Thursday, December 30, 2010

Loud & Clear

As I was coming home from running a few errands yesterday, I found myself listening to John Mayer in the car. I hadn't listened to him in awhile but thanks to Tiffany and Kristin, I tuned him in on my ipod.  The song, "Say" came on.  This song has always brought tears to my eyes, especially after I saw The Bucket List (it is played at the end).  Yesterday was no different.  Here are the lyrics.

Take all of your wasted honor

Every little past frustration
Take all of your so-called problems,
Better put 'em in quotations

Say what you need to say [x8]

Walking like a one man army
Fighting with the shadows in your head
Living out the same old moment
Knowing you'd be better off instead,
If you could only . . .

Say what you need to say [x8]

Have no fear for giving in
Have no fear for giving over
You'd better know that in the end
Its better to say too much
Then never say what you need to say again

Even if your hands are shaking
And your faith is broken
Even as the eyes are closing
Do it with a heart wide open

Say what you need to say [x24]

So, there I am driving down the road listening to John Mayer and boo who-ing.  All I could think about were all of the things I wish I would have said to Harper when she was still in my tummy -- especially that last week we were together.  How I wish I could go back and tell her all about her family and how much we love her.  Had I known this is where our fate was going to take us, I probably would have talked to her non stop for the six months we had together.  Then, of course, I got to thinking about all of the things I will never get to tell her and all of the things she will never get to tell me.  Basically,  feeling sorry for myself in the usual fashion.  

My tearfest continued as I drove into our subdivision.  My thoughts shifted to the future and wondering if we will ever get another chance to be parents.  Wondering if my body will fail us again.  Somedays I really don't know if it will ever happen for us.  I am not sure why I was feeling so negative but with all that we have been through this year, sometimes my brain just goes there.  Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness wash over me.  

{Before I finish this, let me give you a little background.  The spot that I pull into in our garage has a tennis ball hanging by some fishing line so I know how far I need to pull in.  I drive a Tahoe and I am pretty short, so I have trouble gauging the area in front of me sometimes.}

As I pull into the garage and my windshield hits the tennis ball I notice something that in five years of pulling into this spot I have never noticed before. Never. There is a message on the tennis ball.  

Hope.  How could I have missed this?  Especially in the last six months.  Isn't funny how something that has literally been right in front of my nose for five years and has never caught my attention before, catches it when I needed the reminder most?  I think my baby girl was sending me a message, at least I hope so.  

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


I, stupidly, just opened a story on Yahoo! about the crazy celebrity baby names of 2010.  The story starts out with all of the wacky baby names that celebrities come up with.  Mentioning names like Apple and Pilot Inspektor.  Then they rank the more classic choices in celebrity baby names and there it is, ranking in at #2 for favorite baby names of 2010 is Harper Grace, the daughter of Neil Patrick Harris (AKA Doogie Houser) and his partner, David Burtka.  They welcomed twins (a boy and a girl) this fall via surrogate.  HUMPH! Doogie & Co. stole our name.  I guess I can't blame them since it is a pretty darn good name. But seriously, couldn't they have stolen someone else's name??

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Six Months & Christmas Day

Six months ago today our beautiful daughter, Harper Grace, was born at 4:39 pm.  By 4:50 she had passed away and was being snuggled in the warmth of her Mommy's arms for the first and last time.  Six months.  Somedays it feels like it was just yesterday since I last held her and others it feels like a lifetime has passed since I saw her sweet face for the first time.

It is amazing that on this Christmas day the amount of time that we were blessed with her in our lives is the same exact amount of time that she has been gone.  Six months...26 weeks and 1 day...183 days since she was still safe and so much alive inside her warm and cozy home that was my womb. 183 days of despair, heartache and feeling so empty and lost without her. 183 days that I have kept breathing even though I felt sure that I wouldn't be able to go on without her.

This is not the Christmas I had imagined last January when we found out we were expecting our miracle baby.  I had dreams of another stocking to hang on the mantle, baby's first Christmas onesies & ornaments and the pure delight of spending our very first Christmas as a happy little family of three.  I had visions of everyone oohing & aahing over how much of a cutie pie Harper would be in her green and red smocked Christmas dress.  By now she would be smiling at us and be totally enamoured with the glowing Christmas lights.

Unfortunately that is not how our Christmas has turned out.  This year Christmas is marked with sadness of a life that was never to be, yet happiness that we were blessed to have her in our lives -- even if it was only for a little while.   Harper was supposed to be here with us and even though she is not, it is still her first Christmas and my heart is so full with love for her.  It is the first of many Christmas' that we will remember, honor and celebrate her life.

Tomorrow the calendar will start marking time that she has been gone longer than she was here.  That thought makes my heart want to burst.  Time will march on without her and I can't stand it.  I am so scared that people will start to forget her or forget that she was and will always be a huge part of our life's story.  She will always be our first born, our little Harpsichord.

So, as anxious as I am for the holidays to end and for a new year to begin, I am also saddened by another passed milestone.  2010 will forever be the year defined by the birth and death of Harper.  It will go down as the worst but also the best year of my life; it was the year that our daughter was born.  Even though she did not have the life that we hoped for her, she did have life and for that I am so thankful.  In that precious little life she gave us the greatest gift of all; the gift of love, joy and hope.  She allowed us to witness a miracle.  We are her parents now and forever.  She will always be missed here on earth but she will live on in our hearts, always.

Happy six months in heaven, baby girl.  I miss you more than words could ever do justice.  You are my heart and soul forever.  You will always live on -- right here, inside of me.  I love you, my sweet girl.  

Monday, December 20, 2010


Tear jerker.

Sunday, December 19, 2010


I just finished watching Oprah's interview with Dr. William Petit.  His wife and two daughters were tortured and killed in their Connecticut home in 2007.  You can read their story here and see part of his interview here.  There are no words.  What a horrific tragedy.  To lose his wife and two daughters -- his whole family.  His whole life.  It is heartbreaking to even think about how he his coping and still managing to put one foot in front of the other.  I am not sure that I could.

Losing Harper has been like a tornado running rampant through my life.  It has shaken me to the core and continues to rattle my world.  But thankfully, I have had the love and support of my dear, dear husband to help me navigate my way through this mess.  He has been there every step of the way helping me to put the pieces back up on the shelf even when they bounce right back off.  He has been my rock.  We are grieving for our daughter together.  I am certain that I would not be where I am today had it not been for him.  Dr. Petit has no wife to grieve the loss of their children with and no children to live for as they grieve the loss of their mother and his wife.  Sure, he has a family that is very supportive but they are grieving differently; for a neice or a grand daughter.  He is grieving for the loss of his *whole* world -- his whole family unit.

The pain and heartbreak was just seeping from him as he spoke.  It was evident how hard it was for him to talk about his beloved family but he handled it with such grace and poise.  The utter sadness in his eyes as he talked about all of the dreams and hopes he had for his daughters, Haley and Michaela, was heartbreaking. They will never know true love, never go to college, never get married...etc.   As the interview progressed Dr. Petit said this, "Children whose parents die are called orphans. Someone whose spouse dies is called a widow or widower.  But what do you call a Mother or Father whose child or children dies? There isn't a word for it."  He is right.  There isn't a word.  Oprah then adds that there isn't a word because no parent should ever have to bury their child; that it isn't natural.  Exactly, it most certainly isn't.  He said that children are the "jewels of our lives".  They are our riches, our life's work...what do we have without them?

As I continued to watch this interview I gained so much perspective.  I felt like I could empathize so much with this man's pain but obviously not on the same scale.  I don't have Harper.  I know that no matter how many little ones we may be blessed with in the future (please let us be blessed again), it will never be her.  I struggle with that a lot.  I want *her* back but I know that it isn't possible.  BUT, I still have my husband, my love, the father to hopefully a sibling(s) for Harper.  I still have the ability to bring another child into the world (as far as I know).  I have so much to be thankful for and so much to hope for.

As the interview closed, Dr. Petit said that he hopes to feel truly happy again but he will never be the person he was before that tragic day. "There's a jagged hole in your heart, there's a jagged hole in your soul. Over time, the waves of goodness going back and forth maybe smooth the jagged edges a little bit, but the hole remains. I don't think you fill it in."  I can certainly identify with this statement.  I know I will never be the person that I was in June 2010.  My heart will always be broken for the life my family should have had and I will always grieve for the little person who is missing.  My hope is to find true joy in my life again.  That's all any of us can do, just hope.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Holiday House Guest

I have been joking around with Chris about putting a big Grinch in the front yard to display the fact that we are not in the holiday mood this year for anyone who may have forgotten.  Much to my surprise, this little guy showed up yesterday afternoon and told us he will be sticking around though the holidays.  Even though he has already provided some much needed comic relief we are really hoping that we don't have to invite him back next year!

Update in pictures...

I am long overdue in posting an update to Harper's Tree.  Here are a few pictures that were taken a few weeks ago.  Almost all of the leaves have fallen now -- there are just a few left at the top.

Harper's rock.

A precious dragonfly stake given to us by a friend at work. :)

I also wanted to post a picture of the blanket that my Mom made for us.  I really love it -- it is such a precious way to remember.  

A gift from my Dad and Michelle; she gives a special Christmas ornament every year.  They have a matching one on their tree that will hang every year in remembrance of our girl.


A candle my Mom made for us to light on Harper's 6 month angelversary.  I love it so much, I couldn't wait!  I am sure that I can sweet talk her into making us another ;)

I love anything dragonfly...another un-Christmas gift from Mom :)

 A sweet little remembrance from Katrina (my brother's GF).  It says, "Harper Grace...Our sweet angel"

It warms my heart to no end that our families are remembering and missing Harper everyday.  It was so good to go home and feel all of the love for her and for us.  There were toasts made in Harper's honor by my Dad and my Brother and she was brought up in conversation many times.  Katrina said, "Mother to Mother I just want you to know that she will always be remembered and loved." Mother to one has ever said that to me before -- my heart is so full.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Meeting Noah

I finally got to meet little Noah this weekend.  It was bittersweet.  To be around such a healthy, cute little guy simply amazes me.  I guess my perspective on how many healthy, living babies there actually are in the world is a little skewed.  How could it not be?

He is six weeks old with big blue eyes and just a cutie pie.  A sweet little miracle.

I am not going to lie, seeing him was hard, not as hard as I had anticipated but hard just the same.  Even still, I survived.  I actually laughed and had a good time.  I held him, looked into his eyes, kissed his head and smelled his sweet baby smell.  How I wish I could do those things with Harper -- I will always yearn for that and for her.  

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


I am feeling so weepy tonight.  I am not sure what is different but I have seriously been crying all day.  I decided to go out shopping this afternoon, which apparently was a mistake.  Every time I turned a corner I saw a "baby's first Christmas this" or a "baby's first Christmas that".  I went into Hallmark to buy my nephew a Christmas ornament...not a baby's first Christmas ornament but I found a cute Noah's Ark ornament (his name is Noah).  I want so badly to be a good Aunt to him but I feel so broken.  I am trying my best.  There was a sweet Grandma in Hallmark buying out their supply of Baby ornaments.  *sigh* I wish Harper's Grandparents could do that this year.  I strolled by the Willow Tree figurines and there was a Guardian Angel figurine that was a red haired angel (Harper) helping a little boy (Noah) take his first steps and that did it --  there I was, boo who-ing in Hallmark.  The lady checking me out didn't seem too bothered by my wet eyes -- well, she does work at Hallmark, maybe she is used to women crying in her store.  I tried to cheer myself up by stopping at Starbucks for a chai tea latte.  Yes, it was tasty but I still bawled all the way home, seriously, it was like the early days when I used to cry and scream in my car.  I didn't scream in my car today but you get what I mean.

When I got home, I was greeted by a FedEx package at my door.  My sweet Mom sent me a beautiful memorial blanket for Harper.  It has her pictures on it and all of the sayings from her Abiding Hope Collage.

It was so nice to come home to that.  I called Mom to thank her and she said that her thought process behind sending us the blanket was that we could take Harper with us wherever we go.  Today Harper's blanket dried her Mommy's tears.

I have been an emotional wreck today...I hope tomorrow is a little easier.

Harper's Garden

We went over to my In-laws for a yummy lasagna dinner last night.  As we pulled up in their drive way we saw a beautiful project that they have been working on -- Harper's garden.   It is a huge garden with apparently over 100 bulbs planted and ready to bloom to the high heavens this spring.  The sweetest part was the plaque that read: 

Harper's Garden 
In Loving Memory 
Harper Grace Johnson
June 25, 2010
You will play with your Grandad and Grammie in heaven!

The tears were rolling before I even hit the door.  What a sweet and thoughtful way for them to remember our Harper.  My cup runneth over...

Friday, December 3, 2010

Blog Makeover! :)

I am so, so excited!  My blog makeover is complete.  Thanks to Franchesca over at Small Bird Studio, I now have a beautiful place to write about and remember my sweet Harper Grace.  Franchesca was so nice and so easy to work with, even with all of the times I kept changing my mind about stuff. :)  I wanted this space to be perfect and now it is -- it is exactly what I wanted -- so much that I cried the first time I saw the design.

It feels so good to be able to do something for Harper, especially knowing that she doesn't need me in the way that I need her.  Whether this doing something is making over her blog, planting a tree in her honor, or going to a memorial ceremony -- it is my way of mothering her.  I miss my baby girl so much.



I found this at Target yesterday as I was in the Christmas aisle buying something for work.  It is an angel playing a harp.  Harper means 'harp player' or 'harp maker' and of course, our Harper is an angel.

Even though I am not decorating this year, I bought four!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


I have been feeling a bit awkward and isolated lately, especially around certain people and in certain situations.  I feel like I stick out like a sore thumb and like some are constantly walking on egg shells around me not knowing what to say -- so they say nothing which makes me feel even more like I don't belong.  I just feel like the big (baby-less) elephant in the room at times.

On the other hand, I feel that others seem to have forgotten about what happened to Harper - or even that she ever existed at all.  I have told people that we are boycotting the holidays this year and I can tell that they just don't understand why by the look on their faces.  So of course I feel the need to explain myself by saying, "well, you know...we just aren't really feeling the holiday spirit this year."  Which is usually followed by a look as if to say, "oh, you mean you aren't over that yet?"  It's so uncomfortable.

I am sure that I am just being really sensitive and over analyzing things.  I am great at over analyzing and being too sensitive.  The holidays have been hard and there is still more to come.  I would just like to crawl into a hole and camp out until December is over.  I really hate feeling this way...this used to be my favorite time of the year.  

I am not really sure what I was trying to accomplish with this post.  Reading it back, I am coming across as pretty whiney but I guess I just needed to vent.  There are, of course, a lot of people who do their best to try and understand and support us...I love you and don't know what I would do without you. :)