Saturday, November 20, 2010

Kicking and Screaming

So, I am reading the book, "I Will Carry You" by Angie Smith. I am reading the words on the pages but I can not tell you from one second to the next what I just read because I feel like I am living the Summer of 2008 all over again.

I feel like so much was going on at the time. Jess was in so much pain from carrying Elli and also from her acne. We still do not know exactly what it was that started the acne. We have yet to hear of another woman carrying a baby with same type of issues that has suffered from it. She was literally in so much pain throughout the days and nights that I do not know how she survived. She slept so little. School was about to start up for me and I tried to get focused for what I knew would be a crazy semester. I think I really skipped the denial phase. I think I hit it a little but nothing compared to what I am feeling now.

As I read this book, I feel like I am back during that time "kicking and screaming" for things not to happen the way that they did. I have read before that in order to truly deal with a hurt from the past, one must revisit it and walk through it especially if things weren't dealt with at that particular time. It is with the hope of being able to lay to rest some of my misguided depression that I am going back. People talk about me being a good dad. I suppose I am not the worst but I have not been the best. I have wanted everything to be on hold.

I think part of me stopped breathing two years ago and I have neglected some of the most intimate moments with Corban and Judah. So, over the last week, I have been talking to them about what happened with Elli and discussing is going on now with them and their grief. In my silent grief, I have totally neglected their grief and even Jess'. A lot of good discussions have occurred and I hope that we are to something that will help us all.

We don't sit and dwell on things and wallow in the sorrow but we do pay it respect, talk very openly about it, and then talk about how there were a lot of things that no one knew in that situation. There are a few regrets on all of our parts but we discuss how there was no way to know otherwise and that in the end, we are very thankful for the time we had with Elli. We had so much more time then other people have had with their babies and yet it will never be enough.

Even so, discussing it all...while reading this book I find myself begging for the inevitable not to happen. I am so grateful for a loving Father that does comfort as I accept it and has sustained us through it all. I am thankful for children that are sensitive enough to know that we are hurting to and children who graciously forgive us. I am constantly amazed at how clearly they do see things that we miss.

I still feel like there is really no point in writing any of this out. However, if one person reads it and can identify with any part of it, it will be well worth the time taken.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


I can't even remember what my post was about the other day. In fact, I have no idea why I even post anything other than the fact that I have so much in me right now that needs to come out, I feel as if I will implode if I don't.

Last week and on into this week has been one of the hardest weeks emotionally since Elli's passing. In order to survive, I feel like we pulled up our boot straps and marched on inspite of the hurt we were feeling over missing her. When, in Human Phsyiology, we started discussing blood, cardio, and pulmonary function, it became apparent that there is still quite a bit of hurt going on inside of me.

I remember when Dr. C pulled Elli's blood, I sighed when I saw the color because I knew it was not good. I knew she wasn't going to live and yet it was hard to have it slapped in my face. Jess and I, more so Jess I feel, needed a confirmed diagnosis of her anomolies- namely due to the fact that the ultrasounds were not very clear b/c of the low amniotic fluid. From a medical/scientific standpoint, that little girl should have passed long before she ever got to see her mother or brother and sister. The time kept ticking by and my heart kept pounding. I couldn't think or speak even, I just kept thinking, "Let's hurry this up, she needs to see her mommy!". So, when I saw the blood being pulled the urgency grew more intense.

Going back to this last week, I have tried to find it in my book again and I will but for now, I'll tell you what it said without a quote. Bascially, and this is something we all know- deoxygenated blood is very dark. When I read that, it felt like hot iron had been plunged deep into my heart. No, actually, it was probably more like someone had just ripped it out and put it in a blender. Graphic as it may seem, that is what it felt like. Here I am trying to study for a test and this is being thrown in my face, by an enemy no doubt.

There were a few questions that I still had from that day. The science part of me wanted to know and the dad in me wanted to never touch the subject again. In studying for this test, I didn't really have an option. Now, given the many things that were wrong with her body, it is still a little fuzzy what some of the things actually meant but let's suffice it to say- none of it was normal.

I guess the most piercing thing to me is this- our little girl shouldn't have lived five minutes. She should not have lived past the two hours to assemble blood work, gather the sonographer, set up the link with Children's, and she should have been in excrutiating pain (given that is relative to the awareness of pain in newborns, especially premature). She was eight weeks early. Her heart should not have been able to work long enough to circulate any blood around for oxygen. The blood that was drawn was poorly oxygenated. Should shouldn't have lived for six more hours. She had a nasal canula but still!!

I guess what my heart is drawn to is the fact that the little baby who wasn't supposed to live, who had so many things wrong with her it wasn't even likely she would live a second outside the womb, the one whose body was not compatible with life, did for 8 hours, do that very thing- she lived! She had malformed and missing organs and yet when it was said and done, that little one had more heart than I have been able to muster for the last two years.

I am confident that the One who sustained her here, will do the same for us. It feels more like debriding right now and maybe it always will but I know it is being done with a purpose and I am not alone.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Front yard camping....

I feel like I am at an impasse. It seems like there is some unspoken rule about grieving, like after a certain period of time it must stop. I am not sure if I am alone in this or not. Either way, alone or not, I feel it hitting me now.

Growing up, I never was afraid to die but was very afraid of my mom dying and leaving me behind....if you know me at all, you know what I mean by that. So, except one short period in time, I have always felt like if I kept certain people at a distance- the one's for whom I care the most, then somehow they would be safe. It's almost like I bought into some reverse psychology of, "If I don't get too attached, they will be around longer". I think in part, I am grieving the last couple of years because I feel like I have done that with C and J. It is the complete opposite of what I have ever wanted to do with my kids.

Last night, C, J, and I camped in the front yard. I released a lot of guilt and really enjoyed the time with them. So much time has been devoted to keeping everything under control around here that I felt like last night was just for them. They had such a good time and were just kids. It was so nice.

So, all of this hitting at the same time as all of the old grief. I am not quite sure what to do with all of it but I am glad that it is coming out. Unfortunately, all of the other things I feel like I should care about in life suddenly seem so unimportant. I can hardly bring myself to pick up any book except, "The Sacred Romance" or the Bible. Through all of this pain, sorrow, disappointment, and even hope- I am suddenly finding my interests narrow and things that divide my time are annoying.

This is so discombobulated in nature but I felt the need to write and not really think.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Some time ago I quit writing. I think in some way I thought that I was through the worst of grieving and maybe what even seemed like the worst of life. It has become increasingly clear that for me, at least in a spiritual sense, life is just beginning. As for the grief. Oh man.

There is a book that I have really been wanting to read. It is another John Eldredge book one that he co-authored with another person whose name escapes me at this time. The book is called, "The Sacred Romance". I went to buy it yesterday at Hastings. While I was there, I thought I'd get Jess a copy of "I Will Carry You".

I wanted to get it for her for Christmas but wanted to wait becaus I knew I would give it to her. I couldn't find it on my own and I asked a clerk at the store to help me find it. She looked it up in their database first and said they had one copy of it. So, she took me over to the section and I began to feel very overwhelmed. She thumbed around and said, "here it is". She went to pull it off the shelf and my heart felt like it was going to jump out of my chest. When I saw the front cover, Audrey's little head held in her mother's hands- I felt like someone had just kicked me in the stomach. It was all I could do to keep from breaking down right there in the store. I basically snatched it from her hand and thanked her. I went to the register at warp speed and kept thinking, "just let me get out of here, please! Just let me get out of here!".

No such luck. I get to the register and the woman in front of me was having problems using her card b/c the clerk had made a mistake or stomething. The woman was very apologetic and asked that they cancel her transaction and ring me up. I declined and waited. Another clerk came and opened up another register to ring me up. She did and when it was finished, I am sure I looked like a rocket shooting out of the front door. I got out and pulled my sun glasses down just in time. I had to skip French class because I couldn't stop crying.

I needed to have some time alone. I needed to be able to ask 'why' again and feel something. I needed to be able to say what was on my mind at the most vulnerable time and have no reasoning, logic, doctrine, or any outside conventional ideas on what I was going through explain what I was feeling. Of course, after I got a little bit of it out and then came home- I was able to stuff it back down. So, I guess all this to say, I realize that it still hurts deeply. I realize it still matters a great deal to me. I realize that it will probably not go away.

For some reason, I have imposed upon myself the idea that I should be able to cope with it much better because I see others who have lost children and they aren't losing it in stores. I think it is sometimes expected that we "handle it well" or "deal with grief". I am not altogether sure what all that means to be honest short of being able to keep moving ahead. At some point though, I think for me realizing that however hard I try to do that and I will, a part of me died that day as well. A part of my heart was forever changed. It wasn't changed necessarily in a bad way, it was simply altered.

I have to finish up now because I have class. But, yesterday when I was driving I kept asking God what she looks like now. What do her eyes look like b/c they were never open. What does her mouth look like b/c I have forgotten. I don't think I could get quiet enough for a response, maybe I will at some point.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

I am blessed indeed!

Wow. I have a blog. I have forgotten about it. Well, not really. So many things in my life have changed and I feel like I could never put them into words, so I haven't really tried.

For much of my life, I have been hurt, angry, frustrated, isolated, and knew there was truth in what I had believed but recently I have begun to see with different eyes. Eyes that, for the most part, have been blinded by fear, insecurities, and a host of other things. Last night, Jess and I watched the movie "Precious". Parts of that movie made me feel some of the fear I have experienced- though it was in different forms. One of the most powerful things in the movie, for me, where the dreams that Precious would have in the midst of a horrible situation.

This is so poignant for me because I have been reading about God as our Lover. As someone who initiates not only love but a respect for things that are beautiful. As Precious endures so many hardships, she is taken up in a spirit of hope. It is amazing the assault that is waged at this girls' very being. She is told she is stupid, fat, will amount to nothing, and further.....any hopes she may have of changing her life is futile. Isn't that what the enemy likes to do? Destroy us in our lives and remove any traces of hope.

For so long, I have tried to conjure up this hope. I knew it existed but didn't really know how to access it. I am not talking about hopes that the bills will get paid, hopes that things will work out the way I want them. Rather, hope that I am loved more than I can imagine, hope that I am worth so much to the one who made me, hope that I, as fueld by the spirit of the One and Only holy God of the universe, will seize this life with the annointing of my Saviour and extinguish the assault that has been waged not only upon my soul but the souls of those I love and those that I have yet to meet. Souls that in one form or another have been beat down, like Precious, to believe that no one loves them, there is no hope, there is no better day coming- souls that want to believe in Redemption but have to compass with which to even believe that it exists.

Today, I am in awe of our maker.

Last night, Judah and I were sitting in the floor of the living room. Ash and Ad were lying on a blanket. They were excited every time Judah or I made contact with them. He always likes to solidify the numbers in our family. He talked about how he had a big sissy, he is a big brother, we have the twins and he never fails to remember his sister, Elli. He has such a keen sense of things around him, so often we overlook this. Many times after Elli passed, people would ask us, "He doesn't really understand does he?". Honestly, giving that hindsight is what it is, I think he understood more than some adults. He knew that she was ill, he knew we could fix her "Owies", he knew we couldnt' change it unless God wanted it changed, he knew to move on all the while remembering that it isn't over and we will see her again.

As he was telling me the story he invoked the use of his hands. He told me we had three babies, pointing two fingers at the twins and one finger up toward heaven. He said these words which broke my heart, at the same time made me love him so much more, and reminded me of the hope we have..."Daddy, you know, we only got to keep Elli for a little bit, didn't we? But we will see her again until then, we'll take care of these babies!". Remembering what we have come through and looking ahead. Our kids teach me so much. I thank God for the blessings they are. I am finding they know things so much more easily because they are innocent- and that innocent nature is what lies ahead for us. We only see in part now because Redemption is not complete, it is paid for but not completely fulfilled in the sense that it will be when we are with Him. I so look forward to that day and live in the hope He is giving me now through being made more like Him while I am on this earth.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

No more wasted time.......

One of the hardest things for me is to open up....admitting a need is almost like death for me. Growing up, I always felt poked and prodded to find out "where I was at" but in the end, I felt like it mattered very little.

Women have always been a bigger influence on me, with the exception of a few good men. I thought losing my grandmother several years ago was one of the worst things that could happen. She was one of the few who knew the life I had lived and loved me and encouraged me. Because of certain things in my childhood, I grew up fearing the loss of a very important person. Times have changed and my circumstances have as well, but this nagging fear has yet to elude me.

Jess is probably the only one that knows this but every time we have had a child, I get nauseatingly sick with worry. Is it spiritual or Christ-like? Well, it is what it is and no one can walk around without concerns or worry 100% of the time and if they say they do, well, I will let them work that out on there own. For me, it is yet to happen. One thing life has taught me is that just because we trust Christ, we are not exempt from the trials and tribulations in this life. Thankfully, we are held during these times and those times will not go undredeemed. However, they come and we must face them. No one expected us to go through everything that we went through with Elli but we did. Everyone would love to hope that nothing bad would ever happen to us again, but let's face it, we live in the real world. I appreciate the, "Everything is going to be just fine, God wouldn't make you go through anything like that again" comments but I have yet to find out where that is really scripturally accurate. The Bible says we are at war and the enemy doesn't care what we have been through- in fact, he knows our weaknesses and wants to make the most of them. Thankfully, we have a Saviour that loves us and carries us through and He will have the last word.

This is probably the most transparent I have ever been in my life with everyone, or anyone that would read this, at the same time. So yeah, I get extremely worried when Jess is about to deliver. With Corban, I was down on the floor crying asking God not to take her- her labor was gruesome, to say the least. With Judah, I invited my parents back into our lives. In the words of Julia Roberts from Pretty Woman, "Big mistake, HUGE!". I should have learned long ago my intentions will do little for someone else's action or my own indescretion. With Elli, well, I was so freaked out anyway, God definitely took control and poured out His spirit lavishly. So, here we are now, twins.

I know I am starting a bunch of topics and leaving them open, hopefully, I will tie it up in a sec. School for me last year was a total flop. This year I have felt the pressure of coming back and doing what I did the first year here. I have spent a lot of time studying this semester but my emotion and anxieties are beginning to take their toll. After losing Elli, we kind of woke up and realized how short this life is and how precious every moment is with everyone. Every conversation, every laugh, every tear, every fear. Through all of these things we learn more about ourselves, about our loved ones and we learn more about who God is.

My sole purpose in writing this is not to ask for comments. I don't need anyone to cheer me on. I need people who love us to pray for us. I know a lot of people are already and we thank you. I can't put life on hold to sit and enjoy every second.....I have already thought about doing that, prospect of staying in school and doing well, yeah, they don't look fair if I do that. If you read this and are going through similar circumstances, great or small in your eyes, and you want to share, feel free to email me. Alternatively, please remember us in prayer. This concern I have seems to be hitting everyone in our family and I think it is wearing us all down individually. We know who holds today and tomorrow and we know it will be okay- eternally. Everything will work out the way it should and nothing will be lost or unredeemed but please pray for the health of my entire growing family. Please pray that I can focus in my studies and that my time spent studying is productive.

Thanks everyone.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


When Jess and I were sitting in the room where they did the first ultrasound of this pregnancy, one of the first things that came to mind was the word "Redemption". Such a great word isn't it? Who doesn't want to be redeemed. Selah's new cd, "You Deliver Me", finally came out. One of the reasons it was delayed in part was due to the song Redeemed. I am so grateful it was. I really needed this song and the meaning behind it. Much more than that, the Lord knew, for me, it was one of the only things I would listen to right now.

Just as everyone else has thought that Asher and Adlai are a "replacement" for Elli, I have thought the same thing. Until now. But really, is there any Biblical basis for this? Does God really remove one human soul, replace it with two "other" human souls as a replacement and further, as a form of Redemption? I sure hope not. I don't think there is any validation of that. We might choose to make it into that but I don't believe it is so.

God is all about taking what is old, shattered, battered, beaten beyond repair.....into something new, something with more worth, renewed worth that won't fade, than it had before. Something that will bear His likeness and will give that same life with every breath. We are still in our day to day lives but He is doing something in us that we don't see, something that hasn't been fulfilled, something that hasn't been fully restored, but that He and only He can redeem. God is so good.

We have all been there, to some degree or another. We all have worn hearts, aching, in need of completeness. We can't see what tomorrow holds. We can't see the other heartaches that ly just around the corner but we know that there is redemption for those pieces broken. I hope this song means as much to you as it does to me.