Wednesday, October 29, 2014

October 28, 2008 - The Beginning of the End ~ His Journey's Just Begun

 Today ~ October 29, 2014

These next 2 weeks mark the most torturess, unforgiving emotional ride....  This time of year is hard.  We love you sweet boy.  Today, always and forever.

His Journey's Just Begun

Don't think of him as gone away~
his journey's just begun,
life holds so many facets~
this earth is only one.

Just think of him as resting
from the sorrows and the tears
in a place of warmth and comfort
where there are no days and years.

Think how he must be wishing
that we could know today
how nothing but our sadness
can really pass away.

And think of him as living
in the hearts of those he touched...
for nothing loved is ever lost~
and he was loved so much.

~E. Brenneman

October 28, 2008

The day our world stopped. The day we were told that part of our baby boy's brain had not formed. The day we had to make the most unimaginable decision of our lives.

We were scheduled into the high risk pregnancy hospital that afternoon for a number of tests because an ultrasound had shown that the ventricles in our baby's head were larger than normal. My husband and I made the 1/2 hour drive into Toronto and, to be honest, our spirits were hopeful. We certainly had a million questions, but how bad could it be right? I was 33 weeks and had several ultrasounds throughout the pregnancy - every single one was "fine" - until the last one. How could something so catastrophic not been seen earlier??

When we got to the clinic I had blood taken, then we had the amnio... and then the "detailed ultrasound" performed by one of the head doctors. He studied our baby for a long, long time (all the while making small talk). I remember him telling us about his daughter and a big house they had bought not too far from where we lived...I look back now and wonder how in the world he could talk so casually when he could clearly see the trouble our baby was in.

The doctor was called away for what felt like hours and during that time my husband and I tried to remain calm... we didn't know anything for sure at this point. My husband looked at the transcript from the previous ultrasound and figured things were fairly positive (he has some training in the medical field and can read the jargon). When the doctor finally returned he probed my belly again and asked if he and the doctor we had been seeing (who was now in the room) could speak with each other freely. Sure. I didn't understand a single thing they were saying, but something deep in my soul knew that none of it was good. I kept looking at my husband for some kind of reassurance.... nothing. He just kept shaking his head and looking really concerned. When my husband looks concerned I know there's trouble.

The doctors finished up and we were sent to wait in the waiting room... for what we now know was the worst news of our life.

We were taken into the genetic councilor's office and shut the door. Oh God...

"Part of the baby's brain has not formed at all" the words went through me like a sword. "There was some kind of insult to the baby", probably during or after my emergency surgery at 20 weeks, "There is a high chance that the baby will not make it through labour or for very long once he is born" .... my vision is blurry now, I am staring blankly at who knows what, I don't hear them anymore. "If the baby is born alive we cannot guarantee what quality of life he will have... with half the brain missing...." "Everyone has different views and ideas of what quality of life is....there are options for you." Options, are you serious??!!!

After a while we were left alone in that office.... to scream, to sob, to shake uncontrollably. Our first and foremost thought was that we did not want our precious baby boy to suffer. We did not want him to be born gasping for breath, struggling to stay alive. We did not want him on life support and we did not want our beautiful boy to be attached to tubes and needles. We also felt like we had to think about our two boys at home... there were 5 people to think about. I will never forget my husband saying that. I don't remember too much, but that I remember. It struck a chord and resonated in my breaking heart.

The decision to let him go, without a doubt, was the most heart-wrenching, soul-searing, horrendous decision we have had to ever, ever had to make, but I truly believe we made it out of love. I have to believe that we spared him the pain, the suffering that he would have inevitably endured, regardless of the outcome.

I pleaded with the doctors not to send me home that night.... I really didn't know how to face anyone. But there are policies, of course. We were sent home to writhe in our pain... to start grieving our little boy who was still actively kicking and pushing his mommy's belly.

We waited 4 days to get an MRI scheduled. The MRI was to 110% confirm the findings (which we were all for).

That was Friday, October 31, 2008 - Halloween Day. And that is for another post.

My heart and soul ache for you Nicholas..... we love you more every day... xo

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Nicholas' 6th Angel Day - Honouring and Remembering...

Nicholas' 6th Angel Day ~ Honouring and Remembering

Dear Friends and Family,

It is difficult to believe that our son, Nicholas' 6th Angel Day is approaching.  As much as time helps to soothe the soul, this time of year never fails to bring with it intense nerves and unexpected waves of grief.  Nicholas' beautiful face, his tiny hands that wrapped around his daddy's, his sweet, baby smell are all such precious memories.... we just wish there was more time.  Every year is hard.

Although this time of year is particularly challenging we also feel incredibly grateful that Nicholas' short life has been able to impact so many others in a positive way.  Nicholas' legacy is infectious.... he continuously wraps his family with unconditional love, peace and strength...

Every year our family chooses to remember Nicholas in a unique way.  This year we are honoured to share with you an incredible journey of faith, hope and love...  It is our wish that our son will be remembered as we also celebrate an amazingly beautiful person in our lives.

Please take a few moments to read the story at the link below.

As always, we thank  you all from the bottom of our healing hearts.

With Love and Gratitude,
Leanna, Jim, Evan, Kyle, Madison and Nicholas

"I would rather had had one breath of his hair, one kiss of his mouth, one touch of his hand, than an eternity without it..."

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Rawest Form of Anguish

A few weeks ago there was a horrific accident involving a bright, beautiful and enthusiastic young 15 year old girl.  That girl was the sister of one our oldest son's hockey teammates.

Evan and I went to the funeral.


Pure, gut wrenching, torture.

The church over flowed with people.  Loved ones.  Friends.  Acquaintances.  I suspect people who didn't even know this young soul personally, but felt compelled to pay respects to such a young life lost.

We got two of the last seats (extra seating just outside of the congregation itself).

I sobbed.  Uncontrollably.  Along with the hundreds of other breaking hearts in that church.  My son held my hand as I much as I held his...  my 11 year old son.

This girls father spoke.  Our friend.  A broken man at the funeral of his daughter.  The daughter he had just played catch with the day before her death.  The man whose soul was drenched with the rawest of pain....

The tears flowed freely.  The "ugly cry" reared it's head.... exhausting.

I sobbed for that family.  I sobbed for a life gone far too soon.  I sobbed for the one's left behind to mourn such a life full of love and prosper.

I sobbed for our Nicholas.  I sobbed as the memories of losing our son poured to the forefront, once again...

The look in this young girls mom's eyes as she hugged me and locked eyes with mine...  "how do you do it?" she asked...  I just hugged her extra tight.

Truth is there is no answer to that question....  her life is forever changed.  Forever shattered in that moment.  I wanted to tell her that there will be light, but not today.  There will be light when there is meant to be light..  her daughter will provide that.

But today, she is broken... fractured... immobilized by a loss so deep that there are truly no words.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Spring..... again

Funny... as I look back at the posts at Nicholas' Touch around this time of year it is always the same... the arrival of Spring... a new season to rejuvenate life and refresh the soul.

I awoke this morning from a horrifying 'flashback' type of dream.  They are terrifying and merciless ... when they happen they rock my world as I am transported back to the day my baby boy was ripped from my body.... to the day when I so desperately wanted to hear him cry, wimper, anything...

He didn't... he never will... and I know that.  The mind is an intricate piece of machinery, however, and it can rip you apart when you least expect it... play games with your already fragile heart and cause the raw, in the moment pain to come roaring back...

I accept it.  The pain.  The longing.  The guilt.  The love.

Below is what I wrote just last year.... March 22/2013


It comes every year.  I should be used to it by now.  I should be prepared for the shock.  I should be able to stare it in the eyes and steady myself.  I should be able to keep my composure.

But every year it comes... and every year the grief of carrying Nicholas in my heart explodes into a nasty mess.  A heated pool of anguish over the loss of my third son.


It gets me every time.

I stare out the window and witness the tulips slowly rising... the abundance of Robins with full bellies waiting to lay their eggs.  I admire how the grass magically turns from dry, brown, dead.... to lush, green and inviting.  I pop open the windows in our home to release the staleness of winter and allow the cool spring breeze to revitalize the air.  The sun shines and I can feel the warmth as it tries to soothe my soul.

The new life.  The freshness of the air.  The vitality of the buds on the verge of blooming..... it's all so bittersweet.

I love Spring, but it's all such a heavy reminder.

Such life and growth..... but he's dead.

As I read my own words they sound so harsh.  Probably because no one should have to write those words.  No one should have to endure the death of their own child.  So, the words may be harsh, but they are my reality.  My world.

As the fragrance in the air subtly changes from winter cold to spring fresh.... I miss him.

That's what our Nicholas smelled like.  Fresh, soft, spring air.  A pure and gentle cocktail of beautiful baby.


Happy Spring, sweet Nicholas.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014



I had the absolute honour of sharing you with our community the other day.  Our local newspaper visited to do an interview with me regarding our journey after losing you and the hope and comfort that has risen because of it.  I think your Mama did okay... not too many hiccups, not too many moments of having to catch my breath.  You give me strength every day, buddy... and the will to continue what we do to help others experiencing the same type of heartbreak....

The direct link to the newspaper article and interview are here.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014


Hey Buddy,

Yesterday was a day to remember.  To keep safe in my heart for many years to come.  Yesterday a community of people came together to remember, honour, pay respect to two beautiful, tiny souls.  Souls that weren't given a chance at life.  Souls that were left to die... alone, in the dark, in the cold, with no one to cuddle them, no one to love them as children deserve to be loved.  Yesterday I stood respectfully before their tiny, white coffins.  Those coffins.  Many memories of my last moments with you....  a coffin should not be that small.  It's cruel.  Unfair.  And far from okay.  I stood there and the tears came.  The lump formed...  as I imagined these precious lives being so unnecessarily cut short.  Imaging their helplessness ... and the helplessness these mothers felt.  Praying that the media coverage the service was getting will somehow, someway break through a barrier of society that doesn't seem to want to touch these subjects.  Hoping that "the powers that be" will find compassion for these lost souls... for the parents that are scared or sick...  Wishing that there will be something put into place to help.  To give these parents an option.  An option over abandonment.  An option over death.

I felt my body physically ache and become weak with grief as those sweet baby boys were carried out of the funeral home.  I had to remind myself to breathe... to steady myself as my heart broke all over again.  We followed the hearse to their grave.  A peaceful, delicate spot carved in the garden of the cemetery...  The temperature was beyond cold (-30) and the wind whipped the snow around us.  It was bitter... yet fitting.  I could endure a few minutes of dreadful cold to say goodbye to these boys.  To give them the dignity and respect they did not get in life.  To love them and comfort them on the last leg of their journey....  because they deserve it.  Because we cared.

Friday, January 24, 2014

"I Mention Him"

Exactly, buddy.... never far from my thoughts.... always in my heart

I Mention Him

I Mention Him

Not to make you uncomfortable,
He's my son, I should be able to talk about him.

Not to dwell,
He will forever be my son, part of my life, my heart.

Not to make you feel guilty,
He is a child just like your own, but he's in Heaven.

Not to bring you down,
It brings me joy to speak of him fondly.

Not to get attention,
He exists in my life just as your topics of conversation exists in yours.

Not to gain sympathy,
Believe you me, I wish I did not have to speak on him the past tense.

Not to bring you down,
My grief is lifelong, my healing is in the only life he has now, his mommy.

Not to rub it in your face,
I would never wish this on ANYONE!

Not to make it about me,
I am just another parent trying to speak of my kids the way you do yours.

Not to suck you into my world,
Your world is just as important to me.

Not to distract you,
I want to hear how your life is going, your happiness is relevant.

Not to take away from the conversation,
Yet life as well as death is a part of common conversation.

Not to make my life seem more important than yours,
I am my own person in my own journey and I share what is in my heart just as you do.

Not to remind you of your own grief,
We all walk our own paths and stumble as all humans do, we should pick each other up.

Not to garner your support,
Everyone gives whatever they can to enrich the lives of the ones they care for.

Not to remind you,
No one needs to be reminded of the loss of a child.

Not to haunt you,
It sucks, it truly does but not speaking of him haunts those who love him.

He is my son, I mention him, his life, his passing, and the times since then because I live every one of those moments in real time everyday.  He is a part of my being.  He is a part of my soul.  He has a place in my heart.  I carried him in my womb.  I watched him struggle.  I made the hardest decision a parent will EVER have to make...I let him go.  But understand, though I let him go physically, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally, he will ALWAYS be with me!  I am thankful for it, it's all I have and at this point, it is all I need.  

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


I think about you so much.  I think about how much you have enriched my life... how much strength I am able to present, because of you.  I think about our connection and the connection I have been honoured to make with others...  I dream about your tiny, little spirit and just how big it truly is.  My heart is healing and I am relieved to say that I feel at peace.  I

On your 5th birthday we visited a small hospital in Ottawa.  I presented 6 Comfort Boxes to an audience of 8 nurses, doctors, caregivers....  6 Comfort Boxes in your name and in your honour.  Your legacy continues, buddy.

On that very day, just as we were posing for a group photo I spotted a ladybug....  a beautiful, perfect ladybug silently perched on a luscious plant inside of the hospital.  My heart was stunned at the timing... it was also filled with joy and warmth as I realized that your spirit was there.. with your family, far from home... offering your energy and your light to an emotional day.

Beautiful things do happen.

Love your sweet soul, buddy...

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.