Monday, November 14, 2011


I was a bridesmaid this weekend in my friend Amanda's wedding.  She looked so beautiful, and the wedding was her perfect fairy tale.  I was so happy for Amanda and Evan, but I had so many conflicting emotions going into the weekend.

When Amanda asked me to be a bridesmaid, my life was so completely different.  It's almost like my life has three stages now- before James, with James, after James.  I made the hotel reservation the week that James was throwing up.  When I pulled up the hotel confirmation this week, I realized that I had made the reservation with a requested crib.  Because even though James had been throwing up that week, I truly thought that it was a bug.  I would have never guessed that he wouldn't have been there. 

I thought I would put some Jamesie and Mommy pictures up.  These are from Easter Sunday. 
And so the reservation sort of sent me into a downward spiral.  Last Friday, I finally tried on my bridesmaid dress.  I had picked it up a week or two after James died and it had been sitting in my closet ever since.  I keep thinking about the day I ordered it.  James and I had driven out to Firewheel in Mesquire (for those of you Dallas people).  It was the closest Alfred Angelo store.  I assumed that the store opened at 10 and didn't check the times.  It opened at 11.  We got there about 10:30 and had time to kill.  We went to the Starbucks next door where the barista guy smiled and made James laugh.  

We then decided to go hang out in the backseat of the car because James was hungry.  So I fed him in the backseat (which I swear the whole world has seen my boobs at this point).  I accidentally left my coffee cup on top of the car, and so everyone that walked by noticed first the coffee cup, and then James and I in the backseat waiting.  The store opened, and I grabbed a few dresses to try on.  James ended up playing on the floor of the fitting room, but was over it pretty quickly.  I chose the first dress I tried on, paid, and headed out into a pretty large storm.  I remember calling my mom and asking her to look at the weather to make sure that I should really start to head home.  Precious cargo in the backseat.  James slept the whole way home and we made it safely home. 

For some reason I remember every single detail about that morning.  I remember what he was wearing.  A blue Polo romper onesie.  I had meant to put on shoes, but they didn't quite make it on that morning.  And it was warm, so no big deal.  Hair partially sticking up, like always.  Gummy smile. 

Little moments like that, forever ingrained in my mind.  The simplest of tasks, yet those are the moments that summed up our days.  I like remembering him this way as opposed to sick in a hospital bed.

At the reception, a woman (I think she could have been the grandmother) headed out to the dance floor with a baby boy about how old James should be.  And then I lost it.  I hadn't cried all weekend, and then I just lost it.  I spent a considerable amount of time in the bathroom crying.  I just really thought that he was going to be there.  I still can't believe that he wasn't.  He should have been.

I posted on facebook about that last part.  I know alot of people try to say the right thing, and I understand that.  I know that so many people want me to have another baby immediately, and that they think that encouraging me in that direction is the right thing to say.

But- and I mean this in the nicest way possible- I am absolutely, unequivocally not having another baby in the near future.  There are so many reasons why.  I'm hesitant to list even one of them, because someone will have a rebuttal for that particular reason, and then it will just go on and on.  I really wasn't going to even say anything about it, because it really isn't anyone's business, but there have been so many comments lately about it that I feel like I need to say that. 

I know that many people won't understand that, and that's ok.  But my hope is that you all won't place judgment and know that this isn't a spur of the moment decision.  Bringing a child into the world isn't something that should be decided on a whim.  It's a lifelong commitment, for however long that life lasts. 

So I think I need to revise my list about things not to say to people grieving the loss of a child.  I think number one on mine right now is "You can have another baby" or anything along those lines.  Or anything that has to do with bringing or doing things with another child.  Because I don't want to do those things with any other child.  And to imply that it would be the same to do those things with another child is saying that James wasn't unique for who he was.  I don't want to dance at a wedding with another child.  I want to dance with James.  I want to see the expression on his face as I dip him to the ground.  Or as we shimmy and shake.  Or how his eyes follow the lights across the ballroom.  Or maybe how he might have been walking now and see him walk across as people danced.  I don't know what he would have done. 

And I know that no one means those comments to be hurtful.  It's just that I find now it's better when I sort of let people know when comments bother me. 

Did anyone make a wish at 11.11.11 at 11:11?  I'm still waiting to see if mine comes true....


  1. Amen. Sing it sister. That really is a very hurtful thing to say to a grieving mother, but I am glad you understand people who say it are just ignorant is all.

  2. I have never commented before, but have prayed often for your family. I miscarried our surprise third child in April after losing my mom to cancer in March. I was due on Mom's birthday, so I thought the pregnancy was "meant to be". After the miscarriage, we decided to not try again. I had many people say some rather insensitive remarks, and I think the worst is asking if we'll try again.
    I am so sorry you lost James and you don't have to justify your grief process to anyone. Try to find God's peace and love, even though it may seem like He is not there.

  3. Your pain is not about just missing being an "active" mom or missing having a child in general. It's about missing being JAMES' active mom and missing JAMES as your child -- here in your arms. To tell you you can have another child, is so far away from the solution to your pain, it's almost laughable.

    I have two kids and I tell each of them that I love them with my entire Ella heart or my entire Bennett heart. Because each one of them deserves and has brought with them a completely new heart.

    Having another child will only bring you another child — and a new heart with which to love. But it will not fix your James heart.

    I meant this to say I understand your decision (not that it matters that anyone understands — it's YOURS to make).

    Thinking and praying still for your guys.

  4. I still think of you guys so often and say prayers. I posted a comment last week and saw that someone had written about having another child. It made me so mad; I know they meant well, but it seemed so simplistic.

    Anyway, just want you to know as lonely as this feels, there are people standing in solidarity with you as you walk this terrible road.

  5. Sweet Kara, 27 years ago we had a stillborn daughter, Elizabeth. She was born at 8 months gestation. It was a complete shock and hurt so bad. But I found out that people who mean well, say the stupidest things. One lady told me she would have been mentally handicapped. I was like "Where do you get that information?" But I came to the conclusion that death is not a normal part of our lives and people just don't know what to say. So they try to 'fix' it with a solution. i.e - have another baby. I got thru it one moment, one day, one week, one month at a time. We took the time to grieve. I am so sorry that you have to go thru this and I pray that God, the God of all comfort will sustain you. I always remind myself that God truly knows how I feel because He lost a son too! But He lost that Son so we might truely live. Pour out your grief to Him, He loves you like no one else could even try!! Hugs, Sg

  6. Kara, I have never commented on her before, but heard of you and James through a sweet friend who knew you from Baylor. Please know that I will continue to pray for you as struggle to find a new normal if that is even possible. You are in my prayers daily!

  7. The pictures are so beautiful! You and James look gorgeous! I am sorry you get those kind of comments. There is not one person in this world that can know how YOU feel. No one, not even parents who have lost a child know how YOU feel. It may be similar, but not the same. Even the way you grieve may be different from your husband. No one has the right to tell you what you should feel or do. No one can tell you when it is a good time to start trying for a baby again, no one can say how you will feel, or how long you should feel a certain way. All this is yours to decide. I am glad you know that you are in control of your thoughts, feelings, emotions, ideas, wants and time frames. I am sorry some people have tried to tell you what to do/feel. I am sorry James was not in your arms at the wedding. He was with you though, I will tell you that! Praying for you always!

  8. I love the Easter pictures of James. What a beautiful boy. He always wore the most adorable shoes. Thank you for your honesty. You help many of us know what to say, and what not say. You are a teacher to us with each post. We all have someone in our lives that need the right words. You help us find those words.

    The above poster is right. So many of us, even those of us that have never met you, care for you and worry for you. And that translates into wanting to "fix" the situation. There is something about you that makes so many of us want to heal the hole in your heart. But there is no fixing this situation. And any solution any of us could ever offer would be completely inadequate. Thank you for forgiving us when we misspeak or don't have the right words. Please know we continue to pray for your family. We continue to grieve for your loss.

  9. I never commEnt (only read) because mainly no words will ever be "right" enough but something in your post really resonated with me tonight.

    How DARE anyone say you can always have another baby (as in get over it.) Ya you can but he or she will not be James. To say that to you is just inexcusable. Yes another child could bring you joy but for someone to expect it to fill the void is just rude. Im sorry you had to hear that!

  10. Kara, I am thoroughly convinced that I will never in my lifetime see a smile as beautiful as Baby Jamesie's. I actually think of him when I see people smiling joyfully because I compare them. They never match up, though, not even close.

    The pictures are as beautiful as James. Thank you for sharing his smile with us.

  11. Thank you for your honesty! I'm so sorry that you have been hurt by some of the things people have said/written. I love CareesaRenae's words above. I love the analogy that every child you have brings you a new heart! I pray for you and Matthew every day, and I will continue to pray for peace and healing for your "Jamesie Heart." Thank you for sharing the beautiful pictures of you and James.

  12. ugh! it is so hard to fine "the right" thing to say to people because "the right" thing is different for each of us AND because there really is no "right" thing to say....

    Praying for you my dear virtual friend because that is all I feel I can do... May Jesus soothe your raw heart today.

  13. There is no replacement for James and there never will be! You need to do things in your own time but at least people are trying to help. It's so hard to know what to say but if anyone knew what that right thing was, we'd say it :)

  14. People mean well. They really do. No child could ever replace another. However, every child brings joy and I think that's all anyone wants for you and Matthew: joy. It is so hard to see you in so much pain. We want to help, but we are literally helpless.

  15. I am new to your blog and just so very sorry for your loss. James was so beautiful. God bless your son.

    I can see how comments about other children can hurt. I think you are doing the right thing in telling people. No one has a clue unless they go through it. And they appreciate being told. Grief is a long, complicated and completely individual process. I hope that you have moments of peacefulness and days when you can feel the sun shine as you go through your grieving.