Monday, May 12, 2014

Return to Zero world premiere

It feels so good to sit down and write ... something I've been itching to do for a long time, I just find it so hard to have the peace and quiet I need with two rambunctious toddlers!

But the subject I'm writing about tonight I couldn't wait any longer to share with everyone. As many of you know, about nine or 10 months ago I started promoting the movie Return to Zero and asked many of you to pledge to watch it when it was released.

Well, the time is NOW! Return to Zero will air on Lifetime television May 17, making it available to the masses. Sean Hanish, writer, producer and director, made it clear he created the movie to help shatter the silence on stillbirth and to have as many people see it as possible.  Once I heard Return to Zero was based on the writer's own experience with stillbirth, I've been grateful someone in Hollywood would take the chance on such a hushed subject.

I've been keeping up with Return to Zero's newsletters and statuses throughout these past months. This movie is absolutely an act of love for all of whom have been affected by stillbirth. Sean's mission has only been to shed as much light as possible onto this tough subject matter and tell his story as well as others; never about making millions in Hollywood.

I was lucky enough to meet and work alongside Sean for a morning at this past year's Walk To Remember. It said a lot to me about his heart and his family that he would come all the way to Littleton, stand in a booth and talk to anyone who wanted to share their story on stillbirth.

Me (left) with Sean Hanish (center) at the 2013 Walk to Remember
I ask you, if possible, to consider tuning in to Lifetime on Saturday, May 17 and give this movie the ratings it deserves. Please check your local listings for exact times. I think it will have two air times that evening.

Just watching the movie trailer, I can relate to many of the feelings and scenarios played out. I don't know what kind of emotions I will have by watching the film, but I do know it will honor all of our babies gone too soon.

I'm grateful to a close friend who has offered to host a viewing party for me and some other close friends. I encourage you to do the same and help shatter the silence!

There's a lot of great information out there about the movie, and I am happy to share some here:

Return to Zero's official Web site, along with the movie trailer:

Lifetime's official page on Return to Zero:

Video on writing the script:

Behind the scenes video:

 USA Today interview with Minnie Driver:

Entertainment Tonight interview with Sean Hanish and wife Kiley:

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Happy Fourth Birthday!

It's time again for your annual birthday letter, sweet baby. I can't believe it's been a year since I wrote on your blog -- time has flown by this past year. But not a day goes by that I don't think about you.

I want to thank you again for sending us another sunny day on your birthday. It always helps me get through the day and feel a little bit better. The day you were born, it was cloudy, rainy and cold. But every year since then you have given us cloudless days and the beautiful sun to shine down on us! We went on a family bike ride and picnic this morning. We always love our family time on your birthday and being outside to celebrate you!

It's been four years since I held you in my arms for that brief moment in time. It felt like nothing I had experienced before -- a perfect baby to bring me complete joy yet complete sadness at the same time. I will never forget that feeling, and so look forward to the day I can hold you again.

Your little sister Eva helped me bake your cake and she is very excited to celebrate. She's a master at singing happy birthday now. I bet your little brother Luke will gobble your cake down, too. Its been fun to watch them grow together this past year, and there are a lot of days I imagine you playing along right beside them. And my guess is you probably are! I do think it's pretty cool sometimes they have a little angel for a brother.

Your dad and I were just talking last night what it would be like to have our little four-year-old Jackson running around. We wonder what you would look like now, what your favorite toys would be and your favorite things are to do. We sure miss not knowing, but I do know you certainly would be beautiful.

Well, dearest one, just know you are always in my heart and never far away from me. I miss you like crazy!


Friday, October 19, 2012

Happy 3rd Birthday, Jackson!

Dear Jackson,

Today marks your third birthday in Heaven. And guess what? I still miss you like crazy. I still wish you were here with us. I keep thinking your birthday will keep getting easier as the years go by, but I still feel very sad today and an aching that has consumed my whole body. It was such a hard day. I'm so glad I got to meet you though and hold you through the night. I'll never forget how it felt. Never.

I know I do have a lot to be thankful for and happy about. Your sister is growing quickly -- I can't believe she will be two next month! And I also want to thank you for giving us your brother this July. He's so beautiful and fun -- not to mention how much he looks like you. You guys have the same gorgeous hair. I just think it's super cool. I'm so grateful they have such a wonderful big brother watching over them from Heaven. Maybe that's why I had you -- to give your siblings and extra-special guardian angel.

We went on a little hike again this morning. It seems to be our tradition to do on your birthday. It's always fun to get out in God's creation, get some much needed fresh air and look at the beautiful fall colors. It was a little shorter this year due to your siblings, but it was still good.

I always wonder what  you do to celebrate. I always imagine you get to eat the most yummy cake and have a choir of angels sing you happy birthday. I also bet you get to play with all your little friends too.

Whatever you are doing, I'm certain you are perfectly happy. I just want you to know how much I still miss you -- how much your family misses you. There will always be a part of my heart that belongs to you and you only. I love you!


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Jackson's Urn

If there was a fire in my home there are a few prized possessions I would want to make sure I had. My daughter and husband would be number one of course, dog, wedding ring, our computer's hard drive so we would have all our family photos and Jackson's urn.

It's one of the most precious things I own. I think it's beautiful. Maybe its weird to some people that we keep an urn with our dead son's remains on display in our house, but I don't really care what others think. I don't think people even really know what it is anyway; it just looks like a fancy decoration. And it's my way of feeling like my son is still near me, and no matter where our family goes, he can come too.

Never in a million years would I have thought I would be picking out an urn for my child. It was the furthest thought from my mind the days before he died. All I cared about was making sure the nursery was perfect and everything was ready for him to come home. Instead Brent and I found ourselves trying to plan a funeral and flipping through a catologue trying to pick out the perfect thing to keep our son's remains in.
Jackson's urn

In the midst of our grief though, we were completely blessed with how it all came together. Our pastor recommended a little funeral home to us in Golden where the owner cremates babies for free. All we had to do was pay for the urn. The owner even came to Jackson's memorial service and he told us how beautiful Jackson looked and how cute his outfit was we had put on him when the owner picked up Jackson from the hospital. We gave him one other blanket to send with Jackson too -- a classic Winnie the Pooh one to go with the theme in his nursery (we kept the one we had wrapped him up in the hospital).

A week later, his ashes and urn were ready. I remember how nervous and scared I felt driving over the the funeral home. I just had no idea how I would react. Again, we were warmly welcomed by the owner of the home. We paid for the urn. The owner had the urn sitting on the altar in the chapel. Brent and I held hands and we walked up to it, then we both broke down and cried. It was nice though, and the urn was beautiful. But this day, I was also FINALLY bringing my baby home. 

At the beginning of our grief, I did some crazy things with that urn. I would swaddle it in a blanket and rock it. I would just lay on the couch while watching TV and cuddle with it. I would hold it while I prayed. And now a little over two years later, I don't really do any of these things anymore with it, but I will still pick it up and give and squeeze and sometimes a kiss.

I'm so glad I have it. It helps me. I don't remember how much it cost, but to me it is priceless.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Happy 2nd Birthday, Jackson

Dear Jackson,

Today is your second heavenly birthday. As I write this, I sit here wondering what you are doing right now. What kind of birthday party they are throwing for you up in Heaven. I imagine all your other little baby angel friends are celebrating with you too. I hope they made one awesome cake for you!

Daddy and I can't help but wonder what you would be like right now. How much you would be talking, running around wild, tearing up the house -- and most of all how cute you would be.

I can't believe I've survived another year without you, but I did. Somedays are still incredibly hard. I miss you terribly and you are always just one thought away. I can't help but think about holding you again in the hospital -- what it was like to give birth to you. Daddy said you were very warm when you came out and you almost felt alive. I don't remember that, but daddy says I did a good job keeping you cozy.

You know the best thing that happened this year is your baby sister! I know you love her so much. Sometimes I can feel you watching over her. I'm so glad she has you as her guardian angel. She is even wearing her "Jackson's Little Sister" shirt today. We've shown her pictures of you, and she liked them. I think she saw the resemblance! I know in time she will know all about you, too.

We are doing our best to celebrate today. I baked you cake and tried to decorate it. I actually managed to write "Jackson" on it, along with a butterfly. (I still think of you every time I see a butterfly). And included some sprinkles. We may go for a nice fall walk, too. You brought the sun out today again, and Daddy and I are both grateful for that. We will take the time to look at your pictures, and right now daddy is playing the beautiful song he wrote for you on the guitar.

You will always be our beautiful boy. We miss you and can't wait to see you again someday. Have fun up there today!


Saturday, September 3, 2011


It feels good to finally sit down and write again. It seems like its been so long. I always have blog topics swimming around in my head and I never get to half of them. And by the time I get to writing -- well sometimes I forget what I was going to write about.

No matter. I'm writing now, and that's what counts. I was going to write on a completely different topic, but I'll save it for next time, because it's not what on my heart or mind right now -- or physically what my body is feeling.

Two nights ago I was feeding my beautiful rainbow baby before her bedtime and my arms and chest began to ache. I mean really ache. The physical pain made my breath stop short. Here I was holding my beautiful, precious baby, yet I was overcome with grief. I suddenly realized I wished so terribly bad I was holding Jackson in my arms too.

My mind suddenly took me back to the one night I had in the hospital with Jackson. How it felt to hold him. How I snuggled with him most of the night. How it felt to have is soft cheek lay on my chest and cry into his beautiful soft hair. How his little hands were curled up, but we could still slip our fingers inside his.

Sounds crazy, but sometimes I wish I could back to that night in the hospital just so I could hold him a little bit longer, a little bit tighter.

This isn't the first time I've felt this ache ... it comes and goes. Sometimes it comes more often than others, and its seems like for the past few days its been here to stay. I realize this ache is something I will deal with the rest of my life. There's not much I can do about it. It is what it is. I am grateful I do have the memory of holding him, and I know I will never, ever forget what it felt like. I don't want to, either.

Holding your children is the most incredible feeling .... even if the ones here on Earth are screaming at 2 a.m. They're still just a precious little miracle. So please, hold your children as tight as you can, even if the time you have with them is brief. You won't regret it and the memory will linger on forever.
Holding our baby Jackson tight.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Jackson's Tree -- one year later

Last May we dedicated a tree in honor of Jackson back in my husband's and my hometown in Indiana. I blogged about the dedication then, but I just recently got to go back and visit the tree again.  We planted the tree at the church our parents both attend and where Brent and I also met. I'm still happy with the choice of where we placed it. I think our parents really enjoy visiting it also.

I realize now how special this tree is to Brent and me -- a sign of continuing life. Even though Jackson's life was short on Earth, it is blooming eternally in Heaven. Hopefully the tree continues to grow strong. Unfortunately, the first one died and had to be replaced, but the new one seems to be doing well. If I lived there, I would probably go water it myself!

The visit to the tree was extra special this time because we got to bring our daughter Eva along. She seems to love nature and enjoyed pulling on the tree branches. She also loved exploring the plaque with her big brother's name on it. And when she is older, I hope it becomes a special place for her too.

It feels like a peaceful, quiet place. If I lived closer by, I could imagine myself sitting under it, praying, and enjoying the serenity of it all. I look forward to watching it grow in the years to come, someday providing lots of good shade and a place I can always go back to to remember my son.