Our Family

Our Family
Fall 2015 - These are my people

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Her First Real Birthday - Four Years Later

Once again, I find myself not having blogged in a year.  But I'm alright with it.  This has been a good year and one full of lots of life.  So for that, I am thankful.  Because it was Solveig's birthday yesterday and the thoughts are floating around in my mind I decided it was time to write tonight.

It was her first real birthday, on the 29th of February.  But it was really her fourth birthday in Heaven.  Many people have asked us how it felt to celebrate her birthday, and specifically how it felt to celebrate her birthday on the actual day of the 29th.  I guess it didn't feel all that different.  But it was quite special all the same.  The thing that felt the most odd was not really celebrating on the 28th.  That is the day we typically have celebrated over the past three years.

For her day we have usually gone to the local museum for kids, but since the 29th was a Monday we were out of luck there.  So this year we did something different and went to the bigger of our two zoos.  We wore our special shirts that I made for a special walk run that we do every year in honor of babies who have died and gone before us.  It was fun to be doing something that all three kids could enjoy so much.  Our little Squeaker is at such a fun age for things like this and he was really thrilled to see the animals.  At first he was so scared of the animals, but then he got used to the idea of looking at them and he didn't want to leave by the end.  One of my favorite things to see were two of the beautiful leopards that were snuggling and resting in the sun on what was a very cold day.  And nobody else was around since this exhibit was outside.  Leave it to us to be the brave ones in the cold.  It was really fun to get up so close to the leopards and to lock eyes with them.  They are stunning.  We also loved seeing the penguins!  All three kids climbed up on top of the rock structure next to the penguin tank.  And we got to watch the monk seal show.  That was fun.  When we were in Hawaii with Bug almost 9 years ago, we had the opportunity to see some monk seals who were up on the beach.  They were protected by some local volunteers.  It was awesome.  We had our homemade lunch at the zoo as well before it was time to head home.

After the zoo, it was normal life for awhile.  That meant a screaming two year old who was ready for his nap, and two big kids who had fun watching one of their favorite things - all about wars and stars.  And during nap time, I went out to the dollar store to get party supplies for our little family dinner at home.  I got some balloons for us to release at the cemetery, and decided that we should also get some to keep at home.  Knowing how the young one would potentially react when he had to release his balloon, I figured it might be nice to have a backup waiting at home.  All the balloons were pink for the release time.  And the ones for home were pink, purple and white.  Honestly, I was so relieved that nobody at either of those stores asked me what I was celebrating.  That has happened before, and it's a little hard to explain.  (Of course I would have been fine explaining it if I had been questioned.  But it was just nice to not have to talk about it with random strangers just this once.)  This is one day when I kind of like to be incognito and wish to not run into anyone that I know.  Sometimes it happens, and that's fine.  But I prefer to be sort of quiet and with my family on this day.  I also stopped to get some lovely pink roses at another store.

While I was gone, my dear guy made some gluten free cupcakes as I am now gluten free.  After our little dude woke from his nap, we ventured out to the cemetery.  We explained to our little one that we would be going to his sister Solveig's grave, that her body was in the ground but her spirit was in Heaven with Jesus.  It's a tough concept for anyone, but maybe especially for a young mind.  (We've been there with him before, but it has been awhile and I wanted to make sure to explain it again.)  We told him that we would be releasing some balloons for her birthday and that we couldn't keep those ones.  And we told him we would put pretty roses at her grave.  When we got there, I told him that he could touch her hand and footprints.  I have been looking forward to him being old enough to do this by himself.  This was the first time that he was able to do so.  It was so sweet.

When it was time to release our balloons, they were so tightly tied together.  Maybe that is symbolic of our family...tightly woven.  We had to cut the strings short.  Each of us took one and let it go to the sky.  The balloons all freely went up this time!  In past years, they have blown to the side or gotten stuck in the tree.  And because it was cloudy and not very windy, we were able to watch them soar SO high.  It was magnificent, and we all took it in for quite some time.  Little Squeaker probably soaked it up for the longest time and he didn't want to leave.  Of course I know that the balloons cannot fly to Heaven, but I like to imagine that they were on their way to Solveig, and that maybe she got to catch them when they got there.

Daddy went out to get us some take out cuisine and I attempted to make some homemade GF cream cheese wontons.  They were yummy, so I thought.  But nobody else cared for them.  It was so nice though to eat a meal together on a table all decorated for our sweet girl.  Pale pink and roses...those remind me of her.  And that's what I used to create our table.

After dinner we decorated cupcakes with homemade pink frosting and fun candies from the dollar store.  That was a fun way to honor our baby.  And we sang happy birthday to her.

It was simple.  And it was sweet.  That's how we like it.

Thanks for all of the love and prayers.  Thank you to the people who remembered about Solveig's birthday and reached out to us.  It means more than you know that you choose to do that.  One of the things I struggle with is worrying that people will forget about her.  I think just about any parent who has lost a child will tell you the same thing.  So knowing that she is not forgotten by others means so much to us.

We know God is with us.  He has been good to us and has brought redemption from the dark places.  He has strengthened us and given us hope in Him.  We choose to hope in Him...even on the hard days.  And yes, there are still hard days...four years later.  I will say that they seem to be fewer and further between.  But sometimes those hard moments or hard days will still catch me by surprise.

Celebrating Solveig's life is a good choice for our family.  I'm so glad that we are able to do that together.  I'm grateful that we have chosen to remember her and to honor her life.

Happy birthday Solveig Sofia, my beautiful girl!  I can't wait to see you dancing in Heaven one day!  And I can't wait to hold you in my arms again.  I love you so much!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Solveig's Birthday - 3 Years Later…Part One

I have been struggling with how to write this post and have been contemplating it for weeks now.  So I decided it was time to just sit down and start typing.  It has been almost a year since I last blogged.  I have been so busy living life…and that is a beautiful thing.  I just didn't feel the need to blog.  But now I guess I do.

A few days ago we celebrated Solveig Sofia's 3rd birthday.  While she is in Heaven, we still like to celebrate, remember, and honor her here on Earth.  But let me back up.

Beginning in January, my heart gets a sinking feeling.  It is that time of year, I remind myself.  The time of year when I was carrying my little girl and was being seen in the clinic all the time.  It is often bleak in our midwinter here in MN.  After Christmas and New Years Eve have passed and the days are cold and long, I find myself often struggling to be filled with joy.  I think some of that has to do with seasonal sadness, but I think it also has to do with Solveig's impending birthday.  This year I think I may have done a little better than the last two prior to it.  I just feel like I am in a better place emotionally, overall.  But a few weeks prior to her birthday, I had a really tough weekend.  I was just so sad as I realized that her day was arriving.  And it is not just the actual day of the birth that is typically challenging.  It is all of the marked days leading up to it and the days following it…

The day I had my last ultrasound when I was told that she wasn't growing and they would do another ultrasound the following Monday (that would never happen)…this was on a Monday.

The day I woke up to her having a seizure inside of me and flailing rapidly 200 times…Friday.

The day we went about our life, even though that night before I told Erik that something felt really wrong…and I didn't feel her move except for shifting a couple of times…Saturday.

The day we continued to go about our life, even though I really felt wrong about going to church…I felt sick in my spirit the entire time because I knew that she was gone…Sunday.

It was that last night, Sunday, that we went into the hospital and had the confirmation that she was gone.  That was beyond hard.  And I can remember it like it was yesterday.

But I'm so glad that we went home and then we had a chance to prepare mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually for what was about to happen two days later.

The day we talked with dear Annette from the hospital and went out shopping for our daughter's one and only outfit for this earth and a beautiful blanket and bracelet…Monday.

The day we went to the hospital to begin our induction for delivery…and we received our special box full of items to help us through this journey…Tuesday.

The day she was born at 8:30 am, weighing 3 lbs 10.6 oz…her tiny, thin body still and her umbilical cord wrapped around her neck three times, around her abdomen and her arm with a true knot in it…Wednesday, February 29, 2012.

The day we met with our pastors and left the hospital, me carrying our daughter in my arms in the car of the funeral director and then planning her funeral…Thursday.

The day we went out to find a suit for her daddy and chose our cemetery…Friday.

The day we held her beautiful funeral service at our church and were reminded that are blessed with so many supportive friends and family who were there to support and encourage us…Saturday.

The day we lay around not knowing what to do…Sunday.

The day we last looked at her body and buried her in a tiny pink casket in cold weather in a very quick graveside service and then had a family lunch…Monday.

Every year I go through those days mentally and emotionally as her birthday happens.  This year, the actual days weren't as hard.  The birthday weekend was really busy and good, and it was also emotionally taxing at times…but so good.  I'm glad that I can now say it was good.

On the 28th, the day we celebrate her birthday when it is not a leap year, our little family went to our local children's museum, played and ate lunch there.  All three kids and us two parents had such a lovely time doing something joyful…something Solveig would have surely liked if she were with us.  It was fun to see our little guy really enjoy the museum this time.  Then we headed home for little Squeaker to take his nap.  After nap, we had dinner at a really fun burger place and then went to the cemetery with our pale pink roses to lay beside her grave and our pink heart balloons to be released.  My sweet friend Natalie had yet again placed a beautiful rose and a note by her stone.  That is so meaningful…someone remembered…a sweet friend remembered my little girl.  Thank you dear Natalie.

Interestingly enough, when we went to release the pink balloons, only one of our six balloons flew away…

the other balloons got stuck in the tree.


It was so symbolic.  It was a reminder that our little girl flew to Heaven and we are here yet on Earth.  We are stuck in that tree.  We are not meant to be with her yet.  God has more for us to do here.  It was good for my mama's heart that often just yearns to be with her and our other family and loved ones in Heaven.

We are supposed to be here right now.

Lord, show us what it is that you wish for us to do and how you wish for us to live our lives.  Help us to live well and love well.

There is more to say…it will come soon…

Thank you for your continued support, love and prayers for our family.  It means so much.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Buzzy's Heaven Thoughts

Buzz and I were just reading a sweet book about an owl who flies to a little boy and becomes his pet.  Later, after helping the owl recover and regain strength from an injury, the little boy releases the owl back into the wilderness.  I was asking my Buzz if he liked the story.  Here's what he said.

"It reminds me of Solveig."

I said, "why is that, Honey?  Because of the owl flying away?"

"Yes," he said.  "Solveig's spirit flew right to Heaven.  We got to hold her when she was dead.  But her spirit flew to Heaven.  I'll get to see her again someday when I go there.  But our hearts are connected.  They'll always be connected.  She was the most beautiful little baby girl."

I didn't make that up.  I loved that he said that their hearts are connected, and that he thought she was beautiful.  And while he was saying all of these precious thoughts of his, of course the tears came into my eyes.

The reminders of Heaven and wanting to be there are truly encouraging to me.  I really have been missing Solveig a lot lately.  I think it has a lot to do with Spring finally being here…the season that she would have been born in.  So, hearing my son talk about his little sister is really sweet.

There is a movie out right now that we really want to see, all about Heaven and how it is real…based on the book of the same kind of name.  We can't wait to see it.  You see, we read that book just a few months before we lost our Solveig.  It was so comforting at the time, thinking about our babies that we had miscarried and other loved ones.  And then when we lost Solveig, it just became that much more real.

We even have the children's version of this special book and our kids really clung to that after we lost Solveig.  It was Bug's favorite book for awhile.  She wanted to bring it to school to share as her favorite book for her birthday.  But because of wondering if she might get in trouble sharing it during regular school time and not on recess, I decided that she shouldn't bring it.  This was such a bummer and really hard for a six year old to understand…the separation of church and state…issues that are challenging from time to time in the public school setting.

But I digress.  If you haven't read that book that I'm referring to, I highly encourage you to do so.  There's no way that this kid could've made all of that up.  It really is a beautiful picture of Heaven.

I long to be there.  It is my hope.  It is how I keep going.

One day, sweet Solveig…one day…we will be reunited, and I will hold you, FULLY ALIVE!!!!!  Until then, dance and play and sing and run, and I will think of you and hold your daddy and siblings here on earth.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Her Due Date - 2 Years Later

Today marks the anniversary of Solveig's due date, two years after the loss of her.  I don't know why this day seems so significant still, but it does.  None of my kids ever made it to their due date for their actual birthdays.  They were all born earlier.  So the fact that I even remember her due date and that it stands out to me in this way is kind of interesting.  But of course I remember it, because she came and went in such a startling way that it will always be remembered.  She will always be remembered.  All days surrounding her life and what could have been will always be remembered…just because.

I remember being so excited for a spring baby when I was expecting Solveig.  All of our babies have happened in the spring, except for Buzz who was technically a Summer birthday by one day - June 22nd.  But my pregnancies were all through the same seasons.  There was that hope and expectation of new life in the Spring.  Such a beautiful thing it is to have that kind of hope during a pregnancy.

So when we lost her at the end of the winter and buried her on a cold day, it did not equate to the warmth and new life of spring that we had expected.  But it was that way.  And even in the cold and bitterness of winter and loss, we still felt warmth…warmth of God's love for us, warmth of family and friends who came around with hugs, prayers and meals, warmth of one another's embrace here in our home.  And when the cold wore off and the spring set in that year, I remember sitting outside with my big kids, wishing that I was holding our little girl in my arms and feeling the empty void of her absence.

Now that she would have been two, I sometimes picture her running about with her big brother and sister and her little brother too.  Wouldn't it have been something for them to all be together here?  Life would have been even more chaotic than it already is…and there are many moments that I would give just about anything to have it that way.  I would love to have her here with us.  We would all love that.  Her daddy and I talk about it often. I wonder what she is doing in Heaven today.  I wonder if she is waiting for the tulips to spring up from the ground, or perhaps she already has flowers around her all the time.  Maybe there are no seasons in Heaven.  Maybe it's all just moderately temperate all the time.  And I like to think that there are no mosquitos causing her to swell up with bites and no ticks to imbed themselves…because there is no disease in Heaven.  Maybe she is twirling around in a little sundress, singing songs of joy, with pigtails in her hair and a big smile on her round face with rosy cheeks.  And her big brown eyes (I'm sure they have to be brown) are open wide and filled with laughter.

To hold her again will be one of the greatest gifts that Heaven will bring.  I can hardly wait.

I thought she was due to be here on Earth…but her real due date was for Heaven.

When am I due for Heaven?  I wait, with great expectation and hope…knowing that this short blip of life here on Earth will last but for a moment.

For now, Uncle Joel, Aunt Ethel, Grandmas and Grandpas, other aunties and uncles, cousins, siblings and friends are with her…she is not bored!  She is not sad!  She is rejoicing.  They are rejoicing together.

1 Corinthians 15:55-57 says:

“O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?”

 The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law.

But thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!"

Amen to that.  Those verses were part of my brother Joel's favorites that were read at his funeral.  

For those of us left here on earth, we have to cling to the hope that is found in Christ.  There is nothing else.  Believe me.  I have been through enough different things and have tried to do things without Him…and I have failed miserably in those attempts.  He is the only way.  He is our only hope.

I pray that those of you reading this will find hope in Him today.  Christ the Lord has risen.  He is real.  He is how I make it through each day.  

O how He loves us…

Friday, March 7, 2014

Bedtime Snuggle Talks

We had another one of those nights…the kind where my kids had deep thoughts from their souls that needed to be shared.  I love those nights.  They both had asked for me to come and snuggle them before going to sleep, and I finally tore away from my project of deboning a freshly roasted turkey to make broth for long enough to be near them.  I'm so glad that I did.

Me: "Buzz, I will always love you."

Buzz: "I know Mommy.  Will you still love me when you are dead?"

Woah...how do I respond to that one…

Me: "Well Honey, I will be in Heaven.  And I think that I will still think about you and love you while I'm there."

Buzz: "But we don't know where we're going when we die.  We don't know if we'll go to Heaven or Hell."

Me: "No Honey, we can know exactly where we are going, with absolute certainty.  If we love the Lord with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength and if Jesus is our Savior and Lord then we will be in Heaven.

Do you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and do you trust Him to be your Savior and Lord?

Buzz: "Yes, I do."

Me: "Then we will be there together.  We will be in Heaven together.  And that makes me so happy."

Buzz: "Satan won't be there.  The robbers won't be there.  They'll be in Hell."

(Thank you Le_go for helping my child to be obsessed with robbers and keeping them out of trouble.  Maybe he has a future in law enforcement.)

Me: "Yes, Satan will be in Hell.  You are right.  He will have no place in Heaven."

Buzz: "Besides, Hell is just like hot lava.  There won't be any place to sit."

Hmm…interesting…hadn't thought about the fact of sitting somewhere there…

Me: "Yes Honey, it will be hot.  In the Bible, Hell is described as being a lake of fire.  I definitely don't want to be there.

I'm looking forward to seeing Solveig, our other two little miscarried babies, Uncle Joel and a whole lot of other people in Heaven.  Won't that be great?"

Buzz: "Yes!  Maybe Uncle Joel, Solveig and the other two babies that died in your tummy are all living together in a house."

Smile.  That just makes me smile to think of that possibility.  Just the fact that I believe that they are all there together makes me smile.

With tears in my eyes I responded, "I can't wait to see all of them.  It will be wonderful."

And break for hugs and kisses with my sweet boy.  He is so full of love…which sometimes gets misconstrued as not having a personal bubble at school. :)  He is learning boundaries.  Such a challenge for a hugger.

Me: "Goodnight Buzz.  You need to get some sleep.  I love you."

Buzz: "Goodnight Mommy."

All the while, big sister Bug was waiting in her room for me to come and have snuggles with her as well.  I went in and she was so concerned with how much time I had just spent with her little brother.  Maybe she was jealous and wanting the same amount of snuggle time…which ended up happening.  Here is how our conversation went…

Bug: "Mommy, what do you think Heaven will be like?"

Me: "Well, I don't know for sure, but there are some great descriptions of it in the Bible.  It says that there will be streets of gold.  And it talks about animals and people getting along.  We're supposed to have new bodies.  There will be good food.  There will be no more pain, no more suffering, no more tears…everything will be amazing."

Bug: "It's hard for me to imagine a poisonous snake getting along with a mouse."

Me: "Yeah, I guess that is kind of hard to imagine.  All I know is that I can hardly wait to go there."

Tears were starting to creep in and I was audibly crying a little bit and sniffling at this point as I snuggled with my girl.

Bug: "Mommy, why the tears?  Why the sadness?  It's okay.  Don't worry, Mommy."

She proceeded to pat my head and rub my hair.  I just melted into my sweet girl and thanked God that I could be in her presence.  I told her what a beautiful gift she is…that she has such a tender, sweet spirit… and that I know that the Lord has wonderful plans for her life.  I told her that I can't wait to see what those plans are.

She said, "Me too!"

I love my kids.  I am so grateful for the opportunity to be with them and to do life with them.  I am so thankful that I get to hear what is going on in their minds…and I hope that they will always be willing to talk with me and their daddy.  I hope that they will not one day shut us out.

Oh Lord, help us to be good parents.  Help us to love these children with depth and wisdom and passion.  And help us to teach them to honor you and love you all the days of their lives.  May that be their heart's desire.


Saturday, March 1, 2014

Solveig's Birthday - 2 years

This is long…just so you know.

Numb.  I am numb right now as I begin typing this post.  And yet I feel the need to write, so here I go.

For many days and weeks leading up to Solveig's birthday, I had a lot of great moments.  I was really feeling good about things and only periodically did I have a meltdown.  But yesterday and today I had some really difficult moments.

Yesterday was February 28th.  We have decided that we will choose to celebrate Solveig's birthday on the 28th, since her birthday landed so interestingly on the 29th.  There are a lot of times that it bothers me that we don't get to have her birthday on the actual date.  But it's okay.  Really, that shouldn't matter so much.  I think that maybe one reason why I wish we could have the 29th of February every year is that for me it would just validate Solveig's life all the more, in my mind.  But she was valid.  Indeed.  She did exist.  And I believe that she still exists in Heaven.  Her spirit is there.  So whether or not her birthdate on earth is available to us on paper each year, we can still honor her life.

For Solveig's birthday, we ended up doing pretty much a repeat of last year's festivities.  We allowed our kids to skip school because this is important to us.  And we took them to the local kids museum where they had a wonderful time playing and imagining all sorts of adventures.  Mr. Squeaker finally fell asleep in his stroller and took a brief nap, which allowed him to be somewhat human for the rest of our time at the museum.  I think he didn't want to miss out on all the fun though.  It was nice to have him along with us this year, outside of my womb, alive and well.  Just another healing mark on the journey.

Spending quality fun time with our Bug and Buzz was so important to me and to Erik.  It felt so healthy to be laughing and enjoying them.  We played together, and I felt so free.  At home it's so easy to get into our routines…go, go, go all day long…and I truly feel like we don't take enough time to just stop and play with our kids.  So it felt like such a gift to have that time at the museum with them.

One interesting thing that happened while we were at the museum was that our kids were playing in this mock river dam setup.  There were about 5 plastic water creature toys to about 20 grappling children.  Perhaps some of the regular toys that live in that river had been stashed in a nearby hole or something, but it was kind of interesting to see the kids trying to negotiate who would get what toy or if they'd get one at all.  My sweet boy was playing with a little red lobster toy when all of the sudden, a younger, bossier little blonde girl from a preschool group came rushing up and grabbed the lobster hastily out of Buzzy's hands.  He just stood there in shock and awe and didn't know what to do or how to respond.  I so wanted to grab it back for him, but of course that wouldn't be helpful now, would it?  After watching that child not only take the toy but also claim one of the other five available toys per 20 kid capita, I politely said to her, "would you mind please sharing one of those toys since you have two?"  She just stared at me and made some little annoyed sound and rushed off to something else.  I think she was about four.  Anyway, Buzz was so sad.  I told him that he handled the situation politely by not grabbing it back from her.  But that he could also choose to say something along the lines of, "it isn't polite to steal a toy from someone.  Next time you could ask, 'please may I have that toy?'  Poor kid…guess we need to work on healthy confrontational skills some more…but his peacemaker ways are very sweet too. I did end up writing a comment on the comment cards asking if they could perhaps add a few more toys to the river dam…

Alas…I digress.

After thoroughly enjoying the museum and capping off our visit with some face painting where Buzz decided to paint his face entirely green to look like an alien and Bug decided to paint hers like a tropical bird, we headed off to a nearby restaurant for some delicious eats.  It was then home to nap the little Squeaker and exhausted parents, and then rev up for another part of the day.

Daddy went out and bought some light pink balloons and some light pink roses.  We went to our cemetery after nap time.  And in very cold weather, perhaps 5 degrees Fahrenheit, we climbed over the deep snow to Solveig's grave with Baby wrapped up in his warm bundle and blankets over his head and around his body.  When Daddy had the camera tripod all set for a few pics, we quickly unveiled our Squeaker's blanket shrouded head and took several pictures of us standing by the stone as a family. Then it was time for laying the roses by her stone and also releasing the balloons.  This year, the balloons were able to gracefully fly into the sky.  But just like last year, one balloon somehow got a little bit stuck and did its own thing!  That to me was so symbolic of Solveig, going on her way to Heaven separate from us.  It made us giggle a little bit.

Buzz said, "I hope the balloons make it all the way to Heaven!"

I cried and said, "Me too Buddy!  Me too."

We finished our little ceremonial time and headed back home to make dinner out of leftovers.  Wow, my creative juices were shot I guess.  I had great intentions of making a special dinner, but that wasn't meant to be.  However, I did make up some homemade vanilla cupcakes the night before and had them frozen so they would be easy to frost.  The kids helped me to make some light pink frosting.  And I sat and decorated cupcakes with them.  Buzz wanted just gobs of frosting and no sprinkles on his.  And Bug spent a lot of time adding TONS of sprinkles on hers!  Again, it felt so good to just do something fun with them.  The kids sang several different renditions of Happy Birthday.

Today, March 1st, we had a birthday breakfast of homemade crepes with fruit, whipped cream and maple syrup.  It was my first time making crepes, so lets just say that there were a LOT of flopped pancakes.  But they still tasted delicious.  After kind of a slow day, I ended up going out for some big box store therapy grocery shopping.  It felt good to get out of the house.  And then after supper tonight we had a chance to do some more reminiscing with our kids.

We got out our pale pink scrapbook with Solveig's photos and big purple storage bin that has Solveig's things in it…her white blanket and pink bear that I basically lived with until after Squeaker was born over a year later, the hundreds of sympathy cards that loving people sent to us (I read about half of them again tonight and wept…thank you, friends), the candles that were used at her funeral that I cannot bear to part with or use yet, the outfits that friends and family gave to us in preparation for our daughter that I still cannot get rid of and I think I may always keep, the mini strawberry dress that matched big sister Bug's strawberry dress…purchased just a week before Solveig died inside of me, the box that was given to us at the hospital in loving memory of a little boy named Colton, (the inspiration for me taking on the box project that his parents used to be a part of), her footprints and handprints…so delicate and tiny, her dark brown hair clippings inside the Tress Press…the same dark hair as her sister Bug and brother Squeaker…it was really good but really hard to look at these things.

Part way through going over the memory items, my sweet seven year old Bug said, "Mom, I can tell that you are getting really teary.  Perhaps this has been enough for one day."  Bless her heart.

I said, "Honey, it's okay that I'm crying.  It's okay to be sad about this and to look at Solveig's things.  But thank you so much for being sensitive and for caring so much about your mama."

Then Buzz said as he was looking at the photos of Solveig, "I miss Solveig so much.  I can't wait to see her again."

I said, "I know, Honey.  We all feel the same way."

My sweet husband was soaking in all of the mementos.  He was looking at it all and holding back the tears in his eyes.  What especially caught him tonight were the photos of him holding Solveig and weeping when we were holding her and bathing her.  Those are some of my favorites…they are so tender and show his depth and love for his daughter.  As he said last year when we visited her hospital room, "It just makes me sad to think about the life that could have been."

Yes, it makes me sad too.  Sometimes it really makes me very sad.

And other days I truly don't feel sad about it like I used to.  I think it is perfectly healthy and good and normal that we dug out all of her things and went through it today…that we spent time thinking about her and talking about her as a family…that we will always remember her out loud…because I don't want our family to ever forget her.  She meant something to us and always will.  She was born.  She was still.  But she was born.

Having our sweet Solveig has changed my life forever.  I feel things more deeply now than I think I could before.  I see other people hurting in a different way than before.  I feel more aware of a lot of things that I think matter in this world.  And I wish that I could help everyone who is in pain.  The reality of course it that I can't do that because I'm just one person.  But I do care.  And I can pray.  I can pray for people…that is something that I can do.  I so long to help other people who are going through the loss of their child, and I am thankful to be able to do some of this.

Thank you for caring about me…about our family…for remembering our daughter with us.  We all miss her very much.  It isn't just me.  We all grieve differently, and that is alright.  But we are learning to process our grief alone and together.  It is still a process.  And I believe it will go on for the rest of our lives, and that is alright.  It is okay to grieve.  And it is healthy to grieve.

And in grieving fully, I believe we are able to more better move forward in our lives.  I truly feel like I am able to "do life" better now than I could two years ago, or one year ago, or even six months ago.  Each day brings new strength that only comes from God.  I could not go on without His love for me.

Blessings and peace, friends.

Thanks Heather Hanson for capturing this photo of my Solveig bear from the Missing Grace Foundation with the kids a few months after we lost her...

I cherish these family photos that we had taken that day.  Thank you Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep and Jen Kelly.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

More Thoughts From Siblings...

Today at lunch, Buzz was in another of his reflective moods.  We started talking about Solveig, and here is the conversation that happened.

Mama, "Buzz, do you remember holding Solveig at the hospital?"

Buzz, "No, I don't remember that." (That makes me sad actually, because for the longest time he talked about it.  But he was so young when she died…not quite four, so it doesn't surprise me that his memory of her is fading.)

Mama, "Well, would you like to look at the pictures we have so that you can see how you held her?  You were so good with her, such a good big brother.  You held her gently and kissed her forehead."

Buzz, "Yes, I would like to see those."

"I guess if Bug and I died then we wouldn't be Squeaker's brother and sister anymore."

Mama, "No Honey, you'll always be Squeaker's brother and sister, whether you are here or in Heaven. Do you remember in the book Heaven I_S F_or Re_al when the little boy goes to Heaven?  When he's there he meets his sister that his mom miscarried.  He had no idea that he had a sister, but he met her there.  When we go to Heaven, I believe we will see our loved ones and we will know each other."

Buzz, "Maybe we'll all be babies in Heaven."

Mama, "That would be interesting, wouldn't it?  I'm not sure how old we'll be in Heaven, but the Bible does say that we will be free from pain and sickness.  And everyone will get along. Maybe we can run with the cheetahs. Won't that be great?"

Bug, "I want to run with the cheetahs!  I want to learn how to run like a cheetah."

I know that there were some more really neat details to this conversation, but I can't remember them right now.

I love these big kiddos…they are such a blessing to me and their daddy.

Thanks to Heather for these pictures. :)