"I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life;
to put to rout all that was not life and not when I had come to die, discover that I had not lived." ~Henry David Thoreau

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Forgive Me

One of the last pictures I ever took of all five kids together.  We stopped in New Mexico, right outside of Albuquerque for gas and snacks before checking into our hotel.  Garrett would be on life support less than 48 hours later.
Agent Scully just found out she has cancer.

As I've watched countless hours of The X Files while binding blankets, I heard her say these words and in my head, I could almost hear Garrett saying them to me.  Forgive me for not making the rest of this journey with you.  It has so, so, so many meanings.  I forgive you, Friend.  I just wish I knew why.

"For the first time, I feel time like a heartbeat.  The seconds, pumping in my chest like a reckoning. The numinous mysteries that once seemed so distant and unreal, threatening clarity in the presence of a truth entertained not in youth, but only in its passage. I feel these words as if their meaning were weight being lifted from me, knowing that you will read them and share my burden as I have come to trust no other.  That you should know my heart and look into it, finding there the memory and experience that belong to you, that are you, is a comfort to me now as I feel the tethers loose and the prospects darken for the continuance of a journey that began not so long ago, and began again with a faith shaken and strengthened by your convictions. If not for which, I might never have been so strong now, as I cross to face you and look at you, incomplete, hoping that you will forgive me for not making the rest of the journey with you." 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

A Busy Weekend

So much is going through my head right now and I feel the need to spit it out.

We just finished a long but way too short but kind of long weekend with Granana, Gov, Grandma, and Grandpa in town.  We celebrated Ethan's 12th birthday on Friday night at the giant trampoline complex in town, then had a cousin sleepover at our house that night, then the girls had dance rehearsals all morning and afternoon on Saturday, then Granana and Gov flew in that morning, then we had everyone over for dinner that night, then we got to bed WAY too late (after Lauren and I had to make a last minute late-night run to Wal Mart because all of her church shoes were missing, and let's face it, Wal Mart has a bad selection so it was pointless anyway) then Ethan was ordained with the Aaronic Priesthood at church on Sunday.....

And I'm too tired to write anymore about it.  I stayed up way too late working on school work, washing, ironing, cutting, and pinning fabric for quilts, watched a lot of X Files on Netflix while working on quilts (I have such a crush on Fox Mulder), and rather than sleep, I researched more and more and more about the three possible graduate programs I will be applying for this fall.  I'm so stressed about it because I have a lot riding on it, I have one shot to get in, my chances are slim (in one of the PhD programs that I really want to get into, I have about a 5/78 chance of being admitted).  Gosh I'm tired and my brain hurts.

And this weekend my parents and I did much sitting around talking (which I love) and crying about life (which I hate) and namely the children that we have collectively lost.  It's crazy to think that I've lost a child, just like my parents lost a child.  You NEVER want to have that in common with your parents, ever.

Yesterday Hailey woke up in a panic attack from a dream she had, and couldn't get it under control.  Huge fat crocodile tears and lots of hyperventilating.  I couldn't send her to school that way, so she stayed home.  Normally she protests missing school (she is such a scholastic over-achiever and I have NO clue where she gets it from...ha ha ha) but yesterday she quickly agreed that staying home would be best.  Then after Lauren and Ethan left for school, Devin said he always has a stomach ache when it's cold outside so he needed to miss kindergarten and hang out with me, Hailey, Granana, and Gov.  He did not have to twist my arm very hard for me to agree.

Today I checked the kids out of school for lunch and we went to our favorite Mexican restaurant as one last hurrah with Granana and Gov before they had to catch their flight home tonight.  Before they left this evening and then after, my heart ached as I said goodbye again.  They are both getting older and I never know what will happen to them between now and when I see them again.  I hate it.

Angus went with us to the airport and was in hysterics when Granana and Gov got out of the car and walked into the terminal.  He sure loves his grandparents, but he has been super depressed since they left!  Me too, Buddy.  Me too.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Prayer Quilt- A New Project

This quilt is a stock photo, not Garrett's real quilt.  His is sacred and I did not want to post it publicly. 
Our family has had a pretty rough time lately. Lots of tears and confusion and upset which manifests as anger. I guess anger is a disguise we wear for sadness, right? Last night while Cody was at Ethan's basketball game, the three other kids and I found ourselves on the big bed watching Garrett videos on my computer. It wasn't a planned activity, but somehow it happened and we cried hard. We cried ugly. We cried loud. We went through half a box of Kleenex. And then on an impulse, I pulled a box out of our closet that I haven't dared open since the day Garrett died in the hospital. I told the kids that something very sacred lie inside the box and they were all very interested to see what it was.

Moments before they wheeled Garrett into the OR to remove him from life support, they made a cast impression of his precious little right hand. I've never seen the cast or anything else in the box that was put together by the amazing staff at the hospital. The locks of his hair in six individual baggies; one for each of us to keep forever. Gently folded underneath everything, was the prayer blanket that was laid over him as soon as he arrived at the hospital. The blanket was made by a local ministry there in Fort Worth and with the blanket, came a note from the ladies who made it, saying they cried and prayed as they put it together, knowing it would go to a child just before he went to Heaven.

I laid with Garrett under that blanket for several hours as his body fought to stay alive, and ultimately lost. I don't know if I felt the prayers then; I felt nothing but numb. But last night as I held the blanket and tried desperately to breathe in any remaining scent of Garrett, I felt the softness and could somehow feel the energy it carried with it. Maybe it was the energy from the sweet women who made it, or maybe it was Garrett's energy. I don't know. But I believe that energy can not be destroyed; it only changes form and it was still there.

I slept little last night and woke up this morning with a crying hangover. Right now I'm in the waiting room of the girls' therapist's office and I should be writing a paper for school, but all I can think about is that blanket and how I need to make one for another child, another family, who will inevitably suffer our same fate.  And in this moment, I am filled with peace as I think of cutting little pieces of fabric and stitching them together, and offering up prayer to The Heavens that the recipient of the blanket will feel the love and energy of our family.  I will cry over it as I tenderly piece it and tie it together.  And maybe my tears will fall on the fabric and those tears will somehow become strength for the Mama and Papa who will one day cling to it as a last remnant of their child. 

And maybe that Mama will snuggle her baby one last time beneath it, just like Cody and I did.

And maybe I won't stop at just one; maybe I will make a dozen, or three dozen, or enough to comfort every family in the entire world who will lose a child. One can dream, right?

I am thinking about starting a little non-profit foundation called "Garrett's Gift", or something like that.  Fabric and supplies are not cheap, and I want a way for people to donate money or items to the project.  This foundation is only an embryo as I only thought of it an hour ago, but I want it to happen.  I NEED it to happen.  I've been searching high and low for a purpose, to turn our grief into gladness, and perhaps sewing little pieces of choo choo train fabric together can help our hearts mend, if even a tiny bit.  

Right now, there is the tiniest bit of resolve in my soul as I contemplate doing this. And for that, I am grateful.