Highs and Lows

I am surprised by how cool, calm and collected I am one moment and then next I am spinning out of control.  I find that there are triggers that set me off.  Ones that make sense when I think back upon them and others that I’m not really sure how I lost it.

Take for today as an example … this morning things were going alright.  Jaden wasn’t feeling well so I was in the bathroom with him for most of the morning.  But the triplets were happy, I was optimistic.  Once I had the triplets down for their morning nap, I laid with Jaden in my bed.  Heck I even got a 15 min nap before my mom came over to help.  I made it to Wal-Mart and Walgreens and was feeling accomplished for the day.

Then it’s funny how a little something someone says can hit the wrong nerve and I’m spirling the rest of the day.  I can honestly say I know this friend didn’t mean ANYTHING by the comment.  I know in my logical mind that there wasn’t anything meant by it.  I was upset but didn’t want to be.  I found myself thinking “I shouldn’t have to be understanding.  I lost my son.  You should be watching what you are saying.  You should be aware of who you are talking to.  I am Owen’s mom.  My son just died a month a half ago.”

It was that easy and I was set off.  I didn’t want to be bothered.  I couldn’t talk nicely to anyone.  I got home after running a few more errands and went right down to the basement to wrap Jaden’s birthday presents.  I am a beast right now.  I can pretty much promise you that anything you say to me right now would be wrong.

I still want there to be someone who has the magic words that would calm my soul.  Yeah I know… Pray to God.  He’ll know what to do.  Honestly?  I want someone who I can physically see and touch to comfort me.  I want a real hug.  Wouldn’t it be so amazing if you could actually hug God?  How much comfort would that offer those who are suffering?

I can hear Doug’s footsteps upstairs and he’s closing down the house.  I know that when I go upstairs, the lights will be off, the tv shut down and he’ll be in bed.  I made it perfectly clear that I wanted to be alone down here.  Yet I sit here upset because he didn’t try to make nice for the 5,592 time.  I don’t blame him, yet I want him to be the one with the magic words to make it all ok.

We both are greiving so differently.  Everyone warned me of this, and I understood it.  But honestly … it sucks!  We were so alligned in the hospital.  Every decision came with ease.  We almost read each other’s minds at times.  And now in real life we miss each other often.  He goes left and I am so far right.  I want to talk about it, he’s looking for a quiet night.  I’m angry about it and he’s at peace.  I don’t want to talk about it and he wants to show me picture after picture.  Where is our unity?  How are we both the parents of Owen but be in such different paths?  I think it’s hardest because no one else in this entire world knows what it’s like to lose Owen as a son.  Doug is the only one.  Yet, we can’t relate to each other lately.  I’m so alone in this.  Not a single solitary soul can relate.  Doug and I are both parents.  But I am mom and he is dad.  Even if he does know what’s it’s like, I can’t understand why he would do the things that he does.  I find myself thinking “if he knew, he would be doing this.”  Like I know what’s best for me AND him.  Who am I to say what is right?  There is nothing “right” about a 6 month old baby boy dying.  This whole process is wrong by it’s very nature.

I know God is here.  I know he’s with me and hears my prayers.  But sometimes you just need a human.  Another physical face, arms wrapped around you, a shared glass of wine. Something tangible as a reminder that you can do this.  I hold the cross that was hung in Owen’s casket.  I sleep with the same tie blanket I did in the hospital.  (thank you Kate!)  That’s right, I’m a 27 year old that has a security blanket.  But it helps me sleep.  I can stop thinking for long enough to fall asleep when I’m cuddling with the blanket.  The physical softeness of the fleece on my face is a constant reminder of Owen, so I can let my mind rest long enough to sleep.  Again, needing something physical to ease my emotional pain.

Is there a physical in heaven?  Is the sense of touch only an earthly thing?  Will we have the sense of sight or taste?  What is it like to be a pure soul?  So many questions errupt as I think.  What is heaven like?  I’m a mother who has no idea where her son is.  I can say “Jaden is alseep in bed.”  I can picture him in his bed.  I know where he is.  “Owen is at the doctor.”  I can picture the room and the table, even if I’ve never been there before.  I can at least imagine or make up a picture of what it looks like.  Sort of like when you are reading a book.  You have pictures of faces of how each character looks.  But with Owen?  I have no clue.  The thought of white robes, halos and golden streets are common.  It’s all Hollywood – smoke and mirrors.  What does the Bible say?  What does the actual, physical word of God say that heaven is like?

I’ve looked some stuff up.  Nothing seems to quench my thirst.  I still can’t picture what Owen is doing or what he now looks like.  His face is forever frozen in time.  He’ll stay his chubby baby face forever while his brothers will grow up.  On graduation day?  He’s still be 6 months old.  Forever frozen in time.  Physically frozen I guess.  But his story lives in.  He’s more alive today than he was on May 20th.  More people know him now than ever before.  It makes no logical sense.  Death is perplexing and confusing.  It’s like artist’s paintings are worth more when they are dead.  Orange means more now than it did when Owen was alive.

So I muddle through the days.  Some are strong and steady.  Others start out good and end terrible or visa versa.  I have my first grief counseling appointment tomorrow.  I didn’t want to do it tomorrow since it’s Jaden’s birthday.  But it was either tomorrow or August 6th. Really?  I’m sure it’ll be a bunch of introductory questions.  Do you have siblings?  How long have you and Doug been married?  But it’s a start.  A step to recovery.  Whatever that is …

Love, Mel


  1. I wish i could come and hug you, i would squeeze you tight, and although i may not have the right words for you i would let you cry on my shoulder! You know what I picture Owen doing? I picture him playing with all the other children, riding on lions backs in the streets of gold. I imagine him sitting on Gods knee while He tells him stories, and sings songs. I would think Owen can walk and run, playing in the clouds. I picture Owen laughing and happy, as a baby should be. Words can not take your pain, but just know my thoughts and prayers are always with you!

  2. I only wish you all healing. There is no right, or wrong. There is only you, and I can only offer words. I have never been in your shoes, and I know I would never show the strength you have. God bless you and your family.

  3. I think Jamie has it right! If you have a chance, please read “Heaven is for Real” because it’s from the viewpoint of a 3 year old that was actually in Heaven for a short time. And he describes it exactly like Jamie does. Praying for comfort for you.

    • After reading many many suggestions from readers about the book “Heaven Is For Real” I decided to hunt it down myself and read it. Can you believe I was 60th on the hold list (with over 20 copies in circulation) at our local library? Lucky for me when I went to visit my family in Utah I was talking to my mom about it and she had just purchased it from Costco. I set out to read it and couldn’t put it down (I even took it to my families big 4th of July BBQ…my husband called me “unsocial”). I liked it so much (and truly believe in it’s sincerity) that my mom gave me her copy and bought another one.

      It is an AMAZING book Mel. You should read it for sure. If you cant find a copy let me know. I will send you mine. You can have it. SERIOUSLY!

      Still praying for you.

      Love, the other Mel

  4. Mel,
    I wish I could hug u tight right now. I think Owen is a very happy chunky monkey up in heaven. Defenitely being taken care of by god, and those others who see his precious little face will defenitely run to him and hug him and make sure he is the most comfortable there. God bless u and your family Mel, take it one day at a time. I hope your group meet goes very well.

  5. Hi Mel,
    I’ve been meaning to write for a long time now, but never could find the right words. I know of your story from my online mom’s group – someone you went to high school with shared the link, and I’ve been reading ever since. To say “I’m sorry for your loss” seems trite. But I am very sorry.

    I have a daughter, and we head to the library weekly, and read nightly. We were going thru her books, and she says “How about this one? it looks nice!” Well, I hardly got thru the darn thing without bawling, thinking of your little Owen the entire time. If I was your friend in real life, I’d get a copy of it, and wrap it up with some Killer Brownies from this fancy grocer we have here in Mpls. And I’d leave it on your step tied to an orange balloon.
    Since I’m not, I’ll leave you with the link to this book. It’s just a simple story about a little sheep. With an orange balloon. And some crazy dreams.

    Thank you for sharing your Owen with us. A big hug to your whole family.

  6. Mel, I know God is there for you, and I pray that He places another ‘human’ in your path, who can give you the hugs and comfort you desire. I pray that your counselling session will help you – I know that counselling for me in the past 12 months have made some big changes in my life. It is hard when we yearn for the comfort from our partner, but they are in a different time/space; I would guess that Doug would have similar feelings to yours, except that they may occur at different times. While the boys must be a great source of comfort to you, they are also a constant reminder of what is missing, and this must surely be the hardest thing to deal with. Try to be kind to yourself through your grieving; you and only you can truly know what you are going through, but I know that many cyber hugs are heading your way today. The love that you have for Owen will never die; it will be that love that will see you through this dark valley. God bless.

  7. Mel-I wish I could give you a big hug right now. I don’t know what you’re going through personally, but I still wish I could help you in some way. Sending virtual & mental (((hugs))) your way today.

  8. Know only that I wish to help, and know I will understand if the words I write here are not what you want to hear and if you need to, tell me in full blown detail, just how off the mark I am, but I have been reading your story and feel that now is the time for me to reach out-
    my loss story is on of sudden no warning loss, and he was just gone. Sibilings left behind with me to mother, a partner who took a very tranquil position on the loss, and I was, and to some extent, still am, an irritated, calm, raging, peaceful mom who lost a child. Years later, which is where I am now, and I can be honest, reading your story is like reliving the past- the exception is I did not have a blog then, and one of the first things I would urge you to do is keep blogging everything that comes to mind every emotion, every impulse, in my journey, the hardest part was having this feeling like I had to apologize for my raw unguarded, raging at G-d emotions, because the in person humans, while making for the best hugs, are not without feelings, and the blog? It is a cup for you to fill, no judgements, no bias, it is you, in the moment, and requires no explaination, no apologies, just you.
    My journey can be summed up now, after these years by 2 specific concepts that I embrace with role of mother- fighter and educator. I fight for my children, mommy bear, and the loss hit me in that status like a shot to my heart. The anger I felt at G-d paled in comparison to the anger I felt at my “failure” which even in quotes this many years later, still feels real in a way. As one who wishes to educate my children in the ways of spirituality and G-d and wonders and miracles, I needed to understand why I lost my child, and then explain it to my children. That quest, in time, led me to finally admit to myself that I did not know now, and could not say exactly why, I could tell my children possible reasons, tell myself too, but in the end, I knew in my heart that the reason for the loss was going to remain undefined for my lifetime, and that I had to come to terms with that, or lose my mind trying. My partner tried to understand, but our personality differences really showed themselves in the years following our loss, his acceptance made me feel he “forgot” our child, his need to move on seemed to mock the feelings I had, and I found myself saying things like “YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND I CARRIED THAT BABY, I KNEW WHEN HE HAD THE HICCUPS, FELT HIM MOVE. . .HE WAS MINE BEFORE HE WAS YOURS!” and other very mom specific things, because his acceptance made me think I had to grieve enough for the both of us since he wasn’t doing it enough. . .
    I will end with this- “Love rules the camp, the court, the grove- for love is Heaven, and Heaven is Love- Lord Byron

    I am thinking of you- Michele

  9. Mel,
    Your words are so very powerful, so filled with love and anguish at the same time. Your description of grief is what a mother feels but cannot speak. Your words are universal for us moms who have had to relinquish our child to heaven. You are writing what I can’t put down into words. What I could not express 17 years ago when I tried to envision my son in heaven. I was lucky to see my son to his 18th birthday, but that was not enough for me. I hope you continue to share with others. Your sharing is healing for other mothers. Your sharing is so powerful that it is helping an old seasoned griever like me to continue to heal after 17 years. My feelings were real and you have validated them. Owen touches the living world through you. Hugs and thanks to you Mel and may you feel Owen and God hugging you as well.

  10. Hi Mel,

    My heart breaks for you every time I read your posts. I wanted to tell you about a book I’m reading that someone else mentioned on your blog a while back. It’s called Heaven is For Real, and it’s about a little boy (almost 4 years old) who “died for a little while” after his appendix burst. The book is written by his dad, a pastor, who ecounts the amazing stories his son told him about his brief visit to heaven. Colton says when he was in the operating room, he went “up and out of his body” and he could see his parents praying in the other room. He said Jeasus held him in his lap and Jeasus had “really nice eyes”. He also said Jesus has a rainbow horse, and that he saw a lot of other people and kids in heaven, including his grandfather. I would highly reommend this book, although the part about Colton being sick might be hard for you to read. But it does give you a little window into where Owen is now, so you have something to picture. 🙂

    Jennifer Powell

  11. My comment did not post in its entirety- Mel, what I was trying to say is that what is now is the process of making a life with your son in a different place, in a sense a new world that is without firm set rules and expectations, except those that belonged in the world we once knew. Some can fit into the new existance with resign, some need more time. We grieve in different ways, and all that you have expressed is a part of taking your place, along with all who love you, into that new sense of being- of all the descriptions of Heaven I have heard, the quote I will end with is Lord Byron- and that quote seems to resonate- of all the descriptions of Heaven, love is a word that seems to always be a part of it, loved ones, loving peace, loving presence- love is an integral part of Heaven.

  12. Dear mel ,
    Grief counceling is a start, good luck ! Nothing will help overnite though, no quick fixes for this part in your life, sorry for that ! We all think and offer prayers but I’m sure everyone wishes they could give you a comforting big hug right now ! Happy birthday to jaden tomorrow ! Enjoy his celebration of life. Hugs and prayers, Sher

  13. Good luck tomorrow! You gotta start somewhere right? And I wish Jaden a very happy birthday, all the way from Norway!
    Great hugs from me, to you

  14. [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LHBmoJiIfUE&w=560&h=349%5D

    don’t know if this will work or not, but here is an interview with the Burpo family. The one from the book Heaven is For Real. I have also read it, I was reading it when I discovered your blog just before Owen died. I agree it may be difficult for you to read, as Colton came back and Owen did not, but I pray that when you are ready you will find comfort in the visions that Colton describes. Take your time, and grieve – you do deserve to grieve…i too am sending virtual hugs and a virtual glass of my very best wine!

  15. Hi Mel,
    You don’t know me but I have been following your blog for a few months now. I heard about your blog from Sarah Bakkum. I got something in my email this week that made me think of you guys and had to share this with you. It is a promo for summer that Snapfish.com (the photo website) is doing. Every week they have a photo contest and this weeks featured color is orange. Here is the link if you’d like to check it out: http://summer.snapfish.com/
    I think of you, Owen, and your family and wish you all well. I am originally from Milwaukee and every time I go back to visit I look around for Orange or for you and your family. Just to let you guys know you are thought of and Owen is remembered everywhere as well.



  16. Thank you for your posts. I feel so much of what you are feeling right now. My son passed away on April 1st, He was 33 days old. I have 3 older children and they are the only thing that keeps me going right now. I wish I had more answers about heaven and what our sons are doing right now. It’s so not fair that we don’t at least have that. I’m not very good at putting my feelings into words but reading your posts helps me to put into words what I am feeling. I know that there is absolutely nothing that I can say that will make you feel any better. I wish there was. I’m always waiting for someone to say something that will miraculously make me feel better, but I know that’s not going to happen. Thank you again for sharing your feelings. For me it helps to know that other people are feeling the same things as me and that I’m not alone. Sending big virtual HUGS your way.

  17. I wish we were closer to one another. I would hug you. I would try to help ease the pain although I know deep down that that isn’t something I can do. I do pray for you, and I feel like I can answer almost all of the questions you asked. I am a very faithful person, and I have a religion that I believe in. I don’t just think it might be true…. I know it is. My thoughts on the matter are simply this…. even if it isn’t true it provides hope and an image to hold onto.

    I can tell you a few of the basics. If you are interested in learning more you can contact me…. You WILL see Owen again! He will have a physical body again. Owen was PERFECT, and God needed him to return home. That is why a 6 month old baby boy died. YOU were chosen to be the mom of a perfect child!! Owen will not be frozen in time!! He will continue to live on. We believe life after death is very similar to life here. There are just different areas in which people live based on how “worthy” (for lack of a better word) they are.

    There are times when I struggle with whether or not these things are true, but everything in my heart and my mind tells me they are. It just makes sense. If you believe in God, and you believe he created this world…. It has to be true. Would he go through all this trouble for us to be “alive” for such a short time?? If you were “The Father of all” Would you create a plan that only allowed them to live on this Earth?? I know that I would want my children to have better than this. This is why I believe that our “Parent” does too!!

    Sorry if you find this offensive in anyway, but I say it to help. Hopefully it does!

    Praying for you as always!

  18. Life Everlasting by Dwayne Crowther it is out of print but I am sure you could find it on Amazon. You are in my prayers

  19. If I could give you a hug right now, i would! I could use one right back….I understand the alone part of things. I truly am alone! Its the little things that bring a sparkle to my eye and a smirk on my face….I LOVE how you say triplets, and I don’t know why. My heart aches for you. I miss my little man as well…he’d almost be 1 year old…

  20. You are one amazing lady. Just hang in there. Take it one step at a time.

    Don’t worry about Owen. He is happy! He is whole! He is with his Father in Heaven and Jesus, watching over you and your family.

    Use this tragedy to strengthen your family. Even though you and your husband mourn in different ways, you both loved Owen and love each other. Be sensitive to one anothers’ needs and talk about it. Be open and free about it. Comfort each other. Love each other.

    Love your children with all that you have in you. Allow them to mourn and grieve as well. Teach them of their Heavenly Father’s love for them and for Owen.

    Good will come of this.

    It already has.

    And someday…you WILL be with Owen again. I know it!

  21. as someone said ,you should really read this book heaven is for real ,i lost my 2 babies and reading this made me feel so much better and gave me piece ,as for sleeping with his blanket ,i slept with both my son’s blanket it give you piece and comfort nobody understands if you ever need to talk i am keli2829@yahoo.com

  22. I truly don’t know what to say. I just wanted to let you know I am reading your blog today and catching up to learn about you and your amazing story and I am crying and laughing and just wishing I was hearing all of this from you rather than reading it as I sit several states away. I’m at a loss. Speechless is not common for me! I am so thankful you have chosen to share your story and I’m also thankful for your honesty.

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