Monday, June 28, 2010

From Isaiah. . .

Last night I opened my Bible to Isaiah and this is what I read. . .

Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth. . .
the former things will not be remembered,
nor will they come to mind.
But be glad and rejoice forever in what
I will create. . .
for I will create. . .delight. . .joy. . .
the sound of weeping and of crying
will be heard. . . no more.
Never again in it will there be an infant
who lives but a few days. . .
(from Isaiah 65:17-20)

Friday, June 25, 2010

gabe. . . and mommy

This is the last picture I took of Gabe. . . we were figuring out his moby wrap together and having a blast. He loved it. I think this is on Tuesday. . . we went for a walk with the kids and he trucked along, too, peeking out.
Then on Saturday, we spent the entire day together shopping for Lydia's wedding and he once again rode along in the wrap. I'm so glad I spent so much time with him so close to me that last week.


I want to pretend he's still here.

Ignore the reality.

I want to grab sunscreen and a little hat and his bottle filled with water so he won't dehydrate and lug him along to swim lessons, too.

I want to cover his ears at the fireworks.

I want to hush the kids so they won't wake him when it's that time of day for naptime.

I want to mash up some banana and see what he thinks and watch him spit it out.

I want to carry him out to the waterslide and watch the kids go down and let him feel the sprinkles on his toes.

I want to feel his chubby little self against my skin and kiss his head and cuddle him close.

I want to lay out his clothes on Saturday night, too.

I want to interrupt Friday night pizza prep to get him up from his nap.

I want to go check on him at night and pat his little bottom and whisper . . .sleep tight. . . see you in the morning. . . Mommy loves you. . . one more time.

I want to tell the 2011 camp registration lady that I have another child when she asks, just two kids?

I want to scream noooo when someone says Is everybody here?

I want to tickle him and hear his little chuckle.

I want to buy his little outfit for the cousin pictures we've been planning.

I want to hear him say Daddy.

I want to pretend he is still here.

But he isn't.

And to ignore the reality means. . .

to ignore this whole process of grief

to falter and fall

to sink

to surrender to the darkness

to turn my face away from the other realities that I have never been more sure of:

that Heaven is a real place

that my littlest man is there

that death cannot, cannot be the end of life

that God carries us when we can't go on.

I'm so thankful that I do not have to pretend that Gabe is with Jesus.

I know.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Definition of Okay

How do you say you are "ok" when nothing is ok?

What okay means right now:



No tears


Ability to meet social obligations

Putting one foot in front of the other

Not screaming in anguish

Not face down on the floor

Not pounding our fists against the wall {at the moment}

Taking care of our kids


Doing laundry

Pretending to care

Going through the motions

Hanging on to the threads of hope that we have been given by God.

"I will go before you and level the mountains {to make the crooked places straight}. . . and I will give you the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that you may know that it is I, the Lord. . . Who calls you by your name." from Isaiah 45:2,3, Amplified

Sunday, June 20, 2010


Daddy, to us you are:

our teacher (we learn tons from you)
our only hope for sledding trips


Winter Olympics (something Mommy totally doesn't care about)

someone we copy
there for us from the very, very beginning
We love you, Daddy.
You're the best daddy in the whole world.
Jacob Daniel & Cambria
(and Gabe says "hi, daddy" from Heaven)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

the diapers that ended

Someday. . . maybe I'll have the never-ending diapers thing going on again.

Before May 19, I thought a lot about running out of diapers.

I had them stashed in the van, (just in case), in a drawer upstairs (just in case), in Gabe's dresser(just in case) . . . plus the normal diaper places. Daniel makes fun of me. . . he insinuates that I'm kinda like a disorganized squirrel.

So now I get to find my emergency stashes, gather them together. . . and put them away.

It's really, really hard.

Did I actually think I was spending my life changing diapers? {favorite phrase of sleep-deprived mommies}

Oh, I would give anything to change that little man again!


Did I actually write the words "ruined-by-purple-crayon-day?"

Oh, please, I would love to have one of those. Purple crayon days are fun!

Did I complain about being so exhausted? About cutting 30 combined toes and fingernails?

I only have twenty to cut now.

Lock the keys in the car? Sounds pretty fixable.

Bad day at work? It'll be better tomorrow.

Not enough money, not enough time. . . oh, so temporal, so pointless when staring at the reality of death.

I am only human. I know that. The sharp perspective that grief brings will dull with time and I will once again struggle with my selfish nature and the normal frustrations of being a mom.

But right now. . .

. . .it's pretty sad to put these away.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Monday, June 14, 2010

Why we have basements.

From here. Today.

Summer in the Midwest

Yeah, this is us, two hours ago, crouched in the basement.

It is so good to see in myself a desire

to live and be safe and protect my babies.

They were terrified.

(Well, I was scared too.)

It felt good to be scared.

It's good for me to realize that they aren't secure yet.

Their world is still so shaken, so much turned up side down, so much grief in the all the people they trust the most.

So then, something that should be normal childhood summer-time -- tornado warnings -- are terror for them.

It was good for me to see.

I am their mommy.

I will do everything in my power to keep them safe.

I did bring blankets, a radio, and the important stuff, Laffy Taffy, downstairs.

"Mommy, you haven't prayed yet."

And we did.

And I thought that no matter what happened, my littlest man was safe.

We're fine. . . just part of summer.

Tornado gone.

Rain over.

Blankets in the washer.

But each day, I learn another lesson in the school of grief.


I want to live.

I shall not die,
but live,
and declare
the works of the Lord
Psalm 118:17

So Begins. . .Swimming Lessons

Gasping an important news flash: "Mom!!! I - o-beying Judy!"

Noodle Row
JD & the Board . . . [he's a fan]
And then. . .
when you are all done swimming. . .
the way that
the most sense:

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Written . . .

Your eyes saw my substance,

being yet unformed, and in Your book

they all were written,

the days fashioned for me,

when as yet there were none of them.

Psalm 139:16

Jacob Daniel, talking to God:

God, when You give us another baby, could You write it in Your book so we could have it for our whole life?

Friday, June 11, 2010


Cambria has been comic relief, frustrating, comforting, my reminder that I'm still a mom, and best of all, her exploding vocabulary is extremely entertaining.

It's hilarious.

We can't figure out what her nationality is, but we love her accent.

"I huht-ah mine-self."

{Choosing her morning yogurt flavor} "Oh-ange Cweam."

{Looking for her purse with Uncle Caleb and Aunt Marlys. . . and then finding it in their SUV} "Praise the Lawd."

Feeling a bit left out of a cry session that JD and I were having on the kitchen floor: "Well, I'm sad too. {Insert huge eyes and dramatic hand-waving here} I'm sad because everyone has a baby and we don't."

Admiring truffles from Brooke: "Ohhhhhh. How kind of them. Troubles. I like troubles."

She apparantly has noticed that when someone is weeping, often the person comforting will firmly pat the mourner's back. I learned this first hand when I felt a sharp blow to my back while I was crying, accompanied by Cambria's crooning voice. . . "It's okaaay, Mommy {WHACK}, it's okaaaay. {WHACK}, it's okaaay. {WHACK}"

"How about we wake Gabe up? How about we just {dramatic hand-waving and breathing} go and wake him up? Wouldn't that be fun?"

And then the real pressing needs.

"Can I have a piece of gum?" 20 x per day

"Can I do PBS Kids?" 45 x per day

"Can we go to the fountain?" 100 x per day

It's good to be a mommy. Still.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Not Very Brave.

So many scary things we have to experience.

So many firsts.

We're gradually checking them off of our lists. . . some are way easier than we thought; other things are just gut-wrenching.

I typed "SIDS" into my search engine bar for the first time.

Daniel went back to work.

I went to the grocery store.

Daniel responded to his first peds call.

First trip to the park without my little man to keep me company while the kids played.

Daniel's first time back at the ER.

First time I was able to smile about something Gabe did without breaking down into tears.

First time we've been able to sleep through the night without waking up to check on the kids.

First time we've laughed together.

First time opening my little ring box and touching that little bit of hair.

First questions from the kids. . . Did it hurt for Gabe to die? Why did God want him in Heaven?

And then some things are second times.

Like. . .

a second visit to his little grave today.

Cambria, sitting in the grass, waving up at the sky: "Hi, Gabe! We love you! Mommy and Daddy are crying cuz they love you."

Jacob, frustrated that the rains had washed the ink off of the note he'd left for Gabe. . . painstakingly writing another: Gabe. . . the pictures erased. I love you. Jacob 5

Tears because we miss him so much.

Absolute certainty in eternity and knowing that he is walking with Jesus.

Ache because we can't hold him anymore or see his little face light up.

Joy because we knew him, held him, loved him.

So many emotions! So much joy. . . so much pain.

It is good to know a God who is greater than our emotions and greater than the small picture we have of life. There is a bigger plan than the one we see right now. We're hanging on to that.

to Gabe. . .from Mommy

Gabriel James! We love you so much!
Loved your three dimples; I was always worried that I wouldn't be able to tell you "no" when you used those dimples.
I never thought our time with you would be so short. I'm so glad we loved every minute.
I loved that you loved your daddy. You guys had a really cool bond, almost immediately. Your daddy tried so hard to keep you with us, even though we knew you were already in Heaven.
I loved that you loved your big brother. You thought you were a five year old in a three month old body because you wanted to do everything Jacob did. Nobody made you laugh as much as Jacob.
I loved that you loved Cambria. You two had lots of baths together; you would splash her like crazy and she would dribble water on your tummy. You and me and Cambria had lots of early morning snuggles together. She loved you too, Gabe.
You loved dinnertime, even though you couldn't eat. No being exiled to the living room for you! You wanted to be at the table with us.
How do I say goodbye to a little person that I poured my life into? You were such a joy, Gabe. I don't regret one minute of letting other things go to hold you.
Loved your chunky monkey legs. We called you that, me and Jacob: Chunky Monkey. And then we added to it, because you loved people so much - the "Social Chunky Monkey."
I loved your fuzzy head.
Glad I cut your hair.
Glad your daddy let you taste ice cream. (True Novak man you are, my Gabe.)
Glad I carried you everywhere I went.
Glad I have such a special last snuggle time with you to remember.
Glad your daddy kissed you one last time.
So glad we held you so tight for four months. You're the bomb, buddy. Let Jesus take care of you and sing praises to Him till we come to Heaven too. (Cuz we're coming!)

to Gabe. . . from Daddy

Gabe will be missed.
Gabe, I will miss you.
What did the future hold?
That will be the hardest.
You would serve Christ here.
He did not need that so He just took you there.
Gabe, I will miss you.
I am glad I kissed you one last time.
Gabe, I will miss you.
You cannot come see me.
But we'll go see you.
Gabe, I will miss you.
Just here on earth.
You were so fun and happy.
I will miss you, Gabe,
Forever and till I come see you. . .
Your Dad (that misses you)

Friday, June 4, 2010

not alone

We could not

could not

could not

survive this without the love of our family - (if you've cried with us, you're family)

(I never realized how healing my chalkboard paint obsession would become. . . )

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Still a Family

Tim & Lydia

They wept with us; they came; they watched our kids; they took pictures; they were getting married in three days. They postponed their honeymoon. They embody the word "selfless."

And we rejoice with them.

Rejoice that they have each other and that they can do life together.

Rejoice that God will use them in mighty ways.

Rejoice that they love each other so much.

{And I'm not gonna lie, can't wait to spend the 4th with them!}

~Photos from Jodie ~

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Life - it's not good right now.

My last journal entry:

April 3 - 12:30am

We are: Livin' our love song

Daniel: at work - engine driver {happiness}

Me: decompressing

JD: out cold

Cambria: lightly sleeping, eagerly anticipating her early morning trip in here to snuggle with me

Gabe: probably feeling his tummy rumbling and will be waking up any minute

Life = it's good.

A few short weeks later, with my world crumbling and shaken, I look at the carefree joy of that entry and wonder how we could have been so - well, carefree.

Life is not good now. It is precious, though. It is precious in a way I never would have known without losing a child.

Life is not good now. It is a gift, though. It's a gift that I am cherishing and treasuring, clinging to, yet holding with open hands.

Life is not good now. It is fragile. It's frail. It's not guaranteed. It may be given for a moment, for a week, for a month, for four months.

Life isn't good right now. Life is sweet, though, and precious, a fragile gift.

Look Up

Jake and Loren had the sweet idea of giving Jacob and Cambria helium balloons at Gabe's graveside service; we loved the thought of including them and giving them something tangible to do.

What I didn't foresee was the way everyone's eyes left the tiny casket when the kids let the balloons go. . . and looked up.


Beyond the temporal. Beyond the grave. Beyond the pain and devastation of here.


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Wouldn't Change Anything

Realizing this week that last year at this time I had just discovered that I was pregnant with Gabe. . .

and so I asked my heart - you didn't have him to hold then. . . do you just wish you could go back to pre-Gabe. . . before the pain. . . before the shattered heart. . . before the nightmare. . .?

I was overwhelmed at my whole being's response to my own question.

I'd love you all over again, little man, even if I had known it would only be four months.

for our little man. . .

. . . flags at MFD last week . . .