CS Lewis once said that "grief is like the sky, it covers everything." In recent weeks, our family has found that this is so very true. It seems that there is no right or wrong way to travel this path of grief. I have created this blog in hopes that some day we will be able to look back on our journey and see written proof that our great God never leaves us. God is good all the time.

Celebrating Laynee

You might want to scroll to the bottom of this page and pause the music before playing this video.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Prayers for Jada

This week, our church youth pastor and his wife received the news that their 5 year old daughter, Jada, has a form of kidney cancer referred to as Wilm's Tumor.  Doug and Jessica have one younger son, Oliver and are expecting their 3rd child any day.   Please pray for everyone involved as they begin the agonizing journey of the unknown.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


This morning I awoke to the most beautiful sunrise.  The snow covered ground glistened.  The trees heavy with frost sparkled with the morning light.  I looked out my bathroom window to see my brother in laws horses next door as they pranced around in the snow.  One of my most beautiful memories of Laynee is in the mornings when I would dress her.  I would stand her up on my vanity and she would crouch down low, rear end, nearly touching the vanity top,  to see between the slats in the mini blinds.  Upon spotting her beloved hee hees next door, she would straighten, point their direction and give a long heeeee.  I'm not sure why it is but this is one of the pictures that I can recall with vivid clarity in my mind's eye. 

When I saw her heehees this morning, I was overcome with sadness, wishing that I could scoop her up onto the vanity for a good look.  As the brilliant hues of pink, orange, and purple began to appear in the sky, I was comforted with the knowledge that she is there.  Somewhere beyond that sunrise my beautiful baby dances before her king. 

Let us praise his name in dancing
Psalm 149:3

December 28, 1986

This day, 24 years ago, was a day that I shall never forget.  It is a day that could be in included in the count of the worst days of my life. 

When I was a young teenager, our family took in a young boy from Vietnam.  My parents acted as foster parents to Dung Duy Dao (pronounced Yung Wee).  Though we were never certain of his exact age, not knowing his birth date, he was about 10 or 11 years old.  He stayed with us for about 2 years. 

On Christmas Day 1986,  when I was 16, my parents,  Dung, my friend Andrea, and I boarded a plane to San Jose, CA where he would visit to his biological father.  There was much discussion by the state about Dung needing to return to his father, despite the fact that he wanted nothing to do with such a plan.  Dung had come to the US as a refugee on a boat.  He had some horrific stories to tell about Vietnam and his memories of his father were not pleasant.  I suspect that there were many stories that Dung kept to himself, not wishing to talk about them, perhaps stories too awful to tell. 

On the flight to Califorinia, Dung became very ill.  We had a lay over in Denver and were told we would not be allowed on our next flight without documentation from a physician that Dung was fit for travel.  Dung was admitted to the hospital and Andrea and I stayed at a hotel.  While at the hospital, no medical explanation for his illness could be found.  A psychiatrist determined that the visit to his father was causing him extreme stress and advised us not to continue to CA, but return home to Illinois.  After a couple of days, we headed back to the airport to fly home.  As we prepared for takeoff, Dung declared that he was going home. 

Shortly after we were in the air, Dung slept against the back of his seat, directly across the aisle from me.   My mother got up to use the restroom.  As she returned to her seat, she appeared rather shaken.  I watched her intently and with some irritation as she seemed to be poking and prodding at Dung.  I asked her why she didn't just let him sleep.  With wide eyes, across his sleeping form, she mouthed "He's dead."  Her "poking and prodding" was, in reality a check for pulse, reflexes, response to pain, or any other sign of life.  While my dad, Andrea and I remained in our seats, mom went to inform the flight attendants of what had happened.  There was nothing to do but wait for our landing at Chicago's Ohare.  We put a pillow under his head and pulled a blanket up close around him to shield his lifeless face from the inquisitive eyes of other passengers.  We remained calm, showing no outwards signs of our inner turmoil, in an effort to keep the full flight from knowing the truth.  We sat like this for over an hour before the plane finally landed.  I will not even attempt to describe what that hour was like for it would be virtually impossible. 

After landing, the pilot announced that we did have an emergency on the plane and asked all passengers to deboard quickly an quietly.  We stayed put, drawing the attention of all the passengers as the family with the "emergency."  A couple of times a bag or coat caught on the blanket over Dung, exposing a face that, by this time, was unmistakably dead.  As I watched the steady stream of people filing off the plane, most seemed unaware, but there were a few that glanced at Dung and I could see understanding register on their faces.  As soon as the plane was empty, the paramedics rushed on, firing questions at us.  I shall never forget the sight of Dung's ashen face as they picked him up, placing him on the floor of the aisle, and began CPR.   The rest was a blur of activity that my brain really cannot make sense of.  I recall the plane's cockpit, and yelling and a sterile green room.  In utter silence, we drove home from Chicago to our family, brothers and sisters who knew nothing of the nightmare we had been living that day. 

A cause of death was never determined.  There was nothing clinically that caused his death.  Still, his death does not remain a mystery, at least not for us.  Dung's life was horrific but for the 2 years that he was with us.  He had found peace and safety with us and it looked as though the state was going to take that away from him.  He was one determined young man and he was determined not to return to his biological father.  I suspect that he lost faith in everyone, even us.  He likely did not know whether or not to believe that we were really taking him back to Illinois. Dung came to know Jesus in the hospital the night before and  His statement "I'm going home" was not a reference to Tremont, Illinois but his eternal home, Heaven.

Every Christmas for 24 years, I have remembered.  On Christmas Day I remember leaving for CA and how violently ill Dung was.  On the 28th of each December I remember his death and at times I even dream of it. He is so heavy on my mind at this time of year that, earlier today, I even absentmindedly called Moise "Dung."    On New Year's Eve I am taken back to another year as we stood in the snow at his burial.   I recall confusion, disbelief and utter hopelessness.  Perhaps it is for this reason that I hurt so terribly at the knowledge of what my children experienced at the time of Laynee's death. The memory of CPR being performed, unsuccessfully, on someone you love, leaves a mark upon the human soul.  In many ways it feels like a cruel twist of fate that my children should have to suffer something so similar to what I experienced at such a young age.   I am fully aware that for all of time they will remember with great pain.  I know that there are some memories that cannot be dimmed by the passage of time.  I can no longer bring to mind the image of Dung's smiling face but the image of his face in death is seared upon the pages of my memory.  The sound of an ambulance siren, even if in the far off distance, has always triggered memories of paramedics in dark blue, red airplane seats and death.  Now my mind seems confused by whether to remember Dung's death or Laynee's. 

There was great sadness surrounding Dung's death.  There was also a sense of comfort in knowing that, though his life was filled with trauma and unfairness, he had 2 years of being loved and cared for as children should be.  There is no doubt that the 2 years that he was with us were by far, the best years of his life.  By comparison, Laynee never knew sorrow, trauma or sadness only 2.5 years of great love and joy.  I am so glad that they were spent with us. 

I have often thought about Dung and Laynee being in heaven together.  Do they know each other?  Are they aware of the connection that they both have with me?  When I get to heaven, will they be side by side, waiting for me? So many questions that I will never have answers to, this side of heaven.

Happy Angelversary Dung!  Kiss my Laynee for me.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas Laynee Grace

My sweet Laynee Grace,

It's Christmas. Our second Christmas without you. Your second Christmas in heaven!!!! In many ways it feels like the first. Last year we were in Florida and we didn't have the memories of you in our condo like we do here at home. I really don't remember much about last year. I only know that the hurt was so bad I didn't think that I could live without you. Like every other holiday since you went to heaven, I don't want to do this without you. I don't want to celebrate without you. I don't want to go to bed tonight knowing that you won't be here to bound into my bed tomorrow reminding us that it is Christmas. I don't want to but I will. I must.

Tonight we are all going to Grandma Glueck's. You would be so excited by all the people. You could play with little Londyn and......well...........you would probably do alot of bossing her around. Before we go to Grandma and Grandpa's house we are going to go to your grave. We each have a jar with a candle in it that will light up your grave. We got that idea from a blog friend. Kristin is beautiful like you and she is in heaven too. Do you know Kristin? And Carly? And what about Mark, do you know him? Anyway.......I think that the lights by your grave will be beautiful. Tomorrow we will go to church to remember Jesus Birth. In the evening we will go to Grandma and Grandpa Holmes. ShaneyB will miss you. We all will miss you. I don't want to do any of these things without my Laynee Girl, but I will.

I wonder about you in heaven. Where are you? What are you doing? Can you see your pink tree from up there? I hope that you can see it, Laynee. It's so beautiful, just perfect for our little princess. I know that what you see in heaven is far more brilliant and shining than this little pink tree, but I still hope you can see it because we did it just for you. Can you see all of us from heaven? I think about that question alot and hope that you cannot see all of the sorrow that we feel or the many tears that we shed.  I'm afraid that would make you terribly sad.  Is it possible, from there in heaven, to know how much we miss you and how we love you, without knowing how sad we are?  I suppose anything is possible in heaven.

Someday we are going to be with you in heaven.  I can't wait but for now we have to be here, without you.  It seems like it has been so very long since we had you here.  You feel so far away from us.   Time does not seem to help.    The sadness creeps in no matter how we try to hold it at bay.  Missing you hurts all the time. Sometimes it hurts a little, other times it hurts so much that I can't breathe, but it always hurts.  We are learning though, learning how to live life without you here.
I miss you sweet girl, with every beat of my heart. I miss your smile and laughter. I miss your strong willed, stubborness. I miss your naughtiness. I miss the soft side that you brought out in each of us. Most of all, I miss your joy and your simplicity.

MERRY CHRISTMAS LAYNEE! You're the prettiest, okay!!


I'm sure you and Miss Dolly are quite a pair in heaven

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas to All

We sent our Christmas Card out to many but I wanted to wish all of my dear blog friends a beautiful Christmas.  To those who have lost children in this last year, my heart aches for you and I pray that you can feel the comfort of the Holy Spirit as you struggle through this holiday season. 

Blessings to all.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Another Christmas

 I struggle to maintain balance in a world that has been irrevocably tipped.   Someone is missing and she will continue to be missing from now until the end of time.  It is a truth that, no matter how I try, I cannot seem to wrap my brain around.  It's a truth that still takes my breath away.

Christmas is coming.  I am powerless to stop it.  I know that, like all other significant dates, it will come and it will go and we will survive.  I know this because we've done it.  I do not dislike the holidays but there is a sharp awareness that they will never be the same.  I will never celebrate in the same way that I once did.   We go through the motions of the holidays, on the ride with everyone else.  We've attended concerts and programs, baked and decorated, bought and wrapped.  We not only join in the festivities, we enjoy them.  However, we now lack the idealistic innocence that we once had.  We love the excitement of our children that are here, but desperately miss the one who is not. 

There is no end to the things that will forever represent her abscence, the greatest and most permanent being that place of sadness that has been etched into my heart.  The stockings, hanging from the mantle, have been filled with small gifts but her's hangs limp and empty.  We've received some precious ornaments from others this year, my favorite being a beautiful pink and silver rocking "hee hee". These ornaments, given to us in love, hang from our tree along with all of the others.  In our back yard is a spruce tree, donated by our children's school at the time of the accident.  We have adorned it with 500 bright pink lights.  It is beautiful and at times, though there are no flashing lights, it twinkles. I can see her tree from any window on the back side of our house.  It brings a pang of regret each time I pass by it, but it also reminds me of her vibrant, sparkling life.  On her grave is a beautiful arrangement with fuscia bows and purple poinsettias.  When I ordered this to be made, my request was "make it glitzy and girly."  As I knelt to place it on her grave, my heart squeezed inside of me and once again I fought waves of desperation.   There is a surreal quality to all of these things that are done in rememberance of her. 

   We have tasted of life's harshness. We have lived the unthinkable.  Now and forevermore, we will wish that she were here.  We will wonder what she would have been like.   We will remember her life with joy and her death with sorrow.  The most monumental difference between Christmas now and Christmas before is that which is deep in the heart of each of us.  It is the keen knowledge that our family circle is, for our time on earth, broken.  The baking, the decorating, the music,   and the lights can never make Christmas complete.   There is new longing, not for gifts or gadgets, but for that place where our little girl celebrates with her King.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Other Women

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4

This blog has become an invaluable source of healing for me.  I have come here, over and over in an attempt to make sense of the onslaught of emotion that we have been caught up in .  At times I have come with a voice of praise,  while at other times, desperation has echoed through the words I have written.    So often I become frustrated with my own inability to articulate all that my soul has to say about the unwanted changes that have come into our life.   I suspect that, to the reader, my words tend to be somewhat redundant as there are not enough words that have the poignancy  to capture all of the expression of my heart.  I began blogging in an attempt to release some of the emotion that rages within, but quickly discovered that it served a far greater purpose.  It is through blogging that I have found love and support to make it through this. 

   Before the accident, I had never given thought to how few people in our social circle have experienced the death of a child. This awareness induces a deep sense of loneliness. It is here, through the world of blogging, that I have been able to connect with those capable of relating to every aspect of a mother's grief.  I have come to appreciate and care deeply about many fellow baby and child loss mommies, those who know the searing agony of saying good bye to our chilren long before we are ready.  I am amazed at the number of women out there who never heard their child utter a single cry. Many have buried their children within days, weeks or months of birth due to heart or genetic defect, SIDS or other illness.  Some have watched their child die slowly and painfully.  Some mother's had a happy, thriving child one minute and the next minute their life crashed as their child died suddenly.

There is also a category of women with  whom I can relate even more specifically, those who's children have been taken from them by means of tragic accident.  Many of these mothers, along with myself,  share the daily living with the reality of what, to the human mind, could have been an avoidable accident.   I have come to care about many whose children have drowned in pools, lakes, jacuzzis or rivers.  My heart is filled with compassion for certain women whose children have died in accidents involving cars, choking,  window blinds and suffocation. 

These are women of great faith and strength.  As I read their blogs I am often awed by the eloquence with which they share.  I know that every word written comes from their innermost being.  I can feel, by the tone of their writing, when they feel stuck in a downward spiral or if they can feel the peace that passeth all understanding.  Between the lines I can sense the torrent of emotion that pours down upon each one.  Sometimes their words are filled with a nearly palpable sadness or peppered with anger and bitter resentment.  Still other times I can sense that they have had a moment of seeing the light through the darkness, that somehow they have been reminded of the hope that we have.  I know that for each of us, it is only those moments of hope that keep us going.  All of us share a very strong bond that comes from being in awe of the life lessons taught to us by children who were given to us and then taken far too soon.   Some embark on a mission to do something that will somehow make a difference or give a sense of purpose to what they are going through.    Though I have never met most of these women in real life, I fully comprehend the cry of their anguished hearts.  I know also that they understand me at a deep, heart level, as few others do.  

These are women who KNOW.  They know what it is like to have a part of you die with your child.  They understand the desperate longing to be reunited with our babies.  They have felt the agonizing pain of empty arms.  They too have had those days of wondering "am I going to survive this," those moments of being uncertain if you will even be able to draw your next breath.   These women's hearts, like my own, have been a battleground of spiritual warfare, where the enemy seeks to destroy while our savior seeks to save. They would never suggest that it's time to move on or that we should "heal" from the death of our child, knowing that we are forever changed and that there is no going back.

The words of these mothers resonate within me.  I read them, not as one who "can only imagine" or "cannot fathom," but as one who knows and understands and feels, on a gut level, the agony in every sentence.  In some strange and perhaps, selfish, way I draw comfort from the awareness that I am not alone on this journey.  I will not pretend that I pray for each of these women daily.  I don't.  However as I read their blog posts I am reminded of each of them individually and a take the time to remember and lift them up in prayer. Sometimes I make a feeble attempt at offering words of encouragement, while at other times I am aware that there simply are no words.

As we face another holiday season without her, I think often of these other women.  I know that they too have ornaments hanging from their tree in rememberance of their child so dear and so very absent.   Some face their first Christmas without them, others are still missing them after several years. All feel the emptiness of not having them here with us.  There is a silent, unspoken understanding that for those of us whose children are in heaven, the Christmas season hurts. 

To my reader friends, I ask that you would lift up these women who have become so dear to me.  They walk the same path of missing our children.  They are weak and they are strong.  To those who have never known this pain of infant or child loss,  please know that the hurting will never stop until we see them again.  To the other women, those who KNOW, thank you for your strength and faith and encouragement.

These are the names of faith tested and tried through giving up a part of their hearts.

Taylor missing Nathan
Stephanie missing Camille
Christy missing Chase
Misty missing Isaac
Brandy missing Abigail
Tiffany missing Julius
Rebecca missing Audrey Ann
Jody missing Grant
Stephanie missing Amelia
Joany missing Carly
Polly missing Kristin
Cindy missing Joel
Lindsay missing Ayden
Trisha missing Nathan
Hillary missing Natalie
Angie "Missing Mark"
Ashley missing Preslee
Lesley missing Gretta
Rachel missing Beckett
Kirsten missing Ewan
Joan missing Joshua and Gabriel
Rachel missing Aubrey and Ellie
Meredith missing Brayden and Kennedy
Marcia missing Brandon
Mary Kay missing Becky and Ben
Dorothy missing Matthew
Phyllis missing John
Arlene missing Jeff
Rachel missing Clark
Alice missing Grace
Denise missing Drew
Phyllis missing Chad
Michelle missing Brayden
Yvonne missing Nicholaus
Debbie missing Lexi
Rhonda missing Caleb
Kate missing Kennedy
Sumi missing Jenna
Shannon missing Ethan
Melva missing Nicki
Vicki missing Brian

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
Romans 8:18

Friday, December 10, 2010

From the Mouth of Elizabeth Edwards

There is a quote that has appeared o on the blogs of many other baby loss mothers in recent days.  Elizabeth Edwards, former wife of Senator John Edwards, passed away on Tuesday, December 7 at the age of 61.  Ms.  Edwards has left her mark on our country with her passion.  She was a mother, a cancer survivor, an advocate, an author and a symbol for stregth among women. 

While I have no intention of sharing my views on Ms. Edward's place in the public spotlight, this one quote of hers is too profound not to share.   She was quoted for this statement after the tragic, accidental death of her teenaged son. 

"If you know someone who has lost a child, and you're afraid to mention them because you think you might make them sad by reminding them that they died--you're not reminding them. They didn't forget they died. What you're reminding them of is that you remembered that they lived, and ...that is a great gift."

~ Elizabeth Edwards

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Difference

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about an encounter with a woman who was less than kind.  She was rude, nosy and cruel in regards to Jalayne's accident.  That experience left me struggling for quite some time.  While I still cannot find it in myself to believe that her actions were innocent in nature, I have moved on from it and have chosen to forgive. 

Today I had a similar experience that was entirely different and left me with a warm, if still sad, feeling in my heart.  It happened while I was at work.  A patient came in needing to have her blood drawn and was a bit apprehensive. In an effort to ease her anxiety a bit, I made small talk with her.  After her comment that she had not seen me working at the office before, I told her that I had worked for this doctor before but took a couple of years off to operate a coffee shop.  She very politiely said "a coffee shop? How nice, what made you decide to come back?"  I began to feel a bit uneasy with the direction of the conversation but answered vaguely that after a traumatic life event, I needed a change and the simpicity of working for someone else.  She seemed to completely understand and commented on the importance of keeping things as stress free as possible, especially if we have children.  She asked the how many and how old question.  I told her, ending with "my 2.5 year old died a year ago."  Her face melted into compassion and she said "I'm so sorry, there is nothing worse than losing a child."  She did not tell of any experience, but instinct told me that this was a woman who had known this great sorrow.  She then asked,  "was she ill?"  Feeling completely at ease and unthreatened by this woman, I answered very honestly "No, she died in a water related accident."  She did not say a single word but her expression spoke volumes.  This woman was hurting for me.  She opened her arms and, being a rather large woman, enveloped me in a big, warm hug.  Then, with misty eyes, she placed her hand against my face and said "try to have a lovely Christmas and remember, there is heaven."

As she turned and walked away from me, I was struck by the stark contrast between this and the experience I had a few weeks ago.  Two women, both Christians,  both asking essentially the same questions.  One left me feeling weak and hopeless, the other reminded me of the hope that I have.  One made me want to punch her in the face, the other made me want to stay in her warm hug a little while longer.  The difference was in the tone of voice.  Where one seemed kind and compassionate, the other was cruel and accusatory.  The difference came from deep within the hearts of these two women.     I believe that both love the Lord, but only one of them allowed His love to spill over onto others.  While the light of the holy spirit radiated from one, it was lost in ugliness in the other.  Life is filled with choices and tonight I know which of theses two women I would choose to be like..........the one who was more like Christ.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Another Step

There is a question that arises, I suspect, for everyone who experiences the death of a loved one.  This is another one of those things that one never gives thought to until it is there, staring them in the face.  What is to be done with the belongings of the one who is gone? 

If I'd given in to the cry of my heart, her room would have remained untouched forever.  Her things would have remained exactly the way they were the last time she was in the room.   I'd begun to think of her room as a haven.  I could go there at night when sleep evaded me or during the lonely days when the pain threatened to devour me.  I could feel her presence there, smell her, picture her there with outstretched arms, waiting to be lifted from her crib.   I could sit in the big pink chair where Jade so often read to her.  I could cover myself with her pink blanket and rub it's silky edge against my face or clutch her bear to my heart, inhaling the scent of her.  Often I rubbed my hands across her crib sheet, still wrinkled from where her sleeping form lay on it.  I touched her shoes, looked through her glasses and ran my hand across her many outfits hanging in the closet.  As if somehow her unaltered room could lessen the reality of what is, my heart longed to leave it exactly as it was. 

Another part of me knew that making changes in her room was a necessary step in the grief process.  A step needed, if not for myself, then for everyone else in my home.  I knew that the day of feeling "ready" for this was not ever going to come.  So I set a goal.  I told myself that I would at least make some changes in her room before Thanksgiving.  I dreaded this task and knew that doing it alone would not be the wisest of choices.  Because Jamee and Jade were not overly interested in being a part of this, I asked my friends Karen and Kathy.  I knew that they would remember many of her clothing items and could share in my sorrow as well as the joy of having been touched by her

With coffee mugs in hand, the three of us went to work.  We sat on the floor of Laynee's room surrounded by mounds of clothing.  But what does one do with clothes so precious that the heart cannot bear to part with them?  How does one let go of the few things that are left of their child?  An entire lifetime of memories are sewn into the fibers of those clothes.  The only way to tackle this task was to begin.  Karen and Kathy were there but once I began I became somewhat cut off from all but the precious pieces of material in my hands and the flood of memories that they prompted.   We made piles.  One pile consisted of items that I had bought in the off seasons, which she had never worn.  These, along with a few things she had rarely worn, which did not have a great deal of memories attached to them, were given to Kathy's little grand daughter who lives in Tennessee.   Another pile was made up of things that were most precious, a few of her dresses, her first school outfit, and some clothes with stains that I now cherish.   These items, along with her shoes, school papers and art projects, items from the hospital the night she died,  favorite toys and books, and special blankets will be preserved in a chest that Jim will make.  This chest with her name carved in it will also contain the hundreds of cards we have received since she died and will be placed at the foot of our bed.

The last pile that we made consisted of those clothes that we love the most.  The things she wore over and over.  They are the things we picture her wearing in every day life.  A friend very graciously offered to create a quilt of these items.  Tonight she brought the comleted quilt, along with four smaller ones, created  for our four older children.  The kids have each placed theirs over their beds.  The larger one was hung on the wall, in our basement, where the kids spend much of their time.  When time allows, Jim will make a frame for it.

There is still much to done in her room.  The crib still stands and will someday need to be taken down but it has been stripped of all by the mattress.   Her torn window shade is still there and still torn and ........well it might be awhile longer before I can take that down. Her hot pink chair remains, the one she only sat in when she was on someone's (usually Jade's) lap.  That chair is obnoxiously pink and matches nothing in our home, but I don't care, it holds a beautiful, sacred picture in my mind, an image of a child so deeply loved.  There are few other, less frequently used items, which I really don't know what to do with. I suppose in time I'll think of something. 

As I held her new quilt, the ache was deep.  We remember every article of clothing, from the dresses, to the clothes she made filthy with her constant getting into things, to the PJ's we snuggled her in. Clothes, normal every day clothes, things I would have long ago passed on, probably to my little great niece if things were different.  That is what I would have done if she were still here but because she is not, these pieces of fabric, sewn together into a masterpiece have become one of the most valuable items in our home.

I have pondered this step and all of the other steps of grief work and a question fills my mind.  What exactly is this a step towards?  Typically when we take a series of steps, we are striving for something, a goal or an expectation.  What is the goal or the desire that we as baby loss mother's are pressing towards?  Perhaps it is closure or maybe each step is born simply of the expectations of society.  No doubt, many would say that it is a step towards healing but we mother's know better than that.  This is not something from which we will ever heal.  These steps do not make the pain less but perhaps they move us closer to the ever elusive thing called acceptance.  My child is not coming back.  Leaving her things, as if in waiting for her return, does not make reality any less so.  I suppose it could be said that the goal for which we strive is that of a healthy balance.  A balance which allows us to honor her in our hearts and in our home, yet does not cause us to remain stuck in our longing for her.  As I look at the things that we have done in her memory, I am reminded that each of them was "another step."  Her grave marker at the cemetary, the framed photos on the walls, her garden, special trees planted in the yard and now her quilts:  all serve as bittersweet memories, bringing smiles of rememberance and tears of sadness. Above all, they serve as a reminder of the hope that we have. We have a daughter and a sister waiting to welcome us into heaven one day.

                                                          Laynee's Quilt...............
Made up of favorite T shirts

and sweet dresses

and hee hee shirts

and soft warm pajamas

and princess jackets

and warm winter hats

and tanks she wore almost daily

all bordered with the sheet from her crib

 and her special blanky

Jamee's quilt contains the shirt she bought Laynee
in Paris during her summer trip to Europe

Jade's Quilt


Both boys are unphased by the "girliness"
 of having a quilt made of little girl clothes hanging
 in their otherwise masculine room. 
 They are Laynee's clothesand that fact trumps
pride, fashion and "coolness"

Grant' quilt

and Brock's

Thank you Bev.
They are priceless