Thursday, March 29, 2012


I am greedy for dreams about Jonah.  Each night I fall asleep hoping for an impromptu midnight reunion with my dear child.  I long for a chance to play with him, and to see his face again.  I crave the false and momentary reality of a dream.

Some nights I try to manipulate my potential dreams.  I read once that you can control the content of your dreams by focusing intently on your desired subject as you drift off to sleep.  As a teenager, I remember focusing all of my brain power on Christian Slater (I know...a little embarrassing).  It didn't work then, and it doesn't seem to work now.  Jonah is the sole subject of my heart and mind each night as a lay in bed, and yet my dreams are missing him, as much as my arms. 

Just after Jonah died I had a handful of recurring dreams.  They were the kind of dreams that feel powerful and important when you wake up, but seem impossible to explain as the day progresses.  In each dream I was in a different location, doing random things, buying tortilla chips at the store, or swimming in Hawaii.  I was completely aware that Jonah was dead, his passing was an underlying truth of my strange reality.  In each dream a similar conversation emerged. A friend would approach me and express sympathy about Jonah's death.  Then I would say casually, "Oh, it's okay...he is not dead anymore.  I know we had a funeral, and buried him, but it has been three days, and he is here with me again.  He is okay."  I remember the joy I felt in this revelation as a pointed to a whole and perfect Jonah.  I remember feeling so glad that I could put my friend's mind at ease.  I remember feeling astonished by the message.  "He's alive, it has been three days."

I know dreams are weird.  I'm sure my poor overloaded mind was trying to process the trauma of losing Jonah.  I understand the psychology of it all, but these dreams still feel significant to me.  It feels as if the idea of resurrection is unquestionable to my subconscious mind, as if it is a given, and there is no alternative. Yet at the same time my fully conscious mind has unending questions.  Resurrection is an audacious claim.  Can I really believe that I will see Jonah again, in his beautiful body?  There is part of me that leans towards the safety of skepticism.  And part of me that just wants to understand.  Not in a theological sense, but in a practical sense.  I want to know how it works.

While my Freudian mind churns, I recognize that my soul is drawn to believe in a resurrection.  Today I was inspired by the angular daffodil leaves slicing upward through our rocky garden soil.  Six months ago, my friend Vanessa brought these bulbs to my home.  We buried them together, during some of my darkest hours, with a shared hope for brighter days.  And now they have emerged, as new life, full of beauty.  When I saw their color I remembered that all things testify of Christ.

I will always have questions, and I don't expect to attain a perfect understanding in this life.  But I trust the compass of my soul, and as winter fades to spring the message of the resurrection resonates within me.  My hope is renewed as the days get longer, and as light fills my home.

I will continue to ponder the beauty of my sweet Jonah, now gone six months, and two seasons.  I will continue to try to lure him into my dreams.  But even if we do not reunite in our twilight hours, I will hold fast to the idea that reunion will come.  It will follow the winter, just as surely as the spring.

                                           One of my favorite messages on the resurrection.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Have you ever been stuck on an airplane?  Of course you have!  What a silly question.  Surely you have felt the fidgety anxiety of landing after a long journey and waiting to disembark.  Maybe you are one of those people who stands up as soon as the "fasten seat belt" sign stops glowing, head crooked, bag in hand, hoping to somehow speed up the process.  Even worse is the agony of boarding a plane, anticipating a long flight, and just sitting on the runway for what seems like an eternity, waiting for some unseen storm in Denver to pass, or repairs to be made.  Lately, I feel as though I'm stuck on a runway, anxious to move to a new destination, but stuck nonetheless.  Just waiting. 

In November, I began to feel restless, like I needed to get a job.  I'll be honest I moved forward with a some serious resentment in my heart.  I never anticipated losing my job as a mother, losing my only child.  I had been laid off in the worst possible way and each day was a struggle to accept my new reality.  I can work part-time, I thought, at an easy job, that doesn't require too much of me.  At first I just threw resumes at random jobs, sloppily filled in online applications, and was shocked when I didn't even get a phone call.  My pride and ego were more than slightly bruised.  I honestly thought God would just hand me a job, to compensate for all my heartache.  But instead he let me wait.  

I stepped up my game, if only to preserve my own dignity.  Applying for jobs became a hobby, a way to spend my free time.  I perfected my resume, and cover letters.  I began to get interviews, but felt stumped by questions regarding my ambition, and my goals.  "My goal is to get a job" I thought.  "My goal is to have something to do each day."  I clearly lacked enthusiasm, was unprepared, and the jobs passed me by.  I began to ponder "what do I really want?" and continued to wait.

Jordan and I counted last night.  To date, I have had 12 interviews, and been rejected 11 times.  I look back at some jobs and think that I narrowly avoided disaster.  I would have been miserable working in the NICU of the hospital, surrounded by sick, sometimes dying children.  Why did I think that would be good for me?  I would have been emotionally fatigued working for Donor Services.  Again what was I thinking?   Driving to and from Park City everyday for minimal pay and no benefits would have been a drain on my time and resources.  There are so many reason why I shouldn't be working in some of the jobs I've applied for.  My rejection from other jobs seems fickle or bizarre.  A department at BYU wanted to offer me a job, only to find out that they couldn't because of nepotism policies.  Nothing has worked out, and nothing has felt right. 

The amazing thing to me is that I don't feel discouraged.  I feel guided.  Each door that closes feels like a redirection, a funneling towards something greater.  I recognize a change in myself, an awakening to my own potential.   In the past two weeks I have applied for jobs that I really want, that pay well, that match my qualifications, and that excite me.   It has taken me 6 months of emotional and mental work to emerge from my previous dreams, and to recognize that I can have new dreams.  Waiting has brought me to a new understanding of myself and my purpose.   

Back to my plane analogy.  I find that the frustration of being stuck on a stuffy plane is usually met with some peace in knowing that my safety is being considered.  As much as we may complain, each of us knows that it is better to wait than to fly with a faulty engine.  It is better to wait than to take off in severe weather.  I believe the same is true in each of our lives. 

As opportunities pass me by and plans fall by the wayside, I try to place my trust in the Lord.  I trust that he will preserve me.  As I wait I absolutely believe that God has been repairing necessary portions of my soul.  He is keeping me grounded until conditions are perfect, so I can fly without fear of falling.

They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.  Isaiah 40:13

Thursday, March 22, 2012


When I sit down to write this blog I usually just type my thoughts.  I try to capture what I have been thinking in the recent days and hours.  It is easy for me because I tend to have a lot on my mind.  I just transfer my thoughts and conversations to the computer.  But this month I have felt distracted, and my thoughts feel halted.  When I sit at the computer to type nothing comes.  I blame Pinterest.

I'll be honest I haven't felt much like thinking or feeling this month.  I think my heart and mind are exhausted, and I have moved into the easy complacency of distraction.  Instead of thinking, I mindlessly browse the internet.  Or when I'm feeling more productive I organize things.  I rearrange my cupboards, file papers, vacuum everything, refold clothes, and then I sleep.  Even now as I type I am also responding to emails and glancing at my phone.  I know that distraction pulls me away from the things that strengthen me, like praying and reading.  My time seems to be swallowed up in meaningless consumption, as if I'm on some sort of self-inflicted diet where you only eat lettuce.  Let's be honest, you can't be healthy when you only eat lettuce. 

So I find myself asking why.  Why would I distract myself when I know it drains my strength, and I desperately need to be strong?  Why would I spend time in the meaningless, when I am so buoyed up by the meaningful?  Shouldn't my intense heartache make me immune to distraction?

I seriously just looked at Facebook again...its almost a reflex. 

I think the problem for me is two fold.  First, I have way too much free time.  And my free time constantly reminds me that I am missing Jonah.  When he was with me I didn't know what free time was.  He was the purpose of my days, and the work of my heart.  My free time constantly reminds me of my sorrow, that something is missing in my life.  I miss the work of motherhood, but most of all I miss having my baby in my arms.  I ache for his smile and his laugh and his dimpled cheeks.  I see little boys that are his age and I know I can either cry or play words with I try to think of a four letter word that uses a Q and a Z.  Each day when I wake up I wish I was waking up to work, to make breakfast, to change diapers, to do something important.  Instead I wake up and immediately grab my phone, and let the distractions begin.  It makes me so sad if I let myself think about it.

Second, I am tired of crying.  It is hard to maintain the appropriate level of deep emotional angst.  It requires energy and effort.  It is physically draining.  I know that I have been shutting down the tear factory, little by little, by filling my mind with emotionless stuffing.  I am becoming "comfortably numb" just like Pink Floyd promised.

The problem is that I don't want to feel numb.  I want to miss Jonah and I want to cry sometimes.  I want my time to be meaningful.  I want to think deep thoughts and find peace and understanding, but I also want to be able to live a "normal" life.  Maybe the problem is that I don't know what a "normal" life is anymore. 

Again my struggle is about balance, and I know that sometimes I have to feel the instability of life before I pull myself back to the center.  I feel that instability now.  So I am trying to push away the distractions, and to carve out some peaceful quiet moments in my day.  I believe there is a time for mindless escape, but not all of the time.  I hope in the coming days and weeks I can embrace my heartache instead of ignoring it, and that I can avoid losing myself in distraction.  

I love this quote...I found it while mindlessly surfing the net:)

Not knowing how to feed the spirit, we try to muffle its demands in distraction...What matters is that one be for a time inwardly attentive. Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Bread of Life

 I don't feel like writing much tonight, or carefully crafting a blog post, but I do want to share this experience before time passes and I forget. 

Jordan and I are a little fanatical about Harmon's grocery store.  We go out of our way to shop there for meat and produce and cheese.  They have a cheese monger which we both think is awesome.  Anyway, we make a special trip every week to get our groceries there even though it is 30 minutes away.  We used to take Jonah with us, and the checkers would give him a free balloon when we left the store.  He loved balloons.  Going to Harmon's was our little family outing for the week, so simple, but so enjoyable.   

We still make our weekly trek to Harmon's, and last week was no different.  We started at the bread counter as usual.  The bread guy is probably one of the friendliest people I have ever met.  He always says hi to us, even if we are just walking by him.  He radiates kindness and enthusiasm.  When Jonah died I honestly thought, the bread guy at Harmon's will be so sad that Jonah is gone.  Each time we went to Harmon's I wanted to tell him what happened to Jonah, but I felt a little weird about it.  I don't even know the bread guy's name, and I figured it would be a little awkward to tell him about the death of my child as I ordered a loaf of sourdough.  So we continued to say hi and wave and buy baguettes as if nothing had happened. 

But then last week, as he handed us a sample of bread, he stopped us.  He said "I know that I don't even know your names, and we only see each other once a week, but I've noticed that your baby isn't with you.  You always had him with you, and I've just been worried that something happened to him."

I felt the tears come instantly.  We explained what happened, and this kind man listened, and seemed genuinely sad.  It may sound weird but I was so happy he noticed and wondered and worried about Jonah.  I was touched that he was courageous enough to ask us, and to express his sorrow.  It was a sweet simple conversation that validated my belief that Jonah made a significant impression in his short life.  I felt grateful that now, six months later, someone was thinking about him, and about us.  I was so moved by his compassion.

After talking for a moment we gathered up our bread and said goodbye.  I realized as we walked away that I still don't know the bread guy's name, and he doesn't know mine.  So next week I will introduce myself to him when we pick up our bread, and I think I will also tell him that I hope to be as kind and compassionate as he is someday.

And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.  John 6:35

Sunday, March 11, 2012


One of the hardest things about losing Jonah, has been the inevitability of forgetting him.  Not forgetting who he was, or my love for him, but forgetting the sweet details of his life.  I wish that I could somehow replicate him in my memory, and hold him there, perfectly, like a hologram.  Instead my memory is some sort of jumbled piecemeal culmination of glimpses, snapshots, and moments that seems more foggy than clear each day.  The pain of losing Jonah has come in two waves: first the agony of physical separation, and then the slow persistent ache of memories lost.

Each night before bed I go into Jonah's room and just think about him for a minute.  Sometimes I pick up his neatly folded blankets, and smell them.  I hold them to my cheeks and try to remember how it felt to hold my boy in my arms, and how he smelled after a day playing in the sun.  But the attempt is feeble.  And the truth is...I can't remember.  I find myself wondering why God would give me a brain that is so weak and so quick to forget?

The other day a memory came back to me.  It hit me as I was teaching my mom and tot art class.  I leaned over the back of one of my young students to grab a marker from the table.  Instantly, the sweet puppy dog smell of his little blond head brought Jonah to me.  It was as if my memory of his smell had been locked away, imprisoned, and this similar scent was the key.  I restrained myself from burrowing my nose into the little boy's hair, but I did linger for a moment and welcome the warm memory of Jonah into my heart.  It made me cry to remember him so well. 

I realized then, that my memory was not lost.  My view changed and I saw my mind as a beautifully designed safe, instead of a black hole.  

It is clear to me now that, if I had the ability to live my past through perfect memory I would never move forward.  I would feel content to remain in the past.  I think I understand now that forgetting, is not the disposal of memory.  I believe the beautiful moments I have with Jonah are with me, they are woven into me, and they are available to me when I need them.  If those moments were always at the forefront of my mind I would have no power or desire to progress.  I would be mesmerized by the beauty of another time and another place. 

I know that I have not forgotten Jonah, but rather that my sweet memories of him are being stored away, deep in my heart, for safekeeping. 

Wherever you are, whatever your circumstances may be, you are not forgotten. No matter how dark your days may seem, no matter how insignificant you may feel, no matter how overshadowed you think you may be, your Heavenly Father has not forgotten you. In fact, He loves you with an infinite love.  Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Thursday, March 1, 2012


Jonah healing from his palate surgery.
Jonah has been gone for 5 months.  I find that it is harder and harder to distinguish how I feel from day to day.  In the beginning my emotions were so intense and sharp that it was easy to write and describe them.  Now the emotions are more complicated, they have burrowed deeper into my soul.  The feelings are no longer right below the surface, ready to burst onto the scene at a moment's notice.  It's more like they are settling in to stay awhile, making themselves comfortable, whether I like it or not.  

As I've tried to pinpoint how I have felt this month, I have thought about healing in all it's forms.  It's amazing to me how our healing bodies parallel our healing souls.  A physical wound often feels numb until we see the full extent of the damage, and then the mind recognizes it's severity and implications.  Then the pain arrives quickly, often unbearable and unceasing.  The agony sends a message; it compels us to seek healing. 

Healing is always hastened by cleansing, repair, rest, and care.  It can be a painful and arduous process.  We work against the healing process when we over-exert ourselves, or neglect a wound.  Our efforts to avoid the pain of healing usually lead to infection and lasting scars.  With time acute pain seamlessly transforms into a dull throbbing ache that floats in the background of every movement and every breath.  It stays as a constant reminder that life is not yet what it used to be.  Pain's new message is "slow down," "take your time," "you are not yet whole."

This is where I find myself today.  As I move forward into normal life I am constantly aware of the dull ache of Jonah's loss that permeates my every step.  It requires extra effort to get up each day and move forward.  I wonder if people can see it in me; if they know that although I'm functioning, the motion is difficult and labored.  I have found at this stage of healing, movement is the best option. 

I had jaw surgery when I was 22.  My face was so swollen I looked like a "Who" character from Dr. Seuss.  My jaw was wired shut and I was on a liquid diet for weeks.  I remember trying to slurp jell-o past my numb lips, only to feel it escape over my chin, down my chest, and finally settle in my belly button.  These were not my brightest days.  I felt like crawling in bed and staying there...and I did for awhile.  When I felt the worst I remember my mom coming in to care for me.  She would encourage me to get up and take a shower, and while I was gone she would carefully make my bed.  I realize now this was her way of helping me move forward.  It is harder to crawl back into a bed that is made.  She knew that I needed to move, to get out of bed, and to heal. 

I think about my mom each morning when the world seems upside-down and too hard.  I drag myself to the shower, and then return to my room, and make my bed.  This simple act seems to me like a statement to the world, that I want to be healed, no matter how painful and difficult the process.  I want to be whole again. 

He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds. Psalms 147:3