Tuesday, May 29, 2012

a memorable day

Yesterday was Memorial Day. We've never done much on Memorial Day except enjoy a day off work and BBQ with family. This Memorial Day was so very different for me. Truly a day to honor those who have passed, and for me to remember my dear in-laws and my beautiful baby girl. Yesterday was a good day. One of the better ones. I did a lot of thinking and I felt a little more at peace.

This past week has been the hardest one so far. People told me that it would be, that as everyone went back to their normal lives that I would struggle because my life would seem like it was over. And it does. I makes me upset that I can't wake up and smile. Every morning I have to remind myself that Quincy is gone and that I have to make it through just one more day without her. I know it's important to keep busy and I went back to work a few days but I didn't make it the whole week. I couldn't. I have cried and mourned and ached so intensly for my little Q. I never could have imagined so much pain. I have always thought of myself as a pretty strong person, but losing Quincy has really tested me. I have never felt so weak and vulnerable. I have had so many emotions of grief and sorrow mixed with feelings of gratitude for the overwhelming support of friends and family and the valley we live in. The community has been amazing and the love and prayers have been felt and appreciated. I know that is the only way I am able to keep going.

Today I made it through another day at work. I didn't cry all the way there and back. I felt kind of brave. I visited the cemetery once more at lunchtime and shed a few tears for her but have felt added strength as I continued to focus on how much I have already learned and how much I have grown these past few weeks.

I've been told that we pick our challenges when we chose to come to this earth. I'm sure it's not doctrine, just something someone imagined. I don't like to think that I signed up for this. I can't imagine going through anything worse on this earth than losing a child. I like to think that I signed up for this earthly test and agreed that I would trust the Lord that he would help me through whatever challenges came my way. I had no idea this would be one of my challenges. Nothing can prepare you for losing your child. I have always said, I would rather not have children than have one and lose them. I never wanted to hurt this bad. I never wanted to live with this pain. But yesterday as I thought about my darling little doll and not ever having her in our lives, my perspective changed. She was our little miracle from the start. We didn't know if we would be able to have children and when we did we felt so lucky, so blessed. And as I thought about her yesterday and the 20 months we had with her, I wouldn't have changed it for anything. She was the world to Brady and I and I feel like I am a better person and will be a better mother because I knew her. She taught me how to be a mom. She taught me how to put someone elses needs before my own. She taught me how to let go and be playful and carefree. She taught me how to be organized as well as how to be simple. She taught me how to work on someone elses schedule and go with the flow. And mostly she taught me how to love unconditionally. Now that she is gone I feel like she contiues to teach me. She is teaching me how to be strong. How to draw closer to Christ. How to serve Brady and love and appreciate him more. How to find peace amongst turmoil. How to trust and obey. She is still teaching me how to be a better person. I am so blessed to have had her and I will always be blessed to have known her.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

month 21


Sunday you would have been 21 months old. And this week I am 21 weeks pregnant with your little brother. A small coincidence that makes me smile. I know you will never read these letters now and this may or may not be my last, but I didn't want to forget that last day I had with you that replays so vividly in my head. This letter is for me.

The very last day I spent with you was wonderful. It was a Thursday, my favorite day of the week because I got to be home with you. We woke you up earlier than you are used to because we were going to the hospital to get the much anticipated ultrasound of the new baby. Like always you grabbed your baby and your softie as we loaded you in the car. We had talked to you lots about having a baby and were so excited for you to be a big sister. Although I know you didn't fully understand, you were excited, telling everyone that daddy was having a baby. That made me smile. I used to wish that was true, that he could carry the baby this time, but now I am ever grateful to have the precious life inside me. You were such a good girl to sit on daddys lap while we anxiously got a peak at our new bundle. We had asked you all along if the baby was a boy or girl and you always said boy. We were so happy that you were right as we were hoping for you to have a brother. I had my girl and Brady longed for his boy. I now look back and think that you knew, you knew your little brother was coming and that we were going to need him so much more than we ever imagined.

The rest of that day was spent running errands. Just you and me. Just the way we liked it. You were my best friend and since daddy works so hard to support us, you and I got to spend a lot of time together. We were getting ready for our Moab trip which we had been planning for months and so you and I had a lot to pull together. We went to Target to find some summer clothes that fit my ever growing belly. You got to pick out a toy and you chose a yellow duck watering can and 3 headbands, which you wore all at the same time. We also picked out a new outfit for your brother just because we could. You were a little pest in the store and kept throwing everything in the cart out onto the floor and than crying that it was on the floor. I was very patient with you which now I am thankful for. But you in turn were very patient with me as I tried on pair after pair of pants trying to find the right one. You laid on the bench in the dressing room watching Bubble Guppies on my phone and making faces at yourself and laughing in the mirror. I don't know if I'll be able to use that Target dressing room for a while.

After Target we went to the mall so I could get some new bras. I took you in Victorias Secret and I post this although its a bit embarassing for me, because it's one of my favorite things I remember about that day. I was trying on new bras, trying to find the one for me and the very helpful lady brought me a new one. You were sitting so patiently in your green stroller and looked at me and said with a little giggle, "You getting new boobies? Mommy got new boobies?" I can still hear the tone in your voice and remember the absolute joy that I felt as I looked at you and laughed, a bit embarassed as I'm sure everyone else in the dressing room heard, but I didn't care. I loved you so much.

As we left the mall I called your dad to let him know we were on our way home but that I was going to stop and get you some chicken and fries from Wendys. You LOVED chicken nuggets and fries and didn't get them often but had asked for them. We hadn't even pulled out of the mall parking lot before I noticed you had fallen to sleep. I looked at you in the rear view mirror a long time feeling so thankful you were mine. So cute and so perfect and so happy. So loved. I remember a lot of details about this day. Maybe somehow deep down I knew it would be my last.

As we got home I laid you down for a nap, hoping that you would sleep longer than the 30 minute drive home. You were quiet for about 10 minutes before I heard banging. I quietly opened your door to check on you and you were sitting up in your crib and smiled and said "All done". You had tricked me, you hadn't been sleeping at all, but had gotten into the bookshelf next to your crib and had puzzles all over and were dropping the pieces behind the crib. We found various things between the crib and the wall. You must have thought it was a good hiding place.
I got you up and fed you lunch, not your chicken and fries, but a PB&J sandwich and some chips. You were such a good girl and such a good eater and I will so badly miss making your meals and eating mine cold. I would often do the dishes while you finished your dinner and since you sat right accross from the sink you always wanted to play with the bubbles. You would hold out your hand and I would dab a blob of bubbles on it and you would giggle than act as if they were yucky and shake your hand to get them off. I would tell you to wipe them on your bib and you did as you promptly asked for more.

We spent the rest of the day packing bags and cutting fruit, you were by my side the whole day. I think you emptied every bucket of toys you had in your room that day. It was a bigger mess than it had ever been. And even though you didn't get much of a nap you were a doll. You were so happy and pleasant and I enjoyed every minute with you. That night you were going to stay the night with your Aunt Amy which you were very excited about. You loved her so much. The rest of the weekend you were staying with your Grandma and Grandpa Draper while daddy and I went on our trip. That night daddy went to load the jeep up and I got you bathed and ready for bed. I debated on wether I should bath you or let Amy do it and I am grateful I took that time with you. Bath time was something I looked forward to with you. You hated your hair washed and it was a time for me to show you that I wouldn't let anything happen to you, that I would be so careful not to get water in your face. The way you looked up at me with trusting eyes was a wonderful mother moment. After every bath I wrapped you in your towel and we cuddled. Always we cuddled, no matter how late it was or how much of a hurry we were in, we cuddled. I always stood in front of the mirror with my back to it so you could see your beautiful face. I lotioned you and clipped your finger and toe nails, helped you brush your teeth and put in your favorite dog jammies you got for Christmas.

Then we took you to Amys. You ran around her driveway playing with her dogs in your jammies and purple crocks. You had us all laughing as you were being silly and showing off. I still remember hugging you goodbye, the smell of the lotion and your hair a little damp from your bath. I kissed you and told you I loved you, never imagining it would be my last. If I had known I would have never let you go.

Quincy, you were such a joy. Just as every post I ever wrote about you said, you were and still are everything to your dad and I. Everything we did was for you. We lived every day and every minute for you and we still will. We now just do it differently. We will no longer feed you and wash you and play with you, but we will think of you and cherish you and pray for you, that we will still feel that undescribable love that we have always felt for you. We now must take care of ourselves so that we may once again pick up where we left off, 2 weeks shy of 21 months. I can't wait for the day.

Love you lots.

Sunday, May 20, 2012


I ended my last post to Quincy with the words, We couldn't imagine our lives without you. Two weeks ago today our lives were shattered. I remember it as if it were happening now. Sunday May 6th we were on our way home from an enjoyable vacation with great friends, our first trip without our beautiful darling Quincy. We got a text from a friend wondering where we were and he told us there was an bad accident in Provo canyon. We were just getting to the canyon and decided to keep going. We passed two ambulances and saw life flight and the terrible thought hit me as I said out loud, Wouldn't that be horrible if that was our family? We knew Val and Kathy were on their way up the canyon from a baby blessing to meet up with us to pick up Quincy. Brady quickly dismissed the thought saying that was a horrible thing to think.

About 5 minutes later we got the phone call that no one wants. A horrible accident, head on collision, life flight, one dead. I remember Brady's face as he asked, Was my daughter in the car? and the pain in his eyes and he asked, How is she? I knew it wasn't good as he closed his eyes in pain and put his head back on the seat. My heart sunk. My heart stopped. This wasn't happening, not to us. Speeding to the hospital and passing the horrific scene of the accident I saw my sweet angels car seat on the side of the road, fear flooding through me of the unknown. An image I will never forget. So hard we worked to get this little one here to this earth, an answer to so many prayers. She'll be ok, is what everyone kept telling me. And I believed it.We got to the hospital to find that Kathy had already passed and Q was being loaded into a helicopter to be transported to Primary Children's Hospital. We had just a few quick moments to see her and kiss her and give her a blessing. I was so horrified I didn't even hear a word that was said but was so grateful for that brief moment we had to bless our sweet baby girl.

The next 24 hours were the most tragic, exhausting and horrifying moments of our lives. We spent hours in silent waiting rooms, waiting for news that we didn't want to hear. During that time Brady's father Val also passed away. Something we were somewhat grateful for. He wouldn't have wanted to be without his dear wife Kathy. Our bishopric was at the hospital with us and gave Brady and I blessings before the doctor came in and I knew at that time that Quincy wasn't going to make it. The blessings focused on The Plan of Salvation and blessings that come from tragedies and that Brady and I would make it through this. Those were not the words I wanted to hear. I prayed and I pleaded and I begged with my Father to save my sweet baby girl. I knew He could do it, He wouldn't take all three. Not my baby too. But I wasn't surprised when the doctor came in with the worst news possible, the blessings had prepared us for this. Our sweet little girl was alive, but only because of the machines. Her skull and spine had been separated resulting in massive swelling of the brain, therefore leaving her brain dead. We were left with a choice. How long do we prolong this. When do we let her go. We made the hardest decision a parent should never have to make, to let her spirit free of her broken body. She looked so perfect lying in that bed, not a bruise or a scrape on her tiny, fragile little body.

As I cradled her in my arms for that last hour of her life, an honor my wonderful husband let me have, I couldn't believe this was happening to us. This was the one challenge on this earth I always said I could never overcome. Amongst all the sorrow and tears as I watched the life slip from her body I felt we had made the right decision and there was peace in that room. A peace that everything will be ok. A peace that we will see our darling little spitfire again someday. I have always known this, but it is a knowledge I now treasure more dearly.

As the next week came and went in a blur and funerals were planned, somehow I was ok. We were surrounded by family and friends and there was laughter and reminiscing and I felt like everything was going to be just fine. The triple viewing and funeral went beautifully and the support from family, friends and the community was and has been overwhelming. I cannot believe how much everyone has rallied together for our family. It truly is unbelievable. The love and prayers have been felt and I will never be able to repay everyone for their kindness.

But today, two weeks later, I am hurting. I am not ok. To be in this home without my beautiful baby is just what I never wanted to imagine. I am so horribly sad that I am physically sick and in pain. I wake up every morning realizing this is my reality and I'm not ok with it. I needed that girl so much more than she needed me. She kept me going day to day. Her perfect, flawless spirit was so strong and so alive that I feel dead without her here. I read about people who have lost children and they seem so strong, but I feel so weak. I need her. But as I sit here and write this, feeling so lonely and so broken, I realize that I do still have her. She will never leave me. I may not be able to kiss and hug her and dress and bath and feed her, the things about her that I know and love, but I can feel her. And maybe that's what I need more. I know that we are not in charge of this life and that I will somehow make it through this, but it seems impossible right now as I am buried in my sorrow. I know the only way I will ever make it through is to turn to the Lord, to let him carry me, which is not always easy to do as I am hurting and angry.

I received a beautifully comforting letter in the mail from our beloved Prophet Thomas S. Monson. In it he expressed his and Sister Monson's sorrow for our losses and counseled me to remember these words; "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths" (Proverbs 3:5-6) These are the words I need to remember. I don't understand why this has happened, why a beautiful happy little girl was taken away from a family that loved and adored her, along with two kind, loving, wonderful parents. I need to remember that I don't need to understand. I just need to trust.

"I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you...Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth, give I unto you" (John 14:18, 27)