Thursday, January 1, 2015

Here's To Another Year of Writing Our Stories! A Look Back At 2014...

This past year was quite a wild ride.  We are almost through the second year without Gavin and it has proven to be much more difficult for me than the first.  But it's been balanced by the joy of Hope's first year and watching her sail through her milestones!  Brian has changed so much, too, with his maturity... starting Kindergarten... making friends... and losing a tooth!  It has been a joy for me to witness all of this - and a privilege for me to have a place like this to write it all down.

I give you the top twenty moments of 2014!  You can click on any of the titles to go right back to that day and read the original link.

# 20  
Feeling Gavin In The Moonlight

Gavin's presence was never stronger than those first few months after Hope was born.  As I would sit with her through the middle of the night, I would flash back to those long nights when Gavin was an infant.  It was a painfully beautiful time in the moonlight.  And this is one of my favorite posts.


My sister, Meg, drove down from New Hampshire to live at our house for a week!  She came to help me with the new baby, with Brian and with the house - but just having her here made it the best week ever!  Especially for Brian who really bonded with her.  I'll never forget what she did for us!!


She could have smiled for Mommy.
She could have smiled for Daddy.
But her first smile was perfect and she reserved it for exactly the one who needed it the most.
It was a moment I will never forget.


Because of readers I was nominated and won the "Best Blog" contest in Parent's Magazine!  It certainly gained me more exposure and more readers and it was hugely flattering!  I was thrilled to get more eyes on my blog... but not for the reason you might think.  Go ahead and read it - you'll see.


How the death of Brian's "Fishie" gave him permission to mourn out loud.  I was surprised that Parent's Magazine printed this post - and for the impact it had in shares and comments and personal notes.  But I suppose I shouldn't be surprised about these things at all anymore.  Sometimes it's the smallest things, like a little fish, that teach the biggest lessons.

Gavin's Playground Project (And WHY I Did It).

I decided to mark the one year anniversary of Gavin's death in a special way - by holding a fundraiser to raise money for an all abilities playground at the hospital where he died.  I had never even BEEN to a fundraiser before, let alone put one together and host it for over 300 people.  It all still feels like a dream.  As usual, drama surrounded me when Brian and I came down with the stomach flu a couple of days before.  Can you imagine my stress knowing over 300 people would show up to an event I had worked so hard to put together - and I was home in bed with a bucket?!  But I made it - and we raised over $64,000!  I didn't decide to do this for recognition... or any type of praise at all. I did this because of what I believe to be a universal truth.  Check out the post to see what that is.


"I have thrown boxes in the garage with rage in my heart.  I have raised money to help children like Gavin with hope in my soul.  And I have birthed a child - dropped straight from Heaven - with gratitude to God.  This year has been unimaginable in so many ways."


The day I went back to Barnes & Noble, the place I had my last outing with Gavin and Brian, was monumental.  It was like I had climbed Mt. Everest and lived to tell the tale.  A huge moment for me in my grief journey this year, for sure.


A (non-alcoholic!) toast to my husband on our TEN YEAR anniversary!

Vegas Vow Renewal

1. Because you only live once.  
2. Because if you can't get back to Hawaii, you should bring Hawaii to you.  
And 3. Because if you can involve Elvis in any way, see number 1.
One of the best ideas I ever had, "thank you very much."


"And this is the face of a Mom who worries every day that I will be asked to endure another 5 1/2.  It makes no logical sense.  But then again, grief is not always logical or linear or kind.  I pray every night for patience - with myself.  And I pray that I can continue to parent Brian in a way that will make Gavin proud. Gavin ADORED his brother - much in the way that Brian ADORES Hope."

It was not easy for me when Brian reached the age that Gavin was when he died... but I did it.


A post about feeling Gavin's presence in the daylight... and how the light often hides the darkness. Even if it's just for a little while.


My letter to Brian as he enters Kindergarten.


And I was feeling pretty angry about it.  He would have rocked seven.


A post about the surprising person I thought about when I sat beside my dying son.

Where In The World Did We Celebrate Seven?

We have decided that each year for Gavin's birthday we will go to an amusement park as a family. Gavin loved rides and we know this would make him so happy to see us having fun for him.  This year we had a great time at Sesame Place!


The day I was surprised with an award was a reminder to me that no matter what I am given or where life takes me, none of it compares to the most important work I will ever do.


The day Hope turned one.  What a celebration of a surprising, joyous and healing year!


My birthday letter to a little boy who humbles me on a daily basis.


This post is also, coincidentally, about another Christmas with Hope.  Because if there is one running theme through our family story... it is that.  No matter what, there is always hope.  

I love a New Year.  I don't like the getting old part, but I love a fresh start... an empty book in which I can continue to write our story.  I can't make up what happens in our story, but make no mistake - I can write it.  We ALL have the power to write our own stories.  You can change the course of your life with your attitude alone.  You are the only person who is responsible for your happiness, your attitude and your health.  And you can influence your children to live the same way because they will learn by watching you.

This year, my goals are to remember everything I just wrote and live by it.  And to continue to go with the flow with my journal entries.  Some days I feel like writing - some days I just don't - and both are okay.

Thank you so much, truly, for coming with me as I chronicle our lives.  I never expected that our story would affect so many - and I am continuously humbled by those of you who have trusted me with your own stories.  I may not always have time to respond to all the mail and comments, but I read them all with gratitude!!

This entire blog - and my CaringBridge before it - is really one big love letter to my children.  I am sure that they will always know how much I loved them... but it's nice that I can leave them tangible proof!

Here's to another year of writing our stories... Happy 2015!


  1. I am thankful for you sharing your story. 2014 was a rocky year for me, and I know the Lord brought me to your blog to help me through it -- to see you process your loss and keep moving forward. You've give me courage and, yes, hope. So thank you! Praying for a blessed 2015 for both our families <3

  2. Even though I literally as though my heart easy breaking I'm thankful for you and your words. I'm so very sorry. I know Gavin's legacy will live on in Brian and Hope always. ♡


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