Thursday, September 8, 2011


Sometimes I think that I caused James's tumor.  Alot of times actually.  I tend to blame myself when things happen, and so I naturally have come to think that something I did jinxed James.

When James was born, I created a facebook album called "52 weeks of James".  I took a picture of him every week in the same chair to document how big he was getting.  I stole the idea from my friend Courtney, who did it for her son Isaac (who is the absolute cutest little boy).  I loved watching Isaac grow, and I thought it was just such a neat idea.  At the time I titled the album, I had a nagging thought- Was I tempting fate?  But I thought of course I would have 52 pictures in that album.  One for every week of his first year of his (long) life. 

I now go back and analyze those photos.  At which point did his head start to get larger?  Was it the camera angle, or was it the tumor creating the hydrocephalus?  Did he have a headache beginning in this one?  Did he constantly have a headache that I just missed? 

People asked me (way before James got sick) whether I wanted more children.  Most of the time my answer was that if I was so lucky to only have James, my life would be full.  Sometimes I said yes, but I really believed that if he was my only baby I would be happy.  I wrote before that I felt like my life was complete when he was born.  So did I jinx him from the beginning?  Did I somehow put all my hope into him and that's why he was snatched away from me? 

Did I jinx him by making him my world?

Over the entire 8 months of his life, I kept repeating to friends and family that I was so fortunate to have a healthy baby.  I knew that there were families all around the world that were suffering because their children were sick and there was nothing they could do.  I said over and over again how thankful I was that James was healthy.  Maybe if I had never uttered those words he wouldn't have gotten sick. 

Alot of people have emailed me telling me how James has affected their lives.  I'm thankful that since I can't change what has happened, that some good has come out of it.  But I would trade it all in a minute to have him back.  The truth is that I was perfectly fine with him not affecting anyone's life.  Anyone but mine that is.  And selfishly I wish that the whole world never knew him and that this afternoon we would be outside in the yard swinging instead of me sitting on the back patio writing this blog post. 

I opened his closet this weekend and saw the clothes hanging that I bought for him last spring.  There were all far too big for him- I was buying in advance for the fall season while the cute smocked clothes were on clearance.  There's an orange and brown pumpkin outfit.  A green "Gone Fishin" outfit with a little reel and line hanging off of it.  A Christmas outfit similar to the one he wore last Christmas so that this year's picture would match last year's.  The tags are still on- I hadn't even washed them with the huge container of baby detergent that still sits on my washing machine. 

I don't know why on earth I bought so many clothes for the future.  Clearly I had no clue about what was going to transpire.  Maybe I did jinx him by buying outfits for the future.  Stocking up on diapers that I have since given away.  Buying in bulk baby shampoo and baby wash.  I just never thought that there would be a time that it wouldn't be used. 

So the guilt sometimes just eats me up.  I don't know if it's normal to blame yourself or not, but I definitely do.  When I get to Heaven, maybe God will have the answers for me as to Why.  I just hope that me taking James for granted wasn't the reason.


  1. I'm certain that what you are feeling is natural. I'm also certain that it is definitely not true. No one blames you for wanting James back. No one. And nothing you did could jinx his life. Nothing.

  2. Kara- James is a blessing. In that way he lives on. You did not jinx him. You loved him the way only his mommy can. I am thinking and praying for you daily. He has reached more people than most people do in 80 years of life. I know that does not change how you feel, but you are a great mom and I hope I can be as dedicated to my little girl as you are to the life of your son.

  3. a while ago I would say things like I didn't want to jinx this or that.. and one time I said that to my step mom.. She turned to me and said, " We don't believe in Jinxes. We believe in Jesus". Ive never said I jinxed something since. Stay strong sweet Kara. God will answer all of your questions one day. I have always told people that the day I die, I hope God takes a moment for me. I hope we can just climb up in a big bean bag chair and he answers all of the worldly questions I have for him.. I just believe that is the case. But don't think you jinxed it. Is there really even such a thing? You deserve to be selfish, and angry. But don't blame this on yourself. There is no way you could have ever caused it. If anything blame the chemicals in the world. Blame the damn doctors, blame everyone but yourself. You are a mommy!! And God is our father. No parent would want their child sick or hurting. God is the same. He doesn't want us to hurt. He wants us to be healthy, loved and loving. Hang in there, every day is a new day to remember the good times. We will all be together again one day. You are a warrior! You deserve to have a dozen babies!! I wish you could be a mom to every child out there who needs one! They would only be so lucky to have a mom like you! I pray that one day you wake up and just know that it is all ok. I hope you just get that feeling! Love you Kara! I think about you everyday!

  4. Ditto all the above, sweet Kara. I am certain that it's natural to need to sift through your doubts and fears, but don't dwell there too long. Be honest with God about those doubts and fears, then turn them over to him. Trust me, he can take it! :) I don't mean to sound preachy at all; just want you to know that you are loved.

  5. Kara-
    You did what any good mommy would do. You put your faith, hope and unconditional love into your most precious gift. If you are guilty of jinxing yourself, then we are all equally as guilty. So in other words, you didn't jinx yourself, you are just a phenomenal mommy. Praying for you daily!
    Yvonne Wall

  6. Sweet Kara, as I read your words today a thousand thoughts flooded my mind and then I read Lauren's words. She said everything I wanted to say to you, and much more eloquently than I could have. Believe in what she wrote, for it is all so true. Our God is a loving God. You did not jinx James. You were the very best mom you could have been for him. That is why God chose you to be his mom! Believe in yourself and do not doubt God or his love for a moment.

  7. No jinxing happened at all. You planned your life around your little boy which is what all mummies do. You are a wonderful mum and will always be. I am thinking of you and hope you have a happy moment today. xxx

  8. Hi Kara,
    I totally agree with what Lauren said. And having lost a baby, I think it's totally normal to question or blame yourself. I do it every day. I wonder what if I wouldn't have worked so much while I was pregnant, or would have pushed harder to be watched closer, or agreed to be monitored 24 hours a day on the doppler to hear the babies heartbeats. I think about how maybe I missed something that I could have told the Drs that would have let them know something was wrong sooner and maybe my baby would have lived. We were kind of the opposite in that we only bought a few "twin" things and I often wonder myself if maybe we just somehow knew what was coming and didn't have enough faith to buy two of this or that. Please know that what you are feeling is normal. But, also know that we aren't in control of this life. Nothing that I could have done could have changed what was going to happen with my boys. I don't have control over life or death, only God does. At first I was really angry about that, but now I take comfort in kind of "forgiving" myself and knowing that nothing I could have done would have brought about a different outcome. Do I wish I could have? Of course. I would have done anything in the world to have both of my boys live. I hope you get to just enjoy those pictures without the guilt. You seemed to have been such a good mom to your James! Praying for your family...

  9. So thankful you can feel safe enough here to vent, be transparent and vulnerable.
    It's a wonderful place to do so. Get it out on "paper" work through it.

    I don't have words, or answers and I'm guessing you know them in your heart anyway.

    So I'm just gonna "cyber-hug" you, from Oregon.

  10. Dear one,

    I am a total stranger to you and as such have no business saying this. I sense that you both are faith filled people. Read Matthew's post on prayer and like him I was and am a practicing Catholic...well to be fair I fudge on some of the "rules" that just seem dumb, but I digress. I am also a pediatric oncology nurse. Here is what I believe, what I may have no business sharing...but Kara I just don't think God or the universe work like that. How could loving and caring for James, adoring him and being so grateful possibly jinx you? I know you must be wracking your mind to understand why James, why you? I wish there was an answer that would soothe your brokeness. The simple truth is that there is not. But you will find joy again. And maybe one day, when you are working towards healing that same loving God who saw James's pain and chose to heal in a way we would have not, well He and James will bring another bundle of smiling perfection, with crystal blue eyes and wild hair and a smile that could melt an iceberg. In hope and pray my words heal...I truly do. Know you are prayed for and for whatever consolation it is, your James is remembered!

  11. " We don't believe in Jinxes. We believe in Jesus".
    I can't say it better. Praying for you and hoping you can find even a moment of peace.

  12. Praying for you tonight Kara!

    Jenny from Austin

  13. Praying for comfort and peace for you and Matthew. Please know in your heart you did nothing but love James so much - no jinxes involved. I hope you are able to find the answers you need, and if not the answers, then the peace in knowing God knows what He's doing.

  14. You are amazing.
    Of course you can't discount those feelings, but of course... you know they aren't true. God protected you from the future so you would cherish the present... and its obvious that your beautiful son... who has touched so many... was cherished immensely.

  15. Kara,
    Ditto to all of the above! I think every parent would be asking themselves the same thing - is there something that I could or should have done differently. I believe Satan uses guilt to try to draw us away from God, to make us question our faith, and ultimately, to destroy our relationship with our Heavenly Father. Don't let him win. Lay all of your fears, doubts, grief, and guilt at the throne of God, and let Him take them and replace them with His peace and comfort. Nothing you or Matt could have done would have changed God's plan for James. Please don't let guilt take a hold - you did all you could to love and care for your little boy, you have nothing to feel guilty about. These are some of my favorite Bible verses that bring me comfort....
    Matt 11:28
    Jer 29:11
    Romans 8:28
    Phillipians 4:6-7
    Isaiah 43:18-19
    Isaiah 41:10
    Matt 5:4
    Romans 8:18
    Psalm 18:2

    Your family and your sweet James are continuously in my thoughts and prayers.

  16. Kara, I've never posted before. I would love to see the pictures of James in the same chair that you took once a week. I hope I'm not out of line in asking to see them.


  17. Kara, I would also love to see those pictures if you and your husband are willing to share them.

    You wrote in an earlier post that James was born perfect and the mutation of that one cell was a fluke with no explanation. It's so hard to grasp that there is no reason we can understand that your sweet angel went to Heaven so quickly.

    Never in your posts do you come across as taking James for granted. You prepared for your child's future not because you took him for granted, but because you love him and wanted him to have every comfort. The mutation was a fluke you had no reason to expect.

    It takes a lot of strength to say you believe in Jesus, not jinxes. We all want a reason for the tragedy in our lives and sometimes it's so hard to believe there even could be a reason when even God had to watch His Son die. Whatever that unfathomable reason is, I cannot believe that the love of a doting mother could be in any way penalized by a loving God.

    God bless.

  18. "Whatever that unfathomable reason is, I cannot believe that the love of a doting mother could be in any way penalized by a loving God."

    This is such a perfect way to express how I felt reading your entry today. A mother's job is to plan and pray for the future. You lived your time with
    Jamesie exactly the way a mother should (and, unfortunately, many of us let the rest of life get in the way). Your time with him was precious and perfect, right down to planning for his next Christmas. That was your gift to him.

  19. Oh Kara :( You blessed that little boy immensely by making him your whole world. If you hadn't been such a caring and devoted mother, maybe he wouldn't have had as long as he did here on earth. If you weren't such an amazing mom, he would've been alone in the hospital and he wouldn't have had a birthday party. You did the very best you could in those circumstances, and too much love is NEVER the reason for terrible things happening.

  20. Oh my dear Kara. You never took Jamsie for granted. You made his short, sweet life incredibly special and showed him all the love of a truly devoted mother. I'm sure what you're feeling is normal, but don't punish yourself. I look to you as an example of how I can better show my children my love for them. You are an amazing daughter of our Heavenly Father!

  21. Your post made me cry, Kara. I can't imagine what runs through your head but it breaks my heart to know you have thought you jinxed your beautiful boy. I completely agree with all the other posters. Please don't tear yourself down. You were so obviously a wonderful caring mother who is only guilty of loving her child so unconditionally. With Love, Julie

  22. Thanks for your honesty on where your heart is today. Praying that brighter days come soon.

  23. I cant imagine the struggle you must be going through, but THIS IS NOT YOUR FAULT. God had a plan, and while we will never know or understand why, we just have to have faith. Maybe to bring more knowledge and support to this illness, so that more research can be done. And while i know that is no replacement for the loss of your sweet baby boy, it is important that you know that there was nothing more that you could have done. I know that i am a total stranger, but I continue to pray for you and your family. That God brings you strength and comfort

  24. I appreciate your honesty and vulnerability. You loved James with the ferocity and passion most of us parents love their children. You did not jinx your son, you just loved him as he should be loved. I pray that you and Matthew find peace as these difficult days pass. Please remember that you are thought of regularly with love.

  25. I read of your heartbreaking story and cried for you all. Then today I saw a facebook page that made a connection for me. A couple in Aust lost their little girl in March before she was a month old. I don't know if you want to hear about anything like your situation at the moment but the link is here if you want it.
    I keep you in my prayers.

  26. Always praying, Kara. I know this is not the life you intended to live, but I (along with MANY so others!)am so proud of the way you are handling yourself and James' legacy.