Wednesday, December 18, 2013


It occurred to me, last week,
  I have a nice camera and I can take pictures of my kids!
So on Sunday, after church, while Tom was helping with tithing settlement,
I got all the kids dressed and took them over to the park.
We took a framed picture of Bradley and Bradley's picture chair too.


I got some photos of the kids with Bradley's framed picture too.
It was weird to worry about the glare on the glass and not his warm body anymore.
I miss his warm body.
And when I got home I did some editing.
And I uploaded some to a site to purchase Christmas Cards
and I spent about three hours going through all of the possible picture and card combinations.
Putting a picture, on the card, of the three kids.
Then replacing it with a picture of the three kids with Bradley's picture.
Neither felt right.
I mulled over it again and again.
I even signed one, "Love, Madeleine, Jacob, Charlotte and Bradley."
And at that pointed I realized, that Bradley could no longer sign the card.
He was gone.
He IS gone.
And putting up a picture of him does not bring him back,
because this is what my family looks like right now:

But I DID select a photo with his framed picture in it for the Christmas cards,
because I think this is the last time I can do that.
If I do it next year, Bradley's picture and age will look even more out of place.

Earlier this week I found one of Bradley's pacifiers.
I'm not embarrassed to say I quickly picked it up to smell it.
And I realized I cannot remember what his breath smelled like.
Time is cruel.

And today, in the car,
Charlotte told me that if I forget Bradley's name she will remind me what it is.
And that if I forget what Bradley looks like, I can take out my old pictures and remember.
And Charlotte innocently asked me if I'm forgetting about Bradley.
I told her I was starting to forget parts of his life.
I'm forgetting the medications he was on and things like that.
But I will never completely forget him.
I got tears in my eyes as I told her I could never forget any of my babies.
And I looked in the rearview mirror, saw her smile,
and I remembered perfectly the very first times I saw each of my babies.
How could I ever forget those memories?

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Headstone and Family Pictures

I was 9 weeks pregnant with Bradley in this picture.
He was on his way to earth.
Pictures are haunting me right now.
I'm having a hard time figuring how to go get current pictures done
with the holidays looming and the empty spot in our family.
I know no one expects a picture.
 But it's an internal fight.
A fight between me and my grief.

 His headstone arrived yesterday.
Charlotte and I stopped by for our usual visit, not knowing it had been installed.
And as I turned to look out in the grass to find him,
I saw the glimmer of the black shiny stone.
"Charlotte, Bradley got his headstone!!"
She and I ran out on the lawn and stared at the piece of rock.
Tears came to my eyes.
One more cold thing in my life!
The thing that was most shocking about his spirit leaving his body
was how cold his body became.
How quickly the body changed after his spirit was gone.
His light and warmth gone.
And the decay started immediately.
I hate how quickly time passes now.

And now the weather is getting very chilly.
And his cold body is out under that cold ground, under the cold stone.
Man, I miss my son.

And do you know what I dislike most about his death?
New friends don't know about him!
When I meet a new person, they don't understand who Bradley was.
I can tell his story, but most will get glazed eyes at the part about the homebirth.
And the only thing you know about his life from this stone in the ground is our religion.
But he was so much more than those three words and a picture of the temple!!
He was my everything.
He was my teacher.
He was a bright light from heaven in my home.
He was a missionary.
He was a personal reminder to live everyday like it was your last.
He was happy.
He was brave.
He was strong.
He kept me up at night with worry.
He kept me focused.
He inspired me.
He made me love my body for the first time in my life.
He kept me praying and fasting and searching.
He made me talk to genius doctors.
He made me argue with genius doctors.
He helped me realize I am a genius too.
And when the time was over,
I could only think about how right those doctors were.
How the heck did they know what would happen?
So ironic when every special needs mother I had talked to in the last two years advised,
"Doctors don't know everything!"

Actually, in this case, they knew exactly what was happening!
All those tests that never gave any answers,
were actually the worst answers we could have ever gotten.
Inconclusive results + regression = death
I still don't understand what exactly happened.
I can say "respiratory failure", but that is NOT what really happened.
What really happened was Bradley had a purpose;
a set amount of time.
Breaths from Heaven.
A mission.
And Heavenly Father called him home when his mission was fulfilled.
Now that I've seen birth and death, so close together,
I can testify as to what a miracle LIFE is!
There is no denying, the genius creator, who gives and takes when he decides.
And this is my test.
To deal with what Heavenly Father's plan is.
This is his plan.
A home with three living children and one in Heaven.
And now I've got to keep that home for those three who's test is not over.
I guess I will take some pictures of those three again.
I think that is what Bradley would want me to do.
He wants me to raise his brother and sisters.
And Bradley will be there with us somehow in the picture.
I don't need to worry about including him.
He will either be tossing our hair in the wind,
sending an orange monarch, 
or showing his brilliant sunsets.