Living With Loss

The Biggest Party

Today is Jackie’s 36th birthday, the third we’ve celebrated without her. Since Jackie’s birthday fell in November, she was the first in our group of friends to turn a year older. We always threw her crazy parties for her birthday, but the year she turned thirty she decided to throw the party herself. Jackie’s thirtieth birthday was only a few…

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She Would Be Seven

I told Mike a few days ago that I didn’t know what to write. All the stories about Madeline have been told. There are no new ones, no new pictures. The questions I had last year are still the questions I have this year. The words have all been written. It makes me sadder than…

I Feel November Closing In

I feel November closing in, threatening. This month holds days that should be full of joy, days of celebration that are instead reminders of what’s gone. I bury myself in work and obligations. Stay busy, keep moving, don’t stop to think about them would be too hard. But I do. What would she be like…

Older Than

In the five-and-a-half years since Madeline died, we’ve been through a lot of crappy milestones. The first few years were excruciating, but as time has passed I’ve learned how to cope with these days. They still hurt, but I know now that I can survive them. Today James has lived 515 days, a day longer than…

Death With Dignity

Two days ago I read about Brittany Maynard, a 29-year-old woman with aggressive, terminal brain cancer. If you haven’t watched her video or read her op-ed (and you should), Brittany’s story is making news because she’s taking advantage of the Death with Dignity Act that is available to residents of Oregon (and WA, VT, MT, and NM)….

“In A Better Place”

Our family, by Annabel. l-r Annabel, Madeline, James, Mommy, Rigby, Daddy We are careful to make sure Annabel and James don’t feel like they’re living in the shadow of their sister. They each have the same amount of photos hanging on the wall, and we talk about Madeline when she comes up naturally. We let…

I Wish I Could Have Held Her

Even though I love what this time of year brings (pumpkins, 105 degree weather, etc), I’ve found myself really battling to keep my head above water for the last three Septembers. Another school year is starting, another year that Madeline isn’t with her peers. I’ve made excuses every year (It would be kindergarten! It would…

Wrong Number

James has a new fascination with my cell phone. I get it – there are buttons, noises, bright colors, what’s not to like? When I’m making dinner I stick James in his high chair, and sometimes when he gets antsy I’ll turn on a baby app and hand him my phone. I did this the…

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