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Saturday, December 31, 2011

jedidiah's playground

chris' parents dedicated the playground at their church to the memory
of jedidiah. here are a couple pictures of the final assembly. i
think it's just such a beautiful and thoughtful gift and i hope the
kids get alot of wonder filled play out of it.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

introducing john cornelius

after what seemed like weeks of prodromal labor...
he decided a quick entry would be appropriate.
here is the short and sweet-
departed home @ a little before 5 pm(AKA "rush hour")
arrived at hospital @6:15
made it into an l&d room @6:33
john cornelius entered the world screaming at 6:45
below you will see me texting with his dad earlier today. yes- his
contact name is "ice ice baby"- but that's purely for an "in case of
emergency" situation. his contact name used to be "better than
chocolate" and he lived up to that name and some today.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

thank you for your kind messages, thoughts, and prayers

i have received so many sweet messages over the past three days and i'd just like to say thank you!

i was really hoping to not go into labor and have to be in the hospital for jedidiah's feast day. and friday night at about 10 i sat back on the couch and gave out a sigh of relief. it was a nice day of remembrance. we looked at pictures and shared our favorite memories.
and this morning one of my first thoughts was that jedidiah was giving a thumbs up to "dolphin"- like, "it's almost time for you little brother. you'll love them, and they'll love you. give them a hug for me- ok?"
i love those little gifts. sentiments of love shared by the community of saints that are bound together beyond borders of time, space, and infinity.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


i was raised in a family where it seemed the motto was "stiff upper
lip, nose to the grind stone". in a way it was good- things kept
moving. they had to at the risk of falling apart.
it was difficult to step out if line and ask for help because that
would mean stopping the machine.
so it has naturally taken me awhile to ask for help this past year.
ask any one of my siblings if it's easy to ask for help. guaranteed
they'll say "it's not easy" no matter what temperament they are.
i started seeing a counselor a few weeks ago. i admit being fearful
of post partum depression. i was fearful of that after jedidiah
died. so my fear drove me to ask for help. i was referred to a
catholic counseling service north of atlanta. and as i drove home
from my first session i felt kind of bummed. i risked opening myself
up- yet again(exhausting)- and i didn't get anything practical(what i
was expecting). i needed tools, advice, a "here's what you do in
*this* situation" type game plan. but when i came back through the
door and met the kids it occured to me. i don't need tools. i need
time and space. when i came back through the door i was ready to be
needed. ready to be the short order cook, boo-boo kisser, bottom
wiper, and shoe finder. and another thing occured to me. the last
hour at the counselor's was all about me. me and no one else. i
wasn't being needed. i had the time and space to open up and feel.
at home i revert to "stiff upper lip, nose to the grindstone" type
mentality. i can't step out of line and open up to my feelings or the
machine will break down. being needed constantly while grieving is
difficult and exhausting. i think what scares me the most is the
amount of "neediness" is going to shift big time soon. i'll be going
from having the youngest child in my care being a rather independant
and mobile 3 year old to a VERY dependent newborn.

so please pray for me during this time-as the anniversary of
jedidiah's death approaches- that i may have the grace for whatever
God sends me, that i may have the grace to ask for help, and that my
family will grow in holiness through it all.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

more pics from jedidiah's birthday

christina took these with her phone. she has an app that surprises
you with whatever filter, flare, or style it happens to choose.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

jedidiah's birthday

we went to first saturday mass this morning at st. monica's. father joseph concelebrated with father jack and it reminded me of jedidiah's baptism and confirmation- how they concelebrated those special sacraments. max and henry got to serve mass and it said for our family- a gift from christina and mike.
after mass we headed home for breakfast and to load the bikes and stroller in the van. a little before noon we headed out to conyers. i kept up with our "caravan" via text. fr. kevin, christina and mike, and my mom and dad were all heading towards conyers along with us.
we ended up out at honey creek woodlands at about the same time. i was so surprised to see joe whitaker there. he's the steward that helped us choose jedidiah's plot and is such a sweet and caring soul.

we hiked out amongst the changing leaves and crisp air. within a mile everyone was itching to shuck their top layer. the sun had warmed up and it hardly felt november. i remembered that while i was in labor a year ago- the weather outside was acting so squirrely. it was warm, then windy, then REALLY cold, then sleeting, and i think snow was reported on brasstown bald. it was such a weird surreal day. but then the following monday when we brought jedidiah home it was beautiful! sunny, warm, delicious. today was alot like that i think. and chris said as we hiked "it could be ALOT colder today".
we walked with mike's brother, gene's family. his gene's mother in law is buried not too far from jedidiah. while we visited at jedidiah's grave my dad presented me with a painting done by a friend and artist. it was so beautiful and seemed full of symbolism. i was touched with gratitude. after spending some time by jedidiah's grave we headed over to gene's mother in law's grave to pay our respects.
we had a little lunch at the picnic shelter and then headed back. i just kept thinking how beautiful it was to be able to have the hike in and out as a buffer- a way to prepare our souls for the memories and experience of the sacred space of our loved one's graves. hiking out we could gradually re-awaken ourselves to the pace and expectation of the living world. but for the hour we were out at the burial grounds it seems like time was frozen in a beautiful nature preserve.
we said goodbye to joe and headed west on 20 towards georgia tech. we decided to attend the saturday vigil mass at the catholic center where father kevin is stationed as chaplain. on the downtown connector we drove past emory midtown- the hospital where jedidiah was born. all day today i had been keeping up with the labor of a mom via a message board i am a member of. my heart immdiately went out to her. in that hospital- she labored with the same doctor on the same day as jedidiah's birth- except she was expecting twins!
at mass the second reading held the soothing words that father kevin used in his letter- and when the tech student read the words he and i exchanged knowing glances. "we do not grieve as those without hope".
after mass we headed out to dinner with my parents. and now we are back at home. AND-i returned to the good news that the twins were born safely and mom and babies are all doing nicely.

i have to edit this post to say thank you to all of you again. i will never tire in saying my thanks to every one of you. i just checked the page views from last year. november 2010 this blog got 49,550 visits. and it reminded me of the many beautiful notes i received from readers while i was in labor. those notes helped me more than i can say. and the continued support and prayers are gifts that i feel deep gratitude for. thank you friends. every year i will have masses said for "friends of jedidiah"- and know that you number among them.

happy birthday jedidiah

most babies are learning to walk on their first birthday.
you are learning to fly.

Monday, October 24, 2011

be not afraid conference

my brother spoke at the be not afraid conference in charlotte last thursday and so i got a ride up with him for the day. the conference was all about educating the support network of moms, dads, and families who are affected by a poor prenatal diagnosis. tracy winsor asked fr kevin to speak on grief within the arms of faith. she was especially touched by his letter he wrote upon learning of jedidiah's death. so he kind of used the letter as an outline and branched off from there.
one of the mom's came up to me after the talk and shared that her own brother- a protestant minister- told her she was sinning by grieving the loss of her baby boy. that since he was in heaven, her tears were somehow offending God. my heart ached for her. it still does. i am SO blessed to have the family that i have. sometimes i take it for granted. she spoke with father kevin afterward and i think got some healing and consolation from his words.
i also met a mom who recently lost beautiful twin girls who happened to share a heart. they died in august when they were 12 days old- and i have to repeat how beautiful they were. just gorgeous! we talked a bit about our experiences and i can't speak for her but it was healing for me to be with her. to just be with other moms that have experienced an infant loss- it's healing. you don't have to explain yourself, apologize, or guard yourself against insensitive comments.
i only wished i could have stayed for the rest of the conference. but friday was mary jane's fifth birthday and i wouldn't have missed that for the world.

Saturday, October 22, 2011


this is from the book "interior freedom" by jacques philippe

it is natural and easy to go along with pleasant situations that arise without our choosing them. it becomes a broblem, obviously, when things are unpleassnt, go against us, or make us suffer. but it is precisely then that, in order to become truly free, we are often called to chooses to accept what we did not want, and even what we would not have wanted at any price. there is a paradoxical law of human life here: one cannot become truly free unless one accepts not always being free!
to achieve true interior freedom we must train ourselves to accept, peacefully and willingly, plenty of things that seem to contradict our freedo. this means consenting to our personal limitations, our weaknesses, our powerlessness, this or that situation that life imposes on us, and so on. we find it difficult to do this, because we feel a natural revulsion for situations we cannot control. but the fact is that the situations that really make us grow are precisely those we do not control.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

images from today's ultrasound

everything is good. fluid is good. size is 58th percentile at 4.2
i took all the kids(everyone but mary jane- she saw him at 13 and 16
wks). some of the older kids have asked questions about the health of
"dolphin" so I felt it necessary to have them all come and have a look-
see to allay their worries.
and he is head down- which is nice. for the past four weeks he ha
been head up- kicking my cervix. after a few hand stands in the pool
monday night i felt his kicks higher up and my ribs didn't feel so
tender. so- hopefully he'll stay put.

Monday, September 5, 2011

personal choices without handwriting on the wall

during jedi's birth chris and i had to make decisions without alot of information. we had to make decisions without a clear and similar trailblazer ahead of us.
on the "living with trisomy" site there are alot of great people and ALOT of great information. BUT.
every child with trisomy is different. every symptom of the disease that is collected and stacked against the little one is so unique both in the combination and the severity. so it was difficult to decide alot of things. they don't exactly publish a "what to expect when you are expecting a trisomy blessing" book.
decisions like...
- what's the best way to deliver? what do we look for in a care provider?
- should we sign a DNR?
- what further tests should we have run?
- should we get an amnio?
- when he is born how aggresive should we fight to help our little guy live?
- should we intubate?
- should we do lasix?
- should we risk him dying in an mri machine just to see how his brain is?

i could go on. and there is no one you can really ask. and if you ask anyone with personal experience they can really only tell you what they did with what they had(which is probably alot different than what you'll be given).

when we found out that jedi had holoprosencephaly and i posted on facebook about it several people chimed in saying "oh, i know a kid with that and he's 9!" and when we found out that jedidiah had tetrology of fallot and i posted that on facebook i heard that "sean white had that when he was born". and i wanted to say- "well, that's just a TINY sliver of the pie- there is so much else going on affecting multiple systems."

the very BEST advice i got when pregnant with jedidiah was from tracy winsor from "be not afraid". she is so great and sensitive when dealing with mothers who are carrying a baby given a poor prenatal diagnosis. one night at almost 11 pm i was pacing in front of my house with her on the phone in charlotte- i asked her "tracy, how will i know what to do? how will i know how hard to fight?"
and she said, "you'll know when you hold him. if he opens his eyes. if he cries. if he fights, you fight."
and i took that visualization to bed with me- every night for weeks. and she was right. i knew. those first few moments were doubtful. he wasn't breathing. he was getting darker and darker. and then he opened his eyes and started crying. and we knew he was a fighter. we knew that we owed him tests to find out more on how to help him. we knew that not deciding before birth was the best decision we could've made. leaving it open for God to decide and for us to follow.

and keeping myself open to God's will. had i felt called to an induction- i would've done it. had i felt called to an amnio- i would have done it. but i really felt called to leave it all up to Him. and no one can tell you God's will- you have to dig deep- find time for silence to listen and turn it over to Him.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

12 hour growth spurt

who else thinks this growth spurt is kind of ridiculous big?
first pic is from yesterday morning. i am 26 weeks and a few days.
second pic is from last night?!?!? yes, last night.
i could. not. stop. eating. yesterday.
wonder what is going on... wish i had a womb-cam.
in other news i have my first appointment with the practice who is
going to deliver "dolphin" later today. and yesterday i found myself
really excited for the first time in a LONG time about an appointment!
with jedidiah i always felt apprehensive- kind of a protective stance
before appointments. "what are we going to learn this time?". ioften
couldn't sleep the night before- and them i felt tight all day until i
was through.
and even with this baby. the first appointment when we got an
ultrasound too was a very anxious time for me. and even after the
ultrasound showed nothing wrong i still didn't look forward to
appointments. i think i just hated the practice. they made me feel
like a number, someone to bill. i prayed and prayed to know who i
should deliver with. i couldnt go back to dr.tate- he is such a
skilled doctor and so caring too. but he only delivers at emory
midtown and i couldn't go back there and see some of those nurses.
then after going back and reading frances' birth story i recalled how
much my midwife stood by me- she delivers at a different hospital-
which importantly isn't emory midtown. and i feel peace with this
decision. a deep peace and an excitement that i haven't felt in a
long time.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

iPieta app and today's readings: faith

i was scrolling through my iPieta app last week, showing father kevin what all it has to offer when he stopped me in the "veritas" section.
there are lots of sections located under the veritas tab- catechisms including baltimore, imitation of christ, writings of saints, the summa, ecumenical councils, papal writings, and much more. in one section called "bible commentaries" he pointed out something called "catena aurea". it's a bible commentary that first has the bible excerpt- but then after that it has what jerome, augustine, john chrysostum, hilary, raban, bede, theophylact, and many other early church fathers had to say about the reading. he said it is a great tool for a new priest to use when writing homilies. i think it's a great tool to use period.

so- on to today's reading and the relevance it has in my life right now(especially since saint jerome helped me out some)
today's reading was matthew 14:22-33 in which Jesus walks across the wind tossed water toward the disciples in the boat. jerome said that "while the Lord tarries in the top of the mountain, straightway a wind arises contrary to them, and stirs up the sea, and the disciples are in imminent peril of shipwreck, which continues till Jesus comes...The military guards and watches are divided into portions of three hours each. when then he(matthew) says that the Lord came to them in the fourth watch, this shews that they had been in danger the whole night."
and john chrysostum says: "teaching them not to seek a speedy riddance of coming evil, but to bear manfully such things as befall them."

while i was pregnant with jedidiah God's presence and strength and grace were tangible, palpable. but the days after and since jedidiah's death have been a struggle. a test.

the imitation of Christ says "does it matter much, if at the coming of grace, you are cheerful and devout? this is an hour desired by all, for he whom the grace of God sustains travels easily enough. what wonder if he feel no burden when borne up by the Almighty and led on by the Supreme Guide! For we are always glad to have something to comfort us, and only with difficulty does a man divest himself of self."

so i keep trying to have faith past what is my experience now. have faith that God still cares. He is there on the mountain while i am in the boat. not because He doesn't care. but because he wants me to "man up" -to wean me from the teat of constant consolation and see if i can stand on my own.

i'm such a baby. i want the consolation. i want the affirmation of grace within me. but just because i don't feel it does that mean it's not there? and since it's not tangible or palpible does that mean God thinks i'm ready to be weaned? i think i need to trust that decision and go with it.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

a new trisomy family needs prayers now

they live here in atlanta and are about 19 weeks along with a baby girl who has been diagnosed with trisomy. i have added their blog to my blog list on the left. they are such a precious family and just by reading her blog i have found that she has had alot of the same feelings i had during my pregnancy with jedidiah. the mom's name is katie and i have a really strong feeling she'll be needing your prayers.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

raising kids

chris was clicking around the channels last night and on one channel
there flashed a preacher who asked his congregation, "have you raised
and i said to chris, "we haven't raised a child.". thinking how funny
it was that we were currently raising 6 and have been at it for years
it seems. but we have yet to successfully raise a child to the age of
18. although we are getting close. henry will be 12 on thursday!
he looked at me and said, "we have raised one."
and i thought dumbly that he was talking about henry.
"what?!?! he'll only be 12 he's hardly a man!"
"we have one kid that my job is complete with. it depends on your
definition of what it means to 'successfully raise a child' is."
have i mentioned that i love chris?

Saturday, July 30, 2011

trisomy adoption

children who have trisomy 13 are waiting to be loved.  waiting to be adopted.
For those interested in Adopting a Trisomy 13, there are several on this page.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

if you are TTC- trying to conceive or just a woman of birthing age

i guess this is kind of a PSA of sorts.
but in anatomy and physiology last semester we learned about the divisions that the human egg undergoes. as well as the divisions of the sperm.
and then this information i learned in a book called "fertility, cycles, and nutrition" : that 95% of trisomies are because of problems arising during egg cell division(the mom).
AND further- proper amounts of folic acid are needed for healthy egg cell division.

so ladies, put that ALL together and it comes out as this...

birth defects like downs syndrome, trisomy 18, and trisomy 13 arise long before conception. they arise as your body busily goes about making eggs. we shouldn't begin to take prenatal vitamins when we find out we are pregnant. we should be taking them everyday between marriage and menopause, switching to a menopausal supplement after that.

i didn't want to bring this up at first because when i first put it together i dealt with some guilt- knowing i was the one who possibly caused jedidiah's genetic defect. i didn't want any other tri moms to feel guilty. but i realized that it was just short dark moment, and that it shouldn't stop me from possibly preventing future babies' problems.

this cake

fellow ICANer, robin, sent this image to me this morning.
i thought it was cute.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

20 weeks

wow- what a difference a few weeks makes! things are going good.
i was scheduled for a 20 ultrasound but canceled the appointment
because i didn't feel the need- AND- i am
not satisfied with my careprovider so i am shopping for another.
he is kicking alot and

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

a dream this morning

i had a dream that we had our baby boy("dolphin") as the girls call him. it was an uneventful birth. we actually went home without him*. the home we were in at the time was a LARGE rambling house owned by my sister-in-law. everyone was living there. we needed to furnish our room so i went to this store that was like like a homoginized home depot/walmart/linens and things. i bought new underwear, a bathmat, some sheets, and a ceiling fan. when we arrived back at the house i saw my sister-in-law's boyfriend walking around the pool- it was FULL of kids. like i said, everyone lived there. so we drove around to the front yard where they had just built a pool and that pool was full too! we pulled up short of the pool and all of the sudden i got this terrible feeling in my gut. i needed to find my mom. and i wanted chris too.
i ran around the house and found chris. together, we then found mom- she was in kevin's room and he was taking a nap. at the foot of his bed kids were playing cards. regina was talking on the phone sitting next to his bed. i wanted privacy but more than that i wanted to ask a burning question.
"what's going on with our baby?"
"he passed a clot this morning." she said and looked away.
"well, there was part of his outside skin that didn't form on the outside, it stayed inside."
while she said this the ridge of her nose started turning black and melting down her face. she turned to me and said, "the skin came out with the clot and... and... and he died."
i've gone to sleep crying quite a few times. i've never woken up crying like i did this morning. well, actually sobbing was more of what it was like.
we got an ultrasound on this kid. the lady said that nothing is wrong as far as she can see. we didn't agree to any more tests- because we knew that tests don't serve to take away ALL your worry. you're still going to worry. you're still going to doubt they did the test right. you'll doubt they turned over all the stones.
chris held me. i listened to his heart but i couldn't go back to sleep. everytime i closed my eyes i went back to that place. part of me wanted to find a mirror back in my dream. convinced that if i looked in it i i wouldn't see myself. convinced that in my dream i was someone else.

Monday, June 13, 2011

frankie's little flower moment

yesterday i had all my sister's kids over here for the day. so that would be 13 kids running around. in the evening, after a dinner that i botched(ran out of flour for the dumplings so it was more like chicken 'n cornbread bc i used cornmeal), frankie started throwing a fit. i took her upstairs to our quiet room and was firm and calm. we weren't going downstairs until we read a couple books. my hope was that she would fall into much needed sleep, but calming her down was also a priority. she kept trying to negotiate. her little 2 year old mind making me bite my lip to keep from laughing.
"NOOOOO!!!! i don't WANT to read a book!"
then later
"we can go downstairs AFTER we read a book. ok mommy?"
"yes. after we read a book."
"NOOOOOO!!! mommy! AFTER we read a book we can go downstairs."
"sure, after we read a book we can go downstairs."
she kept going around in circles not agreeing with me but using words that were in agreement.
i am not sure how the subject got to jedidiah but she said, "dedidiah(that's how she says his name) died after we went to church."
"we brought jedidiah to church after he died- yes."
"i don't want dedidiah to die"
"yeah i don't either"
"i want you to hold him in your tummy again."
"and I want you to hold him in YOUR arms again."
she smiled.
i said, "guess who is holding him now."
she looked at me.
i said, "mama mary."
"NOOOO!!!(she was still a little bit in her fit) i don't WANT her to hold dedidiah!!"
"ok, well mother teresa can hold him."
"NOOOO!!! dedidiah is a BOY!"
"ok, so Jesus can hold him?"
"yeah"- she smiled.
then she said "where is daddy?"
"he is sitting in his chair."
"i want him to die so he can go hold dedidiah."
that reminded me of the little flower- how she wished her mother would die so she could go to heaven. i thought it was so touching- she wanted someone she knew jedidiah loved and knew here to hold him.
all this talking about jedidiah is new for her. she couldn't really put into words her thoughts back when he was alive and even when he died. but i knew she was storing it away- and would bring it back out when understanding and knowledge merged.

Friday, May 27, 2011

one year anniversary of naming of jedi

on the way to huntsville last memorial day i was knitting the
beginnings of jedi's blue blanket. we didn't know what gender he
was. in fact the wednesday after memorial day was to be our first
ultrasound- the ultrasound that first let us know everything was not
ok. on our way to huntsville we talked over names. i already had the
middle name picked out. i wanted joseph and i was waiting for chris
to pick a nice first name. chris said he liked the name jed. so i
said "what about jedidiah?". i remembered seeing that name on bumper
stickers in san diego when we lived there. so it was decided. if he
was a girl we were going to go with charlotte rose.

it's hard to remember what life was like before jedi had something
wrong. how his future extended before us. how we dreamed of him
growing up with the kids- learning to ride a bike, dig for worms, and
climb trees.
my first ultrasound with dolphin (the name given the current womb baby
by his older sister mary jane) i sat on the table and looked up at the
tv screen on the wall. it took me back to the peri's office and all
those "abnormal" boxes the ultrasound tech kept checking with jedi.
there was about one or two boxes she checked "normal".
although i never cried during any of jedi's ultrasound i burst out
crying there on the table with dolphin- and they hadn't even turned on
the machine!
chris grabbed me some tissues. ultrasounds now no longer mean the
same thing. they used to be all cute and "we get to peek in at our
baby this thursday!" and "we're going to find out what gender our baby
is tomorrow!"
no, now when i hear about someone getting an ultrasound i kind of hold
my breath. i pray that whatever learned in that room- good or bad-
comes with the adequate graces.


st. jedidiah, pray for us!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

baby in a bubble widget

i'm not sure why the baby floating in the bubble on the top left looks like a 6 weeker. this baby is almost 14 weeks and has ALOT more detail than a 6 weeker.
i'll try to upload some ultrasound pics later.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

a baby

and it's a boy!
and he's due right after that anniversary of jedi's death- so i come
to you all, yet again- begging your prayers. i still and navigating
grief. i don't LOVE the term rainbow baby. i don't like how people
think of other children purely as a bandaid or a salve. i REALLY want
this baby to stand on his own- be his own person, but right now there
is still a shadow and pretty big shoes to fill. will i EVER see this
baby as he is on his own? or will there be a nagging comparison?
will i find pure joy in being able to nurse and sling this baby-
without the shadow of loss in not ever being able to do that for and
with jedi? i am not sure. all this is so new to me.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

six months

today is jedidiah's hevenly half birthday. we went to mass and
grandma and grandpa peek took us to chick-fil-a afterwards. tonight
we will have cake.
i think the date that has been on my mind the most is the date that
changed our lives. coming up- june 1st. the day of our first


st. jedidiah, pray for us!

Friday, April 8, 2011

my first dream

i had a dream about jedi last night. my first dream ever. i was
holding him kind of on my hip. and he was able to hold his head up
and look about. it was a holiday- Christmas i think -and i was busy
and running around. i stopped to think of when i last fed him-and
that he must be hungry. i looked at him and felt a pang of guilt-
forgeting to feed him.
i remember one of my last thoughts before i went to sleep last night
was remembering how I used to have to set an alarm for feedings. he
very rarely complained and i just wanted to save him the effort- even
small efforts were very taxing.
what a gift! thank you God for a little taste of heaven!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

from italy

our trip to italy was such a renewing time. it was hard to leave te
kids for so long- but they'll be reaping the rewards of having parents
who love each other and are willing to take time for each other. i
loved being able to simply walk down the old cobblestone streets and
hold his hand. i loved experiencing new and different, familiar and
tasty culinary delights at quiet meals with him. i loved the
strolling through museums, skiing the dolomites, and cruising the
autostrada-all with him.
here's us under michelangelo's duomo at san pietro's.
click here to link to the blog about our italian trip.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

shielding children from suffering

"Even suffering is part of the truth of our life. Thus, trying to shield the youngest from every difficulty and experience of suffering, we risk creating, despite our good intentions, fragile persons of little generosity: The capacity to love, in fact, corresponds to the capacity to suffer, and to suffer together."   
--- Pope Benedict XVI

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

nov 18th feast day

the day of jedi's death is the feast day of st. rose phillipine duchesne. the reason i know this is because a sweet young lady has asked me to be her confirmation sponsor- the name she picked was st. rose duchesne since her feast day was jedi's death. so my mom, in her classic fashion, has crossed the world using phone lines and stamps to find more information about this saint. i really think the internet would blow her mind but she insists on doing things the old fashioned way.
so i got a letter from mom today- a loose leaf wide ruled piece of paper with a quote from st. rose phillipine duchesne written in my mom's beautiful nun-taught cursive.

"the world was saved by the Cross. those who spread teh gospel preached only the cross. and solid virtues flourish only in its shadow. the necessity of carrying the cross and of living as a follower of Jesus Christ in toil and tears prevents the return of so many brothers who have wandered from the truth. we do not want a religion that is sad, they say, or one that requires suffering; we want pleasures. they want paradise without paying the price of suffering, but can they give lie to the gospel?"

or deny humanity? the mere fact is- life is hard. i will never understand the christian's who believe in "prosperity gospel"- the message that if you are a true follower, then God will bless you abundantly with good things and riches and nothing but ease. and should you, for example, fall ill with cancer that would show the world that you were not a true follower- that God had turned his back on you.
the whole things seems SO UTTERLY illogical. suffering is humanity. God's only son wasn't spared suffering. as a matter of fact He was given a huge piece of suffering pie- a bigger piece than most everyone i know- AND, He didn't even deserve it!
so skating through life- expecting no suffering- expecting God to come swooping down to smooth the way isn't a very christian belief. it's definitely not the message Christ preached.
i still sit in awe at the paradoxical lessons God is always teaching. it's odd that i find comfort when the cross is preached. such a prickly, uncomfortable, burdensome, unattractive message. but it's so comforting- we are ALL in this together. together with Christ.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

running away

i wonder if mother teresa ever wished she could run away. i bet not.
i do sometimes. the only thing that stops me is the deep feeling inside that it won't solve anything. it won't take the pain away. it will always find me. it seems that the only place i can keep the pain away for any length of time is to be busy beyond my ability.
it's hard to have patience for kids who freak out about a cup being slightly too far away at the table. or kids that freak out and cry when they find out that the last stamp was used without their knowing.
i just want to say- "it's my turn. it's my turn to cry- to freak out and blubber on about things not being the way i want them to be"
sometimes i wonder how much of their freaking out is because of jedidiah or collateral damage or because they are kids and kids freak out about things alot.
i'm hoping that our trip to italy satisfies my desire to run away. i don't like feeling this way.

Friday, February 11, 2011

white noise

there was a time, right after jedidiah had died, when we took the van to get cleaned at the automatic wash. towards the end of the wash when those loud jets were blowing on the car- i just wanted to stop, freeze there in the loudness- the noise all around me, blocking everything out.
i was reminded of that when i laid back in the hot tub at the gym. i propped my feet up on the seat and just floated there- my ears below the water, listening to the jets. i closed my eyes and then i could remember jedidiah. so clear was the memory. i watched him flex and bend his wrists the way he did when he was cold during diaper chages. i looked at his eyebrows raise as he tried to track something above his head. i remembered the weight of his tiny head in my hands. the soft feel of his skin, his cheek, his silky hair. it was so nice.
my day is constantly full of noise, action, 'to do' lists. i never really have time to sit and remember him. but i know i need to work that into my schedule.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

the biggest struggle as of late

what to do with my fertility?
every time my fertility comes around i am faced with thoughts that overwhelm.
another baby would feel like an inferior replacement right now. i know pregnancy is 9 months and i would have time to adjust to the prospect but i simply am not ready. just being fertile is a painful reminder. i had a baby three months ago! i shouldn't be fertile yet! but i am and why i am is why i am not ready to put my fertility to use. so we abstain during the fertile time- and wait for clearer thoughts. the thought of a baby stands on it's own- without thoughts of inferior replacement.
will that ever happen? will i ever think of pregnancy and childbirth the same again?
whenever i see a pregnant woman i don't have that joyful feeling inside me as much as i used to. i now see her and think how maybe she is carrying a secret burden that her body belies.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

little reminders

we were away all weekend- having a little family getaway to ski up in
the smoky mountains of tennessee. we went hiking this morning and got
on the road to come back in time for 5:30pm mass at st monica's. we
got to mass a little late- and look what was on the ceiling of the
samantha pointed it out and mary jane belted out "it's jedidiah's
the matching balloon is now crumpled on the floor in my room but this
one was a nice little reminder.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

protecting myself

during jedi's pregnancy it began. i started cautioning the kids to "be careful", "get down from there", "don't skate so fast or you'll fall".
i kept thinking to myself- "i'm already on a cliff- a trip to the emergency room for a broken femur would push me over"
that attitude made the world "all about me". instead of fostering the kids sense of adventure and zeal for life, i was trying to push them into a more convenient shape. something that wouldn't burden me as much when i shouldered it.
this sentiment goes to levels deeper than "taming dare devil kids". it goes to other levels- not reaching out to help someone in need- not being open to God's call, the challenge of the spirit- not trusting that God will provide if i just say 'yes'.
my pastor, fr. jack has given some great homilies over the past few weeks. the one i'm referring to isn't posted on the link because it was a weekday mass homily.
i can't remember the exact words but it was something along the lines of not worrying so much about this or that detail. this world is passing- fleeting- so very temporary. and i am putting too much stock in all that is dust.
the ONE thing i need to think about is "what God wants me to do right NOW!"
i get so caught up in "what if" situations- economic and governmental collapse, invasion, slavery, poverty, war, famine. but when i think of fr. jack's words it doesn't bother me much anymore. what does God want me to do NOW?
get up and make breakfast. live. love. say yes.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

yesterday's jedi hike

we hiked to jedidiah's grave yesterday. in our hiking party we had all the kids, christina and her daughter marianna, aunt denny, uncle father kevin, and grandma&grandpa(in the golf cart).
we met up with a friend and her daughter from church.
it was a beautiful day with temps in the low 50s and not a cloud in the sky.
father kevin said mass and gave good homily focusing mark 3:22-30(the gospel of the day.

turn off the radio down on the left before watching the video.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

a weekend to celebrate life

right after the prolife march we headed to a neighborhood north of
atlanta and set up camp at a hotel with a nice pool and complimentary
it was neat to see all the jedidiah hoodies moving about the halls.
saturday morning we packed into a room for mass.
the last picture at the bottom is of my niece, nora, and a painting
she completed as a gift for me.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The prolife march

it was so nice for my family to be together again for this cause.
especially touching was being able to walk with father kevin. it's
hard when i think of how temporary his r&r leave is.
i shared jedidiah's story with many people. and that made me warm,
despite the cold. the more people who know him- and know that life is
SO very beautiful, no matter how long it is, nor what is accomplished-
the easier the grief is.

several people expressed desire to order their own sweatshirt. email
me at Arendale(at)charter(dot)net. if you'd like one of your own.

Monday, January 17, 2011

another bed for jedi

mary jane made another little bed for jedi. she makes one
periodically. it's usually when i am deep cleaning our bedroom.
today she gathered all te stuffed animals together and brought his
christmas stocking over and laid it beside his bed.
i poured mj and frankie a bath and began to put away his bed while
they were distracted with the water. the most touching part about his
bed was this angel doll i found, holding a baby.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

a new year

new year's eve was hard. i wasn't expecting it. i made it through christmas with only a brief period of tough grief only to be blindsided on new year's eve. chris and i sat watching the sparkly ball drop in times square on tv. the children were all asleep. i just began crying- out of the blue. it may have been something said by the announcer, i'm not sure. but i thought about how jedi's WHOLE life- from conception to death was held in 2010. how we are leaving 2010 behind and embracing all that is new and hopeful. 2011! but i wasn't so excited. i wanted to hold on to 2010 for a bit longer. i wasn't ready to let go. but let go i must. i feel like a donkey who can't be coaxed forward- digging in my heels, throwing my head back so i can keep remembering, keep living, keep inhaling jedi.

i'm in such a fog. i went to confession last night and i honestly didn't know what to say. i'm VERY far from perfect so i KNOW there was alot i could say. i have just been so numb and in a fog- i can't sit and be recollected. forget searching my day to find what i have done wrong, i can't even name one thing i have done right! so i just knelt there and mumbled and cried and sniffed- thankful for the screen between the priest and i. and he quoted scripture- paul- "in my weakness i am made strong". so beyond this fog, above it, the same God that gave me chris and the kids, that ensures i have oxygen to breathe and eyes to see, He is making me strong. i do not feel it at all. i don't feel the strength coming. but i must trust past the feelings- for feelings at times may be deceiving.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

another mom

please pray for this girl.
i'm not sure if this is real, but if it is- i'm so sad that she's having to turn to yahoo answers for advice! it reminds me to be so very thankful for the gift(it is in fact a GIFT!) of faith and for the support of all my family and friends.

children's grief

mary jane and frances talk about jedidiah every day- multiple times a day. they play with his bear. they see the balloon on the ceiling and ask "is that jedidiah's balloon?" (yes, it's still up there;).
i found it unsettling one night to witness the girls playing at funeral in my room. i was knitting and they had jedidiah's bear wrapped in a blanket. they called it "the box". they then took a rug and covered "the box" and said "now the box is under the ground". then they pulled the bear out and played some other game with it.
i thought, "how morbid!". but then, kids do that. they play to understand. the copycat mom and dad so that they can learn how to behave. but they are also very lighthearted beings. mary jane and frances' play reminded me of ring around the rosey. that song and it's origin is a testament to a child's view of grief. life happens- and then they turn it into a song and game.
this afternoon we went out as a family. it being naptime, frances naturally fell asleep. when we got to our destination i unbuckled her and was about to slip her onto my shoulder when she woke. she was wide eyed and alert so quickly, it shocked me.
"jedidiah's in heaven. jedidiah's in heaven. jedidiah's in heaven."
she repeated this over and over.
i asked, "did you see him?"
she smiled, "yes".
"did you hold him?"
she smiled bigger, "yes".
the children are helping me grieve just by grieving in their own unique way- we are all together on this journey.

link within

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