the storm is brewing

i can feel it in the depths.

i am trying to keep it down.

i am trying to keep it in.

the nightmare returns this time each year.

the storm is brewing.

i will try to be strong enough to keep the waves at bay

until the time i can be alone and let them crash freely.

with you, my sweet babe, the pain and sadness are all i have to remember you by.

i’m sorry it wasn’t as well planned with you.

i’m sorry i didn’t know what to do.

i’m sorry no one saw me hold you, saw me love you.

i do love you.

i do miss you

so much it tears me apart.

what have i done?

Some days I sit back and think… “What have I done?”

When I ask this it’s in the context of my loss. Have I done anything of value through my experience? Have I made a difference? Am I different?

Well, of course I am different. Gone are my carefree, nothing can touch me, naive days. But have I allowed my loss to change me for the better? Some days I’m not so sure… and I’m probably being too hard on myself in those moments. I want to be a better mother because of my loss. I want to be sure I am taking advantage of every millisecond of time I have with these precious little people. I don’t want to be angry or critical or “no fun” to be around. Again, I’m sure I see myself through a much tougher lens than anyone else does.

I’m not sure this post has a point. Just getting some of my thoughts out. I hope to be better. To be changed for the better. I can’t have gone through all of this for “nothing.”


Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. Though all of us who’ve suffered loss remember our sweet babies everyday this is the day for all of us to remember them together.

I’ve been listening to Brahms’ requiem today. I love choral music and love to sing. When I looked up the translation I was surprised by what I found. One of the verses I have clung to through all of this is in the first movement.

“Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy.” Psalm 126:5

What a blessing to find this today. Here’s the version I’ve been listening to.


In addition to enjoying this beautiful music I will be lighting a candle for my sons tonight. There will be a wave of light across the globe at 7pm (local time) lit by those remembering all of the babies gone too soon. I hope you will join us.

things kids say

My kids are a laugh a minute. I mean it, you really never know what is going to come out of their sweet mouths! They understand humor (and, sadly, sarcasm), they quote movies like the grown-ups do… it’s a very fun time with them.

Also, sometimes, we get into some great, serious conversations. This is when they surprise me the most.

I was talking with Master D a couple of nights ago about Gabe’s birthday. It’s coming up soon and I was asking him what he thought we should do to celebrate this year. When I told him we wouldn’t be able to be at the cemetery on his actual birthday he was a little upset. When I asked him why he said “We always go to the graveyard and that’s where we should be. We should be with him where he is.” So I said to him “Well, you know that we can’t really be where he is because he’s in Heaven, right?” His reply was so sweet “But the graveyard is where his earthly form is.”

So much understanding of death for such a young boy. He understands that his brother’s body, his “earthly form”, remains here but that his soul is in Heaven. He has a connection with that little body as much as I do. He held it and kissed it and talked to it, just like I did. It matters because it contained his brother’s soul. He’s helped me to realize why people visit cemeteries when I couldn’t understand it before.

I promised him we would make it to the cemetery on a day close to Gabe’s birthday. And I promised to get the cupcakes (“or the cookies with a bunch of icing and sprinkles”) that he has made a tradition. He’s also asked for balloons this year because he likes that we did that for Felix.

I am so thankful that God put little D into my life. He is constantly challenging me to be better and to see other perspectives and think differently. I love you, D-bo!

time to break the silence


Tomorrow night is the global premier of Return To Zero! Please join us in BREAKING THE SILENCE on stillbirth, pregnancy loss and neonatal/infant loss.

This has been a 3-year labor of love for writer, producer, director Sean Hanish. He has gathered local leaders (like me!) from every state and province in North America, in every county in the UK, every city in Australia, in every country in Europe and Asia to help spread the word and give it the support and attention it deserves!

Stillbirth and infant loss awareness is very dear to my heart and I would love to hear from you. Your stories, your thoughts on the movie, whatever you are open to sharing.

Thanks for sharing this journey with me and all parents and families out there who’ve been affected by loss.



Today’s post is brought to you by the number 6. Felix has now been gone for over half a decade.

Last week, as is my custom, I took the week off of work for his birthday. This year we decided to spend the week with our dearest friends in the whole wide world. It was the first time our families would spend 8 whole days in a row together. I could. not. wait. (they moved out of state 11 months ago and life has not been the same since)

I have to admit, I was was also a little worried. I was worried about ruining our trip. Even after all these years I can’t predict what that week is going to be like for me emotionally. I wasn’t sure that they would understand if I got upset, or forgetful, or quiet (which I know they would think was weird) or angry. I often don’t realize what’s happening or why – even though I can read a calendar – until later and even then I might have trouble expressing it. I even was a little afraid that if I came up with something to “do” for Felix’s birthday they would think I was nuts.

I want to tell you something… my best good friends went out of their way to make sure that Felix’s birthday was special. (great, now I’m crying) We made tie-dye cupcakes and decorated them with frosting and all manner of candies and jimmies. I decided the night before that I wanted to do a balloon release so my bestie lead me to the nearest party store. We all wrote messages on our balloons and I took pictures of all of them. Then (after some effort) we all made it up on the hill out back and let them go.

It was one of the most beautiful moments of my life and I will never forget it.

I wasn’t able to tell my friends how much this meant to me. I could barely speak for fear of breaking down. (which would have been okay but I wouldn’t let myself because I still haven’t gotten comfortable sobbing around people, it’s not pretty) A lot of us in the baby loss community are not so lucky to have such understanding and supportive people in our lives. So I feel like they deserve some recognition. And to read what I couldn’t say.


Kurt and Jennifer,

      There are not words enough to express the depth of love that I have for you. I am so, so, so thankful that God put you in my life. Thank you for loving me and my family and wrapping your arms around us last week. Thank you for never making us feel judged or pressuring us to “move on.” Thank you for making us laugh and letting us shoot stuff. Thank you for pancakes and marshmallow gun fights and chocolate and movies and “Shkip-Bo” and “drinks all around!” Thank you for raising your daughter to be a loving friend to our children. Thank you for sticking with us through the worst times of our life and making the good times much more better. I love you, buddies!


taking back my happiness

October 19th has come and gone.  Another year gone by.  My little Gabe-man would be 4 years old now.  I can’t believe it.

I still miss him (and Felix) every day.  I see the holes in our daily life and it hurts.  I’ve been struggling over the last year with the fact that I haven’t “done” anything in their memory.  I don’t have a foundation, I don’t make memory kits, I haven’t written a book, I haven’t held a memory walk.  I try to remind myself that I have affected the lives of the people immediately around me.  And that is good.

We went as a family to the cemetery and had our birthday cupcakes, as is now our tradition, and the kids even sang Happy Birthday to him (which nearly destroyed me – sweet and sad entwined).  It was a pretty “typical” birthday.

This year was also different.  This year I did something for me.  Something “selfish.”  And that was good, too.

Ever since Gabe’s death I have not felt like singing.  At all.  It’s one of the things I love most and the grief just stole it away from me.  I couldn’t think about singing in front of people – I knew I wouldn’t be able to without breaking down into tears.  I just didn’t feel like it.  How could I do something that brought me so much joy when I had suffered so much pain?

Last year my sisters were asked if they would like to put on a Cabaret at the German club we’re a part of.  They were so excited and they asked me to be in it.  I was SO excited!  Then I found out what day it was going to be.  Saturday, October 19th.  Really?  I wasn’t thrilled to hear that.  But, I thought, you’ll be fine.  As time went on, however, I began to question myself.  Could I really do it?  Could I do it that day?

We started rehearsals in September.  I practiced alone in the car and I practiced at home.  I began to feel a little more confident.  I told myself that I was going to be fine.  I really began to feel like I had been cheated out of some happiness and got “mad” about it.  I decided I was going to take back my happiness that night.

And I did.  I not only sang in the show… I emceed.  I had a fabulous time and felt great about it.  It was still hard not to cry (Who wouldn’t?  One of the solos I did was “Over the Rainbow!”) but I made it.  I got so many compliments and so much encouragement and it was great.  In fact, I’ve now rejoined the women’s choir and I’m hopeful that we’ll be asked to do another Cabaret someday.

I know that my baby boys would be proud of me for not letting the grief get the best of me anymore.  I really feel like this was a big step for me.  I can feel that something broke free that night.  I’m going to hang on to that feeling moving forward and see where it takes me.


What have you struggled with in your journey?  Do you feel like your joy has been stolen?  Are there things you once enjoyed that you wish you could enjoy again?  Please add a comment and let’s talk about it!

the moments

I have really had a great July.  Birthdays galore, kid vacation, family vacation and a couple days at the world’s greatest race course.  The weather has been awesome and we’ve had a great time together.


And there are still the moments…

…when I am smiling so big at watching my oldest son blow out his birthday candles,

when I see my toddler pushing her boundaries,

when my oldest daughter dances in the sun,

when my 3rd born giggles so hard at everything,


and I miss them so much it hurts.


Behind my excited story-telling and celebrating and laughter there is the remembrance that I will never share these things with my other 2 sons.  Never bringing them to their first race at Indy.  Never walking them to the bus stop on the first day of school.  Never helping them build a light saber or watch them do tricks on the trampoline.  Picking tomatoes, riding a bike, planting flowers, wrestling with each other, hugging their Daddy, cuddling their Mommy, climbing a tree.

All the moments I wish I had but never will be.

return to zero

return to zero

When we lost Felix to stillbirth at 24 weeks our life changed forever.  It was so awkward and lonely.  Trying to get back into the world after this life altering experience was more than difficult.  So many people didn’t know what to say and, especially as time went on, very few people seemed to want to listen.  The public just doesn’t talk about things like this.  Mostly, I believe, because they just do not understand.  My friend Mel said it best recently to someone who didn’t understand. “When your parents die you lose your past, when your child dies you lose your future.”

Part of the reason I started writing was to help express my grief and be a resource and comfort to others who are traveling this road.  I also wanted to help inform others and break the silence and taboo that surrounds infant loss.  Now there is a major project out there with the same goal.

Sean Hanish has written and produced a movie that is hoping to break the silence on a global scale.  I am excited to be a local leader supporting his movie “Return to Zero.”  It is based on a true story of a couple’s journey through stillbirth.  It speaks of how life changes and how we each deal with grief in different ways.  It shows their experience of having another child after loss.

We as local leaders are helping by having people pledge to see the movie in its opening weekend.  It needs this to get someone in Hollywood to pick it up so that people around the world can see it.  My goal is to get 100 pledges by the middle of June.  You can click here to sign the pledge.  Make sure to enter my name in the local leader box so they know who sent you.

Thank you for considering to support this movie.  It will make a huge impact and help open up the conversation about grief and infant loss.

an evening for Ella and friends


ella friends 2013


If you are in the Indianapolis area, please join us for An Evening for Ella and Friends.  The event will take place on Friday, May 11th at 7pm, White River State Park in downtown Indy.  This event is held in remembrance of Ella Therese McMahon and all babies we’ve lost and long for.

If you have a baby or child you would like to be remembered during the event, please send their name and date(s) to aneveningforella_at_gmail_dot_com.