sister.

Today Landon said “I wish Kenley was alive. She would be the most fun sister ever.”

What do I say to that? As a parent, I want to say one thing, and as a grieving mother I want to scream and cry out another reply. My heart gets torn in so many directions so often these days that I sometimes forget how I’m truly feeling.

Every single day is different; different day, yet the same intense grief. I feel like some days I wake up and I feel good, but then the day just seems overwhelmingly difficult and I break down. Some days I feel like I can’t handle everything that I have going on in my life, on top of my grief…yet somehow I do, and then there are days I wake up feeling like superwoman and handle the day, start to finish, like a pro (this is rare).

The whole notion that grief and joy can coexist was something I truly thought impossible in the early days. I remember laying in the hospital bed after Kenley died and just thinking that it was all different now. I very specifically remember thinking that this is my life now. I have a dead daughter and that’s who I am. 

And it is who I am.

It will always be who I am.

I am her mother.

But, I am also Landon, Alden, and Rowan’s Mother and even on days where I would rather crawl into a hole and die I have to remind myself of that. I seriously do not know where the will to survive comes from some days. I just don’t. Some days I count down the minutes until nap time, or bed time, or until Shane comes home.

Today, today was one of those days. We took Landon to Nationwide Children’s Concussion Clinic for a follow-up on his concussion diagnosis and it raised a lot of emotions inside of me. I know he’s fine deep down, but it just really triggers some heavy shit when you have to walk into any hospital after you lose a child. I often think I’m doing better, then I have a day like today and it takes my breath away and brings me to tears. Landon is fine, he is cleared and the doctor thinks he is almost healed from his concussion, but referred us to the Neurology department for Landon’s tics. I knew this would be necessary but I’m thankful for the shove because I had been putting it off.

It’s wonderful news (healing from concussion), but still just too heavy. Thinking that there could be something wrong with him or his brain or whatever is just TOO heavy for me. I can’t. I know it’s probably just transient tics like he was diagnosed with back in 2014, but now? Now I go to the dark place immediately.

Tumors. Cancer. Death. Another dead child. How can I survive that?

I. Just. Can’t. Even. Handle. It.

I’ve been finding myself feeling like Alden will die, and as I type that out I realize how ridiculous it might sound to some people but when it has happened to you, nothing is ridiculous in your own brain. You get stuck inside of these dark thoughts, or a dark place and it’s extremely hard to get out of it or stop thinking them.

Nothing has really triggered these fears, per se, but it’s like I LOVE HER so incredibly much that I’m so fearful. Same with Rowan. I keep thinking that something is wrong with her. There is no reason for me to think that, but I just keep running scenarios in my head. I’m also finding that my anti-depressant is making me a little irritated. I think that I may need to have my dose adjusted or something. Life is not supposed to be this hard. Or maybe it is. Maybe my life was cake before, and now this is just normal. I often feel as if I caused Kenley’s death, not by my own hand, but just by the choices I have made in my life before her. I don’t know. I know that’s not possible, but it’s guilt. It will always be there. I am her Mother and I could not save her. I didn’t know she was sick. I didn’t know something was wrong.

Life really likes to kick you when you’re down…

no time.

Life is crazy hectic these days, and while it provides a nice “escape” from my grief it also makes me feel guilty. I am able to wake up daily and function without being crippled with my sadness, and I call that a win. But, some days, I wake up and my mood is different. I will cry all day over things, or I will feel super anxious like my chest is going to explode.

That feeling hasn’t been too frequent, until lately. I’m not sure what’s shifting in my mental state but things are starting to feel heavy again. I think when we hit June I start to feel it hard; she should be 2 and a half on June 29th. I should have an almost 3 year old baby girl, who walks and talks and learns all these new things and is developing this cute little personality. It just makes my brain hurt some days to think about it.

It hurts my heart so badly that I think I’ve just learned to keep it blocked off from most things these days. I find myself not enjoying pretty much anything that I used to. Shane will say things about the stuff that I used to enjoy — i.e. photography, or refinishing furniture– and say that I used to like those things, or just make little remarks about me not enjoying them now.

I’m sure it’s depression, of course, but like I just don’t care anymore. Before I cared…now I don’t. I literally do not care. I used to refinish furniture and it made me feel happy. Now, it makes me want to die. Shane had to repaint Kenley’s dresser for Alden because it literally made my heart cry. I barely like taking pictures on my phone anymore, let alone with my Nikon. It feels like too much work; like it doesn’t fucking matter.

Oh this picture turned out so cute! Doesn’t matter because Kenley is still dead.

That dresser would be amazing painted kelly green! Nope. Do not care.

I feel very apathetic towards pretty much everything in my life. I don’t think that is something that medication can fix, either. I’m sure there is something to grief causing this feeling in a person after a loss, but man it’s super hard to deal with. I am a happy person in general so to feel these feelings is really hard.

Losing a baby changes you. It shapes you into this person you don’t know, and that you would never want to be in your darkest nightmares. Life moves forward and you literally have no other choice than to just fucking go with the flow. I want to scream and cry every single day because I’m missing a child, but like that is not rational. I’m trying. I’m trying to keep my sanity and it makes me feel so guilty all the damn time.

I miss her, and I wish that I could just go back and hold her. I want to see her again.

My heart is so full of love and joy, but my god it’s so fucking broken too.

happiness.

I’m not sure why, but some days just hit hard. Like really really hard. Today I was watching Rowan bounce in her bouncer and I just got sad. Then, I played with her on her play-mat and got sad again. It’s not sad sad, it’s like bittersweet sad? I’m not sure if that makes sense.

I’m sad because it makes me see, all over again, the things that Kenley won’t get to do. When she was born I immediately knew what I was missing out on with her life being cut so short. I had Landon prior to her so I know the intense joy a child brings to your life. When she died, that sadness was already understood.

When I had Alden, it was different because this time I was raising a girl so everything was new, and would have been exactly like raising Kenley. So I got to see the milestones of “raising a girl” only to feel the intense sadness of not seeing Kenley do these things or like the things Alden did. And when Rowan came, it was just all of these things all over again. And kind of intensified by the fact that she looks so similar to Kenley—talk about a mind fuck.

It’s just so bittersweet. I miss her so badly and some days it just creeps up when I’m feeling the happiest. This is just another reason why life after loss is so fucked up; grief is a happiness stealer.

Living with coexisting grief and joy hurts a lot more than you would expect.

/random.

All because of you

I haven’t slept in so long

When I do, I dream

Of drowning in the ocean

Longing for the shore

Where I can lay my head down

Inside these arms of yours

All because of you

I believe in angels

Not the kind with wings

No, not the kind with halos

The kind that bring you home

When home becomes a strange place

I’ll follow your voice

All you have to do

Is shout it out

(Rise Against- good left undone)

it’s Mother’s Day.

Today is Mother’s Day. Mostly it’s a happy holiday for people, but the day is shadowed with grief and confusion for myself and many other women who have lost children.

I have the most beautiful family; they are my greatest creations. I am so thankful for them, and even though some days I want to rip my hair out while crying, I wouldn’t trade them for anything. Our family will be missing a crucial member forever, however.

Thinking about my first Mother’s Day after Kenley died is rough; my heart just hurt so bad. The grief and shock was so raw. She had been gone less than 6 months and it felt unreal. It still feels unreal, honestly. I wake up on the daily and can’t believe this is my life. That I will have a missing family member forever. A perfect daughter who should be here but never got the chance.

I love parenting my children, but I wish I could parent all of them here on earth. I don’t allow myself to day dream about my life with all of them here. I don’t know that it would help me mentally to think that way; it’s a defense mechanism I’m pretty sure.

So on Mother’s Day, I want to write a little note to my children-

Landon, I am so thankful you made me a mother. You are so much fun, and so frustrating all at the same time! I’m so proud of the little man you are becoming. I love you so much buddy!

My sweet Kenley, I am so sorry I couldn’t save you. You are perfect. You were so wanted. I wish so badly that I could watch you grow and hear your beautiful voice. I love you with everything I am. I hope you know that, and I hope you are proud of me. I cannot wait until the day we are together again. I love you. I love you. I love you.

Alden, my little unicorn rainbow baby, you have healed my heart in ways I never thought possible. Your smile is infectious and your laugh warms my heart. Every day with you is amazing, and I love being your Mommy. I am so thankful for you my sweet baby.

Rowan, my sweet surprise, I was scared to death when I learned you were coming! You and Alden are so close in age that I thought I would never feel normal again. I am so thankful that you are part of our family! You’re only 10 weeks old but I cannot wait to watch your personality develop! Your smiles are adorable and I love to her you coo!

No Mother should have to be without any of her children on Mother’s Day.

Thought Dump.

I feel like I have zero time to write anymore, and that really makes me sad. I love coming here to express myself, and to talk about Kenley, or whatever else is on my mind. So, tonight I have a few minutes to myself and I wanted to come here and dump some thoughts.

I’ve started all the things for Kenley’s care packages. I’ve gotten some hats in the mail, and have been in touch with people who are creating more hats and blankets. I’m looking forward to spending the coming months preparing the donations. It makes me feel close to Kenley, and like she isn’t forgotten. I haven’t gotten any donations yet, and that bums me out, but whatever! It’s still early, and my god last year was amazing we were able to get everything, so I know it will happen I just need to give it time.

I’ve been feeling heavy hearted about Kenley more often every day lately…I don’t know what triggered it but I think it was when I was cuddling with Alden and I inadvertently placed my hand on her chest and felt her heart beating. I immediately took my hand off her chest, like it was on fire or something, and when I realized I did that I had to ask myself why. I remember there being a time immediately after Kenley died that I hugged Landon and felt sick to my stomach. I remember thinking that it hurt me so badly to feel his heart beating against my chest, and know that I would never feel Kenley’s. I think that was sort of what happened with Alden; a knee-jerk reaction. I then took a deep breath and placed my hand over her little chest again and breathed in the smell of her head while I sat there, feeling her heart beating against my palm.

Some days I still can’t believe this is my life. I can’t believe the awfulness that we went through– the awfulness that we are enduring every single day of the rest of our lives. I don’t know. It’s so weird because death at any point in life is awful and each person grieves so individually but my god. To lose a baby before they’re even born, but to have carried them for an entire pregnancy…Fuck. It’s just so unfair. How many times can I say that without sounding like a broken record? Probably already worn that out, but you know what? IT’S UNFAIR. I shouldn’t feel guilty for not looking at my daughters urn because it makes my heart break into a million pieces, but I do. I feel so guilty.

Alden has started walking, well let me rephrase that…she’s taking steps. She will not let go of things and walk. She has started to stand up in the middle of the floor by herself now, so I’m hoping that she will just start walking around. It makes me sad to think that she will be walking soon because she’s my little baby! It’s crazy. She can’t be walking! Ugh. And then to think that Rowan will be walking in like a year! EEK.

Alden is so much fun! I just love being with her. I hope that when Rowan is old enough to play with her, she will be loving toward her and not beat her with a toy or whatever.

Rowan is 2 months old now! She had her appointment yesterday and had 3 shots. Ugh so sad! She cried so hard…harder than she has ever cried before. Poor sweet girl! She’s weighing in at 13lbs 7oz, and 23 1/4 inches long! She’s a little pork chop. I’m starting to feel better after feeling some really dark feelings after she was born. I still feel weird at certain moments, and when certain things happen. I feel sad when I think about Rowan and Alden playing without Kenley. Seeing Landon love on his sisters hurts my momma heart too. Sigh. It is what it is.

Landon is playing baseball again this year. I absolutely love watching him play! He is really good at it too, so that really makes me so pumped to watch him. He’s been playing catcher and I swear to god he just looks like a natural up there! That boy can hit a ball, too! I’m a proud Momma. I do need to figure out something to do with Alden while we’re there though. She wants to constantly get down in the rocks, or grass and eat everything. I want to but a portable play pen but they’re like $60-100 and I just don’t feel like spending that.

Our 8 year wedding anniversary was on Tuesday. I can’t believe we’ve been married that long. It doesn’t seem that long honestly. It feels like yesterday! We’ve been together since we were 18 (14 years ago) and I just can’t even with that. I really need to find some pictures from when we were first dating and spam this space with them! We weren’t able to do anything on our actual anniversary because Shane had to work overtime, but hey…whatever. The overtime pay is ridiculous so I guess that’s fine. We did book a cabin in Hocking Hills for next weekend. I can’t wait. We’re going to see Dead pool, get some pizza and wine, and sit in the hot tub all weekend! I’m so thankful for my Mom who is coming down to stay with the girls so we can get away.

I need some clothes for the summer. I literally have zero things. I have like 2 shirts, both black, and 5 pairs of maternity leggings…soooooo…

We’re still working on our home plans. We got another quote back to renovate our home and it’s within our budget to do most of the things that we need to make this house work, but there is the option of building a brand new home on some family land…I just don’t know what to do. We could sell our home for a lot more than we paid for it currently and I just feel like we need to sell while we can. There are a lot of things about our home that we cannot change. I don’t know. Ahh what to do?!

So life is just an insane shit show like 75% of the time, and my house is a wreck 100% of the time.

International Bereaved Mother’s Day.

I came here to write this post and talk about what this day is, and how important it is…but, I don’t want to.

I just want to grieve my Daughter. I want to dream of her being here in my arms. I want to allow my brain to go to that dark place and remember her…There aren’t words to explain how deeply my heart is broken. A mother isn’t supposed to bury her child, or plan their funeral, or leave the hospital without their baby.

Kenley, my sweet daughter, you should be here with us. I will miss you forever, until the day I hold you in my arms again. I am so sorry that I couldn’t save you. You deserved so much more. I live with that guilt every single day. Some people may think that the pain lessens as the years go on…but it doesn’t. There is a hole in my heart that will never be filled.

I love you.

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Kenley’s Care Packages

It’s that time again! I have decided to start taking donations for Kenley’s Care Packages earlier than normal this year. Last year, I was left scrambling at the end to buy blankets and I really didn’t want that to happen this year!

If you’re interested in donating this year please read this link for more information!

Also, you can find the Amazon Wish List HERE, and the gofundme page HERE.

All monetary donations will be used to purchase :

Kenley has touched so many lives and that is all I could ever ask for. She was perfect, and what happened to her was so unfair. I miss her every second of every day; I see her in the world around me, in my living children’s faces, and I feel her in the love between Shane and I. She should be here, and I cannot believe we don’t get to snuggle her every day.

I just want to thank you all in advance for your help.  I could not do this without the love and support of every single one of you who has donated, made hats, or blankets, or WHATEVER. I appreciate you SO MUCH! I’m so thankful we are able to provide these comfort packages to parents in need.

Thank you!

missing you.

There are just some days where I need to come here and say I miss her. Nothing has changed. Everything is still the same and I still miss her so incredibly much. I want to know who you could have been. I want to hold your hand and kiss your face. I want to rock you to sleep. I want you here. I love you.

almost time.

I feel so weird writing. I feel like it’s been so long since I’ve blogged about Kenley. My friend Christine and I were just talking about this last night; about how we feel so far away from our babies. We feel like there is just no time to grieve them properly. It’s not that we want to sit in the grief and spend a full day sobbing crying over losing our children, it’s not that at all, it’s simply that life rushes ahead and you just don’t have time to dedicate to the child you lost in the same way as the children you have that are living.

It’s not fair at all. Sure, the living children require more attention, and time and brain space…but, Kenley deserves that too. I picked up her picture on my bedside yesterday and it was dusty. I brushed off the dust and just sat there holding it, looking at her…looking at the woman holding her in her arms. I don’t know that woman anymore. I don’t know who she is. Who was I then? Who am I now? I am two different people- actually, three. The before me, the after me, and the after me “mom”.

And honestly? I don’t feel like I know ANY of those people anymore.

I don’t know who I am as a person. I don’t know who I am as a wife, or a mother, or a sister, or a daughter. I feel like I’m in a dark room, fumbling around trying to find my way to the other side…but it just keeps going, and going…sometimes the light creeps in from a crack in the wall, or a window…but it’s never enough to help me right my path.

My anxiety has been pretty intense lately. We have a lot of stress hovering over our family currently. We are looking for a bigger house or to build but there is nothing available. There are things that need to get done in our home to make listing our home possible even, so those things will cost money. We thought a problem was fixed with our roof, and well…lets just say it isn’t…and might force us to replace our roof. We just bought a new furnace for $6k, and now a new roof will be close to $8k. Everything somehow comes full circle to Kenley.

The roof was fixed when she was a live inside of me. When she died, I didn’t go in the room for a long time…had she lived, would I have noticed the issue earlier because I would have been in there with her? Then when we had it fixed, we had it painted for Alden’s arrival…and turns out it’s still not fixed…so it just feels like we’re dragging it all through the mud and somehow Kenley’s death feels so fresh because of it. I don’t know. Every time I write about her death, and the feelings I have, I feel as if it makes no sense to the outside world–and I know that some of the things don’t make sense and people don’t understand why I feel the way I do, or why I can’t do things (attend parties, showers, see new babies etc…) but that’s just how it is. My reality is just that…every single day of my life and I get to choose how I handle things that make me hurt and uncomfortable.

It’s almost June. Last year I started collecting donations for Kenley’s Care Packages in June! I can’t believe it, yet I’m kind of excited because doing things in her memory makes me feel so close to her. I miss her so incredibly much but I’m so thankful that we can help other families in her name. I’m still very surprised that no one has ever reached out to me after they received a care pack from the hospital. I guess it took me 2 years to reach out to someone about something we used at the hospital when Kenley died so I get it.

I can’t wait to get another amazon wish list going, and see what we can do in honor of our sweet girl this year!

**If you (or someone you know) are interested in knitting, or crocheting a hat, blanket, or burial gown of some sort for our donations this year please contact me or leave a comment! I’m trying to get a rough estimate of who would like to help create handmade items this year!!**