I am a SAHM with 5 children. My 5th child,Larson, lived for an amazing but short 23 hours. He is now safe in the arms of Jesus enjoying his eternal home. I also have an amazing husband who I have been married to for 10 years!! Praise the Lord.
Please be gentle with me for I am grieving. The sea I swim in is a lonely oneand the shore seems miles away. Waves of despair numb my soulas I struggle through each day. My heart is heavy with sorrow. I want to shout and screamand repeatedly ask 'why?' At times, my grief overwhelms me and I weep bitterly,so great is my loss. Please don’t turn away or tell me to move on with my life. I must embrace my pain before I can begin to heal. Companion me through tears and sit with me in loving silence. Honor where I am in my journey,not where you think I should be. Listen patiently to my story,I may need to tell it over and over again. It’s how I begin to grasp the enormity of my loss. Nurture me through the weeks and months ahead. Forgive me when I seem distant and inconsolable. A small flame still burns within my heart,and shared memories may trigger both laughter and tears. I need your support and understanding.There is no right or wrong way to grieve. I must find my own path. Please, will you walk beside me?
Oh Little Larson
Little Larson Oh Little Larson You died a long time ago. Oh how we miss you. You were cute and little. But you struggled deeply. You tried to fight,But it was to hard. And now you are with the Holy One. In Heaven playing with your mates who suffered too. You are perfect now. Oh how we all long to live with you there. Oh little Larson we miss you.
Go ahead and mention my child, The one that died, you know. Don't worry about hurting me further. The depth of my pain doesn't show. Don't worry about making me cry. I'm already crying inside. Help me to heal by releasing the tears that I try to hide. I'm hurt when you just keep silent, Pretending he didn't exist. I'd rather you mention my child, Knowing that he has been missed. You asked me how I was doing. I say "pretty good" or "fine". But healing is something ongoing I feel it will take a lifetime. ~ Elizabeth Dent ~
Most of you probably remember the story of my friend Aimee that I met while pregnant with Larson. We met online in November because our children had the same diagnosis. I contacted her via the Living with trisomy 13 website because our doctor thought that is what Larson had. Anyway, we started corresponding. Amazingly and providentially our babies were both born on January 22nd. Sometimes I still have to remind myself how much of miracle this was. It was not a coincidence by was determined by our GREAT GOD long before we were pregnant or ever new one another. Anyway, Aimee and her husband were her in March just six weeks after our babies went to be with the Lord. And now....our whole family is headed to Alabama on the 13th of August so our children can meet one another also. We can not wait and as you can see by the video...our kids are so excited. Emma was to embarrassed to be in the video. Crazy because she loves to be video!! Remember to turn off the music below!
So I have been thinking and praying about getting a tattoo for awhile now. Probably ever since I was pregnant with Larson. The thought crossed my mind A LOT and so….for Larsons 6 month birthday..I did it!!! Yes, I am just as surprised as I am sure many of you are. I NEVER imagined I would want a tattoo (my kids all call it a picture) let alone actually get one. But then I also NEVER imagine that I would bury one of my children. Well it hurt so bad, but was oh so worth it! I have to say…I LOVE IT! I love that I can always look down and see his chubby toes…all 4 of them. I love that it will always remind me of God and His faithfulness during this time and for whatever may lie ahead! He is a part of our family…a part of our story! Steve was there holding my hand (check out the picture!!)…just as he has faithfully done the last 10 years and continues to do. I love that man!!!
There is always a battle of fear that I may forget him. I know that may seem weird and its something I never really thought about before, but it is something I have to battle. I want to move forward and yet I ache sometimes with how this looks. Anyway, there is some sense of peace of having “him” on my foot.
As I laid in bed after I came home and shared with Steve my heart. Not so weird. I use my 20,000 word by about 5 in the evening and begin borrowing more! I shared with him how I badly I want to use what God has given to us for His Glory. For the last 9 months, I have been really wrestling with God through so many of my questions. I am so thankful that he is willing to let me do this. Just as Jacob wrestled with God, so am I. Am I done? No, but I am cling to God!
Jacob Wrestles With God 22 That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two maidservants and his eleven sons and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 23 After he had sent them across the stream, he sent over all his possessions. 24 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob's hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. 26 Then the man said, "Let me go, for it is daybreak." But Jacob replied, "I will not let you go unless you bless me." 27 The man asked him, "What is your name?" "Jacob," he answered. 28 Then the man said, "Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, [a] because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome." 29 Jacob said, "Please tell me your name." But he replied, "Why do you ask my name?" Then he blessed him there. 30 So Jacob called the place Peniel, [b] saying, "It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared." 31 The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel, [c] and he was limping because of his hip. 32 Therefore to this day the Israelites do not eat the tendon attached to the socket of the hip, because the socket of Jacob's hip was touched near the tendon.
It says in my study Bible…..IN WRESTINLING WITH JACOB, GOD APPEARD IN HUMAN FORM AND DEPRIVED JACOB OF HIS NATURAL STRENGTH, BUT JACOB EMERGED THE VICTOR BY CLINGING TO GOD FOR BLESSING.
I am clinging to God!!
In the midst of the pain, I also find the good in our situation. God DID choose our family specifically to have Larson. Why? Well I may never know even thought I may continually ask. But as I continue walking this path, I beg God to give me the strength for today to trust him and be faithful to Him. What does that look like? Well I know that that is all part of this. Although I know my faith in Christ has been real for the last 12 years, the last 9 months have set me on a path of REALLY seeking and searching Him. He is willing to show me if I am willing to listen. He is willing to comfort, if I am willing to let him. He is willing to guide me, if I am willing to be led.
I know I have professed my willingness to follow, but lately I have been asking myself…are you really willing? What does that look like? Willingness does not mean that I get to call the shots. Willingness means to follow Christ NO MATTER what that entails. God promise suffering. God promised trials.
Trials and Temptations –James 1:2-5 2Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. 6But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.
So here I stand (by the Grace of God) 6 months from holding Larson. I hope to be standing stronger and stronger, unwilling to waiver in my need for Him. Not being tossed by the wafe of the sea or blown by the wind, but perservering to maturity in Christ and facing trials with joy in His promises.
Does this mean I may not have hard days? No. It just means that I HOPE to focus on my joy in Christ in the midst of those hard days. I have many things that I struggle with and I know they don’t instantly go away or may not go away at all. It’s just that I know I need to battle my flesh more when I struggle. Whether with fear, doubts, worry, etc. I know that those thoughts are not of God. But I do know that He will help me to walk this path. I am not alone. He is behind me, beside me and in front of me! Praise God!
Psalm 36:5-7 5 Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. 6 Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the great deep. O LORD, you preserve both man and beast. 7 How priceless is your unfailing love! Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings. To all my faithful friends who have walked this journey with me. With patience and perseverance. With no expectation, but support….THANK YOU!
PS…..After coming home I realized…The Saturday before I had Larson I went with my friend to get my nails done so when I had my pictures with Larson they would look good! (I bit my nails!) The Saturday before getting my tattoo, I went with Emma to get our feet down. (I had never done this before and was not sure about the tattoo yet!) Both Larson’s birth and his 6 month birthday fell on a Tuesday. I love it!!!
So today marks 6 months. 6 months since we held you, touched you, felt you, sang with you, watched you…and the list goes on.
Dear Larson, I will never forget what this day is to me. Your daddy and I woke up in the morning (if we even slept at all) and kissed your brothers and sister good-bye. We were entering into a day of many unknowns. We told them we would see them in a couple of hours. We had prepared them for the 17 weeks prior that we most likely would not be bringing you home. Although we certainly wished we would, we know your condition was very severe. I had many fears as I walked into the hospital. I new I would be meeting you, but what would you look like. I certainly tried to not get too attached. My reasoning was that I would be able to let you go easier. Well I could not have been more wrong.
You were more then what I could ever imagine. You looked just like your big brother Levi and of course you had all the “O’Brien” traits. Big feet, long fingers, an adorable face, perfect lips and a cute button nose. When your daddy laid you on my chest, the first thing that came to my mind was…”you are so adorable, how am I possibly going to say good-bye and let you go? Could this just be a bad dream after all? Was there mistakes?” While they stitched me up (yes that c-section did give me many hours with you and was worth it!!!) daddy and I just stared at you and prayed with you. The room was incredibly quiet with many people looking on. The staff that took care of us was incredible. Very respectful and loving. After some time we went to recovery where you met your sister and 3 brothers! Oh did they love you so much. I could tell in Emmas eyes that she just didn’t want you to go. She wanted to watch you grow. They all talk about you every day still! Your siblings stayed for awhile and then we were off to our room for your one and only photo shoot. Levi and Larson
Landon and Larson
Luke and Larson
Emma and Larson
Daddy and Mommy with you
You did great and so did everyone else. You met your grandparents and the uncle you were named after. Hard to take pictures that would be our only ones!! We certainly wished we could have introduced you to ALL of the people who loved you, prayed for you and thought of you but that just would not work. We new we had limited time and so we had to make decisions that were so very hard. I know everyone understood!
Everyone left and daddy and I sat on the bed for 5 hours with you in our lap, singing to you and listening to music. The room was quiet and the time so sacred. We were holding you until Christ came to carry you home.
Later in the evening your sister and brothers came back. The joy from their laughter was incredible. Wanting to hold you and taking turns so well. We knew we had to get all our time in!! Your aunt was able to meet you and then the night was coming to a close. You were hanging in there, much to everyone’s surprise. You were born with a heart rate in the 30’s and you stayed at 130 although your respiratory was always hard. The night came and before we new it the sun came up. We tried to feed you, but you just would not swallow big guy. You new you wouldn’t need it. Then just as we were ready to give you a little more bottle you looked straight in your daddies eyes and did a little smile (it was amazing!!!!) and quietly closed your eyes.
I know by the look on your face that you were going to a much better place. With tears streaming down our face we let you go….exactly what we knew but could never have been prepared for. Oh I miss you so badly. Sometimes more today then yesterday and yet the Father you are worshipping right now is also taking care of your family down here until I come to see you again.. Words are not enough to say how much we love you and how much you taught us in your short but amazing life. You are our little champ and will be forever missed. Time does heal, but the scare will remain. You are way to special to forget. The lessons we have learned and continue to learn, to scared to move away from. So my sweet Larson…we will continue to press through this journey as Christ as our leader and God the potter. We love you sweet boy.
Romans 8:37: No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. This song is even more true today then it was when Larson left us. It was sung at his service and I continue to meditate on the words daily.
Yesterday after church we went to the cemetery for a visit with Larson. We took flowers and 6 balloons. Six because he would have been six moths old tomorrow. Although yesterday was not the actual six month mark, it was a beautiful day and we were all together. The cemetery is a peaceful place for me. So quite and easy to think...although my children were loud. Even listening to my children's laughter seems perfect there. Nobody else is around and nothing else to think about.
At church we sang a song that we sang shortly after we found out that Larson would not be with us long. The words are more incredible now then they were before. Turn the music down below and listen. Oh I just love this song.
O church, arise and put your armor on; Hear the call of Christ our captain; For now the weak can say that they are strong In the strength that God has given. With shield of faith and belt of truth We'll stand against the devil's lies; An army bold whose battle cry is "Love!" Reaching out to those in darkness.
Our call to war, to love the captive soul, But to rage against the captor; And with the sword that makes the wounded whole We will fight with faith and valor. When faced with trials on ev'ry side, We know the outcome is secure, And Christ will have the prize for which He died— An inheritance of nations.
Come, see the cross where love and mercy meet, As the Son of God is stricken; Then see His foes lie crushed beneath His feet, For the Conqueror has risen! And as the stone is rolled away, And Christ emerges from the grave, This vict'ry march continues till the day Ev'ry eye and heart shall see Him.
So Spirit, come, put strength in ev'ry stride, Give grace for ev'ry hurdle, That we may run with faith to win the prize Of a servant good and faithful. As saints of old still line the way, Retelling triumphs of His grace, We hear their calls and hunger for the day When, with Christ, we stand in glory.
So as I "enter" into the next two days, once again reflecting on my "new" self I ask for your faithful prayers. I am grateful to know that the outcome is secure no matter what my path looks like. My faith in Jesus has given me life in eternity. I'll write more tomorrow and tell more. As I have thought about Larsons life and what he has meant to me, I would love to hear from my dear friends also. Feel free to drop me a note on my email...email@example.com. I know all moms love hearing about their children...I am no different. He is just not here to watch while we are talking about him, but I know his short life has done so much for me. I would love to hear from you!
I contemplated writing this, but I also have seen through the last several months that prayer WORKS! So that being said, I am asking for prayer from all my faithful prayer warrior friends. For the last week or so, I have really been struggling sleeping. For some reason when the lights go out I have a hard time relaxing. When I finally get to sleep, I have been have dreams that are not so pleasent and then I am awake thinking through, and reliving, the last year or so it seems. This happened a lot after Larson passed away and for some reason it is back. For some reason I find myself going a few days holding things in and then like a volcano I explode with tears.
Also, I have recently learned (I think I shared earlier) that my thyroid is not functioning correctly. This is due to the pregnancy and unfortuantly it has not recovered on its own like it has done in the past. This also causes tiredness, anxiety, etc. So I am asking for prayer for: 1. Restful sleep so I can be ready for my day with my children. 2. I have an appointment Monday with an endocrinologist so prayer for answers/direction 3. The Lord would calm my anxieties, fears, worries. 4. Good thoughts that produce peace and calmness.
Thank you for praying! Its been a tough week, but I know that its all part of the molding and refining that God is doing in my life. Thankful for His faithfulness in the midst of so much pain and hurting.
I apologize in advance for my ramblings. It seems to be that way lately. Maybe it is because this is where my mind is everyday. With 4 children, I often am thinking sporadically and randomly throughout the day. I find myself thinking about Larson, and all he is to me throughout the day. The problem is, that happens often. My mind is all over the place and I am sure as you read it will reflect just that. I wonder if I will ever have days filled with “normal” thoughts rather then having “triggers” or “flashbacks”. Then again I do like to be reminded of my reality. Crazy back and forth thoughts!!
Who Am I? I have been asking myself this lately. I told Steve the other day that I feel like a stranger in my own body. I know! It sounds so weird, but honestly I look in the mirror each morning when I wake up and I just don’t recognize the person in the mirror. What do I mean? My hair is the same (aside from more gray! Yikes!), I am a little more round (thyroid issues!!) and my face looks the same. OK…there are a few outward changes caused by age and stress.
The changes I see are not on the outside that make me feel like a stranger living in someone elses body. You see there are no visual cuts and bruises on the outside. The ache in my heart will never be noticed by people walking by or even by people who know me well. The c-section scar that I look at as a reminder will also not be seen by anyone …for that is the one thing physical I have been given to remind myself that Larson was here! I do look at this scar with pride! The thoughts in my head are never produced in pictures for all to see. All the aches, pains, visions and thoughts will remain inside my body. The healing of them will come over time…so I’m told! How long I often ask myself? Why do I need to know? Can’t I trust a good God who is molding me? Why does this need to be rushed? I wish I new sometimes, yet I also know that this is all Gods timing also. He is the potter I am the clay.
8 Yet, O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.
Gods Word does not tell us how long it takes for Him to mold us and what means He will use. He just says that He will complete the work started in us. It will be complete when come before Jesus.
Philippians 1:6 6being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Beside the constant thoughts and aches, the things I used to enjoy are just not the same. The conversations I would have with others are not what I gravitate to now. I used to love big parties, now I get claustrophobic. I used to love to meet new people, now I would rather sit alone on a bench. I used to be planning my days before hand, now I'm luck if I know what is going on tomorrow or the next, but never more then that. I don’t even use a calender anymore…just my blackberry so I know what I am doing today, possible tomorrow. I am anxious planning things. I know that we are to be wise and plan, but I'm a little “gun shy” now! What if I don’t feel like doing that when that day comes. I can’t predict my desires! I know that change is good, its just sometime hard when you have no control over it. I know that we can make choices as to how we can choose to live. I'm not just sitting around like a lump on a log waiting for the Potter to finish. Its just that it takes me more effort then before to do things that were so easy. Kind of like walking into the wind and although I have to walk harder and brace myself more, I still walk in that direction. An awkward walk at times, but He is with me nonetheless.
The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 3 he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. 4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, [a] I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me
5 months and 18 days ago I was saying good-bye to my son. I wrapped him up in his outfit I especially picked out for him. I only had one to buy and I wanted it to be perfect! Whatever perfect is…I handed him over to my brother-in-laws who so kindly waited for the mortuary to pick him up. Steve and I just could not hand him to a stranger. I know this is such odd thoughts to some. These were definitely odd to me 9 months ago. Details I would never have thought we would be planning and yet we did. So know I often find myself in a surreal state. Knowing this happened but still in the twilight zone. Or as I told Steve the other day…Comfortably Numb!!!
I often wonder if I will ever be able to walk away from Larsons grave site without tears. I often wonder where I will be in 4 months. Who will I be then? I find myself wanting to know NOW, something I have to wait for. And isn’t this part of the whole road I am walking. Taking each day as it comes. Then why am I wondering things I just need to wait for? Am I in a hurry? If I am…Why? Because I am uncomfortable in my shoes right now, or because others are uncomfortable with me? So many questions, so many things that contradict themselves and don’t even make sense to me! I can’t imagine what it looks like to others.
I find myself thinking back of what I was like immediately after Larson passed away or even 3 months ago. My tears are not constant now, but they are still here. Pouring out for reasons I sometimes can’t prepare myself for. Is it the little boys who are Larsons age that I see at church every week? Or all the babies I see at the park? (I’m considering moving to a retirement home!!) Is it the pregnant lady I pass with a grin on her face enjoying the upcoming birth of her child? Is it watching my children play with babies knowing they will not have the chance to do that with Larson? Is it my children playing on bikes, resting in bed, giving us hugs, arguing with one another, laughing, singing, etc and knowing I will not see this in Larson?
I know that I can stay stuck in the questions. I don’t want to, but I also can’t stop thinking of what Larson may be like. It is not all day anymore, just thoughts at times. My heart will always have a little bit of an ache for him. After months of kicking and turning in my womb, hiccuping all day long and thoughts of what he may be like…it is weird to be left with empty arms. All that movement and bonding for 9 months and then pouring all of our love out onto him in a mere 23 hours. How is this all possible? It really does seem that it has not happen.
After much pondering of who I will be over the course of the next days, weeks, months and years…God is faithful to tell me in His Word. He always answers my questions. Not always specifically and not always what I want Him to say…but HE DOES ANSWER. Yet I know that some of His answers will never be understood until I am in Glory. Then I will see the upper side of the tapestry that He is painting. For now, I can only see a very small corner of this tapestry. Oh how beautiful it will be in Heaven.
So here I am almost 6 months since we gave Larson back to the Lord, and almost 9 months since we found out his condition was fatal.
2 Corinthians 4:7-12 7But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. 12So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.
All this being said, there are still more and more days that I have become more settled into my new desires, likes, etc. But honestly…I am still changing and “redefining” my life in Christ. I know my faith was real before, but my faith looks different now. I hope stronger. For we are not home yet and until I hear “Well done, good and faithful servant”..I will continue to change into what the Potter wants!
I found this video to be so encouraging. I loved this song before I was even pregnant with Larson. God is amazing to bring songs that say just as you feel. The second verse is so amazing, but the song itself speaks alone! When there is nothing to say, no words to make things better, nothing to fix the circumstance...love them like Jesus! Before you press play, pause the music at the bottom of the page.
This blog was created in order to communicate with our family and friends about our journey of grief with our son Larson. Larson was diagnosed on October 2nd, 2007 with HPE alobar. He was born on January 22nd, 2008 and lived for a wonderful 23 hours. I created this blogt to make communicating easier and more efficent following Larsons death. It journals my emotions, hopes, fears and everything in between. Grief is difficult...unpredictable...exhausting and confusing. If you are in a similar situation feel free to email me. I know that the journey can be a bit easier when traveled with a friend who has gone through it also. May Larsons story declare the Lords faithfulness during lifes most trying and darkest times.