Monday, November 23, 2015


I am thankful for the gift of family. To hold these people who know me so well and to know that their hugs hold generations of love...for this I am grateful. 

I am thankful for the gift of friends. To find kindred spirits amongst all the multitudes out there and to know that they understand me, love me, and choose my friendship too....for this I am grateful. 

I am thankful for the gift of memory. To be able to hold onto those fragments and wisps and to piece them together into the stories that are our lives....for this I am grateful. 

I am thankful for so much even as I am missing so much. I can't be ungrateful even in the face of an empty chair -- how dare I? 
A big group of us serving dinner at the Ronald McDonald House in honor of Sammy's birthday

First snowfall....

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Just Not Okay

Dear Sammy,

Today you would be over the moon. Double-digits. I can't even imagine how proud you would be to join your big brother in the double-digit-club and leave your little sibs behind in the single-digits. Yes, I imagine that you would continue to want to be cool like David.

Because, Sammy, that's all I get to do now. I can imagine how you would act, I can imagine how you would feel, I can imagine what you would do. My imagination is big and powerful but honestly, it's just not enough and it's just not okay.

It's just not okay that you're not here to have a big party (would we?) or bug me for a French horn (would you?) or tell me how many different kinds of cake I have to make for you (might you?). It's just not okay that we're celebrating your birthday with cake and dinner at the Ronald McDonald House. Not because that's not a great way to celebrate your birthday. But it's just not okay that you're not here with us. It's just not okay that I'm not adding 10 minutes to your bedtime (so wait, how late can you stay up?) and it's just not okay that I'm not bringing cake up to your clinic appointment (would you have one? or would there just be a "normal" birthday checkup at the pediatrician?). It's not okay that we picked out gifts and we had no idea what you really would have wanted so we got two things that Yael and Solly thought were things you "might have liked" for us to donate in your honor.

It's just not okay that we're not taking a birthday picture. It's just not okay that there will never be another new picture of you ever ever ever again. How can that be? It's just not okay.


And that might be the world's biggest understatement.


2nd birthday: Best Shot Monday
3rd birthday: Birthday marathon
4th birthday: This is your birthday song
5th birthday: Five is a big number
6th birthday: Six is Awesome
7th birthday: Lucky Number Seven and Birthday Boy
8th birthday: Little Things
9th birthday: Birthdate

six -- yes that is a tarantula
five -- and Solly is in utero

the beginning

Two ways to honor Sam's birthday: a donation to the St Baldrick's Foundation, funding research that will bring more birthdays for more kids or help our friend Emma Rose to create Movie Night Gift Bags for kids in the HOT unit.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Revising History

Oh, I have so much to tell you. So many things to write about. And yet this is the one that wrote itself this morning:

Last night....the Cubs lost.

And Yael said: "Sammy would have been so sad. He loved the Cubs."

And here, my friends, is where revisionist history is born.

Because Sam did not actually care about any sports. It just wasn't something he was into. He was, decidedly, a Bears fan. But that was MUCH more about his loyalty to Chicago (the perfect city, in his estimation, (except for that one time) because it had his favorite stuff there like Lou Malnati's pizza and Curry Hut Indian Restaurant, not to mention his house and family, two things that were always on the top of his list), and also EVEN MORE about his cantankerous nature - more than he was a Bears fan, he was NOT a Packers fan. But I digress.

Sam wasn't a Cubs fan. Not because he didn't like the Cubs. But because he'd never expressed any preference, opinion, or interest at all in baseball (or any other sport, for that matter. I'm not sure he actually knew how football was played).

I'm fairly certain that he never attended a baseball game in his whole short life.

And yet, to Yael, he was a Cubs fan.

Revisionist history? Yes.

My response: a big hug.

If he were here, Sammy might have been sad about the Cubs' loss.

But not nearly as sad as his always-little sister that her big brother isn't here to share this, and every, moment.

677 days....
A Bears fan amongst all the Green and Gold
Once, Sammy met a baseball player. A Brewer, mind you.


Saturday, September 12, 2015

Too Late

There was a long while in which I really thought Sam was just going to walk in the door one day. You know, I'd look up, and there he would be.

But the other day, I had a terrible thought. 

If he came back now, would we recognize him? Or worse, would he recognize us? Have we changed so much in the last 638 days that we would be unrecognizable to him? Are there so many things that have happened...would it be impossible to fill him in on the last 638 days? (And how annoyed would he be that so much had happened without him!?)

Would he slip back into our family, or would he be a stranger? And what would it be like to have him here again? 

It's like that funky step in your family staircase. You know to step over it. You've got the habit of stepping over it and you can even do it in the dark. And then, finally, one day, the step is fixed. But you don't know how to walk on it now that it's been repaired.

We're stepping over that funky step every day. We've gotten, unfortunately, accustomed to life with a big Sam-shaped hole in it. It's become a fact of life, a part of who we are. 

It's no longer even fathomable to imagine what it would be like to have him here again. It's too late.

And yet...I miss him constantly. Continuously. Each and every day.

This past Friday night, I poured four cups of grape juice without even thinking about it. I didn't notice until it was time to pass out the cups. One to Yael, one to Solly, one to David...and one extra. 

One, two, three, four....

A year ago...Imagine
Two years ago...Busy
Three years ago....It's the Little Things

Tuesday, September 1, 2015


I was driving today, wearing sunglasses.
Because the sun was shining.

And then suddenly, it started to rain.
Pour, actually.

But the sun was still shining.

I looked around, thinking that if I tried hard enough, I would find a rainbow.

But I didn't.
And then the rain stopped.
The sun shone.

Sometimes that is how I feel.
The sun can be shining.
And without warning, a monsoon pours down upon me.
I am overwhelmed with grief.

I want to find a rainbow, to imagine that it's going to end.
The rain stops, but sometimes the rainbow doesn't show its face.

Sometimes I am completely overwhelmed with the realization that I'm never going to wake up and find Sam here.

I hope for the rainbow. For the light and love and blessing.

Sometimes it hides its face.

A year ago: Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and Honesty
Two years ago: Out the Window (yes, we saw a rainbow two years ago today!)
Three years ago: Quiet Shabbat
Five years ago: Differences of Opinion

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Caught Up

There's a lot of busy-ness to this time of year.
Busy is good.
It keeps my mind on my task, focused on the child in front of me. It keeps my mind focused on her needs or on his needs, on making a lunch or packing a backpack or did you take a sweatshirt?

And busy is bad.
Because I can, for a few minutes, get so caught up in what I'm doing that I don't notice that there's one kid missing.

And then, wham.

Today was the first day of school. I've waxed poetic before about how much I really love the first day. New potential and all that.

Today was no different. I lined people up for their pictures. I made lunches. I packed backpacks. I made sure that sweatshirts were taken.

Driving to the elementary school, hit me. How could I only drop off Yael? Shouldn't I be dropping off Sammy?

I drove up to the school and I hope she thought that the tears were the usual mom-loves-the-first-day-and-gets-all-weepy type of tears. I hugged her tightly, so tightly. I kissed her little face and told her to be amazing.

And then I got back into the car. Solly didn't notice that I was crying hard.
He asked for Shut Up And Dance.

I took a deep breath, called it up on my iPod, and drove off, music blaring almost as loud as it would go.

Sometimes that's just what you've got to do.

love Solly's shirt choice today

Solly's first day was one day before, but he got in on the group shot today

Last year...Class lists
Two years ago...Milestones
Three years ago...Back to School and Trust
Four years ago...Back to School Tradition
Five years ago...For Everything A Season

Saturday, August 15, 2015


It seems that I spend a lot of time searching.

At camp, I couldn't help but look at the kids and wonder which ones would have been Sammy's friends.

I search the faces of the little boys and girls who are about his size. I see the ones that Solly gravitates toward, and I wonder if Sam would have been friends with those kids. Does Solly see something there that Sammy would have seen?

And sometimes I catch myself looking out at that sea of faces and I realize that I'm searching for Sam. Where is he? I've picked out my other kids amongst all the others, but where is Sam? And then that wash of realization....oh, yeah.

I searched the 4th grade class lists. Which one would have been his? Would he have been happy with the teacher assigned? I searched the lists....wishing, hoping, wanting his name to be there.

I search for his face in my dreams...and it's not there.
I keep searching.

Solly keeps telling me that he's sad that he isn't dreaming about Sam.
I tell him to keep looking.

It's been 610 days since Sam died. I don't even know what to do with that number. How is it that it feels like forever ago and yet I can still feel the fuzzy skin on his head in a whisper on my fingertips?

Last year: Incomplete
Two years ago: The Special Spice
Three years ago: Bouncing
Five years ago: What I Did On My Summer Vacation
Six years ago: Restful Vacation
Seven years ago: 13 Reasons I'm Not Blogging
Eight years ago: Wordless Wednesday (aka, Sam throws a tantrum)