This blog is an uncensored look into my soul. I am writing this as part of my healing process, but am leaving it public so others can follow me through my journey.

If you'd like to start from the beginning, click on the beautiful, adorable picture of Hailey on the right hand column.

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Sunday, March 28, 2010

My Sweet Lexi

This past couple weeks have been particularly tough for some reason.  I've heard that month six is one of those rough milestones, although we're almost at month eight,  I think it's getting tougher now than ever.   I'm not exactly sure why...maybe because reality is really setting in more now, or maybe it's just been way too long since I've held or heard my baby girl's laugh, or maybe it's because the warm weather is setting in and she loved to be outside, or maybe it's the fact that Lexi is starting to really struggle.  

Of course, I'm sure it's a little of all those things and more, but I think the main reason is seeing my daughter struggle through her grief and I can't fix it for her.  That kills me.  It's horrible, absolutely horrible, to see your six year old daughter crying and sobbing for her baby sister and there's nothing I can do to bring her back.  All I can do is sit there and hold her, rock her, stroke her hair, and tell her how sorry I am.  I'd have to say that this is the worst part of my whole loss, watching Lexi's pain.

In the first few months she struggled and cried and acted out at times, but adamantly said no when I asked her if she wanted to go see a "feeling doctor."  That's what I call a grief counselor.  I explained to her it's not a doctor like she's used to, who will listen to her heart or check her ears or even give her a shot!  Instead it's a doctor that will help her make her feelings feel better...if that makes sense.  Well after the first couple months she seemed to get her little spark back and began to enjoy life again and get excited about those little things a six year old gets excited about, so I backed off the "feeling doctor" kick.  She found peace in writing letters to Hailey in a special journal I bought her and going to visit Hailey's place and leaving little notes or flowers or presents she'd found on the playground at school.  She was comforted at night sleeping with that life size, cardboard cutout of Hailey.  (To each their own I guess!)  So I thought she was doing okay.  Of course I'm always watching her for signs of something that I may need to be concerned about, but all was going as well as could be expected...until this past couple weeks.

All of a sudden she's been crying everyday for Hailey.  If something doesn't go right for her or if she gets frustrated or in trouble or whatever, she completely breaks down about how much she misses Hailey.  Now I know some would say that's kind of a ploy to manipulate me, which I could see and I am aware of, however she went through that phase in the first few months and then when she realized that I'd be compassionate, but still firm about our rules, she backed off of using it as an excuse.  But now she's back at it again, and even more so because she often cries for Hailey when all is going well, like the other day in the middle of her gymnastics class.  So a few days ago I brought up the idea of the "feeling doctor" again and she came back with a resounding, "Yes Mom, I really think I need to see her now."  I told her how proud I was of her for being aware of her feelings and when she may need some help to repair them.  So now I'm working on getting her an appointment.  Apparently she even told one of her friends, who told me, that she said she was going to see a "feeling doctor" to help her feel better about missing her sister so much.

Tonight, after a fun birthday party and then an evening at the park, she broke down again about how much she missed Hailey.  We went up to her room and I just sat on her bed with her and held her and rubbed her hair and told her how very, very sorry I was that she had to go through this.  She told me it wasn't fair that her baby sister had to go away.  Then she looked at me and picked up that cardboard cutout of Hailey and squeezed it as hard as she could, started sobbing, and said, "Mom, sometimes when I miss her so much I just pick this up and hug it as hard as I can and close my eyes and pretend that it's really her."  That's when my waterworks went on full force.  (My emotions have been a lot more raw lately too...I'm sure there's some correlation there.)  Anyways, she continued and said, "Sometimes I also wish it was in 3D, kind of like a doll so it really felt like her."  I had to smile at the 3D comment...which probably came from the 3D movie she saw today, but then my heart broke into a million pieces for her.  

How am I supposed to do this?  I mean, here I am dealing with my own intense grief and on top of that having to watch my precious six year sob and hurt for the sister that she lost.  This was her baby sister, her playmate, her "enemy," the one she read books to in the morning while I was still asleep, the one she taught how to do an "arabesque" ballet move,  the one she visited in the hospital so many times, the one she played in the tub with every night, the one who was there with her every single day...the one who is now gone.  

As I watch her I realize that she is very much like me with her emotions.  She doesn't like to show them outwardly very often or cry in front of people, but inside she's always hurting.  Hailey is always there on her mind throughout every minute of everyday...just like me.  I read a great quote that a friend who also lost a child wrote on her blog.  She said, "Please don't think that just because I am laughing or joking about my son, that I'm no longer grieving for him."  For some reason I found that to be so profound, because it is exactly how I feel.  I still laugh a lot and appear happy and upbeat, but inside I hurt, I cry, I ache for my baby girl.  She is on my mind 24 hours a day.  And I'm coming to find that to be true for Lexi too.

So for those of you who pray or believe in prayer, I just ask that you please, please remember my little Lexi in your prayers.  She is such a good girl, who loved life and got excited about everything.  I'm so scared that she's going to lose that to her grief.  As a parent it is terrifying to think that I have the ability to ruin her if I'm not careful and help her deal with her grief in a healthy way.  At this point the only one who can truly help me is God.  I need Him right now.  I need His guidance and wisdom and peace, as does Lexi.  

Of course, I have about a million pictures of Lexi and Hailey together...I actually made a photo book for Lexi with all the pictures I had of the two of them.  Anyways, I wish I could share them all, but I decided to share just some of the wonderful moments these two have shared together:

From The Beginning

Sisters Forever

Fun Times Together

Teachable Moments

Saying Goodbye

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Finding Joy At Hailey's Place

Instead of using the word "cemetery," we named where Hailey is: Hailey's Place.  One of the things I actually "enjoy" doing is decorating her little spot for each holiday and season.  Since I'm no longer able to physically take care of her, I find that taking care of her place brings me some peace and happiness.  I actually look forward to shopping for cute little things to decorate with.  That's really the only thing I have left to shop for when it comes to her.  I also look forward to watering and trimming her flowers and plants.  One of the other reasons I really like it decorated is because I want people who walk by her place to think, "Wow, that's a very special and loved little girl."

Most people wouldn't find a cemetery somewhere peaceful to be, but this place is like no other.  The grounds are absolutely beautiful and so well taken care of.  It is seriously so quiet and peaceful.  Sitting by her spot is like nothing I've ever felt before.  It's right under a beautiful tree and we often lay out a blanket and have a picnic or Lexi will read Hailey books.  In the summer when it's light out longer, we'll have family nights there and bring a game to play!

She is also resting in the children's section, which I find to be full of very loved little kids.  So many are decorated and visited often, which, for some reason, gives me comfort.  When I see someone else visiting nearby, there is this mutual understanding and compassion for one another, knowing the difficulty of losing a child.  You don't even need to say a word.  I've even met some very special mothers who visit regularly and we'll often visit each other's children and keep watch over their places and even leave little decorations every once in a while.  As far as a "cemetery" is concerned, there is no other place I would want my little girl.

Anyways,  I think I've already shared some pictures of Hailey's Place all decorated, but I thought I'd show them again.  I put many of the items there myself, however there are also many left by others.  So you can see that she really is a very special and loved little girl!

My parents bought her that flag because she threw a huge fit one day in church because and I quote, 

Thanksgiving / Fall
This an extra special, handmade flag from our neighbor and one of Hailey's favorite people!

I loved this angel flag because it totally reminded me of Hailey.
If you look towards the back, you'll see her Christmas tree complete with ornaments and solar powered lights!
(It's currently in my parent's backyard growing bigger for next year!)

Valentine's Day
She obviously had no problem finding a Valentine this year!

St. Patrick's Day
This is in honor of my Mother-in-Law because if it weren't for her I wouldn't have known  that Hailey was part Irish!!

Lexi decorated Hailey's whole place by herself for Easter...complete with the plastic eggs in the shape of an H for Hailey!

Our Hailey Memorial
This is at the top of our first flight of stairs that look over our living room:
The large picture has her handprint and footprint in it.
The sprig of flower above the frame is from her funeral bouquet.
The white certificate below it is a thank you for donating her heart valves.
On the second shelf is a square painting and "birdhoush" the she made and took soooo much pride in.
There is also a plastic fish mask and feeding tube that we often used.
The bottom shelf has the Guest Book from her service and a whole stack of grief books I've been given.
There is also the can that our 10-year old neighbor used to collect donations of almost $1000 from our neighbors...which went straight to the Hailey Mayz Foundation!
On the floor is a purple scrapbook made by Hailey's nursery leader at church with pictures of all her little friends.
There are also many other items that I didn't name.

On a side note: We are currently in the process of ordering Hailey's headstone.  It's taken us quite a while, actually a lot longer than we expected.  We just weren't ready to see our daughter's name on a headstone in a cemetery.  That's just so wrong.  However, after almost 8 months, we feel that it's time.  She deserves one.  She deserves a beau'ful stone with her beau'ful little face on it to memorialize her beau'ful resting place!  So as soon as we receive it I'll post some pictures.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


So I took a mini trip down memory lane today and thought a little bit about the day that Hailey passed away.  I didn't go too far because the emotions attached to that day are still very strong, raw, and extremely painful.  I've found that avoiding the memory all together has helped me to cope better, however I do fear that one day I am going to have to fully go back and re-live that day.  Why?  I don't know, but I just feel like I will.  

Anyways, as I slowly walked down that memory lane, instead of crying my eyes out, my thoughts were directed to the blessings that surrounded that whole day.  So I thought I'd share some of them with you.

I think one of the most profound blessings was that Lexi wasn't there when I found Hailey.  A good friend of my mine called the night before, totally out of the blue, and asked if Lexi could spend the night and play with her daughter.  That was the first time she'd spent the night at a friend's house in months.  I can't even begin to imagine how it would have affected her if she had been here.  Not only seeing her little sister cold and blue, but seeing her mother screaming at the top of her lungs and literally hysterically out of control.  It was as if the Lord knew that Hailey would be coming home that day and therefore, inspired my friend to call for Lexi to spend the night.  If that isn't a blessing, I don't know what is. 

Next was the blessing of Hailey going "peacefully."  According to the doctor, as he looked at her facial features and "expression," he felt that she passed away while asleep.  Now, I don't know if he would have told me otherwise, and I thank him for not doing so, but I'd like to believe it was peaceful.  I can't even begin to think of it any other way or I literally start to enter hysterics.  When I found her she was laying in a position that she wouldn't just fall into, if that makes any sense.  I have also prayed about this a lot because I know that I'll never truly know exactly what happened and it was starting to eat away at me.  One day, while I was praying and pondering quietly, I felt Hailey whisper to me, "Mommy, I didn't suffer.  My Father in Heaven would never allow me to suffer."  Now, I didn't hear that aloud, it was just this strong impression in my heart that I can't really explain, but it was there and profound.  I feel so blessed though that she didn't choke in front of me or someone else as we frantically tried to save her and watch the life disappear from her.  That would not have set well with me.

Another blessing was the fact that I was the one who found her.  Although, I absolutely HATE having that image and event seared permanently into my mind, I can't imagine how it would have been if someone else was with her.  I know my parents and sister would never forgive themselves, as they've already told me that.  As I sit here with my sister she's telling me how she would never be the same after something like that and also from having to call me and tell me.  (Now for the record, I've made it so clear to them that I wouldn't even have to forgive them because I would never have blamed them in the first place.  If anyone loves my girls as much as Sean and I do, it's both sets of their grandparents and my sister.)  What if it was a babysitter?  That would have had the potential to completely ruin a young girl if she experience something like that.  I have asked Sean many times if he's ever felt blame towards me, and being the amazing man and husband that he is, he always emphatically says no.  What a blessing that is, right there.  But if I wasn't the one who had found her I know and openly admit that I would always wonder, what if?  I mean I still do sometimes wonder, what if, but I think it would consume me if I wasn't there.  Because I was the one who found her, I have to deal with myself only. Luckily, the Lord has been very kind to me and helped me to understand that this was meant to be and part of a bigger plan...not that it makes it okay, but it does make it easier for me to not blame myself. 

Along those same lines is the blessing of that beau'ful morning we had together.  Let me tell you that Hailey had a way of seriously getting under my skin, but that morning we had the best time together.  We laughed and played and went to her doctor's appointment, where she was given a clean bill of health.  After her appointment we ran to the grocery store and she wanted her "lellow peesh," potato chips to the Lay person!!!  Anyways, my first instinct was to say no because we were going home to eat lunch, but something stopped me and I said, "Sure, but you have to find them!"  She went running up and down the aisles and finally found them.  I can still hear her yelling, with the hugest smile of pride on her face, "Mommy, me found them, me found them!"  What a blessing that I gave in at that moment and had that experience with her.  And what a blessing that she went down for her nap, happy as a lark, with a belly full of her favorite "peesh!"

Also as mentioned in the above paragraph, was the clean bill of health she received an hour before she passed away.  I am able to look back and know that my baby girl died at the top of her game.  Her ears and lungs were completely clear and all was well.  She had graduated therapy and was about to start preschool.  Which makes me believe even more so that she was meant to leave that specific day because she had been on the brink of death so many times before, yet never crossed over. 

We were planning on leaving two days later for vacation, which means that all my immediate family already had two weeks off.  So they were able to be with me every step of the way.

My sister, who is also my best friend, had just switched jobs and her new building is literally 15 minutes from my house so she's been able to move in with us and we've been able to support each other through this loss.

Then, there are my dear friends who all left work instantly and were there in the emergency room with me.  Talk about being there in a time of need.  I couldn't have needed my friends anymore that at the moment, and they couldn't have been there for me any more than they were.  

There are also the blessings of my church and the way they work in times of tragedy or emergency.  One of the lady's I go to church with came to the hospital and literally took over and did everything for us.  We didn't have to worry about anything.  She helped us decide when to have the funeral, dealt with the mortuary for us, told them how we wanted Hailey to look, took the clothes down there, took her footprint and hand print for us, cut some of her hair off for us to keep, even brought nail polish to paint her nails. She also dealt with the cemetery for us, scheduled all our appointments for us, walked us through everything, and had the entire service, food, cars, etc. planned out for us. Every little detail was taken care of, and nothing was done without our consent.  Not only was this all done for us, but the compassion and respect shown was beyond what we could have asked for.  She was literally a miracle worker.  Along with this, I had people here bringing me dinners, cards, gifts, well wishes, donations, offering to clean my house, watch the girls, literally anything we needed.  

So as you can see, blessings were well in abundance.  Those were only a few of the ones that come to mind right now.  There are so many more that have come since Hailey's passing, that I plan to share at another time.  All I can say is that God is real, He absolutely loves us more than we can ever imagine, He is kind and merciful, and He will take care of us if we allow Him to.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Slide Show

Wow...It's been a little while since I've last written and I actually had something else in mind to write about this time, but then when I signed on and officially watched that slide show for the first time, everything else in my mind went out the window.  I'm sitting here typing this as tears are literally streaming down my face, my heart in a million pieces.  What the heck was I thinking when I added that?!  I mean, I wanted to add it because I wanted those who didn't know Hailey to see who she was and what she stood for, but hurts.  The song that plays first, Dance, by LeeAnn Womack, was always my theme song for her since the day she was born.   She lived that song to the fullest.

Now after watching it and listening to the song, I seriously can't stop crying.  I miss her so much.  My arms ache, literally.  She was such an inspiration to me and I don't know how I got to be the one lucky enough to be her mom.  As I look back at those pictures, which really only show a fraction of what she's been through, I can't believe how strong she was.  My baby girl was probably the strongest human being I've ever met.  She had just about everything done to her that a human being could have done, yet she continued to smile and love life.  Which, even with all the faith I have, still sometimes makes me just want to scream, "WHY???"  Why did she have to go?  It's so not fair.  

I couldn't be more honored that God chose me to be her mom.  Sometimes I can't believe that He felt that me, of all the amazing mothers in the world, was the best choice to raise her and take care of her.  And honestly, I don't know how I did it or if I would ever be strong enough to do it again.  That's how I know that He carries us when we most need it, because as I look back at those pictures I realize that there was truly only one set of footprints to show for Hailey's entire three years of life...and they weren't mine.  I was carried every single step of the way, without ever truly realizing it.  

I also now know exactly what it means to have Christ as your best friend.  Honestly, I never really understood that before.  I mean, I can't physically see Him or hug Him or hear Him.  He was never married, never had kids, and was never a woman!!  So how in the world does He understand what I'm going through?  How can He be my best friend?  I just couldn't get it...until I lost Hailey.  Then it all fell into place.  The one thing I realized is that in order to have Christ as your best friend, you have to need Him.  Just like with a parent...our children don't always need us for everything, so they don't necessarily come to us for everything.  So when our lives are going along hunky dory, we really don't necessarily need Christ as our best friend.  It's when our world comes crashing down around us and we literally have absolutely no one else who can truly understand us that we need Him.  

I quickly realized after Hailey passed away that NO ONE, not even Sean, who was Hailey's only other parent, could truly understand exactly how I felt.  So one day I got on my knees and cried my eyes out and prayed my heart out and asked how I was supposed to do this.  It was then that this little voice came to my mind and said, "Christ understands...He was there for EVERY single experience you ever had with Hailey.  He knows you better than you know yourself.  He knows Hailey better than you even know her and He loves both of you more than anyone else ever could."  Hmmm...I guess that makes sense.  Although he was never a women, married, or had children, He did die on the cross for me and during that time, He felt EVERY feeling, temptation, hurt, pain, etc. that anyone who has ever lived has felt.  So much so, that He literally bled from every pore.  I can't even being to imagine that.  (It was probably the PMS that caused Him to bleed from every pore!)  Sorry...I just had to say that!  Anyways, that's when I decided to turn to Him even more and really talk to Him...and more importantly (the hardest part for me) really LISTEN to Him.  Get on my knees, pour my heart out as I would to a friend and then just sit quietly and listen and feel.  As I started to let down my guard and started praying and talking to Him anytime I would call family or a friend, I noticed that peace and comfort came in ways that I never thought possible.  It's one of those things that literally can't be explained until you experience it yourself.  But it is changing.  

Anyways, I'm kind of getting on a religious tangent here, but after watching that video and feeling my raw emotions come rushing to the top, I needed to get all that out.  Although I'm doing well on the outside, I still struggle a lot on the inside.  I have major insomnia...literally not falling asleep until 1 or 2 in the morning and then I sleep for 2-3 hours every morning while Ava is sleeping.  Bless her little soul for being such a good napper!  I'm always exhausted, overwhelmed, and anxious.  I struggle with the terror, sheer terror, of losing my husband, Lexi or Ava, or my sister or parents literally every second of every day.  My mind races everywhere and I have a really hard time focusing on anything for more than a couple minutes.  Every "negative" emotion: sadness, hurt, anger, impatience, frustration, is multiplied ten fold due to the grief and emotion I'm already living with on a daily basis.  I wear my heart of my sleeve for Lexi and her emotional well-being.  

Yet, through all this, I do still have hope and faith.  I know that it will continue to get "better" and "easier," although it will never completely go away.  It may sound weird or a little crazy, but I seriously continue to look forward to the day that Hailey and our family will be together again because I believe that 100% with every fiber of my being.  I don't only believe it, I KNOW it!!!  Sometimes I just have to remind myself though that it's probably not going to be for a while!!!  And I also KNOW that Hailey made that choice to go to Heaven and rest, free of pain and suffering...and if anyone deserves that it's her.  (Although, there is a good chance I'm going to spank her skinny, little, dimply butt when I see her again for leaving me!!!)  

So, now that I just cried my eyes out and typed my heart out, I feel a little better.  I still don't do so well looking at pictures of her and remembering all the really does cut deep.  I'm just so glad that I sat down a couple days after she passed away and wrote down every single tiny memory I could think of about her so that when I'm ready to go back to those days I have it all there to remember!!!

And when the tough times come, the sadness, insomnia, anxiety, fear, etc. I just talk to my best friend and hear Him say, "It is now that I carry you."  I can't even imagine where I would be right now if He weren't carrying me like a little baby.

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Broken Chain

We little knew that morning that God would call your name.  
In life we loved you dearly.  In death we do the same.  

It broke our hearts to lose you. You did not go alone; 
For part of us went with you, the day God called you home.  

You left us peaceful memories, your love is still our guide; 
And though we cannot see you, you're always by our side.  

Our family chain is broken and nothing is the same, 
But as God calls us one by one, the chain will link again.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Family Day at Disneyland

Lexi had a really difficult day yesterday.  I could tell that something was on her mind.  Something was bothering her and making her uneasy.  We talked a bit and I couldn't really get to the bottom of it, but it was really bothering me to see her struggling.  After losing her little sister, seeing Lexi sad takes on a whole new meaning now.  As a parent it's always difficult to see your child sad, but this kind of sad is not even close to difficult, it's excruciating.  

So, being the loving, caring, concerned mother that I am, I decided to do something extra special for her today.  :)  I got Sean to take the day off work and we kidnapped Lexi from school and went to Disneyland as a family...all "5" of us.  Of course, she was thrilled!

First off, only 10 minutes after getting there I found my dime!!!  It was laying tails up at the entrance to one of the little eateries.  I couldn't believe it!   That was my little Hailey telling us that she was there with us and wouldn't miss a family event for the world!  It was so cool.  

A little while later we ended up at this little play area, where we hung out for over an hour!  About a year ago, we were there with our neighbors and Hailey insisted on walking through all the rope nets by herself, with NO help.  She had a blast in that area.  I can't even describe how difficult it was for me to hang out in there today.  I never realized how many children were Hailey's age.  It was like a slap in the face and knife in the heart over and over and over again.  It really took all I had to keep it together.  My stomach had this huge pit in it.  It hurt so bad.  I actually almost had to run off to the bathroom a few times to let my sobs out, but luckily my strength held me up and I was able to keep it in.  I didn't want Lexi to think for a minute that I was sad!

Although, it turned out that she was feeling the same way.  All of a sudden she came running up to me and just started to cry.  I took her to a bench, held her precious little face in my hands and asked her what was wrong.  She said, "I just miss Hailey so much."  I hugged her harder than ever and told her that it was completely okay to miss Hailey and cry as much as she needed to.  She's like me though, and doesn't like to cry in front of people, so she kept trying to stop and hold it in.  I told her we could go walk away by ourselves somewhere alone and she could cry as much as she needed.  It seemed that as soon as I validated her feelings and gave her the okay to cry, she pulled it together and went back to being herself again.  Let me just tell you that I literally almost fell apart.  I was struggling so hard to keep it together at the "Happiest Place on Earth," and here my baby girl comes to me missing her sister so much she's crying.  There really aren't words to describe the pain I felt...I thought my heart was going to shut down and stop beating.

I worry about Lexi so much sometimes because she's so much like me and keeps her emotions bottled up inside.  When she cries about Hailey, I know she's dying inside to have gotten to that point.  I always make sure to tell her that all of her emotions are completely okay.  She can cry, laugh, yell, whatever she feels and it's okay.  But really, it's NOT okay.  It's not okay for my 6-year old daughter to have to go through something like this.  It's just plain wrong.  Absolutely wrong.

However, on a positive note, once we calmed that little hiccup, the rest of the day was awesome!  We had a great time as a family and really enjoyed each other.  Finding that dime meant everything to me!  

So we're hanging in there and taking it one day at a time, one experience at a time.  There are so many things we have yet to experience without Hailey.  I just have to remember that she IS here with us...she IS experiencing these events with us.  Honestly though, it really doesn't make it better.  Nothing will really make it all better.