Tuesday, December 11, 2012

and so a new journey begins

December in Chilliwack. Rainy, damp and dark.  But in the darkness there is a wonderful glimmer of light, and the subtle butterfly movements of new life in my belly.  Yes.  We have made it past the first twelve weeks of pregnancy, and I have a little being the size of a peach moving around inside me. I am due in June.  I have been super sick with all day sickness. As hard as it's been, I am ever so thankful to have felt so awful in my first trimester.  Today I actually ate dinner out, and enjoyed every bite.  So wonderful to enjoy food again.  Today as we listened to the heartbeat at the midwives, and the little kicks and movements, I felt unbelievably relieved, and still completely terrified.  There is still a huge road ahead of us.  We have made it through the first step. Now we just have to keep on going, and trust that all will be as it should be.  I put on my first pair of maternity pants today, (not that I totally need them yet), but they are far more comfortable than my regular jeans.  I also told my students at school today, because there is nothing like the love and support from innocent nine year old's.  One girl asked if we would name the baby Luka again.  As this past few months have gone by I can't help but compare this pregnancy to being pregnant with Luka.  The differences and the similarities. And all the questions.  Will it work out? Will it be healthy? Should we get a million genetic tests? After hours of talking and debating, my heart and soul is content to not know the statistical chance of if I will or will not have a genetically "correct" child.  The stress it would cause me to wait and worry, and in the end not have a definitive answer, is something I'm not willing to go through.  We will have a detailed ultrasound at twenty weeks, with a specialist, and we will go from there.  I am just trying to live in each moment and trust that the universe will provide.  This weekend I sang in my first choir concert in ten years.  Although it has been really hard to be at rehearsals through all my nausea,  I am so grateful for the gift of finding my singing voice again.  Driving to the concert in the dusk, the snowy mountains glowing in the twilight, I began to cry.  Life hasn't been easy the past few years.  But it has given us so many gifts.  And although we don't have our little Luka, I have felt her with us during this very challenging journey.  I am so grateful for her little light that still shines brightly in our hearts, and in the little beating heart of her soon to be brother or sister.
One of the choir pieces we sang this weekend, is by Eric Whitacre, and is the most beautiful choral piece I have ever sung.  The lyrics touch my soul, and not only remind me of our Luka, but of the light and hope to come.

warm and heavy as pure gold
and the angels sing softly
to the new-born baby.


Monday, October 8, 2012

giving thanks

Thanksgiving day, and the sun is shining.  Michael is playing guitar, while he waits for his bread dough to rise.   It's been an amazingly warm fall, and this morning we took advantage of this beautiful fall day, and hiked Teapot hill.  I've always loved fall, and this morning as I felt the coolness from the trees, and watched the sunlight dance in the coloured leaves, I thought of how we conceived Luka at this time of year, three years ago.  So much has changed and so many doors have opened since.  Last night we celebrated Thanksgiving with two wonderful couples and their children. One of the couples has a little girl, and is the same age Luka would have been, if she were still with us.  At first, it was hard to be around her, but I am now so happy to know such a bright, lovely, curious, and special little spirit. I truly believe that our meeting this lovely couple and their adorable little daughter was a gift to us brought by Luka.  As the months have passed, and as we continue to hope to conceive another child, life has lead us to many wonderful things I am thankful for.  Our home, our friends from near and far, our families, my loving husband who tells me I'm beautiful every day, (seriously, he does), my new found love of singing in a choir,  my addiction to Zumba, my little kitty Willow, good food, the sound of Michael's voice when he is singing, a wonderful creative class this year, my ever so comfortable bed, the ability to still cry when I remember my little Luka, and lastly, but most importantly, the opening of my soul to joy.   It's so wonderful to live life with my eyes wide open. To completely fall in love with my husband again, after being together for almost twenty years.  We've booked a trip to Hawaii for spring break, and we're thinking of Europe for next summer.  And if pregnancy happens, well, it will be a huge bonus.  Although I am disappointed every month when there is no positive sign,  I have decided, I need to stay positive.   I will keep on keeping on.  I will continue to have hope.  And I will continue to give thanks, for all that has been given to me, all that I have learned on this journey, and my little Luka, who has taught me that in the end,  love is all that matters. 

Monday, September 3, 2012

mountain climbing

It's a beautiful Labour Day morning, and the rainbow light from our crystal is dancing across our dining room wall, while Willow, our cat, tries unsuccessfully to capture it.  Tomorrow begins another school year, and as I think about all the new things that are to come,  I have also been thinking about this summer.  It's been just two years since Luka died, and I finally feel like myself again.  Grief is not linear.  There are no clear steps or stages.  I believe it's different for everyone.  Losing Luka took part of my soul away, and to be honest, I didn't think it would return.  But there has been a shift this summer, and I feel like I am returning to life, opening up my heart, and realizing how wonderful it is to be alive.  At the end of the school year, in June, I was a mess.  Exhausted, unhealthy, having heart palpitations, full of anxiety and depressed.  I had lost myself, in a hard, emotional, and difficult year.  And by mid July, I knew things had to change.  I went back to the acupuncturist, saw a massage therapist, and began to exercise again.  Exercise. What a glorious thing! As hard as it is to start, when you get in a rhythm, your body begins to relax and open up.  It has been my saving grace. And now I've discovered Zumba, which not only gives me a great work out, it also fills that part of my secret desire to be a dancer.  I feel like a different person.  I am not the same as I was before Luka entered our lives,  I am better.  I am wiser.  I am stronger.  I am more alive.  Luka has brought us so many gifts, and one of those amazing gifts, is the community that surrounds us.  I am so grateful for all the wonderful friends we have, and their love and kindness they have given us on this incredibly challenging journey.  And, as we continue to meet new and wonderful people, I give thanks to my little Luka, for bringing us friendship.  The best thing Michael and I did this summer, was stay in Chilliwack and be in our new home.   It has truly been a healing summer and as fall approaches, I strongly feel that we are beginning a new chapter in our lives.  I don't know what the future holds, and I'm okay with that. What I do know, is that it's going to be a good school year,  and things are only going to get better.  Yesterday, we climbed Elk mountain.  I hadn't climbed it in two years, just before I went back to school after Luka died.  It's not an easy hike and it is quite steep.  There are points you just want to turn back.  But you don't, because you know what's ahead. And reaching the summit and seeing the beauty is worth every step.  Sitting on the top of the mountain, with the sun so close, I know that Luka was with us.  It's been a long climb on our journey of grief, but I am grateful for all the lessons I've learned, and the love I have received.  Michael is making us pancakes and bacon, and in a moment we will sit down and eat breakfast.  We will watch the rainbow of light dance around the room, and laugh at Willow chase it. She may not be able to capture it, but we know deep in our hearts the dancing light lives in us forever.

Friday, July 20, 2012

a letter to Luka on her birthday

Dear Luka,

It's been two years since you came into this world.  Hard to believe, yet so easy to remember.  It's strange how the memories of your birth are still so strong after all of this time.  I can still remember details, smells, feelings, emotions, and touch- like it just happened.  I miss you.  I miss your soft skin, your tiny curls of hair, and your gentle energy.  It's been a hard year, Luka.  Harder than the first. I thought it was supposed to get easier, but the pain of losing you is still so strong.  We've tried a couple of times to give you a brother or sister, but their souls didn't feel ready to enter this world just yet.  It's rainy today, but still warm.  I imagine you with a purple rain jacket and polka dot boots playing in the puddles, your light blonde hair getting curly with the moisture like Mommy's.  If you were here, there would be lots of balloons, and a cake, that I would attempt to bake.  It would look a little sloppy because I'm not a perfectionist, but Daddy would spend the time making it just so.  But you're not here, and I have to live in the now, so we're going to have friends over for dinner, and remember your little spirit with laughter and good food.  We just came back from the ocean, where we watched the waves, walked the sandy beaches, and watched kites dance in the wind.  You were everywhere.  In the sunset,  in the tiny footprints of children along the beach, and in the tall tall trees which I know are protecting you and keeping you safe.  As I watched the other children running and playing on the beach I was angry with the universe for not giving you the chance to experience the life we wanted for you.  But I take comfort that you are no longer in pain, and that you are dancing and laughing in the wind.  We came home from our trip to find out that Sassy, our favorite dog, left this world yesterday to come join you.  After you died, on those horrible dark days, Sassy was our saving grace.  Walking her gave us the ability to trust and find joy again.  We will miss her, but I know you will take good care of her, and go on lots of adventures together.  Make sure you have a big stick for her to carry.  Even though this year has been challenging, there have been many gifts you have sent our way.  Wonderful friendships have blossomed.  We have a beautiful house we love and feel completely at home in.  Our little kitty Willow, gives us so much joy and laughter.  We want a brother or sister for you Luka, and that is proving to be more difficult than we had anticipated.  But we're not giving up.
I have to start cooking dinner now.  We look forward to honouring your little spirit tonight.  And although there will be no cake with candles,  your little light still burns bright in our hearts.
Happy Birthday, little one. 
                                                                                                    Love, with both our hearts
                                                                                                                 Mom and Dad

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


June. Finally. And...it's raining.  But rain or shine, the school year is almost over and it will be our first summer in our new home.  I'm looking forward to lazy days, reading a book a day, and enjoying the nature just minutes from our doorstep.  But first, I have to get through report cards, restless students, and cleaning up my mess of a classroom.  It will get done.  Last week Michael and I celebrated our fourteenth wedding anniversary.  He surprised me with a bicycle built for two, and a gorgeous bouquet of flowers. Our friend Dave, took pictures, and we all had a good laugh as Michael and I tried to maneuver an old tandem.  It was perfect.  Just like the day we got married.  That sunny May morning, fourteen years ago, was a day I will never forget.  We were only kids, but I knew our marriage would be strong.  If only I could have predicted how much strength we were to need.  But our love has deepened, to a place that can't be expressed in words.  All I know, is despite all the pain and sorrow, we are continuing to seek joy as a couple.  We created our angel Luka with our love, and I know in time we will create another beautiful child, who will get to witness our love for a longer time.  As we laughed and played amongst the tall pine trees on our bicycle built for two,  I'm sure Luka danced in the wind and the trees, giggling right along with us.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

pink blossoms

It's been a beautiful weekend, and my heart is full.  My life has been blessed in the past few weeks, with love, friendship, and a true sense of joy that I haven't felt in a long time.  I am truly starting to feel happy again.  Our new place has been the biggest gift to Michael and I.  The space, the newness, the beauty of it, and being able to add as much colour as we can in our living environment.  Being close to the river, running the trails, cooking dinners in our open kitchen, and having the best baths in my big tub, has invigorated my spirit.  And on this lovely, warm, Mother's day evening,  I have just planted some colourful plants, to honour Luka, and celebrate my being a mother.   Sadly, my little tree we planted last year for Mother's day, did not survive the winter.  But today, as we visited the plant nursery, with our wonderful friends Dave and Leanne, and their little one, my eyes caught a beautiful pink blossomed hydrangea, and I knew it was the one we would be planting this year.  We are so blessed to have found such true and present friends, who have welcomed us into their lives.  Holding their beautiful baby is a gift, and makes me believe anything is possible.  And so, as Michael cooks dinner, I thank the universe for all it continues to bring me, the beauty of the earth, and the warmth of friendship.  And thank you Luka for visiting in the gentle morning breeze.  Happy Mother's Day, little one.  I love you.

Friday, April 20, 2012


 That though the radiance which was once so bright be now forever taken from my sight. Though nothing can bring back the hour of splendor in the grass, glory in the flower. We will grieve not, rather find strength in what remains behind.
William Wordsworth

This week is over, and I am relieved.  April has been a month of excitement, anticipation, and bitter disappointment.  But I am still standing.  Barely.  Our new place is wonderful. We have so much space, nearby trails to go walking, a beautiful kitchen to cook in, and three bathrooms!  Everyday I grow to love it more.  I've spent a lot of time here in the last two weeks, recovering from yet another pregnancy loss.  We were eight weeks in, and Michael and I both thought this was the one.  My mother in law could feel it in her bones, and truth be told, so did I.  But, the universe decided that it wasn't to be, again.  It's been a crazy roller coaster, because for one whole week, we thought there might be a possibility that it was just a threatened miscarriage.  At an emergency ultrasound we saw a heartbeat, but it was very slow.  We so wanted to believe it would work out.  Our hearts were open, ready for a little miracle.  Sadly, I miscarried a couple of days later.  Part of me wants to scream, part of me wants to run away, and the rest of me wants to start trying again tomorrow.  I've gone through the whole gamete of emotions this week, from completely giving up, to hating the universe again, to complete acceptance, and then back to giving up.  And as I write this, I'm not sure where I stand.  What I do know, is that I need to move on.  Move forward.  Start running the trails.  Spend time in the sun.  Go for walks in the spring rain.  Open my window and listen to the birds in the morning.  Have friends over for dinners.  Go hiking.  Spend time with my loving husband.  Create a meditation room. Watch a ton of MadMen and Modern Family.  Laugh with my students at school. Start a theatre company.  Meet new people.  Spend time with close friends.  Cuddle with our kitty Willow.  I could go on and on.  There's still so much to live for.  Am I disappointed? Yes. Am I angry? Yes. But, I have come to the conclusion that this is my journey.  Before I lost Luka, my life was pretty simple and easy.  I worked hard in school, but it wasn't hard to find a job. I never struggled to find love, in fact, I found it early.  I've never wanted something so much, and not been able to have it.  And to accept the possibility of it not happening, ever, is very challenging.  My friend Amber once told me, when she was going through a rough patch in her life, that sometimes giving up is easier than letting go.  At the time, we laughed it off.  This week, it makes sense.  On the phone this week my midwife told me I was strong.  I thanked her, and when I got off the phone,  I began to think about strength.  I certainly don't feel strong. Stubborn, maybe.  Scared, mostly.  I've been through a lot in the past two years, and I realize it's the people around me who have made me stronger.  Family and friends who have stuck by me, who have listened, made me laugh, helped me see the joy of life, and given me hope.  I find strength in others who have also gone through tragedy and come through smiling, wiser and loving life even more.  As I crawl into bed tonight, my oh so comfortable bed, and listen to the rain fall, I know that this too shall pass, and my heart will mend.  And, just maybe in a few weeks, or a few months,  I'll forget about giving up, and want to try again.
                                             The best way out is always through. – Robert Frost

Sunday, March 11, 2012


As I look out the window and wish for sunshine, I am grateful that even without the sun, spring is in the air.  Some of the trees are budding, the magnolia trees by my school are ready to open, and the robins are back.  And I feel like I am back too, and the fog is clearing.  I haven't written a blog in a very long time.  I was worried I would have nothing more to write.  But in the last week, the need to write has brought me to the computer on a quiet, overcast and rainy Sunday morning.  The only sounds are the humming of the refrigerator and the energetic play of my hyper kitten, Willow, as she races from one room to the other.  It's been a challenging couple of months, but wonderful things have happened as well.  Michael started a new teaching job, we got a kitten, we bought a new house, and we had several visits to the fertility doctor.  We are very excited about our new place, and we move in at the end of the month.  Change.  Something we have wished for, and something we have manifested.  Our place is beautiful: close to the river trail,  near coffee shops and grocery stores, and is our first home we have ever owned.  It will be very sad to leave our mountain, our view, and our wonderful friends and landlords, Vivan and Lorne, who have become our surrogate parents.  They have truly blessed our lives with their friendship.  My health is starting to improve, and although I put my back out in February,  I feel much better than I did before Christmas.  And after multiple blood tests, (17 vials, to be exact) and a special ultrasound, Michael and I received the news that we are a fertile couple, and there is nothing preventing us from having a healthy baby.   Our journey to get pregnant and stay pregnant, is just life, and unexplained.  We had a wonderful meeting with the kindest, optimistic, and heartfelt genetic counselor, who assured us that it will happen.  It was such a relief to know that our struggles are unexplained.  The genetic counselor was surprised that I felt that way, because for some couples, it makes it more frustrating.  For me,  I felt free again.  Free to love the mystery.  Free to trust the universe.  Free to really believe.  Am I scared and nervous? Absolutely.  But, for the first time since Luka was born, I don't feel fearful of it not happening.  As much as I appreciate and am thankful for modern medicine,  sometimes the mystery of conception and birth is taken away by all the answers.  From my experience, we will never know all the answers to the beautiful gift we call life.  As we get ready for our move, and I think about leaving this beautiful mountain retreat,  I have been reflecting on the past four years.  We have made wonderful friends, shared and borrowed Sassy, our neighbour's dog, watched deer and bobcats go by our front door,  and watched beautiful sunrises and sunsets from our bedroom window.   It is in this home, that we conceived Luka and where she grew for nine months.  She was our greatest joy, deepest pain, and biggest gift.  And now,  as I wrestle with all the emotions of leaving this place,  I know we are beginning a new chapter in our lives.  The other evening after I came home from school, the storm clouds blew in.  Amid the rain and sleet, there was a moment where the sun burst through the clouds,  and created the most glorious rainbow.  As I watched it unfold, I gave thanks to the universe, for reminding me of the beautiful mystery of life, the beginning of change, and the opening of the door to all that is possible.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

the invisible line

It's been over a month since my last blog, and I have been avoiding writing even though there has been an entry swirling in my head for the past week.  It's been a challenging month, and I have been, and continue to be, through some real ups and downs.  At the moment I am in the constant flux of anxiousness and optimism.  If you don't know me well,  I can be an extremely anxious person.  Over the years I have conquered a great deal of my nerves and over analyzing mind.  But in the last month, my mind has decided it wants control, and my body is now in process of battling the ever powerful mind.  In the last month, I have started to see a counselor.  In our discussions, we came to the conclusion that the mind can be really cruel to the body.  It can tell us lies and can confuse our intuition.  I have also decided that I am a catastrophizer.  I am someone who allows my mind and imagination to only think of the worst situation.   I have always been a worrier, ever since I read my dad's 1960's medical encyclopedia's when I was a little girl, convincing myself I had every disease.  And now, after Luka's death,  I am worried that everything is going to be one big catastrophe.  Everything surrounding Luka's birth was supposed to be beautiful and peaceful, and it ended up being the worst thing that has ever happened to me.  So, I think it makes perfect sense that I would allow my mind to start believing everything important and meaningful that will happen in my life will be disastrous.  And so this has been the cycle of my thoughts for most of December, and now into January.  I'm working on staying optimistic, and there are days where I overwhelmingly feel that 2012 will be the best year we've had in a long time.  Michael got a new teaching job, which he is very excited about.  We met a wonderful new couple, who we just instantly clicked with, and I can't wait to get to know them more.  My friend Marie, is getting married on the beach in the summer , and so summer holidays will be an adventure down the Oregon and California coast.  We're starting the process of having fertility testing,  and it looks promising.  There are so many things to be grateful for, and to look forward to.  But there are some days where it feels like there is this invisible line in my mind which divides my optimism and my anxiety.  Some mornings I wake up and wonder which side I will be on.  It's those days where I don't want to get out of bed, where I don't want to face the world.  But I do.  Because life is too short to ignore what I've been given.  And the choice to face the day, gives me the opportunity to end up on the optimistic side of the line.  I'm working on it.  And there's nothing like a new kitten to help me remember to play, be in the moment, and take naps when you should be planning your school day.  Willow is our newest member of our household.  A new life to distract me from my irrational mind, and keep me laughing.  We adopted her yesterday, exactly a year and a half since Luka was born and died.  A perfect gift to remind us of how precious our daughter was and always will be.  I'm hoping that as this year continues, my heart and my soul will not only win the battle over my anxious ridden mind, but I will find balance and continued optimism.  And with all this work and healing, I hope the invisible line will become a positive one, and remain that way for nine months and beyond.