Brooke Ashley Cameron 7/14/08~7/24/08

"The Butterfly counts not months, but moments, and has time enough."

Brooke Ashley Cameron was born 7~14~2008 with her identical twin sister, Summer, at only 27 weeks. She weighed 2 lbs 15 oz and was 15 inches long. She was the former recipient of Twin to Twin Transfusion syndrome. As a result of TTTS (twin to twin transfusion) and prematuriy, she had acute Pulmonary Stenosis, a grade 4 brain bleed, and an extremely rare lung condition similar to Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia. She passed away, at only 10 days old, peacefully in her Mom's arms, surrounded by a family who loves her.

Brooke's memory on full screen to see a larger copy.

Monday, March 12, 2012

"The Butterfly counts not months, but moments, and has time enough."

It has taken 3 3/4 years...

Preparing yourself to make such a final decision as what to say on your child's grave marker is a difficult, to say the least, process. The curcumstances surrounding the loss of our sweet daughter has left us with very little time to properly grieve. Shortly after Brooke's passing, her twin sister, Summer, suffered life threatening situations. She is still with us...happy and going strong, but still has many, many, challenges we face along side her. We have hardly had the time to consider something so permanent and personal as Brooke's marker. But, just like many things in our lives, we were forced to take care of it. Everything had been paid for at the time of her service, so the funeral home strongly encouraged us to complete the order.

In my mind, there were certain requirements...this was to be something we will see for the rest of our lives in her memory. There had to be a picture...I chose one taken by Soulumination, on the day she passed away. She looked beautiful the first, and last, time we held her...both of our hands placed on her back. Butterflies have been a symbol I have used for her as well. We received potted flowers from our families that have long since gone...all that remain are the pretty butterfly stakes that were in them. I chose two identical butterflies to signify how special she is to be an identical twin. I'm hoping this makes it special for Summer know about the symbolism when she is old enough to understand. We also needed to add Brooke's signature...her footprint. We could only get a good print from her left foot...we made sure it is to scale, just a mere 2 1/4" from heel to the top of her big toe. We have also had a poem in mind to have engraved, since her service, but I was worried about using it because we saw it on a child's marker not too far from where Brooke is buried. I have been searching for the last few years for something to replace it, but just haven't felt like anything else could say exactly how we feel so deeply and accurately.

"How softly you tip-toed into my world. So silently, only a moment you stayed. But what an imprint your footsteps have left upon my heart." - Thomas Jefferson

This encompases all...

The photo we chose

The beautiful grounds with towering evergreen trees...

I love the way the simple black granite holds the trees' reflections.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Gaining some closure...

It has been a long time coming....I am finally finished with a photo book I have been working on for over a year. I started working on it many months ago...first, as a Christmas present for the grandparents, then, it wasn't done, so I decided it could make a great mother's day gift...still not done, how about father's day? When father's day came and went, I decided the twins' birthday or Brooke's anniversary date would be a good time. Needless to say, it still was not done, so I set it aside and thought I could easily pick it up anytime. It all got too overwhelming, and I put it aside...until now. The thought that this was unfinished has been nagging in my mind...

I pulled the project up again on my computer just a few days ago and was not prepared for how it would make me feel. The past month and a half has been very hard for us emotionally. My husband's grandpa passed away last month, his dad was just diagnosed with stage 4 kidney cancer, and many close friends are experiencing tragedies. This all has made my heart very heavy. I had no idea that completing this project might help with how I have been feeling. The first day I spent skimming through my original blog. I sat at my computer, sobbing. It is amazing the tears have not shorted out my keyboard! I am so grateful to my friend Yvonne, who encouraged me to start writing a blog! Reading through my thoughts and feelings while I was deep in the moments of dispare, heartache, and tragedy, helped remind me how far our lives have come since then. I can, however, still hardly believe we went through what we did....

In January, I also finished Summer and Brooke's quilts. I hand quilted Summer's, and finished the binding on both of them. These were put together for me by my friend, Yvonne (thanks again), as a bed rest project. Just like the book, facing the quilt was very difficult...especially since these were made to match for our daughters. I am so happy this is finished as is no longer staring at me as something un-finished...just as Brooke's life was also "un-finished". I plan to save it for Summer and present it to her as a special memory of her sister. Thing One and Thing Two's quilts...Summer's on the left, Brooke's on the right
Brooke's quilt was machine quilted for me by my friend, Yvonne. After Brooke passed away, I wasn't sure I could hand quilt it was such a special thing for her to do for me :)

Quilt labels

I am sharing this special book here (at the top of the page) for those who would like to see it....just click on "full screen" to see a larger copy and hit the play button.

Thanks again to all those who have continued to stand by us, pray for us, and just "be" there. You have helped us more than you will ever know.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Guardian angel?

My mother in law called yesterday...
She went over to Mt. View to take care of Brooke's flowers, took the old flowers out of the pot to replace them, and discovered a little green friend :) In the bottom of the basket was a tiny, bright green, tree frog...still alive, but stuck under the flowers. She said she giggled at this...she thought this could only happen to us :) I have had a frog collection for many years and so everyone associates me with them. It was only appropriate that, for a few days, Brooke would have her own little guardian angel frog :)

I met a few new people this week while working on our church play...I took Summer with me today. As usual, new people ask me about her. Talking about Summer generally leads to talking about Brooke too. One of the main characters in the play told me he was a of 3 sets his mother had...2 sets survived, one didn't. He also had a set of twins that he lost. I told him that I understood it might get easier with time....he said, "no, it doesn' always carry the loss with you. But, we have a unique opportunity as members of the LDS church...we believe in eternal families". Brooke, and all the other lost children, will be reunited with their families and be together forever. Than he smiled and said, "that means we have to live worthy enough to keep this opportunity"...they can make us be better we can make sure we end up with them again :)

I have talked about this with several other people, but for some reason, it meant a lot more coming from someone like him :) It's always nice to have a fresh perspective after a while...

Friday, July 24, 2009

A year ago today...

This beautiful memorial, made with the flowers from Brooke's service, sits on the speaker in my family room. It was a gift from many of my good friends.
The inscription reads "Brooke Ashley Cameron~ We will miss your shining spirit"
The basket of flowers from my mother-in-law and bunch of flowers from my mom and dad
at Mt. View funeral home in Tacoma, where Brooke is buried
A view of the grounds at Mountain View...we have had very dry, hot weather lately, so the usually lush, green grass is a little drier these days...still a beautiful place.

I can't believe how fast time has gone by. Today marked the one year anniversary of Brooke's passing. I thought I was doing okay, and maybe I was, but in the middle of all the chaos my house is in a constant state of, something changed.

We had decided that we would go visit Mountain View Cemetery today as a family then spend some time together. As usual, our house was in an fighting (didn't help that we just got back from a 5 day trip with more fun than you can shake a stick at!), kids screaming, music playing. In the middle of it all, I sat down just as the song on my husbands 1,000 plus playlist changed. I knew right away what we were about to hear..."All love can be" sung by Charlotte Church (from the soundtrack "A Beautiful Mind"). This happens to be the song my husband used when he made a video of some of our favorite Brooke photos. Of course, I can't even last through the intro without my eyes welling up with was no exception. We sat quietly sobbing through the song as my 3 older kids were clueless, running around, still yelling. After the song was done playing, Tom looked at me and said "appropriate don't you think?" What are the chances that particular song would just happen to play at that particular moment? Of course, the tone of my day instantly can definitely bring back feelings and memories quite vividly.

On a side note, I have finally figured out how to add music to my blogs...this version of "Somewhere over the Rainbow" is one that is also a real tear jerker. While I was pregnant, I followed a few stories told by other families that had gone through TTTS. Many of them made memorial videos for their Angel baby and survivor...almost every single video was put to this music. Of course, not knowing what outcome we were to face, and still waiting for my babies to progress, I was very emotional. Every time I hear this song, it reminds me of everything we (and the other families) experienced throughout the entire process. In fact, during the first days Summer was home with us, I was at Fred Meyer and the song came on. Needless to say, I had to try and crawl under the clothes racks to keep from completely losing it. After the song was over and I had composed myself, I wandered to another part of the store. I just happened to run into Summer's home care nurse. We chuckled about me trying to hide in the racks...this is something we always tell our kids NOT to do :)....nice that people are put out there for us to run into at the right times! I felt it was only fitting that I include the song on Brooke's blog....

I finished brushing hair, changing kids, etc. and headed for the shower. Like a lot of people I know, the shower is about the only place I have during the day that is quiet for a few minutes...and with quiet comes thinking. As the song played over and over in my head, I remembered the short, but sweet moments we spent with our tiny daughter. I remember the first time I saw her at 3 days fragile she was, but we still had hope. I remember seeing the pain and anguish on my husband's face as I got off the elevator to meet him...then the docs told us there was nothing more they could do. I remember how it felt the first time I held good it felt. I remember the way she cuddled right up to my chest and her body was calmed. I remember the long walk we took together as a family downstairs at Children's to the chapel to say goodbye. I remember holding her as she took her last breath, then smiled that sleepy newborn smile at me and was gone. I remember the even longer walk back to her room to say our final goodbyes.

I got out of the shower, dried my eyes, and headed for the family room. The kids were putting on their shoes and my husband called us all in to sit. We watched the 2 photo videos and all cried. Morgan was sitting on my lap and started crying too...because Andrew and Tom were. Anytime she sees pictures of Brooke, she thinks it is Summer. I explained to her that Brooke was also her little sister. As she saw the pictures of me holding Brooke, Morgan commented on how Brooke needed "my mom" too. Morgan is still very in tune with the spirit...she knew I was pregnant with the twins before I did :) Summer was sitting on little Tom's lap making all kinds of baby made us all giggle a little :)

After the videos were over, we headed for the van. Traffic was horrible and the trip that normally takes us 45 minutes, took us twice that long. With all the things we have had going on this past year, we still haven't ordered a gravestone for Brooke. My mother-in-law (who live just minutes away) has been keeping watch over her. Each new season she has brought over a potted plant to keep her company....she enjoys taking walks is so beautiful. I am so glad she has taken care of this for us.

We left some flowers there for her, then headed for Point Defiance Zoo. It was a really nice way to spend the rest of the afternoon...enjoying each other's company. After the zoo, we went out to was back to normal...Morgan ran amok in the restaurant and I changed diapers a few more times.
I miss my little Brooke and am so grateful we still have Summer...she is such a comfort to us. After the older kids were all tucked in, I layed on the floor, talked, and played with Summer. As usual, she grinned from ear to ear and giggled with glee. I am so thankful Heavenly Father has blessed our family with such special little will be a wonderful reunion when we can all be together again.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Happy Birthday Brooke

Today was Summer and Brooke's birthday. I can't believe it has already been a year since my sweet babies made their early appearance in our lives! We wish Brooke could have been here to celebrate with us, but she is always in our thoughts :) We hugged and kissed Summer twice as much today, just for her :)

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

We are about to come up on a lot of is the first Memorial Day since Brooke passed away. It is hard to believe so much time has passed already. Brooke is missed on a daily basis...and thought of too. I watch Summer grow and know that if Brooke were here, this is what she would have looked like. Though this is a small comfort, I still miss the opportunity I would have had to get to know Brooke as a person. In the short days Brooke was with us, we ALL learned a lot about ourselves. I remember the first time I held felt so right. I am thankful we were given this beautiful little spirit and can't wait to see her again. We all miss her and love her so much!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Brooke's Blessing

Brooke's dress, pillow, and bonnet

Just like Summer, Brooke was also blessed by her Daddy. This is a special ordinance performed for babies in the LDS church giving them their name and blessing them with inspired words to live their life by. We were fortunate enough to have the time with Brooke to be able to give her this gift...she was blessed the morning of the day she passed away.
It is usual that a baby's blessing will include thoughts and inspiration about their they will grow, what work they might do while here on this earth, if they will marry and have kids.... Brooke's was a unique experience. We knew, though hard to accept, that she was leaving this life to go to the next. Though her life was just 10 days, she had such a strong influence on so many of us, we feel she is still with us. She is a very strong spirit and we know she is doing the Lord's work both here and in heaven.

Daddy and Brooke...she is wearing a dress, and wrapped in the afghan, given to her by the NICU

Even though she wasn't able to wear her matching dress that day Grandma Norris bought for her and Summer, my mom was able to alter it to her tiny size...she is wearing it now.

Brooke's tiny head was about the size of a tennis ball

Grandma Norris

I know each milestone in Summer's life will have the underlying reflection of our sweet Brooke....this is a blessing. Brooke is a constant reminder for us to be better, live life to it's fullest, and love more. I am so thankful she was here with us...even for such a short time.

Here is Brooke on 7-24-08...she opened her eyes for us :)

Saying goodbye 7-24-08