Lara’s Blue Rose

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When Lara ‘graduated’ from her Schulz Elementary School, to

head off into what is now Willis “Middle School,” I talked to her

about finishing well in fourth grade and how proud of her I was.

The family all were very excited about her test scores and the way

she had handled school thus far.

If you grew up in the period where sixth grade was the year you

advanced to Junior High School, that is the way it when my

children, ages 28, 32 and 34, were young. They went from

fifth grade ‘graduation’ to Willis Middle School, where it was

sixth through eighth grades. Then, the last child, only stayed in

middle school for sixth and seventh, advancing to Dempsey

Junior High were she went to eighth grade. Have I confused you

yet?

What grade does your small town or big city school system

“change up” or move on, passing from elementary to a different

school?  What label do they give to the next level of education?

 

Lara’s birthday celebration was held in June, reaching the ‘big’

milestone of a ‘two digit’ number: 10! I gave her clothes for her

birthday and a craft kit to make a variety of jeweled and braided

bracelets.

 

Recently, Lara found my latest name pictures that I had drawn,

used pen and ink then ‘coloring’ in the letters, decorative items

and the little children in the pictures, with watercolor. She asked

me about the one I had done for a past friend, a mother of three

children now.

She wondered if the baby was going to like it, when she grew up?

This comment came due to the fact the baby was in a basket. She

noticed this was different; instead of my usual design that includes

an active child or a resting child. I like to make the child around 4

or 5 years old, since that is about when they will notice the framed

picture on the wall, with the letters of their name included in the

design.

I had not wanted to make Lara sad, but I told her the baby was in

“Heaven,” that she had died last year. I went on to tell her how I

came to make this picture for someone I really knew much better,

in the past.

I ran into this woman, who once a long time ago, in her high school

years, had decided to volunteer at a nursing home that I worked at

as an Activities Director. This young woman, Michelle, became quite

involved with the program. I became involved in her life. She was

living with her grandfather, but she liked when we had lunch in the

summer months and for us to run by the hospital to see her mother,

Fay, who worked at the little coffee shop there.

Along with my picking her up and dropping her off, for after hours

events and trips, we went by my house one day. I ran in and asked

my oldest daughter if she had any dresses Michelle could wear. Our

nursing home was ‘strict’ and as long as we were in the building,

we weren’t allowed to wear pants. The Director of the nursing home

also liked the female volunteers to wear skirts or dresses, too. I only

had my son, Jamie and one other young man, volunteer in the four

years I was in activities. They were asked to wear khaki pants or

dress pants, plus a collared shirt. No t-shirts allowed!

I also rummaged through my closet and allowed Michelle, to check

out a variety of clothes, then we bundled these and Carrie’s up into a

garbage bag, for her to go home and try on.

 

When I ran into Michelle at Mingo Park, I hugged her, as I always do.

This is a habit to greet all the many young people that have come and

gone from my life.

I had been pleasantly happy and amused when my coworker, Felda,

had often mentioned that she had a ‘best friend’ she met at Goodwill,

who was named “Michelle.” (Never using her maiden name, just her

married last name.)

Soon, I “met” her at the parties held by my friends and coworkers

from the Philippines. They insist we call them Filipino and they love

us to try their foods. Michelle and I have sat together at the baby

shower for Zach, his Christening Party and also Felda and Jason’s

house-warming party. I take my grandsons, who share a babysitter

with Felda’s kids, if they wish to go. Recently, my M & M girls have

chosen to attend Kridia Dawn’s birthday party and other functions.

 

We were in ‘touch’ but Michelle had never shared with me about the

loss of a baby, until we were at the park in early July. She and her

husband were with their 3 children. They were running around with

my two grandsons, Micah and Skyler who were also having fun on

the playground equipment.

 

Michelle showed me pictures of a healthy baby girl, full term, who

weighed 8 lbs. 2 oz. She was named, “Katie Mae.” She had fair skin,

like her sisters Lily and Anna. Also like her blonde brother, William.

The children had held their new baby sister, last summer. Michelle,

who started to cry throughout this visit, told me that Anna had

kissed her sister many, many times. Lily was happy to help get

diapers and bring her blankets. William had held the baby for a

minute then had asked to have her given back to her mother.

The baby cried a lot after she came home from the hospital with

her mother.

Lara was absorbed by all of this, she and her brother Landen, had

been a ‘family’ once with a Dad name Kevin and their mother,

Trista. The parents got divorced, my son met Trista when Lara

and Landen were preschoolers and married her.

Lara has been a wonderful ‘big sister’ to Jamie and Trista’s girls,

the M & M’s. This, along with two more brothers, from her Daddy

Kevin’s second marriage.

Lara wanted to know why the baby died?

It is hard to explain, but Michelle says the baby got a red rash on her

second day home from the hospital, she worried and called the doctor’s

office. The doctor’s nurse called back to suggest a different formula.

She suspected an allergic reaction. The parents went out and got new

formula, this time the 2nd night at home, was filled sadly, with the

baby’s shrieks.

They bundled their children into their clothes, wrapping little Katie

carefully up.

She just seemed ‘tender to the touch,’ Michelle explained.

At the hospital, they were in the waiting room for quite some time,

but once inside one of the E.R. rooms, the intern was very kind

and blood was drawn. He thought it may be an allergic reaction

but was concerned about the way the baby was shrieking, not

wanting to take the bottle, the redness and rash was bright and

splotchy. He prescribed a baby’s antibiotic, sent them home.

There would be a call the next day, the diagnosis possibly of a

blood disease, a different prescription to pick up.

The baby went to sleep quietly, eerily, after first being held by

each parent. Katie looked solemnly into her father’s eyes. Next,

Michelle held her carrying her to bed. She says Katie “searched

her face.” She remembers Katie studying her eyes.

There are many photographs, but the one that stands out most

to me, is heart-wrenching. They managed to capture Katie looking

straight into her Daddy’s eyes. It was a profile image, which is so

precious.

This was her third night at home.

Michelle nodded her head when I exclaimed,

“Katie is looking at him like, ‘Why can’t you make me feel better?!'”

This was the last picture they took of Katie. She died on her

fifth night of life.

(The coroner found cause of death to be, “Undetermined.”)

 

Lara wants me to make her a new name picture, it has her

name in ‘cursive’ with a blue rose above it, with cheerleading

pom pom’s on the sides, a football with Cleveland Browns

written below it, with an ice cream cone, one scoop of mint

ice cream and one of vanilla. She was adamant about the blue

rose.

I will share what I found out about blue roses. I want you to

know, all of you literary people, that I right away visualized the

scene in “The Glass Menagerie,” where Laura is called, “Blue

Roses,” by the brother and by the visiting ‘gentleman caller.’

This is due to her having pleurosis, which I thought was ‘pleurisy.’

Wikipedia says Tennessee Williams’ real life sister was named

“Rose” but did have ‘pleurosis.” I remembered the blue roses’

reference from that 1944 play.

Then, I looked up the way that genetic engineering has created

blue roses. In the past, blue roses were ‘made’ by putting white

roses into blue food coloring or sprayed by a blue vegetable dye.

 

I had made pictures in the past years of Lily, William and Anna’s

names years before. I delivered Katie’s to Michelle’s family, on

Sunday night. The three children, Katie’s sisters and brother,

wanted me to see their bedrooms and their toys.

In the picture I made, I had added a pink rose above Katie’s head

on her little blanket and one on where the blanket crossed her

chest, there are blue forget-me-not’s in the grass and a white

bunny lying by the basket. There are tall sunflowers and tulips

in other places on the picture. I had included a sun bonnet, with

purple violets hanging on one of the tall letters.

I mentioned to Michelle and Kevin, quietly, that I lost two babies

before they were born, one at 4 1/2 months and one at 4 months.

My children and I had a tradition that I started the year the last one

died, which includes reading a special book to and putting an angel

ornament on the Christmas tree for each of their 2 ‘lost siblings.’

I told them once I had been to hear a country gospel group, The

Greens, sing at Ohio Wesleyan University, in Gray Chapel.

One of the sweetest songs I heard that night was called, “There’s

A Rocking Chair In Heaven.”

We nodded, words left unspoken.

We hugged.

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25 responses »

  1. I’m so sorry about your losses, Robin xo. What a terrible thing for you to go through.
    And I’m also so sorry about little Katie. I don’t really understand how she died. Was it neglect or misdiagnosis by the doctors? So very sad.

    • Thank you, Luanne. I appreciate this. I was most sad because the first pregnancy, I really had hope for that one! (I had not planned it, had an IUD in place, which may have caused it to miscarry. One doctor had thought that the baby would be fine, so I kept on hoping… My husband’s family had already thrown a baby shower.)
      I am very sorry about living Katie, who was full term and had a good Apgar score. I think my friends have decided that she may have ‘caught’ or been ‘exposed’ to MRSA in the hospital. Hard to tell, but the antibiotics and changing formula were ‘surface’ cures, the hospital should have been more concerned, put her on an IV and then, tell the parents what the blood test results were. “Inconclusive’ just doesn’t sound ‘right!’ I asked the couple when I ran into them at the park, “Have you considered a lawsuit?”
      They answered like any inconsolable person would, “It wouldn’t bring Katie back.”

      • Oh, MRSA, how awful! So terrible that the doctors weren’t more aggressive in the diagnosis and treatment. I’m sorry you had to go through so much, too, Robin. How very sad. Many hugs to you.

      • I am not sure if they just did not see the baby in a serious light, or if there was just nothing they could do for Katie. I will not understand this one, since Michelle and her family are not pursuing any further investigations. Luanne, thank you for your sincere and warm thoughts for Katie and also, for the family. I am blessed with knowing that my situations were just not meant to be. xo robin

    • Thanks, Jonathan. I felt I might share this so that others who have gone through it, would maybe help ease their pain by developing a family tradition to ‘celebrate’ the little cherub’s transition into Heaven. Hugs, Robin

  2. Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:
    IN OUR SCHOOL DISTRICT (IN BINGHAMTON, NY) OUR’S WAS THE LAST—OR NEARLY SO—TO GO FROM 6TH GRADE eLEMENTARY TO 7-9 JUNIOR HIGH AND THEN 10-12 SENIOR HIGH. AFTER THAT TIME, K-5 WAS ELEMENTARY, 6-9 WAS MIDDLE SCHOOL AND 10-12 HIGN SCHOOL.

    • My elementary was up until 6th grade, too! My kids went to middle school, which seemed ‘too early’ to leave in fifth grade. Lara’s leaving elementary at fourth grade just scares me a bit, Jon! Thanks for reblogging and giving my blog some extra views!

  3. Sorry for your losses, my friend.

    I think our school grades has to do with our age, Robin. me, too, elementary through sixth, junior high seven to ninth, high school 10, 11 and 12th.

  4. very beautiful and i am so sorry for the loss of your babies, i know that this loss stays with your forever. your artwork sounds wonderful and i wonder if you would ever share one with us to see? as for school, when i was young, we moved to junior high in the 7th grade, and now it’s middle school and the 6th grade –

    • Thanks, Beth, you and Mark confirmed it did not matter what part of the country we grew up in, if we are over 40 years old, we had sixth grade held in our elementary school.
      I could send you a text message with one that I did for my dental hygienist’s niece, “Elliot.” I have a portfolio of over 100 picture names, ones that I was able to color copy or copy in black and white. Earlier ones, when I was babysitting I don’t have copies of. I also have the 4 books I have not published, but have had copies made for church or friends. I have a photo of a wooden toy chest with little hedgehogs, bunnies and squirrels, with the quote of, “Mary, Mary quite contrary How does your garden grow?” I was paid well for that work! Smiles, Robin

    • The part about Michelle’s baby bothers me more than my own. I was not wishing anyone to have a baby lost. I guess, as time goes by, for me, at least, I realize that the ones I lost were not meant to be. Thanks, Chris!

  5. I’m so very sorry for your losses and little Katie’s few days. I learned from my grandma that the loss of a child never gets easier. It’s with you always.

    In regards to school, I went to grade school 1 through 8th grades. Then high school. To this day “middle school” and “junior high” throw me for a loop!

    • Thank you, Colleen, for you kind words about my miscarriages and especially for little Katie’s few days. I did not know your grandmother lost a child, did your mother or father lose a sibling?

      Colleen! I cannot imagine going to a school for all those grades 1 thru 8! I guess you were closer to the ‘one room school house’ age, just kidding! Ha ha!

      • Actually Robin both of my parents lost a sibling. My Grandma cried for over fifty years. My grandmother was very ‘stoic’ and said he is not ‘here’. I don’t believe one love was any different than another. It’s how they chose to express it that was different.

      • I am surprised that both of them lost a sibling. I wonder if that was something they ‘bonded’ while dating? Did they ever mention that they had found this unusual, Colleen? I am sorry for both your stoic grandmother and your sorrowful Grandma. It must have been hard on them both, (even if one didn’t express her sadness.) You must have felt this, even as a child, to have held this memory of their feelings for such a long time. It might have even effected you. Did you ever worry about dying, Colleen? Thank you very much for sharing these personal stories.

  6. Your touching story does much to honor the memory of young Katie. It is always a tragedy when a young life ends too soon. Thank you for the courage it takes to share something so personal. – Mike

    • Thank you for this very special comment about courage, Mike. I feel that it is hopefully, in a way, a comfort to those who have also lost a baby or miscarried before they gave birth. I came to grips with my loss, thinking that it “just wasn’t meant to be.” I feel badly for Michelle’s family because they held their baby, Katie, in their arms. I was happy to be able to give them something that she asked me to make. I hope we will never out-live our children, Mike! Hugs, Robin

  7. So sorry for the little angels you never got to meet…one day, my friend. My daughter was a twin and I lost the other one at 4 months. Thank God she was born healthy. So very sad about little Katie.
    As for school – middle school was 6 – 8. hugs. ❤ ~Karen~

    • This was such a sweet way of responding to my post, Karen. I appreciate how you wrote your personal stories, sharing your life with me. I feel close to you, as always I do when you visit. If we were able, I bet we would talk each other’s ears off, along with tears of sadness and happiness, intermixed together. Thanks, Karen! Hugs, Robin

    • I appreciate your telling us about the loss of two of your angels, Karen. I am sorry that this happened, it must have been awful each time it did. Your son and one of your twins, may you meet in Heaven where they are joined together, brother and sister.
      Thanks, for telling us about your middle school age of 6th grade thru 8th, too. xoxo, Robin

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