Monday, March 31, 2014

Three Months: Wild Sky

My body aches from holding it together (trying at least) all day. I didn't realize how tense I was until the end of the day when I could finally release my breath.

On this day that marks three months since Alaska was born, I wore my shiny rainbow-starred shoes because I knew today would be difficult and that I would need extra help finding my muchness. I tried to go back to my Muchness theme--sky and song. The sky today was wild. It changed in the matter of a few hours from a beautiful, warm spring day to hail to a tornado warning to a blizzard warning. I was going to say that I didn't find muchness in the sky today, but I think that I did. I felt connected. I get it. It's exactly how grief is some days. I'm ok until I'm not. One thing I keep reminding myself about spring storms is that the sun will come out soon.

A note at the top of the blessings jar

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Muchness Day 21

Muchness Day 21

1. Going to church with my boys, mom, sissy, and brother bear

2. Enjoying the beautiful weather before a possible spring blizzard

3. Eating fresh walleye and having great conversation with my family

4. Geeking out over the season finale of The Walking Dead

5. Listening to my mom feel out over her second read through Looking for Alaska

Elliott added this bluejay feather to his frame with Alaska's picture 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Dear Alaska, Your brothers were amazed at the blanket.

Dear Alaska,            ‽

 Grandma Dawn, Auntie Nae, and Uncle Josh came to visit us this weekend. When they got here on Thursday night, they gave us a blanket that a lady named Noelle made for you. It's the perfect size to snuggle around Beary. I'm snuggling them right now. <3


Auntie said that your blanket was at a TEC retreat that she went to where many prayers went up. We have been surrounded by love and kindness and prayers from family and friends and strangers, Alaska. Your brothers were amazed at the blanket and hearing about all of the prayers. They wanted to send a thank you to everyone who prayed. I know that we can't do that because we don't know everyone, but we can pray back. Maybe I will post this letter so that at least some of the people who have prayed will know how much we appreciate the prayers and that we are sending prayers for them also.

Daddy sent me a sunset picture tonight from the river. He's fishing for his birthday this weekend, and he's actually going to bring some fillets home this time! He hasn't had great luck lately, so we're excited to eat some walleye this week. :)

I love you forever, angel girl!

Love, Mommy     <3      ‽

Friday, March 28, 2014


"Congratulations on your daughter!"
congratulate (v.)
  • give (someone) one's good wishes when something special has happened to them
  • feel pride or satisfaction (congratulate oneself)
Someone wrote me a note that included both sympathy and congratulations after I shared Alaska's story. At first I was taken aback by the congratulations, but I realized that this person was exactly right. I am proud of my daughter. She brings us love and joy. Her addition to our family is special, a blessing.

I am sad, broken, and scarred. I celebrate anyway.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Dear Alaska, What is a meatball doing in Candyland‽

Dear Alaska, ‽  

Today I am thinking of the stories we would have told you at bedtime. Asher brought home a picture that he made at school, and it reminded me of the bedtime stories that I used to tell your brothers. Sometimes I still tell them bedtime stories, but it doesn't happen every night like it used to. I'm going to try to find one of the stories that I posted on fb a few years ago. I know that it took several days to complete (I used to fall asleep in the middle). :)

Now Asher tells stories to anyone who will listen. Today he shared his theory on the science and magic behind volcanoes (it's all very complicated and beyond my understanding of both magic and science). I know that he and Elliott would have told you some entertaining tales!

I love you, Alaska!

Love, Mommy  <3    ‽

p.s. Here is the story about a meatball that ended up in Candyland that I told to your brothers in 2009.

Once upon a time Gingerbread Man and Gummy Guy went on an adventure to visit the King of Candyland. They traveled far, swimming through Soda Lake, struggling against a marshmallow blizzard, and walking through a sucker forest. Suddenly, Gingerbread Man ran into a giant meatball. "What's this in the middle of Candyland‽ This IS NOT candy!"

Gummy Guy said, "I think it might be a meatball. I've heard of these. Smell sugar. hmmm...we're not going to be able to get around this thing..."

"You should try to climb over it," said Candy Cane as she approached the two adventurers. "I'll give you a boost, Gummy."

As it turned out, they couldn't climb over the meatball, and they couldn't squeeze around the meatball.

"What are we going to do?" asked Gingerbread Man. I don't think we're going to get through. "We'll never see the King of Candyland at this rate!"

"It smells good...I wonder what it tastes like," said Gummy Guy.

Candy Cane said, "You try it. I'm allergic to all nonsugary foods."

Gummy Guy and Gingerbread Man ate a tunnel through the giant meatball. It was the best food they'd ever tried. Candy Cane crawled through the tunnel to the other side of the meatball. "I think we'd better tell the King of Candyland about this. He may not be happy about this meatball showing up in the middle of Candyland. We'll need to bring proof, though. He might even want to try a bite," said Gingerbread Man. Candy Cane filled her empty cookie jar with a piece of the meatball; Gummy Guy put small pieces of the meatball in his plastic candy cane-shaped container; and Gingerbread Man sliced pieces of the meatball into his ice cream bucket. The three adventurers were ready (and a little nervous) to present the king with their surprising find.

After days of camping and trekking through Candyland, they finally made it to the castle. In order to cross the hot cocoa moat, the three friends had to build a 10-cracker tall s'more raft so they didn't fall in the moat as the hot cocoa turned the s'more into mush.

Luckily, the raft held and Gingerbread Man, Gummy Guy, and Candy Cane reached the castle with the meatball samples for the king. One of the chocolate easter bunny guards from the gate approached them, "What business do you have here? The King of Candyland does not let just anyone in...What is that smell?"

"We've brought a piece of the giant meatball that we came across on our adventure. The king must see and taste the meatball," said Gummy Guy.

"Yes! It's really very delicious considering it is not candy. We don't know what the king will think of our discovery, but he deserves to know about the meatball presence in his kingdom," said Gingerbread Man.

"WHAT IS A MEATBALL DOING IN CANDYLAND‽" roared the chocolate Easter  bunny guard.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Dear Alaska, he thinks of you anyway.

Dear Alaska,     ‽

Today is Daddy's last day of being 30! Your brothers and I went shopping for birthday gifts today. They decided that we should pick out a little memorial for Daddy to have in memory of you. We found an "A" keychain. It was the only one--the only letter and the only "A," so we decided it was perfect.

A for Alaska.

A for angel.

I know that Daddy doesn't need anything to remember you by because he thinks of you anyway, but it sure was nice to see his face when he opened it tonight. That's another thing about your dad. He's kind of a sucker and let's the rest of us open gifts early sometimes. We decided to let him open all of his gifts tonight. I wasn't going to let him eat his birthday cake (German chocolate like always), but he had to try it because "if you have German chocolate cake in the house, you have to eat it."

Your daddy is the best, Alaska!


Mommy   <3   ‽

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Friday, March 21, 2014

She Is Not a Secret

Yesterday, day 11 of my Muchness Challenge, was the first day of spring and the International Day of Happiness. An orange sunrise lit my cold walk to school with the boys. I was still feeling my own personal day of happiness from Wednesday, and I was halfway to school (one block) before I realized that at 28 degrees, I should have worn a coat. Happiness and the first day of spring can only do so much.

By the end of the day yesterday, I was exhausted and happiness was being replaced by anxiety about being away from home without my family tonight and tomorrow. Before I left home this afternoon, I enjoyed many muchness moments--chatting over an overdue cup of coffee with a friend, eating lunch with Brandon and the boys (they won toys from the claw again), finding a pink dress that Asher said was beautiful to which Elliott said that Asher thinks everything is beautiful, and adding two small circles to my angel necklace for Alaska's brothers.

After I left my family, I practiced how I would answer the first question my super cool carpool ladies would ask me: "How are you doing?"

Hugs and comfort were offered, and they allowed me to share more about Alaska. Any opportunity to share my daughter and not deny her existence is a muchness moment. Alaska is part of me. I am proud of her. Just like her brothers.

I am not good at talking, so face to face sharing is stressful. But the weight of Alaska as a secret is excruciating. Excruciating probably sounds exaggerated. It's not.

Most people at this meeting do not know about Alaska. As everyone started leaving tonight, I ended up part of a circle with several proud grandmothers who shared pictures and videos of their baby granddaughters--a couple who were probably born around the same time as Alaska. They were the sweetest pictures, but as the second and then the third grandmother shared, my ability to breathe and smile left my body. I hate this physical, uncontrollable grief reaction that makes it difficult for me to properly celebrate those beautiful little lives right now. I would never want someone to not share those pictures with me even though it is difficult. The part that made this the most painful was that I had my secret. I wanted to say, "I had a daughter a couple of months ago, too. She died, and we miss her every second. Her name is Alaska, and we are proud of her."

I didn't say any of that, though. I held it in until the third baby was shared, and then I just had to leave. Rudely probably, and I am so so sorry for that. I am not one to make verbal announcements of any kind, so trying to speak this truth--the initial announcement--is a struggle. How many circles like this did I stand in before Alaska died, and how many mothers of angels held this pain alone?

As I stood surrounded by these grandmothers and their admirers, I thought of my own mom who told the world about Alaska before we knew that she was a girl (and before she really had permission to tell the world). :) And I feel terrible that she doesn't get to share these kinds of pictures of her 14th grandchild giggling at the camera. We cannot have Alaska's smiles, but our angel girl is in our smiles.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Happy and the Ugly Cry

Day 10 of my Muchness Challenge


This is the song of the day. I started listening to it this afternoon when I needed to come up with a song for our creative writing assignment tomorrow. I decided that "Happy" would be perfect for our activity because everyone would either enjoy the song or hate the song. Strong emotions either way should make for some good writing moments.

In the song Pharrell says, "It might seem crazy what I'm about to say."

This is precisely how I feel this blog might go. How can I feel this happy? I think today might be the happiest I have felt since Alaska died. I've cried several times today, but I still feel happy. I have wondered if maybe there is something wrong with me. Maybe I'm losing it completely. I don't think so, though. I think I am doing just what I need to do to love life. I am sharing Alaska with the world. I'm not hiding her or trying to forget her. I am celebrating her, so I believe that this is why I can feel happy today. My fingers are happy and my sore muscles are happy and my toes right now are dangling off the edge of my bed. They are dancing, happy toes.

I used emoticons in emails today. I don't know for sure if this was the first day of using emoticons or if this has been a gradual transition, but I noticed that I was throwing smilies in my messages to people. Happy. (This happened before my "Happy" marathon.) I was feeling happy before the song.

The song was an interrobang on my day: Because I'm happy‽

I am happy and I miss Alaska and I can smile and I can laugh and I can cry all in the matter of a few minutes. I can feel all of it.

My boys asked me today if the doctors could see Alaska's hair and eyes because they really want to know what she looked like. They have pictures of their baby sister to draw! I wish I knew. I wanted to see her even though she was gone. In some ways I blame myself for not being able to see her, but I have forgiven myself (and I know that I did everything I could). I don't think I could feel this happy if I hadn't forgiven myself. Occasionally I start telling myself that it was for the best that I didn't get to see Alaska because her body may have been damaged from the birth. I don't really believe that it was for the best, though. I was prepared to see her. I imagine--and this is not a pleasant thought, so you might want to skip to the next paragraph--I imagine that her body would have been discolored. Her body may have have come apart. I was ready for this, though. I just wanted to see my baby. Just once.

So even with these terrible thoughts, I still feel happy. People say that when you break and heal, you are scarred but stronger. I think that is true in many ways. I feel like I shattered, like I'm missing pieces that I will never have again, but I have a new person to love (Alaska) and a new ability to live more intensely. Don't get me wrong, I am not going to go on a roller coaster or become an extrovert or even start speeding, but I'm not scared of living like I used to be. If I take a chance and mess up, I know that I will be ok. I know that I can eventually hold as much pain in the same hand as I hold joy. I can feel both at the same time with dancing toes and laughing hands and a sobbing, ugly cry.

Brandon just came into the room for a few minutes but left because I was clapping along like the song told me to. I just told him like the song says, "Can't nothing bring me down." A definite muchness moment.

Now I challenge you to listen to "Happy" by Pharrell Williams and have a little dance party right now with the people in the room. Please! And if you do it, take a picture of your faces or your feet and share it with me. This means you--whoever you are! Ready? Go!

"Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth."

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A Muchness List

Day 9 of my Muchness Challenge

A fresh batch of snow has covered our town today. Although I prefer dirty, melting snow this time of year, I do love the brightness of this cloudy night. Because I hope to be asleep soon, I am going to simply list some of the muchness I found today.

1. Watching the boys plank challenge each other
2. Zumba with friends (exercise + music!)
3. Extra time with Brandon
4. Love for my baby brother as we celebrate his adoption day
5. A stronger headstand
6. Lighting a candle for Alaska

What muchness moments did you experience today?

Monday, March 17, 2014

Dear Alaska, We are living big huge lives.

Dear Alaska,     ‽

Hey, baby girl! Are you playing with with a kitty today? My friend gave me a note that told me about how her family's cat died last weekend. She told him about you, and he lifted his head and looked at her. It was such a sweet moment, and I am so glad that she told me. <3

We miss you everyday, Alaska, but we are living big huge lives in your honor. Today on my muchness journey, I exercised with friends and I listened to music and I wore the most ridiculous combination of pink/burgundy/red to work out in and I walked to school over puddles and I listened to stories from your brothers (Elliott is acting very chill about having his name drawn to be prince of the carnival at school, and Asher saw a leprechaun!) and Daddy grilled some delicious steaks and I just did a headstand.
Icy Puddles‽ 

Love you forever!

Love, Mommy <3    ‽

p.s. Sometimes run-on sentences are ok.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Day 7 Muchness Moments

Family time
Red toenails
A beautiful note from my baby sister:
You are so strong, sissy pissy poo pants. When you are weak, remember all those days that you were strong! What made you get through that day?And if you feel like crying, just cry. It's the Holy Spirit moving through you! God doesn't give you anything you can't handle! I love you so sooo sooo much! I mean, so much that when i think about it, I smile. I smile so big that my cheeks hurt! Now, that's a lot of love! I cannot wait to see you and the boys! i'm getting more anxious even thinking about it!  
I love you!! 
P.S. Remember: A smile is not a smile unless it wrinkles your face. 

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Just Look Up

I have been sick for almost three weeks, so the last few days have been for hibernation and healing. This will likely be a stream of consciousness sort of writing today because I have a lot on my mind.

Days 3-6 of the Muchness Challenge

On Day 3, I felt physically at my lowest since I've been sick, but I listened to my Muchness Fairy when I got dressed and threw some color around my neck--a purple scarf. I have never been fond of purple, but it is what I had. That day I received many compliments about how cute I looked. Compliments always make me uncomfortable because I have been hiding for my entire life. Chopping my hair off last summer somewhat forced me to stop hiding, but I still default to blending into the background. So this was Wednesday when I decided to wear a black and gray outfit but threw on my purple scarf in honor of my muchness. I coughed until I threw up that day, but many people who saw me told me how much they liked my outfit. After several compliments, I remembered that part of my outfit was what I had worn when I found out that Alaska had no heartbeat. I have decided that I can't throw out my clothes that hold memories of my daughter. I will wear these clothes because they are a small part of our story. When I wear my clothes that have memories of Alaska tied to them, I feel full, like I may have felt a few years from now if I put on something that made my little girl's eyes sparkle. So as much as I would like to continue to fade into the background, I am trying to push myself forward.

On Day 4 I took a picture of my hand grasping Asher's while we arm wrestled. This was a Muchness Moment because we were both giggling so hard that the match lasted for longer than it should have. Asher and I have what I like to think of as hand-laughing-syndrome. A few people out there know what I mean when I say that my hands laugh, but most people look at me like I'm crazy. Laughing hands are always accompanied by interrobanging--and now muchness. If you're wondering who won the arm wrestling match, I did. I completely stomped him. I know I don't have much time before those little boy arms are stronger than mine, so I'm going to take the win. :)

Yesterday was Day 5 of my Muchness Challenge. We had the day off, so I decided to rest and go to the clinic since I have been sick for so long. It was a nice day at home, but I didn't find many muchness moments. The one that I can explicitly recall happened when a beam of sunlight came through the door and warmed the entire room. It was a mostly gray day, so the sunlight was a surprise. I was too lazy to move over to it and soak it in, though. I could feel Alaska very strongly in that light.

Day 6 of my Muchness Challenge.

Today I finally worked my way off the couch with some cleaning and painting and a headstand. Elliott's room has been waiting for the second coat of gray and neon green for a couple of weeks. I noticed that--on this gray day--I was painting gray walls and still feeling cruddy. But I needed a haircut. I have needed one for a few weeks now, but of course haven't felt up to it. I showered and put on a shirt that reminded me of the first weeks of being pregnant with Alaska. I haven't worn it since those first weeks because I was so bloated that it no longer fit. I knew that I was probably going to face the small talk again, so I practiced my answer before I got there: I have two boys and a daughter who died in my second trimester. And that's basically what I said to her when she asked. So far my encounters with the girls who have cut my hair have been filled with kindness.

This contrasts the encounters that I have had with some who I thought would know better than to diminish my loss of my daughter with words like: "Yeah, that can be hard sometimes," and "Have you lost weight?"

What. The. [folding laundry]? Have I lost weight? Yes. I was pregnant but we lost our baby.


Why the [folding laundry] would you ask me if I have lost weight if you KNEW that I recently lost my baby? I have no idea how much weight I've lost. It is pretty much the last thing on my mind since I gained a dead baby out of the deal. But thanks for making me announce that to you and then making me swallow my sobs and not even be able to tell you that her name is Alaska Eileen and that losing her isn't just "hard." "Hard" doesn't even come close to doing justice to what I'm feeling. But, yes, I've lost weight.

So I'm pissed and hurt at comments like that, but then I remember that I don't know the stories of the people who say these things. Maybe my situation brings forth their own loss. So now I feel guilty for being selfish and feeling hurt and wanting this world to acknowledge that my daughter matters. And I'm pissed at myself because I know that I have contributed to this pain in someone else with my silence and possibly with a stupid comment that I may have made to a friend or family member who has lost a child. I am mostly just pissed off at the world for making me feel like Alaska CAN'T matter the way I feel she does. For making me question myself and my love for my daughter. For making me feel like I am crazy or selfish for dwelling too long. For being too vocal about my loss. For wanting to be treated like a mother who has lost a child (and not just a pregnancy).

Today I went to the store and bought several shiny items in honor of my muchness. These bracelets, a pink sparkly journal for my second volume of Dear Alaska letters, and some colorful shoes with sparkling stars.

At the store I stood behind a mom and her preschool-aged daughter wearing matching bright pink coats. The little girl was whining, trying to convince her mom to buy a treat. I was captivated by the entire situation. I was captivated because that is exactly what I want but can't have. I want my Alaska with her pink coat and whiny fits--surely she would have had both. I tried not to stare and give off that disapproving you-suck-as-a-parent-vibe that all parents of young children have gotten when our kids have had a rough time in public. Disapproving was far from what I felt over the situation. It was such a sweet moment, and although it made me miss what I can't have, it also brought me joy.

When I walked through the parking lot this evening on this gray day, I snapped a picture of the sun. I had noticed earlier that although the sky was gray, the sun still shines through the clouds. No matter how gray the sky gets, we can find that bright spot if we just look up.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Navigating the Slush

Day 2: #30DayMuchnessChallenge

Dear Alaska,   ‽ 
I'm tired today, Alaska. I have a cough that kept me up last night. Your great grandma Eva Eileen is here today. She loves you so much. And I do, too. <3 This morning when I woke up, it felt like my body was saying a big "screw you" to my muchness. But I got dressed and wore shiny shoes that would reflect light like Tova Gold recommended (she's like the Muchness Fairy). So my feet shined while I navigated the slush and puddles today.
And I listened to music. A song that I had never heard before came on the radio three times this afternoon while I was driving. It's exactly how I feel as I wrestle my inner voice that speaks up and tries to tear every bit of my muchness apart.
I can fake a smile
I can force a laugh
I'm only human
And I crash and I break down
(Christina Perri "Human")
Although it is kind of sappy, I enjoyed your brothers belting out "I'm only human" in silly voices after they'd heard the song for the second time in a row (they sound just like Daddy). So even though this song mirrored my darkness today, I still found muchness in the music.
And I took a picture of the sky and I hugged my grandma and my auntie and I stood on my head and I snuggled a sweet little boy--our cousin. But I also thought about how it's been 10 weeks now since you were born. And how can it be 10 weeks? You know what else sparkles in the light, Alaska? Tears. I love you forever.

Love, Mommy   <3   ‽ 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Finding My Muchness: Sky and Song

Day 1: My theme for this Muchness Challenge is sky and song.


A life well lived is a life lived to music. Lately, I have neglected music for silence or listened to songs that speak to my pain. The Muchness Challenge is about finding my light even when I am in darkness, so today I listened to my ‽ playlist that is filled with my favorite songs.


I have written about the interrobang worthiness of the sky and healing with headstands, so during my #30DayMuchnessChallenge, I commit to noticing the sky each day by pointing my eyes and my toes up.

Today I found my muchness on a walk toward the pale orange sunset with my boys. We walked through dirty snow and deep puddles under the gray sky. I used to complain about dirty snow; it's the opposite of the shimmer that coats every surface throughout the freezing temperatures of winter--and often fall and sometimes spring. I used to complain about this dirty-snow-time-of-year where slush covers every surface, but today I found my muchness on a dirty snow hill with my sons.

I found my muchness outside surrounded by dirty snow and brown rivers flowing through gravel glaciers:
And, Mom, wouldn't that be cool if there was a whole world down there in that river? And another one? And what if we're just a speck like in Horton Hears a Who? Wouldn't that be cool? And, Mom, under the snow hill the grass is waiting to stretch out, dry off, and green up. Wouldn't it be cool to be that grass?
And finally, after our walk, I found my muchness in a headstand. I can feel the light. For Alaska.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

A Gift: #muchnesschallenge

A few weeks ago, I won this "Finding Your Muchness FUNbook" by the inspiring Tova Gold through a giveaway on Facebook from Tova's passion project called FindingMyMuchness. I first learned about FindingMyMuchness through a blog post where Tova wrote about an experience after losing her twin girls.

Immediately I connected with the idea of muchness. I had recently started my blog around my feelings that I had lost my interrobang along with my daughter--my interrobang is my muchness. In the FUNbook, Tova writes, "I'd lost that fire. I'd lost that confidence and that sense of promise and belief in myself." This is how I felt after Alaska died--how I still feel. I am working my way back to interrobanging my weirdness over books and tomatoes and zombies and writing.

Here's to joining the #muchnesschallenge. Thanks to Tova for the inspiration and sparkle!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Dear Alaska, Thanks for helping me be brave.

Dear Alaska, ‽

Right now I'm listening to a song that your auntie Lenae sent me today called "Brave" by Sara Bareilles. I've heard this song many times before without really listening to it. I remember being touched when I read something about it being written for the singer's friend who was having trouble coming out to family members, but I had never really listened to what the song says until my baby sissy sent it to me today with a note, "made me think of you :)".
"Show me how big your brave is/Say what you wanna say/And let the words fall out"
Alaska, everyone can relate to these lyrics at some point in life. Most people hold words in every day and don't say everything that they want to say. If it weren't for my letters to you and my blog, I would be holding most of these words in. Even with my writing, there are a few things that I haven't been brave enough to say or write.
"Nothing's gonna hurt you the way that words do/When they settle beneath your skin/Kept on the inside and no sunlight/Sometimes a shadow wins/But I wonder what would happen if you/Say what you wanna say"
Do you know what happens when someone is brave, Alaska? A weight is lifted, a strength revealed. Sometimes more pain follows, but it's ok because if we're brave and push back, we get stronger. Even in the moments when we feel worthless and weak, if we push back, we get strength. I wish you were here for me to say this to. I accept (mostly now) that you can't and won't be. I can (mostly) accept this because I have been allowed to say what I need to say to the world: Alaska Eileen is my daughter who I will love forever.

Everyone deserves a chance to be brave, Alaska. No truth is too small or too big. I watched a video posted by the University of Minnesota Amplatz Children's Hospital right before I started writing this letter. The patients, their families, and staff in the cancer ward made a video to Bareilles' "Brave." 

Children's cancer is another reality that people tend to hide from. If we don't talk about dead babies and kids with cancer, somehow we feel safer, as if it isn't happening. But it is happening every single day to people that we know. I have been guiltier than most when it comes to ignoring the painful reality of others. Did I think that I might catch their sad luck? (Absurd, I know.) I have read many times since you died that baby loss is not contagious. (Duh, I know.)

I guess what I'm trying to say is that, yes, we need to be brave and say what we want to say--to tell our truth, but we also need to be brave by offering an opportunity to others: "show me how big your brave is."

It's so simple.

I love you, angel girl. Thanks for helping me be brave. Send some extra angel kisses to your auntie Nae.

Love, Mommy    <3  ‽

Thursday, March 6, 2014


These two big brothers will fight each other all day. They will hold on to a conflict for hours, typically with something ridiculous like, "He fell into my snow trap and ruined it accidentally on purpose."

As quickly as my boys start a fight, they can end it. I love every aspect of this brotherhood--opponents, friends, conspirators, protectors.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Toes to the Sky

My muscles ache today. I have worked my way back to doing headstands with the yoga practice that I started after Alaska died. Headstands used to be a craving for me. When I was particularly stressed or happy, I would NEED to go up into a headstand. Headstands require a focus that helps me reel myself in. Somewhere in the last few years, I lost my craving, lost my ability to hold my body in this inversion, and gained a fear of falling.

So I stopped trying.

Until today.

Today I convinced my core to balance my body as I pointed my toes toward the sky. Today I was afraid to fall, but I did it anyway. Losing Alaska has taken away some of my fears. If I can live through losing my daughter, if I can love her through this life, I can certainly put my head down on the ground, lift my toes up, and just try. If I fall, I can try again.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014


I still haven't finished reading Looking for Alaska. When I finally do, what will I feel? Another kind of empty? Ready to read on?

I am afraid to read through to the last page because it's another end. I should be able to get to the end of one of my favorite books. It's not that I don't want to finish it. I just don't want it to be over. I don't want this part of my experience of my daughter to be over. I know that I can reread this book as many times as I desire, but I will never have this first time of reading as my Alaska's mother. I know that what I really want is to have my daughter back. I know that what I really want will never happen. I know that I must keep reading.

This stack of books shows just a few of the adventures that I have waiting for me. Soon I will tackle one of them. Soon I will tell Alaska about a new book that I discovered. I am almost ready.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Two Months

Nineteen days after Alaska's birth, when I wrote about my new calendar, I hadn't considered that there are five months that don't have a 31st. Of course we just finished one of those months. So I guess as of last Friday, February 28, the last day of the month--the day I should have been 24 weeks pregnant with Alaska--two months have passed.

And it would appear that I'm ok.

Two months hasn't made the pain any less. I suppose that two months makes me better at carrying it and concealing it through the days. I can improve at anything if I practice enough.

As I sobbed through one recent night, I clutched my tear-soaked bear, knowing that it's just a bear. (It's something to hold, but it's not enough.) I forced the bear into my chest, maybe to try to seal up the hole in my heart or perhaps to fight a fear that I have imagined Alaska or another failed attempt to wish her back to life. I should know better than to try to explain away my desperate grip that night.

One thing I do know: Two months out, this still sucks.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

A Note for the Blessings Jar


I'm sorry you didn't make it to your family.

(from Asher)