...my journey through the valleys and over the mountains as i learn to live with the 'new' reality of losing xavier ian. this is a place i can jot down thoughts, feelings, and things i am learning through this journey of life.

if my dreams came true...

Lilypie Angel and Memorial tickers

since the nightmare began...

Lilypie Angel and Memorial tickers

Saturday, November 12, 2011

grief is a journey, not a destination...

sometimes i forget that grief is a journey and not a destination.  today my journey led me through a torential downpour that stopped me dead in my tracks.  out of nowhere i just started crying, for no apparent reason, and i'm at a standstill.  like so many other things...grief is a journey and not  a destination. 

Friday, October 21, 2011

standing still...

it's like i am standing still in the water up to my chest, but the water is moving all around me. so i kind of sway with the water. i am not choosing to move, but i am also not stopping the movement...that would take too much energy. i am not moving forward or backward. i am not moving to either side. i'm anchored to my spot and swaying in the water. his due date was november 6, 2009...i do not know how i have survived two years without him (more than two years without him) and i just remain still, letting the water move me because i don't have the energy to stop the outside world from moving me...but i am just going with the flow. my motto remains: how sad.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

darkness = hopelessness

it's always harder to find hope in the darkness than in the light of day...there's just something about daylight that makes hope a possibility.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

i forgot...

it's my birthday,


luckily a couple of friends from work texted me to remind me. lol

Thursday, October 6, 2011

i got the job...

yay me! i now have a second job. our one income family has a tiny second income...still provided by me. i am choosing to have a second job. my husband is choosing to stay home with the kids. i am choosing to miss out on my family. really? money sucks!

thank God for counseling...too bad it's only once a week!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

pregnancy and infant loss blog directory...

just came across this and thought i'd share for anyone that wants to check it out...


it's a directory of blogs divided up by first, second, or third trimester losses, and a few other miscellaneous categories. so, check it out and submit your blog too!

Friday, September 16, 2011

right where i am today: 2 years, 3 months, 1 week, 5 days

xavier ian swords was stillborn at 18 weeks gestation on june 4, 2009. xavier only measured between 13 - 15 weeks gestation meaning he traveled to the other side of heaven shortly after my previous doctor appointment a month earlier.

i am depressed. i am on medication for my depression. i participate in therapy for an hour a week [sooo wish it were more].

i feel different depending on who i am with. when i am at work i feel more normal. i am able to say that i had a stillborn baby. i am able to do what i do very well. i am comfortable and i belong. when i am home i am guarded. i dont' feel like i am allowed to share xavier's memory freely and i've actually put almost all of xavier's things in a box and it sits in my closet [a photo book remains in my purse and a picture frame with his tiny footprints & right handprint sit on my dresser]. at home i feel alone. when i am in public i only have two children...i don't tell anyone about xavier, it's too complicated and awkward and that's okay. i know that he exists, in heaven now, i don't need confirmation from anyone that i birthed a baby [and if i really want confirmation i can always talk about xavier in therapy].

today i am able to feel joy when i hold a baby! i've still not accepted that i will never have another baby! though i am sad it finally feels good to hold someone elses baby. i have moments when i just can't handle being around babies and families of six are the hardest, but other moments i'm fine with my little family of four. i never know how i'm going to be from day to day. i journal and do expressive artwork as often as i can. my therapist tells me that i am normal and i'm actually dealing with xavier's death well, or as well as can be expected. i've just gotten stuck in depression due to knowing i'll never have another baby. even writing it devastates me all over again and i want to break down crying. i want to scream. i want to hide under the covers and sleep, only getting up to eat light meals and go to the bathroom.

i thought i would be better than i am at this point, but i'm not. of course today has been a 'sad' day. lately i've had a lot of 'sad' days. i'm in therapy and i wish i could go twice a week, but i only go once a week. sometimes i feel like the first year was easier than this! in fact i think the first year was easier than this. people allowed me to grieve and be devastated, not that i needed permission. now i should be better, magically. nothing has changed in my life, so why would i be better. my baby is dead. as long as that is my reality there is no reason to stop grieving...i feel like i am just surviving - not really living, just surviving each day.

there's no need to pretend that my life is wonderful, in case you haven't noticed, nobody has a completely wonderful - problem free - life. i'm on this grief journey; a journey through life and while i'm sorry for each of our losses i'm incredibly thankful to have found such a wonderful group of women to accompany me on this journey.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

wellness screening part 3...

i will post my weight at least once a month to keep me on track. i haven't exercised yet this week because andy said he would exercise with me and he's been sick. so, here's my plan if i ever get around to starting it...

my plan for losing weight:

  • exercise at least four days a week in the morning

  • eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner

  • eat healthy snacks

my plan for bettering myself:

  • take time for myself EVERYday

  • journal or do artwork daily

  • do devotions daily

  • get enough sleep

  • read books

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

i am an artist...
i write.
i draw.
i sing.
i grieve.

can grieving be an art? i think so. therefore i am an artist.
i grieve xavier ian.
i grieve no more babies.
i grieve this life that i always dreamed of before i realized dreams never come true.
i grieve this life i dreamed of that i never knew as a reality.
i am an artist.

i'm stubborn. i don't like change.
therapy is all about change.
do i really want to change? can i really change? will i ever change? and why?

my mind is all over the place tonight. i've been doing free writing today. i took time for me rather than go to work. i told andy he' not invited to all my therapy sessions anymore! not that he even cared, but it felt good to tell him anyway.

is it possible to be too honest? i think i am too honest. that is when i'm not hiding i'm too honest. is it possible to hide things from myself. i wonder if i even know how i feel sometimes. looking back i know how i felt, but how do i feel right now, in this moment...how do i really feel? i don't mean happy, sad, mad. i mean ecstatic, devastated, enraged! i can't hide how i'm feeling, unless i shut down and even then i'm telling you something about how i feel, right?

i'm learning a lot these days about myself. i'm very controlled or rather i like to be in control. in fact i'm so afraid of losing control that i choose to shut down rather than feel at times. i am very passive. i don't like confrontation, but if you push me too far i scream, then i cry - and i shake! confrontation is very uncomfortable. i need my own space...not even a house, just a place that is mine (where i feel safe) and i'm allowed to be me. i don't really know who i am. i'm not even sure who i want to be anymore.

do you remember when life was simple? summer vacation meant 3 months of playing with friends. staying up all night with friends, then sleeping all day. biking past his house all day until sunset or he chased you away. walking through cemeteries looking for cool headstones or interesting names. sitting behind the church sign to get moment of quiet. screaming as trains went by. believing that love really is enough. somewhere between 11 and 16 simple became extinct. maybe it happened slowly. at least i don't remember it happening overnight. even if my life were simple now, i wouldn't be happy with it, would i?

xavier ian will always be my baby. i will always love him and remember him. how to fit xavier into my life of living, breathing people i'm not sure. or maybe i'm not sure how to fit living, breathing people into a life of remembering xavier ian.

enough honesty for one day. this post has been all over the place and i'm not really sure how i ended up here, but it's where i'll leave you hanging for now.

wellness screening part 2...

my height is 5 feet 1 1/4 inches
my weight is 221
my blood pressure is 110/74 (actually a bit high for me)

so, i have a bit of work to do. ideally i would like to weigh between 150 and 170. we'll see how this goes. andy is sick right now, so we aren't exercising together yet. we wanted to walk or something that we could do in the mornings together as we don't get a lot of time together.

so, no plan in place yet, other than walking with andy in the mornings. i know that walking works because i lost 40 lbs. before just walking and not eating too much junk. unfortunately i've gained it all back (plus a few). so, there you have it! i've put it out there for the world to see...my weight is 221. my goal is to lose 50 lbs. (weigh 170), but i only have to lose half that in a year to pass the screening next year (i think).

now i'll try to update my progress once a month. if i forget then feel free to ask me to post.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

wellness screening part 1...

tomorrow is our annual wellness screening at work for our insurance. i'm going to fail the bmi portion, but it think i'll be fine with the rest...this means i'll be paying $35 extra per paycheck for insurance.

so, later this week i'll post what my weight is at the screening and my plan to lose the extra weight (at least 10% in a year) so that i pass next year's screening. all of you who read my blog can help to encourage me and keep me on track. i'm going to attempt to post once a month about my weight, probably the middle of each month, and hopefully my husband will join me on this adventure.

so, check back later this week and keep me on track!
sometimes i don't have words to express how i truly feel. sometimes all i can do is cry. last night i cried as i journaled, then i cried myself to sleep while holding xavier's teddy bear.
sometimes i can't.
sometimes i don't.
sometimes i won't.
i am stubborn and wear my feelings on my sleeve.
i am fragile.
i am trying to be okay with working while my husband stays home with the kids. i am trying to allow myself to believe that in this day & age that it is okay for a woman to bring home the bacon while the man is the homemaker. i am trying to not feel guilty for being okay with all of this. i actually enjoy my job more than i enjoy being at home doing stuff around the house. if i just made a bit more money this would totally work long term.
work was unexpectedly wonderful tonight. i was dreading going in before work, then i got there and was pleasantly surprised. the last couple of weeks have brought many changes to the unit and the residents have not been adjusting well; perhaps i have not been adjusting well either. anyway, tonight was one of those nights that i'm reminded why i do what i do. i truly love my job.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

a verse for today...

The LORD your God is with you,
he is mighty to save.

He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing.

Zephaniah 3:17

i imagine God serenading me...how cool is that? God loves me so much that he is serenading me, delighting in me. God has saved me and rejoices that he has saved me.

wedding band...

i recently started wearing my engagement ring & wedding band again. i also wear a dragonfly ring and one more ring depending on my mood. there were a few weeks i was only wearing my wedding band. i didn't take it off ever.

there were a few weeks that i wore my rings until bedtime at work and then took them off, not putting them back on til i returned to work the next day.

anyway, back to the point of this entry. i started meeting with an accountability partner through my church (leesburg grace brethren) for a purity covenant that i signed over the summer. i realized that i was so angry with my husband for a time that i quit wearing my rings altogether. i started wearing the wedding band again and i didn't take it off for weeks. just recently i started wearing all my rings again. it's amazing what a small piece of metal with a few gemstones signifies in my mind, maybe in all our minds. when i felt like i was doing something right and i was encouraging people it became important to me to wear my wedding rings all the time again.

my marriage is definitely difficult right now, but i'm not willing to give up. i'm hopeful and i believe that God is working in our marriage or at least in me :) my accountability partner told me that she is encouraged by me not giving up on my marriage through all the trials we've been through the past three years. anyone else want to share about marriage troubles after a loss?

Monday, August 29, 2011


so, here's my question to angie (the creator of still life 365)...

Michelle: my question is do you ever deal with feelings that you just can't take care of your living children because you are trying to take care of your dead child? i am really struggling with this right now as i am the only one who seems to remember xavier. i feel like i have to mother xavier because he is dead and there are others that can 'mother' my living children for me and it breaks my heart that i struggle with this.

...and here is angie's answer: Oh, Michelle, your question hit me in the gut. Yes, absolutely. Particularly in the beginning. I haven't felt that way in a long time, come to think of it. Sometimes I feel like I spin my wheels in my house trying to integrate Lucy, or I should say, I feel like I used to spin my wheels. I don't know when it happened, somewhere between 18 months and two years where Lucy's death and my mothering her became integrated into our life. It felt natural and like I wasn't two mothers torn between two ways of being--grieving and mother, or mothering Lucy and mothering everyone else. Rather, I felt like one mother now. But I so frequently get frustrated that I seem to be the keeper of grief in our home. The one to establish rituals. The one to remember Lucia. I guess I mean that my husband does not feel the same impulse to remember and honor her. I asked him once why and he said, "Because you do that for us, and I appreciate it."

if you've never checked out her blog, you really should. i was reading something this week about writing makes us feel naked. i think it's true. if you are writing from your heart then there is definitely a sense of nakedness that may make you uncomfortable or others uncomfortable. i think counseling makes me feel naked too. i always try to wear a jacket or something long-sleeved so i can pull my hands inside. so, the more honest you are - the more naked you are! lol

Friday, August 26, 2011


apparently i'm angry. my therapist told me that i need to get angry because it's in there, but it's hiding. i don't get angry very often and when i do it's rather short lived. anyway, i have an assignment this week to do some free writing on my anger and i'm not doing so well with it. i love the book i was suppose to skim through before doing the free writing (writing down the bones by natalie goldberg), in fact i've read the whole thing rather than just skimming it. now, i just need to stop putting it off and do the free writing. ugh!

Thursday, August 11, 2011


i've been working on some stuff in counseling...hard stuff. i feel broken, but my counselor assures me i am 'normal' if there is such a thing as normal. today in counseling, actually the last few times we've been talking about what i really want out of life and what i really want out of life is happiness. i have peace already, but i want happiness. i used to say, "i want to be a _____ when i grow up." now i just say, "i want to be happy when i grow up." and really that's what i want for my kids too. i want them to be happy. sometimes i look at miss andi after we've had a really hard day and she's been in trouble a lot and she's still smiling. i think how can she smile after all that's happened today? is she really happy? i hope she is. i hope she is truly happy and it continues throughout her life. i also hope my children have peace.

i've also been working on being more assertive and actually taking time for myself throughout the day. i've been working on taking time to relax and recharge. i've been working on changing me, so that i can be a better person. i've got a long way to go...but i'm getting there. i know that there are always ways we can grow and become better throughout our entire lives, but right now it feels good to be able to focus on me for one hour a week and then work on the assignments i've been given to better myself.

Sunday, July 24, 2011


lately a lot of people have told me that i am one of the strongest people they know. i must be hiding my shattered heart well to the rest of the world. this last week took a toll on me. i had to go into the bathroom at work to cry on several occasions. i don't think anybody noticed. i don't think of myself as a strong person...i just do what i have to in order to survive. sometimes i don't even feel like i'm truly living, just surviving. i've felt God holding me up again over the past week. i don't know where i would be without my faith.

i've been going to counseling and i've been surviving each week til my next session. counseling is amazing...my counselor is amazing. i can say anything i want and i'm not judged (at least not outwardly), i'm not told i did something wrong, i'm not told to do things differently. my counselor assures me that i'm normal (something i quit believing years ago) and i believe that he believes i'm normal.

so, here it is a new week and i'm looking very forward to thursday when i have counseling again. i love my husband, but i can't talk about work with him. i love my family, but i hide the tears from them. i love my job, but presently it is stressful. i love counseling and for one hour on thursday i can let it all out and feel safe doing it! i don't have to hide the tears. i can shout if i want. i can be raw and it'll be okay. i am looking forward to thursday because it helps me to stay strong the rest of the week.

don't get me wrong...counseling is not church, but counseling in addition to church makes me a much better person right now. i go to church and there are people who i totally open up to and let it all out, including my pastor. i go to church and learn about how God is working in my life now. i go to church and feel refreshed for my week. i need church because i need to feel connected to others. i need counseling because i need a safe place to explode!

so, if i do appear to be strong it's only because God has placed an amazing church family and an amazing counselor, along with amazing friends in my life for this time. if i am strong it is not my strength you see, but rather God who is holding me in the palm of his hand carrying me through these tough days.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

not a fan of death...

i'm not a fan of death...duh! i suppose it would be strange to post that i am a fan of death, but today in particular i'm not a fan of death.

my sister texted me this afternoon to tell me that our high school youth group leader died of cancer early this morning. so, i checked my e-mail and sure enough there it was in black and white.

she fought a long hard battle with cancer and had many victories over the years. i'm not sure i would say that the cancer won even now. i don't want to think of her as a defeated person. i would rather think that she finally let go and let God take her up to heaven to praise Him in perfection. let go and let God is something i definitely saw time and again in her life. she allowed God to work through her and transformed the lives of many youth because of it.

i had lost touch with her over the years, only sending a christmas card or two to her since high school. i am deeply saddened and grieving all over again for the loss of such a wonderful lady. i'm also a bit angry...God allowed her to die! God allowed my baby to die! she could be meeting my son right now! she could be holding him! she could be telling him stories about me that i don't want my children to know! lol i also know that she has been reunited with her son. i'm sure the angels are rejoicing to welcome such a Godly example of a woman into heaven today.

i've missed her over the years. she played a huge part in who i am today and i'm going to miss her til i get to heaven.

today i'm REALLY not a fan of death.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

father's day...

two years ago today we held a memorial service to say good-bye to xavier ian.
today i remember two years ago, but i don't think anyone else does. i'm beginning to think that each year gets harder rather than easier. i've cried a lot this month. i've felt very alone this month. i'm definitely having a hard time functioning this month. i'm not so naive as to believe that it will suddenly get better when this month is over because i know it won't. in real life things don't magically get better and there are no happily ever afters. in real life there is just struggling and more struggling day after day after day, etc.
two years ago today there was a table set up with pictures and people remembered xavier with me. today i remember him alone.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

giveaway winner...

tiffany, mattie, & holly

since only three of you entered and three is my favorite number i'm going to do a drawing for each of you. i have sent e-mail to each of you...so i'll be waiting to hear back from you! congratulations.

remembering xavier ian swords today...june 4, 2009! never forgotten.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

100th post giveaway...epic fail!

so you can read all about my 100th post giveaway here. it was an epic fail! i don't know if there was a problem with blogger or if nobody reads 'my world' anymore, but i'm willing to try one more time...so if you would like me to do a personalized piece of artwork for you using words please comment after this post. i will give you until the end of may to post a comment and i will announce the winner on or shortly before xavier's angelversary...june 4. same rules apply for entering.

so, to enter you may leave a comment. you may enter up to 3 times. each comment is a separate entry:
1. tell me you follow my blog,
2. tell about this giveaway on your blog or facebook,
3. tell me what you would envision in a personal piece of artwork about your child from me.

Friday, April 22, 2011

100th post giveaway...

when i started blogging my grief was raw. i couldn't even see that there was light on the other side of this valley, the mountains were too tall to even begin climbing and rain poured so hard that i could barely see my hand in front of my face. i felt like i was drowning. i was completely reliant on God in those early days because there were days that i literally knew i was not walking by my own strength, but rather being carried in my creators hands. when i saw beauty it was in the tiniest things, like a flower petal or a blade of green grass. there was no big picture, just a bunch of jumbled little pieces that didn't make any sense.

today, my 100th post, i continue to grieve - but xavier has become a part of who i am. everything i do is somehow influenced by my experience with losing a baby. i'm still walking through the valley, but God has given me enough strength that i need only hold his hand now and my legs can follow Him. the pouring rain is more like a constant drizzle and every now and again i even spot a rainbow, a big picture of joy! i still don't understand why xavier died, but i'm learning to accept that i will not know this side of heaven.

many people do a giveaway for special posts...like the 100th! i'd like to do a giveaway, though i have very limited funds. so, i'm offering my artwork which may not seem like much but it comes from my heart. here are examples of my artwork example 1, example 2, example 3, example 4, example 5. my hope is that you can send me words that mean something to you or just tell me about yourself and your beautiful baby gone too soon and i can somehow figure out something that will mean something to you. i'm not sure what this will look like or how big yet, but i want to do something!

so, to enter you may leave a comment. you may enter up to 3 times. each comment is a separate entry:
1. tell me you follow my blog,
2. tell about this giveaway on your blog or facebook,
3. tell me what you would envision in a personal piece of artwork about your child from me.

alright, that's it! comment away and tell your friends. i will choose a winner in one week and announce it saturday april 30th here!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

...nothing to say...

i've not had much to say lately. i've been faithfully reading blogs, not so much commenting on them, but i've neglected updating my blog much. i guess i just feel that whatever i have to say has already been said or felt or existed for so long that there is no point telling you.

i am definitely in a different place now than i was two years ago or two weeks ago for that matter. i am learning how to cope better everyday and very frustrated that i still have those 'can't get myself out of bed for the life of me' days every now and again. but, i am surviving and taking care of my family as best i can and remembering xavier in my own way everyday.

i'm wondering if i should make this blog more about my family, my living children, and my everyday struggles. i wanted it to be a special place to keep my thoughts about xavier, but as i see that those thoughts really never change i don't want to sound like a record on repeat...so, maybe it's time for a little bit of a change-up. part of keeping xavier's memory alive is involving him in the lives of my children, right?

well, you can let me know what you think if you want. i have lots of thoughts that i haven't shared because they don't directly relate to xavier or loss or whatever, but maybe this blog could be more than a blog about loss...maybe this blog could be a beginning of something great!

God's not finished with me yet and i think that's where i'll leave it at for now...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

my husband reads this blog and asked me if i had updated it recently...so i thought i should.

i don't get around to blogging so much, as of late. i've been doing more personal journaling and bible study. i've been much more private lately. i guess there is something about writing the same stuff over and over again that is really depressing to me (and possibly those of you who read this blog).

so, life continues on...

i was doing well for awhile. but lately i look back over the past two years and i'm saddened. maybe i should be looking at everything i have learned and be thankful and joyful and at peace, but i'm not. i'm just sad and discontent. i'm not joyful. at times i struggle to even function.

march 2009 ~ we find out we are pregnant and there are many mixed emotions

april 12, 2009 ~ easter & andi's 2nd birthday...xavier is still alive!

end of may (just a week before the stillbirth) 2009 ~

june 3, 2009 ~ i find out (all alone) there is no heartbeat

june 4, 2009 ~ xavier ian swords (stillborn)

in a way time stopped that day and never started again for me. in a way i got stuck. i wanted everything to stop moving and continuing on because my world stopped, but that's not how it works. so, i've done the best i can to continue on and some days i do fairly well...other days, not so much. lately it's been, not so much. it seems that i cannot be comforted; i am not joyful; i am bitter and angry and jealous. i continue to mourn for the life i dreamed that will never come true. i continue to mourn the loss of xavier.

in just over a month it will have been two years since losing xavier! two years! i don't know where the time has gone. i was thinking the other day that if xavier had lived i'd be wanting another baby about now...instead i'm wanting xavier and another baby still, but there will be no more babies for me! how sad.

i'm not doing so well these days. i sleep a lot. i eat too much. i don't talk enough. my life seems to be crumbling all around me, even work is not the safe haven it once was. i'm in a bit of a slump and i just don't know how to pull myself out of it. i'm hoping spring break will help to brighten my spirits a little. we'll see.

on the bright side i was reading back through some messages on facebook and realized how much better i am now than i was then. today may seem horrible, but when i look back at a year ago i see how much better today is. thank you for following my blog and supporting me. i'll try to be a better blogger.

Monday, January 31, 2011

six word memoir...

i've been reading 'our daily bread' for devotions. on saturday, january 29, 2011 the title of the devotion was 'six words from solomon'

ecclesiastes 12:13 (NIV) fear God and keep his commandments

if i were to write a six word memoir i would say
nomad, on this journey through grief

i'm sure this will change over time, but this is where i'm at right now.
what would your six word memoir be?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

things are looking up...

i will admit that the beginning of the year was a bit rocky. this past week i finally feel like i'm finding my groove. i've actually been doing really well. whenever i do well i always seem to keep my guard up just waiting for the downfall...so far, so good. even when something not so great happens i'm dealing with it well. i must give God the glory for this. i think it is because i've been going to bibilical counseling and reading my Bible everyday...doing devotions daily. my prayer life is still not where it should be, but i'm definitely feeling a lot more like my 'old' self or perhaps i'm finding my 'new' self.