Posted in Death


Relief: a feeling of reassurance and relaxation following release from anxiety or distress.

mammogram results, gratitude, relief,

I am so incredibly grateful to each of you who kept me in your thoughts and prayers.
To say thank you doesn’t even begin to cover my gratitude.

And to my aunt…thank you for the push. My heart is with you.

Connected through Immeasurable Loss

Letters for LucasOne of my dear friends, Tonya, lost her parents in a tragic accident several years ago.

They were young, vibrant, generous, and kind.

We spoke last year about what it means to have lost a parent, in my case, and two, in hers.

We spoke of death, faith, and pain and how we will explain our losses to our young children.

She asked me to share with her my thoughts all that time ago and I kept procrastinating, as the answers hadn’t crystalized in my mind as I thought they might.

My father’s death has been so central to who I am and how I approach my life.

Today, I am finally ready to talk and I’m sharing my thoughts over on Tonya’s blog, Letters for Lucas.

Please come visit me there and spend some time getting to know Tonya. Her soul is truly lovely.

I will be ever grateful if you share your thoughts and wisdom with us in the comments.


A touch of life

I received an email a couple of weeks ago from a lovely woman who is a new friend to me, a fellow writer and mother named Jessica, from Four Plus an Angel.

She attached a link to a post that she believed reflected a series of small moments from her life.

Jessica wrote:

Your site and all it stands for is beautiful. I lost my daughter a little over three years ago and since then, have learned that life is truly about the smallest of moments because they may be all you have.

I wanted to share a post with you I wrote on the most recent anniversary of her passing. I think it truly illustrates how our family has learned to live through the big and small moments.

I clicked on the link to her post, Today, and was so incredibly grateful that she reached out to me … that she wanted to share her story with me.  Her words are painful and beautiful and brave.

The more I read of her story, the more I knew that Jessica was a perfect fit for Small Moments Mondays. I asked her if she would consider sharing her story here and she generously agreed.

After you read this post, please go read Today, Thoughts on Thanksgiving, and The Autism Story.

Jessica inspires me to be even more grateful for all that I have … and all that I’ve lost.  She is strong and beautiful and appreciative in the face of tragedy and loss.

She is remarkable … so simply remarkable.

Thank you, Jessica, for sharing your story here. It is so incredibly generous of you.  I’m so honored that you wanted to share your story here on in these small moments.

Much love to you, lovely one….

A Touch of Life — by Jessica

The triplets were born at 28 weeks.  28 weeks and 5 days to be exact.  I was counting.

I lived in the hospital, staring at my feet and a calendar on the wall, x’s marking each day that the mix of medication and bedrest had given my babies.  After the threat of delivery at 19 weeks, 21 weeks, 24 weeks and every few days from then on, making it to my last trimester seemed a miracle.

I knew that my babies would be in the NICU and I was as prepared as any soon-to-be mom of triplets could be.  I had toured the unit, watched the babies born too soon struggling with life, given the nurses the eighth degree, researched feeding and bonding and every possible medical complication under the sun and I was ready.  We could do this.

But when the time came, and my babies and my body could not wait any longer all my readiness fell to my surgical slippered feet.

Nothing could have prepared me for the delivery of three babies at once, the sea of hospital masks, the hum of machines, the buzz of anticipation encircled by the quiet of hope.

As the first baby came there was no calm before the next.

There was urgency and monitors and calls for oxygen.

There were NICU teams and respiratory therapists and relays to incubators.

Baby A, my little girl, was brought past me first, all of her 2 pounds 10 ounces shocking me into the delicate world of mothering a preemie, though not as alarming as the 1 pound 14 ounces of her brother, the next to wriggle his long pink limbs near my face.  As the nurses brought them to me, one tiny baby at a time, I wanted to take in their every feature and hold them and love them but it was not yet my turn.  They needed intensive care and I felt that need and urged the nurses along, fighting my yearning to take trace every ounce of their fragile babyness.  I would see them soon enough.  Forever was ahead of us.

There were moments between the delivery of Baby B and C, my son and my next daughter… enough for me to take in the what was happening, settle into my excitement and wait for her.  As she came by I adjusted my focus, trying to see her 2 pounds 5 ounces of features through the mask of oxygen, already mingling with her labored breaths, and as I tried to move my hand to her face she held me first.  Her tiny pink fingers, white at the tips as they wrapped around mine.  And I did not feel that urgency I did with her siblings.  The nurse pressed forward with her before I was ready for her to let go.  I wanted to keep her there, suspended at my cheek, squirming with new life, explaining to me that she already knew who I was.  My first touch from one of my babies, who, entwined with her brother and sister, had endured the push and pull of life all those weeks that labor threatened.  She was here, and so was he, and so was she.  All alive and fighting, a testament to faith and hope and unending love.

And this small moment, this first touch, was the clearest, tiniest, most profound moment of my life, of my pregnancies, of our 77 days in the NICU, of my marriage, of my days as the mother of four living children, and the mother of one who is not.

One who stopped to tell me that she was okay, and I am her mother and always will be.

One who squeezed a moment of her short life into my waiting hand before she left this place for another.

Please, please go visit Jessica at Four Plus an Angel.  You won’t regret the time that you spend there with her.

Thank you.  From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for reading Jessica’s story.

You can also find Jessica on Facebook and Twitter.

That One Gift

I’ve finished the bulk of my Christmas shopping.  Everything that needed to be shipped is on its way.

I have a handful of gifts for Craig and the kids that I have yet to purchase, but other than that, I am done.

But this year, what I bought isn’t what I’m thinking of.

What stands out most in my mind is the one gift that I didn’t buy.

The gift that I would have bought for Craig’s mother.

This is the first year that we will celebrate the holidays without her.

One of my favorite memories of her was on Christmas two years ago, right after we lost our baby. I felt broken.  She and I sat at our dining room table for hours.  She soothed and comforted me where necessary, distracted me when she could see that was what I needed most.  She told me stories that made me laugh and stories that allowed me to cry.

That conversation was the best gift that she could have given me.  Somehow, she knew what I needed most.

There’s a part of me that wants to buy a small gift for her and place it under our tree.  Perhaps that could be one of our family traditions…to always place a gift under our tree in remembrance of her.

This post is linked with Stream of Consciousness Sunday at All Things Fadra…

Immediate and Tremendous

The fire had burned out and had quite likely gone completely cold by the time I was awoken.

My mother’s light touch on my back, her whispers in my ear in the dark of my bedroom coaxed me from my dreams.  She wasn’t herself as she helped me to put my coat on over my pajamas, gently, but absentmindedly, threading my arms through the sleeves.

Her whispers, “going to your aunt’s house…choose a toy to bring with you…”

I chose my new silver baton, with the white rubber tips, such a random thing to remember all these years later.

It was just before Christmas.

The bitter cold pierced through my coat and the snow swirled about our heads as my mother carried me to the car.

The drive was a blur, but when we arrived at my aunt’s house, I was elated to see my cousins.  This visit was a gift, an unexpected sleepover.  We all piled into my aunt’s bed and snuggled and whispered until sleep overtook us.

When we woke to the white Maine winter sunlight, streaming through the gap where the heavy curtains didn’t quite meet, my mother and her sister sat on the bed and told us that our grandfather had died the previous evening.

In a fire.

My magical, glorious, Pépère was dead.


No warning, no goodbyes, no chance for final I love yous.

It was late.  My pépère packed logs into his wood stove, with bits of kindling and newspaper to help the fire catch, leaving the door ajar for precious oxygen to help feed the fire.  He lay on the couch for just a moment and dozed off.  When he woke, his living room was on fire and he couldn’t get to the front door, as that part of the living room was ablaze.

He tried to make his escape out the back door, but it was blocked.

He had hired a neighborhood boy the previous autumn to help him stack his firewood by the back door. When the boy stacked it, he blocked the door just enough that my grandfather was trapped.

My magnificent grandfather had no means of escape from his burning home.

The logical and controlling part of my brain always goes back to the little details.  How did he not notice that the door was blocked when he checked the boy’s work?  How could he have thought it okay to lie down and close his eyes, even for just a small moment?

But the answers don’t matter…they can’t change what happened.

Though I was all too familiar with the void left by loss, I had never felt that acute pain, that immediate and tremendous loss. Death was no longer represented by a dull ache.*

In an evening and in an instant, my pépère was gone.

*My brother died before I was born, and my father died when I was just two years old.

This post was inspired by a prompt from The Red Dress Club, a photo of a Christmas ornament not unlike those on my pépère’s Christmas tree.

About me

Nichole Beaudry @NicholeBeaudry Location: Northern California
Each and every day, I strive to appreciate the wonder, beauty, and whimsy in the small moments, the moments that, when strung together, form a lifetime.
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