Rebecca Phoebe was born silent on April 25, 2008. At the doctor's, I found no heartbeat and knew that while in labor, my angel was taken back. This blog is here for the benefit of me to write the tender things of my heart. It is also here for those that need to know they are not alone in whatever they have been called upon to bear.

If you are new to the blog, please start with " My Story".

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Time

Time has marched on.  Sometimes fast and furious and sometimes crawling minute by minute.  While blogging about my experience with Phoebe provided a deeply cathartic way to remember, to grieve, to talk, and smile, life took on a new life of its own about a year and half later.  I found myself a single parent to my 6 earthly children.  While this blog has served as something singular to me and my journey with stillbirth, it was just the beginning of a time that would make or break me.

I am beginning to think that I was in need of a true heavenly being that was not confined to a mortal body that could be my helpmeet on the other side.  There have been moments when looking back, lives were spared, safety was ensured and hearts with consoled because of Phoebe.  Believe it or not, my daughter that I miss so intensely is not gone.  She has been with me providing a very important mission, part of that is to help me and the load that I have carried in the recent past.

As I have been coming up on her 7th anniversary of her angel day, I have reflected on how much has changed.  Some kids have doubled in size!  One has made an entrance and left Phoebe's side and made it to mine.  Most anniversaries I found myself struggling with my emotions and putting on a brave face for the kids because I was handling it all alone.  I didn't want the world to see the extra burdens I was carrying because this blog after all was for Phoebe, not for the lamenting of someone who keeps getting the life kicked out of her.

Amidst all of the turmoil that kept happening in my life I did have all these moments and more that I have already written down.  Sweet, sweet, little moments would enter in and pierce the dark haze that was hanging over my life.  Heaven would part for a split moment and I would feel her love and support.  It kept me hanging on.

Fast forward to yesterday, I heard from my now 10 year old daughter who was 3 1/2 at the time of Phoebe's passing.  She started doing a happy dance and said "Tomorrow is Phoebe's birthday, tomorrow is Phoebe's birthday!"  Her birthday for the children has taken on a new meaning, a day of family tradition.  They may never understand the grief that is behind every smile, the healing that happens when I see them happy, and the intense longing to still have her with me.  But it is as it should be.  I feel I must have done my job right then.  Victory has been won over the grave.  Death has no sting.  Christ has ensured that we will see her again.  They know it.  I know it.

It has been interesting going back and reading this blog, a tradition of mine to remember and to grieve.  Reading some of the words and looking at some of the pictures don't hold the same meaning anymore.  I have been reflecting on what that means.  Maybe it's because I am changed from the person I was 7 years ago.  I have been shaped, molded, tapped and heated in an intense refiners fire since.  While every thing I wrote in the past was truly how I felt I am looking to the future with new perspective.

If you wouldn't mind, reader, I would like to update more.  I would like to maybe add on the "rest of the story."  It will be mingled with thoughts and memories of my sweet Little One however I am catching a vision of how I can continue Phoebe's story.  My story.  Stay tuned...

Happy Angel Day Sweet One.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Butterfly


On Sunday I cried.  I cried for the Spirit that touched mine as tender voices spoke their simple yet profound testimonies of the Savior and how they are children of God, the Creator of heaven and earth, and our personal Father of our Spirits. 


It was when your class sang a song that already reminds me of you when I wept.  I saw those sweet five year old little girls singing their sweet pure voices, "Whenever I hear the song of a bird, or look at the blue, blue sky..." I imagined you up there sitting and maybe squirming in your seat trying to stay reverent for the long hour.   I longed to see you up there.  I bet you were. 

It's been a while since I have written to you.  A lot has happened in this last year, but you already know that.  I have been continuing to hang on to this bumpy road called life, and have been appreciative of all the little things that remind me of you.  When I think of you, it reminds me of heaven, the place I want to be. It reminds me to broaden my horizon and think about the bigger picture. 

I want time to move faster.  I want to know what comes after this next chapter in my life.  I want closure.  I want... I want...  I want...  I want a lot of things, but ultimately, what I really want is to do what is right.  To be obedient to God's commandments and watch the blessings flow into my life because of it. 

I have had the privilege of being on the receiving end of some very choice blessings, one of them being you.  Sometimes I wonder if it was all a dream.  To have the chance to have the veil so thin that I could almost reach up and part it with my fingers and then on the other side of it, to experience the intense, breathtaking heartbreak that only death can bring.  But I guess that is why we are here, to experience the bitter so we can know how to savor the sweet. 

Can you believe how incredible your siblings are?  Sometimes I sit back in awe at the strength and capabilities that they possess and then I get overwhelmed with the responsibility that I have to be their mother, to teach them correct principles so that they could govern themselves.  Do you think they realize how much I love them despite my imperfections?  Do you think they really know how grateful I am for the atonement of Jesus Christ that allows me to not be alone in my sorrows, grief, pain, and sin?  How can one really know that you have "taught" enough? I suppose I know that answer.  It is a never-ending road that leads to gaining knowledge.  I will continue to lead by example even if that example isn't perfect.

Remember when I was running on the back roads of Georgia this summer, and I had the miraculous intervention that saved me from those vicious dogs?  I was starting out on my next run more scared to have another one of those close calls.  I was almost a mile into my run and I saw the monarch butterfly.  I immediately thought of you.  Since then I see that brilliant yellow orange butterfly and often it is at a time when I need to lift my gaze to an eternal perspective and get my mind out of the gutters of the world.  

I thank you for all of the times that you are with me and my mortal eyes don't see you.  I thank you for those times when an angel is what I need to help with things that heaven only knows is going on in my life.  I thank you for the constant reminder that you are to keep my eyes gazing at the "blue blue sky".  I thank you for allowing me to be your mother, even if it was for nine earthly months.  I miss you terribly but I am grateful for the things that allow us to be close, even if it is in the flight of a butterfly. 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Firefly

 

One night I came home to  my sister's house where we are staying for the summer and I saw something that I haven't seen for many, many years.  Little explosions of light illuminating from the trees.  So quick, and so small were these little lights that it almost seemed like my eyes were playing tricks on me.  I stared in wonder and then ran down the hill to the backyard where the rest of my kids were already running around trying to catch a firefly.  I had one of those moments where I take a virtual picture in my mind.  A moment that I never want to forget.  I heard the squeals of delight and saw the wonder on the faces of my children.

As I watched them, I reflected on these fireflies.  How would I know that they were there if not for the impression of light that they gave?  If they didn't shine even briefly, I would never know of their presence.  

I have wished so many times, since the time I said my earthly goodbye, to just see her one more time.  To know that she is there and not just a far away memory.  And yet, I reflect on the small and impressive light that she continues to shine in my life and in others as well.  I know she is there but I can't always see her.  It's almost as if she is on the other side peeking through the veil whispering words of encouragement or of comfort giving me those small flecks of light. 

I am grateful for the experience(s) that my daughter has given me.  I feel more full of light because of what this whole process has taught me.  What a reunion it will be when I can have her in my arms again.  Until then, I will keep my eyes open for the little flashes of light that let me know she is close.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Still processing...

Phoebe's angel day was last week.  It was a beautiful day.  The sun has been shining so much lately which makes it easy to feel happy.  Her anniversary was more sweet than bitter this year.  I am still processing my thoughts and the annual slide show.  I came across this pictures of my girls and couldn't help but share it.  


Monday, January 9, 2012

Long time coming

Oh this has been a long time coming.  How many times have you been on my mind and I desperatly wanted to get these feelings, these words out of me and into this journal in the hopes that you just might get a sense of how I have been feeling. 

The short and sweet of it.  I miss you.  We took family pictures a little while ago.  It was perfect.  The weather was astounding.  The kids looked awesome and behaved even better.  The photographer was one of my most favorite people and the location was to die for. I knew it was going to turn out perfectly. 

As your Dad and I were looking through the pictures we couldn't help but miss you terribly.  We were sitting on a hill surrounded by your siblings.  And then it was just the kids.  In so many pictures there was a perfect place for you.  Do you see it?
I took pictures with just Savannah and me.  Just like the ones that I took with Emily at that age.  The light shone perfectly on us as the boys had wandered off.  Each one caught so much of her personality and I loved the twinkle in our eyes. 

Oh how I wish that I could have the same with you!  What would have been like to have you squirming in my arms anxiously trying to explore the world around you!  Did you know that Savvy's eyes are turning green?  They were blue, just like yours, would yours have changed too?

I feel you a lot.  Sometimes I think how foolish I am, that it is just my imagination and then I forget that you are here.  With all that I am called on to bear, you are one of the elite that are sent to watch over my little flock.  I feel you when there is that pure joyful moment when the siblings are laughing and playing.  I see you in the corner of my eye as I do my chores in the quiet of the night. 

I wish that I could see your face one more time.  To know that you are really a person and not a dream that happened nearly 4 years ago.  You seem to good to be true and then my heart springs the ache that has become all too familiar.  That ache still comes when I hear a newborn cry or when someone comes when they complain of "unnecessary" doctors appointments. How about the times when the movie reel comes back into my mind of the night I held you.  That was heaven.  I knew that you were gone, but the veil had never been so close. 

You know, time really is a healer.  I hated to hear that so soon after you passed.  I wanted time to move faster because I hated the way I felt.  I have learned so much from you and yet we have never spoke.  You make me want to be a better person, to be a better example, to share the good news that is mine. 

Phoebe, what I am trying to say, is that while you are not here physically with me, I cherish every time my mind flits to you and I feel you fill in that missing whole during our family times.  I look forward to our family reunion when we can take that family picture where we are not missing one.  I miss you terribly.  Hugs and kisses to you.

Love,
mom
My Girls

Friday, August 12, 2011

My side of the story: By Phoebe's oldest brother

When my tiny baby sister died I was devastated but let me introduce myself.  I am Ammon.  I was nine when my sister died in April 2008.
It all started when my mom announced we were going to have a baby and are going to keep it a secret.  All of us were as excited as children on a new playground.  I was desperately wanting a girl because I only had one sister and three brothers.  Every time my mom went to the doctors we watched how the baby grew.  Slowly days turned into weeks, and weeks turned into months, and it was time for my mom to have a baby.  I was highly anticipating a girl.  I wanted to see the baby like a caterpillar wants to be a butterfly.  I was finally old enough to understand babies.  When my mom called to tell me that she died, I was heartbroken.
     I took it hard. I was bawling in my room like there was no tomorrow. Her name was Rebecca Phoebe Michel but we called her Phoebe. To make things worse, I didn’t get to see her in the hospital. The family was devastated because all that hope and anticipation turned into yearning and despair. Luckily we had a friend who worked in the morgue so we set up a day to see her. We all chose something that we wanted to put in her casket. I chose a pink rock that I liked and now it’s Phoebe’s.
When the day finally arrived we all went into this room where she was. I put the rock in her hand. After some of my younger siblings left the room I got to hold her. I was crying the whole time I held her. When we left it was a bittersweet moment. A few days later the funeral was held. I wasn’t even glad I missed a day of school. It was threatening to rain but it didn’t. It was a bleak and gloomy day. I didn’t even know how I was going to handle school.
   School was a little easier than expected. The principal let me see the school psychologist so I could get my feelings out without interrupting the class. The only problem was that I was really sensitive. Almost anything set me off.  On the day after Phoebe’s funeral, I spent most of the day with him because he was great at making me feel better. He even bought a heat sensed pencil from the school store for me. I ate lunch with him too. When I came home that first day, I saw a build-a-bear in the family room. My mom explained to me that that was phoebe’s bear. I got to sleep with it that night and let me tell you, I loved it.  The bear helped me feel comfort and peace. It is amazing what one bear can do. School got easier and the visits got less and less. I still miss her and it was hard, but our family pulled though. This helped our family bond together.
I’m Ammon and I’m 11.  I miss my sister and always will. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

3rd Anniversary Slideshow

For some reason, pictures and music speak to me.  I would love to go into detail about our 3rd anniversary, but the slideshow is all my heart can handle right now.  I hope to write down soon the stirrings I have in my heart.  For now, here is my gift to my sweet daughter.  I love you!!!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Coincidence?

Is it a coincidence that I found myself painting in what would have been Phoebe's room on the same day that I ended up seeing Princess on Ice? The last time I went there or painted her room was with Emily and Phoebe still in utero. For some reason I don't have too many pictures of me pregnant with Phoebe. I look at those pictures over and over again remembering what it was like to have Phoebe connected to me with an earthly presence. I remember trying to make room with both girls on my lap because I had a sleepy little Emily.

Three years are coming up soon. Time doesn't seem relative to the experience I had with my earthly little angel. I don't have much of a memory as my children can attest to, but I have such concrete memories of meeting my silent little lady.

I remember what it was like seeing her for the first time. Not knowing if she was a boy or a girl, but knowing deep down inside that I was carrying a daughter of God. I remember bringing her right into my chest willing some magic power to breathe life into her again. I have in my mind how painful it was to have her little body rising up and down with mine with every shallow breath that I took, thinking that there was still life within her. Hoping, believing that just maybe she would open her eyes. Just once.

There are so many things that I wish I could have had just once. A look, a cry, a smile, a laugh, a hug, a first prayer, a first step, a first accomplishment. How about the first day of school or a play date or dress up with sister or a bike ride with her brothers.

Bottom line. I was not ready to let my one experience to be to hold her for a few hours and then say goodbye. I remember staying up very late the night before the funeral, thinking of how crazy it was that I was not going to be getting more rest before a highly emotionally charged day. My whole perspective changed as I realized that there would never be a wedding or graduation. There would never again be a reason to stay up till all hours of the night to get something ready for Rebecca Phoebe. This was my one chance and I wasn't going to take a moment of it for granted.

As I continue to reflect on the experience that it was to say an early goodbye and bury my daughter I have a taste of what it must have been like for Eve to not be able to comprehend an opposite until you taste of fruit that thrusts you out of the garden and into the pain of life. I have tasted the bitter fruit of death and the sweet taste of new life. I am beginning to see already.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Say hello

Phoebe,

Will you do a favor for me?  Will you wrap your arms around Loreen Hoffman and say "Hello and a goodbye for now" from me?

I find myself with deep seeds of grief and sorrow for the Hoffman family as they grieve the loss of their mother and wife.  I remember how it feels to go to bed alone at night aching to hold you.  I remember the shock and that took an unmeasurable amount of time to realize that we were not to be together again for some time. 

I have gone back to the sleepless nights because my mind keeps racing of the way things were and how they have been forever changed. 

Phoebe, it hurts!  It hurts to lose someone you love.  Why can't I supersede this natural body and mind to know what it feels like where you are.  To know more of the eternal scheme and not be limited to this mortality.  I desire more than anything to know of the mysteries of God.  To behold His face in this life.  Not necessarily His physical face, but to know and understand that the infinite Being and Creator knows intimately what it feels like to be confined to a physical body with desires to know what is just beyond the veil. 

I get glimpses.  I touch heaven sometimes briefly with maybe a fingertip worth of understanding.  It feels so right to know things of the spirit.  When I allow myself to be still and know that He is God. I know that the Hoffman's are being blessed with all things temporal.  They are being blessed with help from those on your side.  Why then does my heart ache and my tears continue to come?  Why when I know of the great plan of salvation to know that we can be together again? 

So as I work through these emotions I ask that you don't leave my side.  That you will help with whatever is necessary to carry the Hoffman's.  Maybe we can work as a team.  I will keep trying to be worthy of the revelation that I seek.  It may not come in the form that I expect, but I have never been left comfortless. 

Thank you for being my ambassador on the other side.  I miss you.  I love you.

Forever yours,
Mom

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Sparkling

Since Phoebe's sister has arrived I feel a heavenly connection that is hard to describe.  I have tried several times to sit and write another post on this blog.  All times, I have been unsuccessful to put what was in my heart to the page.  Here is attempt #445. (not really, but seems like it!)

There have been sweet moments that have happened in the time that I haven't blogged like this one (I started to write it in November of 2010)

I have had many "Mary" moments where I did as she, "kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart."  I have pondered your place in our family.  Why you came in the order that you did.  I have some peace as things have unfolded, things that I could not have foreseen. 
My mother's day present a month after we lost Phoebe.  I wanted something that I could always have with me as a token of my daughter. 
Were you there when Savannah saw my ring for the first time?  She touched it.  She looked at it.  It was as if she knew.  It made me miss you intensely.   She has since watched the sparkles that the diamonds play upon her skin when I hold her.  The light that reflects onto her body makes me feel like you are near.  That you are happy for this moment that I have shared with your sister.  Every time I see that sparkle from the ring that symbolizes you, I ache for what could have been and yet look forward to our future reunification. 
There have also been moments that have not been as sweet, more of a bittersweet feeling for me.

I was shutting the curtains one night in your brother's room when my eyes fell upon one of your pictures that was lying at an angle that I have never seen.  I wasn't intending on studying it.  I have passed by it several times.  Always noticing, but too hard to study.   Too hard to be reminded of those brief moments I had with you.
I looked at the way your hair was wavy, perfectly placed after your only bath.  I looked at your nose, which had been decided belonged to your Aunt Julie.  I looked at your chubby cheeks.  Your small body. 
I sat down where I was as if I had never seen you before.  I felt an intense desire to pull out your scrapbooks that I had made that I only so often pull out any more.  I caressed each page.  I relived the small moments.
I was only able to get through most of the first book before your siblings were needing my help.  When they noticed what I was doing, they sat down right by me and took over the flipping of the pages.  
I miss you.  I ache for you.  I can't wait to hold you again.  I love you.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

To: Phoebe From: Your big brother

I miss you.  You were going to be so big.  I wish you could be here. 

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Chair

I had a unique experience, one that I never thought would be recreated.  My son's friend had a beautiful, quiet, strong mother who died of cancer.  She wasn't very old and left three small sons.  My heart ached as I watched the youngest one bury his head into his father's neck as he walked in the funeral procession into the chapel.  Tears instantly sprang into my eyes as I looked into what his future might behold. 

I had Savannah with me along with my son.  It was hard enough going to the funeral, but I had been to this place before.  I had my own bittersweet tears here.  I had come back for the first time to the place where I got to hold my precious baby again. 

Savannah was hungry and I knew I needed to find a place to feed her.  Did I dare go back to that sacred room where I held my sweet baby for the last time, with my arms now full with a warm, breathing baby? 

I took courage and went to the office determined not to cry (ahem, I know I was a little delusional).  Tears came anyway, as I explained my situation.  "May I please sit in the room where I once held my daughter.  Would you mind?" 

"Which room was it?" the man asked.

"I would recognize it by sight," was my reply. 

I walked down the hall, immediately recognizing the room.  All the furniture was the same.  All the details didn't seem any different, and yet there was something different.  A certain glow was missing from the room.  The anticipation of seeing my baby again wasn't there.  The feeling that I had just entered a sacred, heavenly place was no longer there.  It was just a room.

A weird mixture of emotion welled up inside as I struggled to keep Savannah happy enough just so I could breathe in the room again. 

And then I saw the chair.  The chair where I once held my baby, with a smile on my lips.  With a constant desire to want to warm up her frozen skin.  In that chair, I cradled, I whispered, I rocked, I cried. 

I then sat in the chair with my hungry, needy baby and I cradled, I whispered, I rocked, and I cried. 

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Lessons

This past Sunday I showed the kids the video I made.  Bottom line.  Every single one misses their sister.  Each one take it differently. 

I watched my son's expression as he saw a picture of himself.  I saw the pain on his face.  I followed the tears down his face.  My gazed then went to our oldest.  Our stoic one.  One who likes to keep intense emotion to himself.  He too was crying very painful tears.  Our third was no different from his older brothers.  My poor little one.  His heart is still so tender for his sister he never got to hold. 

And then there are my younger two.  The innocence is still so strong for them.  The three-year-old asked why everyone was crying.  Then asked who was in the pictures.  "Savannah?" he asked.  When I mentioned Phoebe's name, he immediatly understood. 

After the slide show was over, my daughter was confused.  She asked, "Aren't we going to see Phoebe again?  Isn't she going to come back to life?"  Her confusion was there because she knows that when Christ comes back to this earth, we will once again be reunited.  Never to be separated.  She's happy, because she knows the good news.  The good news that if we live to the best of our ability in word and deed, we have been promised, forever. 

After the video of Phoebe, I showed them one I got of Savannah talking.  They were like proud parents.  I loved to see the smile and laugh through the tears they once had for their other sister.  They each gave me a hug and went on their way.

My children continue to teach me very valuable lessons.  It's okay to mourn.  And it's okay to be comforted.  It's okay to miss her, but we will see her again.  It's okay to need a hug every once in a while and then go off and play.  I love all of my children, Phoebe, you included. 

Saturday, June 12, 2010

2nd Anniversary Slide Show

I know we are a little past her anniversary, but better late than never.  Please pause the music on the right.  Also, if you double click on the video, it will take you to YouTube.  For some reason, you cannot see the entire picture. 

Friday, April 30, 2010

Still Processing....

We had a beautiful afternoon. The skies parted for the brief time we were there. I will write about it when I have the strength. For now, here's a few pics....



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Saturday, April 24, 2010

Tonight

Tonight, I was folding loads and loads of laundry.

Tonight, you were so active in my tummy that you made it so your dad and I were very aware that you were there.

Tonight, I knew that I was in labor.

Tonight, I knew that I would see you the next day.

Tonight, I told your dad to kiss my tummy because you were so busy.

Tonight, he did just that.

Tonight, it was very hard to fall asleep.  I finally did.

Tonight was my last night with your soul with mine.

Sleep well, my sweet.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Not sure what to say (caution: might be hard to read)

I'm not sure what to say.  My heart is tender.  My heart aches.  My heart yearns.  There is nothing magical that comes to my mind on what I should write about, other than the fact that I miss my daughter.  I miss her companionship.

Sunday will be two years.  It seems like yesterday I was in labor with her with that excitement built up inside me with anticipation.  Then the news that she was gone. I still remember how cold she was to hold.  I still feel on my arm where here head rested.  I hated how cold she was.  It made me angry.  But now I am grateful.  It is almost like she has imprinted there, never to be forgotten.

Two years later, I am no longer the same person I was before she left.  I hope that it is change for the better, sometimes its hard to tell.  At first, I felt stripped of all happiness.  Any sense of security I felt was stripped from me.  I could no longer function as a mother, wife, sister, friend.  I was brought to the dust, but I knew I had to rise again for the sake of those I still had to care for.

It   was  so   hard.

Time has healed a lot.  I remember wanting to go from the point I was at, point A, and wanting to skip to point Z.  I wanted to say "no thank you" to all of the grief in between.  But I knew that wasn't possible so I kept putting one foot in front of the other.  I have made it this far, so I guess that's a good sign that I can continue.

For once I don't want to be the "strong one".  Why can't I be held and rocked and comforted?  I thought the trial of my life would be Phoebe's passing, but rains keep falling.  If I get too ahead of myself, I start to panic.  This mountain I am called to climb is too steep if I look all the way to the unseen summit.  So I will do like I have done before.

Trust.

Love.

Wait.

And Trust some more.

One step enough for me.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Reflection



Savannah on top, Phoebe below
I have always had a hard time seeing who my new little ones looked like.  Some would say that Savannah looks like my oldest, others would say Savannah has her own look.

I was looking at her one night when she was fast asleep wondering who she resembles.  And then it came to me.  I had been looking for an earthly resemblance forgetting, if possible, that she had another sibling.  As soon as I cleared my eyes, I saw her.  I saw Phoebe in Savannah's reflection.

It is a bittersweet thing to see Phoebe in her.  In a great way, it is a blessing because I can get a sneak peek of what Phoebe will look like when I get to raise her in the next life.  In another way, it makes my heart ache with the reminder that she isn't here.

I truly feel like Savannah, Phoebe, and Emily are all really good friends.  I love to see Savvy look at Emily with eyes that can see heavenly things with the expression of: I love you!  I missed you!  Phoebe sends her love.  I feel it.  I can see it.  And I ache to see the three together. 

We are coming up on two years.  Two years of many ups and downs since.  I find myself again, like last year, not really wanting to think about the upcoming anniversary.  I am grateful that my physical arms are not empty.  That I can nurture another little spirit.  I am grateful that I have been blessed with children.  I am grateful for the reflection I see in Savannah's face.  One of peace, love, contentment, and joy.  I am grateful I still get to see my Phoebe on a daily basis.  Even if it is by the means of a precious sister. 

Monday, March 8, 2010

Sisters

I remember holding Phoebe, willing her eyes to open just one time.  I want to hear just one cry.  I wanted to see her take just one breath.  I remember how it was painful to look down and see her body rise and fall with every breath that I made, thinking that maybe it was her lungs that were being filled with air, not mine.

 What would she be like if her spirit filled her earthly body?  If what I felt in that birthing room was any indication of who Rebecca Phoebe is, one word.  Majestic.  I knew then, as I know now, it was a privilege to give her her earthly body.

I also new that we were to have another baby.  The thought of going through this entire process again filled me dread.  Could I have enough faith to trust that I would be able to have another baby to have and hold in this life?  How would I feel about Phoebe if I did have another baby?  Was I trying to "fill the hole"? 

Savannah Carroll was born perfect.  Perfectly healthy.  I heard her cry.  I saw her eyes.  I saw her breathe.  I felt like my heart was going to burst again.  But this time, it was for joy.  I would look at her, and I knew Savannah had just had a heavenly goodbye from a sister that loves us all dearly.  The love in that room was tangible. 

I have three beautiful girls now.  The more I go through life, I realize what a blessing it is to have our own angel on the other side to watch, love, and protect her siblings as they go through this life. 

Welcome Savannah, and thank you Phoebe.

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Thursday, December 31, 2009

I miss you


Christmas Day. Covered with snow. Deeply buried in my heart.
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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Movement

Tonight I felt Phoebe's sister move inside of me.  My heart did another leap as I realized the hope for what is to come.  I had a little "scare" this morning as I awoke.  I settled the kids who woke before the sun, and crawled back into bed for a few more minutes of rest.  I realized I hadn't felt the baby.  My thoughts turned immediatetly to several different flashbacks of memories that are sometimes to painful to remember. 

I instantly turned my thoughts heavenward and pleaded to feel her move.  I told myself over and over to remain calm.  I was lying on my left side, so I cradled my hand at the base and waited.  And prayed.  And waited.  Within a minute or so, I felt a little tickle, almost as if she was holding my hand on the other side.  She tickled a little more, and then gave a nice wallop, probably a foot, on the opposite end.  Movement is everything.

Another plea answered.

There has been a lot of pleading going on in our home to our Father above lately.  Sweet 3, 5, 6, 8, and 10 year old prayers, each in their own way, beseeching for those things that weigh heavy on their sweet little hearts. 

As they plead to the Father of their spirits, I am witnessing a movement in their faith.  As they realize that every prayer they make, Heavenly Father has answered.  Oh, to have the faith like theirs.  I want to have the "faith like the galaxy" as one of my sons put it the other day when they pray with all their hearts, you know why?  Because those prayers of theirs was answered.

Movement for me is more than a physical reminder that this life inside of me is hope for things to come, it is the realization that we are either moving towards something or away.  I feel the movement of things in our life that is pushing us to new growth.  A time that will ultimately make our family stronger to withstand the winds that blow and the storms that will pound upon us. A trust that all will work out for our good.

As I lay watching my round, moving stomach tonight, I am thankful for the reminder.  Life is precious.  Don't take it for granted.  And trust the process.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Partners?

My pregnancy with Phoebe didn't seem all that different than the one before.  Early contractions started around 27 weeks, a couple of weeks sooner than the others had started, but other than that, everything seemed okay.  I was determined to be the super woman mom and wife despite the setback of contractions.  I did not want to make any "walks of shame" away from the hospital when they send you home saying "drink more, and get rest".... I still exercised and even hosted Thanksgiving with over 20 people. 

I made a walk, not necessarily a walk of shame, but a walk in complete bewilderment.  Could I have done anything different to have changed the outcome?  Could I have slowed down or come in to the doctor more?  I have had enough witnesses to let me know that she was not mine to have in this life. 

And yet here I am, 27 weeks pregnant with her sister, and have already been to the hospital once.  Contractions started at 25 weeks this time.  This was my greatest fear when thinking about having another little one.  Are these little girls partners in trying to make me stronger?  Stronger in faith that there is a Father in control?  Stronger in the resolve to do all I can to hold a breathing baby again? 

Are they partners in heaven constantly watching over our struggling family, planning on how one will be helping on the other side of the veil while the other helps on the other?  Heaven knows I need all the help I can get!

One step at a time....

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Impossible

I was thinking this morning about the last time I would ever hold my daughter in this life.  I was alone in a room, where in earthly standards would probably be labeled as "creepy".  But the first time I went into this room that had a little bassinet, a flower behind her, there was such an amazing spirit in that room.  Never mind that we were in the mortuary.

As I held her surrounded by my sisters and took pictures that would bring so much comfort later, I marveled at the blessing it was to see and hold her again.  As the day progressed, my children came, we took family pictures, held each other and cried, and then my husband requested to hold her alone.  The thought had never crossed my mind.  He had his tender moments, and then it was my turn.

As I marveled, cried, ached, and missed the daughter that was still in my arms.  I was facing the impossible again.  I needed to say goodbye.  I had already in the hospital, and now I needed to do it again.

I wanted to drink it all in, I wanted to memorize every inch of her face so that I could always remember the perfectness of her features.  I knew there wasn't enough Time.  

It was time to say goodbye, never to have and to hold her again in this life.  What is it about the impossible that makes you either rise up to the challenge or crumple under pressure?  I carefully, tenderly put my daughter back in the bassinet.  Her limp body that would soon be covered, never to be tenderly held by her parents for years to come.  

And I walked away.  The impossible was conquered again.

Time has passed.  Eighteen months in fact.  Last Sunday when I went to church, I thought about the overjoyed feelings I would have felt as Phoebe would finally be able to go to nursery.  I would be that elated parent that no longer had to roam the halls, and would finally be able to fill her cup with some gospel instruction uninterrupted by a squirming, bored, yet adorable toddler.  

Right now in my life, the winds of trial and the storms of tribulation are again beating on my family.   Time very literally has gone away into some limbo land. It is no longer relative.  We are facing the impossible and it is very hard.  

Will I rise or will I crumple.  It seems more a statement than a question for me.  I have a choice whether I continue to cling to the rod, or whether I let the mists of darkness discouraged me so much that I let go.  It's interesting that time is sometimes referred to as "Father Time".  I have a Father who knows beginning to end.  He knows how this plays out.  Do I trust that I will rise to conquer the impossible again?  That is my hope. 

I am staring "impossible" in the face again, and I will prevail. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A boy

Once there was this boy who swept me off my feet, snatched me up and married me, his, forever.  This boy and I had a boy together, and then another boy, and then another, until we finally received a sweet and sassy little girl.  Then we got another boy.  Because five was enough at the time, we wanted a little break between this one and the last.  But there were other plans.  We got surprised by a Girl. We got even more surprised by losing the girl. 

Well yesterday we had our ultrasound to find out what the next will be.  I am not a betting woman, but I would have bet money that this would be a Boy.  Is it because they come in force to my family already?  Is it because having another breathing little girl in my arms was too much to imagine again?  Maybe its because I know how precious daughters are and I needed to take extra special care of the one I was already blessed with.  I don't know.  All I do know is, it was not a boy at all.  We are going to have another chance to have a little girl.

The boy that swept me off my feet sat right next to my side as we watched in amazement the life on the screen.  He held my hand so tightly as we wept together at the prospect of being blessed to have another little girl in our arms.  I am so grateful for this boy that has been with me through every step of the journey.  

Boy or girl, each are special, and I am blessed to have both.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

A day in the life...

I haven't updated in a while, partly because I have been so crazy busy that life hasn't allowed it.  As I reflect over the last month or so, I have thought about all of those times when angels must have attended.  When the youngest needed a friend because siblings were at school and mom needed to get stuff done, and then helped my children from making impulsive dangerous decisions when mom and dad aren't around to advise.

But what about the angels that have ministered to me?  I have a brother, and we've never met.  He seems to speak to my spirit, things that I would never be able to formulate into words, and yet he speaks words that sing from my soul.  His name is Jeffrey Holland.  And the best part?  He is an Apostle of the Lord.  He said this about angels:

"Usually such beings are not seen. Sometimes they are. But seen or unseen they are always near. Sometimes their assignments are very grand and have significance for the whole world. Sometimes the messages are more private. Occasionally the angelic purpose is to warn. But most often it is to comfort, to provide some form of merciful attention, guidance in difficult times."
 It's hard sometimes to think that I am worth the attention of heavenly help, and then I think of all that is required of me.  Why wouldn't I need that help?  I can't do it on my own.  I like to think that I have a personal angel.  It sounds cliche, especially when you hear all the time "Well, she's an angel in heaven", and then you break it down.  She is.  And she is mine.  I have felt that merciful attention.  I have felt that comfort.

And then, Elder Holland goes on to say something more that makes my chest get tight when I think about the angels that have ministered in the flesh.

"I have spoken here of heavenly help, of angels dispatched to bless us in time of need. But when we speak of those who are instruments in the hand of God, we are reminded that not all angels are from the other side of the veil. Some of them we walk with and talk with—here, now, every day. Some of them reside in our own neighborhoods."
What is it when you get a knowing glance or a squeeze on the shoulder that makes all your defenses go down?  When someone actually cares to not accept an, "I'm fine" but really makes sure that everything really is "fine".  To number the earthly angels that have come to my aid would be near impossible.  I can't help but feel loved.

The last quote:
“I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, … my Spirit shall be in your [heart], and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.”D&C 84:88   In the process of praying for those angels to attend us, may we all try to be a little more angelic ourselves—with a kind word, a strong arm, a declaration of faith and “the covenant wherewith [we] have covenanted.”
I declare to you that God is a God of miracles.  The miracle was not in bringing my daughter back to life.  The miracle lies in how much love he has for me to put people in my path that change my life for good.  Rebecca Phoebe was one of those people for me.  Apostles, family, friends, and strangers alike have lifted me and provided miracles in my life.

I know that Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven.  And I have a gorgeous blessing just on the other side. 

p.s.  If you would like to read the article in it's entirety, you can find it here:  The Ministry of Angels

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Companionship

Today was a bittersweet day for me. Today I dropped off our "youngest" off at his first day of preschool. I drove away feeling like a giddy teenager who has the car and has been given free range for a couple of hours. I put in my music, with no movie playing in the background and I made my way to the store. To shop. With no children. It promised to be relaxing.

This morning I thought of Phoebe. Not in a teary way, but in a contemplative way. As I listened to a song that will forever remind me of my daughter and my relationship to her, I felt her! I smiled and sang the song at the top of my lungs, you see, because I was alone. Now I realize, it may have been a duet.

As I got closer to the store, my emotions came more to the surface. You see, I shouldn't be alone on my precious Tues and Thurs. I should have a strapping toddler in the carseat, and Phoebe and I should have taken WalMart by storm today. Instead, I felt a glimpse of my daughter, my friend, and longed for what could have been.

But I did as I have done every time in the past, when I have to accept what happened, square my shoulders and move on, I wiped the tears away, and I went in. (shopping by myself was great, by the way... :) )

As I look back on the unexpected outburst of emotion, the feeling of companionship from my daughter, and the blessing of being by myself, I realize, I was never alone.

I had me... I had Phoebe... and I had the life within me....

Phoebe is going to be a big sister.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

What are we do to?

Well Pheobe, remember when I was pregnant with you and I knew that you weren't the last one to come to our family? I remember feeling a little scared that maybe what had been asked of me was too much. How could I handle more than 6 kids. This was going to be a stretch as it was.

Well, as it turns out, I needed to have that thought planted in my head. When we no longer had you to take care of in this life, the thought of having our arms full again with another sweet, breathing child was too much to bear. We didn't talk about it. And yet, in the back of my mind, I knew, there was to be another.

It was hard, knowing that we needed to go through this process again, but this time with completely different glasses on. The next time, every small step would be a miracle. Even the thought of becoming pregnant would require a huge amount of faith on our part.

Again, Heavenly Father in His wisdom knew that it would be too much for us to bear trying to figure out the timing on our own. In the way that only He knew that would be best for us, we made the decision. It was time to try again.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Is Heavenly Father building a Heavenly Army?

Okay... so the grief continues... my dearest friend lost the closet thing to an earthly daughter last week. When she called, I was in the middle of changing a messy diaper and children who were hen pecking me. After I got that all settled I could hear in her voice that something was immediately wrong. I asked and she broke down crying. She never cries if she can help it.

She explained that her goddaughter had been riding in her daddy's big rig truck playing on the bed when they came up over a big hill where a big gust of wind flipped the truck. They found her under the truck.

Leann Emily was a sweet, beautiful, vibrant young lady of six. My friend describes her beautifully on her blog here.

Why do those around me need to experience the same heart-wrenching thing that I had to go through? Do we need more heavenly help on the other side of those who have had earthly bodies to fight the unseen fight? Are my Phoebe, Katherine, and Leann protecting those that I love the most that still have to sojourn here?

My love, my prayers, and my thoughts go to my friend and her family as the struggle with the sudden stillness of their home and lives. I only wish that the Comforter will be their best friend as they navigate through the murky waters of grief and tender mercies.

I love you DeeDee!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Each Life That Touches Ours For Good

A friend of mine experienced something yesterday that I would never have wished upon my worst enemy. Her sweet baby of 5 months passed away while taking a nap. There are no known causes.

When I heard the news my heart immediately broke into a million pieces all over again. My chest heaved as I listened to the same Relief Society president who had carried me through my own loss, tell me of a dear sister's in our ward tragic story.

My immediate instinct was that I needed to be at her home and I needed to be there then. I got a babysitter for my children in my very messy house and left right away. As I pulled up to her home I recognized the cars parked out front and went inside.

The rest of the day I spent at the mommy's side talking, crying, and I must admit, angry most of the time. I was angry that this had to happen AGAIN to someone else. I was angry at the road that this sweet, righteous family had ahead of them. I wanted to take it from them so that they would not have to experience all the heart wrenching sorrow that I still have to go through.

And yet, that is not the plan is it? Would I trade all the knowledge that I now have because of my little angel? No.

Oh sweet Phoebe. What a blessing you have been in my life and yet I have never heard you laugh. I have never seen you smile, or even take a breath. You know you would be walking by now. You would have joined Emily and I today as we had our "girl party" while the boys are at Father and Son's camp out. I bet you would have giggled as I gave you a balloon from the restaurant we went to. But, you get balloons all the time, don't you?! I wonder how long this pink balloon we have in our house right now will last before Emily sends it up to you to play with.

From your life that has touched mine, do you know how many women I have been able to talk with? Would I have been able to receive promptings at 8:30 tonight to call this noble woman to tell her that she CAN do all that is required of her? I know, because I had no choice and neither does she.

But what we DO have is a Father in Heaven who weeps with us both as we mourn the loss of our precious daughters. I know without a doubt that Heavenly Father is VERY mindful of every need of that family. I know that he desires everything in his power to give every comfort, peace, and blessing he can. What an amazing ward family (our church congregation) we have. This dear lady had several women gathered around her all day yesterday. Our very astute bishop said from the beginning that this family should not be left alone. And she wasn't.

How grateful I am again, for the knowledge that we will see our girls again.

Please keep this family in your prayers. The need all they can.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

A year later....

It has taken me a month to be able to write about Phoebe's anniversary. I must say that it was harder leading up to the anniversary than it was on the actual day.

The weather was a cold overcast and the day was promising to be busy. We got dressed in our family picture outfits and went to pick up the balloons for our 2nd annual balloon release. I couldn't help but appreciate the kids enthusiasm as we got the balloons and the breakfast to eat "with Phoebe".

I was in quiet thought most of the ride over as I contemplated life a year ago. My heart ached as I relived in my mind the shock and distress again. My heart lifted as I remembered the love and support.

When we got to the cemetery I looked for those pink popcorn trees that welcomed us last year. They were gone. My heart fell. I had been looking forward to this welcoming sight every year. Oh well.

As we arrived the kids piled out excited to get a hold of a balloon. Aaron ran around exactly like he did last year. Ammon and Tyler waited patiently. As we got ready, I was amazed at how well all the kids listened. They obediently waited until we said it was time to release the balloons. We only had one casualty. A balloon slipped away from Hyrum's hand who became quite sad. It was a good thing that Dad was prepared with another one.

As we let them go, you couldn't help but have emotion as you watched the white balloons and the solitary pink balloon float away. I am not sure why it is so moving to do that. I love being able to still give something tangible to my daughter. There wasn't a dry eye among the older ones!

While we were there, it was getting colder by the minute. We ate a quick breakfast, took a few more pictures and we were off to the rest of our day. Before we made it to the car, my eyes were caught by the pink blossoms I had looked for at the front. There was a beautiful little tree just beginning to bloom a few feet away from her grave. A tender mercy for my tender heart.

I was carried once again.


video

Friday, April 24, 2009

One Year Ago today....

One year ago right at this moment, I was sitting in my car eating a quick breakfast. My husband called and offered to come with me to what was supposed to be a good appointment, telling me that I was in labor and we would soon hold our baby. It didn't exactly turn out as planned. That day, I found out that I would be delivering an angel instead of a baby.

Today, I plan on taking some time, by myself, to open some mementos that I very bitterly packed away. My hope this time, is to open them with a few tears but with a different perspective.

I'll admit, it was with great fear that no one would remember this time. I didn't want to grieve alone. Why do I doubt?

A few days ago, the support began. I have received two loaves of bread, cards, flowers, phone calls, emails, dinner, babysitting, and a sweet thoughtful gift from my sisters. My visiting teacher set up a massage for me today. I feel prayers are being said again on our behalf.

As I have been going through a lot of the same emotions I experienced a year ago, I am brought again to this point of being supported. It amazes me that Heavenly Father loves me enough to not leave me alone in my hour of need. Sometimes I feel as if I need to get through everything on my own and that I would be considered an unprofitable servant if I can't do it all. It is when others step in to help my inadequacies do I realize that it is okay to do the best you can and leave the rest on the table.

I don't think any of this is making any sense.... It is hard to describe the contradicting feelings that I have as I think about my daughter. My heart literally hurts, and it is hard to breathe at times. It is so painful that I have learned to not go there, often. At the same time, I see the wondrous plan of God and His hand in my life as I learn things I could not have learned before.

I have hope that one day, I will truly understand. But today,

I miss her.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A ticking time bomb

The anniversary is drawing closer and closer. I feel like I have boxed most of my emotions into a nice little package. When I open it, what am I going to have? Will it be a box of grief and strong emotion, or will it be a bittersweet experience that I will get through. One of my favorites songs has this lyric, "I know that time brings change, and change takes time" I remember being so angry that I had to let time pass before I could heal, change. Have I changed? Absolutely. I have I changed for the better? I hope so.

What does my box have in store for me? Only our Father in Heaven knows. Am I scared? Yes. Will you do me a favor? If you can spare a moment, pray that I will again be lifted off my feet, even for a small moment, to be able to rest in His love, and know that I am being watched and cared for.

I look forward to Easter. A time where I realize the magnitude of what Heavenly Father really did sacrifice, and what Christ really did. It makes me realize, am I greater than He? How grateful I am for the plan of happiness, even as I travel through vales of sorrow. I am blessed.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

11 months

Today marks 11 months ago that I found out my life would be changed forever. All day I have "walked" in my mind where I was 11 months ago. As I re-read her blog today, I realized I never explained how we came up with Rebecca Phoebe for her name.

As we went in to deliver the baby, we still did not know whether it was a girl or a boy. I found it interesting as I was re-reading what I had written, I came to the part about all the decisions we needed to make. One of it was what we were going to name the baby. I began to think why we didn't feel like the name we had chosen if it was a girl, wasn't the right one. Looking back on it, I didn't even consider changing the boy name that we had. We only knew that we needed to come up with another girl name. I had rolled around Rebecca in my head and Phoebe as well, but never came up with the two together. I remember that it was Martin that put the two together. Neither of us had really brainstormed out loud that day to figure out the name. As soon as Martin said it, I knew. She was to be called, Rebecca Phoebe.

After we decided on her name and delivered her, we always spoke of her as Rebecca Phoebe. Then when we went home, and we finally had our little family surrounding us, we had to explain what happened. Martin had a lot more emotional energy than I, so he took over the talking to the children. As he was talking, he naturally began speaking of her as Phoebe. My eyes caught Jessica's. She nodded as if she had just caught on. From that moment on, we generally refer to her as Phoebe. Sometimes Aaron just likes to say her first name. He gets this sweet look on his face and says, "Mom, I am thinking about Rebecca." It kinds of catches me off-guard, but I can understand where he is coming from.

How interesting, isn't it, that the Spirit, unbeknown to us at the time, was whispering that we needed to come up with a girl name. Inspiration struck, and now we have the perfect name, for our perfect daughter.

Today, I just miss her. My heart aches as I go through this process, but again, realize how far I have come. This too shall pass, and at last, I will see, hold, smell, and love my sweet baby again. I just have to be patient...

Thursday, March 12, 2009

In the air....


Has it really been almost two months since I have written? How can I recall the uprising of peace or the plunging of grief over the past few months? As I see the buds on the trees amid the warm and cold days, I seem to find myself pulled to this same time of year last year. The anticipation of a little one to come. The challenge of parenting six sweet children. The joy to hold another sweet child fresh from a home where there was no harm or hurt. A place where peace prevails and where you can be held tenderly by those hands that created you. How I grew accustomed to being called mother by my five children and how I looked forward to hearing it once again by a sweet voice that I had a part in creating.

Recently, I have felt especially close to the Spirit, and to Heavenly things. But you know, it's interesting. As I seem closer to heaven, my heart yearns for my daughter who is now in that Heaven. I desire to have and to hold her again. Those few moments were precious and too brief. I find myself on a crusade to learn all I can, to be worthy of feeling heaven often.

I won't lie, I often find myself lately having tears spring to my eyes, my chest heaves as I sob and remember what happened almost a year ago. I cry, the same heart wrenching cries where I feel like my heart is going to burst and that there is no comfort to be had. And then, like before, I am tenderly wrapped up in the mercy of His love, and am reminded, that I am not alone. Does that take away the grief and sorrow? No. Does that mean that I will not continue to grieve my daughter? Never. It just means that I have angels surrounding me, weeping with me. It means that sometimes its okay to not be the strong one all the time. I can become that daughter to Him that holds my daughter now and relinquish my pride to Him that can succor all.

I will see her again. I will hold her again. I will sing to her again. I will see my husband hold her in his arms again, with the look of adoration and love that he once had. I will hear that private lullaby that he sung to her, only this time with a smile instead of heart breaking tears.

This is my
quest, and I will not fail.

I found this on a blog from someone who just lost their sweet daughter. For me, these words sum up how I feel. It's to the tune of "I am a Child of God".


I am a child of God and He has called me home.
My earthly journey's through but still, I do not walk alone.
He leads me, guides me, walks beside me, helps me find the way.
He welcomed me with open arms. I live with Him today.


I am a child of God and I have gone ahead.
My earthly life was brief but oh, such peace and love you gave.
You loved me, held me, stood beside me and though I cannot stay.
You gave me much to help me and I live with Him today.


I am a child of God and I will wait for you.
Celestial glory shall be ours, if you can but endure.
I'll lead you, guide you, walk beside you.
Help you find the way.
I'll welcome you with open arms
One bright Celestial day.


--Donna Kulliard