Tiny Titan

This was my speech at the memorial service
When I was stationed in Corpus Christi, someone asked my pastor why we never see miracles like they have in the Bible.  He quickly replied that miracles happen every moment of every day, but often the state of our heart blinds us to them.  Logan showed us that, every day.  His life was a testimony of God's grace, love, and joy.

Before I go any further, I want to clarify that God did not take my child from me.  The Bible clearly states that God does not wish for children to die.  Death is not of God, but even death could not hide Logan from God's grace.  He passed away quickly, peacefully, and without pain.  That is a gift.  He died knowing he was loved.  He never knew a day of suffering.  He had a perfect birth, life, and death.  That is grace.  My baby will never know a day of suffering.  From the day he was born there was something different about him.  My heart ached, almost knowing he would be temporary, but we are all on borrowed time.

Logan loved to laugh.  He was always trying to make someone smile.  He was an easy baby who adored his puppies kisses, chasing Cammy, and reveling in Owen's adoration.  He loved spending the mornings with Lucky and helping me unfold clothes or undo any knitting or crocheting that I had apparently not wanted done.  He was the master of finding what the vacuum lost.  He hated the nose sucker (bulb syringe), unless Sean was using it.  He thought Ian made the best fart noises.  He loved and took comfort in Bart pacing with him.  He also loved to remind his Aunt Megan that "3-ora" was more comfortable in the chest area.  He also loved to stick his tongue out at you as he wiggled his bum.  His Daddy and Owen were his heroes and Mommy and Cammy were his princesses.  At the end of the day, he let me know that I was a great Mom.  That is something I never believed until him.

Now we are left wondering about the present.  How deep is it?  How wide?  How much of it is ours to keep?  After David became king, his baby became ill.  David mourned and fasted.  He spent his days crying out to God.  One day, while he was in his room, the baby passed away.  His servants were terrified to tell him, but when David found out, he got up, dressed, and asked for breakfast.  His servants were confused, telling him he mourned at the wrong time.  David replied "Someday, I will go to him.  He will not come to me."

Logan is in God's house, waiting for us.  He is surrounded by family.  A sibling, aunts, uncles, cousins, and so many more.  The Bible speaks of how we are known in heaven as we were on Earth.  He is still my son, and because he was my gift, those that are connected to us are connected to him.  I will see my son again.  I will cherish the time that I have here now, but I look forward to when I will be home with him.  I will try to live my life with the joy that he taught us.  I will strive to be the woman of Proverbs 31, "She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.", for my son and my God.

(There may have been more, but this is what was in my notes from that day)

Dark Room

“It's so much darker when a light goes out than it would have been if it had never shone.” 

I don't remember him.  I desperately search for songs about death so maybe... just maybe there will be emotions brought out.  Emotions that I should have embraced when they were fresh.  Emotions I should have acknowledged.  I didn't get to hold my baby and I didn't get to cry.

I don't miss him.  How can you miss a dream? Some sick trick has taken over my mind.  He wasn't real.  I can't remember his scent, his laugh, his touch...  But I feel like the ghost.  My two little ones desperately search me out, but babies, Mommy died months ago... without a scream, a tear, a fight.  

My skin feels like an over sized costume.  It hangs off of me.  A gaunt,  ghostly face is in the mirror.  She is vile and made up of everything I deplore.  She is weak and terrified.  She is so filled with anger and seething with desperation.  She is a monster. I want to claw the reflection away.  She scares me.  I scare me.

When did I become this ghost?  We're these things always apart of me?  I have become so careless and destructive.  How could the loss of a baby make me so sick?  I feel like his death was the death of everything good in me.  I feel like I am trapped in time.  I can't make sense of anything anymore.

Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?

Save me, O God,

    for the waters have come up to my neck.

I sink in the miry depths,
    where there is no foothold.
I have come into the deep waters;
    the floods engulf me.
I am worn out calling for help;
    my throat is parched.
My eyes fail,
    looking for my God.

Almost 30

Dear Cammy,

   I want to share some information with you that my mom told me.  Those goofy/lookin boys you are going to know as kids, the ones all the girls overlook because of how weird they are, their weight, their height, their smell (although, admittedly, that doesn't always get better), or their acne, those boys are going to be golden when you hit 30 (some may even out by the end of high school, but that is another topic).  I want you to know, I can not wait till 30, because I am going to be surrounded by some beautiful and amazing men.

   I talk to these guys all the time.  A couple of them are HUGE deals in your life (Yes, tomorrow is Friday and Bart will be here), but I know stuff about them your sweet little eyes can't comprehend.  Things that they may not have enjoyed from their childhood have defined them as amazing men.  Men that I am blessed to know.  Men that I am comfortable letting be a part of your life.  Little one, those goofy boys that girls will tease or run away from, be their friend.  When you hit thirty, you will be surrounded by the Princes among men.  I know thirty is inconceivable to you, but I promise it isn't old.  I am looking at thirty in a couple years, and amazed at how very young I am... but that is a different talk.  Anyways...

You know that kid that just moved from another state?  The one with a little extra weight who is very shy, ok a bit socially awkward?  When he grows up, he will be your saving grace when you husband is at work, and you have a screaming, sick baby.  For the next two years he always brings a spare shirt, and never complains as your children spit up on him time and time again.  When he hits 27, he decides he is tired of being over weight.  Without posting every pound, he slowly and with determination drops his excess weight.  He also promptly brings over his "fat pants" to donate to your husband who for the first time in his life, gained weight.  You may not always understand him, and he may not understand you, but he will be there when you need him.  That kid is Ian.

You know that other overweight boy?  The one who is always cracking jokes and being the funny guy?  The one all the girls will put in the friend zone?  When he grows up, he becomes one of the best Dad's EVER.  He grows up, gets in shape and blossoms into a beautiful man.  There is a saying (a horrible one but mostly true) that someone has "fat kid personality",  those usually are the best kinds of people.  The are nurturers because so often they were left out.  They have no idea how beautiful they are because so often they were over looked.  They know how to crack a joke, because that was the only way they could get noticed.  Yes, that "fat kid" that no one pays attention to will grow up to be Tony.  He may be a little flighty, but one heck of a man.  He is one of your Daddies best friends.  I promise to drag him and his family around more.

Or that kid who talks funny?  Maybe he stutters or he just sounds funny?  The one that kids make fun of for being dumb.  Sometimes he fights too much, or some times he just can't sit still...  He isn't dumb, it turns out he is quite brilliant.  He grows up to go to school for something that takes way more smarts than I have...  When there is a freak accident and you have to rush all of your kids to the E.R., he goes out of his way to try and cook a meal (but also buys lunchables just in case) so you and your kids have food when you are exhausted and leaving the hospital.  That is such a huge thing for someone to do, especially for someone who doesn't have kids, and who is an EMT and every extra second off work is dedicated to school and sleep.  Yet, despite his crazy schedule, he takes time to try and help you.  That kid is Sean, someone I wish you could know better.

And Lord help me.  You know that new kid who is"Hot but a stoner"?  All the girls are falling all over themselves for him.  You know better (because you are my daughter), but he just wants to fit in.  You know that he could be so much more.  Part of me wants to tell you to stay away, the other part can't because I always hung out with the stoners (less drama).  He just wants to fit in and is going about it in all the wrong ways.  Don't worry, just like the rest of this ragtag group, he grows up.  He becomes an Army Ranger.  He just became a daddy (Yes, he still married one of the pretty girls).  He may have a crazy, busy life, but he is as loyal as they come.  When the world starts crumbling, he is there. He moves mountains to be there for your family.  40 cheeseburgers of mountains.  He gets on the floor and plays with your boy like it is the best thing in the world.   He is Justin.  Yes, your teenager.

Don't forget that quiet boy.  The one who sits in class and doesn't say a word?  If you are anything like me (so far, poor thing, you are) you are going to gravitate to him.  You see that there may be a hurt there.  He doesn't say much, because unlike most people, he thinks before he speaks.  He is wise beyond his years.  There is a strength in the quiet ones.  Try, sweet one, to learn from them.  You two are so very different and lead very different lives, but he becomes one of the best friends you and your husband ever had.  The nights where you are afraid, and your husband is at work, the quiet one will talk to you until your husband gets home.  Even if it is just the wind blowing, he holds you up until your husband can take over.  He also holds your husband up when you can't.  He spends every weekend with your family, being the Uncle to your children, that every kid needs.  He has walked through the flames with you.  He fights for your marriage (for both sides), when you and your husband feel like there isn't any fight left.  That quiet boy is one of the strongest men you will ever meet.  He is Bart.

One last one, Sweet Thing, one last boy.  That small, loud, feisty boy.  I know you can't stand his type.  He is always in trouble for cracking jokes.  Rumor has it he has slept with every girl in the neighborhood.  There are also rumors about drugs you didn't even know existed.  He is loud, obnoxious, and overwhelming.  It seems like he is always doing something for attention. Yeah, I know the type.  All those things are cries for help.  Don't worry, this boy also grows up and gave up the "fast, free, fun life" to keep a girl and her son off the street and falls in love.  Love is a crazy thing.  He fell in love with a girl who hated parties and drugs, so do you know what he did?  He quit.  He gave up all those things for a girl and her son.  He becomes a strong, stable, hard working, deeply loving, loyal, husband and father.  He is the most incredible man that I know.  Darling, I am honored to tell you that he is your Daddy and he is my hero in so many ways.

Every single one of those men are worth loving.  I would be more than thrilled to know that you found someone like any of the men I mentioned above.  I have some bad news for you also...  most the "hot guys" from high school...  Stay the "hot guys from high school".  Most of them are stuck in their "glory days".  They get fat, drunk, and even more obnoxious.  Staying drunk and living in the past is not nice to anyone (another good lesson for you). The point is this...  Who you are the first 18 years of your life, does not always define who you will be for the rest of it.  Those boys that may not be popular now, will be the ones who make the world amazing.

Yup, 30 is going to be amazing.


Mr. Williams, I'm sad and was wondering if you would sit with me for a moment.  No, I don't want you to try and make me laugh.  I just want you to sit on this balcony with me and wonder why there are flamingos here and know that I am sad also.

I am still amazed that I am here.  I have never wanted to come to California. My husband is here on business, and asked me to join him.  You see, our baby died in April, and I drove the eleven hours here because I was desperate not to be left alone in my head.  I didn't want our other two children to be lost in my head with me.  I wanted to reconnect with the man I love after a loss that tore us into people we didn't know.

I was standing in a Celtics tourist shop, when the Scott said he texted his wife that you had died.  He laughed and said his wife responded by asking his pant size.  I almost fell to my knees.  You can't be dead.  You just can't.

I have hardly cried since my heart was ripped out three months ago.  I was reminded that I am human and so very small.  Your story though, it brought a burning to my eyes.  I quickly shuffled through the tartans to try and hide my grief for you, all the while damning my decision to leave my medicine at home.

You can't be dead and neither can he.  You, Sir, have touched my heart in very vulnerable places.  Your joy was always overshadowed by a grief in your eyes.  I have always wanted to just sit by you. Just to sit.  Not for Robin Williams the celebrity, but for Robin Williams, the man who bared his soul to the world and was dismissed. I, sir, saw your soul.  It was a beautiful one.  Not because of your gift for comic relief, but your desperation for humanity.  I saw you behind every joke and all the makeup. I saw you and I saw myself.

I am so, so deeply sorry that it hurt that bad.  I come to you with tears streaming down my face.  I am so sorry it hurt.  It hurts in ways you didn't know it could.  You can smell and taste your grief over everything. I understand. I know that you told yourself to be strong for your spouse and children. I know that sometimes that just isn't the answer.  I am so sorry it hurts so bad.

But I need to tell you that I am angry at you.  I'm angry that you gave up.  I'm angry that I am sitting an an island, aching to hold my son and now you.  I would have hugged you and told you to let it out. I would have told you that I feel alone also, but that it can and will get better.  I am personally hurt that you are gone.

I am so sorry that it hurt so bad.


Maybe I'm the one
I'm the one who will fall
Lay me down
On a bed of stone
I will wait for you
As I rest my soul
I will watch you ride
When you reply to the call

Hero, hero
Hero, hero
Hero, hero
I wanna be a hero, hero

It has been almost two months.  My baby would be walking by now.  He may even been cooing Mama.  Two months since my world crumbled.  I pulled Cammy into bed with me last night, just to feel a little body next to me, but she has out grown the babyish flesh and at some point started coming into a child's body.  She has left toddler hood behind and Owen...  Owen has become a boy.  There is nothing baby about them anymore.

I still reach out, at night, to wrap my arm around him.  To rub his soft belly and breathe in his scent.  To feel his fingers wrap around mine as she sighs contently.  There is only an empty bed, cold sheets, and his scent long forgotten on his belongings.

My Titan was my affirmation in life.  He is the first one who I could nurse.  The first one who looked like me.  A child that actually could be acknowledged as mine.  Owen and Cammy both look like their Dad, Logan was mine.  Each of my children have fulfilled me in inexplicable ways.  They have taught me and blessed me so much, but Logan was my heart song.  He was my reward after years of struggle.

Our life was perfect.  We have a beautiful home, Lucky had his dream job, Owen's Dad and I were getting along, and we finally had the last piece to the puzzle.  I was untouchable.  Our life was as close to perfection as one might dare dream.  Finally.  Finally, damn it, I could breath easy.

My love.  My heart song.  My reward.  My end.

It is so hard to breathe.  It is so hard to know my heart is still beating.  I feel guilty when I see Owen and Cammy.  Guilty that I failed them.  Guilty that they had to learn of death so soon.  Guilty when I see Lucky.  Logan was the only namesake to the McConnell's.  I gave him a son who could not stay.  I feel guilty when I look in the mirror.  I feel guilty that people can't see my pain.  That everyone assumes I have moved on.  Guilty that in a way I have.

My only solace is I know I will see him again.  I know he will know me and love me.  I know he is waiting joyfully, seeing the plans that God has for us.  I know all these things and take joy and comfort, and some days that is enough...

But on the days that I see flashing lights in my rear view mirror, I flash back to that day.  When I go to the salon, I wait for the call.  When I leave my house without Owen and Cammy, and whoever is with them calls me...

Screwtape's Whispers

Owen is snoring in the bed.  I am on the floor.  The lights are off and the hotel is silent.  We were about to fly home to Nevada in just a few hours.

"You didn't even try.  You have faith more than anyone, and you didn't even try."

This voice keeps invading my mind.  Poison is filling my mind and heart.  My eyes are burning.  I can't break down.  I am so far from home.  I need Lucky.  I need Bart, and my Mom and Dad, and Angela...

"God always listens to your prayers.  If you would have just asked, he would have brought your son back.  Everyone would have seen a miracle.  Logan could have been a living testimony to your God, and you didn't even try.  You failed him.  You failed your husband.  You failed your friends.  You failed your family."

I'm chocking back tears.  My mind is racing, replaying my baby on the floor, the first responders, the police officer...  I didn't pray.  I didn't even try.  I didn't even try...  My lip is starting to bleed from me biting it.  I was trying so hard not to wake up Owen.  If I would have just prayed...

"God made you tenacious.  You never give up, but you gave up with this.  You didn't even try.  You husband doesn't have a namesake because you didn't try.  Your God didn't abandon you, you abandoned him."

I failed them.  I failed Logan.  I could be holding my sweet baby tomorrow...  How can I ever look at Lucky again?  How could he ever look at me?

I was spiraling further down into lies.  All these thoughts and accusations were digging deep, embedding into my innermost heart.  I failed.  My baby.  My sweet, sweet Logan.  I failed.

In that moment I was done.  I gave up.  Every little thing I did wrong came flying back in my face.  Maybe if I would have nursed longer?  Maybe if I would have used a different formula?  What about the cloth diapers... was he allergic to disposable like Cammy?  I killed him.  Every day, every mistake, I was killing him and I didn't even try to bring him back.  Jesus...

Be Still

Then there was silence.  But God, I didn't pray!

Be Still

nger?  Ma

Hope in the Air

I was standing at the gate, holding my ticket.  I was flying to get Owen.  I hadn't spoken to him since before Logan passed.  I hurt, worried that he felt neglected.  People were rushing, I was rushing.  I watched as people filed in.  There were babies everywhere.  I was looking for the sharp pain.  I was looking for the expected hurt of seeing chubby hands, instead I found joy.  I was thankful for the rolls and coos that are so sweet with a baby... But the other part of me felt like a creep.  I couldn't quit watching them.  I wanted to beg their parents to get a SIDS monitor.  How creepy would that be?  "Hey, your baby is so sweet.  You should get a SIDs monitor... I would know."  I guess I shouldn't...  I'll just pray for whoever is sitting next to me and think about how great it will feel to hold Owen.  My first born and first love.

I ended up sitting next to an older lady, which is what I prefer on flights.  They usually smell nice and you can learn a lot.  Boy, I got what I was hoping for.  We exchanged pleasantries and small talk.  She asked where I was flying and why.  I told her I was picking up my son and would be flying back to Nevada the next day (Sunday).  "I bet you have so much fun stuff planned for as soon as he gets back!" she gleamed.  I sucked in my breath.  No, nothing fun.  I get to tell him his little brother is dead.  I get to tell him his best buddy, the one he had so many hopes and dreams for, was gone forever on Earth.  No, there is no fun. I smiled and said we had family in town and a few things to do, but mostly we were planning on staying at home.  The look in her eyes looked familiar, and she asked what our plans were for Monday...

How do you answer that?  People take death in so many ways...  "We have our baby's memorial service on Monday."  She nodded.  She asked if my son knew, I said we were waiting until we got home.  She nodded again.  After a long silence she turned to me and said, "I lost a baby also.  She was six weeks old.  I do not know your pain, but I know my pain.  It will grow into something beautiful if you let it.  I have also buried my daughter when she was 12 years old, and my son when he was in the service. I now only have four out of my seven children.  Let the pain grow into something beautiful.  Don't ever stop talking about them.  Don't ever be ashamed.  They live on through your love.  Do you have any pictures of your little one?"

Three of seven?  How can I imagine.  I sat there stunned, but my heart was filled.  Another person, a stranger, had humbled herself to share her grief with me, then to help grow my joy by sharing stories of Logan.  I showed her pictured and told stores of Logan, and my other two, and she did the same.  By the time the plane was descending we were laughing.  I thanked her for her wisdom, and letting me talk.  She thanked me for reminding her of the joys and stress of little ones.  We laughed and parted ways.   I knew then what the look was in her eyes and I wondered if there were women who saw it in mine.

After two more flights, I landed in Maryland.  I was nervous because my ex-husband had offered to pick me up and give me a ride to my hotel.  We have gotten better in recent years, we laugh and talk when either of us are picking up Owen, but I can't honestly say we are friends again, but we are close (I hope).  When he heard the news of Logan's death, he reached out to us.  I would much rather have Logan, but I am happy that maybe he helped build a bridge for a better relationship, in turn helping Owen.

The car ride was a bit awkward, but not in the ex-spouse kind of way.  He was concerned for us and Owen.  He had questions, but we had both agreed that Owen should hear it when he got home.  He would start to say something and catch himself then get quiet.  It was a short drive and as soon as he parked the car, he handed a game to Owen and asked him to wait in the car so we could talk.  He asked how we were doing and what he could do.  We talked and laughed a little. It was good.  Please bless him also, God.

Mirror Ghosts

"We are like ghosts, like mirror ghosts really.  Instead of spirits without bodies, we are bodies without spirits.  Empty shells with the wrong person trapped inside or with no one inside at all.  Mirror Ghosts.  Half a million, half a billion, geese, half a world, probably, of mirror ghosts.  Just Bodies taking up space... Walking around empty."
~Murphy's Boy, Torey Hayden

"Where is your silverware drawer, Nina?"  The numbing buzzing in my head was broken.  How long had I been sitting at the computer?  Was I even doing something?  Nina... My Mom's pet name for me.  Mom.  Oh, Thank God. Mom...  But the silverware drawer...  A silverware drawer...  Did we have one?  We must... but where is it?  Where... Bart must have seen the confusion on my face.  He gave me a knowing glance and pointed Mom in the right direction.  He looked at me again for a moment, he must have known, and went back to moving baby stuff.

Mom had gotten in late Tuesday night.  A bunch of incredible people moved mountains to get her here.  Dad would be here Friday.  Mom, thank God, had taken over.  Between her and Bart, the baby stuff around the house was being discreetly packed away for when I wanted to deal with it.  I don't know where I was, but by the time I "woke up" for a rare moment of regular consciousness, the house was quietly in order.

I won't sound the least bit humble when I say I have always taken pride in my strength and my wit.  I am logical more than emotional, which has earned me the title "Ice Queen", on quite a few occasions.  It never bothered me.  I felt good being stone cold strength and logic... but now my castle was melting and my mind was falling into disrepair...  Where is my silverware drawer?   Where was I?  Who am I now?

It was humbling to be on the opposite side of the spectrum.  To find out how truly weak you are.  To not have an answer.  There were so many questions.  Everyone's phones were ringing.  I was thankful that my family had jumped into action, and were helping alleviate some of the pressure... but so many questions.  I was wanting to scream again.  Just turn the damn phones off!!!  Let me mourn my baby in peace!  How do I know where the flowers should go?  What do flowers matter?  Bring me back my son!

I was thankful, and truly blessed that so many people reached out to us, in so many ways to help and give peace.  Honestly, I do not mean to down play any gift, or comment, or hug.  I took comfort in so many peoples love, but I was broken.  I am 26, what do I know about planning a funeral?  I should have at least 60 years before I have to think of burying a loved one.  I'm still just a girl, and though I didn't say or show it, I was clinging desperately to my Mom.  My Mom...  Who instead of ever being able to hold her grandson, was helping plan his funeral.  My heart ached for my parents.

My Aunt had set up a "Go Fund Me" page for Logan.  We didn't have life insurance or any savings.  The thought of funeral costs and whatever other bills you get was simply overwhelming.  She called me and asked if I had looked at the page.  No, I hadn't.  I was ashamed of getting hand outs.  We should have been better prepared, not asking for the welfare of strangers.  I pulled up the page and saw that the goal was $10,000.  It felt like a punch to the stomach.  Ten Thousand,  Ten!  "My God...  Is this how much it costs to die these days?", I asked her.  I wanted to be sick.  How in the world would we come up with the funds?  Then I saw something incredible.

Donations were poring in.  I was shocked.  Bart and Lucky came running in.  "Did you see the site?"  Angela was texting me.Everyone was in awe.  Donations, anywhere from five dollars to a couple hundred, kept popping up.  How?  Why?  Who?  It was again a humbling moment.  Someone said something about how there is still good in the world.  It wasn't about the money to us (Although thank you so much) it was about the heart.  Someone, maybe one of you, took a moment to try and do something positive.  To shine a light in the darkness.  I was on my knees, later, thanking God for showing us such blessings.
We were sitting in the funeral home.  I'm looking at the man talking.  I can see his moth moving.  I'm sure he is saying words.  I just feel numb and hear that buzzing and flat line noise.  I can smell my Mom's perfume.  She is talking to him.  Lucky, oh Lucky, you look so tired.  Bart?  You look like you are fighting this also.  Humming.  Buzzing.  Flat line.
"Nina?"  Mom looks worried for a minute.
"Yeah, uh, the simple ones."  I think they are talking about the cards for his service.  I don't know any more.  I don't know what is going on.  Urns.  We are looking at urns now.  My baby is on a table and I am picking out a box for him.  How big of a box?  Why a box?  I know I was glaring at them.  None looked decent enough for my baby.  A box...  All they were were boxes and poorly shaped vases that someone stuck a lid on.  I tried to hide my disgust.

"I need you to make love to me." I whispered.  It was dark.  Most everyone in the house was asleep.  I was terrified that I had said it, but it was true.  I could feel myself shutting down.  Falling deeper into a hole that I knew I would never get out of.  I needed his love.  I needed to feel alive and human again.  I just needed to feel.
"Okay, come here."
"No.  I can't.  I can't do it.  I need you to make love to me.  I just can't do it right now."
"Whitney, I can't force you."
How do I explain this?  How do I tell you that I need your touch.  I need you, but I am just so broken and removed that I can't reach out.  It hurts.  It hurts so bad to touch you.  To think of being intimate and to love.  I don't want to hurt...  I can't lose you...
"You wouldn't be forcing me, but I need you to do this.  The longer we go without touching the chances are that it will never happen.  I don't want to lose you."
I could feel his hesitation.  I knew he didn't understand.  I didn't understand.  I couldn't explain, but I needed him.  I needed the man that God gave me.

So he did.  He kissed where my tears should have been.  He offered quiet words and he gave himself to me... but I couldn't help but wonder if this was the beginning of the end.

Every Lament is a Love Song

Monday, Monday

The second morning without Logan.  I woke up wondering where my morning song was, and jumped up to check on him, then remembered...  How many mornings will I wake up like this?  How many mornings will my body ache?

Vanessa was sweet enough to wait for me to pay her, so I asked her if I could come in and finish my other eyebrow.  I won't lie, I didn't want to go.  I didn't want to step foot in the Salon.  I didn't want to re-see and re-smell everything I had when I got the call.  I pathetically asked Lucky and Bart to go with me, and even though I didn't explain myself, they graciously said yes.  The three of us were clinging to each other, desperately holding on.

After we were done, we went to Walmart to pick up green bandannas and the cards we had made for the first responders.  It has a picture of Logan, and underneath, thanked them for being incredible and so gracious with us.  We said we were sorry they had to see him the way that they did, but we wanted them to remember him like the picture, happy and full of life.  We were blessed to have the first responders that we did.  They were incredible, and we saw how deeply Logan's death had touched them.  We wanted to give them peace.

I couldn't help but wonder, as we were walking through the store, if people knew.  Fernley is a small town and it was all over Facebook, on Fernley pages, before we had told half our family.  Did they know?  Did they know I had lost my baby.  Could they see my grief?  Could they taste my sorrow?  Did I look like a ghost as I floated through?  Why couldn't time fucking stop!?!?  I wanted to stand in the middle of the store and scream that he was here.  He lived!  He breathed!  He was my love and he took my heart with him... But I haven't broken yet. I haven't hardly cried. Not here. Not now. 

We took the cards to the Sheriff's office and the Fire Department. All we said was that there was an incident Saturday, and the office staff immediately knew who we were. They gently took the cards and fought to keep composure. What do you say to the family of a dead child? What could we say in return? 

Off to Reno. We weren't really keeping funeral clothes on hand. What do you wear to your babies funeral? Lucky and Bart picked a shirt, we found something for the kids... But I couldn't find anything. What do you wear to your babies funeral? I wanted to look beautiful and strong for my little guy.  He would giggle and coo when I got dressed, in his own way, telling me he thought I was beautiful.  I wanted to be beautiful for him.  She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. Proverbs 31:25 I wanted to be that woman...  For my God and for my son, the one who loved to laugh.

We went to store after store. I am not much of a shopper, but I was frustrated that everything seemed over the top cheery. No one carries mourning clothes any more. Lucky and Bart (bless them) followed me around without complaining. They seemed as frustrated with neon as I was. 

I texted Angela before walking into the last store. "I'm too young for this." 

I think, as women, we see the toll that having babies take on us. After Logan, I felt deflated and worn out. I had three babies in six and a half years. But now... But now I looked in the mirror, wearing a Grey dress, and I saw a hurt, scared, little girl. I am so young, so very, very young. 

I stepped out of the room to show Lucky and Bart. The dress was too big, but three women stopped me, on the way to guys, to tell me how fantastic I looked. I wanted to say, Thank you, it's for my babies funeral, but I smiled and thanked them graciously instead. 

The nod and the look on Lucky and Bart's face confirmed that it was the one. Lucky went to see if they had it in small. Small. I am small. So tiny and insignificant. I am nothing. A tiny girl, in a dress too big. I am nothing, but his loss, oh God hear me, this loss is huge. This loss, in the heart of an insignificant girl, could rock the heavens.

I may have peace...  But I still have sorrow.  I do not mourn his death, I mourn my loss.

And Then There Were Two

"I want a baby brother.", Owen demanded of us.  It was hard to explain that we couldn't pick to an almost four year old.  "We are going to name him Wolverine-"  "We can't name him Wolverine."  "Fine, we will call him Logan, but his name will secretly be Wolverine.  I am going to teach him how to play, and build legos, and be a super hero, and we are going to be best friends.  I love him already."
I woke up Sunday in a panic.  Why wasn't Logan crying.  Oh, God, please don't let him be- dead.  He is dead. My body ached in ways I didn't know it could.  My breasts started aching like it was time to nurse, but there was no milk, and no longer a baby.  My emotional numbness was being physically over compensated.  My body had the familiar ache of just giving birth.  Even physically, I wanted him.  I got up and was again blessed to have our closest friends here.  Easter Sunday... Jesus came back... Logan won't.  

Cammy was a mess.  She knew something was going on, but didn't understand what.  Owen was in Maryland with his dad, clueless that our world had just crumbled.  I asked Megan to take Cammy down to Hawthorne with her.  I just couldn't care enough to be of any use to anyone.  It wasn't fair to her to have an absent Mom.  For the first time, Cammy begged not to go with her Aunt Maymay.  She wanted to be with me but I sent her away anyways.  I couldn't do it.  I just couldn't be a Mom.

The jelly was cold and slimy.  I hated ultrasounds, but I couldn't wait for Lucky to see we were having a boy.  I told him the night before that God gives us the desire of our hearts, and I knew that I was giving him a son.  The tech asked if we wanted to know the gender, and I shot Lucky a knowing look as I said yes... And then there was Logan.  He was perfect and beautiful on the screen.  "It's a boy.", she said happily.  Lucky glared at her.  "You don't believe me?  Here are the testes and here is the penis.  It. Is. A. Boy.", she laughed at Lucky.  He didn't look convinced, but he did look hopeful.

Bart, Ian, Lucky and I sat quietly.  What do you say when a light goes out?  What do you do when there is no way to turn it back on?  Justin messaged Bart (Trying to be respectful of Lucky and me) saying that he couldn't just sit there any more.  He had to come down and be with his brother and his family.  Those are the kind of people God has given us.  We don't have friends, we don't have blood, we have a bond that far exceeds anything I have known before.  We are blessed.

Justin and Kari showed up with forty cheeseburgers and two cases of soda.  Ian had to work the next day... No rest for the broken, so Bart was going to take him home, pack a bag, and come back.  Ian would have stopped the world to do the same, but time stops for no one.  After the guys left, Justin and Kari sat with us watching Youtube.  We laughed and marveled at how freakishly creepy some animals could be, but we laughed.  A Sunday spent in silence.

Lucky was laughing at me as I lay on my side, straddling a giant peanut shaped ball.  They were having me rock against it to try and switch Logan's position.  Every contraction was like a high for me.  Every one meant the little guy I had prayed for was about to make his debut.  I knew my Tiny Titan was going to change the world.  Lucky asked if I thought he had time to go smoke before Logan came.  I told him to go for it.  No sooner had Lucky made it out side, Logan decided it was time.  Lucky rushed back up, and in just a couple quick minutes, he was here.  It was such a humbling and intimate experience.  He was perfect and peaceful.  Lucky climbed into the bed with me and we spent the rest of the day and night, holding each other, and Logan, and marveling at how there was something different- special about him.  Yes, my Tiny Titan would change the world.

I Skyped home.  My family was having an Easter dinner, and damn it, I wanted to be there. I wanted my Uncle Alec to pick me up and hug me while teasing me about how tiny I am, I wanted to hear the way Uncle Jeremy says "Heya, Whit." , the peace that comes with sitting next to my Uncle Jim, and the gruff but loving hug that only Uncle John can give. Lucky and I sat side by side and talked to all my family as they crowded in my Aunt's dining room.  I caught a glimpse of us on the screen.  My eyes were glowing and we looked so young, so small, and so helpless.  I hate being helpless.  But we also looked united.  Lucky and I, no matter how young, how hurt, or how small, were put together by God.  We can take on the world... I just wish we didn't have to.

After Skype was done, we just laid in the middle of the living room.  I snuggled up to him, and we stared at the ceiling.  What do you say?  We lost the same child, but our hurt is so very different.  So we held each other in silence and waited for the day to end.  I mumbled something about being homesick, and Lucky told my parents that I needed to be with them, so Dad set up Skype and sat me in the corner of the room so I could watch.  It was comforting to pretend I was sitting with my Mom and Aunt Andi again.  They are my heroes and their strength was comforting.

"Why isn't Logan in my room?"  "Because Mommy has him in our room tonight.  He is a little congested."  "But he is my little brother.  It is my job to protect him."  "No, baby, it isn't.  Your job is to be the best big brother you can be, and you are.  He knows how much you love him." "But I have to protect him."

Bart made it back.  The guys wanted a couple drinks...  I wanted a couple bottles of tequila to drown myself in... so I opted out.  Bart, being the care taker that he is, went to the store for us.  I didn't want to leave.  Hell, I didn't want to be breathing either, but at least we didn't have to go to the store. Right after he left, Austin showed up.  We opened the door, and there was Austin, all 6'6'' of him.  His arms were covered with bags of food, and he let out a sound of grief and scooped Lucky and I into what could be called a hug.  See?  More than friends.  A lumberjack of a man, humbled himself to show his grief to be shared with us.

Everyone we had there the first forty eight hours, EVERYONE of them, God bless them.  God bless Ian for the hugs he gave me in the first hours.  Making me realize that I did need human contact.  Oddly enough, Lucky and Ian were the only ones I felt OK with touching.  For Bart, despite his pain, nurturing us, holding our hand and taking care of every need and want before we could think of it.  For Rachel and her husband making us one of the best dinners I can remember, and Rachel sitting us down and forcing us to eat.  She knew we wouldn't have otherwise.  Bless her.  For Sean, despite school and long work hours, dropping everything just to sit that first night.  Sometimes silence is better than words. Bless that man. God bless Megan and Theora, for their love and comfort given to Cammy, when I was too weak and broken to.  God bless Justin and Kari, despite all their new life changes, showing us and putting up with hours of nonsensical videos.  For laughing with us.  And Austin, bless him for his beautiful heart, for grieving with us and talking into the night.

“Of all the words of mice and men, the saddest are, "It might have been.”

-Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Bugs Trapped in Amber

Do you ever have a day where you wake up, get ready, and feel beautiful?  Like you could take on the world and nothing could stop you?  That was how my day started.  The sun was shining and birds were singing.  The day was beautiful, I was beautiful, life was beautiful.

We rushed through our morning and cleaned up the house.  Cammy and I rushed off to get her hair cut.  She got the princess treatment, the hair wash, the cape, and the blow dry.  I had just had my right eyebrow waxed when my phone started ringing and Cammy started singing, "It's Bart! It's Bart! It's Bart! It's Bart!", and that song told me everything was wrong.  There was no reason for him to be calling me.  He knew I was getting Cammy's hair cut, and we had only been gone for 20 minutes.

"You need to get home.  Something is wrong with Logan."
"OK, what?"
"I don't know, we called an ambulance.  Just come home."
"OK, bye."

I told Vanessa that Bart told me and asked if she would take a rain check. I rushed out the door, with only one eyebrow done.  I shot up a prayer for peace and started driving.  Right when I got to the round about, I saw the ambulance behind me, so I pulled off and took a back way home.  I tried calling my Mom, but she didn't answer, so I called my Dad.  I shot off that I was driving and to pray because something was wrong.  I was speeding through a neighborhood and someone yelled for me to slow down, and out of no where I heard myself yell something about my baby.

When I pulled up, there were two ambulances and maybe 3 or 4 police cars in front of my house.  I had to park in front of the neighbors.  Bart was there waiting for me and I don't know if I said anything, but he nodded and I ran out of the car.  Right when I got to the front of the house, Lucky burst out the door making a noise that probably does have a word, but one that does not define it, and dropped to his knees.  I tried picking him up, consoling him, telling him that the EMTs were there.  That everything was going to be OK.  He was crying that he was dead and begging my forgiveness. I left him there.  I tried to run in the house, but an officer stopped me.  I told him that I was his mother and gave my name.  I demanded to see him.  Another officer escorted me to the bedroom.

I said, "He is dead, isn't he?" and the officer started trying to console me. I told him to stop.  I needed him to be straight forward with me.  I wasn't going to break but I didn't need the bull shit.  He opened the door, and by the toy box, I could see my babies silhouette under Owen's monkey blanket.  His hands looked like they were trying to push it off.  I don't know if I made a noise, but I felt silent.  Everything was silent.  I pulled back the blanket and he laid there frozen like a bug trapped in amber.  He was cold, and frozen, and gone.

I felt a tear escape as I lifted him.  I just wanted to hold him, to feel his body against mine one. last. time.  Before I got him to me, the officer stopped me and told me it was a crime scene.  He took Logan, and gently laid him down and covered him and asked me to leave.  I wanted to scream.  I wanted to fight.  I wanted to hold my baby, just once, just one last time.  Instead I meekly followed him to the living room.  He was saying something about grieving and something that was probably meant to be consoling, instead I was eyeing his gun, thinking I was faster than him and if I got it first and scared him, I could go lay down next to Logan.  I didn't want to hurt the officer, I just wanted my baby.

The house was taped off.  We waited out side.  It really was a beautiful day.  Cammy picked dandelions and blades of grass and gifted them joyfully to all of us and the officers.  Lucky was begging my forgiveness in between phone calls to the family.  I kept telling him it wasn't his fault and that I loved him.  There was a gentle breeze, a giggling toddler, and my baby cold and alone in the bedroom.  Lucky's family had arrived and a detective called me in for questioning.  He told me they were going to be hard but standard questions.

"How did your baby die."
"I don't know."
"Why did your husband kill him."
"He didn't and if I had the slightest thought that he did, you would be taking away two dead bodies."
"Has he fallen recently?"
I listed off every single insignificant stumble he might have had, but none that were any cause for alarm.
"Is there abuse in the house?"
After what seemed an eternity in the living room, and Logan alone in his room, just feet away from me, the detective apologized for how hard the questions were.  He told me for the first time in years, he could go home knowing that there is nothing anyone did.  For the first time in years there was no one to blame.

They had Lucky re-enact how they found him with a dummy doll.  I was shocked and amazed by how my husband held it together, and how well he responded.  I had to sit in the hall way while he did this, and I looked up at the officer next to me and said, "We did this, didn't we.  We killed our baby?"  I saw the hurt flash across his eyes, and then he asked me, "Did you?  Did you kill your baby?".  "No, I mean, maybe?  I didn't mean to.  I tried to do everything right, but there is something else we could have done.  There has to be something else..."  He told me there was nothing we could have done.  That he has seen babies pass away with only the crib mattress on the sheet.  He said there was nothing obstructing his air, that we were good parents, and you could feel the love in our house.

More stuff happened and we were told we could say good bye.  They had gently and lovingly wrapped Logan in Owen's blanket.  He didn't look hurt, or scared, or in pain.  He looked asleep.  Completely at peace and asleep.  I asked if I cold finally hold him.  I just wanted to warm up his little hands and feet.  I just wanted to feel him against my breast again and maybe, just maybe share a hear beat with him.  They said no.  So I played with his hands and rubbed his belly.  I stroked his downy hair and kissed him.  I let myself shed a couple tears as I said goodbye, I knew I would never see him again.

Lucky's family left, expect Megan.  Sean came down and maybe Theora...  I don't remember much of that night, except feeling blessed that Ian and Bart were with Lucky when it happened, and that we had the kind of friends that we do have.  The word "friends" does not give justice to the love we share.  We talked into the night.  We laughed and some cried...

There was no "Why" to me.  I haven't asked.

“Have you ever seen bugs trapped in amber?" "Yes." Billy, in fact, had a paperweight in his office which was a blob of polished amber with three lady-bugs embedded in it. "Well, here we are, Mr. Pilgrim, trapped in the amber of this moment. There is no why.”

- Kurt Vonnegut