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March is full of mixed emotions for me. March is the month my wonderful mother was born; it is also the month my dad died. March is the month Charley and Price were born, and the month I first found out what it is like to hold your baby while he dies. March is hard.

My dad died when I was 9. Other than a cat we’d had, it was my first personal experience with death. I remember so much about my dad’s character – he was strong, and he was funny. He was not the kind of person you wanted to mess with. He had 5 sons and 1 daughter – me. I could melt his heart like butter. He gave me really high standards of what a man should be, and how a man should treat me. Kyle more than lives up to these standards.

I learned a lot at 9. My mom taught me there is no wrong or right way to grieve. Grieving is so personal, and different for everyone. If we don’t judge each other, we can be more honest. I knew Kyle would grieve differently than me, and I than him. We try very hard to let each other grieve the way we need to, and be honest about how things are feeling. My mom also taught me happiness can be a choice. She’s chosen to be happy, and to always push for more. When she sees things that aren’t right in the world, she does her part to change them. I remember telling Kyle early in our marriage my mom is the strongest person I know.

Charley doesn’t FEEL 2 yet. He’s doing great for himself, and although he has plenty of issues he’s working through, there is constant slow progress. His personality is stubborn and strong. It’s hard not to be reminded of Ezra at 2 (he died just 2 months and 8 days into 2 years old) with Charley’s birthday coming up, and note the marked differences. Even Charley’s birth itself was so much different from what we’d been used to. When Charley and Price were born, I’d been on bed rest for weeks, and was suddenly rushed into an emergency C section, with the twins instantly pulled away from us – we didn’t hold Charley for 3 weeks (Kyle didn’t until he was 6 weeks old), and the only time we ever held Price was when he died. Charley was taken straight from me to the NICU, and there he stayed for 191 days. It was a very hard time, during which we were in treatment with Ezra, and eventually lost him.

Developmentally, Charley is closer to 11-13 months than 24. He doesn’t walk yet (although he’s great in his walker), he doesn’t talk aside from a few sounds like “baby” and “dada” – of course I swear I’ve heard him say “mama” too. He’s just recently made huge strides in eye contact. We’ll be getting leg braces for him soon to help his legs and muscles sit correctly, and he’ll be getting eye surgery in April to fix his left eye, which doesn’t ever look where the right one is looking. 🙂

Within all that, it would be easy to continue to grieve and be overwhelmed by everything. Some days we are. A lot, in fact. My mom’s strength and attitude towards life are a constant reminder to me to see the smiles on Charley’s face, the warm Florida sunshine, and the love of my husband and friends. My mom’s birthday is March 14th. Every year on that day my mom turns 40. March 15th is Charley’s 2nd birthday. We’ll get together with loved ones, and enjoy the day. Our little family is strong, and we are re-learning happiness.

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  1. I can’t imagine how hard this can be but you guys continue to be an inspiration to us! Our prayers are with you.

  2. You guys are special people with strengths that many don’t have. I often look at your pictures wondering how you did it. I can see there is a lot of love there. So sorry for all of your losses…. Thank you so very much for sharing all of these special times with us. God bless!

  3. I am with Peggy, Thank you so much for sharing! As hard as it may be for you, it makes us all appreciate what we have and also that life is short. Im not sure how you have done it. The both of you to go through so much and still be able to fight. I envy you and you’re strength especially Robyn. You don’t write a lot and when you do you amaze me with your ability to handle everything god has given you to struggle though. You are inspiring! I still think about Ezra and Price, and you’re family in general! Keep pushing forward, you may have a small family but you are in a million people’s hearts, thoughts, and prayers! Thank you both for sharing what you all have been through!

  4. Robyn,I think of you and your family often, and am always struck by the strength and grace I see in you and Kyle. I can only imagine how hard it is for you to face the world some days, and pray that you always feel the love of those around you giving you strength when you run out. You have known love, and sorrow, that many never have felt. It makes you who you are. Ezra, Price and Charley are part of who we are now too. They are in our hearts and souls, and in our prayers. I am happy that Charley is making progress in his own time. He is beautiful! You are a wonderful Mommy! Much love to you all ~ Gini (Luke’s mom)

  5. So beautifully heartfelt written. My heart, thoughts, and prayers are with you all more often than you would know.
    Thank you for the update on your thoughts, trials, & tribulations. So much love to all of you.
    Aunt Sharon

  6. My daughter, Beth, passed away 5/6/11 of a neuroblastoma. She was 44 years old. It is the hardest thing to watch your child die and there is nothing you can do about it. What a blessing and gratefullness for the 7 years we had together before she passed. My prayers are with you.

  7. my thoughts and prayers are have always been you and your family since the beginning i thank you for posting I don’t know how you all did it you’re amazing you give so many including me strength to where we can do anything in faith you have so much love not only for your family but everyone thank you for sharing what you have been through goes to show us me that life’s to short to not have faith and love thank you again for sharing your life’s story what you’ve been through my deepest sympathies for what you’ve endured sincerely Pauline Campbell I’m a friend of Debbie halls

  8. Loretta – thanks, always a [sad] pleasure to meet another nb parent.

    Thanks all for the prayers and thoughts – they are very appreciated.

  9. Happy that you have strong people in your life that have taught you and inspired you…imagine now how much YOU are inspiring others. Ezra, Charley’s, Price’s and Sean’s photos are on my desk top…every day I spend a bit of time watching them fade in and out…some make me smile, some make me cry…some make me laugh out loud. Nothing is more difficult than losing a child, I think…and I continue to be proud of the way you and Kyle CHOOSE to live; to find joy; to work at making this world a better place. Love you guys and so sorry we’ll be missing charley’s second. Skype us in!

  10. Thanks for the update, I just love little charley and I’ve never met him. Your family is a huge inspiration and God has greatly blessed you. Happy birthday Vivian! And charley!

  11. You guys are both amazing and inspiring. Your story has truly changed my life forever. I pray for you guys quite often and I’m blessed and proud to call you my friends. Love you both!

  12. My heart will always be with your Family. Your strength encourages me, your love inspires me and I AM a better person for having known you at all.

  13. My micropreemie was also born on March 15th. He will be celebrating his 4th Birthday…special day. 🙂 Thinking of your family this month, and praying that it brings TONS of smiles for all of you!

  14. praying for you. NO ONE ever should have to hold their child and feel their heart slowly stop beating. let alone twice. it amazes me, even at 14, how you two still go on every day and still thank God, even though he has taken two of your 3 gifts away. love and prayers always. you are my inspiration

  15. Robyn, \

    Your writing is very inspiring and reminds those of us moms (like me) who are impatient with their 2 year olds to take a breath. It’s hard every day to be thankful that Henry’s muscle development allows him to run away with a full, stinky diaper, even when mommy asks nicely to let me change his bum. 🙂 Thanks for reminding me that even that is a blessing. You have huge challenges, but you are handling them with grace and being the mommy Charley needs. I know I don’t need to say it, but hang in there and keep loving that lucky little boy.