Every day, I am thankful for each and every one of you. Thank you for the messages, the meals, the fundraisers, the support in every fashion that we could ask for, that we so desperately need. There is not a large enough "thank you" to demonstrate the gratitude that we have for each and every one of you and how you have supported us. Please continue on, even just to check in, we need it crave it, look forward to it, it is not an intrusion. It helps to keep the mind from wandering or to hold us up in a moment of "down".
Some of you have passed on dreams of Ruthie Lou or how she has "visited" you or continues to bless you, please continue to do so, it brings us such joy to see that she is continuing to touch you, even now since she has physically left this world. We are not always in a position to respond but your words comfort us in ways you can't imagine.
We will be celebrating Ruthie Lou's life on Thursday, October 6th at the Hoffman Ranch Picnic Grounds in Geyserville. Cloverdale folk, you know this as Geyser Peak, same place, new name. Please join us to honor our angel, celebrate her life and support the community that she has created. We are looking forward to seeing you and hugging each and every one of you! If you would like a copy, Ruthie Lou's obituary will be running in the Press Democrat this Friday (9/23) and will also be available online for the following 30 days.
Thank you for being such an important person to us and a special person to Ruthie Lou. We love you so much.
Ruthie Lou Lands
August 9, 2011- September 10, 2011
Ruthie Lou Lands, our angel whose feet barely touched the ground, gave & received a lifetime of love in her 33 days in this world. Ruthie Lou was a miracle & brought tremendous joy to everyone who knew her. She has an amazing extended family, including her Great Grandpa Adamson, Great Gramma Pat, Grandpa Kevin , Grammie Lorrie, Grand Pa Randy (Yvonne), Nana Cindi (Bruce), Papa G (Auntie Dee), Aunties Niki, Chanell, Hailey, Candace, Kayla; Uncles Sean, Casey, Daniel, Jerry, Landon, Keaton, Jonathon and cousins Kaidin, Lexi & Tilly Mae. Chris & Amie Lands will forever be the proud parents of little Miss Ruthie Lou & are so blessed that this angel chose them. Friends & family are invited to celebrate Ruthie Lou’s life on Thursday, October 6th at 2 p.m. at the Hoffman Ranch Picnic Grounds located at 22298 Geyserville Ave in Geyserville. If your heart is so inclined, please donate to the George Mark Children's House in honor of Ruthie Lou Lands for the respect & dignity they showed her & our family.
Back in the real world.....
The Thing Is by Ellen Bass
to love life, to love it even
when you have no stomach for it
and everything you've held dear
crumbles like burnt paper in your hands,
your throat filled with the silt of it.
When grief sits with you, its tropical heat thickening the air,
heavy as water more fit for gills than lungs;
when grief weights you like your own flesh
only more of it, an obesity of grief,
you think, How can a body withstand this?
Then you hold life like a face
between your palms, a plain face,
no charming smile, no violet eyes,
and you say, yes, I will take you
I will love you, again.
I will love Ruthie Lou again and again and again. If given the choice to go thru this pain, this heartache but to also experience the love, the miracle and the blessing of Ruthie Lou then "yes, I will take you, I will love you again."
The morning after Ruthie Lou left us, I awoke suddenly with the weight of my dreams heavy in my heart. I felt such a loss, the pain tremendously hurting in my chest. I dreamt of being back in the world, without my baby, my child, my heart. The tears flowed without sound, without help. Chris came in, probably waiting for me to wake, waiting for the tears that he knew would begin the moment I awoke. We have had loss before, he knows my routine, my sad times. Mornings and nights, pretty much my bed makes me sad. I am safe there, vulnerable and free to let it all out, so I do. Chris and I came home Sunday, after spending one last night of rest at the house, one last night in Ruthie Lou's home, the home we shared with her. We got up the next morning, packed our stuff, packed her stuff and got ready to go. Before we left we sat out under the gazebo, my favorite place with Ruthie Lou, and visited with the dr/co-founder of the house. We talked about Ruthie, talked about life and loss and told many stories and shared some great laughs.
The drive home felt like we were returning from someone else's life. So tired, we could barely speak but when we did, laughter filled the car, inappropriate laughter will get us thru this, I am sure. Laughter is healing, too. Since coming home, we have gotten to rest, it's going to take a long time to catch up on all the "going, going, going" from the last month. I am so thankful our bodies physically allowed us to keep going, we were able to truly stay in the moment most every second for Ruthie Lou, our bodies allowed us that gift for her. Now is the time to crash.
I thought the moment that we entered our home that I would crash from the devastation of losing our angel...I am still waiting for that moment, I am sure its coming. But I think I am still "high" on Ruthie Lou, her love, her strength, the joy she brought us. I have my moments, Chris has his, thankfully they are not mostly at the same time so that we can hold each other up, but we speak of Ruthie all day, with smiles on our faces, love in our hearts.
I miss her so much, her smell, her hair, the softness of her skin, holding her in my arms but I imagine her here with us, wanting us to love each other, not be torn apart. Someone said to us through this mess, that Ruthie Lou did not come here to ruin our lives, she didn't come here to tear us apart and I remind myself that all day. I am not denying myself the emotions of her loss, I feel them as they arise but I just love her so much and I feel her here with us right now.
Before bed last night, I went to turn off the light in our living room and there was a ladybug on it, I told chris and he said that he had seen one with us the day before. She is with us already, she hasn't left our side.
Which brings me to this...
I have wanted to take some time to talk about the house that we stayed in with Ruthie Lou. I haven't mentioned it directly yet because for the 12 days we were there, the best 12 days of my life even knowing the outcome, it was our safe haven. We were protected there and we wanted it to remain that way while we stayed there. The George Mark House in San Leandro is an amazing, wonderful and blessed children's house, one of a kind. Please take a moment to look up this facility, (www.georgemark.org) not only to see where Ruthie Lou lived but also because it is truly a godsend for families of children with special needs whether it is cancer, disabilities, critically ill children, etc. It offers a safe place for families to be a family with the greatest support system of drs, nurses, child life specialist, social worker, even the maintenance, housecleaning and security are all such wonderful kind and supportive people. I cannot say enough about the George Mark house other than they are truly wonderful and amazing.
Also, we have had many questions about a public celebration for Ruthie Lou and we are discussing our plans right now. We think that a celebration for her life, the gifts she has given us is only fitting, I only hope we can do justice to celebrate her appropriately. We imagine there will be quite a large group of loved ones there so our first priority is to find a location to accommodate everyone...so as we decide a date & location, we will announce it for all of you.
Thank you so much for your continued support, messages, phone calls, etc. While we cannot respond to all of them, they bring us such great comfort. Please don't feel as though you are intruding on our space (as some of you have expressed that concern) I think that makes things more awkward. We don't want awkward, at some point we have to return to the real world and we don't want awkward. We know this is most horrendous thing a family can endure, there are no words and we realize that but nothing will make us feel worse than the not reaching out.
Your words are like hugs to our souls and we need so many hugs.
I held my baby, the greatest gift of all today, the day of my 31st birthday. Ruthie Lou took her final breath in our arms this afternoon. She was welcomed with the angels patiently waiting her arrival. We imagine her grammas swooning over her, Papa Jock welcoming her, Captain's tail wagging so hard as it knocked everything over, along with the many others we couldn't wait for her to meet...or see again. It was a beautiful and heart wrenching moment that maybe I will share later but for now, I wrote the following journal as I patiently waited for my turn to hold Ruthie Lou this morning, it was only fair for dad and me to take turns....the entry ends abruptly as my turn began and all attention given to my sweetest angel. She eternally blessed us as I hope she has blessed you.
We fell asleep Thursday after saying what I thought would be our last goodnight. Earlier in the evening I asked Chris what he wanted to do in case it was Ruthie Lou's last night and he said,"Are we gonna do this tomorrow night, too?" I replied, "If we're lucky. I hope we do."
Friday morning we up with Ruthie Lou silently breathing right beside us. I sang her the "good morning" song and she was able to muster a smile for her mama. Her color had lightened, her breathing more shallow, but she was there with us, once again refusing to leave. We spent the day doing Ruthie Lou's favorites. We went to the hot tub earlier than normal, loved her up in her favorite place to be, the water. One day, a lady here asked how we know the water is her favorite and let me tell you, a mama knows! The moment Ruthie Lou's body touches the water, her body relaxes, awake or asleep, it always ends the same way, she eventually falls asleep! Dad had to run out for a bit so Ruthie Lou and I sat in our favorite rocking chair, listened to the wind and watched the critters fly, the bees, bugs, moths, butterflies and our friend the hummingbird. We could even hear Pistachio, a cousin of Peanut and Almond (dad, you know who I mean!)
And finally, last night we watched the sunset once again from our favorite chair. We didn't talk much, I don't have much else to tell little miss Ruthie Lou, we are beyond words. Instead, we sang lots of songs, she even curled her lips for a quick smile here and there. Somehow songs are saying all the words I have run out saying. I love to sing to Ruthie Lou, although she's probably the only one who loves to hear me sing! We ended the night same as always, quiet, with lots of love, kisses and goodnights.
Today is my birthday.
31 years old.
Last year on my birthday, we found out I was pregnant, it was the best birthday ever, I could not have asked for a greater gift. I imagined that this birthday, I would be celebrating with my little one, and I am. A lot can happen in one year. As my friends/family know, we lost that pregnancy and it was devastating. I loved that baby from the moment I knew it was there. I then, imagined this birthday being full of heartache, remembering the baby that should have been here, but then Ruthie Lou came along. She was a surprise, wanted for sure, but not intentional at that time, we were waiting to recover from before. But Ruthie Lou helped heal my heart, she was a blessing from the very first moment she arrived, I had never been happier than to feel her grow inside my body. I loved every minute of it, all the uncomfortable, miserable, large moments of pregnancy, none of them mattered because I was in love, in love with Ruthie Lou.
Today I woke up too nervous to look at Ruthie Lou, afraid of what I would see. But then I heard her, her little purr breathing not steady but still there. I rolled over, she was pale and tired, but she wasn't about to miss my most special day of my year. She never wants to miss a moment, I think that's why she's still here. I woke up so sad to see her holding on, not letting go, not resting. I don't want her in pain, I don't want her to hurt. The nurses promise me she's comfortable and she looks like she is. Right now she's snuggled with dad. We take turns nearly on a timer now because neither of us WANTS to share but we both love her as much as the other so sharing is the only answer. *************************************************************************************
I am mama of three beautiful babes; two sons whom I have the privilege of raising and my daughter who lived for 33 sacred days.