Pages of Interest

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Dear Nimkee.......

From Jeff's pics

Dear Nimkee,
I cannot believe it has been 2 years already since I learned of your Trisomy 13. I remember silently rocking you in front of the fire, rubbing you and thinking----how can this be? How can this little baby growing inside of me be so ill? Why? I just don't understand!

As I make my way through a second Christmas without you, my heart aches. I miss you so much.

Tonight I went to the Candy Cane Festival with your big brothers and I saw a tiny new baby there. He was dressed in a Santa suit, with the little red hat--trimmed in white fur. I wanted to pick him up and hold him...and remember how good you felt in my arms.

I reached down and touched his tiny fingers, held his tiny hand. I stroked his cheeks, felt his dark, wavy hair which reminded me so much of your own. I saw him open his eyes, just waking from his nap....and remembered seeing you do the same.

I couldn't resist. I had to reach down and kiss him tenderly.....

And all I could think of was you......

Gzaagin Nimkee.....Mommy xxoo



Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Brendan's Awareness Project for his Baby Brother Nimkee




http://www.youtube.com/IntroducingBennett

http://www.myspace.com/introducingbennett

My eldest son Brendan began this project during my pregnancy with Bennett-Chadlen following his Trisomy diagnosis. It is his desire to spread Awareness for all special children in the world. Please check out the above links and if you have accounts, leave him a comment of support, or leave one here. I'll be sure he sees it!

I've taken this from Brendan's myspace page:

About Introducing Bennett I started this project in memory of my little brother Bennett-Chadlen who passed away in april 2007 due to a chromosomal abnormality called Trisomy 13, aka Patau Syndrome, and a non-severe Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia. To get info on this and other types of Trisomy and CDH, please visit the following link or visit Bennett-Chadlen's myspace page.

http://my-baby-is-an-angel.blogspot.com/

Hailing from Manitoulin Island, Ontario, Canada, Introducing Bennett delivers dirty, soulful acoustic music to your ears. Now unchained, the young artist of former band Tragedy Ends kicks it off with a whole new sound. Currently working on his new album: Observe, Introducing Bennett will bring a tear to your eye.. please bring Kleenex.

Also check out Introducing Bennett's YOUTUBE channel: http://www.youtube.com/IntroducingBennett

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Pray for Ava!

This post is dedicated in honour of a beautiful little girl named Ava. She is 2 years old, and is a CDH survivor.

5 weeks ago Ava became a very sick little girl. Luckily her very quick thinking and relentless mother wouldn't take NO for an answer....and insisted that x-rays be taken and a diagnosis made. Within hours Ava was airlifted to another hospital where she has remained to this day.

Click here for Ava's blog

On her page you will find loads of inspirational montages, informative links to CDH information.....and lots and lots of endless love!!!!

I love you Ava!

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The Bear-ers of Grace

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The Bearers of Grace Foundation is operated by Lise, who is a very dear friend of mine. This project was created in memory of their daughter Grace. The following is an exert from their home page.

More information on Grace's family may be found at the following link, on page 6. Please check it out!

http://www.communityspiritmagazine.com/files/200811.pdf

The Bearers of Grace Foundation provides compassionate caring support as well as a listening ear and heart to a parent or parents who have lost a child. Additionally, it creates opportunities to honor the memory of the child and to share the hope and promise of God’s grace and mercy.

If you or a family member or friend has lost a child, contact Bearers of Grace for caring support. When Bearers of Grace office is notified about the death of a child, they will bring or send a teddy bear so that the mom and dad will have something to hold in their arms. Additionally, they will receive a folder of care, which includes meaningful information to assist them during their time of loss.

Through your donation, Bearers of Grace will provide a teddy bear and folder to give or send to the grieving family. You may choose a scripture or one will be supplied for you.

Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep

If your unborn child has been diagnosed with a poor prenatal diagnosis, please consider seeking out this organization. I was blessed to have met a wonderful woman who did some prenatal photos for me, as well as during Bennett-Chadlen's time in the NICU.

I also had the opportunity to have a photographer come to the NICU on the day that Bennett-Chadlen grew his tiny, perfect wings. He stayed for hours..........

These photos are so very precious to me for so many reasons. These photographers captured the very essence of my emotions at that place in time.

These photos will provide me with a lifetime of irreplaceable memories......

My photos may be viewed here on this page......to the left.

The following video is a sampling of photographs of other precious babies whose lives were touched by Trisomy, just as Bennett-Chadlen was.




Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Blessings in hidden places......

From Jeff Green pics of Nimkee


This picture speaks a thousand words............
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Due to some email replies to several people, I was prompted to return and read some of my past posts.

I read about the day I received the possible news of Trisomy 18 from blood results that my midwife had performed. I had never bothered with those tests before that particular day. She was drawing blood for something else and I said....."Hey, what the heck. The needle's already in my arm anyway! Go for it. One less thing to worry about." Heh......what did I know?

Hindsight being what it is......I can't help but think that everything happened just as it was predestined to.

My heart is heavy when I remember those final moments as I rocked him and his father and I sang him to Heaven. I remember with great sorrow those final moments of holding him and kissing him one last time before I laid for his eternal rest in his handmade casket, lovingly crafted by his Uncle Evan. I remember being led away as others paid their last respect, showering him with freshcut daisies before the burial commenced......as the sun went down. How I made it through is beyond me!

Yet, at the same time I look around me and find so much joy that had escaped me prior to this amazing journey of love, loss, grief, and healing. I have learned so much about myself, and so many others too. I surprised myself with my ability to survive with such persistence. I am also surprised by the love and acceptance of my sweet boy by those who I really didn't expect it from.

There was 1 person who I thought would be there no matter what. I was wrong. Although I gave her ample time to reach out and provide me with much needed comfort during those early days of my prenatal diagnosis-----it didn't happen----and still hasn't. I can't say that I have closed the door, for my heart doesn't work that way. When I care, I care for life.......even if that means we never cross paths again in this lifetime. Sadly, there is almost a sense of relief from that obligatory task of always being there---any time of day or night......supporting through the mundane stupidity that was exhibited time and time again. I don't miss that......but wish her success in finding that ever elusive happiness. It's sad what some people take for granted.


I read about the day that I received those amnio results informing me that it wasn't Trisomy 18---but that he had FULL Trisomy 13 instead. I was once again dumbfounded and needed to look for some information about that. I found the Livingwithtrisomy 13 site.....and what inspiration and HOPE I was filled with!! I cannot express enough gratitude for the support that was received during those prenatal months. The Treasured Memories site was also such a godsend to me during those days, weeks, months........even now---since the day my little guy grew his tiny, perfect wings and ascended upon the Spirit World.


I read the entry made the day I visited Nimkee's grave site all alone for the first time. What a day that was. I am shocked by the words that I wrote, for I don't remember them at all. Where did I find the strength and courage in those early days and weeks??


There are still many posts to return to and read..........but I don't have to do it all in one day.


The main point of this post is to say that I much prefer my life POST Nimkee, rather than prior to receiving his blessing upon my soul. I have "met" so many wonderful, compassionate, supportive people along the way. Some I have met in person......some I just know in my heart. Some are others who have travelled this journey before me.....but surprisingly many are not. These men and women are just those who randomly found me on myspace and felt compelled to read my "stuff"--for whatever reason....and decided to extend their well wishes and words of praise and comfort my way.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

Bennett-Chadlen......through you I have learned so much. I have grown and developed into this person I barely recognize anymore, but yet I wouldn't change a thing if I could-----except to have you in my arms once again, to smell your sweet skin, feel your breath on my face, gaze into your soulful eyes once more..............

You have expanded my mind, my heart, my soul............in ways that I cannot express through words alone.

My journey with you has allowed me to remember and share your sweet brother who formerly went by Baby Golder....but is now known as Noah-Alexander. I was able to recently name him after 9 yrs!

9 long years I kept him locked away inside of me---like a secret never to be spoken of. How sad and tragic not to be able to share your brother with the world and those around me. You have given him back to me like the true gift that he was, and is----just as you continue to be.

Gzaagin Nimkee.........gzaagin............


Thursday, September 4, 2008

Roadblocks of Reality




I won't lie. I've been having a really difficult time handling my grief.


How do I handle it? By avoiding it. I've gotten quite good at it too.


When I feel the pain coming, from the memories that are always on my mind, I find something to do.


Check some email, reply, read my mail, feed the pets, do some laundry, pull some weeds and plan next year's garden, watch some mindnumbing television show............the list goes on!


The number one distraction has been my boys, and my special friend J. I keep telling myself that Nimkee doesn't want his Mommy to be so sad and not have time for his brothers, and herself.
Sometimes I feel like a fraud. I paint this false smile on my face and just walk around like everything's fine. I guess I keep hoping that it just will be. Fake it til you make it........or so the saying goes.
It's not easy to do this though. Turning off my emotions has been really difficult and requires a lot of energy. I'm burning out.


I can't even look back at the old blog entries. Reading these evokes the pain from those days. I don't want anymore pain. I've had enough for one lifetime. I know I need to revisit those days and work through them. I experienced the worst pain a mother could ever know, and I survived!


Now it's time to be more than just a survivor. I feel as though I am just spinning my tires, going nowhere. I don't want to just "exist".


I WANT TO LIVE!!!!


My goals in the coming weeks:


  • Relax and reflect on those painful memories. I know I can do this.......I know I can.

  • Read all those self-help books I've bought and keep piling up around me like some sort of security blanket. It's money wasted....and I'm worth it. I need to work on me.

  • Write. I seriously need to start making the time to write a bit each day. I have all these words, thoughts, feelings...spinning around in my head. The inner dialogue can be nauseating at times. I need to get it down!....and I will. I promise.

  • Tune out the negativity. Unless you've been where I am, you have no idea what is going on inside of me. If you won't, or don't, take the time to listen to me.....you'll always be in the dark. I'm not a puzzle. There's nothing to figure out. I say what I mean, I mean what I say. What's vague about that?

Now, I won't add anymore right now. I don't want to overwhelm myself before I even get started.


Wish me luck!


Love, Peace, & Nimkee blessings to all..........Mxxoo :O)



Sunday, April 13, 2008

Bennett-Chadlen's 1st Heavenly Birthday pics



These photos were taken on my little ^Angel^'s 1st Heavenly birthday. It was a beautiful and memorable day that will never be forgotten.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

R.I.P Macy- Moo - An inspiration to us all xXx

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When you feel a gentle breeze
Caress you when you sigh
It's a hug sent from Heaven
From a loved one way up high.

If a soft and tender raindrop
Lands upon your nose
They've added a small kiss
As fragile as a rose.

If a song you hear fills you
With a feeling of sweet love
It's a hug sent from Heaven
From someone special up above.

If you awaken in the morning
To a bluebird's chirping song
It's music sent from Heaven
To cheer you all day long.

If tiny little snowflakes
Land upon your face
It's a hug sent from Heaven
Trimmed with Angel lace.


Thank you Micayla & ^Angel^Faith....xxooxxoo

Daisy background

Ten Thousand Angels by Caedmon's Call


how long you have traveled in darkness weeping
no rest in language, no words to speak
but there in the wreckage beneath bricks and bindings
love has come, love has come for you

against the night sky of your waiting
your face is like starlight when he walks in
everything worth keeping comes through dying
love has come, love has come for you

so lift up your heart now, to this unfolding
all that has been broken will be restored
here runs deep waters for all who are thirsty
love has come, love has come for you

ten thousand angels will light your pathway
until the day breaks fully in the East
they will surround you and make your way straight
love has come, love has come for you
love has come, love has come for you

Saturday, March 1, 2008

The New Normal.......what is it???

Monday, October 22, 2007

The New Normal.......what is it???
Current mood: melancholy
Category: Life

Well.....it has been a very long time since I have written here......not sure why......but sense it has something to do with "MY NEW NORMAL"

What is this??

Well........Angel Mommies all have to discover this for ourselves.....muddling our way through our days....discovering ways to find a comfort in our skins. Believe me.....it isn't easy.

My skin doesn't fit anymore. It feels tight.....and a bit itchy......especially in places that I cannot reach for myself.....like the middle of the back that no matter what you do....it just isn't reachable.

We can ask someone to "scratch" it for us......but the itch will inevitably come back.....it always does. In different places......sometimes in places we can reach.......but scratching it is only a temporary fix. The "elusive" itch always comes back.

I also liken it to having a "burr under my saddle". Imagine it......it's there. Right on the surface at first...but if you can't get it out.....it just burrows itself deeper into the flesh. Ending up.....Kinda like a sliver.

Often times.....you know the sliver is there.....but you can't see it. At first you dig and dig.....trying to get it out. The "wound" is very raw....the more you pick and dig. It hurts.....sometimes you might cry.....but it doesn't make the invisible irritant go away.

Eventually you just have to ignore it....and hope it festers its way out in time.

Sometimes the discomfort is just on the surface.....like a blister from a mis-fitting pair of shoes. It hurts at first.....but goes away eventually, in a matter of days.

Sometimes the hurt is much deeper than that.

I had my appendix out when I was 10 yrs old. That was many, many years ago.......but the scar will always be there. Visible to the naked eye........but placed in an area that is only visible if I "choose" to reveal it to you.

The fact of the matter is this..........

I live with an ever-changing pain and discomfort that will never, ever go away.

So......what do I do to get rid of this??

Sit back....put my feet up......and try to get as comfortable as possible......because it is going to be a long and bumpy ride.

I live with an incurable condition.....called "grief".

Bennett-Chadlen's dad told me a while back......that Bennett is "tattooed on his soul". I love this. It describes perfectly the intensity with which we love our son. It will never subside....or go away.

I wear a scar on my heart.......down deep where you will never see it.

I pray that you will never know it either.

Currently reading :
Sylvia Browne’s Journey of the Soul-Box Set
By Sylvia Browne
Release date: By 01 September, 2001

Broken~Hearted Lullabies......my new group

Wednesday, August 22, 2007



Broken~Hearted Lullabies......my new group
Current mood: sympathetic
Category: Goals, Plans, Hopes

Throughout the Trisomy journey that I travelled with my precious Angel....Bennett-Chadlen....I have met some wonderful and loving moms......

Moms that wanted their babies....but for a variety of reasons, mostly due to pressure from those around them....be it the medical professionals.....or their family members....these women felt pressured to terminate their much wanted babies.....and are now living with regret and heartache.

During my journey with Trisomy 13....I was told that these children do not survive.....and that if they did....their quality of life was so grim that it would be a horrible life for them to endure. I now know that is not always true. Some of these moms have also been told similar misinformation....and due to the shock of the diagnosis.....went ahead and terminated....only to find out later on.....that there were children with similar conditions that do survive....with a quality of life far greater than that which was expected......and that these children and their family members are happy.

This group is for those that have been in this situation.....and currently find themselves struggling with the journey of healing.

My heart goes out to you all.

If you...or anyone you know.....is in this situation.......please lead them here.

Angel Blessings.......Melissa & ^Angel^Bennett-Chadlen

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This YAHOO group is specifically for those that have terminated a much loved and wanted baby for medical reasons.....and are living with regrets of that decision.

All members here are women....from all walks of life.

This is a place to come and feel safe.....and supported.....and most of all comforted.

Everyone deserves love and acceptance....and I want you to know that you will find it here.

If you are in need of support.....or know someone that is....please let us know.

Love, Peace, & Harmony to all......from Broken~Hearted Lullabies.

Click here to link to BROKEN~HEARTED LULLABIES

July 28, 2007---1:14 a.m.

Friday, July 27, 2007

July 28, 2007---1:14 a.m.
Current mood: accomplished
Category: Life

Well....it's definitely been a while since I blogged......I don't even know where to start.

My boys are doing well....loving the new pool.....

And so am I.... hanging around at the beach is not my thing.....

Not these days anyway.....life is different now....

I made a memory garden for Bennett-Chadlen........

We also planted an apple tree in Bennett-Chadlen's memory. It's a spindly little thing, but is covered in quite a number of apples which are growing each day. I can hardly wait to take a bite out of one of those in the fall.

So as you can see I have been keeping busy here.

With the discovery of each new blossom.....comes an awareness that life does go on.

Much love and gratitude to those of you that have trudged along with me during this unbelievable journey during the last 12 months. Your comfort and support has helped make each day a little easier to face.

Gone are the days that I doubted that I would go on. I did not perish when my beautiful Bennett-Chadlen took his last breath......nor have I perished each day since then.

It appears that the world is not finished with me yet.....so I must persevere......trudging boldly through each new day.

I love you so much Bennett-Chadlen......

Thank you for choosing me to be your mum......

Hugs & Angel Kisses my precious boy

Currently listening :
Don't You Fake It
By The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus
Release date: By 12 March, 2007

Everything I know....I learned from Bennett-Chadlen.....

Saturday, June 23, 2007


Everything I know....I learned from Bennett-Chadlen.....
Current mood: restless
Category: Life

As many of you already know.....my precious ^Angel^Bennett-Chadlen was born with a couple of rare conditions.....Trisomy 13....also known as Patau Syndrome.....&.....Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia...or CDH for short.

My life's goal is to continue to raise awareness for these unfortunate and unpreventable circumstances of life.

Our afflicted babies all deserve a chance to live. Some of the symptoms are treatable......sometimes all that can be done is just provide comfort for the baby..........and parents.

In my mind.....

No one is medically futile, until you have tried everything that can be done......and nothing works.

Too often the medical professionals out there provide little support to expecting parents. The data and research information available for many of the trisomy conditions is so outdated and unfair to the medical providers and affected babies.

Termination is often pushed on expecting parents, resulting in a deep and never ending heartache for many years to come. My heart goes out to everyone, regardless of how or when you lost your precious babe. These lives were all wanted and loved.

No one has the right to pass judgement on anyone else, regardless of what you think you would do in a similar situation. Unless you've been there....you will never know.

Sadly, these 2 conditions.....and similar chromosomal abnormalities and birth defects.....are too often fatal.

BUT......I have not been in contact with a family yet that regrets having their precious angel in their lives.

It is so heartbreaking to find out that the life you are looking forward to creating with your new loved one, is possibly going to be cut short.......or may be quite different than the life you imagined it was going to be.

Bennett-Chadlen was such a HUGE SURPRISE to me and his dad. I can't speak for his dad......but I really, really wanted our baby.

I had planned on having a partial hysterectomy last fall, which of course would have prevented me from having any more children ever. It was a sad and difficult decision to make, but I was certain that I was finished with the baby business......and for health reasons I thought it was best to not have any more.

Previous pregnancies, deliveries, and recovery times were very difficult for me. I required a lengthy period of time to recover, and suffered side effects of childbearing that I won't get into here. Trust me....these were serious predicaments that I did NOT want a recurrence of.

Plus.....I was beginning a new phase of my life......the life of a near middle-aged divorcee. I truly figured that was it for me.

I had already spent 4 yrs of complete celibacy......and pretty much figured that I would never meet anyone worthwhile enough to bother with.....let alone have a another child with. That would have required too much commitment that I was not willing to make ever again.

Well, sometimes life has a strange way of working out.....despite our best efforts to prevent certain circumstances.

I was 18 weeks into my pregnancy when I found out that Bennett-Chadlen was going to be a boy.....and that he had trisomy 13......which meant that he had an extra chromosome number 13 throughout each and every cell in his entire body.

Trisomy 13 can occur in any pregnancy......regardless of the mother's or father's age. This condition occurs at the moment of conception......and can be caused by the sperm or the egg. In rare circumstances this condition is traceable to either parent if it is a genetic condition....meaning handed down through either parent.

In our case......it was a totally random occurance......and there was no telling which one of us donated this extra chromosome to him. It could have been me....it could have been his dad. We will never know. The chances of this occurring again is very rare.....as rare as it was for it to have occurred in the first place.

More information about Trisomy 13/Patau Syndrome can be found here:

http://livingwithtrisomy13.org/memoriesofbennett.htm

Bennett-Chadlen was born on March 29, 2007.....just 12 weeks and 2 days ago. He was full-term, 2 days passed his due date of March 27th. His outward appearance was beautiful....as are all babies in my eyes.....but he did not show any physical tell-tale signs of Trisomy 13....besides the extra digits on each hand and foot. He has the cutest little pinky toes ever.....they look just like they belong there. On each hand he has the tiniest, barely attached extra pinky finger....complete with knuckles and fingernails. We absolutely adore those unique little features. He is an original!

At 7 months gestation I received results of an MRI which diagnosed Bennett-Chadlen with a non-severe CDH. His lungs appeared to be developing quite nicely.......and were seen functioning perfectly in all subsequent ultrasound tests performed up until the day before he was born.

Following birth he was examined again by x-rays and ultrasounds....and it appeared that he did not have a "hole" through his diaphragm at all....only a floppy muscle which had allowed his stomach to protrude enough through to the chest cavity to make it appear that it was a true CDH. He was not going to require surgical repair for his....unless in time it got worse.

Rarely the diaphragm muscle is so floppy that it does allow some of the abdominal organs to move up into the chest.....appearing that the organs are enclosed in a pouch. This does require surgical repair, the same as a "hole" needs to be repaired, and can affect the developing lungs in the same way.

More information about CDH can be found at this link:

CDH info

Through my research I have found so many different medical issues that babies may be born with....the possibilities almost seem endless.

There are a variety of heart defects, brain defects, kidney, liver, digestive defects....skeletal defects......many different genetic conditions......and a myriad of chromosome abnormalities.

We all should have 46 chromosomes......13 from our mother, 13 from our father. Occasionally one parent may donate an extra chromosome....sometimes only part of an extra chromosome.....sometimes the extra chromosome is attached to another one......sometimes part of the chromosome is missing......or sometimes the entire chromosome is missing.... Keep in mind that can be caused by either parent. Just because us moms get to carry the baby, does NOT mean we are always responsible.

You see......it is complicated.

The true MIRACLE is that any babies are born healthy...

People need to embrace what they are given, regardless of the package it comes in.

Life is precious.......embrace it.........even through the difficult times.

If you know someone that is expecting a baby with a birth defect, or know someone who has a child born with a birth defect....surviving or an angel.....please understand that it is often no one's fault. Love and support those parents.

Allow those parents to give their precious ones life.....if that is what they want to do. Encourage it.......it is so worthwhile.

Yes, it is difficult to endure. The long agonizing days, not knowing what the future holds.

Is it life......is it life after death?

No one should ever look at my baby and believe that he never should have been allowed to be born.

Don't turn away from grieving parents. We hurt....we feel.....we ache....but are still human.......different than we will ever be again.


Knowing the prognosis ahead of time does not make it easier to deal with when the time comes for our little blessed ones to leave us. The bonding of the 9 months creates such an attachment.....the difference being that we don't get to create those memories afterwards.....as long as we would like to.....in the way that we would like to.

Sometimes angels are born to us......

Sometimes we get seconds, minutes, hours, days.........weeks, months.....or maybe only a year or two. More if we are lucky.

We got 8 glorious days.....days that his father and I wouldn't trade for anything in the world....except of course more time.....and a miraculous healing for our precious boy.

Bennett-Chadlen.........we are so proud of you.........

and I will never let anyone forget it.

I love you sweetie-pie......with all my heart and soul.....

Happy Father's Day

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Happy Father's Day
Current mood: crushed
Category: Life

Happy Father's Day to one of the best daddy's there is.

I wish that you could spend this day with your precious son.

I wish that I knew what to do today. Do I reach out and offer a peaceful greeting......wishing you a beautiful day?......even though you have requested........"break free of me......let me go".....

I haven't forgotten today. I will think of you as I go about my day, hoping you are well. I wish that I could hug you today......just in case you need one.

The hardest part is knowing that I can't......because it is not an option ......and never will be.

It doesn't change how I feel........as time goes on I will heal......

but will never forget how special you were to me.....

once upon a time........

In every sunset, and every daisy; I think of you.....and smile through my tears.

They're blooming now in my garden.......so wild and free.......just like I felt that day.........thank you..........

Happy Father's Day......to one of the best daddy's I know.

Currently listening :
Under My Skin
By Avril Lavigne
Release date: By 25 May, 2004

June 6th,.....2 months today

Thursday, June 07, 2007



Current mood: lonely
Category: Blogging

It's been 2 months today since I held my precious Bennett-Chadlen in my arms for the very first time.

The saddest part is that I was saying *Good-bye* at the same time.

I sit here now, looking at the pic to the left of the screen.......

It is a pic that was taken the very first time that I kissed him. He was 4 days old.

His NICU bed was too high for me to reach him with my lips. I could stand beside him and touch his hair.....his fingers......his beautiful little toes.......

but I couldn't reach to kiss him.

I was so jealous when his Daddy would reach over and kiss him gently. I remember saying....."you know that you just did something that I never have?"......and he said....."what's that"......I said, "you kissed him..............I have never kissed him.....".........


I was able to take his tiny hand in mine.......and kiss his little fingers. He had long, beautiful fingers like his daddy. We talked about what a great guitar player he would be...like his dad......or a pianist, like me.

My photographer friend came to visit him one day. One of the nurses retrieved a stepstool somewhere for her to stand on, so that she could get a better view of Bennett-Chadlen as she snapped some shots. I was so excited when I realized that I could use that stool to help me reach my beautiful boy.

"I can kiss him now......I can kiss him now......" I was so excited as I planted the stool in place alongside his bed. My heart was racing.....my hands were shaking.........

I was breathless with anticipation...........

His skin was so soft beneath my lips.........

His hair smelled so good.........

My whole body was trembling as I pulled away to look at him........and then came the tears.........

I kissed him again and again.........and couldn't stop saying, through my tears......."he smells so good.........his skin is so soft on my lips".........
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I will never forget how deafening silence can truly be..........

When his ventilator was shut off......I felt as though my own breath had just been sucked out of me.

I kept telling Chadlen......."we're going to hold our baby now......we get to hold our baby now"..........

I am crying now just remembering how quiet the room became. The staff worked quickly to detach his ventilator tubes, and place him in my waiting arms.

We had rocking chairs........side by side........

I don't have words to describe how difficult it was to feel him in my arms for the very first time, knowing that he was taking his last breaths.........he was slipping away from us, and there was nothing we could do to stop it........

It hurt so much..............

I miss him so much.......................

I love you Bennett-Chadlen.........rest in peace, my sweet boy.......

NIMKEE

Thursday, May 17, 2007

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NIMKEE
Current mood: calm
Category: Life

I wrote this story earlier today and shared it with one of my support groups...and then decided to share it with all of you as well.'

I love you Bennett-Chadlen
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What does "NIMKEE" mean?: "NIMKEE" means "LITTLE THUNDER". It is Bennett-Chadlen's spirit name. It was given to him by the spirits themselves. My father is native....from the Ojibwe/Odawa tribe......and very traditional.
I was unaware that this was happening.....but.......following Bennett-Chadlen's death, my father was in touch with a couple of ladies from his reserve. These ladies were in touch with a medicine man (I know...it all sounds very bizarre....but bear with me)....the medicine man laid out tobacco on the ground, which is one of the 4 sacred medicines (tobacco, sage, sweet grass, and cedar).....and asked the Spirits to provide a name for my precious boy. The medicine man also provided some sort of medicinal tea for me to drink that day.....and right before Bennett-Chadlen was laid to rest. I have no idea what was in it, but it helped to settle my nerves!
Anyway, I attended the funeral home with these 2 women, my mom, dad, and sister were there also. The native ladies had prepared a cedar tea that I was to clean Bennett with. They began by undressing him, and they "smudged" him with the smoke from the burning of the 4 sacred medicines....with his very own eagle feather to cleanse his soul and keep away bad spirits. They had me drink some of the tea, and one of the women began to wipe him down with the cloths dipped in the cedar tea. Apparently this is customary to prepare each body this way. I was told to release all my tears and was handed a cloth to wipe him down with myself.
All the while the other woman was drumming and singing a traditional native song.......it was very moving......and I don't think I have ever cried so much in my life....but afterwards I felt better. That is all part of the ceremony......for the mother to shed all her tears and grieve as she prepares her loved one for the wake and burial......afterwards there are few tears, and more strength. Amazing, but true. My sister was having a difficult time watching me cleaning Bennett, so she too was given a cloth of her own, and was told to "help your sister clean her baby......and cry all your sadness away."
{We are not to be sad following the passing of our loved ones.....they are in a happy place, a place of honor, and we are to celebrate their life....not mourn them. They do not want to see us sad, for it will make them feel guilty for leaving us......occasional tears are okay....as long as we tell them that they are happy tears, because we love them so much and are happy to have them in our lives. They understand.}
The woman that was drumming suddenly announced in our native language...but here is the translation, "NIMKEE.......Your little boy will be known as NIMKEE.......this is the name that the Spirits have given to him. It means LITTLE THUNDER.....and from now on whenever you hear the Thunder, you are to know that it is your little boy coming to say HELLO!".
On Monday evening, May 14th......we heard our first thunder since Nimkee's passing. It was about 8pm, and was just beginning to get dark. It was our Tristan's 9th birthday......so we believe that Nimkee was coming by to 'sing Happy Birthday' to his brother Tristan. The thunder rumbled non-stop for hours, accompanied by the strangest show of lightning that we have ever seen. It was incredible.
I will also add the story behind our traditional native burial ceremony....incase anyone else is interested. It is a long story, but interesting if you are a spiritual person. I believe that the following is true, because of the photo that I posted earlier of the "Orbs" surrounding us in some of the photos taken following his passing. Check it out.....they are not fake.
It is our native belief that the deceased spirit does not cross-over to the other side for 4 days following their passing. This does not mean that the spirit remains in the body.....only nearby. For this reason the body is not to be unattended at all during the next 4 days until they are laid to rest.
Bennett-Chadlen passed away on Good Friday. Due to the holiday weekend, there wasn't going to be anyone available to deliver Bennett to the funeral home in my hometown......until Tuesday!!!!!. My father knew that I would be terribly upset if I found this out, so he drove to Toronto (7 hrs away) to retrieve Bennett's body. He and a very close family friend that I call Uncle Louie, went to the hospital with papers from the funeral home and just posed as drivers/employees. Before placing Bennett-Chadlen in the car, a 'smudging' ceremony was done all around each entrance.....to keep away evil spirits. Uncle Louie performed this ceremony, and he said that when he opened the door for my father to place Bennett inside, that my Great-Grandpa Roy got in also, and that he held Bennett on his lap all the way home. I got goosebumps when I heard that. I lived with my Great-Grandpa Roy until he passed away in 1987...I was 17.....we were very close, and I am not surprised that he was there to meet and watch over my precious boy. My father was not sure how he was going to be able to drive, with his grandson's lifeless body in the back seat....but he said that once he got into the car...he felt an instant peace surround him. He believes that my Grandpa was there with them....just like Uncle Louie said.
I know this all sounds a bit weird....but trust me.....we are not 'strange' people.
There have been many times that I have felt the presence of my grandpa, or smelled him, while at my father's home where we all lived in the house that my grandpa built. This is where my father still lives.....and where Bennett-Chadlen was brought for his wake.
Bennett was delivered to the funeral home at about 4 am, Sunday morning. The funeral director lives above the funeral home, so Bennett was not alone while he waited for me to come and get him. At 10 am, I performed his cleansing ceremony and dressed him in his burial outfit. At no time did anyone besides me touch Bennett-Chadlen. I bathed him and placed him in the bodybag and handed him over to the security guards at the hospital, and the funeral director did not touch him....he was not enbalmed. I removed him from the bodybag at the funeral home.
It was difficult, but I know that nobody touched my boy besides me, and the native ladies, and my family.......just the way it has been done for centuries. I even carried him out of the funeral home, got into the car, and held him as we drove down the street to my father's home. First we drove around the block, to show Bennett where he came from....and incidentally....my brother and my mom also live on the same street so we showed him where they live too.
Upon arrival to my father's home, I had to wait outside until the home was "smudged/cleansed"....again to keep out/cast out evil spirits that might try to 'steal' my baby's soul. As per custom.....my brother built him his cross & casket. The cross had to be brought into the home ahead of him......and when possible, every body is brought in through the back door.....and goes out through the front door.
There also has to be a live cedar tree at the back door.....so my eldest son (20 yrs old) had to go out and dig one up and place it in a bucket.....that tree is still waiting to be planted in our yard. I then carried Bennett into the house through the back door, passed his cross.....and into the living room where he was to lay in wake for the next 2 nights, 3 days. Bennett was never left alone......there was someone with him 24hrs per day....protecting his soul. It is also the custom to light and burn a sacred fire, which signifies the light that the spirit is to go towards....it lights the "Path of Souls" so that the Spirit can find its way to its final destination. Because of burning restrictions in our town.....we kept a candle lit by him. The flame is not to go out until he is laid to rest on the fourth day.
Timeline.....Good Friday:
Bennett passed away on Good Friday, approx 2:30 PM his heart stopped. I was holding him in my arms.....with his father by my side.
We all took turns having hand moulds made with Bennett. The bereavement staff were so patient and wonderfully kind to us. Each of my young boys have moulds of them holding onto Bennett's tiny hand. I made mine holding onto his tiny feet.....his father held his hand.....our mother's also got to have a mould made with Bennett. These are precious keepsakes.
Chadlen and I had photos taken with him.
I dressed him, and moved to a sitting room, and our entire family spent time a few hours with him....and then they left. My mom and I stayed with Bennett-Chadlen...and with the help of the night nurse, I was able to make some gold embossed feet prints. They are so beautiful......and unique. Remember...he has 6 toes on each foot....as well as 6 fingers on each hand.
I gave him his first and only tub bath....my mom took some photos.....priceless. I dried him.....rubbed lotion on him.....and dressed him in a tiny robe, hat, and booties supplied by donations to the NICU. I swaddled him, and rocked him as long as I wanted to. Around 11:30pm I helped the nurse to wrap him and place him in the bodybag for cold storage. He was wrapped beautifully, complete with bows....just like a precious gift! I held him and rocked him like that until the security arrived to take him. My mom and I left the hospital at midnight, and spent the night at a nearby hotel, courtesy of the hospital.
Saturday....returned home.....a long 8 hr trip.
Sunday morning....brought Bennett-Chadlen home after prepping him.
Sunday, Monday, Tuesday.....spent all my time with Bennett....holding him, looking at him....and just being in his presence. I even slept on the sofa nearby....I couldn't leave his side.
Sunday & Monday evening.....prayer & song services held.
Tuesday evening.....his funeral service was held in my father's home....and he was laid to rest, as the sun went down.....and the stars came out.
Sorry this is so long....it is the first time I have written this complete story....it was very therapeutic.
So, as you can see, it was a long 5 days.....but a very precious time that I will never forget....and I was able to spend ample time with my beautiful boy before I had to let him go forever. Chadlen and his mother attended the entire wake, even though they too had a very long drive.....7 hrs......but it is a time they will always cherish as well. They have never before witnessed such a "Celebration of Life".

One month later.....

Sunday, May 06, 2007



Current mood: indescribable
Category: Blogging

Dear Bennett-Chadlen,

It has been one month today since you left us. I have been doing okay....as you already know......I feel you around me, watching me all the time.

Today I can't help but think back to the day that I found out that you were coming into my life......what a day that was.

I was shocked, but also happy......because I loved you instantly. I began to imagine what you might look like..........

were you a boy or a girl??.............................

would you have my eyes??..................................

Daddy's crazy sense of humour??....................................

I knew you would be special.........you had to be........you came from a beautiful place in time.......a happy time........a time that I will always cherish.....

I knew that you would have a generous heart........................

I miss you so much.........
I don't have the words to express just how much.........

I remember how wonderful it felt to have you placed into my empty arms.........oh how I had longed to hold you for the first time...............................
I only wish I didn't have to say good-bye at the same time.

I want to feel you in my arms........
I want to nuzzle you next to my cheek..........
I want to touch you.......smell you.......see your beautiful face.......

I want to look at your dark curls........and stroke them gently........

I want to feel your mighty grip around my finger.......
I remember how you held on so tight.......not wanting to let go........

The tears flow swiftly and silently.........remembering you as you took your last breaths in our arms..............................

I will never forget the look on daddy's face ...........................
~the first time he saw you...................
~the first time you gripped his finger.......................
~when he told me that you opened your eyes and looked at him for ~the first time....................
~and when I placed you into his waiting arms........

You took his breath away.......................................

Bennett-Chadlen..........you have changed my life forever...........
I will never be the same again...................................

You have opened my eyes to the world around me..........
I will never again view life as a mere passage of time.........

With the help of your daddy,and your brothers, my heart has been opened wide..............................
wider than I ever knew was possible....................
with each passing day my love for you grew.......................
and continues to grow.....

I am amazed at the depth of the passion that I feel when I remember you...........................both of you...................
such joy I have never known before.......

Thank you my precious boy......for choosing us to be your parents.

For giving both of us the pleasure of knowing you.........
You are the greatest gift.........................

I am inspired to be a better person.........
Free of anger........or resentment........

I now see the beauty, where before there was only darkness.......

I feel strength and courage to persue my hearts desire, where before I was too paralyzed by fear.........

I didn't know what I was going to do with another baby in my life......................
Now there are moments where I just don't know what I am going to do without you..............................

And then I realize.......I am not without you........

You will forever be a part of me........
And that makes me smile

Lots of love and angel kisses to you my precious sweetiepie,

Mommy xoxoxoxoxo.......

What I learned today.....a day of self-discovery

Monday, April 30, 2007


Current mood: contemplative
Category: Goals, Plans, Hopes

Today I learned that I truly am the master of my own destiny.

It's not a new concept.......but today that reality jumped up and slapped me in the face......

I was lost in grief.....sobbing loudly and wondering why......

Why me.....why my baby?.......why now......why this way?......just what am I supposed to learn from this.......haven't I had enough heartache for one lifetime......

Have I not passed the test of strength and endurance?

Well, the answer is YES.......yes I have passed that test......yes I am a strong person.....a survivor.......

But what I am not is a willing participant in this journey called life.

I have merely spent each day for as long as I can remember........existing........not living........just getting by......

I thought back to some of my life experiences..........remembering how sometimes things just happened.........things I did not ask for.........BUT......I forged ahead.......never slinking away from the problems that have plagued me.......always coming out "OK".....

Step 1: Identify the problem.
Step 2: Scratch your head.....put on your thinking cap.....and create a valid solution.
Step 3: Implement the plan of action.
And if you're lucky.......go to step 4......which is.......
Step 4: Breathe a sigh of relief because although you may have come through it a bit bruised and battered.....the fact remains.....you have survived.

What to do if there doesn't seem to be a solution to the problem?.......
Step 1: Accept the situation for what it is......
Step 2: Breathe.....and remember that tomorrow always comes no matter what.....AND THEN......
Step 3: Move on.......
AGAIN......you may come through this a bit bruised and battered.....but the fact remains......
~YOU HAVE SURVIVED!..... and.....you found a not so obvious solution to a problem that you THOUGHT there was no solution for....

Now, to get to what I learned today.......

Why has happiness escaped me.......

Step 1: Ask the question.....What would make me happy?.....What is lacking in my life?
Step 2: How will I acquire what it is that I desire?
Step 3: Face my fears....and accept that this is most likely the biggest hurdle that has prevented me from finding.....or keeping ..... that which I desire.

My biggest fear(s).......rejection......& loneliness.....
Coping strategies?.......keep to myself.....live a solitary existence....convince myself that I am better off this way.....and hope for the best......
Does this work?......the big answer is NO!!!!!!!!!!! I inevitably find myself being rejected, due to the fact that I keep to myself......which then leads to loneliness......heartache....tears...... and hours of self-talk trying to convince myself that I am better off this way.

I wondered to myself......why doesn't he see me..... why can't he see how much I care.....and know how lucky he would be to have me in his life?
I thought back.....what was different then?
The answer........ME.....I was different then.......I was different because I had nothing to lose......or so I naively thought at that time...... this guy doesn't know me.....he doesn't know a thing about me...... I am free to be me...... there are no pre-conceived notions of who I might be....and it doesn't matter anyway because this guy is going to leave and I will never see him again.....
So, I allowed myself to be seen......I laughed...... I listened....... and I spoke freely about my opinions on life in general....... I did keep my personal stuff to myself.....no sense scaring the poor guy......

Now, we get to the scary part......."uh oh......I am beginning to feel something.....and it feels good.....too good......", (which then leads to more self-talk)......'if it feels too good to be true, then it probably is'......(solution?)......withdraw.....like a turtle inside my shell.....
(now what).......too late, the damage is done.....now it's time to defend myself.....believing that it's best to do something to push this guy away before he rejects me......(did it work).....yes and no...... I succeeded in pushing him away...... he began to change his way of seeing me.....which then led to rejection......then heartache......then tears.....then loneliness......then hours and hours of self-talk to convince myself that I am better off alone......

But am I happy?...........NO......I AM NOT HAPPY.......I feel sad......hurt.......rejected......and lonely.......
Solution..... put myself out there.....open myself back up.....and let the whole world see me for who I really am.....
And who I am is not the same as who I used to be.....I didn't like who I was......that scared little girl who hid behind closed doors....keeping to myself.....how can I expect anyone else to want me that way?

Who do I want to be......I want to be someone that my boys will admire and look up to.....someone free and alive...... someone not afraid to step out into the sunshine and face each day anew.....

I want Bennett-Chadlen to look down from up above and say......"see that lady down there.....that's my mommy, and she's the best mommy in the whole world......

"I am proud to say that she's my mommy".

I don't know if I will end up where I want to be....or if I'll end up with the guy who has my heart....life is not a perfect adventure.

Nobody's perfect.....I will never be flawless.......

but today I am happy to be me......

A diamond in the rough.