Talking to William

The following article was published in Her Voice magazine, a Brainerd Dispatch publication, in 2010.

Talking to William

I’ll never be able to tell William Patrick he’s Grandma’s boy. I’ll never hear him giggle or see him chase a butterfly. William Patrick was stillborn on October 29, 2009. But if I could, I would tell him, “You were loved even before you were born, you’ll be missed and never forgotten, and St. Patrick’s Day, the day destined to be your birthday, will never be the same for any of us.”

Nine months isn’t such a long time to wait, unless you’re waiting to find out the sex of your baby. For your parents, the temptation not to wait proved too great, so four months before you were born, they scheduled an ultrasound test.

Earlier, on the day of the appointment, your father promised to call with the news, but when he did, it wasn’t the news I expected to hear. “They couldn’t find a heartbeat,” he said. In a split second, anticipation and joy turned to shock and disbelief. Plans crumbled and in their rubble only questions remained. Your parents turned to their parish priest and the hospital staff for answers to those questions.

At your parent’s request, I made the trip to Bremerton, Washington, and upon arriving was met by your father who drove to the hospital where your mother waited for us and for what was to come. I hugged her, offered words of encouragement and felt her pain.

When this long day ended, I lay in bed snuggled next to Destanie (10), Maddie (3) and Lillian (2). Their dog, Jackson, lay at the foot. During the night, I received the news from the hospital. You were stillborn, you were a boy and the cord that had sustained your life had taken it.

In the morning, I made another trip to the hospital, and upon entering, I couldn’t help but recall that only two years earlier I had been in another hospital witnessing the birth of your sister, Lillian Therese. A much more somber juncture lay ahead for me.

At the end of the hall in a special room, we found you lying peacefully in a bassinet next to your mother’s bed. You were wrapped in a blanket and upon your head was a tiny knitted bonnet in the color green. Your name was William Patrick, you weighed 6.6 ounces and you measured 7.5 inches in length. So tiny, yet large enough to fill our hearts with love.

William, I want to tell you that the world is filled with wonderful people, and it’s when you need them most they reveal themselves. So it was for us. With the help of caring people, a memorial service was planned and held in the Chapel at Holy Trinity Church. PTA moms along with the good women of the church furnished a luncheon afterward, and your family brought a cake, decorated in your name.

But what I really want to tell you is how proud I was of your family. During the service, your parents courageously shared the letters they had written to you. It was difficult, but the tears helped wash away the sorrow.

Your big sister, Destanie, read the prayer of St. Patrick and did such a fine job. I was so proud of her. I was even proud of Maddie and Lillian, rascals that they are, who made us smile, even when we didn’t feel like smiling. But what I am most proud of, William, is that your family recognized you for who you were, and not just for who you would have been.

Many beautiful words were shared that day, and many more tears, but through it all I came to realize more than ever this fact of life. Pain is not selective. It touches us all. No one is out of its reach.

When the day finally arrived for me to return home, I said my goodbyes, boarded the plane and buckled my seat belt. En route, I reached into my bag and drew out the prayer card that had been printed in memory of you. I sat transfixed by the last line: “We’ll forget you never – the child we had, but never had, and yet will have forever.”

Two months later for Christmas, Grandpa and I sent your parents a wind-chime engraved with your name and date of stillbirth. It is called “Whispers from Heaven” and features an angel. We thought it would make the perfect gift.

Now, when the wind blows and those chimes begin to tinkle, I don’t have to tell you who they’ll be thinking of. They’ll be thinking of you, William Patrick.

Facebook – Friend or Foe

The following article received Honorable Mention in the Magazine Feature Article category of the 79th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition – 2010. Her Voice magazine, a Brainerd Dispatch publication, published it in 2009.

Facebook – Friend or Foe

All right, so I’m not on Facebook and I don’t Twitter. My bank statement arrives by the US Postal Service, the newspaper is delivered to my door and I write a letter every now and then. I do, however, have the internet, love sending e-mails, carry a Blackberry (that I’m still trying to figure out) and for the most part think I’m pretty with it. But I don’t want to be on Facebook. And therein lies the problem. My kids want me to be their “friend”.

“But, Mom,” wailed daughter #3, “it makes communicating so much easier and faster.”

“I suppose it does,” I responded. “If I were on Facebook, I could see pictures of my grandchildren, keep up with my kids’ lives and make comments right along with all your other friends.” Something is definitely wrong with this picture, I thought to myself. No need for Grandma’s Bragbook. My grandchildrens’ pictures have already been plastered on computer monitors across the country – all “friends” of Mom and Dad. Yes, the pressure definitely is on.

Four of my five children live out of state and this summer when daughter #1 came home for vacation she didn’t travel alone. She brought along a hidden agenda. A plan had been hatched by my kids, and she was the one elected to get Mom on Facebook. That plan fell through when I didn’t take the bait, but they landed a big one when they hooked my husband. Now he’s their friend.

This dilemma has gotten out of hand. It’s like a virus that spreads. Of my eight siblings, only three of us aren’t on Facebook, that is, unless they’ve bailed and become everybody’s “friend”. The other day I received an e-mail from my only surviving Uncle in Connecticut who asked me if I was on Facebook. He had some pictures he wanted me to see. He’s one of them, too. I sent an e-mail to let him know that I wasn’t but my husband was and, perhaps, I could view his pictures that way. Now they’re friends.

My problem didn’t start with Facebook, however. About two years ago daughter #1 convinced me to join MySpace so that I could view her pictures, but before I could figure it out she’d moved on to, you guessed it, Facebook. Out of curiosity, when I began to write this article I checked to see if my space was still on MySpace. I hadn’t visited that site in two years but sure enough, I was still hanging out there.

I wanted to delete myself but couldn’t since I’d forgotten my password and now have a new email address. I called my daughter hoping for a suggestion out of this situation. “Hey, did you know I’m still on MySpace? And I have two friends. You and a young guy named Tom. I have no clue who he is.” I laughed to myself thinking how I’d emphasized “young.”

“Tom is just the guy who set up your account, Mother.” It was her turn to laugh. “That means you have only one friend. Me.” I didn’t like the way she said that. I went on to tell her that I had been researching for an article I wanted to write about Facebook. In an unusually quiet manner she said, “Mother, you can’t write an article about something you know nothing about.” I didn’t like the way she said that either.

Don’t misjudge me. It’s not that I think there’s anything wrong with this new means of communication per se; it’s just that I don’t have time for it. As it is, I barely have time to answer my e-mails. No, wait a minute. Let me rephrase that. Previously, I didn’t have time to answer my e-mails. I have more time now since most of them were sent by people who now spend most of their time on Facebook.

Something else bothers me about this kind of communication. It just seems so…. so impersonal. In all honesty, however, my hesitancy has also become a matter of principle. Sometimes it becomes necessary to face down our kids. But late at night when the lights are low, the house is quiet, and it’s just me and my computer, am I tempted to log onto my husband’s Facebook? Maybe. Just a little. And if I succumb to that temptation will I tell my kids? Not a chance. Now, I think I’ll call my Mom and see what’s new with her. She’s not on Facebook either.

Brainerd Author Debuts ‘Home Sweet Murder’

Theresa was recently featured in the Entertainment section of the Brainerd Dispatch. Check out the excerpt below. Click the button to read the full article.

BAXTER — Brainerd author Theresa M. Jarvela will celebrate the release of her first novel, “Home Sweet Murder,” from 5:30-7:30 p.m. June 5 at Prairie Bay Restaurant in Baxter.

“Home Sweet Murder,” to be published by North Star Press in June, is the first book in the Tales of a Tenacious Housesitter Mystery Series…

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The Rap on Theresa

Twin Cities Sisters in Crime Rap Sheet

Twin Cities Sisters in Crime "Rap Sheet"

 

Theresa was recently featured in the bi-monthly newsletter published by the Twin Cities Sisters in Crime. This passionate group of mystery writers, readers and book buyers is on the constant lookout for all things mysterious!

Check out their Rap Sheet on Theresa in the March-April 2012 edition of their newsletter (page 10).

The Twin Cities Sisters in Crime website can be found at http://www.twincitysinc.org.