Friday, December 05, 2008

Welcome Home Ben!!!!

You can tell from the excitement on my niece's face just how happy she is that her daddy is home!

Smallest, Wingless

There is an organization that I wish with all my heart I had known about when Ethan was born. It is called Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep. They are a non-profit organization with professional photographers who volunteer their time and talent for parents in situations similar to ours. This song is beautiful and expresses such true emotion. I hope that you will take the time to watch.

Check out this video: Smallest Wingless Live (1.6.07)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Will and Ethan

Will was 27 months old when Ethan died. Really just too young to understand what was going on or to be affected by it...I thought. He really has never said anything or done anything to make me believe otherwise. Right after Ethan's death, he would ask about him sometimes, but not in such a long, long time. But now ...

He asked me one day last week if he could have a baby brother. Before I could say anything, Jake told him that Ethan was his baby brother. Will responded with, "I no like him. He's dead!" I completely understand what he is saying in his three year old way. He doesn't like that Ethan is dead and he still wants a baby brother to play with. I get it. Then today, he went and got Ethan's pictures and brought them to me. He asked if he could look at "Dead Ethan". As opposed to his "Friend Ethan", I suppose, who is at his school. And that is how he refers to him. Anytime he talks about his friend Ethan, he always clarifies with, "not Dead Ethan."

I get it; I understand. I just HATE THIS!!!

Friday, November 14, 2008

For the Fathers

After Ethan's death, I can honestly say that I had a wonderful, caring support system. I didn't answer the phone often, but knowing that people were calling, that they were praying, meant so much to me. So many people who I know from years past right up to that day called me and sent me cards, asked how I was doing. There were a few calls to Andy, also, especially right at first. But as the days wore on, as the months passed, there were not so many calls for him. There were still quite a few to him, asking him how I was. I guess that it is easy to see how it is difficult for the mother who carried the child and bonded with the child in the womb. It can be easy to think that the father wouldn't feel that loss, because he had not carried the child for those 9 months. On Ethan's birthday, I had several people call to check up on me, to let me know how much they love us and Ethan. You will never know how much that means to me. Andy only had one person call him; my brother in law who managed to get to a phone and make a call from Iraq. The fact that someone had thought of him and reached out on that painful day meant so much to him. There were people who he thought would call, who didn't...I don't know if it even occurred to them or if they forgot... I'm not trying to guilt anyone. There are a lot of people who read this who are going through or who know someone who is going through a similar situation. I just wanted to say, don't forget the Daddy's. They are hurting, too.

Written by Eileen Knight Hagemeister
to her son-in-law after his baby girl was born still

It must be very difficult
To be a man in grief,
Since "men don't cry" and "men are strong"
No tears can bring relief.
It must be very difficult
To stand up to the test
And field calls and visitors
So she can get some rest.
They always ask if she's all right
And what she's going through
But seldom take his hand and ask,
"My friend, but how are you?"
He hears her crying in the night
And thinks his heart will break
And dries her tears and comforts her
But "stays strong" for her sake.
It must be very difficult
To start each day anew
And try to be so very brave ~
He lost his baby too. . .

Thursday, November 06, 2008


My last year of high school, I went to work at The Pink Pig restaurant in Cherry Log, GA. My parents knew the owner, Bud Holloway, and agreed that I could work there. I loved working there. The money was good, especially for a teenager with no bills to pay. The customers were friendly and most knew me, even if I didn't know them...which is just life in a small town where your parents, grandparents, and even great-grandparents have lived. I often had someone tell me as they were leaving, "Tell your parents hi" or "Tell your grandparent's we said hello". I even once had someone tell me that they remembered when "Miss Emma played the piano at church." Miss Emma being my Great-Grandmother. But the best part of working there was Bud. All of "his girls" came to love Bud like a grandfather. He is quick with wit, stubborn as a mule and just the most wonderful person. He can have a quick temper, but I can't remember him ever being upset with me. I do remember once having to hold him back from throttling some jerk who told me he wanted a "pretty little waitress, nothing on her, hold the thighs." Yes, that's right. It was so vulgar I remember it word for word 15 years later. Well, that and the fact that I thought Bud was going to kill him.

Bud has just found out that he has cancer and that it is incurable. I have cried tonight until my eyes are swollen. I called him, even though it was late, so I could talk to him. I apologized for calling so late; he told me "late" wasn't until midnight. He asked if I thought I would be up for a visit anytime soon. I told him that we were coming at Thanksgiving and we would be banging on his door then. I hope that we get to see him. I feel like I am losing a beloved member of my family. I guess that's because I am.

Saturday, November 01, 2008


The boys had a great time Trick or Treating. They carried pillow cases so they could get lots of candy, but by the end of the night, Mommy was carrying both pillow cases. You know it's time to go home when the candy is too heavy to carry. :) They had just as much fun handing out the candy as they did getting it. They were handing out hand fulls. At one point, I heard a teenager exclaim, "Hey, thanks buddy!" I turned and saw both kids giving him two handfuls of candy each. I'm sure he thought he had hit the jackpot.

We had to have a pirate pumpkin.

Getting ready to go Trick-or-Treating

Going through the spoils at the end of the night

Monday, October 20, 2008

Ethan's Name in the Sand

Isn't this beautiful? This is Ethan's name in the sand in Australia. Carly and Sam Dudley started this project in memory of their son, Christian. You can visit their website at To see Ethan's name on their site, just scroll down or click on his name on the left. I "met" Carly on the MISS Foundation support forums, There are so many parents who have children waiting for them in heaven who I have met through this and the ivillage support site who I draw comfort from every day. You ladies are an inspiration daily and I thank you all.

This is Ethan's name at Cocoa Cocoa Beach, Fl. Sara, another lady I have met who through this, wrote his name there for me. Thank you, Sara. It is breathtakingly beautiful.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

That Time of Year Again

That's right...Festival Time!! Last weekend marked the beginning of the Apple Festival in Ellijay. Although it sounds like fun again this year, inflation has caused the price of two hotdogs and two drinks to skyrocket to $16.00, so I'm kind of glad I'm missing it.

We've been busy with festivals around here, also. Last weekend, the boys and I went to Tybee Island for the Pirate Parade and Festival. This is one of the boys favorites; they love to dress up and say cool things like "Shiver me timbers, matey."

At the beginning of the parade, a pirate ship makes it's way down the street, shooting cannons. Jake thinks it's "awesome", but Will hid his eyes and then made me hold him the rest of the time.

This weekend marks the 10th annual Seafood Festival here in Richmond Hill. We went this morning and had a blast. They set up seafood booths in the Pavilion. I had to laugh ... there we were surrounded by fresh off the boat seafood, and my two boys are eating pizza and hotdogs. We then went to the fair, which my children call a carnival because that's what Dora calls it. They had a blast, riding the rides and seeing their friends. I was a little nervous to attempt it on my own, but it helps take their mind of their Daddy being gone. I just have a few more weekends to keep them busy before he will be home again for a little while.

Although we are home now and the boys are in bed, we live close enough that I can hear Charlie Daniels singing at the concert from my living room. It literally sounds like he is in my backyard. Hope that everyone else had a "festive" weekend.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

October 15 ~ Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance

Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. Tonight at 7:00 pm, we lit candles for all babies who are no longer with us, to honor and remember them. This remembrance is for all babies who have died due to miscarriage, stillbirth, SIDS or any other type of infant death. The thought is that if everyone around the world, in all the different time zones, light their candles at 7:00 then there will be a continuous wave of light throughout the day in honor of all our children.

There are so many people in my family, so many friends who have been touched by pregnancy and infant loss, who have been hit by miscarriage. I think that I am so obvious because my loss happened so late in my pregnancy. However, I consider all of our babies just that...babies, right from the very beginning. I have held a mother as she cried over an early miscarriage, tried to comfort over the miles through the phone. I know the devastation that a loss brings, period, no matter how early or how late in the pregnancy. Please, as you remember me and my family today, remember all the other moms that you know who holding little ones in their hearts until the precious day they can hold them in their arms.

Here is a picture of Ethan's candle.

Monday, October 13, 2008

More Pictures from Ethan's Balloon Release

Ethan's Balloon Release

My computer did not want to download the pictures, which is why I am so late posting these. We took these in Ellijay the weekend after Ethan's birthday. It is hard to put into words exactly how I felt that day, but I will try. If you read my earlier post about his birthday, you will see that I struggled with "celebrating" when he was not here with us. But I really wanted to recognize his birth and we decided that a balloon release was a perfect way to do that.

The beauty of that day to me was not in the balloons as they floated to the sky (ah, trees, lol). The beauty was what I saw when we turned the corner and started up that long hill to his gravesite. You see, there was A LOT going on that day. There was a surprise birthday party to get together, a little league football player and 4 year old cheerleader to watch, and some gardening to help with. And yet, when we turned that corner ... oh, my, what a sight. I told my sister about a month earlier that I wanted to release balloons when we were in Ellijay that weekend. She asked if she could come. When I mentioned to my cousin (who was planning a surprise birthday party for her mother that day) what I would be doing before the party, she asked if they could come. I spoke to my parents about it...they didn't ask if they could come...I don't think it was ever really a question for them that they would be there to help us honor Ethan. I texted a friend to tell her I was in town and that we would be releasing balloons... that's all, no details, no time ... and yet, I start up that long hill, and there she was. Along with so many people I had not even talked to, but there they were, supporting us. You see, I didn't have to INVITE anyone. They all came, because they love me, because they love my family and because they especially love my son who they never got to meet. How blessed am I? That's all I could think. Look at the people who love my son!!

The acknowledgement of Ethan means so much. To show that they loved him; that even if it was uncomfortable to them, even though they had to go out of their way and rearrange plans ... all I can say is Thank You. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for loving us and supporting us the way that you have. I know that there were a lot of people who live far away and didn't even know about it, but would have been there if they had (Gin). I just love you all for the support that you have shown us this year.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Halloween - Not Expecting This

Last night we drove around the neighborhood looking at Halloween lights. The house right across the street from us has one of those spooky, fake cemeteries. As we are getting out of the car, Jake asked me if Ethan was in a cemetery. I told him Ethan was in heaven, but he pressed on and asked if his body was in a cemetery. He wanted to know if it was scary, like the ones at Halloween, because "Scooby and Shaggy are ALWAYS afraid of the cemetery because there are monsters there." *sigh*

Tonight he drew a picture for Ethan and then asked me if we could have another brother. I just never thought that Halloween would make him think of Ethan, although I totally get the correlation. But here I sit, 3 hours after the boys have gone to bed, still crying because a fake cemetery reminds my boy of his brother. Just hurting tonight.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Surface Christianity

This one has been niggling at me for a few months now, but I wasn’t sure exactly how I wanted it to go. We’ll see if it makes any sense. It is kind of a ramble. When I first started thinking about it, I thought about all the times I said, “I’m praying for you” and then life just got in the way. There were times where I knew that if I didn’t say a prayer right then, I wouldn’t. Not because I wasn’t sincere or concerned, but because I would forget. It just to be easy for me to be absent minded with other people’s troubles. I have discovered that the more focused I get in this area, the more absent minded I get in others. Trust me, Andy is not at all pleased that I have lost a key that will cost us around $150 to replace. However, if I can only be diligent in one area of my life, I would much rather be “up on” my prayer life.

The more that I have thought about it, though, the more I have become convinced that “Surface Christianity” means something so much more. Someone sent me an email the other day that said, “Faith is not knowing that God can…Faith is knowing that God WILL” or something to that effect. I respectfully disagree. Faith is knowing that God can and will IF IT IS HIS WILL. Will He always answer prayers. Absolutely. Daniel 9:23 says, "As soon as you began to pray, an answer was given." Will they always be the answer we expect? No. There is a big difference in saying that faith is knowing that God will do something or that faith is knowing that God will always do what is best. Faith is trusting that God’s will for our lives is better than anything that we can ever begin to grasp. Faith is knowing that regardless of the answer, God knows what is best for our lives. Even when we don’t understand. Even when the answer is the most horrible thing that we can ever imagine to have to live through. Even when we don’t want to live through it. The reason that this means so much to me is that as Christians I think that we sometimes deceive ourselves and then are caught completely unawares. I am going to use myself as the example.

I went to church all the time. Every Sunday morning, Sunday afternoon, Wednesday (sometimes) and Thursday night, you could find me at FBC Woodlawn in Woodlawn Tenn. Not because I thought that going to church was what made me a Christian…because I WANTED to be there. I loved being where people were worshiping God. And, if you had asked, I would have said that going to church or being a Christian did not mean that “bad” things would not happen to you. I have never believed that being a Christian meant that the rest of your life would be rosy and nothing bad would befall you. But…

Here is where I deceived myself. I believed that if you prayed about something, and you gave it to God and put your faith in Him, it would be taken care of. I STILL believe that. But what it means, for me, has changed. For example, in the Army we move occasionally. (Ha!) I always worry before a move about where we are going and if our house will sell, etc. Then I will pray and truly give it to God, trusting that what happens is His will for our lives. For me, that’s not a hard thing to do. When it comes to my children, however, it is EXTREMELY difficult. Before Ethan’s death, I would pray for their safety, give them over to God and then I guess my belief was that they were safe. God would protect them. What I now know is that God never leaves their side, He is always with them. But sometimes His Will for our lives is not what we would have expected or wanted or even want to accept.

I don’t know if this makes a lick of sense.  I have this Bible verse on my refrigerator. Isaiah 30:15 “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.” So I try and rest in the knowledge that God is always with me and trust that He is always in control.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Aunt Priscilla's Painting of Ethan

This is the painting that Aunt Priscilla did for us. We have several pictures of Ethan, but because of trauma on his little body I didn't feel comfortable displaying them out in the house. After our last visit to Blakely, I realized that Aunt Priscilla did paintings. I was so excited when she agreed to do one of Ethan. I love it and I am excited to share it with all of you now that my camera is working. This is from a picture that was taken right after Ethan's birth.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Happy Birthday, Ethan


Today is your birthday. I have struggled desperately with how we should, or even if we should, celebrate it. I feel that it is important that your special day is recognized. It means a lot to your brothers and to Mommy and Daddy that it is. But how should we celebrate, how can I celebrate, when you are not here with me. I celebrate more than your birth; I celebrate YOU. The fact that you were; that you existed. That although I will never understand why God took you I can take joy in knowing he created you and he let me have you for a while. I miss you with everything that is me, with everything that is in me. You are our precious third boy, our baby. Or as your Aunt Andi would say, "Our precious darling angel child." Mommy and Daddy love you and we can't wait to hold you again one day. Happy Birthday, Baby Boy.


Monday, August 18, 2008


Today is the day I found out that Ethan was no longer alive. Andy bought me a pedicure for our anniversary and I had scheduled it for today. I went and got a really bright, gaudy pink; something that I could concentrate on while I was in labor. Andy and his parents took the boys to Jacksonville. I was so excited to just have a day where I could relax, read a book, do whatever I wanted. I realized around lunch that I hadn't felt him move. I went and ate some food that normally had him up and jumping. When he still didn't move, I called and went to labor and delivery. The entire way there I kept telling myself they were just going to send me home while being filled with such a feeling of trepidation. The shock and immediate black hole that I fell into when the doctor told me she was sorry I cannot even begin to describe. How did this happen? This still happens? I just kept repeating that in my head over and over. I kept praying that the doctor was an idiot who just didn't know how to read the machine. This year has been difficult, with many struggles. Why did God allow this to happen? I don't know. But I do know that He had the final say and I trust in Him. There will be a day when I will hold my baby again, but this time he'll be smiling and laughing. I can't wait.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

My Husband - Happy Anniversary!

It has been 9 years tomorrow. Happy Anniversary to us! There are so many reasons that I love Andy. I think back to that day when I fell headlong in love. For me, it was not love at first sight. In fact, I don't even remember meeting Andy that first time. Our first date...well, there's not much to say other than it was the worst date either of us has ever been on. It even beat the blind date I went on with Julie when I was 15 where the guy took his shoe off and tried to play footsie with me with his smelly, sweaty feet. I don't know why Andy decided to ask me on a second one. I said yes because I felt so guilty about the first date, but regardless of why he asked or why I agreed, I am so glad that it happened. I went from the (truthfully) worst date ever to the best in the space of 7 days. After we had dated for a while, I was angry about something and when he asked me what was wrong and I told him, instead of getting angry right back he sat down calmly and said, "Well, let's talk about it." I couldn't tell you what day of the week or what month that was, but that was the second I fell in love with him. This time last year, I could have told you I loved him because he is such an amazing father. I would have said that as a husband, he is uplifting, supportive and never leaves me doubting his love. That was last year. This year, after the year that we have, I know the depths of his love go further than I could ever have begun to imagine. After Ethan's death, when I could not lift myself up off the floor, this man carried me, carried our entire family and never faltered a step. I would have never made it without him. People have spoken to me of strength. This is what I know. Any strength that I have comes directly from God. But right after Ethan's death, when just breathing seemed more than I could do, God filled Andy with the strength for both of us. I am forever grateful that he took on that burden without so much as a single complaint. This man is amazing. And I am forever blessed to have him as my husband. I love you, Andy.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Ethan's Birthday

Well, this year has been the longest and shortest of my life. Isn't that a funny paradox? Ethan's one year birthday is coming up on August 19. I have been dreading it for so long, dreading the feelings that will be associated with it. And now, it seems to have just crept up on me. I am both peaceful and absolutely manic about it, about the way that I feel. I want to do something really special to honor him at the same time that I want to bury my head in the sand and just sleep the entire day, pretend it doesn't exist. I have had several people ask me what we want to do because they want to honor him and celebrate him with us as well. I've heard many wonderful suggestions, from balloon releases to buying a star in his name. We have thought about it and we want to do something that will not only honor him, but help other families who are going through a pregnancy or infant loss. Which is why we chose Share Atlanta. There is actually a link on the side to their website. Share Atlanta does many things for parents in our situation. They donate blankets, booties, teddy bears, etc to area hospitals so that anyone who enters a hospital pregnant does not leave empty handed. Granted, leaving with a memory box or a teddy bear in no way compensates having to leave your child behind. However, I can tell you from experience how much I treasure our memory box and how often I have cradled Ethan's bear, especially in the beginning when my arms were so empty they ached. They also have seminars where they work with health care providers going over the needs of mothers who are delivering a baby that they know will be stillborn. This is so important...the little things can so often be overlooked. For instance, I spent two hours alone in a labor room after learning that Ethan had died surrounded by walls filled with pictures of mother's holding newborns. Not fun. Another reason we chose Share Atlanta is because Marcia, the founder, was one of the co-authors of the No Heartbeat Act. That bill is so important for us moms of stillborns, and in helping to get it passed she became someone I call a friend. It is so difficult to put yourself out there, exposing all of your own emotions just to help others after going through this loss. The fact that she has done so much, created an organization that has done so much....I just find it courageous and amazing and want to support her efforts in any way that I can.

So, if you are someone who would have bought Ethan a birthday present had he lived or if you would just like to honor him with us, be it with five dollars or 15 dollars, first of all, thank you. I can't tell you how much it means. Here is how you can donate to Share Atlanta.

You can send the donation directly to the following address and make the check out
to: SHARE Atlanta, Inc. It is tax-deductible.

SHARE Atlanta's Treasurer
Pam Slayback
577 Greenwood Ave.NE
Atlanta, Ga 30308


Monday, July 14, 2008


This is a link to the article. or

Friday, July 11, 2008

Oh, it's HOT!!!

Oh my goodness. It is 95 degrees in Savannah and our AC broke this morning. It will be Monday afternoon before anyone can come and look at it. Thank the Lord we are going to North Georgia today for Sid's birthday. If not, we would have been renting a hotel room for the weekend. I don't know how people used to do it...I'd need to move up North if not for the AC. :)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Normal Again?

What is "normal" anyway? Is it in comparison to a group of people, the majority of people, or just the way that a person generally acts? Why do people get so upset if the way that a person acts changes? If an alcoholic stops drinking, that's a great change. If someone stops eating horribly and starts exercising, no one gets upset that they are no longer acting "normally". If you have a child and that child survives and stays well, your "normal" still changes, because now you are daily caring for a child. Why do people think that the death of a child will not change a person? Or that if your child becomes ill and changes personality that you should not change your outlook, your "normal"?

Anytime that someone goes through a major change, their personality, daily activities, and outlook changes at least slightly, if not tremedously. Of course Ethan's death changed me. I had no idea that stillbirth happened still in developed countries when the pregnancy was uneventful and the baby was healthy. Since his death, I have not only had to deal with all the emotions, but I want to raise awareness...that's part of my new "normal". Yesterday, we took the boys to see a movie. It started, and it was really loud...Jake and Will were enthralled. But my first thought was, 'Wow, I wonder if Ethan would have been able to stay in here?' It didn't cause me pain like it used to, I no longer break down when those thoughts sneak up on me, but they are there, daily. The "What If's?" I suppose that they will always be there, and that is okay. It is my new normal, my new me. So, when am I going to be normal again? I's just a different normal.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008


The Savannah Morning News came and took photos yesterday for the article. They wanted a picture of us along with some of the things that we have from Ethan. I showed her his footprints, my necklace, etc. Got to his lock of hair and I lost it, had to leave the room. It was really emotional, just really left me feeling raw. After she left, Andy started going through the box. I don't think that he has ever gone through it before, ever read the cards we received before. I sent the boys next door so we could be alone and go through it. Difficult doesn't begin to describe it. I was sad again, but more than anything, I was furious...Furious that I don't have him, furious that all I have is a box of memories. My emotions were on overload and I was not being really careful while I was cooking. I wound up spilling some boiling water on my foot. Now I have a lovely 2nd degree burn over the top of my foot and I can't use the antibiotic cream they normally prescribe because I am allergic to it. So I'm putting vitamin E, aloe and fish oil on my foot, which smells really nice. :) At least it took my focus off of our loss. **Whew!!** It feels good to rant sometimes!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008


We went to Charleston last week. In the first picture, my children are standing on a cannon from Fort Sumter. They were told to touch nothing in the museum and I turned around and caught them doing that...Will said, "I not touching it, Mama" ;) We had a great time.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Dealing with how others think you should grieve

I read this post today. It is on grief and how after a child dies, especially when it is a stillbirth, people seem to want to rush us back to living just as we were before. It is a great description of how that feels and why I reject that push. Like I have said to countless other mothers, feel what you feel. Own it. No one has the right to tell you have to grieve, what is proper, etc. Here is a link to the blog.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Interview

So, how did it go? I honestly have no idea. I started talking about that day, that horrible day, and I started crying and I just have no idea how it went, even what I said half the time. I'm supposed to call him back to set up a time to do a picture, and when I do, I need to make sure that I tell him Ethan's name. I said Ethan several times, but I didn't tell him Ethan's entire name. And I want to. I wanted to talk more about SHARE Atlanta...about how important what they are doing is. My thoughts were just so focused on ... well, on not crying so hard that I couldn't speak. What's funny is I don't even know exactly what the interview will be in...I know the name of the news organization and that they publish in Athens, Columbus and Augusta. But what they publish...I have no idea.

Friday, June 20, 2008

What have I gotten myself into?

I have a fear of the phone. I know, stupid, really. But, after Ethan's death, it never stopped ringing, and I just couldn't face it. Then, slowly, it did stop, and the silence was so much worse. So, I avoid it. I only call a handful of parents, sisters, Ginger, Courtney, and a handful of friends. Other than that, email is my main form of communication.

Then, I got involved in the bill, in trying to get it passed. And it was so important to me, so important period, that I jumped in full force, emailing and calling (yes, calling) these state Representatives. I had sweats and panic attacks before I would call, but I did it. Now, I have been asked to do an interview for a state news organization about the act. They are trying to get personal stories from several people in different parts of the state. I said yes; of course, I said yes. People need to know about it, I feel that it is so extremely important. It's a phone interview. I'm sweating just thinking about it. It's for Monday at 10 am. I hope I make it through it without breaking down, without putting any negative spin on it, and without Jake and Will fighting in the middle of it. I'll settle for the first two, since I'm sure the last won't happen. but I'm nervous. Accelerating heartbeat nervous.


My friend called me. The one I was pregnant with, the one who went into labor the same day as Ethan's funeral. She was excited because her little one had started to walk. How wonderful, really. And it is exciting, especially for a parent. But for me, it was a knife in the gut. Walking? Already? In my mind, he is an infant, a newborn. He will always be just that. How do I reconcile that image in my mind to one of a baby/toddler, who is sitting up and crawling and walking? His first birthday is coming up, and it is all starting to press in on me again. But now it is the "firsts" that he will not get to experience. I guess more that I will not get to experience, because I know that he is much safer and in such a more joyful place. And he is experiencing so many "firsts" before me. But I selfishly want to see those firsts. I feel an "It's Not Fair!!" tantrum coming on, and I had so hoped I was beyond those now.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Hope Cherishing Love

Someone on one of my support forums posted this and I instantly fell in love with it. I just think it is beautiful, and speaks volumes.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Necklace Charm

My necklace has finally arrived. It has a copy of Ethan's actual footprint's engraved on the front with his name, and then it has his full name and birthdate on the back. I love it.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Officially a Law in Georgia!!! ~ No Heartbeat Act

It's official!! It passed the Senate on 2/21/07, passed the House 4/4/07, and Gov. Perdue signed it into law Tuesday,May 13. Thanks to all who helped by bombarding your Representative with emails and phone calls. That so many people stood up and helped fight for us means so much. I got even got emails from people that I didn't know, who in Ethan's memory contacted their Rep. in favor of the bill. I cannot even put it into words how much it meant, especially those of you who emailed me or called to find out how it was going, or with a response from your rep, or to find out if you needed to get in touch with them again. I think my favorite email was from the Rep. who informed me that he was not only voting for it, but he was going to put his name publicly behind the bill. And then asked that I let my 'many friends and family know' because he would not be able to answer all the emails in a timely manner. Or, as my sister Andi put it, "Dang girl, call off your dogs!" LOL...I'm just glad I had some dogs to call on. It seriously meant the world to me that so many people cared enough to contact their Representative. This is such a wonderful accomplishment for all parents with babies born still in the state of Georgia. Hopefully, ALL states will soon recognize the importance of issueing CBRS. So, thank you for helping get this bill passed. Love you all.

Monday, May 12, 2008

A Bible For Ethan

I was not going to post about this because I was not sure how I felt about it. But now that my emotions are a little bit more stable, I realize how special it was, so I wanted to share.

Yesterday, I was in Ellijay, at the church that I grew up in. They were giving out Bibles for all the new babies who were born this year. My mother had already told me that they were giving Ethan a bible. I thought that was really special, that they were recognizing him. Then, about two mom's into the ceremony, I realized that all the mom's were staying up there, to be recognized collectively as a whole. I started to panic, and I thought that surely they would wait and do Ethan's after everyone else sat down, or maybe privately. Nope...his name was called in the middle. Andy went up with me, and there we stood, two parent's with empty arms, surrounded by mothers who had their arms full with babies. It was so hard, I was crying, trying so hard not to break down. And then the thought came to me that it was Ethan's Mother's Day gift to me.

I kept alternating between thinking it was special, to wishing that I hadn't had to stand there with all those moms and babies. And then a lady in my support group totally changed my perspective.

How great is it that I was recognized publicly as a mother to Ethan? That he was recognized and acknowledged as a child, a precious gift, and just as important as any other baby that was born this year. Now, I am so excited about it, so thankful. MY BABY WAS RECOGNIZED! And not as something I should be sad about, but as a baby that should be rejoiced.

Anyway, it just meant so much to me, once it was put into perspective, so I thought I would share.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008


Warren is having a bad day; he is in a lot of pain. Please continue to pray for him and his family. I have added a link to his website. Look to the right, it's under the myspace links.


Friday, May 02, 2008

36 weeks, 6 days

It has been 36 weeks, 6 days since the day I found out that Ethan's
heart had stopped beating. I don't know why all of a sudden I had the
need to count that up. 36 weeks, 6 days. I was pregnant with Ethan
for 36 weeks, 6 days when I gave birth to him. I have now been without
him for as long as I had him. How is that possible? I know that some
days are worse than others, I know that I shouldn't do this to myself.
I know, I know, I KNOW! So, if I know, then why don't I seem to
understand? Why do I do this to myself?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


So, obviously, yesterday was a bad day. Unfortunately,anyone who might need to read that post won't; mainly because they don't know this site exists. I have been pondering this today. "God will never give you more than you can handle". I have to be honest, I'm not really fond of that quaint little saying. People tend to use it as a platitude. Oh, you lost your job? Well, 'God will never give you more than you can handle'. You are sick and can't get out of bed? Well, 'God will never give you more than you can handle'. Your child died? Well, 'God will never give you more than you can handle'.

I have a friend whose baby has been in the hospital for 18 days now and they still have not determined what is wrong with him. I was talking to my pastor, and I said something along the lines of "I can't even begin to imagine the fear she has or how she is staying so positive." And he said, "No one can imagine the difficulties that each of us go through. Me, with the death of my wife; you with your son, and your friend with her child's illness. Each one is tragic, each one is hard, each one is different. God gives us the strength that we need for the situation that we are in."

'God gives us the strength that we need for the situation that we are in.' Oh, AMEN! That is one saying that I can ride the river with.

Monday, April 14, 2008

The Bean Bag

I have just about had it with insensitive comments that are meant to "help". No, I do not want to hear you tell me that it was God's will that Ethan die. Maybe I believe that, maybe I don't. But I do know one thing. There is no better way to turn a mother off of God quicker than to tell her that He wanted her baby to die. I can also do without "you can have more children", "you just need to forget about it", and "if God takes something from us, it's because he has something better in store for us". And, "Oh, you're still upset?" is a real winner, too. The answer to that is - Uh, yeah, I am. I have tried to not let stupid comments upset me, especially the ones that were made from someone that I know was trying to comfort me. Easier said than done, however, so I thought up an analogy to help me along.

When I was teaching, sometimes I would have my students sit in a circle to discuss certain topics. We had a bean bag, and the rule was that you could not speak unless you were holding the bean bag. Sometimes, I wish that life were that way. Only there would be someone screening the comments, and if what you had to say was especially asinine, you would not be allowed to hold the bean bag. So, I guess what I'm trying to say is, be your own screener. And if what you have to say isn't 'I'm sorry' or 'I love you', then please, just pass the bean bag. And if you can't, then just know that in my mind, I'm thinking, "Crap, the idiot got the bean bag again!"

Saturday, March 29, 2008

How I'm Feeling

Have you ever felt like screaming? Just screaming and screaming and screaming, until someone comes and carries you away and drugs you into oblivion? That is how I'm feeling today.

Thursday, March 27, 2008



If we could have a lifetime wish,

A dream that would come true.

We’d pray and hope with all our hearts,

For yesterday and you.

A thousand words can’t bring you back,

We know because we tried.

Neither will a thousand tears,

We know because we’ve cried.

You left behind our broken hearts,

And happy memories too.

But we never wanted memories

We only wanted you.


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

What NOT to say to a military wife

A friend of mine sent this to me the other day, and I just loved it. I could SO relate.

1. "Aren't you afraid that he'll be killed?"
(This one ranks in at number one on the "duh" list. Of course we're afraid. We're terrified. The thought always lingers at the backs of our minds ---but thanks brilliant, you just brought it back to the front.)

2. "I don't know how you manage. I don't think I could do it."
(This is intended to be a compliment. Though, its just a little annoying. Here's why: it's not like all of us military wives have been dreaming since childhood of the day we'd get to be anxious single moms who carry cell phones with us to the bathroom and in the shower. We're not made of some mysterious matter that makes us more capable, we just got asked to take on a challenging job. So we rose to the challenge and found the strength to make sacrifices.)

3. "At least he's not in Iraq."
(This is the number one most annoying comment for those whose husbands are in Afghanistan. What do they think is happening in Afghanistan? An international game of golf? Guys are fighting and dying over there.)

4. "Do you think he'll get to come home for Christmas/anniversary/birthday/birth of a child/wedding/family reunion, etc?"
(Don't you watch the news? No! They don't get to come home for any of these things. Please don't ask again.)

5. "What are you going to do to keep yourself busy while he's gone?"
(Short answer: Try to keep my sanity. Maybe there's a military wife out there who gets bored when her husband leaves, but I have yet to meet her. For the rest of us, those with and without children, we find ourselves having to be two people. That keeps us plenty busy. We do get lonely, but we don't get bored, and drinking massive amounts of wine always helps keep me busy.)

6. "How much longer does he have until he can get out?"
(This one is annoying to many of us whether our husbands are deployed or not. Many of our husbands aren't counting down the days until they "can" get out. Many of them keep signing back up again and again because they actually love what they do or they VOLUNTEER AGAIN and AGAIN to go back to Iraq b/c there is work that needs to be done.)

7. "This deployment shouldn't be so bad, now that you're used to it."
(Sure, we do learn coping skills and its true the more deployments you've gone through, the easier dealing with it becomes. And we figure out ways to make life go smoother while the guys are gone. But it never gets "easy" and the bullets and bombs don't skip over our guys just because they've been there before. The worry never goes away.)

8. "My husband had to go to Europe for business once for three weeks. I totally know what you're going through."
(This one is similar to number two. Do not equate your husband's three week trip to London/Omaha/Tokyo/etc. with a 12-15 month or more deployment to a war zone. Aside from the obvious time difference, nobody shot at your husband or tried to blow him up with an I.E.D., your husband could call home pretty much any time he wanted to, he flew comfortably on a commercial plane, slept between crisp white sheets and ate well, paying for everything with an expense account. There is no comparison. We do not feel bonded to you in the slightest because of this comment and, if anything, we probably resent you a bit for it. Comparing a 12 month combat deployment to a few weeks business trip is like comparing a shitty Ford Taurus with Mercedes convertible.) -- ok I HAVE to add to this one... I hate it when people say, oh he's gone for ONLY 7 months? Mine left for 9 months or 1 year. This pisses me off! I'm considered "lucky" but why can't ya'll just see the fact that HE'S GONE!!! No matter how long it is, it's hard and we cope! GRRRR!!! ~v~

9. "Wow you must miss him?"
(This one also gets antoher big "duh". Of course we miss our men. There are some wives who do not and they're now divorced.)

10. "Where is he exactly? Where is that?"
(I don't expect non-military folks to be able to find Anbar Province on a map, but they should know by now that it's in Iraq. Likewise, know that Kabul and Kandahar are in Afghanistan. Know that Muqtada al Sadr is the insurgent leader of the Mahdi Army in Iraq and that Sadr City is his home area. Know that Iran is a major threat to our country and that it is located between Afghanistan and Iraq. Our country has been at war in Afghanistan for seven years and at war in Iraq for five years. These basic facts are not secrets, they're on the news every night and in the papers every day ---and on maps everywhere.)

11. "Well, he signed up for it, so it's his own fault whatever happens over there.
(Yes, ignorant, he did sign up. Each and every day he protects your right to make stupid comments like that. He didn't sign up and ask to be hit by anything, he signed up to protect his country. Oh, and by the way, he asked me to tell you that "You're welcome." He's still fighting for your freedom.)

12. "Don't you miss sex! I couldn't do it!"
(hmmm, no I don't miss sex. I'm a robot. seriously...military spouses learn quickly that our relationships must be founded on something greater than sex. We learn to appreciate the important things, like simply hearing their voices, seeing their faces, being able to have dinner together every night. And the hard truth is, most relationships probably couldn't withstand 12 months of sex deprivation.)

13. "Well in my opinion....."
(Stop right there. Yo, I didn't ask for you your personal political opinions. Hey, I love a heated political debate, but not in the grocery store, not in Jamba Juice, not at Nordstrom, not in a bar when I'm out with my girls trying to forget the war, and CERTAINLY NOT AT WORK. We tell co-workers about deployments so when we have to spend lunch hours running our asses off doing errands and taking care of the house, dog, and kids, they have an understanding. We do not tell co-workers and colleagues because we are giving an invitation to ramble about politics or because we so eagerly want to hear how much they hate the President, esp. while we're trying to heat up our Lean Cuisines in the crappy office microwaves.)

and last but not least....

14. "OH, that's horrible...I'm so sorry!"
(He's doing his job and he's a badass. Don't be sorry. Be appreciative and please take a moment out of your comfortable American lives to realize that our soldiers fight the wars abroad so those wars stay abroad.)

If you want to say anything, say thank you. After all, we are sexually deprived for your freedom

Friday, March 14, 2008

No Heartbeat Act

Hi, everyone. There is something that I desperately want you to do for me. Right now, the Ga House of Representatives is debating and voting on SB 381- The No Heartbeat Act. Basically, what this will do is make it a law in Georgia that allows parents of stillborn children to obtain a Certificate of Birth Resulting in Stillbirth. Below is information on how you can do this. All you have to do is find your Ga House representative and their email address or phone number. There is a link following to that information. There are also letter templates in the following information. All you have to do is copy it, paste it onto your email, fill in your info and send to your rep. Please do this for me. If you do not live in Georgia, but you know someone who does, please ask them to contact their representative.

Ethan's info: Ethan Isaac Shark Brokhoff, 7 lbs, 2 oz. He was born at Fort Stewart, GA.


Dear All,
No Heartbeat - SB 381for a CBRS is in the House. The Senate passed this bill for a Certificate of Birth Resulting in Stillbirth, CBRS, on 2.21.08 - 48 to 0. We can not assume this will happen in the House. We need emails from all over Georgia during the last ten days of this year's Legislative Session. No Heartbeat Act/SB 381 for a CBRS will be voted on in several House committees and then on the House floor.Please, whether you have experienced a stillbirth or not, send a *positive* email (or phone call) to YOUR representative today. Ask your Georgian family and friends to do this as well. NUMBERS of supporters DOES matter. WE MUST SEND a CLEAR MESSAGE - SB 381/CBRS - YES. *Together* - we can make a difference.

Process: FIND YOUR Representative; Use Suggested TEMPLATES

1. Find YOUR Representative's email address and/or phone number:a. Find YOUR Representative On the left hand column there are various ways for you to "find your representative." You pick the one that is easiest for you. Click on their email address.

b. If you know your Reps name...go here for email information, etc.

2. Email, Write or/and Call YOUR Representative using one of these suggested formats:

a. A "THANK YOU" Template or Phone Script from YOU, your Georgian FAMILY and FRIENDS"Dear Representative {Your Representative's Last Name},
"I am a constituent from {TOWN or COUNTY}. Thank you for your consideration in voting yes on the "No Heartbeat Act"/SB 381 when it comes to the next House Committee meeting or the House Floor during the last part of Legislative Session 2008. I am a {mother, father, grandmother, aunt, uncle, friend, cousin, etc.) (of a close friend, family member) who has experienced a stillbirth of (our, their) precious child, {Optional: BABY'S NAME and DATE}. This bill would bring (me, them, them and me) and many others much comfort and closure. Thank you for your support.Best Regards, {your name}"

b. A "THANK YOU" Template or Phone Script from YOU if you are a PROFESSIONAL or a SUPPORTER who wishes to support this bill"Dear Representative {Your Representative's Last Name},I am a constituent from {TOWN or COUNTY}. Thank you for your consideration in voting yes on the "No Heartbeat Act"/SB 381 when it comes to the next House Committee meeting or to the House Floor during the last part of Legislative Session 2008. I am a {nurse, social worker, clergy, Stephen's ministry, Hospice Atlanta, Supporter etc.) who supports this important bill. {Its passage will mean a great deal to me because of the work I do with parents who have experienced a stillbirth.} This bill would bring much comfort and closure to the many (1100 each year) Georgian families who have experienced the tragic loss of their baby due to stillbirth. Thank you for your support.Best Regards, {your name}"

3. Fill the template in with YOUR name and correct information. Place this in the Subject Line: "Yes"- "No Heartbeat Act"/SB 381 For more information on the Certificate of Birth Resulting in Stillbirth

Monday, March 10, 2008


Before I left Tenn, one of my friends insisted that I set up a myspace account so that we could keep in touch. I thought it was pretty silly, because I have email and I talk to her on the phone everyday, anyway. But, she set me up with an account, and I have to tell you, I am addicted. There are so many of my friends who are on there, so it makes it easier to keep in touch with people. I don't know if any of you have an account, but my address there is Check it out and sign up. Amanda has a page too, but she just signed up so she could see everyone else's. You can email her through it, though. Love you!