Tuesday, March 31, 2009

growing up in west texas, i learned the art of road tripping. any vacation destination was at least a six hour car trip down a long flat highway accompanied by the smell of oil and blowing tumble weeds. so when my parents discovered santa fe, my brothers and i loved the trip because it was under the six hour limit and there was a time change involved.

my parents bought their first house in santa fe when i was 17. since this is more than half of my life, santa fe feels like home to me, more so than texas which i left when i graduated from college. in the early years we spent holidays and long weekends in santa fe and this required someone to watch the house while we were away.

enter ramona.

ramona started off as a caretaker but over the years has become part of our family. and like all families ours has had its share of good and bad times, joys and sorrows, sickness and health and life and death. and despite all the ups and downs she loves us unconditionally. ramona has had her own share of life struggles, she intimately knows about loss, has battled with her health and had her own share of demons, but she is a survivor and has the biggest heart.

a heart so big that she made 54 of these birds by hand for cooper, my precious husband and i. and i know that with each stitch she not only thought about cooper, but the children she lost. when i saw her in january, i knew that she understood the depth of my grief and pain. and when i received this amazing gift from her yesterday, i knew that she understood how creativity can help heal and mend ones heart. i can only hope that while she was helping to mend my heart, she was mending her own.

birdie monday

Monday, March 30, 2009

prior to cooper's death i never paid much attention to birds, but now they seem to be EVERYWHERE. i know that it is mainly because i am more aware of them and they have a significant meaning for me, they are my connection or life line to cooper.

this morning as i was putting on my shoes to go to the gym i looked out the window and saw the most amazing cardinal sitting in one of the evergreen trees in the backyard. i knew it was cooper telling me that he is ok and that he is with me, always. as soon as i got up, he flew away. it is moments like this that make me believe in something greater, in some higher power. and that moment will help me get through this very cold and grey monday.

and now for the newest members of coopers flock, these darling birds flew in last week from: santa barbara, ca, essex jct, vt, santa cruz, ca, alpharetta, ga and switzerland. they are just precious and are going to bring so much comfort to so many families.

and finally, i found this pillow, that i just have to have......

wishing a birdie monday.....

cooper candle

Saturday, March 28, 2009

a box arrived on my doorstep yesterday afternoon which contained 100 candle holders and candles made in celebration of my cooper by a dear dear family friend, priscilla hoback. i knew that she too was embarking on a creative journey in honor of my cooper, but i had no idea of the depths of this journey.

each piece of art was individually wrapped and when i opened the first one i wept. i can not even begin to tell you how this gesture of love touched the very core of my being.

each candle is numbered, there will only be 100 cooper candles, ever, and inside each handle was a piece of paper which contained these words:

"in celebration of cooper austin snyder gerenski. flower petals surround the flame, handle connects hand to heart, interior heart line of cooper hawk, black white and spotted red feathers, carved path on 4 sides."

so, what am i going to do with these candles you may wonder? they are available for a minimum of a $25 donation, which will then be given to the ronald mcdonald house within the hospital in coopers name. i plan on having them at coopers service, but if you dear reader want one, please email me.

i can think of no better way to honor my cooper than to find a way to continue to help others in need with money raised from this amazing artwork. and dear readers these candles are more than art, they are the heart and soul of an amazing woman who is trying to help mend the heart of grieving parents, by honoring their most precious son.

friday knitting

Friday, March 27, 2009

today i give you incredibly soft organic cotton in an amazing array of colors that are sure to delight the senses. this yarn is a dream and i knew it would be just perfect for my cooper. the fish were based on this pattern . i wanted cooper's room to be fresh and modern, but still have a little bit of "boy" in it.

i used the same yarn for his blanket. it was knit holding two strands of the yarn together to create the loftiest baby blanket i have ever seen.

please enjoy.....

sweet surprise

Thursday, March 26, 2009

when i opened the mailbox yesterday i was surprised to find a sweet little package from my great aunt virginia in austin. it feels a little odd to say great aunt, because she has always been aunt virginia to me and doesn't feel like a "great aunt", but if you want to get technical about our relationship..... it is great aunt. anyway in this envelope was the sweetest letter, a cd of music, a beautiful picture of daffodils and some poems. and i have to tell you dear readers they really were the most perfect poems. so perfect and fitting, that i knew i had to share this one with you.....


loss of a loved one
is not like a dropped stitch...
more like a hole
in a favorite sweater.

knitting, we'd rip back,
pick up the dropped stitch,
making the pattern come out all right,
but a hole
in a favorite sweater just comes.

should we discard the garment,
buy something new? should we
wear the hole proudly for
others to see? or
pull threads together with small
steady stitches,
mending the damage carefully...

but the memory of that place will stay,
never completely
go away.

this poem explains so perfectly what coopers flock is doing for my heart, mending it stitch by stitch. thank you aunt virginia for that bit of hope you sent in the mail and thank you to all you dear readers who are helping to mend my heart by being part of coopers flock.

will spring please stand up?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

the calendar says its spring, but it certainly doesn't feel like spring. at least it didn't until i found these spring flowers in wegmans on monday.

i absolutely LOVE ranuculus. i believe that these little flowers are a complete oxymoron. they both complex and simple, strong and fragile and fleeting and enduring. it amazes me that this little flower can be so many things.

i am always asking my precious husband if we can plant them in the yard. he tells me that they don't grow well in the zone we live in and that even if they did he would not want them in the yard. i told you he think bulbs are fussy, well annuals they shouldn't even exist. my precious husband is a practical man thus believing that annuals are a complete waste of time and more importantly money. believe me, our yard is stunning in the height of summer, when plants, flowers and grasses are at their best, but my precious husband believes that what one pants in their yard should come back year to year, thus saving time and money.

so i will just have to cherish my time with this spring flower for the few weeks a year that wegmans carries it in the flower department.

oh, and if you want to know more about the vase. check out my talented mama.

i heart the mail

Monday, March 23, 2009

nothing makes me happier than hearing the mail truck slow down in front of our house. why you ask? because dear readers, when i open the mailbox to find the newest members of coopers flock, it lightens my heart and makes me feel closer to my cooper.

last week these precious birds arrived in the mail...

this sweet little bird flew in from madison wisconsin. thanks susan!

and this little tropical bird was sent by cindy in crescent city, florida.

i love seeing where all the birds originate. and i continue to be awe of the support, thoughts, emails, and birds from people all across the globe. you touch my heart every single day and i thank you from the bottom of my heart. to date i have received 166 requests for the cooper's flock pattern. these birds are going to bring comfort to a lot of children and their families during a very stressful time. i can not thank you enough dear readers for joining me on this journey!

there are 19 in the flock

Saturday, March 21, 2009

i have knit 19 birds for my cooper and with each stitch that i knit, my heart mends just a little.

i just LOVE the colors, makes me feel like spring has sprung.

i just love these birdies, dont you?

friday knitting

Friday, March 20, 2009

today i give you a smart, warm, tweedy cardi, perfect for those winter months or first days of spring that include snow. i reworked the child's placket sweater in this book, to make it a cardi. i loved it so much that i made cooper three, a little overboard maybe, but they were so darn cute is couldn't stop myself.

please enjoy..

dear cooper

Thursday, March 19, 2009

my dear sweet precious cooper,

today you would have been 4 months old. i am constantly aware of long you have been away from me and how old you would have been had you lived through the surgery. and since both of these measurements of time fall on thursdays, i always wake with a heart ache on thursdays.

spring is starting to show its face. the two hundred daffodils we planted weeks before you were born are starting to to poke through the cold ground, a gentle reminder that life continues. oh, how i imagined showing you those flowers and telling you the story of how badly i wanted bulbs planted, but your dad doesn't like bulbs, he thinks they are too fussy. he is a tree man. but your dad is so kind and wants so badly for me to be happy, so he planted all those bulbs on the last possible day in november. a day where there was sun, fall in the air and ground that was still warm and soft. seeing those bulbs reach for the sun brings me comfort, and makes me feel closer to you.

your dad and i are trying to get back to a routine, although it is not the routine we wanted, it is progress nonetheless. we are both back at work, and while that does not erase the pain, it does keep us occupied for segments of the day.

cooper, i can not tell you how you have touched and moved people. there are people from all over the world knitting little birds in your honor. and i know that you will watch over all the cardiac children and their families, and that my sweet does my heart good.

but i do miss you so and i do not think the hole in my heart will ever mend. but i am trying so hard to make you proud, to find happiness again, and live life in way that honors you.

loving and missing you


new fave

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

i love this print. ( for more of fabulous prints, check out this etsy shop).

it speaks to me and reminds me that i need to tell myself this every day.

it is so easy to get caught up in the sadness and anger surrounding losing my cooper. that i sometimes forget how incredibly blessed i am. i have a precious husband who i love more than i thought possible, who is steady and kind beyond belief. i have a family who would do anything to help take away the pain. i have friends who know the meaning of friendship. and i have two dogs who love me unconditionally and always provide comic relief at the perfect moment.

so while the path my life has taken over the past 4 months is not the path i envisioned for myself, i need to remember that it is my life. and the best thing that i can do to honor my cooper is to continue to live life to the fullest.

rules were meant to be broken

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

as a general rule i don't like to exercise, particularly not at the gym. although i will admit there have been points in my life where i go through phases and exercise obsessively.

but today i broke my rule , i went to the the gym. you see i am angry. and the anger that i have is seething out of my pores and this dear readers is not a good thing. i don't like anger, it scares me. anger is not a becoming trait nor one that i strive to posses. but i am so mad that my cooper is gone. i see people walking their children in the warm spring air and it infuriates me, i want to tell them "don't you know i lost the most precious thing in the world to me." my family wants to celebrate easter. and that sent me over the edge. why in the world would i want to to celebrate anything these days, much less easter, when i am so angry at god i cant even speak to him. i see people going about their day without a care in the world and i want to shake them. i know that anger is part of the process, but i need to figure out how to put my anger in a nice, neat little package and store it on the shelf.

i have tried screaming into a pillow, hitting the bed as hard and as fast as i can with my fists, crying it out and talking it out. but none of these things have worked. so i took my anger out on the elliptical machine. and i have to tell you, it felt good to have all that anger leave my body in the form of sweat. i felt good to get all that toxic energy and emotion out of my body. and when i left, i could actually enjoy the spring like weather. i could grocery shop without an extreme bout of grocery store rage.

so here's to taking my aggression out on the machines at the gym, which will allow me to be a little nicer to those around me and myself . and who knows i might lose the last 10 pounds of cooper weight in the process.


Sunday, March 15, 2009

i found this card and it spoke to me.

it sums up how i tend to approach life these days. maybe it should be my new motto.

but it is not really that simple. i have the raw ache in my heart, the feeling that a piece of me is missing, and a constant questioning of purpose. i have coopers things, his clothes, books and nursery that remind me that he was here and now he is gone. the memories of that awful day in december, the words the doctors said, the expressions on their faces, and my last moments with cooper, who did not look anything like the precious boy i love so deeply. i have the what ifs, should haves and could have beens that haunt my thoughts. i have a scale of emotions that run from utter heartbreak, sadness, despair, guilt and anger. and on a good day i can laugh, joke and play as if my world was not shattered 3 months ago.

but then maybe it is that simple, because the only way i know how to live, how to love and how to heal is by getting up each day and putting one foot in front of the other. and by doing just that, i am able to feel my cooper with me every step of the way.


Saturday, March 14, 2009

so dear readers, my precious husband just noticed that i typed the wrong mailing address in the email i was sending out to those of you who are knitting for coopers flock, that's what i get for copy and pasting....

so could you please send me an email before you send the birdies on their way, to make sure you have the right address.


newest members of coopers flock

yesterday, these two darling birdies landed in my mailbox.

this precious one was knit by jeannie and flew in from san jose, california

and then there was this darling one knit up by marjorie in lansing illinois.

i can not even begin to tell you how much these birdies lightened my heart. they flew in at just the right time. you see my precious husband and i want to have more children, we want to feel that joy again and yesterday i found out that we are going to have to wait a little longer for that dream to happen. i was so disappointed and sad. i know that it will happen when my body is ready and that even though it feels like an eternity since my cooper was born, it has not been that long. and that maybe my body, mind and heart need a little more time to heal.

we will never be able to replace cooper, this i know, and having another baby will not change what happened. but we want so desperately to be parents. we were good parents and have so much love to give a child. and we are not old, but we aren't young either, and therefore do not have the luxury of waiting for a couple of years, and besides, we don't want to wait. i think nothing would make cooper happier than to have a brother or sister to watch over.

of course there are all kinds of fears that i have, but i can not let fear stop us from trying.

so thank you dear marjorie and jeannie for creating the newest members of coopers flock and for lightening my heart on a day when i needed it so.

friday knitting

Friday, March 13, 2009

on the menu today is a delicious blend of wool and color that will keep your new bundle of joy nice and warm in the winter months. The snuggle sack was so much fun to knit up and i know my cooper would have been so dang cute in it. i love the colors. they remind me of the 1970's ski sweaters. so retro.

please enjoy.....

i heart this

Thursday, March 12, 2009

this brought a much needed smile to my day! i think this is the most fantastic pillow ever. and that it would look so lovely on my red leather sofa.

you can find it here along with other great pillows!

a brief return to normalcy

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

today i went grocery shopping and did laundry. now this may not seem like a major accomplishment and may even sound quite dreadful, but dear readers the fact that i did both of these tasks in one day is nothing short of a miracle. why you ask? i havent done either of these things since before my cooper was born. and for those who arent sure of the exact timeline, that is almost 4 months. the significance of my accomplishment is maybe, just maybe there is a bit of normalcy or at least routine returning to my days.

and while this feels good to me today, i know that tomorrow i could feel entirely different about my accomplishments. i could wake up and not want to do anything but stay in bed, cry and miss my cooper like crazy. thats the beauty of grief, one moment is good and the next is more than you can handle.

but i will take the string of good moments that have made up today because its days like today that help me get through the next bad day.

and you know what? i am even cooking dinner. its a very good day indeed.

little bird of heaven

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

my youngest brother sent this to me today, knowing that i am a word girl when it comes to music. he said it reminded him of cooper, all the little birdies that cooper has inspired and all the lives he continues to touch.

I let out from your back door
Kicked an old can fifty miles or more
Written right there on the side of the can
There's a little bird of heaven right here in your hand

I looked up and I looked back
Walked a hundred miles on the railroad track
Alls I can tell from where I stand
There's a little bird of heaven right here in my hand

Well love they tell me is a fragile thing
Its hard to fly on broken wings
I lost my ticket to the promised land
Little bird of heaven right here in my hand

So toss it up or pass it round
Pay mind to what you're carryin' round
O keep it close, hold it while you can
There's a little bird of heaven right here in your hand

Fallen hearts and fallen leaves
Starlings light on the broken trees
I find we all need a place to land
There's a little bird of heaven right here in your hand

thank you sweet brother.

the good

Monday, March 9, 2009

the good is beautiful -plato

and you dear readers and fellow bloggers are the good! i have been overwhelmed by your kind words, well wishes, and willingness to honor my cooper and help other children and their families by contributing to coopers flock. i am in awe! i am in awe!

it has been almost two years since i closed my knitting shop. and almost that long since i have been an active part of the knitting community, i have been watching on the sidelines until last week, when this blog became a reality. today i am reminded of why community is so important to ones' survival. its the people we meet, the stories we share, the lives we touch and the things we create that connect us all, make us better people, make us love more deeply and live more passionately. you all have moved me, given me hope and made me so proud. and for that i thank you!

the good is beautiful. you are the good!


Sunday, March 8, 2009

this is one of the many reasons i love my precious husband!

the answer is, there is no answer

Saturday, March 7, 2009

in my heart i knew i would never know why cooper died, but to hear the doctors tell me that the cause of death was unknown yesterday was harder than i expected. that as medical professionals, they did not have the answer that i so desperately wanted to hear. that for some reason beyond their comprehension, cooper's little heart just gave up. i understand that aspect of medicine, that sometimes there just isnt a reason for what happens, that even when doctors do everything right the outcome isnt the one you hope for, and that there are many aspects of the human body that are still very much a mystery, but not when its my baby, my birdie, my cooper.

its hard for me to accept that this is the way its meant to be or that this was fate. what kind of god or higher power chooses that for someone? its hard to accept that my precious husband and i were just dealt a bad hand or that losing cooper was written in the stars. or that cooper was only meant to be in this world for 21 days.

and then i think about coopers legacy....and i know that coopers legacy will last a lifetime and that does bring me some peace. i think about the two children in different parts of the globe who can now see the world around them because of cooper and know that is part of his legacy. i think about the families that will benefit from the ronald mcdonald house, thanks to people who have donated gifts in honor of cooper and know that is part of his legacy. i think of the families and children that will receive a coopers flock bird and know that is part of his legacy. i think of the emails i have recieved about how sharing my journey has helped others and know that too is part of his legacy. and then i think maybe, just maybe the answer is in his legacy.

but not having the answer is still very hard to accept

friday knitting

Friday, March 6, 2009

when i was pregnant with cooper, i started having contractions at 25 weeks. there was never any real risk of me going into pre-term labor, but my doctor wanted me to limit my activity and stop working. so, what did i do? i knit like a mad woman, i am talking serious knitting projects. i knit for cooper, i knit for my precious husband and i knit for myself.

i have decided that fridays are going to be knitting days here at lucends. now that doesnt mean that i wont talk about knitting on others days of the week, but i will ALWAYS talk about knitting on fridays. since i closed wild wools, my beloved yarn shop, i have not had a place to show off what is on my needles. but alas, i now have lucends and you, dear readers.

i recently photographed all the pieces i knit for my cooper. so i am going to start by showing you my favorite thing that i knit for him.

please enjoy...

a bird kind of day

Thursday, March 5, 2009

there are days that it seems like cooper was never in our house. i am surrounded by his things and pictures, so i know that it wasnt a dream. but his time with us was so short, a blink, a blip and then he was gone.

then there are days, like yesterday, that i know without a doubt that was he here and that he is still very much with us. yesterday he was flying all around me....

my friend alicia came over to knit birds and she brought me this painting.

and then this box of wonderfulness came via ups from the fabulous people at blue sky alpacas. this yarn will soon become the next members of coopers flock.

my precious husband and i decided to clean and rearrange our office space. i was looking through a bag and found these from my youngest brother's wedding almost two years ago. how fortuitous that we had a bird and a heart.

and finally, i was looking at coopers clothes, in particualr the {jig.} "days of the week onesies"
thursday had a bird on it. this is significant because cooper was born on a thursday, thanksgiving, and died on a thursday.

it is days like yesterday that help me get through days like today. days where i miss cooper more than i can even in express, days that my heart hurts so bad that it takes my breath away, days where the tears are a never ending river and days where i want to crawl in a hole and NEVER come out. but knowing that my birdy is always with me, is what enables me to put one foot in front of the other tomorrow.

its all the same, really

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

i have tried very hard since cooper died not to let my grief own me, for it to become who i am or to be that person who compares every trajedy in life to losing my cooper. but every once in a while i slip, and i think that there is no way that any one could possibly hurt as much as i do, that their grief cant even compare to mine. that they cant possibly feel the raw heart ache and the gut wrenching pain or the sense of emptiness i feel on a daily basis.

yesterday we had to go to the funeral of my precious husband's great aunt. i was dreading this, mainly because we were going to see alot of people we have not seen since cooper died. i like to see people in small doses when seeing them for the first time, it makes it a little easier. but this was full on immersion in family, and family that i dont know all that well. while i was drying my hair, i kept thinking that while it was sad aunt mary was gone, she lived her life, had kids and grandkids. she was 90 something years old, this is the natural progression of life. that her family's loss was nothing like us losing cooper.

but then.....i had this moment in church, watching her kids talk about her where i realized that grief is grief, and no matter what the circumstances are, it hurts like hell for those people who are living it. that one's grief is not more or less intense depending on how people died, what matters is how we process that grief.

so thanks aunt mary, for showing me this very important lesson about grief. and i will continue to work hard at not letting my grief own me.

meet tommy

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

meet tommy.....

i first met tommy hours after he was born. tommy is the little baby who stole my heart and got my clock a tickin. i have spent many an afternoons with tommy and had such hopes and dreams for he and cooper. so it made my heart well up when i saw him loving his coopers flock bird, almost as if he is saying "see aunt lulu, cooper and i are best pals." i cant even begin to tell you how much i love this 2 year old. or how my weekly visits with him always brings a sense of hope that there are better days ahead and that my precious husband and i will be parents again someday in the future.

coopers flock

Monday, March 2, 2009

my new creative adventure begins, NOW.

shortly after cooper died, i stumbled upon tollipop and her most brilliant way of using her creativity to process the grief of her beloved mother. She began the 100 dresses project as a challenge to herself to make 100 different dresses, brilliant right? and even more brilliant, she challenged her loyal readers to make 100 somethings, it didnt matter what, just that they were making something. i decided that this would be a good way to help me use my creativity to process my own loss.

we called cooper birdy and as a result birds are every where in my world these days. i decided to make 100 birds to put on a tree at his memorial service in may, but i had to figure out a way to knit these birds. i contacted a fellow blogger for a little help with a knit bird pattern. she directed me to a free pattern online, that i then reworked into my own. i then got to thinking about what in the heck was i going to do with 100 knit birds, and how could i turn this into something bigger than my own need to work through my grief. how could i help other cardiac children? could i make this project part of coopers legacy?

enter cooper's flock. the hospital here in rochester performs apporimately 270 heart surgeries a year and i want every child to get a bird the day of surgery. these birds will be a symbol of hope and comfort, a symbol of my precious cooper watching over these families and their children, both through the surgery and the recovery process. i want these families to know that there is someone out there thinking of them, who has been in their shoes, and knows their hopes and fears. the children will be able to hang the birds in their beds while they are in the hospital. it does my heart good to think of hundreds of little cooper birds watching over sick children.

i know that you will want to get involved. so here is how you can become part of coopers flock. if you knit, you can knit birds. and if you dont knit, but know how to sew, there is a bird pattern in this book that you can use. i will post the knit pattern on the blog. all birds need to be knit or sewn out of cotton. i am using blue sky alpacas dyed cotton and would like all the knit birds to be made out of this yarn. you can get at least 3 birds out of one skein of yarn. they have been so wonderful as to donate yarn to the cause. when you are finished with your birds, email me and i will send you the mailing address. if you are a blogger feel free to take the coopers flock button for your blog. spread the love.

it is my hope that there are hundreds of coopers flock out there. i know that they will bring great comfort to many children and their families.

so i hope you will join me on this creative adventure and become part of coopers flock.

on my mind

Sunday, March 1, 2009

just a little sampling of what is running through my head today....

cooper's service
cooperthe logistics of cooper's service and making it the way jamey and i want and need it to be
our meeting with the drs friday to go over the autopsy
birds, lots of birdscooper
amazing colors of cotton sent with love from kpixie
going back to work this week
trying to figure out why cooper died, and knowing i will probably never know the why
getting my new blog all set and perfect
getting pregnant
being scared i will have another baby with a heart defect
knowing we have to take the chance and have another baby
wanting to hear my moms voice
the signs of spring that are starting to appear
trying to figure out what my week is going to look like
the funeral we have to go to tuesday, knowing how difficult it is going to be to see so many people i havent seen since cooper died all at once
cooper's service