Sunday, December 11, 2016

I. Can't. Even.

I realize I haven't blogged in a million months. Things are crazy and I barely even have time to brush my teeth. But, I'm taking time out now to address something major. I'm sick of sitting and cringing every single time I hear the below phrases so can we please... pretty please... band together and stop saying/doing this crap?

I'm starting this post off with some background real quick. If you are new to my blog, my daughter, Jovi Sloan, passed away to SIDS four and a half years ago. It was/is brutal and something I wouldn't wish on anyone. No one deserves to know what the loss of a child feels like. The love of Jesus and the hope of being reunited with my daughter pulled me through and continues to pull me through on the dark days. Did you catch that? I love Jesus. Jesus is my man.


1.) God doesn't give you more than you can handle. 

Um. What? This is bull sh*t. Because, while I didn't die when my daughter died, it sure as hell felt like I couldn't handle it. In fact, there's still days where I feel like I'm barely keeping my head above water. This isn't helpful. My baby who was here one second and gone the next was/is horrible. I can't even explain the weight of what I felt in the beginning and hearing that God wouldn't give me too much wasn't at all helpful. Not even a little.

2.) Jesus's arms is the best place for a baby. 

What the what? Last time I checked, babies were supposed to outlive their parents. Maybe Jesus's arms are the best place for a mom... but, stop and think about this. It's a sweet thought. Don't get me wrong. I love that Jesus has a hold of my tiny tot, BUT I still want her here more than I want her with Jesus. Let's do a rephrase, "I can see Jesus rocking your precious baby until you get to her again." Nailed it.

3.) God needed another angel. 

I'm still not even convinced that babies become angels. Maybe? Who the heck knows. It doesn't help thinking of her with wings and a halo anymore than it does to think of her being better off in heaven. And. He needed my baby to become the angel? Let's stop and think about this for a second... Do you want to give up your child to become an angel? You don't? Then, don't say it.

4.) God needed another flower for His garden. 

Who are you gonna give up for a flower in God's garden right now?

5.) You are young enough to have another baby. 

No baby can replace the baby I lost. Did you catch that? Let me say it again and just let it sink in. No baby can replace the one I lost. Okay... moving on.

6.) When my dog died....

I believe dogs are family. I believe you love your dog to the ninth power. But, a dog isn't a child. Please stop comparing the death of my child to your dog... cat... gerbil... bird....

7.) Friend request. 

I was inundated with friend requests when Jovi died. Something ridiculous like 64 requests in the first few days after she died. Please don't friend request someone just to know their drama. Facebook has a little thing called messaging. Send them a message. You'll never know when they might get it. I had a mom message me 18 months ago and I just learned about the "other" folder about a month ago. It was there. And it came to me at a time I needed it. It was remarkable. She didn't try to be my "friend". She sent me a heartfelt message and she moved on. She didn't need to see the drama unfolding on my Facebook page.

8) "Do you know how she died?"

Don't gossip about a family going through hell. Does it really matter? And if you must know, ask someone who is your best friend about it. Not Joe Blow from high school.

9.) Oh man... I had the worst week...

Please don't tell me you've had the worst week ever the week my daughter died. Your broken house appliance is nothing compared to the huge hole in my heart. (Ps. You can tell me all about your crappy week now... just don't in the first few weeks/months).

10.) Run the other way. 

If you see my swollen, puffy eyes in the grocery store. Stop and talk to me! I know I now sound totally unapproachable and I'm judging every word, but I'm not really.

Tell me you're sorry.

Tell me you have no words for me.

Give me a hug.

Tell me you can't fix it.

Tell me your praying for me.

Tell me you'll watch my big kids.

Tell me it wasn't my fault.

Tell me you are thinking about me.

Tell me you are there for me.

Tell me your heart is hurting with mine.

Tell me you are so sad.

Tell me you miss seeing her face.

Speak her name.

Bring me dinner.

Tell me Jovi was beautiful.

Tell me she's missed.

Tell me you think about her.

I'm speaking in "me's" here because I'm just going back to the beginning. I, honestly, don't need a dinner now. I'm remembering those first few months of sheer awful and trying to convey how to help your friend, your acquaintance, your sister, your brother.... just be there. Be present. A simple "I'm thinking about you" goes a long, long way. The people I remember the most were the ones who were just there. Those who hugged me and said how terrible this was... those who just didn't leave. Those who didn't try to fix it. Those who allowed themselves to try to think of the unimaginable. Those who let themselves go to that place for just a minute to try to understand how I felt. Those. Those people were my lifeline and those people helped me keep going and helped keep my head above the water. Be empathetic. Don't try to justify my loss. Don't try to make it seem better than it is. Because it f*cking sucks. It's the worse. There's no justification to my daughter's death that will help me feel better in this lifetime.

If you don't know me, pray for me. Tell me your sorry. Shoot me a message on Facebook. Respect my family and my privacy.

Please can we end this? Share this. Teach this. I think it's safe to speak for anyone who has experienced a significant loss... I can't just be speaking to the child-loss mommas...

Let's all throw out sympathy and embrace empathy. It'll go so much farther and impact so. much. more.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

All the Feels

Our camera was sitting on the counter and I just put it away in its spot in a cupboard. It's been sitting on the counter for weeks in preparation for our new little guy's arrival. I'd see it cooking the kids' breakfast (okay, putting waffles in the toaster), it'd catch my eye when cleaning the kitchen... It was a symbol of excitement that a baby could come any day. I remember telling my husband we needed to charge the cameras and how this was not only exciting because a baby was near, but, also, that I had faith that this little tot was going to live and that's big for this baby loss mama. I had a little sting of sadness as I put it away knowing that the excitement of impending "Meet Baby" operation was now over. 

Jett Max made his entrance into the world two minutes before midnight on April 9th. It was one of the most magical days of my life as is the other days that I've first caught glimpse of each of my four babies. He was a surprise... In more ways than one. We didn't know we were incomplete as a family or that we needed another being in our house until we learned of his presence months ago. We knew he would be our last and decided to mix it up and not find out his gender. There was much anticipation upon his arrival as we finally found out if we had a son or a daughter. He's been nothing short of sweet. He's brought that sweet newborn smell back into our house. He's made Lila a big sister and he gave Cash a brother. He's completed our "little" family. He's even slightly less stressful as I feel more confident... I've kept two alive. I've raised a rainbow. I can do this. 

With that being said, he comes with a mark of sadness. Each of his firsts is our last. His first car ride was our last time bringing a baby home from the hospital. I cried upon this realization (Thank you post partum hormones). Not only cried but, also, insisted to my husband that we couldn't possibly say no to another one of these sweet, perfect gifts. I'm sure he thought I was going insane as weeks before we had laughed... Okay seriously contemplated, too... About how we were going to handle three kids here on Earth. 

As the post partum fog has lifted and I'm finding I'm more of myself (no longer crying over car rides and umbilical cord belly buttons) I've realized that these emotions are going to come regardless of its it your first baby and last or your tenth baby and last. We can't continue having babies to keep those emotions at bay and at some point, we have to be done in baby land. Our life won't be over when we don't have a baby in the house anymore and my role as mom is going to change but I  will be just as needed and just as important taking kids to soccer games and piano practice as I trade in changing diapers and nursing. We will enter a new phase and it will be good and it will be wonderful. It's okay to mourn what we are trading in, but just because it's different and new- doesn't mean it's going to be any less.

I'm excited to see where we go and how my kids grow. As I've accepted this today, doesn't mean I still don't struggle with letting it go. If you see Jett out in tiny clothes, it's simply because I can't let go of the incredibly tiniest of tiny newborn sizes. And that's okay. 

Monday, January 25, 2016

Not Prepared.

I knew losing my baby was going to be so hard. I knew I would miss her every. single. day. I knew that years later, life would still not feel right. I knew that my soul would ache for her sweet little self every day and I knew that my life and myself was changed. As the years have gone by without Jovi, I've realized how much I lost when she died. Much was lost the day she died. More than I think I still realize... dreams, futures, stress was gained (multitudes of stresses). Not to sound so depressing, I should add that I gained so much insight and so much perspective along with all that I lost. I will forever wish my child didn't die to be where I am today though.

What I didn't realize is that my sweet boy would still long and ache for his sister three and a half years later. I didn't realize that he would remember. It seems sweet that he does but it breaks my heart that he hurts. I didn't expect tears on Christmas because Santa didn't fill her stocking. I didn't expect almost nightly conversations (lately especially) about Heaven and Jovi. I didn't expect nightly comments of how much he's missing her. I didn't expect comments of "Why do our babies die?".  I wast ready for passing a cemetery on a field trip and his innocent voice telling his best school friend that he has a sister who is buried in a cemetery because she died. And that sweet school friend already feeling awkward by death ignoring Cash's honest comment. Not prepared. Not in any way. I sort of thought he would forget. Not totally... We have pictures of Jovi all over and we speak of her often. She hasn't been placed away or hasn't been forgotten in our home. I mean the tragedy and the sadness. I thought he would vaguely remember he had a sister and more because we reminded him. We kept her memory alive. But, that doesn't seem to be the case. He's remembering on his own. I never wanted him to realize how unfair it was... and he has. He has asked why our babies die... why others don't. Why his sister died and others didn't... He had always sort of just accepted what happened to us and I had always hoped that he wouldn't realize that it is so, so, so unfair. But he does. And it's a killer. It breaks my heart in so many ways. He should never have had to endure this and it's awful he has to continue. My heart is hurting for him. I just wasn't prepared for his heart hurting and how that makes a mommy feel...

He had retired his sweet Jovi bear who slept with him for a couple years after Jovi died. She was so well loved and one day, I realized he had retired her to his little rainbow sister. The other night I went to tuck him in and realized Jovi bear was back in his bed and it was like a punch to the throat and a sheer indication of his hurting little heart. He's such a sweet and sensitive little guy and I realize he's doing all the right things and seems to be grieving in all the right ways. His mommy just wasn't prepared for his hurting heart.

Be praying for my little monkey.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Let's Be Real

I had the pleasure of seeing Rob Bell speak this weekend. He's pretty controversial in the "Christian" world and while I guess I can see why- people need to give this man a chance. He's pretty incredible. 

He was talking about dark space and how 96% of our universe is made up of unknown/dark space. It's the majority of what's around us. This can relate the same to our lives and how so many want to speak about their dark space. He spoke about a woman during a question and answer session and how she asked, "My young daughter just died from a rare disease. What do you have to say to me?". His answer hit me to my core and realized that this is exactly how I feel about death and loss and grieving the loss of someone so instrumental in your life. 

He said that she shouldn't be concerned with why it happened to her and those around her shouldn't be concerned withy that either. And how they shouldn't be hurdling bible scriptures at her as to why this happened. It was, then, I realized to master what answer on this side of life- it will never justify the death of my daughter. 

We need to sit together in silence with those who are grieving and those who are broken. Not throw feel-good scriptures at them. 

He spoke about how she will find a mom who is preparing to head down a similar path or has just lost her daughter. And they will connect in a way that no one but them can understand. And she will bring a comfort to this mom- a light that this mom needs. 

And I couldn't help but cry and rejoice in Jovi's sweet life. And rejoice in my soul sister, Katrina, who brought me more joy and light than I could ever explain. 

I've had those moments. I've been that person for someone else. That feeling is pretty incredible. 

I'm just so reminded again of the damage that some of these scriptures can do when someone is at the very bottom. Someone who is barely breathing. 

Be careful with your words. 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

And so we continue on...

Both my babies here on Earth has birthdays recently. Sweet Cash turning 6! And little Lila turning 2. Where has the time gone? I was sitting in church today dwelling on life and how things can so drastically change in a matter of minutes. 

Some changes are so welcomed. 

Some are so unwanted. 

But, in the midst of all the chaos and change and shitty-crappy events and wonderful, joyous events... We've continued on. 

In the midst of it all, we've continued to smile. 

We've continued to love each other. 

We've continued to try. 

We've continued to grieve. 

We've continued to find joy.

We've continued to laugh. 

We've continued to miss until our hearts feel like they can miss anymore and, then, the next day... We miss even more. 

We've continued to love Jesus. 

We've continued to stress. 

We've continued to cry. 

We've continued to live. 

I have moments where I feel like I've got nowhere. Days where I feel stuck in the midst of loss and immense grief and the heavy feeling of how my life has been really, really hard. And how can someone even say I'm strong because I feel the very opposite of that. I feel weak. And tired. And so done. 

But, then, I have days (and sudden realizations) of how I've come along. And how I've continued. How we've continued despite the ever-hard and sometimes seeming never-ending obstacles I have to jump. And how my life has never ended. I am sure I've said this all before but tonight it's hit me again hard. And I'm proud of myself. And my family. 

On a lighter note-

My life is still very good. I've done so many awesome things this month... I am thankful for kindergarten graduations and for going to well child checks. I will forever remember how incredible these moments are with my babies. And how I'll never wish for them to stop growing...

I can't wait to see where life takes us. Praying for an easier time. And as always, praying my babies below outlive me by decades. 

What in the world?! My boy is 6! And a first grader! This sweet little man saved me and was one of the very reasons I chose to get up every morning. I am so thankful for him. I love his grown up sayings and the young man he's growing into. Seriously? When did he grow up?! I love this little guy so much... Even if he says he hates me now sometimes... Or punches his sister. 

This little ball of fun is 2! She continues to bring my entire family more joy than ever imagined. She's a spit fire who has helped heal some scars and lessen the sting of many others. She continues to make us laugh. Her vocabulary grows every day even if most times it takes us a good 20 times to understand... I love this little lady. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Missing you-

Oh little girl-

We cleaned out the garage today after months of it being the catch all from the big move. 

In the garage was your box. It always hits me like a ton of bricks to even see the box. And think of how unfair it is that all of your stuff that couldn't fit on your memory quilt just sits in there. The beautiful quilt your Auntie Becky made special just for you and your room. Your "J". The stuffed bunny Cash made at Build-A-Bear. The blanket you had at the hospital the day you died. I'm not sure why we even got that blanket back and I'm not always sure why I even kept it. But, it's a part of you. It touched you. And I seem to cling to anything that held you or touched your sweet skin. There were things I'd forgotten about... Your sunglasses from (Auntie) Taylor and your darling bracelet. I sat there pulling stuff out realizing out awful it is we don't get to see these pieces of you everyday. We have a playroom in our new house and I haven't been able to decide on a theme or what to put in there for decorations. You inspired that today and I pulled out some special (and happy) memories from that box to hang up so we can see more of you each day. 

I gave your baby sister your sunglasses. I wish I would have remembered they were in there. Because we put so many of your things on your quilt, there isn't many pieces from you that were passed on to your little sister. I can tell you, though, that those sunglasses were so loved. She was loving them. I enjoyed being able to see my girls both in something the same. 

Today was hard. And reminded me of how much my soul just aches for you. I am thinking of you an extra amount tonight. Send me some Jovi dreams. 

I love you so much, little girl, to Heaven and back. 

Your mommy

Look at your baby sis in those sweet shades! I bet you were smiling seeing her today. 


A police officer was shot and killed in the line of duty in our town this morning. 

These so-sudden, so-senseless tragedies hit home. And hit home big.

I remember what it was like. I remember July 10th. I remember going to work. I remember getting Jovi dressed. I remember her outfit was too small and leaving an extra with her grandma. I remember getting off early. And I remember going to run at the gym. I remember getting eggs and mushrooms at the store on my way home. I remember coming home. I remember kissing my sweet babies hello and telling them how I missed them. I remember putting Cash down for a nap. And snuggling Jovi on the couch. I remember her getting tired. And grouchy. And I remember putting her down for a nap. Life was so normal. Life was so good. I remember doing homework. I remember falling asleep. 

I remember waking up. And getting a glass of water. And texting my husband how all I wanted to eat was candy. I remember needing to go to Target. Cash needed shoes for a wedding. Life was so normal. So freaking normal. And I wanted to do something very normal. I just wanted to wake Jovi up to go to Target.

And then, I remember the minute I got to the door. And I heard her alarm going off. And that was the very second my life changed forever. 

I remember the panic. 

I remember the sheer panic.

I remember the 911 call. 

I remember sobbing and counting chest compressions. 

And I remember seeing my dad. 

And handing Jovi off to him. 

Crumbling to the ground and just simply wanting to barf. I will never forget. 

I remember the car ride. The sirens. 

I remember the face of the lady I first saw when I entered the ER. I remember the room she was in. And hearing a voice asking if the mom had arrived. 

I remember someone finally telling us it wasn't good and being allowed to come in. I remember seeing her and not understanding how she wasn't back and why she just looked like she was sleeping and how now I was suddenly being told she was gone. 

I remember asking to hold her. And asking her to come back and not to leave. 

I remember it all. I remember how she smelled like the hospital and not herself and that bothered me. I remember how her daddy cried when he held her and I remember the flood of loving people who stood by our side while we said goodbye. 

I remember signs of death and wanting to barf again. And feeling the need to leave now. I remember walking out of the ER with sun shining in my face. Clutching the outfit I left for her to wear just hours before... And how the world was still going and how mine had now suddenly and without warning ended. 

And I didn't understand. 

I feel for this family. I remember that very second. I remember the aftermath and the months of waking up feeling bliss only to remember you are actually living your nightmare. 

How I wish we were the last to lose... And to suffer. 

I want to give his wife and babies a big hug and tell her life is really shitty right now. It really is. And nothing anyone says or does will really make it better at this point. 

But- the fog will slowly start to life. And you won't feel so much like you are drowning. Slowly you will find what is a new normal as life never goes back to how it was. How time has now changed. It was before he died and life now after. They are two separate times. And how you are so changed and such a different person now. 

I want to tell her she will, one day, find herself smiling a non-forced smile and a genuine laugh will come from her. 

I want to stress that this life is still worth it. And that she will start to see good again, but that she doesn't have to right now because life is just real shitty at this time. 

Hang in there, precious family. Know you are on the entire communities hearts (mine so very much). Feel all the feels. You can do this.