So I wonder if anyone will actually notice this post? I haven’t written here in over two years.  I’ve tried starting new blogs, promising to write and then, well I don’t.  I say life got in the way, but in reality I just didn’t feel like writing. Well, I did, but I really couldn’t.  I was struggling with depression, my marriage collapsed and I lost my domain name

Not necessarily in the that order.

So what makes this time any different, you ask?

Well, I have been spending a lot of time thinking. Thinking primarily about writing. Primarily about writing a book.

I imagine it’s difficult to write a book when you’re not actually, well, writing.

So I’ve been doing some covert writing. I dusted off this old blog and started writing posts. I haven’t published any of these posts, I’ve only been trying to get myself back in the groove of writing.

The funny thing is, I’ve been thinking and tinkering and one day, out of the blue, I was invited to contribute to a book for grieving mothers.

Not to mention I had just spent a week reliving Nathaniel’s five short days on earth. Twelve years sure does fly by fast.

So here I am thinking about my son Nathaniel and thinking about how I should be writing. And bam! God hands me an invitation to be a part of a book. Not just an opportunity for a guest-post on someone else’s blog. But an actual book.

Did I say God? You heard me, after all this time and all my doubt and all my questions, I have accepted that God can do some pretty amazing things. Like, get me to church. No, not just get me to church, but actually find me a church family.

And hand me little nuggets of direction by having someone I haven’t chatted with in years, contact me out of the blue and ask me to write a piece for this book.

How’s that for belief in the Almighty?

Categories: Life | 10 Comments

Water Theory

ssshhh! Don’t tell anyone, but I skipped a day blogging yesterday. I know, right? I’ve been participating in the Postaday2011 challenge here and somehow felt obligated to post something everyday. While it’s no problem during the week, the weekend comes and well, I need a break.

So I rebelled and pretty much ignored my laptop yesterday. Yeah, me!

Even better, Grandma coerced invited Zachary to spend Saturday night with her and Papa, so I took Jacob and Jonathan to the YMCA to swim.

Let me clarify.

Jacob swims like the fish that he is, just like his mama. Jonathan, not so much. Jacob takes swim classes at the Y on Saturday mornings and Jonathan was lamenting the fact that I hadn’t signed him up.

I had to remind him of the numerous occasions of screaming and crying and adamant refusals to enter the water of the swimming pool. He had to prove he was ready.

So, he spent Saturday night and Sunday morning all giddy about swimming, He talked our ears off about how he was going to do this and he was going to that. I was enjoying his enthusiasm, even if I had heard it all before.

Sunday afternoon, promptly at 1:00pm, we entered the Y for our afternoon frivolity. Boys went to the boys locker room to change, I went to the Ladies locker room, we met poolside.

Jacob jumped right in, no worries. Jonathan stood at the side at the side of the pool and rather forcefully refused to get in. I got in, and tried chatting him up to join me.


Then he had to pee. Can’t say as though I blame him, all that water does me that way. So I waited.

And then spent another 15 minutes chatting him up, trying to get him to join me in the water.


So, then I resorted to force.

I made sure his floaty was secure, I picked him up and carried him in to the water.

At 60+ lbs, this was no small feat.

As he was crying, and screaming and hanging on for dear life, I stood in the corner of the pool, with him facing away from the great expanse of water and talked quietly to him.

I asked what he was afraid of.

I already had the notion that the enormity of the pool was triggering his fear. I calmly explained that he didn’t have to go out in the water, he could stay right here, in the 3 and 1/2 foot deep water. I started to bounce him in the water and slowly, ever so slowly he started to relax.

I moved a around a bit while we bounced and soon his legs unwrapped from around my waist. I knew he could stand if he tried, so I encouraged him to try and touch the bottom of the pool. It was a little difficult with the floaty, but he finally did.

Then I unwound his arms from around my neck and had him hold onto the side of the pool. So here he was in the pool, on his own, holding on to the side and standing up.

I kept telling him how proud I was of him, how he was doing such an awesome job and finally he let go of the side and just stood there.

I sure wish I had my camera in that moment, when he realized – he could do this. He could learn to swim and overcome the fear. The grin on his face was priceless.

The next hour or so – he happily walked, floated and dog-paddled in a 15 foot by 4 foot expanse of pool.

No more tears, no more screaming. He ignored the expanse of water outside his little domain and even found another boy his age, with the same desire to stay close to the wall.

But that’s okay. He’s looking forward to our next visit to the pool. He’s more confident in his ability to be in the pool. And that leaves my arms free for another little boy that’s scared of the water.


Zachary's first 'school' picture.

Categories: Life | Tags: , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Just A Reminder

As of today, we have 36 confirmed volunteers donating blood the first week of April. This is just a gentle reminder of the of the upcoming event. If you can, please consider donating blood in memory of David. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

During the 5 months David was in the hospital, he required blood transfusions. A LOT of blood transfusions. As near as I can figure he had upwards of 40  separate blood transfusions, nearly as many platelet transfusions, as well as several plasma and cryo transfusions. That’s a staggering amount of blood products for 20lb baby. While his transfusions were approx 1/2 of a unit, it still means it took at least 20 unique individuals to provide all of those blood products just for him.

20 different people that donated blood simply because it’s needed. To save the lives of complete strangers. Amazing, don’t you think? One of my Canadian friends wanted to help in just this same way. Kirsten chose to donate blood for the first time, to honor David,  back in December, when he was still with us. It’s coming up on her time to donate again and this time, she wanted a way to honor his memory.

She asked me if it was okay to organize an ‘online’ blood drive to try to and rally folks across continental lines to step up and donate blood. My response?

Hell, yeah!

So we chose the first week in April to motivate people into donating blood. You can visit the Capt Snuggles Blood Drive Facebook event, it’s a public event, so you don’t need to be our ‘friend’ to RSVP. (You can if you want to, though!)

In addition, if you’re in the Cincinnati / Hillsboro area, I took it a step further and organized an actual blood drive. We will be hosting the 1st annual David Hillis Memorial Blood Drive on Monday, April 4th from 1:30 – 7:00pm. It will be held at the Highland County YMCA.

As an added bonus anyone that donates blood and snaps a pic or a bit of video of them at the blood center, can send it to us and it will be included in a PSA video that Kirsten will be putting together.

I think this event could really make a difference. Won’t you consider donating blood the first week of April? It could save someone’s life, maybe even someone you know.

For information on Blood donation:

In the US: American Red Cross

In the Tri-State: Hoxworth Blood Centers

In Canada: Canadian Blood Services

Categories: Life | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

Lucky Scars

I trace the thick line with the tip of my finger, tickling him while I dry him off after his bath. The line feels hard and bumpy, even though I know it’s been softened with bottle after bottle of baby lotion. The line is highlighted by tiny raised dots that give the illusion of a zipper. The remnants of a plethora of tiny staples. The upside down Y shape branding him as different.

The scar takes up the majority of his ample Buddha-belly.  It’s long since faded from the angry red of a fresh incision to that silver-white color only scar tissue can create. He pays no attention to the road-map generously  taking up residence on his belly. I see it, though, as others do, an ugly reminder of a life hanging in the balance.

The scar in and of itself is not so bad, it’s the others, the craters left behind from the drains that make you want to avert your eyes. Tubes placed, one end in the bile ducts of his donated liver, the other end outside his once tiny body, draining the bile that collected from those damaged ducts. Hope that those tubes would force those bile ducts to remain open, permanently.

Once the tubes were removed it took months for the craters to form, to heal over the holes left behind. His “extra belly buttons” is what Jonathan calls the craters in his brothers’ ravaged abdomen. 4 of them, large enough to stick the eraser end of a number 2 pencil in. A permanent connect the dot, floating around the upside down Y.

Of course, there’s more, the mass of needle jabs that congregate along his right side. Coordinates that mark the spot of repeated liver biopsies, more than I can count with both hands. So many scars on a 3 year old belly. Physically on him, emotionally mine. Each mark: a procedure, a hospital stay, a medical miracle.

Because even though his belly and its multitude of scars is the topic of hushed conversations whenever he takes off his shirt, it’s these same scars that remind me each and every day how lucky he is.  How lucky I am to have him here.

Some day I’m sure he will lament how his belly looks, how it makes him different from the other boys. How the girls laugh when they see his physique.

I will have to remind him, just how precious those scars are. I will have to re-tell the stories about how hard he fought, the endless hospital stays, how bravely he earned those scars. I will have to make him see that the constellation of scars sprinkled across his belly should be worn like a badge of honor.

I will have to convince Zachary that his scars are beautiful simply because they saved his life.

Nothing could be more beautiful than that.

This post was inspired by The Red Dress Club’s weekly writing prompt. This week’s assignment was: To write a piece about something ugly – and find the beauty in it. 600 words max.

As always, concrit is welcome, I struggled with how to end it, so suggestions are encouraged.

Categories: Life | Tags: , , , , , , | 29 Comments

Another day, another struggle

Yesterday was a struggle. Not the normal struggle of just getting up and getting through the day. No, yesterday I had to go school with Jacob. Sit in the cafeteria, eat lunch with him and a hundred plus 2nd graders.

Being the Indian of the week is an honor each child gets. They get to invite one person to eat lunch with them. Jonathan had chosen his daddy. Jacob, me.

I made it through without incident, no tears, no breakdowns. Luckily no one said much of anything to me. I slipped in, ate my sandwich, slipped out.

Grief is such an odd thing, sometimes the strangest ideas stick with you. Yes, I’m glad I was able to slide through the half hour virtually unnoticed, but then a small part of me feels like that petulant child, stomping her foot and saying – hey, someone acknowledge me please.

Like a second personality, grief plants ideas in my head that are not my own.

Then I had to pick Zachary up from Preschool. Listening to the Grandmothers chat about how they have no patience to handle their grandchildren, left me with a sour taste in my mouth. I wanted to shout at them – be thankful you have those grandchildren to drive you crazy.

Instead I found myself standing there with tears in my eyes, wondering how I was ever going to make it through this near-daily crazy.


My morning adventures left me drained, so after Zachary ate his lunch, he and I took  a much deserved nap. I woke up just in time for the boys to get home from school and to get dinner going.

I hate how I don’t feel in control of anything. Of my thoughts, of my actions. I hate how grief has become my constant companion and I’m at the mercy of  my tears.

I hate the isolation and emptiness that my mind imposes on me. I hate the waiting. Waiting for “it” to get better. As if “it” was just a tiny paper-cut that that needed to knit itself back together, instead of a gaping wound that hasn’t even begun to scab over.

I hate it because I fear it. I fear life may never get better. I fear I will always feel this desperation to exist. As if simply existing was ever the goal in life.

I hate how a freak turn of events shifted my entire world and I am helpless to shift it back.

I hate grief and everything it manifests.

Categories: Life | Tags: , , , | 9 Comments

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