Tuesday, March 5, 2013

J, J and more J

J would like you to know that when you are outside you should always watch out for Komodo Dragons. 
It's VERY important. If you see one, you should run. 
And then go back to your house and get in your vehicle and drive far away from it. :)

J is good to have around. Every time he asks me a question and he likes the answer, or thinks I'm right 
(this happens often still - he's 4) he gets so excited. "Mom, you are correct! Great job!! 

I told the boys we are not going to yell "KILL! KILL! KILL!" as we play in this house. 
So now they are yelling, "DEFEAT! DEFEAT! DEFEAT!" 
as they wield their "mechanical swords and weapons" against the bad guys.

In J's world, everyone has royal titles. He likes to tell stories a lot. 
 His cousin A is the "Queen of the Candy Cane Land" and her little brother O is the "Baby King of the Trees". (J was the Captain Ninja Secret Agent Spy Knight, which is obvious because he has a hook.)
 A & O braided him ropes so he could slide on the ropes with his hook and swing from one ship to the other after he got "all the bad guys on the bad ship". Their best friend was WARRIOR Sammy (his uncle) who had a pet pterodactyl. They could jump off VERY high things and then Warrior Sammy's pterodactyl would grab them BEFORE they got hurt and they would land on the ground and then they sat on his back and could fly away into "the space sky". One time they all went on an adventure and it took them to the forest where Auntie R lived (super funny, because is real life this auntie strongly dislikes nature) 
and they asked her PLEASE and pretty please if theycould have a chocolate AND a candy cane. 
She said yes, because even captains and kings and WARRIORS and queens had good manners.
He kept going off on tangents, and then he'd realize he was way off the story, so he'd say, 
"Okay, Mom. Can I get back to the story now?" Yes, yes you can, son. :)

J (as he comes out of his room all bleary-eyed and rumply from his bed at 6 am): 
 "Mom, can I have some snuggles and ask you a few questions?" 

J was talking in VERY LOUD jibberish in the car on the way home from Auntie R's the other night. Someone (it might have been his mother) told him we couldn't understand him and asked him to speak in English. His response? "It is! It's just OLD English." And then he got perturbed that we laughed. 
Sorry, kid. Unfortunately, you are funny.

J informed us tonight that we are missing VERY important items in this house: 
He was very concerned that we didn't have them, so he is currently remedying the situation. 
If you come here and see signs taped by the sinks in our kitchen and bathrooms 
you will now know what they mean. 
Please do what they say. :)

J: "Dear Jesus, please help me be a good friend. Dear Jesus, how do I be good? Amen".
J (in a different voice): "Just be good and listen."
J (back in his regular voice): "HEY MOM! JESUS GAVE ME THE ANSWER!!"

A brief glimpse of the things I see at my house frequently: 
 J wearing a shield as a chest plate and carrying a sword, 
chasing Auntie R who is wearing a cape and a red rope 70's style headband, 
followed by B who is teetering around carrying a DQ blizzard, wearing a newsboy hat, 
her Cat in the Hat capri PJs and 4 inch heels from the dress up bin. 
 Can't remember the story line that accompanied the scene, but it was funny.

J had some separation anxiety this year. We read the book "The Kissing Hand" and when he leaves for school each day I draw a kiss in sharpie on each of our palms (mine looks like a heart on his palm, and his looks like a star on mine) and we load them up with "millions of mooches" before he leaves for school. 
 He told me the other day when he gets lonely and misses me,
"I put mine hand on mine face and I can feel your love all the way down in my heart." 

J just used the word pernicious correctly. I think he watches too many dinosaur documentaries.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

We were right.

Dear Noah David,

There are days now, as I look back, when I feel bad that I pushed you so hard to do things after you graduated from high school. I wasn't as supportive and encouraging as I should have been.  As your big sister, I just knew there was SO much inside of you that the world needed to see. My intentions were good, I just wasn't the best at how I carried them out.  I'm sorry.  The more I learn about you now, the more I know I was right about what I saw in you. I'm glad I had the chance to tell you how proud I was of you when you were home after your school before you left for Ohio. I hope you really heard me when I said it, and I hope you know how very much I loved you then and love you still. I got to be your big sister while you were here. What a gift.
I love you, and I miss you.

I miss my dreams for you and all the things that might have been.



We were right, you know

to see a hidden spark

we were right, you know

when we saw the greatness

still waiting

we were right, you know

when we were certain

you had big things

to offer the world

we were right, you know

to dream

of the good

you would bring

we didn’t know

that your spark would light

and your light would burn

for such a brief time here

we missed it

we just get the afterglow

it’s good to see

but leaves us


to know more

we didn’t know

that we would never see

the depth of the greatness

the fullness of the man you became

we missed it

we just get glimpses

they are good to see

but leave us


for what will never be

we didn’t know

that the things you had to offer

were even bigger

and given in such different ways

than what we had dreamt

your life laid down

the good you would have brought

we missed it

we hold on to broken dreams

remold them and pray


Lord, let us see

your purpose

your mighty hand

your good

in even this.”

Even though we didn't know

We were right, you know

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A Glimmer of Healing

It’s surprisingly not cold outside
when the car pulls up
in front of my house at 3:30am
Mumsie and Popster greet me
and we head out to the airport
to catch our 6am flights
that will return us to the place you became a man
It feels different this time
I can breathe easier
the pit in my stomach is smaller
I feel hopeful anticipation
where once I felt dread
We are returning to honor you, Noah
to see your name memorialized on a gate
A huge honor
I think you would be proud and happy
to know that you mattered
You made a difference
in big and small ways
to so many

I board my plane in the dark
seated by a window
as we fly up above the clouds
I see the sun rise
A new experience for me
watching the sunrise from the sky
Clouds look like land forms
A fiery ball of bright red and orange bursts
painting the sky with patterns and colors
that lighten and fade
to bright yellow then white
I am struck by the awareness
that this sunrise is like my grief
Fire that will in time change to light
I am filled with gratitude
that in this moment
I can see that God is working
I can feel that He is healing

I am grateful for that reminder
because I need it
as I sit by the window in the airport terminal
and watch the planes land and pull into gates
My body reacts with anxiety
and into my mind flash images and sounds
I want to remember but forget at the same time
The plane pulling into the gate
as we waited with dread
The open door
The sight of the flag draped over your coffin
as it slid past us in the door of the plane
and then down the belt
The cries of breaking hearts
facing our nightmare
Young men in uniform
silently stepping
honoring you and carrying you home
Your brave brother in arms
along with airport police and personnel
faces of strangers pressed against glass windows watching
Our dreams shatter

Ghosts of memories
taunt and torment at the most unexpected times
but sunglasses hide my tears
and I am grateful
I can breathe this time
as I sit with my memories
and feel a piece of the pain again
that once we barely survived

Monday, November 5, 2012

Our first "First" - Sibling Christmas

Dear Noah,
Yesterday we had our first Sibling Christmas without you.  It was hard, but we did it.
You are loved and missed, little brother of mine.
~ Ab

I felt the hole
you left when you were taken

The plate with your name
came out of the box
accompanied with a simple question
“Ab, what should we do with this?”

A plate made with your name
a place holder
for a place you will never again fill
a reminder that this year
and all the years to come
will never be the same

Your face
your voice
your hugs
your nose stuck in a book
your laughter
your teasing
your acting
your singing
your nieces and nephews clamoring for you to play
your amazing gag gifts
your trail of candy wrappers
your presence
all the things that made you you
all the things that drove us crazy
all the things that made us love you

They aren’t here
and we aren’t complete
we will never be the same again

There’s a hole now where you used to stand
in groups and hugs and games
we’re shorter
our singing doesn’t sound the same
our laughter is missing notes
we sing and laugh and play again
because we must go on
but it’s not the same

Happy, funny moments
laughter followed by tears
talents, skits and memories acted out
I laughed
but ached with the knowledge
if you were here
you would have been in your element
this part of our evening
was when you shone
we aren’t as good without you

I felt the hole
deep, lonely
aching, unbalanced
pain-filled, sorrowful
and somehow
filled with love
filled with hope
filled with gratitude

Because you are a part of us
we will never be the same

I feel the hole
you left when you were taken.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Painful Sort of Memories

This is not my usual sort of post. But I need to share it. These are my memories and I want my kids to have them some day.

Noah David, I love and miss you more than I have words to express.


Middle of the night phone ringing
fumbling for a phone I can not find
ringing stops
I can’t sleep so I walk
up the stairs to rooms filled with lights
but empty of people
no message light flashes
maybe it was a butt dial
caller id says Muonios
not a cell phone
stomach clenches into hard knots
frantic phone calls home
busy signal...busy signal...busy signal...busy signal
dread fills my heart
suddenly the red message light flashes
my heart skips a beat
I press the button
Mom’s voice, quiet and terrible...
“...if you get this call home right away.”
The last of my hope that it was nothing shatters
Who?  What?  
Lord help me to bear what’s next.
I call again and again
busy signal...busy signal...busy signal

And then noise on the stairs
Her voice has never sounded like that
and she never looks like that
shaky, wide-eyed, terror stricken
What is happening?
And then the words that tear my heart out
She can barely speak them
I can hardly bear to hear them
“Ab, mom called me.  She said that a car hit Noah.  
She said that the car hit him and he died.  
That’s what she told me on the phone.
Ab, what is going on?  What is happening?”
And all I can do is try to hold her together with a hug

Eyes unfocused in a blank stare.
No tears yet.
Hardly able to breathe
And then
shaking that starts somewhere deep inside
when your heart gets ripped apart
it must be hard for your body to hold it together
What in the world is happening?

No.  He was supposed to be safe in Ohio
We weren’t supposed to lose another brother
What is going on?

And then down the hall, another sister
All I can do is beckon her to our hug
I open my mouth to try to tell her
But all that it says is, “It’s bad.  Oh, it’s so, so bad.”
My little sister has to say the words again
I should be her big sister and say them for her
It doesn’t feel real
It can’t be real.
WAKE UP!  Oh, please wake up!

Back down the stairs to my bedroom
He is awake and worried
I try to tell him and manage to say the words
Weeping on my bed
He tries to hug me
cries with me
and bravely takes on the task of telling
the girl whose biggest fear
was not ever seeing her uncle again
How did she know?

The phone rings
“Mom?  Oh, Mama...I’m so sorry.”
And she speaks bravely
in that terrible, quiet, grief-filled voice
“Noah was killed tonight.  
A car hit him as he was riding his bike to his shift...
How many pieces of my heart can get torn out
while it keeps on beating?”
I don’t have an answer
What can I say?
I’m sorry, Mama
I’m so sorry
I don’t understand
What is happening?

My weeping daughter
clutching her Noah bear
joins us on the couches
as we sit
mostly in silence
punctuated with sobs
and kleenexes
holding on to each other

We pray
for strength
and understanding
why?  Oh Lord, WHY?
and forgiveness for our lack of faith
to feel His presence
that he would hold us up
that he would not abandon us
even when we can not see him
And the sister who has been quiet
quietly quotes through misty eyes
Be still, my soul, though dearest friends depart
And all is darkened in the vale of tears;
Then shalt thou better know His love, His heart,
Who comes to soothe thy sorrows and thy fears.
Be still, my soul; thy Jesus can repay
From His own fulness all He takes away.”

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Life goes on...

It's hard to believe it's been over three weeks since our lives got turned upside down when we got the terrible news my little brother had been killed.  I am so grateful for the resilience and joy that kids are so full of  - God has blessed me with many reasons and occasions to smile.


N: "Ab, I love you SO much.  I even love you more than lemonade and lollipops."

How can I help but smile about that?  :)


J (Pointing frantically at the people near us):  "MOM!  LOOKIT!"
Me:  "J, it isn't polite to point at people."
J:  "But there's some humans over there.  I haven't met them yet."

I swear my kid really thinks he is a robot...or a T-Rex.


J is running crazily from room to room GROWLING.
N:  "J, that is not what pterodactyls do."
J:  "Duh!  I'm a T-REX!"



J:  "Mom, lookit.  It's my miracle!"  (holds up a plastic baby spoon)
Me:  Your miracle?"
J:  "Yep.  It's a talking spoon."

Monday, August 6, 2012

Hugging Days

Sometimes life is hard.  We are grieving the loss of my little brother who was killed when a car hit him as he was riding his bike to work for the night shift.  Noah was one of the best uncles the world has known. He loved my kids, and they adored him.  Last night, after a long day of seeing all of the big people in his life grieve, J came over to give me hug, looked at me with a very serious face and said, "It's a hugging day today."  

We love and miss you, Noah David.  Our hearts are broken.