Sunday, February 27, 2011


I woke up this morning to a winter wonderland.  It looks like we have about five or so centimetres of fresh snow, and it's still coming down in big flakes.  It's a perfect day to curl up at home, and do report cards. It's my least favorite part of teaching.  They take forever to do, and I'm really not sure how useful they are for parents.  I'd rather sit down and talk about their child face to face.  So much more personal.  Michael and I had a great Saturday.  We went for breakfast, and then went shopping for our trip to Cuba. I bought a new bikini, which is a big deal, because I've never worn a two piece before.  I love it!  Michael and I have never been somewhere hot in the winter,  and I have been dreaming about going to Cuba for many years.  It's perfect timing.  I can't believe in two weeks we'll be getting on a plane, and leaving for sunny beaches and mojitos.  When we booked the trip in September, it seemed like time was going so slowly.  My heart was broken, and I felt like life was hopeless.  When January arrived, I thought it would never end.  And now that February is almost over, I can't believe how quickly the time has gone.  Strange how you can live two realities.  In the past few days, I have truly begun to feel hope.  Michael choosing to go on leave has been the best decision.  We've been talking about things besides school, and have had some deep conversations about the past and future.  I've been remembering moments about Luka's life and death,  I had forgotten about.  I was looking at pictures of my pregnancy, and found some beautiful pictures of Seven, our landlord's cat, relaxing with me just before Luka was born.  I remember that moment.  Luka moving in my belly, the evening sun pouring in, and the sereneness of what was to come.  I remember the hope I felt as I walked the hills every day, and the beautiful artwork I created while I was preparing for her birth.  On the second morning of her little life, I remember how hopeful Michael and I were.  She was the most alert and awake, and for a few precious hours, we believed that she was going to be okay and we would be able to bring her home.  At her beautiful memorial, the wind gently picked up out of nowhere as we remembered her gentle spirit.  Hope. The last seven months have been the hardest and most empowering months of my life.  In the past few days I have been feeling a huge shift in energy.  It literally feels like the weight on my soul is being lightened.  On the way home from shopping,  Michael and I were listening to the new album by the Wailing Jennies.  Driving down the highway,  I looked at my handsome husband, and I felt this overwhelming sense that everything we want is about to happen.  I grabbed his hand, and held on. I could feel his love, and his hope for the future.  Cuba is what we've been waiting for.  And it's almost here. 

Sunday, February 20, 2011


It was a beautiful sunny day today with no wind, and I woke up thinking about this time last year.  I was so excited to be in my second trimester, and I was starting to show.  Today Luka would have been seven months old.  How time can fly but also feel so slow.  We went for brunch today, and then I went for a walk with Marie in the sunshine.  It was wonderful to feel the shift of direction in the light, and the anticipation of the warmth of spring. The buds are coming out on some of the trees, and the magnolia blossoms outside my school seem ready to open.  I know it won't be for a little bit longer, but I can feel change in the air.  Change.  That was our theme for the week.  After many a discussion, and some deep soul searching, Michael made the decision to take a leave of absence from his job until the end of the year.  It was a very hard decision.  It was extremely difficult to leave his students, but I know that it is the right choice for him and for our relationship.  He needs more time to heal, and I support him with all my heart.  Our society expects men to get over loss so much more quickly than women.  And because of that I believe many men bury their pain and sadness.  They will work overtime, and run away from their sorrow.  Michael wanted to be a father so deeply, and the loss of his precious daughter has changed him in ways I never knew were possible.  He needs more time to take care of his gentle and beautiful spirit,  and I embrace this change with an open heart.  On Thursday, I told my class that Mr. Florizone was leaving. They all wanted to know why. It's amazing how innocent and curious they are.  I told them that he wasn't feeling well, and he needed some time to get better.  One of the girls said, "He doesn't look sick, so why is he going?"  I was a little reluctant to bring up why, but I believe in not hiding things from my students.  So, I reminded them gently about how I lost a little baby in the summer. They all went silent, but were listening deeply.  I told them a little bit about her and that her name was Luka.  One of the boys whispered. "Luka.  That's a beautiful name," and a bunch of the other students nodded in agreement.  It was a lovely and respectful moment.  I thanked them for listening,  and told them that they could ask about Luka anytime.  I also told them that I hope to have another baby someday.  They all agreed I would.  Then one of the boys said, "Can we talk about something else now?"  I laughed, wiped the tears away, and said, "yes, let's do some Math."  Life goes on,  but I will always remember the precious moment I had with my class, remembering and honouring my little Luka.  I am looking forward to the changes that lie ahead.  It will be nice to have my husband at home, cooking me dinner, and taking care of himself.  I know he will heal, and find a path to peace.  Our little maple tree we received from friends after Luka died, is planted outside our front door.  The buds are slowly starting to come out.  New life.  New hope.  The ever changing cycle of life.  A reminder that out of darkness comes great light.  Heal well, my love.  I know the universe is listening.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


It's an amazing feeling when you have an epiphany.  According to the dictionary,  epiphany is: a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple occurrence or experience.   It has been that kind of weekend.  On Friday night, Michael and I went to a benefit concert in Vancouver, with our friends Michelle and Ashley.  It was a night of great music, and honouring the beautiful life of a young woman who lost her battle to cystic fibrosis last year.  Her name was Eva, and her life and legacy is an inspiration to the world.  After waiting years for a double lung transplant, she received a set of new lungs, only to have her body reject them after two years.  She died in February last year.  She blogged about her life with cystic fibrosis right up to her death.  It is one of the most powerful and life inspiring stories I have ever encountered.  At the intermission, Michael went to get a bottle of water.  Behind the counter was the cardiologist who had treated Luka in the hospital.  He must have been volunteering for this amazing cause.  It was very strange and surreal to see him out of context, and for a minute I questioned if it was truly him.  But, I know it was.  He was the first person to examine and talk to us about Luka.  He was kind and optimistic, not to mention very good looking.  How could I forget?  The concert was amazing.  Wonderful musicians, deep thinking lyrics, and an energy in the theatre that was transformative.  The power of love.  The effect one person can have on so many people.  I couldn't help but think of Luka - the power of her love, and the love we had for her.   On the drive home, talking with Michelle and Ashley,  I realized how much I have grown in the past seven months.  To understand loss, is also to fully experience joy. And the universe keeps reminding me of that. Saturday morning we rolled out of bed, and went to see the acupuncturist.  I went to see her in September to help me heal from my surgery, and it helped enormously.  We're going to see her now to help us get ready for a new pregnancy.  To heal our pain and open our hearts to the process of beginning a new life.  As I lay there with needles in my whole body,  I repeated my mantra in my head, and opened up my body to the universe for healing.  It wasn't until I was at home, soaking in the bath, when my epiphany came to me.  Lately,  I have been in impatient mode.  Wanting everything now.  Buying a beautiful journal and not using it because I am saving it for my next pregnancy.  And I suddenly realized that I need to begin some deep and true healing.  To use my journal as a healing journal. To cleanse my body and prepare it for a new life. To love me.  I need to begin the journey to move forward.  I will continue to remember, love and honour Luka.  Always.  But, this weekend has opened a new chapter in my journey.  To embrace the now, and so that when spring arrives,  I am ready with a healthy body, and a whole heart. 

The following is a link to Eva's blog: 
 and if you're not an organ donor, please register to be one. 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

the odds are in our favour

It was a beautiful sunny day today.  The wind was cold, but the sunshine felt wonderful.  Driving home from school this afternoon I rolled down my window, and felt the fresh air on my face.  Spring is in the air.  Ever so slight, but it's there.  I had to go for a walk this afternoon.  I went and got Sassy and began climbing the hills.  It was my first walk with Sassy by myself since I was pregnant with Luka.  Michael and I usually go together, but he had an appointment.  I used to walk Sassy everyday in the last month before I was due.  While I was walking I would talk to Luka, and tell her how excited we were for her to come, and tell her to go easy on me in labour.  Today I chose to visualize and think about my next pregnancy and birth.  It is so easy to think of the negative and to worry.  There are so many questions that will arise with the next pregnancy.  Should we get genetic testing?  Should we have an amniocentesis? Will I have to have another C section?  Or, do we just trust.  The odds are in our favour, or at least I should hope so.  The geneticists, who are the experts, have basically told us we will not have another Trisomy 18 baby.  But there are all the other worries.  What about miscarriage?  Down syndrome? Will I be able to get pregnant again?  And then I look at Sassy.  She doesn't worry.  She knows that if I throw the stick, she will catch it and bring it back.  She enjoys every moment, and knows that life is meant to be lived.  We can learn so much from a four legged creature.  So as I'm walking, I remind myself of my new mantra - it will happen.  Whenever I have negative and fearful thoughts swirling around in my head,  I repeat my mantra.  And it allows me to think with hope.  I will hold a healthy baby in my arms.  I will have the birth that I want.  It doesn't matter how they are born, I know it will result in a beautiful boy or girl.  Or twins?  I will get pregnant.  I can get pregnant.  At home I cook supper, listening to Amos Lee.  Michael arrives.  We hug in the kitchen and begin to slow dance to the music.  Holding on to him, my heart is full.  In this moment,  there is no one I love more.  Our love has already created our beautiful Luka,  and in my heart I know that when we are ready,  it will happen again.

Sunday, February 6, 2011


I woke up this morning remembering.  The fog is covering the mountain, and I can't see across the valley.  Today it is comforting, wrapping me in a blanket of protection. Lately the memories have been strong and vivid,  like it all happened yesterday.  I go to bed with them, and I wake up with them.  They come to me as I'm teaching, while I'm on the treadmill, and when I'm driving in the car.  Sometimes they make me smile,  but mostly they draw tears to my eyes.  There are days like today, where I allow the memories to flood in and take over my thoughts.  In the book, Because of  Winn Dixie, (which I just recently read to my class), the little girl asks her dad for a list of ten things about her mother so she can remember her.   I've been thinking about those three days in July, and what memories stand out the most, the painful and the beautiful.  I've been avoiding writing them down, because it causes the well to overflow.  But today, I need to. So here goes. I'm shaking as I write this but here are ten memories that will stay with me forever.
1.  Waiting for the C-section.  Being in the hospital room, feeling Luka move, and wondering what she would be like when she arrived.  The mix of anticipation and disappointment that I felt from having to have this procedure, and the loss of my home birth in water.
2.  The little cry Luka had when she came out, and the instant knowledge from a mother's gut instinct that something was wrong.
3.  As they wheeled her out of the operating room, she turned her head to look at me, and we made eye contact.  I remember saying "She's beautiful. She looks just like Aline." (her grandma)
4.  Holding her for the first time.  Knowing that something was wrong but I didn't care in the least. I loved this little girl. And then watching Michael hold her.  The instant bond they shared.
5.  The ambulance ride to Vancouver.  No drugs, bumpy highway, listening to the Ipod. Thinking of her in the helicopter. Wishing she was with me. Trusting she was in good hands.
6.  Seeing her in the incubator for the first time in Children's.  Touching her little legs and arms, and her tiny chest.  Her soft skin.  Her tiny cry.  Her response to our voices.
7. The not knowing. The fear of having a disabled child.  The deep knowledge within me that I was going to lose her.  Finally hearing from a doctor that she wasn't going to survive.  Her having Trisomy 18.  The strength I found to let her go.
8. Holding her, even with all the tubes, and putting her on my breast.  Her little mouth around my nipple and then falling asleep in my arms.  The best feeling in the world.
9.  The decision to take her off the life support.  My parents carrying her from the NICU to the private room we had as a family.  The sadness in my parent's, and their unbelievable love for their grandchild. The love in the room.  The silence, the tears, the joy and pain and the loss of innocence for us all.
10.  Holding her as she died.  Her hiccups as she left us.  Her last breath.  The feeling of gut wrenching pain, relief, and peace all at the same time.  That moment will never leave me.  Her beauty.  Free from pain.  Free.

As painful as this was to write,  I needed to.  It's been swirling in my head the past two weeks, and it feels good to let out.  It helps me heal, and look forward.  Lately, I feel spring in the air.  That wonderful smell of soil and plants growing.  Our landlords gave us a beautiful pot of daffodils and crocuses last week.  They sit with Luka's ashes, and have been blossoming with gusto all week.  A reminder that anything is possible, and that darkness can only lead to joy.