Wednesday, June 24, 2009

See You in the Morning

I have been enjoying my new baby Brody so much lately - especially in the morning. He is so happy at this time. I love listening to him on the monitor as he is waking up and he is making his sweet little baby sounds. The other day he was doing this and I absolutely couldn't wait to go to his room, open his door and peek over his crib to see his sweet face. I crawled out of bed and made my way across the house to where he sleeps. I walked across his room and anticipated his reaction to my presence. When he saw my face, his little eyes twinkled and he started giggling at me. I could tell that he too was excited to see me. It had only been about 4 hours since we had last been together but we both could not wait to be in each other's company again.

The picture above is one that I absolutely love. I have one hanging in my room close to my bed. My mother gave it to me shortly after I lost DeLanee and so when I look at it, I think of her. As I was going to bed the other night I was staring at that picture and thinking about how excited Brody was to see me that morning. His reaction really did make my day. Then I remembered a saying I had seen on a headstone in the cemetary one day as I was visiting DeLanee's grave. It said "See you in the morning". I really liked it. As latter-day saints we have been taught that those who are worthy will rise on the morning of the first resurrection and be given "thrones, kindoms, principalites and powers" (D&C 132.19). I couldn't help but imagine the unspeakable joy that will be in DeLanee's and I's countenance as we embrace one another and are once again in each other's presence on this morning. I pray each day that I can live worthily to come forth and be able to see her "in the morning". I can't wait to see the twinkle in her eye and yes. . .I will giggle.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Why My Mom Lies

Ask my Mom how she is
My mom, she tells a lot of lies
she never did before
but from now until she dies
she'll tell a whole lot more
Ask my mom how she is
and because she cannot explain
she will tell a little lie
Because she cannot describe the pain
Ask my mom how she is
She'll say 'I'm alright'
if that's the truth
then tell me why does she cry each night
Ask my mom how she is
she seems to cope so well
she didn't have a choice you see
Nor the strength to yell
Ask my mom how she is
"I'm fine, I'm well, I'm coping"
For God's sake mom just tell the truth
Just say your heart is broken
She'll love me all her life
I loved her all of mine
But if you ask her how she is
She'll lie and say I'm fine
I am here in heaven
I cannot hug from here
If she lies - don't listen
Hug her and hold her near
On the day we meet again
We'll smile and I'll be bold
I'll say your're lucky to get in here mom,
With all the lies you told.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

5 Years - Happy Birthday!

The first thing I thought of this morning when I woke up, was how I felt waking up 5 years ago today. My mind always replays everything that happened on Delanee's birthday each year. When I opened my eyes on the morning of the 28th, the first thing I saw was my daughter laying beside my bed in her tiny hospital baby bed. I was laying on my side facing her and I remember staring at her little profile. I mostly remember her cute little nose. Everyone had left and Tommy was sleeping in the chair next to me. The room was so quiet and as I remembered everything that had happened the night before it almost felt like the events that took place were a dream. Everything happened so fast and although I felt like we did all that we could do to make as many memories with her in the short time we had. . .I wanted more. I was so tired but I knew that soon they would want to move her and do an autopsy so, although she had already passed away, I wanted to stare at her for as long as possible. When Tommy woke up, he took her and held her and then handed her to me to hold again. It felt different than the night before. She was so cold and although I knew I was holding my little girl, I knew she wasn't there. Her spirit may have been there in our room, but it wasn't in her body as it was the night before.

We only had a little bit of quiet time that morning with just Tommy and I before the visitors began to come. I remember my brother Jason getting there pretty early. We weren't able to get a hold of him the night before and although we left him a message, he didn't get it in time. He was my only sibling to not be at her delivery. I felt bad that he didn't get to come. After getting my message he came first thing on the 28th. Soon after that the Relief Society came and the planning of her funeral arrangements began.

I thought of DeLanee all day yesterday. Although her birthday is on the 28th, the 27th was the day that all of the events unfolded. She was born at 12:58 on the 28th, but the 27th is the day I remember more. It was a Tuesday - just like yesterday. I had a doctor's appointment - just like yesterday. They sent me to the hospital after my appointment for my first round of steroid shots. DeLanee had made it so far that they thought "just maybe". But after I received that first shot, they hooked me up to the monitor and saw that she was slipping away. After the nurse told the doctor, he came in and quietly closed the door behind him. He began to tell us that our daughter was showing signs of deterioration and that we needed to deliver soon if we wanted to have any time with her while she was alive. He was the only doctor with Phoenix Perinatal Associates that shared our same faith (LDS) and he happened to be the one who was on call that day at Banner Desert. He then told us that he knew that we were LDS and that if it were his wife carrying this baby that he knew they would want a quick delivery to be able to have the opportunity to give her a name and a blessing before she passed. The delivery nurse that was by my side that evening was also LDS and because she understood our desires, was able to help us in ways that another couldn't. It was so comforting to me to know that nearly everyone in that surgery room shared my same faith, had not only the medical knowledge necessary to look out for our best interests, but knowledge of the gospel as well. Looking back on that day, I absolutely know that my Heavenly Father was blessing me. He must have known how badly I wanted to hold her and see her while she was alive. They worked quickly to get her here and were so sensitive to our desires. I will eternally be grateful that I had the time I did with her.

Thinking of DeLanee turning 5 makes me wonder what other things she would be doing throughout this year. She would start kindergarten this year. What kind of student would she be? Would her favorite color be pink like most other little girls? What kind of theme for her birthday party would she choose? Maybe I wouldn't have had Taryn so quickly, but because I can't imagine life without Taryn, I also imagine how close her sister and her would be. They would probably be sharing a room together along with a lot of other things. Would they share the same interests, or, have totally different interests? Recently when we attended Taryn's first dance recital I was caught off guard when they opened the curtain and while everyone else in that room was clapping and giggling over the cute things they were doing I was feeling tears. Seeing Taryn standing there for whatever reason made my thoughts immediately turn to DeLanee and the realization of another thing we wouldn't do with her. What I would give to watch her dance on stage! Maybe she wouldn't want to dance and would rather play t-ball? Would she like horses as much as me and her sister?

Although I wish so badly to be able to see her do all these things and know her better, I feel very blessed to know that I WILL get to do these things with her someday. Not every mom has a little spirit waiting to be raised by them in Heaven. I look forward to that day and imagine how great that will be. No pregnacy, no delivery - just a baby placed back into my arms to love and raise. I am not perfect, but I strive every day to live worthily of this. The only thing worse than losing her 5 years ago would be to lose her again and watch another Mother (more worthy than I) get to raise my sweet daughter. I know I have a loving Heavenly Father that is gracious and kind, but I cannot help but feel pressure over the things I do (or not do) in my life that may effect this promise. In fact, I try not to dwell too much on this, because if I do I can also begin to think of how impossible it is for me to live up to the expectations I feel are necessary to be able to do this.

We'll go to her grave today. I actually haven't been there since July. It's usually the one time out of the year that we'll ALL go together - even Grandma and Grandpa come and share a cupcake with us. Usually if I go, it's just me, or, I may have one kid with me. It's nice to have everyone there and sit down on the grass and have our own little celebration. I think the kids mostly care about the cupcakes, but for me, it's nice to have ALL my children in one spot. I know that sounds so weird. It even sounds weird when I say it, because really. . .she's not there. Just her body is. She's probably with us more at other times, but maybe seeing her name there and my kids being there as well it seems like we're all together. I look forward to the day when we're REALLY all together.

Happy Birthday DeLanee! I'm so proud of you and will always feel so blessed to have been touched by your life. We are so blessed to have had you come to our family and feel of your presence and have you strengthen us the way you have.

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Story of the Bereavement Boxes:

As you might imagine, the day I left the hospital and I went one way and DeLanee went another was undescribably hard. Every mom plans on leaving the hospital with their baby. My arms were empty - except for a box. A box that contained all of the contents of my baby's belongings. I had DeLanee in January, so the nurses found a leftover Christmas box and put DeLanee's stuff in it. I clung to that box as they wheeled me out of the hospital and for the next several weeks that box remained near to me where I would open it and go through the reminders and memories of what I had left of my little girl.

It was that Christmas box that was so special to me, which gave me the idea of the "Bereavement Boxes". The following year on DeLanee's birthday I wanted to do something to honor and remember her so I attempted my first try at the boxes. I wanted to donate them back to the hospital where I had DeLanee - Banner Desert Medical Center. It was definitely a labor of love as I was preparing them. I remembered how I hung on and embraced the box that had been given to me and worked in hope that the boxes that I was preparing would help to give another mom something to hold on to as they too left the hospital without their precious baby. I also wanted them to be well-designed, tasteful and special enough that each mom would feel like it would be something they cherished for many years to come.

They looked very different that first year than what they do now, but over the past five years they have developed into a service that has helped me see that good things can come from less than perfect circumstances. The project has developed into something bigger than what I imagined and I still have dreams of it becoming even bigger! As I receive letters or phone calls from women who have received a box, I have been humbled by them and their strength in enduring their trials and feel so blessed to have met so many wonderful women. Although the circumstances that have brought us together has not been one I would wish on anybody, I feel blessed to be amongst them.

Suzanne Helzer is the Bereavement Director at Banner Desert Hospital and does such a wonderful job. All hospitals should be so blessed to have someone like Suzanne to work with grieving mothers at the time of their loss and then for quite some time afterward. It really does make a difference. Ocassionally I'll receive a call from her telling me about how she witnessed a mom arranging her baby's items in the box and then taking them out and arranging them again, or, she'll tell me how the CD has effected the women as they deal with their grief and reconfirms to me that I need to continue with the project. There are so many times that I tell myself that the only person this is helping is me until I receive a note or card from a mom or one of Suzanne's calls.

I used to only donate once a year on DeLanee's birthday but Suzanne and the Bereavement department now calls me when they run out of boxes and requests more. I am embarrassed to admit this, but the run we just did came from a request that Suzanne made to me last June! With my pregnancy and other things I have had going on I just couldn't seem to get them done. I've felt terrible as I've thought of all the women that did not get to receive one of DeLanee's boxes.

We had such a wonderful time doing this batch of boxes. We ate, laughed and assembled the boxes and it was such a wonderful experience. I feel so blessed to have wonderful family and friends that support me and help me with the boxes. Thank you so much to everyone that donate time, money, love and support as we do this! Pictured below are some of my nearest and dearest friends from high school. This was the first time I had the opportunity to do this project with them. It was so special to me to be surrounded by those friends I have known forever and feel so blessed to remain close to the girls I grew up with! I love you guys so much!

Finished girl and boy box:
Contents of inside of box includes: CD, disposable camera, journal, photo brag book, necklace, journal, pen, candy and kleenex.

A special thank you to Erika and Heather for donating all of the cameras and brag books and additional items for our next run!

Thank you Mom Sherwood, Kathryn Hallsted for helping with the items below: Journals, pens, candy, kleenex and cds:

A really big thank you to Heritage House'76 located in Snowflake, Arizona for donating our necklaces that is included in each and every run we've done. We appreciate it!

Ready for delivery:

Monday, July 14, 2008

A Tender Moment of Confirmation with Taryn

I was blessed to be pregnant again just 6 short months following DeLanee's death. Taryn joined our family in May, 2005. She and DeLanee would be just 16 months apart. I will forever remember my sweetest moment with Taryn. When she was just a few weeks old (too young to smile on cue yet), I was nursing her in the middle of the night. When she was finished, she was staring up at me with these serious dark eyes. She always seemed so serious - in fact, I was beginning to wonder if she would always take life so seriously. (The picture below is a pretty accurate picture of what her face always looked like.)

It was then that I began to talk to her about her sister. The second I mentioned the name "DeLanee", her face absolutely lit up! A smile spread across her face and her eyes twinkled! I knew that the memory of her sister had not yet left her mind and the veil, although thin, had not yet been lifted. I realized I was rocking an angel sent to me straight from heaven where she had lived and just said goodbye to her sister. I couldn't help the tears that flowed. I felt so very blessed for Taryn and her little way of telling me what I believe is true, that our Savior and DeLanee live again and send they're love to me through her confirming smile.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Happy 4th of July Lanee

When we visited DeLanee's grave today, I was thinking back about how hard it used to be to come here when it was so fresh. Picking out her headstone was such an excruciating process for me. I changed my mind a billion times before finally deciding on one. It wasn't until about a year and half later that the headstone was finally set and everytime I would go before that I felt so terrible that there wasn't a marker for her grave. When I saw it in the ground for the first time it was such a mixture of feelings. One was relief that we finally got it. Sometimes I wondered if she felt like we had forgotten her because it took so long. Some of the feelings you feel from grief are so weird. It was also another "finality" to that phase in our lives. Yes, it was already final, but seeing it there "set in stone" was like pouring salt in the wound.

Although I still long to hold her and wonder all the time what she would be like and feel all of those worldly selfish feelings of wanting her here with me rather than where she is, the raw and tender heartbreak has softened. Going to her grave is much different now. After 4 years, I now look forward to going and love making it look pretty. We celebrate the seasons with her and I find myself looking for things for her grave for my next visit. When I go now I think of the work she is doing on the other side which makes me so proud of who she is. I have a completely perfect little girl waiting on the other side for me to raise. How many mothers will be able to do that? I feel so blessed for this and so blessed for the gospel in my life that gives me the knowledge of eternal families.

The Fourth of July has always been my favorite holiday. Each year I look forward to celebrating the birth of our country and the freedom we enjoy as Americans. Today as I arranged these flowers on DeLanee's grave they symbolized to me how I was celebrating her birth and the freedom our Savior gave to us, through the atonement, making it possible for us to see our loved ones again!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Brotherly Love

Garrett was only 3 1/2 when DeLanee was born - he called her "TeLanee". Although he was so young, I have always felt that they have such a strong bond with each other. He has always prayed for her, remembered her when people ask about our family and taught his new little sister, Taryn, all about her. His love for her is very evident to everyone. This first picture of them is so dear to my heart. It just felt so good to have them both on my lap and to wrap my arms around both of them. Garrett was so happy to finally hold his baby sister. This picture was also taken around the time that she passed away.

Garrett is such a blessing to our family and I often think that they must have gotten together in the preexistence and had a talk about how things would happen. He has always seemed to have such a understanding of everything and also an over abundance of love for parents that needed his hugs and kisses so much during this time. What a wonderful reunion it will be between the two of them!