Thursday, December 26, 2013

Friday, November 29, 2013


An idea that came to me over the summer, made a call around the time of Amber's birthday, and this morning on a cold, crisp blue sky November morning....the day after Thanksgiving....the fellow arrived from Leominster Monument Company and proceeded to etch a permanent-ish remembrance into "Strawberry."  Strawberry is a big rock that was excavated from our front yard to make way for a screened in porch the summer the babyMomma was born.  As she and her brother grew, they would play hide and seek around it and hone their jumping and climbing skills.  It was a big deal to get on top of Strawberry without any help!  When we moved out of the trailer and built this house, Strawberry was moved to this small garden area in front of our house.  We've taken pictures of Amber and Charlie on this rock.  I was looking for a more natural look, but we went with black inside the letters as the rock is not as hard as granite and he couldn't go too deep.  Hopefully this will remain for a very long time.....and will motivate hubby and I to reclaim and recreate the garden around it.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

How to Remember

They started popping up almost immediately.  The first on a tiny table at the top of the stairs outside the bedrooms

The second began on a special spot at the end of the kitchen bar usually reserved for birthday cards, Christmas nativities, a place of honor.  That first week it just grew, quietly.  I never saw things added, but they would just be there.  Even now, it is slightly changed but I do not have a most recent picture.  I'm wrestling with what to do.  Babymomma's nativity should go here....or mine.....and when they move, this will go too.  

The third I have no idea when it began but I am guessing it was also within hours of hearing the news. I never expected to find this little grouping at Great Gramma's.

And the fourth.  This didn't appear for about a month.  The tiny little urn was at the end of the kitchen bar for awhile, and on the dining room table for awhile, and finally Grampy carried it with love and tenderness out to the living room for safe keeping.
 Hard to believe it has been 6 months.  I am discovering that my body just knows the date each month and while I think I've been doing ok, I find myself dipping down into just a deep blue and I don't know why.  And then I hear someone say what day it is, or I happen to glance at the calendar, and I realize.....Last week was pretty awful...well, the last two weeks to be honest....back to the suffocating, physically exhausting grief, the so tired but can not sleep grief.....6 months.  The little plaque in the first picture sums it up..."Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart."

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Special Memories and Making New Ones

A VACATION!!!  Unheard of in these parts but it actually happened!!  A few years ago, we bought my parents' week at a time share in New Hampshire.  It held special memories for us as we'd been spending  a weekend there with them on and off since our son was just shy of a year old.  Our daughter honeymooned there, not the best time of year for that, and last year her family spent the week there with hubby and I coming for the weekend.  A place with many, many memories.
This is precious grandbabygirl when she is just over a month old.  We were just beginning the year of diagnostic testing.  Hubby and I weren't on this trip, but Great Grands and the babyMomma's second momma (aunt) and uncle and their married son and his wife.

The grandbabygirl and her parents retreated for a few days after receiving her diagnosis of I-Cell disease.  A trip up the auto road to the summit of Mt. Washington!!  Sunny and blue sky soon to be swallowed up by clouds at the summit.Last year.  Lots of water pounding through Diana's Baths and all of us being entertained by the dancing BabyMomma while Dad took the picture.

She was such a goof ball.  Throwing herself sideways to keep tabs on me.

 This year just hubby and I went....for an ENTIRE WEEK!  It was bittersweet, so many memories of my folks and although they are still here, traveling is quite difficult.  The condo was just brim full with their presence, though.  Mom loved the tiny kitchen, making big Sunday dinners for the weekend crowd.  For years she valiantly tried to spot clean the rugs, treating the place as if it were her home even though during ski season it takes a beating.  All the puzzles made at the small table in the living room!  And memories of sweet grandbabygirl.

We weren't sure we would be able to muster any smiles, hiking through Diana's Baths and Cathedral Ledge as if it were our duty.  We had just figured out how to use the timing feature on our camera and that produced lots of smiles for the most part, as I would nearly knock hubby down trying to get into the shot in time!!  That was a great distraction and helped smooth out the lumps in our throats.  We also did a Canopy Tour at Bretton Woods - 9 zip lines, three suspension bridges and two rappels!!!  That certainly did a lot towards creating new memories.
And we found this paver in the village.  Although only hubby has Irish roots, our hearts are definitely full.  

Thursday, October 17, 2013

A View From the Swamp

I haven't been down to the swamp since March, I believe.  Yesterday morning I finally managed.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Rubbing Salt

A beautiful blue sky, sunshine  October sky!  Coolish but not jacket weather.  Grandbaby boy had a doctor's appointment at a satellite facility near to his Grampy's work.  Babymomma and I packed him up and headed off for a beautiful ride through gorgeous fall colors and beautiful homes, passing Louisa May Alcott's 
Orchard House and Wayside, where the Alcotts lived for a time, and then Nathaniel Hawthorne.

We met Grampy and coworkers for lunch and a visit and then headed off to Cardiology.  I do not understand, in this day and age of computerized health records, why the need to fill out yet more forms when going to see a doctor you have seen multiple times before.  A family history page where the babyMomma had to fill in her daughter's name and check the box marked Deceased.  She just looked at me with such pain and said, "Really?  Way to rub it in."   An appointment with a different specialist last week caught a health worker off guard thinking Charlie was his sister, suddenly and remarkably off oxygen and looking so healthy!  The babyMomma had the miserable task of letting him know the grandbaby girl had passed away.  The appointment yesterday went quickly and without any hitches and things continue to look better, so one more 6 month follow-up and then he most likely will only need to be seen there once a year.  We should have been ecstatic and overjoyed.  Instead, I think we both had that twinge of ...not necessarily anger, but dismay, that grandbaby girl had to struggle so hard to live.  Why did everything have to be so very hard for her????  We head to the lobby, and the babyMomma and Charlie wait on a bench.  Charlie is laying down, kicking his legs and stretching before getting back into a car seat, diaper bag is in front of him as well as the babyMomma who is texting Dad to let him know how things went.  A mom and her 8 year old daughter come in and as they go by, the mom says in an outdoor voice, "That baby is going to fall off the bench because his mommy is on her cell phone and not paying attention."   More salt in a wound, more pain.  I am thinking it was a God thing that I was not near by to hear because I would have let her have an ear full.  I am wondering if I had been sitting with Charlie and on my phone if she would have made the same comment?  If she only knew the life this babyMomma has lived these past 4 years.  I have no pithy conclusion.  Just a day that began with such promise, had to end in a cascade of hurt.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Celebrating a Special Day and Surviving

I woke up Wednesday morning with a song.....loud and strong in my head and heart...."Thank You Lord"....not the whole song just the chorus

With a grateful heart
with a song of praise
with an outstretched arm
I'll praise your name
Thank you Lord
I just want to thank you Lord!
Thank you Lord
I just want to thank you Lord!
Thank you Lord

I couldn't shake the song, hummed it, whistled it, sang it out loud, sang it to myself, all day.

After the grandbaby boy's breakfast, he gets to watch Sesame Street while he plays.  The episode for that day, Wednesday, Amber's birthday, was the Flower Show episode.  Amber got to go to The New England Flower Show twice.  Once at 1 1/2 and the second time this past March!  It was a grand outing and she was so happy to get out of the house as we had been house bound much of the winter.

Caillou came on later.  Not a show we watch very often.  Caillou's class was supposed to have a field trip to the fire station but couldn't go.  Instead, they went to a butterfly conservatory.  Amber LOVED butterflies and had been to a few butterfly conservatories/farms/places. 

 We ended our day with this scene from the garden.  I had the wrong camera lens for this shot, but ok to track the balloons for a bit....

We couldn't sing but we let four purple balloons go from the garden and then said the family birthday prayer and watched star candles go out on their own, one by one, on our cupcakes.  The babyMomma's cupcake, with the purple star candle, was the last to go out.

Thank you Lord, for 3 years 8 months and 1 day with our precious baby girl.  She had an amazing smile, a larger than life personality, and could communicate so well without saying a word.  Thank you Lord for the sweet little blessings throughout that first birthday that we didn't think we could possibly get through.  Thank you for the two cards that arrived ON her birthday, one for her parents and one for her grandparents, that let us know someone was thinking and praying for us to have the strength and comfort to get through the day.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Someone Remembered

A gloomy fog crept in near the end of August and was threatening to turn into The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919......and then an envelope arrived in the mail.....last week.......and sat in the pile of mail on the kitchen table.

  This morning while trying to shorten the pile by pulling out junk mail to throw away, I came across the envelope still unopened.  Handing it gently to the babyMomma, I encouraged her to open it.

Inside, a card "In Memory".....10 Bibles placed through Gideons International in memory of the grandbaby girl.  The grandbaby girl's birthday is Wednesday and we have been plodding along in fear and dread, suffocating with pain and emotion.

And then this simple card with it's incredibly sweet message that let us know someone else remembered.  It was a glimpse of sun breaking through the fog, molasses held at bay, and we made it through today feeling a bit lighter.  Someone else remembered a birthday that we can't celebrate....someone who is not family.....someone who should have just sent a card and probably just the card would have made us feel better, yet they gave what they don't really have to an organization to do something in memory of our sweet babygirl!  An amazing act of love and thoughtfulness and what a difference that has made!!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Throw Back Thursday?

Showers and thunderstorms on and off today reflect the mood as anniversary dates approach.

Today is one.  Four years ago we were giddy with anticipation and celebrating the BabyMomma with a shower.  We knew baby would be a girl and we knew her name would be Amber.

My mom included a few baby things from long ago, a hand embroidered bib and plate and pitcher that were my dad's from the early 20's.  Shoes and stockings that belonged to my mom's 3 year old sister.  A doll carriage that was my mom's as well as a flannel kimono her grandmother made for my mom's baby.

It was a "wash day" theme, with such sweet little things hanging on the lines.  Grandbaby girl sure did surprise us by arriving a week after the shower instead of three or four weeks later when she was expected.  What unbelievable life she packed into those all too short three years and 8 months.  What indescribable joy she brought us.  What lessons she taught us ~ primarily about expectations and limitations.    

The babyMomma has always been a planner, and a party planner extraordinaire.  I can just feel her pain and angst as there is nothing to plan but it feels like there should be.  We don't really know how to do this first birthday without the precious birthday girl.  The birthday sign is still up ~ I put it up for your birthday month and with Charlie's arrival the sign pretty much stays up from August through January.  Now September is here and today not knowing exactly what to do, I took down babyMomma's name, and put Amber's up.  I don't know if that's right or wrong.....but it just felt so wrong and empty without it.  I need to find the little pink and purple tissue paper blossom that has adorned the sign the past three years.  Then it will feel complete.....almost.