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10

I remember at my 5th grade graduation they asked us where we saw ourselves in 15 yrs (25 yrs old) and I said married with 2 kids, a house, and a dog. I’m sure I said more but that is the part I remember and only now that I’m 28 do I realize how silly that was and way off! Yes I have 2 kids, a dog, and a fiancé whom I call my husband but it didn’t happen at all how I thought it would and yes, I’m well aware that life doesn’t turn out how you had planned but I at least thought I’d stick to the “traditional order” of things. Get married, enjoy my husband for a year or two, then have a baby, and so on. Instead I found myself not married and pregnant. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t embarrassed and ashamed of myself because I “knew” what other people would think and I was so afraid that I would disappoint them and not live up to their expectations. Once the initial shock wore off I realized that I was so happy, scared out of my senses, but happy. That happiness turned into pure ecstasy the moment I met him, my sweet baby Maxwell. Have you ever had that one moment of clarity when everything makes sense and you know your purpose in life? Well, this was mine. Everything made sense, all of the stars aligned, and I knew at that moment what my purpose was.  I have never been more sure of anything ever in my life and all of the superficial worries I had about what people would think of me completely disappeared. I was his and he was mine and it was always meant to be that way but only now in my moment of clarity did I realize all of this and in that moment he was the only thing I saw and the only thing that mattered. So when I lost him I lost that clarity in its entirety. I wasn’t sure of anything anymore and I questioned everything. I probably shouldn’t have put that in past tense because I still question things and pray for the clarity that I once had.

Emery has been my saving grace. I love watching her grow and taking her all in any chance I get. She is such a happy baby and she makes me so happy. I stare at her often just wondering what she’s thinking and in utter disbelief that I was so fortunate to be blessed with her. Each day, little by little she helps me find my clarity and makes me feel like I was right the first time….my purpose is to be a mother and I was always meant to have Maxwell and Emery. I just wish I got to keep them both and I hate that I can’t change it.  My 10yr old self wasn’t too far off she just wasn’t aware that life could hold such tragedy.

until next time xoxo

FL&R

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Cupcakes

A little over a week ago we had a pitch in at work and I signed up to bring the cupcakes. Easy enough, I like to bake and as long as I follow the instructions it usually turns out delicious. So, I bought all of the ingredients and while I was icing my first batch I started tearing up. All at once I was flooded with sadness and for a split second I thought wow you’re being really hormonal but then it hit me. The last time I had made cupcakes was for Maxwells first birthday. I briefly thought about throwing the cupcake I had in my hands into the wall and watching it either A. Stick to the wall and not even come close to mimicking how I felt or B. Complete destruction of the cupcake, pieces everywhere, which is what I was going for. As you can imagine I went with choice C. Put the cupcake down and call my husbands name. He came into the kitchen and naturally asked what was wrong and I said do you remember the last time I made cupcakes? At first he just starred at me and before I could get the full sentence out he knew. I had bought at least 3 different colors of green dye for the icing because I imagined Maxwells favorite color being green, a perfect beautiful green that he always looked so cute in. Out of all the cupcakes I picked out the 3 that looked perfect to me; one for me, one for  Mark, and one for sweet Maxwell. That was the first time Mark and I had visited Maxwell together since….well you know. So here I was making cupcakes again for someone who wasn’t Maxwell. Not that I was never going to make another cupcake again but I at least thought I would think about it before I just signed up to do it. I had tons of mixed emotions. Firstly, I was ashamed that I didn’t realize before it happened and then overwhelming sadness. Each time I have a trigger it’s as if I lose him all over again. That’s the one thing about triggers, you never see them coming. The things you think will trigger you don’t and then when you least expect it BAM! Once again I was left with a choice, demolish the cupcakes and buy some in the morning on the way to work because no one would know the difference or finish what I started, even if I cry the whole way through it. DEMOLISH……fine, I finished the cupcakes.  I made them, took them to work, and they were all gone by the end of the day.

Who would’ve known something as short and sweet as a cupcake could pack such a devastating blow. Unfortunately as you go through grief there aren’t any side or rear view mirrors to help you see what’s coming or to give you the slightest hint as to how you might react. I suppose I could remain in my bubble and start a daily routine to surround myself with familiar things that I know won’t make me sad or challenge me but then I think of what I would want Maxwell and Emery to do if ever presented with tragedy. I would want them to keep going as hard as it is and make a choice every day to not give up. I would be lying if I said the thought didn’t creep into my mind at least once every other day because continuing to go forward is the challenge, giving up is easy.

until next time xoxo

FL&R

+ - 1 comment

Jan Lucas - Beautiful words Paige. I appreciate your sharing your grief and joy with us.

Chicago

A place that once held so many wonderful memories has been overwritten by one tragic event and I’m not sure if I can ever see it in the same bright light. It used to be the place I went to visit my sister and make some unforgettable memories that I’ve seem to have forgotten. How ironic. As you go through life there are moments that happen that are so pure and perfect that you take a mental picture and promise yourself you’ll never forget; your first kiss, the way he looked at you when he told you he loved you, how his face lite up when you told him you were pregnant, and the smile that overwhelmed his face the first moment he met his baby. There are of course many more examples and sadly the things I promised myself I would always remember I’ve seemed to forgotten and the things I wish I couldn’t remember seem to be crystal clear.

I happened to be in Chicago for my sisters bridal shower when Maxwell passed away and I had yet to go back until last weekend. My sis went into labor and I was forced to make a quick decision, to go or not to go. If it hadn’t been for my husband I probably wouldn’t have gone and then regretted every moment. So, I made the trip with Emery and tried not to let my mind be filled with the obvious. I almost succeeded until we made our way to the hospital where she was delivering. As we drove in to downtown I glanced a hotel and for a second though, huh that looks familiar, but quickly brushed it off. As we are pulling up to park I see it….Lurie Children’s Hospital (just typing that makes me gulp and want to cry because acknowledging that place exists is to acknowledge the tragedy really happened). Trust me, I’ve tried to forget what happened that morning and only focus on how happy he was the night before and remember the way he looked when my sister was holding/dancing with him and how we all laughed in the restaurant about it. I want to remember the little girl that walked over to see the baby and how she used his burp cloth to wipe his mouth off but instead I remember the awful part, from 4:45am on, that’s what plays over and over in my mind. Unfortunately you can’t unsee what you’ve seen and what once was a place I made plans to visit often, is now a place I tiptoe around. I pray, every night for Him to only allow me to remember the good, and I laugh even as I type this because I know it will never happen. We are supposed to remember the bad just as much as the good because each interaction and memory can teach us something and allow us perspective that we probably didn’t have before. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to not have this perspective and continue to be blissfully unaware of the awful things that do happen in life. I often fantasize about Maxwell throwing a chicken finger at my head while I’m trying to feed Emery and get both of them fed, cleaned, and in bed. I wanted that chaos. That sweet, loving, angry, exhausting, crazy chaos of having two babies close in age that try your patience at every turn. I wanted that and now I only get to fantasize about it.

Its funny how the things you want to remember, you forget, and the things you want to forget, you remember but if we try hard we can zoom that focus in on the things that truly matter. Chicago isn’t just the place where Maxwell passed, it’s also the place that holds my niece and where I became an Aunt for the first time. The happy memories are what I will try and hold on to while accepting the bad ones that come into view.

until next time xoxo

FL&R

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Immunity

It’s  a fine line between the things you’re immune to and the things you THOUGHT you were immune to. For example, I thought I was immune to chicken pox. I have never had them and I had the shot for them, so one would conclude, I’m immune to chicken pox. Right? We’ll it turns out when I was pregnant with Maxwell I wasn’t immune to chicken pox, so after I had him and was finished nursing I received the other shot that eventually made me immune to them (we shall see).

So, last week I received a text that Carol, our grief share counselor had lost her battle to cancer and my first thought was how jealous I was. Jealous that she would finally get to be with her son again, and ask him why. That awful looming question that most of us ask ourselves every day and rarely get an answer, at least not the answer we want. What a great first feeling to have about a lost loved one huh? A person who helped Mark and I thru such a dark time, and made me feel better about wanting to know why and here I was feeling jealous. Of course I was sad but that came after the jealousy and the guilt I felt for feeling that (yes, guilt is a reoccurring theme). While at her showing I met a lady who was giving Carols’ eulogy and she had also met her through grief share when she had lost her first son. Yes, you heard me right, her first son. She lost him when he was 19 and recently lost her 2nd son, 29, to the flu. After those words came out of her mouth, it was as if my whole world stopped for the second time. Immediate anxiety- sweaty palms, shortness of breath, wanted to just fall to the ground in defeat because there it was that immunity I THOUGHT I had, gone, just like that. Maybe it was my brains way of  protecting itself? I don’t know, but how silly for me to think I would be immune to something so uncontrollable? A force bigger than me, as if I were Father Time and I get to choose who, what, when, where, and how. How utterly silly of me. I should know better than that. My life experience alone has taught me better than that. So there it is, the one thing I thought never had to be communicated because it was understood, immunity to tragedy. Then I woke up and realized, I’m not on Survivor. I don’t get to play my idol to save myself or my loved ones. This is life and we all get called home at some point and none of us gets to choose when but the one thing you do have control over is how you’re going to live the day you are given. So what will your choice be? Because we all still have today.

until next time xoxo

FL&R

+ - 1 comment

Nan Davis - Hi Paige, you are a beautiful, strong young woman! I pray this blog and your life journey will bring you riches that are both emotionally and monetarily. Life is a lesson every step that we take, some steps we can take together. So proud of my friend and her many accomplishments. Maxwell and Emery to name just a couple 🙂 Much luck with your additional blogs, is that what I call them? I look forward to reading more! Under your welcome on the right for IM, you forgot to include Friend along with mommy, sister, blogger. Love ya, Nan

Bittersweet

Most of my days tend to have this never ending theme and I’m beginning to grow accustomed to it. Today was Emery’s 4 month check up (inner fist pump bc we made it) and it went great!!! What I realized at that checkup is I’ve been “holding” my breath, my whole body filled with nerves, and today I released it. Not all of it but a lot of it. I knew I was counting down to 4 months because in my mind I knew that’s all the time I was going to be given with my beautiful baby before she was taken from me, like Maxwell. Now that I’ve reached the 4 month mark I’m so relieved and still nervous. I’m a “new” mom in some ways because I don’t know what lies beyond this point in terms of getting to watch my baby grow but the one thing I do know is that I’m beyond excited and blessed to get to watch my sweet Emery grow every day. I can’t explain how jubilant (because happy doesn’t touch it) I feel inside when I get to wake up to her sweet voice, even if she’s crying, because I know I get one more day. My therapist continues to remind me that’s all any of us have, is today. My rebuttal to this is I unfortunately am no longer blissfully unaware of what can and does happen in life. For me it was always something that happened to someone who knew someone. It never happened close to home…until it happened to me. I felt like throwing Emery a 4 month birthday party because that’s how excited I was to make it to this point; that’s the sweet part. The bitter part is that Maxwell never got the chance to grow and reach milestones and that makes me so sad, for him and for me. Everyday I feel pure joy watching Emery grow and getting to cuddle and hold her close but I also feel sadness because I miss my Maxwell. I miss what he doesn’t get to do/experience. Everyday is bittersweet and I feel myself being pulled in 2 different directions. Happiness for Emery, sadness for Maxwell and guilt for feeling both.
Today the sweetness takes the lead. I’m over the moon to know I get another day with my sweet Emery and I will not take that for granted. I guess that is one of the positives….I was given perspective. Perspective of how short and sweet life truly is and that in turn makes me cherish the moments and days I do get.
Bare with me while I get this blog thing down. 🙂 Until next time xoxo

FL&R

+ - 5 comments

Courtney - This is so well written! I really felt the words I was reading. 🙂 I can’t wait to read more about how Emery is growing and how you grow as her mommy. Maxwell smiles down on you every day! XOXO love you.

Kelly - I love that you are keeping a blog now. And congrats to Emery for making it to the 4month mark! I know it’s been a challenge for you but she is living for herself and for you and likely Maxwell is living through her. I like to think that if it weren’t for Maxwell departing so soon, you may not have been blessed with Emery in which case knowing her now and loving her the way you do, imagine never having her.. It’s not a fun thought! Not to say that having Maxwell still is a trade off but to put into perspective the love and how it’s ok to evenly distribute it while still feeling sad for the loss….. She’s a gift from Maxwell and you deserve every ounce of the sweet to outweigh the bitter. Love you!

Lisa - You are my hero my beautiful amazing sister in law- your courage in the face of such adversity was inspiring and emery , ahhh, sweet emery:)

Sharissa Haq - What an amazing story Paige! Im so sorry for your loss of Maxwell, however Emery is gorgeous and lucky to have you and your husband for parents! I can tell by your blog that you are still that same sweet, caring, loving person that I had the benefit of knowing throughout our grade school years! I hope you will continue to write your blog and hope to see you at the 10yr high school reunion later this year!

Jan Lucas - Beautifully written Paige. Keeping writing and I will keep reading.