By Heather Ledeboer | Category: The Journey of Motherhood | Posted Monday, May 10, 2010
8:40 PM Hunter reflecting on the day: “We spent ALL our day having fun!”
Just a day planned together.
Far too many days are spent being ruled by a schedule. There is always somewhere to be and a time you need to be there by.
Far too often I find myself saying no to something my kids ask because that is easier.
Today we had a plan, but it was flexible. We had an agenda, but it was simply to have fun together.
What’s that Hunter? You want to stop at Super 1 Foods and get some
sourdough bread? Okay, lets do that! Hey, lets get some candy while we
Lets draw some pictures for your brother Sawyer, and float them up to the sky in balloons!
We should probably have lunch at Red Robin so we can get some free balloons!
Oh wait! These pictures are heavy; we are going to need to get more
balloons (lets send Hunter back into Red Robin to ask for more)!
Good bye balloons!
Stop to pick some flowers.
Throw pebbles in the water.
Ride on a carousel.
Feed the ducks.
Enjoy the view.
Pick some more flowers.
Get some candy.
You want to take your shoes and socks off while you swing Ashlyn? Sounds good, lets get them off!
Enjoy the view of the river.
Enjoy each other.
Take time to enjoy the flowers.
Go to outer space (via the wonder of IMAX) and marvel at God’s phenomenal universe.
Order a milkshake.
Eat good food. Talk about Sawyer.
Catch up on missed naps on the ride home.
Count our blessings.
There are a few advantages to taking the journey into the shadow of death. One is that you can appreciate the light more deeply than ever before.
We want to offer our heartfelt thanks to all the support you have shown us during this last week. Your prayers, emails, calls and letters have given us encouragement and humbled us. We truly are not in this journey alone. Thank you for walking with us.
By Heather Ledeboer | Category: The Journey of Motherhood | Posted Sunday, May 9, 2010
I have been anticipating Sawyer's birthday for a few weeks. I knew it was drawing near when the expiration date on my piña colada yogurt boldly announced 5/10/10 in black type. As I stood in the Super 1 Foods dairy isle staring at my son's birthday, I tried to figure out how the yogurt company could be permitted to use Sawyer's birthday in such a flippant way. Approaching this date on the calender fills me with a mix of sadness and dread. I wonder who will remember and who will forget and try to keep my expectations low. When asked how I am feeling, I find myself fumbling to express the complicated details of my emotions. I live most days treading lightly on the surface of our loss. I don't often dig my heals in deep and stir up the dust. It seems easier, neater and logical to keep my focus directed toward the things in my life that benefit from my attention. I have coined Quinten my "glorious distraction." I could easily dedicate an entire post (or book) to the way that he has been a soothing balm over our pain. There is something extra special about our "rainbow baby" that helps to usher the sunshine back into the darkened parts of our hearts. However, despite the distractions and light treading there can only be a certain amount of "delaying the inevitable" this time of year. At times I feel as though I am being suffocated by the void.
Two years ago when I sat down at my computer and shared that our son had died, a mom named Nichole Hayden read my words and rubbed her swollen belly. Through her tears, she found herself thankful for the child kicking within her womb. 11 days later she discovered that her son, Arthur James would be born into heaven. She wrote me in her pain and we began to email back and forth sharing the journey of grief.
Sixteen weeks ago Nichole gave birth to her rainbow baby, Wyatt Lee. Just as Quinten has for us, Wyatt was able to touch a place within her that nothing else could and bring a unique healing to her heart. However, last Tuesday Nichole laid Wyatt down for a rest and when she checked on him 30 minutes later she discovered to her horror that he was not breathing. The scene that ensued was nothing short of a nightmare as a rescue team tried in vain to revive him. The autopsy report has given no concrete answers to quiet the nagging questions of why he died. Her pain is quite honestly, unimaginable. I was re-reading some of our emails from the last two years and came across this one that she wrote on 5/12/09 as we discussed what it was like one year after our loss:
Yesterday, as I was catching up on house stuff and thinking of you- and me, and our sons- I was thinking how grateful I am that I will never have to relive those first few hours and days again. I was thinking about how my body felt after the surgery, and how confused I was. I was thinking about all that milk that came to feed and there was no one there to suckle. I'm grateful that when I am in pain for my son, that I don't have to have all that other stuff going on too. Sure if I loose another child- I will be reliving it all- but not for James. I am thankful that my mind only lets me deal and remember chunks, and that even though it's hard- really really hard-in that moment- it's nothing compared to what the end of last May and June brought on to me.
To begin the journey of loss all over again, and so soon, well I simply
can't fathom it. I am reminded of Solomon's wise words:
People can never predict when hard times might come. Like fish in a net
or birds in a snare, people are often caught by sudden tragedy.
I am also reminded how deeply I hate Satan who seeks to "steal, kill and destroy!" (John 10:10)
On this day that we celebrate mothers I want to ask you to remember sweet Arthur James and Wyatt Lee and their grieving mother Nichole. I want to ask that you lift her family up in prayer. Her two daughters (ages 6 and 4) are confused and hurting and Nichole longs to have the wisdom on how to lead them through this dark valley.
Nichole specifically told me that she would really love to talk with someone who lost a sibling as a child. She would be grateful for any insight how how she can best help her girls deal with this new loss and feels that talking with someone who has gone through it might help equip her. If any of you would be able to reach out to her to help in this area, please email her directly: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you feel so led, I would also welcome you to bless her family by donating toward their meal fund (by clicking on the link here or in the upper left hand corner of the blog). I have found a meal preparation place called Dinner by Design which is local to Nichole and spoken with one of Nichole's friends who is willing to help organize the meals and delivery. When we lost Sawyer we were overwhelmed by the way that people came along side to support us. I want to pass on that blessing. All donations will go directly to the family for meals. You can donate any amount starting at just $2.00. Thank you in advance for being the hands and feet of God as you reach
out to the Hayden family!
And speaking of passing on blessings, in remembrance of Sawyer, I would like to ask you to consider finding an act of kindness to do in his memory this week.
Sorrow is better than laughter, for sadness has a refining influence on us. Ecclesiastes 7:3
Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Romans 12:15
In loving memory of Wyatt Lee Hayden and his hurting mommy on this Mother's Day.
By Heather Ledeboer | Category: The Journey of Motherhood | Posted Wednesday, May 5, 2010
She got the call today, one out of the grey
And when the smoke cleared, it took her breath away
She said she didn’t believe 'it could happen to me'
I guess we're all one phone call from our knees
Lyrics from "Closer To Love" by Mat Kerney
Mom, Heaven is our real home right?
This one (touching the wall) is just for a little bit.
Ashlyn Ledeboer, age 4
God thank you that heaven will be a perfect place.
Prayer by Hunter Ledeboer, age 6
I think about death
I daydream about heaven
We talk about heaven a lot in our home. Losing Sawyer opened up the door of eternal perspective and made the reality of heaven relevant and personal. Ashlyn in particular likes to converse with me on the topic. She likes to talk about what it will be like and what she wants to do when she gets there. We talk about the fact that Jesus is there working on getting it ready for us and when it is ready he will come back for us. She is hoping that he is building a castle for her. She likes to think about who she will see there and who she will talk to. She plans to introduce Mary (you know, the mother of Jesus) to Nanie (her great-grandmother who died 2 years ago). She theorizes about what might be there and is a little nervous that her Eeyore won't be there if she doesn't take him. She wonders if she should try to bring Sawyer his stuffed animal or if he already has one there.
When everything is ready, I [Jesus] will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. John 14:3
Death may be a hard reality to accept, but it is a reality.
Truly living seems to be optional.
Sawyer's death has inspired me to be more intentional about the living part. Deciding what truths I want to leave with my kids and how to go about the challenge of challenging them to discover what life is all about and what role God has for them is my distinct intention. My challenge is to be intentional about making sure they know not only how deeply I love them, but that God's unconditional love for them will never fade.
The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: "I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness." Jeremiah 31:3
The more I think about death, the more I am inspired to instill God's life-giving truth into our family. The scar that Sawyer's death left on my heart has branded the reality of sin's affect on our world. I cannot deny that things are not "right" with the world. I cannot pretend that everything is ok. Something has gone terribly wrong and everything is slowly falling apart around us. To deny this would be either delusional or ignorant. I have faith. I have hope. I have a Savior who has overcome the world and that is where I place my trust and bring my wounded heart for comfort and peace.
I [Jesus] have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world. John 16:33
Two years ago today I was told that my son Sawyer was no longer alive. But if you ask anyone in our family they will tell you that this life is is "just for a little bit" anyway. "Heaven is our real home," and there he is very much alive.
I love you sweet son. Say hi to Jesus for us.
By Heather Ledeboer | Category: The Journey of Motherhood | Posted Thursday, June 25, 2009
"You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy." Psalm 30:11
I am now a woman with full arms. My heart sings again. My eyes have now cried for JOY. My eyes gaze upon a new miracle and don’t fear that it will be the last time.
It is one thing to try to explain your birth story in a way that depicts the thoughts and feelings and emotions under normal circumstances. It is difficult, if not impossible to attempt to describe the intangible details that comprised Quinten's birthday on June 16th.
- What stands out most deeply in my memory was the surreal feeling of knowing that “today is the day—there is no more waiting”. Even as we drove into town early that morning I remember telling Trent that it was still hard to believe that we would be holding a baby, our baby, in a matter of hours, the countdown was finally ending.
- I will never forget the beautiful serenade of Quinten’s heartbeat over the monitor that we got to hear all day long. It was an amazing comfort to hear that repetitive sound, strong and constant.
- It felt like a party! I was wearing a “princess delivery gown” as Ashlyn would call it and had my best friend (Trent) by my side and hundreds of facebook comments to encourage me as we updated my status as the day progressed. I felt like I had an overflow of support and prayers, even as midnight approached, many were still up checking and praying, it was amazing.
- And then, the “moment” when Quinten was born and he let out a cry, strong and clear. That was the breath that allowed me to stop holding mine. The longing, the hoping, the praying, the dreaming, the wishing, all joined hands and danced around in the room together as my eyes welled up with tears and overflowed in thankful gratitude.
Quinten James Ledeboer
Loved and cherished more than he may ever know
We chose the name Quinten primarily because we loved the uniqueness of it. It means "fifth" and although he is not our fifth child, I am reminded that it was on 5/5/08 that we found out Sawyer had died and it was in the labor and delivery room #5 that Quinten was born.
We chose the middle name "James" for its meaning "come after, succeed, follow — be the successor of" in honor of Sawyer knowing that it is because of Sawyer's short life that we have been blessed with the life of Quinten.
I don't think it is possible for me to properly convey how much your support, prayers and consistent encouragement has meant to me as we have traveled along our journey this past year. I have been challenged, encouraged, blessed and humbled by your kindness. I pray that God will in turn richly bless you. From this Mom 4 Life to you: ((hugs))
By Heather Ledeboer | Category: The Journey of Motherhood | Posted Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Oh man we just LOVE our little guy:)! Still hoping to have time to write a "real" post about how things are going but in the meantime I just wanted to share a few photos and let you all know we are doing wonderful. Quinten is eating well and sleeping well and pooping well (all the important things) and we are just soaking him up. This photo is pretty funny to me because he has been such a great baby overall, I just happened to catch him in a "moment'. A big thank you to Sara from Snugfits for the adorable shirt that Q is wearing in the photo above. To view more of Sara's cute Snugfits styles, visit our site. They are 10% off until this Friday!
To see more photos from this past week, click here.