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My Sweet Angel

My Sweet Angel
4/6/09 4:45 pm 4 lbs 1 oz 17 inches

Friday, April 15, 2011

Butterflies and raindrops!

For centuries, the world has latched on to the image of the butterfly, using its metamorphosis from a caterpillar as a metaphor for death and rebirth. In brighter terms, it means "Don't worry, be at peace, the great circle of life continues on."
The butterfly exists in four distinct forms.  Some argue that people do as well:  The fertilized egg is planted in our mother's womb.  From our day of birth we are like the caterpillar which can only eat and creep along.  At death we are like the dormant pupa in its chrysalis.  After that, our consciousness emerges from the cast off body, and some see in this the emergence of the butterfly.  Therefore, the butterfly is symbolic of rebirth after death.  
In many countries the soul was represented by a butterfly leaving the body at the time of death.
To Christians, the three stages of the butterfly's metamorphoses are symbolic of the three stages in the life cycle of Christ and the Christian. The caterpillar's non-stop eating and excremating reminds us of normal earthly life where people are often preoccupied with taking care of their physical needs. The chrysalis or cocoon resembles the tomb and the butterfly represents the resurrection into a new and glorious life free of material concerns and restrictions.
Another reassuring fact of butterflies in relation to the death of a loved one is that butterflies do not decay or rot.  Their beautiful colors, if kept dry can remain for many decades.
No matter how it is reached, the butterfly is a symbol of change for the better.

"How does one become a butterfly?", Pooh asked pensively.
"You must want to fly. So much that you're willing to give up being a caterpillar", Piglet replied.
"You mean die?" asked Pooh.
"Yes and no" he answered. "What looks like you die. But really, you live on" 

Many years ago (5 or so), my oldest daughter made this butterfly magnet craft for me for mother's day.  It has hung on the side of my refrigerator since without incident.  On April 6, as I was putting something away near there, it fell.  I was so incredibly overcome with happiness at the thought of my sweet Elise sending me a sign.   

Last year, on Elise's first Angelversary I ordered live butterflies and released them with friends and family around the tree that we planted in her honor in our yard.  This year, I ordered a kit from Amazon and "grew" my own.  It was really neat to see these tiny caterpillars grow larger and larger and then become chrysalises before emerging as caterpillars.  I watched them everyday, several times a day.  On April 5, the day before Elise's Angelversary, I saw that 2 butterflies had in fact emerged.  What a glorious sign it was.  By the next day, April 6, all 5 had emerged!


I wanted to enjoy the butterflies in our home for a bit and then release them.

Finally, On Monday, April 11 the weather was warm and dry enough to do so.

We took the net to Elise's tree again and each child got to hold and release a butterfly.

This was written by my 14 year old the night after we let the butterflies go:

Call me crazy..

So, Elise, I'm sitting on my roof talking to you last night right? Which has become an unusual but nonetheless weekly thing for me. I'm feeling pretty frustrated because I never got to hold you or see you or know you. I start questioning your very existence, which i know is wrong, being your sister and everything. But I couldn't help it. And contrary to my beliefs, I ask you for a sign, some kind of indication that you're there, and listening to me, and that I'm not as psychotic as I feel. Please, I ask, just something to let me know you're there and you're okay. I sit for 5 seconds, just waiting. And what happens? It starts raining, it took me a minute to realize, but it was a steady little rain. I thought maybe it was just me, imagining things, but I feel 3 little raindrops on the back of my hand, like tear drops falling from the sky. And as soon as I realize what is happening, it stops. As abruptly as it started, it ended. Some may say its coincidence, others might say I'm just imagining things. But Elise, I know it was you, and I can now sit in peace knowing you're really up there and watching over me. Thank you for a little magic, a little hope, and a lot of faith.

                                                                I Love You Baby Sister<3

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

How are you?

I've heard that so much recently, with Elise's Angelversary passing.
I know it is asked with good intentions.
Sometimes just as a pleasantry in conversation, sometimes with pure intent to really know how I'm doing...but how does one answer that?
I've always wondered the correct way to respond, even more so in the last 2 years.
Do I give the ole' "I'm fine" or "Not too bad" or do I really tell the truth?
"Right this minute?  I'm about to burst into tears."
"Just trying to find a way to live without my daughter."
"Wishing I was going to wake up from this nightmare sometime soon"
"Suicidal" (that one is a whole different entry that I have already started writing...luckily it isn't how I've felt in quite a while)

It's funny how things happen when they do.  I started this post a few days ago (along with about 4 others), but didn't "publish" it.  No real reason, just felt it wasn't "done"  Then today, floating around Facebook on some of the many Angel Mommy pages I belong to, was this

Now, I think my post is done and ready to be published...

or not...

less than 24 hours after publishing this, I came across this:

My mom, she tells a lot of lies
She never did before.
From now until the day she dies
She’ll tell a whole lot more.

She used to tell the truth a lot
But now it doesn’t matter.
I died and went to Heaven
Her life is all a shatter.

Ask my mom how she is
She’ll say, “Yes I’m fine!”
If that’s the truth then tell me
Why does she cry each night?

Ask my mom how she is
She seems to cope so well
She didn’t have a choice you see
Nor the strength to yell.

You think you know the feeling
But this cannot be
For even though you love me
You don’t as much as she.

She will smile and say,
“It’s okay, God has a plan”
But she will turn away and cry 
‘Cause she just can’t understand.

Tell a joke and she will laugh
But she is not okay
She wants to share a joke with me
But it will not be today.

I watch from here in Heaven
Her distress disturbs my peace
Will someone take care of her
Thus take care of me.

Someday she will feel better
“Yes I will” she lies
She knows this will not happen
Until the day she dies.

Ask my mom how she is
She’ll say “Thank you, good”,
She cannot tell how she is
Oh, how I wish she could.

Ask my mom how she is
“I’m well, I’m good and you?”
I’ll shake my head in heaven
It simply isn’t true.

She’ll love me all her life
I loved her all of mine
But if you ask how she is
She’ll lie and say just fine.

Her carnival is over
She’s stepped off the carousel
But to save you feeling badly
She’ll say, "thanks, all is well".

My mom, she’s not gone mad yet
But oh, so very nearly
Don’t ask my mom how she is
Ask how she is really

I am here in Heaven
I cannot hug her from here
If she lies don’t listen

Hug her, hold her near.
On the day we meet again
We’ll smile and I’ll be bold.
I’ll say, “You’re lucky to get in here mom,
with all the lies you told!”.

author unknown.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Half Assed Neglect

Sorry for the language.
I'm in a BAD mood.
I'm grumpy, tired, and ANGRY.
Nothing is getting my full attention.  Everything is being taken care of half assed...neglected...
My kids, my house, my obligations, myself!
I can't focus or concentrate on any one thing for more than a few minutes.
There is just so much that needs to be done and I can't seem to find the energy to do any of it.
What a pity party I'm having...I hate it.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A bereaved big sister

written by my 14 year old in 2010

One year ago today , you were born . Er , stillborn is the more correct term . I think , one year ago at this exact moment , I was in the hospital hoping to meet my baby sister . It all happened so fast , i barely remember it . I just remember being confused , I didn't understand . All of a sudden you were just gone . Without any warning or signs . No one could have expected it . But now , I still can't say I understand , but I can see the peek of sunshine in the darkness . You are watching over me , over everyone . Mommy , Ella , Mr.Mike , Autumn , Andrew , and everyone else . You're keeping us safe from heaven . I'm thankful to know you're safe also . It's been a long , hard year for everyone . And we're all still hurting . Your mom is probably the strongest woman I will ever know , and we all are lucky to have her . I can't wait to meet you baby Elise , It will be a moment worth this lifetime .

L/I/P; Elise Renee Tagliaferri , Gone , But most definitely not forgotten .
And no , that's not a typo , Elise is very much alive in heaven , so i refer to her as living in peace .

Something New

All I have of you is what I had of you.
Obviously, I can't take pictures of you as you grow

I think I might be ready to share something new (to the world) of you.

Looking back through the pictures I do have,
I realized that on the day you entered this world,
Your brother was the age you'd be now.

This video is from the morning of April 6, 2009
It was Spring Break, so your 4 year old sister (slightly older than the age your brother is today) did not have pre-school.
She attended the Mommy and Me Fundamentals class with us that morning.

I remember feeling the contractions during this class.  Wondering if you were really going to make your appearance almost a month early.  I wasn't ready, but I was excited at the thought of meeting you.
As I wrote in your birth story, when we left Fundamentals, We ran some errands...Toys R Us, Barnes and Noble, and Walmart.   Then we went to lunch at the diner.  I had to start swaying through the contractions now coming every 15 minutes or so.  I still wasn't convinced you were coming.  By the time we got home and I tried to put everyone down for a nap, I think I knew in the back of my mind that this was really it.  I had to throw a load of laundry in the washer so you'd have something to wear.  I packed preemie sized  clothes since none of my babies are born "newborn" size.  There was a pink outfit and a white outfit, just in case you were a boy.  You know, it was the first time we found out the sex of our baby before birth, and I was still a little skeptical!
I had suggested putting you in that white outfit for your baptism, but the nurse told me that they had something for you to wear.  That was fine, but looking back, I do wish I would have known I could have bathed you and dressed you.  Why would I know?  Who knows what you can and can't do with a dead baby?  Who thinks to ask these things?
I remember feeling like I was doing something wrong when I was peeking at your body under the blankets.  Your skin was so wrinkled and peeling off, but you were perfect.  Beautiful.  I'd give anything to be able to hold you again.

Dear Elise,

2 years have come and gone since you were in my arms.
I still feel you...sometimes in my womb, sometimes in my arms, always in my heart.
Most days it brings me comfort, even joy
On days like today it's like a punch in the stomach.
I find it hard to breathe, to swallow, to see through the tears.

I look at your baby sister, and I see you.
I wonder if you would have had the same happy disposition she has
Or would you be more like your big sisters :)
I watch her walk and talk and feel so much happiness
But, I'm sad that I didn't get to see you take your first wobbly steps
I never heard you cry or say mama.
You never got to play with your big brother.

At 2 years old, you'd not only be walking, you'd be running!
You'd be saying real words and lots of them I'm sure!
We'd be starting "Mommy School" where you'd learn your colors and shapes,
how to share and take turns.
We'd play pretend and watch TV and talk about the crazy weather
You'd be my shopping buddy

I miss everything about you
I think about you every day...many times a day
I wish you were by my side
But, you're not
You're by the side of God and I know that you are well taken care of
and happy
So that makes me happy and will just have to do
Until we meet again...for the first time

All My Love, My Sweet Angel Elise
Today and Always

Bereaved Birthdays

Birthdays are a time for celebration
Not a time for tears
But what happens when the birthdays
No longer mark the years
A birthday marks the moment
A spirit enters earthly life
To share its special love and joy
And learn from earthly strife
Before a spirit comes to us,
It knows when and how it must depart
It chose its path carefully,
We are honored from the start
The sadness we now feel on such a joyous day
Is longing for our loved one's touch
It's natural to feel this way
For even though the birthdays
No longer mark a spirit's stay
Love continues on forever
To touch us everyday I hug my precious memories
Close to my heart
And honor my beloved spirit child
Who chose me from the start

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Just another day it was, or so I thought.

April 5, 2009 was a Sunday.  We got up that morning and went to breakfast with the Easter Bunny at the Fire Station.  I remember the bunny making motions about my big belly and eating.  :) 

We ate and went back home.  Later that afternoon it started.  Contractions.  I thought they were real, but they weren't close enough together.  I read somewhere that if you had more than like 3 in an hour you should call your doc.  When I really started to time them, I did, I had exactly 3 and waited for the next hour...this time it took a little over an hour to get 3, so I waited.  Eventually they stopped coming every 20 minutes and moved to every 45 minutes to an hour.  I thought it was strange, but not enough to be concerned.  I went to bed not realizing my life was never going to be the same...

Monday, April 4, 2011

A Baby Grows Her Wings

I remember it clearly, like it was yesterday...cliche', I know, but I do.  Strange thing is, it feels like a lifetime ago all at the same time. 
Saturday, April 4, 2009
I had a playdate scheduled at my house that morning.  My husband was checking car seats for anyone who wanted it and we had an egg hunt in the back yard for the kids.

It was the day after Danielle's birthday, so we had a chocolate cake for her.  Everything was normal.  I remember being tired and uncomfortable, but not much more so than usual.  The rest of the day progressed without incident...lunch, naps, hanging out...but at some point that day something happened to Elise.  I still don't know if it was the cord around her neck that killed her or the knot in it, but one of those took her little life that day. 
I didn't feel any frantic movement or have any sort of intuition that something was wrong.  That part haunts me to this day.  How could I not know?  How could I not realize she stopped moving?  I don't get it.  It is only because of her condition that we know she died on this day.  I t will be another 2 days before I find out and hold my angel for the first and last time.

Meanwhile, I didn't know at the time, but there was another mother delivering her own sleeping angel this morning.  It wasn't until I posted about loosing Elise on a babywearing forum that I frequented that she contacted me offering support and understanding.  Baby Joey, I am so sorry that you did not get to live in our physical world, but I am confident that you know just how special you and your mother both are and how you have both touched my life.  I love you Katherine and I wish we didn't meet the way we did, but I am so glad Elise has Joey to play with in Heaven!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

February 25, 2011


I REALLY want to start a blog for Elise.  I feel so bad that I haven't done it yet.  She deserves one.  I need outlet for so much that I think and feel...a place to "collect" links to other blogs and sites, but I know I just don't have the time to add another "thing" to my day.  And I would just feel HORRIBLE that I couldn't find a few minutes every couple days or so to devote to my sweet angel.  I think that's what scares me the most.  What a terrible situation to be in.

I think I'm just grumpy and sad today...some days are so much harder than others and I never know when or why.  I just want to cry, but I can't, too much to do, no time for that

Woke up late today,
And I still feel the sting of the pain,
But I brushed my teeth anyway.
I got dressed through the mess,
And put a smile on my face.
I got a little bit stronger.
I know my heart will never be the same.
But I'm telling myself I'll be okay,
Even on my weakest days,
I get a little bit stronger.
(Sara Evans)

Sometimes, though, I really want to just be able to focus on Elise
But, if there is one thing I have learned being the mother of 4 living children, it's that it doesn't matter what I want or when I need something, someone else needs something and that pulls rank.

it's that dreaded time of year again for me...3 months filled with so much emotion and no time to process any of them.  I just have to keep going, getting things done for everyone else...

((And well, now you see blog for Elise :) <3))

New Year's Resolutions for Bereaved Parents

January 1, 2011

I Resolve:

That I will grieve as much and for as long as I feel like grieving, and that I will not let others put a time table on my grief.

That I will grieve in whatever way I feel like grieving, and I will ignore those who try to tell me what I should or should not be feeling and how I should or should not be behaving.

That I will cry whenever and wherever I feel like crying, and that I will not hold back my tears just because someone else feels I should be "brave" or "getting better" or "healing by now."

That I will talk about my child as often as I want to, and that I will not let others turn me off just because they can't deal with their own feelings.

That I will not expect family and friends to know how I feel, understanding that one who has not lost a child cannot possibly know how I feel.

That I will not blame myself for my child's death, and I will constantly remind myself that I did the best job of parenting I could possibly have done. But when feelings of guilt are overwhelming, I will remind myself that this is a normal part of the grief process and it will pass.

That I will not be afraid or ashamed to seek professional help if I feel it is necessary.

That I will commune with my child at least once a day in whatever way feels comfortable and natural to me, and that I won't feel compelled to explain this communion to others or to justify or even discuss it with them.

I will keep the truth in my heart--the truth that my child is always with me in spirit.

That I will try to eat, sleep, and exercise every day in order to give my body strength it will need to help me cope with my grief.

To know that I am not losing my mind and I will remind myself that loss of memory, feelings of disorientation, lack of energy, and a sense of vulnerability are all a normal part of the grief process.

To know that I will heal, even though it will take a long time.

To let myself heal and not feel guilty about not feeling better sooner.

To remind myself that the grief process is circuitous--that is, I will not make steady upward progress. And when I find myself slipping back into the old moods of despair and depression, I will tell myself that "slipping backward" is also a normal part of the mourning process, and that these moods, too, will pass.

To try to be happy about something for some part of every day, knowing that at first, I may have to force myself to think cheerful thoughts so eventually they can become a habit.


Little Lives Lost

September  5, 2010

Every night I sit on my back porch and from the chair that I sit in I can see this one bright star.  I just noticed it a few nights ago and wasn't actually convinced that it was really a star.  It is so bright and still.  I wasn't sure what else it could be though.  But now I know that it is indeed a star..the star of my sweet Elise...
And with the tragic passing of 14 year old Lauryn Little this week, my heart holds some hope that both of these amazing girls have found each other in heaven.  I remember how fond Lauryn was of Autumn when she was a baby, I just know that she is just as kind and loving to Elise, who herself is no doubt drawn to Lauryn's smile and sunny disposition and stories of her big sisters...
May you both find comfort in each other and in knowing the many lives you touched during your brief stay on earth.  There are more people than either of you know who love you and miss you terribly...finding some peace in the fact that you are both safe in heaven and now have each other.

When you feel Lonely

When a person you love passes away
Look to the night sky on a clear day.
The star that to you, appears to be bright,
Will be your loved one, Looking upon you during the night.
The lights of heaven are what shows through
As your loved one watches all that you do.
When you feel lonely for the one that you love,
Look to the Heavens in the night sky above.

Author unknown

Elise's Angelversary 4/6/10

Readings from her first Angelversary:

On the Wings of Hope
According to an American Indian Legend:
       If anyone desires a wish to come true they must first capture a butterfly and whisper that wish to it.
       Since a butterfly can make no sound, the butterfly can not reveal the wish to anyone but the Great Spirit who hears and sees all.
       In gratitude for giving the beautiful butterfly its freedom, the Great Spirit always grants the wish.
       So, according to legend, by making a wish and giving the butterfly its freedom, the wish will be taken to the heavens and be granted.


A Butterfly Release
As you release this butterfly in honor of me,
know that I'm with you and will always be.
Hold a hand, say a prayer,
close your eyes and see me there.
Although you may feel a bit torn apart,
please know that I'll be forever in your heart.
Now fly away butterfly as high as you can go,
I'm right there with you more than you know.
By Jill Haley

Printed page given to those who attended:

Elise Renee Tagliaferri
 Thank you for honoring and remembering our sweet angel with us tonight.
April 6, 2010

Messenger of God
Kathryn Poland

Oh, Little Butterfly,
Messenger of God,
When I see you in the sky
I cannot help but nod.
You bring me respite
From grief and despair
Every time I see you
Sailing through the air.
You renew my faith
In all God's wondrous plan,
And I know it's all in FAITH,
Not in what I understand.

A Symbol of Hope

A butterfly lights beside us like a sunbeam
And for a brief moment its glory and beauty belong to our world
But then it flies again
And though we wish it could have stayed...
We feel lucky to have seen it.

“What the caterpillar perceives is the end, to the butterfly is just the beginning”

I Am Me

April 5, 2010

They say everything happens for a reason. I'm sure it does, but that doesn't mean I still don't question a lot of what has happened in the last year.
Of course, I continue to question WHY Elise had to be taken from us, but I also can't help but wonder how differently things would have worked out if Elise hadn't died. Especially after seeing how things have changed in the short time since Ella has been born.
I know there is really no point in second guessing and pondering all the "What If" "I Wish" "Why Didn't" scenarios, but I guess it is only natural.
My world was turned upside down last April and then, like a salad spinner, was given another horrific shake up last May. I still can't even fathom how things can go so completely wrong so quickly. How God would allow one person to go through so much at one time.
Life as I knew it was never going to be the same. I am a mother and a wife and both of those were now in question. A year later and I am still not sure of the new definition of either of those roles.
In those first few days, weeks, and even months of living in such a strange limbo, I couldn't imagine how I would survive a year or two or ten. I'm still not sure. The one thing I do know is that life keeps moving, even if you aren't.
Another cliche for ya: What a difference a year makes...I say yes and no. Obviously Ella is here when she wasn't a year ago. The pain of loosing Elise is not quite as raw and sharp as it was a year ago.
BUT I still have many of the same feelings I did last year around this time. I am still sickened by the events that took place last April. I still have physical as well as emotional reactions to thoughts of them all. I still find my head spinning and searching for something, anything to grab to slow it down. I once again am finding it difficult to function, both at home and in society. I just want to crawl in a hole again. The tears slowed over the last year, but they come as quickly and as heavily now as they did then.
How is it possible to feel such conflicting emotions at the same exact time. Love, Hate, Happy, Sad, Hopeful, Scared, Joy, Pain, Focus, Distraction, Trust, Doubt. It's all too much...and I still have another day, week, month, 2 months to struggle through before I can even begin to hope that my mind will stop playing the same movies over and over again in my head.

I Am Me

I'm torn, and broken
No matter how I appear to others
How high I hold my head up
Or how my words are spoken
I will never be the person
That I use to be
And no matter how I appear to others
Head up, strong spoken
They have no idea who I am
I am me
Not who I appear to be

Callie Sanders Thornton

Couldn't have said it better myself...I think I might wear this as a sign around my neck

Good Friday, April 2, 2010

If you knew me last year at this time, then you probably know that Good Friday was the day we formally said goodbye to Elise. The date was April 10, but it was still Good Friday. In my constant search for answers (or comfort at least) I came across this site and really liked what it had to say.

I thought that day was going to be the worst day of my life, and it ranked a close second to the 5 days prior when I found out Elise was gone. I never would have imagined both those days could have been made worse by revelations made on a third "worst day of my life" Never, never would I have thought that people could and would taint such a horrible experience with their own selfishness. I had no idea that I could hurt even more than I already did, but that is what happens when you are kicked while you are down. What a miserable week, month it was. The pain of it all is still so overwhelming sometimes. When life slows down for more than a second or two and even the smallest memory creeps in, the tears still come so easily and oh so many of them. Sometimes I feel like I am going to break. It's been almost a year now and I am still struggling to rebuild my perception of role as mother and wife.
I am trying to look at the bright side of things. I am almost happy that Holy Week ended up being before Elise's actual "birthday" I'm hoping that going through all these "anniversaries" now will somehow make the real days a little less can wish, right?

Thank you to all of you who attended Elise's memorial with good and pure intentions in your heart. And to those of you who couldn't/didn't attend, but still had Elise in your prayers.

I hope you are able to attend her angelversary on Tuesday.

Precious Child

God, I know you gave your precious Son
To give us life with You.
But we didn’t want our baby to leave,
Cause she was precious too.

We all are special in your eyes
And all to you return.
We know our child will not come back,
And for this our hearts still yearn.

Our time on earth is for learning,
And when our lessons are through,
Our Lord will choose the time we leave,
And we come back to you.

Our precious girl is with you,
And there will be a day,
That we too will leave this earth,
And you will light our way.

Her arms will be wide open,
And the wait will be worthwhile,
When we see again our precious daughter,
And the splendor of her smile.


March 30, 2010

Elise's Angelversary

I hesitate to call it a birthday. It should be a birthday, it was the day she was born, but she wasn't born alive.
It is an anniversary of sorts, but both birthday and anniversary have such a happy connotation to them.
Asian cultures call it a death anniversary.
Breaved parents coined the term angelversary. This word denotes the annual date of a child's death. Stillbirth parents are marking both birth and death on the same day. So it is different than a regular birthday. Angelversary is the answer to describing this most difficult day.

Anyway, Elise's angelversary is next Tuesday. I am bitter that I am not ordering her first cake to dig into and make a mess with. Instead I am searching for butterflies to release in honor of her short life and amazing spirit. I think I finally found some...not exactly what I wanted, but they will do. The weather forcast is finally up for Tuesday and it looks like it will be nice enough to hold a backyard memorial.

Everyone is invited to join us at our home next Tuesday, April 6 as we do indeed celebrate Elise. I am still not exactly sure how the event will unfold, but I can't imagine the day passing without honoring her in some way. So if you are able, please join us at our home around 6 pm.

January 9, 2010

AhHa, Makes a Little More Sense Now!

I'm surprised my head didn't tell me this, but apparently my heart knew. I thought it was just the fact that the year had changed and I am now getting ready to face some serious issues head on that left me feeling so down the last few days.
Yesterday was Elise's 9 month angelversary. She's now been physically away from me longer than she was physically with me. I am glad that I had no reason to take notice of the date so it was able to sneak by without incident. It wasn't always that way, for many months, I knew exactly when the 6th was. I knew exactly when it was 4:45 every Monday. Now those realizations are usually either a little early or late, but like I said my heart always knows.

I read this a week or two ago and made a mental note that "my" time was coming up soon, that I might want to refer back to it, and sure enough I do...

I'm so lost. It's been nine months, three seasons, but it feels as if time stopped when you died, my sweet, forever-baby. I remember other baby-loss mamas saying, "It gets easier... time really does help..." I guess that is partly true, but lately it's been almost worse. Maybe it's just the holidays. I looked at one-year-old clothes and toys while I was shopping and thought, "I should be buying those for Elise." Nine months old is one of my favorite ages...eating, moving, playing, but still not walking or TALKING! LOL Oh, those wonderful open mouth, wet kisses and giggles. I would love to receive them from my sweet angel.
I think I've pushed myself beyond the edge of reason. It feels like I'm moving in slow-motion lately, like I've been trying to run a marathon through an endless desert of sand and oh, god, I'm so tired. I'm just so tired.
I didn't know nine months would feel like this. I didn't know I could miss someone like this. I didn't know my heart could be shattered and still keep beating. I didn't know I could look into the black hole of my dead daughter's slack mouth, hold her tiny bruised and swollen head in my hand, and still be breathing nine months later. I don't want this, and there's nothing I can do to take it back, to give it back, to undo the horror that is my life now, without Elise.
I feel so melodramatic, writing any of that down, but the feeling goes beyond the words. I can't possibly tell you. The feeling plumbs the depths of my core and comes back with the blackest tar imaginable. The darkness I'm living in isn't deep, it's infinite.
I can't "stay positive" or "Keep fighting the good fight." I don't have any fight left in me. I've been wrestling with enough invisible demons for quite some time now. Enough.
Nine months. In a word? It sucks. What's another nine months gonna feel like? What about nne more years?
I don't know if I want to know.

Good night my sweet Elise. I love you as much now as I did nine months ago, maybe even more. I miss you. I still ache for you and yet, I know you are in a better place, a much better place than here, so I take great comfort in that.

Friends, I need your Help!

December 30, 2009

As usual, I came across this from another bereaved mother and have her permission to use it...I have naturally tweaked it to my situation and included some of my own thoughts and feelings. I hope you will be able to help me with this...

My Dear Friends,

As New Year's day approaches I know that it will be a difficult day for me to get through without the love and support of those around me. Elise's first Christmas has come and gone and her absence is felt so very much during the holiday season.
I look at New Year's Day with many mixed emotions. I can say without hesitation, that 2009 had to be the absolute worst year of my life. So many "bad" things happened during that year. I am happy to see it go.
At the same time, it was also the year I was given and able to hold my very own angel. Elise's short life and sudden death along with a few other highly significant events (both "good" and "bad") changed who I am. I am no where near the same person I was in 2008. That's not exactly a negative thing.
Meanwhile, 2009 blessed me with the opportunity to grow another child. Ella has been a part of me for almost half of the year. Again, a bag of mixed emotions.
Now, as 2010 approaches I am faced with the realization that a new year may mean an end to bad period of time in my life and the promise of a new beginning, but there are still many challenges that lay ahead. During 2010: I will have to face the 36 week mark in my pregnancy, the exact time Elise passed away. I will have to endure labor and childbirth (with so much more meaning than just the normal "pain" and anxiety). I will be able to see and hold another daughter in my arms, experiencing all the emotions that go along with that simple act. I will face the one year angelversary of Elise's birth and death. I could go on and on about all that will be coming my way in this new year, all that I will have to face head on, but I think you get the point. :)

Anyway, this is where you come in.
Would you please consider a moment to send an email or a message:

I am going to put together a keepsake for Elise, a time capsule if you will. The hope is to fill it with heartfelt notes from those who wish to help us in remembering her. The notes really have no guideline, just write what you feel. You can write to Elise, to me, to our family, whomever you wish. It doesn’t have to be more than a sentence really. The point is just to remember her with us as her birth year comes to a close. The smallest gesture carries the biggest comfort and love in the hardest of times.
I want to say that there is no need to censor your writings or be afraid that I will be sad in reading your thoughts about Elise. Nothing makes me sadder than the fact that she is not here with us, and remembering her brings some peace to my heart. Knowing that your child is not forgotten is the best gift you can give a bereaved mother. I encourage all of you to just write what is in your heart, if you had things that you wish you could have said to Elise, me, or our family then I ask you to do so. It can help you as much as it helps me. I appreciate any notes or thoughts that are sent. I will hold them all very close to my heart!

So here is how I am going to accomplish this:

Please send me a message here on facebook or an email to with “FOR ELISE” in the subject line. I will print them and assemble them into Elise's keepsake. Please pass this request on to anyone you may think could help. I know there are many people missing from my facebook family (and from the wonderful world of facebook itself! lol)

Thank you again for anything and everything you have done to support me throughout 2009 and for helping me remember Elise during the most difficult times not to think of her.

UPDATE:  I have about 20 notes compiled in a document from this.  It truly is a treasure to look back over these and realize what a difference my angel has made in the lives of those who "knew" her

On a related note

November 4, 2009

Autumn and I had a good discussion last night.
First, some background:
When school began, I'm not sure how it came up, but Autumn said that her teacher didn't need to know about Elise, because that's not really related to school. I told her that her teacher would want to know because it is related to her (Autumn) and the teacher wants to know about her. It wasn't really related to anything she was doing in school, just a conversation.
Well, now she is beginning the "family scrapbook" theme and is naturally talking about her family. One homework assignment was a simple "questionaire" about her family. When asked how many people were in it, she quickly counted off everyone and said 7. She also answered that she had 3 sisters.
I have been a little hesitant about talking about these things with her. She will often, very matter of factly comment that she hopes the new baby doesn't die. I have discussed with her that Elise's death is not "normal" for most pregnancies, but lately her comments are generally so quick that a simple "me too" is all the response I can get in.
Anyway, I did ask her about her sisters. Obviously Emily is here and Elise is in heaven, but the new baby isn't born yet, so does she count? And without missing a beat, Autumn answered "well, mommy, just like Elise, just because she isn't here doesn't mean she isn't my sister. The baby in your belly will always be my sister, just like Elise, right"
I wanted to cry. My little girl is far more insightful than she should be and that's just another reason to be so proud of her :)

Rascal Flatts

November 4, 2009

I've always liked Rascal Flatts. I have always thought that their songs have a catchy tune and good lyrics.
I remeber becoming particularly emotional when I was newly pregnant with Elise at hearing this song, it really reminded me of my kids:

My Wish

Then, the day after Elise was born, I was alone in my hospital bed, trying to choke down some food and I turned on the television. Rascal Flatts was on the Today show (or one of the morning shows) doing a live performance to promote the release of their newest album, Unstopable. They played this song and I just lost it:

Here Comes Goodbye

Today, I was driving alone with the radio on (I'd have to be alone for that to happen!) and I heard one of their songs that I have heard several times before, but it really hit me this time:

What Hurts the Most

There are actually quite a few more songs out there that have a special meaning to me concerning my life and my kids, but I find it quite interesting that one group has managed to touch me so deeply in one area in such a short amount of time. There are even a couple other songs by them that hold special meaning to me. So this is my shout out to them: Thank you Rascal Flatts and keep up the good work :)

October 6, 2009

6 months

What were you doing 6 months ago?

Most times people answer a question like this with something along the lines of barely being able to remember what they were doing yesterday. Generally, only times that have a strong impact on your life are easily remembered...Like where you were when you got engaged or what you were doing on 9/11.
April 6th, 6 months ago, will never be forgotten for me. I know where I was and what was happening every minute of that day. From the not-so-strong contractions at Fundamentals and Wal Mart, to full blown labor at lunch, to holding my angel in my arms and then giving her away to never be seen in flesh again.
If you have children you know all too well that time flies in the larger picture. The day to day seems to crawl by, but looking back it really doesn't seem all that long ago that your baby was born.
My life profoundly changed that day. In a way that is still not complete. There is still so much I don't know about myself and Elise. Some of it I will never know. I can't even tell you how old she would be today. When would she have been born if she hadn't died...April 6, April 24, May 1...I don't know. Had she stayed safe inside my womb or even just been born alive that day, how would that have changed the course of events that happened throughout the rest of the month of April and the subsequent months that followed. Where would my life be now? Better? I definately think so.
I never knew I could miss someone so much and I could hurt so deeply. I never knew that everything I once thought to be true could be turned upside down so quickly and so drasticaly. I have seen and thought things I would have NEVER even begun to imagine in a million years.
Life goes on and it looks relatively normal, heck, it even almost feels normal sometimes, but it doesn't last long. Reality hits again and the harsh truths can't be ignored. Life is just different. I am just different.
I wish I had a new picture to post with this note, but sadly I only have the same ones I have had for 6 months now. Only about 10 people outside of myself, hospital staff, and the photography place have even seen what she REALLY looked like. The only photos I have ever posted of her are either retouched or not of much of her. There will never be a new or different picture of my daughter Elise. Maybe I'll take a picture of her tree and post it here for her. That is all I have to physically represent her changes. I am sad and I am angry and I am hurt and I would really just like to crawl in a hole for a couple days to gather some strength, I'm slowly running out.

An angel in the book of life wrote down my baby's birth.
Then whispered as she closed the book "too beautiful for earth".

We thought of you today
But that is nothing new
We thought of you yesterday
And will tomorrow too

We think of you in silence
And make no outward show
For what it meant to loose you
Only those who love you know

Remembering you is easy
We do it everyday
It’s the heartache of loosing you
That will never go away

how i miss you

My broken heart..
Will never mend
So lots of kisses..
I shall send

We think of you..
In a better place
With beautiful wings..
And a smile on your face

Every day is a struggle you see
Trying to cope..
So please help me

How do I cope?
I do not know
My heart is broken..
So that goes to show

I can't accept that you are gone
I need you here..
Please keep me strong

Stay by my side..
Show me the way
Help me to cope every day

I love and miss you so much..
And I always will
Since you have been gone..
Time has stood still

I think of you in heaven..
With Gods Angels up above
Please, my precious Angel..
Watch over me with love

To lose your child is the hardest loss to bare
No other loss on earth will ever compare,
Your heart's been broken, your soul ripped in two
This precious child is a part of you,

You don’t know if you can carry on
Others tell you to be strong,
You struggle with each passing day
The pain in your heart never goes away,

Days and months come and go
The grief you feel begins to grow,
The ache and longing is always there
You sit alone, you sit and stare,

Nobody knows what to say to you
But You need their help to see you through,
Friends start to drift away,
Nobody understands your pain each day

They can’t bare to see you cry
You can’t stop or live a lie,
This is your life now and it’s for real
Your broken heart will never heal,

Special days come along
These are days you can’t be strong,
Birthdays, Christmas and Mothers day
Are the days you dread in every way.

Then comes the day that hurts the most
The day your life changed forever,
Always know the memory of your child
Will stay with you and leave you never.

"Hell with Hope and A Heartbeat"

WOW, I found out I was pregnant again in July...barely 3 months after Elise passed.  I yelled, I cried, I considered abortion, I was a MESS!  Things were so up in the air with my husband, I was on a path of self destruction and I was SCARED!  I wanted another baby, but I wasn't sure if it was for the right reasons.  What if I was just trying to replace Elise?  What if this baby died too?  What if I can't pull myself together enough to care for this baby properly while growing inside me?  What if I can't handle another child once he/she is born?  What if a million other things...but alas, many ultrasounds, blood draws, doppler readings, and my expanding middle allowed me to share the news...

September 14, 2009

If you've known me through any other pregnancy, then you know that I am usually the type to talk of when we are going to try to concieve, if we are trying, and then keeping a positive test secret for only a few seconds. Obviously this time around was a bit different. OK, a lot different.
First of all, no, we (Mike and I) were not even positive we wanted to try for another baby. Mostly because of our devestation over loosing Elise, but also because of our foggy future together. We went through MANY ups and downs and well, God and Elise both took advantage of those "up" times. I guess they had a plan already set up for us.
I was alone when I found out that I was pregnant and I can't even begin to explain the range of emothions that I litterally felt throughout my body. I didn't tell anyone for days, not even Mike.  Then, for the longest time I think only Mike and 2 friends knew. Slowly I "came clean" to a person at a time. It has taken me this long to finally begin to loose some of my fear and anxiety over telling people. This is largely due to the fact that my growing waistline is making it hard to hide.
I have been (and still am) quite scared to death of carrying another life inside me and giving birth again. I honestly can't really wrap my head around it completey. As hard as I try there is a little bit of trepidation in allowing myself to become too attached to this new life. I waited until after 12 weeks to "announce" it, but for me, the only "safe time" to breathe a sigh of relief will be when I am nursing this little guy or gal for the first time. I dream of this day and try not to let my mind wander too far. This baby deserves it, and so do I.
So, anyway, thank you all for the well wishes and comments of support. They really do mean a lot to me. I do plan to take pictures about once a month in my tinkerbell PJ pants, but the shirt my's already getting a bit tight (I bought it when I was quite pg with fit fine then?!?)
To quote from a blog I read when first reading up on pregnancy after a loss:
"Nine months is a long time to wait to find out if this time it’ll be different. It’s hell. But hell with hope and a heartbeat."

September 2, 2009

I ran across this song this morning looking for something totally different and it really hit me hard...covers a lot of what I am thinking and feeling, in more ways than many of you even know.

Elise is always on my mind and as I approach five months of living without her, along with milestones for my other children, I find myself missing her more and more. Yes, life does go on and it even gets "easier" but everyday is still a struggle and everyday I wish she were here with us. I feel cheated. So many other things have happened in the last 5 months since her passing that I don't feel I have even had the opportunity to grieve her properly and I'm not sure when and if I ever will. So, I guess random sad days will just have to get me through.

I still miss you, angel, and love you more than anyone knows.

I Will Carry You

There were photographs I wanted to take
Things I wanted to show you
Sing sweet lullabies, wipe your teary eyes
Who could love you like this?
People say that I am brave but I'm not
Truth is I'm barely hanging on
But there's a greater story
Written long before me
Because He loves you like this

So I will carry you
While your heart beats here
Long beyond the empty cradle
Through the coming years
I will carry you
All my life
And I will praise the One whose chosen me
To carry you

Such a short time
Such a long road
All this madness
But I know
That the silence
Has brought me to His voice
And He says...I've shown her photographs of time beginning
Walked her through the parted seas
Angel lullabies, no more teary eyes
Who could love her like this?

I will carry you
While your heart beats here
Long beyond the empty cradle
Through the coming years
I will carry you
All your life
And I will praise the One whose chosen Me
To carry you

What Makes A Mother?

August 20, 2009

Stumbled across this and it brought tears to my eyes.
I miss you, my sweet angel, Elise.
Hugs, Kisses, and ALL MY LOVE...Mommy :)

What Makes a Mother...

I thought of you and closed my eyes
And prayed to God today.
I asked what makes a Mother
And I know I heard him say,

A Mother has a baby
This we know is true.
But God, can you be a Mother
When your baby's not with you?

Yes you can, he replied
With confidence in his voice.
I give many women babies
When they leave is not their choice

Some I send for a lifetime
And others for a day.
And some I send to feel your womb.
But there's no need to stay.

I just don't understand this,
God I want my baby here!
He took a breath and cleared His throat
And then I saw a tear

I wish that I could show you
What your child is doing today.
If you could see your child smile
With the other children and say,

"We go to earth to learn our lessons
Of love and life and fear.
My Mommy loved me oh so much
I got to come straight here."

"I feel so lucky to have a Mom
Who had so much love for me. I
learned my lesson very quickly
and My Mommy set me free."

"I miss my Mommy oh so much
But I visit her each day.
When she goes to sleep at night
On her pillow is where I lay."

"I stroke her hair and kiss her cheek
And whisper in her ear,
Mommy don't be sad today
I am your baby and I am here."

So you see my dear sweet one
Your children are okay
Your babies are here in My home
And this is where they'll stay.

They'll wait for you with Me
Until your lesson is through.
And on the day that you come home
They'll be at the gates for you.

So now you see what makes a Mother
It's the feeling in your heart.
It's the love you had so much of
Right from the very start.

Jennifer Wasik

July 2, 2009

A New Mantra

I love music, always have. Country seems to be the current fave as I've laughed and cried to Taylor Swift, Rascal Flatts and several others many many times in the last 3 months...

Rodney Atkins
If You're Going Through Hell

Well you know those times
When you feel like there's a sign there on your back
Says I don't mind if ya kick me
Seems like everybody has
Things go from bad to worse
You'd think they can't get worse than that
And then they do

You step off the straight and narrow
And you don't know where you are
Use the needle of your compass
To sew up your broken heart
Ask directions from a genie
In a bottle of Jim Beam
And she lies to you
That's when you learn the truth

If you're going through hell
Keep on going, don't slow down
If you're scared, don't show it
You might get out
Before the devil even knows you're there

Well I been deep down in that darkness
I been down to my last match
Felt a hundred different demons
Breathing fire down my back
And I knew that if I stumbled
I'd fall right into the trap that they were laying, yeah

But the good news
Is there's angels everywhere out on the street
Holding out a hand to pull you back up on your feet
The one's that you've been dragginig for so long
You're on your knees
You maight as well be praying
Guess what I'm saying

If your going through hell
Keep on going, don't slow down
If you're scared don't show it
You might get out
Before the devil even knows you're there

Yeah, If you're going through hell
Keep on moving, face that fire
Walk right through it
You might get out
Before the devil even knows you're there

If you're going through hell
Keep on going, don't slow down
If you're scared don't show it
You might get out
Before the devil even knows you're there

Yeah, If you're going through hell
Keep on moving, face that fire
Walk right through it
You might get out
Before the devil even knows you're there
Yeah, you might get out
Before the devil even knows you're there.

June 14, 2009

I Am There
James Dillet Freeman

Do you need Me? I am there.

You cannot see Me, yet I am the light you see by.
You cannot hear Me, yet I speak through your voice.
You cannot feel Me, yet I am the power at work in your hands.

I am at work, though you do not understand My ways.
I am at work, though you do not undersatnd My works.
I am not strange visions. I am not mysteries.

Only in absolute stillness, beyond self, can you know
Me as I AM, and then but as a feeling and a faith.

Yet I am here. Yet I hear. Yet I answer.
When you need ME, I am there.
Even if you deny Me, I am there.
Even when you feel most alone, I am there.
Even in your fears, I am there.
Even in your pain, I am there.

I am there when you pray and when you do not pray.
I am in you, and you are in Me.
Only in your mind can you feel separate from Me,
for only in your mind are the mists of "yours and "mine."
Yet only with your mind can you know Me and experience Me.

Empty your heart of empty fears.
When you get yourself out of the way, I am there.
You can of yourself do nothing, but I can do all.
And I AM in all.

Though you may not see the good, good is there, for
I am there. I am there because I have to be, because

Only in Me does the world have meaning; only out of
Me does the world take form; only because of ME
does the world go forward.
I am the law on which the movement of the stars and the
growth of living cells are founded.

I am the love that is the law's fulfilling. I am assurance.
I am peace. I am oneness. I am the law that you can live by.
I am the love that you can cling to. I am your assurance.
I am your peace. I am ONE with you. I am.

Though you fail to find ME, I do not fail you.
Though your faith in Me is unsure, My faith in you
never waivers, because I know you, because I love you.

Beloved, I AM there.

Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10

Two Months Later

Here is where things change.  My life changed forever again in May of 2009.  A major rift was made in my marriage.  My husband and I argued, fought, yelled, cried and separated both emotionally and physically.  We did this several times in the months that came.  Even two years out we are still doing it.  It was NOT because of Elise.  Her death and the grieving that followed compounded the situation, but was NOT the root of our issues.  I do not want any of what happened between my husband and I to contaminate my sweet angel's place, so I will leave it at that, BUT I think it is an important fact that needs to be included in how life moved forward since her passing...

June 9, 2009

Saturday was 2 months since the worst thing that could ever happen to a woman happened to me. These are the thoughts I wrote on that day...

My life would be so different if my sweet angel were here.
My heart would be full of joy instead of broken into only small pieces of momentary happiness.
My marriage wouldn’t be so much of a daily struggle.
Sure, many of the events that have transpired in the 2 months since her death would still exist and I would be exhausted as the mother of a newborn, a toddler, a preschooler and a teenager, but I truly believe her precious little life could have minimized all the damage that has been done to this family.
I don’t know why God took her and I may never understand it, but I do accept it. He did have a reason.
Maybe it is for the best, but it just doesn’t make sense.
I have so much love for her, but don’t know what to do with it.
I get so angry that I am not able to enjoy my other children as much as I should, that I can’t think back to the day I delivered my very own angel without getting lost on a tangent of bad thoughts.
I blame so many people and am so confused about what happens next.
I hope and pray that these next few days of “alone time” really do provide me clarity and bring some peace back into my life.

I love you Elise and miss you more than words can even begin to say…

5/1/09 Elise's Due Date

is today. I didn't think she'd make it to May, but NEVER did I think we would be where we are. I try so hard to be "OK" and I think I am a lot of the time, but boy when reality slaps me in the face, it's hard and it hurts. Literally, it is painful. It hurts just to breath sometimes. It's hard to walk, to eat, to play, to mother my 3 other angels who need me so much. I hate it. I hate that I've been robbed of the chance to watch Elise live and watch Drew be a big brother...Autumn and Emily be the best big sisters yet again...And Mike to snuggle and comfort his new little girl. It's just not fair and now all I want to do is throw myself on the floor and throw a temper tantrum.
Guess I'll just have to settle for some tears and stolen phrases...
My life is so twisted, so strange, so surreal, so turned on its head upside-down, that looking into the face of my dead daughter is the most calming experience in the world to me right now. If I could have her body still, I'd be holding it, decaying or not. I would. I understand how mother's minds snap, how they end up dressing up and carrying baby dolls and calling them by their dead child's name. I really get that, on a visceral level I never could have fathomed before Elise was gone. That's how much I want her.

Baby, why’d you leave me?
Why’d you have to go?
I was countin’ on forever, now I’ll never know…I can’t even breathe…
~Just a dream Carrie Underwood

Dear Lord,
We never got the chance to hold her in our arms and tell her all about you.
Now, please, would you take her into your arms and tell her all about us?

Now What?

April 24, 2009

So today was the day I have been looking forward to for soooo long. The day my sweet Elise was OK to be born, in my book anyway. I asked her so many times to wait until 39 weeks, like all her siblings, so I could finish grad school and be able to devote myself to her. Well, here it is. The day I wanted to rub my belly and tell my angel to please come out and meet us. But she already did, and she's already gone. Now what?

On a semi-unrelated note, during my daily internet search for answers and support, I found this poem and wanted to share it...

The Elephant In The Room

There`s an elephant in the room.
It is large and squatting,
so it is hard to get around it.
Yet, we squeeze by with,
"how are you" and "I`m fine..."
and a thousand other forms of trivial chatter.
we talk about everything else
except the elephant in the room.
We all know it`s there.
We are thinking about the elephant as we talk.
It is constantly on our minds.
For you see, it is a very big elephant.
But we do not talk about
the elephant in the room.
Oh, please, somebody say my child`s name
Oh, please, say it again
Oh, please, let`s talk about the elephant in the room.
For if we talk about their death,
perhaps we can talk about their life.
Can I say their name...
and not have you look away?
For if I cannot,
you are leaving me alone...
In a room...
with an elephant.

~Author Unknown
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