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thanksgiving: the second year

This year has been a lot different than last year. I don’t cry as often and to the eye I appear to have it all together. However as the year has progressed I have found myself consistently dead locked in ‘hot mess express.’ My mind is jello most days, occasionally some pineapples or oranges cruise by adding a little firmness to my brain. Half the time I don’t know where my keys or my phone is. Most days I can’t even remember what ‘after school’ responsibilities Wyatt has. I get home and sit on the couch unsure of how to progress with the evening, aside from fixing dinner; my mind is just blank. 

My walk with God is… well by definition I guess a stumbling walk. Some days I’m there, I get it. It makes perfect sense. The next day I don’t know how to make any of it fit. It’s like I’m trying to squeeze my size 10 beliefs into a coveted size 8. I keep trying, I stumble, and then I try again. 

In some ways I feel like I’m worse off than when Logan died, or even a year ago. I could process things. I could focus. I had so much more faith and understanding in God. And now, there are more clouds and gray area’s that sometimes I simply don’t know. I feel emotions that don’t make sense. Someone can ask me a simple question and my response is in no way warranted. 

In all that, I look at this picture and think, “but this..”

Last year for Thanksgiving we tried not to give much thought into it. We didn’t really even know what to do. This year, I knew it would just be the 4 of us. This year I knew I wanted to make a traditional Thanksgiving dinner like I’d had for so many years growing up. This year I wanted to make our own traditions. I wanted all the comforts of childhood and new alike. 

I am not a cook. I usually stick to a simple baked or crockpot dish on a regular basis. As you can see we had a full menu. And while everyone said we had way too much food for just us, my response is: It was 100% worth it. I stayed up until 2am prepping, got up at 6am this morning and finished cooking. And you know what, I did it all. Me, loss mom, brain of  of mush, made an entire Thanksgiving meal. 

I had so much anxiety yesterday about this meal. I wanted it to be perfect, I wanted to impress my family. I wanted them to be proud and enjoy the meal I made. To enjoy the new traditions we were setting out. I wanted Logan to be proud that we were honoring family time. I wanted it to tell like family time again. Instead of a day of sadness. I can’t express the emotions I feel, looking at that full table, with my boys. Eating the overwhelming amounts of food. Proud that I did it. Proud that my son tried everything I made simply because I made it. Proud because I know Logan would be happy we did it this way. Proud because even know there are only 3 plates on the table when there should be 4, we still are able to find the joy in the day.  Proud because instead of falling apart this year, we cried a few tears, accepted what is, and moved forward. 

This feast represents so much more than just food. It’s family. It’s the accomplishment of my mushy brain. For a few hours I was able to maintain clarity. 

healing

the following quotations come from the book Univited by Lysa TerKeurst

“We’re all desperate to anchor our souls to something we can trust won’t change.”

-For the longest time this was always God. He had never failed me while everyone else around me had. After Logan I clung to Josh. He was unchanging for me. He was an anchor that had not betrayed me, had not hurt me. I knew I could hold firmly to him and nothing as traumatic as Logan’s death could come from him. While I still cling to Josh because he’s my best friend whom I literally tell every thought I have to, he’s not my anchor. I’m not entirely sure I can say God is my anchor either. I guess you could say, just continuing to move is my anchor. Not giving up on my faith, my life, everything would be my anchor. As I’m journeying through this healing with God, I’m learning that God does not change, but our understanding of who God is does. And I’m trying to anchor to that. But it’s a process, it’s not as easy as 123 as they’d have you believe at church. ‘Say this prayer and all will be well.’ While that is true in the sense of your eternal soul, life here on earth is not well. God is so much more than, do this and this and this and you will be perfectly held. Nope! If that were true, my baby wouldn’t have died, my friends wouldn’t have lost their children, I wouldn’t have lost friends, and the list can go on. 

“I don’t have to know all the whys and what-ifs. All I have to do is trust.”

-Well trust is an easy thing to break and a hard thing to regain. At least if you are me. I have always trusted God full force with no second thoughts, until Logan. I never needed to know the why’s or what-ifs. I simply trusted God was God, He knew what He was doing and I was perfectly okay with that. Until trauma visited my home. Until trauma gave me a reason to doubt His trust. Until trauma forced me to need the whys and what-ifs. Today, I no longer feel the need to know what-if. I know Logan is in Heaven and I can’t argue that a life here would be better. I’ve made peace with that. The need to know why I think will forever circle me. I will probably spend the rest of my life searching for new why’s because the ones I come to understand won’t ever fully satisfy. But I also have the understanding swimming around that one day I will know all the why’s and I will make peace with that.

“Proximity and activity don’t always equal connectivity.”

-Well.. have you ever felt like you were in a crowded room but don’t feel anything? Most of my recovery felt this way. Well so did my pregnancy. Many times I’d be at an appointment and they were all so nice given our situation. Very attentive. But their attentiveness didn’t penetrate the chaos consuming my insides. It only met the surface. I appreciated their kindness, don’t get me wrong, but it didn’t leave me feeling understood. I was surrounded by people when we delivered in the hospital, even being prayed over right before they took me back, but it didn’t touch the inside. We were surrounded by support at Logan’s funeral, but I can’t even remember half the people that were there. And I just remember thinking how many people do I have to hug? Aren’t they done yet? Touching required so much energy I didn’t have to give. I didn’t feel connected or loved. I just felt it was the thing to do. Let me give them what they need, as they are struggling and crying. Let me satisfy their hunger for love and understanding and let me show them it’s okay to cry for my baby. I can sit in a grief group and feel utterly alone because I view my trauma differently from theirs. Surrounded by people who could potential understand why I act the way I do, why I think the things I do and all I feel is alone because they can’t possibly understand what I went through, with their situations and circumstances so very different from mine. 

“And in the rawest moments of honest hurting, God doesn’t add up.”

-How could a loving God allow such trauma. For the longest time I believed God took my son and that doesn’t add up. Why does a loving God who has loving promises knit a baby in my womb with a defect? And then why does he cause him to die? When he stands there with all the power to make his head whole? In my rawest moments of hurting, I have said so many unkind things to God. From shut up, to leave me the fuck alone. I believe God sees beyond those hateful words and sees the pain pulling those strings that lead to lashing out. I had a vision once, it was the oddest thing, I was driving back to work on the highway and all of the sudden I seen me before God in a room, I have fallen to my knees not out of respect as one would think, but out of traumatic broken grief. Instead of being able to communicate, I broke and crumpled on the floor at his feet. I could feel the anger and raw pain reeking off my body, and I remember God standing there in acknowledgement. And as I came out of that, I remember thinking, I’m okay meeting God this way. 

“I will fear no evil, for you are with me.” -Psalm 23

“What can mere people do to me?” – Hebrews 13

-Verses like these hit my core. After losing Logan, the worst suffering I’ve experienced so far in my life, I tend to look through these “what you got?” lenses. You think you not showing up for my dead son’s birthday will break me? Pssssshht. While it hurts and friendship was tainted, it doesn’t compare. What more could be done that hasn’t already debilitated me? 

“I fight for her simply because I want to stay right in step with honoring God.”

-Do I continue to fight for the relationships lost during my journey? Some I did, heavily. Some I was too exhausted and annoyed by this deflating pattern. As I read this in my book, one friendship stuck out. At first I felt convicted to reach out to her and repair whatever needed repairing. Realizing she had deleted me from Facebook and announced another pregnancy, all the while keeping me in the dark; breaking a sacred promise she had made after Logan died. Realizing her youngest son was growing up and I was no longer being included. Remembering all they had done for us while we were suffering. But as I re-read this sentence several weeks later, I instead feel convicted to forgive her and so many other relationships lost. Not simply for them, but for me, for my family and for our healing. Not all friendships are meant to last forever. My hope is that while I’m processing forgiveness, I will learn to appreciate what they gave me in our time of friendship. Instead of feeling anger towards them, I will try and process understanding and want nothing but good for their futures. I used to say ‘I hope nobody treats them the way they did us,’ in reference to their exiting our journey. But now, through my own healing, I can say that sentence with sincerity as opposed to malice. I sincerely hope they never endure our grief, and i would hope they have a force of friendship behind them that stands firm until the end. I try to feel this without envy. Envy because we don’t have many relationships that withstand the storms in our life. I don’t want my hurt to be someone elses.

And for the friendships that became acquaintances, the ones who no longer speak on a personal level on personal time, but I watch through social media enduring wonderful life changes, I’m trying to learn grace. To not give in to the disdain, hurt and rejection I feel. To instead follow my guidelines above to try and be thankful for what our past friendship provided. But I won’t lie to you, the first few posts I would read and try to force genuine care and joy and ebb out the annoyance. With each passing one I would read less and less becoming more annoyed until I completely skipped over it altogether. I’m trying to teach myself I can stand back and be happy for them and remove myself from it altogether. It’s my inner hurts from Logan and my unanswered desires coupled with their lack of communication that causes my pain. Ultimately I own that pain. I can decide how I chose to feel about each situation. 

“But what’s downright horrible is when God seems to just silently stand by, withholding answers and solutions for which you’ve cried out. That deep hurt can make you question His goodness.”

-If I ever had to pick key phrases that summarize my journey this would probably make the top five. Almost 2 years later, God and I are still in a standoff. Can you imagine an old western pistol draw in the streets? I can. Who is going to whip their pistol out first? God on one side with his confidence so high He bears no armor. On the opposite I stand so broken I’ve put on everything possible to protect myself. Anger, pain, trust, understanding, betrayal, annoyance, grief all fill the vastness between us. Both beyond ready to draw and pull that trigger. Pain and blame. Love and understanding. I’ll let you decide who is carrying what. Who will penetrate first? Will God find that gap in my heavily covered armor? I’ve cried out to God so many times in so many ways in the last 2 years. I’ve hurled javelins and knifes of anger, disbelief and trust trying to penetrate his unexisting armor. Instead of it being deflected by his armor, he absorbs it. All of it. No matter the volume of hurls, he absorbs it all without any back blow. God and I remain in this standoff. Periodically hurling things at each other. Occasionally when I look down at my armor, I find a piece missing. 

“My heart struggles to make peace between God’s ability to change hard things and His apparent decision not to change them for me.”

-Again this sentence will probably make my top 5. This is super powerful for me. As it shows my acknowledgement that I have faith in God’s ability but lack the understanding of his decision, which lead me to my previous illustration. I’ve never doubted his love for Logan and us. Nor have I ever doubted he could heal Logan. I spent several months waiting for his healing. Having faith that each doctor’s appointment would show that healing and my reward for continued hope and faith. When it never came I tried to hold my grasp on God, while my traumatic grief began to beat that grasp until my mangled heart and hands could no longer withstand the beatings.

Today I still struggle with this sentence. My heart and hands are healing, as they’re trying to work through this maze to find God’s hand again. With hopes that our grasp will be stronger than before. That we will have created an understanding how to maneuver the beatings to lessen the impact. 

trust

“I come, God, I come

I return to the Lord

The one who’s broken

The one who’s torn me apart

You struck down to bind me up

You say you do it all in love

That I might know you in your suffering

Though you slay me

Yet I will praise you

Though you take from me

I will bless your name

Though you ruin me

Still I will worship”

A friend recently sent me this song, as it had reminded him of where my husband and I are in our journey right now. I choose not to connect with many christian songs, but I made a decision to really listen to this one, and it obviously got me thinking. 

I’m a year and a half out from the death of Logan. I would say that up until 6 months ago, this song would have been very accurate for my journey at the time. But for the last 6 months I have been on a spiral. Maybe down my rabbit hole? But it doesn’t look the same and yet it does. My emotions in those winding rabbit holes were so much more escalated. Today, they are calmer, but the scars from the ebbing thorns poking out from those holes are much deeper. I live everyday struggling to praise God even though he has ruined me. The acusing words in this song ring true to every fiber of my being. But I can’t find the connection with the positive joy and worship that follows. 

I used to think that because I handled Logan’s life and death so much better than I ever imagined that I had processed. That life would go back to normal. Except that it didn’t and hasn’t. As his birthday approached my anxiety that I fought off months before began to ebb back in. I had spent so much time, energy and therapy buffing back those thorns only to have them grow back sharper and more painful. Something slowly began to fester. Instead of scarring after the thorn, it began to ache and ooze with infection. 

I’ve always tried to remind myself this is a journey. But for some reason I continually think this journey is over. And just when the rabbit hole seems to be opening, I round the corner to another plethora of caverns. And I can’t seem to understand why. I always seem to think I have the answers and I understand this new phase of my journey. But who knows, what I think now may be enlightened 6 months from now on a new phase. Looking back on the first year after Logan died, I think I felt I had to be strong for Josh and Wyatt. They were struggling a lot and I couldn’t deal with the constant sadness and negativity. I began to focus on the positivity and a spewed it everywhere. We even had a saying; think of three things that you love about Logan. And we would repeat it everytime someone got sad. I became their beacon of hope through their darkness. And it was a persona I began to believe. I was tired of being sad, angry, mad, sick. I just wanted to be done with the whole situation. But in reality, I was no beacon of hope. It was part, played well. 

I shut out all emotion, similar to my journey through my pregnancy. I acknowledged the fact that I was now a woman whose baby had died in a horrific way. I was different. Don’t get me wrong, I spoke openly about Logan, factually. But whenever emotion tried to join the conversation, I bolted. I didn’t want to go there. Instead of dealing with my own grief, I turned all emotion off. I feel nothing. I help other families who have lost their children prepare memorials and funerals. And while I look at their situation and think how awful it is, I don’t feel it. My wires have been unplugged and twisted so that they can’t be plugged back in. I find myself agitated by grief. I get annoyed when anyone wants to talk about it. 

Looking back, I can admit I found a coping mechanism to deal with a situation that I was not equipped to handle. A coping mechanism that was meant to help my husband and my son through their grief, that turned into a crutch that refused to allow me to deal with my grief. For awhile now I have had a huge struggle with God. We quit speaking several months ago. And I slowly began this descent down my Godly mountain. I’ve always kind of thought that Logan and God were tied together. The further I pushed my grief away, the more distant I became with God. The less I allowed my sufferings in, the less I heard God. But I’ve tried so hard to maintain my beliefs. I walk this battlefield every minute of every day. Every thing in me feels as if I have no reason to pray to God, while every matter in my head tells me I do. 

Over the last few weeks/months, who the heck knows on timing, I’ve begun to allow myself to see my grief. Currently I am doing many different things to try and kick start my relationship with God. I try to tell myself that my solace remains in the fact I believe God is real. I believe God can/could heal Logan. Which means, I still believe in God. Pray is hard. I was raised in the church and prayer was always something you did. If you prayed hard enough and long enough God would fulfill. And perhaps my upbringing on the reality of prayer was a little off. But there have been many things over the years I have prayed for and I have not seen the fruit of that labor. However, it was never enough to bump my off my path with God. I prayed for Logan so many times. I cried out in pure agony, begging, pleading, weeping. And what did I get? Logan still died. It’s God’s will right? That’s what every single one of you told me. So why do I need to pray? God will do what he wants to, correct? He has the big master plan. What I want can’t always fit into that plan of his, so why pray for something I may never get? 

I started a different kind of counseling recently. It’s more geared to finding my voice with God. This man has made me cry both times I’ve met with him and I hate him for it (not really, but you know what I mean). All the emotion that’s been in my junk draw is coming out and I’ve tried hard to keep it there. Anyway, he mentioned something to me he’d heard from a friend. It had to do with the trust relationship between God and I. Basically it boiled down to this: When Logan died, God broke my trust. Wow. How dead on and I didn’t even know it. I had never given it a name. God broke my trust. It perfectly described everything I’ve been feeling. The question remains, how do you rebuild trust with God? 

In recent conversations with my husband (usually after having a couple beers) I’ve allowed more grief to slip through. I don’t think I ever allowed myself to fully see the trauma that was caused by watching Logan die. To this day it still seems like a dream. I don’t remember much and can’t feel the weight of him anymore. But to physically watch my newborn child wither and die in my arms is the worst trauma I will ever face in my lifetime. I have to give credit to that. I have never faced anything remotely close to that kind of trauma. It has literally altered my entire life. Everything thought, every action, every word, every emotion pings off of that trauma. To be so helpless and alone. Helpless because it was out of my control. There was no right answer. There was no way to save his life. Our choice was death or death. Helpless because I couldn’t give him nourishment when his body was starving for it. Helpless because I couldn’t stop the seizures that cycled through our days. Helpless because I couldn’t make it okay. And alone because nobody knew. Alone because I had to be strong for Josh and Wyatt. Alone because I couldn’t grieve. Alone because I felt abandoned by God. 

People say they can relate or understand what we went through. But I don’t think you can. I don’t think you can even have an idea of what we went through. This was not a miscarriage or a still birth. Aside from the sack on the base of his head, Logan was a full time baby. Josh said he cried and whimpered when he was born. He says he moved his arms and legs. (Side note: I don’t remember) Once we started the valium for his seizures he stopped. He became lifeless. He laid in the fetal position and slowly started losing body fat until he was bones with a thin layer of skin. We watched as he stopped breathing. And we watched as he gasped for air as if he was being suffocated. We watched as his eyes got huge as if he was scared. Trauma. 

So tell me how do I build trust with God? Every single part of my life is directly effected by Logan’s death. And I blame God. He chose to let Logan die, for his plan. What’s next? 

the idea of moving

For several months Josh and I have jokingly dreamed of buying or building a new home. When we bought our house 4 years ago, we did so in a rush. Wyatt had been given a diagnosis of ADHD (on top of his Autism) and we wanted him in a better school district. Our plan had always been to take things slow so that we got the home we wanted. But you know what they say, your kids come first. 

They are building in our subdivision again and they are definitely upgraded from our house. Positive for us, our property value has increased quite a bit. So today Josh proposed again buying/building a home. Tempted by the idea I asked a few friends who had built and called our realtor. I spent most of the morning looking at floor plans and available homes all while staying in the same school district for Wyatt. To say I was excited would be an understatement. The idea of starting new and really trying to get what we want this time, is exciting. I resolved to just getting the information. What would our house sell for? What can we afford? Would we really enjoy building? Etc. 

Fast forward to this afternoon. It’s just a typical day I’d say, we recently switched our plan to Verizon which I was pretty happy about. I went shopping for Wyatt’s school supplies before the chaos ensued. I was thinking about Wyatt and how much I missed him (he’s in Florida for the month of July, lucky kid). As I checked out and went to my car, my aunt text me, “I can see why you’d want to move/build.” Now that might not seem like an important message, but, my aunt also lost a baby. So there is this unspoken understanding between us. I think a lot of loss mom’s have that in common. Whether she meant there to be an unspoken purpose behind that message, I don’t know, but I began to read between the lines. 

The tears started slow at first and the more thought I put into it I could no longer see the road. While I loved the idea of a new home, Logan wouldn’t be there. The first thought I had was the boys would be so happy. They’d get to pick their new rooms. And as the movie reel played in my head, me holding Logan showing him around, I realized I couldn’t do that. I can’t show Logan a new home. His presence and his memories are here, in this home. There won’t be memories of Logan in a new home. How can it be our dream home, when Logan isn’t there? 

The thought of tearing down his nursery and setting it up elsewhere feels unnatural, weird even. I guess I’ve always felt like Logan was here with me, in this house. Perhaps because I have memories of him in every room of the house, except the basement. Logan never went to the basement and I don’t feel him when I go down there. It feels like a squeaky clean slate, without Logan. It truly feels like someone slapped a 50lb plate on my chest, and piled on top is the guilt and shame for wanting to move somewhere he can’t go. As if he never existed to begin with. 

A bandaid has been torn off my wound. I walk by Logan’s room now and pain and sadness soak my face. My heart physically hurts. 

testimony

For the last several months I have been actively fighting giving my testimony. It started with our small groups, they wanted to do testimonies. Each week that passed by I grew more irritated by the idea. I did not feel the need to give my testimony and even more so I did not want to do it. I would get panic attacks every time it was brought up and every time someone began to give theirs. The night Josh gave his, be began talking about Logan and I lost control. I knew after that night I was definitely not giving my testimony. 

A few weeks later we made a commitment to go to Haiti this summer with my boss for a Mission Trip. To which I learned I would need a testimony to share. Once again I felt pressure to create something that I was strongly against doing. And I just couldn’t understand why. 

As the months got closer to Logan’s birthday, my panic attacks slowly increased. I began to feel angry and indifferent with God. And I could feel this distance between us grow. It was no longer this small stream to cross but a huge ravine. I thought things would go back to “normal” once his birthday had passed and to my surprise it did not. It only got worse. 

I was given the opportunity to attend a Women’s Retreat, and I had such high hopes that this would be the experience that would break me and bring me back to God. The bridge to get me across the deep ravine separating us. Unfortunately I think it had the opposite effect. Instead of repairing that build, I think each day I watch another plank fall off that bridge. 

The first day at Retreat they began worship service and we were back midway into a room of 200 women. As I watched these women around me raise their hands in worship, I envied them. Their faithfulness, love and trust in the Lord. It seem to come to them with ease. And I stood there struggling with God. I listened to them singing the words as I read them on the projector. “He is faithful.” “He never gives up” and so on. And all I could think was this is such bull crap. How was He faithful when Logan died? How am I supposed to praise God when I feel like he failed me. 

The second day followed the same pattern. Except, this year the added “How to Write your Testimony” for the first time. Coincidence? I think not. The one thing I’ve been fighting against for several months, just landed in my lap. So of course I attended, and I managed after awhile to write a testimony. It doesn’t make sense to me, but I put something to paper and I guess that means something? 

That evening they had asked for volunteers to share their testimony. These women came from broken homes and continued into broken lives. They had children they didn’t take care of. And as I listened to each one, I became angrier. These testimonies didn’t make me feel any less angry with God. It didn’t help build our bridge across the ravine. Instead it was like a sledgehammer beating it down. These broken women got to continue to have healthy babies they couldn’t care for. But He allowed my child to be taken from me? How do I reconcile with that? How do I just accept that God has a bigger purpose? A year ago I could. Today I can’t. How do I release my heart and praise God unwaveringly when I feel in my bones that He failed me. 

When I came home I promised I would start my bible study back and essentially try to force my relationship back. Instead I came home and avoided it all together. I got into a routine where its just easier to avoid it. I have a hard time understanding this phase of my life. The things I feel now, make more sense if it was a year ago. How can I have had so much control and understanding when Logan died, and be such a mess a year later? How can I see purpose behind Logan’s life and a year later see fault? 

Josh and Wyatt went out of town over the weekend. First boys trip! But I shutdown. I spent 3 days in bed with panic attacks coming in waves. I just laid there, without purpose, without care. I guess you could say I was a little depressed. I wasn’t suicidal, I simply felt like I was there, occupying space. Since then my mood has improved, but my panic attacks are still stinging. Logan’s death hits harder with each day that passes. And I don’t know how to handle it. 

I’ll leave you with this, my testimony; I don’t see the purpose behind it, but perhaps you will. 

“As a child I grew up being bounced between family and foster care, surrounded by instability and uncertainty. The damage it caused me emotionally and mentally left a desire in me to be the stability my children would need from me someday. Eight years after our first son was born, we were excited to be bringing another son into our family. 20 weeks in to our pregnancy we found out he had a condition not compatible with life. After many exhausting visits with several doctors the verdict remained. I stopped conversing with God in prayer. I still believed He could heal my son but I couldn’t bring my pain and disdain to Him. The few hours we were told we’d have, turned in 14 days of saying hello and watching him slowly fade into goodbye. The first year after Logan died I dived in the Word, forcing myself into prayer and serving other loss moms. As the year went by, my drive started to fade and was replaced with anger, hurt, failure and indifference. I’m starting year 2 without my son and my belief in God is still present but I’m angrier. I’m still struggling today. Each day I wake up and fight this internal battle. I fight the anger, the hurt and the feeling God failed me. I feel disobedient for my discontent towards God. I yearn for the ease we used to have. My journey isn’t over and I can’t be here and say I don’t have doubts.”

d day

It’s been a year and today marks the day Logan joined his grandparents in Heaven. Today also marks the day that married my best friend 11 years ago. Some might think the two days colliding are tragic. I would disagree. When Logan was dying and it looked like he might pass on our anniversary, I hated to think what every year would bring for us. Something significant with Logan happened around important dates. We found out there was something wrong with Logan the week of Josh’s birthday. We had one of our first Kansas City scans the week of Thanksgiving. The week of Christmas we finally got confirmation that Logan would die and we couldn’t do anything about it. The week before my birthday I started having contractions and was terrified I’d deliver him early. Two days after my birthday Logan was born. And today, our anniversary, sweet Logan passed away.

After Logan died, the first 24 hours come and gone, I realized that Logan passing away today was incredible. God followed us on this journey and so many times I saw his handiwork. I began to look at today as a significant choice. Logan may not have known what today was when he died. But I know God did. He died on a day that represents love, trust, strength, perseverance and choice. The similarities between our day of love and Logan’s day of passing are quite beautiful.

Love- Josh and I love each other and Logan only knew love while he was here. Love from everyone who met him. Which is no surprise since his big brother attracts the same attention from everyone he meets.

Trust- A relationship has to have trust for a couple reasons. You have to trust your partner that you are about to spend the rest of your life with. And you have to trust your partner to keep you upright as you journey through life. God trusted us with Logan’s life. He knew before we ever became pregnant with Logan that we would do right by him. He trusted us to love and take care of Logan. Logan trusted us because he was never given a reason not to.

Strength- If you have been married for any length of time, you understand the strength it takes to wake up each morning after a fight and not beat your man (JK!). No, seriously it takes strength in a marriage to put the other before you. When we were pregnant there was many times that Josh was emotionally unavailable to me, his journey with Logan was effecting him different than me. And I had to find the strength everyday to not get upset with him, when everything was screaming inside me to hate him for not being what I needed. When Logan was here, Josh made the sacrifice of letting me hold Logan 95% of the time. Even though he wanted so badly to hold and cherish his son, he knew that Logan was thriving on my chest, that he was most comfortable there. That my friends takes an incredible amount of strength! To know that your time with your child is limited yet you sacrifice what you need for what he needs. And Logan had some of the most inspiring strength; he lived for 14 days when Dr’s said hours, maybe a few days.

Perseverance- It takes perseverance to continue a relationship. When shit gets hard and you want to quit, you have to push through because it matters. You have to have drive and initiative. You can never stop persevering. When we got married we knew there would be tough times, and boy have there been. But we kept going because we wanted to be together. Logan could have died at anytime during those 14 days. He kept going until his body could no longer sustain him.

And finally Choice- When you get married you make an active choice to love, honor and cherish your partner. You choose everyday to stay with your spouse. You choose everyday to love them. Everything in your relationship comes down to choice. Logan chose to fight. He was going to die in the OR. But when they brought him back to momma, he choose to live. He choose to fight. He choose to stay with us.

I thought today would be hard like his birthday, but I don’t feel the weighted cloud above me like I did two weeks ago. I’ve been thinking of this day since his birthday. Each day I woke up and looked at the “On This Day’ on Facebook. I’d see Logan’s pictures from last year and oddly I would get a little hitch in my throat from excitement and think he’s still alive! He’s got x amount of days left. Every day I did this. I’ve been focusing on this dates arrival. So much so that when I woke up this morning, I did not register that it was our anniversary. I only recognized it as the day Logan died. Last night Josh had asked about going to eat together today since we both took today off. And I just kind of thought that was odd. Why would he want to go eat? It didn’t feel like he was implying we’d just shoot the breeze but more so that he were celebrating something. Which is very odd for Josh when it comes to Logan. He’s usually on the other end of wanting to just hide out on the notable days. So imagine my surprise when I woke up and looked at “On This Day” and realized it was my anniversary 🙂

My point is, so much attention and energy was spent worrying about what this day would be. It’s here and it feels just like any other day. Even though its our anniversary, it doesn’t hold the same significance it did last year. But every holiday since we found out about Logan’s condition has been that way. Everyday just seems like…well… everyday. Perhaps that’s what we are left with now. A tainted reality. Our reality is definitely different from the average person now and will always be.

The interesting thing about the the period just before Logan’s birthday and the few days that followed was that it left us with a feeling of deja vu. When I found out Logan wasn’t going to survive, I returned all my nursery items and literally bought out every memorabilia item I could find. I packed a tub full of these items to go to the hospital. I packed our bags, prepared meals to freeze and got all the final preparations I needed. While preparing for Logan’s birthday, I felt as if I had been catapulted back a year. I was no longer preparing for his birthday but for his arrival. I felt the weight of what was coming. I was preparing for an important moment. His arrival and his departure kind of tangled together for me this year. As I prepared for his birthday, it was a mix of preparing for his arrival and the few days before his funeral. When preparing for his funeral I ran a bunch of errands for two days with this expectation that everything had to be perfect. I had that same expectation for Logan’s birthday.

At his birthday party, I was every bit the host as I was at his viewing. My being mirrored that day. I was a proud momma. I was excited to share Logan with everyone. We watched the slideshow and birth video. Instead this time I didn’t have Logan in my arms. But Logan (Logan Bear) was still the center of attention. And I had his small life displayed out on a table for everyone to see. I felt a sense of relief. The moment had come. But unfortunately, the moment came and went very quickly, as most parties do.

Wyatt went home with my mom after the party, so we had that evening to ourselves. When we arrived home, to an empty house, the remnants of party preparations scattered around my living room. We carried Logan’s things in to his bedroom, just as we did a year ago after his funeral. We cleaned up the dishes from the party. We read the letters that guests had written, much like the cards we’d read after the funeral. As we sat around the house, we couldn’t help but feel like we were leaving in a few days for ‘vacation.’ After Logan’s funeral last year, we left the city for a few days to be alone and grieve. Like his birthday, we came home from the funeral to an empty house. With remnants of his care taking scattered around the living room. Breast milk, saline, qtips, diapers, wipes, medication, blankets. We were alone. I don’t know if I’ve ever experienced deja vu before, but it is very eerie.

I remember feeling the weight of emptiness both a year ago and now. Like something was missing. The feeling didn’t go away until a week ago. Today I have an overwhelming feeling to go buy my son something. What? I don’t know. There really isn’t anything to go buy him. I get those inclinations periodically. I think because I don’t get to provide for him like I do Wyatt, it pours into a pot until the pot can hold no more and the sensation becomes overwhelming.

Today will be just like any other day. Instead of diving head first into a rabbit hole, I’m going to spend the day enjoying my husbands company. Remembering the things I love about my son. And when Wyatt gets home, we will decorate Logan’s bush with the rocks that were painted by friends and family on his birthday.

logan’s one

I have waited a very long time, almost a year to be exact, to put into words how I feel when I look at this picture. Every time I do, the emotions become uncontrollable. Thus I have avoided sitting long enough to begin.

First off, I can never thank our photographer (T. Marie Photography) enough for the precious gift of her pictures. She captured moments we will never get again. She captured moments I cannot remember. My worst fear, aside from Logan dying of course, was not remembering Logan because of the medications. These photos are bittersweet for me; as I look back I realize how much I don’t remember, but I will forever be thankful that I have them documented and I look forward to Josh telling me about them well into our old age. Tiffany captured moments, like this one, that are so powerful.

When I watch our birth video, which Tiffany also created, I break down every time we get to this moment. After Logan was taken from my womb, everyone kept telling me he wasn’t breathing right. The expectation was that he might die in the OR. It wasn’t until Logan was dying in my arms that I understood how powerful this moment, so perfectly captured, was.

There is this technical term called agonal breathing. When you go through the dying process, your breathing changes in many different ways. In Logan’s time home he would stop breathing. He would gasp for air. But the agonal breathing at that moment was oddly comforting for me. Without counting the emotional, mental and physical roller coaster of my pregnancy, those 14 days of Logan’s life were the most exhausting time I have ever and will ever go through. If you have ever been through the process with someone dying, you know the on edge tension you have at every single moment waiting for them to die. I spent 14 days like this. That’s another story though.

Agonal breathing – for Logan he would breath in and sort of coo his exhale and then he wouldn’t breathe again for several seconds or minutes, we weren’t counting because we knew this was it, what we had been waiting for. But his coo was the sweetest noise we had ever heard him make. And it was peaceful.

We waited until the funeral to watch our birth video, probably not the best idea. When we got to the scene from the OR where they were giving him oxygen, his breathing mimicked the agonal breathing. I flashed back to the day he died. I realized just how close we came to losing him in the OR. He was exhibiting the dying breathe. But you know what followed that moment? This beautiful picture! They placed Logan on my chest so I could have time with him before he died. But instead that little booger felt mom, smelt mom and decided to live! His change in breathing over the next 2-3 days amazed the doctor. They believe Logan lived so long because I kept him on my chest, skin to skin for 98% of his life.

How powerful of a mom moment to realize that he wanted to stay when he came close to his mother. It is truly a hard thing to watch. Not because it’s sad, but because it brings me so much happiness and well I guess it does bring me sadness. Sadness because he’s not here. Sadness because 14 days was all I got. But happiness because not only did my body sustain him for 9 months, but I got to sustain him for 14 more days. Happiness because he got to spend time with his family. He got to hear us talk to him, read to him, play with him. He got to spend time with his brother and his grandparents.  Happiness because my warmth and my instinct as a mother gave him love. Happiness because I am proud to be his mother. Happiness because he wanted me.

I can no longer remember what it feels like to hold him. I can’t feel his weight. I can’t feel his warmth. I can’t remember his smell. He is 1 year old today, and yet I can’t imagine a 1 year old running around this house.

In honor of Logan’s first birthday, we have chosen to have a celebration by having a birthday party. No limitations were placed. We will have lots of foods and too many sweets. While Logan can’t be there, Logan Bear will be representing him well, in his fancy new outfit I bought for the party. We will have a photo booth set up for everyone to take pictures with the Birthday Boy (Logan Bear). We will have a station for everyone to paint a rock varying shades of blue; these will later be placed around our bush we planted for Logan last year. We will also have a station for people to write letters to Logan and/or the family. My hope with the letters is I get to hear how Logan touched their lives. These are my favorite stories to hear. His slideshow will play and his birth video too. And at the end, we will show the world how much Logan is loved by sending balloons his way.

I have spent the last couple of weeks buying and creating things. Yesterday I began preparing for the party, and I was hit with deja vu. When I began preparing for Logan’s arrival, I returned the majority of the baby items I had purchased and exchanged them for any memorable item the stores carried. I mean I bought everything they had. I remember filling the storage tub full of his stuff for the hospital. Packing our bags. Loading the car. Which I repeated yesterday; as I bought all the food from the store, I carried them it, I organized all the party stuff, I loaded the same storage tub full of his stuff for the party and I loaded my car.

I remember the day after Logan died. I felt this pressure and this duty to make sure his funeral was perfect. What else could I do for my son? I wasn’t going to get a lifetime of spoiling him and doing things for him, so I wanted this last thing that I COULD do, to be absolutely perfect. Most people will tell you his funeral was beautifully perfect. Knowing me, I’m sure you can assume that I disagree. And you’d be correct. I can name a few things I wish would’ve been done differently, but when in the moment you miss details. And that’s okay. Yesterday as I was organizing all the party stuff, I felt the same pressure and duty arise. I was ‘talking’ on the phone with Josh. And by talking I mean, I had a bluetooth headset in and he listening while I frantically babbled, stressed and a few times lost my mind while pacing back and forth through the house trying to get things together.

There has been this pressure building for the past few weeks. A bubble I’ve been pushing back down. You know when you go to the pool in the summer, and you play with a noodle? You sit on it, perhaps do fancy tricks to keep it under the water? Then all of a sudden you lose control and it starts to come to the surface and you know you’re going down, slight panic arises as you know you’re about to be overtaken by the water? That is my bubble. It took me down last week at work. My noodle would not remain under the water. It would not hold my weight, no matter how many times I pushed it back down, it would coil back up. Thankfully by the time I had to be present with a patient I had that baby superglued to my butt.

“Our relationship to our loved one influences how we grieve. When you lose a parent you lose your past; when you lose a spouse you lose your present; when you lose a child you lose your future.”

I didn’t think today would be hard. But I’ve already cried once this morning, and Josh a few more times. Looking forward to this day over the last year I thought it would be a happy day, a day to celebrate his birth, but now that it’s here, it feels more sad than anything. A day in which we would celebrate his arrival into this world and his growth each year, has now turned into a day in which we no longer can celebrate his growth each year. While he may grow in numbers, he won’t grow. We won’t be able to celebrate everything he’s accomplished each year. I had not expected this.

“Laugh as we always laughed. Play, smile, think of me. Let my name be ever the household word that is always was.”

My hope is tomorrow will be the celebration we need. To celebrate the life he did have. The accomplishments he did this year. Because he did accomplish a lot. He survived in my womb until birth, when we first were told he may not make it to term. He survived the first 48 hours, when they thought his breathing would take him. He survived 14 days. I always humor myself that my children like me best. Logan wanted mom, whenever he was away from my chest, his breathing and demeanor would change. But when he was with mom, he was peaceful. And Wyatt is a momma’s boy hands down. My mom jokes about how he will live in my basement until he’s 30 because he loves me so much. But my point is, while Logan won’t have any accomplishments next year, or the year after that, and so on, this year, he survived. This year he told everyone he would go when it was his time. This year he changed our lives. This year he helped us become better people. This year we have much to celebrate because this little boy is loved and known by so many because in 14 days he was this incredible testimony.

“Only we who have been washed in the blood of the lamb can both weep and laugh at the same time, and with hearts that are breaking in pieces scattered all over the floor, say with sincerity and honesty that it is well with my soul.”- Gary J. Oliver

So Happy Birthday little buddy, we love you infinite and back 💙