::pack:: of fixations

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


near & dear

Thank you so much for all the kind comments!  I was very reluctant to say what I really felt because I thought that it would come across wrong.  Thanks for trusting me and not leaving anything mean.  I don't know if I'm going to file a complaint for one big reason.  If I do, I sorta feel like I will just get pulled over every other day.  Same reason I don't complain about a few other things that bother me about some things in this city.   And the man who would beat my dogs... I'd forgiven him years ago (I meant to add that).  A few years after (he'd begun torturing my dogs) he told us he had Alzheimer's and so I think it was the beginning of his illness.  He has since passed away.  I have a feeling he would have been a nice neighbor and I would have enjoyed his company a lot if it hadn't been for his illness.  But, I have never gotten over how the police handled it all.  It was infuriating because there was never a record of me calling about it, them coming over to my house, or anything.  They would just roll their eyes at me... can we all just take a moment to roll our eyes together back at them now :).  It drove me absolutely crazy.  I was so young and now I know that you demand a case number etc., but I was naive to think that they were keeping record and doing their job.  Mekong (our 130 lb Newfounland/Mastiff aka biggest sweetie in the world) actually bit a hole (tooth sized) through his hand.  I'm pretty sure this occurred during a beating, but he claimed he was resting his hand on the 6 foot tall wood fence between our yards (uh-huh) and Mekong somehow bit his hand which had to be dangling on our side of the fence because of where the injury occurred.  The Po-lice were called and we got a ticket and there was no record of all my complaints etc.  We were lucky we didn't get sued because of the biting.  I learned a lot about all the different officers that came over to my house over those couple of years.  1).  None of them really cared about my innocent dogs getting beaten daily. 2). If you want them to work, you have to sorta demand that they actually work.  Just because it is your tax dollars paying them to work... that doesn't necessarily mean that they will work.  

It was an absolutely infuriating experience.  But I've learned a lot since then.  I've moved on.  Now I have something more near and dear to my heart to share.  I got an email from Shauna a couple of days ago.  She gave me permission to share it with you on my blog... I instantly forwarded it to Ryan so he could read it at work.  WARNING: it might make you cry.  It sure made me cry... for days really, but the good cry-but in a way it's all good these days.

I have been wanting to reach out to you for some time now, to share my story about where I was on Christmas Day when you had to say goodbye to your sweet boy.

My sweet Norah was born July 27 of last year. Here we are almost a year later, and we are still in the PICU at Primary Children's. With the exception of a few intermittent stays at other hospitals, the PICU has been our home, and the staff is an extension of our family.

On Christmas Day, I was returning from the breastpumping room in the PICU to take my milk to the freezer. I had stopped to chat with the clerk and the charge nurse about Norah. The charge nurse was asked to pick up a call on hold. I didn't know it at the time, but it was someone calling from U of U Hospital to discuss arrangements for your sweet Colum to be with you. I only caught bits and pieces of the conversation - they were deciding if you would go to them, or if he would come to you. I remember the charge nurse's exact words, "We would love to have them here". Whatever needed to happen, they would make it work. The clerk began to cry, knowing exactly what the discussion was about. I didn't want to be nosy or risk a HIPAA violation, so I went back to Norah's room.

I remember being deeply affected by what you were going through. I had so many thoughts running through my head about families that were happy and oblivious to what my own family was going through. Then I thought of your family, and the enormous tragedy that you were feeling and enduring.

That evening, we moved to a different room in the unit. They eventually dubbed it "Norah's Corner", where I decorated it lovingly to look less like a hospital room and more like a baby's room. Shortly after we moved, something went wrong. Norah turned blue, and our nurse struggled to get resuscitation going so she called the code. Before I knew it, the room was filled with ten or fifteen staff members, including those that I later saw you thanked personally from your blog. But in the moments it took them to respond, I was able to help our nurse manage Norah's desat, and get her to come back to us.

But something later stuck in my head; something I felt with intensity. I am not at all religious, but I couldn't help but wonder if little Colum was there passing through that Christmas evening, helping Norah through the scary moments and close call. I will always remember the unit being filled with tears that day, and I now know why. But it wasn't just the visitors that were grieving. The entire staff was moved by what was going on.

Our situations are so different, but I think of you often. I thought of you today, as I walked through the PICU, which has been very quiet lately. Though I have not met you guys, sometimes I think I can feel Colum and the other angel babies there in the unit with us, watching over us while we endeavor to get Norah strong enough, big enough, and well enough to someday come home. And when that finally happens, I'll think of you on that day, too.


There are so many things I love about this email.  I love the thought of Colum comforting baby Norah.  Also, I can't wait to go up to Primary Children's now and meet Shauna and Norah!  I've known since I was in the hospital that I'd go there and bring the nurses cards and some treats and hopefully meet one of them that were there by Colum's side.  It's absolutely heartbreaking to me that I couldn't be there with him.  I miss him.  I've been crying an extra whole lot since Father's Day, or at least it feels like it.  Sometimes when we go places that we haven't been since the accident and Colum was with us, I close my eyes and try to imagine what it used to feel like when life was normal.  To be there with him again.  I know that he helps push me through my painful days, he helps me jog a little longer, he doesn't want me to just lay down and die.  I'm choosing to live.  Because I know my baby lived everyday to the fullest and I need to be strong.

I visited him yesterday at his new headstone.  This week and next is getting to be too out of control and I'm starting to feel overwhelmed again.  I finally had a few minutes, alone, and I went there and talked to him before it started to rain.  I talked to him about a lot of things.  I asked him to come and play with Finn in his dreams.  I cried and told him how bad I miss his snuggles.  And I asked really nicely to send me some more 'monsters' that like to cuddle to us.  Finn says he'd like "a girl baby and a boy baby".  

Click here to read Shauna's blog.  Her daughter Norah was born with a skeletal dysplasia that effects the growth of her bones.  Her little chest is just too small to accommodate her lungs.  They decided that her breathing problems would best be treated with long-term ventilation. She had her tracheotomy surgery then at six weeks, and has been trach/vent dependent ever since.  What they did not forsee was that she would only tolerate an ICU-only ventilator. The first six months of her life were very scary. She was constantly needing resuscitation.  

Even though Shauna and I have only exchanged a few emails I can tell we will make great friends.  I can't imagine how sleep deprived she has got to be.  She is an absolute beautiful person and an amazing writer.  Babies are such little miracles and it's so easy to take the healthy ones for granted.  Norah is an absolute doll face.  She's a fighter.  And maybe next year on Colum's Birthday race we can help raise money to help their family :)  I think that will be swell, don't you?  


  1. It is amazing the power present among Moms, isn't it?! That's so cool Shauna told you her story and the image of Colum by Norah's side is incredibly beautiful. I read your accident post first and after the fury died down I read this one and it goes to show how quickly you moved onto what really matters. Even though I'm infuriated at the immaturity of the people involved and sheer IDIOCY - you rose above it and I'm not kidding, you are so admirable! Still thinking of you lots though we've yet to meet :) -Alisa

  2. That email was so moving. It brought me to tears! Thank you for sharing these stories with us, Kelly. There are so many of us that don't understand why little Colum had to leave this earth so early and stories like that bring us comfort. I hope baby Norah can get healthy and go home soon. I hope next week isn't too hectic for you. Make sure you take time for yourself!

  3. Just WOW.... How amazing getting Shauna's email must have been..

  4. We are truly all connected. What a lovely story and what a precious doll that Norah is! I love to hear how paths/lives cross and how we all share love and hope. I am so sorry about your accident the other day and the unprofessionalism of the cops! Lame!! I really love that you let us peek into your life and share just a little in your grief and your joy. I'm sure you wish that no one knew your family and you were just obscure, living your normal life with your 2 boys in privacy like you were before Christmas Eve... It's funny how one's life mission or story can change so fast and a new vista opens to our view. Keep on fighting. xoxo

  5. Now I know which neighbor you where talking about. I wish you could have known him before the illness...he was an amazing man. After he got Alzheimer's, he did things that kind of scared kids too. It was really sad. I am still mad at the cops though. I can't believe they were so callous. You are such a good forgiving person. And that email from Shauna....WOW. Amazing. I'll bet that is so comforting to you and Ryan. I want to come visit you...sorry I am a horrible neighbor. And I hope if you need anything you will let me know.

  6. First of all, I actually knew your neighbor "before," and he was a wonderful man. As we know too well, Alzheimer's is a cruel disease. It's so sad how it can change a person. So sorry you had such a terrible experience.
    I have just finished going through Shauna's blog. WOW. What a terrible roller coaster she and her family have been on. Dear Norah is quite the fighter! Bless all of them. What a brave bunch they all are. Shauna's optimism and positivity is SO remarkable! The two of you are sure to be kindred spirits.
    Thinking of you as always. Hoping for your peace and comfort always. And wishing that all your dreams for the future will be fulfilled. Hugs, Kelly!

  7. Kelly, I absolutely adore you and have a feeling we're meant to be great friends! And thank you all for the sweet comments!

  8. I think it sounds GREAT Kelly! Tears are flowing.

  9. wow! that email is incredible. i am so glad she took the time to write you. hugs to you on all the days, especiallly the hardest ones.