Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Starting the blog was a great idea. It was intended to keep everyone up-to-date on Caroline’s progress. It would keep Blake from being on the phone 24 hours a day. It would give me something to occupy my time while I was in the hospital waiting for her arrival.

Here I sit with no update to provide. She is gone. Her life on earth came and went in what, now, seems like the blink of an eye. The blog still exists. Part of me wanted to end it after the memorial service. Another voice told me I would need it.

I have enjoyed sharing our latest home improvement projects-landscaping, lights. Accomplishing a task makes me smile. More than likely, Nugget and Olive will make an appearance, as they, too, evoke joy. But there is a huge part of my life I avoid mentioning. I don’t want to depress everyone by always bringing up our girls. People don't know how to respond. They don't know what to say. No one wants to “go there” because they don’t want to upset or remind me. The truth is, Finley and Caroline are ALWAYS on my mind. In avoiding them, I feel like I am denying or am ashamed of their existence. I am not. So, can’t sweep the past year of my life under a rug and pretend as if nothing happened. Something major occurred, twice. I lost 2 little girls and have been left fighting an inner battle I can no longer deny.

Initially, Blake was concerned the blog would become superficial. I might post something I did not feel just because it was the “right“ thing to say. I get that completely and know where he was coming from. Truthfully, I would love to paint a pretty picture of comfort and peace in the midst of the storm. To say that I have not felt the presence of the Lord in my life is an untruth. I have. But this journey has been difficult. It has been anything but pretty. Actually, it feels quite unflattering and at times, even scares me. My faith is being tested in ways I never imagined possible.

From where I stand, there are 2 options: Hide-And-Seek or Exposure. Option A masks the pain, question, fear, and disappointment I feel. It disconnects me from God, family and friends. Option B makes me completely vulnerable. It strips me naked, revealing the wounds and scars of this life. Oddly enough, I think the latter is what I need. The childhood game is no longer fun, not to mention, ineffective.

There were so many thoughts and emotions I held inside after losing Finley. Envy, bitterness, anger, regret, loneliness, frustration, and guilt, to name a few. Then there was the shame I felt in feeling the way I did. Seeing a pregnant woman made me cringe. Learning that someone else was expecting a child made me nauseated. The sound of an infant in church made me want to run out screaming and crying. What was my problem? Who was this person I had become? How could a Christian feel this way? I felt ugly, hateful, mean…evil.

Since losing Caroline, the pain has deepened. The horrid thoughts I mentioned above, have started to resurface. I am grateful they are not as strong, but they are here, nonetheless. I am fighting it with all of my might but at times it seems I am losing the battle. My wounds are open and I am weak.

On multiple occasions, I have been encouraged to write. I have avoided doing so because I am no good at it. I have never been one to keep a diary or a journal. It is awkward for me to sit and spill my emotions on paper. I tried it during my pregnancy with Finley. It was fun until I went into labor on April 3rd. That was the end of journaling for a while. Then, I decided to “finish the story” on what would have been her due date, August 16th 2007. After 6 hours and multiple breaks, I had managed to write 20+ pages. At times, I cried so hard I thought I would pass out. As horrible as that may sound, it was helpful to let it all go. There was healing in doing so. I don’t dare attempt to read that journal now. It is too much to bear. It would be like pouring salt on fresh wounds. No thanks.

I bought a new journal within days of learning I was pregnant with Caroline. At first, I thought I had the strength to write again. This pregnancy would be different. However, I never allowed myself to sit and put it on paper. The journal still lays in the floor, blank, empty. The details of her life in my womb have already started to fade. I will never get them back. I was too scared to write. What if the outcome turned out to be the same as before?

Is sharing all of this with the world a good idea? I don’t know. I am pretty sure the world won’t be reading this so I am safe in that regard. What I do know is I have been comforted in the words of others. It is reassuring to know I am not alone in this journey of grief. Probably sounds trite but it is very true. For the past year, I have been following the blogs of families walking a similar path. While their stories are different than mine, they know the loss of a child. They know what it is like to be in a pit of despair so deep that you don’t even recognize yourself. Their emotions mirror mine and that provides a sense of relief. I am NOT crazy. I am NOT evil. I am grateful someone else was willing to share because it has helped me in ways I cannot describe.

I am choosing Option B. I need to be vulnerable so I can experience true healing, spiritually and emotionally. I want a deeper relationship with my Heavenly Father. We have been "dating" too long. As Tim Woodroof so eloquently described it to me, I have settled for a life on the first floor. There is level, above, on which I have not allowed myself to go. I could keep "control" on the first floor. I want to take the next step and experience 2nd floor living. Am I willing to move into a marriage relationship with God? Will I give him control? What option do I have? Clearly, my plans are not working out. So, I am ready to try. In sharing, I am forced to go deeper. This may be weird to some folks. It is to me. It is to Blake. But, I feel "lead" to do it this way so I will follow. I won't even attempt to figure out where it will take me.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Yeah...I'm good!!!

If you can't tell, I am quite proud of myself. Another project is in full force. This time it is the outdoor lights. We had lovely, little, brass fixtures. They were probably put up when the house was built in 90 something. It was pretty obvious, as they were tarnished and flaking. A couple would even flip upside down with the wind. Classy!
It was time for a change. But, lights can be expensive. Thanks to a friend, who I will name "Debbie Discount " in an attempt to protect her identity, got me an AMAZING deal. When she totalled everything up, she couldn't believe the price. Debbie's deal allowed me to get 7 lights for the price for 2! I was thrilled. It is all about who you know, people! I am clearly in the know on this deal!
The most impressive part is the installation of the lights! I didn't have an electrician come out. Blake was at work. It was just me, Nugget and Olive. They are no help, so I just did it myself. That's right fellas...ALL by myself. Bet you didn't know I was so handy. I owe that to my dad!
I am pleased with the outcome. Blake will have a nice surprise when he gets off!!!

Front Door (before)

Front Door (after)

A closer look!

Back Porch

Side Door (bulb needs to be changed, I know, but I had to make sure it works)

Little Brassy was in every location before these went up. We, or I :), have one more to install but it is on order. It looks just like the one at the side door, in case you were wondering. There are 2 more to put up inside but I will save that for another day. More, yet, to do! Not bad for an afternoon. I may not have made any money. But I am pretty sure my skills saved us a few dollars.
I would be willing to install for the general public at a nominal rate. However, I am not insured and cannot guarantee your house won't burn down...
Thanks Deb! Your the best! My services are free to you ;)!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Finley Grace...

Happy Birthday little one...thinking of you...missing you...wishing you were here...

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

When tragedy strikes...

...we start a project. I guess it is the coping mechanism of choice for the Malones! History repeats itself.

This time last year, I was 1 day away from going into labor with Finley. Who knew? I was discharged from the hospital on April 5th. Best I can recall, I had a hammer in my hand the very next day. We started with the half bathroom downstairs. Over the course of a month, we took out the toilet, took out the pedestal sink, removed the medicine cabinet/mirror, stripped the wallpaper and busted out the tile floor. I did that last part, with a hammer. It may not have been proper technique but it sure felt good, blisters and all! Once it was down to the sheet rock and subfloor, we started from scratch. Blake and my dad laid new backerboard and tile. I assembled the new cabinet with sink top. Lucy hung new wall paper. Blake cut and installed baseboards. We put the toilet back in, installed the new faucet, hung the new light, replaced the mirror and fixtures, connected the water, turned it on and called it done. A new "Powder Room" as Lucy says. It sounds so pretty that way! The finished product is worthy of such a title if I do say so myself!


So here we are, a year later, walking a familiar path. What do I need? Another project. As we were driving home from the hospital on February 29th, I stated, "I don't care if we have to use some of the emergency fund, I want to get the yard done." That was all it took for us to be in full force project mode. This time, it was landscaping.

Actually, two gifts we received last spring were the impetus to start the task of landscaping our yard. Trees. One was given by my coworkers at Stallworth and the other by our parents. The idea was to give us something that would bloom around Finley's birthday every year. What a gift. The only problem was we had no idea where to place the trees we were being given. At that point, we had already cut down a huge Bradford Pear in the front yard. In back, were two more that needed to go. Our house had really large trees, in really poor places to accommodate the growing room they needed. Not wanting to repeat the mistakes of the previous homeowners, we had a landscape architect draw up plans to tell us what to put where. He was able to present us with the perfect plan for our yard.

Until last month, two trees, a Yoshino Cherry Blossom and a Japanese Zelkova, were all we had planted in the front yard. That has since changed. In the month of March, a large Dogwood was removed from the front yard and transplanted to the backyard. This allowed the guys to shape and till 3 beds in front of the house according to the architects plans. They are now the home to 3 trees and 50 shrubs and flowering plants. In back, a memory garden was designed to honor Finley. It has been created and filled with a variety of trees and plants. It will now serve to honor her little sister, Caroline, as well. I don't think Finley will mind...

Blake did all the work (digging, tilling, planting, etc) with A LOT of help from our dads and friends. Where was I in all of this? I painted the shutters. It was a much needed change and has made quite a difference in the look of our home. We no longer look like Green Bay Packers fans. Much better!


So, that is what we have been doing. We have been busy. It has been good for me. My mind has been occupied.

Oh...the trees. They have done what our friends and family intended. There are beautiful blooms. They appeared 4 weeks after Caroline's birth and 1 week before Finley's birthday. I would like to think God had a hand in the timing of that! :)