Lessons (grab a tissue you may cry)

In every experience in life there are lessons. I’m not entirely sure what my lessons are on this one yet, but I am definitely far more conscious, more sensitive, more in-tune with what I think is important.

What is important? Number 1 – My family, my friends. I’m suddenly much more in tune with that. I’m seeing, feeling, knowing people in a different way. That ‘way’ is much more connected. On my side anyways. Everything or everyone now has a value far more interwoven in my being. Maybe I am just actually starting to live. Maybe my lesson is all these feelings right now. Because maybe I was a little dead inside.

I have lived heartache that likely got me to this ‘dead inside’ state. You are probably thinking I’m exaggerating.. I wish I was…

23 years ago I was lost. I didn’t know what I what I wanted or what direction my life was meant to go in. I was innocently so in love with a boy; a boy I loved for years before and years after. And I got pregnant. Not just pregnant, but pregnant with twins. And I was alone… but suddenly I had meaning. I knew what my life was meant to be.

I was lucky to have people who supported me while I was alone thru this; my family, my good friend Russel’s mom Rosalie was my rock; Kevin, my best friend, took care of me, taking me to appointments and being there for me and being a rock; Keith, sensitively silent but so present and essential to my survival; and finally Julia, my best friend and my roommate who never left my side or abandoned me. These people held me together…

And then tragedy struck. My twins were Michelle and Victoria. They were born at 33.5 weeks (good for twins) on February 10th, 1995 at 8:10am and 8:13am. They were healthy, beautiful, and alive. Until day 8. At 8 days old Michelle got sick… I’ll never forget asking the most difficult question I have ever had to ask – is it fatal? And hearing the answer – yes.

I think maybe this was the beginning of me asking hard questions and not being afraid, whether in personal or work. Because I’ve heard the worst, nothing can beat it.

Michelle died at 13 days old of necrotizing enterocolitis. She suffered more than any person I have ever seen suffer.. and she was only 13 days old. This has weighed on my brain in a way that no one can understand: how is a child born to only know suffering? I’m not sure I will ever accept it.

The next day, Victoria who had been wonderfully healthy, became sick. I was getting ready for Michelle’s funeral when I got the call.. she had a high fever and had fallen into a coma… Suddenly I was thrown into another universe! How could this be? How could my second baby also be so sick. And she was sick. I was told she was brain dead within days. I had to make the decision to take her off life support. And we did. But where when Michelle passed away I had a room full of people supporting me, this time I sent everyone away. Because I knew I would not survive if she died. I knew I would be done, finished, dead. I could not watch two of my children die.

But she didn’t die. She lived. She lived only because I would have died if she died. She lived for me. She lived until she was 9 months old. And she wasn’t brain dead like they thought. She was a miracle, but she was still to ill to survive. And so on November 3, 1995 she died. Peacefully, with me, on our terms. But it still killed me. The difference was my body was still alive. But everything else in me died.

So, right now, what I am saying is that although this cancer is in my life, I think I am grateful. Because I am feeling, I am alive, and I have been forced to come out of my ‘fog’. I hear my son say words and they touch me, I am hypersensitive to Madison’s sensitivity, I feel Dans worry and fear, I feel the music playing in the background… I am no longer dead inside… I am alive for the first time in 22 years..


  • Ann-Marie, I am so sorry to hear of your loss 🙁 Your twins are angels, and they are with you now. I see your posts, and I feel your strength and determination. Your are truly an inspiration! And of course – we want to help however we can too. You are a warrior, you have also proven you are a survivor! Stay strong girl! You’ve got this. And BTW – loving the Opal hair!!