beach bound

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

there is something very healing about the ocean. my mom says it is because she spent alot of time walking the beach in galveston when she was pregnant and that it feels like home for me. when i lived in california and had to make some tough life decisions it was at the beach that i found myself most comfortable. and where i went when i was hurting, and each time i walked the shores of the pacific, i healed.

so i am looking forward to our journey to cabo san lucas tomorrow, knowing that the sun, sand and sea will help to mend my broken heart a little more.

the many faces of guilt

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

i know guilt, in particular catholic guilt. this form of guilt was very carefully instilled at a tender age by father cliff. father cliff could never understand why i missed church to compete in horse shows. he never failed to raise his voice when i told him in confession that i had missed church, and would ask why i had not attended church before the horse show began. i was wise enough not to attempt to explain that i arrived at the show very early in morning and was heavy into competing by the time church started. after his scolding he would tell me to recite 5 hail mary's and 10 our fathers and send me on my way.

the kind of guilt i have been experiencing lately is not resolved by reciting the lords prayer. there are two kinds of guilt associated with grief. one is guilt that those around me feel and the other is the guilt that i feel.

a friend's guilt over a second pregnancy, brother's guilt over not meeting cooper, guilt over the curse of a doctors family, or guilt over having a perfectly healthy baby the day before cooper was born are all types of guilt i can handle. i can look at this face of guilt and know that the love those people have for jamey and i is what causes their guilt. it is how they deal with their grief over cooper's death.

the guilt that i am having a harder time with is my own......i feel guilt over not holding cooper the two hours before surgery, instead letting his yaya hold him, guilt over not staying up with him all night after surgery, instead opting for rest., guilt over moving forward, wanting another baby, guilt over feeling happy and having fun, or guilt over going a day without crying. i know that this would not have changed the outcome, does not mean that i loved him any less, but i in the quiet moments of the day i am haunted by own guilt. i know it is irrational thinking on my part and i also know that it is part of the journey. but i dont know how to move through it... how to let myself off the hook.....

it is a face of guilt that i am not familiar with and i know that reciting the lords prayer or the hail mary is not going to resolve it. and i am sure that father cliff would not be able to tell me how to process this kind of guilt......

blogs and the people you meet

Sunday, January 25, 2009

i read blogs, alot of blogs actually. i start my day with a cup of coffee in front of my computer, reading blogs. i started off reading knitting blogs, then added those that pertained to cooking, and then parenting was added to the list and it goes on and on... the thing about blogs is that you find one person you like and then look at bloggers they like and before you know it you are reading 50 blogs and the list keeps growing.

so the other day i was catching up with design mom and she was talking about this blogger and a recent entry titled "100 dresses". so i was moved to check it out. the subject of this particular entry was how she was going to draw 100 dresses and use her creativity to deal with her grief surrounding her mothers death. this entry struck a particular chord with me. how could i turn my knitting into something meaningful? use it to as part of my grief process?

in the blogging world, i am what they call a lurker, meaning i dont leave comments. but in this particular instance i was compelled to delurke and email this person and let her know about cooper and how she had inspired my to try to use my creativity, not only to process my grief but as a way to honor cooper.

this was part of the response i received from her :

"I could not let this note go without an immediate reply. There are really no words to express how sorry I am for the loss of your son and how much I wish, even while acknowledging one must move through grief in order to get past it, that I could pluck you from this place of overwhelming pain and sadness. My dear girl, I would just give you a hug if I could. "

i was so moved by her response. and what i realized was that grief and loss connects people together. while she could not imagine losing a child, she could relate to what it feels like to lose someone you care about. and even though we do not know each other, we could connect. i have found through this journey that the support of strangers is just as powerful as those of friends and family. and sometimes it is those people who you hardly know that move you the most. i was so grateful for this bloggers comments, they came at just the right time and when i needed someone to understand what i was feeling and experiencing.

and as far as how i am going to use my creativity to process my grief and honor my sweet cooper, well you will just have to stay tuned.....

8 weeks old

Thursday, January 22, 2009

my dear sweet precious cooper,

today you would have been 8 weeks old. maybe that is why i dreamt of you all night, which made me wake up missing you more than usual. my dreams were so vivid and real, i could feel you in my arms and close to my heart. you just snuggled right up and i could smell that sweet smell of yours.

i never knew how capable i was of loving until i met you, how much my heart could expand and i am so grateful for what you taught me, but i also never knew how much my heart could break. losing you caused a pain so deep and raw, so gut-wrenching and intense. cooper, i try to be so strong and brave but there are days that it is just more than i can bear. my heart aches so much that at times it literally takes my breath away.

we leave tomorrow for santa fe and i am having some anxiety about leaving. i have learned to live among your things the past five weeks and have formed a comfortable relationship with them. i know that it will be good for us to get away, but i dont want to leave you here. i know that you will be going with us in your own way, but it is not how i want it to be, not how it is supposed to be.

you come to me in birds, in light, and song. you always seem to know when i need to see you. i hope that you travel to santa fe and mexico. i want you to know cooper that you are always with me. i love you so much and miss you more than i can express. i waited my whole life for you and know that in that waiting i loved you the entire time. and even though you were taken from us, my love is stronger than ever.

loving you and missing you every moment of the day


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

in november when the country came together and elected the 44th president of the united states, i remember feeling hopeful about cooper's future. that he would know an america where anyone could live the american dream, an america where race, creed, sexual orientation and economic diversity did not divide us, but brought us together. i was so proud to be an american that day and was so hopeful for our country's future.

i have been thinking alot about hope today and what it means. hope in its literal sense is a "desire accompanied by expectation of or belief in fullment."

but in a more human sense hope is santa claus visiting on christmas eve. hope is routing for your football team. hope is finding the love of your life. hope is nuturing a baby for nine months and seeing him for the first time. hope is putting your sons life in the hands of highly trained doctors. hope is that all men are created equal. hope is standing together as a unified country, regardless of party lines. hope is a country where both a woman and an africian american ran for president. hope is two children whom you have never met seeing the world for the first time. hope is not crying myself to sleep for the first time in 5 weeks. hope is the bird on the bench outside of the church. hope is the look in my husbands eyes at the sound of my laughter yesterday. hope is the prospect of another child. hope is what you want and need it to be.

but most importantly, hope is what comes out of darkness and struggle, out of disappointment and failure, out pain and suffering, out of sacrifice and selflessness, and out of heartbreak and grief. hope is what you grasp to get you through the day, because without hope the challenges of life would be insurmountable.

i am wishing you hope on this historic day!


Sunday, January 18, 2009

i used to look forward to sundays, i might even go so far as to say they were my favorite day of the week. it was a day that both jamey and i gave ourselves permission to relax. there was nothing better than pancakes for breakfast, taking the dogs for a walk, watching football all day and sitting on the couch knitting, just being together.

since cooper died i have come to hate sundays. sundays are the hardest day of the week. it is the day that my heart hurts the most, so much so that i am certain the pain will never subside, much less go away. it is the day that i miss cooper so much. it is the day that i am the angriest. it is the day of the week where the pain is so raw that pouring salt in my wounded heart wouldnt even hurt. it is the one day of the week where i want to crawl inside a hole and never come out. i dont know why this is.....i thought sunday was supposed to be a day of rest, at least that was what i was taught growing up.

i know that sunday is coming, there is no way around it, and as much as i tell myself that this sunday is going to be different, never seems to materialize.

i wish i could go to bed on saturday night and wake up on monday morning and skip sunday all together. but i cant, i guess learning how to get through sunday is part of the process.

but i sure am looking forward to monday.....


Saturday, January 17, 2009

i am not a saver, dont get me wrong i am sentimental about "things" but there has to be a VERY good reason for me to hold on to something. and because i am not a saver, there is nothing that makes me happier than a good purge. there is something so theraputic about getting rid of stuff, throwing out the old and creating space, that can be either physical or emotional.

jamey is not a purger, he is very practical and if there is any chance that an item might have value at some point in the future, he strongly believes that we should keep it. it makes him very nervous when i am in the mood to purge.

fortunately for me, we are being forced into a purging state. we are remodeling our kitchen and they start tuesday. so while we are packing up our stuff we are purging at the same time. unfortuantely for jamey, i am wanting to purge more than just the kitchen.....

there is a part of me that wants to throw away everything in cooper's room. i know this sounds a little drastic and my precious husband will keep me from doing that, but there is a part of me that can not even imagine another baby using coopers things. i struggle with what to do with the nursery on a daily basis. i know there is no set schedule for tackling that room, but it makes me anxious not having a plan for that space. intellectually, i know that when i am ready to deal with it, i will instinctively know what to "save" and what to "purge". but knowing that doesnt prevent the anxiety surrounding that room.

thankfully, writing here helps clear the clutter in my mind and reduces my anxiety levels. so for now i will stick to cleaning out my closet and the office and trust that when i am ready to make decisions about coopers room, i will know.

cowgirls do cry

Friday, January 16, 2009

when i was little, i didnt play with dolls, didnt like the color pink and never played with princesses, but i did think i was a princess( in fact i still think that). i liked horses, no i loved horses. i could spend hours at the barn. and am part of a small group of people in the world who firmly believe that a barn full of horses is one of the most intoxicating smells on earth.

i had this trainer who was 6 feet tall, had grey hair, had skin like leather from the years outside and was tough as nails. she did not sugar coat anything. on the rare occasion that i found myself on the ground, she would tell me "cowgirls dont cry and to get back on my horse, it was the only way to become a better rider." those were harsh words to hear when you are 7 years old, but i am beginning to think there is some truth to what she said.

for the past year or so i have met my dear friend and her son at a local diner every friday for a toasted cheese sandwich. it was there that we would discuss life, pregnancy, childbirth and how tommy and cooper were going to be best pals. we looked forward to the day that cooper would join us for our weekly trip to the diner. we met at the diner today for the first time since cooper was born. and while it was hard for me to go, there was something comforting about resuming our weekly ritual.

on my drive home, i heard a song on the radio, that mimicked my horse trainers mantra. and while i realize i have to get back on the "horse" in order to heal, there are days that i just dont know how. the grief and pain is just too overwhelming. but i know that small things like going to the diner are steps forward and small steps are going to help my heart.

and while my trainer may have been right about getting back up when you fall, she was wrong about one thing, cowgirls do cry.


Thursday, January 15, 2009

i believe that there are two groups of people when it comes to choosing music: one group is drawn to the actual music and the other is drawn to the lyrics. i happen to fall into the second group. the words are what draws me in, what speaks to me and makes me listen.

i was driving in the car today to meet a friend for coffee and for some reason hit the cd player in my car. i swear i havent switched out the cds in over a year. those who know me, know exactly what was playing, but this isnt about whether you like my choice of music, its about the words and the words describe the place that i am in today. the song that was playing was grey street by dave matthews and this is what the words said....

"Oh look at how she listens
She says nothing of what she thinks
She just goes stumbling through her memories
Staring out on to Grey Street.
She thinks, "Hey, how did I come to this?
I dream myself a thousand times around the world
But I can't get out of this place.
There's an emptiness inside her
And she'll do anything to fill it in
But all the colors mix together - to grey
And it breaks her heart
How she wishes it was different
She prays to God most every night
And though she swears it doesn't listen
There's still a hope in her it might
She says "I pray
But they fall on deaf ears,am I supposed to take it on myself?
To get out of this place?"
There's lonliness inside her
And she'll do anything to fill it in
And though it's red blood bleeding from her now
It feels like cold blue ice in her heart
When all the colors mix together - to grey
And it breaks her heart"

these words describe the grey state i am in today. i am hoping for some color other than grey tomorrow.

ink or tatoos

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

the day has come that i thought i would never see.... my mother got a tatoo.

when my brothers and i decided to permanetly mark ourselves, my mother was absolutley mortified. she could not fathom feeling so strongly about something or someone to mark yourself forever with ink, or at least until she met my cooper.

strength, a fathers face, fearlessness, truth, patience, self-restraint and tranquilty are all inked on jamey and i. these tatoos mean something to us both, they bring us comfort and peace. they are reminders of things we possess within ourselves and those we have lost. tatoos speak a secret language, a language that is understood by the bearer of the tatoo and others who have ink. you dont share the meaning of your tatoo with just anyone, you have to trust those whom you tell, because telling the meaning is revealing a piece of yourself, a piece of your soul.

my mother never understood this until today. today she understands the language and how sacred the meaning of ink can be. she understands how looking at a drawing can bring you comfort, happiness and peace. she understands how loving cooper so much could bring her to learn a language she thought she would never speak.

i wont tell you what her tatoo is or what it means, other than it is to honor and love cooper, the rest is up to her. it is hers to tell. but i will tell you this, i have never been more proud of her or loved her more. not because she got a tatoo, but because she loved my cooper so much and by loving and honoring him, she is loving and honoring me. a mothers love is strong and i am so proud that she has loved me so fiercely and strongly.

and yes, i am sure there is more ink in the future for jamey and i.


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

yesterday the mailman brought me this card, from a sweet friend of mine....

it does not mean to be in a place
where there is no noise, trouble,
or hard work. it means to be in
the midst of those things and still
be calm in your heart."

thank you dear friend for the bit of peace you sent my way.

broken heart

Sunday, January 11, 2009

i have a broken heart, there is just no other way to describe it. my heart hurts so badly today and no matter how hard i try to distract myself i cant seem to ease the pain.

i know its how grief works; you move forward so you can move backwards, you get up, to get knocked on your ass and you find a way to laugh again, so that you can cry an inordinate amount of tears.

but knowing how grief works does not make it any easier, does not make the pain less and does not even begin to mend my broken heart.

my heart aches so bady for my little cooper, to hold him, to smell him, to hear his squeaky noises and to kiss his sweet little face. and in between the heartache and sadness there is an anger brewing. i dont want to be angry, anger scares me, but i am mad as hell that cooper was taken away from us. there are people who have children that should not have children, jamey and i are not those people, we were good parents. and that is what makes me angry, we wanted cooper so badly and waited so long for him, and we loved him so much and we get dealt this blow, not those that should not have children.

i know i can not stay angry, that cooper would not want me to be angry. anger is not who i am, but sometimes anger is easier to deal with than a broken heart.

coincidences or a higher power

Saturday, January 10, 2009

i am finding it hard to have a lot of faith in god these days. i grew up in the church but would not describe myself as a religious or spiritual person, but i do believe in a higher power, although i am not sure what that higher power looks like.

its hard after loosing the most precious thing in the world to me to believe in a god or even prayer. there were so many people praying for cooper and it didnt work, he was still taken away from me, so forgive me if i am a little skeptical. and to be honest, i am a little angry at whatever higher power does exist.

however, little things happen that some might call coincidences and others might call a higher power....

i was driving home yesterday from having lunch with a friend of mine and was lost in my thoughts. i was thinking about cooper, the way he smelled, his blond hair and his sweet sweet face. i suddenly took notice of the truck in front of me and in huge letter across the back "cooper vision" was written. i just smiled to myself and whatever sadness i was feeling seemed to disipate for a moment, and in that moment i felt peace.

i dont know if it was a coincidence or something else, but i do know that it came at just the right moment and there was so much truth in those words on the back of that truck.


Friday, January 9, 2009

i come from a family of doctors and with that comes an expectation and understanding that you dont choose medicine, medicine chooses you. i know that my understanding of why one becomes a doctor may be the minority, that many think doctors are in it for the money, have large egos or are emotionless. i also know that the bar is set extremely high for those doctors i interact with outside of my family. i believe that those doctors in my family are some of the best out there, trust them implicity and are in a category all their own.

the doctors and nurses that we interacted with both during coopers birth and his time in the hospital are without a doubt in a category which has been occupied by a select few.

i often find myself replaying the events of December 18th. i can remember the looks on their faces, the words they said, the tears they cried and the utter heartbreak they expereinced at 10:20am. i wonder how they are doing, how are they healing and how they move on.

Dr. Alfieres left Cooper and went back to the operating room, to try and repair the heart of a newborn that was days old, instead of weeks old. I saw the tears he cried, the sadness and failure he felt and wonder how he returns to the operating room after such a devestating loss. it is beacuse medicine chose him, it is his calling.

Dr Meagher, the pediatric cardiologist, met cooper before i did, he was hours old when she first looked at his heart. i saw the look of heartbreak on her face. she was so hopeful that cooper would be does she recover from such a loss? how does she look at the next baby with tetrology of phallot and give that baby's parents hope? it is because medicine chose her, it is her calling.

Dr Kerpleman, my OBGYN, who helped take care of cooper before he entered the world. the special visit to the hospital to see me after cooper was born, the shock and disbelief on the phone when i told her cooper was gone, the reliving of her own loss of a child, and the tears she cried with me yesterday when i gave her cooper's birth announcement. how does she continue to help mothers and babies when she knows first hand how tragically it can end? it is because medicine chose her, it is her calling.

these doctors affirm what i have known my entire life, you do not choose medicine, medicine chooses you. and i am so grateful that medicine chose these individuals and that i had the privelage of meeting them and they in return had the privelage of meeting cooper. i truly believe that in his short life he forever changed theirs.

bad day

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

the thing i learned about grief today is that you take three steps forward and 2.5 steps back.
it was one of those days.....and i cant even tell you what set me off... we went to the mall to get new bras and the young lady working behind the counter was so inept at her job, that i was certain that i was going to either have a panic attack in the middle of victoria secret or i was going to reach over the counter and shake her, which would then have led to me being arrested for assault.... jamey managed to get me out of the store without completing melting down or getting arrested.....but it was touch and go for while.....

and that was only the beginning of the day.....

i then thought it would be a good day to go into the nursery for the first time, and i decided to do this while jamey was out of the house... bad move on my part.... he arrived home only to find me lying on the floor holding coopers ashes close to my heart sobbing hysterically......

my heart hurts so much today and i miss my sweet little cooper so much! intellectually i know that we will be ok, that we will work through this, that we will have more children and we will feel joy again.... but emotionally its a whole other ball game.....

despite the day i had today, i know this..... that sharing my journey here with you, will help me take one step forward tomorrow, and that i might take 4 steps forward before i take 3.5 steps back.... and that is progress....

so thank you for allowing me to share my journey with you.....


Sunday, January 4, 2009

i have always been a list maker. it doesnt matter what the task is; grocery shopping, knitting, work, daily tasks, you name it, and i will make a list. and nothing feels better than crossing something off of the list. i think that it helps me make sense of the chaos of life or maybe it gives me a sense of control.

so it came as no surprise to me when i announced to jamey the other day that we needed to make a list of the things that we needed to get done before we leave on vacation. in fact i made two lists: one was related to the house and life, and the other was related to cooper. within minutes of sitting down i had created two lengthy lists and for a brief moment asserted some calm in my life which most of the time feels so out of control.

what did i put on my lists, some things were mundane tasks like taking down the xmas tree or making phone calls and other were major undertakings like packing up the kitchen. we are having our kitchen gutted and remodeled while we are away.

the thing i have learned about grief in the past two weeks is that it hits you when you least expect it. that one moment you are fine and moving through your day and the next moment you find yourself sitting in the basement surrounded by boxes of formula, diapers and other unused baby items sobbing uncontrollably. grief arrives in waves, knocks you over and disappears as quickly as it rolled in, but it never stays away for long it is always lurking around the corner. and lists help you get through the grief, they give you a sense of purpose, a reason to get dressed in the morning, they make the chaos that grief creates somewhat tolerable, even controlable for a brief moment.

we have crossed two thing off our list today.


Thursday, January 1, 2009

there is a nature preserve not far from our house, near lake ontario, where we love to take the dogs. it has been part our routine for the last two years. when i was pregnant we would walk in the woods and talk about how we couldnt wait to go there with cooper, how we would bundle him in patagonia in the winter and watch him fall in love with the snow and the outdoors.

despite it being 13 degrees outside and almost a foot of fresh snow, we decided to go there today. it was a beautiful day. the sun was actually shining. the way the light was shining through the evergreens and hitting the untracked snow made me think of cooper, that even though it wasnt how I imagined him experiencing one of our favorite places, he was still there with us, watching the dogs play in the snow and us taking in the stillness and quiet that always accompanies fresh snowfall.

it also got me thinking about time. cooper was born on a thursday at 10:51 pm and died on a thursday at 10:20 am. i dont know how to track time....he would have been 5 weeks old today and he has been gone for 2 weeks.... what do i count? how old he would have been or how long he has been gone?

it feels like an eternity since i last held him and kissed his sweet little face. i have clothes that still smell like him and i dread the day that time changes that as well.... they say time heals all wounds, i do not think that time can fix my heart or take away the hurt.....but maybe time can mend it just a little.

that is my wish for 2009.

we hope that you and your have a healthy and peaceful new year