I have the right

Many of you have said that I have the right to have my freak outs.  I have the right to get angry.  I shouldn’t worry about the freak out I had after the funeral … she was out of line.

I have trouble with that.  I feel bad and that I was out of line.  I wish I would have handled it better.

You might say that I’m being too hard on myself.  So be it.  But I’ve been taught to love my neighbor as myself.  Period.  Not love my neighbor unless I’m grieving the loss of my child.  Or be kind and patient unless you’re having a bad day.

Does God understand why I lost it?  Does he know where my heart is at the time my voice raises or I get angry?  Yes.  But that doesn’t mean I have a ‘get out of jail free’ card to treat others how I want to.

I love people.  I love other’s opinions and learning something new.  Seeing something from a different point of view.  That’s why I have grown to ask my dad for advise.  He sees the world through totally different glasses.  He always challenges me to look at a situation from a different point of view.

This chapter in my life story doesn’t change my love for others.  And it certainly doesn’t earn me the right to act anyway I please.  Don’t treat me differently.  Don’t go easy on me … treat me normal.  Hold me to normal standards.  I don’t want special treatment.  I’m no different from you.

I went to a farmer’s market with my mom this morning.  I was on a hunt for local vegetables to make the boys baby food.  (ps there was only spinach and radishes … way too early for what I was hoping for.)  A vendor was selling wooden plaques with sayings on them.  I found a wooden picture frame with something along the lines of: When you lose someone you love, memories turn into treasures.  It made my heart ache just a little bit.  My mom wanted to buy it for me (love her!).

When the vendor shared how much she loved the saying after her mother passed away, I gave my mom a glance and tried my story again on a stranger.  I put my hand to my heart and said, “I lost my 6 month old son just a few weeks ago.”  She gave me the look of horror and utter sadness.  With ease I responded, “Please don’t treat me any different.  I only shared my story with you so you would know just how much this frame means to me.”  It worked!  She continued the conversation normally … it wasn’t weird.  I didn’t regret saying something and I didn’t feel like I had thrown a rock through her glasshouse life.

I feel blessed to have found peace with my story so early.  I’m not saying it doesn’t hurt.  I find the wind knocked out of me several times a day … like when we got new health insurance cards today in the mail, without Owen listed on it.  But I have highs during my day too.  I laugh.  I praise and thank God for my life, my home, my husband and my three surviving boys.  I cherish my story, as hard as it is to live and for some to read about.  It’s precious to me.  It gives me depth and defines who I am as a woman, mother, christian.

I feel so blessed to have so much support.  I think of those families who go through this alone.  It’s been eye-opening just how many babies and children die in this world.  I’ve heard so many stories that are similar to mine … for once I wish I was alone in this.  There are so many children who leave this earth too soon.  But many stories go with only close family and friends mourning.

I have had the attention, love and prayers from around the world.  Trust me when I say I don’t take that lightly or for granted.  I feel honored and blessed to have been heard.  I feel proud of my son for making such a huge difference.  I find hope in the two little girls still recovering from their live saving surgeries.

I pray that I live up to the standards of strength that have been laid before me.  I pray that I am able to make as much good out of this horror as I can.

For now I take strength in orange.  I’ve worn orange every day since the funeral.  I painted my nails an obnoxious color of orange today.  I think I bought almost every orange shirt Target had for sale today. I swear the cashier must have thought I was a nut case.  Here I’m standing in my bright orange John’s Root Beer t-shirt, with 6 more orange shirts on the conveyor belt.  Can you say wacko?

I wear the color like my scarlet letter.  My purple heart from being wounded in the war of infant vs mortality.  I wear it with pride for what my 6 month old has accomplished and the joy and hope he has spread.  But I also wear it for me.  Orange has turned into my security blanket … my constant prayer to God for the strength and guidance.  My direct hotline to the big man upstairs.  Orange.  I never would have imagined a color would have been able to give me so much comfort.

All my love, Mel

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17 Comments

Filed under Owen's Gone

17 responses to “I have the right

  1. enj_journey

    I am another person you do not know but have been reading your blog every day since hearing Owen’s story. His story has changed my attitude about life. Not that it was bad before, but it helps me put the small stuff in perspective and not take things for granted (thank you for that). Anyway, I have cried with each entry I read, including today. But, for the first time, I also laughed out load with today’s…..the part about being at Target and “can you say wacko?”. I love your sense of humor 🙂
    I just wanted to let you know that I think of and pray for Owen, you and your family every day.
    P.S. The color orange belongs to Owen forever! I vote for a new crayola color called Owen Orange 🙂

  2. Julia

    I love that Orange was Owen’s color. My church uses Orange as it’s signature color because it believes nothing is more powerful than combining the love of a family (red) and the light of God and the church (yellow) to create the relationship between the family and the church as Orange. I think this is fitting for your family, your faith, and your little warrior Owen.

  3. jody klarkowski

    You have yet to not amaze me…Your ability to still see the bright shining sun is so uplifting. I remember reading in one of your blogs how you had felt you had finally figured out your “calling” when you found out you were having triplets. Raising four fabulous boys was what you were put here to do…I agree. I also think your true calling is much deeper than that. I think you are going to find yourself doing more than you had ever imagined:)

  4. Mitzi

    What an amazing woman of God you are! I stumbled across your story thru another blog and find myself anxious to read your words of wisdom and power. Your story has touched so many lives and hearts, and whenever I see someone in orange, I find myself wondering if they know who Owen is? I will never see the color orange again without whispering his name. God bless you for your attitude and perspective. For I know the plans I have for you says the Lord…..for hope and a future! thank you for sharing to so many with such openess!

  5. Jennifer Hansen

    You don’t know me. I just thought I would leave a comment. I have been touched by your story and pray for you and your family. My brother just lost his wife two months ago and left him with 5 children ages 8, 6, 4, 2, and 4 months. She was only 33. I don’t know what it feels like to lose a child, but any family death hurts none the less. My brother is getting couseling to cope with the loss of his wife through greifshare.org. I live in a rural area and don’t have a meeting close to me, but get a daily email with scripture to help me cope. Just thought I would pass this on to you if you wanted to look into something like this.

    Jennifer Hansen
    Gustine, TX
    jenshand2@gmail.com

  6. Katie Voss

    I am so proud of you. I am so thankful to be your friend. You know that song, “they will know we are Christians by our love”? Well, this has been going through my head since I read this. Your faith is evident and inspiring.

  7. Kate

    Mel,
    While folding clothes this morning, I took note of every orange article my children have. It’s more than I thought we owned. I think of Owen when I see orange. I find myself stopping over petty thoughts to ask myself, “what would Mel say about this”. It’s like you and your story have become my Jiminy Cricket, helping me to treat my family better. My hubby left town this morning for training on the East coast for a week, and I was feeling a little overwhelmed about taking care of four children under 8 by myself. But I took a breath and thought how lucky I am to have four beautiful, smart, healthy children to drive me crazy for the next 8 days. You’ve helped me to find that mindset and for that I thank you. When I see orange, I send up a prayer for you and your family. I send up a lot of prayers!
    I don’t think we meant to give you a free pass to be nasty or mean to people (not that you seem capable of that!). We were just saying that you have a right to express anger if you feel it. Shout into the wind. Jump up and down. Punch a inflatable cown with sand in the bottom. It can be cathartic. Or, take a few deep breaths, say a prayer, and give it up to God, which seems to be your way of handling it. Less damage to plastic clowns your way!
    Your friend,
    Kate

  8. Another triplets mom

    Mel,
    I too smile when I see the color orange now. It warms my heart, because whether or not the person knows Owen’s story, it brings me joy.
    I applaud how you reacted to your response the other day. Most people in a situation of grieving or just having a bad day would not have given a second thought to how their response brought another person down.
    I am in awe of your strength, poise, and character. I have learned so much about cherishing each moment with your loved ones and about keeping your bad day to yourself. The latter is something I have needed to learn for SO LONG. You are an inspiration to me and I just wanted to thank you for sharing your life with us.
    I continue to pray for strength and comfort for your family.
    Kristen

  9. Amy

    Your posts are healing my heart. I find your words comforting. I am in the midst of grief as well. I lost my son when I was 21 weeks pregnant. He gave his life to save mine and so his sisters could still have their mommy. I also had a hysterectomy-we wanted a large family and my heart longs to love more children.
    Thank you for being you.

    • Colleen M. S.

      Amy,
      I felt compelled to reply to you. My daughter died in my womb at 21 weeks as well. I also long to have a large family but God had a different plan for me… a better plan for me and for my family. My grandfather ended up moving in with us and lived to be 101 years old. God gave us a multigenerational family and it brought great joy to all of us!! I gained some wonderful insight to my children! I saw them show gentleness, caring, and humor as they played with Grandpa. Things I would have never have know about my children if it weren’t for their interactions Grandpa! I felt a deep, deep love from my husband as he shared his home and gave honor and respect to my grandfather out of his love for me! Gramps was a blessing to us especially during my children’s teenage years and brought countless moments of love and laughter to me.

      It has been 22 years since my daughter died and three and a half years since grandpa died. The emptiness and hole you feel in your life is immense! But God is near to the broken hearted. He knows our pain and He longs to comfort us. I know I will see my daughter in heaven one day along with Gramps and our faithful, wise and wonderful Lord and Savior!

      Amy, there is a book called Free to Grieve by Maureen Rank, reading this book along with the scriptures really helped me to feel God’s presence and comfort at the time of my daughter’s death. Amy, God has a plan for you. “… plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11) Believe in Him! I will lift you and your family up in prayer!

      Mel,
      God has given you and Owen a great calling! You are reaching the world with His message. You are connecting people in His name! What a blessing you are even in your darkest days!

      In response to your blog:
      God knows your faith even when you feel empty and void and want to shout out in frustration. Continue to trust Him and seek His comfort even in your weakest moments. Allow “the Lord to be your strength and your song.” (Exodus 15:2) He will lift you from the deepest depths and grant you joy and peace in His perfect timing. You are part of His plan!

  10. Patty

    Mel,
    I was thinking about you today when I was shopping at Kohl’s with my baby. There are so many orange clothes out this season. It made me smile thinking of you and Owen. I told Tucker that we were going to get him a lot of owenange clothes today.
    Every post I read about you and your faith i am more inspired by your courage. I agree with a previous post that Gods work for you has just begun. I thank God that I found your blog and look forward to each new adventure you share with us. May God continue to bless your family. In a previous blog you were looking for a new name for your blog (which I saw that you found) but the name that came to me was “the many blessings of being a bissing”

    It is wonderful to know that there are women out there that exemplify God’s grace the way you do.

    Patty
    Hubertus, WI

  11. Stacy Mak

    Maddie and I have begun to wear orange nail polish in varying shades. Our current favorite is neon orange with a touch of pink pearlish tint….It’s our warrior paint for Owen!

  12. You are a strong woman. I’m amazed by you.

    When I was in counseling for depression and anxiety I really felt guilty for all that I had put my family through and my counselor kept telling me that the fact that I was “out of my mind (my words not his)” was, just that, A FACT and I had to accept it for what it was. And I kept arguing that just because it may be a fact did not give me an excuse to do and say the things that I did to my poor undeserving husband and children.

    That’s kinda like what you are saying here, right?

    You are grieving….FACT. But you don’t want that to be an excuse for making others feel bad, right?

    Now I get it…you see…I was one of those people that gave you the green light to “say whatever it is you wanted to say.

    You have taught me a great lesson. Thank you!

    By the way…your oldest son looks SO MUCH like my 3rd little boy. I even showed my husband and his mom. It’s amazing.

  13. Amanda

    I must say I agree with the post by Kate… Your story has made me stop and think in tough situations.. rather than just doing what I instinctively feel I should, stop, think and see if I can find a better solution. Also, everyday life. The little things that my sweetie does to “upset” me, now dont seem so important. We take more time each day to just appriciate each other and what we have… reading your blog has shown a different side to mother hood that no book or no class could teach. And I must say your dad sounds like such an amazing man! I hope there are more out there like him and like you. Being able to stop and see every side of a situation rather than one, makes excepting and doing that much easier. I again thank you for sharing your stories. You sure are making a lot of people stop and appreciate more. I hope that appreciation continues because it is a truly beautiful thing to stop and just enjoy your family..

    the color orange has taken up shop in our household as well, maybe its just that I notice it more, either way it is a color that we use for happiness, our bit of sunshine when we have our cloudy days

  14. Morgan Dunham

    I just found your story yesterday. I also have a son named Logan. He will be 3 on the 19th. I am so sorry for your loss my heart hurts for u. You sound like a strong mom. Wish I could meet you and just give you a hug. Anyway I am just rambling. I really don’t know what to say. I could say all these things but its easier to say then to do. Keep ur head up mama.
    Morgan from Texas

  15. Jennifer Wolf

    I have a 2 year old son and a 6 month old daughter. Ever since I became a mom I have let fear run my life and make decisions for me. “Don’t eat that you could choke!” or “Don’t let her have that its dangerous!” or “Be careful, watch out, OMG”. It is so hard to raise children, especially boys, and not worry constantly about their safety.

    I am finding out through your story and your strength, that I need to just “live and let God”. Instead of living in fear for my babies health and safety I need to just be a strong, confident mother. I need to relax and know the Lord will provide and protect. Even if something does happen there is nothing I, myself, can do about it… so the constant struggle to have control is useless.

    I need to simply enjoy my babies and be thankful.

    Thank you for sharing your story it has helped me.

  16. Triplet mom

    I am a fellow triplet mom that you do not know. I have been praying, along with many other families that you will never know, for you and your family. You have an amazing strength and courage. You make me want to be a more patient, loving, caring, courageous Christian. To have such faith in such a difficult time says a lot about your character. Your children are lucky to have you as a mother and as an example.
    Thank you for sharing so openly and honestly, it puts many things in my life into perspective. Having triplets is difficult, but having 3 healthy babies is such an amazing blessing. One that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
    Thank you!

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