Tuesday, March 26, 2013


My journal and this blog often feel monopolized by struggle.  My writing has always been this way.  I am an excellent journal writer when life is boring, when I'm disappointed, when I feel lonely or forgotten.  For me, writing is therapy, not record keeping.  I'm quick to abandon recording the history of my life when times are good.  I would rather be living my life, laughing with friends, and seeing the world,  than writing it all down. But this tendency leaves my written life in a lurch, lacking the balance of joy that accompanies the life I live each day.  There is joy...I promise.

About a year ago I was struggling to find purpose in my days.  I had nothing but free time.  Time to think, and sleep, and garden, and write.  I had more free time than any modern person has the right to claim and it was hard for me.  I felt like I was going through some sort of motherhood withdrawal.  The regression from full-time mom to self-centered 30-something was dramatic and surprisingly difficult.  I spent many nights praying that God would help me find some purpose.

It has taken time - time I'm sure I needed - but purpose has come in the most amazing ways.

After months of applying for jobs, having great interviews, and being rejected...I stopped looking.  Then one day the perfect job flashed across my Facebook news feed.  I applied, and they hired me.  My job combines my love of art, education, and museums.  It is about 7 minutes from my home, and allows me the flexibility to travel with Jordan when he goes to work.  The best part: I love the people I work with. They are kind, and thoughtful, and amazing.

Not romantic love... I mean the selfless kind of love you give to your child.  In the months that followed Jonah's death I really missed feeling that kind of love.  Its the kind of love that needs to be given.  The kind of love that grows through time and energy spent, and sacrifice.  I needed an outlet for the stockpile of love I had for Jonah.  I needed to give it to someone else.

In September, my inspired neighbor asked me if I would consider serving on a development board for Primary Children's Medical Center.  I was nervous at first, but said "yes" and have been healed and strengthened by the experience.  I get to work and serve with 30 incredible women who care deeply about children. Each time I visit the hospital I interact with families who are struggling and worried, and I get to help ease some of their burden. I meet ordinary people - waitresses, cashiers, and store managers - who tell me they are donating their tips, their time, and sometimes their paychecks to help families in need.  It is humbling and healing.

On the anniversary of Jonah's death I decided to break some rules.  I was tired of going to Jonah's grave and seeing dead flowers and faded toys.  I wanted a symbol of life and a reason to return to his resting place.  So I planned a covert op.  At least it felt covert.  I ignored the sign at the cemetery gate that says "no planting" and I planted crocus bulbs around Jonah's headstone.  I worried all winter  that the bulbs would not come up.  I worried that the cemetery would mow them down, or spray them before I could see their life and beauty.  But my plan worked, the crocuses are in bloom, and they make me so happy.

Life is good.  There is pain, but there is also joy.  I have been hurt, but I have also been blessed.  I know that God loves me because he has opened doors for me that seemed locked, maybe even dead-bolted.  My problems and worries are still present, but they are beautifully balanced by a renewed feeling of purpose.

Wednesday, March 27 is Cookies for Kids day at all Utah Chick-fil-A stores.  

When you buy a cookie 100% of your purchase goes directly to charity care for sick children at Primary Children's Medical Center.  

So tomorrow treat yourself for a good cause!

Friday, March 22, 2013


Last week as I was trying to fall asleep I had a perfect memory of Jonah.  The kind of memory that I have often hoped for.  A memory where I see Jonah fluidly, instead of as a jumble of frozen moments and fractured images.  I closed my eyes and I saw him...climbing up on a chair, wearing his red and black moose shirt and denim overalls, waiting for a doctor to arrive.  He moved around the room opening drawers, and checking cupboards, and for a moment I felt the physical sensation of being his mother again.

It was so vivid and instantly shattering.  It made me angry instead of whole.  It brought me back to the pain that I have tried to set aside, or subdue, or maybe repress.

Tears began to fill the crease between my pillow and cheek.  My shoulders shuddered with each sob.  And then things fell apart.  My strength disappeared and I tumbled into a free-flowing question-filled rant about life.  Here are some of the highlights:

"Why is life so hard?"
"Why can't we just get a break?"
"Why do other people get to just have healthy babies whenever they want?"
"Haven't we experienced enough heartache?"
"Why did Jonah have to die?"
"Why does insurance dictate our life?

Followed by...

"I'm done with this"
"I hate this"
"I can't take it anymore"
"I'm so angry"

Poor Jordan didn't know what to make of me.  Our day had been normal and productive.  Our evening was pleasant and ordinary.  There were no signs of an imminent breakdown.  And suddenly he was at ground zero.  Ground zero looks like me angrily throwing snot-filled tissues across the room while I ask incoherent questions and sob uncontrollably.  What's a boy to do?

What are any of us supposed to do when the world feels overwhelming?

I felt a little crazy that night, and in the morning I wondered why my reaction was so intense.

Obviously I'm still grieving.  Even when everything around me seems to move on, the most important parts of me are still with Jonah.  Life is still hard.  Jordan and I are dealing with incredibly difficult challenges and sometimes optimism and faith and hope seem like a poor substitute for a full-blown cathartic breakdown. 

It feels unnatural to discuss topics like death, and grief, and infertility, while you talk about your weekend at work, or stumble on a friend at the grocery store.  It becomes harder with each passing day.

I haven't been allowing myself to grieve like I used to.  I'm keeping it to myself, and that's not working.  I need to write.  I stopped writing on this blog because I thought I was past the pain, and ready to move forward.  But apparently I'm not.  I'm still knee deep in the struggle. 

I have also stopped writing out of fear.  What if people are tired of my breakdowns?  What if I get stuck in the past, and can't move on?  What if it is too personal?  What if more heartache and disappointment is ahead?

I have to remind myself that I started this blog with a promise to myself: to be truthful, to be authentic, and to write it for no one but myself.  So I will try to write again, for Jordan's sake, and most importantly my own.

There is something about the process of writing— perhaps because it usually takes place in the privacy of one’s own room— that allows and indeed encourages the expression of thoughts one would never say aloud.
Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey, A Woman of Independent Means