::pack:: of fixations

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



We went to visit Colum and some one anonymously decorated his headstone in a spooktacular way.  Happy Halloween Colum!  Love you McGoo.
As a teenager I remember reading about Pilates in magazines and dreaming about going to a real Pilates studio someday.  It's always remained as my #1 exercise that I'd wanted to do someday.  About 6-7 years ago I heard of a few studios that were local but a few hurdles stood in my way...mostly the price, then time, and later came Finn and Colum.   When I began running Pilates quickly moved farther & farther to the back in my mind.  Losing Colum was obviously devastating and by far the worst tragedy.  The inability to run came 2nd.  

Our injuries were both severe.  Ryan had broken his left hip and right Femur and my right Tibia and Fibia and left (compound) Femur were broken.  The bottom half of our bodily injuries required very different rehabilitation.  I remember shortly after joining Ryan in his room on the sixth ortho/trauma floor the Physical Therapists made him stand up.  This was 4-5 days post accident.  I remember trembling thinking I was next and preparing myself to fight them off because I knew my body wasn't going to be standing up any time soon.  My attitude towards the therapists was nowhere near pleasant and I remember the next day one of them brought me some chocolate covered cinnamon bears because I must've mentioned them in my morphine induced state.  My left Ulnar (forearm) and right hand was broken and nobody believed me during this time either.  They were moving around my limbs that just had titanium rods, nuts, and screws surgically placed in them but my remaining fractures hadn't been addressed and the shear thought of the pain I was in makes my heart stop beating and for a second I re-live the terror and I can't breathe.  Little did I know I wasn't going to be asked to stand up for well over a month.  In fact the hospital beds are designed to adjust to a chair position and about a month or so after the accident this would be my first actual therapy.  It sounds simple enough.  Having a bed move into a chair I didn't even have to hold myself up.  The nervousness in the Therapists voices as they talked about trying this huge first task didn't make sense to me.  But I was soon to realize this as one of the hardest things I've ever done.  I had what I know to be the best Physical Therapists in the world by my side and it took 3-4 of them to accomplish the task of me sitting up.  I remember screaming as my legs began to feel the weight of gravity and it felt as though my bones were being pulled back apart as the screws were loosening their grip and the Therapists scrambled to grab hold of them after they began to barely dangle.  I was immediately overcome by extreme dizziness and nausea.  My bruised yet broken heart began working overtime trying to pump blood to my limbs that had been laying stagnant for weeks.  I could feel the blood rushing from my head down to my toes.  The beating of my heart pulsed in my temples and fingertips like that of a drum.  It didn't feel like my body was my body anymore.  My Therapists lovingly held me up.  Each leg was assigned a Therapist for they were very heavy and to me it felt like each foot had a 1000 lb barbell attached.  While the other scrambled to find buckets and empty garbage cans turned upside down to prop up my legs, pillows were strategically placed behind my calves, under my arms, head, shoulder, feet etc.  This was hard.  My Therapists believed in me, they cared about me, and they helped me more than I can ever put into words.  I think I sat up for a whole minute before my bed was adjusted back to laying down position and I slept off the exhaustion of what a 6th month old baby can do.  I believe that was the day I decided that I was going to always try my hardest to heal.  I wasn't going to be a victim.  I was going to force myself out of bed everyday instead of letting the depression and anger take over.  I was going to be my best self for Finn and for Colum.  

I've pushed myself harder than I ever have before and I'm proud of myself.  I enjoy a little recognition from time to time but I don't fish for it.  With Physical Therapy being so expensive the expense of Pilates now seemed like pennies.  So I fulfilled my teenage dreams by going to a real Pilates studio after learning that it was great for people who've had injuries and was actually designed originally for the injured.  A lot of times people are shocked to see how well we are doing.  Sometimes people don't really understand just how far we've come and that's okay too.  My excitement of my body being capable of doing anything outside of PT and Pilates at that overshadowed the negativity of how we were treated in the very beginning.  On the first day I expressed to the owner/trainer my excitement to be there.  What he gave me in response was basically a cold scowl.  We were going 2-3x's per week and every day it became more and more evident that we weren't wanted.  Ryan's enthusiasm quickly diminished and he stopped going.  I was determined to try and make him like me.  It was awkward.  Over the past 5 weeks I could feel myself becoming more and more negative.  All I could talk or think about was negative and I felt myself becoming difficult to be around me.  My stress levels got higher not lower.  I loved Pilates but every time I went I was feeling worse about myself.  I tried different strategies: from flattery to just trying not to talk.  I felt I wasn't allowed to speak and the other women were put on a pedestal and I in the corner.  On Friday a woman walked in and I immediately noticed that she had runner's legs.  There was another blonde woman there whom I'd never met before also.  The runner lay on the reformer next to mine and I began talking to her.  We talked about running.  I asked her if she did races, and we talked about her son.  I told her how I missed running.  We talked some more about her and she said you'll start up running again eventually.  I explained in 2 sentences what happened to us while remaining unemotional and started saying but worst of all we lost our 18 month, "KELLY, KELLY OVER HERE NOW..." he viciously screamed at me from mere feet away.  I ignored him and finished saying, baby boy, "KELLY, OVER HERE NOW ON THE...." he commanded.  I'd noticed that he didn't want us talking about the accident to anyone before and I rarely did.  Once I literally saw him pacing and it looked like he was holding his breathe and his head might explode when Ryan was talking about something to some one.  But it wasn't just when I talked about the accident, it seemed he didn't want me/us talking at all.  I think the worst part about it all was that we were the only ones he treated this way.  He was so kind and funny towards the other women.  He'd compliment them and ask them about their weekend and families.  This episode was the straw that broke the camels back for me.  I was hurt.  I was angry.  Why was he constantly treating me like trash?  Why would he treat somebody who was broken badly intentionally?  I held my tears for the drive home.  I crawled in bed and told Ryan what happened.  I cried all day.  I cried a lot yesterday.  And I'm crying right now.  

I will never know why he had problems with us.  Later that day I called him crying and I asked him.  He claimed he didn't realize he was treating me poorly but said he did realize it today.  The sad thing is that day wasn't the worst day of poor treatment, it was average, but I let him see that I was upset.  He said the other woman that was there that I hadn't spoken to had recently lost a son & he heard me talking and he knew I would mention I'd lost my son.  He said he thought that woman would run out the door crying.  I'll never understand his reasoning behind that.  I would think it could've possibly been healing for two Moms mourning for their sons to have been able to relate.  I told him that his reasoning was even more hurtful to me because my emotions didn't matter to him at all, yet this poor woman's son takes precedence over mine.  He also wanted me to remind him to be nice to me in the future when he was mistreating me.  I signed up for a new type of class at a different studio that night for the next morning and forced my sad self to drag my tired aching body to go.  They were nice to me.  I was treated the way a customer should be treated & on the drive home I had an ah-hah moment.  Here I was trying to eliminate as much stress as possible from my life and I was allowing myself to be treated like a 3rd class citizen.  I'd been upset because I really really wanted to go to Pilates  and that's the only reason I kept going.  My drive to heal my physical self was effecting my emotional and spiritual self.  It was causing more damage than good.  I felt all the negativity lift off my shoulders with this new realization.  That's it!  In order for me to eliminate stress I needed to eliminate negative people and things from my life.  I need to focus on the Positive.  I've been really negative ever since I started going to Pilates.  My stress levels have been much higher.  As I was washing my hair in the shower something sorta clicked and I decided that I needed to make a change.  I don't wish any bad or hate on this man.  I think there's a lot I don't know about him and I hope whatever it was that caused him to treat us like that for no reason will get resolved.  Being put in our position is hard and lonely.  I try hard to be conscious to not make others feel uncomfortable as best as I can.  But it's clear I can't please everybody's comfort levels and I shouldn't have to.

It blows me away how hard it is to take really good care of yourself.  I'm renewing that commitment and I'm going to strive to be more positive.  I want to be pregnant more than anything.  I work so hard to get strong, to be healthy so I can see those two pink lines on a white stick again.  I know if I'm stressed out and internalizing negativity it will prevent that from happening.  I can't stop the sadness, it follows me wherever I go.  But, it's okay if I'm proud of how far I've come.  I can talk about it if I want to.  I've earned it.  Most days I still don't want to get out of bed but I do.  In 2 months it will be Christmas time.  When you're trying to get pregnant there's a fine line between obsessing and just letting it happen.  All I want is to be pregnant.  Being pregnant by Christmas would be a miracle and would really help soften the blow.  I hope I see 2 pink lines before then but if not I will keep fighting off the demons, while learning life's lessons to build character.  But I'm ready, I'm oh so ready!

Drinking his milk last October at the corn maze.  He lived in jammies.

Colum and I on a hay ride at the corn maze with Finn's preschool.  I asked an older lady I didn't know to take this and she didn't know how to work an iphone and it took a few tries.  He's wearing his vintage blue coat.  He was screaming because he wanted to sit on the hay like a big boy.  He was so happy when I sat him next to me.  

Last Halloween.

This is me after I ran my first half marathon 'The Halloween Half' last year.  

Last Halloween's (instagram) family picture.

Just happy Finn would sit on my lap.  I would make Ryan drive his jazzy slower than me so Finn would be interested in sitting on my lap.  Remember how he hated me.  He felt I abandoned him and it broke my heart.

The first day I could brush and braid my own hair.  It felt amazing to have that independence back.

Last summer at our softball games.  There was a girl named Marteen who loved taking pictures of my kids but especially Colum.  I'm so grateful she did!  I love all of them and this is one of my favorites.

Finn was honored as Junior Grand Marshal this year for our city.  He rode on his own float and everything.  It was such an honor and I still need to blog about it.

Butternut Squash and Turnip soup.  Colum loved this soup.  We are now calling this Colum soup in his honor at our house.

Last Sunday just the 3 of us went on the most beautiful hike.  We all felt Colum close that day.  We talked about him and laughed at the thought of him stumbling around along with us.


  1. I pray every day that I will come here to read that you finally have your two pink lines. You all have more than earned your miracle.

  2. Big Step, Beautiful Girl! So proud of your for discovering the need to eliminate the negative. Such a loss for the Pilates Guru, he really has no idea on the opportunity he has missed of learning some of life's most precious lessons from two of life's most special individuals. Can't wait for the positive things coming your way. Love You!

  3. Kelly I'm so proud of you and amazed by your hard working and triumphant spirit. I am inspired by you. You said that you promised yourself to get out of bed everyday instead of letting the depression and anger take over-that is so inspiring to me and I am continually impressed by the improvements you are making and the strong effort you give to get better and challenge yourself to make improvements. Thanks for always sharing.

  4. Love all those pictures. Yep, you definitely don't need the negative people/stress in your life. None of us do, we should all remember that. I am also amazed by you getting out of bed everyday and not letting the depression and anger take over...it would be so easy to just stay there all day. I'm glad that you have the positive attitude that you do. Can't wait to read a post of two pink lines!!! We will be praying for you.

  5. You are such an inspiration to me! You are such a beautiful, amazing person! Column is such a handsome boy, I love seeing pictures of him and your beautiful family. I'm so sorry about your experience with the Pilates instructor, he missed out on a great opportunity to meet and get to know someone amazing.
    I pray that you see those 2 pink lines before Christmas as well :) thanks for continuing to share your story with all of us. You have such strength and determination!!!!!

  6. I came across your story this afternoon and then it led me to your blog. During my daughters nap time, while I was making dinner, and after she went to bed I read and read and read. From the first post after your accident until this post. It was like a book I couldn't put down!
    I have had a bunch of emotional trials recently and this really put my trails into perspective.
    I really hope the very best for you and your family. I hope the Pack Family grows sooner than later.
    Thank you so much for donating Colums organ, I know if it was my child that needed one I would forever be grateful. I also hope when the time is right you feel comforted that he saved a life. He gave the greatest gift of all on that Christmas Day! Such a HERO baby and I sincerely thank you for making that great decision!
    I hope the hard and difficult times become a little less hard, and you and your family are blessed in all you do for this greatness you are bestowing on all that read your blog and hear your story!
    You're Amazing! Such an amazing and wonderful person! So luck to have read your blog!!!

  7. I am amazed at how strong you are for getting up each day and fighting against the depression. I don't know if I would be strong enough to do it. You are a fighter Kelly, and you've come so far. Be proud of yourself. Your body took a huge beating and you are working so hard to get your body healed. I pray for you every day that you'll see 2 pink lines on that white stick soon. I know how frustrating it is to want to be pregnant and not be. Maybe we'll get pregnant at the same time and can complain to each other about how icky we feel. Here's to not stressing out and staying positive! :) I needed that reminder!

  8. I'm still praying for you every day. I cry seeing your instagram photos - both happy & sad tears. I'm really so proud of you & Ryan! The progress you're making is incredible and recognizing what you need to heal both physically, emotionally and mentally really is priceless. I'm learning lots from you & I can't thank you enough! You are and always will be my inspiration!!
    My fingers are definitely crossed for you to see those two pink lines!

  9. You are gorgeous inside and out. I love the hayride picture of the two of you.
    I love reading your blog. I learn a lot from you. You help me a lot. Thank you.
    BTW, are you still selling Doterra? I am a Massage Therapist and am thinking about becoming a distributor but I don't really know a lot about it. Also, I specialize in an abdominal massage that helps replace a misplaced uterus. After your accident I am guessing your uterus may be misplaced because of the trauma. I am looking for some case studies because I am working toward certification. If you are interested please email me twshumway@gmail.com. (It is all external and non-invasive.)

  10. Kelly, I love your blog. And thanks for the Dr recommendation a couple months ago, that office is totally helping me. Thank you also for being so honest in your writing. It's very brave. I pray for your family a lot. Have yiu heard of Bikram yoga (hot yoga)? There is a new studio at Thanksgiving Point that I love, Bikram Yoga at Brick Canvas. Look them up on Facebook. I read an awesome testimonial the other day about a man with a major injury and how Bikram yoga healed him, http://www.bikramyoga.com/BikramYoga/Burst_Fracture.php
    I am totally a yoga missionary because I love it so much :) The instructors are very friendly and I feel like they try to get to know everyone and are genuine.
    Stephanie Fairbank

  11. You don't know me but thanks for letting me lovingly stalk your blog. I'm in trears nearly every time I read it and I'm simply in awe of your strength and your amazing ability to share everything you're going through. I mention and share things you're going through regularly with friends and family. I wish you all the best in your desire to have another baby!!!!

  12. So proud of you and your fight for a wonderful life. Thank goodness you got rid of that darkness at the pilates studio. I'm always so happy to hear you are taking care of yourself. Sending baby vibes ~~~~ to you! Can't wait to hear about those 2 pink lines! Amazing how Colum can shape so many lives for good. Blessings to you and yours this Fall and as the holidays come upon us. Will all be praying for your peace and joy. xoxo (arrowsmithchic)

  13. Your blog is amazing, every time I read it I end up in tears for your pain, for your loss, and for the strength you have and have to have. I don't know your religion and I don't think it mattes but when I was listening to this talk I couldn't help but think of you and hope that it would ease your pain some to know he is there waiting for you. I hope it does you deserve all the comfort the Lord can give. http://www.lds.org/general-conference/watch/2012/10?lang=eng&vid=1882755269001&cid=9

  14. Damn straight you should be proud of your progress. You are way too awesome for that jerk instructor and his crappy class. You're right that the negative elements in are lives are the first that need to either change or go altogether. They're soul suckers and time wasters. You don't have the time or energy to spare on it.

    Thinking of you every day! xo

  15. What a JERK!!!! I'm glad you have found a better class. I will pray that you will be prego soon!

  16. You keep going, girl. Don't let anyone stop from progressing, from becoming who you want to be, to feel the healing and fulfill your dream of becoming pregnant. You are too young to give up and have too much at stake to cave into those who simply refuse to understand. You are stronger than you realize....you've come this FAR!! Your little Colum will be forever part of your life, even if he is not right next to you. You grew him right under your heart and now he's in your heart forever. Stay strong, stay focused, don't let others determine how you feel and most of all, remember how many people love you and how many of us respect you. When you hurt, many of us hurt too. Sure...we may noy know what it is like to lose a child but everyone of us has had our trials in life and our own crosses to bear. All of us deserve kindness, understanding, to be giving a chance to have a nice person listen, really listen, to us. I hope your days are good and the next months leading up to December will be good to you, that you will find strength in knowing so many more people care, than those few that don't. Remember the love never ends. Colum still loves his mommy, his daddy, and his brother and oh, how they love him, too!!

  17. I am so, so sorry that you had that awful experience. It makes me so angry & I want to send a nasty email to that man & have people boycott his studio!! It is unreal to me that anyone who knew all that you have been through would be anything less than kind. You all have been through enough! I will continue to send prayers your way. I know that you will get pregnant at the perfect time. I love the pictures you posted. Your family is beautiful. I love Colum. He is watching you everyday and is SO proud of his mama!!!!

  18. Kelly, it's been said before, but you are an amazingly brave lady! HOW impressive it is that you called the instructor and TOLD HIM how he made you feel. So many people would walk away and just let the bad feelings eat them up. I hope you can just toss that negativity because it has no place in your life. I'm so glad you found a studio that is working for you! Pilates is challenging, as I understand, and you are always up for a challenge. Thank you for sharing these life lessons with us. You are so wise beyond your years. It's a simple but profound truth to understand that if someone/something is not serving us well, just let it go. You don't have to hate them or get revenge, but you just move on and take whatever you've been able to learn from the situation.

    Would you consider sharing Colum's soup recipe with us? Sounds delicious!

  19. Good for you-- for sharing, for choosing a positive path, and taking the steps to make it happen. You are a survivor and so strong-- stronger than you know. Still praying for you everyday.

  20. It makes me smile to read you are smiling more. Colum is such a cutie, he is seriously on top of my list of cute kids. Pregnancy wishes being sent your way.