Monday, March 26, 2012

Have you ever seen the rain...

Dear Harper,

I was driving home on Saturday night, it was late and you see I had just gone to get Brianna from Aunt Julie's house. It was a sleepover gone awry, your big sister was homesick so I drove the half hour down to get her. Aunt Lee went with me because daddy was already in bed asleep and I hate driving by myself and it was a half hour drive each way. We listened to my iPod on the drive and it was all fun, bouncy, loud songs (and some of your baby sister's baby Einstein stuff.)

On the way home I turned it down low so your sister could doze in the car. I dropped Aunt Lee at her house on my way home and I turned the radio up slightly. Your message was coming across loud and clear, I love when that happens. As I turned the dial up just a couple of notches the song ended and the next began...Tears in Heaven. I smiled a little smile. *Thanks baby girl* I whispered in the quiet dark. This was, of course, one of the songs I played at your funeral. (It still feels unreal to type those your funeral.) We played Somewhere Over the Rainbow too, it just seemed fitting for you. I let it play through, these songs no longer make me cry but smile because of how much I love you.

As I crossed the railroad tracks and headed toward our house the song changes again. Have you ever seen the rain....the words pierced my ears.

"'Til forever on it goes through the circle fast and slow,
I know, and it can't stop, I wonder.

I want to know, have you ever seen the rain?
I want to know, have you ever seen the rain
comin' down on a sunny day?"

Tears burned my eyes, by this time I was sitting in my driveway, it was almost midnight but I couldn't turn the car off, I couldn't just turn this song off. It was so much of how I have felt in the last year and a half, so much of what I was feeling in that moment.

I realize now, why when the stages of grief are pictured it is done in a circle. It never ends, you are just at different stages at different points. At that moment in the car I felt myself circle through all of them again. I hurt so bad in the 3 minutes, I longed for you. But in that moment I knew that you are always with me.

I had experienced the calm before the storm, I had seen the rain. Everyday, as I look into your brother and sister's faces, I see the rain comin' down on a sunny day

I miss you Bean, and I love you even more.

Love always and forever,

I wanna know...have you ever seen the rain

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


Dear Harper,

My friend Keri seems to have said it best when she captioned a picture of her rainbow on facebook "The love I feel for you always seems to be multiplied by two..."

When I look at your baby sister I feel this way. I feel all the love I have for you plus the love I have for her. Looking at her makes me so thankful and then I get even more thankful that I was given you, even if only for a brief moment. 
I find you everywhere, in every beam of sunlight trickling into our house, in the quiet laughter of your big sister and her friends. I find you in the explosion of toys your baby sister leaves in her wake.  I find you in the sparkle of your brother's eyes. You are there and I feel love that is multiplied by two. 

I find you in the storm, you are a guiding light to get me through. I find you when things go just right, or when I am running late and need a parking space, you are always just right there as my ever loving, guiding hand. My heart swells, and often as do the tears. You are there.

I find you in the breeze as it whispers your name, I find you in the leaves rustling the same. I find you in pennies in parking lots, and I find you in the clouds in the sky. Every where I go, you are there and my love is multiplied by two. 

Even though you are not with me I find you in everything. I find you in my joy, I find you in my pain. I find you in the sun and I find you in the rain. And though you are not in my arms, I find you in my heart. 

I love you Bean.



Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there... I do not sleep.
I am the thousand winds that blow...
I am the diamond glints on snow...
I am the sunlight on ripened grain...
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you waken in the morning's hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of gentle birds in circling flight...
I am the soft star that shines at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry—
I am not there... I did not die...

Monday, March 19, 2012


Dear Harper,

I need to talk to you, I need to tell you about grief, about my grief. I recently saw a picture that was the stages of grief. It supposedly comes in seven stages.
  1. Denial
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. Guilt
  6. Obsession
  7. Acceptance
I can vividly, just as if it were yesterday, remember the moments of each of the stages as I passed through them. Denial was immediate, they told me your heart had stopped beating and in words that I will never forget the doctor, as he ran the ultrasound wand over my belly that still held you looked at me and said "It's not good kiddo." I denied every moment that was happening to me, you were still alive in there, just sleeping. Ashton Kutcher was going to pop around the curtain any minute and punk me. He was lying to me, why would he do something like that. I felt my heart break into a million piece, it is a moment when I stopped breathing, I stopped living for just that speck of time. You were fine and I was going to have you in my arms in October...deny, deny, deny...isn't that what addicts do? I was sure this was just some horrific wasn't.

Denial seemed to pass very quickly though, apparently my mind is one of action, and all of a sudden as I was slowly trying to make the proper phone calls all I could do was try to bargain with God. I asked him to take me, you needed to live. I begged, I told God that I would do anything for you to live. Bargaining was taking place for the next several hours. I bargained anything and everything that I could think of just for you.

Then as they wheeled me from one room to my private room where I would labor to have you, bargaining left. They gave me medicine to ease the pain and it didn't help. They gave me medicine to induce labor, and after everyone left the room and all was quiet God and I made a bargain, while the bargain I would make would not bring you back to me, it would allow you to live on forever because I wouldn't let anyone forget your name. I asked God to bring me through this pain, I asked God to allow me the strength to make peace with your death. I bargained with him to help me so that I could help others. I decided I would not live in anger from your death, but peace so that I could help others going through the same losses that I was enduring.

It took almost 3 full days for me to be in active labor to deliver you. There weren't a lot of feelings in those 3 days because the hospital and doctors kept me so well medicated that I am not sure that I knew totally what was going on. But then you were born, your sweet face was there for me to look at and the depression set in. I held you and I was proud just like when your older sister and brother were born. I showed you off to my family and a select handful of friends. You were BEAUTIFUL. But I had to give you back, and I would never see you again, not here in this life anyway. I wanted to die, I wanted to curl up and die. I was sad and the medications they gave me didn't work. I laid in bed for days, I only had days to be on my own because your daddy had to go back to work and so did grandma and grandpa. It was the summer, I had your big sister and brother to watch after. I was still very sad, I laid on the couch and let them destroy the house without a care in the world. People came and went and I am not sure that I even noticed. Your sister had a birthday and I don't remember it..I was depressed and I was a non-existent mom in that time.

You were born July 12, 2010 and your memorial service was on July 15, 2010. I laid in bed, on the couch, wherever I could and always in my pajamas for almost a month. But then it was time for Kaden & Brianna to start school and it just snapped me out of it. I threw myself into volunteering for Brianna's class and that helped. It helped me start getting my body back into shape, and getting out of my funk. I still missed you terribly but I was feeling okay.

Anger came in between depression and guilt. Every time I saw on the news someone who was mistreating a child I would go crazy. I was angry because I knew someone who didn't take care of herself while she was pregnant, she smoked, drank, and did drugs but she got to go home with her healthy baby. It made me angry I had to give my baby to God while she did nothing good for her body  pregnancy but her baby went home healthy.  I would NEVER wish the loss of a child upon even my worst enemy, but I was angry at how unfair it seemed to be. I know stillbirth does not discriminate but I was angry that she didn't seem to want her child like I wanted you and she got to keep her baby and I had to give you up. I had to hurt for you, I had to spend my life without you and that made me mad.

Obsession really set in when I came home. Your sister and I were in the hospital for a week after her birth and I was okay while I was there but when we came home it was just me. I stayed up all hours of the night, watching every breath she took. I watched every little thing she did. No blankets, no heavy sleepers. I would sleep during the day when someone else could watch her so I could be up all night with her. I didn't obsess over your death, just found something to shift that obsession over to. It took 7 months before I would let her sleep with me watching with a blanket. The obsession made my body physically tired, you could see the lack of sleep all over me. I obsessed over every little thing with her.

She is now 9 months old, you would be 20 months old. I have accepted that there are things I cannot change about life. I have accepted that I am a baby loss mom. I have accepted that while I will never heal from this wound it is okay for me to live my life. I accept that I may not understand everything, but I do know everything does happen for a reason. I accepted that you are not here with me in this life but we will be together again one day. It has done a great deal for me because I feel like since I have accepted your passing, even without full understanding, that I can celebrate you in a better way. I  have taken your death, moved forward and never let your name be forgotten. I stand here as a shoulder for other bereaved parents, an ear for their cries. And I'll never let you be forgotten. 

I accept that you are my angel, and I feel okay with that. I miss you but I am okay.

I love you sweet Bean.


Monday, March 12, 2012

just a letter...

Dear Harper, 

 I know it has been a week or more since I wrote last. I just don't want my letters to you to feel forced. These words that I write, they come to me on their own, they come from my heart and if they feel pulled it just won't be the same.

I have had a heavy heart, missing you so intensely lately. I am not sure why but it comes just as quickly and easily as the sun sets and rises. I hold your sister and long to hold you again. My heart has openly ached for you this past week. I think about you all the time, and when I stare into your sister's sleeping face I miss you. 

 People say things like "Time heals all wounds." or "It has to be easier now that you have a baby." but the truth in the matter is that those things are false. Time has not healed, nor will it ever heal the open oozing wound that your death left me with. A piece of my soul is forever gone with you. There are days that the pain of losing you is still so raw and new that it feels as if it just happened, then there are other days where the wound is just a dull aching pain. Time does one thing passes.

It has been 20 months since you left my arms, so small and frail, yet so incredibly perfect. There is not a day that passes that I don't wish I had more time with you.  Your sweet smell burned into my brain, and every now and then when I am thinking about you I can smell you. 

If there is one word that does not describe me at all it would be skeptic. I believe in the forces of nature, and the forces of spirit completely. I believe that you are able to "visit" if you will, with us and let me know you are okay. I have always believed in the supernatural and a person's ability to commune with spirits. It started about 5 days after your memorial service, I still find it hard to believe it was MY child being memorialized. I had not read your obituary, I was reluctant because it made it so real. They laid on the wall separating the kitchen from the hallway for a week or better. I finally decided that I was going to read what was written about my sweet little love in the paper and all of a sudden our entire house was filled with your scent. You came to let me know I would be okay, you knew then what I needed. 

In the past 20 months, when my heart is aching in such a way, you filled my head with your scent. It is a scent that only you could have, so different from your sisters' smells. Brianna's is sweet like candy and Harlie's is almost floral but yours is just a hint of sweetness, and almost metallic. It is what you smelled like as I held you close for those few hours, it is what your hat & blanket smell like. I keep them tucked away but when it is exceptionally hard for me to breathe without you I open your cedar chest and hold them close.  

How has it been 20 months? I don't understand how the world can keep moving without you in it. How have I had another child and you don't know her? There are so many things I need you to know, so many thoughts I have for you.As I laid in the hospital, in labor with you,I thought about the choices I had, that I could let this rule my life forever and I could be mad about the hand I was dealt or I could pick up, try to mend the pieces of my broken heart and move along. 

I chose to let it strengthen me, to not let it define me but become a part of who I was in my life and to let it lead me to help other women who have suffered this travesty in their lives too. You have brought me to some of the most amazing women I have the pleasure of calling my friends, Corin & Deanna to just name a couple. They know you, they love you the way that I do and they know the suffering that is child loss. 

When my heart aches to hold you, I call upon those women who know this ache so well. They are there to hold my hand in a way only they can. So 20 months have passed, and I ache from this open oozing wound proudly calling myself Harper's Mom. Even in my weakest hour, in my misery, in my pain, in my tears, I am proud to be your mommy. You have taught me so much with so little. 

I love you Harper Bean, I miss you even more.



Thursday, March 1, 2012

Angel Kisses

Dear Harper,

 I am not sure that this note will be terribly long but I need to tell you thank you.  I know it has been a few days since I have written but I am compelled tonight, as the wind is blowing gently through my windows and your siblings are snug in their beds, to write you a letter of gratitude.

Yesterday your sister went in the hospital to have a routine procedure done, just placement of ear tubes. But the way I see it, there is nothing routine about a routine procedure when general anesthetic is involved, things happen...things do go wrong. You are my proof of that. 

YOU, now.
I held on to you all night the night prior, and just prayed my heart out that your sister would be safe during surgery. I thought about it non-stop until my body was so tired that I just passed out. I believe this was you tucking me in so I didn't worry anymore. You know what I need and when I need it, you are just ever present and all knowing. This saving grace you gave me on Tuesday night was more than I could have asked for, Thank You Bean

Then my alarm didn't go off at 4:40 AM like it was supposed to but some how by the Grace of God, your daddy woke up before me and woke me up on time. He was the calm one and I know he was just as worried as I was but you were his ever guiding hand telling him that things would be alright. You are always there, just long enough to guide us through the storm. He made sure that I had finished everything the night before, he even made sure we had a bottle just in case, and your favorite toys. He was able to calmly load your sweet baby sister into the car and help me get there in the rain when I forgot my glasses. Thank You Bean.

When we arrived at the hospital and I registered her it said I would owe a $275 copay that I didn't have but some how, I no longer had to pay it right away. It just kind of went away and again, I knew it was you just showing me you had my back in all of the worry. 

We were whisked upstairs and the surgery check in person, Bonita, was so sweet and calmed my nerves, just asking if we needed anything and what your sister would want to drink after she woke up. Then I blinked and we were in the surgery prep room, a teeny tiny hospital bed with rails that came up and turned it into a crib. My heart was heavy, because I know how badly things can go in the blink of an eye. All of the what ifs were swimming in my head. But nothing was intimidating your sweet baby Bird. She laid there as they took her blood pressure, and her pulse/ox levels, and measurements to make sure she got the right amount of medications. She just smiled and babbled the whole time, no idea what was coming. 

I knew it was getting closer as they  brought in a tiny but oversized hospital gown for her, it was white with green animals all over it and it said "lions, tigers and bears, oh my!" all over too. She let me slip her out of her pajamas that had been so warm and snug on such a nasty rainy & stormy day. My heart was clenching and the nurse said "We are going to take her for a test run to see if she is okay going with us, if not we will get her anti-anxiety meds." I knew you had wrapped your tiny hand into hers and told her it would be okay because she willingly went with the nurses and smiled as she looked back. You kept her calm so she didn't need any more medications,  Thank You Bean.

I didn't cry as I watched her being taken away, I wanted to but I felt a gentle squeeze on my heart, and a relief in my mind, that said all was going to be okay, and with each breath those what ifs disappeared. Twelve minutes passed after they walked out of the room with, only twelve and the nurse came in and said "She did great!, and Dr. Brown will be in in just a moment." Twelve minutes, a coincidence? I think not. Dr. Brown came in and gave us her ear drops and said her ears were still very bad but she should be on the mend now. She went out quickly and was already beginning to wake up. In the doctor's words "She did beautifully." Thank You Bean

Post Op Nummies
Ten minutes after that we were taken back to see her. She was there in the teeny tiny hospital bed with one side of the crib railings up and her lungs were letting everyone know just where she was.I immediately held her, whispered in her ear that I was there and daddy was there but you were there too. We were told to be prepared that she would not act normally when she first woke up, that there would be a lot of screaming and crying but it would subside after 2-4 hours. This was not the case, I calmed her and she gently sucked her binky, and then daddy wanted a turn. He was able to feed her and she fell asleep in his arms just as if she were wanting a nap. And then I saw it, a few tiny glimmers on her forehead. Hmmm, what could it be? It was glitter you left behind when you gave your sister reassurance with your angel kisses. They were not there when she went back but they were there when she came out. You wrapped her in your arms and took care of her when momma couldn't...Thank You Bean

Just 5 hrs post op
Seeing that glitter on her forehead, smelling your smell wafting off of her, I knew that it was you watching over, guiding her and telling her not to be scared. You made sure she was safe and you carried her through for me. And for that I cannot thank you enough my sweet love. We are home now, and she bounced back so quickly, I am sure you know that because you are on her side watching every step (or scoot) she takes. She woke up from her nap smiling and cooing just like she had been the day before just 5 hours after surgery.  It is amazing, I know you know that though. Without you I couldn't have her, so Thank You Bean.

I hate that I only got to know you for 25 weeks and I am missing so many things with you, but I love that you gave me her to help ease the pain, and you are here with her. I know you are always watching over us and when my heart aches for you I know that you are just a blink away in my dreams.

Thank You Bean.

I love you,