A Musical Life

I am asked often, how I manage to keep my calm each day. (This question may have come up several times since my son developed a new found love for permanent markers.)

I wish I had a short answer for this question, one that does not change the mood in a room or leave eyes searching for tissue.

My answer is this:

I have sat with a daughter with no life left.

I have felt the silence and the emptiness of saying goodbye when she was already gone.

This feeling has left me with a profound gratefulness for the pulse of life.

Marker on the walls, play-doh in the carpet and a two year-old who doesn’t want to sit in a car seat, are not even a blip on my radar screen.

They are reminders of life.

Life is debating over clothes,

confiscating a red pen

and peeling stickers off the window,

as much as it is

the weight of a sleeping toddler on my chest,

the warmth of a head on my shoulder

and a teenager who will still hold my hand.

So the choice to treasure the ups and the downs is an easy one.

The silence of loss makes the noise of life

music to my ears.

kids on beach

Learning to appreciate the noise of life after loss.

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    • says

      This is one of the many things that I thank Hadley for daily, the perspective to shrug off the little things because that is truly what they are.

  1. Christi M says

    Beautiful! I just ran across your site and this one moved me… to tears! You see my son would have been 6 this month, so it’s been a tough one. But every time I look at my 4 and 2 year old I see every reason to enjoy life. Sleepless nights don’t phase me because I remember the sleepless nights I endured after our son passed away… how empty our house felt… etc. You absolutely speak the truth… cherish every moment!

    • Jessica says

      Definitely gives life a deeper meaning. Makes me feel like Hadley left so much more with me than I could have ever imagined.

  2. says

    Music to your ears, indeed…

    What an incredibly brave and beautiful perspective to share with everyone, Jessica.

    Your words are so lovely. And so right.

    I can never properly express how sorry I am for your loss; but Hadley’s legacy touches so many. And the love you have for her that you unselfishly share with us…

    There is no more generous gift.
    julie gardner recently posted..Today call me sunny.

    • Jessica says

      There truly is no better way to say it Julie and nothing more that I could want to come from her memory. Thank you.

  3. says

    I feel the need to print that out and post it on my fridge to remind me that I am truly blessed to have my children…that all the blue popsicle smears on the wall don’t matter, that the red jello stains in the carpet don’t matter, that the fact that no one pees entirely in the toilet doesn’t matter…

    thank you…

    stunning post…
    Not a Perfect Mom recently posted..If You Love Me You Will Follow

    • Jessica says

      Thank you so much, truly doesn\’t matter, even the permanent marker on my wood floor. Not exactly easy to smile about it but definitely not a big deal in the scheme of things.

  4. says

    This is beautiful, inspiring and so so true. Even on my saddest and most difficult days, I wouldn’t want my life any other way, full of life and laughter and messy, oh so very messy.

    Lovely post, Jessica.
    Tonya recently posted..Tell Her

  5. The Anecdotal Baby says

    Thanks for reminding us not to sweat the small stuff. Life is so precious, really what’s a lil marker on the wall, or in my case, spilled coffee all over the couch? You are truly inspiring.
    The Anecdotal Baby recently posted..Delivered Dreams

  6. says

    The silence makes me not nearly as frustrated or upset with Julia’s cerebral palsy as other mom-bloggers I’ve read are. They are mourning for their living, special needs child. Oh, I’m sad that things will be harder for Julia, and that she’ll most likely physically navigate the world in a different way than the rest of us. And I get that they consider the disabilities a loss. But compare that to holding your dead child in your arms. . .well, it doesn’t actually compare. I’d take all 3 of my girls having CP over that.
    Amy recently posted..Things a Husband Should Never Say, #1

    • Jessica says

      Couldn’t agree more Amy. I have heard others compare autism to losing a child and, having experienced both, I can say they don’t remotely compare. I would take five living children over anything else any day.

  7. says

    Please don’t apologize for this post. Yes, it makes all of us mommies a little weepy. But I am almost certain that if they are anything like me it is because of this:

    I have been SO frustrated and overwhelmed by all of the mess and all of the NOISE and all of the laundry and having to haul three kids all over town while they argue in the van over who saw the blue Volkswagen first. These beautiful words that you have written make me stop and realize how sad & different my life would be if I only had two children to frustrate me. And so I will be grateful for the noise and the mess and the laundry and I will award them each a “point” for that blue Volkswagen (although what the “winner” gets, I still don’t know) because I am so very blessed to be able to kiss each one of them goodnight each and every night of their lives.

    Thank you for this gift, Jessica. You’ve been such a blessing to me tonight.
    buffi recently posted..Never, ever forget

    • Jessica says

      I can’t thank you enough for this comment. This is exactly the perspective that I hope others gain from sharing my experiences through words. Thank you.

  8. says

    Part of that last comment was a case of me typing a comment & trying to say something to the hubby at the same time – meant to say “A reminder that we need to cherish the days and enjoy the chaos.”
    Elena @NaynaDub recently posted..Mommy Knows Best

  9. says

    Gorgeous. It reminds me of a family story about my great-grandfather who on his death bed refused any kind of pain medication (not even whiskey and he was a big fan of whiskey). He said, “If I can still feel I know I’m alive. I want to feel everything–even if it’s pain.”
    Victoria KP recently posted..Tough Mama

  10. Robin @ Farewell, Stranger says

    I try to think of this when I have a moment of frustration over a mess, and I owe a lot of that perspective to you. It’s a gift – one I’d gladly return if it meant you didn’t have to know this, but a gift nonetheless.

    So beautiful Jessica. And that photo is just lovely.
    Robin @ Farewell, Stranger recently posted..Genius, Power and Magic: Commitment and a Leap of Faith

  11. Shari says

    Such simple words creating such emotion. Jessica that is powerful writing, heartfelt, making the rest of us pause and be thankful. Thank you for sharing.


    PS The photo is spectacular. I wondered how you had happened to find such a fitting photo, then I read that those are your children, they are beautiful.

  12. says

    I think of your story so often. You really do write with intent and with great stakes at hand. I don’t know that I am describing this well, but that’s why story telling moves me so much–fiction, memoir or poetry. It is not easy create emotions in other people, but you do it. so glad I met you here.
    wendy recently posted..Wordless Wednesday: Living (Room) With Crackers

  13. says

    Your perspective is inspiring, and though tears spring up when I read this, the end makes me smile. And smiling through tears is probably my favorite emotion.

    Thank you for this (and how perfect is that photo? McKenna looks like she’s thinking, “Whoa! Fun but wayyyyy too cold!”)
    angela recently posted..Fourteen Hours

    • Jessica says

      Exactly, the boys were all for the water but she would get close and then change her mind every time.

  14. Christine @ Quasi Agitato says

    I so appreciate everything you share here.

    And you share it so well.

    This is a weird comment after such a deep post but…blogging wise…you are on fire.
    Christine @ Quasi Agitato recently posted..Lots of New.

  15. Courtney @ The Mommy Matters says

    Oh wow. What a beautiful way to look at it. And you’re so right…in the grand scheme of things, those little frustrations and annoyances just really don’t matter.
    Courtney @ The Mommy Matters recently posted..Words can Change Everything

    • Jessica says

      Awww, thank you so much Sarah. I\’m so glad we have connected, you have been an amazing support to me through the good and bad.

  16. says

    Thank you for writing this. I have sat with a son with no life left. And now I am expecting his little brother, and I hope that I will cherish every moment I have with him. I hope that I never forget the lessons I have learned and am able to let the little things go. You make me feel like I can accomplish that. :)
    Lisa recently posted..365-40: healthy!

    • Jessica says

      Oh LIsa I am so glad that you commented. I remember carrying my rainbow baby and wondering how I was going to do it because grief was taking so much of my energy. You won\’t forget the lessons and there will be a million moments when you think of the son that you lost and cherish your new baby that much more. Email me if you ever need me fourplusanangel@gmail.com. Sending lots of hugs and strength.

  17. says

    Beautiful, just beautiful. And so very true. The silence is so literal! I think one of my most vivid memories was the opressing silence in the room when we lost K. Compared to that, the noise is life… Thank you for this post. I needed to read this today.

    Thinking of you as October gets closer. (((hug)))

    • Jessica says

      I wish we both did not know such silence. It is so strange but when I think back, I know there was so much noise surrounding us, we were in the NICU, but all I remember is silence. Lots of love, Natasha.

  18. Krista says

    Oh my. What a beautiful and heartbreaking reminder that we all need to take the little things for what they are – little.things.

    I so admire you, Jessica. So much.
    Krista recently posted..The Black Sheep

    • Jessica says

      Oh I reread to see if tissues were required and I thought maybe the end would reduce the need for tissues but maybe not, huh? Thank you for reading, sorry for the tears. xo


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