Tuesday, May 26, 2009

All that I Feel is the Realness I'm Faking

December 26.  Worst. Day. Ever.  May 26.  Not the worst day ever.  Progress?  Today has been 5 months.  5 looooooong, sad, unbearable months.  December to March alone took about 10 years.  We've come so far yet not far enough.  Everything has changed.  We are different.  Next Friday we should be celebrating the twins' second birthday.  I should be planning a party and buying two little "I'm 2!" birthday hats and shaking my head in disbelief that time has gone by so fast.  Instead, we are visiting one child in the cemetery taking the other 2 to the beach where we will try to "get through" what should be a joyous occasion.  I'll only buy one hat and one cake this year.  That's the part that is hard about losing a twin.  A day that means sadness that Webb is not there also means happiness that Whit is.  It will no doubt be a hard and wonderful day the rest of our lives.  I am looking forward to it and dreading it all at once.

Last week, I took the boys to San Antonio to visit my parents.  We went to my dad's baseball games and Sea World and had a wonderful time.  However, I could not help but see the one missing.  No matter how full the days were, the absence of Webb was at the forefront of my mind.  He should be running the bases and hitting off the tee.  He would have LOVED that.  He would have clapped when the dolphins swam by or Shamu jumped out of the water.  There was so much he never got to do.  On the plane ride home, a flight attendant looked at me by myself with the boys and said, "You've got your hands full!"  I smiled a bittersweet smile and agreed.  If she only knew how empty my hands felt.  I am still constantly looking around for the missing child.  I am still automatically trying to take inventory of 3 children, not 2.  These are the things that are ingrained in my brain, the things no amount of reality can change.  The things that make me the most sad.  The things I don't consciously think about.

When I get very upset, I try to remember that Webb only knew love his entire 18 and a half months on Earth.  He went on trips, was cuddled, kissed and hugged every day of his life.  He got to play with great toys and great friends and lived the best life a toddler could live.  Not all children can say the same.  He lived his life knowing nothing about lying, deceit or evil or the other horrible things in this world.  He went from a perfect life here to an even more perfect life in the arms of Jesus.  I know God is in control.  I know when I see Webb again, I will probably think he lived the most charmed life of all my children.  It will all be clear one day, when we see His glory.  So until then, we wait.  We love each other.  And we know while life will never be the way it was before Webb, we can still make the most of our time together.  For him.  Because of him.      

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Some old family friends are going through a nightmare that is all too close to my heart. Their 18 year old son, who is an identical twin, was just diagnosed with lymphoblastic lymphoma, an aggressive form on non Hodgkins lymphoma. I have no idea about prognosis, but I know they are treating it and have a very strong faith. Please pray for him. His name is Logan Brantley, and his parents are John and Dianne. They are precious, and I know the shock all of them must be feeling right now (I know some of you do, too), and it is a feeling I would not wish on anyone, especially a parent. Please pray that Logan can fight this and for his parents' strength and for his siblings, especially his twin, Hunter. Obviously, this was a huge blow to their whole family. I would also ask you forward this to anyone you know who will pray for them. The power of prayer is so great, and we are so lucky we have a tool like the internet to spread the word quickly. We know it is in His hands, and God will get them thorugh this. I will update you if I know more, and thanks in advance for the prayers for this sweet family. Love, Ashley

Sunday, May 17, 2009


I am scared.  So scared.  Scared of losing someone else.  Scared of feeling this way my whole life.  Afraid to believe something good is going to happen.  Afraid I will forget all the details of Webb's 18 months.  Scared the memories of the hospital will haunt me forever.  Sometimes, I still get that elephant on my chest feeling, and I'm afraid I might be having panic attacks again.  I am so tired of being scared.  I know it is out of my hands.  I trust that God is taking care of us and this will make sense one day.  But that does not ease the fear.  That does not stop the waves of panic when I think about all we have been through and all we have yet to go through.  Bo and Whit are only 3 and 2.    I have the rest of my life to worry about something happening to them.  And so much could happen.  I know I can't live my life like that.  I know it will do me no good to imagine all the horrible things that could happen.  But something about having your worst nightmare come true will do that to you.  I have so much love, so much pain, and so much fear.  It is an unnatural, terrifying mix of strong emotions.  How much more strength can I have?  How much more heartache could I bear?  I don't want to know the answer to that.  If God only gives us as much as we can handle, I have to believe we are full.  But I am still scared.  

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

One Year Ago...

How things have changed...

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day

I would be lying if I told you today didn't hurt.  It did.  To the core.  It started this morning when Bo brought me a mother's day card that Zac had signed, "We love you, Bo, Whit and Webb."  It continued at church when I saw so many precious people, new and old, in my life who hugged me a little tighter.  It brought me to my knees at the cemetery when I went to visit Webb and was greeted by lady who gave me a carnation and told me, "Happy Mother's Day," before I got out of my car and bawled at the foot of my son's grave.  Why I am experiencing this?  Mother's Day last year was so carefree.  I had my three boys and an entire bright future to look forward to.  I would have looked at someone in disbelief if they told me one of those boys wouldn't live to see the next mother's day.  But then again, I am still in disbelief and he has been gone for 4 and a half months.  Will it ever seem believable?  On this day, the day that celebrates mothers, I am struck by what a different meaning it has for those of us who have lost our children.  For me, it is not about presents, or brunch, or getting a pedicure anymore.  It isn't about flowers or a big dinner or a night away from the kids, even though all of those things are much appreciated.  For me, it is about praising God for the blessings He has bestowed upon me  - my husband, my parents, my children, my friends, my health.  I am so thankful I still have Bo and Whit.  I am humbled to have been the mother of my perfect Webb for 18 months.  I will never take one minute of the rest of my life for granted.  
 Webb has taught us so much about life and love in his short 18 months on Earth.  He has strengthened our faith and made us appreciate the things that are really important.  I was thinking this afternoon about what being a mom means to me and how seriously I take having my children's future in my hands.  I want to be the kind of mother they can look at and say, "She loved God, she loved my dad, and she loved us no matter what we did.  She faced adversity and life's biggest challenges with poise and grace."  I know that might be a tall order.  I know I have a long way to go before those words can be spoken.  But what I do know is this: I am privileged to be cradled in the arms of God right now.  Without Him, I would be lost.  Knowing that Jesus is with Webb today brings comfort to my soul.  Because if Webb cannot be with me on this Mother's Day, there is no one else I would want him with than Jesus and His mother, Mary.  
Songs often speak to me in a way nothing else can.  Something about hearing what you are thinking set to a tune is such a magical experience sometimes.  I want to leave the lyrics to the chorus of a song that has done that for me the past couple weeks.  A very special friend sent it to me, and it's called "Legacy" by Nichole Nordeman.  I hope it speaks to you as it did to me and reinforces for you the best gift we can ever leave our children: a relationship with our heavenly father.
I want to leave a legacy
How will they remember me?
Did I choose to love?
Did I point to You enough
To make a mark on things
I want to leave an offering
A child of mercy and grace
Who blessed Your name unapologetically
And leave that kind of legacy

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


I have been dealing with dilemmas lately I never thought I would have to deal with.  Dilemmas no mother should ever face.  Because I have been back to work, assimilated back into the real world, I am faced with the real world situations I have been dreading.  Last week was particularly hard.  I had three people ask me how many children I have.  Because these were people I have never met and am not particularly planning on dealing with much, I answered, "Two."  Of course, this came with guilt, but right now, it's the easiest answer.  What should I say?  Three?  Then I would face the dreaded follow up questions...boys or girls?  Oh, twins!!  How old are they?  Then I would inevitably have to explain Webb, and can you imagine doing that to a complete stranger?  The awkwardness that would follow?  And what if I burst into tears?  So for now, I say two.  It's the easy way out.  I am not strong enough to say something like, "Three, two are living."  I cannot fathom how that answer from a stranger would have affected me five months ago.

I am still haunted with memories of the hospital.  I am still paralyzed with fear and disbelief when I think about all that happened at the end of last December.  I am still trying to find a way to make it different, to change the outcome.  But of course I can't.  I am still trying to blame myself for Webb's tumor....that sounds ridiculous, but I am his mother.  I can't help but think I did something, or didn't do something, to cause it.  I always come back to the same conclusion, it wasn't my fault...I look at his identical twin who had the exact same environment in the womb and out and is perfectly healthy.  It was just a fluke.  Bad luck.  We had the same chance of a child getting a brain tumor as we did winning the lottery.  Why the hell couldn't we win the lottery???

I am still incredibly thankful for Zac, Bo and Whit.  Their mere presence is the medicine I need.  I vaguely remember a nurse telling me they would be what kept us going.  She was right.  Last night I was sitting on the couch, looking at the backs of my two boys' heads, trying to picture Webb sitting there too.  It was such a clear void.  I was remembering the nights when all three of my precious sons were together, laughing and playing.  All of a sudden, as I was picturing these nights and feeling very sad, sweet Whit jumped up and ran over to the couch to sit on my lap.  He didn't say anything, he just sucked his thumb and lay on me until it was time for him to go to bed.  It was something Webb would have done.  And at that moment, I was overcome with the feeling Webb was right there, whispering in his brother's ear to come comfort me.