Sunday, December 23, 2012


Last week we all sat down together and made a Nativity Gingerbread house, complete with marshmallow sheep and coconut hay. Brendan read the Christmas Story from the Bible and we talked about the true meaning of Christmas.

The kids had fun making the scene and eating the leftover candy... and we were proud of our accomplishment, although the whole thing was a little crooked.

Tonight I am sitting in our front room where there are two decorated trees and a mantle full of vintage Santas and Elves. I love this room. There is no television and for the most part everyone leaves me alone if I am in here. I was thinking tonight that we needed to make our wishes for the year... We started the tradition last Christmas Eve, we all wrote a wish and placed them inside a beautiful "Wishes" ornament that two of my dearest friends gave to us as a wedding gift. This year as I was unpacking the ornaments, I found the wishes ornament. I opened it up and read the wishes from last year and immediately started crying. Last year on Christmas Eve we found out that we were expecting Zoe Jane. I took a test that morning and it was positive... we were so excited. Brendan and Keira had wished for toys, of course. Bryan had wished that Brendan, Keira and his new little one would be happy and healthy, and I wished for a baby girl. I am almost afraid to wish this year. It seems that some of our wishes came true, but the most important ones didn't.

I don't even know what to wish for at all. I am not ready to try again. I have no desire to be pregnant anytime soon. I would be sick with worry the whole time. Bryan wishes that we can still be here, doing what we are doing next year... I agree with him but most of all I just wish to be happy again. There are too many things that have crushed my spirit, broken my heart and made me lose faith in the very things that I used to treasure. I think that people take for granted happiness and joy. When you have nothing to grieve then it is a natural tendency to be happy. Then grief sucks the life out of you and makes you feel nothing but every stitch of hurt and pain.

It is the day before Christmas Eve, we have not finished our Santa shopping and have decided to not buy gifts for one another because we have spent so much trying to get back to simple and normal that we just really can't do a lot this year. I have the lists for the kids and will get those things tomorrow. I have made some special things for family and I hope everyone understands how much I wish to buy everyone something nice.

Tomorrow will not be a happy day for me, but I will find the strength to fill the house with excitement for Brendan and Keira, this will be their third Christmas with us and they are so excited they can barely sleep.

I want next year to be different. I want to be happier, more prepared and just enjoy the season. Now that it is almost over I really do not want to take down all of my Christmas decor. It will be sad to pack it up for another year. I am not sure if I will blog tomorrow, but with this writing before Christmas I wish everyone a Merry Christmas. Love one another, hug those kids tight and remember that Jesus was born to give us eternal life. I do find comfort in knowing that Zoe Jane is in Heaven with Him, celebrating right along with us.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

My Favorite Things

Christmas has always been my favorite time of year and it begins the Day after Thanksgiving. That is the day that I pull everything from storage, organize, make a game plan and get ready for the Saturday after Thanksgiving decorating. Back in the old days, I always had a pajama party for all of my friends. Guests would come in their pajamas, bring a snack and favorite drink and help ME decorate my Christmas tree. The pajama part was just fun... and comfy! After a little too much to drink, everyone was already in their night clothes when they returned home after the party. These were the years when THE tiara made an appearance and everyone knew that I wore mine while decorating the Christmas tree... I have never been a beauty queen, I quit pageants when I was very young, but each year at the pajama party while everyone else was wearing a Santa Hat, I wore a tiara... just for fun....

I kept the tradition up even after those fun parties with friends. I remember one Christmas when I was single and poor as a boot... I pulled out the decorations, organized, put on my tiara and got to work... to my dismay there were several strands of lights that were not working on my tree and one of my best friends walked in to find me in the floor covered in lights, tiara askew and crying... I had NO money to buy new lights and I had to find the ones that did not work and replace the bulbs... after lots of looking, a few too many tears at being single and alone for Christmas, we managed to get them working. Being the amazing friend that she is, she patiently handed me each ornament so that I could place them on my tree because she knew that I would take them all off and redo the tree if anyone else helped... I just had to have it a certain way... that was the first year in a long time that I only decorated the tree once, normally I let my guests decorate it and then I redid it the next day.

I didn't wear a tiara this year, although I did buy Keira one so that she could wear it and decorate the tree. We have 7 or 8 trees in the house, so we all got to decorate our own... the kids tree is ridiculously weighted with ornaments that are too heavy because they haven't quite mastered spacing, one tree is without lights but holds all of our Christmas cards from friends and family, one is my Santa tree with Santas collected from my adult life, one is a Chef tree in the kitchen, we have a girly tree in the front spare room and a really beautiful gold, silver and blue tree in the main room. We also decorated a tree in silver with butterflies for Zoe Jane.

I miss cherishing my favorite things. I have been too sad to experience them this season, but tonight I thought that I would list them and experience them in a new way...

Homemade wreaths with berries
Hot chocolate with too many marshmallows
Love Actually
Christmas books by Richard Paul Evans
Cheesy Hallmark Movies (and commercials)
That one Folgers commercial where the son comes home for the holidays.
Getting tired of Christmas songs but listening anyway because they will be gone soon.
Hand made Christmas gifts
Family memories
A Christmas Carol (George C. Scott version)
Stocking Stuffers
Believing in Santa
Angel Trees, Toys for Tots, all of the people who do a lot of good...
The bell ringers that actually sing Christmas Carols
People saying Merry Christmas... it just doesn't happen that often these days...
Fruitcake (But only my Mom's)
When it smells like snow outside
Fuzzy socks
Remembering the best gift from childhood
Pretty wrapping paper and bows
Knowing that even if you can't buy everyone something, even a little homemade gift will do.
Christmas Dinner
Being excited For Santa on Christmas Eve, even though I am now Santa....
Warm blankets and a good book
Losing the light of day way too early and getting to bed at a decent hour
Rudolph Claymation
Remembering all of the loved ones that have passed and just how special it was to see them during the holidays.
Wishing that all children receive gifts and have a nice, warm home with loving parents.

I could go on and on about the things that I love, but you would soon tire of reading them. I do love sitting in my living room on the sofa in the dark with just the light of the tree to illuminate the room. No matter the tree, the room or the year... just that single moment of looking at the tree fills my heart with happiness. I think that white twinkle lights should be on something all year long just so that happiness stays alive. 

I sure miss my little girl and I wanted so much to share the favorite things with her. Instead I have shared them with you and I know that by just thinking on my favorite things it helps to heal my heart from the brokenness.

Remember to make memories, store them in your mind to bring out year after year... and don't forget to wear that tiara... it makes putting up the tree just a little more special.

Monday, December 17, 2012


This weekend was so busy. We had catering events for four days along with trying to get settled in our new places. I haven't had a lot of time to focus on much else. In fact, I still need to pay "Santa" for Christmas and pick some things out for the kids. Christmas sure is getting here quick!

This weekend I have read a lot about the events in Connecticut, I have shed tears, I have prayed for these families and seen the pictures of all lost. It has brought up emotions that I have been trying to suppress through the holiday season. I can tell you that I have not been well the past few days. There are so many things to understand about losing a child. I hope that through my blog some of you have learned how to deal with the feelings and emotions of parents that have lost a child. The senseless acts of a troubled man has led to so much heartache.

Since the holidays began I have decorated, baked, and tried to keep my thoughts on all things positive. We have had the worst year imaginable. All I want right now is to make Christmas special for Brendan and Keira. After we lost Zoe I didn't think that things could get much worse, but the year wore on and every month there was something else that hurt my heart. Deciding to move back to a small town and bring our businesses with us has been a scary thing to do. I always remember the movie "You've Got Mail" and how Meg Ryan's character closes her bookstore because of the big company that came in around the corner... the lady that works for her tells her that closing the store and moving on to something else was the brave thing to do. I keep telling myself that this move was the brave thing to do.

We have had such an outpouring of support and love from the community and we pray with all that is in our hearts that our businesses are successful here. The most important thing right now is that we can provide for our family and be happy. Starting over is exciting and worrisome, all at the same time.

I want to challenge everyone to spend time with their families. Watch a few Christmas movies, bake some cookies, go look at Christmas lights. Love one another, hug your kids tight, tell your spouse how much you love and appreciate them and remember that there are people out there who need your prayers, your kindness, your hope and love. Let's all join together and send a blanket of love and prayers to those families hurting in Connecticut. The children who witnessed the events, the people who have lost those close to them, they all deserve our thoughts this time of year.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Santa is Coming To Town

We moved to a new house. I cannot tell you all how thankful I am that God put this place in our path. It is perfect. We love it and the kids are happy here.

For the past couple of weeks we have done nothing but move and unpack and decorate. Christmas trees are up, elves out, vintage Santa collection things all through the entire house.

Decorating the trees and the house was more like a job than a fun experience. I knew that Christmas would be hard but I didn't know that it would be this hard. Yesterday I went to Zoe's grave to take her a pretty little metal tree with colorful jingle bells hanging from it. I wasn't even to the cemetery before I started crying. Heart wrenching, gut tightening sobs. I want her here with me so much. Her first Christmas and she gets to spend it in Heaven.

The tree looked perfect and I know that she loves it. Even from her spot in Heaven. We also decorated a tree in her honor uptown at the pavilion. There are lots of trees there. Ours is a Zoe Jane tree. It is beautiful and lit up and has a big bow on top. When I drive through town I look in its direction because it seems to shine so bright.

We found out that we were expecting her on Christmas Eve. I know this year it will be a tough day. One of my closest friends who also lost a child called me today and she is having a hard time too. It comes in cycles, she said. The sadness, the anger, the acceptance. And then it starts all over again.

People are still telling me to get over it. I still think that no one would ever tell someone to get over it if they lost their spouse or grown child. I really think that people have a lot of nerve talking about me behind my back, too. Some of my friends have told me what others say and they take up for me because I have gone through a rough time. I am so tired of not being able to tell people the truth about things!

I put something on Facebook about it today and several people responded. When the truth is told and cold, hard facts are presented, people get pissed off instead of realizing they are the ones with the problem. The truth is... I am sad and mad and resentful and I don't like a lot of people these days. Mean people especially.

I know that I am mad. It is no secret that I am depressed and angry and sick about what happened six months ago. I would rather FEEL those things than keep them locked up inside... that is when people buy guns and go on shooting sprees.

There are a lot of things that I wish I had kept to myself, a lot of people that I have pissed off, a lot of circumstances I wish were better since we lost Zoe Jane... but I still have feelings. I still think about my little girl a majority of every single day. I still think that it is unfair that I wanted her so much and there are people who don't want their children.

I think this move is the greatest thing that we could have done. Getting away from the stresses of the bigger town that we were in, slowing down a little but still working at the professions that we love... I don't care if it is more inconvenient to live in a small town... it is worth it for peace of mind.

Last night was the Christmas parade, an ice skating rink, vendors and pretty decorated trees...the marching band and cheerleaders were there... the football team that is undefeated....Santa Claus and the Volunteer Fire Department... it made me feel warm and safe and secure to be in this community where I know people care. A community where people wave and say hello to you... a place where young men hold the doors open for you as you walk into a convenient store. Things are so different here, just 20 miles away. I needed the change. I needed the stars that shine so bright even though we live in town... I needed to be closer to my little girl and start trying to find my happiness again.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thanksgiving and Little Things

Things to be thankful for... I started out the Facebook Days of Thankfulness with quirky and smart ass comments about things that I was thankful for. The reality is that I am thankful for everyday things now. Tragedy does that to you. Life does that to you. Getting older does that to you.

I never noticed a lot of things before Zoe Jane died.

I didn't notice how blue the sky, how green the grass.

I didn't notice how much I worked.

I didn't notice how much I did not feel.

I didn't notice how much other people hurt.

I didn't notice how many children go without.

I didn't notice how many friends I had.

I didn't notice that I should let go of some things.

I didn't notice that so many babies went to heaven.

Now I have a greater intolerance for ignorance. For apathy.
For selfishness.

How can people stand by and watch others who work hard suffer? How can they make their lives more difficult? Why do people not help one another anymore?

What has happened to this world and our communities that we cannot work together, communicate and come together for the common good, whatever that may be?

I have become a stepmother this year, I have become a mother, lost my baby, moved my business, moved my new family, fought a custody battle, fought depression, started therapy, fought baby weight (that by the way is an unpleasant result for a mom that loses her baby... it's OK to weigh an extra 15 pounds if you have a baby, but if your child is no longer with you... people expect you to get rid of it and it won't go away!) I have worked on my marriage, worked on communication even through personal struggles and really, just really wanted to be in the bed sleeping the whole time. I have wanted to scream at people, tell people to mind their own business, to leave me alone, but then I have wanted to just fall into the arms of my friends and cry until I couldn't cry any longer.

Yesterday a business associate that I haven't seen in awhile called to set up a catering job and asked if I had the baby yet... this person is not around us and did not know and I felt bad having to tell them... but there I was again, telling the story while standing in Dillards looking at Christmas potpourri. Bryan looking at me with this face... like he couldn't believe that I was putting on the "Yep, lost the baby, we named her Zoe Jane, things are OK, now what can we do for you??" voice. What else can you do? I can't break down and cry at Dillards looking at potpourri. I love the Christmas potpourri for goodness sake. We have to make a living. We have to eat. We have to pay bills. We have to pay Santa for Christmas this year too.

I am thankful for little things. High thread count sheets. Hot water. Good soap. My Hair Stylist. Fuzzy Slippers. Hot Chocolate that my husband makes. Duck Dynasty (I know, I know) Pillows. Memories of my childhood. Smells that take me back. Friends that make me laugh. Little old ladies that pat my cheeks and tell me I am precious. (Doesn't happen too often anymore)

I am just thankful that God has shown me that through all of these trials there are the little things. He has answered many prayers for me over the past few weeks and my faith has been tested but I stood true. We are working hard to live a life that is real and true. Getting back to the basics. Getting back to the people that we know and love and to the simple things. The little things. The things to be thankful for.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Grief and Turkey

I have been putting off writing blogs. It has been a long, long time. I think of things to write about and then I think to myself that people really don't want to read about them.... so I just start doing something else.

Or stare at the wall.

Or a page in a book.

The thing is I still have a lot to say. I have so much to say. But you know, people get offended. They want you to keep your personal thoughts and feelings to yourself.

No one knows what goes on behind closed doors. No one knows what goes on inside your head. They just see the smile on your face and only a few see the shadows on your face and that the twinkle is gone from your eyes.

Sunday will be six months. Really? Six. Whole. Months. Half a year. It seems like I should be over it. It seems like the pain should be dull by now. The memories of what happened have faded over time, just like you forget what you wore three weeks ago, or what you got for your last birthday, or how your best friend from elementary school used to laugh.

I will get back to blogging soon. I am working on finding some happiness and normalcy in my life and trying to balance work and our crazy lives. Next week is Thanksgiving and I tend to get pretty sentimental during the holidays so I fully expect to have a melt down. Something about the weather, all the carbs and the required family gatherings.

There is a blog that was shared with me early on in my loss and the owner of the site is Franchesca. She lives in Texas and is fabulously talented. She actually keeps up with her blog. She is an artist, photographer, an entrepreneur, a SAINT... this woman does it all and touches the hearts of others. She has also touched mine in ways that I cannot even express. Please visit her blog.

She publishes a Loss For Words Calendar and asks for quotes from Mothers who have lost children over the year. This year she chose a piece from something that I had written about my Zoe Jane and it was published in the 2013 calendar that is just now out. A lovely piece of art for anyone, this is something that has humbled me and broken my heart all at the same time. Please take the time peruse her blog, order some art, order a calendar for yourself or a loved one. Below is Zoe Jane's page, our month is February and  I am honored to be a part of this project and I am honored to share my heart, my Zoe Jane, with all of you.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Birthday Blues

My birthday is tomorrow and I am not the least bit excited. I have to work and it will just be a normal day... I know that is what happens as you get older. But really I just don't want to get older. I will be 36... closer to 40 every day and I feel like I haven't been able to accomplish half the things that I wanted to.

Birthdays for me have always been fun because mine is the day before Halloween. I have always celebrated in grand style with a fabulous costume and I love this time of year. I AM happy the weather has turned so that it is not 90 degrees in October!

I am really sad that Zoe isn't here with me. I was looking forward to dressing her up for Halloween and just having a baby... an extension of me and her daddy that we could love and cherish. It doesn't seem fair.

I am like everyone else and I have found that I am quite addicted to Pinterest. All of the precious photos of little ones in cute costumes have made me tear up more than Hallmark commercials!

I keep thinking of all the things that I wish I had done differently. There are a million little things that would have probably affected the bigger picture. I just wish there was a manual to life that would at least CLUE you in to the consequences of ones actions.

So tomorrow I will be 36, I will miss my baby girl and I will think about the things I have yet to do. We have a fall festival to attend for my step kids and then get ready for Halloween. I hope that everyone has a fun and safe holiday and receives lots of candy!

I am going to send some balloons up to Heaven and have a piece of cake for my little Zoe Jane. She would have been the perfect little monster....

Monday, October 15, 2012

Moving On You Say?

I just lit Zoe Jane's candles for October 15th. It is a little early, but it was getting dark and I wanted it to light the room for awhile. My friends Andrea and Kim gave me a fantastic candle on her due date and it was perfect to light for tonight.

Today I read an article on grief and moving on. It spoke of banning the term "moving on." What exactly does that mean? Does it imply that I am not grieving properly? One would never tell someone who has just lost their husband or wife to move on. If you lose your parents you are not told to move on. Why do people feel the need to tell me to move on?

Wanna know what really makes me angry? I have been moving on. I have been getting up every day and moving on. Working and taking care of a family. Going through the motions of a life that is barely recognizable. The whole world has moved on. Family and friends have moved on. Just because I choose to incorporate my child into my life by speaking of her doesn't mean that I haven't moved on. My grief makes people uncomfortable. It makes my family and friends uncomfortable. I know this. I know they can't deal with it. I know they don't want to talk about her. I also know that she cannot be forgotten like she wasn't here. In no way is that right. In no world would a Mother abandon the memory of her only child.

I can remember how things were last year at this time. So hopeful and full of promise. Getting ready to start trying to conceive and so scared and excited. Never knowing that our world would be torn apart.

This year has been difficult. The worst year of my life. I pray everyday that things will improve and get better. I want a life full of joy and love. It just vanished on May 18th and has been compounded by other things since that time. The feelings are so hard to describe.  I talked with another mom who has experienced loss this weekend and I told her I wish God sent us progress reports from Heaven. It sure would make things a lot easier.

This morning I prayed for us. I prayed for Zoe. I prayed that I would see a butterfly. As I was walking through the garden center at a local store today with Bryan a yellow butterfly danced across my face. We both looked at one another and smiled. Just a little kiss from Zoe Jane to get us through. God heard my prayers.

October 15th

Today is October 15, a Day of Remembrance for Pregnancy and Infant Loss.

Today is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. 1 in 4 women experience a miscarriage in their lives, yet how many women do you know who actually talk about it? Not very many. Every single day in the US, 2,000 women lose a baby to pregnancy/infant loss. That’s 700,000 a year, a quarter of all females in this country.

I am 1 in 4. I lost a child. I miss her everyday and long to have her in my arms. 

Her memory will live on forever.

As I woke this morning I thought about how this is another first for us. Another hard day that memorializes the fact that our Zoe Jane is not with us. I look at her photo every morning and pray a little prayer. Some days the tears come immediately and other days God grants me peace.

Tonight at 7 p.m. we will join parents from around the world who have lost a child and will light a candle to create a wave of light for our babies. Everyone is asked to light a candle and leave it burning for at least one hour to create this light.

If you know someone who has lost a child, if YOU have lost a child...please join with us tonight by lighting a candle for our babies to see from Heaven.

I will remember my little girl. I will visit her grave today. I will cry the tears of loss that do not seem to ever run out. 

Remembering our Sweet Zoe Jane today and always.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Working on Love

It has been awhile since I have written anything. We have been busy working and getting ready for the holidays. When you are in the catering/event business October wears you out. We have been putting together new holiday menus and getting the cafe and floral studio up and running in its new location.

I still miss my Zoe Jane daily. I look at her little face when I wake up and now I can smile at how precious she is. The sadness still creeps in at odd times and makes me cry. Decorating for Halloween the other night I was thinking of how we should be buying her a costume and getting ready for her first Halloween.

I still force a sad smile when I see little girls who are her age, with bows and cute outfits. We missed out on all that.

Bryan and I are working on loving one another more. We lost each other for awhile and we both realized very quickly that we couldn't let this tear us apart. As a couple that works together every day, we have to find time to spend away from our jobs and with one another. The thing about finding that time is finding a babysitter!

A lot happened this year and I hope that 2013 is better. We went from being pregnant and running our business to being pregnant, having his children here full time and running a business. After our loss things became pretty unbearable. There has been a lot of anger, hate, insecurity and hopelessness in this home. We have had to dig down deep to pull things together again. I just wanted my little girl and really would have done anything to have her here. Bryan wanted to fix it all but couldn't, his kids wanted Zoe Jane as much as we did. They are in a grief loss group now and are working on communicating to us about how they feel.

Grief, loss, death. It all sucks. I hate it. It can destroy your family, your worth, your ability to love and be joyful. I still find it hard to get excited about things. There are times when I just sit and stare into space and feel the tears welling up inside. For no apparent reason...just because I am sad and at a loss for words. My family doesn't talk about Zoe. My parents or siblings keep it a hush hush subject. I haven't spent time with either of my parents since Zoe's funeral. It makes things harder.

Therapy is helping us. We are learning about one another, about dealing with our losses, the things that have been taken away. No one really understands until they go through it. There are times when you think you are just bat shit crazy. There are times when you think that you would do ANYTHING to have your child back. You would sell your soul to have one more minute holding her in your arms.

I am starting to forget how she felt in my arms. I am starting to forget how it was to be pregnant. I am starting to get back to normal and it is a strange thing.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Good Grief

Driving home a few minutes ago with my stepdaughter, she said "Mom, I need to tell you something about my real Mom and about you." I said OK and listened to her tell me that when she visits her real Mom she and her brother cuddle with their mom (I am assuming at night before bed) and that her brother always rushes to get to their Mom first and she has to just go to bed after not getting enough cuddle time. She went on to tell me that when this happens she sneaks out of her bed early in the morning and goes to cuddle with her Mom without her brother there.

It made me really sad to think that this sweet little girl just needs to be loved. She isn't loved enough. She wasn't loved enough and she wants it. Craves it.

She then told me that she wanted to know if it was OK for us to have cuddle time because since Zoe is his Heaven, she needs to be my little girl and love me.

I almost lost it. She knows that I need more love right now too and she has always known. She has always been so sweet about Zoe and she includes her in prayers and special family moments. This perceptive little six year old who makes up funny songs while she draws pictures of our family. Her pictures always include Zoe.

Today I received a letter from the school asking permission for our kids to join a club for grief. It is for children who have moved, been through divorce or a death. It gives them a chance to talk about it and deal with it. I was not aware there was a program such as this and I was immediately thankful for the referral. The kids start this program tomorrow.

Here is a photo from the very first visit that I ever had with Keira. I remember that she watched me put on my make up, she picked out my jewelry and was utterly delighted to get a little squirt of my perfume before we left to go to a family get together. This was two years ago, and MY how she has grown and become so smart!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Love One Another

Marriage is hard enough without losing a baby. But when you do... all hell breaks loose.

At first you are both in shock, and God allows that for quite some time, just so you don't kill anyone I think. Then you are sad, angry, sad, angry, withdrawn, depressed, sad, angry. They cycle goes on and on.

In the midst of all the emotions that come with losing your sweet angel, you lose one another. The very person that you clung to when her heart stopped beating, the person that lost it with you at her funeral when "Sweet Zoe Jane" was played. The person that helped you to make this precious baby is someone you hardly recognize a few weeks after.

Men and women grieve differently. If there is ANYTHING that I can tell all of you who have lost a is this. Women are all feelings and emotions and questions. We want to talk about it. We want you to know and remember our angel baby. Men are all work and denial and " I have to be strong and fix this". Losing a baby is something that cannot be fixed. It can send you in a downward spiral very quickly if you do not cling to one another.

When you are at a place of peace, your husband is just starting to grieve. He was strong for you, now you have to be strong for him.

No matter how I felt, I got up everyday. I made lunches. Dressed kids. Got them to where they needed to go. Did homework. Washed clothes. Cooked meals. I wanted to stay in the bed and cry all day and wish Zoe Jane into existence. I cried in the shower so he wouldn't feel obligated to hold me so much.

But in the three months after losing her, he felt as if he had lost me. I was a shell of the person that I once was. Our love for one another was in question because I was using all of my love up on a baby that is already in Heaven. She knows that I love her. I am her Mother whether she is here or not. I spent every bit of extra energy that I had grieving my precious child. I just wanted to hold her one more time. I just wanted to see her breathe. I didn't care that I was pushing my husband away. I didn't care that I wasn't kissing him the way that I used to. I didn't care that I just held his hand as a way to steady myself because I was so exhausted.

I should have cared.

Conversations and events of the past few weeks have taught me that my husband thought that I no longer loved him. He needed me to love him and appreciate him and to tell him these things. I felt like I had a free pass until I was ready because I had lost a baby.

The person carrying a baby will always grieve harder. We felt those flutters and kicks. They made us sick, they made us wonder and they made us smile and dream of a future. I know that Bryan misses Zoe Jane too. He has her name tattooed on his arm and I love to look at it. He loves her too. We just grieve differently.

I think the best thing one can do is let the other grieve in their own way but assure the other they are loved. They are wanted. It is something that you must go through together because you both know how the other feels. You just don't process it in the same way.

Zoe Jane has been gone for four months now. Of those four, I can honestly say that I didn't show my husband how much I loved and appreciated him nearly enough. I was too wrapped up in my own grief and struggling to get through the motions of each day.

We are diligently working on loving one another. We want our family and our lives to be normal again.We want to be happy and joyful. The thought of the holidays without our sweet little girl hurts so much, and we talked about it while looking at Christmas decorations yesterday.

Love one another, hold one another and be a unit of strength. The loss of a child is great enough without losing the people that you love the most who are here with you. Never forget the important people. Hold them close and forgive the little things. Sometimes just having them is enough.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Checking Out

The sad thing about life is that people hurt you. It is inevitable. Some intentionally try to destroy you and others just break your heart due to their own selfishness. You have to learn who really loves you and cease to be around those that don't have your best interests at heart.

Holding things together after you lose a child is a superhuman task. The desire to sleep for a year is so strong that one must drag out of the bed everyday. I admit that I have been checked out for a few months. I haven't been the best person that I could be, but I felt like under the circumstances I should get some time to think, process and grieve the way I needed to.

Relationships and friendships suffer, your marriage suffers. You feel the need to hit a rewind button and fix the things that you let slip by you. The things that you knew were happening but you wanted to ignore suddenly explode in your face and you can't do anything about them. All you can do is try to repair the damage that was done while you were checked out. It isn't easy.

I am so glad that God has Zoe Jane with Him and she never has to feel any pain. She will never have her heart broken by anyone, she will always be happy and never have to go through anything that we on Earth must endure.

I miss my little girl. I wish that she was here. Just this morning I was thinking of how tiny her little perfect feet were and how I wish that I could kiss her toes. I know that she is happy and I know that I will see her soon. Heaven just seems so far away...

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Zoe Is Not A Butterfly?

So people think that I am crazy. My sister says that I am losing it, my husband thinks the same thing...and I think that people just pretty much stay away from me in general because they don't want to feel uncomfortable at any point in time.

I think that when you lose a child you border on insanity. Your thoughts are consumed by this love of your life that you can never see or hold again. You constantly wonder what if and why. You search for little clues that their spirit is somewhere out there in the universe and you cling to ANYTHING that makes you feel better.

Yesterday I was told that "Zoe is not a butterfly." Well. No Shit. I know this. But I sure like to think that when I am thinking about her a lot, or when I am sad and missing her.... that if a butterfly dances across my path it is God sending me a little bit of her from Heaven. It makes me feel better. It makes me smile and have joy for just a few seconds and that is healing.

I don't really care if you think that I am crazy. I am going to talk about my child whether she is here or not. She is my little girl who didn't get to see this world or fulfill any of the dreams that I had for her. She will always be remembered by her Mother and I would feel like I was letting her down if I didn't keep her memory alive.

I may never have a biological child of my own... so she is the only little bit of me that was ever here. I got to see that precious face that was part of ME.

I do not know why God chose Zoe Jane. Was it that he had mercy on her and us? Was she going to suffer? I choose to not think of that. I choose to think that He needed her in Heaven for a special purpose. I will not consume my life and thoughts of her suffering... because she didn't have to. She never felt pain. She never felt sorrow. She is surrounded by the best love of all.

I hope that every time you see a butterfly you think of someone that is close to you. I hope that you notice how blue the sky is, how green the grass and how tall the trees. Grief makes you see things in a different light. So let the butterflies come... and let me be with my good thoughts of a tragedy that tried to throw me into darkness. Zoe wouldn't want us to be sad. She needs her mother... even from Heaven.

Friday, September 14, 2012


Yesterday several things in my life became very clear. One is that we ALL miss Zoe. It isn't just me. I was doing some paperwork and Keira was sitting next to me with her head on the table and I asked her what was wrong.

She looked up with tears in her eyes and said that she missed Zoe. She said that she wanted to be a big sister. She didn't think it was fair that her sister was in Heaven and not here in person.

It broke my heart.

I held onto her while she cried it out and I let the tears flow. The honesty that came from her little heart was so touching. I explained to her that Zoe was still her sister, she was still a big sister and she could talk to her whenever she wanted.

She said that she saw a butterfly at school on the playground and there was a little boy messing with it and she told him that was Zoe and he needed to leave her sister alone! Then she smiled as she told me that Zoe flew away and that little boy couldn't mess with her anymore.

I also realized that while I have spent the last several months grieving so hard over Zoe Jane, I haven't allowed my husband to grieve. He has worked extra hard, moved us into a new place and held everything together when I was too tired or sad to do it. There have literally been days that I just wanted to stay in the bed and do nothing... he is the reason why I get up everyday.

He needs to be able to grieve, but I don't know how to guide him in it. Or if I should even try.

Losing a child tests your marriage because along with all of the normal issues that a marriage endures, death just compounds them. You seek for answers from one another, knowing the other doesn't have them either. You seek God, but sometimes praying is too hard because you just forget how to pray. The very things that used to hold you together start to tear you apart and you have to find the glue quickly.

I am sad to say that I have been too focused on my own grief that I have neglected the grief of my family. My husband, who does so much to keep things going... I feel like I have let him down not only by not being able to carry Zoe to full term, but by not allowing him the necessary feelings to get through it.

We will never get over this, but through the process of grief and reflection, we may get through it... and I would rather have my family by my side instead of doing it alone.

I want us to be happy and carry Zoe as a sweet memory. She makes going to Heaven even more exciting. I just hope that I can be strong enough to be the mother and wife that I am supposed to be while we all work through this. There has to be a reason, and the tests we have endured are so painful.... but if it brings us all closer then it is worth it... tears and all.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Flags and Butterflies

Last night I met with a group of mothers who have also lost children. It was a little awkward at first, because they all knew one another and I didn't know them, but we soon began talking and it was nice. It was nice to hear their stories, to paint little candle holders for our babies, eat and drink. It was comforting to pray over the flags that we made to send to Australia in honor of our little angels.

I felt a great kinship with these people. We all have grief in common. We all want to talk about our children who are in heaven. Not one time did any of them look uncomfortable when I spoke of Zoe Jane. They didn't  try to change the subject. They speak of their children in the same manner.

It is a twisted road that we travel dealing with grief. This week has been especially hard for me because Tuesday was my due date and it was not only the end of my pregnancy, but the end of the journey of what would have been her birthday with the hopes and dreams that surround it. I keep thinking that there could have been something I should have done different so that she would be here with me right now. I feel guilty on days where there is a little joy that creeps in. I feel sad when I think about how I didn't get much time with her. I feel happy when I see a butterfly dance in front of me and pause for just a moment.

A few people have asked this week when we will try again and I can honestly say at this point that I am not interested in trying again. I feel like I would be trying to replace her. I don't want to replace her.

There is a reason. I know God had a reason. He has said that she was just too beautiful for this Earth. I have heard this message from more than one person who has kept us in their prayers. I know that He needed her in Heaven, but I sure wanted her here.

I was rocking my nephew to sleep a bit ago and kissing his little head. He is such a sweet and happy baby and I would like to think that Zoe Jane would have had the same type of spirit that he does. He just looks at you as if he is all knowing... and then he breaks out in this huge grin and sticks his little tongue out at you... I love this little guy more than words can say. Being around my nephews has helped me a lot after losing Zoe. They were the first people I wanted to be around after leaving the hospital. I just wanted to kiss and love on them.

October 15th is Infant Loss and Remembrance Day. Bryan and I are helping to sponsor the annual event this year at The Collins Home with a few other parents of angels. The lady that is in charge of the event contacted me the other day and I was glad to help. I feel like this is something that I can work towards to make me feel closer to others and work through some of my pain. Speaking with the other parents about it last night, one of the girls said "it will be a lot of fun". Then she caught herself... as if we aren't allowed to have fun because our babies are gone. I hope that we do have fun. I hope that it is the best night ever. I hope that we are all tied together with a bond of friendship that through this experience, only we know. There is much love and friendship through loss. One finds the strong friends who support you through everything.

Thank you to all of my friends who love and support me and Bryan. We love you more than you know. I am constantly overwhelmed at the things that people do out of love...  These photos are of the butterfly bouquet that we received on Tuesday, September 4th, Zoe Jane's due date. A beautiful, dear friend of mine, Melanie Gloster, commissioned all of these butterflies from our friends... each one was decorated and held a special message, poem or verse for our little girl. She and Missy Lyda put them together and left them on the doorstep to our work. We love you all so much... We were surrounded by butterflies on her day and they will ALL be treasured forever.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Offensive content... please read...

I was told to take down a blog today because I told the truth about a situation with our business and it offended some people.

This is going to offend even more people.

If you don't want to read my blog... then don't read it... if you are not here because you care, then stop reading NOW... if you are here to read the goings on of the life of a Mother who has lost her child only to use her words of grief against her and her family... then you need to reevaluate your lot in life.

The whole purpose of this blog is so that I can vent. It is not meant to hurt people, to harm people or to offend anyone. You read this because you want to. If you read something that you do not agree with or that you do not like, then it would behoove you to talk to me about it personally before spreading rumors about the things that are the TRUTH in my blog around town.

You know who you are, I know who you are, and I think that you are the lowest of the low....

I do this because I hate therapy, it is expensive and I have no insurance. I would NEVER wish this pain and grief on another person, no matter how much I disliked them. I would NEVER run and tattle about something they were obviously upset about. I would try to think about their life and how it was affecting them... take some time to walk in my shoes.

Are you married? I am.
Do you have a business to run? I do.
Do you have stepkids? I do.
Does your stepson have cancer? Mine does.
Does your partner's ex pay child support and insurance? Mine doesn't.
Did your baby die? MINE DID.
Are you sad about it? I am.
Do you still have to work? I do.
Are there rules and regulations keeping you from working?  There are for me.
Are you pissed because you aren't getting paid this week? I am.
Are you hurt because you should have had your baby this week? I am.
Do I get into your business? NO I DON'T

So when I am upset because we can't get people to cooperate with us to get a business to resume its normal operations and I VENT about it because we are normal people and have bills to pay... employees to pay... and kids to take care of... maybe you should cut me some freaking slack.

Do you want to pay my bills this week or cut the hours for my employees?

Do you want to tell my kids that we can't go out to eat because we just really can't afford it this week?

If I can't tell the truth on here then where can I tell the truth? If you don't like it then don't read this blog. It is unfortunate that I can't SEE who reads my blog. I get anywhere from 200 to 500 hits per blog.. so plenty of people read it. Most people take what they want from it but understand that this is my way of getting through the pain.. the sadness.. the things that really piss me off.

How can I find joy again when there are constantly people out there just being complete A-holes?

When you lose your baby you really find out who your friends are... you realize what is important. You realize that material things don't matter so much. All you want to do is genuinely smile again, or laugh from the belly... or just feel the sunshine on your head.

I have found that a lot of the things that I have said that are negative ring true. I hate that. I hate that I can't just be positive and glass half full again. I used to have faith in people and really give everyone the benefit of the doubt... now.. I just have no faith except in the people who have shown it.

Today when I arrived at work there was a flower pot sitting on the porch. It was pink. It was full of butterfly cut outs. On those cut outs were messages from people who care. People who remembered that today was Zoe Jane's due date. People who love us. They surrounded me with butterflies. They surrounded me with love... that is what got me through this completely horrible day. The people who truly love and care for us took the time to let us know...

As for the person who read my blog and was so offended because I told the truth about being upset because we couldn't operate under a normal capacity today... you can kiss it. As we say in the South to people that we would rather cuss out.... "Bless your heart". 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The One Who Walked Through My Front Door

Today two years ago I met Zoe Jane's daddy. I was doing flowers for an event for TISD. I went to the Services Building for the school district about nine on that morning to work on some flowers for a luncheon. I had done several centerpieces the night before and I was just going to rework them for the lunch to help save on costs.

It was the first event of the new school year and at the time I was a Board Member for Partnership in Education, so I knew most of the staff at the building. I walked into the kitchen area and saw one of the ladies there that I knew. I asked her where my flowers were from the previous night and she told me they were in the back cooler... well...I had never been in their back cooler before, but she told me that Bryan would help me. I quickly told her that I didn't know who the hell BRYAN was... but I guess I would find him.

I walked into the back area and there he was... cutting limes into wedges.

That is what I remember the most. He was cutting limes. And...He was easy on the eyes....

I said "Hi. I'm Jennifer from Twisted Vines. I am here to work on the flowers."

He said "Hi. I'm Bryan. I'm the Chef."

I said something stupid like "I didn't know that we even HAD a chef for the district"

He went on to explain that he had been the Chef for the district but had been in Iraq cooking for the troops...For over two years.  OH..WOW. I am a huge smart ass and at that moment felt like a huge dumb ass. 

Anyway... I normally set up a table and just kind of worked in the corner by myself and talked to the ladies from across the room while they worked on food... but this CHEF guy wasn't going to have any of that. He started moving stuff off of his work table (it was a big table, plenty of room) and told me that I could just work right there next to him... I was like, OK.. if that is fine with you then it is fine with me... then he went to the cooler and pulled out all of these boxes full of flower arrangements and brought to me so that I didn't have to do it... and I got to work.

We chit chatted a bit and he was talking to the ladies that worked there and they were prepping for this lunch thing. I was reworking all of these centerpieces and there were about twenty of them so it took a little while. As time went on, all of a sudden he is standing next to me trying to feed me a bite of some strawberry dessert that he is serving at lunch... and by trying to feed it to me, I mean he had the fork AT MY MOUTH trying to put it IN MY MOUTH... I was like, "whoa, buddy, get outta my personal space there"... chef or no chef, I am not the kind of person who likes people to feed me when I have only been around you for 45 minutes... so I kind of grab the fork from him and taste the dessert. It was pretty awesome. 

Now don't get me wrong, I thought he was good looking. Really good looking. A little bit cocky... but in that good way... he was all muscled up and handsome. Clean cut with his starched chef coat on. Just yummy right there. And I thought to myself that it was going to be nice to see him from time to time when I had a luncheon there... and I would get to eat some gourmet food and he was eye candy for a single girl. But I never thought anything about dating him. AT ALL.

I had rolled up in the building that morning in some blue jeans, a black top, flip flops and I don't even remember if I had my hair fixed or not... it was probably in a ponytail. I know that I had makeup on because that is always the case... and I had on jewelry... but I had not put any special effort into my appearance, because hey, I was just going to be in a kitchen with a bunch of women reworking flowers from the night before... I didn't know there was going to be a HOT guy in there trying to feed me dessert.

Anyway... after I finished I left and went to work. I had a wedding that weekend and I went to the studio to start to work on it. It was just a normal day. But I did think about him a little. OK. A lot.

The next afternoon I was working at the studio and I looked up and who did I see?

The Hot Chef walking into my studio.

You know what I thought? "Shit. He is here to get flowers for his equally hot girlfriend."

He came in and said he just wanted to see where my place was and really, he just to get to know me. Ummm... excuse me, what did you just say???

He was there to see me. I almost fell over. I had to sit down. Thank goodness I had about fifteen corsages to make for a wedding. I told him that he was welcome to sit and visit and he did. I don't even remember what we talked about.

I do remember that Ms. Kaye Baxter came in to get flowers for her daughter because she was coming in that weekend... I told him to sit just tight because Ms. Kaye came in all the time and it wouldn't take long... I remember her winking at me... lol...

He left later that afternoon and we texted back and forth. Later that night he came back by because I was there late still working on flowers and we talked and talked and listened to music and he ASKED if he could kiss me and it was a horrible first kiss and we both thought that it was (because we were leaning across a table full of wedding flowers)... so we decided to try it another way... we moved in close and that worked much better... and were both relieved that the other could kiss.

The thing is... I had been praying that God would send me someone... but I was very specific. He was going to have to send someone THROUGH MY FRONT DOOR... that was the prayer that I spoke. I worked weekends... I am a designer and wedding planner... I don't have a normal schedule.. I needed someone who had the same kind of job that I do and someone who was artistic, creative and didn't get pissed because I work 60 to 80 hours a week.  I wanted someone with the same interests, who loved Christmas, who had the same values, work ethic, religious beliefs. I wanted someone who was a Godly man, who liked football, loved fall, Texas country music, Shiner Bock, held my hand and loved me more than anything.

And there he was. He walked in my door. Wearing a Texas Tiger Football shirt. We clicked immediately.

I didn't know that by loving so hard we would also deal with so much pain. Business, Kids, Cancer, Death, Betrayal, Moves, Losing our Zoe Jane. Two years later he asked me if I wish that I could go back and change things. Would I go a different direction?

No. There is no love without pain. People think that we lead a charmed life. It seems that we have it all at times...Sometimes from the outside people see what they want to see. They don't see the true essence of a couple. They don't see the ties that bind them together. Some couples have stronger threads than others. We make it because without the other we simply can't be.

When you meet your soul mate then you know it. I wouldn't have wanted Zoe Jane to have had any other man as her father. Bryan is a fair man. He is complicated. He has scars. He is strong because he has weathered many storms in his life from a young age. He loves deeply and he is loyal. He is as gentle as he is hard. His stare can intimidate you as much as the grin that spreads across his face can warm your heart.

So two years, new ventures, lots of smiles, tears, love and prayers later, he is my Superman... the one who wakes me up too early every morning just so that he can hold and kiss me... the daddy to my little girl in heaven and the one I blame for all this extra weight... My Chef. My Love. The One Who Walked Through My Front Door.

Monday, August 27, 2012

It's Time For Zoe Jane

I have tried to avoid it. I have tried to push it away and think about other things. I have tried to just make it go away. But it is here. It is inevitable. That number on the calendar. It is like a big red X on the wall...

This is my due date week.

I would have been huge. I wouldn't have been able to walk.

I can barely function. I am a mess. I am crying constantly. I don't want to be here.

And yet this is a huge week for us. It is the first week of school. We are moving to a new location. We are going to be closed for half of the week. Apparently there is a hurricane brewing so bad weather is on the way. It's just gonna be freaking marvelous. I just can't wait to move all of our crap in the pouring rain while hoping that the city gets our inspection done and we get everything in place and ready to go for next week while everyone else gets to enjoy their Labor Day weekend.  I get to unpack and dwell on the fact that I should be bringing a new baby home this weekend. Instead I will be taking flowers to her grave.

She doesn't even have a headstone yet. I can't decide on what to do. Do I get a marker? An angel? A bench with her name on it? Some days I am so pissed because I wish that I had her ashes so that I could just have her here with me all the time... just carry her from room to room. But she is in the ground in another town and I have to drive there. I wasn't thinking about it clearly when it happened but you really WANT your baby with you. She shouldn't be there all by herself. I hate that I didn't have her cremated. I just did what I thought I should do. The things that I would have done differently....

I would have been healthier.

I would have gone to a different doctor.

I would have checked my blood pressure every hour of every day just because.

I would have talked to her more when she was inside of me.

I would have prayed more.

I would have looked at the ultrasounds more intently and memorized every little movement.

I would have held her longer and kissed her from head to toe.

I would have dressed her and kept her with me in my room for as long as possible.

I would have told her more that I loved her while I held her in my arms.

I would have told that doctor to GO TO HELL.

I would have yelled and screamed and told people to be compassionate.... to show some respect.

There are still things that need to be done. I just can't do everything all at one time. I still need to order something for her grave, write the hospital, pay hospital bills, make sure that people got thank you notes, attend support group meetings, go to therapy, put all of her stuff in one place instead of having it scattered everywhere, get rid of all the clothes that I bought her, frame her pictures, go to the beach and write her name in the sand myself....

I swear that this is the worst year of my life. I am tired of being strong. I am tired of working all the time. I am tired of smiling and telling people that I am OK and that God knows what is best. I am tired of hearing that Zoe Jane is with Jesus and that she is playing with all the other children in Heaven. I just think that it is all bullshit. What comfort do I get in all of those words? They are just words. You might as well tell me that she is in Oz with Dorothy following the Yellow Brick Road. And yes... that just came out of my mouth. Ok.. I can hear my mother yelling at me right now... I can hear all of the intakes of breath at the sacrilege. But really... do any of you find it at all comforting when people say those things to you after someone dies? NO. A BIG FAT HELL NO.

You would rather that person be here with you. No matter if you never met them or if you had them here with you for a hundred years. You would rather them be here with you. It is selfish but it is human nature. We are meant to love and care and nurture. And I would be the worst mother in the world to say that I wanted my child in Heaven and not with me.

So I tell you what I am going to do this week. I am going to work and pack and move and get my step kids to school dressed well with fabulous lunches because that is my new thing this year. I am going with some friends tomorrow afternoon to get pedicures and then I may meet up with another friend for dinner. My hairdresser is back from vacation and I am having my hair done on Thursday... of course... when the damn hurricane is coming through. (which is a running joke because it rains every flipping time I get my hair done) I am going to have wine when I want this week, I am going to cry. I am going to yell if I want, throw things if I want and say exactly what I want. If you ask me how I am I will tell you that I am miserable, I miss my Zoe and I am furious that I am not bringing her home for Labor Day. Her Daddy and I met on Labor Day weekend and I remember how I felt back then. Life was full of possibilities and new love... we never thought that in just a couple of years we would experience such pain and loss.

Please understand that I do love my God. I do love my husband and his children. I do love my family and friends. One must understand that grief plays tricks with your psyche and it changes something within you. On the outside you are and can be the same person, but on the inside you are forever changed. I don't blame anyone for what happened. It is beyond our understanding.

It's time for Zoe Jane.. So this week remember that she would have been. She was. And is. And Always will be... So if you are raising a glass for anything this week, think about her for just a second... Our Sweet Zoe Jane would have come into this world around the same time that her Mommy and Daddy met two years ago. We are re-opening the Cafe in the place where we were married on Zoe Jane's Due Date, September 4th, at 1915 Olive Street. So if you don't have anything to do next Tuesday, then come see us and celebrate what could have been. What should have been. And what WILL BE. Because one thing is for sure.... her Daddy can cook and her Mommy knows how to throw a party. And I bet if you look really hard you will see butterflies all around us.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Grief Girl to The Rescue

The thing about blogging is that sometimes... sometimes... people write to YOU. I love when I open my email or my facebook and I have a message from someone. It makes me feel like I do this for a reason other than for my own healing. Since I lost Zoe Jane I have received letters in the mail, messages via email, text, facebook. I read and treasure EVERY ONE OF THEM. Just knowing that my random thoughts, fears and sometimes plain BS touches anyone is of great importance to me.

Getting letters from others and reading about their experiences, their opinions and their takes on what I have to say is uplifting... it helps me to heal even more. It gives me a reason to continue on without my sweet little girl. It means the world to me that people even read what I write.

Someone told me today that everyone has a purpose on this earth and that maybe mine was to experience loss. To feel it. To grieve it. To learn it.

I hate it.

I have definitely experienced it. It sucks. I want to beat it up... lock it up. Kill it. Burn it. Send it to hell. I wish I had a superpower. I would be Grief Girl. I could Face Grief for all Mankind and Banish it from their hearts.

I can't even remember who I used to be. Is that what God wanted? Did He intend for me to completely change? Did He intend for me to have sleepless nights and cry buckets of tears? Did He intend for me to question my purpose here on this Earth? The things that people have told me throughout this journey have helped me to seek these answers more fervently. I know that I am not in any way over this grief. I am not in any way ready for a "new" baby. I am not ready to lock the memory of Zoe Jane away and throw away the key.

I think that my family would like for me to. I think there are people who just don't get it and think that I should get over it. To those people I would like to say... try holding your dead child in your arms and looking at her perfect little face and knowing that you will never ever see her breathe. Try leaving the hospital to attend her funeral. Try standing at the cemetery to make sure that they are careful placing her casket in the ground. And THEN try to tell me that you can be over it in three months when everyone around you continues on with life and your best friends are bringing their babies home.

You really lose a certain sense of reality and you try so hard to grasp at little strings.... it is like trying to catch a balloon that is just right out of your reach. You know that you should be a certain way... but you just don't care, and you feel like you are entitled because hey, your baby just died and to hell with what other people think about you.

Today we were coming back from breakfast and we were pulled over by a cop on the Texas side. We knew it was because our tags were out. I had been telling Bryan to go and get them and he keeps forgetting and I keep forgetting, and it is just one of those things that we just FORGET. These days we are lucky to remember to put gas in the vehicles. Anyway, the officer gave us a warning and said "So, I hear you are moving the cafe to a new location..." Bryan told her that we were and then she said.... "Yeah, some friends brought me in one day but you only had three specials offered in your cafe that day, when are you going to have a full menu?" Bryan looked at me funny and asked me when did we only have three specials (because we DO HAVE A FULL MENU EVERYDAY) and I said.... "Umm... that was the day our baby died and Chef was back and forth to the hospital so there were just three choices so our staff could handle it."

Wanna know what this person said???

"Well, you would think that you would have a full menu and a staff that could handle it when stuff happens."

Know what I wanted to say???

Get the hell out of my FACE before I run you over in this Jeep with a HEMI.....

So you see, people are just people... they don't care that your baby died.. they just want a full menu... they want you at full capacity so that they can get what they want when they want it.

But I am not ready to let go. I am not ready to lock these feelings away. Right now I am going to miss her every second of every day and I am NOT OK. I am not ready for another baby. I don't know that I will ever be ready to try for another baby. If that happens, that child will know about Zoe Jane, just like all of you do.

If God means for me to learn loss and to obtain peace then I will do it. If it means not running over a police officer, then OK. If it means crying in the shower instead of in public, then OK. If it means reaching out to others who need help when they lose their little one, then OK... I can do that. But if you see me crying at a red light it is just because I am having a bad day. If I don't have make up on or my hair is in a pony tail, it is because it took every ounce of energy to get up, breathe and put clothes on to come to work... but don't judge me... I am here with a bit of a smile on my face, aren't I? Little by little I will get to that point of peace, but it is going to take a lot of tears, watching butterflies and prayers to get me there.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Odd Life of Timothy Green

I recently went to see The Odd Life of Timothy Green. I knew that it would make me cry. I knew that it would make me think of Zoe and how much I wanted to be a mom and a parent. But I wanted to feel the emotions and see the movie. I wanted to see just how much it would affect me.

So here is this couple that tries and tries to have a child and there is no hope of having one of their own. One night... for just one night they write down all the qualities that their kid would have... they put them in a box and bury them in the garden. That evening a storm comes and along with it a little boy that grows from the garden.

They are amazed. They are astonished. But they know that he is theirs. He possesses everything that is innately them. But he also shows them what it means to live. To love life. To soak up the sun and to actually possess the qualities that as a parent, you really want your child to have. So many of us say that we want to love unconditionally, yet when it becomes hard or affects real life, we reject unconditional for conditions. We say that we want our kids to be a certain way, but we end up showing them the short cuts in life instead of the slow and steady way.

This movie shows us that we are ready for more than we think that we are... the parents in this movie wanted their child to possess certain qualities and they ended up being things that were tough to have. The situations that we think we are not ever going to be prepared for are some of the things that make us the strongest.

In the end as Timothy fulfills each quality that his parents want him to have, he loses a leaf and he knows that he will be leaving them soon because his time with them was just to show them that they CAN be parents... even to a child that is not their own.

It did make me cry. It did make me sad. It did make me miss my Zoe and question why I didn't get to keep her. But it also made me want to make a list of all the qualities that I hoped that she would possess and plant them in a garden, wait for a storm and wake up to find a little girl covered in mud next to me in bed.... 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Day of Hope

August 19, 2012

Today is Day of Hope

Remembering All of our Angels in Heaven

Today I wish to remember every Mother, Father, Grandparent, Brother and Sister.

I wish to remember every lost child who now chases butterflies with my Zoe Jane in Heaven.

Join with me and take a few moments to say a small prayer for everyone affected by infant loss in any form.

 These are the people that I am thinking of PERSONALLY today.

Jason and Jessica Standridge
Keith and Katheryn Norwood
Jennifer Blake
Jennifer Crosby
Lara Martin
Zack and Katie Burns Stringer
Daniel and Kellie Schrader
Shawn and Monica Davis
Chris and Kali Bannon
Travis and Stephanie Desjarlais
Buck and Wendy Walton
Tarvia Rochelle Turner

These are just a few of the wonderful people that I know who have experienced a loss. These are people who are my friends through my angel and I wouldn't make it without them.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Stormy Night

Tomorrow is three months. Sometimes I feel like I should stop remembering how many months it has been... but she would have been here by now. My due date is a few weeks away and I know that I wouldn't have made it until that date...

Bryan and I have been keeping my sisters two boys for a few days while they are on a cruise. It has been pretty rough with a 5 month old and a 2 year old on top of his kids and our schedules. The schedule that we have to keep tomorrow is over the top and I hope that we get everything done. Bryan has been working on our new place non stop and so he has been home late every night. That leaves me to get everyone to bed and things cleaned up. I am exhausted.

We went out on a "date" the other night, and really it was just going out to dinner because we didn't have time to do anything else, but it felt weird. When something rocks your world to the core, it is hard to reconnect and find lightness in a world full of dark. There isn't much to talk about except work and the next business step. I get tired of those things and wish that we could remember the things we talked about back when we were just dating.

I told Bryan that I don't remember who I was before Zoe Jane and I am not sure how to be that person anymore. He said that he has watched me for three months and he doesn't know what to do either. Is there a magical day when you don't feel guilty for laughing or smiling and the sky is blue and you hear birds chirping? Is there a wind change that blows through you and gives you back a piece of who you once were? I am just different and I will never be the same.

I was talking to a friend this week who just lost her little ones heartbeat on Monday. She said that she felt an uncontrollable urge to completely change things. I related to that so much. You absolutely want to move away, get a new job, cut your hair, tell people to go to hell. She said that she and her husband painted their bedroom and moved things around. We did the same thing.

You know how you read novels where the main character was a doctor, or lawyer, or something very professional and all of a sudden they just quit their job to go to Ireland to live in a cottage their Great Grandmother left behind and "find" themselves all while living off of their hefty portfolio? Yeah... that is what I want to do. Except I don't have a cottage in a quaint Irish village nor do I have a hefty portfolio.

Well, I just want to remember my little girl. I want people to talk about her with me and love her too. I don't want to feel bad that I remember that she would have been here with us. I can hear the thunder in the distance and I see the big raindrops falling from the sky. I am glad that it is stormy tonight. It suits my mood and my thoughts. Maybe sleep will come easily.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Prayers and Dreams

I pray.. I pray a lot. People say that it helps. The Bible says to do it. I feel better when I do. There hasn't been a day since I lost you that I haven't prayed for you. I prayed for you before you were conceived, I prayed for you everyday that you were inside of me and I prayed that you would be my strong little girl and overcome the obstacles that were ahead.

God had other plans for you. He needed you. You were too beautiful for Earth and in some way there is a lesson to be learned here. I am not sure that I will learn what it is for a really long time. The first couple of months I was pretty numb and just threw myself into work so that I wouldn't think about not having you. The numbness wore off and the reality set in. The past couple of weeks have been the hardest of my life. I miss you.

This week would have been 36 weeks. I know that if you had made it, you would already be in my arms... even though it would have been too early.

I have prayed and pleaded with God to let me see you. Whether it were my imagination or in my dreams. I have begged Him to just let me see what you look like. I always think of you as a toddler because that is more realistic, but I feel like when the angels brought your spirit to Heaven and God touched you that you became the gorgeous adult that He had in mind.

Last night my prayers came true. I dreamed of you. You were about two...maybe a little younger but you were walking well...a tiny little thing with a pixie face and dark curls and you ran towards me with your arms held up high. You knew who I was and I knew who you were... You wrapped those arms tight around my neck and did not let go.

The sad thing is that is all I remember. I know that little girl could have been anyone... but I KNOW that it was you, Zoe Jane. I know that God allowed me to see you and feel the love from you for just a moment in time. I will never forget it. I will never forget how your arms felt around my neck, having that connection to you.

I'll never believe that prayer does not work. I know that it does. I am thankful that I asked God to send you to me and I am so glad to be your mommy.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Warning... OPINIONS that you may not agree with

When you lose a child you are overwhelmed with emotions and feelings that you have never experienced. You feel hate, anger, sadness like you have never felt before. You don't like people simply because they get on your nerves and you just don't know why. I don't like the way some people chew their food, or laugh, or constantly talk or ask questions, or take too long to tell me something.

This doesn't mean that I am full of hate. I am not. It is just that right now... at this point in my grief... there is something that is holding me captive and I can't quite break loose.

I was talking to Bryan yesterday about all of the research that I have done on infant loss. Some of us know that there is a possibility that we will lose our babies, but we don't know why. Others know the cause. It may be a disease or defect of some kind. Those are the people who are able to memorialize their children by supporting a cause. I respect these people... they can carry on with a mission and it is SO brave to me....But I don't have a cause. There isn't an "I don't know why my baby died charity" and it sucks. Actually, it pisses me off. I feel like there is nothing that I can do to keep her memory alive... because there were only a few people who held her, who saw her, who could envision her tiny little spirit in that precious, lifeless body.

I don't feel like I can talk about her anymore without people saying that I need to get over it. I don't want people to feel uncomfortable. I just miss her. I just wanted her here with me.. and the thought of never having her is unbearable.

Another thing that really pisses me off are all these fundraisers for the parents of a lost child. OK. I know that funerals/memorials cost money because WE HAD TO PAY FOR ONE. No one ever expects to have to buy a plot for a grave, or a casket, or talk to someone about cremation, or write an obituary, pick out a memory book, scriptures, poems, music... especially for your baby. But these parents who literally just quit going to work for a whole month because their baby dies and then expects the community to come together to pay their bills for them is pretty ridiculous to me. Now, this is just my opinion... and if you don't like it... that is fine. Don't get all up in arms about what I just said and think that I am the wicked witch... stop reading right here if you disagree. But what I am trying to understand is that when a normal service for an infant costs about $1500, and you have a fundraiser that generates $15,000, what are you doing with that extra money? Are you going on vacation? Because I would like to go on a vacation too...but I have a business to help run and I can't. If you are not donating that money to a charity in memory of your child, then I do not respect that. If you are not taking that money and giving it to the less fortunate, then I do not respect that. If you are putting that money in an account to get you through the next six months because you don't feel like working... well, I don't agree with that.

There have been people come in and ask for donations for some of these fundraisers lately, and whether or not they knew about Zoe Jane, I don't feel comfortable unless I know where the money is going. And hey, they weren't tossing money our way when we had extra bills to pay.

We were off from work for a few days when Zoe Jane died, but the day that I was in labor my husband went back and forth between the cafe and an all day catering job and took care of it all. He was still there when she was born and for pictures with her, and then he had to go back to work because there were other obligations. I was in the hospital until the day before her funeral. We only took off the day after so that we could try to get some sleep... and then we were back to work. We didn't have a fundraiser to pay for the lost business. We just pulled up the boot strings a little tighter and dealt with it. This is on top of raising two kids with NO child support and paying a staff. So just remember when you support small businesses you are not only helping the local economy, but you are helping to send our son to Arkansas Childrens for his check ups because he has bone cancer and his mother dropped his insurance, you are helping to pay for our little girl to take ballet because she loves to dance, and you are helping our employees do the same for their families. We don't have fundraisers because we work for what we have... and I think that Zoe Jane would be proud of her parents for not exploiting her death for money.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Unleashing the Monster

Some days are bearable. Others are not. Today is one where I want to get in my car and drive... and drive... and come back when I feel like it. I have this aching, crushing pain in my chest. I can't concentrate. I keep messing up things. I am sick to my stomach and I just want to hide from the world.

I have been brave. I have smiled and worked and done the things that were on my schedule. I have even directed a couple of weddings and designed flowers for several more... masking the grief, shoving the pain back down, hoping that one day I would just wake up and it would be completely gone. The problem with that concept is that it doesn't go away... it just stays down and grows into this monster that finally has to be unleashed.

If you know me personally then you know the issues that we have dealt with for the past month. We own a cafe and floral studio that is quite successful and we lease a building downtown and live in a loft above the space. A few weeks ago we submitted a letter to our landlord to renew our lease (as we were under a contract with a second and third year option), he responded by saying that he just didn't know why we would want to, and gave us a list of impossible stipulations for renewal. We had heard through the grapevine that he had a friend who wanted the space, but we never thought that he would execute a constructive eviction to get us out.

Last week the air didn't work for two days, so we had to close up. Lost money and time for all of us and our employees. When it was finally fixed (the landlords responsibility), he presented us with the bill. He then told us that all of his personal equipment that was in the building would be picked up in a few days even though the lease states that we can use it and we only have 22 days left on the lease.
Monday morning we came in and put all of his things out back to be picked up. He was supposed to be there at 2 p.m. to meet us to get the other things that were affixed to the walls (speakers, movie screen, televisions, etc) He never showed up.

So yesterday morning when we all came to work there was dust, dirt, grime and trash everywhere. Wires hanging from the walls where he had taken things down. He had come in without our knowledge and taken all of his things, but in his wake left a HUGE mess for us to clean up right before lunch service. Not only did he invade our privacy, but he created more work for all of us and did everything he could to make it inconvenient.

I lost it. This is a person who never told us they were sorry for our loss. This is someone who is vindictive and malicious and has TOLD us that he enjoys the fact that people don't like him. I was sick. I started having a major panic attack and it still hasn't gone away. I didn't sleep last night. I keep thinking about everything that has happened to us over the past year. We are good people. We work hard. We do everything that we can to make a good life.

We have secured a new venue for our business and we are living with my sister until we can get a place to stay. So here we are working all day with the kids in tow, then we go home to my sisters and I feel like such a burden on her. She has a husband, a baby and a toddler. I know that God has a plan. He means for us to be in our new location and away from dishonest people. He means for our business to expand.

I just don't know how much more change I can take. I need normal. I need peace. I need a break. Today I am trying to stay at home alone, unless it gets really busy at work and I have to go in. I haven't had time alone in months. I want to relax and breathe.

Please keep us in your prayers. We are excited about our new venture, but there is so much work ahead. One of the best parts of the venue is that it is where we got married. A lovely estate close to downtown rich with history. I can't wait to be a part of it.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Thoughts for a lonely day...

The days just carry on as if nothing has happened. Business as usual. People go about their daily business and do not have a tiny little thought about you. You work hard to mask the grief and be the person you were before, but it is impossible to do. You will never be the same.

The days of dreaming about a little one to watch grow up and have your qualities have vanished. You are terrified to go through it again, and why would you want to? Everyone expects you to say that you are OK when they ask. You do what is expected, say what is expected and then carry on with the blows of everyday life. Sometimes you think there is no way that your life could get any worse and then something happens that sets you off, and you think that people are stupid for not knowing that your baby just died. People are mean, they are unsympathetic to the fact that parents who have just lost a child have lost way more than that. All they have to cling to is each other, their jobs, their businesses. When things happen in everyday life they are a thousand times more terrifying. The effects of standing in the line at the grocery store can make you go crazy.

I think it's OK to feel crazy when this happens. You know that you are not, but you can't help but feel it. You don't find joy in the things that you once did. The foods or music that you enjoyed before do not taste or sound the same. There is not a day that goes by that you are not consumed with what your child looks like, how they smell, are they loved?

I know that people who read this will think that I am depressed. I am depressed at times. I feel guilty, I feel numb. Other days I am relatively happy and have something to do that keeps me busy. At first you feel guilty about smiling, or laughing or going out to dinner with your husband. You feel guilty about not being the partner that you should be, about turning away at night because the thought of being intimate some days is hurtful. You feel guilty because you are SO tired and you just want to sleep...but it is the middle of the day and you can't.

I wanted to take off from work. I wanted to sleep for days. I wanted to lay on her grave and ask God over and over why He took my little girl from me. But instead I cling to the little things. The baby steps that will get me to a point where I can feel like myself again. The key to our new house has a butterfly on it, my husband brought it to me last night... had one made special. My stepdaughter went shopping with friends last night and bought a pair of earrings for me. There is a bundle of calla lilies in the cooler that will be perfect to lay on Zoe Jane's resting spot.

Each day is different and we face challenges on the way, but I am firm in believing that God has control and He will guide my grief, my love and my life in the right direction. Loving my little girl is just a little harder because she is so far away.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Birthday Balloons and Sandy Beaches

Sometimes I just go postal on people. The things that people say and do can hit you as WAY inappropriate after you lose a child. In my case, the way people look at me or chew their food can get me riled up. I have said things that I don't mean, given looks that could melt metal and just been downright hateful to others.

I feel like I am entitled. I have always been nice, I usually bite my tongue, and I help people ALL the time. I am still mad that I don't have my child here with me. I miss being pregnant, looking for cute baby clothes and decorating a nursery. My step kids came home the other day and they both got really upset because they miss their mom. Because she is their MOM. No matter what things have happened in the past, they will always love her more because she is their mother.

I am just sad that I don't get that.

Do you ever have times when you feel like you are being attacked from all sides? Just the past few weeks we have had so many things go wrong and our livelihood put on the rocks because of one person.

We are GOOD people. We don't deserve the things that have happened to us over the past year. Most marriages don't survive losing a child, much less all of the things that we have been through. I don't know how much longer I can be strong. There are a ton of changes coming our way and I really just want to run and hide.

Yesterday was my nephew's 2nd birthday party. It was a superhero party and we all dressed up as superheroes. He was Batman... when the party was over my brother in law took the balloons that were left over and wrote a note to our Zoe Jane that read: "You missed the party, but we miss you more!" We let those balloons go and watched them fly up to her in Heaven. Sometimes it is the most simple things that people do to show you how much they love you....I have cried and cried since yesterday afternoon, I miss my little girl.

I received a message today from a friend in Austin who was vacationing in Costa Rica... She said that she has seen a ton of butterflies and she wrote Zoe Jane's name in the sand on the beach for us... she is sending a picture soon.

No matter what happens, I love my friends and I love my God and I KNOW that things happen for a reason and we stand to be truly blessed in this life.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Taking the Bull By The Horns

Bryan's kids have been gone for a week. We have been a little lost. Both of us have worked everyday and when we go home we just kind of look at one another. Earlier in the week we were really lonely and the grief snuck back in over Zoe Jane. There were several moments when we talked about why it happened. Tearful conversations that still left us with questions unanswered.

My best friends brother passed away last week. She is grieving. I have cried for her as well. It is so tough. I just heard that a past bride of ours just lost her little girl. Another angel baby born sleeping. I just can't wrap my head around it. So many babies lately. Or maybe it was always the case and I just never noticed before. How can one not notice a baby dying? I feel ashamed that maybe I didn't comfort someone who had suffered as I do.

The past few days I have been purging my life of things. We live in a loft with two kids, so we have to separate the space so that we all have privacy. Of course there is a kitchen, bathroom and laundry that are separate, but the living space is essentially a huge rectangle with old brick walls. I gave away the beds the kids were sleeping on, sold a couple of bed frames, rearranged furniture and cleaned EVERYTHING. I made the kids each a wooden "tent" to sleep in with a twin mattress in each. Keira's is a fairy princess tent draped with lace and lush fabrics. There is fringe around the edges and I made silver stars hung by ribbon for her to stare at while lying in bed. Brendans is a little darker with camouflage and draped with duck blind. I hung army men and glow in the dark stars in his. They each have flashlights so both can read in bed. I am thinking of making a "telephone" from tin cans so they can talk from tent to tent. I arranged furniture so they can have their own living room in between the tents.... there is a sofa and television and board games.

I have washed everything in the whole place, all clothes are folded and hung up. I have cleaned under kitchen cabinets and washed all the dishes. Bryan has hauled a ton of trash outside. I even found a few gift certificates that we received as gifts that were in folders! Now we can all be comfortable, relaxed and know where things are when we come home in the evenings.

I have framed pictures of Zoe Jane. One is on each of our bedside tables. I have a few more I will put around or hang on the wall. We still look at them everyday and talk about her. Keira called the other day and said that she got sad about Zoe at her moms house and she had to go to her room and cry. It broke my heart...but I am glad that she called me to talk about it. Brendan told me the other day that he wonders all the time what things would be like if she were here.

The kids will be home Thursday. I have to go to the airport to pick them up really early. They have called everyday. Keira calls three or four times a day. She is so ready to come home. She told me yesterday that she told her real mom that she also calls me mom. She said that her mom had tears in her eyes, so she quickly told her that she still LOVES her, but she loves me too and I take good care of her like a mom should. It touched my heart that this little six year old was so brave to tell her mom the truth. I am ready to see them and see the reaction they have to our "new" place.