In Process…….

I had a counseling appointment this morning. While driving there, I tried to “check in” with myself…..to see how I was doing. How I’d been feeling since my last appointment? Less Anxiety, More Anxiety…Whatever…and as I attempted to “connect”…I found myself shutting down.

Whatever I was trying to connect with or process seemed too great a task and it was as if a huge cement lid was slamming down on top of whatever I was trying to connect into…..I guess, myself…

There was a song on the radio that I liked and so rather than fight against myself…I sang along with the song until it was finished and then I tried again……

Quotation-Jeanette-Winterson-time-Meetville-Quotes-8822I knew I had thoughts and feelings and yet…as I reached inside myself…once again…I shut down.

By this point, I was mildly frustrated and so I tried again…and there was nothing. Brief lines from popular songs flashed through my mind, filling it with meaningless drivel;but I couldn’’ seem to grasp a hold of one concrete, valid thought.

I became aware that this is something I do…..often.

I have so much to think through and so much to deal with and it’s been SO LONG that I’ve been living in a state of heightened stress…at some point I shut down in an effort to not “break” and now it feels like this coping mechanism has crippled me.

It’s possible that my life experiences may also have “broken me”, were I to have fully embraced them all as they came……but I didn’t…

And now…….

I walked into the counselors office and sat down; and chatted about trivial things not pertaining to the matter at hand and then I brought it up.

“I shut down. Often. And I don’t like it.”

It’s kind of like the whole “building walls” analogy…..You get hurt by people, so you start to build walls to protect yourself; and eventually you end up alone inside your great castle, and that loneliness hurts even worse than the possibility of hurt from letting people in…..

I shut down emotionally because my experiences were too great a pain to bear.
I’ve experienced too many intensely hurtful things.
Shutting down has become instinctive and not a choice.
Now, anytime I attempt to work through something that feels the slightest bit “intense”, even if it would be a positive thing…..I shut down and cannot think straight enough to make sense out of any of it.

It’s frustrating.

It feels shameful because it’s something I “should” be able to do.

I laughed when I said that, because I know it’s a fault of mine…..this belief that I should be able to do anything and everything……that I should be in control at all times….that I should be capable to handle anything and everything that comes my way, with no signs of weakness…..How’s that for holding myself to impossible standards?

I feel angry because I don’t like feeling powerless and out of control.

It takes me back to the days that Nathaniel died and was born.

How do you process something like that? How do you carry a baby for 25 weeks; and plan and dream about and love the being that you are growing inside your very soul….how do you cope with having that piece of yourself taken from you? How do you walk away from your heart? How do you deny everything that your gut is saying to you to leave him when you know they will put his body into a cold freezer and yet you must just walk away and leave him there…..where no one loves him….where no once will or can care for him…..

You don’t….you shut down because those thoughts will destroy you…….

d6a09ad607c4839d81b7a8de71185190

My baby died. I can’t even fathom it, and yet I lived through it….I think those are the wrong words, though. I carried on. I kept on going. I shut down and gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. A little boy who was the perfect size for his age. A little boy that they could not find anything wrong with. There was no reason that we know of….he was not sick or broken. Just dead.

Even writing this I seem to flash in and out of these feelings of grief. Shut it down….feel……it’s too much….It’s TOO MUCH…..so many tears….so much sorrow held for so many years….He would have been 11 years old this year.

I held him for such a brief moment. I didn’t know what to do and neither, it seemed, did the hospital. I have so many regrets and so much anger inside.

Why didn’t they ask if our families would like to see him?
Why didn’t we call our families in? It would have been so much more real, then….
Why didn’t I hold him to my chest and sob as if my heart was broken into the million tiny shards that it was?
Why was I so scared that holding him was the wrong thing to do, just because he was dead?
Why didn’t the hospital walk us through more….better….with details….or information……or something?

I can’t have these “why’s” answered…..

I’ve existed, laying these “why’s” down because I knew there were no answers to my questions…..but what I have not realized was that in being “logical” I was dismissing or down playing the validity of my emotions…I was shutting down…..

It’s ok for me to be upset that my baby died.
It’s ok for me to be upset that my baby died without a reason.
It’s ok for me to be angry that we were not “helped” along more by the hospital.
It’s ok for me to feel sad that I didn’t hold Nathaniel and cuddle him as much as I would have liked to.
It’s ok that I feel shameful for not knowing what to do……How could I have known?
It’s ok that I feel so many “regrets” because I can never go back to that moment…..

I walked away from the hospital feeling more alone and broken than I had ever felt before in my life. I remember standing in the elevator wishing that I were dead. Wondering if I was, because it wasn’t possible to simultaneously hurt this bad and yet feel nothing.

I felt dead. But I knew because of how badly it hurt to even breathe, that I was so very alive and that I had kids to take care of and that life had to go on.

We came home to an empty, still house…..mirrored by my own emptiness. We walked upstairs to the main floor and I remember hugging Jon, and crying. I felt so helpless…..so out of control……and so desperate for another baby……a living baby.

When I think back to that time…..there are a few things that I remember “doing”…..I don’t remember “feeling” anything other than desperation for a baby to love, to hold, to fill the empty places inside of me……

Siah was born 3.5, very long, very loss-filled, very traumatizing, years later.

quote_resources-for-recovering-resilienceI don’t know how you make it through an experience like that without shutting down. Obviously….because I didn’t……..

Now how do I move forward….that is my question…….

I don’t want “shutting down” to be the first thing that I do when faced with…..life….

Because I want to “really live” with authenticity and transparency and passion; and not just exist……

Hurting and Remembering

I remember the day we lost Nathaniel so vividly. I remember feeling so lost, so empty…….so removed and yet so shockingly forced into a reality that I never, ever, ever in a million years ever expected myself to be in.

It felt like the very life had been ripped out of me. I remember holding my sweet baby and feeling so conflicted and confused. How was I supposed to act? What was acceptable? What was inappropriate? And under it all…….does it even matter anymore? How am I supposed to carry on when a huge part of me has died.

My heart felt like it had stopped and yet it traitorously kept beating. Not that I wanted to die, but I was in so much pain that even breathing hurt. And I just wanted to not hurt for a moment.

I remember walking away from the hospital thinking, “This is not how this was supposed to go. I am not supposed to be walking away from here empty handed. I am leaving my heart behind, here in the hospital” and yet there I was. No bags full of presents and baby things, no heavy, awkward car seat, no baby….just the pain and the grief that overwhelmed me……threatening to crush me. I forced myself to move one foot in front of the other. I had kids, I had a husband. I had a life that I had to carry on with and yet……..my life had stopped. Very few that I knew, understood what I was going though and even though there were ones who did……I still felt so alone…..so lost.

This was my grief to bear. My baby I lost. My life to live……if you could call this living.

The emptiness, the loneliness, the hurt, the tears…….all came rushing back this morning. It’s been just over 7 years since we lost Nathaniel and while thoughts of him no longer consume my every day….there are moments when the loss hits me so hard that it takes my breath away and it feels like I’m back there in that moment.

This morning I’m hurting. I’m hurting for those who hurt. I’m hurting for myself. I’m hurting for my loss and your loss.

These little ones….they are our sons and daughters, but they are also our grandsons and daughters and our nieces and nephews, our cousins. The loss….it’s all our loss. Regardless of their time here on earth, these little ones leave a huge impact. There are holes that can never be filled and lessons learned in love, togetherness, understanding, gentleness, caring, kindness and compassion. In spite of their time here on earth being shorter than we had hoped or wanted….their legacy lives on in the everyday actions of those they leave behind.

But today….I hurt. I hurt for you and I hurt for me.

I will always remember!

Other Side Effects

A little perspective from me (Jon)…

I remember clearly the January day in 2005 when Patti looked at me with a worried look on her face and said that she wasn’t feeling the baby move. I remember the Sunday afternoon, feeling tired and wanting to take a nap. I remember thinking about the emotions of a pregnant woman and being thankful that this pregnancy was getting close to a conclusion. I said to Patti, “What could really be wrong? If you haven’t felt him move by later this afternoon then we can go to the hospital and they can do their Doppler thing and you can hear the heart beat and they can tell you that everything is OK.” Then I went and took a nap.

The events of that day are forever embedded in my mind because that was the day that I lost my naivety. As you can discover from reading older posts, we lost our son Nathaniel. That was one of those things that was “never going to happen to us”.

I’m not sure why we tend to excuse ourselves from tragedy, but we do. We think that “bad things don’t happen to good people.” We think that if something bad happens once that we have “had our share of problems” or “paid our dues”, implying that tragedy will over-look us in the future. Coming face to face with tragedy, illness, death, financial catastrophe may do many and different things to each person, but one thing is common to all, we loose some naivety.

Loosing our son rocked us individually, it rocked our marriage, it changed our perspective on life, on relationship with God. It made us stronger and it made us more fragile. Having Angelica diagnosed with Leukemia this summer took another blow at our naivety. I can’t say what the end result will be, because we are still in the throws of shock and coping and cleaning and sanitizing and the emotional randomness that exists in our home. I can say that loosing naivety makes you a little weaker; not as bold and unquestioningly confident.

I called this post “side effects” because side effects are the unintended or unexpected or unpredictable consequences to an otherwise straightforward course of action. For example, Angelica gets a drug that will help to stop the reproduction of Leukemia cells and at the same time build up blood marrow… the side effect was temporary diabetes.

Getting to the point… Blood cancers are often discovered while treating “flu like symptoms” and when those symptoms present in another of your children, there is nothing to stop you from mentally wondering “what if”… The other night our baby, Judah, was feeling ill. He had a fever and signs of the flu. He had also had some sort of digestive problem where he has had a lot of diarrhea and sometimes a bit of blood and mucus in his stool. As the evening wore on, I could see that Patti’s anxiety was growing. As we went to bed, Patti was really concerned and I was laying there beside her and felt unable to console her… or myself for that matter. I can no longer say “everything is ok”. I can no longer say “you’re over-reacting”. I can also no longer shrug it off and forget about it. I am now aware that this kind of thing can happen. I am now aware that it can happen to good people. I am now aware that “lightning can strike twice.”

I brought this up at BC Children’s hospital at our last appointment and discovered that the oncology clinic there commonly writes orders for blood counts for siblings and parents of oncology patients, because as it would turn out, this is a common “side effect”.

After seeing a doctor, and checking things out, we know that Judah is OK. He had the flu and is mostly healed and is acting much healthier, but the naivety that something could go wrong is gone. Now this doesn’t make us pessimistic, where we sit around expecting catastrophes all the time… far from it. We expect that things will go well with us and we expect there to be blessings that come our way. We actually remain optimistic… but when “symptoms” of something negative start to appear, they are not as easy to dismiss.

~ Jon ~

37 Weeks

Well, my stomach muscles have finally lost the fight.

It looks like I’ve dropped and I can actually breath and there is space between the bottom of my boobs and my stomach, but I’m actually measuring 3 cm larger than last week. All of the stomach muscles in the lower half of my stomach have just given up and have let loose. If you look in the pictures from this week and then compare to last week…there is a whole lot more baby popped out in the lower half of my stomach than there used to be.

And, he’s not dropped – his head is still up and floating.

I had my 37 week appointment yesterday and things are looking good. Little Man’s heart rate was 144 beats per minute and he’s happy and growing. He’s still laying head down and with his back to my right side. He’s been in that position for a while now. So we’re not expecting him to have any drastic movements or shifts….he’s been pretty happy there.

37 weeks side

I had a really bad afternoon on Wednesday and after holding myself together….I finally lost it yesterday morning at my midwifes. I just couldn’t stop crying. It bothered and scared me so badly that I hadn’t felt him move and that I couldn’t get him to move for almost half an hour.

Here’s what happened……On Wednesday morning, I made a big batch of soup and then a huge pot of rice and beans. While the rice and beans were simmering, I made a double batch of Apple Hemp muffins, then another double batch of Zucchini muffins and then another double batch of pumpkin carrot muffins. I wanted to be able to freeze a bunch of them for when our little man comes. They are an easy, high fiber, healthy quick snack!

Around 1:30-2pm, I realized that I didn’t remember feeling the baby move while I was cooking and baking and that’s unusual. He’s big and strong enough now and I usually feel him move fairly regularly all day, even when I’m busy and doing things.

So I figured that while my last batch of muffins was baking, that I’d go and lay down on the couch and I should be able to get him to move then. I sat down on the couch and put my feet up and waited……nothing! So I poked at him a bit to see if I could wake him up and again……..NOTHING! I needed to go and check on the muffins, so I did and they were fine, but I still hadn’t felt him move….at this point, it’s been about 20 minutes since I realized that I hadn’t felt him moving. I contemplated laying down on the floor because I wondered if me laying flat would encourage him to stretch out and start moving, BUT……..that brought me WAY TOO CLOSE back to the Sunday that I found out that Nathaniel had died. I had done the exact same thing, trying to get him to move – I’d laid down on the carpet in my living room and couldn’t get him to move around. I didn’t want to do that because of the whole “What if’s?????” that were rolling around in my head and yet I needed to do something.

37 weeks front

I did lay down and after about 5-7 minutes I felt one little movement but I honestly wasn’t sure if it was a real purposeful movement or if it was a leg that just slipped around inside there. (I know how morbid that sounds and yet it was my reality at one point and so I do wonder and question…) Then he moved a bit more and I could tell that they were purposeful movements and shortly after that he got the hiccups…….those were honestly the most amazing feeling hiccups that I’ve ever felt in my life.

And from that point, I felt him move quite regularly through the rest of the evening.

After my meltdown in the midwife’s office, she sent me home with a doppler. She did ask me about sending me for a Non Stress Test, but as I explained to her…..while it feels great for the moment, almost as soon as it’s done, I start to question and wonder. See, I don’t doubt my bodies ability to be pregnant. I don’t doubt my ability in labour and delivery. What I do doubt and question, is if my baby will stay alive long enough to to be born.

We’ve never found any reason for why Nathaniel died or for why I lost any of the others and to have no reason means that we also can’t take active measures to prevent anything from happening. I’ve managed to hold it all together for a good part of this pregnancy, but I’m finding these last few weeks to be more difficult than the previous weeks…..I think that I’m so invested in this (and him) now and the thought of losing him (even if in reality it is only a remote possibility) is so SO difficult to handle.

And so though a NST would be nice, it’s not really helpful, but she did want me to take home a doppler so that I wouldn’t have to deal with another half an hour of stressing out……If I question or wonder…..BAM! Instant info!

I’m into my once a week appointments now, but really, this baby can’t come fast enough, as far as I’m concerned. The sooner he’s here and safe in my arms….well, technically at that point I should be able to breath easier, but in all actually it took a few weeks before I felt like that with Siah.

In other lighter news, I’m swollen and puffy enough that I gained 4 pounds in one week. How horrific is that? I know it’s mostly water weight, as this morning I was down a pound from yesterday, and that was regardless of the fact that I woke up with puffy, swollen feet.

I meant to pick up a herb to help with that yesterday at my midwife’s, but the meltdown kind of took over the appointment and I totally forgot.

At this point, it’s just a waiting game. My due date is June 25th but any time now would be just fine with me.

To the Very Core of Me

We had a pretty good day yesterday.

We skipped out on a Fundraising Pot-Luck after church to just have some family time. I did bring a main dish as our contribution, so I didn’t feel bad about skipping out.

It’s one of those things that some people just don’t understand, but I am learning to just deal with the idea that not everyone understands the choices that we as a family make. The even bigger point in all of that (for me) is that it’s not necessary for others to understand what we do or why we do it. The fact of the matter is – we are called to live our lives the best way that we see fit for us and that we choose to allow others the grace to make the best decisions for themselves – WITHOUT judgment!

I can try to explain our thinking in it all….if anyone cares. This is not about justifying our decisions, but about communicating what our choices are and why we’ve made those choices in case any of these choices or the reasons for these choices can help others with decisions they have to make.

When Nathaniel died, it affected all of us (minus Siah as he obviously wasn’t alive yet). The kids were old enough to know that a baby brother was coming (yes we had found out it was a boy) and were aware enough to know that something bad had happened and then to be devastated when told that their baby brother had died.

They were aware of the next three times that I got pregnant (I have not had easy pregnancies – read that as barfing my brains out and overwhelming tiredness….and after we lost Nathaniel, throw in a measure of depression just for fun) and equally as aware every time something went wrong and we had another loss.

We spent a lot of time together. We understood each other and what we were going through (age appropriately, of course) and the grieving process hit each of us differently. We all walked the road of Grief at different paces and in very different ways. Some of us talked, some of us shut it all inside, some of us exploded, some of us wore it on our sleeves, some of us journal-ed, some of us lost ourselves in work, some of us colored elaborate pictures, some of us wrote poetry……In some ways, we are all still processing.

In December 2009, just before Christmas, Xani came up to me and wanted to know what we were going to do about Nathaniel’s birthday. See, 5 years later and unprovoked – she is thinking about that day and Nathaniel and his death. I think what made this year really stand out is that “things have changed”. We’ve moved. We don’t live in the house that we did back then. We don’t even live in the same city that we did. So now, all those things that we did as traditions to remember and celebrate his place in our family……(from a child’s perspective) what happens to them?

I’m an adult. I can see that while we might do things in different locations, the most important thing is to remember and celebrate. But for a child……things have changed and what do we do now? The lack of knowledge can exacerbate the whole “out of control” helpless feeling. And that’s not fun for anyone, including children…..

Our tradition has always been to go to a restaurant and get breakfast together (even if it’s for lunch), then we go and buy a helium balloon per person and write personal messages from us to him. We always went to this one particular park to release them and we would watch until we could no longer see them in the sky. Then, we’d just spend the rest of the day together. There have been lots of tears some years, and less tears other. There has been laughter and just living in the moment. Embracing every emotion that comes and accepting it as normal. These have always been good days. Good days to remember and to celebrate a little life that had such a HUGE IMPACT in so many ways and all without ever having taken a breath. What a legacy to leave behind for such a tiny little person.

This year, January 24th fell on a Sunday and so we went to church, but skipped out on the lunch after to just go and be “us”. We went and got breakfast for lunch and fielded a bunch of questions from the kids about how and where the rest of the day would take place. We went out and got some balloons and brought them home to write our personal messages on them. Jon and I had thought about this one park close to us, but as we pulled out of our driveway, one of the kids suggested another park close by and all the kids seemed to really like that suggestion and so we turned right instead of turning left and headed out.

It is important to us to remember. It is important to us to allow our kids to process the loss of a sibling. Even in their own ways. I remember how shocked I was to find a poem written last year by one of my daughters about her fears of losing another one of her siblings. The pain and fear expressed in that poem was so raw and real and I know that she is still processing through the grief.

This is real to my kids. Heck, this is too real even for me. I can’t count the number of times that I flashed back to that day and the absolute emptiness, the nothingness that I felt and all the while feeling this horrible crushing pain that literally took my breath away.

It’s so hard to even try to put it to words how I felt, and yet I relived it often yesterday.

I kept pulling up Nathaniel’s picture on my Blackberry just to see that one more glimpse of my son.

We make the best decisions that we can for us. And as long as I can be content knowing that it was the best decision that I could make for me individually and for us corporately, then it doesn’t matter who “gets” it or who doesn’t.

What matters is that we had a day that we needed, together as a family. A day to remember, to celebrate, to heal, to process, to love, to laugh, to cry (if needs be)….we had each other!

In the end, nothing else matters.

Early Morning Rising

I know tht 7:40am is not technically early, but….I’ve been awake since 5:45am, and as far as I’m concerned….thats freaky early.

We had a meeting to attend yesterday and so when Siah fell asleep on the way into work yestrday morning – I decided to push him all day without a nap. I knew that it would most likely result in a bit of a cranky baby later in the afternoon, but that it would mean that he would go down at bedtime earlier than usual and that we’d be able to have our meeting without any distractions or meltdowns.

And….it worked perfectly as planned. Siah was a bear by 4:00pm, but promptly fell asleep at 6:50pm…..early, I know! The meeting was scheduled for 7pm, and I had no sitter for Siah. The other kids were out in Abbotsford with my grandparents, and we were in Vancouver.

So I figured that we’d have an early start to today, but I didn’t count on it being quite that early.

So, I’m sitting here snuggling with a very large cup of extra strong coffee…my mother-in-law uses espresso for her drip machine….WOW! But, I have to say that I am a little nervous about the drive home. Typically after two full days of work back to back, the hour’s drive home on Wednesday night usually takes some effort as I want to fall asleep – I think that I might even need to stop and get a Starbucks before I head out. Yuuummmmmmm!

We had a good weekend and I have some pics that I hoped to get up yesterday but I was CRAZEE busy and well, it just didn’t work out. Maybe today???

I think that Sunday was the back breaker as far as me feeling sick, and I’m definately on the upswing as far as feeling better goes. Not that I feel awesome, and the snot…..OH MY GOODNESS the snot is amazing……but I’m not still wondering if it’s turned into strep and if I’m starting to get an ear infection.

I do feel so bad for Xandra. She came into our room early Monday morning cryng about how bad her throat felt, and unfortunately I knew just how ad she was feeling.

This has been just so bizarre as we are almost never sick and I am SO READY for it to all be gone.

Well, I should probably at least start getting ready for the day, no?

Thanks to all for your thoughts and well wishes. We so appreciate everyone who thinks of us and remembers with us.

ps. I did 25 minutes on my Eliptical Machine on Monday night and now I can’t walk….it’s pretty funny. I’m thinking that it’s going to be even funnier when I try to get back on the sucker tonight.

The Day Before….

Tomorrow is the 4th anniversary of the day that Nathaniel died and was born.

It’s been a funny lead up to the day….funny – different or funny – weird not funny – ha ha.

We’ve talked about it off and on for the past month, but more “in passing” as opposed to an actual discussion about him or the day… and now….here it is upon us.

This is the first year that I’m very aware that I’m not grieving the day in a very hard way. I think that has a lot to do with the fact that since that time, we have been blessed with a living child.

To be honest, I didn’t grieve this day last year very hard either, BUT I was out of town and busy and didn’t even really realize that the day had come until it was mostly over. I was just trying to get thorugh the day in an “out of the norm” schedule and with a 4 month old.

It was probably 6 or 7pm that evening that I realized that I had forgotten and really even at that point I had only a moment to feel terribly guilty that I had forgotten, and then my time was once again consumed with Siah and my surroundings.

So, I’ve had this week, off and on, to remember and to put some thought into tomorrow. I woke up this morning remembering how I woke up and felt uneasy that he wasn’t moving and how I tried to tell myself that it was nothing….how I stressed all morning and then finally late in the afternoon we went to the hospital and it all began…..

What a hellish day.

I’m so glad that I’m 4 years removed from the weighty emotions of that day. I had a moment yesterday where I teared up thinking about a little boy who would have been around 4 years old……but who is only a thought…not even a memory…just a dream or a hope.

I think that we will do what we’ve done ever year except for last.

It’s the way that we celebrate life and remember Nathaniel.

We will go out for breakfast and then go and buy some hellium ballons and write notes to Nathaniel all over them and then let them go in a near by park.

This year will be a little different with Siah around to get on it all….I’m thinking that we’ll have to get a balloon that he can keep. He’s not going to understnad why he had a balloon in his grubby little hands and then all of the sudden it’s gone and he can’t have it back……too funny.

Just because I can talk about all of this without feelig crushed under the heavy weight of grief doesn’t mean that I don’t still hurt thinking about all that we’ve lost. It’s just a different kind of pain. I think that if I had to describe it…it’s become a part of me. I will always have this little piece of my heart that belongs to Nathaniel and while the wound of the loss is not immediate and fresh – there was still a wound and it left a permanent mark. I’m okay….in fact most days, I’m definately better than okay….but I live with this….this is just who I am. I have a child – children actually – that I don’t get to hold and cuddle on a daily basis, BUT……

I do appreciate the children that I have, that MUCH MORE because of it, and even if that was all I got out of “all of this” then that’s amazing, but it’s not…there is SO MUCH MORE that I’ve learned and that has been given to me as a result of the loss and in a weird way, I’m thankful for what my children – ALL OF MY CHILDREN – have taught me.

So, tomorrow we celebrate life! If there was one thing I could leave with you it would be,

“Live your life with no regrets!”

I hope your day tomorrow is full of love, and peace and hope. Mine will be!

In Keeping With the Theme…..

So, last week was a bit of a rough week for us over here, BUT……..we’ve survived and are back to being our cheerful happy selves.

Thanks for sharing with me. I love it when your girlfriends will sit down and cry with you and then out of left field, you get a dear friend who gives you a bit of a kick in the pants, and it’s all good. Thank you…….seriously THANK YOU!

But, in the middle of all of this, I’ve been noticing that my house has kind of thrown up on itself.

I was NEVER a packrat – EVER! in fact, I would regularly go through my “memory chest” and re-sort and file (under G for Garbabge) things so that I only ever had a certain amount of “the most important things“.

A few years into marriage, someone who lived next door to us, had peeked in through our window (can we say creepy, sleezy, stalker?) and wanted to know if we were moving. It was far enough into our marriage that we weren’t sporting that “just got married/don’t have enough stuff/trying to fake that we really are grown ups now” look. I just really REALLY liked a clean, no extra crap look.

Only the bare essentials for me thank you….

This continued on in our married lives for years. In fact, we moved houses 9 times in 7 years, and instead of it being a problem (I mean, obviously we had problems as you can tell because what “normal” person moves 9 times in 7 years…..at least 4 of those with kids) I actually looked forward to it because it was just another opportunity to “throw more crap away“.

And then……..THEN…..then we moved to our current home. Where we apparently set down roots….or had a pile driver come out and drive some piles into our current home. We’ve been here for the past 7.5 years. Even for the first couple of years, I just threw things out. It was kind of like a revolving door policy. If something was going to come in, then something else needed to go out. I only had “so much” room and was not going to let things get cluttered.

And now here I am and my house feels CHAOTIC, and I don’t understand how we got here, where all this stuff came from and when did I change and WHY?

I’ve been getting rid of crap lately (see, my theme that I mentioned – ha ha ha ha) No, I’m serious. I’ve been throwing stuff out. If it’s not super important to me or the kids – then OUT it goes.

And, over the weekend, we got rid of a van load of junk, and I have another van load of junk to go tonight. I’m totally embarrased typing that out, because I must admit that I’m barely even started yet. Now, before you go all “crazy” and think that I’m living in the dump….remember that my normal sense of “clutter free” is probably a bit harsher than yours….remember the previous comments of my house looking like we were moving…yah – I like the minimalist look.

But, I did have WAY TOO MUCH CRAP and I’ll be throwing it out, giving it away, or selling it so that I can finally feel like I can breathe again.

I think I figured out when and why it happened.

Almost 4 years ago, we sweet little boy died before we even got a chance to hold him, and it ROCKED MY WORLD.

I’ve not been the same since.

It was hard to breathe let alone worry about my house. It was an effort to just survive and only the very most important things got any energy focused toward them…..like caring for the kids, but honestly, I don’t think I did a very good job of even that. It’s amazing to me when I see how far from “that place” that I am, but it’s sad to see how the “effect” of losing Nathaniel is still with me.

I’m stronger than I knew I was, and yet I’m also aware of a sense of frailty. I can’t “do it all“. I recognize that I tire easier. I can’t plan too many events in a row or I feel overwhelmed. I like my alone and quiet time. I’m just so different. It’s the same me but different. I sit here trying to explain in words, and I fell like I’m not doing a very good job, and really to say “it feels like a part of me died with Nathaniel” is probably the best way of explaining it. Not in a sad, depressed way, but just that a small part of me changed and will never be the same, and that happened when Nathaniel died. I still don’t think I’m explaining it well, but that’s okay.

Back to my house….I just didn’t care as much about……well….I just didn’t care about much. But the further I get away from that point in time, the more I’m aware of the healing that takes place over time. I don’t think there is anything else that can make the process go faster – just TIME!

And no – having Siah didn’t make things better. I love Josiah. I’m so thrilled that he’s a part of my life. He has his own spot in my heart and in my life. He didn’t fill the spot that was Nathaniel’s; he never could, and he was or never is supposed to.

I love the fact that Nathaniel is still having an impact on my life today. I never got to hug, and raise him, but his legacy lives on. It lives on with every “thing” that I process and learn about “living, dying, grieving and healing

In thinking about my house and processing why I am at where I am today, and how I got here….I realize that it’s all a part of the process. I can choose to see it as such or I can be frustrated.

I choose to just walk it out. And so today, walking it out means that I am seriously decluttering.

And I’m loving it.

How about you? Are you a pack rat or do you like the minimalist look or do you have a healthy balance?

I’m Home

I Love Toronto!  It is cold, but it’s a dry cold and WAAAAAAAAAY nicer than our slop weather that we have here.

‘Siah did great during the whole week that we were gone. He is such  happy baby and such a little trouper.

Our flight there was…….eventful, and really……….. in a funny way.

I didn’t get to sleep on Saturday night (or should I say Sunday morning) until after 1:30, and I had to be up at 3:30am to make sure that I was for sure ready to leave the house baby and all by 4:30am.  Nice, eh?

I vaguely remember thinking to myself…..Hmmmm, Josiah didn’t poop today – I really hope that’s not an issue tomorrow on the flight.

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!

First of all, we were in a row of three seats and my friend and I were in the window seat and the middle seat…..and yes, they sat a poor lady in the aisle seat right next to us.  I felt so bad for her.  I knew I would have to get up to use the toilet and to change at least one diaper on the 4 hour non-stop flight.

I also knew that I’d have to feed him, and that he’d probably kick her (he’s really long) and that he might whine or cry at some point, and at the very least that he’d just talk…..and he “talks” really REALLY LOUD!

The airplane took off, and Josiah was nursing as we took off so that his ears would pop and because it was just time.  Just after the seatbelt sign went off, I smelt this funny (bad funny) smell, and figured that it was the baby across the aisle….there were 3 babies on this plane….but then Josiah let rip with a HUGE fart and started oozing ALL OVER THE PLACE.

He was in a disposable diaper, and I don’t use disposable diapers except for one overnight, and we had the most serious and unbelievable blowout ever in Josiah’s history.  I don’t have blowout’s with the cloth diapers, but this was an amazing blow out.

I had poop on Josiah’s clothes, and all over my lap, and all over his recieving blanket and his big cuddly fluffy blue blanket.  It was unbelievable….and I had to some how get new clothes and diapers and clean him up and myself up and needed to get out from the middle seat ….so, we did manage to get somewhat tidied, and made our wy back to our seat.  I had just got settled back in, and continued with nursing him, when……….he pooped all over again.  Fortunately, this one stayed inside the diaper like it was supposed to, but the lady in the aisle seat had just gone to sleep and I had to wake her up to crawl past her…..

By the time we made it to Toronto, all 3 of us, my friend, Josiah and I were covered in barf, and poo.

It was such an “experience!”

But, aside from the mess, Josiah was a happy baby, and our trip was great.

I’m still trying to catch up from the time difference as well as the late nights and early mornings…..so I’m tired, but it’s all good.  It’s good to be home, and back in our little (somewhat) routine and on our (so called) schedule.

I wasn’t here for the anniversary of Nathaniel’s birth/death, and we have yet to “do something” to remember him.  Maybe this coming up weekend…..I’ve not really sorted all my thoughts out about this.  I have so many different thoughts, some conflicting, on this whole thing.  Sometimes it’s just easier to not think about it……

But, I’m glad to be home….even if I did walk right back into what feels like a war zone, but that’s a story for another day.