Friday, October 12, 2012

Day 11, Capturing My Grief

 Day 11, Supportive Friends and Family

This is my family--Carpenter's family.  I cannot say enough wonderful things about them.  

My parents flew home from New Mexico the minute they heard about Carpenter, and brought him a beautiful rosary that sits on my desk now.  There's a tree planted in their yard, and my father comments on how he thinks of Carpenter whenever he pulls in their driveway.  They are always there for us.  

My brother and sister-in-law dropped everything to rush to the hospital the minute we heard the bad news.  My brother barely left my side the whole time I was there.  He helped us say goodbye one last time.  My sister-in-law seemed to run the world, making sure I had everything--and everyone--I needed.  She is my best friend.

My niece, the oldest of the cousins, she never--ever--lets me forget about Carpenter for even a day.  I'll never forget how many times she wanted to look at him in his bassinet in the hospital.  She sat on my lap through his baptism and let me cry.  I'm sobbing now just thinking about it.  

My nephew provided excellent comic relief, and insisted everyone stare out the window at the first snowfall my children had ever seen.  Carpenter was born on Liv's first snowfall.  She hasn't seen another one since, I think.  

And my little niece, born two weeks after Carpenter--born on his funeral day--well, she and I are working on it.  She's patiently waiting on me, and I'm growing stronger every day.  But while it was so hard for me to be near her for so long, she gave us something we desperately needed this Spring:  something to hope for.  She was born 11 weeks early, and watching her fight her way through the NICU gave us a light in the distance.  We followed that light slowly out of the horrifying darkness.

There are so many others that were there every step of the way, and I hope that I have told them how much they mean to me.  If not, I promise, I will.  But today, a date is looming in my mind.  Next Sunday would have been Carpenter's baptism into the Church.  Just like Liv and my nephew were baptized together, Carpenter would have been baptized with his newest cousin.  

Always supportive and a true, true friend, my sister-in-law wants to make Carpenter a part of the ceremony nevertheless.  One of the ways she suggested was to add a note on the invitations.  I expected a short comment.  I'll leave you now with what she wrote:
"Eight months ago an angel was born to heaven. While we are recognizing this baptism for E, we would also like to honor our nephew John Carpenter Vorys II who was born with wings just a couple weeks before our Nora’s surprisingly early arrival.

Our oldest daughter C has kept us well informed on how our family up above has been adjusting without us. We have heard stories of Carpenter making friends with former presidents such as George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, as well as enjoying tea parties and cake with our dear Grandma. C recently taught us something we have been so naive to have overseen; This is what we have learned about angels... "Angels come by when we are sleeping and sprinkle sparkle dust on us so we have sweet dreams," said C.

I asked her, "So if we wake up in the morning and remember what a sweet dream we had, what does that mean?"

"That means an angel came by and told us what dream they wanted us to have and the angel sprinkled the sparkle dust on us to make it come true," informed C. "They also give us cloud kisses so when our mommy kisses our cheeks she thinks we have cloud fluff on our cheeks."

She said this to me while hurrying along our bedtime routine in hopes she might see Carpenter that night. Without even realizing her accomplishments, she has reminded us adults a way to keep him close. Carpenter, until we meet again, we love you and we look forward to watching you grow in our dreams.

Your Family

Heaven will hold you before we do and keep you safe until we come home to you.


  1. My nephew was born 6 days after Gavin died and we too are still working on it. We will see him for the very first time at the end of this month at my brother-in-law's wedding. (A wedding that Gavin would have been a part of too.) To feel joy and connect to a child that is so closely matched in both age and relation to your own is unimaginably difficult. <3

    1. You are so right. I hope you are lucky enough to have supportive family in that regard. Not everyone is so lucky. To often I hear people wishing others would understand why it hurts us so badly. Hugs to you...and see you tomorrow!

    2. We have beautiful friends and family that have continued to rally around us and help us honor Gavin in so many beautiful ways. My nephew's parents are not included in that and we have not maintained a relationship with them in any form since Gavin's death. They had a hard time understanding our need for time and distance. I think I may sit at the end of the aisle near a door in the church in case I need a quick exit when my nephew enters I don't think anything can prepare me for the way my heart will feel in that moment.

      It is beautiful that your sister-in-law is so wonderful, understanding and compassionate. If we could all be so lucky! <3

  2. Annie, After following your blog I feel I really know you and Carpenter.The LOVE you and all your extended family share is inspiring. YOU ALL are truly in my heart.Your words ooze with emotion that is soo real and your heart beats with faith and soul. I LOVE YOU,Joan