Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Baby Marc's 4th Birthday

“It’s a happy life, but someone is missing. It’s a happy life, and someone is missing.” -Elizabeth McCracken, An Exact Replica of a Figment of my Imagination

Four years. How has it already been four years since I held his tiny body in my arms? A short time, a long time, time. I have learned to carry this grief quite well. Most days the weight is light, I think of him and wonder who he would be without spilling one tear. There are still times I read something, think of him or say his name and feel that lump in my throat. I try to choke back the sea of tears that I know if I let out I cannot be sure when they will stop. 
As Baby Marc's birthday approaches it gets harder and harder to avoid those tears and honestly I don't want to. I am so happy that I have learned to cope with my grief in a way that allows me to be happy and enjoy my living children, family and friends but I think it is good to allow the grief back in at times. To allow myself to feel the full weight of his absence and to cry. To cry without worrying about when the tears will stop because I know they will. 
Since his birthday and death the first week of July leading up to the actual day is always emotional and usually much harder than the day itself. This year I am doing something extra special for my first little boys birthday and I think it will help ease the anticipation and heaviness that comes in the days before his birthday. 
I have ordered 1500 random acts of kindness cards. They will be here on June 22nd and I will begin passing them out to friends and family as soon as I receive them. My hope is that many acts of kindness will be done in his memory. 

“Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.” Scott Adams

If you have a card please perform your random act of kindness for someone and pass or leave a card for them to take and do the same. My hope is that some people will use the hashtag #babymarcRAOK and by doing so we might get a slight glimpse into the ripple effect that Baby Marc began. 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


I held my son in my arms as he took his last breath. 

Tonight on my run I realized that whenever I start to get down on myself and feel negative or discouraged all I have to remember is that.

I am a survivor. 

I can do anything. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A Walk with Baby Marc

I should have an almost two year old. As I walked today I pictured an almost two year old Marc walking beside me. He held my hand as I imagined walking through my life without my grief. It's so hard to picture what that life looks like. What does it look like to just be a mom with her babies?
I can't help but wonder, what does it feel like to have children but have never lost one? Since Marcus was my first I will never know. There are so many things that are lost and to grieve for when you lose a child and that was heavy on my heart today. While I grieved for a certain experience of motherhood that I can never know I also looked down at my little two year old image of Marc. I imagined his smile, his laugh, those eyes that I never got to see...and I had to thank him. I've said it a million times but he really has made me a better woman.
But it has been almost two years without my precious baby. I miss him every single day and as his birthday approaches it is getting harder and harder to not feel sorry for myself, for what I should have and for what I am burdened to carry.
I am sad that I will never know what it is like to be normal mom, I in turn know that if you have not lost a child you can't possibly know or understand the way it changes you. It breaks apart every thought or idea you ever had and forces you to put all the pieces back together again. Some pieces are transformed into totally new shapes or haphazardly glued back together. Some are lost forever but sometimes it's possible to find extra pieces. Ones you would never have discovered without the loss.
I know a depth of love that is only possible if you have lost a child. I'm sure no mother is envious of that knowledge but at least it's something I can take a little comfort in.

Those times that I start to feel sorry for myself for having to walk with this grief I just try to remember that while Marc's death has forced me to rearrange and reconfigure the broken pieces of my heart it has also expanded its capacity to feel, to love, to imagine. His short life fills me with motivation and inspiration to live the best life I can.

I walk with grief everyday. Sometimes she is following at a distance and sometimes she is standing right next to me walking in step. Today I took some time to walk with Marc instead. To hold his memory in my heart and let grief walk alone. As I breathed in the fresh air I held my babies hand and just loved him.

Doves Fly Like Children Released

While walking on Mother's Day in Houston with my family we stumbled upon this beautiful statue. It made me think of baby Marc.

"The doves fly like children released. They first flutter and then gain strength and finally rise. Each release-to their first school, to driving, to a spouse is "with hope" that they will soar, some however, must be released forever, "with hope" that our goodbyes are not the end."

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Art of Healing

I saw an old customer the other day while out with Jack. The last time I saw him I was pregnant and about to pop with Marc. He came over and said hi and asked how old Jack was. He looked really confused. He said "it seems like he should be older?"

I told him Marc died and that Jack is my rainbow baby.

He immediately apologized for bringing it up. For some reason it is a lot of peoples first instinct to try and make an uncomfortable situation better. I am kind and I let them know that they shouldn't be sorry about asking about my baby. I love to talk about baby Marc, just as any mother loves to talk about their child. Never for one second do I forget about baby Marc. He lives with me every single day just as Jack does but just not so visible to others. I'm sorry this is a long one today but here is an example of what everyday is like to me. Granted for me to think of all that follows took just a few moments but everyday there are a few moments some days more than others where my mind will wander off to memories of baby Marc. A lot of times memories of the trauma of losing him and the first days after. It can be spurred by the most ordinary of things.
I was playing with Jack today in his room and looking around thinking of my baby Marc at the same time. He is everywhere in my life and home but there is something about this room.
Jack and I love to play here. It's the best room in the house to open up the curtains and play in the natural light. Jack loves the monkeys in the mural I painted while pregnant with Marc and when I rock him at night he loves to stare at the parrot and he just laughs and smiles. We turn on pandora toddler radio and I sing to Jack and we are silly. You can tell this room is lived in! Most of the time there are cloth diapers on the floor by the door waiting to be stuffed and put away and toys left strung around the room. To someone who didn't know it's just a normal nursery but to me it has a sentimental significance that I can't quite put into words.
A place where Marc and I spent hours dreaming of baby Marc and what he would be like. I spent my whole pregnancy with Marc perfecting every detail of his room.
After baby marc died it was a sad place for a while. A storage place for all the baby items that were so recently around the house ready to be used. A tangible and harsh reminder of the emptiness. A room for no one. I didn't spend a lot of time there when I was pregnant with Jack.
I don't view it like that anymore though, now it is a place where Marc and Jack come together. A place where my belly casts from both pregnancies sit above a rainbow with Jack's name underneath. A framed sonogram photo of baby Marc as well as his special memory box that holds the few tangible things I have to remember him by.
As I look around at all these things I can't leave out the large armoire in the corner by the crib that is stuffed full of yarn. Jack has a very small portion of his closet but for the most part that area too is home to my yarn stash. This gets me to thinking about crochet which if you know me is something that I think about quite often. I know Amber is reading this and wondering when I was going to talk about the yarn in the room! ;)
But then in all seriousness I should talk about the yarn. It is quite relevant because it helped me through the absolutely worst week of my entire life.
July 6th 2011 I think we drove home from Cooks Children's at 4 or 5am. My mom washed my hair and helped me clean up because I could hardly do anything. I honestly don't remember what happened next I guess I went to sleep. I remember walking back into my room. The room where I had just delivered my baby boy. Other than the furniture being rearranged to make room for the birthing pool you would have never known there was a baby there, but there had been. For just a few brief scary moments Marc had been in my room but he wasn't there anymore. I woke up next to Marc later that day. I'm pretty sure I hadn't cried too much yet. But now I wailed.
Sometimes now I think back to that time and the freshness of that pain and it may sound completely crazy but I'd like to feel that again. The harshness of it was so real and it seems the more days that pass and the more progress we make the farther away from baby Marc I get. Sometimes it feels like it was all a dream. Also we were so lucky to have the support and sympathy from friends and family and their support was so amazing in those early days. I didn't need to ask for help or remind people of my grief.
Over the next few days funeral arrangements were made and family and friends came, stayed and visited. That first week I don't remember a lot of specifics or times but I do remember watching a lot of America's Funniest Home videos (because your brain can only process a certain about of deep gut wrenching pain at one time) and two crochet. I'm not sure what made me have the focus to get into my yarn closet and start a blanket but I did. I started crocheting the night of the 6th and I feel like I was doing to 24/7 for the next week. The first thing I finished that week was a large cream colored blanket with blue detail work. It's draped over the rocking chair in the nursery.
When I look at it I remember that first week without my baby Marc. I remember working on it and every stitch was a coping technique. Every minute I spent counting stitches was another minute I had survived and the minutes turned into hours and I was making it.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Still Learning to Dance

It has been one year, seven months and one day since I endured the pain and experienced the joy og birthing the baby boy who made me a mother. One year, seven months and one day since I endured the pain and experienced the joy of holding my baby Marc and kissing his beautiful little face but knowing that would be the only time I would ever do so. In just minutes I had gone from the highest high to the lowest low and I said goodbye to every hope and dreamed that I had formed for Marc over the past nine months.  Oh and what I would give to have been able to have had just one look from him, but I never even got to see his eyes. Lately when I am alone I find myself in a pensive mood. Reflecting on the past year and a half and wondering if I am doing ok. Jack is sitting on my lap watching my fingers strike the keys. If Marc had lived this beautiful child in my arms would most surely not exist.  What a strange feeling it is, longing for what you lost but rejoice for the place you have come to. Jack is the glue that has pieced my broken heart together again. My days are busy and filled with new experiences, love and laughter. I am so incredibly happy but I wonder if that is partly because there just is not time to be sad. Yet as I sit here now, tears flowing, Jack is looking at me and laughing and I cannot help but smile back.
“You will lose someone you can’t live without, and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly—that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.”― Anne Lamott

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Baby I Didn't Get to Know

I am so thankful for my husband, he is the only one who lost the same thing (a son) I lost when Marc died. 
Because Jack is only 13 months younger than Marc it seems like so much has happened since he died and I sometimes forget that we are still very early in our grieving process. We are still only 17 months  and four days out from the day I held my firstborn baby for the first and last time.
The other night I held baby Jack and as I talked to him and he looked into my eyes I realized something that made me cry. Marc walked in from work at that moment and saved me. He asked what was wrong and I told him that I realized the more I get to know Jack and his sweet personality the less it feels like I know baby Marc. The more it feels like baby Marc was just imagined. 
What does a husband say to make things better? Marc just knows there is nothing he can say to make it better. He said yes this is what we lost. We lost the future. We lost the chance to get to know our baby boy and that's the saddest part. We didn't get enough time. Not nearly enough. We grieve for what we have lost but we need to be thankful for the time we had and for what we have now. We have Jack. How bittersweet is the knowledge that we would not have Jack had Marc lived. How sweet is Jacks little smile and knowing that I do get the chance to know him. 
We talked for a while about what baby Marc might have been like. Maybe he would have been easy going like his little brother or maybe he would have been more high strung. 
My amazing husband knew that he couldn't fix the hurt and so he talked with me about our pain and then helped me be positive and thankful for what we do have. We have two sons, one in our heart and one in our arms. I will never know Marc. At least not the way I know Jack. I know Marc liked to suck his thumb because we had many ultrasounds and every time he was sucking his thumb. I know Marc kicked liked crazy during the fireworks on the Fourth of July, his last day. I know that even though I didn't get to know him like I should have he was my boy and I loved him.
As positive as we try to be and as thankful as I am for what I do have sometimes you just have to have a good cry, miss your baby and try to remember what it felt like to carry him.
I carried him his whole life and I knew him. I didn't get the chance to know him more but I knew him, my first baby boy and he was real.

Saturday, November 10, 2012


I am so very happy today. I am feeling so thankful for where I am today and being able to say that. This time last year we were four months away from losing sweet baby Marc and I was in such a dark place. I really was not sure I would ever be able to feel this happiness again but today I sat on the patio on a beautiful 75 degree Texas winter day and nursed Marc's little brother Jack and I felt overwhelming happiness.  Marc and I have made so much progress in learning to deal with our grief and of course having Jack certainly helps add enormous joy to our lives. From the beginning we sought out ways to heal our hearts. We attended support groups together, attended counseling together and separate, allowed friends and family to help us and kept our communication open and honest. I did do too much retail therapy as a result of my grief and accrued some credit card debt (which I had vowed to never do) and before I was pregnant with Jack I self medicated with wine more than I probably should have but I guess those things are better than some of the more unhealthy things I could have resorted to. I just have to take a moment to give ourselves a pat on the back for dealing with our emotions together and in (mostly) healthy ways.

I am so thankful to be able to write this blog today and be so positive. I am truly amazed at where I am today. This morning Marc and I laid in bed with Jack between us and I thought about how lucky I am to have such an amazing family. My husband is hardworking, affectionate, considerate and an amazing daddy and both of my baby boys teach me so much everyday. The lessons I have learned about life in the past year are endless. I feel much older than I am because of my loss but that is not really a bad thing. I am more patient and feel like I take more time to breathe life in and live to the fullest. What a gift baby Marc has given to me and to our family, because Jack and all our children will have much better parents because of him. I actually am having a hard time putting into words just what I mean. How can one express what it feels like to emerge from the fiery hell that is losing a child? How can I express that at the same time I am not and will not be over losing him? I have been wounded, burned so severely that I will carry the scars forever but I am a survivor.

I think of my baby Marc every single day,  I miss him and wish I could have watched him grow, I cry for him sometimes but I feel like we have reached our new normal. I feel I have accepted that there will always be moments or days that are hard because he is not here with us but those sad moments don't define our lives. I feel like I have let go of the guilt I once felt for being happy and because of that I can feel that happiness more completely. I have learned that being sad and depressed won't bring my baby back, it wont prove to others how much I loved him, and it won't honor his memory. I have learned to embrace all of my emotions, to let tears flow when they must and then allow joy fill me up again.

I am thankful for these lessons learned.

I am thankful for my beautiful family and amazing friends and for each day I get to be here to spend it with them.
happy today, relaxing on the patio 
love this photo of everyone <3

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Capture Your Grief:Jewelry

Capture Your Grief Day 8-Jewelry

I made this one so that I can have Marc with me all the time. I love wearing it because it makes people ask me about him and then I get to say his name.

My mom made me several. This is one of my favorites.

After Marc died she started making these necklaces. She calls them her mending broken hearts collection.They were perfect for when I returned to work because grief is a roller coaster and it is not always visible to people on the outside. I mean, people especially coworkers might find it hard to tell what kind of a day you are having. Some days I was strong and could answer questions or talk about Marc and not lose it. Other days I would break down.She made me three. One that said strength so that I could wear it to work on days I felt strong, one that said tender with mended wire which meant I was having a down day and one that was still open and not mended at all which meant I was having a really bad day. I will have to add the strength one later because I have a nursing baby attached to me right now but this is what they look like and a link to her etsy shop where she sells them.
10% of the proceeds for sales from her  "Mending Broken Hearts" collection will be donated to M.E.N.D, which is a wonderful support group for Mommies Enduring Neonatal Death. MEND

                                                                  Mending Broken Hearts