Friday, June 24, 2011

School's Out for Summer!

Yesterday was the last staff day at school and it was bittersweet for sure. On one hand I am super psyched to have a nice long break. This year was tough. By the end I was managing pretty well, but soooo very ready for it to be done. I also said so long to several colleagues that I am sad to see leave. Some by choice, some not. The teacher who lost her 25 year old son the same weekend I lost William and Ethan has decided to retire. She is going to travel with her husband and has certainly earned some happy days. Two teachers were not is upsetting how it was handled and I will miss seeing them on a daily basis. Two others are leaving to move on to new adventures. All of them supported me through my heartbreaking return to school and I love them dearly. For all its ups and downs, drama and laughter, my co-workers are family (some I wish I could get rid of...but you can't, just like family).

This summer holds lots of exciting possibilities and I am trying to grasp the reality of "tying again." The last few weeks I haven't thought about it much, but I need to start. Moving forward is a big deal. Mentally preparing is going to be a major focal point of my summer. I am trying very hard not to focus on the "should be" and what this summer was supposed to look like. In a parallel universe is the only place my boys lived. I am not there and I must focus on what is...I miss them, but I can't go to the dark place of wondering what I could/should be doing.

Father's Day was last weekend and I was in a pretty good place going in to it, my dear hubby had a harder time. He is a hard person to read sometimes. Of course he is grieving, I know that, but he doesn't show it very often. Sunday, he woke before me and took some private time to grieve. I woke up when he came upstairs to shower and he tried to hide his tears from me. I realized he was crying in the shower and followed him in. It broke my heart that he feels he needs to hide his tears. I hugged him and he cried the most I have seen since their funeral. He gets misty-eyed, but never cries in front of me. I know I have been so focused on my healing that I haven't given his grieving much thought. I want to do more for him, but he needs to let me and be open to grief...that is very hard for him.

Yesterday I found out that the New York Assembly and Senate recently passed legislation granting a certificate of still birth. (Read more here If the Governor signs it means my William  could be granted a birth certificate (if passed I can apply retroactively). It has always bothered me that my boys do not get equal acknowledgement. They both were alive, William died during birth and Ethan died from complications of being born prematurely a day later. It may not do much more than provide me peace of mind, but that in itself is a HUGE thing.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


That wooshing sound? That is time flying.

The end of the school year is two weeks away (11 school days). My head is spinning with all of the things I need to get done in that time. Hello summer...I see you lurking and I can't wait to devote myself to you! Summer brings beach week, an online art ed course, exciting new lesson plans/curriculum writing and a FET cycle. Summer is going to fly, I can tell all ready!

We also just past the 6 month mark...six months since my life was turned upside down and my precious sons were gone. They have been gone longer than they were alive inside of me. That is a heart breaking thought...can it really have been so short of time? Saturday was a tough day but I burned off some of my energy planting flowers and re-doing the ring of stones around a tree in my front yard. The sweat and the hard work (occasionally with tears) made me feel much better. The quote "If I had a single flower for every time I thought of you, I could walk through my garden forever" (by A.L. Tennyson) has popped up in several places in the last two weeks. I think I would like to get a garden plaque with that on it in memory of my sweet peas.

About a week ago I received a fundraising letter from the NICU hospital Ethan was taken to...reading it I was beyond irritated. How the letter was written just did not sit well with me. I am usually not one to write a strongly worded letter, even though I joke about it. I had to write this letter...mostly because it was therapeutic,  but also because if I felt this way, someone else did too and might not be able to speak up like I was compelled to do. Here is my letter...

Dear ...

This week I received your fundraising letter, while I understand the hospital’s need to fundraise and the important benefits fundraising, I ask that you please remove our name from future fundraising endeavors for the two reasons listed below. This is a letter I debated writing, but felt compelled because I may be speaking up for not only myself, but others who are filled with similar grief and are unable.

First, the timing of this letter came at an extremely sensitive time for my husband and me. It was received mere days from the sixth month anniversary of the days our infant sons, William and Ethan, were born prematurely and died.  William was born still, but Ethan spent under 24 hours in the NICU at ... before he passed away. Grief is a unique experience for each individual and to be perfectly blunt receiving your letter so soon after we lost our infant sons was nothing short of insulting. Surely our name is in a database and that source of information, if it does not already, should have a date and reason for which we were added. Letters such as these should be respectful and sent after a reasonable amount of time; six months is far too soon.

Secondly, the blatant assumption that a parent had passed away doubled the insult. I am fully cognizant that a child dying before a parent is not natural – it is what I deal with every day as I remember my sons. If you wanted to keep the letter generic, it is my advice that you use only “cherished person” and leave out the notion that the loved one lost was a parent all together. I might have considered making a donation at a future date had the letter been more general.

When we gifted the receiving blankets to the NICU, we did it because of the kindness we received while Ethan was in their care and after his death. Any future gifts to ... will be made on our terms not at your request, so again I ask please remove us from your database.
With all of the thinking, crying and imaging I did this past weekend, I came to a realization that is hard to process. I have become very close to the teacher across the hall from me. We have been friendly ever since I started at this school and we definitely bonded over my pregnancy...but since I lost William and Ethan we have become incredibly close. She is my guardian angel and looks after me. We have become the best of friends. I had the realization that this would not have happened had they lived. I would not have returned to school for the rest of the year and we would not spend the time that we do together. I do not doubt that we would have continued to be friendly and possible become good friends, but not like we are now. I had to loose them to gain her as one of my best friends. Given the choice I would choose them every time, but I am so grateful to have Miss A in my life. I hate that my tragedy is linked to our friendship. I love her to pieces and do not know if I could have made it this far with out her. Perhaps she is my gift from them.