::pack:: of fixations

life after tragedy. living while grieving. love and triplets.



We made it.  We survived our first Christmas.  I'm so glad to have that year behind me.  But, at the same time I'm so sad because I haven't kissed my baby for that long.  

This year by far has been the hardest year of my life.  I pray that I never have to go through anything like that again.  I pray that nobody has to go through anything like that again.  

I've learned a lot about people.  I've learned a lot of good and very important lessons that I'll never ever forget.  There are some pretty amazing people out there in this world.  People, some familiar and some not.  Their thoughtfulness never ends.  They are selfless and know that giving feels so much better than receiving.  They love you for who you are not what you are.  

Then there are a handful of other people, some very familiar and some not.  Some, I thought I could lean on & they let me fall, some I let my heart give a 2nd chance, and a 3rd.   I'm too broken to give them any more chances.  I can't afford it emotionally.  Do I cut them out of my life forever?, I asked my therapist during our last session.  I can't tell you what to do but I can tell you there will be consequences with either path you choose.  


I've had a hard time getting out of bed.  I can't decide if it's depression or if this is grieving, or if there is a difference between the two.  I'm really sad.  It's so hard and sometimes pressing forward feels next to impossible.  Sometimes laying in bed is all my aching joints and grieving/depression pain is all I can handle.  I'm no longer just happy for no reason.  It's a fight.  

I crave laughter.  I work really hard & just want to be happy.

Do you ever feel like you are walking on a tight rope?  Carefully placing one foot in front of the other, trying not to fall.  I always felt scared, unsure, and alone balancing on my tight rope; somedays the rope/wire would grow weaker & thinner than others.  It was a miracle I never fell, I would've fallen, I planned on it...until I met Ryan.  He grabbed hold of my hand and suddenly I felt more secure.  Gradually, I grew more comfortable walking on my wire & one day I realized I wasn't walking on a tight-rope at all, I was on solid ground.  Ryan taught me how, he loved me for who I was, not for what I was.  All the other tight-rope walkers wanted me to stay, & occasionally I would get drawn back in.  The familiarity of stumbling, mistrusting, and self-doubt felt like home.  I'd walk on my rope for a few days to please the others, trying to feel accepted, trying to make them see that I am worthy.  I feel so guilty leaving them, I'm not supposed to leave I will hurt their feelings.  Feelings, are not something I'm aloud on the wire, only them, for they are the victims.  On the wire most of the time I was on my own, one foot in front of the other...look at how independent I am, aren't you proud?  I was always pushing myself.  You are lazy and helpless, they'd laugh.  Perfection is what is expected on the wire.  Alone.  Pulling my own cart.  Feeling unloved.  I would have to walk that wire up hill with my eyes closed, just to get back to where I was, to get back to the progress I made.  To get back to love.

We had kids.  In the beginning, I thought I could expose them to the people walking on their thin wires but safely guide them and protect them from losing their balance.  They were born into more of a balance, on solid ground.  But, a few months before the accident I realized, if I can't keep my balance myself, as their Mother how would I expect them to.  What kind of example am I setting if I'm allowing myself to be treated in ways I'd never want my own children to be treated?  I want them to learn and grow to walk from unbelievable heights, blindfolded, but we will be there waiting like a net, when they fall.  We will love them and we won't hold them back. 

 Having kids was such a life changing experience for me in so many ways.  I found myself in them.  I became even more balanced.  Loosing Colum, has felt like tight-rope walking with only one leg at times.  Some people want me to fall.  Some people are waiting for me to slide back down hill back to them.  They wear friendly loving disguises, but shake their heads at my every move behind my back.  I'm weak.  I'm sad.  But, I'm refusing to join them.  I'll continue to stand tall on my one leg.  I may not be moving forward, but at least I can be proud to say I'm not sliding backward.  And I'm teaching my children what healthy relationships look like.  They will have to learn their own life lessons and some they will have to learn the hard way.... but they will feel Deserving, Loved, and Worthy while they do it.  

I'm standing on my tight-rope on one leg, holding an umbrella in one hand, weathering the storms of my dark cloud hovering over me.  

But still...

 Ryan is there holding my hand he's helping me more than ever now to find my way back to solid ground.

My balance equals my Children learning balance.  Whenever I doubt my decision or start to feel guilty I think of Finn and Colum.



My Heart

This post is hard to do.  It may be my last one until after Christmas but who knows.  In 2 days we are flying to sunny Florida to escape being anywhere near last year.  My Sister Jen was so nice and gave us a week of her timeshare.  The Newport beach house was also donated to us by some one anonymous (thank you!).  I feel like we have been living the lives of the rich and famous with all this traveling and it's very much needed and we are oh so grateful.  We normally can't afford all of this fancy shmancy-ness.

I've made it my goal to start writing a book.  I'm just gonna start.  I'm going to try and start in Florida and if that doesn't work out I've set a goal to begin writing for at least an hour a day in January.  I'm a little scared that it won't go anywhere but in the same breath I'm a little scared that it would/could.  I don't have a degree and I'm not doing it because I think I will become rich and famous & buy a mansion on a hill and travel to more fancy shmancy locations (more like a single level home because having to go downstairs to do laundry sucks).  I'm doing it because I have a great story.  I've held back a lot believe it or not.  So, if you've read my entire blog and you think you know my story you just wait!  Yes, it will probably be one of the saddest books and if it does get published (or whatever cause I don't even know) the book store will have to create a new section called the 'Sad & will make you cry' section.  But for every tear you cry or have cried reading my posts, you can bet I can match those tears 10 fold.  I cry...bawl actually when I write.  I open up from a special place that was hiding in a chamber that had a special lock on it deep inside my soul.  The lock broke open on the very moment of impact.   But I enjoy exploring my new chamber with hidden passages and secret hallways because I'm always searching for him.  I want to pour my heart out, type it all down, lay it all out there.  My kids and my grandkids can pick up my heart and know that they can carry it around, take it with them wherever they go.  So maybe somebody, someday can read it and somehow in someway it will help them.  Oh and btw, there will be some very funny parts too.  I'm getting my funny back little by little.

Santa came early and Finn was so surprised!  It felt fantastic to finally watch him open some Christmas presents.  It felt like a second chance and I felt like a legitimate Mother, watching her child opening presents, drinking in his expressions, and enjoying the magic.  A few days ago, I went in the room where Colum's presents are still waiting.  I can only remember what 2 out of the 3 are.  At first I only could recall what one of them were (Buzz), but the memory of the other one came flooding back to me and I began to sob.  It's a tiny Toy Story pillow, it was going to be his first pillow ever.  While wrapping it Ryan and I both predicted that immediately after opening it, he'd place the side of his cheek like he was resting his head, sitting up, pillow in his hands.  He loved soft and cuddly things.  I was so excited to see if we were right.  I knew we'd be right.  I knew him.  I know him.  I never got to see him lay his head down on his new pillow while looking up at me with a big, thankful grin.  

Tucked behind some old glass jars (I've got a thing for antique glass) there was a small present wrapped with red wrapping paper and one of those plastic candy canes filled with skittles.  I unwrapped it just a tiny bit to see that it was a Spiderman watch that had been meant for Finn.  It was a beautiful moment.  A little tiny piece of last years Christmas, the one we were so excited for, was ironically missed.  We would get to watch Finn open this little watch from last year and he hasn't taken it off since.  

I still don't know what will ever become of Colum's unwrapped gifts.  I can't bring myself to touch them.  I've thought about donating them, I wish I could, but I just can't.  I've been able to brave putting away all of his jammies, sheets, bottles, & sippees.  His socks are still mixed in the same basket with Finn's.  Every now and then I pick up a tiny pair & it takes my breath away.  But those presents hold a spell over me.  What they represent.  What was ripped from my arms.  Those are his presents.  His head & only his was meant for that pillow.  We were finally going to learn whom he preferred; Buzz or Woody for Grandma Pack was giving him Woody.   Those presents are evidence that we used to feel whole.  We wrapped them when we were happy, we had everything, new traditions for our very own family were just on the horizon.  We were going to make important memories, favorite happy memories.  


We've gotten so much love lately, I've hardly had the chance to be sad.  First, somebody I've never met brought us the 12 days of Christmas.  We've been blown away daily and Finn has been in pure heaven (Thanks Melissa).  Second, a kind and very thoughtful friend nominated us for Secret Santa at a local radio station and we were chosen.  They wanted to catch us before Ryan left for work and so my phone rang at 6am!  I didn't answer until they called back the 2nd time and was in complete and udder shock.  We got totally spoiled! (thanks Angela) Third, my friend Ashleigh brought us a cocomotion, hot chocolate mix, and the cutest winter leggings ever!  And finally, I keep opening my door and finding little random gifts or treats, random notes with money coming in the mail... the list goes on.  

Thank you all for thinking of us this year, not forgetting our broken hearts.  But most of all thank you for not forgetting Colum.  Please say his name, I hate not hearing his name, nobody has that name!  I miss him!  Just 7 more days until Christmas.  7 more days until another child received a new heart, and not just any heart...Colum's heart.  I love him, I love his heart, and I love that it helped out somebody else's child on Christmas Day.

God Bless!

I will hopefully post pictures next time.  Sorry, I've got a bad cold and need to pack.  xoxo


Rib City fundraiser update & giveaway winner

Starting Wednesday Rib City (AF, Ut location only) will put every penny paid for a delicious Pulled Pork Sandwich towards the Emilie Parker fund.  They are generously donating every red cent to the Parker family.

If you've already donated to paypal, just bring in proof of your receipt to receive a free Pork Sandwich.  

Rib City will be doing this until all the pork is gone!  So hurry in & get your BBQ fix starting Wednesday!

And the winner for the Karve giveaway is:

Sounds fun! I need something to get me motivated again
Brittany, please email me at packx4@yahoo.com I'm so excited!


I Heart Emilie Parker

Just a few days ago, every one around the world felt a cold chill trickle down their spine as they heard the tragic news unfold of the horrific CT tragedy.  The world feels heavier and the air we breathe suddenly thinner as we ask ourselves what would provoke such unthinkable behavior.  Many of us experience reactions of helplessness, for there is no remedy for the harm that's been done.  Our hearts and prayers go out to the victims and their loved ones and many are gathering to lend their support.  

Emilie Parker was one of the victims killed in the shooting.  Her & her family are natives of Ogden, Utah and will be bringing their daughter across the country to be laid to rest. They will be taking time off work to grieve.  A charitable account has been set up to take away any financial pressure or worry to cause them any more grief. 

Click here to go to the Emilie Parker Fund facebook page.  
To donate via paypal click here and transfer money using email address: Brookeprothero@yahoo.com 
Below is an address where you can send any donations to go to support the rest of those suffering. 

Check donations may be mailed to:

Sandy Hook School Support Fund
c/o Newtown Savings Bank
39 Main Street, Newtown CT 06470

You can find more information and donate using cards at:
If you are local, Rib City (American Fork, Utah location only) will be lending their support to help raise money for the Parker family.  This will start Wednesday  and I will post more details when things are more finalized.  Plan on dining on some delicious food while contributing to a great cause to help a family who is suffering.  A donation jar will also be set up there for the family.

Note: I can't remember if I ever mentioned that Rib City was one of the very first people to do a fundraiser for our family.  The owner Toni is a beautiful, selfless, loving, and thoughtful woman.  When I was pregnant with Colum I craved their Kickin' Chicken sandwich and went in almost daily (sometimes twice daily) to fulfill my intense cravings (I like it spicy and with extra spicy ranch sauce...soooo yummy).  She remembered me and donated all of the proceeds for all the Kickin' Chicken sandwiches that were bought to our family.  She's done many other fundraisers and jumped at the chance when she heard of the Parker family and heard their Facebook page/fundraiser on the news.

I can personally attest through our experience that every penny counts!  

So if you are feeling helpless because you want to help please donate.

Please share this post, re-post it on your blog, or share the link on Facebook.  

We can't bring back Emilie or any of the other victims but you can help give them peace of mind this holiday season so they can take the time to grieve their precious loved ones without any distractions.

Thank you.


My new addiction + giveaway

One thing I'm sure about, and the older I get the more sure I become

 I know my body. 
 I've always been very in-tune with my body.  

I don't think you would look at me and think wow, that girl is in-tune with her body.  But, I know myself.  Ironically, I don't always take care of myself, I'm always searching for balance and it's always something I struggle with.  I think this is common with everybody.  Between taking care of your family, working, people pleasing, running errands, cooking, and cleaning; when are you supposed to take care of yourself?  
 Pre-accident, sometimes somewhere something would sometimes click.  I would get a creative jolt or go on a health kick.  I focused on myself in some way, shape, or form.  It felt good.  I'd feel a little bit guilty, a little bit selfish.  But I would always remember this:

Growing up I was the youngest of 7... actually 6 because my 2nd oldest sibling, my brother (Ryan) died of a heart defect at 6 mos old.  My Mom never would get in a swimsuit and I remember begging her to.  I didn't understand why she wouldn't.  I remember promising myself when I grew up I would go swimming with my kids, in a swimsuit no matter what.  I think for most kids swimming is the all time funnest, and they don't care about what Mom's thighs look like.  It's about getting outside, being active, and spending time together while having fun.  

Making memories.

After I had Finn I remember shopping for a swimsuit, my first swimsuit that I'd actually worn in over a decade (probably longer).  I've got some wiggly bits and I blocked them out, pretended they didn't exist, and went swimming amongst the other Moms of all different shapes and sizes.  The Summer Colum turned 1, I took both of my boys swimming religiously at least 1-2 x's/week and they are some of my favorite memories, for Colum LOVED the water more than anything!  He would sit next to me in the pool and splash and splash.  After about 45-60 minutes he'd crawl into my lap, wrap his arms around my neck and lay the side of his face on my shoulder and fall fast asleep.  Right there in the middle of the water park, in the middle of all the people and the noise.  I loved it.  I'll always cherish our times at the pool.  

Post-accident I've found that I don't have a choice in whether I take care of my body or not.  If I don't work hard I pay for it mentally, physically, and spiritually.  I was given the opportunity to live, to walk, and to toilet myself again and I want to take full advantage.  I want to live my best life.  I want to have more babies, be the best Mom I can be and never take a single day for granted.  I want to raise money for other families that are in a tough situation like we are.  I want to donate my time to Foster Children and just plain help out others.  I'm sad, really sad...but I'm also grateful.  I work really hard on my physical self and a lot of people will never be able to begin to understand how far or what I came from & I don't really need them to, I just want to be treated like a normal person.  I'm working on myself, it's still a struggle to find balance.  I wasn't just automatically handed an easy ticket for the rest of my life, neither of us were.  The balancing act is very hard, harder than it's ever been, but the importance of taking care of myself is clearer than ever now.

After Ryan and I were mistreated and I wrote about it here, I also wrote how the next morning of my last day there I brushed myself off and went somewhere new.  Well I'm happy to say I'm still going there!  It's called Karve and I absolutely love it!, (picture my eyes closed with passion as I say that).  I was scared to go anywhere else because the Pilates owner would talk a lot of sh!# about every other kind of workout, every other types of Pilates, crossfit, bootcamp, the gym etc.  I had an instinct that it (he) wasn't good for me, being treated this way was the last thing I needed, but I didn't listen to my instincts in the beginning.  I need to be treated with care...actually just normal, just with respect, but I wasn't.  Physically I wasn't being challenged enough, and I was recently told that he told people that I'd go from reformer to reformer, one person to the next and talk to them about poor me and what happened to us.  This wasn't the case.  I was going bald and was mostly just self-conscious about my hair & how to handle the quff I had left on my head at the time.  I didn't want to be the star of the show, I didn't/don't want people looking at me.  I just wanted to do Pilates!  I listened to other people talk about how their in-laws found their sex toys when they were moving, how their Father's were tortured & killed by the mafia in front of their other family members, how their teenagers were depressed...yet, I wasn't aloud to say why I walked a little funny or basically talk at all.  I still get angry when I think about it.  Mostly angry that I aloud myself to be treated so poorly by somebody who's strange personal issues made them jealous or insecure that maybe our tragedy was worse than theirs & caused me to feel ashamed about being the victim of somebody else's poor decisions instead of being proud of how far I've come & getting stronger.  I never once got emotional there, and trust me, when I talk about what we experienced I almost always get emotional. 

 I just want to take care of myself, be my best self, wife, and mother.  When I first went to Karve I felt it was a lot more challenging, it can be deceivingly challenging actually.  I didn't feel self-conscious and the instructors smiled kindly and corrected my posture and technique to prevent injuries.  I didn't have to yell over the chatter about what to do next and feel like I was putting out the instructor so he couldn't talk about himself.  The instructors want you to improve and everyone's range of movement is different. Karve fuses highly focused and controlled movements through ballet barre work, core strengthening, yoga, Pilates and orthopedic stretching techniques.  Click here to learn more about the Karve method.   Your first class is free so you can try before you buy!  If you've never been to a Barre class before click here for 10 tips.  

At the end of each class you are congratulated on taking the hour out of your day to take care of yourself.  It's always a good reminder for me.  The first class I went to, my flexibility was... well it was non-existent.  The instructor handed me a band to hold onto so I could keep my balance at the barre.  After a few classes, I no longer needed that band.  I never felt self-conscious even though there are still some things that are very hard for me because of my injuries.  I've never felt funny or self-conscious.  I let myself go and live out my ballerina fantasies each & every time at the ballet barre.  My thighs are getting definition, the same kind they had when I was running!  I don't have a favorite instructor!  I've tried to pick a favorite but they are all so fantastic and precise it's hard to choose one over the other.  Every one is treated equally and every one has gone for their first time so I don't feel like it's a competition.  I can't believe how much my strength, posture, and flexibility have improved in such a short time.  You go for one purpose - to work on yourself.   

Karve is located in Arizona and Lindon, Utah.   I talked to the owner Brooke about how much I loved her studio and how much it was helping me.  I was happily surprised that nobody realized I was (mild-moderate) disabled after going for a few months.  I love supporting small businesses and she said I could offer a special to all my readers!   

**Oh and they also have childcare!  You don't feel like your kids will contract hand, foot, and mouth disease when they are there because it is so cute and clean!  

**You book your classes and childcare online.  It's simple, fast, and easy!

**Be prepared to work hard but feel good, you will be sore no matter what shape you're in.  And don't forget to wear socks for they are required!

**Please if you come, don't be shy.  Come say hi to me!

Also, Karve is offering a giveaway to all my readers!  One free 2 week unlimited membership + a free pair of Karve grippy socks!  (Lindon, Utah location only)
(Just click here to like their Facebook page & leave a comment below to enter.)  

A winner will be picked at random on December 17!  So if you're local be sure to enter and get your butt to the free class.

Present the coupon below and try Karve for unlimited for 2 weeks.  Remember that you can sign up for your first class for free.  Try it!

    Karve STUDI0
           “Effective fitness at the barre”
           2 week unlimited membership only $35
             coupon expires 2/28/13

Happy Holidays every one!  Don't forget to take care of yourself, schedule time just for you!

***Sometime in January I will posting info on the I HEART COLUM 5K we will be hosting this Summer to help out a very special family near & dear to my heart.  Just a heads up to start getting in shape.  You will be helping others and doing something for yourself at the same time, it's a win win!  It's going to be huge, it's going to be official, and it's going to be awesome!  I will keep you posted!


past, Present, & FUTURE

Finn asked me the other day if we could just put a baby in his tummy.  Today he asked me when that girl baby is coming.  I don't let him see the hurt in my eyes because he is too young to understand.  He gets so happy and is always excited to talk about it.  Today while we were driving he said, "Mom the new baby is gonna be different.  The new baby is not gonna be Colum.  There's no more Colum."  He kinda drifted off and his voice got quiet while saying that last sentence.

A few weeks ago while he was at Costco with Ryan, as they waited in line surrounded by other families he asked, "Dad, who took Colum?".  Ryan explained to him that nobody took him, that he died.  He had tears in his eyes when he quietly told me what happened and I was a little surprised when Finn asked me the same question the next day.  We didn't let Finn see that his questions made us cry because I don't want him to ever feel like it's not okay to ask questions or that any of this is his fault.  When I watch the funeral video and I watch as Finn is held up by my Mom and he gives his last kiss to his little blonde brother and waves his hand goodbye it just devastates me.  I, his Mother can tell he doesn't really understand that this goodbye is going to be his last.  Somebody told me that he was telling people that Colum was cold and he needed a blanket during the funeral.  He probably just thought he was in a deep peaceful sleep.  The Hope Chapel the one where his viewing was held in the hospital is right by some of the main elevators we would frequent while we lived there.  Each time we passed the chapel Finn would cry out, "look there's Colum's room".  I can recall one time if he asked if we could go in and see him.  

During the burial, that Ryan and I couldn't attend and listened via cell-phone (although I sadly can't remember most of it because I probably passed out...yeah, I'm crying right now) a cousin stood and held Finn for most of it.  She later came and told me things that Finn said regarding the funeral such as, "Why are they doing white balloons?  Colum doesn't like white!  They should have done a blue one or... a Spiderman one for Colum". I can't recall the other sweet things she told me they talked about because those memories are so foggy.  But I'm so grateful I remember that one and I'm glad I'm typing it down so I never forget.  Never forget the love my 3 yr old son had for his 18 month old baby brother who constantly pulled his hair and his input on how he thinks Colum would've liked things.   

I was lucky.  I'd never had anybody really close to me die before up until a year ago.  It's taken me awhile to grab hold of this pain and understand what it means.  Every morning is like waking up from a nightmare.  Remembering what happened.  My body screaming.  Colum died.  Telling yourself you can get through today, get through this morning, get through this week.  

Some nights I don't want to fall asleep in fear of waking... 

Remembering.  Grieving.  Re-familiarizing myself with the deep dark hole. 

There's something so obvious about grief.  Something I didn't understand before.  As some of you may know, when you become a Mother for the first time and your baby grows out of those newborn clothes, you are so saddened.  How did this happen?  I just had him?  I can't get that back.  You're grieving what you had.  You wonder if you appreciated it when you had it.  Those sleepless nights feel like forever & it's never going to end but,then suddenly it's gone in the blink of an eye. But at least you have the future to look forward to you.  There's always tomorrow.  But, when you lose a child. 
 When you lose a Colum you are grieving the 

& the Future.

I think Finn smiles about the past memories he has with Colum.  He misses him now in the present.  And looks forward to the future.  

Yet the farther away Christmas '11 gets, the further away he feels.  The longer its been since I held him in my arms.  The longer it's been since I've brushed the snarls from the back of his head, since I've touched his soft skin, whispered in his ear, or kissed his sweet face.  Memories are starting to fade; but my desires & instincts to mother him remain.  

I'm trying to live more like Finn.  He's only a child and yet he's already experienced something so tragic.  He handles it with such grace and such courage and such love.

In the month of November I went to 3 different Dr's about my fertility.  One was an OBGYN.  One was, I don't know what he was but he does IVF.  & the other is the one I love and I tell her I love her about 3 times each time I visit, just in case she forgot.  After the accident I didn't have a period again until August.  My cycles have been every 18-23 days.  In the beginning I was just glad something was happening.  The first Dr spoke of Luteal Phase Defects, Clomid, FSH and IUIs.  The 2nd said IVF was my one & only hope.  He even did an ultrasound on my ovaries and it just so happened to be on day 14 & in my right there were 3 large follicles; 1 being larger than the others.  I asked him if he thought I might still ovulate and he said Oh no cause it's already day 14.  The first Dr ordered a blood test for day 16 and the nurse called and said that no I didn't ovulate.  Then I went to my 3rd Dr whom I love who ordered another blood test (on the correct day (21)) which indeed said yes I did.  I've been ecstatic!  I literally felt like doing a round-off back handspring, back-tuck right there in my kitchen to celebrate (nope, I've never done one & yeah handi-cap right).  Of course this news brought with it false hope.  No pink lines.  All I wanted for Christmas was 2 pink lines.  Just 2.  I needed it.  We needed it.  Then it was gonna take everything to not tell Finn until February.  We were gonna be due on Aug 8...  It would be a gift, a gift from Colum my little dove.  ...that's what was supposed to happen.  
~That's the false hope, that's what hope gets you when you have infertility.  

Infertility is a monster all of it's own.  A monster only recognized if you've personally seen it for yourself.

I can't stop crying.  I searched my house for extra Prozac last night cause I was gonna double my dose.  But I didn't find any.  This is hard.  This is really really hard. False hope.  But at least for a moment there was hope. For a moment, a little over a week I found myself looking forward towards the future.

I've done infertility before.  I know infertility.  But this infertility is I dare say shittier in ways. We are all waiting on me to get pregnant so somethings can be fixed hormone wise with Ryan, and so Finn can, or so I can have the chance to have 2 siblings living together under my roof again.  The IVF Dr said your reproductive organs/hormones are the first thing to go when you experience extreme trauma and almost die.  It's the last thing your body needs to sustain life.  I went bald, and Ryan went into early man menopause.  

I feel so much better just writing about this.  Like now I can live in the present and not let the sadness take over.  Sometimes my fingers twitch.  They just want to type my thoughts.  I analyze and try to make sense of this beautiful mess.  Writing helps me sort through my thoughts and understand my feelings.  I never ever thought I would enjoy writing.  I could've seen myself in the Ice Capades before I ever thought writing would be something I very much enjoyed.  Colum, he gave this to me.  It's his first gift.  He gave me a love for writing and he gave me all of you who care enough to read my crazy philosophies and ideas.  Writing down how I feel frees me so I can go and be the Mom I want to be again.  


Old flame

Slowly, the fires are being put out in my brain.  There are so many fires, so many that there is hardly any water left that sometimes there's not even a few drops to spare for any tears to fall.  

All it took was a spark for a new fire to start.  The mountains & trees were very vulnerable since they were so dry.  Raging fires that couldn't be contained for weeks.  I would become proud once I could finally accommodate 1 fire but, would soon lose control of another.  Containing all of these fires takes a lot of work.  Somedays the fires would get so bad that's all I could do.  

Fireworks were carelessly being lit off and people's cigarette butts weren't being put out.  I couldn't incorporate the new fires and keep track of all the old ones.  It was hopeless, until recently.  Recently I called in some Prozac reinforcements.  The reinforcements usually take 3-4 weeks to show up, but the smoke from my fires made the air so bad that people were complaining so the reinforcements were transported Star Trek style.  

Sometimes, I want to cry and I can't.  I laugh and I am shocked to hear that sound again.  Halloween was so hard.  I woke up so sad.  It took everything to get out of bed and go to Finn's Halloween parade.  I imagined Colum going with me in his lightning McQueen costume (or Buzz or Woody) and feeling so cool and being so excited while his big brother (Iron Man) waltzed by.  Finn would strut his stuff a little bit extra just so his baby brother could see how big and cool he was 'cause he was in Preschool.  Colum should've been there.

I thought for sure I would be better by the time we were supposed to go trick-or-treating....but I wasn't.  I didn't want to get out of bed and I didn't want to stop crying.  I didn't want to go without him.  I mean I go everywhere without him, I've been so strong haven't I?  I fight through the sadness and I go places without him.  I felt guilty because I wasn't able to show up for Finn, I wasn't being the Mom I wanted to be.  I couldn't.  I couldn't decorate for Halloween, I didn't want it to come.  I wanted to, Finn wanted to but I couldn't.  Luckily Ryan could.  

I was nervous to make any Thanksgiving plans.  What if I froze up like on Halloween?  What if the reinforcements decided to take the day off?!?  You can't predict what days are going to be hard and what days are going to be surprisingly easy.  Thanksgiving was a surprisingly easy day and we drank it in.  

Last week I got a strong desire to hang up Christmas lights outside of our house.  Finn was so excited and seeing his excitement feeds my soul.  Yesterday we put up our Christmas tree and I rather enjoyed it.  I'm actually excited for Christmas morning.  I'm feeling the exact opposite than I thought.  I thought I would hide from the world and shudder every time I saw a twinkling light or heard Christmas music in the grocery store.  But instead of feeling sad I'm feeling joy & I've found myself humming along.  I'm so excited to give Finn...to finally give him that magic of Christmas morning.  The one that I'm still grieving and honestly don't think I'll ever get over.  It breaks my heart that Santa couldn't find Finn or Colum last year at the hospital.  Finn got a tube up his nose for Christmas and another up his wiener (that's the classy term we use in our house for penis).  He had to be taken away from his family and never got to play with his brother again.  

Although, the future month is still unpredictable and there's always a possibility that an old fire will begin burning out of control, a brand new flame, a happy little friendly flame with a smiley face is burning right this second in my heart.  I'm coddling this little flame of mine.  I'm trying to baby it, embrace it, live in the present.  

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and drank up your time with your loved ones.  

Maybe it's the Prozac, maybe it's a Christmas miracle on 400 East Street.  But I know for sure that all your prayers, happy thoughts, and well wishes is most of it and I'm thankful... I'm oh so thankful!  

Thank you

Happy Holidays

The ::Packs::



I remember looking up as the head lights jumped the median and squeezing my eyes shut before the impact.  I remember that horrible smell and my ears ringing so bad that I was sure there'd be permanent damage.  I remember hearing a child cry and Ryan's painful moans.  I was drowning yet I wasn't under water.  I was terrified.  I was angry that people kept asking me the same questions over and over.  Why weren't they asking me important things?  I remember when they took Colum, I can recite the exact words that were said.  I kept repeating the words he has no pulse inside my head.  I remember screaming and losing control for a second, but quickly focusing back on trying to suck in enough oxygen so I could thrive long enough to get to him.  Breathing in was almost impossible.  I remember that the minutes felt like hours. 

I remember being pulled from the car and hearing my bones cracking.  My left arm kept falling off the stretcher and I wished I would just die every time it did.  I remember being in the ambulance and wondering why it wasn't moving.  I remember men shouting to remember to duck when approaching the helicopter since they had to leave the propeller running.  We will be at the Hospital in only about 7 minutes the kind man told me as the helicopter lifted off the ground.  7 minutes didn't seem very fast at the time, I didn't feel like I had 7 more minutes and I didn't want to fight for 7 more minutes.  I remember thinking about Christmas morning and knowing it was slipping through my fingers.  But what I didn't know is that most people don't remember this stuff.

On Friday Ryan, Finn, and I went up to the Hospital and met with our amazing AirMed team that rescued us.   I knew very little to nothing about what they did exactly until this happened to us.  They save lives.  They see so much sadness and suffering.  After they deliver critical patients to the hospital they are off to rescue the next person.  They are modern day superheroes and we are so grateful for them.  We were lucky that it was a clear night so AirMed had enough visibility to come to our rescue.  The accident happened next to a golf course, which turned out to be quite convenient for the possibility to park 3 helicopters next to a very busy road.  I can't decide if I want Finn to work for AirMed so he can live out his childhood superhero fantasies or be an Occupational Therapist when he grows up.  

Colum was buckled in his car seat behind me.  The flight nurse that took care of him told us that he was able to get his heartbeat and blood pressure back to normal.  "Babies and young children usually bounce back quickly", he said.  He had no idea what was wrong with him because he looked...perfect.  He gave him medication for pain and later learned that he wasn't going to make it.  His injuries were so rare they actually called the world specialist on Christmas Eve to take a look at his x-rays.  His spine was severed at the very top of his neck so there was no way that he would ever be able to breathe on his own.  He died.  My baby died while he was right behind me buckled in his car seat.  It's likely he didn't feel pain.  He was gone.  In a split second my baby was just gone.  Due to the severity of his injuries life support wouldn't really sustain his body for very long and that is why he had to go on Christmas Day.  

All of them came on helicopters from different places: Orem, Park City, and Salt Lake City.  All of them told us that when they arrived and saw our cars they didn't expect to find any of us alive.  They do and see this kind of stuff for a living and were shocked to see any survivors.  We learned that they administer medication to give patients amnesia, and that I was given this as well as pain medication.  Obviously neither of these worked on me.  I naturally have a high tolerance for pain medications, it actually runs in my family.  This is not a good thing and when I am in a doctors care and try to explain this it just looks like I am looking for a high.  I told them my memories of being wheeled into the ER and how I got the impression that I wasn't wanted.  I was horrified and the people surrounding me wearing white coats and scrubs weren't friendly & it felt as though they hated me.  There was one woman with light brown hair who held my hand and talked to me for a few seconds.  She told me I was going to be okay and had sympathy not anger in her eyes.  I wanted to speak to her, ask her not to leave my side, tell her how much I hurt, how scared I was, and how much I needed her to stay.   There were orders being shouted all around me and I was surrounded by young residents, and machines with monitors, tubes, and needles.  I remember my new Frye boots being cut off my calves and the scissors touching my skin as my jeans and blouse were cut from my broken body.  I felt exposed and shy but talked myself out of it.  

They were surprised to hear about a horrible experience I had when I was supposed to be asleep but was just paralyzed and could still feel my body crying in pain, and could still hear the things being said about me.  They encouraged me to talk to some one about my experience so it doesn't happen again.  That it's not supposed to happen, because I'm not supposed to remember.  The drugs didn't work on me.  

I asked them why exactly couldn't I breathe?  I asked dozens of nurses and doctors after coming to and nobody really knew.  Well, you had a ruptured diaphragm they told me.  They weren't sure until after the CT scan because they've only seen a handful of ruptured diaphragms.  Yes!  That makes sense!  I had no idea until 2 days ago that my diaphragm had been ruptured.  Closure.  Answers.  You had a lot of life threatening injuries.  You are lucky to be alive.  I've heard others tell us that, I've thought that myself from time to time.  But, coming from the superheroes it really sunk in.  We told them it was because of our Subaru but they didn't seem convinced.  

In a strange way I'm glad I remember some things... because I like to know.  I still had questions.  It's crazy having your baby who has no pulse being taken from the seat behind you and not knowing anything.  I couldn't speak because it was such a struggle to breathe.  Most of my family heading home that night heard on the radio that there was an accident and went around us to avoid traffic.  My Brother's family passed the scene and didn't recognize our car.  They had no idea until 10-11pm that night after somebody read about it on Facebook and then called somebody.  

I'm glad Colum was with these amazing people and it brings comfort knowing he was well taken care of.  The AirMed crew are some of the strongest people I've ever met.  
Just want to give a shout out to all of our Superheroes from AirMed:

Jim Howe
Doug Morgan
Josh Wall
Brian Simpson
Roxanne Fawson


All of our heroes.  Questions were answered and we were able to get some closure.  I love these guys.  Owe them our lives.

The ER/trauma room I was first brought to.  It was surreal seeing this  and being in there again.

This is where I got my first catscan.  I was paralyzed but could still feel like I was moving.  It felt like I was going through a tunnel.  I was terrified I was going to get cut open while still awake.

The table swings out... tight fit in there.

Finn would rather get bit by a spider and swing from buildings when he grows up but I'm hoping he won't be too heartbroken when he learns that probably won't happen.  Maybe this memory will inspire him to rescue people :)

The landing pad on top of the parking garage at U of U Hospital.  It's actually really pretty up here.

This is the actual helicopter I rode in.  I remember it being a tight fit and seeing it up close, IT IS TINY.  I vomited on poor Doug in here.



I'll never forget the time I saw those two pink lines when I'd finally gotten pregnant with Finn.  The first cycle of IVF didn't go so well.  They retrieved a significant amount of eggs but when they went to put the embryos in my uterine lining was freakishly thin.  I was told I'd probably never be able to get pregnant.  They implanted 2, that didn't stick and the rest were frozen.  I lied there and sobbed.  We went ahead and tried again with a frozen cycle.  My lining was fine.  5 embryos were frozen; 3 survived defrosting but only 2 were worth putting in.  

I cheated the morning of my 2nd blood test and took a pregnancy test from the dollar store.  That 2nd line didn't show at first and I remember I began to cry.  I remember crying out No, please not again... please let me be a Mom.  I looked down at the white stick again as the faint 2nd line began to appear.  It was 6am and one of the happiest moments of my life.  We were positive it was twins until the 7 week ultrasound and there on the monitor was just 1 gummy bear.  I'll never forget the silence on our drive home that day.  We both needed a moment to mourn the thought of having 1 instead of 2.  

Every waking moment was complete bliss.  Every time I got nauseous, every annoying pregnancy symptom that I'd dreamed about was finally happening.  He never kicked all night long, and always crossed his legs during ultrasounds.  I craved Coke and wasabi and everything bad.  On July 23, 2008 Finnegan Ryan Pack was born perfectly healthy.  

He was born a happy baby, slept through the night since he was 5 weeks old, and has such heart.  He would almost never wake up crying and his facial expressions would say Hello world, it's a new day.  He has a natural zest for life.  He's observant and complimentary.  His heart is so big, and he's got the most positive outlook on life.  He continues to amaze me with his euphoric charm.  Of course there are times when he can be a stinker but sometimes I can't help but ask myself how we were ever so lucky.  

He is a HUGE superhero fan and lovingly has deemed Hulk as the perfect heroine for Colum.  It's kinda stuck and I chuckle every time he says it.  Hulk is perfect for Colum for so many reasons, and Finn just knows.  Finn talks of his baby brother often and only thinks of positive memories.  Last week I met a friend for lunch/playdate and she had an 18 month old blonde boy, Declan that was also like a 'little tough guy'.  I watched Finn's eyes immediately gravitate towards him and not her other two who were just as deserving.  As we were leaving and saying our goodbyes Finn was patting Declan on the head happily saying We used to have one of you, we used to have one of you.  I could tell his big happy heart was shedding a little heart shaped tear for his blonde brother, as my eyes swelled up with tears from what coulda/shoulda been.  As I was pushing her stroller with her 8 week old in it Finn excitedly asked me if that was our new baby.  I know this dear sweet friend felt bad, and a lot of people do when they bring their littles around my broken heart.  But have no fear, because it fills me up with joy to see families and siblings enjoying each other because that is what Colum gave us with the short time we got to spend with him.

Finn with his monster jacket on last November.  We just parked and were going into Costco and he said he was just going to scare a couple people.  (Old Instagram pic...follow me Packx4)

Taking pics of the boys with my night vision camera.  The flash was so bright and Finn &Colum were laughing so hard.  In all the pics their eyes were closed from the flash.

There's just something so cute about little boy undies and little boy bums!  Just noticed Colum's little head in this old instagram pic.

Nightly wrestling match with Daddy and the boys.  Miss this so much.

I took a shower and when I came out this is what I found.  He knew it was naughty and he thought it was hilarious.

Rib City for lunch after Finn's Christmas program at his 1st preschool.  Colum was right there with us.

One of Colum's 9 month pictures.  We used this one for his obituary.  His smile was everything.  I love his eyelashes that curled up on the outer corners of his eyes.

Going around the block on his big boy bike.  One of our first times with out Colum.  Didn't comb his hair this day :)

Crappy cell phone pic of Finn and I on the lift at Snowbird late Summer/early Fall.  He's so handsome.
Finn, I love you so much.  I'm so proud to call you mine.  You've taught me so much and you made my dreams come true.  Thank you for being the best older brother that Colum could've ever had and thank you for keeping Mommy and Daddy from going to a very dark place.  We are so lucky!  Stay sweet.  

Love, Mom

***A very kind reader set up this fundraiser for our family and asked me to share it here on the blog.  I know times are hard.  We are so lucky that there are so many people that care.  So many beautiful gestures, so much generosity.  There's been a few people who've asked how they can help.  If you are interested click here.