think I'm leaning more towards bad because when I do think about Daniel it hits me harder. And then I'm struggling.

On the flip side, I do tend to stay awake longer in the evenings because I am so used to being up all night that R and I are spending more time together. There is still an huge elephant in the room we dance around but I have to look at it this way; we're reconnecting as a man and wife and refocusing as a mom and dad. I pray daily that eventually, in the best time, we can hit on some issues as we both have different attitudes towards Daniel's accident. Who knew at 26 we would both be hit this hard with such heavy stuff and mining all this? Well, ok, God did and He paired us together because He knew we could handle it, but a manual would have been nice :)

Of course, the more I think about it, He really and truly did give us a manual on life, the Bible, we just have to know how to use it. It is so much more than just reading it to get assurance and answers. Something I learned in Sunday school is that every character in the Bible can be relatable during a period in your life. For me, at this moment in time, I'm Job. Unsure why all this junk is being hit down on me, questioning why but knowing He is with me even if I cannot see Him. Maybe a little of Abraham thrown in there; wandering around but trusting God is working my path out for me.

And I am really hoping all this stuff can be worked out a little for me because I start my next 3 in a row tonight and really have got to get a nap in and cannot have my brain working in overdrive during that. I would really be of no use tonight then.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Dear Daniel:

The life you lived here on Earth has touched so many people. Every day, a memory of you crops up in many minds and so many are sharing in your life. Just this weekend a wonderful little girl and her friends worked a lemonade stand in your honor to raise money for the park pets that are going to be placed in your favorite park. We are still getting books in your memory and not only did the books donated fill the library, but they are being shared in the classrooms as well! How fun is that?

Things have been ok here at home. We miss you a lot and it just seems quieter in the house. Jake has taken over in helping put Andrew to sleep and making sure he "halks to Jesus" at night. He turns out the light and closes the door too. And he can't go to sleep until we've talked about you and read a book. The Megamind DVD is getting a lot of play; your brother is currently obsessed with the movie. He heard one of the songs played in the movie at WalMart last night and wondered why he couldn't see the movie. I do see now that you were the main plotter in getting into the pantry and pouring or dumping food all over the carpets, and getting to the cars outside, and eating all the cookies and climbing onto the dinner table. Just like a big brother, you tried to frame your younger one for all the schemes you planned.
Your Daddy and I think about you a lot. You can still make us laugh. Thank you for that. I do really miss your hair and baby toes a lot. Remember when I would get your pigs and then Daddy would try and make me touch his nasty man feet? Your toes were much cuter. And smelled better too :) I went to your spot after I got off work Sunday morning. Man, there are a lot of birds there in the morning! I think some deer visited you too. Looks like you're still the closest to being by a deer because Grandpa still hasn't gotten one. I could still hear police cars in the distance too. Remember when you sat in the back of Daddy's car? You liked that a little too much, child!
It's hard to end this letter because I want to tell you so much more, but Jake is demanding attention and you know how he gets if he doesn't get his way :) I miss you every second and love you so much, sweet boy.

Big kisses and hugs,

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Happy thoughts

Things that make my heart happy right now:

Ryan restoring my planter Daniel made me for Mother's Day 2010.


Andrew's smile


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Never alone

I thought I had it together yesterday. We donated the books for B4D at Rose Acres and it was incredible to see the library, the preschoolers enjoying some of the books, the Parents As Teacher rep collecting her share, and all the pictures taken. In fact, I held myself together pretty well-until I heard Natalie Grants song "Held". Oh man, did I lose it in my car. (I was parked) Great, heaving, gut wrenching sobs. I haven't cried like that in awhile. I bowed my head on the steering wheel and just let myself miss Daniel so much. I didn't think, I just opened myself to my grief. It hurt so much. It was good and bad at the same time. Thankfully, my day didn't end on such a sobering note. R and I took the boys to the new Disney Store and it was so much fun watching Jake's reaction to seeing all the movies, Mickey and Cars. We laughed so much and just made great memories. After such an emotional afternoon the release of the evening meant everything to me.

But that really isn't the main point of all of this. It may seem that I have complete trust in God working in my heart and life but it's definitely a struggle putting Him before Daniel sometimes. I pray daily for distinction between my allegiance to Jesus and Daniel. I worry about wanting to see Daniel more than meeting my Creator sometimes and about making sure what I say and what I do is for Him and not Daniel.

As I was driving home this afternoon from taking the boys to the Magic House, I prayed for help. I prayed that God would help separate me as His child and me as Daniel's Mother. I prayed I would put Jesus first. Then this came on the radio. (If you haven't noticed yet, musical lyrics tend to work on me) "Heaven is this face" by Stephen Curtis Chapman. It was like God was telling me that it's ok to be confused. It's ok to miss Daniel. He gave Daniel to me, afterall. He wanted me to experience Daniel and love him and know him. He knows my tie to Daniel as a Mother because it was given by Him. He knows how much I love Daniel, but that I do love Him too. God knows I know Daniel is in the best possible place anyone could ever be and He knows I believe in Him with all my heart even if in my human mind and heart it feels like I am having to sift through it all. And through it all I know He's going to be there.

For no one is abandoned by the Lord forever
Though he brings grief, he also shows compassion
because of the greatness of his unfailing love
For he does not enjoy hurting people or causing them sorrow

Lamentations 3: 31-33

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
He rescues those who are crushed in spirit

Psalm 34: 18

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Word Vomit

I am here muddling around in this mess. I realized I hadn't given myself the opportunity to really REALLY think of this accident until today in Sunday school. I've been censoring myself from my thoughts. I tuck those memories in a box labeled 'for later' and stuff them into the darkest recesses of my mind. Sure, I've talked about what happened, but I've never listened to myself. This scripture was mentioned today and I felt like it was calling out to me. I may not be using it in the context that Paul originally intended it for, but it's exactly what I am feeling.

So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don't get tied up again in slavery to the law. Galatians 5:1

I have been a slave to the accident. Worldly law condemns me from moving on. "What a horrible parent" the world says. "How could they keep a loaded gun in their house with children?" "Why wasn't she watching them?" The enemy pushes those worldly words down my throat until it's suffocating me. Trying to make me fall and studder in my steps when I am trying to forge ahead. Preventing me from seeing what Christ is using Daniel for. And I'm sick of it.

It happened. For reasons that have not been shown to me. And might never be fully explained to me here. It's the most horrible, brutal, tragic thing that could ever happen in my life. And I could focus solely on that. I could wallow in my pity and my despair. I could. But what would that do for me? What could that do for me? Absolutely nothing.

Instead, I am relying of Christ to guide me through the muddied waters of my life. And it's muddy, lemme tell you. In fact, I know I'm going to get stuck in thick, dirty goop sometimes. I may be so stuck that it's going to take every available hand to pull me out and pull me through. But you know what? I am ok with that. God has placed some AMAZING individuals in my life and I know I can reach and grab their hand and trust in them to help pull me out. That is His promise to me*.

I am praying for God's love and support to free me from wordly laws. I am praying that everyday I can remind myself that I am not alone and that God is working great things in my life and those that surround me through Daniel and his life-and death. And I pray I can always remember that even when the enemy and the world has a hold on me.

*Isaiah 43:2

Friday, September 16, 2011

Today was a boring day; and it was so nice. We all stayed home and relaxed and spent some genuine family time together. Ryan and I tried a new Xbox game (I don't recommend it; something about pinatas) Jake played hard outside and Andrew was so smiley. I got the chance to step outside of everything and enjoy watching my children.

Jake is growing so much. He has such an imagination and pretend plays all the time. If there was ever a typical middle child, Jake is it. It's odd, but over the past 2 months it really feels like I am seeing Jake for the first time. He was Daniel's shadow completely. I don't think I have one memory that doesn't involve the 2 of them. Whatever schemes Daniel was up too, Jake was never far behind. Usually the one doing all the dirty work, too. Daniel was smart like that. But now, Jake is having to completely reinvent himself. His personality has grown so much and the stuff he says will make you double over in laughter. He is a very easy going child and I thank God daily that He designed Jake that way. These past 2 months have been anything but normal and Jake takes it all in stride. He is a constant in my ever chaotic life and reminds me of why I am still needed.

I have only mentioned this to a few people, but Jake experienced something not many have. We were getting ready for nap time last Tuesday and I was tucking Jake in when he suddenly stopped talking and stared up at the ceiling. I looked around wondering what had his attention and asked him what he was looking at but nothing was shaking his concentration. As quickly as he looked up, he was back and exclaimed that "Brother is an Angel". How truly wonderful it was to witness God at work and in my son. Jake has such an innocence about him and for him to know that Daniel was there with him, and not be frightened, made my mother heart beat faster. And even greater testimony to God's love was that past night I had prayed over Jake that he know Daniel was still with him and for Daniel to protect him. If I were to be completely honest though, I was slightly envious that Jake could see Daniel and I couldn't..

So even though there are still many more bad days then good right now, these are the days that help with healing. The days that I can come back to and remember that even though my world feels shattered, there is so much love and joy intertwined in all of it. And someday, I pray, there will be more good days than bad.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Andrew and Daniel

Andrew turned 3 months yesterday and it is always a little bittersweet. Every time I celebrate his month anniversary I know that 5 days later I will be experiencing another. It's not fair to Andrew or myself. I so want to celebrate all of Andrew's milestones unencumbered by Daniel's accident. To help ease this, for me, I have decided to write about Daniel and Andrew's relationship. For as short as it was, there was so much love from Daniel to his brother.

From the very beginning, Daniel was building a relationship with his brother. Daniel would talk to my belly and try and look into my belly button to catch a glimpse of baby brother. The day we brought him home, Daniel was quick to voice he wanted to hold him. He was so gentle with Andrew. Daniel was a little helper and liked to grab the diapers and wipes for me. A few times he even helped hold the bottle and fed Andrew mostly by himself. Where he got the patience to do that, who knows? :) He would lay with Andrew during tummy time and encourage Andrew on. One of the first things he would do once he was up was jump on our bed to see Andrew and say hi. He loved giving him kisses and hugging him and enjoyed the walks we all shared together-even if he did have to give up his seat in the stroller. Even now, he is protecting him and sharing his love. We decided to put all the money Daniel had accumulated in his piggy bank as part of the education fund being set up for his brothers.

One of the hardest first year pages I made in Andrew's first year book was the page dedicated to all 3 brothers. It's a part of Andrew's history I wish wasn't but it is and I want to acknowledge it head on. Andrew will always know that Daniel loved all of his brothers and was the absolute best biggest brother Andrew could have.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

I really didn't think this was going to be a 2 post day...

...but insomnia is a dear friend and has shown up again. Slightly jealous that everyone in my household is sleeping except me. Same story as last night...and the night before that. Nights are the worst, too. My mind wanders. This is when I really want to be sleeping-and not just because it's a normal process. Can I blame night shift? Maybe. Mostly, nights are filled with a lot of empty space. I am too tired to concentrate on reading (which has slightly lost joy anyway and that in itself makes me sad), nothing of interest is on t.v. and most people work normal 9-5's so they're tucked in bed. So I am left to think. I think about how much I have changed. I worry that since Daniel is constantly in the forefront of my mind it's effecting work and life in general. I wonder what Ryan is thinking. I think about how much I want to move. (Being in the house isn't sad, I'm just itching for change. Or, maybe it is subconsciously bothering me....I worry about that as well) I worry I'm forgetting Daniel and then I mentally go through every inch of him. I worry that I put him before God because I want to see him so badly. I pray God knows I really try not to. I worry I concentrate on Daniel so much that people get tired of me-and then I hate myself for even thinking that because he's my son and he's not here and people just need to deal with the fact that I miss him so much.

Grief is so draining. I really don't know a better way to describe it. I feel like I have lived a lifetime already. I have more lows than highs. God is so near and sometimes so far away and that pull can bring me to my knees. I cry-everyday. I didn't even know that was possible. I can only handle dealing with "things that have to do with Daniel" for a short period so it's taking me forever to write thank you cards and it only prolongs "things that have to do with Daniel".

I sound awful, don't I? Nights bring out the worst in me. Frankly, I don't even want to be around me. But I keep moving on, keep praying, knowing God gives me enough for a day at a time (even if that day feels longer than 24 hours) and hoping tomorrow is slightly better.

...weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.

Psalm 30:5

Here we go

The idea for blogging about everything I have been experiencing has been weighing on my heart for quite some time. It's not by accident that others have approched me and suggested I write as well. I've been writing in a personal journal since the accident but the thought of sharing my personal and private feelings on the web shakes me up. I've prayed hard about taking this giant leap and it was a good friend of mine that mentioned how reading blogs of women that have experienced loss has been helping her move on that has me finally convinced. You would think that just believing God wouldn't purpose this onto my heart unless it was the very best thing for me would convince me, but I'm just human and have to be completely handfed the reassurance.

So here goes, my heart unfolded for all to see. It won't be pretty, but it's going to be real.

I do leave you with a positive. Books for Daniel's first stickering event was today and was beyond awesome. The support that has been shown in honor of Daniel is incredibly humbling. 902 books going to some great kids out there stamped with Daniel's love.

The first book stickered ♥