Jude

blog s 172A1078

It’s been a month and I still have no idea what to say about any of this. Has it only been a month since our world changed forever? It feels longer. Has it been a whole month? That can’t be. I can’t have survived this many days and weeks. His pictures are still right there on my phone, with a quick scroll.

A month since the last time he wrapped his arms around me. Since he sang his favourite songs with me. Since we sat on the couch and watched cartoons together. Since I helped him put on his puppy boots. Since I put him down for his afternoon nap like every single other day, but this time for the last time.
So this is life without Jude. One month down, countless to go.
These days without him have been surreal, and I’d really like to talk about different parts of the experience of sudden loss, of losing your child, of parenting in the wake of that loss. I want to talk about the things that happened in the hospital and the following days that I wish I’d been prepared for. I want to talk about the people who held me up when I could hardly find the strength to stand. I want to talk about things that were helpful and things that were well meaning but… not quite what we needed. Not because anyone should be put down for trying to help, but because it might help to navigate if you find yourselves needing to support people dealing with loss like this in the future.
But not today. That will all come in a second post about all of this. Today I need to talk about the most important part of this whole thing.
blog z s 172A1345
Jude.
My beautiful boy, here for only two years, three months, and 20 days. Looking at those numbers makes it seem even more insane. It took us a full 23 months to finally get to a viable pregnancy when we started trying again after Isla. That’s almost as long as his entire life, and for the sheer joy of being his mom I’d do it all over again, over and over, if it brought me back to the same happy days as a mother of these three unbelievable kids.
blog s IMG_4282
If you’ve been with me for awhile then you’re probably already familiar with some of our story, and know that our journey to parenthood was a difficult one with a lot of heartbreak. Ironically, on the morning of May 6th I sat down to share this post from 2012 about our second trimester loss, and to remind people that some people in our lives struggle with Mother’s Day and they could use some extra love. I had no idea that a few hours later that day would become the worst day of my life, as I sat on the floor building robots and rocket ships out of mega blocks with my two very busy little boys.
Oh, this kid. I wish you could all have met this kid. I wish you could have watched those huge brown eyes light up with excitement over absolutely everything. I wish you could have watched his face when he figured out something new. I wish you could have had a Jude hug, those little arms wrapped tightly around your neck. His little voice that could be so tiny and sweet or so loud and forceful. His laugh that I’d give anything to hear again. His hand in mine. I’d love to watch him tackle Isla and Thomas again, to see him cause more trouble and immediately earn forgiveness with a snuggly apology. I wish you could have seen one of his epic tantrums. We tried not to laugh at them, but they were actually pretty funny.
blog 05-5
When I found out I was pregnant in 2013, before we had any idea that we were expecting twins, I had this overwhelming sense that after all this time that Jude was coming. I can’t explain it. I just knew. This pregnancy was going to be The One. Jude, for the patron saint of lost causes. Jude, to take a sad song and make it better. After all those years, all the heartbreak, all the surgeries and procedures and drugs and blood draws, all of our many losses, we were finally getting to the other side. I’ll never forget the day we went in for our first scan and saw those two glorious little heartbeats. We knew we had a long road ahead of us – we’d been through too much to feel confident in anything. But this one felt really good and different.
 blog imagine
The next eight months passed by with a ton of appointments, a chiropractor to help me manage my poor separated pelvis, and three of the happiest people you could imagine. We were so nervous, but so excited for this next great adventure. When the time finally came and we went in to meet them, it was one of the two best days of our entire life. They were here, and we were hopelessly in love. Jude arrived first and came wailing into the room with this insane cry that I never want to forget. Thomas came after, needing a little more assistance in the first of many times we’d worry about him. But not Jude. He was here and he was loud and he was wonderful. And screechy. And perfect.
blog -1
The early days were… challenging. With two 36w+5d babies we found ourselves needing to feed them both every two hours around the clock. I was gobsmacked by how insane my ‘schedule’ had become and how tired I was all the time, but I was mostly just insanely happy, all the time. It was busy. It was the best kind of busy. It was someone needing me at any given minute of any day. Me! Because I was their mom! I was lucky enough to have these three amazing people who I had the great privilege of caring for and loving, and I wouldn’t have traded any of it for a second.
Isla couldn’t have been more in love. Before they came she insisted that she was getting two baby sisters. I had opposite feelings and worried that she might be disappointed if two boys came home with us, but she fell in love with them immediately. How could she not?
blog 03-1
blog s IMG_4412
blog s IMG_5575
And so the days passed, with tiny peanut Jude eventually getting bigger and louder than Thomas, and both of them constantly full of energy and giggles and battles over whatever given thing. We could have four of the exact same train and they had to have THE SAME ONE. Always. We went for a lot of walks and they ran errands with me, and I often looked down at my three year old and double stroller and thought about how ridiculously beautiful my view was, and how lucky I was to finally be here. Finally.
We made the most of our time with them. We took them to the zoo, the Science Centre, baseball games, hockey games, the beach, everywhere. A little over a year ago, when the boys were 15 months old and Isla was four, we packed them all up and took them back to Paris. People thought we were completely insane, but in 2009 when we found ourselves wondering where our family would come from, Craig and I took ourselves away to Paris for a week to get a break from the stress, and there was something amazing for us about returning 5.5 years later with these three amazing kids. In the fall we took them all to Disney, knowing that the boys were too little to remember much of it, but that we were so excited to see their faces there, anyway, and we’d just have to go back when they were older. I’m so grateful for all of these memories now, and that we gave Jude as much adventure as we could in our time together that proved to be much too short.
blog IMG_20140701_052336
blog -8
blog s IMG_1685
blog z s IMG_5051
blog IMG_20160313_162235
He loved blocks. He loved singing, and every nap and every bedtime was preceded by an enthusiastic round of ‘The Wheels on the Bus’. And when they had trouble settling I’d sit on the floor and sing ‘Yellow’ to them, with their Twilight Turtle shining stars all over the room. One of his very favourite songs was ‘All You Need is Love’, which the boys called ‘wa-wa’ (because of the way we’d sing the instrumental parts), and he asked for this song constantly.
He loved Mickey Mouse and his stuffed penguin. A little while ago I made them all animal hats and he proudly wore his ridiculous lion hat everywhere, happily roaring for anyone who would ask. He LOVED the Simpsons. I know. That wouldn’t be everyone’s choice for family programming, but Eric and I watched it with our dad when we were little, and we turned out mostly fine. He loved Superman and had a pair of Superman jammies in every single size. He loved to play airplane, whether it was balancing on my knees, flying around in Craig’s arms, or zooming around the room with his arms stuck out awkwardly behind him, laughing hysterically. In his last few weeks he was unbelievably excited one day while waiting for Isla to come home on the bus. He’d discovered dandelions, and after hearing what they were called he made the connection to his giant lion hat and thought this was the best thing ever. I’ve never seen a kid so delighted by dandelions, and I’m so grateful for it. I can’t look at them now without thinking about his huge smile and his happy little voice talking about what he’d just figured out. Upon hearing about how much he loved them, many, many people have shared their dandelions with us in his honour and memory. I love this. Please, next time you see a dandelion, think of this amazing kid and how happy it would have made him.
blog IMG_20160425_153425
blog IMG_20160427_104022
blog z s 172A3215 jude
I feel sick to my stomach that this was all the time he was given. I looked at this amazing little boy every day and wondered what kind of person he might grow up to be, and I couldn’t wait to find out. He was so funny, and so smart, and just incredibly loving. I miss holding him. I miss having a little two year old hand in each of mine. I miss scooping them both up in the morning and making up silly songs with all three of their names in them. I catch myself singing those ridiculous songs now and I want nothing more than to kiss his forehead and run my fingers through his impossibly soft rabbit fur hair. I’d give anything for him to have more time here. I’ll never understand why this happened. All those years we spent working towards our family, wanting nothing more than a house full of noise and chaos and a chance to help some tiny people figure out who they wanted to become. The boys were born and we thought we’d finally made it, and we could just have our children and love them like any other normal family. This was our happily ever after, and we couldn’t possibly have been more grateful or in love.
I just want him back. I want to make him peanut butter sandwiches and take him to the park. I want to build robots and watch The Simpsons with him in my lap. I want to pick dandelions and blow bubbles and sing wa-wa. I want to plan adventures and pack five passports and put three kids in my van. I want to watch him figure out more of the world and what he wants to do with it, and I want him to have another 100 years here. I want him to go to my funeral when I’m a cantankerous old lady.
I don’t think we’ll ever make peace with this. This pointless, unexplained end to this beautiful little life. He deserved more time, and I feel cheated out of my son, this child that I wanted so badly.
I love you, Jude. I will love you every minute of every day for the rest of my life. I know that we have to figure out how to do all of this without you, and despite having survived the first month I’m still not entirely sure how we’re going to do that. But while you’re not here with us in person, we’ll carry you with us forever in our hearts. You will never be forgotten. I’m so proud that I got to be your mom, and I hope you know how deeply you were loved and wanted. Every minute you were with us was better simply because you were here, and nothing will ever be quite as beautiful and shiny now that you’re gone.
None of these words are good enough for you. These two years, three months, and 20 days were not enough for you. You deserved better. You deserved everything. I love you, buddy. If I could go back a month and a day and have you back, I’d do that every day for the rest of my life, just for a little more time with you. We will never forget you, and we’ll make sure that Thomas and Isla always remember you, whatever it takes. I wish we had you for the rest of our lives, but thank you for the time we had together. We’ll treasure it forever. ♥
blog s IMG_3038
blog s 172A7670 jude
1t
a blog s IMG_9045
a blog s IMG_9154
a blog z s 172A1104
a blog z s 172A6067
a blog z s 172A6084
a blog z s 172A8787
a blog z s 172A8790
a blog z s 172A8842