A Child’s View

How is it that the world functions as if nothing happened? People look at me as if I am normal. They walk, talk and act the same. How? The entire universe has been altered. The earth doesn’t spin on the same axis. The sun shines different. Yet, I’m the only one that notices.

I’ve been thinking about the two little girls who received Owen’s heart and liver. I wonder if they think of our family like we think of theirs. I wonder if they pray for our healing like I continue to pray for their physical healing. I dream if the little girl will have Owens temperament and if she will be laid back and a lover like he was. Will he become a part of her in more ways than tissue and valves? If I meet her will I recognize her? I think how amazing it will be to feel his heart beating. Don’t mind me little girl…I’m just going to rest my heart on your chest. I want to hear his smile again in the rhythmic beating of his heart.

I decorate myself in orange. Nothing is too bright of an orange. I bought a candle today just because it was orange. :). The color is comfort to me. Males me feel like I’m still honoring him even if I’m not talking about him.

Jaden talks more about Owen’s death as the time passes. The other day he wrote Owen a few letters and asked me to mail them to Owen. I tried to explain that Owen had died there wasn’t a place to mail them. “Mom mail them to heaven … You said that’s where he is.” Of course! What was I thinking?

We had some friends over today. These friends loved the triplet babies very much so you can imagine that the questions about where Owen started when they walked in the door. My girlfriend seemed uncertain if it was painful for me when his name was brought up so much. I think it was also the pain of having to tell her innocent children about the death of a baby. These are the truths of the world that we hope to shield our children from.

I, however, loved it! I listen hard when kids talk about non-earthly stuff. They are pure and open to the things that aren’t of earth. I listen to learn. I want to see the world through a child’s eyes. Without judgment or bias. Without logic and uncertainty. What a blessing it would be to get a glimpse!

When one of the children asked where Owen was I replied that he was in heaven. The other child replied “I can hear Owen when it rains. You know … When he’s bowling! And when he gets a strike he laughs and that’s lightening”. I loved it. I can head Owen when in rains. Something I would have never thought of on my own but a beautiful picture painted by a child. I have so much to learn.

The prayers are working. Peace will come. But I don’t think it will ever dwell alone in our house. Grief and pain are permanent room mates now. Wether I want them to be or not.

Love, Mel


  1. Hi Mel, I haven’t been reading your blog for long but you haven’t been far from my mind and prayers in the past few weeks. I pray that God’s peace will just envelope you and your family. Owen has touched so many lives especially those that benefited from the organ donation, he will continue to do so. We’re painting the world orange from South Africa!

  2. Thank you for sharing about Jaden and how he is coping.
    Do you think you will ever meet the little girls who received
    Owen’s heart and liver? Or is that not something that could
    even happen?

    Glad to read your post tonight. I agree with your opening few

  3. I love how kids view the world. So simple and pure. And heaven is such a real place to them, it’s awesome.

    As for the other families, I can guarantee you they think of you and Owen often. They love you and Owen. I know this because I have several friend’s whose children have received the gift of life, namely a new heart. Not a day goes by that they don’t think of and pray for the donor family and donor.

    I think of and pray for you often. (((hugs)))

  4. I would recommend the book Heaven is Real if you haven’t read it. It’s a story of a 4 year old boy’s experience of Heaven. It gave me hope and peace about where Mikayla and Chase reside.

  5. Mel, When my friend Gina’s mom died her kids where very close to her because she lived with them. Gina had a day where they all wrote letters to Grandma and they brunt them in the fireplace and the askes and smoke and mesages went up to heaven to her. I know you don’t have a fireplace but ya ya does. Just a thought.. Love ya, Mrs. Rader

  6. Mel,
    I do not know you or your family. All I know is your story has touched me. When I first read your blog I cried. I cried for you, for Doug, for Jaden, for Weston, for Logan and for Owen. I cried because I knew how bad all of you were hurting inside. No parent should ever have to bury a child. I can not imagine for a second that I even have a clue as to what you are going through or what you feel. The tears I cry for you is because it hurts…. to think that sweet Owen had to visit our heavenly father all to soon. I think ever mother’s fear is to lose a child. I am a mother and reading your story has made me love a little more and hug my kids tighter. You are a strong woman to be able to open up and share your everything with the world. To be able to tell your story and make us all feel like we have known Owen the whole time this world was blessed with his presence.
    I will continue to pray for you and your family.

  7. I am learning so much from my children while we grieve the sudden loss of my mom. I wish I could shield them from this pain, but their faith is so pure and their insight so wise.

    I have added your blog to our family blog list that I “check in” on. We will be praying for you daily. I pray that today you find comfort in God’s promise.

    Blessings to you!!

  8. Mel-I came across this poem on a website a a few years ago and reading your post today about your friends child who heard Owen in the rain-it reminded me of it and thought I’d post it for you to read. It was written by a mother who had lost her daughter unexpectedly. I hope you enjoy it. I keep your family in my prayers daily & hope today finds you well.

    On the long journey I have looked for you…
    I looked for you in the first snowflake,
    And I saw your rosey cheeks and mitten fingers hold mine.
    I looked for you in the spring sounds,
    And I heard your favorite bird singing your name.
    I looked for you in the summer’s sky,
    And saw a rainbow of your memories, color my soul.
    I looked for you in baby’s faces,
    Cheeks round, and eyes of sparkling blue, a cry from me to you.
    I looked for you in the morning sun,
    And your golden hair glistened as the dew.
    I looked for you within the wind,
    And you gently stroke my face, I savor it like a child’s quick kiss.
    I looked for you in the folds of a yellow rose,
    And felt the ruffles of your short life circle around my heart.
    I looked for you in the quiet night,
    Hoping for a whisper that you were there.
    And I looked and looked for you.
    Are you sitting in God’s lap, holding my broken heart?
    Another year, another tear, falls and gentlly reminds me that a mother’s love is everywhere.

    Written by Magi Bish-Mother of Molly

  9. Mel,
    I love the kids perspective too, every time it rains now, you can think of Owen. I’m sorry to ask this but I’ve been wondering if the autopsy gave you any answers of why this happened.
    I will be praying for you, take comfort that you have family and friends who are there to support you and Doug.

  10. I love reading your blog. My friend who has triplets sent it to me. My girls wore orange a few times for Owen. I have cried so many tears for you and your family. You are such a positive person and I admire that. I too have lost a baby and I know the pain. I will continue to pray for you!

  11. Hi Mel,

    You are such an inspiration- I can’t go one day without checking your blog. I was coloring with my daughter the other day and had bought a small box of crayons- most colors in it had another similar color, except the oranges. There were three exactly. It made me think of you and your family, and Owen. My heart is with you all.


    Paige in RI

  12. I have been reading your blog since the Miracle Marathon. My daughter is 4 and has a rare chromosome disorder. She has been hospitalized 11 times and taken by ambulance many times to CHW. She is mentally and physically impaired and was born that way, we didn’t know until she was 5 months old. I listened intently to the Miaracle Marathon due to my connection with CHW…and I heard about you there. I heard Carole crying as she read your entries. I am a full time working mom to 2 other boys (6 YO and 10 months). I have hugged my children tighter, appreciated them more and been thankful even for the challenges God gave me with my daughter, Lydia.

    I have shared your story- scratch that, your LIFE, since I heard. I have cried with you, mourned and rejoiced at your strength. Like you I pray often asking for God to tell me what I need to do with what I’ve been given – he has a plan for me with all we go through with Lydia. I do a lot of speaking events for Children’s, in fact doing one tonight in our small town for a fundraiser they are doing. I sometimes see ‘the plan’ but sometimes it is just so foggy. But, I do know that some day, some day soon I’ll know why this was all meant to be. I pray the same for you.

    When I read your posts although I haven’t lost a child I have had similar thoughts with raising a special needs child with a disorder so rare only 200 people in the world are diagnosed. Please for you and your readers, I am not comparing our life situations – I have not lost a child but days are sometimes hard and nights long. One thing that sometimes helps me is I really like music and how I can relate to it. One song I want to share with you a friend of mine who lost her husband to brain cancer posted after he passed. I had never heard of it. Some words don’t fit like the beginning line but the rest does. The name of the song is WORLD SPINS MADLY ON by the Weepies. Its just that…how the World is Spinning Madly on around you. “The whole world is moving and I’m standing still.” It reminded me of your post you had about the world continuing to go on…how could it?

    The other song that someone else posted when they were going through some challenges also resonated with me…it is by Mumford & Son and called Timshel. Some of the words like the other song do fit, some don’t but here is what I like “You are not alone in this…you are not alone in this, as brothers we will stand and hold your hand, hold your hand.”

    Please know that although I don’t know you, I can’t imagine what you are going through I read your blogs and have so many emotions and I share those with others. I want others to appreciate their life…for what they have NOT what they don’t have. You may not think you see a plan that God has given you but your writings are already working in so many people here in Wisconsin and across the world. If I didn’t know better…that was a plan right there.

    Hugs and thoughts to you Mel. Right here in Wisco.

  13. I’m sorry if I am going to repeat someone, but I have to say something. When I stumbled upon your blog many things were going on for me, and for a good few hours i sobbed as I read through your entire blog. I too have been praying for your family and cannot even imagine what and how you feel. One of my children was very ill and we almost lost him and I knew how I felt then but can’t even fathom how you feel now. After reading this and hearing you say “what is my next step” I believe your answers ARE right in front of you. Do you know how many parents you have encouraged to hold their babies just a little closer. I would bet you have influenced so many people in so many ways that your “steps” are already being taken. I also believe that Owen is watching you with his brothers, laughing along side them. I send my love to you and your family and I am one that holds my children just a little closer.

  14. I went shopping today and saw a bright orange top-there were lots of orange tops. I picked the brightest one because it reminded me of Owen and your family. I will listen for him in the rain too.

  15. This post made me laugh and cry all at the same time! My grandma would tell us that when it thundered it was Angels bowling in Heaven. She passed away about 10 years ago and I still think of her in a rain storm. The best ones are when it only rains for a minute and then there’s a rainbow. I will think of Owen now too, and wonder if he’s bowling with my grandma! She also told us that the little round “birth marks” sometimes people have were Angel Kisses. Sean has one on his wrist and he tells everyone that an Angel kissed him when he was born. My family thinks about you all the time, rainy days might turn out to be your favorite days of all!

  16. Hi Mel – Katie in Brussels, Belgium again. I just wanted you to know that your story continues to touch me even through the subconscious. I just returned from a work trip to London, England and they have great shops at the London UK Eurostar train terminal. I popped into a beautiful children’s clothing shop to buy my daughter a dress to wear for her 2nd birthday party. I then went to a cool surf type shop to get my husband a Tshirt for Fathers Day. I boarded the train and checked in on your blog to see how you were doing when it suddenly hit me….both the dress and the Tshirt were orange. I have never picked out an orange piece of clothing for any of my family, yet totally out of the blue I buy 2 orange items. A coincidence? I think not. You, my dear girl, and your sweet orange Owen have a huge place in my heart.

    Much love and support from afar….

    Katie x

  17. Mel,
    Today I took my oldest out to get a Father’s Day gift for my husband, and as we pulled into the parking lot of Home Depot, I saw so many orange flowers of different size, shape, and shade. I can’t remember orange being such a prevalent color, but now it seems to highlight the world. Like the scene in Schindler’s list where the little girl is wearing a red coat, and that is the only color in a black and white film. An older gentleman was wearing an orange shirt walking in as I walked by, and I smiled and nodded to him. Does he know about Owen, too? I thought to myself as I held my 10 month old and held my 7 year old’s hand.
    I thought of you while rocking my youngest to sleep. How the world has been touched by Owen, especially those two little girls and their families. When I miscarried, I knew enough to know that a miscarriage increases a woman’s fertility, so I convinced my husband to try again right away, and we were pregnant again within a month of the miscarriage. Then I developed preeclampsia, and Ari was born six weeks early…three days after my due date for the baby I miscarried. As I rocked him I thought how he wouldn’t be here if I hadn’t miscarried that baby. That God’s plan included the pain of the loss of a baby that led to this beautiful boy. I couldn’t wish for my baby that never was, because that would mean that Ari could never have been.
    Sorry, I’m rambling. I just wanted to send mental hugs and let you know that I’m thinking of you and seeing Owen in Racine. I’m sure I will think of him the next time it thunders as well…
    Your Friend,

  18. i can only say again that you are my inspiration. I’m sure it’s not something you intended to be. You put my life in perspective. Sarah did me such a favor when she shared your site. I have no right to be in a bad mood or just plain crabby, I only have the right to thank God everyday for all I have. My troubles are so miniscule as to be ridiculous. Your boys are beautiful. Your writings are so wonderfully done. You have no idea how many people you have touched.

  19. Hi Melissa—thought I would share this article from a WV newspaper.
    The mother of Chris Henry, a NFL player who died in an accident, speaks about organ donation and meeting the recipients and how she knew them by sight before being introduced. She also speaks about hugging the lung recipient and how hearing him breath brought her peace. If you do read this I hope that it helps you in some small way!
    Even though we do not know one another, please know I think and pray for you daily and I too, like many others, am drawn to the color Orange and when I see it I smile for your sweet Owen! Prayers from WV-Missi

  20. Hi Melissa! I’ve really enjoyed reading your stories…my heart goes out to you and your entire family. Although I don’t know you personally, I think everyone who reads your blogs feels someone connected to you because of your openness. I know you love orange, especially as of late, and I thought of you when I was searching for new ways to decorate my dining room. I know you may not be in the decorating mood, but I instantly thought of you when I saw this….and because of you and Owen, it inspired me to decorate in ORANGE! Check out this link… http://pinterest.com/pin/23252698/

    I will continue to enjoy your blog. Your faith will bring you through this.

  21. I read your blog after seeing a post on a friends fb page about Owen. I was in the car with my three children and husband and found myself unable to stop reading. We were on our way to visit family in Wisconsin when I realized that’s where you were from, but not only that.. From Waukesha where I lived as a young child. (I lived in Sussex and pewaukee) it made me feel like there was a reason this blog was put in front of my eyes. Still not sure the reason but every night I hug my children a little longer before I tuck them in and every day I make sure to be a little more calm when they misbehave because I know that every moment you have with your children makes an imprint on your heart that can’t be erased. Owens story has also made an imprint on my heart and I feel like my life will never be the same. Not a day goes by that your family hasn’t crossed my mind. I think it’s amazing that you are sharing Owens story but not only that… Sharing your story with all of us. Being honest with others through this can’t be easy but you are helping so many people just like owen!
    Just an idea for jaden… Maybe you can tie his letters to Owen to a balloon and let them float to heaven.

  22. Hi Melissa,
    I’m a long{er} time reader, but a first time poster. I hope both you and Owen find that ok. I also hope you both find comfort in my reaching out to you. Your story compels me … I linger. I check your family blog often, every night, if not sooner. I live in Delafield, so not far from you. I can’t seem to wrap my brain around what has happened, yet I can’t let go. I don’t want to let go, I don’t want to forget, I can’t move on. I cry at night for you, literally. My husband says he gives me credit for reading, for getting emotionally attached. I, on the other hand, can’t let go. I honor Owen. I don’t turn my back when pain sets in. Owen is such a beautiful baby boy. Why him? Why that night? His crib is a safe haven. Why did it fail him? What happened? I have a 22 month old and a 2.5 month old. Both boys. I’ve always loved every waking moment with them. I’m a hands on mother. However, my heart aches a little more when we’re apart. My motherly instincts kick in. When they are sleeping, I stir, I’m anxious. I personally feel like I’m suffocating and I can’t breathe. If that’s me as an outsider, how are you coping? You find hope. In the things around you. Orange. Such a beautiful color. Have you considered changing your blog background orange? There are so many O’s screaming at us … at each and everyone of us. The entire background. Owen is listening. He’s watching. He always has been. He’s been telling you from the beginning… he’s the one who’s going to change the world. One orange O at a time.
    Sweet dreams Owen, sweet dreams.

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