Sunday, June 30, 2013

Learning to Dwell in the Present..

Yesterday I was cleaning out under all of our couch cushions looking for the remote to our TV that we haven't been able to watch for a week and a half because we have lost the remote!  When I flipped up Tates couch cushion I found one of the caps to her IV antibiotics.  It made my heart skip.  Flash back engaged.  Why had we not been able to get her better?  Not cured, but better to have a little more time.  I just miss her so much and I was so looking forward to summer when I didn't have so many demands with the kids.  So I could really sit with her and enjoy time with her more.  With the stifling heat we have had these past few days it would have been the perfect time to just spend inside holding her.  Darn remote, darn cap!

On Friday and Saturday Holden and Heidi were able to participate in the Lehi parade.  Our ward had done a float and so I took them on Friday night and then on Saturday I decided that I would take Hilary and we would watch the parade together.  Remember how she is 3?  She was not as interested in the parade as she was the slide and swings that were right behind the parade route:)  I was able to convince her to stay for a little bit of the parade and then I caved and we walked to the park to swing.  I feel so physically tired that it is really hard for me to want to get out of bed and face the day, much less try to be a regular mom and make dinner and do fun things.  I am trying really hard to do the activities that I should be doing and the ones that now we can as a family because we don't have a sick baby.  Every time we get to just walk out the door it is heartbreaking to me.
Here are Heidi and Holden pulling and riding on the ward float.

On Saturday night Lance and I decided to go and see a family in our neighborhood that the husband is in a rehab center for a surgery that he had to have due to an accident.  They made a comment while we were there that they were grateful for us taking time to visit them during this hard time in our lives.  I feel like these are the things that we can do to make all of our extra time most valuable.  I want to serve and do things for other people because we can now and because we have been so blessed by so many.  The only way we can possibly try to repay all of the acts of kindness is to try and do nice things for others.  It is when I feel best.

After visiting for a bit we went to grab some dinner.  There seemed to be cute little babies everywhere.  Even Lance noticed.  It is such a weird feeling to know that we will never have another baby and that our time with Tatum is just abruptly over.  It isn't like I feel jealous or that I want another persons baby, I just want our baby.  I have held a few other people's babies and it just feels weird because you had to hold Tatum differently than you hold other babies, especially babies her own age.  She was more like holding a bigger newborn.  She felt so perfect in my arms.  It is just strange to think about how our lives are just so different without her.

On our way home Lance and I were talking about the changes in our lives since Tatum died.  He said that there is a sense of relief on his part since now he no longer worries about her suffering.  During the last four months when he was at work and got a call from home, he would fear that it was bad news about Tatum. Now that sick feeling associated with a call from home is gone.  For me it seems like a large part of my existence has just disappeared.  There is such a bond and such a pull to care for her from day one that to have that gone is so hard.  I told him that I feel like I really need to concentrate on dwelling in the present and not the past.  I certainly feel such a pull to the past.  I think of her every second right now.  I know that will subside.  I need to dwell on the beautiful things of the present that I have been so blessed with.  A great husband and father to our children and 5 other beautiful kids that need me to be here.  I can't believe a month has passed.  I know that we did things during that time, but I could not tell you exactly what.  I want to feel the joy of life again.  And I will, because I choose to.  Time.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Camping Survived...

Well, the "non camper" survived camping for three days.  I think that I may have slept better there than I had been at home.  Go figure!  Maybe because we were all so exhausted every night.  It is not easy helping to entertain 40 girls every day.  But they were so fun.

Like I said in my last post, our camp was just up American Fork canyon.  It was only about a 15 or 20 minute drive from our house (depending on who was driving:))  I had only been to the camp during the winter, once with some friends of ours for the kids to go sledding a few years ago and then again this past March I think to go to a meeting.  When we arrived at the camp on Tuesday I was so pleased.  It was absolutely beautiful.

The sky was just so blue and the trees were so green.  The weather was absolutely perfect.   The camp had lots of fun activities that were available to us like a confidence course, a zip line and canoeing.  There were hiking trails all around us.  Just a beautiful place.  I was still having those feelings of needing to go home to check on Tates.  Our minds are just not fair to our hearts some times.  It is hard to unmap the hard wires.  Those urges just come because I had thought for months about this time and how it would be.

When we got to camp we had a meeting we had to go to and then we got camp set up.  Even I helped set up tents.  Luckily the girls are good helpers and didn't need to depend on me so much:)  This is me pounding in some stakes!  And our tent did stay up all three days:)
The night that we got there Halea and one of her friends had the devotional.  They gave a great thought about keeping our standards and how important that is to living a good life.  Then I looked up and Halea had a present in her hand and she had me come up to give it to me.  Embarrassing!  When I unwrapped it I was so shocked.  It was a beautiful book and it had a picture of a lot of our Young Women standing in front of our church holding a picture of Tatum.  The title on the book was "Strengthened Our Faith".  The back cover of the book is a picture of all of the girls and Tatum at girls camp last year.

 I was shocked.  As I thumbed through the pages I saw that the Young Women and other leaders had all written a note about how Tatum had touched them and  scripture that had helped them.  My friend Lisa had put it together.  She had taken a picture of all of the girls that sang at Tatum's funeral and they were holding a huge  picture of Tatum.  Then she had each of them write their note and had it hard bound into a book!

 Of course my first thing was to thank her so much, what a treasure!  Then I asked if she still had that beautiful huge picture.   She did and she said that I could have it.  Yay.
It was so nice to have this book at camp.  When I had a few minutes I would read what was written and it allowed me to think of Tatum and what she had accomplished in her short life.  I didn't finish reading the book until last night.  I can't believe how sweet everyone is.  It is really touching.  Lisa had a few of the past Young Women leaders that I worked with write too.  I am sure this was a huge task to get done.  I have so little energy to do anything right now that I can't even imagine the work that went into getting it ready.   What great friends I have been blessed with.  They have truly carried me through this heart breaking time.  When Tatum was sick it was hard because I knew that this time was coming.  But when she was still alive it seemed like such an abstract time to me that I could talk about when she would die and not have all of the emotions that are here now.  And I could still hug her and kiss her and have her in our home, so it was so different knowing than it is doing.  Having all of these sweet memories of her are precious.  My friends have been so great about talking about Tatum and saying her name and allowing me to talk about her.  I know that those opportunities will fade and so I am enjoying it while I can.  There will just be less opportunities to talk about her and I know that.  I feel like we are always cheerful when we talk about her, but I know that eventually it will be more awkward.  I have loved the jewelry that people have given me because people who see them will comment or ask questions about them.  A few of the necklaces have their names and so people will say their names and that is always refreshing.

The rest of camp was so great.  I was so grateful to get to be up there the whole time.  I missed Lance and the kids back home.  I can't remember being away from them for that long.  It was so good to see them when I got home.  It was nice to be able to concentrate on the Young Women and just be with them.  We have the most amazing young ladies that live in our neighborhood.   We are so lucky.  I only had a few times when I was teary and my heart hurt.  It was nice to be busy and out of my environment a little bit.  It was really nice to be there with Halea and Heidi.  They are growing up to be such great people.  I know that this past few months has been so hard on them, but to watch them you would never know it.  Their faith is so strong.  They have such deep testimonies at such a young age.  I know that Tatum came to strengthen that in them.  How could I ask for anything better than that.  If I have to experience such a heart break, that reward will make it OK.  If all of our kids, in the end, can say that they know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they know the Savior lives and that they know the gospel is true and that their Heavenly Father loves them, and they go on to live great lives because of their experiences then I would say that this trial is worth it.  I would never have chosen to have two of my sweet children die, but maybe they chose to make that sacrifice for all of us.  Hopefully we will live lives that will make them proud.

Here is Halea being her funny silly self.  Experimenting with the volume that she can hold in her mouth! Love this girl.

 Here is Heidi with a few of her buddies at camp.  What a sweetheart she is.

Coming home yesterday was a little hard.  It was the four week mark since we had Tatum in our home.  It was hard and good to come home and be around all of her "stuff" again that are reminders of her.  It is a double edged sword.  It is comforting to have those things, and I wouldn't want to not have them.  It just reminds me how much I miss her.  Last night was just hard.  I was really missing my little Tater bug.  When I was up at camp I designated myself as the photographer and I kept having to go through and delete pictures off of my camera to free up space on my memory card.  At first it was just hospital pictures but then I was having to decide which Tatum pictures I could delete from my card.  I have all  of the pictures on our computer so it's not like I was deleting them forever.  I didn't realize how many pictures I had saved on my memory card still.  They made me smile every time I got to look through them, and some of the ladies would look with me as I flipped through them.  They made us smile and laugh.   As I looked through some of the pictures it was so sad to me to realize how quickly she declined.  It seemed like she was smiling and happy and within a few days she was gone.  I just can't stop thinking of how we could have had more time with her if I had done something different.  I know that would not have made the outcome different, but every memory with her is so priceless, it just would have been nice to have more time.  I just am missing her so much.  I am still so zapped of energy from the grief that I feel like I am not enjoying the time I have with my other kids.  That is something I thought a lot about while at camp.  It is my goal to enjoy the time I have with them now.  Our lives have changed in this past month so that we can do a lot of things that we couldn't before.  There is reason behind that.  I am going to work on keeping the lessons that I have learned from our time with Tatum and Trevin in the forefront of my mind and moving forward and enjoying the present time that I have been given with our other kids.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Girls Camp...

Well, I am heading to girls camp tomorrow morning with two of my beautiful daughters and maybe my youngest daughter will visit for a moment or two:)

Last summer when I was contemplating girls camp I really felt impressed to look for somewhere close.  We had done a few years that were in Heber about an hours drive away.  I just really felt like maybe we needed to do something a little closer to home so that more girls could hopefully participate.  I was also leaning this way because Tatum was a bitty baby and would be just a little toddler by the next summer.  I would be done nursing her, but I still felt that we should stay close.  I know that there was divine intervention in being able to reserve our location and feeling inspired to stay close to home.  When Tatum got sick it was February.  By March we were starting to settle in and take a look at our future plans for the next few months.  As I looked at camp I was so relieved that we were close.  I knew that I would be able to manage to go up for some of camp.  Serving in the Young Women's organization I really wanted to be able to participate.  It helped me to not worry too much about camp because I knew that it would work out.

This is not what I planned.  I know that I am going to struggle a bit to be able to be up there the entire time.  I was planning on going up for certain activities and then sneaking down to be with Tater bug and then sneaking back up.  I am not actually a super enthusiastic camper so this was going to be fine with me.  That funny little girl!  She had other plans for her mother.  I am going to put on my very best face for the girls.  This is Halea's last camp, so I am lucky to be up there with her.  Heidi is so excited that she can hardly stand it!   She wanted to pack on Friday (we leave on Tuesday!) but I talked her into waiting til Monday.  The girls were supposed to bring their gear to our neighbors house at 4:00.  I got there at 4:10 to help load gear and then I said, Oh I better go help Heidi get her things here.  Well she had already brought it all over without me!  She is  a little excited.  So fun.

I am sure that we will have lots of fun stories and pictures for our next post.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Do Your Best, He WILL Fill in the Rest..

I know that it is true that we are supposed to do our best and then the Savior will fill in the rest.  I have know this for over 20 years, and yet it is hard to hand over the control of our lives and emotions.  There is a song that plays a lot on the Sounds of the Sabbath that says something like take my yoke for my burden is light, and I will give you rest.  Something like that.  It always makes me cry (although everything makes me cry) because I know that is all I have to do.  I know and I feel the Savior near, aching with and for me.  I also know that there are way worse things out there.  The knowledge of these things just doesn't seem to take away the pain.  I am sure it is because it isn't supposed to "take away the pain".  We are here to grow and I know that only happens through hard things.  Do you all feel like my therapist's?  When I ran into our Stake President yesterday he asked me if I talk to myself as if I were counseling myself.  The answer is yes.  I allow myself to be sad in spurts, and then I begin the self talk.  There are worse things out there Heather. (are there really?)  You are so lucky that you were able to have an entire year and 8 days with Tatum, not everyone gets that (well I wanted more time!).  She is so relieved to be free of her body that caused her pain. (I liked her cute little body).  You see how it is in my head?  Crazy sometimes.  It is just how I process it all.

My brain felt like it was on hyper speed flash back mode today.  I keep reliving the entire month of May.  It was like May began and it was one thing after another.  I just kept saying if I can just get Tatum's g-tube switched and her home and happy then we could settle in and maybe have an entire summer with our sweet Tater bug.  I wanted to take her on walks and show her things.  I wanted people to see her and spend time around her because she was such a powerful presence.  May was just one hard thing after another for her, we just couldn't stay on top of her issues.  As her mother I just keep going over and over what I could have done differently.  My mind will not accept that she is not coming back and that is so hard.  I want to get to the part where I only feel joy when I think of her, not yearning.  I yearn for Trevin, but I know that time has made it more bearable somehow.  I feel such joy when I think of our time with him.  I hope for that day of peace again.
I hope that when people read this that they are surprised at how I am feeling.  I am trying to be as "normal" as I can right now.  I still laugh and joke and smile and do all of the regular things that I need to. We went and visited with Lance's nephew and their family as they are passing through on their way to California.  We played cards and laughed, even though I really didn't want to.   I make that choice because I know that if I laid on my bed like I want to that I would never get up again.  I have 5 beautiful children here on earth with me that Heavenly Father has allowed me to be, along with Lance, guardian over.  I take that very serious and so I choose to put on a happy face until I really do feel happy inside again.  Because I love my kids and Lance and I love my Heavenly Father I choose to keep trying.  

Today we arrived at church and the bench where we normally sit was full so we moved to the other side of the chapel, which felt weird.  I was a little grumpy about it which isn't like me.  Usually this wouldn't have even phased me.  I feel super sensitive to any "change" in routine right now.  Then I was watching Hayden smile at this little baby across the aisle from us.  He smiled at me and said "Babies love me".  He is right.  Some days Tatum would only smile for Hayden.  It would frustrate me, but also make me smile!  He needed that connection right now in his selfish little 15 year old life.  As I watched him today, it made me so sad for him and I just wondered how he must be hurting too.  How we are missing our sweet little girl.
Giving her sweet smiles, just for Hayden. (April sometime)  Stinker!

A bright spot in our day today was that Halea got called to be on the Seminary council.  They only choose one girl and one boy from each stake.  What a great honor for her to be a part of that.  So proud and happy for her to be able to do that.  Tonight she was telling me that they were talking about a certain scripture in her missionary prep class that she really loved.  It was Mosiah 3:19.  I think that the last time we talked about it I wrote about it in the blog.  Tonight she was showing me that she had written Tatum's name next to the scripture and then wrote that these were the attributes that she wanted to gain while here in her probationary state on earth.  Doesn't get any better than that.  What a blessing these awesome kids are in my life.  Grateful that Tatum lives on through them.
I know that all will be complete if I just put my trust in the Savior.  I know that we can do hard things!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Rose Garden!

Throughout the past few weeks we received the most beautiful plants and bushes to put in our yard.  I was very indecisive as to where to put them.  I wanted them to all be together, kind of like a little "rose garden" for Trevin and Tatum.  When Lance woke up this morning he had no idea that was on his agenda:) Poor guy.

When I got home from the swim meet this morning, Lance asked what plans we had for the day.  I casually mentioned that I would love to get the roses planted because I didn't want them to die on our porch.  He enthusiastically said "Ok, let's do it.  Show me where you want them".   I had thought about this for several days, but I was still a little unsure what area of our yard would be best for them and what had enough room. I told him maybe out by the back stairs.  We went out and surveyed the spot and Lance went and turned on the music that we had listened to the last few days of Tatum's life while we held her.  He said that we should listen to that while we plant the pretty roses for her and Trevin.  Then he began to dig the holes.  There was one plant that was not a rose bush it was a Dahlia.  It is sooo pretty.  I thought that maybe I wanted it across from the roses so it would stand out.

The Dahlia already has several new blooms coming..  So sweet and vibrant.

The area that I wanted the rose bushes had a lot of grass growing in it, so Lance started digging it out first with the hand shovel, until he broke that, then he went to digging with his hands.
This is what the area looked like before.  The dirt area was covered with grass, he was too quick to clear it before I got the "before" picture.  In that area he was able to get the first three rose bushes planted.  We had two more left and I told him that I just wanted them all together so he might need to clear a little more of the grass area:)  He hesitated a bit and tried to explore some other ideas, but i really wanted them all there.  So he started digging.  Well, grass isn't easy to get out, so he was really stabbing the shovel into that little area.  After a few good swipes at it, I heard him say, "uh oh".  Yep, a sprinkler pipe.  I am sure at this point he was a little more than frustrated with me, but he held his tongue.  Luckily what he hit was not just a regular pipe, that would have been too easy.  He hit a swivel t connector and the pipe!  I was off to Home Depot, for the second time in an hour:)  I was able to exchange the hand shovel, but of course they did not have the fitting size that I needed. While I was in line exchanging the hand shovel a lady walked in line behind me.  I recognized her but I didn't know where from so i smiled and said "hello".  Right after I said hello I realized why I knew her.  She was one of Tatum's home health nurses.  She came the last time to clean Tatum's pic line dressing.  It took my breath away.  I didn't like that memory.  We didn't say anything to each other.   It was a little awkward.

I went home to get Lance to come with me to the plumbing store.  We said goodbye to my niece and her husband that had driven out from Chicago for Tatum's funeral.  So sad to see them go.  It is never enough time to visit.  So blessed that they were able to come.  They have been looking for jobs in Chicago for several months and have not found anything.  Because they didn't have jobs, they were able to come out and visit with Tatum back in March and then they were able to be here for the funeral.  I know this was one of Tatum's tender mercies for me.  I was so grateful that they were able to be here.  I know that they will find great jobs now.
When Lance and I got to the plumbing store it was 4:55 and they closed at 5:00.  Just in the nick of time.  Another tender mercy.  Our grass is already dying because we are on severe water restrictions, so that would have been awful to have no sprinkler system for several days.
We got home and Lance fixed the sprinkler and planted the other two rose bushes.  Our minnie rose garden is beautiful.  I love fresh flowers, so I am so excited to be able to clip roses and remember our sweet babies all summer long.
Here is one of the roses close up and personal.  This one is called peace I think.

 Here is the wide view.  It looks so much prettier than having ugly overgrown grass there.  yay.

Here is one of the pretty roses that some people that I work with brought us.  This one was for Trevin. I love it because it seems healthy and strong.
I have been so exhausted physically and emotionally the past few days and I still had a lot of things that i needed to do.  I was feeling sad and didn't want to do any of it!  I was trying to figure out what HAD to be done.  I put food at the top of the list.  We needed food, so off to Costco I went.  I was dreading a little bit because I always see people that I know and I wasn't in the mood.  Rude.  Sure enough as I rounded a corner there was one of the counselors in our Stake Presidency.  He is one of the nicest men and he was there with his wife and his daughter.  We talked for a minute and then we went on our way.  OK, it was nice to talk to him and his family and I have such love and respect for our entire Stake Presidency.  Then I came around another corner and saw another friend.  We talked for a bit and then we went on our way.  I felt a little happier after talking to her.  After I got through the checkout I decided that I deserved a frozen yogurt, so I stopped at the food court.   I looked over and there was our Stake President!  Unbelievable.  Now, he really is one of the nicest most sincere men I know and he had shared a few thoughts at Tatum's funeral and so I just love him too.  He came over and we talked for a few minutes.  As I was leaving Costco I just felt so loved.  I know that it was my Heavenly Father's way of telling me that I am not alone in this journey.  The burden is not just for me to carry.  People want to help and listen and care, and say Tatum and Trevin's names.  This makes my heart sing when people ask about them or say their names, or share how they have been touched by them.  It is every mother's dream to think that their child has somehow made a difference in people's lives.  Even people whose child dies.  Maybe even more so.

When we were getting settled after dinner time I noticed that Halea hadn't made it home from work, just then I got a text from her saying that she was at the cemetery and she would be home in awhile.  She had had a bad day and she just went to have some quiet.  I sent her a text and said that I am grateful that we always have Tatum and Trevin to remind us to keep things in perspective.  We just can't sweat the small stuff.  I need to work on this the very most.

Then I was able to go on a walk myself.  I passed Halea on the way to the cemetery.  For the first time since the funeral I had a few minutes to really sit and contemplate that this is where both of our babes are.  I am so grateful for that.  I love having them close.  As I sat there, though, I was so sad that I just couldn't have them back.  I just want to hold them so desperately.  It was hard knowing that their bodies were just below me as I sat there.

Today was a real roller coaster of emotions.  I know that this is going to get more manageable, but right now it just hurts so much that my whole chest feels hallow.

I am so grateful that I was able to know what it feels like to hold these two next to me.  I know that not everyone gets that.  I am better because I have them in my life.  I know that for a fact.  They make me want to be a better mother, wife, friend, person in general.   I am forever grateful for them.

Friday, June 21, 2013

3 Weeks...

How has it possibly been 21 days?!  It makes me feel like throwing up to think about 21 days that I have not seen Tatum.  It makes my heart hurt so bad.  These past two days have not been the best.  I feel like I have had a pretty hard time, just feeling really sad and heart sick.  It feels a little like how I would imagine post traumatic stress victims would feel.  I am not equating what I am going through with a war veteran or anything crazy like that.  What they go through is unthinkable.  It just seems like the brain and the heart react in similar ways through grief.  I feel like I have constant flashbacks.  I will be getting ready to go somewhere and start to make a list in my head of how it is going to happen and realize that I don't need to get Tatum ready.  Or I will be outside and think, "I need to get inside to check on Tatum".  It is cruel and unusual, however I will be much sadder when it stops.  I am impossible to please!  It probably doesn't help that I can't put her things away.  We still have a little portable crib set up in a corner of our room.  She never slept in it, but I used it to store all of her "stuff".  Diapers, wipes, medical supplies, gifts that people had brought by.  You name it.  I have gotten  rid of most of the "stuff", but not all.  Then there is her car seat and her little bed and all of the beautiful quilts that people made her.
Car seat with the pillow she was laying on and the blanket underneath.
Portable bed and quilts and our family of Brobie's.

How do I ever put these things away?  How do I ever take all of the pictures that we used at the viewing out of the frames?  I just feel paralyzed when it comes to certain things.  I feel like for the most part I am functioning in my life, even though I don't want to yet.

I am writing these things, and trying to be fairly candid, so that those who are grieving themselves will feel "normal", and for those who are concerned about someone who is grieving will understand and be a little softer.  I know that some of these things sound so crazy to people who have not experienced a loss like this. But I know that I am not "clinically" crazy.  Silly crazy, sure, but not clinically:)  So I know that all of the feelings that I am experiencing are "normal".

Today I visited with a young woman whose baby died a few days ago.  I asked her how she was doing and she said that she felt a little better because she was at least finally able to sleep.  I found that funny because I could certainly relate to the lack of sleep that she referred to, but I could not relate to welcoming sleep.  I fight sleep because I feel like being able to sleep signifies that life is back to normal.  And I do not want that. I then asked her how her sweet baby slipped out of this world.  She said that they found her not breathing in the morning and that it was very peaceful.  I hope that I did not audibly gasp.  I was so relieved for her that she felt like that was how it was best for her baby.  But I was so grateful that Tatum did not slip away that way.  It would have crushed me, literally.  That led me to think about how grateful I am for a loving Heavenly Father who knows me and allowed me to have the experience that I needed with our little Tater bug.  How differently we all grieve and how different all of our needs are.  I found it so intrigueing.

I had several visitors today, and I think that was helpful to keep my mind busy and off the saddness of the day.  A few friends from our bereavement group came by and a good friend and her family that I met many years ago.  My pediatricians office called me and told me about her when her little girl was very sick and close to dying. They thought that we might hit it off, and they were right.  We have been good friends ever since.  They were here from Texas so I won't get to see her for a long while.  It was a great distraction and so fun to visit.  We have literally watched each other's families grow up.  Then one of my friends from the hospital brought us a few rose bushes that are just amazing and sweet and some extra Brobie's that he found at a store.  Yesterday a few friends of ours had our blog printed off and put in book form.  I was having a really cruddy day yesterday too, so it was such a wonderful suprise and relief that now I do not have to figure out how to print it!  I am going to say it again,  the goodness in people is simply amazing and I just don't feel deserving of all of the goodness.  I am forever humbled and grateful.
Our beautiful new rose bushes!  Can't wait to plant them.
This picture does not do our front porch justice.  It looks like the garden of Eden.

As people have come by and dropped things off, or called, or visited, etc.  I have reflected on the beauty of sisterhood and friendship.  I have felt so well taken care of.  It literally feels like the arms of our Heavenly Father have been wrapped around me and like I am being ministered to.

The ache to hold and love on Tatum has been intense these past few days.  I don't know how my body continues to breathe and work through the pain, but it does.  I am missing her presence in our family now and in our future family.  Tonight Hilary was getting ready for bed and she said "I miss Tatum".  I told her I did too.  Three weeks down.  

Thursday, June 20, 2013

For the Beauty of the Earth...

Well, we are back from our adventure to Lake Powell.  Our friends told me that it would be a lovely place to be to find peace and quiet and "relaxation" (as much as you can find with 5 kids).  They were right.

We got the car packed and ready to go right after church.  I decided to bring one of our Brobie's along.  It made me feel like a little piece of Tates was coming with us. (sounds crazy, but it just made me feel better?)
Hilary was a total champ on the trip.  All of the kids were great.  It made the whole thing doable.  While driving through one of the small towns outside of Kanab we saw a Sheriff's car sitting on the side of the road, probably making sure that people were slowing down through town.  As we passed I did a double take and told the kids that I thought the person was a "dummy".  We flipped a u-turn and drove slowly by and sure enough it was a dummy!  We took pictures because we knew that no one would believe us.

We didn't arrive at Lone Rock until after dark, so we parked off of the beach for the night until morning when we could see better to drive the vehicles down to the water.  When I woke up in the morning this is what I saw.

Amazing beauty.  It reminds me so much how much Heavenly Father loves us.  He has truly given us miraculous things, just in the blessings of the beautiful earth that we get to live in.  It also confirms that our existence is not an accident and that all was perfectly created for us.  If we stop to enjoy these blessings I know that we can find peace in that knowledge.
We did lots of playing in the sand and in the water and boating and sight seeing and hiking and talking and sunburning.  Hilary would have played in the sand all day.  I think that we may need to bulldoze our backyard and just put sand back there.  She would self entertain for hours!  And the girl is an amazing hiker. There is a place called sand hill that we hiked up.  It is only about a quarter of a mile long, if that.  But it is straight up and it is several feet of soft soft sand.  My calves were totally on fire.  She just held my hand and insisted on walking the entire way.  She is a real trooper.  Our family mantra is "Walker's do hard things".  She definitely proved it that day.  Maybe that is a genetic thing that we passed on that is a "good" gene:)
This was Hilary at the top of sand hill, giving her coy look..
Here we all were at the top of sand hill.  After we got to the bottom I told the boys I would give them 5 dollars if they hiked it again.  I owe them both 5 dollars!  Those show offs.

The last two nights that we were at the Lake I slept in the van with Hilary.  She did so great.  She was so exhausted every night that she went right to sleep.  The first night, I tossed and turned a little like I always do at home.  A few times when I woke up I could hear Hilary moaning and mumbling a little in her sleep.  One time I heard her say Tatum.  I just wonder if she is having dreams about her.  What must her little mind be thinking?  I am sure she misses seeing her and helping with her and feeling her and just doesn't know how to express that.  It breaks my mom heart.  Nothing I can do about it, I don't even know how to help my own broken heart.

When we were driving down to meet our friends, the kids were all resting and I had some time to think.  I was pondering some of the different feelings that I have had losing Tatum in comparison to Trevin.  One of the things that I think has been a little more of  struggle for me is that I  know that Tatum was our last child.  With Trevin I had a great hope in me that we would have more kids and that our family portrait would be different and even though he would be absent, there were still additions to come.  With Tatum I had this vision of what our family was going to look like.  The four older kids (with Trevin leading, but absent) and the two little girls at the end, growing up together.   So when Tatum died, our portrait changed and that is it.  There is no more hope that it could improve.  This is it.  I am so thrilled with the children I have.  I know how extremely blessed I am to have them, truly a miracle.  That knowledge just doesn't change the sadness I feel that our family is forever different, that people won't know Tatum anymore, that we won't have her to be Hilary's side kick, that there are no more babies coming.  There is a lot of sadness in that for me.  I loved and enjoyed having her so much that I just feel lost right now.

I am so grateful for our good friends.  For talking me in to going down and spending time with them, even though they knew that I was going to be no fun at all.  I don't like feeling melancholy, but it is just how I am right now.  It is temporary.  Every once in awhile I feel a little of my "old" self, but right now it feels weird to be that person.  I know this is all part of the refinement and change that comes from the challenges that we meet in life.  I know all of this, but it doesn't make it any easier or less hurtful or hard.

Tonight we went back to the state Developmental Center (state facility that houses disabled adults) to fulfill the second assignment for the youth to volunteer.  Usually on the Wednesday assignment they take the residents to the gym and they play music and have a dance.   Tonight they did a movie for them.  I just couldn't help thinking about the irony of how the world views these individuals.  The world thinks that they are imperfect spirits trapped in these horrible bodies and that we are helping them, when in reality they are the perfect spirits in imperfect bodies we are the imperfect spirits in "perfect" bodies.  Your perspective changes just being around them.  I am grateful that my kids get to have these opportunities to serve those that are physically in need of their assistance.  What a great reminder of a lot of things, not in the least just to be grateful to be able to do things because we can.

I was sad to leave Lake Powell today, because I knew that it would be hard to drive in to our town and see reminders of what our life is now without Tatum.  I was sad to leave the lack of responsibility I had down there.  I was sad to walk in and see that the last of Tatum's flowers had officially died.   I was sad to walk by the couch and see that Tater bug was not in her spot.   One day I will stop looking for her there, and that will be devastating too.

I am eternally grateful for the glimpses of a future that Lance and the kids give me every day.  I know that is what Tatum and Trevin and my Heavenly Father want me to focus on.  And I will, and I do.  It is the reason I can still get out of bed.  I am grateful.

The sun continues to set and rise...

One of the sunshines in our life.  Trying to overcome the Walker children's curse of fare skin with her hat and long sleeve shirt:)  So adorable.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Two Weeks..

Yesterday it was two weeks since Tatum died.  Two weeks since we were all together.  Two weeks since I got to hold her body close to mine, or smell her sweet head, or fluff her hair, or change her diaper, or give her kisses, or pump her milk, or rock her, or sing to her (she might be grateful for that one) or take a picture of her or feel her spirit fill the room, or see her eyes, or give her a bath or get her dressed, or rub her arms and legs, or put lotion on her or paint her nails.  My mind keeps having flashes of her and a lot of my dreams are about her in some way.  I feel very exhausted and unable to really rest, way worse than when she was alive even though now I have the opportunity to sleep or rest.  I was going to write a post last night and I was sitting at a bar stool at our counter in the kitchen and I put my head down on my hands, just for a second, and I fell asleep!  I thought it would be much more coherent to write this morning.

I knew that yesterday was going to be hard, so I filled my day as things came up so that I would stay busy.  A few of my friends were hiking Timp Cave so I went with them early in the morning for a few hours.  It was beautiful and great to get out and enjoy God's creations.  It always reminds me that He is merciful and all powerful, meaning that the hard things in life are meant to happen the way they do for our benefit.  He loves us and has given us this beautiful earth to enjoy and bring us happiness and joy.

View of the valley...
As we were coming down the trail there was a baby deer on the trail.  The ranger was standing near by and said that the fawn had been there yesterday also.  Which means that it probably has not eaten in a few days because they have not seen the mother.  Which means that it is probably going to die.  That was hard to just leave it there.  I wish I could have scooped it up and nursed it back to health.  So sad, but that is what happens in the wild.
My friend on the far right is being twinkled right before our eyes (which could be true because she is amazing) or the sun was right behind us.  One of those scenarios:)
When I got home I did a few things around the house and then Halea said that she was going to go on a bike ride and she wanted to know if I wanted to come.  I quickly got ready and packed Hilary in the bike trailer and we were off.  Luckily Lance's bike that was hooked to the trailer only has 1 working gear!  And it was windy!  Grrr.  The actual ride was tedious but the company was great.  I still don't like that I can even go and do these things without even having to think, but I cannot make Hilary suffer because of my sad feelings.  Halea has been so great and sweet and tender with me and trying to help me out these past few weeks.  I was really happy to be with her, even though she was way ahead of me for most of the time.  When we got to one of the parks that the trail goes through she asked if I wanted to stop at the pond.  I really didn't, but I said yes.
Hilary enjoying the pond with her favorite "spots hency".  She doesn't go to many places without her blanket (aka: hency) even though it was 80 degrees out:)
Luckily a little boy next to us shared his bread so we could feed the ducks.

Hilary had a lot of fun.   So glad that Halea reminds me to stop and smell the roses and to enjoy life along the path.  She is very good at this.  How lucky am I?

After our bike ride I walked down into our lower back yard.  I don't think I had been down there in over a month.  I was horrified.  It has been very neglected and is quite overgrown with weeds.  I got to work and spent a good hour and a half out there trying to make a dent.  Our neighborhood wanted to buy us a tree for Tatum and one for Trevin to plant in our back yard.  I think we have a little clean up to do before I can let anyone see that back yard!  I don't feel too bad about it because it shows that I was doing what I should have been doing and that was spend my time with Tater Bug.  Grateful my yard is a mess:)

Lance called me around 3 o'clock and I was just barely getting showered for the day.  He called to see if I wanted to go on a bike ride when he got home!  He never calls me from work, and he rarely calls to see if I want to do something.  It is always me, so how could I say no.  We headed out on the bike trail.  This new bike trail we have by our house just got finished and it goes all the way to Provo canyon and Provo lake, so it is awesome because you don't have to worry about cars.  We decided to clock how many miles to his work because he wants to ride his bike to work.  It was a beautiful night, but I was tired.  It was 13 miles exactly to his work.  We took a little rest to get a drink and then we turned around.  Then we realized that maybe we had been riding with the wind at our backs.  We get hurricane force winds where we live and luckily this was one of those times.  It was relentless.   I got really discouraged and grumpy.  I am sure I was not much fun.   Lance was so patient and encouraging.  It was really nice to be able to just hang out with him and talk about things that we had needed to talk about, but again I was so sad to be able to be out there and not worry about getting home to Tates.   I wonder if I will ever stop feeling like that.  We finally made it home and then I just hit the wall.  I grabbed a shower and a sandwich and found myself dosing on the kitchen counter, so I decided I had best go to sleep.

Overall it was a good distracted day so I didn't have a lot of time to wallow in self pity, which is good.  I just can't get over that it has been two weeks.  In some ways it feels like an eternity since I have seen Tatum, in some ways it feels like time is standing still, but only for me.  The world seems to be rushing around me and sometimes I just want to scream, "stop! don't you know that my baby died!"  Luckily I know I will see her again, but that still doesn't seem to help with all of the hurt.  I am taking the kids to Lake Powell tomorrow afternoon after church.  Our good friends insisted that we should come with them to get away.  Lance is not going to be able to come which is a bummer.  I know that it will be good to get away, be with good friends, and relax and talk and enjoy another of God's creations.  I don't think I will be able to post while I am there so I will catch up on Wednesday.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Ministering Angels....

I feel like I have a million ministering angels here on earth and on the other side.  It seems like every time I turn around someone is calling, taking my hand, hugging me, bringing me something, getting me out of the house, exercising with me (even though I am so out of shape!).  The list goes on and on.  I am seriously overwhelmed at the kindness that has surrounded us.  I know that it is the whisperings that inspire people to do the things that they do.  I appreciate people being in tune.  This is a very lonely time, and I really haven't had a lot of time to focus on that.  I am grateful.  I am surrounded by great examples of ministering and mourning with those that mourn.

My kids are some of the greatest examples.  Hilary is always available to keep it real and remind me that I still have a job to do here on earth, and that is fantastic.  As hard as it is to find the energy or desire to get up each day, I am so grateful for her.  She is truly a gift from above.  Today I actually took a nap!  I know, right?  While I was sort of dozing in and out of consciousness I heard Hilary coming towards me and then I heard Heidi right behind her quieting her and taking her upstairs to play.  She also emptied garbages without me asking!  She is a tender soul and she is very service oriented.  She is such a great big sister.  I love her example that she sets for me everyday.  Halea, too, is so aware when I am sad.  She can see it in my face immediately.  She comes and rubs my back and tells me it's going to be OK.  I think that I feel really bad for our kids that they have had this experience, but in reality it will be such an amazing life lesson for them.  I cannot deny the blessings that have and will continue to come from having Tatum and Trevin as part of our family.

The only bad thing about ministering Relief Society sisters is that we often do it with food, and I am all about food.  Especially cake!   Unfortunately cake is my vice.   (along with really any other pastry or dessert)  Yesterday someone brought over the yummiest lemon pudding bunt cake!  Simply sinful.  Well, by the mid morning I had eaten almost the entire thing by myself!  Heaven help me.
I took a picture of this and put it on facebook and instagram.  Right after I posted  this picture my neighbor brought over another full bundt cake!  Are you kidding me? I really am going to weigh a ton when all is said and done.

I hope this isn't weird but I had a few people ask me for a copy of my talk from Tatum's funeral and so I thought I would post it here so if you were unable to attend and you wanted to, now you can read it.  Not quite the same cause I added a few little funny commentaries along the way (naturally) but you can get the gist.

Tatums Life Sketch:

I have been thinking about this day for several months, and yet it has still been so very hard for me to organize my thoughts.  I was sure that I had several more months to prepare.  I was thinking about telling the entire story of how Tatum even got to be in our family because there was such spiritual confirmation that she was supposed to come and be with our family, but I want to focus more on things that she has taught us while she has been here with us.  I know that Heavenly Father knew that I would need the spiritual witness that she was supposed to be here so that I could understand and focus on her purpose and I am forever grateful for that witness.
Indulge me for a few minutes as I tell you a few things about this sweet angel that has graced our home for 1 year and 8 days.  Tatum’s pregnancy was not my easiest.  I was exhausted.  However, I was not sick a day with her.  When I was almost 8 months pregnant she allowed me to participate in our Temple to Temple walk.  We walked from the Draper Temple to the Salt Lake City Temple which is about 22 miles.  I was very involved in the planning of this activity and I so desperately wanted to walk.  I had been having such a terrible couple of weeks physically that I was sure that I was going to have to ride in the support vehicles.  The night before we were to walk, I was so exhausted at the end of the day and I remember thinking that there was no way I could walk the next day.  When I woke up that next morning I felt so amazing.  I told myself that I would try to walk and then I would get in a car if I needed to.  That was my first experience with Tatum’s angels.  I know that Angel’s carried my belly that morning because they knew it was so important for me to be out there with the Young Women.  Big burly men were dropping like flies, but Tatum and I just seemed to sail, however slowly, to the finish.
The day that I went into labor with Tatum, we had a Young Women activity that I really wanted to be able to attend.  It was a mother daughter activity that we tie died shirts.  She allowed me to go to that and as soon as I got home I started watching my contractions that had been pretty steady all night.  About 9:30  we loaded into the car got to the hospital got all checked in and just two and a half hours later she was here.  She cried more than I remember any of my other babies, but she settled down quickly.  I felt such relief that our family was complete.  Five days later she hiked Y mount in my front pack as part of our tradition to honor her oldest brother Trevin.  She tolerated her crazy family, especially me her mother, quite well.  With all of the other kids and their activities it just always seemed like we were always running somewhere, dragging her along.  She was ever so sweet and patient. 

All of our other babies I had moved to their crib upstairs usually by the time they were  2 weeks old.  For some reason I had a real soft spot for Miss Tatum.  I could never make myself move her far away from me.  I was sure I would never hear her because her cry was so delicate and sweet.  She slept for her first 8 months in her car seat next to me in the living room and the rest of her life in a makeshift bed on our couch next to me. 
By the time Tatum was 10 weeks old she had participated in the Pioneer Trek and girls camp.  I felt very impressed that the girls needed to be around her and so she became our honorary mascot for Young Womens.  She had a special way of drawing the girls to her.  There was never a time that someone wasn’t asking to hold her.   I knew that she was probably bending the rules a little going on Trek and camp, but I felt more strongly that she was fulfilling her purpose and mission being around the youth and I think it proved true.   She had a certain way of softening hearts and teaching in simple ways and reaching those that needed to be reached.
When Tatum was about 4 or 5 months old she used to put her delicate sweet little hands on either side of your face and draw you in and look directly into your eyes.  I always thought this was so unusual and I loved it.  It gave me chills because I felt like I could see into her soul, and  vice versa.   Tatum always has had such a sweet disposition.   She had her moments of fussiness, but for the most part she was a gentle, sweet and patient baby.  Almost as if she knew that there were others that needed my attention and she was OK to wait.   
From the time that Tates was first born practically we were fighting her battle to gain weight.   When she got to be about 5 -6 months I started getting a little more worried about the origin of this problem.  I started noticing some developmental delays that worried me.  Finally in December I decided to sit down with my pediatrician, who had also been our son Trevin’s pediatrician, to see what his thoughts were.  I knew what my heart was telling me, I wanted to see what was in his heart because I trust him and his opinion .  As we started that very difficult discussion, he agreed with me that there were some things that felt concerning and very similar to Trevin.  We made a few appointments to start investigating if this in fact could be the same disease that Trevin had.   Through all of this we tried to remain optimistic.  We still weren’t even certain that the diagnosis that we had found on Trevin’s autopsy report a few years prior was even correct.  Lance was a lot more optimistic and certain that everything was going to be OK than I was.   I had a pit in my stomach. 
A few weeks later I was walking home from a Relief Society class where I had been overwhelmed by the spirit.  As I was walking through our neighborhood I was thinking about our sweet Tatum and praying about her and my awful pit in my stomach.  I had a flood of emotion come over me and the spirit bore witness to me that she really was sick and that I needed to change my prayers.  I had a clear feeling that I was going to be OK, and I felt a deep peace.  I knew that day in January that things were not going to turn out the way that I hoped, but I knew that I was not going to be asked to do this alone.  I knew that the Savior had already born this burden for me, and that he would provide, through the workings of the Holy Ghost the support that our family would need to survive the upcoming heartache. 
From that day forward I began to change my prayers.   I became very specific in what I was asking for.  I knew that I needed certain things to be different than they were with Trevin.  I knew that the outcome would be the same, but I was hopeful that Heavenly Father could ease some of the other hard circumstances that I knew were coming.   With the exception of Tatum not having the disease, Heavenly Father answered every prayer that I had offered.  On that faitful February 12th I was able to recognize the beginning of the seizure and get Tatum to the doctor before she was in complete crisis.  Our doctor was able to be present, it happened in the day time while the kids were at school, there were nurses in the trauma room that knew Trevin, they were able to get IV access immediately, we never had to intubate her, and Lance was able to get there quickly.  Until January Lance had been working mostly in Salt Lake and he took the bus.  With the cancellation of the bus and the switch to the train Lance had almost stopped going up there entirely.  That would have been horrible if he had been in Salt Lake with no car, instead he was in Orem just 10 minutes away.  I have never felt such a complete confirmation that prayers are answered than I did standing in that trauma room with Tatum.  That sounds so strange, but it is true.  I was so so grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who could not fix everything, but was trying to let us know that He was there and that He cared and that for the past several weeks He had heard my plees.  We were not alone. 
Telling our kids their new horrible reality was the next mountain.  Tatum was the light of our home.  To have to explain to them that she was not going to get to stay for long was heart wrenching.  They handled it like the champs that they are.  We were so lucky to get to take Tates home a few days later and begin this new chapter in our lives.  Those first few days I sat on the couch and held her and visited with people and just tried to adjust to our new life.  I think that I felt a little paralyzed for those first few days.   But then I started to call upon and utilize the grace and power of the Atonement.  I knew that I was not doing this alone.  The human spirit can withstand immense stress and pressure, couple that with the strength offered to each of us from our Savior and we are invincible.  I knew this would not change the outcome of what this disease would do to our sweet baby, but I knew that it would absolutely change who we were at the end of this journey.  It was my honor as Tatum’s mother to help her fulfill her mission and to be her voice.  It was also my responsibility as a mother to bear witness of the goodness that was still ours even in these hard times and to set the example for our other kids that Heavenly Father loves us and this was not a punishment, but a huge blessing in our lives. 
Luckily for two months we had been studying the Atonement for our Relief Society class and so it was at the very forefront of my mind.  I am sure this was no coincidence, that this was inspired timing from our Relief Society Presidency.  At one point in that month of February I had read Alma 7:12 in my preparation for the class.  It says :……..this scripture really spoke to me because I had never really thought about the fact that our Savior had not only suffered for our sins, but He had gone the extra mile and had suffered our infirimites our sadness our sickness so that He could understand and know better how to succor us, or care for and support us during our trials.  I have felt that complete love and understanding through these past few months.  Through people acting on the promptings of the Holy Ghost we have been cared for and supported and loved in a way that I will never forget.  We have been overwhelmed daily by the absolute goodness of people.  We thank you for listening to the still small voice, you have all truly been instruments and examples for our Heavenly Father. 
As I was trying to organize my thoughts I asked my kids what lessons they learned from Tatum.  I wanted to share those with you to help you understand a little more of Tatum’s  mission and purpose.  They said that she had taught them to endure to the end, that she had strengthened their testimony, that you can do hard things, That even when things are the worst you can still smile, That when you think that things are the worst they can still get worse, This experience has made the scriptures more real, they understand the plan of salvation better, they have learned to recognize the spirit more, and how happy a simple smile can make you.  Sometimes we had to work hard for a Tatum smile because it took a lot of energy, but when we got one it was priceless.  Nothing better.  What parent wouldn’t give anything for their kids to learn these lessons before they reach adult hood, or ever, much less at our kids young ages.  
I echo all of the things that my kids listed and I might add a few of my own that I have learned in a much deeper way in this past year.  I know that angels are near.  I know that Heavenly Father hears and answers prayers.  I know that families are eternal and that the Temple is the gateway to the eternities.  I know that we will be reunited with those that we love.  I know that our Savior lives and that He loves me and my family and our sweet Tatum.  I see and recognize the tender mercies that are mine every day.  Tatum allowed me to slow down enough to recognize the real priorities in life.  I know that even though Tatum could not speak or stand or move that she touched people simply through her powerful spirit and the Light of Christ that was within her and is within all of us. 
I don’t know if we will ever stop missing the presence of this sweet angel that has been in our home for the past year.  I will never stop yearning for that feeling that she brought .  I will miss her for the rest of my life.  It has been the greatest honor of my life to be her mother and to take care of her.  These past few months as I have taken care of her I have felt so strongly that she was wise and old and that she understood perfectly that this was how her mortal experience was going to be and she was happy with it.  I  hope that I have done her justice and celebrated her sweet life in these last few minutes.  I hope she has felt the love and appreciation that we have for her as an elect daughter of our Heavenly Father.  I hope she knows that we feel honored and privelaged to have had her here with us for this past year and that we acknowledge how hard she fought to give that to us.  I pray that she has felt our celebration of her valiant life.
 Now it is our challenge to take the things that she has taught us and to never forget her example.  I know that when she slipped to the other side there were cheers of Well done Tatum, well done.  As her mother I echo that, Well done Tatum, well done.   In the name of our Savior Jesus Christ, amen.

Halea is going to play an arrangement of If you Could Hie to Kolob.  It is hymn 284.   As we were discussing what she would play we read through the words of this hymn and we loved it because it is just a pure celebration of the things that we know about our Father in Heaven and the hereafter.  Read along in your books if you are near one because I think that it makes the music that much more powerful. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Believing, Mixed With Action, Equals Becoming...

Weird title?  I have always been a big believer in pulling up my bootstraps and doing, even when I didn't want to because I know that is how you get where you want and need to be.  I know that if I lay on the couch (like I want to every day) and don't shower or get dressed or don't exercise or don't participate in life that I could get stuck there or that I could potentially become that person permanently.  That is not what I want, that is not what Tatum or Trevin wants.  Or what Heavenly Father wants.  I know that they don't expect me to do everything all at once.  But I do know that by trying to see the good things and trying do do and be good that it can only help my healing, and help me become who I need to be.  The other day I was driving and thinking and I just had the thought, I have to be the best person I can be here on earth so that I can be with my sweet babies again.  I can achieve nothing less!

There was a lot of good today, even though it is hard to get out of bed every day.  It has been really hard for me to want to exercise, which is really unusual for me.  That has always been my release, my "me" time, my therapy.  I still push through but right now it is not enjoyable.  I know it will come.   Today Halea came with me and my friends.  We went walking for a bit and then to yoga and then Halea needed to do a quick speed work out for cross country so we went and did that at the track.  It felt good to extend myself a bit.  I am not walking very good tonight, but that feels good.

Then I got to go be with a little family that had a little angel baby a few weeks ago.  I went to do hand molds and pictures.  Everything was fine except that I wanted to kidnap her!  She is adorable and yummy.  I could have spent the rest of the day there, but I think they might have started to ask some questions when dinner time rolled around and i wasn't gone:)  I crave that feeling that surrounds these sweet babies that come straight from our Heavenly Father and are so elect.

When I came home from that I grabbed a little salad that Halea had made up with our first strawberries of the year from our garden!  Yummy for my tummy.

Then a few friends were going to the pool and invited me along.  I hate that I can go, but I have to.  I feel like I have now been given this time and I cannot squander it feeling sad or sorry for myself.  Don't think that I am in denial, I still cry every day I just know that my kids need me to still be their mom.  I figured if it totally wore me out I could come home and crash afterward.  Our kids need to see me still trying to find the joy in life (even though right now I don't feel a lot of it).   There are still so many great things in life, we need to make sure we are recognizing them along the way. Fresh strawberries for instance.  When we got to the pool, even before we went in, Heidi said "Mom thanks for taking us to the pool."  This was before she knew how long we could stay, if I was going to be nice, everything.  That made it worth all of the trouble to get myself off of the couch.
Hilary was not so sure about the pool at first..
Then she loved it!  I think she ended up having a lot of fun.

When we got home I went to pull out a frozen lasagna that someone had brought us, then I saw that there was a big brown bag on our counter.  As I investigated I saw that it was a meal from one of our neighbors who lives in the part of our ward that got split off about 7 years ago.  She has been so sweet. Yet another problem solved by the kindness of another.

To top off the day I was able to go down to Provo to spend a few hours with one of my dearest friends and then I came home and was able to go on a walk with two of my other really good friends.

There was just a lot of good today.  I am sure that Tatum and Trevin are smiling down on me.  I hope that they can feel my efforts.  I want to be the mommy that they want me to be.  I want my daily actions to shape me in to what I need to become.  I want all of our kids to look back on this time and see that as hard as it was there was still sunshine and light in our lives.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Bigger Baby Steps....

Today I had a lot of things on my "to do" list, but I have tried to be lenient with myself when I accomplish nothing.  It still feels like we have cement blocks on our feet.  My energy level is just low.  I know that is normal, but it is so not me that I have a hard time accepting it.
In the morning I decided to get out and weed the flower beds in the front yard.  On the day that we brought Tatum to the hospital the last time I was able to quickly plant flowers before everything hit the fan.  When I see how they are growing it is bitter sweet.  I struggle a little bit that I spent the hour and a half out there planting them while she was getting sick.  I checked on her several times, and she was just sleeping, but it is just a mommy guilt.  A few hours after I came in from the yard that day, I just had a feeling that we should bring her up to Primary Childrens, I called our GI doctor and we went up.  There were a few symptoms that were concerning, but all the way up I still felt like they would just send us home.  Little did I know that she was in serious trouble.  I know that I can't beat myself up about it, but it is just hard.  It felt good to get out and work in the dirt a little today.   Sometimes it is nice to just be outside where it is peaceful.

I had planned to go and do a few little work things today with my friend that works with me.  As I was getting ready I remembered that I should bring back the pump.  The other day Hilary had tried to drag it back into our bathroom where I used to have it.  She said, "Tatum's milk".  Ouch.  I knew it would be hard to return, it was the last of Tate's equipment.  I was really glad to have my friend along to help me.  When we went in I was nervous because the lady that works the front desk used to work at the hospital and so she knows me enough to ask questions.  All was going well til the very end.  She asked "Oh did you have a boy or a girl?"  I answered "Oh a little girl".  And that was it.  Relief.  What a tender mercy.  I really didn't want to have to tell her that I had been pumping milk for the past 6 months because my baby had lost her ability to swallow and that she had just died.  That seems like a terrible conversation all around!  So grateful that I was able to do that for my sweet Tater bug and that our pediatrician was so encouraging that it was the best food she could be given.  What a little blessing that my body had cooperated for all of those months of pure stress.  A gift from heaven for sure.

We went on to do a few other errands and then we went to the hospital.  We only saw a few people that I work with regularly.  It was nice to see them.  I feel like I need to get my face out there so that people can see that I am trying to function a little bit.  It felt nice and weird to be back there.  I wished desperately that I was downstairs on Pediatrics hanging out with Tates taking pictures of her hanging out in her "Don't Bug Me" jammies.  Does anyone miss those pictures as much as I do?  What I wouldn't give for a little squeeze of that girl.

Tonight our young women's activity was down at the fire station to help the girls do their CPR certification.  One of the firemen that was doing the CPR presentation was the one that drove down to the hospital with me when Hilary had her Febrile Seizure.  I remember how terrifying that was.  Funny how your perception changes in just a short year.

Would it really take that much extra to make these babies a little cuter?  The girls are going to have nightmares:)

Overall it was a fine day.  I only cried a few times.  I don't expect these things to stop completely any time soon.  I am trying to go easy on myself.  I can already feel some improvements, I mean I left the house!  Sometimes when I don't feel like talking to someone or smiling or getting dressed I just do anyway.  I know that doing things that I don't necessarily want to  will help.  I am a big believer that what you do is what you become.  If I smile, I believe that one day the joy behind the smile will return.  If I go out and do things for others and forget about myself a little that the pain will decrease and my problem will feel light.

I am so grateful for the knowledge that I have that Tatum and Trevin are in a state of paradise and no longer suffer with disease and we will see them again.  It is a relief to know that as a mother.  I am grateful for a Savior who set the supreme example of enduring to the end and pure love for our Heavenly Father and for us.  I long for the day when I can bow before him and thank him for His incredible mercy toward me and my family.

The Answer is Usually No...

With the work that I do at the hospital I try to coach people on how to cope with the silly things that people say.  Mind you, it has been a lot of years since we have been fresh to the experience of grief. I know that people said funny/weird things to us, but I luckily have a terrible memory so I don't remember.  I have collected quite a repertoire if you will from other peoples experiences that they have shared with me.  I am going to share a few that have come our way.  I hope no one is offended because we have all done it, even me and it's what I do for a living!  This will just give us all reason to pause before we speak.  What I have found that works are these two sentences, "I can't imagine what you must be feeling" because we don't even if our situations are similar.  Even between our feelings of Trevin and Tatum are different, so our current self could barely relate with our past self.  (are you all following this?)  The other is simply "I am so sorry."  There is nothing that could be offensive about either of these statements.  "Aren't you glad he/she is in the arms of Jesus?", Nope!  (In belief and theory yes, in reality, no! I want them here with me)  " You are lucky to have an angel baby"  Again, nope.  You never feel "lucky" when your baby doesn't get to grow up here with you as you had planned.  I could go on, but I am not going to.  Just pause and think.  Luckily Lance and I have a pretty healthy understanding and sense of humor about things so it doesn't cut us as deep as some I meet.  So feel free to practice on us and we will let you know if it  is a go phrase or not:)

Sunday was OK.  I felt a little bit like the elephant in the room, everywhere I went.   Our Sunday school lesson was on the plan of salvation.  Hilarious.   Our poor teacher.  He is a good friend and he did a great job.   He got a little emotional referring to the past several months with Tatum.  It was sweet and made me feel good that she is not forgotten.  It still feels very weird to go anywhere without her, like an arm is missing or something.  I keep having phantom feelings of the stroller sitting next to me in sacrament meeting.  Ooh how I miss her.  If she was sleeping during church I would usually just sit and feel her feet or her hands or stroke her head. Not sure how to replace that with anything.  After dinner we walked down to the cemetery so we could retrieve some of the flowers at the grave.  It was really hot, but it was so awesome to be able to just walk down there.  Such a nice feeling, weird as that sounds.
Hilary is in this weird stage.  She will not look at me to take a picture, so this was the closest I could get.
There is a bench just a few rows down from where Tates and Trev are.  Under a shade tree!
These were the pretty flowers.  They did not look as pretty once they spent a night in our garage.  Hmm.
Two little markers with the pretty little daisy wreath.  If you sent this cute daisy wreath will you let me know, there was no card that I could see.

 Sunday night at prayer Hilary insisted (as she usually does) that we pray for Tatum to gain weight. If we forget she yells at us, so it is just easier to do it.  Maybe there is a need to gain weight in Heaven, we don't know?  This night she interjected a lot during the prayer.  She said "Tatum is sleeping", "Cause she's dead" and "Tatum died" I think she added "We miss Tatum"  It was all pretty sad but sweet that she is still remembering and that she is able to express a little bit of what is going on in her head and heart.

Ahh Monday.  First of all it was Monday, I forgot to do laundry on Saturday (one of my regular days).  I guess I didn't forget, we were doing the funeral.  So I had a lot of laundry to do, and I didn't finish it, boo. The house is a total pit.   And I have no motivation to do anything, much less clean the house.  Luckily it was one of our friends birthday so I had a lunch date to look forward to.  I did pull it together to go for a little run and then I pulled my bike down to go on a bike ride but the seat was acting weird and my handlebars were tilted forward.  I fiddled with everything for a few minutes and then just decided to go.  I went on the new bike trail that is just a few minutes from our house.  It was great fun and I didn't crash:}  Always a goal of mine.  The entire time, though, I just kept thinking that I wished that I couldn't be out there.  Just 10 days ago I wouldn't have been able to do that.  I am grateful that we tried to do certain things still even though we knew that Tatum wasn't going to be with us for long.  We tried to make our lives as normal as possible, but I would have never in a million years gone on a bike ride for 2 hours or so.  I know that she wants us to do things now because we can.  It is the only reason that I do right now.  It hurts a lot.

I went to pick up my friends in our car because I wanted to take my bike to the bike store to have them fix the seat and the handlebars.  They took one look at my bike which is not one of the bikes that they sell and they were suddenly not sure if they could get a certain part.  I wanted to scream at them "I don't have the energy to do that because my baby just died!!!!!)  Instead, I said thank you and headed back to the car with my still broken bike.  Grrr.

We went to lunch and it was so fun and yummy.  Sooo grateful for good friends who listen and let me laugh or cry, whichever flavor it is for the hour.

Heidi and Hilary and I went to Costco when I got home because we were completely out of milk.  We have a good friend that works at Costco that his wife and baby died 4 or 5 years ago,  from a sudden complication while she was pregnant.  As we were talking he was saying how sad and sorry he was and I said "At least our mom didn't die too, right?"   He is a friend that I can say that to.  His situation was so devastating.   Those are good reminders to keep things in perspective.  Not to lessen what we are feeling, but really this could be much worse.   Tender mercy to see him today, cause I wasn't loving Monday.

We got home and another good friend brought us a yummy treat for Family Home Evening.  We certainly would not have had one, which would have meant it was not a complete FHE according to the brethren of the church:)  Then my good friend from Provo brought us the most delicious dinner.  In all these past few months, I don't think we had one duplicate dinner.  Everyone is so creative.

We had some family come over and they were helping the kids put a puzzle together when Lance started playing the CD with the pictures that my friend had taken at the funeral services.  That brought a mixture of emotions.  I am so glad we have them.  I still can't believe that it's real.  That made it real.  This has happened and this is your new reality. We finished the night playing games.  It was fun to laugh and visit and tease.   The laundry isn't folded, I didn't complete one cleaning task on my list, not one thing really accomplished, but we spent time as a family.  That is important.  Before we know it, our family will change again with Halea moving out and then shortly after that, Hayden.  It is a slippery slope for the next few years.

The Walker's love puzzles.  Look closely, it's an Elvis puzzle.  That's right!
 I need to somehow hide these pants.  They are about 4 inches too short for Hilary, but she insists on wearing them.
 Hilary eating cookies as we played the game.