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.

Thursday, June 2, 2011


Ever since I lost Jackson, I think about heaven everyday. Over time it has manifested many different ways in my mind .... at first I struggled with my faith a lot. Why would God take my baby away from me in the first place? What did I do to deserve this? Was there even a heaven? And if so, how do I know Jackson is there? At other times, the only thing that would bring me comfort was the thought and hope that he was there.

Thanks to a lot of help from Brent, family, friends and some counseling with others, my faith has been restored and I have no doubt that Jackson is safely in Jesus' arms.  Now I think about him in heaven in different ways. Mostly what he is doing at the moment ... Singing, perhaps? Praising God? Playing with other babies gone too soon? Hanging out with some of his great grandparents and other relatives who have already joined him there? (I like to think they are looking out for him).

I also wonder what he looks like. Is he still a baby? I usually imagine him as my little newborn baby in the cute outfit we had him in, but able to talk, play and do whatever he wants. Brent has mentioned to me maybe he is a grown man or teenager. Or maybe he can just be whatever age he wants to be. I don't know ... I kind of hope when I get to heaven I will be able to see him in all these stages, though.

It's silly, but sometimes I imagine him with these beautiful angel wings... and sometimes I imagine him without wings and he's able to fly around wherever he wants anyway.

I like to think what a wonderful big brother he is. How he is keeping a close watch on his little sister here on Earth. I believe they already have a special connection.

I like to think about how happy he is. I like to think about how he never has to experience any pain, grief, hatred and the trials of this world.

I miss him terribly, and of course I still wish he was here with me. I know it's selfish, but I still want him here. But I guess if he has to be in heaven, there's no better place. He's in Paradise, and it brings me comfort.

A piece of Heaven shinning down on us, taken on Jackson's first birthday
October 19, 2010
Our sweet angel, Jackson

Saturday, April 23, 2011


So here I am -- a year-and-half out from loosing my son and already experiencing most of the holidays without him for a second time. This time around is a bit easier. I've had the strength to get out of bed this time, and even find some enjoyment out of the celebrations.

But the fact of the matter is there is always someone missing. There will always be the empty seat at the dinner table on Thanksgiving, presents I don't get to buy at Christmas, the one Easter basket I don't get to fill. I wish Jackson was here to do all these things for, but instead I will have to go on missing him.

Jackson would have been 18 months old just a few days ago. I can only imagine how cute he would be now -- how fun this Easter would have been to watch him look for eggs and the celebration he would have enjoyed at church (although I'm guessing the celebration in Heaven is way more awesome than we can even imagine).

I've been thinking a lot lately about how I want to honor him when holidays come around. Brent and I usually light a candle in a cool lantern we bought in Switzerland (doubly cool because that was the trip we officially decided we were ready to start our family). But in some ways I want to come up with something unique for each holiday.

To all the angel parents out there -- is there anything unique you do? I would love to hear any one's ideas.

If you  recently lost a child, the holidays suck. There's no way around it. Hang in there and know I'm thinking about you!

Have a blessed Easter.

Sunday, March 20, 2011


Two-and-half months after Jackson died, Brent and I bought a Wii for a little pick-me-up. We thought some Guitar Hero would be fun and I wanted the Wii Fit workout. I finally was becoming a bit more motivated to lose some baby pounds.

In the past few months, I haven't been using the Wii Fit as much (mainly due to taking care of my baby girl), but the other day I turned it on. The Wii Fit always tells you how many days it has been since you started using it (basically from the day you first start it). It said something to the effect of "This is your 466th day."

Wow, I thought, I couldn't believe that much time has passed. Jackson's first birthday was last October. And obviously I know 365 days had passed then since when I got to hold him, but I never put it in this perspective before.

Time has passed, and it keeps passing. In some ways it feels like it was forever ago, in other ways it still feels like yesterday. There's no doubt last year was the worse year of my life; I can say that with absolute certainty. There was a part of me that was very happy when his first birthday finally arrived. I felt like I could finally start fresh, and better things were in store for Brent and me.

So far this year has been full of blessings and I can't thank God enough. Good days finally outnumber the bad -- and it makes life much more pleasant.

I guess what I'm saying is life goes on. I don't know if that's good or bad, but it just does. Sometimes I worry the more time that passes the further away I will be from Jackson. I know that's not really true, but everyday I wish I could go back in time and hold him just a little bit longer, kiss him again and look at his beautiful face.

I'm thankful for the healing that has taken place during the time that has passed. I've learned and dealt with a lot of things. I'm a different person now too (hopefully a more mature, better one at that).

I'm not saying "time heals all wounds." In fact, I really loathe that phrase now. I would say time helps you deal with what life gives you. You learn a lot, you go through some tough, tough stuff. When something challenging is happening in my life, I always remind myself this is only for a time and it will pass -- eventually.

I know the wound of losing my son will never be completely healed. That's OK. I don't expect it to be. It's a big part of who I am and my life story. I will continue to have days where I grieve for him. But I'm learning to go through life carrying that wound and I can still have many happy, happy days.

"Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again 
and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy." 
John 16:22

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

An Amazing, Hopeful Story

This blog entry was written by my husband. There's no way I could have told this story like he did! I was not at the concert with him he mentions, but there are no words for how much this touches us. A big thanks to Nicole -- someone I have never met, but the kindness you have shown to our family is incredible. Here's the story:

Just a few months after saying both hello and goodbye to my beautiful boy Jackson, I was at a concert and through a mutual friend, met a woman named Nicole Gillette.  Being where I was with the loss of my son, I started to tell Nicole about Jackson.  Then this amazing connection happened.  Nicole was just getting involved with a non-profit ministry called Door of Hope.  She has this amazing heart for doing God’s work, especially through helping children.  She told me how she was preparing to travel to South Africa to live at the Door of Hope house where they take in abandoned or unwanted babies, care for them, and help place them into loving adoptive families.  And the weirdest coincidence – Nicole’s trip to S. Africa was scheduled for Oct 19th 2010 – EXACTLY one year to the day of Jackson’s birth.  Somehow after learning all this, I felt some peace and hope knowing that although we lost our son, there were other babies whose lives were being saved thanks to groups like Door of Hope.

Now you would think this alone is an amazing story, and it is, but there’s more.   Nearly a year had gone by, and I hadn’t heard anything from Nicole since just after that concert.  But I still occasionally thought about her trip to S. Africa and the amazing work she was doing there.  Then just last week, I got this incredibly touching message from Nicole.  As I understand it, the babies are dropped off at Door of Hope with basically no notice; many of them anonymously and quite literally, through a door in the wall at the house.  Meaning some of these babies may not even have a name.  Well, this beautiful boy was dropped off without a name, and Nicole had the privilege of naming him.  She chose to name him Jackson, in honor of my son!  Apparently he’s a beautiful little boy with dark curly hair, and she already feels a special connection to him.  I was so deeply moved when I heard this.  Just a crazy mix of joy and tears; happiness and remembrance of my son.

I feel incredibly honored that there’s a little baby boy halfway around the world who carries this special connection and bond with my son.   Though there’s sadness and loss that my Jackson’s life here was ended so soon, there’s also happiness and peace in knowing that another Jackson’s life was saved.  It’s sort of like a “life coming full circle” situation or something.

So there you have it.  One amazing story.  Thanks for taking the time to read this.  Let me ask one more thing of you though: please ask yourself, what can you do to help those around you who are lost or hurting?  Is there someone or something that you are being called to?  Maybe you could simply say a prayer for Nicole.  Or you might even want to give a donation to the Door of Hope ministry.  Whatever is placed on your heart, please be courageous and act on those feelings!

If you want more info:
Door of Hope website -
Nicole’s blog from South Africa -


Monday, January 17, 2011


I apologize it has been so long since my last post... A lot has happened in my life, and although it's no excuse for not writing, getting around to it has been a challenge. But I am back now and hopefully can continue to be more consistent with it.

The reason for such a delay is that I had a baby. A live baby! I didn't believe I would actually be holding her in my arms alive until she came out crying. But she is healthy, beautiful and I couldn't ask for anything more. Of course, having her is such an emotional ride. I only wish Jackson could be here to play with his little sister. Although this makes me incredibly sad, I know my little girl has Jackson as a guardian angel and will always be watching out for her from Heaven. And she will always know about her brother and what an important member of our family he is to us.

The birth of my daughter has filled me with nothing but gratitude. After Jackson's death, my husband and I wondered if we would ever have children. We both feel completely blessed that we get to have her here on Earth. The sense of relief we have is indescribable. We thank God every day for her and we are confident God does have a plan for us that he is fulfilling.

No one will ever replace Jackson, and my heart continues to ache and will always ache for him. But I am experiencing a happiness I didn't think would ever come.

I want to offer those who have lost a child hope. There is always hope. If you just lost a child, I know this is incredibly hard to believe. I too did not have a lot of hope for a long time. Sometimes the journey is long ... way too long. But in the end I wish for all those who have lost a child to never loose hope and eventually something good will come, no matter what form that will be. I wish that you too will one day experience the gratitude I am now feeling.

This blog and mission will always be dedicated to my son, and I plan to continue this for a long time. It is time for me to pick up my needles again and work towards another donation. If you are knitting with me, please continue to do so! Your participation in this is much needed and I know we are touching lives.

Our baby girl Eva by one of her brother Jackson's Christmas ornaments.