Wednesday, September 23, 2015


Another loss mom and I were talking awhile back. It was after an interaction where she was called all sorts of crazy names, like brave, strong, and courageous.

Normally people would like to hear those things about them. When you're a loss mom, though, it somewhat feels like no one understands. They see brave and you feel like a coward. They see strong and you feel weak. They see courageous and you feel so timid.

Loss can often make you feel like a fraud. You're living this life you're supposed to live, yet you're going through the motions. You are putting on this face and standing tall on the mountain proclaiming victory when it's really just a little hill, maybe a pile of dirt, and dragging yourself up has left you out of breath, exhausted, and completely broken.

We brainstormed for awhile on what adjective really fit. And she came up with formidable. And suddenly this word took on so many facets of loss for me it felt like a missing puzzle piece had slid into place and the crowds cheered and the angels sang and for once something made sense.

First, loss is a formidable opponent. It causes fear and dread. It commands respect. It is difficult to defeat or overcome. Loss can own you. It creeps up in the darkest moments, when your mind is still, and it seeps fear into your mind. Sadness and pain is difficult to overcome as it makes a permanent home inside your heart. Loss is relentless. You cannot escape it. Forever it will have a hold on you and will change every moment of your life. There is no other obstacle or opponent we face in our life quite as formidable as loss.

But we are formidable opponents, too. When others say we are brave and strong and courageous they are admiring our tenacity and are in awe of our drive and ability to pick up when they may have stayed down. We are giants as we conquer each day, disabled and broken, yet pushing forward and carrying ourselves through even when it's daunting. Some other impressive quality? The ability to empathize, commiserate, and compassionately love others when we are hurting, too. To unite in pain and live, breath, and thrive on the life that broke us and mends us all the same. We stand up, we crawl up the dirt mound, sometimes dragging ourselves along. But we do it.  Because we are formidable opponents and loss will not break us.

I am not strong. I am not brave. Oh I am such a coward and so weak and frail. But I am formidable and I will fight on with grace, hope, and love knowing that while I am broken I am also perfectly blessed and that my weakness is my strength. While some days are harder than the last, and the next may be easier than the best, every day we slide on our gloves, jump in the ring, and fight another day.

We are formidable. And we will survive.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Shutout


We all dream of who our babies will be. 

When we lay in bed at night savoring their kicks and turns, we imagine who they will grow to be. 

Colton was going to play soccer. We just knew it. B already coached the older boys. B loves soccer. I love soccer. Hell, we met because of soccer. 

Colton had the biggest kicks. He would rock my whole stomach. We'd laugh about how he'd put that foot to use someday. B hoped he'd be a left-footer like momma. Left handed and left footed would be awesome. He was going to be our lil' all-star. 


The other day I went to pick up Delaney from her dads house. When he opened the door my heart hit the floor. His wife's son was sitting on the floor, suited up for soccer, holding a ball. Shin guards and socks on, he was ready to go.  He's only six months older than Colton would be, so it always stings a little to see him. He's sweet as pie and grins and laughs and says "Bye Delaney" with the cutest little voice.

In that moment my heard just wept. My little boy should be suited up. My little boy should be heading to practice. He should be going to Opening Day and having pictures this weekend. He should be in pre-kr. We should have gone backpack and school clothes and .... cleat shopping. 

I didn't just lose my baby. I lost my all-star. And I miss him. I miss  him so much.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

"Timehop" ... and how much I wish I could.

Timehop is this nifty little program that looks into your past and reminds you where you were, what you were doing, what you were sharing in past years on this date.

Pretty cool right?

Most days it is.  It's also a peculiar reflection into the past and how different life is now and how much things can change.

My Timehop has been especially triggering for me these past few months, and probably through the rest of the year. It's mixed with "One Year Ago Today" of pictures of a toddling Delaney celebrating her first year of life with "Five Years Ago Today" and celebrating my growing belly with Colton.

Five years.

Anniversaries trigger in different ways at different times.  First of course is hard.  Though the first year is such a blur you wake up on that first anniversary and think "really? can it be a year already?".  Then the years ebb and flow. But five. Five years.

Colton would be in pre-k. Since he was due in December (I still think he would have come in January) he wouldn't be starting kinder yet.  But he would be in "school" and gearing up for the great things ahead.  He'd be way past "baby" stuff.  Would he want to see Ant Man? Would we go to Disney for his birthday? Or probably Legoland. He'd probably enjoy Legoland ....

Would he still have wavy  hair or would it have straightened out? Would he prefer hot wheels or legos or maybe even baby dolls...

Would he like Mickey Mouse Clubhouse or Agent Oso? Handy Manny? 

Would he like vegetables? Would he ask me to make him cookies like sissy does now? Would he prefer chocolate chip or snickerdoodles...

Five years ago I was wondering all these same things. Then, though, I thought I would learn all the answers.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

What a "dead baby" really feels like.

I don't blog much any more for a multitude of reasons.  Mostly, because it's used against me far too often.  People don't understand, respect, or honor loss and grief very well and - quite frankly - I was tired of being berated or having my loss used against me.

I have to think people either shy from, deflect, or use things they are afraid of. Unfortunately, baby loss is one of those things.

Yesterday there was a heated debate amongst members of a board.  Someone jumped the "do not cross" line, and flew right over the edge of crazy.  While their comment wasn't directed at me, it resonated through my soul.

"You deserve dead babies".  (condensed to remove names and a lot of profanity)

You deserve dead babies.

First, I don't know what makes a normal, sane, decent person type or say or even think those words.  I am quite sure this person isn't any of the above.  "Dead babies" isn't something I would wish on my very worst enemy.  It's a cruel punishment worse than - quite frankly - anything I could imagine. 

The flood of emotions that hit me when I read it drowned me.  A swinging wrecking ball collided with my gut and knocked me flat on my ass.  My breath left my body.

In my mind all I could see was Colton.

The moment, specifically, when I delivered him.  When Dr. C held him up.  His perfect, beautiful body.  His silent, quiet, still body.  My "dead baby".

I will tell you, no one deserves a dead baby.  No one deserves to have their life ripped into two.  The time before and the time after.  When your life was blissfully unaware of what true, deeply devastating loss feels like.  A time after when no matter how full your life and heart are, there's always a gap, a missing piece.

I do not cry for Colton often anymore.  I don't miss him with the intense fervor that flooded me in years past.  Not a day goes by that I don't think about him. I love him and he's there in my soul with every beat of my heart. However, there is a peace I've made with his loss and his short time with me.

Triggers come and sometimes they are little tremors.  Sometimes full on seismic activity level 9.0 with destruction felt miles wide.

"Dead babies" is a seismic trigger.  When you've had a dead baby you know that pain.  Those callous words take you right back to the epicenter of loss. That numbness, that fear, that empty, powerless, horrible despair.  That moment you'd do ANYTHING ... you'd do anything ...

No one deserves a dead baby.  No one deserves that pain.  No one deserves that loss.  No one. 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Rising from the Rubble

February seems to be about the time I start to emerge out from under my protective armor. I don't even realize I abandon my grief (and blog) from about October until February.

It's like emerging from a tornado shelter.  I feel like, for those months, I pack up all my emotions about Colton and I tuck them into this shelter.  I lock them away, safe, until the passing of the storm.

October starts this wave with Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness.  Just a month before Colton was stillborn I had an intense and {now} surreal conversation with a friend regarding loss.  She posted on her Facebook about her daughter, Emma, and how she would always love her. I messaged her to ask if she had lost her daughter.  She told me about her first daughter and how, at 38 weeks, she lost her.  Emma was stillborn with no reason for her death.  I responded "I just cannot imagine" while rubbing my tummy.  And so marks the beginning of my season of grief. Not even a month later I was living that hell.

November of course is riddled with anniversary dates.  The date I accepted and confirmed Colton was gone {November 16}.  Backtracking to the last day I felt him {November 11}.  Remembering every event of the days in between.  Remember the days of induction. And then his stillbirth {November 18}.  His funeral {November 24}.  Thanksgiving {November 25}.


Christmas {December 25}.  Colton's due date {December 26}.


By January I start gauging the wreckage from the passing storm.  I start to peek my head out and I start to assess the damage.  When I deem it safe to emerge, I pull myself out and reenter the world left.

Each year it's been a little easier.  I don't have to shackle everything down so tight.  I can leave some things exposed to the elements.  I have built a stronger foundation to ground me.  This past year was easier with the distraction of Colton's brother and little sister.  Their love and laughter definitely help remind me there is light through the clouds; a rainbow in the storm.

So, once again, I rise from the rubble and march on.  A little stronger, a little braver, and ready to battle on.  

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

I miss him.

I miss him.

Not in that "man this sucks" way.

I miss him in the "oh my god, my heart shatters, my body aches, I am broken" way.


So begins my season of grief.  There isn't a single day since Colton died that I don't miss him.  He's always that little thought in the back of my mind.

As anyone who has lost someone they love knows, though, we have specific seasons of grief.  And so starts mine.

October really "kicks off" the season (for lack of a better term).  October brings Halloween, the first of many fun, happy, child and family focused holidays.  It is a day that I'll take my kids out and we'll laugh and joke and play.  And there will be a gap.  A missing puzzle piece.  There will be a soldier, Captain America, Hulk, Frankenstein ... missing from my group.  I will wonder what Colton would have chosen to be.  I will look at the hundreds of four-year-olds and think with yearning "that should be Colton".  I will think of his preschool party. Preschool.  He should be going now, into a classroom, preparing to start kindergarten next year.

After this passes then will start my loss period of grief.  A few weeks from now will mark the time of his shower.  The memories of my dear friends and their extensive effort to throw me the best party ever.  We celebrated him with so much joy and anticipation, not knowing just a few weeks later we would be crying and grieving. For some reason that's one of the hardest anniversaries.  I think I always still wonder how I didn't know. How I could have been so oblivious to what was going to come.

After this passes comes "the week".  The week that, in retrospect, I walked around denying to myself my son was gone.  I can tell you what I did every single day during that period.  Things that were said.  Moments of denial.  I can't tell you much of my life before or after, but those days are so clear. 

Then, of course, comes the day of the conversation.  The day I spoke the words I had been denying. 

"I don't remember". 

I told Brian I was going to the doctor the next day because things felt off and I didn't feel  Colton move.  And he asked "When did you last feel him".  I didn't remember.  Though, I guess I did.  Wednesday afternoon.  Yes, it was Monday by now, but it was last Wednesday afternoon. 

And then Tuesday. The monitor. Silence.  The ultrasound. Screaming. 

And Wednesday.

And Thursday. And silence.

I want this season to be over.  I want October, November, and December to just go by and be done. I want to get past all the painful days and sleepless nights.  I want these anniversaries, his "birth"day, his burial day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and his due date to just be behind me.  I want a reprieve from the pain, if just for another nine months until it starts all over again.

But isn't that the point? It will start all over again.  I will start my season of grief again next year. And the year after. And ever year until I leave this world and leave a season with someone else. 

I miss him.  I miss him so freaking much.  And I always will.

Monday, September 15, 2014


Delaney has a delightful little voice and quite an impressive vocabulary for 15 months old.  Her favorite words are "cracker", "hi", "bye", "cookie", and "no".  And "bubby", for her favorite person in the world, her brother Logan.  Though they are 9 years apart they are inseparable.  Their love brings a smile to my soul and a giggle to my heart. 

Every morning Delaney wakes up asking for Bubby.  This morning I went to her crib and she kept saying Bubby, so I put her down to run off to the living room for morning snuggles.  But she stopped by my bed and pointed on top of the shelf and said "Bubby". 

My heart stopped for a second.  She was pointing directly to our Colton bear from Molly Bears (  I hadn't shared the bear with her yet, as she's too young to understand what it represents.  This beautiful bear was made to weigh exactly the same as Colton, 5lb 7oz.  He's beautiful and perfect and really brought me peace to receive and hold. 

I asked her "Do you want to see Bubby?" and she responded with a quick shake of her head, pointed to the bear again, and said Bubby.

I handed her the bear (which almost toppled her over at a quarter of her own weight!) and she hugged the bear so tight and said, in her sweetest little voice, "Hi".  She gave the bear a kiss, sat on the floor with it, and hugged it again. 

Somehow, I know she knows what that bear represents.  Somehow, I know her Bubby Colton is never far from her.

I hope to get a picture of them together soon and will share then.  Today, though, I just soaked up the love, the peace, and the joy from Delaney cuddling her "Bubby".