Friday, January 8, 2010

First full day with Charlotte gone

I woke up with my heart beating fast thinking I had to get up and check on CJ, how's her breathing, is she still here, did she get her morning meds, where is her...oh yeah...

I don't feel nearly as sad this morning as I did yesterday. Strange but even with all the preparation and seeing it coming from a mile away, Charlotte's death hit me much harder than I thought it would. I sat on the bench in the back yard (where I sat to smoke a cigar, yeah, I actually went and got a good one that day, when I came home after CJ was born) and cried as hard as I've ever cried in my life. I felt a little better afterward; at least composed enough to call people and let them know.

Rachel and I talked it over and she reminded me how seriously sleep deprived we both are and have been for months. That definitely has had an impact. Good wife. So we got some good sleep and in the same bed for the first time in a long time.

The snow last night had a very healing effect as well and the messages you all have been posting haven't hurt. We feel the "Love Network" closing around us, supporting us.

Plans are progressing nicely for the service. We haven't had to do much. One of us just says, "this need to be done" or "let's do it this way" and it gets done. Can't express our appreciation enough for those hashing out the details.

We will be heading out to our retreat on Sunday for a couple days. It's REALLY rural so I don't think we'll be in contact with anyone much. There is a landline and we will probably check in for messages but don't expect prompt responses.

Last but not least, we found the perfect urn for Charlotte's ashes. It's sort of a bio-degradable thing that can be used to plant a tree. I can't think of a better way to remember her. Just have to find the best possible plant/tree to foster butterfly activity and a space. Rachel tells me there's an actual butterfly bush. No need to offer suggestions, Gramps is a master gardener and will know exactly what to do.

For those asking about the Monument Ave 10K: If you're going to fundraise for CJSTUF, please don't register until I give you the super secret code. We have reserved spaces for TEAM CJ and I don't want you to pay for the race unless you really want to. The pledge form is in the Special Events section of the website. Just print it off and have at it. The training teams are all you. There are several, YMCA, Sportsbackers, The Beermosa Allstars (THERE I DID IT!!!)

Thanks so much for everything. (The thanking will continue whether you like it or not.)


  1. Roger and Rachel,

    I don't know what to say other than you continue to be in my prayers and that as much as you were lucky to have her, she was lucky to have the two of you.

    Mike Lombardo

  2. Roger and Rachel,

    Please ENJOY your retreat this week. You're both so deserving. And so loved.

    -Kristen Stone

  3. Sending my love and prayers for your family...

    Robin M
    Cole's KS Rep

  4. Have a peaceful retreat, take comfort in each other.

  5. Have a restful retreat. We'll be thinking of you, as always. --Kristina & Mila Rhodes

  6. I agree have a peaceful and restful retreat. You will be thought of.

    The Hubbel Family!

  7. I just can't get over it. How you both seem to encourage me (and everyone else I know) with each entry you write. Charlotte comes to my mind all throughout the day, and I check this blog just as often. My heart has been broken during the last several weeks that I have learned about Charlotte's story and have been keeping up with the course of events. I was especially down earlier this week. I found myself feeling very depressed grieving for you. But you and Rachel never cease to amaze me. I am always excited to have something new to read here, and every single time I come away with my faith renewed and my spirit refreshed, and it just strikes me as so backwards!! My only hope is that we (your support system) is collectively providing you and Rachel with as much comfort and hope as you two are providing all of us. I firmly believe in God's Almighty Plan. We simply cannot understand WHY these things happen but it is because there are so many things we can't see, and of course we can't see the future. But God does! I can only guess that part of the reason this happened is because God knew that Charlotte Jennie's parents are amazingly courageous and strong vessels in which to encourage others who are weak and hopeless in their own struggles. I have no doubt that Charlotte's story and your unending faith and positivity are encouraging many individuals in more ways than could ever be counted. I hope that you find great joy in knowing that.

    I thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing not only your story but your daily struggles, joys and humor with me - a complete stranger! I can definitely say that my life has been eternally changed because of the lives of Roger, Rachel and precious Charlotte Reynolds.

    Charlotte is with our Heavenly Father now and as sad as we are, it truly doesn't get any better than that! :-)

    I continue to send much love and prayers to your family.

    Kimberly Lambert
    Sister-in-law of Melissa Baker

  8. Joy and I are watching an episode of The Wonder Pets right now - guess what they are talking about? The little inchworm is waiting for his friend the caterpillar to change into a butterfly. How appropriate! The snow this morning; yesterday being the 7th (number of completion). We can go on and on. Take comfort in these little things. We love you guys. Enjoy your retreat...

  9. Have you all thought about funding a butterfly garden at the Children's Park at Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens? It could be filled with pink and purple butterfly bushes (and tulips, and whatever else!).... It would be a wonderful way for the community to remember CJ (and, perhaps, other children that become butterflies all too soon....)

    - Debbie W

  10. The butterfly bush is a wonderful idea. Asolutely perfect. :) I think I'll plant another one myself this spring.

    And yes, I know it's January, but as I told Rachel, a beautiful little yellow butterfly fluttered by my sunroom window yesterday afternoon!

    Rebecca (Katie's Mom)

  11. Rachel and Roger,
    Mikayla and I shed quite a few tears yesterday at 2 when we read your post. Our hearts are sad as she says, "because she will miss Charlotte even though we live far away." Our hearts are also sad for the two of you. We saw your love for her and each other so evidently in Houston. Charlotte was a gift to Mikayla when we first arrived. She will always think of Charlotte as "her little sis." Our family has been praying with love and good memories of you all. Marty, Deanna and family

    ps Thanks for your thoughts on our carepage Roger. Mikayla listened intently as I read to her and it helped her to "hear" straight from you.

  12. Thank you for sharing your experience with the world. We may not have known Charlotte, but she will be forever in our thoughts and hearts. I will think of her each time I see a butterfly. Rachel and Roger, your strength through this has been amazing and you inspire me. Enjoy your retreat as much as you can, we will be thinking of you.

  13. May God wrap his loving arms around during this difficult time and always. Charlotte has touched many lives during her journey. I feel this was her purpose in her life here. My heart breaks for all of you there and here in Florida. It was my pleasure to get to meet all of you while you were in Daytona. I'm glad I had the chance to meet the girl who has changed the lives of many. The two of you continue to amaze me with your faith and strength during this past year. Thank you for sharing this with all of us. May God Bless you today and always.
    Pennie, Ebenezer Lutheran Church

  14. Praying for you for a time away to begin the healing process and to regain much needed rest. When I see butterflies I will always think of Charlotte's story and your amazing love and faith. May you be blessed in ways to numerous to count.

  15. You are in my thoughts and prayers. May God grace you with signs of Charlotte's continued presence in your lives.

    Linda (Edward's mom)

  16. Roger & Rachel,

    Praying for well needed rest and a renewal of spirit, strength, and peace during your retreat.
    I know Charlotte is watching over both of you from above with much love and gratitude.

    Stephanie, Tim, Daniel & Elizabeth

  17. Roger and Rachel,

    I am so sorry for your loss. I think this retreat will do you both some good - get some much needed rest. The butterfly bush idea sounds beautiful and an absolutely spectacular way to memoralize your daughter.

    Take care of each other.

    Many hugs and prayers,

  18. You have all given so much to us by the courage and grace you have shown during Charlotte's illness and death. The ripples from that curly-heaced pebble have now reached the shore. Be gentle with yourselves. God's heart broke, too, you know.
    Sandi Shirey

  19. I'm sorry to hear about your loss. I helped take care of Charlotte at day care when she was 2. She is a beautiful child and I enjoyed every day I got to spend with her. She always knew how to make us smile.

    God Bless
    Stephanie Mask (RMC '04)


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.