Sunday, June 5, 2011


Today, I am numb. And in my ceaselessly analyzing mind, I have battled with that fact. I do not believe that numbness, at least not extended periods of it, is healthy. I have worked hard to disallow numbness in my life. Worked hard to feel my true feelings, as difficult as it has been.
I believe in crying. In talking. In writing. I believe in mourning the loss of my children wholeheartedly and honestly, to the best of my ability. Following the loss of my first son, I threw myself passionately into the work of grieving well, believing that was one way in which I could honour his memory. I knew that my little sweetheart in heaven would want his mommy to be healthy and well. And that the only way that was possible was to be mindful and intentional in the way that I faced my grief. And as strange as it may sound, I am proud of the work I have done and continue to do in grieving the loss of my first baby boy. And I know he is proud of me too.
But then I lost my second baby boy. And his loss was so vastly different. So traumatic. So un-final. And though my experience with grief did help in many ways (what a strange thing to ever have to say), there is no such thing as a road map for grief. Every journey is different. And mine have certainly been. In this second journey, there have been more moments of numbness. More moments of burying memories, avoiding pain, and stifling tears. It has been, in part, because of the different nature of this loss. And it has been, in part, because of my need for survival. My need for normalcy in a life that has of late taken sharp turns away from normal.
Today was an anniversary day. The anniversary of a day I will never forget, regardless of the pain of those memories. And though all week I have fought waves of grief, today I clung to numbness. I know that as time progresses, I will continue this work of grief. But for today, I will give myself permission to be as I need to be. I know the tears will come. But perhaps not today. For this moment, I am numb.
And as I write, even through numbness, God is still gracious and He still speaks. And as I write, I am reminded of His constancy. His never-ending presence in the midst of my grief. Through my tears. Through my trauma. And even through the moments when I long to just shut it all out, shut myself down, and be numb…Still He is there. I do not understand the mind of God, or His purpose in allowing such heartbreak in my life. All that I know is that He has never left me, even in those moments I could not feel Him there. I am so grateful to serve a God who is so gracious and so forgiving. Who loves me in my times of utter weakness. Who holds on to me in the moments I can no longer cling to Him. He has walked with me through the fire and prevented me from drowning. He holds me, even when I am numb.
Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you. (Psalm 9:10)

Saturday, May 14, 2011


Somewhere in the world, a little boy turned one today. But I was not able to give him birthday kisses on his chubby cheeks. I was not able to plan his birthday party, or to decorate his birthday cake. As hard as it may be to imagine, remembering the birthday of my little boy in heaven is so much easier than this. At least with my first son, I know that the celebration he is having in heaven is far more beautiful than any I could plan on earth. While I miss both of my little boys desperately, the loss of my second son is so much more complicated to grieve.
I know not one other soul who has endured an adoption loss. Not one person who can guide me, or tell me what to do. I did not know how to mark this day, so I waded through it as best I could. And thanks to the love and support of my angel mom friends, the blessing and joy of my beautiful daughter, and the constant and unwavering companionship of my husband who walks this road with me, I survived the day.
Earlier this week, I drove by a party supply store. And as images of balloons and loot bags in baby boy colours flooded to mind, I dissolved into torrents of tears. The anticipation of this day has let loose the floodgates of grief held at bay by the need to function normally in my busy, complicated, and in most ways happy, joyful life. Today there has been no holding back the tears. Because today is not what it should have been.
Yes somewhere, my little peanut, you turned one today. And though I can’t hold you or kiss you, I can love and remember you. I can pray for you, and treasure my memories of you. There is a space in my heart that will always belong to you, my little Mr. Smiley. And that space feels bigger than ever today…

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mothers' Day

How is it possible for a broken heart to hold so much love? For a heart shattered and re-shattered to both shed tears and bubble over with joy? There could not be a more complicated day for me than Mothers’ Day. Joy, laughter, and thankfulness coexisting with sorrow…

This is the fourth Mothers’ Day I have faced with a child missing from my arms. But it is the first after having lost two. My heart aches for both of my little boys today. And I know that it always will…
Yet this morning, I awoke to the sounds of my little girl singing cheerfully. And I had the blessing of experiencing mommyhood in its simplest form, as I wiped and re-wiped a runny little nose, cleared sticky breakfast dishes, and buttoned up a polka-dot raincoat. I breathed in the joy of my little munchkin today, holding her closely and cherishing each baby-scented kiss…
Pink helium balloons greeted us at the entrance to the cemetery this morning. The parking lot was crowded, and the cemetery full with adult children remembering mothers. But somewhere quietly in the crowd I know there wept mothers mourning children, mourning along with me. Kneeling in the rain-soaked grass, I remembered my two boys as my daughter laughed and danced. And as the sun tried it’s best to peek through the rainclouds, my heart both wept and rejoiced…
My journey of mommyhood has not been an easy one. But never before I embarked on this journey could I have imagined possessing a heart so rich with love. Perhaps it is that infinite network of breaks and shatters that allows my heart to expand so widely. Perhaps it is only because of those painful fractures that my heart can now be filled with such love, appreciation, and thankfulness…
Thank you, my beautiful babies, for blessing me with mommyhood. I love all three of you more than words can express. And whether in heaven, in my arms, or in my heart, I am so blessed to have been given the chance to love you…

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Angel Mommies

There have been many blessings along my road of grief, few more meaningful to me than the companions God has given me for the journey.  In some of my darkest moments, the proof to me that God was still there were the friends He so graciously placed in my life at the time that I needed them most. Women who were complete strangers to me at the time that I lost my first son. But women I can now no longer imagine my life without. Women who understand me like few others ever will, because they are also mommies with aching arms. Fellow mommies with children in heaven.
There is something so healing about being in the presence of those who understand, something so freeing about sharing your heart without fearing you will shock the listener. The other day, I was chatting over coffee with a couple of my dearest angel mom friends. We were talking about our most awkward moments – the moments in which strangers asked if we had children – and the varying but almost always uncomfortable results of those interactions. And as we shared stories, the three of us laughed. Not sadly or awkwardly, but boisterously and wholeheartedly, as any good friends would do.
I thought nothing of that laughter in the moment. But driving home, I was struck by the poignancy of that scene. Three former strangers, united by unfathomable grief, able to laugh together about experiences no others in our lives could share. My heart aches to know that these now precious people in my life have shared in life’s worst pain. But how comforting to share such a depth of understanding. How healing to walk our paths together.
If you or someone you know has lost a child, I hope you will reach out, when you are ready, and connect with other grieving parents. No one else can understand as they can what it is that you are going through. And while every loss is different and every parent grieves in their own way, it can be such a comfort to know that others have walked a similar path, and want to help you on your journey.
 If you would like the opportunity to meet with other parents who have lost a child, contact your local hospice society, grief counseling centre, or church and ask them to help you in your search. If you live in the Vancouver area, follow the links for these upcoming events…
Thinking of you, angel mommies.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Three Birthdays in Heaven...

Today we celebrated our little Owen’s third birthday in heaven. And although there have been tears, there has been joy in this day. Our beautiful Owen is such a gift and such a treasure. And although we miss him desperately, we are so blessed that he was, is, and will forever be our child.
This morning we awoke to a perfect, cloudless dawn. A birthday gift to us from our precious baby boy. And from that moment on, I could feel him with me today. With me as we bundled his little sister into boots and coat and trundled across the dewy grass toward his graveside. With me as the cold and frosty morning gradually gave way to the warmth of the afternoon sun, on this – Owen’s birthday, and the first day of spring. And I felt Owen with me as his grandparents and aunties and uncles and cousins gathered around his graveside, laying bouquets of flowers, children chatting in happy tones. And as his little sister chased bubbles across the wet earth, squinting to watch those that floated lightly heavenward.

Yes, it was a beautiful celebration today. Beautiful because we got to celebrate our little boy. To embrace his life. And to teach his little sister about the joy that we see in the life of her big brother. And as I watched the sparkle in her eyes as she opened birthday presents and dug little fingers into birthday cake, I could only imagine the sparkle that must be in Owen’s eyes at this moment as he celebrates his birthday, healthy and free of pain, in the presence of Jesus in Heaven. How I miss you, my little birthday boy. How very, very much I love you…
For those of you who could not join in our celebration today, a little journey in pictures…
Gifts for Owen's Sister and Cousins...
Cakes for Each Family Celebrating With Us...
Flowers for Our Sweetheart...
Three Birthdays in Heaven...
We Love You, Our Precious Baby...
Happy 3rd Birthday Owen.
We Will Love You Forever.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Owen's Story

In just a few days, our Owen will celebrate his third birthday in heaven. And wanting to honour my little boy and the great gift and blessing that he continues to be in my life and in the life of my little family, I have attempted to write his story. Writing Owen’s story has been a tearful process. But a beautiful one, too. And though this story is far from complete, it offers at least a little glimpse into our journey. There is much more that needs to be written. Much more than needs to be shared. But for now, just a little look into the life of our Owen. Our transforming gift. Our brightness after rain.
To read Owen’s story, click here.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Michael's Story

When I began this blog, my intention was that it would be Owen’s. That I would write about my first sweet son, his loss, and all that I have learned as a result. And it occurred to me  that perhaps Michael’s story would be told one day, but that I would tell it separately. The losses of my two boys were to me so different that it seemed their stories could not exist in just one place. And so I tried to begin telling the story that my heart understood. The story of my first sweet son. The story in which I saw beauty.
But as I sat down to write, the words eluded me.  I struggled to write Owen’s story in a way I have never before struggled to write. And then I realized the truth in it all. That their stories must exist in one place, because they already do. The stories of my two baby boys are forever written deeply within my heart.  I can no longer tell one without telling the other.
I could not write Owen’s story (or rewrite it for this blog, as it has been written before) without first telling the story of his new baby brother. The ache in my heart was too deep and too fresh. Baby Michael’s story needed to be told. His big brother Owen’s story will follow soon (I hope in time for Owen’s third birthday, just a couple of weeks away).
But for now, here is the story of my second precious baby boy. My sweet little peanut. The child of my heart. Writing Michael’s story has been an emotional journey. I have relived moments I want to forget. But also ones I will cherish forever. I am so glad to have written his story. And I am so honoured that it is mine to tell.
If you would like to read Michael's story, click here.