Tuesday, July 30, 2013

It's Important to me. To know you are free -Todd Rundgren

Hello, it's Me.

It's Renee Lawrence. For the past two weeks, since my life has changed so drastically, it has me wondering...

Can the "real" Renee Lawrence please stand up? Who is this person? This soul, that I have been carrying around in this body.

Who am I?

I am Gwynivere's MOM! I am the person that laughs at her antics, that runs her to tae kwon do, that gives her advice, and writes her teachers a letters each year about how special she is. I make sure her toaster pastry gets 15 seconds in the microwave and know she hates donuts with the filling.  I am highly protective of her fragile ego, I worry about her almost EVERY second of the day, and I encourage her to be who she is. I have been her mom for nearly 9 years, and she is blossoming into the most beautiful soul. I am celebrating how grateful I am to have her in my life! She protects my feelings, and we are innately connected on every level. She is her mother, and I am my daughter. WE  are soul mates. I AM Gwynivere's Mom.
Who am I?

I am Keegan's MOM! I am the person that gives him his morning snuggles and know if I miss them, his day isn't right. I am the person who listens to him talk for half and hour straight about whatever it is he is extremely focused on. I took a job teaching to make sure he got pre-kindergarten, and I make excuses for all his misbehaviors. This kids could do no wrong, and is a sensitive soul. He came into this world the sweetest boy, he even spared me much pain in labor. I've learned about super heroes for him, and I know more about Ben 10, than I should. He's currently resting his head on my arm and insisting on a kiss. He says the most amazing things, and wakes me out of bed each morning. I AM Keegan's MOM!

Who Am I?

I am Jeremy's WIFE. Now married for almost a year. We eloped with 10 of our favorite people by our side. We both have a our past lives, which we have joyously released to come together and create something people dream about. He is truly my happy place, I will always take his side but am able to tell him secretly when he is wrong. However, I am highly protective of those who ever try to take advantage of his kindness. I know that he doesn't put ice in his drinks, and I know how to make his coffee just right. He eats every meal I make, exclaiming they are always the best. I talk him through every obstacle we meet, including the sadness he feels for the children he misses each day. Together we have grew into people that we are proud of, even though coming from a place where we made many mistakes. We have same side dined, I've gotten him to ride a roller coaster, I watch him skateboard with joy in my heart, and let him know each day how proud I am to be his. I've never felt that before. I AM Jeremy's WIFE!
I am (Tearfully) Lucy's Mom. I am proud to be. To all the greatest things I've done above, she is the newest identity of what makes up me. Bringing her in this world was so important to me. Not only for me! For Gwynivere, Keegan, and for JEREMY! She not only was a fighter spirit in the womb, she is the one soul that has impacted my life the most. I am her Mom because I could love her instantly. I am her Mom because I knew she loved my kisses where her nose meets her forehead. I am her Mom because, somehow her tiny soul knew that I could give her an entire life of happiness, and take care of her every need in a little over one hour. I am her Mom because, I can keep her alive in spirit, even when I couldn't keep her alive in physical. I am Lucy's Mom. I AM LUCY'S MOM.
When I am having trouble peeling myself out of the bed every day to face the world without Lucy, these are just some reminders of why I NEED to get out of bed each day. Each day they need me to be the person I am for them. But the secret is, each day, I NEED to be the person THEY NEED me to be.
I am Renee Lawrence, Mother, Wife, Author, Teacher, Baker, Wise Gal, Friend, Sister, Aunt, Daughter, Counselor, Ex-Wife, Lover, Student,......The list goes on.  And as I keep inventing myself, You can bet, I will forever be grateful to be Renee Lawrence.
Hello, it's me
I've thought about us for a long, long time
Maybe I think too much but something's wrong
There's something here that doesn't last too long
Maybe I shouldn't think of you as mine.

Friday, July 26, 2013

I'll come runnin', to see you again- James Taylor

Being intuitive is not always easy...

Spending my morning with a knot in my stomach of impending doom, while trying to send my husband words of encouragement over texts to help him make it through this day. I don't share my doom because, you must fake it until you make, I always say.

I haven't made it yet. Not even close. What is making it anyway? Some finish line you or others have put on you to show that you are recovered, are talented, or educated enough? I am not really sure, and I don't really even care. Maybe these finish lines aren't worth crossing, or maybe I will always be two feet from that line tapping my toe at it, teasingly. Whatever the case, I'm quite sure I am not there.

In fact, I know I am not there, not even close to recovered. I have a feeling this "recovery" will be long and drawn out. And that's ok. I have made terms with that. If you know a little about my life you might know that road hasn't been an easy one. It's been one giant round-about with insurmountable lanes. Round and round it goes... "Hey kids...Big Ben".

However, sometimes it seems to be the best life one can live. I mean really, my life has so many blessings. I have been given many gifts. I have been  given talents and rewards innately and practiced. I have been able to travel to different parts of the country, and neighboring lives. I have married the one person who gets me completely, and have already been blessed with three BEAUTIFUL children. My family and friends love and support me, and I have a home. How can this not be it! I have done so much in my (almost) 32 short years, I feel almost ashamed to not feel like I've made it. I spend everyday looking around for the things I am grateful for, and try to share them with the world. My heart is so full of joy, yet...

There is this hole. That impending doom. I was trying to not share it with anyone, because I do fake it.

That intuition, I use it as one of my many talents and gifts, and I have been so blessed to help others with their holes. Trying to spend my time filling this world with happiness, kindness, and love with my gifts. It's all I really want. Knowing that I do this for others, is really making it. Truly.

But today, and some days. There is that pit, of bad news. It's like hanging from a cliff and not know whether you will drop and fall or that helping hand is reaching out towards you. I share my lil intuitions with those who "get me". Just as a way to declare my abilities. Unfortunately, most the time, they come true. The good and the bad, the little snippets I get from whatever source in my mind or my gut sometimes rocks me to my core. I knew today revolved around the mail. I declared it to one of my best friends, and exclaimed to her "maybe its the hope we needed, since there would be no bereavement paycheck" but I don't quite think so. I fear its sadness, and I can't quite move.

I toiled with what I could provide my kids day with, and tried hard to win them tickets to go see a Broadway play. (Which my Father so graciously is sending us too). I thought about everything else I could, so that this "doom" wouldn't over take my mindful sense of gratitude I live with each day.

and then... The mail came. Just like it does everyday about 11:42am, because our mail-person is always on time. I grabbed the mail frantically looking for "good news" and a blank white envelope starred back at me. Just said "Renee Lawrence" and it was from Topeka. If you are from Kansas you know, not much good comes from Topeka... I mean, if we are talking about the mail, or the city.

I hesitantly opened the envelope, and out falls a sturdy piece of paper, that looks mighty important. Indeed it was... Indeed.

Nothing seems more doom, than receiving the "certificate of death" for your daughter. Age: "1 hour(s) and 33 minutes" it says. She lived and died in the same town, same hospital, same spot, with me and her father. She will never have been married. Her "Marital Status" tells me that. I will never get to watch her walk in some beautiful dress to marry the love of her life, like I married her daddy. I will never send her off to school for the first day of kindergarten, and I will never get to hold her again.

That pit in my stomach this morning, it was right. Sometimes, I hate being right.

"Winter, Spring, Summer, Or Fall... All you have to do is call. And, I will be there.
You've got a friend"

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Waiting On An Angel -Ben Harper

Dear Lucy,
        New set of challenges are brought forward on this Tuesday. For today was the day...
 I looked into the tiny white box with her name misspelled, to see what was there of my littlest Lucy. See, today her Urns' came in. The more appropriate resting spot for my little girls ashes. The tiniest little silver heart urn, with her name spelled as intended. As I opened the plastic white box with the huge sticker saying "TEMPORARY CONTAINER" our hearts' dropped down into our throats. There was maybe a half dollar worth of the purest white ash and bone. I looked at Jeremy and his lips made that familiar purse I had grown familiar to see. The one that comes just before the eyes began to tear. We were almost expecting to be more of her.
She is so big in our minds, and our hearts, that this seemed like we were missing part of her. But there all of her was; her kind heart, her beautiful nose, and her perfect lips. Right there in a plastic bag...of ash.
Each of us had ordered (and my parents so kindly purchased) urn necklaces, to carry Lucy around our necks. If this is the best way to be close to her, it seemed right. Each child had their pick, and Jeremy and I picked the same urn. These tiny little silver pieces, memorializing this life that only gave us a short moment to know her. I tenderly filled each urn, as careful as I could. Following the directions specifically, as if I was being tested. Using a toothpick to make sure each bit was not wasted and place in its intended spot. This feels so weird. It's not a task that feels good. There is nothing that feels good about poking your daughters ashes through a little silver hole.
All finished up, and she's where she's intended to be. In a tiny heart box...silver. With her name spelled just right. She only gets one date here on earth, even though she deserved thousands. She's amongst all the beautiful things that memorialize her, in the only way I know how.
 I rest my head on my hands while placing my arms on top of the dresser where we have memorialized Lucy. Tears gently fall from my eyes, as I stare at that silver heart. My baby is in there, close to us...in ashes.
... that we memorialized you again. We put you sweetly into a tiny silver box, where you can rest sweet girl. I refuse to believe that this is where you remain, because I feel you with me throughout the day. Please stay. I'm waiting on an angel.
                                                                        Love, Your Mommy.

Monday, July 22, 2013

I've been homesick for you since we met - Avett Brothers

I cried this morning.

I know... big surprise. A morning hasn't gone by in a week that I haven't.

It's a ritual. A way to face the day.

This morning was different, I waited until my husband left for work for the first time since we lost our Lucy. But, I found my self texting my pain to him because, even though he had to leave, I still needed him.

Like one cruel injustice after another, each day brings a new challenge or milestone.

Today, Lucy is 1 week old. Her little soul has already been a busy little spirit. All around me, my world is shifting in ways I would have never understood, until her. There is new life sprouting all around me in different shapes and forms. Some feed my soul with love and light and some things anger me to the core.

I've been filling my days thinking of what's next for me, and how I can properly honor the soul of my littlest girl here on earth. My passion is that my little miracle is not ever forgotten. How can I do it in a way that would heal my soul, and bring happiness to others? This is what I feel being "Lucy" is about.

Today, I cried... with no surprise. Wanting my little angel to return me, so I can physically nurture her for just a little longer. In my head, as the tears take their toll, I envision holding her and standing at the top of the stairs as her Daddy enters the house. Seeing the love in her eyes as she squirms in my arms, I realize her love for her father, is the same as mine.

 I deserved to see that! Jeremy deserved to experience that! That is what I wanted from my life, and for his.

BUT... in these moments where I had already developed my child's life plan, a full life, with stories cascading through my mind as if they'd already happened. Each one, so full of joy and love. Realizing these dreams will never come true, is a slap in the face. But, understanding I can keep them alive within me is such a gift.

Learning Lucy's lessons is a privilege, sharing them with the world is my honor.

I've been homesick for you since we met Lucy, but always your home is in my heart.

Tomorrow...I will cry.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

You just got to see me through to another day - James Taylor

grieve  (grv)
v. grieved, griev·ing, grieves
1. To cause to be sorrowful; distress
2. To mourn or sorrow for
To Grieve ...Grieving;
It's so big. It's bigger than me. It's bigger than you. There is no one way to be a "Griever", and the loss of Lucy has really given me time to reflect and not only see my grieving, but others around me.
I have a large family, extended to the max. There is blood, kin, by marriage, and everything in between. I have a weird dynamic of personalities and situations all around me. Some of my closest counterparts, I share no blood with, but what blood we don't share, we share in love. There are some of my family whom I share blood, who may not be close to me at all. Then there is my "friend family", who is made up of people who I have chosen to be my family, and I, theirs.
As a sociologist by schooling, its deeply interesting to me, within my own family dynamic, how each of us have dealt with the loss of Lucy. There is no wrong way, and there is no right way. There only is...
My own grief changes through out the day. I can be laughing at something that my children have said, and turn it into tears. I can lay quietly asleep, and wake up crying out. I can sometimes get off the couch long enough to organize a corner of the house, or make my family breakfast. I have show downs with the shower and whether I have the strength to make it in there for a moment of clarity and alone time.
I very much desire a "team" of people around me the majority of the time, but returning a message or phone call feels like a daunting task. I want to talk about it on my own terms, I want to control the way people react around me, although I know that is unfair. I want to hear from others and some I can't muster up the strength to answer. There are safe people, and then there are emotional sucks. There are some people who act like nothing has happened at all, or pretend like they don't care.
I lost my child, I gave birth to baby girl who was ALIVE, and she died. She had Grandparents, Siblings, Uncles, and Aunts... She had a huge family...some which she will have never met. They are all mourning in their own right. But some of this angers me. A whole "team" of people to love her and yet, she's only been in the presence of a small few. How unfair is THAT?
Yesterday, I was reading stories of other grieving mothers of children who left the world similarly and their grief is similar. YET, so different from mine. The things that anger me are different, the things I question are not the things you might wonder. Going down a road of what ifs, should haves and why didn't they is a dangerous place.
What if my body could have given her 7 more days? I would have been in a better equipped hospital to handle an infant of her age... 
But that isn't the story!
The doctors should have told me how bad my bleed was, and I could have made a different decision for my body and Lucy...
But that wasn't the story!
They should have tried to intubate her anyhow to see if she could have lived...
What ifs, Whys, and Should Haves... take me to a place I don't want or need to be. This fuels me to a place that isn't healthy for myself or the people around me.
Instead, the story is...
Lucy was born on July 15th a strong and beautiful little girl, who tried very hard to stay alive on her own, but was losing the battle. Instead of living a life of tubes and machines, all she knew was the love of her mother and father as we held her close to our chest, shushing her, rocking her, and letting her know that it was ok. We reassured her that we loved her from the very beginning, start, conception, and especially the minute that we met her. 
Instead of a story of disdain or anger, Lucy's is one of love.
Where I got to hold her intimately instead of through some machine; hooked up on god knows what, and I would never get to hold her. Of course, sure... this MAY have saved her life. But what would her life amounted to? What if she wouldn't have survived, which was likely. Then she, and her family would have had to go through a new set of pain, which wouldn't have been so beautiful as the moment she was born and they put her straight on my chest.
I can't go there.. I can't do that! Sure, I am angry...I'm plenty angry. The story just begun 5 days ago, and it changes each day. The strength to write the story I get from Lucy's love; All hour and sixteen minutes of it.
Lucy's Legacy:
So today, when you seem angry at someone in your life, and start asking questions that may not be fair...
 Remember, they have a story too, and maybe your story and their story doesn't have the same plot or conflict. Be passionate towards them.
"We are all in this together really" -Emily Marrin
and the story should always be love.
"I always thought that I'd see you again.." -JT

Thursday, July 18, 2013

"When you get what you want but not what you need" -Coldplay

The phone rang and I thought it was the doctor calling me, but the voice on the other end was not as perky as I had originally thought. The woman on the other end with a very sweet tone said, "Mrs. Lawrence?" As I fumbled a bit because, I am just getting used to being that person. "Yes Ma'am it is." "This is Megan at Amos Family..."

The rest was a blur, my heart dropped into my stomach. It's a day early, I wasn't ready! I don't know what to do, or say, I just look around at the people around me and look for guidance. At this point I can not make a clear decision on what day it is, or what time I can have a private moment with my husband to pick up my daughters remains.

REMAINS! What a horrible word...what do you mean remains? What remains of my infant child? NO! Its not what remains! It is HER! All of her. My Lucielle Diane Lawrence... her entire little self.

I spent the rest of the day until 4:30 distracting my mind, because I am not sure what is going to happen when I get there to get my baby. It was very technical, and informal. The funeral home is always a quiet place, and extremely somber. We walked into a room full of people working in small cubical areas with glass fronts. As we walked in, the whole room stopped and just looked at us. Their faces say it all. "Oh, there is the poor couple picking up the 4:30 cremation "BABY LAWRENCE" that is written on our white board, that's too bad"

We give an obligatory smile at the room, and say we are here to pick up our little baby Lucielle... and Megan springs into action. Taking us out into the funeral home with a tiny white box, the bonneted blanket we sent Lucy off in, and some paperwork. It hadn't set in yet, because I had to "sign" for my own child. Signing for the right to have my baby back. Each little detail of this seems so big, that dropping my signature on a piece of paper feels as if I am writing a novel with inkwell and pen. As I am doing this she hands Lucielle to Jeremy and I can hear him start to cry. His body shaking and holding breaths coming from his nose because his lips are pursed just so that a wail won't intrude the still air.

As I look up, Jeremy can't contain the tears and we slowly walk towards the door. At this point we are so weak and the world is so surreal, the door doesn't budge open. The muggy air slaps our face as we take our little girl out into the world for the first time... Embracing and crying without a care of who's watching, we are oblivious.

He sets Lucielle in my lap, pressing her to my tummy to keep her tight in the car. I look down at this tiny white box. My daughter is in a BOX. Her name is spelled wrong, and she is in a box. As a parent, you want to spend your time teaching your children they don't belong in a box. That they are creative in their own right, independent, and DAMN IT ...their own person. Children do not belong in a box. MY Lucy... left me a beautiful little girl who should have had an entire life time ahead of her, and NOW she is in a WHITE BOX.

Of course, the sweet people at Amos, with beautiful intentions cremated our angel for free as a courtesy service for premature babies. What a wonderful service to people who are hurting. But damn it, I didn't want this story! I didn't ask for this story, and I want it re-written. I didn't ask to have my daughter in a box, I asked to have her for always, only till she had to put me in a box, like it is intended so. I need her, I want her, and dear lord, NOT IN A BOX.

As I cry out for her, and declare to whomever is listening to me, that I could have learned whatever lesson Lucy's death was suppose to bring me, and that this is the NOT the story I wanted to write. I don't need it to happen like this. Begging... I promise I will learn the lesson! Just bring her back! Just bring her back to me...

Lucy's reunited with her family. Not how I intended her to be, but how it must be. In a temporary white box, with her name misspelled...  Home.

When you lose something you can't replace...When you love someone but it goes to waste.
Could it be worse?-ColdPlay


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

"Look for the girl with the sun in her eyes, and she's gone."-Beatles

Although, I have been very busily keeping my current journey somewhat public, I thought it would be much easier to move my thoughts to a blog space. Since Saturday July 13th, I have been in labor with my 21w 5 day along baby girl, until the littlest Lucy lost all odds she had been fighting for 13 weeks on July 15.

Many times I see blogs of mourning parents who have lost children, and you think there is NO fucking way that happens here. This shit just doesn't happen to me. I am a good person, I very rarely get mad at my children, I like strawberry ice cream, I believe in good karma, and I brake for squirrels. Hell, I cry at Hallmark Commercials, and laugh at Austin Powers movies. (I know people, but Mike Myers gets me)
This pregnancy was planned, well mostly, considering it was way quicker than planned and I blame my husband. I ate gluten free and healthy. I had only gained three pounds, and I had taken all my vitamins. At 9 weeks 5 days the apocalypse started with blood clots which we thought were a miscarriage, and sent us into a whirlwind of doctors visits, and hospital rooms that I would never wish on any family. No one could really know what was going with her in there, some people thought they knew, I saw midwifes, doctors, and specialist alike, got NO answers for Lucy until after she was born. I was on Bedrest and Off, and On, and Off. No Sex, No Moving, Ok, Now you can do what you want! Ok sorry, no sex.... DAMN IT!

She was very much wanted, and very much a part of our little family. So we tried to follow all the "experts" directions. This family never lacks, but misses the love of half of its counterparts.

So, she's here. Well, she was. She was here for 1 hour and 16 minutes, laying on my chest. Breathing as a reflex, not as an actual function, heart beating only because she was strong, sucking her thumb and peeing on her Mom. Damn it! She was ALL there. She was mine and she showed me for over one hour what it was like to be her MOM. You know what? Every minute of it, I loved it. I held her the entire time, and let my chest and my warm beating heart be her final resting place. My daughter lived inside of me, fully and strongly, and died on me. What a privilege that is as a human mother to be able to have your little ones whole life revolve around your love. Her Daddy was right there the whole time and we just enjoyed her every moment. Not thinking about anything but enjoying her. Once declared that she was too small to save and no longer living did she get weighed and measured, like every normal birthed child. Put into a special bonneted blanket and handed back to us until we deemed fit.

When is that time? Honestly, when do you think you have given this kid enough your love, respect, and time, after their life was shortened by at least 80 years. That time, is really never. You only just decide that its kind of ok to call the funeral home to take her after you are starting to feel numb, only to lose your shit when they get there. You just met your child, now you are making "arrangements" for them. Something you should never have to do for your own child, EVER! I don't care how many times it happens, or how prevalent it really is, it isn't something anyone should HAVE to do!

You can see, I'm angry, and you better bet your bippy, I am upset. It's my first full day without her, and it hurts. I'm done searching for answers as to why, because I know this will only make me mad as a hatter. There is zero time for that! ask Sweet Brown. But what I do is grieve. I grieve in waves, I grieve in different ways, and I grieve with different people. Making myself a space to grieve is only a start. If it never gets read, I am ok with its release. See, I am Lucy's Mom, and I own that. No one will ever get to take that away from me, and what a wonderful feeling that is. There is no one to be mad at or no one to blame, there is only loving her. That is ALL there is.

Now my physical Lucy is no longer with me, I can't rub my favorite spot between her eyes on top of her prevalent nose. Or kiss her cold forehead. Or make sure my tears don't get on her blankie. Or make sure her lifeless body stay's "warm" by swaddling her 14 oz's in a blanket made for 9lbs. These things were taken from me before I was ready! I could never be ready! I could stare at her face every day. I wanted her! GOD, I wanted her. I wanted her SO bad. I deserved her, like any mother deserves their children. And, I miss my one day old spirit, like I miss someone I have know for over 20 years. I only just met her, but she was mine to have, and to hold, through sickness and health, as I promised her soul the day I married her father. Lucy is our Legacy, and she has proven to be with Diamonds.

 Her Daddy Rocking Her For Last Time
 Our Last Moments Together
Sisters Forever
Dedicated To MY Littlest Baby Girl.