Showing posts from March, 2014

Sometimes, you have to go back in order to move forward.

There were so many supportive, encouraging words said to me through Facebook after Avery died. But as time passes, they get harder and harder to find. And what if the internet connection goes out? Or no one uses Facebook anymore? What happens when I move to the nursing home and want to take this memory with me? Facebook was so amazing in that it helped chronicle my grief. And it kept track of all the people holding me up when I couldn't stand. Truthfully, if I want to write about it with raw honesty, I have to go back to that place. But I didn't know how... until I discovered My Social Book .                Sometimes, you have to go back in order to move forward.   This is 300 pages chronicling October 24, 2012 through April 30, 2013.  Three hundred pages . Every status update. Every post. Every comment. Every photo. Every reply. Every like.     My book of grief.   My book of hope.   My book of sorrow.   My book of love.

Choose Wisely

The same person who said Avery's visitation was tacky (because it was held in her school gym in an effort to accommodate the 600+ people who came to pay their respects) was the same person who left a voicemail on my phone 12 hours after Avery died talking about how worried she was for Matt and to have him call her (umm... call him on his phone? I'm sure he's sad, but I just found out my daughter died so I'm kind of busy here) and is the same person who told me that I had no respect for the sanctity of marriage (I'm divorced; although she's never bothered to ask the circumstances) and repeatedly questioned my relationship with God (because I guess you can't believe in God if you're  not Catholic) and who told me I needed psychological help because I chose not to have a large birthday party when my third child turned one. (Please note: none of my children had huge parties when they turned one. Also, I'm the Mom.) I could go on and on and on and on.

Teaching Moments: The One In Which I Implore Mamas to Teach Their Kids Simple Home Maintenance

God continues to provide moments of humor in my life. This one comes from Matt. Oh, I know. It's been a while since I've told a "Big V" story (as he was known in previous posts, before Avery passed away and we were outed over the interwebs), so today, Readers, you are in luck! I give you The Dryer Story. My dryer was not drying. I wasn't too surprised, since the thing is only about 5 years old. (Insert curmudgeony  they don't make things like they used to comment.) I, being the person that I am, went straight to Facebook asking for advice. Over and over I heard the same thing: MAKE SURE THE VENT IS CLEAR OF LINT! Seemed easy enough, so I did what every independent woman does: I asked my knight in shining armor if he would please check the dryer vent and make sure it was clear. "Don't just do the part from the dryer to the vent," I directed. "Make sure you go outside and clean the vent from the outside of the house." So, he did

About a Boy

I came to Haiti expecting nothing. It's something you get good at after losing a child. When you finally realize that you are in control of absolutely nothing, it's nice to sit back and just let God guide you. If I can't plan on Avery coming home from gymnastics on an ordinary Wednesday there's no way I'm going to try to plan what God has in store for me during a week in Haiti. It was a medical mission trip of which I have no medical skills. The best I can do is apply a band aid to a superficial wound. My truthful answer to what will you be doing in Haiti? was I have no idea . I ended up being recruited to the Eye Team. Maybe not my first choice, if I were being honest, but exactly where God intended me to be. Our first day of work we planned to set up a medical clinic about 10 minutes outside the orphanage. We loaded everything up in truck and took off only to discover the site didn't have the required electrical generator we needed to run the eye depar


I haven't quite been able to digest how Haiti has impacted me. More than just Avery's country: the faces, the sights, the sounds, the smells - it's like it all seeped into my skin and soaked my soul, drenching now in faith, dripping in compassion, and I'm too afraid of what happens if I wring it out. The homes we passed by could barely be described as houses. Sheds, maybe. Shacks, mostly. 5 people living in the size of my smallest bedroom. My living room - the one I complain is too small and awkward, the one where fitting furniture is too tricky for my patience - my living room is twice the size of these homes. The kids go hungry. The mothers go hungrier. And yet, when we came, no one seemed angry, or jealous, or even mentioned all of our ridiculous excess. (They didn't need to. I felt my ridiculous excess to the core of my being.) Instead, they were just happy we were there. Thankful. Grateful. They walked for hours to see the doctors. Waited for hou

Seeing Avery All Grown Up

One day I'll tell you about the freezing cold we left and the heavy bags we lugged, full of supplies and medicines. I'll tell you about arriving in Port au Prince and walking across a cracked concrete parking lot to board an old school bus with a flat tire. How the heat was suffocating after months of below zero Wisconsin winter weather, how the people crowded and walked too close to moving traffic as we searched for a tire shop that was barely more than a couple men sitting on overturned 5-gallon buckets on the side of the road next to a pile of old tires, everything covered in dirt. I'll tell you about waiting on the bus while they removed the tire and I'll recall the loud explosion that rocked the bus and scared the life out of me and how I was relieved to learn it was just the tire blowing after being filled too far. (They didn't have any gauges.) And then I'll tell you about the fear I felt when I realized we didn't have a tire and we were stuck o

Leaving and Seeing

I wanted to write something poignant, something memorable, but nothing really comes to mind. I'll be leaving in just over an hour to begin my journey to Haiti. And that sounds so strange to me. I always figured it would be Avery who would pack the bag, board the plane. It would be Avery that I would wait for weeks, maybe months for, until she would finally find the time to send word that she was okay. Her heart was always in Haiti. When Avery was young she spent her days at Mary Jo's house. Mary Jo is an incredible woman who opened her home up for day care; except it was nothing like day care. It was a home. A family. Other kids became brothers and sisters. Papa Jim became surrogate grandfather. Mary Jo, just like Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music, taught children how to sing from their diaphragm and grow vegetables in the garden. It always struck me that Mary Jo would run an incredible orphanage. She heaped love on children yet expected them to toe the line. Older chil